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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
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Is it a Bear or an imposter? The Alien Bear is cleverly designed to look like our original Bear until you remove his fur mask and see the friendly alien face underneath.

A lot of conflicting reports have been circulating about the legal case involving Dr. Kamal Sayid Qadir, who was arrested according to law and an established court system for writing an article criticising the puppet U.S.-led government in Iraqi Kurdistan.

In accordance with law no. 21, article 1, enacted by the Kurdistan National Assembly (KNA) in 2003 pertaining to defamation of public institutions, Dr. Qadir, a leading Kurdish academic and one of the region's most prominent writers, has been sent to jail for 30 years for harshly criticising leaders of the U.S.-backed, KDP.

Representatives of many International Human Rights organizations stressed that KRG, now facing pressure from NGO's and UN instruments, angered by KDP's inhuman act(s), must release Dr. Sayid Qadir if it seeks carrying on with its bid to become an applicant for democracy.

And some analysts believe that the arrest of Dr. Sayid Qadir comes as a crucial test of KRG's relations with the international community on one hand, and the KRG protection of freedom of expression on the other hand.

Dr. Sayid Qadir is accused of 'insulting' Massoud Barzani, head of the U.S. backed Kurdish Democratic Party, KDP, one of two parties that rule Iraqi Kurdistan, and publishing critical views of the system in the region.

Kamal Sayid Qadir wrote that “if a writer was jailed for 30 years for exposing government corruption in Iran or Syria, there would be outrage in the U.S. and Britain and demands for military strikes. But when that happens in Iraq there is silence.”

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Comment: People just don't seem to get it: The American government stated that they were going to bestow freedom and Democracy on Iraq, and it is logical that the style of Democracy would mirror that practiced in the U.S. True to their word, the Iraqi people now enjoy a very similar type of political system to that in the U.S., where any criticism of the rulers is responded to with complete censorship and jail time.

by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse
Wed Jan 11, 2006
Bush wants to create the new criminal of "disruptor" who can be jailed for the crime of "disruptive behavior." A "little-noticed provision" in the latest version of the Patriot Act will empower Secret Service to charge protesters with a new crime of "disrupting major events including political conventions and the Olympics." Secret Service would also be empowered to charge persons with "breaching security" and to charge for "entering a restricted area" which is "where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting." In short, be sure to stay in those wired, fenced containments or free speech zones.

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13/01/2006 - 18:13:40
A SWAT team member shot and wounded a pupil who appeared to be carrying a handgun at his middle school in an Orlando, Florida, suburb.

The report of an armed student led to an evacuation of students, teachers and school staff.

The student was taken to the hospital. His condition was not immediately known.

Details of the shooting were sketchy, but Seminole County Sheriff’s officials said no other students, teachers or school staff members at Milwee Middle School were injured.

Sheriff’s officials had originally said the wounded boy had barricaded himself in a restroom.

by Doug Thompson
13 Jan 2006
President George W. Bush has signed executive orders giving him sole authority to impose martial law, suspend habeas corpus and ignore the Posse Comitatus Act that prohibits deployment of U.S. troops on American streets. This would give him absolute dictatorial power over the government with no checks and balances.

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by Carol Wolman
13 Jan 2006
George W. Bush is claiming to be a king. He is doing it by declaring himself the war president who is leading the war on terror. He says that as commander-in-chief in war time, he is above the law. He can declare any citizen an enemy, a terrorist, and arrest and hold that person indefinitely, without charges or a trial. Habeas corpus can be suspended, so that the victim's relatives may not know what happened.

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By Leonard David
Senior space writer
Jan. 11, 2006
Directed energy could revolutionize warfare, expert says

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. - There is a new breed of weaponry fast approaching — and at the speed of light, no less. They are labeled "directed-energy weapons," and they may well signal a revolution in military hardware — perhaps more so than the atomic bomb.

Directed-energy weapons take the form of lasers, high-powered microwaves and particle beams. Their adoption for ground, air, sea, and space warfare depends not only on using the electromagnetic spectrum, but also upon favorable political and budgetary wavelengths too.

That’s the outlook of J. Douglas Beason, author of the recently published book "The E-Bomb: How America’s New Directed Energy Weapons Will Change the Way Wars Will Be Fought in the Future." Beason previously served on the White House staff working for the president’s science adviser under both the Bush and Clinton administrations.

After more than two decades of research, the United States is on the verge of deploying a new generation of weapons that discharge beams of energy, such as the Airborne Laser and the Active Denial System, as well as the Tactical High Energy Laser, or THEL.

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Comment: Oh joy! It is indeed heartening to see that White House Staff Scientists such as Beason, the author of "The E-Bomb: How America’s New Directed Energy Weapons Will Change the Way Wars Will Be Fought in the Future", are already focusing on how wars will be fought in the future, and totally disregarding the possibility that there could ever be a future without war. Also, note this little gem:
Beason said he has a blue-sky idea of his own, which he tags "the voice from heaven." By tuning the resonance of a laser onto Earth’s ionosphere, you can create audible frequencies. Like some boom box in the sky, the laser-produced voice could bellow from above down to the target below: "Put down your weapons."
We wonder if such technology could also be used to project into the air something along the lines of: "Hello Earthlings! This is Shucktar, of the Intergalactic Command, we are here to help you solve all of your problems. A fleet of ships will soon arrive to take you all on a wonderful inter-stellar journey to show you your true origins, after which we will be having you all over to our place for dinner." As for the spaceships, that is easily taken care of...

By William M. Arkin
Special to
Monday, Feb. 1, 1999
[...] What if the U.S. projected a holographic image of Allah floating over Baghdad?

But the "strategic" PSYOPS scheming didn't die. What if the U.S. projected a holographic image of Allah floating over Baghdad urging the Iraqi people and Army to rise up against Saddam, a senior Air Force officer asked in 1990?

According to a military physicist given the task of looking into the hologram idea, the feasibility had been established of projecting large, three-dimensional objects that appeared to float in the air.

But doing so over the skies of Iraq? To project such a hologram over Baghdad on the order of several hundred feet, they calculated, would take a mirror more than a mile square in space, as well as huge projectors and power sources.

And besides, investigators came back, what does Allah look like?

The Gulf War hologram story might be dismissed were it not the case that has learned that a super secret program was established in 1994 to pursue the very technology for PSYOPS application. The "Holographic Projector" is described in a classified Air Force document as a system to "project information power from space ... for special operations deception missions."

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by Steven Barnes
12 Jan 2006
I was recently asked: why do I think it inevitable that innocent people will be tortured if currently debated policies are continued?

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by Missy Comley Beattie
12 Jan 2006
He's at it again. Speaking before yet another "staged" group of supporters, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Bush is chastising Americans for speaking the truth. What a bully!

Who does he think he's fooling? Let me answer my own question. He's snookering all the people like those who sat nodding behind him, the sleeping public, who are allowing George W. to remain with his hands grasping the wheel. But he is driving his passengers over the edge of the cliff.

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by Andy Ostroy
13 Jan 2006
What is it about these tough-talking Republicans, who, every time the soup gets too thick, somehow find a way for their wives and/or mommies to enter the public debate and rescue them? Our big, strong AWOL of a president, George W. Bush, does it all the time. Uses Laura and Babs to deflect criticism and defend him with inane, self-serving statements, or, highly orchestrated acts of fake compassion.

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Comment: Martha Stout, Ph.D., writes in "The Sociopath Next Door",

"Albert Einstein once said, "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

"To do something about [psychopaths] we must first identify them.

"After listening for almost twenty-five years to the stories my patients tell me about [psychopaths], ... when I am asked "How can I tell whom not to trust?" the answer I give usually surprises people. The natural expectation is that I will describe some sinister-sounding detail of behavior or snippet of body language or threatening use of language that is the subtle giveaway.

"Instead... the tip-off is none of those things... Rather, the best clue is, of all things, the PITY PLAY. The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy."
Yup, that's right: an appeal to our CONSCIENCE.
They know we have 'em, and they don't.... and they USE this knowledge against us mercilessly.
"As obvious as the nose on one's face, and just as difficult to see without the help of a mirror, the explanation is that good people will let pathetic individuals get by with murder, so to speak, and therefore any [psychopath] wishing to continue with his game, whatever it happens to be, should play repeatedly for non other than pity.

"When we have pity, we are, at least for the moment, defenseless..."

And yet pity, per se, is one of the essentially POSITIVE human characteristics that bind people together in groups.

"Our emotional vulnerability when we pity is used against us by those who have no conscience.
"Pity and sympathy are forces for good when they are reactions to deserving people who have fallen on misfortune. But when these sentiments are wrested out of us by the undeserving, by people whose behavior is consistently anti- social, this is a sure sign that something is wrong, a potentially useful danger signal that we often overlook...."

[Martha Stout, Ph.D., The Sociopath Next Door] (highly recommended)

Bob Fertik
10 Jan 2006
On Monday morning, Bush spoke a total of 250 words to the media on behalf of Sam Alito.

Even though it was a trivially short speech, filled with talking points he's recited many times before - and even though Bush was wide awake in the best hour of his day - Bush couldn't even deliver those 250 words without waiting for most of it to be fed to him through his earpiece!!!

Here's the word-by-word analysis, breaking down the video from BradBlog, which begins with the fourth sentence from Bush's remarks.

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January 12, 2006
The New York Times
Some commentators are complaining that Judge Samuel Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearings have not been exciting, but they must not have been paying attention. We learned that Judge Alito had once declared that Judge Robert Bork - whose Supreme Court nomination was defeated because of his legal extremism - "was one of the most outstanding nominees" of the 20th century. We heard Judge Alito refuse to call Roe v. Wade "settled law," as Chief Justice John Roberts did at his confirmation hearings. And we learned that Judge Alito subscribes to troubling views about presidential power.

Those are just a few of the quiet bombshells that have dropped. In his deadpan bureaucrat's voice, Judge Alito has said some truly disturbing things about his view of the law. In three days of testimony, he has given the American people reasons to be worried - and senators reasons to oppose his nomination....

The debate over Judge Alito is generally presented as one between Republicans and Democrats. But his testimony should trouble moderate Republicans, especially those who favor abortion rights or are concerned about presidential excesses. The hearings may be short on fireworks, but they have produced, through Judge Alito's words, an array of reasons to be concerned about this nomination.

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By Jeffrey Steinberg
13 Jan 2006
On Jan. 5, 2006, in a front-page story, the Wall Street Journal identified Judge Samuel Alito, President George W. Bush's nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court, as a leading proponent of the savagely unconstitutional doctrine of the "unitary executive."

The idea of the "unitary executive," which forms the core dogma of the ultra-right-wing Federalist Society, to which Judge Alito belongs, is more properly identified by its modern historical name—the Führerprinzip, authored by the Nazi regime's anointed "Crown Jurist" Carl Schmitt.

Schmitt's doctrine, that the charismatic head of state is the law, and can assert absolute dictatorial authority during periods of emergency, has been used to legitimize every totalitarian regime in the West, from Hitler, through Gen. Francisco Franco in Spain, through Gen. Augusto Pinochet in Chile, to President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in the United States.

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Associated Press
12 Jan 2006
BOSTON (AP) -- Days after calling on his party to exhibit higher ethical standards, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association said his group will donate to charity $500,000 in campaign contributions linked to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

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By Donald Kaul
Minuteman Media
12 Jan 2006
A terror stalks the streets of Washington today the like of which has not been seen here since the War of 1812 when the British invaded the city and burned the White House.

Jack Abramoff---lobbyist, con man, swindler, keeper of Washington’s buried skeletons---is singing.

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By Philip B. Heymann
Boston Globe
January 12, 2006
BASED ON his constitutional powers and the authorization for the use of military force granted by congressional resolution after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush has declared himself free to ignore any law that he thinks limits his ability to fight terrorism. This is an extraordinary claim for any president in a country that prides itself on a rule of law binding government officials as well as ordinary citizens.

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12 Jan 2006
When President Bush signed the new law, sponsored by Senator McCain, restricting the use of torture when interrogating detainees, he also issued a Presidential signing statement. That statement asserted that his power as Commander-in-Chief gives him the authority to bypass the very law he had just signed.

This news came fast on the heels of Bush's shocking admission that, since 2002, he has repeatedly authorized the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance without a warrant, in flagrant violation of applicable federal law.

And before that, Bush declared he had the unilateral authority to ignore the Geneva Conventions and to indefinitely detain without due process both immigrants and citizens as enemy combatants.

All these declarations echo the refrain Bush has been asserting from the outset of his presidency. That refrain is simple: Presidential power must be unilateral, and unchecked.

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Comment: "Unitary Executive" is a code word for Dictator.

by Stephen Crockett
13 Jan 2006
It is amazing that the Republican controlled Corporate Media and the Republican controlled federal and state governments have been able to control the flow of information vital to American Democracy by abusing positions of power. Examples can be found at all levels of government and in the media.

The Bush Administration engaged in blatantly criminal behavior by wiretapping millions of American citizens without a court order. Bush has called the program limited but a NSA Whistleblower and admitted source for the New York Times story that exposed the illegal program stated in an ABC news story that millions of citizens were likely involved. The wiretapping orders and the disinformation on the scale of the program came directly from Bush and Cheney.

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Robert Scheer
San Francisco Chronicle
January 11, 2006
OH WHAT a tangled web these no-longer-young Republicans weave when first they practice to deceive! The plumb line that runs down through the cesspool of the festering Abramoff-DeLay scandal is the conceit that the scions of the Reagan Revolution, a generation of young Republican activists summoned by God and party, were morally superior creatures, who had only pure ideological motives for cutting the country's social-safety nets in the name of "small government."

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by Ernest Partridge
13 Jan 2006
As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.

William O. Douglas

Trust is the moral cement that binds a just political order.

Like a person in good physical health, a society of trusting citizens takes its good fortune for granted as each citizen goes about his personal business. When we dwell in such a fortunate society, awareness and appreciation of the bond of civic trust fades below the collective consciousness, even as we continue to enjoy the benefits thereof.

We pay our bills and send personal messages through the mail, trusting the Postal Service to deliver the mail on time and not to open and read it en route. We purchase our food and drugs confident that the food will not be contaminated and that our drugs will be both safe and effective. When we go shopping, we often do not bother to check the change returned to us at the register, and we routinely write checks against bank deposits without scrupulously checking our balance. In short, we generally trust each other.

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By Staff and Wire Reports
Jan 13, 2006
Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Thursday asked for answers on an obscure Pentagon agency that included reports on student anti-war protests and other peaceful civilian demonstrations in a database meant to detect terrorist activities.

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By Chris Floyd
13 Jan 2006
If President George W. Bush shows no qualms about violating the 217-year-old U.S. Constitution or the 791-year-old Magna Carta, why should we be surprised to find that he is now violating the 2,400-year-old Hippocratic Oath?

And yet this week's revelation of how U.S. doctors are force-feeding captives on hunger strike in Bush's concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay still has the power to shock and sicken -- not just from the savage act itself, but also for the wider moral defeat it represents: another open embrace of raw brutality, another step in America's accelerating plunge into vicious despotism.

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The BBC hosted a unique global television debate about America's place in the world with 10 other national broadcasters.

The Nation
January 30, 2006 issue
Finally, it has started. People have begun to speak of impeaching President George W. Bush--not in hushed whispers but openly, in newspapers, on the Internet, in ordinary conversations and even in Congress. As a former member of Congress who sat on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon, I believe they are right to do so.

I can still remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach during those proceedings, when it became clear that the President had so systematically abused the powers of the presidency and so threatened the rule of law that he had to be removed from office. As a Democrat who opposed many of President Nixon's policies, I still found voting for his impeachment to be one of the most sobering and unpleasant tasks I ever had to undertake. None of the members of the committee took pleasure in voting for impeachment; after all, Democrat or Republican, Nixon was still our President.

At the time, I hoped that our committee's work would send a strong signal to future Presidents that they had to obey the rule of law. I was wrong.

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Last Updated Thu, 12 Jan 2006 20:08:58 EST
CBC News
The U.S. government is expected to run a deficit of more than $400 billion in the fiscal year ending in September, a White House official said Thursday.

That's up from $318.5 billion in 2005 but below the record $413 billion in 2004.

The cost of dealing with Hurricane Katrina was a big factor in pushing up the figure, said Joel Kaplan, deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Other observers have cited the Iraq war and tax cuts as contributing to the deficit.

The $400 billion estimate represents an increase from a $361 billion forecast in July.

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The Village Voice
13 Jan 2006
And now the tax cuts just for millionaires have taken effect. Congratulations, America!

What a way to celebrate Friday the 13th: While the press is fixated on Sam Alito (he's in) and Iran (it's out), new reports bring disastrous financial news to Americans — even if you didn't read all about it.

Adding up the damage: Wall Street bonuses for the securities industry are record-breaking, and so are personal bankruptcies for the rest of you.

Oh, and you just got the bill for tax cuts enacted in 2001 for the benefit of millionaires. The cuts took effect at the beginning of 2006. And by the way, "Gramps" Dick Cheney's Halliburton is still charging you millions of dollars for "maintaining" excess, unused Mercedes trucks that are just sitting idle in the Iraqi desert.

Jesus wept, no matter what Pat Robertson says. Dry your own eyes and keep reading:

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New York Times
January 13, 2006
If the experts are right, some time this month, perhaps somewhere in the suburban South or West, a couple, most likely white Anglo-Saxon Protestants or Hispanic, will conceive a baby who, when born in October, will become the 300 millionth American.

As of yesterday, the Census Bureau officially pegged the resident population of the United States at closing in on 297,900,000. The bureau estimates that with a baby being born every 8 seconds, someone dying every 12 seconds and the nation gaining an immigrant every 31 seconds on average, the population is growing by one person every 14 seconds.

At that rate, the total is expected to top 300 million late this year.

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Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:13 PM ET
WASHINGTON - About half of all U.S. women and 40 percent of U.S. men are currently using or have recently used a prescription drug, according to government statistics published on Thursday.

This "snapshot" of information was based on a survey that found that 54 percent of white non-Hispanic women and 43 percent of white non-Hispanic men had used a prescription drug in the past month, the National Center for Health Statistics said in a statement.

Fewer blacks and Hispanics used prescription drugs, according to the survey, done between 1999 and 2002.

Nearly 44 percent of black women and 35 percent of black men reported using prescription drugs and nearly 38 percent of Mexican-American women and nearly 26 percent of Mexican-American men, the survey found.

Several hundred people joined a handful of exotic dancers in front of the New Jersey Statehouse tonight to protest the US state’s new indoor smoking ban.

Some of the 20 strippers – who were clothed for the protest – said the ban will result in lost clients and less money in their pockets.

“It’s going to murder our business,” said Dominique Hernandez, 24. “A lot of people want to get off of work, have a drink and a smoke and watch some pretty girls. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

A loudspeaker blared popular strip bar tunes such as You Can Leave Your Hat On and Girls, Girls, Girls, but – to the disappointment of some in th crowd – the strippers displayed nothing more risque than their midriffs. Some people carried signs that read “Defy Anti-Smoking Nazis” and “Tobacco Control is Out of Control.” [...]

Alan Blumenfeld, owner of a club in Mount Holly described as a “gentlemen’s day care centre,” said the smoking ban would drive away customers across the Delaware River to the state of Pennsylvania. He cloaked his protest in patriotism.

“It’s about camaraderie. It’s the way it’s been for hundreds of years,” Mr Blumenfeld said. “The guys who signed the Declaration of Independence were smokers.”

At one point, the crowd fell silent for the singing of the national anthem, which ended with the strippers saluting and many in the crowd waving baseball caps and cowboy hats while chanting “USA! USA!”

Comment: Just when they were doing so well, they allowed the whole thing to be sidetracked by the usual Patriotic nonsense complete with the inane chants of "USA! USA!"

The Huffington Post
January 12, 2006
The Huffington Post has learned the Bush administration recently asked high ranking military leaders to denounce Congressman John Murtha. Congressman Murtha has called for the Bush Administration to withdraw US troops from Iraq.

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Comment: Yup, that's COINTELPRO for ya. The old "Third Party Smear Campaign Protocol." It has recently come rather close to home. Read Laura's Blog for the details.

By Mohamed Elmasry
Information Clearing House
11 Jan 2006
President George W. Bush continues to staunchly defend his war against Iraq, in which more than 2,000 Americans and more than 30,000 Iraqis have been killed -- with fatality numbers on both sides still going nowhere but up.

Iraq has become nothing less than a very expensive made-in-America killing field, in which every death -- whether Iraqi, American, or Coalition -- has cost U.S. taxpayers more than 2 million dollars. That's 2 million, per person, totaling 200 billion dollars so far.

Moreover, during 34 months of occupation, the U.S. has not built even one more university, school, hospital, bridge, factory, or road. Nor have any massive scholarship programs been established at American universities to help educate deserving Iraqi students in engineering, medicine, business, and other vital infrastructural professions. In the meantime, there is no public accounting to explain where billions of Iraqi oil dollars have been spent, and on whom.

Wars, death, destruction, human misery and loss of personal security are all misfortunes that people of good faith try to avoid or lesson among their fellow humans -- but when these misfortunes become pure evil, it is more often than not in the context of planned aggression, such as the American campaign against Iraq.

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By Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest
Mother Jones
15 Jan 2004
It's a crisp fall day in western Virginia, a hundred miles from Washington, D.C., and a breeze is rustling the red and gold leaves of the Shenandoah hills. On the weather-beaten wood porch of a ramshackle 90-year-old farmhouse, at the end of a winding dirt-and-gravel road, Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski is perched on a plastic chair, wearing shorts, a purple sweatshirt, and muddy sneakers. Two scrawny dogs and a lone cat are on the prowl, and the air is filled with swarms of ladybugs.

So far, she says, no investigators have come knocking. Not from the Central Intelligence Agency, which conducted an internal inquiry into intelligence on Iraq, not from the congressional intelligence committees, not from the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. All of those bodies are ostensibly looking into the Bush administration's prewar Iraq intelligence, amid charges that the White House and the Pentagon exaggerated, distorted, or just plain lied about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda terrorists and its possession of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. In her hands, Kwiatkowski holds several pieces of the puzzle. Yet she, along with a score of other career officers recently retired or shuffled off to other jobs, has not been approached by anyone.

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By Farhad Manjoo
10 Jan 2006
In his disturbing new book, Times reporter James Risen reveals how George Tenet's gutless surrender to war-obsessed Donald Rumsfeld led to the total breakdown of U.S. intelligence.

"Rumsfeld is a renegade who steps over just about everyone in the administration, including Tenet, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and even Bush himself, to get his way. Aided by Vice President Dick Cheney and influenced by Defense Department neoconservatives, Rumsfeld manages to wrest control of every aspect of American international affairs. "To others in the administration, mystified by the process -- or lack of a process -- it eventually became clear that Cheney and Rumsfeld had a backchannel where the real decision making was taking place," Risen writes." [...]

"Risen writes that after 9/11, "the president made clear to agency officials in many ways that it was time for the gloves to come off." Once, inquiring about Abu Zubaydah, the al-Qaida lieutenant who was wounded during his capture in Pakistan, Bush asked Tenet, "Who authorized putting him on pain medication?"

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13 Jan 2006
NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union today released new documents obtained from the Defense Department detailing abuse at U.S. facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. Included in the release is the first publicly available government document confirming the existence of a secret “Special Access Program” involving a special ops unit, Task Force 6-26, which has been implicated in numerous detainee abuse incidents in Iraq, and whose operatives used fake names to thwart an Army investigation.

“These documents confirm that the torture of detainees and its subsequent cover-up was part of a larger clandestine operation, in all likelihood, authorized by senior government officials,” said ACLU attorney Amrit Singh. “Despite mounting evidence of systemic abuse authorized or endorsed from above, however, not a single high level official has thus far been brought to justice.”

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By James Hider and Stephen Farrell
London Times
12 Jan 2006
“WHY can’t we live together in peace?”, read the graffiti written on a wall in Fallujah by a weary American soldier. Next to it a colleague had scrawled: “Die ragheads die!”

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13/01/2006 - 16:41:27
A US army reconnaissance helicopter went down in northern Mosul, Iraq, today and its two pilots were killed, the US military said, while a senior officer said it may have been shot down.

Lt Gen John Vines, chief of the Multi-National Corps Iraq, told Pentagon reporters that there were indications the OH-58 Kiowa crash was due to hostile fire.

Both of its crew were killed in the crash said Lt Col. Barry Johnson, a US military spokesman in Baghdad.

The helicopter was on a combat air patrol with another Kiowa when it went down.

The two crew were not identified pending identification of next of kin.

The Swamps of Eugnosia
13 Jan 2006
An article by UPI reporter Claude Salhani asserts "Iranian firepower, either in the form of direct rocket and artillery attack, or by Iraqi militia proxy, of which there is no shortage in Iraq, it would be suicidal for the United States to attempt a direct attack on Iran."

Oh, the disingenuous naiveté of it all.

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Rep. John Murtha
12 Jan 2006
According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition, the definition of a civil war is a "war between political factions or regions within the same country." That is exactly what is going on in Iraq, not a global war on terrorism, as the President continues to portray it.

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William Blum
Jan 10 2006
The sign has been put out front: "Iraq is open for business."We read about things done and said by the Iraqi president, or the Ministry of this or the Ministry of that, and it's easy to get the impression that Iraq is in the process of becoming a sovereign state, albeit not particularly secular and employing torture, but still, a functioning, independent state. Then we read about the IMF and the rest of the international financial mafia -- with the US playing its usual sine qua non role -- making large loans to the country and forgiving debts, with the customary strings attached, in the current instance ending government subsidies for fuel and other petroleum products. And so the government starts to reduce the subsidies for these products which affect almost every important aspect of life, and the prices quickly quintuple, sparking wide discontent and protests.[1]

Who in this sovereign nation wanted to add more suffering to the already beaten-down Iraqi people? But the international financial mafia are concerned only with making countries meet certain criteria sworn to be holy in Economics 101, like a balanced budget, privatization, and deregulation and thus making themselves more appealing to international investors.

In case the presence of 130,000 American soldiers, a growing number of sprawling US military bases, and all the designed-in-Washington restrictive Coalition Provisional Authority laws still in force aren't enough to keep the Iraqi government in line, this will do it. Iraq will have to agree to allow their economy to be run by the IMF for the next decade. The same IMF that Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel prize-winning economist and dissident former chief economist at the World Bank, describes as having "brought disaster to Russia and Argentina and leaves a trail of devastated developing economies in its wake".[2]

On top of this comes the disclosure of the American occupation's massive giveaway of the sovereign nation's most valuable commodity, oil. One should read the new report, "Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq's Oil Wealth" by the British NO, Platform. Among its findings:

This report reveals how an oil policy with origins in the US State Department is on course to be adopted in Iraq, soon after the December elections, with no public debate and at enormous potential cost. The policy allocates the majority of Iraq’s oilfields -- accounting for at least 64% of the country’s oil reserves -- for development by multinational oil companies.

The estimated cost to Iraq over the life of the new oil contracts is $74 to $194 billion, compared with leaving oil development in public hands.

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New York Times
12 Jan 2006
Iraq's most powerful Shiite politician has just dealt a huge blow to American-backed efforts to avoid civil war through the creation of a new, nationally inclusive constitutional order.

That leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, has turned his back on the crucial pledge, made before last October's constitutional referendum, that the new charter would be open to substantial amendment by the newly elected Parliament. I

nstead, Mr. Hakim, who runs the dominant, Iranian-supported fundamentalist party, now says no broad changes should be made. In particular, he defends the current provisions allowing substantial autonomy for the oil-rich Shiite southeast.

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Comment: Failure after failure for George W. Bush... and still he declares that he is "Commander in Chief," the "War President," and the saviour of the American People. With saviours like him, who needs Satan?

By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor
UK Independent
13 January 2006
The confrontation between Iran and the West deepened yesterday as both sides hardened their positions over the Islamic republic's nuclear programme.

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UK Independent
Anne Penketh
13 January 2006
Q. Why should Iran want to produce a nuclear weapon?

Iran is an ancient and proud nation and reacts badly to being treated as a pariah state. It can see how Pakistan's prestige was enhanced in the Islamic world when a Pakistani scientist developed the first Islamic bomb.
Iran could do the same for Shia Islam. From a geopolitical perspective, Iran looks around the Middle East and Asia and sees regions bristling with nuclear weapons. To the east lie Pakistan and India, both nuclear armed. To the west is Iraq, which gassed Iranian citizens and where Saddam Hussein tried to develop nuclear weapons. Further west lies Israel - Iran's implacable foe - which is estimated to have 200 nuclear bombs. None of these nations has come under serious pressure to dismantle its nuclear arsenals, and indeed they have gained in international prominence thanks to the bomb.

In the Far East, North Korea is believed to have nuclear weapons, but rather than being threatened with military action it has received security assurances from the Americans.

Although Iran has been blamed by the US and Europe for escalating the current crisis, Iranians could feel that the sabre-rattling and warnings that "all options are on the table" are forcing them to defend themselves from possible attack.

However, when asked about Iran's nuclear plans, Iranian officials always insist their intentions are peaceful and they know that their country would face devastating military action if that were not the case. Experts believe the Iranians probably want to keep their options open by continuing nuclear research that may eventually be switched to weapons production.

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Timothy Garton Ash
Thursday January 12, 2006
The Guardian
The west's next step on Tehran's nuclear plans should be to understand the regime and society, not to start bombing

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Robert Dreyfuss
January 12, 2006
The deteriorating international crisis over Iran is a direct result of the Bush’s administration’s ham-handed and mendacious Iraq policy.

Under normal circumstances—that is, under any previous U.S. administration—the battle over Iran’s pugnacious effort in pursuit of nuclear technology would be amenable to a diplomatic solution. But, by insisting on a national security strategy of pre-emptive war, by illegally and unilaterally invading Iraq on false pretenses, and by hinting that the White House would tolerate an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear plants, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have made a successful diplomatic resolution of the Iran crisis nearly impossible.

Click to Expand Article 2006-01-13 23:09:46
PARIS, Jan. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- France and Germany considered it is "premature" to talk about sanctions against Iran before proceeding with discussion with other countries, the two countries' Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

"The question of sanctions is premature," said Jean-Baptiste Mattei, spokesman for the France's Foreign Ministry, while his Germany counterpart Martin Jaeger told reporters in Paris, "We believe that is premature at the moment."

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By Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough
The Washington Times
January 13, 2006
The Chinese government has tapped its homegrown company to build its new embassy at the International Center on Van Ness Street Northwest, off Connecticut Avenue. It is importing scores of Chinese workers who will stay at the refurbished Days Inn. The worker said the motel signed a 2½-year lease. "Then we will come back and go back to normal," the worker said.

Chu Maoming, Chinese Embassy spokesman, tells us construction began in April and will be completed in 2008.

It was all part of a deal with the U.S. State Department, which won access to land in Beijing to build a new embassy, which also will be finished in 2008.

China apparently is employing its own to reduce chances that the U.S. intelligence community would be able to bug the embassy. Press reports said a Boeing jet sold to China for use by senior leaders contained several listening devices.

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By Megan Goldin
13 Jan 2006
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Doctors gave Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a battery of neurological tests on Friday to judge whether he was coming out of a coma but Israeli media reports said concern was rising at his failure to regain consciousness.

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20:54:42 EST Jan 12, 2006
JERUSALEM (AP) - Ariel Sharon's doctors faced new criticism Thursday for failing to divulge a brain disease discovered after the prime minister's initial stroke and for prescribing blood thinners that may have contributed to a massive second stroke.

The criticism added to a growing chorus of questions about Sharon's treatment. Some experts, however, said there was no clear-cut answer.

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Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
UK Independent
13 January 2006
Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud party, has won a trial of strength with the party's four ministers when they agreed to resign from the government.

A split had emerged within the party when Mr Netanyahu ordered the ministers to resign from the government led by acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

The ministers - Silvan Shalom (Foreign), Limor Livnat (Education), Dan Naveh (Health) and Yisrael Katz (Agriculture) - had argued that the party would benefit in the forthcoming elections if they stayed in their government positions.

However, Mr Netanyahu took the view that the ministers should walk out to underline the differences between Likud and Kadima, the centre party Mr Olmert should inherit as leader from Ariel Sharon, as electoral campaigning resumes for the 28 March election.

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By Juan Cole
12 Jan 2006
Ariel Sharon is lauded for breaking with his hard-line past. But the truth is that he simply embraced a smarter way of locking up the Palestinians.

Even as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stirs fitfully from his coma, in the aftermath of a massive stroke and several operations, Gazan militants with a bad aim have fired several Qassam rockets into Israel. Israel is now, and is likely to remain for some time, a dark postmodern terrain of wealthy fortress communities besieged by hopeless unemployed militants from isolated ghettos. This archipelago of anxiety, reminiscent of the noir science fiction film "Blade Runner," is in some significant respects the creation and legacy of Sharon.

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By Meron Benvenisti
12 Jan 2006
The intense emotions of shock, orphanhood and fear elicited by Ariel Sharon's exit from the political arena evoked expressions bordering on kitsch, even from observers otherwise known for their sober approach.

"Parting from him is like parting from a father: expected, but always frightening and sad," Yaron London wrote, while Amnon Dankner described Sharon as "the portrait of a generation: "a figure embodying the split heart of everyone of us... from yearning to live peacefully to the necessity to resort to arms."

The similarity between Sharon and Yitzhak Rabin - and between those two and Moses on Mount Nevo - was inevitable: "From Moses to Sharon they all saw the land from afar, but none succeeded in bringing the train to a safe haven," one journalist concluded.

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Comment: In short, indeed, cruel fate has robbed Sharon of attaining his deepest aspiration, to eliminate, after 60 years of struggle, the Palestinian population... Just reading the above, as though such a plan was acceptable to normal human beings, is sickening.

14:42:32 EST Jan 12, 2006
JERUSALEM (AP) - A Palestinian militant blew himself up Thursday and Israeli troops shot two other militants to death in a shootout during an arrest raid in the West Bank town of Jenin, the bloodiest violence between the two sides in nearly a month.

The fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants came as Palestinian candidates campaigned for Jan. 25 parliamentary elections and raised fears it could spark further violence that could hamper further campaigning.

"If this continues, it could seriously undermine the election," said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. "We urge the United States and others in the international community to ensure that Israel stops such actions and gives us a chance to have free and fair elections."

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By Justin Huggler
UK Independent
13 January 2006
At least 349 people were crushed to death and hundreds more were injured yesterday during the final day of the Haj pilgrimage at Mecca in the worst tragedy to hit the annual Muslim rite in Saudi Arabia for 16 years.

The pilgrims were crushed at the eastern end of the Jamarat Bridge as they tried to perform the ritual stoning of Satan.

Click to Expand Article 2006-01-13 23:04:45
SOFIA, Jan. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin on Friday maintained his denial that the CIA had operated secret prisons in the Eastern European country.

Kalfin said in the National Assembly, the Bulgarian Parliament,that there was no information about the secret use of Bulgarian prisons by the U.S. agency or the transfer of prisoners in the war on terror within its territory.

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By Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Jan 12, 2006
Washington - Ballistic missile threats and high-tech, U.S-backed programs to defend against them have polarized the nations of the Pacific Rim to a degree unseen since the height of the Cold War.

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Jan 12, 2006
Tokyo -- Japan plans to deploy imported unmanned spy planes in the fiscal year from April 2007, its defense chief was quoted as saying Thursday, amid growing concern over China and North Korea.

The planes could gather intelligence on missiles as soon as they are launched and monitor hostile vessels and planes, Kyodo News quoted Defense Agency Director-General Fukushiro Nukaga as saying on a visit to London.

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Friday January 13, 9:54 PM
Mongolia's political crisis entered a crucial stage as lawmakers prepared to vote on a resolution that would ensure the collapse of the coalition government.

Parliament debated well into the night whether to ratify Wednesday's mass resignation from the cabinet of Prime Minister Tsakhia Elbegdorj, a move that would lead to his ouster after less than two years in power.

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Jonathan Franklin in Santiago
Friday January 13, 2006
The Guardian
Bachelet set to become South America's first elected woman president

"I am a woman, a socialist, separated and agnostic - all the sins together," said Chilean presidential candidate Michelle Bachelet with a laugh.

Then, asked about her favourite food, she beamed with her trademark smile: "Ahhh! That is my problem, I like everything, seafood, pastas, beans ..."

Whether joking about being a political outsider or being overweight, this 54-year-old mother of three has become the darling of Chilean politics. Her perceived humour and honesty have catapulted her to the top of the ratings and she is a clear favourite to win Sunday's presidential elections.

A poll released yesterday shows Ms Bachelet with a 53% share of the vote - a five-point lead over her opponent, billionaire businessman Sebastián Piñera.

If elected Ms Bachelet, a paediatrician who was tortured and lost her father under the Pinochet regime, will become the first woman elected president of a South American nation.

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PARIS, Jan 12, 2006 (AFP)
Nicolas Sarkozy, France's ambitious ruling party chief and hot contender to be the country's next leader, proposed radical changes to the French system of government Thursday to make the president more accountable to the nation.

In an implicit criticism of the incumbent Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy said future presidents should no longer limit themselves to setting the broad outlines of policy, but should take part in the day-to-day governing of the country.

The role of the president-appointed prime minister should be reduced to that of governmental coordinator, the number of ministers kept by law to 15, and the president should be obliged to appear before the National Assembly to explain his programme, Sarkozy recommended.

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Comment: Far from curbing presidential power, it sounds like Sarko wants a more hands-on presidency, with Sarko, himself, as the hands-on president. The Interior Minister is a well-known and very open Atlanticist. He wants France to use the US model.

Notice how he couches regressive measures in the terminology of the pathocrat: the first step in cutting public funding for universities is to demand that universities have the "freedom" to seek private funding. Some freedom. Private funding means research is beholden to the private interests that fund it.

The neo-liberal economic agenda is not new. We have over twenty-five years of seeing how it destroys the gains fought for over decades by the have-nots of capitalist society in order to shift tax income into the pockets of those who are on top. We can look at Thatcher's Britain, at Canada under both Liberal and Conservative governments, Argentina, and more. These are not new tricks.

Hopefully the French people will show the same intelligence on this question as they showed last May in rejecting the European neo-liberal free-trade agreement, er, constitution

Friday, 13 January 2006
BBC News
George Galloway has been branded a "laughing stock" by a Labour opponent after the Respect MP imitated a cat on Celebrity Big Brother.

Mr Galloway, 51, went on all fours and pretended to sip cream from actress Rula Lenska's hands, as part of a task set on the Channel 4 show.

Labour London Assembly member John Biggs accused the Bethnal Green and Bow MP of neglecting his constituents.

But Mr Galloway says taking part in the programme is good for politics.

'Dr Doolittle?'

He missed a Commons vote on London's Crossrail project, which would run through his constituency, on Thursday.

Mr Biggs, City and East member on the assembly, said: "His antics on TV, just hours after missing a crucial parliamentary vote affecting his constituency, demonstrates that he is becoming one of the biggest laughing stocks on London politics since the Second World War."

During a Big Brother task to see whether "humans can communicate with animals", Mr Galloway asked Ms Lenska: "Now, would you like me to be the cat?"

He crawled on all fours and then pretended to lap from her hands as if drinking cream, after which she rubbed the "cream" from his "whiskers" and stroked his head and behind his ears.

Psychic goldfish

Earlier, Mr Galloway acted the role of "lab assistant" while Ms Lenska "read the mind" of a goldfish called Barry.

Labour Chief Whip Hilary Armstrong has launched a petition against Mr Galloway.

It urges him to "represent and respect his constituents, not further his own ego, as he is by remaining totally out of touch in the Big Brother house".

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Comment: It seems that George had a plan. With UK big brother regularly getting 25% of the British viewing public, it presents a golden opportunity for him to reveal the truth about the Blair government and the Iraq war. But it seems George was a little naive about to whom the media utlimately answers. While we too would have expected more of Channel 4, a production company with a reputation for exposes, it seems that outting the British government as having engaged in war crimes is a bridge too far.

Oleg Gazmanov
New Dawn, a song by Oleg Gazmanov, is being hummed and whistled across Russia. The video is available at the link above (in the title). Thing is, the song has been banned. Guess it strikes to close to the bone.

Wonder when we'll have a song like that for the US?

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Thursday, January 12, 2006
Mike Vogel/KTVB
BOISEE -- It happened early Thursday morning around 7:15 a.m.

Jacqueline Correnti describes what she the bright meteor she saw in the morning sky.

A very bright meteor lit up the skies and streaked across the horizon.

NewsChannel 7 spoke with several of the people who witnessed it.

We had numerous calls here at the station from people who saw it.

Police dispatch also took several calls, and even one person in the Boise Airport tower saw it.

And though the eyewitness accounts vary slightly, they are all consistent with it being a meteor.

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Comment: A post from our Forum:

I’m currently living in a town in Essex, UK

Last night on 11th January 2006 at roughly 19:10hours I witnessed a descending meteoric phenomena which, if I were to hazard a guess, was a small meteor breaking up to the NE of my position.

I’d guess [it was]no more than 3-6miles from my position as the view I had was clear enough to see a glittering trail of sparks and colour descending with it, although there was no impact sound, I didn't really expect any. It was in my view for around 1.5-3 seconds, so I hadn't seen it descend from a great distance and my view was obscured quickly by other houses.

To date in the last - maybe - year or more of watching the skies, this is the sixth or so time I've seen this same type of meteoric phenomena. I think we've been lucky so far as I have yet to have heard any impact. To be quite honest the first 2-3 times I have witnessed this, it really sent a chill down my spine as one of these phenomena occurred in a horizontal position across a small valley on which I live on the high side, and I knew that whatever it was could have been no more than 200-300feet above my head as it was travelling between the land and the thick cloud cover overhead.

I have had my attention drawn to the skies so many times now and seen so many unexplainable occurrences and strange celestial events, I thought I'd start sharing them as and when they occur in future. Ourselves in the future have helped me so much already in understanding what's going on, I felt its time to try and help share the high strangeness I see going on in the world around my locality.

Keep the hard hats handy.

Another reader writes:

After reading several sightings of meteror's on the signs page I thought I would mention what my husband saw last week.

He's been working in Cut Bank, MT and around 7:30, I believe it was Wednesday, he saw what he at first thought was a missile shooting across and down from the sky. If it was a "shooting star", he said he has never seen anything like it in his life. Gave him quite a jolt. He's spent a good deal of his life outdoors camping, hunting, hiking and racing, not to mention being an ex-army ranger.

Thank you for all you efforts.

Friday January 13, 2006
Associated Press Writer
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Augustine Volcano erupted Friday for the third time in a week, sending an ash plume toward communities on the southwest Kenai Peninsula.

Tom Murray, scientist in charge at the Alaska Volcano Observatory, said the mountain on an isolated and uninhabited island about 180 miles south of Anchorage erupted for 45 minutes, starting shortly before 4 a.m.

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2006-01-12 16:47:02
BEIJING, Jan. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale jolted the Mojiang Hani Autonomous County in southwest China's Yunnan Province at 9:05 a.m. Thursday (Beijing Time), according to the seismological network of China.

The epicenter was located at 23.4 north latitude and 101.6 east longitude, which is about 210 kilometers away from the provincial capital of Kunming.

No casualty has been reported as of Thursday afternoon.

1010 WINS
Jan 12, 2006 11:41 am US/Eastern
(ALBANY, NY) -- Break out the shorts.

The unseasonably warm weather will continue through tomorrow, with temperatures to again hit the 50s today and Friday across much of upstate New York.

Yesterday, the thermometer nearly hit 60 in Buffalo and Rochester, with 40- and 50-degree temperatures over the rest of the region.

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By Paul Willis in Northern Kenya
UK Independent13 January 2006
Nomadic farmers in the arid wastelands of northern Kenya are dying with their cattle, as charities warn a famine on the scale of Niger is threatening the region.

So far, scores of people, mainly children, have died and the UN has warned that 2.5 million people are at risk of starvation because seasonal rains failed for the second time in a year. The Kenyan government has declared a national disaster and called for 11 billion Kenyan shillings, about £90m, to be jointly raised by Kenya and the international community.

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Jamie Wilson in Washington
Thursday January 12, 2006
The Guardian
Residents of the most devastated areas of New Orleans reacted angrily yesterday to a blueprint for rebuilding the city that gives them four months to prove they can bring their neighbourhoods back to life or face the prospect of their homes being turned into parks or marshland.

The first comprehensive plan for how the city should be put back together following Hurricane Katrina, unveiled by New Orleans' mayor Ray Nagin yesterday, also includes lofty plans to build a light railway system and recreate a jazz district in what was once the red-light area of the city. The multibillion dollar proposals prioritise improving hurricane defences and the elimination of a 76-mile shipping canal blamed for much of the flooding.

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By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
UK Independent
13 January 2006
The first sign that the avian flu virus H5N1 may be mutating into a form more infectious to humans has been reported by scientists. Researchers from the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in Mill Hill, north London, have analysed viruses from two children who died of bird flu in eastern Turkey.

In one case, the analysis revealed mutations in the virus that made it more prone to infect humans. In a joint statement, Sir John Skehel, director of the institute, run by the Medical research Council, and the World Health Organisation, said a mutation had been traced in viruses isolated in Hong Kong in 2003 and in Vietnam last year.

"Research has indicated the Hong Kong 2003 viruses preferred to bind to human cell receptors more than to avian receptors, and it is expected that the Turkish virus will also have this characteristic."

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Jan 13, 2006
PARIS - France is to boost its preparedness for a possible bird flu outbreak by conducting major exercises and extending a ban on outdoor poultry rearing, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said Friday.

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By Rachel Williams, New York
Irish Examiner
AN ancient map set to be unveiled next week may prove that it was a Chinese eunuch who discovered America and not Christopher Columbus.

As all schoolchildren are taught, Columbus found the New World in 1492. But the copy of a map dated 1418 to be made public in Beijing on Monday and London a day later could show that it was in fact Admiral Zheng He who got there first, more than 70 years earlier.

If proved to be genuine, the clear depiction of the Americas, Africa and Europe will bolster his case significantly, according to the Economist. Gunnar Thompson, specialist on old maps and early explorers, said: “It will revolutionise our thinking about 15th century world history.”

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Comment: What would really revolutionise our thinking about 15th century world history is if everyone realised that neither Columbus nor He "discovered" America, since humankind had long been inhabiting the land before either of them showed up.

Associated Press
13 Jan 2006
Genetic study indicates some 3.5 million of today's Ashkenazi Jews - about 40 percent of the total Ashkenazi population - are descended from just four women

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By Guy Gugliotta
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 12, 2006
In the quest to decipher the evolution of the cosmos, no topic generates greater interest among scientists than "dark energy," the mysterious force that appears to be causing the universe to expand at an ever-accelerating rate.

Yesterday, Louisiana State University astronomer Bradley E. Schaefer tossed a grenade into this debate, presenting new research to suggest that the force dark energy exerts may have varied over time. That casts new doubt on the validity of Albert Einstein's "cosmological constant" only a few years after astronomers rescued the concept from scientific oblivion.

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Comment: We note these phrases in the article above:
[...] I'm not pushing this as a proof [...] The trouble is there are no ways to check the techniques.[...] Einstein may have been right after all.[...] we still really don't have a clue [...]there's no data
What this means is that the physicists and the astronomers do not have data and do not have a clue. Einstein may have been right after all, but he also may have been wrong. Nevertheless, the Washington Post must publish, once in while, a piece on science that sounds sensational. So, here it is. Voila!
One should never believe journalists when they write about science, one should never take them seriously. One should always listen to what the scientists themselves say in front of their collegues, and how they respond to their criticism. An example of a healthy attitude: right after reading the above article, do a Google search for "there is no dark matter". At the top comes an article from MIT on "Search for Wimp Dark Matter" which starts with:
"Why is it important to actually search for and to identify the dark matter? Of course it is intrinsically interesting to know what the primary constituent of the Universe consists of, but also until we know the dark matter identity, there will always be the doubt that there is no dark matter, and instead there is some flaw in our knowledge of fundamental physics."
And now we are learning something...

NY Times
January 10, 2006
On a hot summer day 15 years ago in Parma, Italy, a monkey sat in a special laboratory chair waiting for researchers to return from lunch. Thin wires had been implanted in the region of its brain involved in planning and carrying out movements.

Every time the monkey grasped and moved an object, some cells in that brain region would fire, and a monitor would register a sound: brrrrrip, brrrrrip, brrrrrip.

A graduate student entered the lab with an ice cream cone in his hand. The monkey stared at him. Then, something amazing happened: when the student raised the cone to his lips, the monitor sounded - brrrrrip, brrrrrip, brrrrrip - even though the monkey had not moved but had simply observed the student grasping the cone and moving it to his mouth.

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Comment: Would that this were so! The fact is, this is part of how psychopaths can gain control of good and decent people: they mimic their behavior, and the good person sees certain actions and believes that those actions relate to emotions that the normal person has. But they don't. They are a Mask.

Article in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) on 9 January, 2006
Markus Wilhelmson
Translation by a Signs Reader
The British film director Jon Jacobs bought a holiday resort in space for 100,000 US dollars. But the resort exists only in a computer game. The border between the different worlds is being erased as the games become increasingly more human.

On Monday, December 19th, the opening ceremony was held at Jon Jacobs new resort. If you happen to pass by, you'll find it on an asteroid in Paradise V.

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Comment: Why this urge for the virtual? This great desire to flee from the world? We see it in New Age philosophies, in evangelical Christianity, and now in our rising techno religion.

Another explanation for the kicks people get on these games is that they have no developed inner life. Think organic portals, or the many people with soul potential who have been socialised into a pathocratic society.

Playing these games may give them something that resembles an inner life, a simulacrum of an inner life. But what kind of life is it? The predator. Becoming a success. Money. Cybersex. The reinforcement of the basic drives that connect us with the animal world, not the higher world of spirit. Just another trap for those who think they can flee the inequities and injustices of the real world in order to BE someone in a game world.

The process of BEing, of changing one's BEing in this world is difficult. It can't happen through predatorial game-playing. It can only come through the hard work on self. Some people prefer being an avatar to just BEing.

By Sara Nelson
A DOG walker was given paws for thought when he came across a wild cat.

John Costin has a tail to tell following the encounter near Churchfield Woods, Bexley Village.

The 64-year-old had just let his dog Mickey off the lead when he saw the curious creature crouching in tall grass.

The father-of-three said: "When it saw me, it stood up and kept very still.

"The first thing I thought was this is not an ordinary cat' then it crossed my mind cats like this had been spotted in the area before I thought it must be a wild cat.

"It was standing in the grass so it was hard to tell, but I would say it was about a foot high and around a foot and a half from nose to back legs, like the length of a small whippet. I didn't notice its tail."

The retired civil service technician added: "I was struck by how sleek its fur was.

"It looked like a sort of tortoiseshell pattern. To me it looked like a small lynx or a bobcat and it had pointy ears.

"There was just something different about it at first it crossed my mind it might just be a huge domestic cat, but looking at it I felt it had to be wild. The shape of it and the size of it were very striking."

Over recent years, a panther-type cat the so-called Beast of Bexley has been spotted across the borough. [...]

Whitehaven News
CUMBRIA could be home to big cats including pumas, panthers and lynx according to police records.

Police have been called out to a string of claimed wild cat sightings in recent years – including reports of mystery monster moggies close to Carlisle and Keswick, and even one claimed sighting of a lion.

Records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show there have been nine reported sightings of big cats in Cumbria in the last six years.

These include claims of a large straw-coloured beast, twice the size of a normal cat, lurking at Wetheral Cemetery and a huge lynx-like animal on the prowl at Applethwaite, near Keswick.

Nobody has ever been harmed by a big cat in the county and police, who have been unable to track down any wildcats, say there is no need for public concern.

But force wildlife workers admit there could be a Cumbrian beast on the loose – and say there is no reason to doubt eyewitnesses.

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January 13, 2006



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