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August 26, 2003

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Arafat asserts authority over Palestinian security, defies calls to give it up

06:17 AM EDT Aug 26

JERUSALEM (AP) - Yasser Arafat reasserted his authority over Palestinian security forces Monday, appointing a new national security adviser to work on a sketchy reform plan and providing no sign of a major clampdown on militants demanded by the United States.

Drafting Brig. Gen. Jibril Rajoub, a former West Bank security chief, to the new post was Arafat's latest move in a power struggle with Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, a backer of the U.S.-sponsored "road map" peace plan thrown into turmoil by a Hamas suicide bombing and Israel's fierce response.

[...] Dahlan has insisted Palestinian security forces were poised to make arrests of their own, but said they cannot move when Palestinian public opinion is inflamed by the Israeli missile strikes.

Israeli officials insist they have not abandoned the road map. But they dismiss limited Palestinian moves - sealing six tunnels leading from the Gaza Strip to Egypt and arresting suspected arms smugglers over the weekend - as meaningless.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon declared on Sunday that every member of Hamas is now "a potential target for liquidation," underlining the tough new Israeli policy adopted after the bus bombing.

[...] Under intense U.S. pressure to carry out commitments under the road map peace plan, Israel has dismantled several West Bank outposts but has failed to freeze construction at established settlements and to remove dozens of other illegal outposts as the plan demands.

Palestinians seized from hospital

Undercover Israeli troops have detained two Palestinian militants being treated in hospital in the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian sources say.

The two had been admitted last Friday for treatment to wounds they received in clashes with Israeli forces.

The authorities accuse one of the men arrested of being responsible for several attacks in which at least 10 people have been killed, Haaretz newspaper says.

Israel has vowed to hunt and kill leaders of Palestinian groups involved in attacks on its citizens.

[...] Hospital officials said one of the men was on a respirator when the plainclothes Israelis burst in before sunrise followed by soldiers with dogs.

"You cannot just arrest a patient in intensive care. His life is in danger now," one hospital official told Reuters.

Israel Worried About Attempts To "Curb Dahlan's Role"

Asaad Talhami
Al-Hayat 2003/08/25

After Israel officially refused a Palestinian suggestion to sign a new truce agreement which it would co-sign, a high-ranking military official announced that the occupation authorities had decided not to move into Gaza for the time being, in order to give the Palestinian Authority "a last chance" to dismantle the armed infrastructure of the Palestinian factions, echoing a similar American demand. The Israeli ambassador to Washington Daniel Ayalon insisted on the "absolute American support" to the steps decided by the Israeli government in retaliation to the "Jerusalem operation."

The spokesman of the Prime Minister's office, Avi Pazner, described the Palestinian suggestion about holding negotiations to reach a new truce in which Israel would be a party, as "not serious," claiming that if the Palestinian groups are not disarmed first, this would hinder a real cease fire.

[...] The Hebrew radio station reported Israeli military sources saying that the military moves which the government decided to take following the Jerusalem operation will be implemented at the right frequency and time. Ha'aretz wrote yesterday that there is a ready military plan called Zamharir that would be implemented when the Jewish state feels that the truce has totally collapsed, and that it should re-control all the West Bank and Gaza, which could require calling in the reserve soldiers.

Israeli Outlaws in America: The Case of Rafi Eitan

August 25, 2003

Is Rafi Eitan in the United States and if so why hasn't the FBI arrested him?

Eitan is the former chief of Mossad operations in Europe and the man who recruited the U.S. Navy counter-intelligence specialist Jonathan Pollard to spy on the United States. As well, Eitan once headed the top-secret science and technology spy unit known as Leshkat Kesher Madao, or Lekem (supposedly dismantled following Pollard's bust).

According to Richard Sale (Pollard Recruiter Resurfaces in U.S., UPI, July 31, 2003) and federal law enforcement officials, "Eitan has, for the last year or so, been traveling to the United States on an Israeli passport, but using an alias." [...]

For his part in the Pollard spy scandal, Rafi Eitan was promoted to a senior position with the largest state-owned business enterprise in Israel -- the Israel Chemicals Company. He received the job based on the recommendation of Ariel Sharon. "It's generally agreed that Eitan was to take the brunt of blame for the [Pollard] mess," a former official close to confidential details of the case told UPI. "In return for his silence, Sharon would make sure he got a good job." In 1987, Eitan boasted to an Israeli newspaper that all of his actions had been undertaken with the knowledge of his Israeli superiors.

But Eitan was not the only Israeli to be rewarded for snooping on America. [...]

According to Carl Cameron of Fox News -- in a series of reports that have subsequently disappeared from the Fox News website -- in 1997 the Israelis organized "cocaine and ecstasy trafficking, and sophisticated white-collar credit card and computer fraud... the bad guys had the cops beepers, cell phones, even home phones under surveillance. Some who did get caught admitted to having hundreds of numbers and using them to avoid arrest." An investigation revealed the Israeli crime network possessed "extensive access to database systems to identify pertinent personal and biographical information" of law enforcement officers.

How did a network of drug dealers get this sensitive information? "When investigators tried to find out where the information might have come from, they looked at Amdocs, a publicly traded firm based in Israel," Cameron reported. "Amdocs generates billing data for virtually every call in America, and they do credit checks."

But it seems Amdocs was not only involved with Israeli drug dealers. "More than two dozen U.S. intelligence, counterintelligence, law-enforcement and other officials have told Insight [magazine] that the FBI believes Israel has intercepted telephone and modem communications on some of the most sensitive lines of the U.S. government on an ongoing basis," write J. Michael Waller and Paul Rodriguez. "The worst penetrations are believed to be in the State Department. But others say the supposedly secure telephone systems in the White House, Defense Department and Justice Department may have been compromised as well. The problem for FBI agents in the famed Division 5, however, isn't just what they have uncovered, which is substantial, but what they don't know yet."

Amdocs "helped Bell Atlantic install new telephone lines in the White House in 1997... [and] a senior-level employee of Amdocs had a separate T1 data phone line installed from his base outside of St. Louis that was connected directly to Israel... investigators are looking into whether the owner of the T1 line had a 'real time' capacity to intercept phone calls from both the White House and other government offices around Washington, and sustained the line for some time, sources said. Sources familiar with the investigation say FBI agents on the case sought an arrest warrant for the St. Louis employee but [Clinton] Justice Department officials quashed it."

Waller and Rodriguez quoted one senior government official as saying: "It is a politically sensitive matter. I can't comment on it beyond telling you that anything involving Israel on this particular matter is off-limits. It's that hot." [...]

Sharon knows who calls the shots in Washington. "I want to tell you something very clear," Sharon reportedly told his foreign Minister Shimon Peres in October, 2001 (according to Israel radio Kol Yisrael), "don't worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it."

Most Americans may not know it, but apparently the FBI does.

A Drug for the Addict: The End of the Hudna

August 25, 2003

It was a putsch. Like any classic putsch, it was carried out by a group of officers: Sharon, Mofaz, Ya'alon and the army top brass.

It is no secret that the military party (the only really functioning party in Israel) objected to the hudna (truce) from the first moment, much as it opposed the Road Map. Its powerful propaganda apparatus, which includes all the Israeli media, spread the message: "The hudna is a disaster! Every day of the hudna is a bad day! The reduction of violence to almost zero is a great misfortune: under cover of the truce, the terrorist organizations are recovering and rearming! Every terrorist strike avoided today will hit us much harder tomorrow!"

The army command was like an addict deprived of his drug. It was forbidden to carry out the action it wanted. It was just about to crush the intifada, victory was just around the corner, all that was needed was just one final decisive blow, and that would have been that.

The military was upset when it saw the new hope that took hold of the Israeli public, the bullish mood of the stock exchange, the rise in value of the shekel, the return of the masses to the entertainment centers, the signs of optimism on both sides. In effect, It was a spontaneous popular vote against the military policy.

Ariel Sharon realized that if this went on, reality would overturn his long-term plans. [...]

Israeli F-15s to fly over Auschwitz in Holocaust memorial

JERUSALEM (AFP) Aug 25, 2003

Three Israeli F-15s jets will next month fly over the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in Poland to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Nazis, the Israeli army said Monday.

The flights on September 4 will be commanded by an air force general and piloted by children or grandchildren of Holocaust survivors whose families perished in Poland and Hungary. [...]

US attacked over UN resolution

By Greg Barrow
BBC United Nations correspondent in New York

International human rights groups have accused the US Government of attempting to block a United Nations resolution that would seek to enhance the protection of humanitarian workers in conflict zones.

US officials are objecting to a section of the resolution which refers to attacks on humanitarian workers as a war crime under the statutes of the newly-established International Criminal Court (ICC).

Washington does not recognise the court...

Human Rights Watch has accused the US of waging an ill-conceived and ideologically-driven crusade against the court and in the process, compromising efforts to protect aid workers.

"After the tragic killing of aid workers in Baghdad, the US opposition to the proposed resolution is disgraceful," said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's international justice programme.

U.S. May Nix Bid for New U.N. Resolution

Associated Press Writer
August 25, 2003, 6:36 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- After a high-profile pitch at the United Nations for more countries to send troops to Iraq, the Bush administration is encountering resistance and may not seek a Security Council resolution after all, U.S. officials said Monday.

"We have not yet made a determination," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told reporters, alluding to the possibility of a new resolution.

Other officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted the strong stand that some U.N. members had taken against the U.S. decision to go to war with Iraq in March without the council's blessing...

Powell had hoped that outrage over the devastating bombing of the U.N. compound in Iraq two days earlier would make the council amenable to a resolution explicitly welcoming a broadening of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq...

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Friday the United Nations could not send a peacekeeping force to Iraq but added that he could not exclude a council decision "to transform the operation into a U.N.-mandated multinational force operating on the ground with other governments coming in."

He stressed that U.N. approval for such a force "would also imply not just burden-sharing but also sharing decision and responsibility with the others."

"If that doesn't happen, I think it's going to be very difficult to get a second resolution that will satisfy everybody," the secretary-general warned.

Powell has made clear that Washington won't cede any of its decision-making powers in Iraq.

France, Russia, India and other countries have ruled out sending soldiers to Iraq unless a multinational force is authorized by the United Nations.

France's deputy U.N. ambassador Michel Duclos said the current impasse would not exist if a genuine international partnership had been established at the outset, under the guidance of the United Nations, to address Iraq's problems.

"Sharing the burden and the responsibilities in a world of equal and sovereign nations means also sharing information and authority," Duclos said.

Comment: The US isn't willing to share the decision-making power. Of course it isn't. That would be like the Mafia don going to the police for help. But notice this curious phrase from Powell: "Powell had hoped that outrage over the devastating bombing of the UN compound in Iraq two days earlier would make the council amenable to a resolution explicitly welcoming a broadening of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq."

The CIA and Mossad are going to have to come up with something even more daring next time.

Rising Toll Shows U.S. Challenges

138 Deaths Since May 1 Reflect Shift in Fighting

By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 26, 2003; Page A01

With the death yesterday of another U.S. soldier in Iraq, the number of U.S. troops who have died there since May 1, when President Bush declared an end to major combat operations, rose to 138 -- the same number as perished during the six weeks of fighting that marked the fall of Baghdad and its immediate aftermath, according to Pentagon records.

The figure of 138 includes not only those killed by enemy fire -- called "hostile" deaths by the Pentagon -- but also those who died as a result of vehicle accidents, drowning, medical problems or other factors unrelated to combat. Yesterday's casualty, for instance, involved an unidentified soldier from the Army's 130th Engineer Brigade who suffered a "non-hostile gunshot wound" -- a phrase that can mean suicide or the accidental discharge of a weapon. [...]

In North Iraq, Saddam's Victims Turn on Each Other

By Joseph Logan
Mon August 25, 2003 09:06 AM ET

TUZ KHURMATU, Iraq (Reuters) - It should be impossible to get lost in a town with so few streets, but in the dusty little hamlet of Tuz Khurmatu hopes of peaceful coexistence between Iraq's minorities have gone badly astray.

Fighting among Kurds and Turkmen -- Turkish speakers who are a vestige of Ottoman rule -- over the sacking of a shrine in Tuz Khurmatu killed at least nine people in the town last week and unrest spread to the key oil city of Kirkuk.

The violence shows there is no common bond in having suffered under Saddam Hussein. Kurds and Turkmen recall years of persecution under Saddam, who was set on Arabising the region, site of Iraq's richest oil reserves. But in Tuz Khurmatu the two groups have the knives out for one another. [...]

"War Makes Privatization Easy"

In Iraq, Labor Protest is a Crime

August 25, 2003

Iraq's legal code may be in disarray. The streets of Baghdad may be filled with thieves and hijackers who seem to have little fear of being arrested. But US occupation authorities seem to have no trouble identifying one crime, at least. For the four million people out of work in Iraq, protest is against the law.

On July 29, US occupation forces in Iraq arrested a leader of Iraq's new emerging labor movement, Kacem Madi, along with 20 other members of the Union of the Unemployed. The unionists had been conducting a sit-in to protest the treatment of unemployed Iraqi workers by the US occupation authority, and the fact that contracts for work rebuilding the country have been given overwhelmingly to US corporations. [...]

Who Uses Double Standards… The West, Or Us?

Ibtissam Al Bassam
Al-Hayat 2003/08/25

Yes, we have no doubt that the West has more than one balance in its large shop: one is for the closest, one for the closer, one for the far, one for the farthest, one for when we want to show the world our morals, our values, our democracy and our justice, and one when we are pushed to bypass these morals to come up with rules wearing the mask of rights and justice. However, there is no logic or justice or rights or equality in them.

[...] Are we more qualified to give the West lessons in double standards it didn't know?

They say that behind every great man is a woman. Experience has taught us that behind every Arab's success in the West, lies a failure in the East.

Had it not been for intellectual pressure besieging him in his Arab nation, this bird wouldn't be flying and singing its civilized song far away.

Hezbollah Sets New Rules To U.S. Game

Mohamad Kawas
Al-Hayat 2003/08/25

Anyway, Hezbollah's move comes at a time of unbalance between today's reality and the hoped for future. At a time of confusion in the region, resulting from the American daily change of plans, at a time when Washington is swaying between its hopes in Iraq and the presidential elections, at a time when Washington is hesitating about its choices in Palestine, at a when time Arabs, Europeans and all the other countries are unable to face the U.S. hegemony, at a time when the Iranian internal scene is activated, at a time when Syria is talking about a political and economic reform (at least similar to the Malaysian model), and while these times meet and contradict, Hezbollah is registering its political moment and taking a place amidst a game involving several players. The party's maneuver is a risk and a skillful way of using the battle's elements at the right moment. There is no doubt that Hezbollah has a long experience in dealing with developments and changes, without neglecting the constants.

Report: U.S suspects Iraqi WMD in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley

Monday, August 25, 2003

U.S. intelligence suspects Iraq's weapons of mass destruction have finally been located.

Unfortunately, getting to them will be nearly impossible for the United States and its allies, because the containers with the strategic materials are not in Iraq.

Instead they are located in Lebanon's heavily-fortified Bekaa Valley, swarming with Iranian and Syrian forces, and Hizbullah and ex-Iraqi agents, will report in tomorrow's new weekly edition.

U.S. intelligence first identified a stream of tractor-trailer trucks moving from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon in January 2003. The significance of this sighting did not register on the CIA at the time.

U.S. intelligence sources believe the area contains extended-range Scud-based missiles and parts for chemical and biological warheads.

Mutually-lucrative Iraqi-Syrian arms transactions are nothing new. Firas Tlas, son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas, has been the key to Syria's rogue alliance with Iraq. He and Assad made hundreds of millions of dollars selling weapons, oil and drugs to and from Iraq, according to the May 13, 2003 edition of

The CIA now believes a multi-million dollar deal between Iraq and Syria provided for the hiding and safekeeping of Saddam's strategic weapons.

Not surprisingly, U.S. inquiries in Beirut and Syria are being met with little substantive response, U.S. officials said.

Comment: Here we go again. How convenient that the weapons are located in such a way that an invasion would be required to confirm their presence. In any case, if we just give it a couple of months, someone will no doubt discover that the trucks were actually carrying something completely mundane, such as TV dinners or spare blender parts.

"The significance of this sighting did not register on the CIA at the time." -- Liars! This is an excuse, a setup, to invade Iran and/or Syria. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind...

Up To 50 'Taliban' Killed In Heavy Afghan Fighting


(AFP) -- Afghan troops backed by US-led forces killed up to 50 suspected Taliban in ground and air raids in violence-wracked southeastern Afghanistan, a local official told AFP.

"In this operation 40 to 50 Taliban were killed and their bodies are still laying on the ground," a spokesman for the Zabul provincial government Ahmadullah Watan Dost told AFP by satellite telephone on Monday...

The US military in Afghanistan were not immediately available for comment. It was impossible to independently verify details in the remote area.

"What's good for Business is good for America."

by Mick Youther, Instructor in the Department of Phsyiology at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL.
Posted Monday, August 25, 2003

You have probably heard, "What's good for Business is good for America." Sometimes this statement is attributed to Calvin Coolidge, but it is more often referred to as an "old saying," an adage or a maxim -- something to be believed without question. Whatever it is called, it is not true. It may have been true at one time, but not any more.

• "This is how the world's economy now works. Productive workers in the U.S. are discarded as companies search for cheap and compliant overseas labor."
--Randolph T. Holhut, The American Reporter, 7/25/03

• "The top 100 financial institutions in the world expect to save $180 billion a year by moving jobs to lower-wage countries. The loss for Western countries: 2 million jobs."
--Jon Talton, Republic, 7/10/03

• "America goes to war against terrorism. America’s fighting men and women are put in harm’s way. American soldiers lose their lives. And American corporations go to Bermuda."
--Rep. George Miller (D-CA)

• "No longer is it just Disney toys and Nike shoes made in Haiti and Indonesia. It's software engineering, accounting, and product development being ‘outsourced’ to India, the Philippines, Russia, and China."
--Stacy A. Teicher, The Christian Science Monitor, 7/29/03

• "Business Week reported that in 1940, companies and individuals split the federal income tax bill equally. Corporations now pay only 13.7% of the federal income tax bill and individuals pay 86.3%."
--Charlie Cray and Lee Drutman, Citizen Works, 4/15/03

• "It is estimated that currently less than half of corporate profits are taxed in this country. There are various tax and accounting gimmicks that have permitted very profitable companies to not only have no tax liabilities but even receive multimillion-dollar refunds from the American taxpayers."
--Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN), 1/ 21/03

• "Big business is not dangerous because it is big, but because its bigness is an unwholesome inflation created by privileges and exemptions which it ought not to enjoy."
--Woodrow Wilson, 1912

• "Corporations have for years taken advantage of the laws allowing for establishing offshore tax shelters, relying on their friends in Washington to keep things just the way they are."
--Union-News, 2002

• "Under Vice President Dick Cheney's tenure as CEO, the number of offshore tax havens at Halliburton grew from 9 to 44. During that same period, its taxes shrank from $302 million to a $85 million tax refund (1999)."
--Charlie Cray and Lee Drutman, Citizen Works, 4/15/03

• "Let's take Tyco, formerly of New Hampshire, now of Bermuda, for example. Tyco avoids paying $400 million a year in U.S. taxes by setting up a shell headquarters offshore but was awarded $182 million in lucrative defense and homeland-security-related contracts in 2001 alone."
--Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA)

• "Corporations should be compelled to pay a fair share of taxes. If corporations shift profits offshore to avoid paying taxes, they should not be permitted to operate in the United States."
--Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)

• "I think we ought to look at people who are trying to avoid U.S. taxes as a problem. I think American companies ought to pay taxes here and be good citizens."
--President George W. Bush, winner of this week’s hypocrisy award

• "…Corporate America bought and paid for Bush’s election. They paid Bush so much money he didn’t need public funds. A third-generation multi-millionaire himself, Bush believes what’s good for business is good for America."
--The New Observer, January 2002

The Air Is Thick With Lies

Jimmy Breslin
August 24, 2003

I was a few hundred yards up on Liberty Street when the Two Tower of the World Trade Center blew. I put my nose inside my shirt and ran through smoke that turned day into night. In the smoke were computers, asbestos, pulverized glass, human bodies, lead. I got on another street and One Tower blew up. Again, the air was black with a pulverized 110-story building.

I did not feel well for two months. I never said anything because I was too embarrassed. A couple of thousand had died. So many others were scorched and broken and maimed. I had no right to open my mouth, I thought. Besides, from the first day, the government's Environmental Protection Agency had announced that air was remarkably clean. Work on. Breathe on. You're fine.

They lied. They lied because the administration did not want people not going to work. They lied the first week and they lied the week after that and they have lied every day of the past two years to the people of this city.

Christine Whitman was the EPA head until recently. I wasn't disturbed that her education was a jump horse school, but I thought she was better than standing up and doing what she was told by George Bush's White House, telling lies to a public who had to breathe this air. Turns out she isn't much of a human being.

The EPA has just admitted that they lied for all this time.

Now what are we supposed to do? By now I feel better physically because I have adjusted to feeling lousy. I'm not going near a doctor. Once I read what was in that air, and in it for all those days I spent around there, I didn't want to know anything more. Don't scare me. My friend Dan Collins, whose office is on Broadway, only yards up from the site, said he has not taken a good breath for two years. "They tell me it's good and I know it's bad," he said.

This lying with the lives of the people of the nation is not solely the habit of Bush and his crew, although it is more widespread and being done in so many cases by so many of their people that it looks like a generation of liars.

This war with Iraq started with the full government standing right up and looking you in the eye and openly lying about why we had to invade Iraq immediately. Bush said the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction. Why, they were starting to make nuclear bombs. He had a statement about this in his State of the Union speech. When it was shown to be a lie, Bush had people like Condoleezza Rice say, Why are you so worried about 26 words in a speech? That the 26 words were about nuclear weapons seemed beyond her. Out in the streets, you can scare people with only three words: "Stick 'em up."

I sit here in New York and I don't believe one single solitary word of what the government says. Can you believe anything Bush says? Only if you're a rank sucker. Then you put that Rumsfeld on and he grimaces and tells you the first thing he thinks of, and here is Powell, who I thought would be our first black national candidate and he's as bad as the rest of them.

What I would like to do is sit here and type in anger only about Bush and his vile people. The trouble is in my memory there is a corrupted past of people I favored.

There was the day in 1962 when John F. Kennedy was in Cleveland on some sort of appearance and a courier from Washington brought him photos taken of Russian missile sites in Cuba. Kennedy canceled the stop and flew back to Washington. His press people announced that he had a severe cold. This was reported to the country.

Kennedy was rushing back to begin secret meetings about the chances of whether the country was going to go into a nuclear war with Russia over the missiles.

Talk worked. We're here. But only one person complained about the false report of Kennedy's cold. That was David Wise and he worked on a newspaper I was on. He said that it was a dangerous precedent to lie to the nation for any reason.

At the time, I thought it a minor complaint about an enormous occurrence. I didn't have the wisdom to understand that once government gets away with lying, it becomes virtually impossible to dislodge the habit from any of them. I don't know what other lies Kennedy told, but it couldn't have been his last and he had our lives in his hands.

It was only in August of 1964 when Robert McNamara, the defense secretary who presented himself as being a person of unparalleled brilliance, told Lyndon Johnson that a North Vietnamese PT boat had attacked the American destroyers Turner Joy and the Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin, off Haiphong, east of Hanoi. On a night of confusion, McNamara persuaded Johnson that it was an actual attack. Johnson acted. He put the country into a war right there.

The attack on the destroyers never happened. McNamara lied. And the lie grew, and anybody who took the time to build evidence of this was attacked. "This is a just war," Johnson said.

The war blew up 58,000 of our young.

And now we have this administration welding their lies together on two matters: the air you breathe and the war they insist is good for us. We've just dealt with 40 years of lying and death. It is getting worse. "We're winning in Iraq," your poor president says.

Transportation Security Admin Says at Least 6 More Months Until It Releases Any 9/11 Material

In March 2003 I filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the video from a Transportation Department traffic camera that reportedly filmed the crash of Flight 77 into the Pentagon. I've received the reply below.

Misinformed Electorate Likely To Vote For Bush

Craig Winters
Dar Al-Hayat 2003/08/25

The current administration is well known for its cozy relationship with the very largest corporations, many of which are making huge profits on by participating in the "war on terror" and "homeland security." The large media corporations are no different. For example, in exchange for the front row seats in the Iraqi invasion, the news companies gave explicit and implicit editorial control over to the military command.

Similarly, the powers at the media corporations slant domestic coverage to a rosy view so as not to offend the political powers in Washington. In return the hope to get, among other things, relaxed FCC ownership rules which allow increased concentration in media outlets, and hence more corporate profits. Let's not kid ourselves. Profits is what these corporations are about, not informing the public.

So even though an informed electorate would have a difficult time making a case for the reelection of Bush, the tragic truth is that the electorate is systematically misinformed and will probably reelect the president.

How can intelligent citizens support George W Bush?

By Sartre

08/24/03: Once upon a time, in the land of Oz, people conceived of leaders who respected their fellow citizens and governed with grace and justice. Wicked tyrants were the foe and greedy cpower seekers were enemies of the people. Government served the public and the state was limited in scope and function. A fairy tale, just a dream or reality?

At the core of any political discussion is the purpose of the system that rules. Whatever one’s ideology, the common thread that bonds all constituents is that someone else governs in their name. Abstract purists envision a stateless realm within the confines of their own mind. However, in the real world, command and control is the norm. While government is a man made contrivance, mankind demands order out of a sense of personal isolation and fear of insecurity.

Many view government not as a solution but a necessity. Notwithstanding, this resignation, there are others that actually champion the state as their friend. Those are the people who maintain the system and accept those who are selected for election.

By now any benefit of doubt that ‘so called’ reasonable people yearn to give to President Bush, has evaporated. Junior wants the title of King George II. Compared to his predecessor, Dubya seems like a regular guy. To mainstream Republicans he is a hero. But for thinking conservatives, only a sense of dread and betrayal emerges from another administration that promised to restore a republic and gave us an empire. [...]

Voters Don't Want Bush Re-Elected - Poll

The majority of American voters would not like to see President Bush re-elected to another term according to a poll by Newsweek magazine. The survey released Saturday showed that 49 percent of registered voters would not back the president for a second term if the vote were held now. Forty-four percent would support Mr. Bush's re-election. The poll marked the first time in a Newsweek survey that supporters of Mr. Bush were out-numbered by those who would not like to see him back remain in office. In April, 52 percent of voters backed the president for a second term, while 38 percent did not.

Comment: Perhaps this quote was more of an actual invitation for the future as opposed to a mere compliment:

"You're the kind of guy I'd like to have in a foxhole [bunker] with me."
- George W. Bush to Vladimir Putin at the Crawford Ranch, Nov 2001.

Cheney Stifled Energy Probe, GAO Investigators Say

Published on Monday, August 25, 2003 by Reuters
by Peter Kaplan

WASHINGTON - Congressional investigators said on Monday that Vice President Dick Cheney had stymied their investigation into his energy task force by refusing to turn over key documents.

The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said it was impossible to tell how much energy companies or industry groups may have influenced the task force's 2001 report because the administration withheld important records.

"The extent to which submissions from any of these stakeholders were solicited, influenced policy deliberations or were incorporated into the final report is not something that we can determine based on the limited information at our disposal," the GAO said.

Administration officials did not account for much of the money spent on the task force and could not remember whether anyone took official notes during the 10 Cabinet-level meetings the group held in 2001, the investigators said.

Holiday Drivers to Pay Record Pump Prices

Mon August 25, 2003 04:58 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. motorists will pay record gasoline prices when they hit the roads for the Labor Day holiday weekend after a recent spike at the pumps, industry and government experts said on Monday.

"We're not expecting any drop-off in prices heading into the Labor Day holiday," said Justin McNaull, spokesman for the American Automobile Association in Washington, D.C.

The national price for regular unleaded gasoline averaged $1.747 a gallon Monday -- breaking a record hit just before the Iraq war -- after spiking 12.0 cents in a week, the U.S. government said. [...]

Comment: You have the right to be flat broke. As if rampant unemployment, a ridiculously expensive quest for world domination, and high gasoline prices aren't enough, here's another financial burden for freedom-loving Americans:

Power Grid Upgrade to Cost Customers $100 Billion

By Chris Baltimore
August 25, 2003 03:18 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumers would have to foot a $100 billion bill to upgrade the nation's rickety electric transmission grid but could reap five-fold savings from cheaper power costs, according to an industry report released on Monday.

The Electric Power Research Institute, a utility-funded group based in Palo Alto, California, said sizable investment is needed to prevent a repeat of the massive Aug. 14 blackout which left more than 50 million people without power and exposed the dilapidated state of the nation's power grid. [...]

Mark Cooper, an economist at the Consumer Federation of America, said the upgrades would be a raw deal for ratepayers, saying billions of dollars in hidden costs were needed to finance new grid projects.

"The billion dollar benefits don't materialize tomorrow," Cooper said. "If you match the stream of costs to the stream of benefits, this is a terrible deal for the American consumer." [...]

It really is the pits

By Christopher Paine

08/25/03: (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) In the Energy Department’s crowded spectrum of technically challenged, hazardous, usually superfluous, but always costly nuclear projects—in the region where the blinking infrared of bureaucratic dysfunction meets the luminous green of pork-barrel politics—the partisans of new nukes detect a ray of hope.

This glimmer is called the Modern Pit Facility (MPF), the administration’s euphemism for a brand new $4 billion factory where new plutonium cores (“pits”) will be fabricated for those “weapons of mass destruction” the president is always lecturing other nations about.

The MPF would be able to produce 250–900 pits per year. Just to set the scale, the midpoint of this annual range would equal or exceed China’s entire nuclear arsenal. Energy says the United States must have the agility to: “rapidly change from production of one pit type to another; simultaneously produce multiple pit types;” and “produce pits of a new design in a timely manner.” But such bomb-making abilities don’t just knock the moral-political props out from under efforts to stem bomb programs in North Korea, Iran, India, and Pakistan. They’re a felonious frontal assault on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty itself.

Thirty-three years after that treaty’s entry into force, U.S. conventional and nuclear forces vastly outstrip those of any other nation, and there is simply no way to reconcile a 17-year plan to build a 50-year nuclear bomb factory with the obligation to negotiate “in good faith” on the “cessation of the arms race” and “nuclear disarmament.” Instead, the Bush team wants such nuclear superiority that, in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s words, "would-be peer competitors"will realize "the futility of trying to sprint toward parity with us." [...]

Bombay Blasts Probe Focuses on Militants

Associated Press Writer
August 25, 2003, 8:28 PM EDT

BOMBAY, India -- A pair of car bombs ripped through lunchtime crowds in India's financial capital, Bombay, on Monday, killing 44 people and wreaking havoc at a crowded jewelry market and a popular historic landmark. More than 150 people were wounded.

Police Commissioner Ranjit Sharma blamed India's longtime rival, Pakistan, saying suspicion in the blast fell on Islamic militant groups "let loose by the enemy country."

The group are the focus of the investigation, but victims from the explosions were almost certain to include both Muslims and Hindus...

The timing raised concerns the blasts was linked to a dispute over a religious site in the northern city of Ayodhya claimed by both Hindus and Muslims that has been the source of much bloodshed in the past. The bombings came hours after the release of a long-awaited archaeological report on the site that itself showed divisions over the site's history...

In a cramped shoe store in a corner of the jewelry market, Hindu shopowner Tilak Raj mourned the death of his Muslim employee, Abdul Mullah.

"He had just left the shop and was sitting under a tree when the buildings shook," Raj said. Like many witnesses, he described torn and dismembered limbs strewn by the blast in the narrow road lined with shops. The street was littered with shattered glass and metal and the slippers left by crowds trampling each other to flee.

Pakistan -- which has fought three wars with India and came close to a fourth last year -- quickly condemned the attacks as "an act of terrorism."

India Braces for Bombay Bombings Backlash

By Terry Friel and Maria Abraham
Tue August 26, 2003 01:37 AM ET

BOMBAY (Reuters) - India stepped up security at religious sites on Tuesday after car bombs killed at least 48 people in its financial capital in an attack police suspect was the work of Muslim groups.

Extra police with semi-automatic weapons patrolled temples, mosques and public places nationwide while in Bombay police raided slums and picked up people for questioning.

Police also increased spot identity checks after Monday's bombs, which were planted in two taxis. [...]

India points finger at radical Islamic groups for Bombay car bombs

AFP, Tuesday August 26, 1:58 PM

India pointed the finger of suspicion at radical Islamic groups for the twin car bombings in Bombay as the death toll rose to 50 and security was heightened across the country.

"Monday's blast is a continuation of the bomb blasts the city has seen in the last eight months," said state home minister Kripa Shankar Singh on Tuesday.

"But we believe it could be work of the groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba or some other radical Islamic group," Singh told AFP. [...]

42 dead in Bombay attack

Car bombs have killed at least 42 people in the heart of India's financial capital, with one ripping through a congested bullion market and a second exploding near a popular tourist attraction, police said. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the coordinated attack on Monday, which involved two cars bombs and wounded more than 100 people. Pakistan, accused by India in the past of harbouring Muslim radicals who stage attacks on its territory, was quick to condemn the blasts as "acts of terrorism".

ISI-Sponsored terror in India

Military intelligence fears increase in ISI's terrorism Cross-border terrorism in India backed by the Inter-Services Intelligence may intensify in the wake of the military coup in Pakistan, according to intelligence and military sources in New Delhi.

Comment: And don't forget that the ISI is essentially a CIA run agency, involved in the 911 coverup

Divorce wish woman ordered to fall to the ground

16:07 Friday 22nd August 2003

A council of elders in a village in southern India has ordered a woman to fall at their feet for five hours, as punishment for requesting a divorce.

The Hindustan Times newspaper reports elders in Valaypatti, Tamil Nadu, ordered the 'punishment' to be awarded to Suganthi after she sent a divorce notice to her husband Rajendran for allegedly torturing her.

The junior telecom official and her mother were asked to go before the five-member council after the husband appealed to them saying that he wanted to live with his wife.

The woman was handed the punishment after she chose to ignore the option offered to her by the elders of either withdrawing the divorce notice or paying an equivalent of £693 as fine.

The five members asked the wife and her mother to keep falling at their feet, saying that the penalty would be reduced with each "touchdown".

Suganthi told the newspaper: "We underwent the punishment from 10am to 3pm.

"We could not continue for long and fainted as they had even refused to give us water. Finally, we were released when two of our relatives paid the amount."

Taliban fighters killed in US bombing raid

Associated Press
17:14 Monday 25th August 2003

US jets have bombed a mountain camp in southeastern Afghanistan, killing up to 16 Taliban fighters.

There were varying reports on casualty figures, with local officials claiming 50 deaths, the US military saying 14 rebels were killed, and police chiefs putting the toll at 16. [...]

US and Britain may be guilty of a cover-up


08/25/03: (Daily Nation) Libya's recent acceptance of responsibility for the bombing of an American passenger jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988 was a result of intense diplomatic negotiations with the British and American governments, but far from satisfying the victims' families, it has raised many complex questions.

While some of the relatives of the Lockerbie victims have welcomed the prospect of being compensated, others have rejected the offer, and still others have called for further investigations to reveal the truth. In short, Libya's compensation package has brought a further opening, rather than a closure, to the controversy over the incident. [...]

France jeopardises euro stability pact

By John Lichfield in Paris
26 August 2003

France is about to break another of the cardinal rules of the euro stability pact - allowing its accumulated national debt to exceed the limit of 60 per cent of GNP imposed on euroland members.

Since France and Germany are already breaching the ceiling on annual deficits (3 per cent of GNP), the euro stability pact risks looking like a fiscal dead letter by the end of this year.

Despite France's deficit and rapidly accumulating debt - likely to reach over €1,000bn (£692bn) next year - the centre-right government of prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin is expected to press ahead this week with plans for further cuts in income tax. M. Raffarin may receive a less than ecstatic welcome when he travels to Brussels tomorrow to seek EU financial aid for the damage caused by the drought and forest fires in France this summer. [...]

Kagame claims landslide victory in Rwanda presidential vote

AFP, Tuesday August 26, 11:08 AM

Incumbent President Paul Kagame claimed victory in Rwanda's first election since the 1994 genocide, with partial results showing him heading for a landslide win to consolidate his hold on power in the small central African nation.

Tens of thousands of joyful Rwandans took to the streets of Kigali in the early hours of Tuesday to celebrate the landslide victory in Monday's presidential election. [...]

US North Korea negotiator leaves State Department

WASHINGTON (AFP) Aug 25, 2003

Jack Pritchard, a US envoy in talks with North Korea, has left the government, days before crucial six-nation nuclear crisis talks in Beijing, officials said Monday.

Pritchard, not part of the delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly which arrived in the Chinese capital on Monday, found himself estranged from the center of Bush administration policymaking on the Stalinist state.

In recent months, he had been the main contact between North Korea and the United States through a channel of communication at the United Nations -- the only direct diplomatic link between the two Cold War foes. [...]

He was also Senior Director for Asian Affairs on Clinton's National Security Council.

Sharp differences with the Clinton administration's policy of engaging North Korea emerged as soon as President George W. Bush entered the White House. [...]

36 Children Die Left in Hot Cars in 2003

Monday August 25, 2003 7:29 PM
Associated Press Writer

DALLAS (AP) - It happens with alarming frequency: A parent or day-care worker, often busy or distracted, leaves a helpless child in a vehicle with the windows rolled up, and the youngster dies in the heat.

So far this year, at least 36 children in the United States have died under similar circumstances...

The number of reported heat deaths is higher than ever, Null said, increasing from 25 when he first began recording figures from news reports and child advocacy groups in 1998. There were 31 in 1999, 28 in 2000 and 34 in 2001. He described the figures as conservative estimates, saying many cases probably go unreported...

"The lion's share are loving, caring, devoted parents. We're talking educated people who love and adore their kids,'' Fennell said. "It says a little bit about the society we live in today. We're rushed, we're hurried; one little change can mean the difference between life and death.''

On the Net:

Jan Null's Web Site

Kids And Cars

Comment: We have reported a number of these cases over the summer. It is appalling and sickening. This article describes many of the adults responsible as " loving, caring, devoted parents". They just happen to forget their kids for hours in the back seats of cars on stifling hot days.

Biting Us and the Dust

Humanity's time spent fleeing from predators is almost finished, which in the long run may be as tragic as being eaten.[...]

Comment: On the contrary, humanity has plenty of predators.

Most drugs never tested for safety in children

Children seen facing risks from medicines

By Christopher Rowland
Globe Staff

Pediatricians are forced to engage in risky "trial-and-error" medicine when they give drugs to children because two-thirds of all drugs they routinely prescribe have never been adequately studied on kids, according to a study by Food and Drug Administration researchers to be published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

What's more, when certain drugs developed for adults were methodically tested in children, researchers found previously unknown safety risks, including higher incidences of death, seizures, and suicidal thoughts, according to new data contained in the study. [...]

Alleged devil worshipper convicted in death of college student

Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -An alleged devil worshipper faces life in prison for killing a college student in his apartment and then setting her body on fire. [...]

High percentage of genital mutilation


KHARTOUM, Aug 24:  The Government admitted today that up to 90 per cent of women in the country’s northern provinces suffer from genital mutilation and called for fresh steps to eradicate the practice.

In Mexico, frustration with the legal system leads to raging mobs attacking the accused
By Dane Schiller
Express-News Mexico City Bureau

SAN PABLO OZTOTEPEC, Mexico — On paper, Mexico doesn't have a death penalty — but off the law books and after dark, it can be a different story.

"This is rage," lawyer Ana Laura Magaloni said recently as she poked a finger at newspaper photos of broken bodies from the San Pablo Oztotepec attack.

"People are sick of being robbed and sick of institutions that don't protect them," said Magaloni, who directs a think tank that studies Mexico's judicial system. [...]

the judicial system seems stuck, chained by incompetence and corruption, Magaloni said.

A 2003 study by Magaloni's group found that half of the inmates in Mexican prisons were there for nonviolent robberies, and more than 60 percent of the inmates were caught red-handed by police.

In other words, prisons hold mostly minor offenders arrested in cases with no investigation.

"Prisons are filled with poor people who (stole) a bottle of tequila," she said. [...]

Scandalous body trafficking case hearings postponed

[...] During a previous session, the court had decided not to summon the chief witness, the German scientist Gunther von Hagens, who received the bodies. Von Hagens is heading a private Institute of Plastination in Heidelberg, Germany, and is known in the West as an avant-garde artist using human bodies in his shocking anatomical installations. [...]

Georgia faces financial meltdown

Georgia is facing default because it cannot pay out its debts and interest, the RIA Novosti correspondent quotes Zurab Soselia, Georgian deputy finance minister.

According to him, the Georgian government "has put up with the inability of International Monetary Fund to appear in September before the Paris Club of creditors as a partner in rescheduling Georgia's external debt". [...] "If the talks fail and the country can not gain a deferment, the danger of seizure of its foreign bank accounts may become a reality", Soselia said. [...]

Comment: Which is standard operating procedure for the IMF, and probably their plan for Georgia all along.

Machines will make criminal of every driver

Outrage ... spies in every car are hi-tech war on ALL drivers

Political Editor

DRIVERS were reeling last night at Government plans to put a computerised spy in EVERY car.

The hi-tech gadgets will record each time a motorist DRIFTS over a speed limit, WANDERS into a bus lane or even STOPS on a yellow line.

And it means the Government will hit Britain’s hard-pressed motorists with even more fines — and bring extra millions flooding into the Treasury.

The proposed scheme is guaranteed to cause outrage among Britain’s 38million drivers...

The Government claims the microchip will allow them to make roads safer and cut crime...

A spokesman for the group Liberty said: "This sets a very dangerous precedent.

"The entire driving population is going to be turned into criminal suspects.

"It’s disturbing to think the Government would be able to track people’s movements around the clock."

Using internet for offensive and menacing purposes to be outlawed (AUS)

Using the internet for offensive and menacing purposes, including harassment and the advocacy of violence, will be outlawed as part of a crackdown on e-crime.

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, and the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, said the Australian Government will soon introduce into Parliament amendments to make the use of a telecommunications service to carry offensive Internet content a criminal offence.

It is currently an offence to use a telecommunications service in a way that would be considered by reasonable persons as offensive, or with the result that another person is menaced or harassed.[...]

An Australian reader comments:

How much broader could you possibly word this? Essentially, all somebody has to do is declare a website 'offensive' and the legal machinery can start grinding up the victims. It seems sites that promote political dissent are being especially targeted by this legislation: Considering the current situation with State-sponsored COINTELPRO, it isn't too hard to envisage peaceful protest groups being infiltrated by spooks who give them a 'bad name' by causing problems at rallies etc, which then provides the government with a nice excuse to shut down the protest groups websites.

But why stop there? There are more crimes on the books than political dissent: "A person who places material on the Internet that urges the commission of a criminal offence may also be caught by State and Territory offences for incitement to commit a criminal offence. "

How excitingly broad! So this means my website devoted to the joys of jaywalking makes me a target?

This sounds like trying to legislate thought-crime. If you put up a website or start up any kind of Internet-facilitated networking group, that means you can be targeted for ANY breach of criminal law if desired. All they need to do is prove that your material was 'urging commission' or 'inciting' said crime.

"The new offence will carry a penalty of two years imprisonment, double the punishment for the existing offence."

Here in Australia, politicians have been convicted of fraud and embezzlement and have received lighter sentences than this.

Moderate earthquake jolts Indonesia's East Java

A moderate earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale has shaken the south of Indonesia's densely-populated East Java province. [...]

Don't quake in your boots - prepare for 'big one'

26 August 2003

Civil defence agencies say they are doing everything possible to have Cantabrians prepared for the inevitable big earthquake.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is the controlling agency, but the Christchurch City Council is also heavily involved in planning for the shake, which some experts consider could be more powerful than the earthquake that rocked Fiordland last week.

The director of operations at the city council, Ken Lawn, said yesterday all relevant bodies were working on the same timeline for a big earthquake.

"The experts tell us that there is a 65 per cent chance of the main alpine fault going within the next 50 years," he said.

"It's a fairly frightening statistic. And the reason for that is that the main alpine faultline, which runs right down the backbone of the South Island, has consistently gone about every 200 to 300 years for the last few thousand years. The last time it went was in 1717, so we have to be prepared."

Last week's quake near Te Anau was 7.1 on the Richter scale, and Mr Lawn said the expectation was that the main alpine fault blast would be between 7 and 8...

ECan regional civil defence manager John Fisher said he advised the public to start preparing: have drinking water, have a torch (most earthquakes strike at night), and have a radio so you can hear what is going on.

"The thing that concerns us is on the day it doesn't matter what people have done, there is going to be a percentage who did everything right and are still going to need assistance," Mr Fisher said.

"And there's going to be a big group of people who have done nothing who will also need assistance ... if everyone can do the basics for themselves for the first couple of days we will have the resources free to help someone else."

Potential earthquake threat and our coping strategies

Dr M Shahidul Islam

Although earthquake in Bangladesh has not yet been recognised as a case of serious natural disaster, but recent occurrences and assumptions have already generated a potential threat. The incidents of recent repeated earthquakes on 27 July in Chittagong have raised a great concern among the people of the country, particularly among those around Chittagong region. [...]

Geographically Bangladesh is located close to the boundary of two active plates: the Indian plate in the west and the Eurasian plate in the east and north. As a result the country is always under a potential threat of earthquake of any magnitude at any time, which might cause catastrophic devastation in less than a minute. In the seismic zoning map of Bangladesh, Chittagong region has been shown under Zone II with basic seismic coefficient of 0.05, but recent repeated jerk around this region indicate the possibilities of potential threat of even much higher intensity than projected. [...]

Earthquake Experts Shed Light On New Madrid Fault

ONESBORO, Ark. - The Mid-America Center and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management hosted a Media Workshop, featuring information about the New Madrid Seismic Zone. [...]

"We want to make sure that people who are at risk of an improbable, but possible New Madrid earthquake have that information, said Patterson." [...]

Comment: The "improbable but possible" line sounds like a neat way to not be held accountable when it does happen. These warnings keep popping up in the news now and again, but always with a far away date, such as this one when they say within the next 50 years.

A Reader Writes: Dear Signs,

Here is my attempt at a virtual sky watch, using internet sources to try and get a handle on the level of fireball and meteor impact activity happening around the world.  I started this in late 2002 when I became intrigued by an apparently anomalous cluster of fireballs and meteorite impacts that were reported [in the] Signs report.  I became curious about the data available on the frequency of fireballs, particularly in light of the idea of a 3600 year meteor swarm cycle.[...]

Comment: To read the rest of JW's research check out our most recent update of our Signs Supplement: Meteors, Asteroids, Comets, and NEOs. We now have four pages of coverage on the issue: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Ancient meteorite found in Arava

Aug. 25 -  A meteorite whose age is estimated at millions of years was discovered near Timna in the Arava, Maa'ariv reported. The space rock was checked by laboratories at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). The laboratory's report said that the tiny stone landed in Israel only "several decades or several hundred years ago."

The stone, whose outside is black and scorched and is mingled with brown and light gray, weighs 40 grams and is the size of two walnuts. [T]he test showed that it was a fragment of Asteroid HAVH-6, a rocky heavenly object that departed from its orbit between the sun and Jupiter, and broke up. The original asteroid approaches the earth once every three years. [...]

Japan urged to apologize over 1923 ethnic slaughter

Tuesday, August 26, 2003 at 07:52 JST

TOKYO — Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi should offer a state apology for the 1923 slaughter of thousands of Koreans and Chinese by the Japanese army and vigilante groups following a massive earthquake in the Tokyo area, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations said Monday.

In a recommendation submitted to Koizumi, the federation said, "The state should admit its responsibility, apologize to the victims as well as bereaved families and shed light on the cause of the incident and show the truth by investigating the slaughter in its entirety."

An estimated 6,000 Koreans and Chinese were killed by military and paramilitary forces apparently acting on a rumor that they would stage an uprising in the chaotic aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake.

The quake registered a magnitude of 7.9 on the Richter scale, flatting Tokyo, Yokohama and vicinities, and killed 140,000. [...]

Wildfire Work Keeps Yellowstone Entrance Closed
East Entrance Closed For Burnout

POSTED: 2:15 p.m. MDT August 25, 2003

The east entrance to Yellowstone National Park was closed Monday so firefighters could conduct a burnout along the roadway in an effort to cut off a pair of pesky wildfires.

"It's the last eastern front of the fires," said fire spokesman Greg Thayer. "As soon as we get done with that we'll move real fast toward containment."

Canadian economy hit by growing list of crises

Canadian Press

CALGARY — The forests are burning, the power's flickering, cattle can't cross the U.S. border and the scars from SARS aren't going away quickly.

Canada's compounding crises this year are taking their economic toll.

The growing list of troubles facing Canada in 2003 tend to have higher regional impacts when looked at individually, but together could have serious effects on the financial health of the whole country.

"These one-offs have really humbled the Canadian economy, there's no doubt about it," John Anania, assistant chief economist with the Royal Bank said Thursday.[...]

Drugs 'halt brain connections'

Last Updated: Monday, 25 August, 2003, 23:57 GMT 00:57 UK

Taking amphetamines or cocaine could stop cells in key areas of the brain linking up normally.

This, warn experts, could explain why it is feared that long term use of the drugs could affect memory or mood.

Rats would be expected to generate new brain "connections" if put in a stimulating environment - but after being given drugs this did not happen.

However, experts have warned that results in rat brains may not correspond exactly to human brains.

Comment: The fine print in a footnote appended to this report suggests that there is also a link between the active agent in cocaine and that in pretzels. Studies done on US politicians in monkey suits, selected for their past use of cocaine, show that pretzels can have a deleterious effect on memory in 100% of the sample group. When mixed with beer, this can lead to hallucinations where the subject, who was known to be AWOL during his stint in the reserves, and imagine he performed heroic acts while in a pilot uniform.

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