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September 21, 2003

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Letters from Readers

Remembering Srebrenica

21 September 2003

Six years before the Sept. 11 attacks, which killed more than three thousand people, in the quiet Bosnian town of Srebrenica, more than 7,000 men and boys were marched by Bosnian Serb paramilitaries to the outskirts and shot, one by one.

These two events should be contrasted but they have not been. On one level it is easy to see why. The Sept. 11 attacks were so spectacularly incredible, so widely witnessed on television screens around the world. Every decent person shared the agony and the tragedy of that savage event in the heart of New York, itself the heart of the world’s capitalist system.

Srebrenica, by contrast, is in the heart of nowhere, just a quiet Bosnian town. The world was not looking when Bosnian Serb commander Vladko Mladic overran the place in the face of non-existent resistance by Dutch members of the UN peacekeeping force who had been sent to protect the townspeople. There was a television camera, which filmed Mladic arguing with the Dutch commanding officer and later telling the citizens that they had nothing to fear and should return to their homes. The UN troops were persuaded to withdraw and as their trucks drove out of sight, the butchery began. Men with guns and hearts heavy with hate set about exterminating thousands of men and boys with the same brutality that Nazi troops used against their luckless Jewish victims in Poland and Russia.

There was only one good thing about the Srebrenica massacres. It finally shamed the international community and the US Clinton presidency into firm action against the Bosnian Serbs and, by extension, their sponsors in Serbia itself. Yet once the Bosnian Serbs had been humbled and, after Kosovo, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic driven from office, it seemed that the international community had no appetite to remember the disgusting and shameful Srebrenica massacre, which had originally galvanized it into action.

However, Clinton went this week to Srebrenica to open long-overdue memorial to the 7,000 innocent dead and to express his sorrow and horror at what his administration and the rest of the world, allowed to happen. The widows and mothers and daughters and sisters of the victims who heard him speak appeared to be grateful that he had agreed to open the memorial to their dead, a memorial costing some $5 million. But the former president owed them something more. What he might have said was that even though Srebrenica proved to be the trigger of a final and decisive blow against the genocidal Bosnian Serbs, the massacre itself has not since shown up on the radar of the West for a simple reason. The lives of 7,000 Bosnians simply do not seem as important as those of the 3,000 predominantly American victims of Sept. 11.

Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002-2003

#1: The Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance
#2: Homeland Security Threatens Civil Liberty
#3: US Illegally Removes Pages from Iraq U.N. Report
#4: Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorists
#5: The Effort to Make Unions Disappear

Fear as human shield faces jail

By Fergal Parkinson
BBC correspondent in Florida

Sitting in her modest two-bedroom home on the west Florida coast, Faith Fippinger begins to cry as she talks about the prospect of going to jail.

This spring, the 62-year-old retired schoolteacher decided to travel to Iraq as a human shield.

To many she is a humanitarian, but in the eyes of the US Government she is a criminal.

[...] By going to Iraq Faith Fippinger had broken the US economic embargo on Iraq, which had been in place for many years.

The letter explained that by travelling to the country and spending money there, Miss Fippinger was now liable for prosecution.

[...] "You know, part of what democracy is all about is that you can have varying opinions and that we can express them," she says.

"It's in regimes like Saddam Hussein's where that freedom is not allowed."

But the US Treasury Department is standing firm.

In a statement to the BBC it said that to express one's freedom of speech is a right but breaking the law of the United States is not a privilege.

It says it fully intends to proceed with her prosecution.

For travelling to Iraq Faith Fippinger will now probably lose her house, her pension and go to jail.

Comment: With the Patriot Act (notice that Patriot contains the word Riot? A Pat Riot is one that is "apposite or opportune, esp. unconvincingly in a pat answer."), your right to speak your mind will more and more be confronted with your necessity of breaking the law.

White House tight-lipped over Kennedy book flap

WASHINGTON - The White House is keeping at arm's length a controversial new book alleging that former president Lyndon Johnson had a hand in the 1963 slaying of his predecessor, John F. Kennedy.

The twist: Blood, Money and Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K. is by Barr McClellan, White House spokesman Scott McClellan's father.

The younger McClellan recently brushed aside efforts to get him to comment on the text, drily telling a reporter: "Thank you for the opportunity, but I'm not going to have any comment on it."

Scott McClellan, 35, is not the only big player in US politics: His brother Mark, 40, heads the Food and Drug Administration; and his mother, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, 63, is comptroller in Texas, US President George W. Bush's home state.

Barr McClellan, divorced from Strayhorn years ago, appears set to make a splash when his book hits stores on September 30.

In it, he reportedly alleges that Johnson's personal lawyer organized Kennedy's killing in Dallas after the young president planned to pick a different running mate in the 1964 elections.

Comment: It is interesting that JFK's murder is making some what of splash in the media at this time. Particularly since it synchronisticly touches Bush's stolen White House. The majority of U.S. citizens buying into the lone gun man ludicrous conspiracy theory marks one of the many times when Americans firmly agreed that they preferred lies over the often uncomfortable truth about their "democratic" government. The door is always open that they could wake up in time ...

Warning! You Are Being Watched

Reading this magazine in public may result in questioning by the FBI By Kristie Reilly

In These Times

In late April, two teen-age students in Oakland, California, got an unwelcome, real-life lesson in civics. During a heated class discussion at Oakland High School about politics and President Bush, the boys made comments the exact nature of which are in dispute, but which their teacher believed constituted a threat toward the president. The teacher went to the FBI.

Secret Service agents showed up at the high school the next day to interview the boys, both 16. The school principal sat in for an hour and a half as agents interviewed each student individually, without their parents’ knowledge or consent. "He asked us questions like was I a good shooter ... was I a good sniper ... am I good dealing with guns, and what are my thoughts on the president," one of the boys told San Francisco Bayview . "I was very scared. I was crying because of what they said to us."

The FBI has followed up on thousands of "tips" since the attacks of 9/11. In June, Atlanta bookstore employee Marc Schultz found himself visited by FBI agents after someone spotted him reading an article titled "Weapons of Mass Stupidity" at a local coffee shop. Schultz has dark hair and a beard, and the combination was apparently enough to make someone call the FBI. Schultz says the agents told him: "There’s no problem. We’d just like to get to the bottom of this. Now, if we can’t, then you may have a problem. And you don’t want that." [...]

JetBlue admits it gave passenger itineraries to defense contractor

By Brad Foss

NEW YORK - Violating its own privacy policy, JetBlue Airways gave 5 million passenger itineraries to a Defense Department contractor that used the information as part of a study seeking ways to identify "high risk" airline customers. [...]

Comment: There is an update to this story. JetBlue has apologized. Now they will be sure to do it secretly.

Outlook for UN: 'radical' overhaul

Felicity Barringer/NYT NYT

UNITED NATIONS, New York A mood of skittish uncertainty has descended on the leaders of the United Nations. They are eager to overhaul their institution, but worry whether any change can give it the freedom it needs to survive without being seen as either a lackey of the United States or an easily swattable gadfly.

[...] Iraq has shattered any global consensus on handling security issues, and, as the recent meeting in Cancún, Mexico, showed, there is no consensus on trade issues.

Today, Europeans view the United Nations as the embodiment of international law and world order. The United States seems to view it as a tool to be used when handy. Africans and Asians tend to have more case-specific uses for UN diplomacy and its general advocacy for the poor and disadvantaged, who are not much on the minds of rich nations.

But for UN officials, many of whom have never worked anywhere else, the bottom-line question remains how to relate to the United States.

"The worst fear of any of us," said Shashi Tharoor, an under secretary general whose entire career has been spent at the United Nations, "is that we fail to navigate an effective way between the Scylla of being seen as a cat's paw of the sole superpower and the Charybdis of being seen as so unhelpful to the sole superpower that they disregard the value of the United Nations."

U.S. again looks to isolate France

Steven R. Weisman/NYT NYT

U.S. officials discussing the strategy of trying to isolate France said it reflected mounting concern that virtually every policy adopted by France in recent months has seemed to be an attempt to thwart American policies in Iraq and elsewhere.

"There are just a lot of bad feelings toward the French," an administration official said. "Every time they talk about multilateralism, we know that it's nothing more than a euphemism for constraining the United States."

Earlier this year, the administration was surprised when Russia sided with France over the war resolution. Germany's opposition had been well known. The other surprise was the American failure to enlist African and Latin American nations.

After that diplomatic setback, the administration adopted a policy of punishing France in symbolic ways.

In effect, administration officials say, the policy now is to enlist the Germans in negotiating a possible compromise resolution and to offer Russia a chance to take part in Iraq's reconstruction - as well as get a share of the lucrative contracts to be offered. Powell has repeatedly praised Russia and Germany for trying to work out a compromise.

A diplomat familiar with administration thinking summarized the American policy as: "Talk to the Germans, buy off the Russians and isolate the French." Another was less polite, saying that Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser, had characterized the approach as "ignore, reward and punish."

The new administration strategy is unsettling the Germans and the British, European and American officials said.

[...] By all accounts, Germany is trying to be conciliatory, signaling that although it does not want to send troops to Iraq, it is willing to help with reconstruction.

Rehearsals In Berlin

Ghassan Charbel
Al-Hayat 2003/09/20

Jacques Chirac can receive Tony Blair in Berlin with a smile of many meanings. He can pretend that his calculations were more accurate, that his caution was justified and that his objection to war against Iraq without international authorization was not just teasing. He can also say that "Old Europe," which Donald Rumsfeld has mocked, has proven to be wise and experienced. Those who dreamed of a crushing victory, during and after the war, destroys structures and organizations produced by World War II, have committed an irrational and hasty dream. He can say that the European facts have come back to impose themselves.

European differences on Iraq remain

Saturday 20 September 2003, 13:47 Makka Time, 10:47 GMT

French President Jacques Chirac said after a summit with the British and German leaders on Saturday that some differences still remained on policy towards Iraq.

"Our views are not quite convergent at the moment," Chirac told a news conference after the Berlin summit, reiterating France's position that there needed to be a rapid transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi people within months.

"On the technicalities and timetable, we are still not fully agreed," he said, adding that the United Nations must play a much bigger role.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the same news conference: "We all want to see a stable Iraq. We all want to see Iraq make a transition to democratic government as swiftly as possible. We all want to see, and know there must be, a key role for the United Nations."

Berlin Summit Ends in a Fiasco for Schroeder

Ernest Gill
Deutsche Presse-Agentur

BERLIN, 21 September 2003 — German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s unsuccessful attempt to pull off a major diplomatic coup in Berlin yesterday leaves him embarrassingly empty-handed when he heads to New York for a face-to-face meeting with President George W. Bush next week.

Instead of extracting a last-minute compromise from President Jacques Chirac on the issue of Iraq’s future, Schroeder was unable to budge the French leader.

And instead of cementing the bitter rift Franco-British rift over Iraq, Schroeder was left standing between a grim-faced Chirac to his right and a grimly smiling British Prime Minister Tony Blair to his left.

The tension was almost palpable as the three men used nearly identical vocabulary — in three languages — to explain at a joint news conference that they had failed utterly to set aside their differences.

The failure of the Berlin summit to close the gap on Iraq fulfilled the worst fears of analysts in Germany who note that relations between Germany and the United States have been icy ever since the German leader split with Bush over Iraq a year ago in the run-up to his narrow general election win.

Comment: There is something afoot to make Chirac, the one who is insisting the Iraqis be given the right to decide their own future, appear to be the problem. Then there is, of course, the problem of who it is who represents the Iraqi people? The US-imposed Governing Council? The Moslem leaders of the two Sunni and Shia sects?

Blair gets the cold shoulder at Berlin summit

Luke Harding in Berlin
Sunday September 21, 2003
The Observer

Tony Blair's efforts to seek agreement with France and Germany over Iraq suffered an embarrassing setback yesterday when French President Jacques Chirac bluntly insisted that power should be handed back to Iraqis in a 'few months'.

Speaking after a meeting with Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Blair sought to set aside his diplomatic feud with Paris and Berlin - and said all three leaders believed the United Nations should play a 'key role' in rebuilding Iraq. 'Whatever differences there have been over Iraq, it is important that France and Britain and Germany should work together,' Blair said.

But his conciliatory remarks did little to hide the continuing split between Britain and the United States and France - and, to a lesser extent, Germany - over the timetable for returning Iraq to domestic rule. Chirac yesterday repeated his demand that the UN be given a 'significant and operational role' in running the country. The transfer of sovereignty should be 'immediate', he added. While Schröder was less outspoken, it was clear that Germany supports the French position.

Schröder, who hosted yesterday's summit, greeted Blair with a polite, effusive handshake. By contrast, he gave the French President an enormous bear hug, a sign of the two countries' continuing political warmth.

Blair seeks deal on Iraq's future

By Andy McSmith, Political Editor and John Lichfield
21 September 2003

Tony Blair failed yesterday to settle his differences with France and Germany over who will police post-war Iraq, and who will pay. But a three-way summit in Berlin ended with the EU's most powerful leaders displaying a new willingness to work together.

Mr Blair met his two old European antagonists, Gerhard Schröder and Jacques Chirac, in Berlin, and though they failed to agree over Iraq, they agreed to try to settle their differences amicably at this week's UN General Assembly in New York.

The most significant feature of the hastily arranged summit was that Mr Blair chose to meet the two European leaders who were most prominent in opposing the Iraq war, despite the risk that he might offend his right-wing allies Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and Jose Maria Aznar of Spain.

Left Out: Aznar and Berlusconi Excluded from Summit

José Maria Aznar and Silvio Berlusconi haven't been invited to Saturday's summit in Berlin.

Though the prime ministers of Spain and Italy have played down the idea that their exclusion from Saturday’s Franco-German-British summit is a snub, leading newspapers in both countries say that’s exactly what it is.

Blair meets Spanish ally on Iraq

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is meeting Spanish leader Jose Maria Aznar, a key ally on the war on Iraq, for talks.

Berlusconi Unable to Come to Terms With Italy’s Fascist Past

John Hooper
The Guardian

ROME, 21September 2003 — A pattern is beginning to be discernible in the aftermath of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s renowned “gaffes”, if that is indeed what they are.

[...] Maybe. Or maybe there is a third possibility: That there are unconscious contradictions in the views that Silvio Berlusconi holds; that, although he makes common cause with Ariel Sharon, a fellow right-winger, Italy’s prime minister nevertheless holds to the same indulgent view of the fascist past that is held by millions of his compatriots.

Unlike the Germans, the Italians as a whole have yet to come to terms with what Gianni Oliva, the author of a new book on Italy’s role in World War II called “our unspeakable past”.


Sep 20 2003

Party chiefs tell Blair: You could lose at election

By Bob Roberts Political Correspondent

TONY Blair was warned last night that he could lose the next General Election.

In the wake of yesterday's shattering defeat at Brent, senior Labour strategists admitted voters are deserting in droves.

And they fear it could seriously threaten the Government's chances of retaining power.

Former minister Frank Field said: "We are in deep trouble.

"For the first time we see the prospect that we might lose on a record low turn-out."

Cult taught Cherie's guru to confront demons

Former colleagues of Caplin tell of their time in secretive organisation obsessed with control. Jamie Doward and Ben Whitford report on the Exegesis connection

Sunday September 21, 2003
The Observer

Carole Caplin's swift rise from soft porn model to trusted confidante of Cherie Blair owes much to the lessons she learnt working for a secretive telemarketing company which had strong links to the heart of government and acted as a front for a brainwashing cult.

[...] Ex-employees have broken their silence to tell The Observer how Programmes' desire to control them was so strong the company established its own school for their children and bought up property around the business which was converted into flats. 'Staff were encouraged to buy the flats so they could be near work. The bosses talked about their "content zone". They didn't want anything interfering with their staff's content zones - by this they meant anything coming between them and work,' said one former employee.

[...] Employees who stayed with the firm for more than a year were put on the 'Exegesis course', a quasi-psychotherapy programme designed to 're-birth' participants by encouraging them to face up to their inner fears. Its fundamental message was that devotees had to tell the truth at all times, no matter how painful this could be.

Comment: See our article on cults. Notice how "telling the truth" can become the hook for mind control....

Drama in the Service of Terror

A couple of days ago we carried a report of ABC's new spy drama Threat Matrix designed it seems to convince the public that the terrorist threat is real and those 'alphabet soup' agents really are working tirelessly to keep us all safe. This was done, naturally, via the one medium that the US government can still count on to successfully transmit propaganda to a slack-jawed population - Television.

Perhaps the directors at ABC have been tuning into the BBC of late. The UK state broadcaster has been showing its own attempt of homeland security propaganda with it's spy drama unimaginatively called Spooks. The show has been successful from Tony Blair's point of view, given the criticism it received for it's alleged incitment of religious (Muslim) hatred, which can only help the beleagured PMs uphill struggle in attempting to convince his 'subjects' that the invasion of Iraq was justified (every muslim is a suicide bomber don't ya know)

Eight million spy Spooks on BBC1

Jason Deans
Tuesday June 10, 2003

Spooks: suicide bomb episode received about 1,000 complaints

BBC1's controversial Spooks episode, which featured an Islamic leader recruiting suicide bombers in a Birmingham mosque, proved popular last night, attracting nearly 8 million viewers.

The episode, which has been criticised by British Muslim leaders for inciting hatred of their religion, had 7.6 million viewers and peaked at 7.8 million, according to unofficial overnights.

The BBC came in for further criticism today after the Central Mosque in Birmingham was vandalised just hours before the programme was broadcast.

"Kill the suicide bombers" was daubed on the mosque but the BBC insisted there was no proof the incident was linked to its spy drama.

US moguls 'want to buy ITV'

Two of America's biggest TV moguls have said they may be interested in buying the UK's ITV channel.

Haim Saban and Mel Karmazin said they would consider bidding for ITV's controlling companies Granada and Carlton, if the firms were given the go-ahead to merge into ITV plc.

Mr Saban is a billionaire programming mogul who made his fortune through children's TV characters such as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and Mr Karmazin is president of Viacom, which owns MTV, CBS and Paramount.

The two were speaking at the Royal Television Society's annual convention in Cambridge.

Mr Saban said he planned to work on a bid for Granada and Carlton if the merger went ahead.

However, he said he would "not invest a dollar" if, as some analysts think is likely, the regulator insists the firms sell off their advertising sales units as a condition of the merger.

"We like the broadcasting business, we think that under the right circumstances ITV would be a great opportunity," he said.

Mr Karmazin said Viacom wanted to spread its wings outside the US, but said: "We would look at [a merged ITV company] but we would want to know what the merged business looks like first."

Trade secretary Patricia Hewitt is expected to give a final decision early next month on whether and how the merger can go ahead, following a study by the competition commission. [...]

Comment: What the above story does not state is that both Mr. Saban and Mr. Karmazin, while US citizens, are also Jewish, having been born and raised in Israel. This is interesting in light of the evidence of excessive Jewish ownership of US media companies (relative to the Jewish population in the US) and its dismissal as 'insignificant' by many Jewish lobby groups. However the facts are clear as Kevin McDonald states in the "culture of critique":

"Even granting the exceptions, it is clear that Jews enjoy a very powerful position in U.S. media, a position that is far more powerful than any other racial/ethnic group. The phenomenal concentration of media power in Jewish hands becomes all the more extraordinary when one notes that Jews constitute approximately 2.5% of the U.S. population.

If the Jewish percentage of the American media elite is estimated at 59% (Lichter et al. 1983, 55)-probably an underestimate at the present time, the degree of disproportionate representation may be calculated as greater than 2000%. The likelihood that such an extraordinary disparity could arise by chance is virtually nil. Ben Stein, noting that about 60% of the top positions in Hollywood are held by Jews, says "Do Jews run Hollywood? You bet they do-and what of it?""

BBC boss blasts media ownership law

BBC director general Greg Dyke has attacked a change in the law which allows foreign firms to bid for UK television franchises. "I was passionately opposed to the change in the law that allowed American media companies to buy ITV and Channel 5," he said.

"I thought it was nonsense to have done it, I don't think it came from anybody or anywhere other than a small coterie in Downing Street."

Mr Dyke was speaking at the Royal Television Society's annual convention in Cambridge.

He was partly responding to claims by two US media moguls, Haim Saban and Mel Karmazin, at the convention on Saturday, that they would be interested in acquiring ITV.

'Cultural difference'

Mr Dyke said that was an example of how the new rules, laid down in the Communications Act which was passed this summer, could lead to an excessive US influence on British culture.

"Everything I saw yesterday convinced me that I had been right to oppose it, that actually you saw the cultural difference," he said. [...]

Comment: ITV is the largest independent television broadcaster in the UK. Mr. Saban's and Mr. Karmazin's track records are not impressive tending as they do, towards what could be termed 'low brow' broadcasts to say the least. Among their list of 'achievements' appear such pillars of society as Howard Stern and shows like "The mighty morphin' power rangers". In the US Viacom is looking to expand is already significant control of the US media, with Karmazin stating interest in buying CNN. Karmazin has also been accussed of airing shows with a decidely anti-christian slant.

Mr. Saban is a prolific political donor in the US, donating a record $7 million to the democratic national committee in 2002. See "Many argue that corporate consolidation of the US media has sacrificed investigative journalism, has shielded the public from the facts, and has instead spread images of violence and fear. When you add elections determined by finances, that leaves little room for democracy and human rights." here for more.

Serbs lament British withdrawal as killing returns to Kosovo

The Telegraph

[...] The upsurge in inter-ethnic violence in Kosovo comes as Muslims and Serbs in neighbouring Bosnia yesterday participated in a reconciliation ceremony attended by the former US president, Bill Clinton. A £3 million memorial to the 7,000 Muslim victims of the 1995 Srebenica massacre by the Bosnian Serb militia was inaugurated in the town. Moderate Albanian leaders lament the re-emergence of a polarised society. [...]

Outrage at Colombia Plan to Amnesty Paramilitaries

Jim Lobe

A Colombian proposal to amnesty leaders of right-wing paramilitary groups responsible for some of the worst massacres of the country's decades-long civil war has been strongly assailed by Human Rights Watch. [...]

Washington currently provides Bogotá more than 700 million dollars a year in mostly military aid, more than it gives any other country except Israel and Egypt. [...]

Pentagon to pay millions for Scots’ robot soldiers  

By Neil Mackay

ROBOT soldiers manufactured to kill enemy troops have been designed for the Pentagon by a tiny Glasgow computer company which is set to make millions from the deal.

Essential Viewing says the technology comes straight from the world of science fiction. Chief executive Simon Hardy said the technology had its nearest equivalent in the Star Wars movie Attack Of The Clones. [...]

Police admit Deepcut deaths may be murder

By Andrew Johnson
21 September 2003
The Independent

The four young soldiers who died from gunshot wounds at the Army's Deepcut barracks in Surrey could have been murdered after all, police admitted yesterday.

And in a further twist, two of the families claimed yesterday that during a private briefing with detectives they were told there was no forensic evidence that pointed to suicide. The families' own independent forensics expert, Frank Swann, said: "Before I said it was highly unlikely the wounds were self-inflicted. But after yesterday's announcement by the police I feel I should say that instead of just being highly unlikely it is virtually impossible - and that the parties were shot and killed by a third party." [...]

Latvia says yes to Europe

Sunday 21 September 2003, 0:49 Makka Time, 21:49 GMT

Latvia's Prime Minister has declared victory for the "yes" side in Saturday's referendum on whether the Baltic state should join the European Union.

Einars Repse hailed the decision as one of the one of the three most important decisions in the ex-Soviet state's history.

Basic services 'fail world's poor'

The real curse of world poverty is the lack of access to crucial services such as education and healthcare, the World Bank has warned.

Comment: Until the warlords of capital can figure out a way of making a policy of caring for the world's poor profitable, forget about anything more than crocodile tears. They have been getting together for years and making the same promises. The situation is only getting worse.

IMF Board OKs Argentina Deal

By Lesley Wroughton
Sun Sep 21, 2:49 AM ET

DUBAI (Reuters) - The IMF approved an economic plan for Argentina on Saturday aimed at bolstering investor confidence and growth in a country deeply scarred by a botched peso devaluation and a record sovereign debt default last year. [...]

Rioting breaks out in Maldives

Saturday 20 September 2003, 21:23 Makka Time, 18:23 GMT

The Maldives, better known as a honeymooners' paradise, was rocked by rioting as locals vented their anger against police after a man died in prison.

[...] "Typically perceived as a tranquil 'holiday paradise', the truth is that behind the sun-kissed facade the Maldives Government has a disgraceful record of repressing peaceful opposition," says the group's Amnesty UK director, Kate Allen.

The Government of the Maldives strongly rejected the allegations, describing them as "false and baseless".

India: a perspective

by KS

When I read the news article, " Heart of Darkness," posted on Signs [...] I was pleased to see a more realistic picture of India finally being presented to Western readers. So I thought to write a letter to the Signs crew about the distorted picture of India which many readers may still be embracing. The article pointed out some of the horrors, so I will just talk about some of the illusions which block SEEING in Westerners in general about India. Of course this is just a tiny taste of it for now.

The "New Age" has produced a picture of India which is so distorted that it is utterly absurd. On the one hand, the image of India is of a nation of starving, poor people writhing in huge crowds. This is the image the "mainstream" press promotes and has promoted over and over again to Western audiences over many years.

On the other hand, New Agers', under the influence of the Cosmic Cointelpro, have a very subjective, romantic, delusional idea of India as a "spiritual homeland" of sorts. A distorted image which Indians know is distorted all too well. One which many exploit for income, too, in the "guru" business. And, to those who do this, it is just that: a business. The last thing that most Indians are is sentimental. They are realistic business people in a situation which requires realism for survival (in their minds and experience). If the "foreigners" are that gullible (they think) it is their lesson to be learned.

I have personally met some of these "gurus" through relatives of theirs. And, since I was not a potential "customer" and was instead a neighbour and/or friend of a relative, I was told the truth. And I was allowed into the real "behind the scenes scoop" that many Indians know and almost no "foreigners" do.

Shortly before I moved away from India (I lived and married and raised a daughter there for 11 years) I had an extended visit from an acquaintance from the U.S. She had come to India as a "seeker." She came with all the illusions of the New Age which are common these days. She had a very hard visit, to say the least.

Her illusions were shattered left and right. She witnessed first-hand the daily life in India by virtue of being my guest and not on the "spiritual tourist highway" (which she had dabbled in on the beginning of her visit to India when she went to Dharamsala to visit the Dalai Lama).

Toward the end of this visit, the question of what she would tell her friends back in the U.S. about "India" (which had been seen as an "idea" by all of them as an "awesome" spiritual journey and undertaking ONLY in a "positive" way--which also made this friend somewhat of a "hero" in their minds) came up. We both burst into uncontrollable deep laughter for at least an hour. The absurdity of her (and her friends') preconceived illusion of "India" and the reality of India were so vast and absurd a contradiction that no words would suffice. Only an emotional outburst of uproarious laughter could contain it at that point.

So, I guess my point is that in order to SEE India (as with everything else) the illusional programming and conditioning must first be seen. And since most readers will not go to India and really live and stay there to find this out experientially, it is a very good idea to know that all they have read and read which is "Indian" or about "India" is probably a lie.

What good friends left behind

Two years ago, as the bombs began to drop, George Bush promised Afghanistan 'the generosity of America and its allies'. Now, the familiar old warlords are regaining power, religious fundamentalism is renewing its grip and military skirmishes continue routinely. What was the purpose?

John Pilger

Saturday September 20, 2003: (The Guardian) At the Labour party conference following the September 11 attacks, Tony Blair said memorably: "To the Afghan people, we make this commitment. We will not walk away... If the Taliban regime changes, we will work with you to make sure its successor is one that is broadbased, that unites all ethnic groups and offers some way out of the poverty that is your miserable existence." He was echoing George Bush, who had said a few days earlier: "The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and its allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan. The US is a friend of the Afghan people."

Almost every word they spoke was false. Their declarations of concern were cruel illusions that prepared the way for the conquest of both Afghanistan and Iraq. As the illegal Anglo-American occupation of Iraq now unravels, the forgotten disaster in Afghanistan, the first "victory" in the "war on terror", is perhaps an even more shocking testament to power.

It was my first visit. In a lifetime of making my way through places of upheaval, I had not seen anything like it. Kabul is a glimpse of Dresden post-1945, with contours of rubble rather than streets, where people live in collapsed buildings, like earthquake victims waiting for rescue. They have no light and heat; their apocalyptic fires burn through the night. Hardly a wall stands that does not bear the pock-marks of almost every calibre of weapon. Cars lie upended at roundabouts. Power poles built for a modern fleet of trolley buses are twisted like paperclips. The buses are stacked on top of each other, reminiscent of the pyramids of machines erected by the Khmer Rouge to mark Year Zero. [...]

US troops face war zone in southeast Afghanistan

URGUN, Afghanistan (AFP)

A Kalashnikov assault rifle slung across his shoulder and sporting a long black beard, Mohammad Jan puffs out his chest to display a blue decoration: a rifle surrounded by two gold palms.
The former anti-Soviet mujahedin ("holy warrior") shows off a plastic card, signed by "Major Dave," certifying that he fought alongside US troops in a combat operation last July.

Jan is a member of the Afghan militia forces (AMF), which are helping US forces hunt and kill Taliban and al-Qaeda militants. He and his comrades-in-arms are attached to the US military base at Urgun, 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of Kabul. The bravado is needed. They are facing a war zone.

"Here, this is war," said a flak jacket-attired US sergeant guarding the Urgun base. [...]

True Nihilists on the Potomac

Amr Mohammed Al-Faisal

The true nihilists are the neoconservatives in Washington DC. They are the ones who wish to engulf the entire region from Indonesia to Morocco in a flame of war, civil war and revolution, with regimes collapsing and nations being dismembered and the whole world spinning into anarchy.

And all that for what?

It is on the green banks of the Potomac that savage dreams of blood and iron are dreamt. The dreamers on the Tigris, on the other hand, dream of peace, unity and freedom.

On a lighter note, I am embarrassed to admit that I derive considerable amusement watching various members of the current US administration eating humble pie. I watched Colin Powell’s performance in Geneva with interest and was reminded of a story widely known in the Arab world.

A long time ago, a Turkish pasha (general) after retiring from the army fell upon hard times. His friends advised him to sell radishes in the market in order to earn a living. So he put some radishes on a tray and went down to the market to sell them. As he approached the market he remembered his days in the army where he commanded hundreds of men and was feared by all, and suddenly he felt humiliated. So he began to shout: “Radishes, you dogs! Fresh radishes, you donkeys!”

Need I say more?

Blair And Blix

Abdulwahab Badrakhan
Al-Hayat 2003/09/20

Hans Blix is talking frankly and clearly these days. When he was chief inspector, he could have changed history, but he did not have enough facts to make a final judgement. He was facing American pressures on one side, and an ambiguous 'cooperation' from Baghdad. He did not trust any of those parties. All he did at the time was to thwart American deceit as much as possible, and to get as much information as he could from the previous Iraqi regime. When the Americans replaced his inspectors, they had nothing essential to add. Therefore, he was more convinced that the weapons of mass destruction are not available in Iraq.

[...] Currently, Blix seems useful in the confrontation between the Prime Minister, the political community, the press, and public opinion in Britain. It was striking that both men declared in the same day two opposite opinions. While Tony Blair insisted, for the thousandth time, that the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq would appear soon, Blix admitted that Saddam Hussein might have said the truth; he got rid of the weapons. Blair's only remaining hope lies in finding some of the banned weapons in terrorist hands. The question is how, and under what circumstances?

Osama’s Brother-in-Law Says He Is Maligned Unfairly

Jamal Banoon,
Asharq Al-Awsat

JEDDAH, 21September 2003 — Jamal Muhammad Khalifa, a brother-in-law of Osama Bin Laden, has said that without any evidence he has been accused of involvement in more than 30 terror-related cases, including an assassination attempt on former US President Bill Clinton.

[...] He said he had had a big quarrel with Bin Laden, adding that it forced him to sever relations with him. “I decided to part from him after more than 10 years of friendship. My only connection is that I married his sister,” he explained. “Why do they point at me for every terrorist operation? Osama has 29 in-laws and I am just one of them.”


From Paul Martin In Baghdad
Sep 21 2003

SADDAM Hussein has been in secret negotiations with US forces in Iraq for the past nine days, we can reveal.

The Iraqi dictator is demanding safe passage to the former Soviet republic of Belarus. In exchange, he has vowed to provide information on weapons of mass destruction and disclose bank accounts where he siphoned off tens of millions of dollars in plundered cash.

President Bush is being kept abreast of the extraordinary talks by his National Security advisor Condoleezza Rice. She is co-ordinating negotiations in Baghdad which are led by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of American forces in Iraq.

Iraq's occupiers suspected of losing touch with reality

Robert Fisk

09/20/03: BAGHDAD - A culture of secrecy has descended upon the Anglo-American occupation authorities in Iraq.

They will give no tally of the Iraqi civilian lives lost each day.

They will not comment on the killing by an American soldier of one of their own Iraqi interpreters on Thursday – he was shot dead in front of the Italian diplomat who was official adviser to the new Iraqi ministry of culture – and they cannot explain how General Sultan Hashim Ahmed, the former Iraqi minister of defence and a potential war criminal, should now be described by one of the most senior US officers in Iraq as "a man of honour and integrity."

On Thursday, in a three-stage ambush that destroyed an American military truck and a Humvee jeep almost a hundred miles west of Baghdad, a minimum of three US soldiers were reported dead and three wounded – local Iraqis claimed the fatalities numbered eight – yet within hours, the occupation authorities were saying that exactly the same number were killed and wounded in a sophisticated ambush on Americans in Tikrit.

Only two soldiers were wounded in the earlier attack, they said.

And for the second day running yesterday, the mobile telephone system operated by MCI for the occupation forces collapsed, effectively isolating the 'Coalition Provisional Authority' from its ministries and from US forces.

An increasing number of journalists in Baghdad now suspect that US proconsul Paul Bremmer and his hundreds of assistants ensconced in the heavily guarded former presidential palace of Saddam Hussein in the capital, have simply lost touch with reality. [...]

Iraq to Allow Foreign Owners Outside Oil

By Glenn Somerville and Mona Megalli
Sun September 21, 2003 05:24 AM ET

DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S.-controlled Iraq will on Sunday unveil sweeping economic reforms including the entry of foreign investment in all economic sectors except oil -- steps that would end 30 years of state economic domination.

A statement by U.S.-backed Finance Minister Kamel al-Keylani scheduled for release in Dubai later on Sunday said the reforms "will be implemented in the near future."

"The reforms will significantly advance efforts to build a free and open market economy in Iraq, promote Iraq's future economic growth (and) accelerate Iraq's re-entry into the international economy," Keylani's statement said. [...]

Mortars Kill 2 U.S. Soldiers, Wound 13 in Iraq

Sun September 21, 2003 04:46 AM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Two U.S. soldiers were killed and 13 were wounded in a mortar attack on a U.S.-run prison west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a military spokeswoman said on Sunday.

The death of the troops, from the 800th Military Police Brigade, brings to 78 the number of U.S. soldiers killed by hostile fire since major combat in Iraq was officially declared over on May 1 following the war that ousted Saddam Hussein. [...]

Putin hints at sending troops to Iraq

Associated Press
10:15 Sunday 21st September 2003

President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is ready to put aside differences over the war in Iraq to work with the US on rebuilding the country and may send troops to the country. [...]

Mr Putin opposed the war in Iraq and joined French and German efforts to prevent passage of a UN resolution authorising the use of force. He said Russia's position hadn't changed, and that "the situation that is developing in Iraq is the best confirmation that Russia was right".

He said: "In contrast to many participants of this process, our approach is quite liberal. Theoretically, we don't exclude more active participation of Russia in the restoration of Iraq, including the participation of our military in the normalisation process."

But he added that "in practical terms, the question of sending Russian troops is not at the current time on the agenda - it is not even being considered". [...]

US soldier kills rare tiger in Baghdad zoo

Saturday, September 20, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- A U.S. soldier shot dead a rare Bengal tiger at Baghdad zoo after the animal injured another soldier who was trying to feed it through the cage bars, the zoo's manager said on Saturday.

Adil Salman Mousa told Reuters a group of U.S. soldiers were having a party in the zoo on Thursday night after it had closed.

"Someone was trying to feed the tigers,'' he said. "The tiger bit his finger off and clawed his arm. So his colleague took a gun and shot the tiger.''

The night watchman said the soldiers had arrived in military vehicles but were casually dressed and were drinking beer. A U.S. military spokesman confirmed that a member of the coalition forces shot and killed a tiger but gave no further details.

At the tiger's cage, now empty, pools of blood showed that the soldier passed through a first cage intended only for keepers and stood next to the inner cage's narrow bars.

Comment: What a wonderful ambassador for America and the fabulous democracy and civilisation that it represents. The Iraqi people truly are blessed to have such fine upstanding young men in control of their very lives.

Is Riyal a Weapon of Mass Destruction?


LONDON — Investigations by various Arab governments have shown that money donated to charities sometimes is diverted to terrorists. Those who donate are not to blame; they are fulfilling one of the five pillars of Islam.

[...] The last thing Saudi charities needed was a picture of weapons and grenades left by terrorists next to boxes labeled with the name of a charity. This TV picture shocked many Saudis who believed that their donations were for the poor inside the Kingdom. The Saudi government was forced to ban collecting donations in boxes placed in a number of places after it became clear that a terrorist organization was using some of the money to finance its operations.

This step, taken by the government for security reasons, confused and baffled more than 300 charitable organizations inside and outside the Kingdom. The organizations found themselves in dire straits as they attempted to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of people whom they had earlier helped from donations. Some organizations had no choice but to curtail their operations when donations dried up. Many charities made extraordinary efforts to do what could be done on as little money as possible; they managed to operate on the proverbial shoestring.

Comment: This article is an interesting look at the effects of US policy on Saudi Arabia. Since 9/11, Saudi Arabia is being turned into a pariah in the US press. The once strong ally is under attack. This is likely the work of the neo-cons, as Saudi Arabia has always been a strong funder of Palestinian organizations.

By linking terrorism to Saudi "charities", the neo-cons found a way to effectively close or hinder charity work. What effects will this have on the poor in this country? Is this another means of destabilizing the area?

“Lets murder him!!!”

By: Yshai Kalmanovitch
September20 ,2003

On September 11 th , the headlines of the morning papers cried out: “the Israeli cabinet will discuss in the evening whether to expel or to physically eliminate Yasser Arafat”. One should read this headline again and again to believe: a supposedly democratic government of a supposedly civilized country is discussing whether it should murder the elected leader of another nation.

Unable to solve the problems caused by its policy and its crimes against the Palestinians and humanity, the Israeli government seems to have completely lost its shame.

[...] But as Israel criticizing the incitement in the Palestinian authority, it won't be able to run away from its own responsibility to the grave racist reality in Israel, in which the shocking slogan “death to the Arabs” can be seen on many walls in the Jewish cities or being heard all over in demonstrations, soccer matches and even rock concerts.

Ayoon wa Azan (Hopeless Case)

Jihad Al Khazen
Al-Hayat 2003/09/20

I don't see how Qureih will succeed where Abbas has failed, because the truth of the matter is that Ariel Sharon's government does not want peace and has hindered the Roadmap. As for the Bush administration, it settles with speeches about how interested it is in working towards finding a solution, while its interest turns gradually towards the upcoming American presidential elections.

If the reader thinks otherwise, he does not need to continue reading because Yasser Arafat was never the problem, although he had many problems himself. Neither is Abbas, nor is Qureih. The problem lies in Israel and the gang of war criminals in its government.

[...] Israel is the major terrorist infrastructure in the region, and Sharon is an excellent terrorist, not to mention that the U.S. supports his terrorism and accuses Palestinians. This is why it is kind of absurd to talk about the Roadmap, or peace, whether the Palestinian Prime Minister is Abbas, Qureih or even Hanan Ashrawi.

US to PA: No support for government under Arafat control


Washington has made it clear to the Palestinian Authority that it would not support any government controlled by Yasser Arafat.

The U.S. called for the new Palestinian prime minister to take direct control of the PA security forces, most of which are currently under Arafat's control.

The message was passed to Palestinian officials in recent
days by John Wolf, the head of the American delegation to oversee the implementation of the road map, press reports said Saturday.

Wolf also informed the Palestinians that the new prime minister will not receive American support unless he takes on the "terrorist" groups, and is not satisfied with a truce.

Tel Aviv demo demands Israel withdraw from Palestinian territories

TEL AVIV (AFP) Sep 20, 2003

Thousands of Israelis staged a peace march in Tel Aviv Saturday night, demanding that their country withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.

The protestors marched from central Rabin Square, where Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish extremist on November 4, 1995 for his peacemaking efforts, to the defence ministry building.

According to the pacifist group which organized the march, Peace Now, the protestors numbered more than 10,000. [...]

The Silliest Show in Town

By: Uri Avnery
September20 ,2003

Shimon Peres is celebrating. Shimon Peres? The whole world is celebrating with him!

What has he got to celebrate?

Well, he has reached the age of80 . A respectable age. I can't begrudge him. (After all, I myself am now 80 years old, and I just had a celebration, too.)

[...] Shimon Peres bears a major part of the responsibility for the woeful state that Israel is now in, for the continuation of conflict with the Palestinians, for destroying the Israeli peace camp, for strengthening the Likud's hold on power, for paving the way for Ariel Sharon, who is quite capable of bringing about the destruction of Israel .

Even in the declining years of the Roman empire , they did not celebrate a triumph for a defeated and humiliated general. Only in Israel . Because, in Israel , nothing succeeds like failure.

Bush covers up climate research
White House officials play down its own scientists' evidence of global warming

Paul Harris New York
Sunday September 21, 2003
The Observer

White House officials have undermined their own government scientists' research into climate change to play down the impact of global warming, an investigation by The Observer can reveal.

The disclosure will anger environment campaigners who claim that efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions are being sabotaged because of President George W. Bush's links to the oil industry.

Emails and internal government documents obtained by The Observer show that officials have sought to edit or remove research warning that the problem is serious. They have enlisted the help of conservative lobby groups funded by the oil industry to attack US government scientists if they produce work seen as accepting too readily that pollution is an issue.

Comment: We have had direct experience with the corruption of science in the United States to serve the aims of an elect few. Therefore, this news does not surprise us one bit.

Isabel evacuees eye uncertain future

Sunday, September 21, 2003 Posted: 0145 GMT

(CNN) -- Hurricane Isabel struck with a vengeance Thursday, killing 31 people, and the East Coast residents displaced by the power outages, damage and flooding the storm left in its wake are ready to get home.

But they worry what they'll find and how much it may cost them. Experts say to expect storm-related insurance claims of close to $1 billion. [...]

List of Deadliest, Costliest U.S. Storms

State to remove wards from Maryville Academy campus

Move effectively closes site, which officials say is an unsafe environment.

CHICAGO (AP) -- Illinois child welfare officials announced Friday they will pull all state wards from Maryville Academy's main campus, calling it an unsafe environment where administrators have ignored chance after chance to improve.

The move was the latest blow to the 120-year-old institution that was once Illinois' largest facility for caring for abused and abandoned children. It has been battered by problems that include runaways, sex among youths, poor oversight and problematic reporting of incidents. [...]

RIAA 'encouraging stalkers, molesters'

By Andrew Orlowski

US telco giant SBC has hit back at the Recording Industry Association of America's legal blitz against music lovers.

In testimony before the Senate this week, SBC's counsel Jim Ellis said that the RIAA was making an end run around the constitution by issuing a blitz of subpoenas with no judicial oversight.

Ellis argued that the legal tactics deployed by the RIAA could be adopted by Net stalkers and child molesters. [...]

500 paedophiles to be tracked by satellite tags

Jamie Doward, social affairs editor
Sunday September 21, 2003
The Observer

Paedophiles are to be electronically tagged in the UK for the first time in a move that could prompt a revolution in the treatment and monitoring of sex offenders. [...]

Man Jailed for Allegedly Raping Jogger


DENVER (AP) -- A construction worker kidnapped a jogger and raped her five times over a span of 24 hours in his pornography-littered trailer, videotaping one of the assaults and happily watching it before letting her go, authorities said.

Hospital blunders cost man his legs

TWO Queensland hospitals are being sued for $2.5 million after an alleged series of medical bungles left a man without his legs.

Cell phone use while driving - charged with murder

A 30-year-old man is charged with murder after he ran down and killed a 4-year-old while sending text messages on his cell phone.

Scientists keep eye on Anatahan Volcano

Volcano Watch

On May 10, 2003, Anatahan Volcano in the Northern Marianas Islands awoke for the first time in reported history and sent eruption cloud to heights reaching 10 km (approximately 6 miles). [...]

It's official: you can no longer fail your exams

By David Harrison
The Telegraph

School exam chiefs are to remove all risk of failure from key national tests by replacing the current F for "fail" grade with an N for "nearly".

The changes, which have been condemned as "politically correct twaddle", include instructions that markers are to grade maths exam answers as either "creditworthy" or "not creditworthy" instead of correct or incorrect. [...]

Six million lose on 10 years of pension investment

The Telegraph

Six million Britons have seen the value of their personal pensions fall over the past 10 years, according to a study published this week. [...]

Is the Fed lying?

Some economists say policy-makers fib about how worried they are about inflation and jobs.

September 19, 2003
By Mark Gongloff
CNN/Money Staff Writer

[...] But right now, the Fed's got numbers to back up its stated theory that the economy has so much "slack," in unused workers and production capacity, that it will have to grow for a long time before prices budge and jobs get created. [...]

Two sides of the info lock-down

By Wayne A. Hall
Times Herald-Record

[...] Want to find out what could happen if your neighborhood chemical company blew up?

You were supposed to be able to view [this information].

But chemical companies, the FBI and others argued against making the worst-case scenarios easily available to the public.

Such information would provide a blueprint for terrorists, the FBI said. And the companies said they didn't want competitors to see proprietary information. [...]

Comment: Welome to the brave new world, where everything can blamed on terrorists created by the Bush Reich.

Apollo-like capsule may replace shuttle

Thursday, September 18, 2003 Posted: 1515 GMT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) -- NASA may replace its troubled fleet of space shuttles with a new generation of Apollo-type space capsules, a top space agency official said.

"Certainly we have considerable amount of experience flying with capsules," Dr. John Rogacki, director of NASA's space transportation directorate, told Reuters on Wednesday. "One might say on the capsule side it could be that that design experience may lead to a capsule being available sooner than a winged vehicle." [...]

The 13 members of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board were unanimous in urging NASA to replace the aging shuttles as soon as possible by using existing technology and materials. [...]

Dilemma of floating sheep enrages Bardot

Sunday 21 September 2003, 9:14 Makka Time, 6:14 GMT

The saga of the 57,000 sheep stranded in a ship in the Persian Gulf is causing a global outcry from animal rights activists.

French movie icon Brigitte Bardot is the latest to express outrage over the plight of the 57,000 sheep, left in the lurch in the high seas.

The sheep left Australia on 5 August, but were rejected by Saudi Arabia three weeks later on the grounds that 6% had scabby mouth.

With no port willing to accept the ailing animals, the ship has been in limbo and the sheep have no place to go.

Almost 4000 of them have already died from heat stress and the Dutch-owned vessel, Cormo Express has gained notoriety as the "ship of death."

Comment: What about the 6 billion sheep floating through space on a little rock known as Earth?

Spanish navy shocks blamed for giant squid deaths

Friday, September 19, 2003
MADRID, Spain (Reuters)

Shockwaves from scientific tests carried out by the Spanish navy have killed four giant squid -- one the length of a bus -- off Spain's coast in recent days, the head of a marine protection agency said.

"The navy ship the Hesperides is working in the area...and the shock waves (are the cause of death)," said Luis Laria, president of marine protection agency CEPESMA.

The giant squid, mythologised as the monster that attacked Captain Nemo's Nautilus in the Jules Verne adventure "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," is the world's largest invertebrate and lives at depths of up to 2,000 meters (6,562 ft).

Josep Gallard, a leading scientist working on the ship, denied techniques used to study the ocean floor were harmful.

Moon Brings Novel Green Power to Arctic Homes

By Alister Doyle
Sat September 20, 2003 10:22 AM ET

OSLO (Reuters) - Homes on the Arctic tip of Norway started getting power from the moon on Saturday via a unique subsea power station driven by the rise and fall of the tide.

A tidal current in a sea channel near the town of Hammerfest, caused by the gravitational tug of the moon on the earth, started turning the 10-meter (33 ft) blades of a turbine bolted to the seabed to generate electricity for the local grid.

The prototype looks like an underwater windmill and is expected to generate about 700,000 kilowatt hours of non-polluting energy a year, or enough to light and heat about 30 homes. [...]

Car-free day to give Europe a breather from record pollution

PARIS (AFP) Sep 21, 2003

Close to 1,000 towns and cities, most of them European, will be hoping for a breather from three months of heatwave-related record pollution on Monday, the annual "car-free day". [...]

Giants Fan Kills Dodgers Fan, Police Say

The Associated Press
Saturday, September 20, 2003; 10:45 AM

LOS ANGELES - A Los Angeles Dodgers fan was shot and killed by a San Francisco Giants fan following a dispute in the parking lot after a game, police said.

Mark Antenorcruz, 25, of Covina, was shot once in the upper body about 10 p.m. Friday as he headed for his car, police and county coroner's Lt. Gary Kellerman said. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. [...]

Our own Mary Celeste


[...] Slowly rusting away on the coastal mudflats is the High Aim 6 , a Taiwanese fishing boat found adrift and without crew off the Western Australian coast earlier this year.

All that was found by a navy boarding party were tonnes of rotting fish, toothbrushes and other personal items, food, and fuel.

There was no sign of the crew. [...]

Mysterious Rain of 'Eggs' in Connecticut

[...] About 10 a.m. he was sitting on his porch reading a newspaper when he heard a sudden burst.

"I thought it was hail and I said to my wife, ‘Ginger, it’s hailing,’" he said. "I went back to reading my paper and then I saw the things were still there and were not melting. I went out and saw hundred of these white things."

The ‘things’ appeared to be eggs of some sort, the size of a pearl, he said. [...]

'Miracle Ganesha' on peepal tree

A crowd thronged a peepal tree near Sharda school at Memnagar late Wednesday as news spread of Ganesha "appearing" out of a tree trunk.

The form of Ganesha evolving out of the tree trunk was first noticed by one Romesh Sopaji. "I was sitting near the peepal tree in the morning and I was surprised to see the form of Ganesha appearing out of the trunk. The form was not very clear then. When I told others about the phenomenon people did not believe me thinking that I was imagining things. But, by evening the form became clear and eyes, ears and trunk of Ganesha could be clearly seen," he said. [...]

And Finally...

Proclamation of Resolution of Former US Presidents

MC: Dwight Eisenhower
Prayer: Franklin Roosevelt
Adoption and Proclamation of Resolution: Richard Nixon
Three Cheers of Mansei: Richard Nixon

God our Father,

We, the former presidents of the United States, in the attendance and service of God and True Parents, hereby proclaim our adoption of the following 6-point written resolution. We all determine to actively volunteer our efforts and sacrifice for the sake of peace in the United States and peace for all humankind. For this we ask that you guide us all.

Proclamation of the Resolution
We proclaim that God exists as the parent of humankind.
We resolve and proclaim the reality of the incorporeal world (the eternal spiritual world).
We resolve and proclaim that Rev. Sun Myung Moon is the Lord of the Second Advent, the Messiah, the Savior and the True Parent.
We resolve and proclaim that we will make public to the whole world the true nature of the devil, Satan (Lucifer), who destroyed the original culture of humankind, and that we will eradicate the root of the various sins that have manifested throughout history.
Affirming that world peace can never be realized through military strife or war, we resolve and proclaim that we will realize world peace based on the true love of True Parents.
We former US presidents resolve and proclaim that we will stand in the forefront with the heart to volunteer and sacrifice for the sake of world peace.
Three Cheers of Mansei
Hananim (God), Mansei!
Champumonim (True Parents), Mansei!
Former US Presidents, Mansei!

Former US Presidents Representative Richard Nixon

July 31, 2003

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