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September 30, 2003

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Blair urges party to keep the faith

30 September, 2003

Live from the Labour party conference

Tony Blair has vowed to ride out his "rough patch" as he delivers one of the most important party conference speeches of his leadership. The prime minister received a standing ovation from the Labour Party faithful as he arrived to give his keynote message of "renewal not retreat" in Bournemouth on Tuesday.

On the key issue of Iraq, Mr Blair said he respected his critics, but: "I ask just one thing: Attack my decision but at least understand why I took it and why I would take the same decision again.

He said he was surprised it had taken so long for things to become difficult - but in a signal of his intent to ride out his troubles, he said: "What to do... give up on it - or get on with it?"

"Imagine you are PM, and you receive this intelligence and not just about Iraq but about the whole murky trade in WMD .... So what do I do?

"Say 'I've got the intelligence but I've a hunch it's wrong'?"

But former Labour leader Neil Kinnock called on the prime minister to "stick to his purpose" and not to change his plans simply because "icy winds" are blowing in his face.

"I think people respect the fact that in the end he is always willing to take responsibility, always willing to demonstrate the consistency of the course that he is setting and that they can depend upon him for the honesty and directness that they seek," said Mr Kinnock.

Comment: And the psychopath triumphs yet again. Notice in the above how Blair basically admits that he knowingly acted on false information, leading to the deaths of many thousands of Iraqi civilians, yet presents it in such a way that the 'party faithful' are unable to make the logical connection. Blair asks people to "attack my decision yet understand why I took it and why I would take the same decision again" Lets do just that:

His decision was to use false information to lie to the public and commit British troops to war leading, essentially, to a war crime.

The reason he made it was to secure power wealth and influence for him and his government.

The conclusion then is not that the party should rally round him and further support his megalomaniacal policies. The party should logically oust him and he should be tried for treason and as a war criminal.

Iraq war a disaster, says Cook

The Telegraph

The decision to go to war in Iraq was a "first-class political disaster" for the Government, former Cabinet minister Robin Cook has said.

Mr Cook, who resigned the Cabinet over the Iraq war , urged Tony Blair to be ready to say "No" to US President George W Bush if he turned to Britain for help in further military "adventures" abroad. [...]

Don't Mention The Oil. Or Ask About The Victims

Robert Fisk
The Independent UK
29 September 2003

"The right thing ... a magnificent job ... heroes ... pride". So off Tony went again yesterday on Breakfast With Frost, spinning and spinning about Iraq.

I wonder what he'd think of the city morgue downtown from here when they bring the gunshot victims in every morning. Or down in the Basra area where the British rule and where, in the past few weeks, 38 corpses have been found, hands and feet tied, each neatly executed with a shot through the back of the neck. Baath party officials, we're told. Killed, quite possibly, by the Shia Badr Brigade. Yup, things are getting better and better in "New Iraq".

And as for those weapons of mass destruction?

"We know perfectly well he had these weapons, he had these programmes." But is there anyone who doesn't see through this obfuscation? For when Tony says: "We know perfectly well he had those weapons", he is, of course, referring to the chemical weapons Saddam had more than 10 years ago and which have not existed for years. The "programmes", which we still haven't discovered, are what Tony hopes the Iraq Survey Group will come up with when they admit in a few days' time that there weren't any weapons of mass destruction.

No mention of course that when Saddam had these terrible things, the British and American government were happily doing business with Saddam. Why not talk about weapons of mass deception? [...]


Blair: Surrender terrorists or surrender power

The following is an excerpt from the text of Blair's address at a Labour Party conference in Brighton, England on October 2, 2001 in which he speaks of the war on terror in wake of 9/11

"You know, people say, "Well, we're only acting because it's the USA that was attacked." "Double standards," they say. But when Milosevic embarked on the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Kosovo, we acted. And the skeptics said it was pointless, that we made matters worse, we made Milosevic stronger and look what happened. We won. The refugees went home. The policies of ethnic cleansing were reversed. And one of the great dictators of the last century will finally see justice in this century. "

Comment: Blair the lapdog consciously acted on the dictates of bogus US intelligence. See below article.

US Said To Have Fabricated Evidence In Yugoslavia

By Frank In Stockholm
Unknown News correspondent

The US "fabricated evidence" against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic during clashes between Serbia and Bosnia in the mid-1990s, according to a prominent and experienced international peacekeeping official who served there.

Retired Swedish Brigadier General Bo Pellnas, who was head of UN Military Observers (UNMOs) in Croatia, now says that the US should not be trusted. Pellnas says that he learned to distrust US-provided evidence during peacekeeping service in the former Yugoslavia.

Pellnas's misgivings are described in an article from the Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet.

Here is an English-language translation of this article:

In an interview with Sweden's leading news-wire TT, retired Brigadier Bo Pellnas claims that the US "faked evidence to suit their own interests."

"If the US were to present evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the countries of the Western world would have no way to substantiate these reports due to the technical superiority of the US."

These are the words of retired Brigadier Bo Pellnas, who says he witnessed the US "fabricating fact to suit their own needs." Pellnas says he witnessed this first-hand when he led an international force which safeguarded the borders between Serbia and Bosnia in the mid-1990s, where he gained a very good insight and understanding of US operations. "The technical superiority of the US gives their politicians the option of bringing forth fake evidence, in this case in front of the United Nations Security Council."

Pellnas served in Yugoslavia during a time when US efforts, led by then Secretary of State Madeline Albright, presented evidence to the UN Security Council that Milosevic's Belgrade government ran unmonitored arms shipments. Pellnas claims that Albright's staff presented manipulated satellite photos to document false allegations, leading the Security Council to act in accordance with the US hard line against Milosevic.

"There might be a possibility that Albright thought the pictures to be true," says Pellnas, "but several incidents pointed towards the fact that the US lied." The US stood firm by their claims, refusing to show supporting evidence to Pellnas and other members of the peacekeeping crew.

"If the US were to come forth with evidence against Iraq which were "difficult to confirm," the permanent members of the Council will be put in a difficult situation, since they lack the sufficient tools to research and verify such claims."

Pellnas said he hopes that nations of the European Union make it their responsibility to build their own intelligence agency which has the capability to act as a counterbalance to the US. "It would be great indeed if the EU could act as a balance to the world's only true superpower, which acts alone these days."

In addition to his UN duties, Pellnas was also in charge of an international monitoring mission to Yugoslavia in 1994 sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and worked with the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia (ICFY), a group established in 1991 to find a peaceful solution to the region's conflicts.

Bush's war on terror' is a cruel hoax (a 'must read')


At the British Labour Party conference following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Prime Minister 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 broad based, that unites all ethnic groups and offers some way out of the poverty that is your miserable existence."

He was echoing US President 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, 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.

I visited Afghanistan for the first time earlier this year. 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 in Cambodia to mark "Year Zero".

There is a sense of Year Zero in Afghanistan. My footsteps echoed through the once grand Dilkusha Palace, built in 1910 to a design by a British architect, whose circular staircase and Corinthian columns and stone frescoes of biplanes were celebrated. It is now a cavernous ruin from which reed-thin children emerge like small phantoms, offering yellowing postcards of what it looked like 30 years ago. Beneath the sweep of the staircase were the blood and flesh of two people blown up by a bomb the day before. Who were they? Who planted the bomb? In a country in thrall to warlords, many of them conniving in terrorism, the question itself is surreal.

A hundred metres away, men in blue move stiffly in single file: mine-clearers. Mines are like litter here, killing and maiming, it is calculated, every hour of every day. Opposite what was Kabul's main cinema, today an art deco shell, there is a busy roundabout with posters warning that unexploded cluster bombs — "yellow and from USA" — are in the vicinity. Children play here, chasing each other into the shadows. They are watched by a teenage boy with a stump and part of his face missing.

'Mafiosi' rule

More than US$10 billion has been spent on Afghanistan since October 7, 2001, most of it by the US. More than 80% of this has paid for bombing the country and paying the warlords, the former mujaheddin who called themselves the "Northern Alliance". Washington gave each warlord tens of thousands of dollars in cash and truckloads of weapons. "We were reaching out to every commander that we could," a CIA official told the Wall Street Journal during the war. In other words, they bribed them to stop fighting each other and fight the Taliban.

These were the same warlords who, vying for control of Kabul after the Russians left in 1989, pulverised the city, killing 50,000 civilians. Half of them in 1994, according to Human Rights Watch. Thanks to the Americans, control of Afghanistan has been ceded to most of the same mafiosi and their private armies, who rule by fear, extortion and monopolising the opium poppy trade that supplies Britain with 90% of its street heroin.

The post-Taliban government is a facade; it has no money and its writ barely runs to the gates of Kabul, in spite of democratic pretensions such as the election planned for next year. Omar Zakhilwal, an official in the ministry of rural affairs, told me that the government gets less than 20% of the aid that is delivered to Afghanistan. "We don't even have enough money to pay wages, let alone plan reconstruction", he said. President Hamid Karzai is a placeman of Washington who goes nowhere without his posse of US special forces bodyguards.

In a series of extraordinary reports, the latest published in July, Human Rights Watch has documented atrocities "committed by gunmen and warlords who were propelled into power by the United States and its coalition partners after the Taliban fell in 2001" and who have "essentially hijacked the country".

The report describes army and police troops controlled by the warlords kidnapping villagers with impunity and holding them for ransom in unofficial prisons; the widespread rape of women, girls and boys; routine extortion, robbery and arbitrary murder. Girls' schools are burned down. "Because the soldiers are targeting women and girls", the report says, "many are staying indoors, making it impossible for them to attend school [or] go to work".

In the western city of Herat, for example, women are arrested if they drive; they are prohibited from travelling with an unrelated man, even an unrelated taxi driver. If they are caught, they are subjected to a "chastity test", squandering precious medical services to which, says Human Rights Watch, "women and girls have almost no access, particularly in Herat, where fewer than one per cent of women give birth with a trained attendant". The death rate of mothers giving birth is the highest in the world, according to UNICEF. Herat is ruled by the warlord Ismail Khan, whom US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld endorsed as "an appealing man... thoughtful, measured and self-confident".

Sima Samar

"The last time we met in this chamber", said Bush in his State of the Union speech last year, "the mothers and daughters of Afghanistan were captives in their own homes, forbidden from working or going to school. Today, women are free, and are part of Afghanistan's new government. And we welcome the new minister of women's affairs, Dr Sima Samar." A slight, middle-aged woman in a headscarf stood and received the choreographed ovation.

A physician who refused to deny treatment to women during the Taliban years, Samar is a true symbol of resistance, whose appropriation by the unctuous Bush was short-lived. In December 2001, Samar attended the Washington-sponsored "peace conference" in Bonn at which Karzai was installed as president and three of the most brutal warlords as vice-presidents. General Rashid Dostum, accused of torturing and slaughtering prisoners, is currently defence minister. Samar was one of two women in Karzai's cabinet.

No sooner had the applause in Congress died away than Samar was smeared with a false charge of blasphemy and forced out. The warlords, different from the Taliban only in their tribal allegiances and religious pieties, were not tolerating even a gesture of female emancipation.

Today, Samar lives in constant fear for her life. She has two fearsome bodyguards with automatic weapons. She travels in a blacked-out van. "For the past 23 years, I was not safe", she told me, "but I was never in hiding or travelling with gunmen, which I must do now... There is no more official law to stop women from going to school and work; there is no law about dress code. But the reality is that even under the Taliban there was not the pressure on women in the rural areas there is now."

The apartheid might have legally ended, but for as many as 90% of the women of Afghanistan, these "reforms" — such as the setting up of a women's ministry in Kabul — are little more than a technicality. The burka is still ubiquitous. As Samar says, the plight of rural women is often more desperate now because the ultra-puritanical Taliban dealt harshly with rape, murder and banditry. Unlike today, it was possible to travel safely across much of the country. [...]

"During the Taliban we were living in a graveyard, but we were secure", Marina, a leading member of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), told me. "Some people even say they were better. That's how desperate the situation is today. The laws may have changed, but women dare not leave their homes without the burka, which we wear as much for our protection."

We met clandestinely and she wore a veil to disguise her identity. Marina is not her real name. RAWA is a heroic organisation that for years tried to alert the world to the suffering of the women of Afghanistan. RAWA women travelled secretly throughout the country, with cameras concealed beneath their burkas. They filmed a Taliban execution and other abuses, and smuggled the videotape to the west. "We took it to different media groups", said Marina. "Reuters, ABC Australia, for example, and they said, yes, it's very nice, but we can't show it because it's too shocking for people in the West." The execution was shown finally in a documentary broadcast by Britain's Channel 4.

That was before 9/11, when Bush and the US media discovered the issue of women in Afghanistan. Marina says that the silence today in the West over the atrocious nature of the US-backed warlord regime is no different.

Washington's `Frankenstein'

"Two girls who went to school without their burkas were killed and their dead bodies were put in front of their houses", Marina told me. "Last month, 35 women jumped into a river along with their children and died, just to save themselves from commanders on a rampage of rape. That is Afghanistan today; the Taliban and the warlords of the Northern Alliance are two faces of the same coin.

Afghanistan's tragedy exemplifies the maxim of Western power — that Third World countries are regarded and dealt with strictly in terms of their usefulness to "us". [...]

For 17 years, Washington poured $4 billion into the pockets of some of the most brutal men on earth — with the overall aim of exhausting and ultimately destroying the Soviet Union in a futile war.

CIA director William Casey backed a plan by Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. More than 100,000 Islamic militants were trained in Pakistan between 1986 and 1992, in camps overseen by the CIA and Britain's MI6, with the British SAS trained future al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in bomb-making and other black arts. Their leaders were trained at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called Operation Cyclone and continued long after the Soviets had withdrawn in 1989.

"I confess that [countries] are pieces on a chessboard", said Lord Curzon, British viceroy of India in 1898, "upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world". Brzezinski, adviser to several presidents and a guru admired by the Bush gang, has written virtually the same words. In his book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives, he writes that the key to dominating the world is central Asia, with its strategic position between competing powers and immense oil and gas wealth. [...]

Oil and gas

When the Soviet Union finally collapsed, the chessboard was passed to the Clinton administration. The latest mutation of the mujaheddin, the Taliban, now ruled Afghanistan. In 1997, US State Department officials and executives of the Union Oil Company of California (UNOCAL) lavishly entertained Taliban leaders in Washington and Houston, Texas. The Wall Street Journal, bulletin of US power, effused, "The Taliban are the players most capable of achieving peace in Afghanistan at this moment in history".

In January 1997, a State Department official told journalists in a private briefing that it was hoped Afghanistan would become an oil protectorate, "like Saudi Arabia". It was pointed out to him that Saudi Arabia had no democracy and persecuted women. "We can live with that", he said.

The US goal was the realisation of a 60-year "dream" of building a pipeline from the former Soviet Caspian across Afghanistan to a deep-water port. The Taliban were offered 15 cents for every 1000 cubic feet of gas that passed through Afghanistan. Although these were the Clinton years, pushing the deal were the "oil and gas junta" that was soon to dominate George W Bush's regime. They included former members of US President George Bush senior's cabinet — present US vice-president Dick Cheney, representing nine oil companies, and Condoleezza Rice, now national security adviser, then a director of Chevron-Texaco with special responsibility for Pakistan and Central Asia.

Peel the onion and you find Bush senior as a paid consultant of the huge Carlyle Group, whose 164 companies specialise in oil and gas and pipelines and weapons. His clients included a super-wealthy Saudi family, the bin Ladens. (Within days of the September 11 attacks, the bin Laden family was allowed to leave the US in high secrecy.)

The pipeline "dream" faded when two US embassies in east Africa were bombed and al Qaeda was blamed and the connection with Afghanistan was made. The usefulness of the Taliban was over; it had become an embarrassment and was expendable. In October 2001, the US bombed back into power their old warlord friends, the Northern Alliance. Today, with Afghanistan "liberated", the pipeline is finally going ahead, watched over by the US ambassador to Afghanistan, John Maresca, formerly of UNOCAL.

Since it overthrew the Taliban, the US has established 13 bases in the nine former Soviet central Asian countries that are Afghanistan's resource-rich neighbours. Across the world, there is now a US military presence at the gateway to every major source of fossil fuel.

'Combat zone'

It is from the vast, Soviet-built base at Bagram, near Kabul, that the US controls the land route to the riches of the Caspian basin. But, as in that other conquest, Iraq, all is not going smoothly. "We get shot at every time we go off base", said Colonel Rod Davis. "For us, that's a combat zone out there."

I said to him, "But President Bush says you liberated Afghanistan. Why should people shoot at you?"

"Hostile elements are everywhere, my friend."

"Is that surprising, when you support murderous warlords?", I replied.

"We call them regional governors."

As "regional governors", warlords such as Khan in Herat are deemed part of Karzai's national government — an uneasy juxtaposition.

The war that expelled the Taliban never stopped. Ten-thousand US troops are stationed there; they go out in their helicopter gunships and Humvees and blow up caves in the mountains or they target a village, usually in the south-east. The Taliban are coming back in the Pashtun heartland and on the border with Pakistan. The level of the war is not independently known; US spokespeople such as Davis are the sources of news reports that say "50 Taliban fighters were killed by US forces". Afghanistan is now so dangerous that it is virtually impossible for reporters to find out.

The centre of US operations is now the "holding facility" at Bagram, where suspects are taken and interrogated. Two former prisoners, Abdul Jabar and Hakkim Shah, told the New York Times in March how as many as 100 prisoners were "made to stand hooded, their arms raised and chained to the ceiling, their feet shackled, unable to move for hours at a time, day and night". From here, many are shipped to the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay.

They are denied all rights. The Red Cross has been allowed to inspect only part of the "holding facility" at Bagram; Amnesty has been refused access altogether. In April last year, a Kabul taxi driver, Wasir Mohammad, whose family I interviewed, "disappeared" into Bagram after he inquired at a roadblock about the whereabouts of a friend who had been arrested. The friend has since been released, but Mohammad is now in a cage in Guantanamo Bay. A former minister of the interior in the Karzai government told me that Mohammad was in the wrong place at the wrong time: "He is innocent."

Moreover, he had a record of standing up to the Taliban. It is likely that many of those incarcerated at Bagram and Guantanamo Bay were kidnapped for the ransoms the Americans pay for suspects.

Why, I asked Colonel Davis, were the people in the "holding facility" not given the basic rights he would expect as a US citizen taken prisoner by a foreign army. He replied: "The issue of prisoners of war is way off to the far left or the right depending on your perspective."

This is the Kafkaesque world that Bush's America has imprinted on the recently acquired additions to its empire, real and virtual, rising on new rubble in places where human life is not given the same value as those who perished at "ground zero" in New York.

One such place is a village called Bibi Mahru, which was attacked by a US F16 almost two years ago during the war. The pilot dropped a "precision" 500lb bomb on a mud and stone house, where Orifa and her husband, Gul Ahmed, a carpet weaver, lived. The bomb killed all but Orifa and one son — eight members of her family, including six children. Two children in the next house were killed, too.

Her face engraved with grief and anger, Orifa told me how the bodies were laid out in front of the mosque, and the horrific state in which she found them. She spent the afternoon collecting body parts, "then bagging and naming them so they could be buried later on". She said a team of 11 Americans came and surveyed the crater where her home had stood. They noted the numbers on shrapnel and each interviewed her. Their translator gave her an envelope with $15 in dollar bills. Later, she was taken to the US embassy in Kabul by Rita Lasar, a New Yorker who had lost her brother in the Twin Towers and had gone to Afghanistan to protest about the bombing and to comfort its victims. When Orifa tried to hand in a letter through the embassy gate, she was told, "Go away, you beggar."

In May last year, the British Guardian published the result of an investigation by Jonathan Steele. He concluded that, in addition to up to 8000 Afghans killed by US bombs, as many as 20,000 more may have died as an indirect consequence of Bush's invasion, including those who fled their homes and were denied emergency relief in the middle of a drought.

Of all the great humanitarian crises of recent years, no country has been helped less than Afghanistan. Bosnia, with a quarter of the population, received $356 per person; Afghanistan gets $42 per person. Only 3% of all international aid spent in Afghanistan has been for reconstruction; the US-led military "coalition" accounts for 84%, the rest is emergency aid.

Last March, Karzai flew to Washington to beg for more money. He was promised extra money from private US investors. Of this, $35 million will finance a proposed five-star hotel. As Bush said, "The Afghan people will know the generosity of America and its allies."

Comment: Do Americans see it yet? Do Americans realise the type of people that are in the Whitehouse? Do they realise the type of people that are making decisions in their name?

Do Americans think it is ok that the US military goes around the world butchering and destroying? Do they realise that if they reject that which is in front of their eyes and believe the LIES, they are directly facilitating and contributing to the continuing carnage being wrought by the US government and it's military?

Most importatly, do Americans understand the reprecussions of this? Do they understand that they are responsible for the actions of their 'elected' leaders?

Senator Kennedy Says Republicans' War on Iraq is a Big Fraud

by Steve LeBlanc

Bush bribing foreign rulers to send troops to Iraq. Where are American taxpayers' $1.5 billion?

Bush regime is wasting $4 billion per month on its illegal war in Iraq, but only about $2.5 billion can be accounted for by the White House.

BOSTON, MA, USA (AP) - The case for going to war against Iraq was a fraud "made up in Texas" to give Republicans a political boost, U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy said Thursday [September 18, 2003].

In an interview with The Associated Press, Kennedy also said the Bush Administration has failed to account for nearly half of the $4 billion the war is costing each month. He said he believes much of the unaccounted-for money is being used to bribe foreign leaders to send in troops.

He called the Bush Administration's current Iraq policy "adrift." The White House declined to comment Thursday.

The Massachusetts Democrat also expressed doubts about how serious a threat [Iraq's President] Saddam Hussein posed to the United States in its battle against terrorism. He said administration officials relied on "distortion, misrepresentation, a selection of intelligence" to justify their case for war.

"There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership, that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office showed that only about $2.5 billion of the $4 billion being spent monthly on the war can be accounted for by the Bush Administration.

"My belief is this money is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops," he said.

Of the $87 billion in new money requested by President Bush for the war, Kennedy said the administration should be required to report back to the Congress to account for the spending [...]

Weapons documentation declared lost following FOI Act request

The El Paso Times was told that documents describing the condition of weapons used by American soldiers during a firefight in Iraq, in which 11 Americans were killed, were missing in action.

Comment: How Convenient. A father comments on the Iraq Invasion from

[...] It is incredibly frustrating having a son involved in this fiasco and not being able to believe that your voice can be heard over the din of lies and deceit coming from your own government. [...]

From the same page another father comments:

[...] I asked him about Rumsfeld's visit to the Baghdad Airport. My son said that on an average day, there are Iraqis around the airport doing different chores. He said that none were allowed at the airport during Rumsfeld's visit. More disturbing, my son said there were sharp-shooters on the roofs of all the buildings. I asked my son why they would need sharp-shooters on the roof if there were no Iraqis at the Airport. He said they were for the SOLDIERS! He said they were all warned that any one that went on a roof would be SHOT!

The airport is made up of several high rise buildings that the troops live in. My son said several of his friends live on the upper floors of these buildings. He said they generally go up on the roof to read or to smoke, etc. These soldiers were warned they would be shot if they went up on the roof for any reason. I find it shocking that the morale is so low for the troops that the upper brass don't trust them.

[M]y son told me that his friends appreciate our efforts. He said they know that we are protesting against the administration and not them. They back us completely. [...]

A young wife comments:

[...] I have always, no matter what, supported my country and my president, so how can I now, an American citizen have no faith in what we are doing or what we even stand for anymore? My husband married me and vowed to raise my three children. He loves them as if they were his own. I am 25, he is 21. He is the most wonderful man on this Earth. He joined the Army to better our lives and so we could have THE GOOD LIFE, THE AMERICAN DREAM... Now I sit here and wonder for what cost. What will the AMERICAN DREAM cost him? Will it cost him his sanity? His health? His Life? I sit here everyday battling: Was this worth it now? [...]

I am now on anti-depressants, sleeping pills, and through it all take care of 3 children.... CAN I AT LEAST KNOW WHY HE IS STILL THERE? CAN I KNOW WHEN HE MAY COME BACK? CAN I KNOW ANYTHING, MR.BUSH? No, of course I can't, nor can he, because you still don't know why do you? The red and white stripes in the American Flag, for me, stands for the blood of the innocent that has been shed. The blue stands for all the nights I, and my children, have cried ourselves to sleep and the stars stand for what little hope I have for the future of this nation. I pray my husband comes home they same man I married. He is a loving gentle soul. I hope your WAR didn't break that PRESIDENT BUSH.... [...]

Another wife comments:

[...] I have absolutely no faith left in our government and especially George Bush. [...]

A mother comments:

[...] My son came home in July, one of the deadliest months. He came home without his right hand and part of his left foot. He was in his Humvee and they were ambushed and a grenade was tossed into their vehicle. I stayed with him 3 weeks at Walter Reed Hospital, and saw the devastation of these soldiers. My son was in Ward 57 and it is an amputee ward, and it was full. He's still there getting more treatment, and while I was there I saw the Medevac buses bringing in more soldiers everyday. [...]

We still receive the occassional email that tells we need to have courage and look at why we needed to blow those brown people to smitherens, or that mention that phrase used to justify so much destruction "war is hell".

Adding indifference to injury

Iraq Body Count

At least 20,000 civilians were injured in the Iraq war: Why are the occupiers ignoring their suffering and their needs?

Hijack 'suspects' alive and well

Sunday, 23 September, 2001, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK

Another of the men named by the FBI as a hijacker in the suicide attacks on Washington and New York has turned up alive and well.

The identities of four of the 19 suspects accused of having carried out the attacks are now in doubt.

Saudi Arabian pilot Waleed Al Shehri was one of five men that the FBI said had deliberately crashed American Airlines flight 11 into the World Trade Centre on 11 September.

His photograph was released, and has since appeared in newspapers and on television around the world.

Now he is protesting his innocence from Casablanca, Morocco.

He told journalists there that he had nothing to do with the attacks on New York and Washington, and had been in Morocco when they happened. He has contacted both the Saudi and American authorities, according to Saudi press reports.

He acknowledges that he attended flight training school at Dayton Beach in the United States, and is indeed the same Waleed Al Shehri to whom the FBI has been referring.

But, he says, he left the United States in September last year, became a pilot with Saudi Arabian airlines and is currently on a further training course in Morocco.

Mistaken identity

Abdulaziz Al Omari, another of the Flight 11 hijack suspects, has also been quoted in Arab news reports.

He says he is an engineer with Saudi Telecoms, and that he lost his passport while studying in Denver.

Another man with exactly the same name surfaced on the pages of the English-language Arab News.

The second Abdulaziz Al Omari is a pilot for Saudi Arabian Airlines, the report says.

Meanwhile, Asharq Al Awsat newspaper, a London-based Arabic daily, says it has interviewed Saeed Alghamdi.

He was listed by the FBI as a hijacker in the United flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.

And there are suggestions that another suspect, Khalid Al Midhar, may also be alive.

FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged on Thursday that the identity of several of the suicide hijackers is in doubt.

Hijacking suspects
Flight 175: Marwan Al-Shehhi, Fayez Ahmed, Mohald Alshehri, Hamza Alghamdi and Ahmed Alghamdi
Flight 11: Waleed M Alshehri, Wail Alshehri, Mohamed Atta, Abdulaziz Alomari and Satam Al Suqami
Flight 77: Khalid Al-Midhar, Majed Moqed, Nawaq Alhamzi, Salem Alhamzi and Hani Hanjour
Flight 93: Ahmed Alhaznawi, Ahmed Alnami, Ziad Jarrahi and Saeed Alghamdi

Ayoon wa Azan (Weapons Of Mass Deception… Again)

Jihad Al Khazen

A few days ago, I wrote about one aspect of a new book called Weapons Of Mass Deception: The Uses Of Propaganda In Bush's War On Iraq, written by two experts in public relations, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber.

I had spoken of the Halabjah tragedy and the role of the U.S. officials in covering for the murder of Kurds by way of chemical weapons, when Saddam Hussein was an ally of the U.S. and an obstacle to the spread of the Iranian revolution.

[...] - Wars are used to promote new products, as following the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, a new car appeared on the American markets, called Hummer, based on the Humvee transporter that American soldiers used.

[...] - Wars increase a president's popularity...

[...] - Important television networks did not host any college professor, or any other character that usually opposes war, as to discuss this issue.

House panel questions Iraq proof

Information called outdated; leak of agent named probed

By Mary Leonard and Bryan Bender
The Boston Globe

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration scrambled yesterday to answer fresh attacks on the credibility of its case for toppling Saddam Hussein after House Intelligence Committee leaders called prewar information on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction "outdated and circumstantial," and the Justice Department opened a probe into CIA allegations that the White House illegally leaked the name of one of its agents. [...]

Report: Iraqi scientists say weapons were dismantled in1990s


Six months into the war against Iraq, and the U.S. has not yet shown evidence of alleged weapons of mass destruction - an allegation which prompted the Bush administration to launch its war on Saddam's regime.

Time magazine interviewed Iraqi weapons scientists and other former government officials for the last few months, and has concluded that they all made similar claims - - that Iraq's once massive unconventional-weapons program was destroyed or dismantled in the1990 s and never re-built.

Moreover, the claims stated that officials destroyed or never kept the documents that would prove it; that the "shell games" Saddam Hussein played with United Nations inspectors were designed to conceal his progress on conventional weapons systems such as missiles, air defenses, radars and not biological or chemical programs; and that even Saddam may not have known what he actually had or didn't have.

Comment: We have been tracking the shift in the US cover story for the invasion, destruction, and occupation of Iraq since the spring. On May 20, 2003, we this:

FLASHBACK!!! May 20, 2003

No Weapons, No Matter. We Called Saddam's Bluff

Comment: WARNING! The article you are about to read is not a joke. It is a terrifying look deep inside the mind of a psychopath.

By Michael Schrage
The Washinton Post
Sunday, May 11, 2003; Page B02

[E]ven if Iraq proves utterly free of WMD -- or if it merely possesses a paltry two or three bio-weapons vans -- the coalition's military action was the most rational response to Saddam's long-term policy of strategic deception. Saddam Hussein bet that he could get away with playing a "does he or doesn't he?" shell game with a skeptical superpower. He bet wrong.

The real story here is less about the failure of intelligence, inspections or diplomacy than about the end of America's tolerance for state-sponsored ambiguities explicitly designed to threaten American lives. Does an American policy to deny unfriendly nation-states the policy option of creating ambiguity around WMD possession and the support of terrorism make the world a safer place?

The Bush administration has made a game-theory-like calculation that it does. That's a calculation that could prove as important and enduring to global security as the Cold War's deterrence doctrine of "mutually assured destruction."

Iraq provides the single most important and dramatic case study in the Bush administration's efforts after Sept. 11, 2001, to eradicate ambiguity as a viable strategic deterrent for unfriendly regimes. Hussein's Iraq may or may not have had impressive caches of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. But his regime surely behaved as if it might.

Iraq's WMD threat remained credible for more than 20 years because that's precisely what Hussein wanted the world to believe. After all, he had successfully deployed chemical weapons against both Kurds and Iranians. He'd earned his credibility...

Comment: With US backing. He got the chemicals from the Americans.

This behavior by Iraq's regime was completely rational. Hussein's calculated cultivation of WMD ambiguity is a tactic torn directly from the tough-minded Cold War game-theory scenarios of nuclear deterrence. Brilliantly crafted by defense analysts such as former Harvard economist Thomas Schelling and the Rand Corp.'s Herman Kahn, this literature stresses the strategic importance of "signaling" -- that is, the critical behaviors potential combatants choose to display to either clarify or obscure their ultimate intentions. For years, "strategic ambiguity" worked very well for Hussein. His WMD ambiguity enhanced his survivability.

Comment: It also works well for psychopaths...

In fact, WMD ambiguity was at the core of Iraq's strategy. Why? Because if it ever became unambiguously clear that Iraq had major initiatives underway in nuclear or bio-weapons, America, Israel and even Europe might intervene militarily. If, however, it ever became obvious that Iraq lacked the unconventional weaponry essential to inspiring fear and inflicting horrific damage, then the Kurds, Iranians and Saudis might lack appropriate respect for Hussein's imperial ambitions. Ambiguity thus kept the West at bay while keeping Hussein's neighbors and his people in line. A little rumor of anthrax or VX goes a long way. [...]

But suppose Hussein was bluffing. Suppose Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction of any significance. That shouldn't matter at all. To the contrary, why should the international community respect totalitarian brinkmanship based on a bluff? A brutal despot who bets his regime on a bluff deserves to lose everything.

America's diplomatic failure to reduce strategic ambiguity inevitably led to a military success that did. Those nation-states and regimes invested in bluff and "double games" to manage their relationships with the United States would be wise to learn from Iraq's experience that "preemptive ambiguity removal" is probably their optimal strategy for self-preservation. Syria's Bashar Assad may understand this in a way that North Korea's Kim Jong Il does not.

The Bush administration, appropriately interpreting Iraq's refusal to remove WMD ambiguity in violation of numerous international agreements as an overtly hostile act, has sent an unambiguous signal that it will take all steps necessary to eliminate such ambiguity. To be sure, this sort of policy may not inherently make the world a safer place.

But policies that permit rogue states to wield greater influence by creating greater uncertainty about their weapons of mass destruction are guaranteed to make the world an even more dangerous place. Making every effort to increase the risks and reduce the rewards for regimes dependent on WMD ambiguity for their legitimacy should be a global responsibility -- not just an American one.

Michael Schrage is a senior adviser to the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Comment: "Ambiguity"! So now "ambiguity" is punisible by death? Iraq continually denied it had these weapons. So we see the Bush propaganda machine going into overdrive, coming up with new explanations for a sleepwalking populace. Where is "Truth" in all of this? These people have no respect for the Truth, or they believe it is something to be restricted to the elite. Lies and deception for the population. And this will continue as long as Americans allow it to happen.

The United States has the government it deserves. If they want this to change, they will have to wake up and smell the coffee. They will have to refuse the lies. Unfortunately, time is running out. The restrictions are becoming more and more severe. The "ambiguity" of who is a "terrorist" and who is exercising their democratic right to dissent is becoming heightened.

Ambiguity is a deadly weapon in the hands of those for whom civil rights are nothing more than paper. Remember the woman in Florida who overheard the conversation in a diner and believed it was a discussion about a planned terrorist attack?

The highway system got shut down as a consequence. Ambiguity. Or the man in the bar in the Dakotas who made the joke about the "burning Bush." That ambiguity landed him in jail. The ambiguity of the American people over whether they want to really SEE the world or remain asleep, that is a deadly ambiguity, too. Deadly for themselves and for the planet as a whole.

The repeated references to game-theory are revealing...although more of the mindset of US strategists. For a discussion of game theory, check out this article: To Be or Not To Be.

Consulting Firm with Bush Ties Set Up in Iraq - NYT

Tue September 30, 2003 05:54 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A consulting firm that specializes in advising clients on doing business in Iraq is staffed by some people with close ties to President Bush, his family or his administration, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Joe M. Allbaugh heads New Bridge Strategies, the Times said. Allbaugh had been Bush's campaign manager in 2000 and had directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency until March, according to the paper.

The Times mentioned other directors, including Edward M. Rogers Jr. and Lanny Griffith, both of whom had been assistants to the first President George Bush.

The firm's launch comes at a time President Bush has called for $20.3 billion to help rebuild Iraq after the U.S.-led war to depose former leader Saddam Hussein, said the daily. [...]

The U.S. government has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to American businesses for help in rebuilding Iraq. [...]

Military stashes covert millions

By Paul de la Garza, Times Staff Writer
September 28, 2003

The Pentagon asks MacDill's Special Operations to tuck an extra $20-million into its budget until it's needed.

TAMPA - The U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base inflated budget proposals at the Pentagon's request last year to hide $20-million from Congress, according to documents obtained by the St. Petersburg Times.

Special Operations officials divided the money among six projects so the money would not attract attention. They also instructed their own budget analysts not to mention it during briefings with congressional aides, the documents show.

The Pentagon's inspector general has launched an investigation. House Appropriations Chairman C.W. Bill Young, R-Largo, said he will ask Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during a hearing Tuesday whether the Pentagon intentionally deceived Congress. [...]


Comment: An excellent article on why and how the media is propaganda to maintain the status quo.

War is peace!

By Jennifer L. Buckendorff

How the Bush administration's propaganda machine -- with the help of Roger Ailes' Fox News -- distorts the truth in the Middle East and at home.

The Subpoenas are Coming!

By Mark Rasch

Citing a provision of the Patriot Act, the FBI is sending letters to journalists telling them to secretly prepare to turn over their notes, e-mails and sources to the bureau. Should we throw out the First Amendment to nail a hacker? [...]

The Bureau recently sent letters to a handful of reporters who have written stories about the Lamo case -- whether or not they have actually interviewed Lamo. The letters warn them to expect subpoenas for all documents relating to the hacker, including, apparently, their own notes, e-mails, impressions, interviews with third parties, independent investigations, privileged conversations and communications, off the record statements, and expense and travel reports related to stories about Lamo.

In short, everything.

The notices make no mention of the protections of the First Amendment, Department of Justice regulations that restrict the authority to subpoena information from journalists, or the New York law that creates a "newsman's shield" against disclosure of certain confidential information by reporters.

Instead, the FBI has threatened to put these reporters in jail unless they agree to preserve all of these records while they obtain a subpoena for them under provisions amended by the USA-PATRIOT Act. [...]

Lies and Mischief: The Myth of Western Intelligence Agencies

The Independent
September 29, 2003

They were at it again last week, the liars of our Western "intelligence" community. John Bolton, the US under-secretary of state for arms control and one of Donald Rumsfeld's cabal of pro-Israeli neo-conservatives, was giving testimony before the decidedly pro-Israeli sponsors of the Syria Accountability Act.

Mr Bolton, who once ludicrously claimed that Cuba had a biological weapons programme, accused Syria of maintaining a stockpile of sarin and of working on VX and biological weapons. And Congressmen Eliot Engel announced that "it wouldn't surprise me if those weapons of mass destruction that we cannot find in Iraq wound up and are today in Syria". For Baghdad, read Damascus.

Some, indeed much, of this nonsense comes from the myth-making intelligence service of Israel, which really does have weapons of mass destruction, although Engel's imaginative intervention probably had its roots in the claim of a US intelligence officer in Baghdad last April. He went on insisting Iraq had transferred its non-existent WMD to Syria by rail--before being shown a map that proved the only railway line from Iraq to Syria passed through Turkey.

But why, oh why, do we go on accepting this trash? Why do we even listen to the so-called intelligence services when they have so routinely--and bloodily--got it wrong? [...]

Venezuelan Military Intelligence says overwhelming evidence the CIA planned to bring down Chavez Frias' airplane en route to United Nations in New York Venezuelan President

Roy S. Carson

Details behind the sudden decision to cancel President Hugo Chavez Frias' next-week trip to Washington D.C. and New York (to deliver a speech to the United Nations) are being revealed by security services who say they have "overwhelming evidence" of a CIA-backed plan to "bring down" the Chavez Frias' airplane during the scheduled flight to the United States from Caracas.  Sources in Venezuela's Military Intelligence Directorate (DIM) have told that "presented with overwhelming evidence of Washington's planned attack on the Presidential flight, it was decided that the President's personal security was preeminent and that he should not go!"

Comment: Unfortunately, a totally believable scenario. See our September 11th edition of Signs which we discuss the fact that the CIA has been involved in the overthrow of, at the very least, twenty democratically elected governments.

Fortress Israel braced for anniversary

By James Reynolds
BBC correspondent in Jerusalem

It is now three years into the second Palestinian uprising or intifada. Israelis have got used to the uncertainties of life. Everyone in Jerusalem has their own way of measuring this city's dangers, of working out when it is relatively safe and when it is not.

Eveyone in Israel lives in a constant state of alert. My own method is to look at the end of my road. On days of so-called "high alert" the Israeli police tend to set up a checkpoint next to the traffic lights.

They stop cars coming in from Arab east Jerusalem. They search young men - following orders to be on the lookout for suicide bombers.

On days like this, I go about with extra care. And on days when there is a bomb in this city, everyone tends to follow the same routine. In the moments after an explosion, everyone who heard the bomb gets on the phone as soon as possible, to tell their families that they are okay.

The radius of calls spreads quickly. Within a few minutes of a bomb exploding, it seems, every Israeli has spoken to his or her family. Few here would ever consider going anywhere without their mobile phone. In the Israeli parts of Jerusalem, there is very little chance of escaping the feeling of a city on edge.

You are never more than a few metres from a man with a gun. Some civilians carry pistols tucked into their trousers, and it is not uncommon to see others with rifles carried over their shoulders. All shopping centres, banks, and restaurants now employ armed security guards.

Some bars keep their doors locked at all times - to get in, even in the middle of the evening, you have to knock, wait for the door to be unbolted, then you are searched and finally, you are allowed in for a drink as the door is locked behind you.

Nowadays, you are never more than a short distance away from one security scare or another. On my way from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv the other day, I had to stop as the police blocked off part of the motorway.

An explosives expert in protective clothing was approaching a bus stop. He was sent to check a bag left at the stop. Any unattended bundle, these days, automatically becomes a possible bomb. Waiting for the bag to be checked, I looked towards a service station by the side of the road.

By the entry to the shop there was a security guard, wearing sunglasses and carrying a metal detector - ready to check anyone who came in. But there was no one. The shop was empty. And that is Israel nowadays, after three years of violence and several failed peace plans.

A security guard in position even when there is no one to check

How 90 Peruvians became the latest Jewish settlers

When a delegation of rabbis travelled to Lima to convert a group of South American Indians to Judaism, they added just one condition: come and live with us in Israel. As soon as these new Jews arrived in the country, they were bussed straight to settlements in the disputed territories. So how are they coping? Neri Livneh tracks them down

Wednesday August 7, 2002
The Guardian

In a prefab structure at a school in the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, a few dozen people are sitting and singing a popular Hasidic song: "The whole world is a very narrow bridge and the main thing is not to be afraid." They are singing with feeling, even though most of them don't understand a word of the song. As is the custom in religious schools, the class is divided into a men's section and a women's section. The women are wearing hats and the men's heads are covered by knitted skullcaps. The men and women alike have distinct South American Indian features.

Almost unnoticed, a new branch of Jews is springing up in the settlements, Jews who are connected to Israel and all things Israeli by a very narrow bridge indeed. They have yet to visit Tel Aviv or Haifa, and have never even heard of Degania, the very first kibbutz, or its neighbour, Kinneret. Miki Kratsman, the photographer, and I had the privilege of being the first secular Jews they had ever met. Nevertheless, they are fired with a historic sense of their right to this land.

"We are of Indian origin," says Nachshon Ben-Haim, formerly Pedro Mendosa, "but in Peru, in the Andes, there is no Indian culture left. Everyone has become Christian, and before we became Jews, we also were Christians who went to church."

The miracle of the creation of this community of new Jews has to be chalked up wholly and exclusively to the credit - or debit - of the chief rabbinate of Israel. At the order of the Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Israel Meir Lau, a delegation of rabbis travelled to Peru. During their two weeks in the country, they converted 90 people to Judaism, most of them of Indian origin.

"We found a small river between Trujillo and Cajamarca and everyone immersed in it. We took the people from Lima to be immersed in the ocean and then we also had to remarry them all in a Jewish ceremony according to the halakha [Jewish religious law]," says Rabbi Eliyahu Birnbaum, a judge in the conversion court and a member of the delegation.

The rabbis converted only those who said they were willing to emigrate to Israel immediately. "We laid down that condition because in the remote areas where they live, there is no possibility of keeping kosher and it was important for us to ensure that they would live in a Jewish environment. In fact, there was no need for the condition because they were in any case imbued with a love of the land of Israel in a way that is hard to describe," says Rabbi David Mamo, the deputy president of the conversion court.

"Because we saw their enthusiasm for the land of Israel, we understood that conversion was part of a complete process including aliyah [immigration to Israel], so we told them: just as you live in a community here, you should join a community in Israel, too," says Birnbaum. "Rabbi Mamo and I both live in Gush Etzion [a group of settlements south of Bethlehem] and we believe that when it comes to community-oriented settlements, there are none that can compare with Alon Shvut and Karmei Tzur [both in Gush Etzion], which said they would be willing to absorb the new immigrants." [...]

What made you come to this settlement? "The Absorption Ministry told us to go here and thank God they sent us here," says Mendel. "This is the land of the patriarch, Abraham, and the people here are very nice."

According to Ben-Haim, "the idea that there are Palestinians here at all is a lie. The Palestinian people never existed and only when the Jews leave their country, the Arabs come in and try to take over and prove they have a right here. But we cannot agree to that because the Lord gave the land to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for all time, and all the Jews will be united and love the Lord with all their heart, and then all the problems will be solved."

Is that what you were told, I ask - that the majority of the Jews in Israel are religious? "Yes, the majority but not everyone. But if they all become fully religious and unite, the Messiah will come and the problems with the Palestinians will be solved because they will get out of here."

Mendel's eyes glitter as she talks: "It will be the most wonderful day in the world when all the Arabs will become Jews and observe the commandments and love the Lord and when the Messiah comes, there will be no one in the land of our fathers who does not love the Lord and Judaism with all their heart."

You only became a member of this nation a few months ago, and have been in the country less than two months, I say. Do you know that there are Arabs whose families have lived here for hundreds of years?

"But God said that whomsoever becomes a Jew with a full heart and observes the commandments - only to a Jew like that will He give the land for generation unto generation."

Ben-Haim is not bothered by the fact that by being sent to a settlement, he has also been effectively recruited to a particular political group: "We knew we were coming to a place that is called 'territories' because people we know immigrated earlier and are living in the settlements in the territories. But I have no problem with that because I do not consider the territories to be occupied territories. You cannot conquer what has in any case belonged to you since the time of the patriarch, Abraham."

Ben-Haim says that after he finishes the Hebrew course, he may join the army, "because I wasn't in the army in Peru and that is something I lack, and also because I want to defend the country and if there is no choice, I will kill Arabs. But I am sure that Jews kill Arabs only for self-defence and justice, but Arabs do it because they like to kill."

He bases this belief on his scientific view of Judaism: "The Arab has the instinct of murder and killing like all gentiles, and only Jews do not have that instinct - that is a genetic fact."

But if you were not born a Jew genetically, don't you have that instinct? "Maybe it was there, but it makes no difference because now we are all Jews."

- Edited extract of an article which first appeared in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz

Israeli WMD whistle blower to serve his 17th year

"I have sacrificed my freedom and risked my life in order to expose
the danger of nuclear weapons which threatens this whole region.
I acted on behalf of all citizens and all of humanity."

Mordechai Vanunu

The Case of Mordechai Vannunu - Preeminent Hero of the Nuclear Age


In September 1986, Mordechai Vanunu was illegally abducted by agents of the Mossad for revealing to the world press information that confirmed the existence of Israel's often-denied plutonium separation plant. The plant is buried eighty feet below ground in the Negev desert, and had long escaped detection. Since the 1960s it has been used to recover plutonium from spent fuel rods from the Dimona nuclear reactor, located nearby. The plant continues to be an integral part of Israel's ongoing nuclear weapons program. Israel is believed to possess at least 200 nukes.

Then Prime Minister Shimon Peres ordered Vanunu' s abduction to silence the whistleblower, and to bring him to trial for allegedly jeopardizing the security of the state of Israel. But Vanunu's real "crime" was speaking the truth.

Comment: More information about Vanunu can be found here. Mossad drugged and kidnapped Vanunu, who had been lured to Italy, dumping him on a cargo boat for Israel in order to bring him to trial. He had been set up by a pretty face. The oldest game in the book. He spent the first 11 and 1/2 years of his sentence in solitary confinement which has been denounced the world over as cruel and inhuman punishment. He is due to be released next spring five months prior to the end of his 18 year sentence.

Israeli military destroy the house of Mohammed Hamedan

Negohot shooter never convicted of planning attack

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service

The terrorist who carried out Friday's shooting attack in the West Bank settlement of Negohot had not, as widely reported in the Israeli media, recently been released from an Israeli prison after being convicted of planning to carry out a suicide attack. Haaretz has found that 21-year-old Mohammed Hamedan was only convicted on one count - belonging to an enemy organization, and was released at the end of July after serving a 13-month sentence.

Army Radio reported Tuesday morning that the Israel Defense Forces troops destroyed Hamedan's house in the southern Hebron Hills. Shadi Abu-Shahdan, a Fatah activist who was convicted of dispatching a female suicide bomber to the Mahaneh Yehuda market in Jerusalem, testified under interrogation that Hamedan had told him he was willing to carry out a mission for Fatah. The military prosecution included, therefore, a clause relating to planning a suicide mission in its original charge sheet against Hamedan, but erased it from the second version after a ruling that a person cannot be convicted for expressing a willingness to commit a crime.

Sunday's reports that Hamedan had been convicted of planning a suicide mission and subsequently released raised waves of protest from Knesset members on the right and senior Yesha Council officials over what they called the forgiving attitude of the military legal system. In addition to serving the sentence he was handed, Hamedan also paid a NIS 2,000 fine. It appears that he joined Islamic Jihad while behind bars or immediately after his release.

West criticised over Israel nuclear weapons

Tuesday 30 September 2003, 8:27 Makka Time, 5:27 GMT

Arab states have criticised the West for allowing Israel to remain outside nuclear nonproliferation treaties.

Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons capability but has not signed major agreements, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which is aimed at curbing the spread of nuclear arms.

"What surprises us is that at a time when the International Atomic Energy Agency is intensifying its efforts and monitoring (NPT) members countries ... we see that it continues to ignore the rejection of Israel in not joining the treaty," Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Monday.

"This constitutes a serious threat to the security and stability of the whole region," he told the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly.

[... Syrian] Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara noted that "a lot has been said lately about the dangers of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by countries that already have different types of such weapons."

"Some have even waged war under the pretext of eliminating these weapons," he said in an apparent reference to the United States and its war to oust Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Shara called it "regrettable... that some quarters selectively choose to level their false accusations at some Arab and Islamic states but not on others, while simultaneously ignoring the Israeli arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons".

However, the Arab ministers repeated their support for making the Middle East region free from all weapons of mass destruction.

Israel under fire from US diplomat

Tuesday 30 September 2003,
5:03 Makka Time, 2:03 GMT

Israel has come under a two-pronged attack from a senior US diplomat over its refusal to stop building settlements and the erection of the Apartheid Wall.

William Burns said unless Israel halted its settlement programme in the West Bank the future of Israel, as a democratic state, was threatened.

The warning came in a speech by William Burns, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, at the US-Arab Economic Forum in Detroit.

The conference was called to explore ways of fostering growth, development and trade between the United States and the Arab world.

[...] In his speech, Burns also criticised Israel's planned Apartheid Wall through the West Bank, a security measure that Palestinians have described as a new "Berlin Wall."

Israel blasted at Blair's party conference

By Chris Sands in Bournemouth
Monday 29 September 2003,
23:34 Makka Time, 20:34 GMT

A British minister has launched a scathing attack on Israel’s policies inside the Palestinian territories at the ruling Labour party’s conference, as Tony Blair’s ratings plummeted and his chancellor stole the limelight.

Foreign office minister Bill Rammell said Israel should halt settlement building, stop destroying Palestinian homes and relax the restrictions upon freedom of movement which exist throughout Gaza and the West Bank.

[...] Rammell told a fringe meeting attended by ambassadors, trade union members, "There has got to be an end to the destruction of Palestinian homes and the building of settlements by Israelis. Bluntly, those settlements are illegal under the fourth Geneva Convention and a huge obstacle to peace."

He added, "The threats to expel or even kill (Palestinian president) Yasir Arafat are wholly unacceptable and we have made that clear to the Israeli Government. Any act against Yasir Arafat will not resolve the situation, it will simply harden the people and further radicalise Palestinians."

Vigils will be held today around the world.

Al-Shara at the UN General Assembly: Syria urges for pivotal role for the UN


Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara urged for giving the United Nations a more active and meaningful role in Iraq and in the search for a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Syria remained committed to the principles of international legitimacy and the UN charter, said Mr. al-Shara in his statement at the 58 th session of the United Nations Assembly on September 29.

He added that the scourge of the Israeli occupation and continued aggressions are the main reason for the suffering inflicted on our region ever since the concept of international legitimacy was introduced to the international community. "The attempts by some centers of power in the world to manipulate the new fault lines across the emerging international equilibrium in pursuit of narrow national interests that cannot be preserved have added insult to injury," Mr. al-Shara said. "It is regrettable to see that in the twenty first century some think tanks produce to decision-makers misleading and false information on the basis of which wars are waged lacking the context of international legitimacy, blood is shed, accusations lacking any trace of credibility are levelled, and unbridled claims are advanced logic that states and peoples have developed through our history," he added.

US soldier wounded in attack; Iraqi constitution committee: US deadline impossible to meet


One US soldier was slightly injured Tuesday when an apparent grenade exploded as an American military convoy was passing over a bridge in northern Baghdad, witnesses said.

[...] Meanwhile, Iraqis involved in the effort to write a new constitution have said that completing the document in six months, the goal announced by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell last week, will be impossible to meet because of differences over how to select the drafters and real disagreements over the role of Islamic law and the basic contours of a new political system.

Website reveals 6000 held without trial

By Lawrence Smallman
Tuesday 30 September 2003, 9:45 Makka Time, 6:45 GMT

There are more than 6000 Muslim prisoners who are being held without trial in the West, according to a human rights campaigner.

Yamin Zakaria, based in London, has now launched an international campaign to highlight the plight of the detained - including the 660 men being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Part of the campaign is a new website which seeks to bring western nations to book for flouting international obligations and trampling upon the rights of others, he says.

Yamin Zakaria told on Tuesday that he hoped would highlight the plight of over 6000 prisoners kept in detention without charge or legal representation.

"Since the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 incident, the US has exported pain, misery and death to thousands of innocent people in the name of an unjustified War on Terror."

Although the site has only been going a couple of weeks, thousands are already beginning to visit the website each day.

Comment: And the US still remains the bastion of freedom and democracy, right? Of course, the argument is that they are doing this so as to PRESERVE American freedom; but freedom to do what? A brief look at the history of US foreign policy makes it clear that many people have justifiable grievances over their treatment at the hands of Uncle Sam - (read mass slaughter and destruction).

It seems then that when politicians speak of "ensuring American freedom", what they really mean is: "ensuring that America is free to conduct itself on the global stage in the way that has, to date, secured its position as the only superpower on the planet. And what way is that? You know it by now - WAR - DEATH - DESTRUCTION

Men Must Accompany Pregnant Women in Clinics (Saudi Arabia)

Essam Al-Ghalib
Arab News Staff

JEDDAH, 30 September 2003 — Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Qassim Al-Qasabi has issued a directive to all hospitals advising that they should admit pregnant women only if they are accompanied by men who are prepared to take responsibility for both the mother and child.

The minister told the managerial health affairs office at the ministry to implement recommendations through a committee under the guidance of Interior Minister Prince Naif. [...]

"I’ve never heard of a case where an unmarried mother has given birth here," Ali Al-Farsi, a senior administrator at Jeddah’s Maternity and Children’s Hospital, a large government institution, told Arab News yesterday.

"However, if that does happen, we are required to notify the police, who tell us what to do. We do not refuse treatment to anyone, but we do notify the authorities, and it is up to them to take action," he added.

"We always have police on hand at the hospital for various reasons and we are required to carry out their directives. Notifying the authorities is not limited to single mothers but includes those without residence permits and other unusual circumstances," he added.

No trace of Bahraini pilot, F-16 wreckage

By Mohammed Almezel, Bureau Chief

Teams from the Bahrain army and the US Navy have failed to locate the body of a Bahraini pilot whose Air Force F-16 fighter jet crashed at sea on Saturday, sources said yesterday.

A statement, carried by the Bahrain news agency (BNA), said yesterday His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was "personally following the strenuous efforts of the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) and a number of friendly forces in the search operation of the missing Bahraini fighter jet."

[...] The incident took place during a night training mission involving another plane, which has returned safely to its base, the source said, adding that Col Senan was apparently performing "a new manoeuvre" when the plane crashed.

Jordanian parliament call for the prosecution of Jim Carey

The Jordanian official news agency Petra has reported that a member of parliament has demanded that the government prosecutes those responsible for screening the latest film "Bruce Al Mighty" by Hollywood comedian actor Jim Carey in Jordanian cinema houses. The agency, which refused to reveal the identity of the parliament member, added that an immediate order was given to stop showing the film in every movie theater.

Most films that are brought to Jordan to be screened in cinema houses usually undergo heavy censorship to ensure that they are appropriate for all viewers. it was revealed that most censorship is done to films that display sexual and intimate scenes.

EU Nations Stake out Turf ahead of Constitutional Conference

Not all of the EU members are avid supporters of the draft constitution.

Poland attacked a draft version of the European Union constitution on Monday, only days ahead of a key conference supposed to hammer out the remaining differences on the document.

[...] The Treaty of Nice, which currently regulates how the European Union is governed, is largely considered untenable with ten extra members. But just one country could scuttle the new constitution if they fail ratify it.

Accordingly, politicians from Europe’s biggest four nations – Germany, France, Britain and Italy – have said trying to drastically revamp the draft constitution could have the disastrous effect of derailing the whole project.

White House probed over CIA leak

Tuesday 30 September 2003, 9:59 Makka Time, 6:59 GMT

The Bush administration faces renewed pressure after claims a top White House adviser illegally leaked the name of a CIA agent after her husband challenged a key claim used to justify the war.

The White House denied on Monday President George Bush's senior political adviser, Karl Rove, revealed to reporters Joseph Wilson's wife was an intelligence operative.

The former ambassador had previously told US media he had been tasked with investigating claims Iraq tried to acquire nuclear materials from Africa.

[...] In July, Wilson publicly revealed he had told Washington the information was false long before Bush’s speech. And the White House later admitted that Bush should never have made the uranium charge.

But a few days after Wilson's revelation, conservative writer Robert Novak quoted two senior administration officials in a nationally syndicated 14 July column as saying Wilson's wife was a CIA agent. The former diplomat has not confirmed his wife's occupation but has linked Rove to the leak.

White House Rejects Independent Counsel for Leak

By Steve Holland
Mon September 29, 2003 06:50 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Monday rejected Democratic demands that an independent counsel be appointed to find out who leaked secret information apparently aimed at discrediting a vocal critic of prewar intelligence on Iraq.

The sudden squall over the leak that blew the cover of an undercover CIA operative energized Democratic presidential candidates and deepened tension over the administration's failure to find promised weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Officials said the Justice Department began a preliminary inquiry to determine if there should be a full-blown probe based on a memo from the CIA stating a leak had occurred. [...]

Comment: Question of the day: What is the most likely reason for the Whitehouse not wanting an independent inquiry? No clues.

FBI bypasses First Amendment to nail a hacker

By Mark Rasch, SecurityFocus
Posted: 29/09/2003 at 16:35 GMT

Citing a provision of the Patriot Act, the FBI is sending letters to journalists telling them to secretly prepare to turn over their notes, e-mails and sources to the bureau. Should we throw out the First Amendment to nail a hacker, writes SecurityFocus columnist Mark Rasch.

Frequent readers of this space know that I am no apologist for hackers like Adrian Lamo, who, in the guise of protection, access others' computer systems without authorization, and then publicize these vulnerabilities.

When Lamo did this to the New York Times, he violated two of my cardinal rules: Don't make enemies with people appointed for life by the President of the United States; and don't make enemies of people who buy their ink by the gallon.

Now, in the scope of prosecuting Lamo, the FBI is doing the hacker one better by violating both of these precepts in one fell swoop.

The Bureau recently sent letters to a handful of reporters who have written stories about the Lamo case -- whether or not they have actually interviewed Lamo. The letters warn them to expect subpoenas for all documents relating to the hacker, including, apparently, their own notes, e-mails, impressions, interviews with third parties, independent investigations, privileged conversations and communications, off the record statements, and expense and travel reports related to stories about Lamo.

In short, everything.

The notices make no mention of the protections of the First Amendment, Department of Justice regulations that restrict the authority to subpoena information from journalists, or the New York law that creates a "newsman's shield" against disclosure of certain confidential information by reporters.

Instead, the FBI has threatened to put these reporters in jail unless they agree to preserve all of these records while they obtain a subpoena for them under provisions amended by the USA-PATRIOT Act.

The government also officiously informed the reporters that this is an "official criminal investigation" and asks that they not disclose the request to preserve documents, or the contents of the letter, to anyone -- presumably including their editors, directors, or lawyers -- under the implied threat of prosecution for obstruction of justice.

That's why you're reading about the letters for the first time here.

[...] Believe it or not, this isn't even the worst of it...

Council takes on Patriot Act

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
September 26, 2003

Chicago would become the largest of 200 U.S. cities to oppose civil liberties "abuses" invoked by the USA Patriot Act under a resolution advanced by a City Council committee Thursday over the objections of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald appeared before the Human Relations Committee to defend the "widely misunderstood" act, which includes immigration provisions that have yet to result in a single person being detained nationwide. [...]

Blackout probe too secret, CEO says

Workers had to sign confidentiality pacts


News Business Reporter The outspoken chief of southeast Michigan's power grid says the national inquiry into last month's blackout has been too secretive and may not provide the public a full answer to what caused the largest power outage in U.S. history. [...]

Comment: Have to protect the masses from the truth. Just what do they need to hide?

UK Police Arrest Seven Under Anti-Terror Laws

September 30, 2003

LONDON (Reuters) - British police said Tuesday they had arrested seven Algerian men under anti-terror laws in early morning raids.

"Six men were arrested in north London and one man was arrested in Manchester early Tuesday. They are all believed to be in their 30s," a Scotland Yard police spokesman said. [...]

Pope 'in a bad way' - close adviser


The Pope is “in a bad way,” one of his closest advisers said in a German magazine interview today.

“We should pray for the pope. He is in a bad way,” German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told the weekly Bunte.

Polish-born John Paul II, who was elected as pope in 1978, is 83 and suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

On Sunday, he spoke with great difficulty and stopped to catch his breath several times as he announced a list of 33 new cardinals from his studio window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

Twenty-six hurt in grenade attacks in Kashmir

SRINAGAR (Reuters) - Suspected Muslim militants hurled grenades at police patrols in two towns in Indian Kashmir on Tuesday, injuring at least 26 people, officials said.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attacks in the Himalayan region, which lies at the heart of decades of rivalry between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, who stood on the brink of a fourth war last year. [...]

North Korea boosting its nuclear programme

Associated Press
07:41 Tuesday 30th September 2003

North Korea says it is taking "practical measures" to boost its nuclear capabilities. It also said it isn't interested in holding further negotiations with the US.

A spokesman said any US move to force North Korea to give up its nuclear programme before providing a non-aggression treaty would lead to "war". [...]

Chechnya PM 'was poisoned'

Associated Press
10:01 Tuesday 30th September 2003

There are fears Chechnya's prime minister has been deliberately poisoned.

Anatoly Popov was rushed to hospital in Chechnya after complaining of pain following a ceremony celebrating the official opening of a new gas pipeline.

He was flown to Moscow where his temperature rose sharply.

The Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified security aide as saying: "There is no doubt that he was poisoned." [...]

Russia hunting for 1,800 army deserters

MOSCOW (AFP) Sep 30, 2003

Russia's military is hunting for 1,800 soldiers who have deserted from the country's cash-strapped armed forces, a senior general was quoted as saying Tuesday by Interfax-AVN military news agency.

General Nikolai Reznik added that many of the latest call-ups into army ranks were in poor health and did not meet Russia's military requirements. [...]

He noted that many Russian recruits are "in poor health, poorly educated, and this reflects badly on the state of military discipline."

Due to bad discipline and cash shortages, more than 1,200 Russian servicemen died in non-combat incidents so far this year, a senior Russian general reported earlier this month. [...]

Remains of 4 U.S. Servicemen Flown Out of Vietnam

By Christina Toh-Pantin

HANOI (Reuters) - The remains of four U.S. servicemen killed in the Vietnam War were flown out on Tuesday, the third repatriation this year as the former foes deepen military cooperation. [...]

Indian government blocks Yahoo discussion groups

Bangalore, India-AP -- Nearly all of India has been knocked off Yahoo's popular discussion forums.

The government was trying to ban an Internet forum run by an obscure separatist movement that wants a slice of the country's northeast to secede from the rest of India.

India's Computer Emergency Response Team -- a group that normally deals with hackers and virus attacks -- ordered the discussion group blocked for promoting material against the government. But for technical reasons, it had to shut down every Yahoo discussion group. [...]

E-Spying on Your Lover Could Be Illegal - Experts

By Elinor Mills Abreu

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A company calling itself Lover Spy has begun offering a way for jealous lovers -- and anyone else -- to spy on the computer activity of their mates by sending an electronic greeting, the equivalent of a thinking-of-you card, that doubles as a bugging device.

Computer security experts said the Lover Spy service and software appeared to violate U.S. law, but also said the surveillance program pointed to an increasingly common way for hackers to seize control of computers.

Marketed as a way to "catch a cheating lover," the Lover Spy company offers to send an e-mail greeting card to lure the victim to a Web site that will download onto the victim's computer a trojan program to be used for spying. [...]

Job Losses at Level of Great Depression Contradict President Bush's Wishful Predictions

September 29, 2003
Daily Mislead Archive

Instead of creating 510,000 jobs in 2003, as President Bush predicted, the Republican-led economy has suffered a net loss of 473,000 jobs so far this year.

The Timken Company, an Ohio-based steel and bearings manufacturer where the President launched his Jobs and Growth package in April, embarrassed the Administration two weeks ago with an announcement it will cut 900 jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that mass layoffs were the cause of 134,000 jobs lost in August. August marked the seven consecutive month of job losses, a cold dose of reality in the face of the President's wishful rhetoric. [...]

Sun to Post Deeper First Quarter Loss

By Duncan Martell
Mon Sep 29,10:01 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Sun Microsystems Inc. on Monday warned of a larger loss in the current fiscal first quarter than Wall Street had expected, leading it to record a $1 billion tax charge and revise its previously reported fourth-quarter results to show a loss. [...]

Analysts said they were more concerned with signs of weak sales and tough competition in the current quarter than with the noncash charge to fourth-quarter results. Sun's revenue has declined for nine consecutive quarters. [...]

Safeco to Cut Jobs, Exit Life Insurance

By Philip Klein
Mon Sep 29, 7:44 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Safeco Corp (Nasdaq:SAFC - news) on Monday said it plans to sell its life insurance and investments business to focus on property and casualty coverage and that it would cut at least 500 jobs to reduce costs.

The company also said that as a result of ballooning medical costs and an increase in lawsuits, it would have to boost its reserves covering workers compensation claims by $205 million, reducing its third-quarter results by 96 cents. [...]

Boiling Brew: Politics and Health Insurance Gap

The New York Times
September 30, 2003

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 — The jump in the number of Americans without health insurance is not just another bad economic statistic.

Health care costs are soaring again, after several years of stability; average premiums rose nearly 14 percent this year, the third year of double-digit increases, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Employers are pushing more of the costs onto their workers, raising co-payments and deductibles. At the same time, many Americans saw their health benefits jeopardized by layoffs, which have continued despite the official end of the recession in November 2001.

In such times, the plight of the uninsured becomes more of a middle-class issue, more of a symbol of real close-to-home insecurity and thus more politically potent, advocates and experts say. Until now, "it's mainly been an issue of altruism for a discrete and disadvantaged population," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a liberal consumer group.

"Now that the losses in health coverage are impacting more middle-class and working families," Mr. Pollack said, "this issue becomes one of self-interest for a very substantial part of the population."

Even before the Census Bureau announced the numbers, showing that the number of uninsured Americans had risen by 2.4 million last year, to 43.6 million, most of the major Democratic presidential candidates were campaigning hard on the problems in health care. [...]

European airlines join forces

Air France has confirmed it is to join forces with Dutch KLM and that Italy's flagship carrier Alitalia is also negotiating to join the merger.

The creation of Air France-KLM will form an aviation giant with annual revenues of about 19.2bn euros (£13.4bn; $22.4bn), overtaking British Airways and Germany's Lufthansa.

Hyperactive U.S. East Cost hurricane seasons expected for next 10 years

[...] Government officials, emergency managers, and residents of the Atlantic hurricane basin should be aware of the apparent shift in climate and evaluate preparedness and mitigation efforts in order to respond appropriately in a regime where the hurricane threat is much greater than it was in the 1970s through early 1990s. [...]

Storm Surge

Was Isabel the first of a new wave of big, bad Atlantic hurricanes?


[A] growing number of scientists believe that conditions favorable for brewing more and even bigger hurricanes in the Atlantic locked into place about eight years ago and will probably persist for at least a decade and maybe longer. "We're not talking about a minor little increase," says Stanley Goldenberg, a hurricane expert with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "but an overall doubling of major hurricane activity." [...]

Cleanup underway after hurricane devastation

By Alison Auld
Sept. 29, 2003

HALIFAX (CP) - Hundreds of soldiers began a massive cleanup of Halifax's tree-littered streets Monday after the fiercest hurricane to hit Canada in years ripped through the region, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

Smaller teams were moving through the north end, cleaning up debris from some of the thousands of trees felled by powerful winds that blasted the city early Monday morning. [...]

About 180,000 homes and businesses were still without power late in the day, primarily in and around Halifax, and officials warned it could be at least Thursday before it was completely restored. Power officials said at the height of the hurricane, more than 300,000 homes were without electricity. [...]

Sydney imposes water restrictions for first time in seven years

SYDNEY (AFP) Sep 30, 2003

Australia's largest city will impose mandatory water restrictions from Wednesday with bans on sprinklers and washing cars and fines of 220 dollars (147 US) for offenders.

From midnight (1400 GMT Tuesday), teams of water restriction officers will begin patrolling Sydney and two surrounding areas for water wasters.

The move follows a long-running drought blamed by some on global warming and is the first time the city has imposed mandatory restrictions since October 1996. The drought has brought dam levels down to around 60 percent of capacity, down 13.5 percent on last year. [...]

Earthquake delivers dawn jolt to New Zealand

Wellington, New Zealand (AP) - An earthquake of 4.9 magnitude woke people in central South Island just after dawn Tuesday, rattling houses and delivering a short, sharp jolt, residents reported.

The quake was centered 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of the southern city of Christchurch and 30 kilometers (18 miles) below the earth's surface, the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences reported on its web site.

There were no immediate reports of injury from the quake which caused only minor damage, emergency services said.

The city's 400,000 residents were shaken awake by the 6:20 a.m. (1820 GMT Monday) quake, which was felt up to 180 kilometers (112 miles) away in the coastal tourist town of Kaikoura.

Nigel Marks, who lives at Amberley, a farm town in North Canterbury, said the quake was felt as a short, sharp jolt.

About 14,000 earthquakes are recorded in and around New Zealand each year by the institute. Most are small, but between 100 and 150 are big enough to be felt by residents.

Earthquake activity for 30 Sept 2003

Kamchatka gigantic volcano awakening


The Kamchatka Peninsula (the north-east edge of the Asian part of Russia, metaphorically called "the country of geysers and volcanoes") is witnessing an increasing activity of the Klyuchevskoy volcano, employer of the Kamchatka experimental-methodological seismological group Yuri Demyanchuk reported.

Glowing in the crater, which testifies to the appearance of fresh lava, is becoming more intensive, he said. Over the past 24 hours the glow was even registered by a video camera, which had not been possible before, he added.

Seismic stations near the volcano register a large number of earthquakes on the surface and at a 30-km depth under the central crater, as well as constant spasmodic volcano tremor. Gas and vapor emissions containing ashes reach 1,000 meters.

The Klyuchevskoy is Eurasia's highest acting volcano (its height is 4,833 meters). The biggest recent summit eruption took place in 1994.

Experts forecast the beginning of another big eruption of the Klyuchevskoy in 2003

GSI team finds fragments of meteorite in coastal Orissa

Press Trust of India
Bhubaneswar, September 29

A team of the Geologicial Survey of India (GSI) has stumbled upon certain fragments of the meteorite that dazzled the sky in coastal Orissa on Saturday night, official sources said.

The team, which visited the Sudusudia village in Mayurbhanj district, had reported about the findings which resembled metallic flakes.

Villagers had witnessed the fireball landing on a thatched house which was completely burnt.

District authorities had earlier said that though the house had been gutted, no remnants of the meteorite had been found.

The GSI team was also scheduled to visit some places of Balasore and Bhadrak districts in search of the debris.

Officials had reported finding of two unusual-looking rocks in different villages of Mahakalapada block on Sunday. A GSI team had also gone there to examine the rocks, the sources said.

In a rare occurrence, the meteorite streaked across the night sky dispelling the darkness for a few seconds. People in 11 Orissa districts and two districts of West Bengal had reported to have seen the spectacle.

Geologists examine meteorite that led to one man's death and injured 11

September 30, 2003

Bhubaneswar, India: Geologists travelled yesterday to India's eastern coast to hunt for the debris of a meteorite that crashed to earth, injuring 11 people and leading to an elderly man's death, officials said.

A team arrived in Mayurbhanj village in the state of Orissa to examine a 6kg "stone-like object" recovered in a rice paddy field, a scientist from Geological Survey said.

The massive ball of fire panicked hundreds in Orissa, home to India's main missile testing range.

The debris fell on two houses in Mayurbhanj, slightly injuring three people, said a district official.

Sukdev Singh, a 70-year-old man panicked by the meteorite, died in hospital on Sunday from a heart attack. Eight others also received treatment for temporary blindness or for losing consciousness after seeing the spectacle.

The Dead Sea is dying

Monday 29 September 2003, 20:25 Makka Time, 17:25 GMT

Over the last 50 years, the Dead Sea has dropped nearly 30 metres

The Dead Sea has been quietly shrinking for 50 years, raising concern for the future of a unique natural wonder of the world.

The world's saltiest body of water has fallen from 390 metres to 417 metres below sea level. The drop has accelerated to a metre a year recently, erasing a third of its ancient 950 square km size.

Modern economics are to blame – particularly tributaries feeding the sea being diverted to Israeli farmland. Potash-mining at the sea’s southern basin has also caused increased evaporation.

Orangutans Could Go Extinct in 10 to 20 Years

The Reality of Antimatter

By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer,

Antimatter sounds like the stuff of science fiction, and it is. But it's also very real. Antimatter is created and annihilated in stars every day. Here on Earth it's harnessed for medical brain scans.

"Antimatter is around us each day, although there isn't very much of it," says Gerald Share of the Naval Research Laboratory. "It is not something that can be found by itself in a jar on a table."

So Share went looking for evidence of some in the Sun, a veritable antimatter factory, leading to new results that provide limited fresh insight into these still-mysterious particles.

Simply put, antimatter is a fundamental particle of regular matter with its electrical charge reversed. The common proton has an antimatter counterpart called the antiproton. It has the same mass but an opposite charge. The electron's counterpart is called a positron. [...]

Earth No Longer the Lonely Planet

Red Nova

University of New South Wales -- The question of whether we're alone in the universe just got a lot bigger.

Two astronomers from the University of New South Wales, Australia - Dr Charles Lineweaver and Daniel Grether - have found that at least 25 per cent of Sun-like stars have planets.

"This means there are at least 100 billion stars with planets in our Galaxy," says Dr Lineweaver, a Senior Research Fellow at the University's School of Physics. [...]

Two Athletes Claim Seeing Strange Biped(Argentina)

Two men training for the biathlon last Saturday along the forested trails of Cerro Termal and a gaucho passing through the area on horseback, some 6 km east of Rosario de la Frontera, claimed having run into the strange hairy beast which has been the cause of over twenty reports since cattleman Rogelio Martinez made a detailed and fantastic report to the authorities in 2001.  [...]

Turner not optimistic about world's future

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Even while his three foundations continue to spend millions of dollars on environmental and health initiatives, Ted Turner told a newspaper group Sunday night he does not have an optimistic outlook for the future of the world.

"If I had to predict, the way things are going, I'd say the chances are about 50-50 that humanity will be extinct or nearly extinct within 50 years," Turner said. "Weapons of mass destruction, disease, I mean this global warming is scaring the living daylights out of me." [...]

The ever-candid Turner also gave a negative review to the U.S. efforts in Iraq.

"We spent $87 billion to blow Iraq up and then we spent another $87 billion to put it back together, and all to get one man and we still haven't got him," Turner said. "Talk about a failure." [...]

Icelanders Find One Gene Makes You Fat or Thin

Man reunited with wallet - after 26 years

Neighbours sue owner of snoring dog
08:33 Tuesday 30th September 2003

A Romanian man has been sued by his neighbours because his dog snores so loudly they can't sleep at night.

The dog named Sumo is a massive Neapolitan mastiff which lives with his owner in an apartment in Cluj Napoca. Neighbours say they can't get any peace when the dog falls asleep because its snoring can be heard in every apartment.

One of the neighbours, Iuliu Popa, told Evenimentul Zilei the dog snored so loud that it interfered with his alarm system.

And one family living in a flat underneath the dog's owner has already tried to sue him twice but without success.

Block administrators finally managed to take action against him after proving that the dog's snores exceeded maximum permitted sound pollution levels.

The dog's owner, Varga Attila, was ordered to pay £100 but is refusing to do so. He says he's already made a concession to his neighbours when he moved his two other dogs to his country house.

But Mr Attila says he cannot give up Sumo because he is his favourite.

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