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October 8, 2003

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"Disasters involve cycles in the human experiential cycle [...] Human cycle mirrors cycle of catastrophe. Earth benefits in form of periodic cleansing. Time to start paying attention to the signs. They are escalating. They can even be 'felt'by you and others, if you pay attention."

One Year Ago on Signs of the Times

Israel invading Palestinian territory to demolish houses, meteors light up the sky and sonic booms. It was also the buildup to the war on Iraq. Remember what a terrible man Saddam was? How the Iraqi people were living in such bad conditions? How the US was going to liberate the Iraqi people and make everything so much better? The liar in The Whitehouse was telling us:

"while there are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq gathered together the most serious dangers of our age in one place". Because of its record, its capabilities and the "merciless" nature of its regime, "Iraq is unique".

Sounds like he was describing the US. Iraq is less unique this year. It has Afghanistan to keep it company in its post-"liberation" quagmire.

How the world has changed in a year. The condition of the Iraqi people is worse than ever, Israel is demolishing Palestinian homes, meteors are lighting up the sky, those sonic booms continue, the Bush Reich is gearing up for war against Syria and Iran, and cognitive dissonance has gone into overdrive. We could say that nothing has changed, that "Twas ever so," but we know that this isn't true. It is getting worse with each passing day.

In spite of the fact that at least six different journalists were contacted with the information that Joe Wilson's wife was a CIA agent, and they should presumably know who they were talking to, Bush doubts we'll ever get to the bottom of it.

The Middle East remains a powder keg. Israel has refused an offer of a ceasefire. No surprise there. The Israeli warmongers don't want anything impinging on their "God-given" right to kill whomever they please when and wherever they please. The US seems to be the only country in the world that thinks this isn't a bad idea.

Israel taunts Lebanon with sonic booms and troop movements as the speculation over Arafat's health continues.

Civil rights are continuing to erode in the US. A movie star has been crowned governor of California to ensure the voting machines vote Republican next year. The Californian voters figure each night's newscast will be a short Schwarzenegger film. No more waiting for the sequel.

Meanwhile Rumsfeld expresses confusion over the White House seizure of control over postwar Iraq. Is a showdown brewing between the Rummy-Pentagon clan and the White House? Whatever happens, it is becoming more and more clear that Bush lied over Iraq. It appears doubtful that the America people will do anything about it though, since half the country believes the Zionist media are too liberal. Pleasant dreams...

The problem with having a hierarchy of evil, as we will affectionately call it today, is the infighting that occurs. That, rather than an awake American populace, could possibly be the Bush Reich's undoing. He has already done what he was supposed to do. Using 9/11 and the death of Americans, to set in motion perpetual war and the stripping of freedoms. He can be let go and the next stage can be put into place, if the need arises.

Which means more war and fewer freedoms of course, with US citizens begging to make it so. At least that will be what the, more than likely, rigged polls will be telling us. All it takes are a few leading questions and you have a poll that says what the power structure wants. Take a look at the Gallup web site, watch a few videos, and enjoy that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.


Secret US-based forces plan to ignite nuclear bomb in New York as pretext for global power grab says Brzezinski

by voxfux

A thorough scientific analysis of the swirl of events, people, nations, motivations, propaganda, personalities and histories involved in this current moment in history, leads to only one conclusion - That clandestine forces aligned with George Bush Sr. are planning to attack the US population, blame it on Islamic terrorists and use the attacks as a pretext for a total clamp-down on dissent, basic civil liberties, normal democratic processes and, in the confusion that will follow, they will wage unchecked war and aggression against Iraq, and other nations, Islamic and otherwise, who have natural resources and particularly oil reserves that this shadowy group of petrochemical and arms industrialists are thirsting for.

Their ultimate goal? The conquest of Eurasia. Three quarters of the worlds population and resources are to be found on the Eurasian landmass. It has been the principal focus of State Department and military strategists since presidential National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski outlined it twenty years ago as the principle American "Imperative."

Meaning - To survive, we MUST conquer. But what of all those nations that we will be conquering? According to Brzezinski and his cabal of adherents in the Military and State Department and industry for whom his writings are like a biblical tome - it’s for their own good.

The problem Brzezinski says is that most average American’s don’t have a taste for crusades of global conquest...

Unless...there’s a sudden terrifying threat.

In his latest book, The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski drills his followers no less than four times that only sudden and terrifying threats would rouse Americans to the task of global conquest.

With the opening salvo of September 11th behind them, American’s are being, “softened up” right now for their first “Dirty Bomb,” attack. If there was ever so sinister an imaginary catastrophic device that had been so entirely concocted out of thin air, so heavily promoted in the media and ultimately steered to what will almost certainly be the dramatic conclusion of a self fulfilling media stoked prophecy - to be fabricated first in our imaginations then ignited in the real world - It is the dirty bomb. Find out the “Generators” of the dirty bomb “meme” that took off like wildfire eight months ago and you will find the very source of American terrorism. [...]

Meteor pick a "fake"

By PAUL SUTHERLAND
Sun Spaceman

NASA boffins who hailed a British lad’s photo as a dramatic snap of an exploding meteor were exposed as duffers last night.

Jonathan Burnett, 15, had emailed them a picture of what looked like the trail of a blazing meteor.

NASA saluted it as “Astronomy Picture of the Day” on their website. But other experts spotted it for what it really was — SUNLIGHT reflecting off the white trail of a jet.

Robin Scagell, of Britain’s Society for Popular Astronomy, said: “The trail must have been a spectacular sight but it clearly was not a meteor.

"It was not a hoax and Jonathan is not to blame — he did the right thing in sending his snapshot to NASA."

"It is surprising NASA jumped to the conclusion this was a meteor before they examined other possibilities."

The space agency had told Jonathan, of Pencoed, South Wales, that his picture showed a sofa-sized meteor exploding in a fireball.

Yesterday, they admitted getting it horribly wrong.[...]

Burning meteor 'was supersonic Concorde'

Oct 7 2003
The Western Mail

IS IT a bird? Is it a plane or is it even a meteor?

The intense debate about what a schoolboy snapped burning up in the sky while out skateboarding last week rages on.

But the latest in a long line of explanations comes from aircraft enthusiast Mike Stradling, who claims 15-year-old Jonathan Burnett actually took a picture of supersonic Concorde and not a galactic space rock.

Mr Stradling, from Brackla, near Bridgend, said Concorde regularly flew over South Wales on its flight path to and from the United States. He said the flames and long smoke trail were from the jet's engines hitting full power.

When scepticism is just refusal to face facts

The Sunday Telegraph, 5 October 2003

Everyone has limits to their credulity, and I reached mine last week while looking at a photograph taken by Jonathan Burnett, a 15-year-old living in Pencoed, South Wales. It shows the evening sky near his home being rent apart by a spectacular burning object hurtling to Earth, followed by a huge trail of smoke.

Now, I know as well as the next person that such things can and do happen. I have seen "shooting stars" flit across the night sky. I even have a tiny piece of an iron meteorite in a cupboard somewhere. Yet my first reaction on seeing the photograph (which can be found on the Web by typing "Pencoed meteor" into Google News) was one of incredulity, followed by the suspicion I was being hoaxed. Only after I had checked the date of the email for tell-tale "1/4/03", traced the source to a Nasa website and read the full report on the BBC's website did I begin to feel a bit happier. [...]

Astronomers in northern Europe and California have also reported seeing brilliant fireballs over the past week.

Intriguingly, there were similar sightings in the UK, America and Siberia this time last year - hinting that the Earth is running through some trail of debris left by an asteroid or comet. Whatever: my response to the photograph has made me feel a lot more sympathy for those who once dismissed as ludicrous reports of "stones falling from the skies".

Such scepticism held sway until almost exactly 200 years ago. On July 17, 1803 the French scientist Jean-Baptiste Biot read his paper before the Institut de France, confirming reports that thousands of stones had fallen out of the skies over the village of l'Aigle, near Alencon, Normandy, in April that year.

Until then, the great and the good thought nothing of ridiculing those who made such claims, with some museums being ordered to remove the "stones" as worthless proof of the stupidity of the masses.

All this shows the power of cognitive dissonance, by which we struggle to accept things that don't conform to our world-view. First identified in 1957 by the psychologist Leon Festinger at Stanford University, cognitive dissonance leads to a kind of psychological tension that people resolve in a variety of ways, from mild scepticism to outright denial of reality. Nor is it some rare mental condition; millions of people routinely deny reality every day rather than endure the cognitive dissonance triggered by their actions. [...]

The real problems with cognitive dissonance come when it emerges in relationships with others. Festinger identified three ways in which people try to deal with it. First, they may simply alter their own views to reach agreement (what one might call the "anything for a quiet life" approach). Alternatively, they can try to persuade others to their way of thinking.

Then there is the third way: simply define those who have triggered the cognitive dissonance as not worth bothering with - as mad, bad or dangerous to know. The people most likely to reach for such a resolution are those made most uncomfortable by cognitive dissonance, and Festinger suspected that such people are likely to manifest "authoritarian" personalities, who like bossing people about.

A dismissive attitude towards opponents, refusal to face reality, power-mad: does this remind you of a certain type of person?...

City student recorded meteors a week before Orissa incident (India)

Press Trust of India
Mumbai, October 7


A city based amateur astronomer had observed and photographed a huge fire ball-- the meteorites of the same origin as those hit Orissa villages on the evening of September 27, from suburban Mulund in south Mumbai, exactly a week before.

Rahul Patil, who also made an important observation that the meteor shower was associated with "Aquarid" (originated from the constellation Aquarius) meteor shower, had sent the observations to Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai and the International Meteor Organisation, Germany.

Confirming the claim, Solar Astronomer of Nehru Planetarium and Vice-President of Mumbai Amateur Astronomer's Association, Bharat Adur said "Strangely, no planetaria and none of the leading institutes doing research in astronomy in the country were found to be studying this meteor shower".

Patil said the cosmic shower was not yet over as there were 534 near-earth meteors in the sky currently, of which 30 asteroids were passing very close to earth from September 11 to November 16, 2003.

"Another strike is expected anytime but where and when depends on the keen observers", he told PTI.

Another strong quake hits northern Japan

Oct. 7, 2003 TOKYO (AP)

A strong 5.1-magnitude earthquake jolted the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido early Wednesday, the third quake to rattle the region in two days and the latest since a powerful temblor injured more than 700 people there less than two weeks ago.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

Wednesday's earthquake struck at 2:41 a.m. about 30 miles under the ocean floor just off the island's remote eastern coast, Japan's Meteorological Agency said. There was no danger of tsunami, potentially dangerous ocean waves triggered by seismic activity, the agency said.

It comes just a day after two similar quakes, including one of magnitude 5.6, rattled the region and after the release of new warning that a major fault line in the area still has pent up energy to release.

A researcher at the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center predicted the region could be hit again by a quake of similar to the 8.0-magnitude one that slammed Hokkaido on Sept. 27. [...]

A magnitude-5 quake can damage buildings; a magnitude-7 is capable of causing widespread, massive damage. Japan sits atop four tectonic plates -- or slabs of the earth's surface -- and is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries.

San Diego Hit By Small Earthquake

A small earthquake hit San Diego just after 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

"It was a quick jolt," police spokesman Dave Cohen said. "We felt it here in the office."

The 3.6-magnitude quake at 10:35 a.m. was centered five miles west of San Ysidro, according to Deborah Williams-Hedges at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

"We don't know what fault line it's associated with yet," she said.

No injuries have been reported from the quake.

Light earthquake shakes Alaska Peninsula

By Associated Press
SAND POINT

A light earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.1 was reported Tuesday in the Alaska Peninsula region, the Alaska Earthquake Information Center said.

The quake, at 6:48 a.m., was felt in Sand Point and King Cove, but there were no reports of damage, the center said.

The quake occurred about 37 miles west-southwest of Sand Point and 41 miles east of King Cove.

Minor earthquake gives R.I. a jolt

Tuesday, October 7, 2003
Staff report

A minor earthquake shook parts of central and western Rhode Island last night, but apparently caused no damage, according to an official at a Massachusetts facility that monitors seismic activity.

John Ebel, director of the Weston Observatoryin Weston, Mass., said the epicenter of the 1.7 quake was 3 miles south-southwest of Warwick. It hit at 9:32 p.m., and many people reported hearing a tremendous boom. [...]

Ebel said there is always the potential for strong seismic activity in the region, but experts just don't know when earthquakes will strike.

Study downplays area earthquake risk

October 7, 2003

PADUCAH (AP) -- A study claims the U.S. Geological Survey has overestimated the risk of an earthquake occurring along the New Madrid Fault in western Kentucky, an opinion that could trigger an economic ripple effect.

The 22-page study was conducted by the Kentucky Geological Survey, a state-funded agency that primarily produces maps and researches resources and geology. It argues that the U.S. Geological Survey was "overly conservative" in its hazard assessments and that as a result, new buildings will be subjected to unnecessarily strict design standards, even exceeding California's.

Reducing an area's earthquake hazard has significant implications, because a high risk can drive up design and construction costs for infrastructure such as roads and bridges. A high risk also means higher insurance premiums and, some argue, it can hinder economic development. [...]

Geologists laud earthquake monitoring money

JACKSON (AP) -- Money approved by the U.S. Senate for an earthquake monitoring network could make a huge difference for the safety of Jackson Hole residents, geologists said.

The Interior Department spending bill approved by the Senate contains $250,000 to revive and enhance a network of seismic monitors that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation abandoned last year.

The bill, passed on a voice vote last month, is headed to a House-Senate conference committee to settle differences between the chambers. [...]

Arafat in his final days?

'He can hardly speak. Something bad is happening to him'

WorldNetDaily.com
October 7, 2003 9:54 p.m. Eastern

Amid reports of rapidly deteriorating health, four ambulances were seen this afternoon entering the compound of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

A spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, dismissed reports Arafat, 74, had been taken to a hospital, but another senior official said he has seen the Palestinian leader's health slide over the past two weeks, according to the Jerusalem Post.

"I don't think it's the flu as some people say," the senior official said. "The president hasn't been feeling well for some time, and his health seems to be worsening." [...]

But Palestinians say they never have seen Arafat look as ill as he did Sunday when he met with new PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia.

"You can see that he's very ill," said someone who attended the meeting, according to the Post. "He can hardly speak. Something bad is happening to him." [...]

Last week, after a team of doctors was summoned from Jordan to examine him, a journalist in Ramallah quoted a senior PA official as saying that "Arafat's days are numbered," the Post reported.

The doctors were called in after Arafat complained of severe abdominal pain and had been vomiting for several days. Aides suspected he had been poisoned. The Jordanian medical team concluded he was only mildly ill and needed rest.

Citing a close aide to the Palestinian leader, the Guardian reports Arafat suffered a mild heart attack last week, but the news was not made public for fear it would "create panic." [...]

Arafat heart attack rumours denied

Israel sends more troops to Lebanon border after deadly exchange

JERUSALEM (AFP) Oct 07, 2003

Israel has sent troop reinforcements to its border with Lebanon and raised its state of readiness following a deadly cross-border shooting which killed a soldier, public radio said Tuesday.

The army has also deployed an additional artillery unit to the eastern sector of the border, which includes the disputed Shebaa Farms district, scene of sporadic clashes since Israel's 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon, it added. [...]

Later Tuesday, army radio reported that Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz had ordered the country's military reserves to be partially mobilised, following reports that attacks were being prepared in the West Bank and Gaza. [...]

Israeli warplanes break sound barrier over Lebanon towns

BEIRUT (AFP) Oct 08, 2003

Israeli warplanes overflew the main Lebanese cities of Beirut and Tripoli Wednesday, breaking the sound barrier amid reports of a troop buildup on the border, Lebanese police said.

Fighter-bombers also buzzed the frontier districts of Shebaa and Marjayoun following cross-border exchanges which left an Israeli soldier and a Lebanese child dead Monday, AFP correspondents witnessed. [...]

Tel Aviv rejects Quraya olive branch

Wednesday 08 October 2003, 11:19 Makka Time, 8:19 GMT

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya has proposed a ceasefire with Israel, but a cabinet minister immediately rejected his offer.

Quraya said he was ready to start talks with Israel immediately, with the aim of pushing forward the US-backed “road map” aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, in an interview with Israel’s Maariv newspaper on Wednesday.

“We are ready to fulfil our obligations as outlined by the road map on the condition that Israel fulfils its obligations as well,” said the premier, a day after his emergency cabinet was sworn in.

But Israeli Labour Minister Zevulun Orlev dismissed the proposal, saying his country does not have to give Quraya a chance.

Israel draws up Syrian hit list

Wednesday 08 October 2003, 11:18 Makka Time, 8:18 GMT

We know where you live.

That was the unmistakable message of the release by Israeli authorities on Tuesday of a map pinpointing the homes and offices of Palestinian leaders in Damascus.

The army said the map was intended to illustrate the extent of the "Terror Network in the Damascus Region".

It came on the same day Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel would attack its enemies "any place, and in any way".

Sharon would have been buoyed by President George Bush's insistence that Israel has the right to defend itself.

Bush backs 'valid defence'

"The decisions that he (Sharon) makes to defend her people are valid decisions. We would be doing the same thing," Bush told reporters when asked about Sharon's remarks.

The Road Map to More Israeli Colonies: Israel 's Colonization of The Occupied Palestinian Territories Since The Road Map's Issuance

PLO Negotiations Affairs Department
October 2003

“GOI [Government of Israel] immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March2001 . Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI [Government of Israel] freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).” – Road Map (April30 , 2003)

“Settlements can be built, but there is no need to talk about it and come out dancing every time a building permit is given. Let them build but without talking.” [1] - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to his Cabinet (June22 , 2003)

Despite the Road Map (and international legal) prohibition against colony construction and expansion, Israel has recently accelerated colony expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (“OPT”):

• Approved Colony Expansion – 1,646 Housing Units. Since April 30, 2003 , Israel has issued tenders for the construction of approximately 1,624housing units in the Occupied West Bank and an additional 22 housing units in the Occupied Gaza Strip. These units are in addition to the 133 housing tenders issued from January to April 2003.

• Planned Colony Expansion – 11,806Housing Units. Israel has announced plans to construct 11,806 housing units within the OPT. [2] The plans will be finalized by the end of 2003 .

Rules Of Engagement

Zuheir Kseibati
Al-Hayat 2003/10/7

Syria's claims about its deterrent capacity following the Israeli air raid, paralleled by the threats of Sharon's government to strike deep into Syrian territory, are more than enough to rule out any possible reconciliation between the two parties. If the Likud leader chose this critical timing for the Bush administration, which is embroiled in the Iraqi swamp and trying to salvage the popularity of the U.S. president, there certainly is no need to bring evidence to Israel's opportunism, and Sharon's desire to impose new rules of engagement, against the backdrop of war on terror. More importantly, the administration, which has started the countdown in its preparations for the presidential battle in the U.S. next year, will not spark the anger of the extremist Israeli right-wing, the ally of the U.S. fundamentalist right-wing.

Ayoon wa Azan (Live And Learn)

Jihad Al Khazen
Al-Hayat 2003/10/7

The American policy today is: no interference in the Palestinian cause and no change in Iraq.

I saw all the Arab ministers who participated at the UN General Assembly session, and some of them had met with high-ranking American officials, starting with the President. After the discussions I had with them, I realized that the administration had given them the impression that they have backed away from the Arab-Israeli conflict, considering the mounting electoral campaign, and that they intended to maintain the same policy in Iraq, that very policy that has led to the security collapse and left some Iraqis regretting the departure of Saddam Hussein.

As the U.S. administration washed its hands from the Arab-Israeli conflict, Ariel Sharon found an opportunity to organize a theatrical raid against an alleged base of the Islamic Jihad in Syria; this raid had several goals, and striking the Jihad militants was not one of them.

Information Minister stresses aggression expression of Israels dilemma

SyriaTimes
8-10-2003

Information Minister Ahmed al-Hassan has asserted that there is no peace in the region unless it is just and comprehensive and based on the Madrid reference, the principle of peace for land and relevant international resolutions. He pointed out that Israel's provocating military acts cannot achieve security but further deteriorate it.

In an interview with al-Sharq al-Awsat daily, published yesterday, the Information Minister asserted that the video-tape distributed by the Israeli army claiming that it is a Palestinian training center which was targeted by Israeli warplanes on Sunday night, is a film that is fabricated in a way that serves Israel's direct excuse to launch an aggression on Syria.

Israelis question logic of attack on Syria

SyriaTimes
8-10-2003

Israeli politicians and commentators questioned Tuesday the logic of the weekend air strike on Syria without judging it illegitimate.

Syrian Envoy Vows Fight if Israel Keeps Attacking

MADRID (Reuters) - Syria's ambassador to Spain said Wednesday that Damascus would respond militarily if Israel were to go on carrying out attacks in Syrian territory.

Asked about recent statements that Syria had the right to defend itself, Ambassador Mohsen Bilal told Reuters: "If Israel attacks Syria one, two and three times, of course the people of Syria and the government of Syria and the army will react to defend ourselves."

Asked if that meant responding militarily, he said: "By all means. If Israel continues to attack us and continues its aggression of course we shall react to the attacks in spite of the fact that we are fighting for peace and wish to reopen the (1991) Madrid (peace) conference." [...]

Comment: It sounds like Israel is determined to cause the whole world to burn. In the article, Clinton Pardoned, which we posted a link to today, Gordon Thomas mentions:

Mossad sayanim - the Hebrew name for "helpers" in the U.S. media - had already planted stories that "Mega" was an incorrect hearing of the Mossad slang for the CIA, Elga.

The implications are huge when a well known and respected author comes out and notes that American mass media can be written to help Mossad in their black ops and to dupe the American people into supporting it or looking in the other direction while it happens.

Resistance attacks continue in north Iraq

Wednesday 08 October 2003, 12:40 Makka Time, 9:40

A US military vehicle has been destroyed in one of several attacks against occupation forces in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

The vehicle was destroyed when an explosive device blew up on a road 35km west of Kirkuk late on Tuesday, according to police and witnesses.

The oil-rich city itself was rocked by a series of explosions.

A mortar bomb was fired against a building used by US troops and local police without causing casualties, according to a local emergency police commander.

Another three bombs were fired at a US position in Kirkuk, said the local official.

Turkish troops issue proves divisive

Wednesday 08 October 2003, 9:36 Makka Time, 6:36 GMT

The United States has welcomed Turkey's decision to send soldiers to Iraq, dismissing clear objections from Iraq's interim leadership that Washington itself installed.

In contrast, ministers from Iraq's Governing Council have roundly criticised the Turkish move.

And there is unease in Turkey itself. Polls indicate most Turks are opposed to their country sending its forces to serve in Iraq.

The White House and State Department on Tuesday said Washington was pleased with the Turkish parliament's approval of the plan, saying Turkish troops in Iraq would help stabilisation efforts.

[...] The Turkish parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of sending troops to Iraq in what is seen as a way to make up for its refusal on 1 March to allow its territory to be used as a springboard to attack Iraq.

[...] The government, backed by the army, believes military involvement will give Ankara a future say in Iraq and the region, and will convince the US to take action against 5000 Turkish Kurd rebels hiding in northern Iraq.

In addition, economically-challenged Turkey has negotiated loans of $8.5 billion from Washington, an aid which is believed to be contingent on Turkey’s cooperation with the US. However, Washington has denied the loans depend on the sending of Turkish troops.

Thousands of Iraqi Shiites hold anti-U.S protest in Baghdad

08-10-2003,10 :37

Thousands of Shiite Muslims assembled by a Baghdad mosque under the gaze of U.S. troops Wednesday to protest the arrest of two clerics and vowed to march on the coalition's headquarters.

The Shiites, belonging to young cleric Moqtada Sadr's Mehdi Army, marched in formation as a U.S. general negotiated with their leaders, who were enraged by the arrest of Shiite clerics Moayad Kazrajy and Jaleel al-Shumari.

Amir Taheri: Smoking schism widens between Shiite citadels

Special to Gulf News | 08-10-2003

Ever since the liberation of Baghdad, many people had expected it: a theological duel between the two "seminary cities" of Najaf in Iraq and Qom in Iran, over the leadership of the world's estimated 200 million Shiite Muslims.

The first moves in the duel have come from Grand Ayatollah Ali-Mohammad Sistani in Najaf and Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi in Qom. The issue that triggered it is neither theological nor political, but one of lifestyle: does Islam permit the smoking of tobacco?

[...] Shirazi states categorically that smoking tobacco in any form and under any circumstances and by anyone is a sin. He uses the Holy Quranic term haram (forbidden). For Shirazi, anyone who smokes a cigarette could be regarded as "engaged in rebellion against Allah". It would be incumbent on every believer and the authorities of the state to restrain smokers and, if they persist, punish them.

The nature of the punishment is not spelt out. But, since imprisonment does not exist in classical Islamic jurisprudence, the punishment envisaged could either be flogging in public or death.

[...] Sistani does not bring the Holy Quran, the Prophet (PBUH) and the imams into the debate. He regards the issue of smoking as one to be settled by human reason, medical knowledge and individual choice - not theological anathema and interdict. For Sistani, in most issues concerning human existence, "reason" must prevail over dogma.

The two schools of Ijtihad could lead to two different forms of social and political organisation.

Shirazi uses words such as "must" and "obligatory". This means that the clergy should exercise authority over society through edicts that leave no room for individual choice and judgment.

That position is based on the claim that a majority of the faithful are incapable of knowing right from wrong: They are the mustazafeen (the enfeebled ones), who need the intercession of the clergy to avoid the fires of hell.

Shirazi's ideal society is ultimately Platonist: the government of the learned over an ignorant populace. Its Khomeinist version is known as walayt al-faqih, which means rule by the theologian.

Sistani, by contrast, uses such words as "recommended" or "preferable". He casts the clergy into the role of "ethical counsellors" of society. The ultimate decision is made by the individual on the basis of his own reason, the most precious gift from God to man.

Sistani's vision is ultimately Aristotelian. His ideal society is one in which rulers are ordinary, but pious citizens.

Comment: The use of the clergy as a means of social control is seen throughout the world. This is an clear example of how a religious text can be interpreted in different ways to justify different political agendas. The Quran, the Bible, they can both be twisted and used to justify mankind's crimes. For those who would use it to vilify Moslems, think of the horrors of the Bible and how it is now being used to justify the destruction of the Palestinian people.

Rumsfeld 'not told' of postwar shake-up

By Peter Spiegel in Colorado Springs
The Financial Times
October 7 2003 21:42


Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, said on Tuesday he had not been told by President George W. Bush or the National Security Council that the White House was to restructure the handling of postwar Iraq before the media were briefed on the plan by NSC officials.

Mr Bush has ordered the creation of an "Iraq Stabilization Group," which will be run by Condoleezza Rice who is head of the NSC, which co-ordinates foreign policy in the White House.

In an interview with the Financial Times and three European news organisations, Mr Rumsfeld insisted that the new NSC role appeared to be no different from the policy-co-ordinating structure that had existed for more than a year.

He said he did not know why Ms Rice, Mr Bush's national security adviser, had felt it necessary to send a memorandum about the new organisation to cabinet officials or brief the New York Times about the move.

"That's what the NSC's charter is," Mr Rumsfeld said. "The only thing unusual about it is the attention. I kind of wish they'd just release the memorandum."

Mr Bush on Monday welcomed the new organisation, saying: "Condi's job, and Condi's team is going to make sure that the efforts are continued to be co-ordinated."

Mr Rumsfeld declined to comment on the perception that the move was an attempt by the White House to strip control of the rebuilding from the tight grip of the Pentagon. He sought to portray it as a reiteration of existing policy and seemed perturbed that Ms Rice had decided to draw attention to the memo by "backgrounding" the media.

"I don't know quite what the purpose of the backgrounding was... she gave a background, she said what she said, and the way I read the memorandum is that it is basically what the responsibility of the NSC is and always has been, which is what's been going on," he said.

Mr Rumsfeld added: "My impression of it is that that is what is the charter of the National Security Council, and I haven't been able to detect any difference from the memo - unfortunately it's a classified memo, it shouldn't be, there's nothing in it that's classified."

Mr Rumsfeld said he was not upset that he had not been told about Ms Rice's memo beforehand. Senior administration officials frequently produced such policy memorandums and distributed them to "principals" without informing them the missive was being produced.

But people close to the Pentagon said on Tuesday that Mr Rumsfeld's account appeared to be at odds with that of Ms Rice who told the New York Times that she had devised the new structure with Mr Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, the secretary of state, and Dick Cheney, the vice-president.

Before issuing her memo, Ms Rice had been criticised for giving the Pentagon too much control in Iraq. Paul Bremer, civilian administrator, and General John Abizaid, chief military commander, report to Mr Rumsfeld.

Roadside Bombs Kill 3 Soldiers and a Translator in Iraq

By ALEX BERENSON
New York Times
October 8, 2003

A bomb in Haswa, Iraq, killed two American soldiers on Monday. ASWA, Iraq, Oct. 7 — A roadside bomb in this farming community about 25 miles south of Baghdad killed two American soldiers and an Iraqi translator on Monday night, the United States military said Tuesday. Two more soldiers were wounded.

In a separate incident, a roadside bomb just west of Baghdad killed another soldier on Monday night, the military said. The deaths brought to 320 the number of American troops killed in Iraq or Kuwait since the Iraq war began. Three soldiers were wounded in the attacks. [...]

Yes, Bush lied

Paul Sperry
10/07/03
WorldNetDaily.com

WASHINGTON – A year ago, on Oct. 1, one of the most important documents in U.S. history was published and couriered over to the White House.

The 90-page, top-secret report, drafted by the National Intelligence Council at Langley, included an executive summary for President Bush known as the "key judgments." It summed up the findings of the U.S. intelligence community regarding the threat posed by Iraq, findings the president says formed the foundation for his decision to preemptively invade Iraq without provocation. The report "was good, sound intelligence," Bush has remarked.

Most of it deals with alleged weapons of mass destruction.

But page 4 of the report, called the National Intelligence Estimate, deals with terrorism, and draws conclusions that would come as a shock to most Americans, judging from recent polls on Iraq.

The CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and the other U.S. spy agencies unanimously agreed that Baghdad:
- had not sponsored past terrorist attacks against America,
- was not operating in concert with al-Qaida,
- and was not a terrorist threat to America.

"We have no specific intelligence information that Saddam's regime has directed attacks against U.S. territory," the report stated.

However, it added, "Saddam, if sufficiently desperate, might decide that only an organization such as al-Qaida could perpetrate the type of terrorist attack that he would hope to conduct."

Sufficiently desperate? If he "feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime," the report explained.

"In such circumstances," it added, "he might decide that the extreme step of assisting the Islamist terrorists in conducting a CBW [chemical and biological weapons] attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him."

In other words, only if Saddam were provoked by U.S. attack would he even consider taking the "extreme step" of reaching out to al-Qaida, an organization with which he had no natural or preexisting relationship. He wasn't about to strike the U.S. or share his alleged weapons with al-Qaida – unless the U.S. struck him first and threatened the collapse of his regime. [...]

Authors Paint Bush as Liar in Flurry of New Books

Comment: It is being painted as a liberal phenomenon, and not as describing objective reality. Everything is spin control these days.

Erosion of Civil Liberties Reflects a “New Normal” in America - not Temporary Sacrifices - since 9/11

New Report Documents How U.S Government Has Fundamentally Changed Its Relationship with the People It Serves

NEW YORK – Over the two years since the 9/11 attacks, the relationship between the U.S. government and the people it serves has changed dramatically. This “new normal” of U.S. governance is defined by “the loss of particular freedoms for some, and worse, a detachment from the rule of law as a whole,” a new report by the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights finds.

The report, “Assessing the New Normal: Liberty and Security for the Post-September 11 United States,” is the third in a series since 9/11.

“Two years after the attacks, it is no longer possible to view these changes as aberrant parts of an emergency response,” said Michael Posner, the Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. “Rather, the expansion of executive power and abandonment of some well-established civil and criminal legal safeguards have become part of a new normal in American life.”

Click here to read the Introduction of the report and a discussion of the "New Normal"

Bush says CIA source 'may not be found'

President George Bush has said he does not know whether federal investigators will ever find who leaked the identity of a CIA agent.

"I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is. I'd like to. I want to know the truth," Mr Bush told reporters in Washington.

As the White House's self-imposed deadline for all its staff to hand over any relevant information to the Justice Department passed on Tuesday, officials said that data was still being examined and could not immediately comment on it.

[...] Chief of Staff Andrew Card said that co-operation with the investigation had been "outstanding".

Mr Bush has promised to fully co-operate with the investigation.

Are the News Media Too Liberal? Forty-five percent of Americans say yes

by Frank Newport and Joseph Carroll
GALLUP NEWS SERVICE
October 8, 2003

PRINCETON, NJ -- Forty-five percent of Americans believe the news media in this country are too liberal, while only 14% say the news media are too conservative. These perceptions of liberal inclination have not changed over the last three years. A majority of Americans who describe their political views as conservative perceive liberal leanings in the media, while only about a third of self-described liberals perceive conservative leanings.

More generally, the Sept. 8-10 Gallup Poll finds that a little more than half of Americans have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the news media when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Trust in the news media has not changed significantly over the last six years. Conservatives have a slightly lower level of trust in the media than either moderates or liberals do. [...]

Comment: If this Gallup poll accurately represents the views of Americans, it is inexpressibly depressing. If the poll is propaganda, it is still depressing.

Clintons’ Pardoned Buddy Spied For Israel  Exclusive to American Free Press

By Gordon Thomas  

President Clinton’s close friend, a billionaire and fugitive from justice, was a top Mossad source—and could wreck plans by Hillary Clinton if she decides to run for the presidency.

Comment: The article describes a complicated web of deceit and treason. It doesn't just come out and say how much power Mossad has in the U.S. government and the media, but it certainly points in that direction.  

Christian Zionists, Israel and the 'second coming'

Donald Wagner
Daily Star Online

[...] Christian Zionists and premillennial dispensationalists have a pessimistic view of history and wait in eager anticipation for the unfolding of a series of wars and tragedies pointing to the return of Jesus. The establishment of the state of Israel, the rebuilding of the Third Temple, the rise of the Antichrist and the buildup of armies poised to attack Israel, are among the signs leading to the final battle and Jesus’ return.

Leading Christian Zionist authorities in Bible prophecy seek to interpret political developments according to the prophetic schedule of events that should unfold according to their view of scripture. As an apocalyptic and dualistic type of theology, the movement looks in history for the escalation of power and influence of satanic forces aligned to the Antichrist, who, as the end draws near, will do battle with Israel and those aligned with it. Judgment will befall nations and individuals according to how they "bless Israel" (Genesis 12:3). [...]

Comment: An interesting article that gives some historical perspective regarding the rise of this form of fundamentalism. The article states that there are between 100-150 million people all anxiously awaiting the apocalypse, and actively working to do what they can to help their god "bring it on".

Clark May Have Broken Law in Paid Speeches

Stay in Bed

Daniel Patrick Welch

California awoke one morning to find itself governed by a giant cockroach. It's official: we are now living inside a Kafka novel-though even Kafka couldn't have predicted the turn of events that would bring us to this point. To be fair, Schwarzenegger is not a hyper-violent, frozen, misogynist, monosyllabic robot. He just plays one onscreen. In reality, he is-well, by now we all know who he is.

The frightening part is that the people of California knew, too. There is some indication that tracking polls showed his support slipping in the wake of all last week's revelations. Polls are tricky things, of course, but if this is true then the election happened just in time. The republicans have become adept at cherrypicking such opportunities and milking them for all they're worth.

The thing to remember is that things are much worse on a national scale. I'm not sure if it makes it easier or more difficult to get out of bed to remind ourselves that no matter what happened in California, war criminals still skulk around the White House, and crimes against humanity continue in our name all over the world. A cornered dog may be a dangerous thing, but it is important to keep in mind that things really are crumbling all around them. Any pseudo-momentum emanating from Arnold's testosterone boost can't compare to the lift they got out of lying to start a war and the tragedy of the attacks of September 11.

As long as we have an adolescent political system based on individual personality, we will never be immune to such outbreaks of mass stupidity. Changes are essential to curb the manipulation that money and media can buy, as well as to refocus our political system on politics: the pursuit of policies and solutions that will be of benefit to the vast majority of people. What a novel idea!

I admit it does seem a long way off this morning, even if we do ignore California. The cabal in power is truly out of control, and now also panicked, desperate, mean and vengeful. I don't say this gleefully-to contradict Martha Stewart, it's not a good thing. They are gamblers at heart, enormous risk-takers with our money, reputation and future. They have no problem going into Syria if the roll of the dice didn't pan out in Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever. [...]

Why Schwarzenegger Won

The Democrats messed up big-time in California, but Arnold had major help from a supposedly neutral media.

By Stewart Nusbaumer
Intervention Magazine
Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Democrats did it again -- blew an election they should have won easily.

In a super heavy Democratic state with a spoiler candidate to divide the Republican vote, the Democrats somehow managed to lose the California governorship. And decisively!

In both substance and message, the Democrats failed miserably. On the issue front, the Governor's raising of the car tax and allowing of drivers’ licenses to illegals -- that’s right, illegals, not "undocumented residents," not "guest workers," but illegal aliens -- became symbols of a Democratic government out of whack if not mind. As for message, the Party never hammered hard that Arnold was "scared to debate" -- the Terminator in hiding? -- and that he was confusing "Hollywood with California," noting there are significant differences. The Democratic positions were weak and muddled so voters turned elsewhere, and that elsewhere was Arnold.

To give this limpness and confusion political meaning, there was the intense undercurrent of citizen discontent, a growing hostility toward the Democratic establishment that was ripe to explode. The Democrats, however, never seemed to comprehend the depth and breath of this anger. Well, until it was too late. Arnold won the election not because of the issues, then, he simply rode to victory on deep dissatisfaction with the status quo which was the Democrats. [...]

"Gray Davis took California from a 70 billion surplus to 38 billion deficit in 5 years," said a Californian who voted for Schwarzenegger.

"The State of California is a mess," another discontent exploded in the face of a TV reporter.

If the system is not functioning, “then the people will turn to a man on a white horse,” said former California governor and present Oakland mayor Jerry Brown on MSNBC.

At one time in Germany, this savior was someone called Adolph Hitler, presently in California the savior is someone called Arnold. (Interestingly, both emigrated from Austria.) Californians are angry about their sinking economy and ballooning budget deficit and high taxes, but maybe most of all, they are angry that they are fearful of the future.

So they wanted change. The Democrats did not respond to their fear and anger, except with the same old politics -- give the Latinos this, the Native Americans that, etc -- so voters moved on. Not necessarily to something different, but to simply another. [...]

For the television lights to shine on his candidacy, Arnold didn't even have to give interviews, didn’t even have to lay out a plan of action, and hardly had to debate the other candidates. Humongous coverage, more than even Ronald Reagan could fantasize, came running and all Arnold had to do was smile and repeat a few memorized lines. With Arnold's media coverage dwarfing that of the other candidates, and with the Democrats stuck in the past, the fate of the election was sealed. [...]

Arnold's win boosts GOP odds in state for 2004

By Donald Lambro
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
October 8, 2003

Arnold Schwarzenegger's victory in the California gubernatorial-recall election bolsters President Bush's re-election prospects in a Democratic state the White House feared was unwinnable but now sees as a competitive battleground in 2004.

Republican Party strategists said last night that the overwhelming vote to oust Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and the stronger-than-expected vote for the movie-star action hero — now a rising star in the party — will dramatically change the political climate in a state that is the biggest electoral prize in presidential elections. [...]

Some voices of California voters on Tuesday

ASSOCIATED PRESS
12:39 p.m. October 7, 2003

"I'm horrified at the thought that Schwarzenegger can be our governor. I'm vociferously against Proposition 54. I'm sick of Republicans trying to take over the state."
– Gretchen Purser, 25, of Berkeley, voting no on recall and for Bustamante.

"I wish I could vote 16 times today. It's extremely scary what's happened to the state. To me he (Schwarzenegger) exemplifies a certain kind of violence and misogyny. There are so many reasons why he shouldn't be taken seriously as a a candidate."
– Jesse Nissim, 27, of Oakland, voting against the recall and for Bustamante.

"There's no reason to recall a governor just because you don't like him. I don't like him myself, but he's no worse than Reagan, Deukmejian or other governors we've had."
– David Rosenberg, 50, of Oakland, voting no on the recall.

"I think we could be setting a dangerous precedent that other states might follow."
– Evelyn Collaco, 63, of San Ramon, who said she's no fan of Davis but was voting no on recall and for Bustamante.

"We realized as time went on he didn't have the chance Schwarzenegger did."
– Mel Roop, 63, of McClintock's district in Thousand Oaks, voting for Schwarzenegger because he didn't want to split the GOP vote.

Face it, you'll never be rich

Why do Americans still believe in the rags-to-riches fairy tale? In this final extract from his explosive new book, Michael Moore explains why the corporate bosses will never let the American dream become a reality

The Guardian
Tuesday October 7, 2003


Perhaps the biggest success in the war on terror has been its ability to distract the nation from the corporate war on us. In the two years since the attacks of 9/11, American businesses have been on a punch-drunk rampage that has left millions of average Americans with their savings gone and their pensions looted, their hopes for a comfortable future for their families diminished or extinguished. The business bandits (and their government accomplices) who have wrecked our economy have tried to blame it on the terrorists, they have tried to blame it on Clinton, and they have tried to blame it on us.

But, in fact, the wholesale destruction of our economic future is based solely on the greed of the corporate mojahedin.

The takeover has happened right under our noses. We've been force-fed some mighty powerful "drugs" to keep us quiet while we're being mugged by this lawless gang of CEOs. One of these drugs is called fear and the other is called Horatio Alger.

The fear drug works like this: you are repeatedly told that bad, scary people are going to kill you, so place all your trust in us, your corporate leaders, and we will protect you. But since we know what's best, don't question us if we want you to foot the bill for our tax cut, or if we decide to slash your health benefits or jack up the cost of buying a home. And if you don't shut up and toe the line and work your ass off, we will sack you - and then just try to find a new job in this economy, punk!

The other drug is nicer. It is first prescribed to us as children in the form of a fairy tale - but a fairy tale that can actually come true! It is the Horatio Alger myth. Alger was one of the most popular American writers of the late 1800s. His stories featured characters from impoverished backgrounds who, through pluck and determination and hard work, were able to make huge successes of themselves in this land of boundless opportunity. The message was that anyone can make it in America, and make it big.

We are addicted to this happy rags-to-riches myth in this country. People in other industrialised democracies are content to make a good enough living to pay their bills and raise their families. Few have a cutthroat desire to strike it rich. They live in reality, where there are only going to be a few rich people, and you are not going to be one of them. So get used to it.

Of course, rich people in those countries are very careful not to upset the balance. Even though there are greedy bastards among them, they do have some limits placed on them. In the manufacturing sector, for example, British CEOs make 24 times as much as their average workers - the widest gap in Europe. German CEOs only make 15 times more than their employees, while Swedish CEOs get 13 times as much.

But here in the US, the average CEO makes 411 times the salaries of their blue-collar workers. Wealthy Europeans pay up to 65% in taxes, and they know better than to bitch too loud about it or the people will make them fork over even more.

In the US, we are afraid to sock it to them. We hate to put our CEOs in prison when they break the law. We are more than happy to cut their taxes even as ours go up! We don't want to do anything that could harm us on that day we end up millionaires. It's so believable because we have seen it come true. In every community there's at least one person prancing around as the rags-to-riches poster child, conveying the not-so-subtle message: "SEE! I MADE IT! YOU CAN, TOO!!" [...]

Study hits war views held by Fox fans

By David Folkenflik
Sun Staff
Originally published October 4, 2003

Heavy viewers of the Fox News Channel are nearly four times as likely to hold demonstrably untrue positions about the war in Iraq as media consumers who rely on National Public Radio or the Public Broadcasting System, according to a study released this week by a research center affiliated with the University of Maryland's School of Public Affairs.

FOIA Document shows Navy has been aware problems associated with DU since 14 May 1984

Guantanamo reporters 'gagged' by US

Associated Press
09:43 Wednesday 8th October 2003

US military officials have imposed strict reporting limits on the first journalists to go to Guantanamo Bay since the arrests of a Muslim army chaplain and two interpreters. The reporters were required to sign ground rules for coverage that banned questions about the investigations.

There are nine Britons being held at the US-run detention camp in Cuba - two of whom are on an initial list of six detainees who could be tried by military tribunal. US officials say the six were, like other prisoners at Guantanamo, suspected of involvement with al-Qaida, Afghanistan's Taliban or some other group.

Asked why journalists were being warned of consequences if they ask questions, Army Lieutenant Colonel Pamela Hart said, "Why ask a question that you're not going to get an answer to?" [...]

Military Unusually Secretive in Spy Case

By MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer
Wed Oct 8, 1:36 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Military authorities have taken unusual steps to protect evidence in an espionage investigation at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, including classifying routine court documents and forcing visiting reporters to promise in writing not to ask about the case. [...]

Some secrecy is to be expected in the military's most high-profile espionage case in more than a decade. Military law experts say the Pentagon has gone to extreme lengths, however, to protect secrets in the cases of al-Halabi and the Army captain and civilian translator arrested on suspicion of espionage at the prison.

"The court clerk's signature is not a secret. Why would they black it out in this case? I can't understand that," said Kevin Barry, a Virginia lawyer who is a military law expert and former Coast Guard appeals court judge.

"There does appear to be an effort with regard to anything having to do with Guantanamo Bay to reveal less rather than more," Barry said.

Unusual secrecy has shrouded the main military prison for suspected terrorists since before the first prisoners arrived in 2002. Even the number of inmates at the base in Cuba is classified — authorities will say only that about 660 suspected members of the al-Qaida network and Taliban, former rulers of Afghanistan, are held there. [...]

Comment: It is obvious that the US has much to hide. They can't have the world getting ahold of proof that they are breaking numerous international laws by detaining without charge and torturing "terrorists."

U.S. Reportedly Frees Taliban Foreign Minister

By Saeed Ali Achakzai
October 8, 2003

SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan (Reuters) - The most senior Taliban leader held by U.S.-forces in Afghanistan (news - web sites) has been freed after helping to broker talks between U.S. officials and Taliban fighters. [...]

A close friend of Muttawakil said he had been released four days ago. [...]

Muttawakil, considered a moderate member of the radical Islamic movement, surrendered to Kandahar authorities in February 2002 and was handed over to U.S. forces. [...]

London hosts talks on fighting WMD trafficking

LONDON (AFP) Oct 07, 2003

Officials from 11 countries will meet in London Wednesday for talks on strengthening measures to combat illegal trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the Foreign Office said. The aim of the discussions is to gain wider support for the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) launched in May by US President George W. Bush on the interception of shipments of WMD-related materials.

It includes agreement on the boarding of ships, forcing aircraft to land and the searching of cargoes. Eleven governments signed up to the PSI principles last month at talks in Paris and the signatories are now looking for broader international support.

The group of 11 comprises Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United States. A Foreign Office spokesman said that about 50 countries had expressed interest in joining the organisation.

The spokesman added: "This is an important meeting. We strongly support the Proliferation Security Initiative and we hope that the meeting will allow us to make the initiative even more operational".

The three-day talks in London will include an exercise simulating the interception of a flight suspected of carrying WMD, paving the way for a live exercise later this year.

US rejects North Korean demand to exclude Japan from nuke talks

AFP
Wednesday October 8, 1:40 PM

The United States flatly rejected a North Korean demand that Japan be excluded from any future talks on resolving the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula. [...]

North Korea said Tokyo had aligned itself with Washington on the nuclear crisis and for its crackdown on a pro-North Korean group in Japan known as Chongryon. [...]

Pakistan test fires [a second] nuclear-capable missile

AFP
Wednesday October 8, 4:09 PM

Pakistan conducted its second test in five days of a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead deep into India but denied the tests were linked to an apparent deadlock in the neighbours' six-month peace process.

"We have successfully test fired the Shaheen 1," military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan told AFP Wednesday.

The surface-to-surface ballistic missile, which can carry any type of warhead up to 700 kilometers (434 miles), was launched at 8:13 am (0313 GMT) from a secret location, Sultan said.

Pakistan notified neighbouring countries, including rival nuclear power India, ahead of the test in what the military called "a spirit of confidence building." [...]

Comment: Don't forget that Pakistan has turned their country over to the FBI.

Iran ready to prove not after nukes

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's President Mohammad Khatami says Tehran will provide whatever cooperation is needed to prove that it is not developing nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, in a tough resolution last month, gave Iran until October 31 to dispel doubts about its atomic ambitions, which Tehran says are devoted entirely to the development of nuclear electricity generators.

"We will continue any kind of cooperation to assure the world that we are not pursuing nuclear weapons, which truly we are not," Khatami told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.

Comment: No matter how much Iran complies, it is just a matter of time. It may take the Bush Reich organizing another terrorist attack on American soil, but they are hell bent on bombing Iran and stealing their resources, so it is going to happen. Unless U.S. citizens wake up in time. Iraq is not a failure in the eyes of Bushy, but a success. They are getting away with it, and likely to get elected again.

Chinese, Indian premiers upbeat on Sino-Indian ties

www.chinaview.cn
2003-10-08 19:13:59

BALI, Oct. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- Both Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee talked about a good trend of development in Sino-Indian relations while they met on the sidelines of the meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) here Wednesday.

During their meeting, Wen said Vajpayee's China visit in June this year had achieved fruitful results, bringing with him the wishes of peace, friendship, trust and cooperation.

Reyes departs for US as anti-terror envoy

www.chinaview.cn
2003-10-08 16:43:46

MANILA, Oct. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- Newly appointed Philippine Ambassador-at-large for Counter-terrorism Angelo Reyes will depart for the United States on Wednesday for a one-week working visit.

The former defense secretary and the Philippines' first ever anti-terror envoy will conduct a lecture series and engage in a public relations campaign that will supplement the Philippine government's preparations for the state visit of US President George W. Bush to the Philippines on Oct. 18, the presidential palace said in a statement.

In Washington, Reyes is expected to meet US defense and state officials, particularly his counterpart US ambassador-at-large J. Cofer Black and Department of Homeland Secretary Tome Ridge, whereit is expected, the two countries' counter-terrorism thrusts will be discussed, the statement said.

"The job of the ambassador-at-large is to coordinate and integrate Philippine efforts at combating on an international, regional and domestic level," Reyes said, stressing that he would be working on "coalition building."

"A global network of terrorists must be addressed by building aglobal network of counterterrorists," Reyes added.

France firm on sovereignty transfer to Iraq: Chirac

www.chinaview.cn
2003-10-08 19:17:50

PARIS, Oct. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- France is willing to play a "constructive" role on the Washington-drafted United Nations (UN) resolution on Iraq but remains firm on a rapid transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi people, French President Jacques Chirac said in an interview published Wednesday.

"France and the United States pursue the same objective: the peace and stability in Iraq with sovereignty and democracy, which is engaged on the way of progress," Chirac told the Moroccan news agency.

"France wishes to play a constructive role in the ongoing discussions on the American draft resolution on Iraq," he said.

[...] In order to make all actions successful in Iraq, "we must at first take into consideration the fact that the Iraqis want and should be master of their fate," said Chirac. "In our opinion, this could be done through a very rapid transfer of sovereignty tothe Iraqis themselves."

"The effective responsibilities could be transferred progressively and take the time that is necessary," he said, adding that the UN must be given a "motor role" in this process.

China's manned space flight to last just 90 minutes on October 15: reports

AFP
Wednesday October 8, 4:40 PM


China's first manned space mission will make a single orbit of the earth in a flight that lasts just 90 minutes on October 15, reports and television officials said Wednesday.

"We have been told our live broadcast of the launch will be on the 15th. But we do not know the exact time of the launch on the day," a China Central Television news centre official told AFP. [...]

White House Lawyers Pore Over Leak Papers

By JENNIFER LOVEN
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - White House lawyers are screening documents submitted as possible evidence to determine who leaked an undercover CIA officer's identity, mindful that officials from the president on down have expressed doubt that the leaker will be found. [...]

Comment: Hopefully you didn't miss CounterPunch's article we posted a link to yesterday: Fourth Reich? The Bush-Rove-Schwarzenegger Nazi Nexus, where we discover that, "Karl Rove's grandfather allegedly helped run the Nazi Party, and helped build the Birkenau Death Camp." And we have posted many comparisons of Hitler's hypnotic use of public speaking with Bushy's. This is Rove's role today, which may make him one of the most powerful people in the U.S. His Nazi connections must be why he is so beloved in the White House today, he even has a special nickname from Bush: "Turd Blossom". It's true. See, The Busiest Man in the White House, from Time.

James Clerk Maxwell Telescope to Get Upgrade

A new camera will greatly improve the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope's image capability.

by Jeremy McGovern

Located near the peak of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, the 15-meter (49-foot) James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) is the largest single-dish submillimeter telescope in the world. Its camera and photometer, SCUBA (Submillimeter Common-User Bolometer Array), has led to major advances in our understanding of how planets, stars, and galaxies form. Now, thanks to a combination of grants, the JCMT will be able to improve its ability to image and measure such cosmic objects.

With $12.3 million (Canadian) from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, £4 million (U.K.) from the United Kingdom's Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), and £2.3 million (U.K.) coming from other JCMT partner groups, the PPARC's Joint Astronomy Centre will develop SCUBA 2. This new camera will enhance what was already one of the most important submillimeter astronomy facilities in the world.

Metal in the Meadow

By Dave DeBoer, Deputy Manager/Project Engineer for the Allen Telescope Array

Despite the beautiful landscape and the shining dishes of the millimeter-wave radio telescope at Hat Creek, the scene is rather unremarkable - a drilling rig in a sage-covered field. It could be drilling a new water-well for the local rancher or an exploratory oil well for a transnational company. In fact, the rig's rhythmic pounding and the rising plume of dust signify the first moments of construction of the Allen Telescope Array.

The Allen Telescope Array will consist of 350 individual 20-foot antennas linked to form the equivalent of a single large antenna. When fully operational in 2005, the Allen Telescope Array will have more collecting area than the newly completed Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, and better resolution than the venerable Arecibo dish in Puerto Rico that has been so important to the SETI Institute.

This innovative new telescope - a joint project between the SETI Institute and the University of California Berkeley's Radio Astronomy Lab (RAL) - is funded through prototype construction by visionary philanthropists Paul G. Allen and Nathan P. Myhrvold. [...]

Insurance dispute stalls Mt Stromlo Observatory clean-up

October 8, 2003

The Australian National University (ANU) is yet to commence the massive clean-up job at the Mount Stromlo Observatory in the ACT because of ongoing wrangles over insurance.

The 80-year-old observatory was devastated by the January fires, which claimed five telescopes and many more research projects.

The observatory suffered up to $50 million damage. [...]

General Motors aims to make money on fuel-cell vehicles by 2010

TERRA.WIRE
TOKYO (AFP) Oct 06, 2003


General Motors Corp. (GM) aims to make money on selling environmentally-friendly fuel-cell vehicles from 2010, a top research official said Monday.

GM expects fuel-cell vehicles to be commercially viable by that year, GM said in a statement, quoting Larry Burns, vice president of research and development, and planning.

"That means providing the customer with exciting, compelling vehicles at a price they can afford and one that makes sound business sense for GM," he was quoted as saying.

The statement was released as GM launched a weeklong demonstration of its environmentally-friendly technologies developed with its Japanese partners -- Isuzu, Suzuki and Fuji Heavy Industries.

Anti-war protests stop US speech (New Zealand)

Oct 08, 2003

The United States Embassy says it is unfortunate that a speech by US Ambassador Charles Swindells was not heard at Victoria University.

The speech was abandoned because of noisy protests from anti-war demonstrators.

Swindells was meant to talk about the relationship between the US and New Zealand.

A statement from the Embassy says protest is a key element of democracy but so is freedom of speech - particularly in a university setting.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff says he is not surprised by the behaviour of the protesters, but an important opportunity to hear Swindells was lost.

Thousands march in Spain against controversial water plan

TERRA.WIRE
ZARAGOZA, Spain (AFP) Oct 05, 2003

More than 100,000 people took to the streets of the Spanish city of Zaragoza on Sunday to protest against a controversial government plan to redistribute the country's vital water resources.

The regional government of Aragon, in northeastern Spain, called the march, supported by local trade unions and employers organisations.

"Aragon, water and a future!" demonstrators chanted in protest against the plan designed to channel more water to Spain's parched Mediterranean coast, whose economy is partially based on intensive greenhouse farming which requires constant irrigation.

The water would be diverted from the Ebro river delta, which flows through Zaragoza.

"There are better and more economically sound solutions than diverting (the river), which is stupid," said the socialist president of the Aragon government, Marcelino Iglesias. [...]

Those watching riots aren't blameless, say police psychologists

Mary Jane Smetanka, Star Tribune
Published October 8, 2003

Last weekend, when close to 3,000 young people gathered in what became a riot near the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato, only a few of those present flipped cars, started fires and shattered fences.

Most just stood and watched. "Everybody was having a fine time until the police fired off the tear gas," a student told the Star Tribune on Tuesday.

But people who have studied the phenomenon of student riots say spectators are as culpable as those who do physical damage. Some schools are beginning to acknowledge that in discipline policies. [...]

Comment: Don't say you haven't been warned...

EU withdraws approval for potentially harmful herbicide atrazine

TERRA.WIRE
BASEL, Switzerland (AFP) Oct 05, 2003

The European Union has withdrawn approval of the widely-used herbicide atrazine, the product's maker, Swiss agrochemicals group Syngenta said on Sunday.

Syngenta said in a statement on its website that the decision not to allow re-registration of atrazine and a sister product, simazine, was taken by the EU's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

The 45 year-old herbicide, used to kill weeds around crops, has been implicated by authorities in incidents of ground water contamination, prompting recent bans on its use in several European countries including France.

Exposure to excessive amounts of atrazine can potentially cause heart, lung and kidney trouble as well as cancer, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. [...]

Bush fire rages through renowned Zimbabwe park

TERRA.WIRE
HARARE (AFP) Oct 06, 2003

A raging bush fire, probably started by animal poachers, has devastated vast tracts of Zimbabwe's Matopos National Park, which includes a World Heritage Site, state radio reported Monday.

The report said that three quarters of the central part of the 43,000-hectare park "has been engulfed by a raging veldt fire, which displaced hundreds of wild animals."

The Matobo Hills, from which the park gets its name, were this year declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The radio described the fire as "an act of arson" probably caused by poachers or by reckless villagers.

Hunters here sometimes set fire to the bush in order to flush out wild animals, while subsistance farmers start fires to clear bush for crops.

The park, which is located some 50 kilometres (31 miles) south of the country's second city of Bulawayo, is the site of ancient rock paintings made by the area's first inhabitants.

It is also home to many animal species, including the increasingly rare leopard.

Virus writers probed for terror ties

By Bernhard Warner, European Internet Correspondent

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's task force against high-tech crime is investigating links between virus writers and extremist groups as it prepares defences for a possible attack, a top law enforcement officer has told Reuters.

The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) has started working with anti-virus firms to identify patterns in the source code of the most damaging Internet worms and virus programmes to determine whether they are the work of organised subversive groups or crime syndicates.

The hope is that buried somewhere in the lines of code will be clues to the author's identity, motive and possibly, future acts of sabotage.

Of the dozens of viruses and worms that emerge on the Internet each week, none has been traced back to organised crime or subversives aiming to disrupt a country's infrastructure. [...]

Surgeons left towel in man's stomach

Associated Press
07:38 Wednesday 8th October 2003

A man whose doctors left a surgical towel in his stomach after surgery for has been awarded £300,000 in damages by a Florida judge.

William Barlow, 62, developed a blood infection and fever after leaving the Veteran's Administration hospital in December 2000, following surgery for an aortic aneurysm, according to a summary of the case released by the judge. The towel was removed four months later.

The VA admitted liability over the forgotten towel but tried to limit the damage award, citing Barlow's poor health and obesity. [...]

Residents wary after legs found in trash

By Mark Arner
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
October 7, 2003

RANCHO SAN DIEGO – A resident of the sprawling, 676-unit Country Hills apartment complex here said the discovery of a pair of human legs in a Dumpster has changed the mood of her neighbors from carefree to cautious.

"I think there's some psycho-killer who is going to chop us all up," said 16-year-old Gina Karl, who said she had lived there for a year.

"I'm serious," she said. "You have to be totally crazy to chop someone up and put their legs in a Dumpster." [...]

New road reveals Stone Age site

A total of 44 flint axes were found

BBC

Archaeologists believe they may have stumbled upon a major Stone Age site - on the route of a new bypass.

The site dates back between 250,000 and 300,000 years and may even provide evidence of one of the earliest uses of fire. [...]

Deleted Political Cartoons From al Jazeera

thememoryhole.org

The Qatar-based al Jazeera network--often called the CNN of the Arab world--is known for broadcasting images and reports that the Western powers would rather you not see. The news outlet has a reputation for not backing down, but that seems to be changing. With its star reporter under arrest (he's been accused of being a part of al Qaeda) and the station at least temporarily silenced in Iraq, al Jazeera has apparently caved to US pressure.

Comment: Check them out. They are little too close to the truth for public consumption, so they must be censored.

Mysterious animal sighted

Oct 07, 2003

A reported sighting of a mysterious black panther in mid-Canterbury has raised the interest of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Ministry is sending an investigation team to a South Island farm after witnesses reported seeing a prowling black cat. Truck driver Chad Stewart reported the sighting when he was delivering stock last Friday.

He is convinced it was a black panther, although the last one officially in New Zealand was years ago at Auckland Zoo. Amelia Pascoe from the Ministry of Agriculture is taking no chances.

"We do have to take the reports seriously. It was seen by somebody in daylight and was watched for some minutes, so we have to keep an open mind to all possibilities. We'll look for paw prints and panther poo," Pascoe said.

Comment: Another cat story. Coincidence? We think not.


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