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November 9, 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."

More attacks on American troops in Iraq, which is not surprising since even US diplomats are saying that the war is back on. An alleged "al-Qaeda" (read CIA/Mossad) strike in Riyadh kills 30, U.S. Memorial Day parades are in trouble, and SARS treatment causes bone disease.

The recent reports of Saddam's mass graves gave us pause here at Signs Central. We have no doubt that Saddam was capable of such atrocities, he worked for the CIA after all. Here is the recent AP report:

40 Iraqi mass graves confirmed, U.S. says

300,000 believed buried; protecting sites a concern

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein's government is believed to have buried as many as 300,000 opponents in 263 mass graves that dot the Iraqi landscape, the top human rights official in the U.S.-led civilian administration said yesterday.

Sandy Hodgkinson said the administration has been sending forensic teams to investigate grave sites that have been reported to U.S. officials. So far, the existence of about 40 graves has been confirmed. [...]

President Bush has referred to Iraqi mass graves frequently in recent months, saying they provide evidence that the war to drive Hussein from power was justified. [...]

Of course, we do have some questions. Who loves mass graves more? Saddam or the Bush family? Did you know that Bush planned to bulldoze American GI's into mass graves? Bush is probably disappointed it didn't happen, since the world would be off of his back about not finding WMD's in Iraq.


The Pentagon expects a large number of Americans to be killed in the upcoming invasion of Iraq—and what it plans to do with those soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice for their country will shock everyone.

By Mike Blair

A military expert reports that the Pentagon has a gruesome plan to bury the large numbers of dead GIs expected from the planned invasion ofIraq in mass graves with bulldozers. This would cover up more than “those resting in honored glory.”

In a recent column, military analyst and war hero Col.David H. Hackworth (U.S. Army, ret.) revealed that at the Pentagon there is “already a buzz of putting plans in place for bulldozers to mass-bury our sons and daughters who fall from germs. Not that this scenario would trouble the dedicated folks in Veterans Affairs. You know, no messy claims or protesters to worry about down the track.”

Hackworth was referring to the “army of scarred and ornery warriors” who invaded Washington on Feb. 12 to protest “the raw deal they’ve gotten from dishonest politicians with short and shifty memories.”

The thousands of veterans, most more than 70 years of age, gathered in front of the Supreme Court to protest, as Hackworth put it, “how the capital gang has hung them out to die on promised lifetime health benefits for vets.” [...]

We decided to take a look back at what Bush, Sr. contrived during the first Gulf War. Certainly one of the greatest war criminals still alive. Although, Bush, Jr. is catching up to him.

Flashback: 1991 Gulf War

United States, British and allied planes launched a massive campaign of bombing and missile strikes on targets across Iraq at 2330 GMT on 16 January 1991.


[...] On Sunday 24 February 1991, allied forces launched a combined land, air and sea assault which overwhelmed the Iraqi army within 100 hours. [...]

By 26 February, Iraq had announced it was withdrawing its forces from Kuwait, but still refused to accept all the UN resolutions passed against it.

Allied forces bombed them from the air, killing thousands in their vehicles on what become known as the "Highway of Death". [...]

Estimates for the number of Iraqi soldiers killed range from 60,000 to 200,000 soldiers - an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 in the ground war alone.

Nobody knows how many civilians died in the war, but estimates for civilian deaths as a direct result of the war range from 100,000 to 200,000.

Heaps of Iraqi corpses were buried in mass graves in the desert. [...]

One of the more infamous war crimes was labeled "The Highway of Death". The U.S. vainly attempted to cover up the atrocity with false claims. The Iraqi troops were not being driven out of Kuwait by U.S. troops as the Bush administration maintains. They were not retreating in order to regroup and fight again. In fact, they were withdrawing, they were going home, responding to orders issued by Baghdad, announcing that it was complying with Resolution 660 and leaving Kuwait.

Not only then had these soldiers essentially already surrendered, but among the convoy were thousands of Iraqi and Palestinian civilians fleeing Kuwait. US generals were more than likely well aware of this, yet ordered the massacre anyway. Sickeningly, U.S. press accounts tried to make the discovery of burned and bombed household goods appear as if Iraqi troops were even at this late moment looting Kuwait.

Saddam had always considered Kuwait as Iraq's southernmost province, when he became aware that Kuwait was stealing Iraq's oil he decided to act. Having received word from Bush Snr. that the US was not interested in what it considered Iraq's "internal affairs", Saddam felt there was nothing to stop him taking Kuwait. Obviously he did not consider that he was being set up by Bush.

The Massacre of Withdrawing Soldiers on "The Highway of Death"

by Joyce Chediac

U.S. planes trapped the long convoys by disabling vehicles in the front, and at the rear, and then pounded the resulting traffic jams for hours. "It was like shooting fish in a barrel," said one U.S. pilot. The horror is still there to see.

On the inland highway to Basra is mile after mile of burned, smashed, shattered vehicles of every description - tanks, armored cars, trucks, autos, fire trucks, according to the March 18, 1991, Time magazine. On the sixty miles of coastal highway, Iraqi military units sit in gruesome repose, scorched skeletons of vehicles and men alike, black and awful under the sun, says the Los Angeles Times of March 11, 1991. While 450 people survived the inland road bombing to surrender, this was not the case with the 60 miles of the coastal road. There for 60 miles every vehicle was strafed or bombed, every windshield is shattered, every tank is burned, every truck is riddled with shell fragments. No survivors are known or likely. The cabs of trucks were bombed so much that they were pushed into the ground, and it's impossible to see if they contain drivers or not. Windshields were melted away, and huge tanks were reduced to shrapnel.

"Even in Vietnam I didn't see anything like this. It's pathetic," said Major Bob Nugent, an Army intelligence officer. This one-sided carnage, this racist mass murder of Arab people, occurred while White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater promised that the U.S. and its coalition partners would not attack Iraqi forces leaving Kuwait. This is surely one of the most heinous war crimes in contemporary history. [...]

The Washington Post says that senior officers with the U.S. Central Command in Riyad became worried that what they saw was a growing public perception that Iraqi forces were leaving Kuwait voluntarily, and that the U.S. pilots were bombing them mercilessly, which was the truth. So the U.S. government, says the Post , played down the evidence that Iraqi troops were actually leaving Kuwait.

U.S. field commanders gave the media a carefully drawn and inaccurate picture of the fast-changing events. [...]

Contravening international law and the Geneva convention the US used Napalm on thousands of retreating conscript soldiers and innocent civilians, essentially "caramelising" people and vehicles alike.

To appease the U.S. public, some of whom did not have a stomach for slaughter and genocide, created the myth of the "surgical bombing strike." Only the "bad guys" would die we were told. As we saw in the BBC report as many as 200,000 civilians were killed, and this does not count the ongoing birth defects and disease from depleted uranium, tainted water, lack of food and medicine and left over munitions that seem so attractive to children.

U.S. Bombing: The Myth of Surgical Bombing in the Gulf War

by Paul Walker

[...] Finally, comments about the surgical nature of the war tend to neglect the outright massacre which occurred in southern Iraq and Kuwait. The only way to describe what happened there would be a killing frenzy. No accurate numbers of people killed in these areas exist but with the massive bombing of bunkers, especially by FAEs, it is likely that most of the Iraqi soldiers were killed by the saturation bombing. This number could go as high as several hundred thousand. These soldiers were defenseless from air attacks and cut off from communication with leaders in Baghdad. They were simply isolated by the U.S.-led coalition, brutally killed, and then bulldozed into some forty-nine mass graves. That is what General Colin Powell said in November with regard to the Iraqi army: "First you cut it off, then you kill it." There is nothing surgical about that.

Understand, the U.S. buried people alive!

War Crimes: A report on United States War Crimes against Iraq

by Ramsey Clarke and others
Report to the Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal

[...] "War is hell," was Defense Department spokesman Pete Williams' comment confirming that huge U.S. Army earth movers had buried alive up to 8,000 Iraqi soldiers. By Army accounts they were in trenches and desperately trying to surrender and incapable of mounting any resistance. This revelation, recently reported-as these lines were written-by Patrick Sloyan in the New York Newsday [September 12, 1991], demonstrates yet another violation of international conventions on combat. The resulting mass graves violate even the responsibility of the commanding officer to attempt to provide an accounting for the dead among enemy soldiers. The Pentagon has refused even to notify the Red Cross about the location of these mass graves. [...]

Ramsey Clarke served as U.S. Attorney General in the administration of Lyndon Johnson. He is the convener of the Commission of Inquiry and a human rights lawyer of world-wide respect. You can read his entire report here.

Iraq is not the only place that the U.S. left behind mass graves...

International War Crimes Tribunal

[...] On December 20, 1989, President Bush ordered a military assault on Panama using aircraft, artillery, helicopter gunships and experimenting with new weapons, including the Stealth bomber. The attack was a surprise assault targeting civilian and non-combatant government structures. In the E1 Chorillo district of Panama City alone, hundreds of civilians were killed and between 15,000 and 30,000 made homeless. U.S. soldiers buried dead Panamanians in mass graves, often without identification. The head of state, Manuel Noriega, who was systematically demonized by the U.S. government and press, ultimately surrendered to U.S. forces and was brought to Miami, Florida, on extra-territorial U.S. criminal charges. [...]

US War Crimes During the Gulf War

By Francis Boyle

[...] Defendant Bush's invasion of Panama was even more illegal, reprehensible, and criminal than Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. The world must never forget that the first step in the construction of Bush's "New World Order" was his illegal invasion of Panama and the murder of thousands of completely innocent Panamanian civilians. America's self-anointed policeman in the Persian Gulf had the blood of the Panamanian People on his hands. [...]

As we said, we have no doubt that Saddam was capable of such atrocities against his own people. A tyrant is a tyrant. But, one could easily be suspicious and question, is the U.S. digging up the mass graves they created to justify the current invasion and genocide? Both Bush and Saddam need to be held accountable for mass graves. It is obvious that these recent reports are being brought forth now just for Bush's sake. As usual, the media is falling down on the job, and by their silence they are complicit in these crimes against humanity. Obviously, the media approves of burying people alive.

30 die in Saudi bombing

By Rajeev Syal

Two Britons were early today feared to be among up to 30 people killed in a terrorist bomb attack on a residential compound in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Three explosions were reported within the Muhaya compound, a day after the United States warned of possible terrorist attacks in the kingdom. At least 100 people were wounded. Most of the victims were thought to be women and children.

A British couple and a woman were believed to be staying in the compound in western Riyadh. Only the husband had been accounted for, said a Foreign Office spokesman.

"We believe there was one British couple staying in the compound and the husband has been accounted for. We also believe that a British national may have been in the compound, too."

A Saudi official said the blast came after gunmen tried to break into the compound and exchanged fire with security guards. There were conflicting reports about the number of dead and wounded from the blasts, which happened at about midnight local time. The official Saudi Press Agency described the attack as terrorist.

News channels and witnesses reported one big explosion followed by two smaller ones 15 seconds apart in Muhaya, a compound three miles west of the city centre that houses Saudis and foreign workers. At least one British family was reported to be living within the compound, that comprises about 200 villas.

The Saudi interior ministry confirmed that a "terrorist bombing" had hit the compound as people were breaking their fasts as part of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A journalist with CNN television said that between 20 and 30 people had been killed and more than 60 injured. The compound, a former US marine base, is located in the Wadi Laban suburb, behind the al-Yamama royal palace.

The US Embassy in Riyadh said on Friday that it had received "credible information that terrorists in Saudi Arabia have moved from the planning to operational phase of planned attacks in the kingdom".

In response, the embassy said that its missions in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran would close. It urged Americans to be "vigilant when in any area that is perceived to be American or Western".

US turns wrath on resistance fighters

Peter Beaumont and Dan Plesch
The Observer
Sunday November 9, 2003

US troops yesterday unleashed their most furious attack in Iraq since the official end of the war. The attacks, which happened in Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit, were carried out in response to the killing of six soldiers whose Black Hawk helicopter was shot down near the town on Friday.

As F16s jets dropped 500lb bombs on the area where the helicopter was shot down, US troops launched a massive sweep operation, designed as a show of force against resistance fighters based in the Sunni Triangle, which saw the arrest of several dozen alleged fighters and the death of five more. [...]

Despite the US military operation, however, lethal attacks on US forces continued yesterday with two US paratroopers killed in the Sunni Triangle town of Falluja when a roadside bomb exploded under their vehicle.

Amid suspicions that the bombing raids were designed as much for domestic US consumption as out of operational necessity, a coalition spokesman announced that it had also captured 12 people suspected of involvement in a deadly attack on a Baghdad hotel where US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying. [...]

Senior US official: Iraq "now pretty close to war"

Colin Freeman in Baghdad

American warplanes bombed suspected Iraqi guerrilla hideouts in their first air attack since President George W Bush declared major combat over in May, as a senior US official said the situation inside Iraq was now "pretty close to war".

The sharp escalation of the American military campaign against the growing Iraqi insurgency came in swift response to the death of six soldiers killed when a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down on Friday. It was the third helicopter brought down within three weeks.

F-16 fighter-bombers swooped over Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home city, dropping 500lb bombs near the site of the crash. The air attack was quickly followed by ground assaults involving troops backed by Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, who destroyed several farmhouses thought to be used by pro-Saddam fighters.

About 16 Iraqis were detained and five killed, including an Iraqi man spotted trying to set a booby trap for American soldiers. US commanders said the attack, Operation Ivy Cyclone, was designed as "a show of force".

As the attack unfolded, America's deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, admitted during a visit to Baghdad that Iraq was still a war zone.

"We are involved in an insurgency, and that's pretty close to war," he said. American forces had "a very solid plan to go out and get these people who are killing us and killing Iraqis," he added. [...]

Americans sow seeds of hatred

The Observer
Sunday November 9, 2003

Sarab rolls up her sleeve and looks at the thick scar across her upper arm. The eight-year-old says she was playing in the bathroom of her house when the shots were fired but cannot remember anything else.

'It is their routine,' said her grandfather, Turk Jassim. 'After the Americans are attacked, they shoot everywhere. This is inhuman - a stupid act by a country always talking about human rights.'

Last September, US forces shot dead Sarab's two-year old sister, Dunya, and wounded two other girls in her family, 13-year-old Menal and 16-year old Bassad. The family belongs to the Albueisi tribe who farm the rich land along the Euphrates river south of Falluja. The Albueisi fought against the British and even Saddam Hussein found them difficult to control. Since April, at least 10 members of the tribe have been killed by US forces, including five policemen.

While the US authorities maintain that resistance attacks are carried out by former Baathists and supporters of Saddam, they continue to ignore the tribal nature of the insurgency which has grown steadily over recent months. Deeply conservative clans like the 50,000-strong Albueisi have codes of honour which they complain the American army ignores at checkpoints and during raids on houses.

They also believe that the Koran demands jihad against foreign invaders. Asked how many American lives should be taken if one of their own is killed, the answer is: 'As many as possible.'

Last week an American Chinook helicopter was shot down by a heat-seeking missile a few kilometres from Sarab's house, killing 16 soldiers. It could have been worse, the neighbours say. Resistance fighters were ready to fire another missile at a second Chinook when they were stopped by worried locals. [...]

According to Albueisi resistance supporters, the attack on the Chinook was carried out by members of the tribe, as was a second attack later in the week on a military train. One of the freight containers from the train lies behind Sarab's house, its lettering partially effaced by handfuls of mud.

'If the Americans came as normal citizens, we'd welcome them,' said Khalid, an Albueisi with ties to the resistance. 'When they came for liberation, I sent them food. Now I just want to kill them. If I didn't have children, I'd join tomorrow.'

As a teenager, Khalid won local fame for revenging his brother's death. A notoriously good shot, he says he is now thinking of dusting off his Kalashnikov.

'What are we supposed to say? "Oh, the poor American soldiers died" when they kill people here every day? I expected more than just a Chinook to be shot down.'

Like everybody in the area, he believes far more soldiers died in the crash than the authorities admit. According to Khalid, the tactics and aims of the resistance in the Falluja area are different from those in Baghdad. In the countryside, foreign fighters and Saddam's supporters play a far smaller role than tribal relationships and traditional codes.

'The Albueisi have hot blood and will do anything without caring about the results. If something happens to one of them, they will get together and take revenge. More helicopters will go down, definitely.' [...]

Red Cross Closes Offices in Baghdad, Basra

Revenge killings claim lives of Saddam's cronies in southern Iraq

Sunday November 9, 4:17 PM

Dozens of Saddam Hussein's followers in Iraq's southern capital have been assassinated as they try to regroup and attack the coalition, the city's security chief told AFP.

"There have been too many political assassinations, dozens of them," said Colonel Mohammad Kazem Ahmad al-Ali, police director of internal security in Basra.

"These were liquidations of senior members of the previous regime who had committed crimes against the people," Ali said in an interview.

He declined to identify the perpetrators, but local residents said that members of the 20-to-30 political parties active in Basra have carried out the "revenge killings," targeting ranking members of the Baath party. [...]

Iran to Accept Tougher Nuke Checks, Halt Enrichment

By Louis Charbonneau
Sat Nov 8, 4:42 PM ET

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran again pledged Saturday to give the U.N. nuclear watchdog crucial letters making official its acceptance of tougher nuclear inspections and a suspension of its controversial uranium enrichment program.

However, several diplomats said they were losing patience with Iran, which has yet to stop its enrichment activities, which Washington believes are at the heart of a secret atomic weapons program, three weeks after promising to do so. [...]

Nigeria Says U.S. Reward For Taylor Is a Threat

Sunday, November 9, 2003

CALABAR, Nigeria, Nov. 8 -- Any attempt to seize former Liberian president Charles Taylor on Nigerian soil would violate the nation's territorial integrity, the Nigerian government said after Washington offered a reward for the exiled leader's capture. [...]

A Loud Silence From U.S. on Russian's Arrest

November 9, 2003

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 — In the two weeks since Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky was arrested and his oil company's assets were impounded in Russia, President Bush and other top American officials have offered little public criticism of what many in the administration acknowledge has been an extremely worrisome development.

Instead, administration officials say that Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and some others have raised American concerns in private, avoiding any public comments that might anger President Vladimir V. Putin or jeopardize cooperation on a range of issues.

"Are the recent trends in Russia bad?" commented an administration official this week. "Well, they're not good. But our gut political assessment is that Russia is moving in the right direction. That is what affects our aspirations for Russia right now."

Administration officials say they are indeed highly disturbed about the possibility that Mr. Putin is becoming overly influenced by hard-liners, and is engaging in abuses of power and cracking down on dissent. One official called such trends a reflection of a growing "values gap" between Washington and Moscow. [...]

Comment: Surely they jest...

US Supreme Court asked to rule on legality of Guantanamo incarcerations

Sunday November 9, 4:47 PM

US human rights activists are hoping the Supreme Court will weigh in soon on the legality of the secretive incarceration of prisoners at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The high court must decide whether to take up requests for a judgment on the matter filed by human rights organizations, diplomats, former judges and retired military officers.

The plaintiffs believe the high court should intervene to declare that President George W. Bush's administration is denying justice to approximately 650 men from 42 countries held prisoner by the United States on Cuba.

They believe that what they consider the Bush administration's abuse of civil liberties under the pretext of the "war on terrorism" will eventually affect all Americans.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has unsuccessfully argued in federal court that the detainees have a right to a lawyer and to appear before a judge. [...]

Why Bush can't afford to join mourners

Nov. 9, 2003. 01:00 AM

WASHINGTON — Who can blame poor President Bush? Look at his terrible dilemma.

There are those who say the chief executive should have come out of his Texas ranch house and articulated and assuaged the sorrow and outrage and anxiety the nation was feeling last Sunday after the deadliest day in Iraq in seven months. An attack on a Chinook helicopter had killed 15 American soldiers, 13 men and two women, and wounded 21.

There are those who say the president should have emulated Rudy Giuliani's empathetic leadership after 9/11, or Bush's father's in the 1991 Gulf War, and attended some of the funerals of the 379 Americans killed in Iraq. Or one. Maybe the one for Spc. Darryl Dent, the 21-year-old National Guard officer from Washington who died outside Baghdad in late August when a bomb struck his truck while he was delivering mail to troops.

His funeral was held at a Baptist church three miles from the White House.

But let's look at it from the president's point of view: If he grieves more publicly or concretely, if he addresses every instance of bad news, like the hideous spectre of Iraqis' celebrating the downing of the Chinook, he will simply remind people of what's going on in Iraq.

So it's understandable why, going into his re-election campaign, he wouldn't want to underscore that young Americans keep getting whacked over there, and that we don't know who is doing it or how to stop it. [...]

Fraud probe causes French banks to refuse Israeli checks

October 25, 2003

French bank Societe Generale has informed Israeli financial institutions that it will not clear checks originating from the Jewish state. The decision is in response to a court case being prepared against the bank for alleged involvement in a plot to launder €70 million from Israel.

Seven other French banks have been accused of participating in the scheme. The institutions named are Bred and Societe Marseillaise de Credit, French subsidiaries of the American Express Bank, Britain's Barclays, Israel's Leumi bank, Lebanon's Saradar bank, and the National Bank of Pakistan.

The scheme dates back to 1997 when banks notified the police that merchants in Paris's Sentier district, home to many Jewish businesses, had been defrauding them. Stolen French checks were being transferred to Israel, where they were deposited into local banks and sent on to correspondent banks in France.

The banks were eventually blamed for the affair on the grounds that, by failing to verify the checks, they had perpetuated the crime, reported AP.

Several other French banks have followed Societe Generale in its decision to block Israeli checks and Israel is worried that all the banks in the country will adopt the policy, reported Globes. The move is likely to damage commercial relationships between Israeli and French companies.

Not Enough Troops for Veterans Day Parades

By Coralie Carlson
Associated Press
Sunday, November 9, 2003; Page A10

MIAMI -- Even as thousands of U.S. troops are stationed in war zones abroad, plans for Veterans Day parades across the country are being scaled back or scrapped.

The problem: Not enough troops, tanks and Humvees to wow the patriotic crowds.

"With the large number of active and reserve units called up, a lot of them that would normally be available are on duty," said Bill Smith, a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Washington. [...]

Money Still Needed for Statue of Liberty

By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Writer
Sat Nov 8, 4:48 PM ET

NEW YORK - A nonprofit group is looking for private donations to fund security improvements needed to reopen the Statue of Liberty, off-limits to the public since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The federal government already has spent millions of dollars on upgrades, but about $5 million worth of security measures still are needed before visitors can go inside the 151-foot-high statue, National Park Service spokesman Brian Feeney said. [...]

Comment: It is interesting that the ultimate symbol of American freedom and democracy has been off limits to the public since 9/11. It is also of note that the statue will soon be made more secure than Fort Knox, turning the monument into the ultimate symbol of the police state.

Scientists fear jail in US bio war

Richard Luscombe in Miami
The Observer
Sunday November 9, 2003

Stringent new legislation brought in to improve homeland security could instead be hampering the fight against bio-terrorism in the United States, according to scientists.
Tighter controls implemented earlier this year over samples of viruses, toxins and bacteria that could be used as weapons are interfering with research and those who work with them may even face prosecution, the scientists say.

Their fears are highlighted in an article in this week's New Scientist magazine, which also claims that irreplaceable collections of microbes crucial to the tracing and management of disease outbreaks - terror-related or otherwise - are being destroyed because laboratories cannot meet tight new deadlines to document them. [...]

Nuclear Weapons Lab Loses 12 Keys

New Locks Could Cost $1.7 Million

By Brian Faler
The Washington Post
Friday, November 7, 2003

Officials at a national nuclear weapons laboratory in California have lost a dozen keys to the facility, according to a report released yesterday by the Energy Department's inspector general.

Gregory H. Friedman, the inspector general, said officials at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have lost nine master keys and three magnetic key cards to the facility -- and, in some cases, do not know why or how long they have been missing.

The lab will need to replace about 100,000 locks in 526 buildings, according to the inspector general's report. That will cost taxpayers about $1.7 million -- although Friedman noted that some government officials dispute those figures. [...]

Marine's cancer death prompts change

Saturday, November 8, 2003 Posted: 10:52 PM EST

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) -- For one day, Jesse Spiri was a Marine lieutenant looking ahead to his dream of a military career.

Next day came the sudden onset of brain cancer, which he battled for two months before his death at age 21, without the help of the government he had sworn to defend.

Insurers said Spiri wasn't eligible for treatment because he was not yet on active duty.

Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, agreed with Spiri's parents that the Marine deserved treatment, and for two years pressed Congress to close the "loophole" that had denied him medical care. On Friday, Domenici said the job was done. [...]

Some HK Sars survivors have bone disease: official

The Straits Times
Nov 9, 5.06 pm (Singapore time)

HONG KONG -- Some 50 patients who recovered from Sars in Hong Kong are suffering from bone degeneration possibly caused by the drugs used to treat the potentially fatal virus, the Hospital Authority (HA) said on Sunday.

HA Chairman Leung Che Hung said the authority had contacted about 1,500 patients who had recovered from the severe acute respiratory syndrome and found about 50 of the 500 who had undergone medical examinations were found to have avascular necrosis.

The disease results from the temporary or permanent loss of blood to the bones, causing tissue to die and sometimes bones to collapse. It commonly affects the ends of longer bones.

Medical experts have said the problem in some recovered Sars patients was possibly linked to the use of the controversial anti-viral drug ribavirin and steroids. [...]

The rape of Congo's women

Emily Wax
Nov. 9, 2003. 01:00 AM

BUKAVU, Congo—She walks slowly in padded slippers inside a hospital ward.

Bohoro Nyagakon, 30, is a woman with gentle eyes and a frail 5-foot frame, with a friendly 5-year-old daughter, Farjeka, playing nearby.

She is waiting in this cramped room — with dozens of others — to undergo a harrowing procedure: reconstruction of her vagina.

Gang rape has been so violent, so systematic, so common in eastern Congo during the country's five years of war that thousands of women are suffering from vaginal fistula, leaving them unable to control bodily functions and enduring ostracism and the threat of debilitating lifelong health problems.

Around the world, cases of ruptured vaginal tissue are usually caused by early childbirth and seen in such African countries as Ethiopia, Nigeria and Mali, where brides as young as 12 are too small to give birth.

What makes the fistula cases in Congo so jarring to medical professionals here is the large number of them caused by rape.

In the past few months, as a peace agreement has taken hold and fighting has slowed, the extent of the brutality has become evident, physicians say.

There are so many cases being reported that the destruction of the vagina is considered a war injury and recorded by doctors as a crime of combat. [...]

Aspiring rapper who killed roommate and ate her lung sentenced to life

The Associated Press

COMPTON, Calif. (AP) - An aspiring rapper convicted of killing his roommate and eating part of her lung was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the district attorney's office said. [...]

Revealed: the rumour that has rocked the royal family

By David Leigh and Sarah Lyall in London, with John Hooper in Rome
November 9, 2003
The Sun-Herald

Desperate efforts by Prince Charles's personal staff to quash rumours of a sexual incident involving the future king failed yesterday, buried under a tidal wave of media reports in Europe and on foreign-language websites.

Though still not officially confirmed, the rumours surround a purported sexual contact between Prince Charles and Michael Fawcett, one of his closest advisers. [...]

Comment: Are the rumors are true, or has someone decided it was time for the Royals to go? Or both?

Rich Colleges Receiving Richest Share of U.S. Aid

New York Times

If there is any grand, elegant logic behind the federal government's dispersal of more than a billion dollars in college aid, then Maria Hernandez is humble enough to confess that it has escaped her. [...]

Charles flies home into rumours storm

Press Association

The beleaguered Prince of Wales returns to Britain today contemplating a personal TV appearance to defend his reputation.

Prince Charles 'set to sue' Palace aide over scandal

By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter
The Telegraph

The Prince of Wales has instructed a leading firm of London solicitors to examine the case for legal action over allegations made by a former royal servant about his private life. [...]

False memories have characteristic brain activity

A study has revealed characteristic activity in the brain that predicts whether a memory is accurate or false. The difference occurs at the time of recall, suggesting that a test for false memory might one day be possible. [...]

Ambassador: Rock and roll helped beat regime

Sunday, November 9, 2003 Posted: 7:44 AM EST

CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) -- Rock music played lead in giving Hungarian baby boomers the resolve to bring down their communist state, says one of those reformers who today is a government official. [...]

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