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November 14, 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."

Today as the world burns: Another story on E-weapons surfaces. It is looking more and more like these electromagnetic pulse weapons are more than just a lab experiment.

Free speech is under fire in America - again. Veterans were prevented from protesting the Iraq war on Veteran's Day. The Pentagon has decided to enforce a rule that limits reporters to a designated "bullpen" at military funerals. We wonder how much longer these bullpens will last. Protesters have already been arrested for simply speaking their minds. How much longer can these Free Speech Zones last?

Brace yourself. Huge sunspots and El Nino are scheduled to return. While we wait, "freak storms" struck across the US this week.

More of the Bush family links to Hitler have been discovered. Prescott kept the money flowing right through the fifties, and while he was running for Senate. He won that election. Is history repeating itself, with Bush, Jr. following a similar business plan? More than likely. Then as now, the media is complicit in its silence.

Also in the news: the US-run WWII concentration camps in Arkansas and California, Germany begins shutting down its nuke plants, and new information regarding the Concorde crash that nearly killed the French president.

The Dawn of the E-Bomb

For the wired world, the allure and the danger of high-power microwave weapons are both very real

By Michael Abrams
IEEE Spectrum
November 2003

In these media-fueled times, when war is a television spectacle and wiping out large numbers of civilians is generally frowned upon, the perfect weapon would literally stop an enemy in his tracks, yet harm neither hide nor hair. Such a weapon might shut down telecommunications networks, disrupt power supplies, and fry an adversary's countless computers and electronic gadgets, yet still leave buildings, bridges, and highways intact. It would strike with precision, in an instant, and leave behind no trace of where it came from.

In fact, it almost certainly is already here, in the form of high-power microwave (HPM) weapons. As their name suggests, HPMs generate an intense "blast" of electromagnetic waves in the microwave frequency band (hundreds of megahertz to tens of gigahertz) that is strong enough to overload electrical circuitry. Most types of matter are transparent to microwaves, but metallic conductors, like those found in metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS), metal-semiconductor, and bipolar devices, strongly absorb them, which in turn heats the material... (There is, however, an effort to build a microwave weapon for controlling crowds; a person subjected to it definitely feels pain and is forced to retreat.) [...]

"HPM sources are maturing, and one day, in the very near future, they will help revolutionize how U.S. soldiers fight wars," says Edl Schamiloglu, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and one of the leading researchers in this burgeoning field.

The fact that we seldom hear about HPM weapons only adds to their exoticism. Last spring, stories leaked to the press suggested that the Pentagon, after decades of research, had finally deployed such a device in Iraq. And when news footage showed a U.S. bomb destroying an Iraqi TV station, many informed onlookers suspected it was an electromagnetic "e-bomb."

"I saw the detonation, and then I saw the burst—which wasn't much. If they took the station out with that blast, I strongly suspect that we used Iraq as a proving ground" for HPMs, says Howard Seguine, an expert on emerging weapons technology with Decisive Analytics Corp., in Arlington, Va.

But while the U.S. military proudly paraded assorted new war-making technology during its conquest of Iraq, from unmanned combat aerial vehicles to a new satellite-based tracking network, it remained tight-lipped about this "mother of all weapons." Asked at a 5 March news briefing to confirm the rumor, General Tommy Franks, head of U.S. forces during the war, would only say, "I can't talk to you about that because I don't know anything about it."

Military secrecy is nothing new, of course. What is known about microwave weapons is that the U.S. military has actively pursued them since the 1940s, when scientists first observed the powerful electromagnetic shock wave that accompanied atmospheric nuclear detonations, suggesting a new class of destructiveness. While much of the work on HPMs remains classified, the Pentagon has also recently sponsored a number of U.S. university laboratories to work out the basic principles of microwave weapons, including reliable and compact nonnuclear ways of generating microwave pulses. [...]

It takes gigawatts of power to feed an e-bomb's microwave source. For that, the flux compression generator, or FCG, is a good choice, says Kopp. Invented by Clarence ("Max") Fowler at Los Alamos National Laboratory after World War II as a byproduct of research into atomic bomb detonators, FCGs are conceptually simple. The best-known type consists of an explosive-packed copper cylinder surrounded by a helical current-carrying coil. Upon detonation, the explosion flares out the cylinder, short-circuiting the coil and progressively reducing the number of turns in the coil, thus compressing the magnetic flux. Large FCGs have produced tens of gigawatts, and they can be cascaded—connected end to end—so that the output from one stage feeds the next. [...]

Focused like a laser

The type of narrowband HPM weapons that the U.S. military is looking at offers everything that e-bombs do not. They're nonlethal, reuseable, and tunable, and they can be fired from miles away. Like a laser, the focused beam disperses only slightly over great distances. With a frequency range that is between about 1 and 10 GHz, they can penetrate even electronics shielded against a nuclear detonation. The deepest bunkers with the thickest concrete walls are not safe from such a beam if they have even a single unprotected wire reaching the surface.

A microwave beam is created much like a laser beam. Between the batteries (or other power source) and the beam sit three elements: capacitors that turn the stored energy into an electron beam of nanosecond bursts, a microwave source that converts the electron beam into focused, high-frequency electromagnetic waves, and an antenna that points and shoots the beam.

Kirtland Air Force Base, in Albuquerque, N.M., is considered the epicenter of the Pentagon's research on pulsed-power electromagnetic weapons. There, its premier pulsed-power system, the Shiva Star, is housed behind meter-thick walls. An Air Force spokesperson refused to comment on what goes on in their pulsed-power programs, but a fact sheet on the Web site of Kirtland's Directed Energy Directorate describes the Shiva Star as capable of producing "120 thousand volts and 10 million amps for down to one millionth of a second to produce a power flow equivalent to a terawatt." [...]

Amidst the lead bricks and clutter in Schamiloglu's basement lab lies his masterwork: the Sinus-6. "A lot of laboratories come up with very cute names for these devices," Schamiloglu notes with a smile. "We never did." With a huge cylinder at one end connected to the long microwave source, the Sinus-6 looks like a giant torch lying on its side [see photo]. The big cylinder contains a Tesla transformer, whose two coils vibrate in resonance and amplify the incoming voltage "with nearly 100-percent efficiency," Schamiloglu says. Once the pulse has been transformed into an electron beam, it is guided by a strong axial magnetic field through the long tube that will turn it into microwaves.

The Sinus-6 can fire a several-gigawatt pulsed beam 200 times a second in 10-nanosecond bursts. "It has to be pulsed power because what you're after is high peak power," says Schamiloglu. "The power in the microwaves is going to depend on the electric field squared, so if you generate very large power, then the electric field is going to be big." [...]

Coincidence and curiosity led to their discovery. Schamiloglu first acquired the Sinus-6 from Russian researchers in the early 1990s. (The Soviet Union once boasted a sophisticated program to develop microwave weapons; after its collapse, parts of that legacy were put up for sale, to the delight of researchers like Schamiloglu.) But once the apparatus was assembled in his New Mexico lab, he couldn't get it to operate as promised, so Russian colleagues flew over to help. [...]

Smaller is better

One disadvantage of this oscillator, however, is that it needs an external magnetic field to create the microwave beam, a major hurdle to making the whole system smaller. The size of the Sinus-6 and attendant equipment in Schamiloglu's basement suggests that the U.S. military is nowhere near fielding a narrowband HPM weapon. "When I first started working on high-power narrowband sources, we joked that you can do more damage dropping this equipment on someone than you can by using it," he recalls. "People know how to make microwave sources in the laboratory. The challenge is to take this and package it into an autonomous platform and have it function at the same parameter levels." [...]


Super-secret microwave weapons may be used in Iraq

Thursday, August 15, 2002

[...] Recent articles have speculated microwave weapons could be deployed if the United States invades Iraq. But some experts -- including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- say considerable work remains. [...]

The concept behind high-powered microwave weapons is simple. A burst of electromagnetic energy is created and directed at an enemy's electronics. The force burns them out much like a lightning strike can destroy home appliances. [...]

High-powered microwave weapons are one component of a broader category known as directed energy weapons that includes lasers.

"When people are talking about high-powered microwave weapons, they're not talking about a single device like the stealth bomber," said John Pike, director of, a Washington-area policy organization seeking to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons. "Rather, they're talking about a physical principle and an effect which can be generated a number of different ways for a number of different purposes."

Most of the Defense Department's work on high-powered microwave weapons takes place at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M..

"We are looking at different sources and devices that can produce that microwave energy and propel it," said Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the project where nearly all of the work is classified. [...]

Earlier this month, the widely respected magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology printed an article stating that "an attack on Iraq is expected to see the first use of high-power microwave weapons..."

The New York Post, citing unnamed U.S. military officials, reported yesterday that a preliminary Iraq battle plan "outlined for President Bush last week calls for the most extensive use of electronic and psychological warfare in history -- including secret new electromagnetic pulse weapons to disable Saddam (Hussein)'s entire command and control structure." [...]


Horrifying US Secret Weapon Unleashed In Baghdad

Exclusive By Bill Dash

A nightmarish US super weapon reportedly was employed by American ground forces during chaotic street fighting in Baghdad. The secret tank-mounted weapon was witnessed in all its frightening power by Majid al-Ghazali, a seasoned Iraqi infantryman who described the device and its gruesome effects as unlike anything he had ever encountered in his lengthy military service. The disturbing revelation is yet another piece of cinematic evidence brought back from postwar Iraq by intrepid filmmaker Patrick Dillon.

In the film, al-Ghazali, whose english is less than fluent, describes the weapon as reminiscent of a flame thrower, only immensely more powerful. It is unclear what principle the weapon is based on. Searching for a description, al-Ghazali said it appeared to be shooting concentrated lightning bolts rather than just ordinary flames. Drawing on his many years as a professional engineer, al-Ghazali speculates that radiation of some kind probably figures into the weapon's hideous capabilities. Like all men in Saddam's Iraq, al-Ghazali was compelled to serve in the Iraqi equivalent of the Army National Guard and fought in three wars over the past thirty-odd years. Via email, he told me he has seen virtually every type of conventional weapon employed in battle, and is well acquainted with their effects on people and machines, but nothing in his extensive combat experience prepared him for the shock of what he saw in Baghdad on April 12th.

On that date, al-Ghazali and his family sheltered in their house as a fierce street battle erupted in his neighborhood. In the midst of the fighting, he noticed that the Americans had called up an oddly configured tank. Then to his amazement the tank suddenly let loose a blinding stream of what seemed like fire and lightning, engulfing a large passenger bus and three automobiles. Within seconds the bus had become semi-molten, sagging "like a wet rag" as he put it. He said the bus rapidly melted under this withering blast, shrinking until it was a twisted blob about the dimensions of a VW bug. As if that were not bizarre enough, al-Ghazali explicitly describes seeing numerous human bodies shriveled to the size of newborn babies. By the time local street fighting ended that day, he estimates between 500 and 600 soldiers and civilians had been cooked alive as a result of the mysterious tank-mounted device. [...]

Comment: History has shown the American military has technology well beyond what is publicly acknowledged. Perhaps there is at least some truth to the rumors of superweapons being used against Iraqis by US troops.

Bush says finding Saddam is a key goal

By Andrew Gowers in Washington
Published: November 14 2003 3:30 | Last Updated: November 14 2003 3:30

President George W. Bush has said US forces will not pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan until they have found Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

As Mr Bush prepared for his trip next week to London, where he will be met by tens of thousands of protesters, the US president issued a defiant message on Iraq.

Speaking in an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Bush said it is "inconceivable" that the US would quit Iraq and Afghanistan. "We are not pulling out until the job is done. Period," he said.

Asked whether that included finding the former Iraqi leader and the head of the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation, Mr Bush said: "Yes, that's part of it. But even bigger is a free and democratic society. That is the mission."

Bush braces for UK protests

Friday 14 November 2003, 3:33 Makka Time, 0:33 GMT

The war allies will meet in London next week

President George Bush has said he is ready for antiwar protests when he visits Britain next week and praised his "smart, trustworthy" friend, Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Thousands are expected to demonstrate against Bush, who will stay at Queen Elizabeth's London residence, Buckingham Palace, visit Blair's northern English constituency and talk with relatives of British soldiers killed in Iraq.

"I can understand people not liking war, if that's what they are there to protest," Bush told the British news agency the Press Association and the Daily Telegraph and Financial Times newspapers in an interview published on Friday.

"I fully understand not everybody is going to agree with the decisions I've made."

[...] On Thursday, Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser, confirmed that the president, after two days of talks with US Iraq administrator Paul Bremer, was now considering ways to hand Iraq over to the Iraqis before a formal constitution is written.

While Rice said it remained essential for Iraq to have a permanent constitution and elections for a permanent government, "What is also as important is that we find ways to accelerate the transfer of authority to the Iraqi people. They are clamouring for it. They are, we believe, ready for it. And they have very strong ideas about how that might be done."

Comment: The great defenders of democracy in the US have found a group of equally ardent defenders of democracy in Iraq. A few months ago, the US administration was saying it would take time. Now, Rice has decided "They are ready for it." Could this be at all related to the growing problems the US is facing? Is the goal of elections in the first six months of 2004 related at all to the upcoming presidential election in November 2004 in the US?

Bush 'meeting troops' families for his own gain'
07:59 Friday 14th November 2003

The father of the youngest UK soldier killed in Iraq says George Bush is meeting the families of British troops purely for his own gain. [...]

He said: "For these people to meet families, it is only for their own gain. They are not sympathetic towards people like me. They don't really care that my son lost his life.

"Tony Blair doesn't care. He doesn't care about anyone. So what does George Bush care about our families and my family? He doesn't care."

Mr Kelly was speaking as it was revealed Mr Bush would meet relatives of British soldiers killed in Iraq to tell them they died for a "noble cause". He will also offer them the sympathy "of the American people and the prayers of the president" and tell them "that their loved ones did not die in vain". [...]

Rumsfeld rules out early Iraq pullout

Friday 14 November 2003, 9:22 Makka Time, 6:22 GMT

The US Defence Secretary insists occupation troops will not leave Iraq early, despite the latest moves to transfer power to Iraqis.

"There is no decision to pull out early, indeed quite the contrary," Donald Rumsfeld told American troops he was visiting in the Pacific island of Guam on Friday.

"We will stay there as long as necessary to see that country is put on a path to democracy," the defence secretary stressed.

Rumsfeld's remarks come amid escalating resistance attacks on US-led occupation troops in Iraq, forcing a major policy-rethink in Washington.

[...] "It does not mean that we would physically leave the country any sooner," Rumsfeld explained.

"What it means is that the Iraqis would begin to take on a greater portion of responsibility for governing themselves sooner than the original thought was with respect to first a constitution, then national elections because of the time involved," he said.

Resistance kills Mossad agents in Iraq

The Egyptian Gazette – Wednesday November 12, 2003

KIRKOUK, Iraq - A huge blast has caused extensive damage in a Mossad office building in Kirkouk in northern Iraq late on Monday killing and wounding an unspecified number of Mossad agents and civilian Kurds, the Middle East News Agency said yesterday.

US troops and rescue workers were rushed into the devastated building to remove the bodies and take the wounded to a hospital in Mousel, MENA said. The workers have arrived at the site during the night to remove the debris and evacuate the injured persons, the news agency added.

US troops prevented the people from getting closer to the building and imposed a news black out on the cause of the explosion, which occurred in the garage of the building, it said.

The troops wanted to hide the true activities of the office, which the Mossad rented a week ago, and the identities of its occupants, MENA said.

Seven Iraqis killed in helicopter attack

Insurgents gain a deadly edge in intelligence

By John Diamond, Steven Komarow and Kevin Johnson

11/13/03: (USA Today) U.S. forces are losing the intelligence battle in Iraq to an increasingly organized guerrilla force that uses stealth, spies and surprise to inflict punishing casualties.

U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement officials say that after six months of intensifying guerrilla warfare, Iraqi insurgents know more about the U.S. and allied forces -- their style of operations, convoy routes and vulnerable targets -- than the coalition forces know about them. Indeed, U.S. intelligence has had trouble simply identifying the enemy and figuring out how many are Iraqis and how many are foreign fighters.

With local knowledge and the element of surprise on their side, the guerrillas are exploiting their intelligence edge to overcome the coalition's overwhelming military superiority. Insurgents routinely use inexpensive explosives to destroy multimillion-dollar assets, including tanks and helicopters. Using surveillance and inside information, the guerrillas have assassinated many Iraqis helping the coalition, gunned down a member of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council, killed the top United Nations official in Iraq and blasted the heavily guarded hotel in Baghdad where Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying. [...]

The key problem is that Iraqi guerrillas simply have more and better sources than the coalition. U.S. military officers worry that the Iraqis who work for them, such as translators, cooks and drivers, include moles who routinely pass inside information back to insurgents. In at least two cases, Iraqis have been fired on the suspicion that they were spies.

A former senior director in the Iraqi intelligence service says the Americans are right to be anxious. "The intelligence on the Americans is comprehensive and detailed," says the Iraqi, who insisted on not being identified and spoke to a reporter in a private home rather than at a restaurant or hotel to avoid being observed. He says guerrillas get detailed reports on what is going on inside the palace grounds occupied by Paul Bremer, the chief U.S. civilian administrator, Bremer's staff and the Governing Council. Again on Tuesday, guerrillas fired mortar rounds into the "Green Zone," a heavily secured area of central Baghdad that includes Bremer's headquarters. [...]

U.S. war dead in Iraq exceed early Vietnam years

Arab Times Online

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The U.S. death toll in Iraq has surpassed the number of American soldiers killed during the first three years of the Vietnam War, the brutal Cold War conflict that cast a shadow over U.S. affairs for more than a generation.

A Reuters analysis of U.S. Defence Department statistics showed on Thursday that the Vietnam War, which the Army says officially began on December 11, 1961, produced a combined 392 fatal casualties from 1962 through 1964, when American troop levels in Indochina stood at just over 17,000.

Iraqi Governing Council may not agree with U.S. transfer plan, member says

06:58 AM EST Nov 14

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's Governing Council will study Washington's proposals for a speedier transfer of power but won't necessarily agree with the details, a member said Friday, while U.S. forces were hit by another attack in Baghdad.

"On our part, we have our own ideas," said Mahmoud Othman, an independent Kurdish member of the 24-seat body appointed by U.S. administrator Paul Bremer four months ago. Bremer was returning to Baghdad Friday after meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush to discuss ways of speeding up the transfer of power to an Iraqi-led government amid deteriorating security in the country.

[...] The Bush administration is proposing elections in the first half of next year and formation of a government before a constitution is written, a senior U.S. official said in Washington. In the past, the administration insisted that Iraqi leaders write a constitution and hold elections before the occupying power begins shifting power to Iraqis.

5,000 guerrillas in Iraq, U.S. estimates
Well organized, financed, he says


WASHINGTON—The U.S.-led occupation in Iraq faces no more than 5,000 guerrilla fighters, but they are increasingly well organized, well financed and gradually expanding their attacks to the country's previously calm north and south, the senior American commander in the region said yesterday.

His estimate of the scale of the shadowy armed opposition in Iraq, the most precise thus far from a top commander, came in a broad outline of the military obstacles his forces face.

Gen. John Abizaid, who heads the U.S. Central Command, said loyalists to Saddam Hussein — not foreign terrorists, as some Bush administration officials have said — pose the greatest danger to American troops and to stability in Iraq.

'We could lose this situation'

· CIA says insurgents now 50,000 strong
· Crisis talks over transfer of power

Julian Borger in Washington and Rory McCarthy in Baghdad
Thursday November 13, 2003
The Guardian

[...] One military intelligence assessment now estimates the insurgents' strength at 50,000. Analysts cautioned that such a figure was speculative, but it does indicate a deep-rooted revolt on a far greater scale than the Pentagon had led the administration to believe.

An intelligence source in Washington familiar with the CIA report described it as a "bleak assessment that the resistance is broad, strong and getting stronger".

"It says we are going to lose the situation unless there is a rapid and dramatic change of course," the source said.

"There are thousands in the resistance - not just a core of Ba'athists. They are in the thousands, and growing every day. Not all those people are actually firing, but providing support, shelter and all that."

Anti-Iraq war veterans pulled from parade

By J. TAYLOR RUSHING, Capital Bureau Chief
The Florida Times-Union
Wed., November 12, 2003 - 12:23 PM

TALLAHASSEE -- A group of 30 military veterans critical of the war in Iraq hoped to use Tuesday's Veterans Day parade to call attention to the increasingly deadly conflict but instead found themselves fighting for something much more fundamental.

Members of Veterans For Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War were yanked off a downtown Tallahassee street, directly in front of the Old Capitol, while marching in the holiday parade they had legitimately registered in.

As organizers allowed the parade to roll on -- including veterans from various wars, several high school marching bands and even a group of young women from the local Hooters restaurant -- the anti-war veterans were ordered onto sidewalks where they passed out leaflets and displayed a banner reading, "Honor the Warrior, Not the War."

"There's a war going on that's based on lies, just like Vietnam," said veteran Tom Baxter, an Army equipment maintenance officer in Vietnam for 16 months in 1967-69. "They were lying then, and they're lying now."

Parade chairman Ken Conroy, a Korean War veteran, said he ejected the anti-war veterans because they were offensive and because Tallahassee police also wanted them removed. He offered to refund their $10 registration fee and said he was not suppressing the group's free speech rights.

"They can have their free speech, just not in the parade," Conroy said. "They belong on the sidewalk." [...]

Comment: This is freedom and democracy, American style.

Pentagon Limits Funeral Coverage

By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 14, 2003; Page A24

The Army tightened rules yesterday on press coverage of funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, directing that reporters be kept far enough away from the graveside that they would likely be unable to hear a chaplain's eulogy.

Reporters will be restricted to a roped-in "bullpen" that is generally far enough away that words spoken at graveside cannot be heard, officials said.

Jack Metzler Jr., the superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, said the cemetery will be following rules that were already in the books but had not been strictly observed in recent years. "We're just enforcing what was already in place," he said.

The order to enforce the restriction came from Army officials at the Pentagon, Metzler said. He said the order came in response to a complaint, but he declined to provide details. [...]

Terror funding crackdown 'flawed'

A leaked study by the United Nations says that efforts to cut off funding to the al-Qaeda network are failing.

The report blames inadequate co-operation, legislative loopholes and a lack of political determination, the UK's Financial Times newspaper says.

The study says two suspected al-Qaeda fundraisers are still active in Italy and Switzerland, the newspaper reports.

Comment: Trouble with trying to cut off funding for al-Qaeda is that the CIA and Mossad have so much more experience in funding their operatives than other governments have in trying to uncover those sources... For more on this, see the article Mahmoud Ahmad and The Secret Cult.

What did Bush know before 9/11 attacks?
Briefing notes may hold key to crucial question
Panel member decries limited access to papers


WASHINGTON—In capital shorthand, they are known as PDBs, and they may hold the key to one of the great unanswered questions of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Did U.S. President George W. Bush receive — and ignore — advance warning of a plan by Al Qaeda to hijack passenger planes and fly them into buildings in the United States?

A commission studying the causes of America's worst terrorist attack is closer to finding that answer today, but families of the victims and at least one member of the 10-person tribunal say they aren't close enough.

[...] The White House and the bipartisan commission, headed by former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean, a Republican personally chosen by Bush, have struck a compromise on the commission's demand that they have access to the Presidential Daily Briefs (PDBs), the highly classified intelligence documents made available to only Bush and his innermost circle.

Neither side is officially releasing the terms of the compromise but Roemer says the access will be restricted to a handful of commission members and the documents will be truncated.

"Some of us will see portions of the briefs, a couple of paragraphs which lack context and won't tell you whether the information jumps out at you," he said in an interview.

Some of the 10 members, likely including Roemer, will not actually see anything under the deal. Only four can see PDBs, and then only portions the White House deems relevant — and even then, the members' comments about the top-secret briefings will be vetted by the White House.

[...] Although the commission is seeking the briefs provided each day by the FBI and the CIA to Bush and his predecessor Bill Clinton, much of its report could turn on an Aug. 6, 2001, written brief provided to Bush at his Texas ranch. Bush, unlike some of his predecessors, prefers his daily report on threats facing the U.S. in writing.

His national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, has acknowledged the brief provided a warning that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden might try to hijack U.S. aircraft. But Rice said the report was general and more of an analysis than a warning.

"What I find surprising," Roemer said, "is that there are two things which can most help the Bush administration and they won't co-operate.

"This report could prove there was no warning; there was no smoking gun provided to the president. It could also prove that the intelligence community did not do a proper job of putting the position to him.

"And he won't provide access to these things."

[...] Critics say Bush has already imposed an unrealistic deadline of May 27 on the commission because he wants the final report to be delivered well in advance of the final sprint to the November, 2004, election.

Global Eye -- The Inhuman Stain

By Chris Floyd

There is a horrible scandal eating away the heart of the American body politic. Among the many corrupted currents loosed upon the nation by the Bush Regime, this scandal is perhaps the worst, for it abets all the others and breeds new pestilence, new perversions at every turn.

Last week, Maher Arar of Canada detailed his ordeal at the hands of Attorney General John Ashcroft's security "organs." Returning from a family holiday in Tunis, the Syrian-born Arar -- 16 years a Canadian citizen -- was seized at a New York airport. Jailed and interrogated without charges, on unspecified allegations of unspecified connections to unspecified terrorist groups, he was then deported, without a hearing, to Syria. When he told the Homeland Chekists he would be tortured there -- his family was marked down as dissidents by Syria's Baathist regime -- the Chekists replied that their organ "was not the body that deals with the Geneva Conventions regarding torture." They shackled him and flew him to the America-friendly regime in Jordan; from there he was bundled across the border to Damascus, The Washington Post reports.

But this is not the scandal we were speaking of.

For 10 months, Arar was held in a dank cell in Syria: a "grave," he called it, a closet-sized unlighted hole filled with cat and rat piss falling down from the grating overhead. He was beaten, often with electrical cable, for weeks on end, kept awake for days, made to witness and hear even more exquisite tortures applied to other prisoners. He was forced to sign false confessions. Ashcroft's Baathist comrades had a preset storyline they wanted filled in: that Arar had gone to Afghanistan, attended terrorist training camps, was plotting mayhem -- the usual template. Arar, who had spent years working as a computer consultant for a Boston-based high-tech firm, had done none of those things. Yet he was whipped, broken and tortured into submission.

But this is not the scandal we were speaking of.

Arar's case is not extraordinary. In the past two years, the Bushist organs have "rendered" thousands of detainees, without charges, hearings or the need to produce any evidence whatsoever, into the hands of regimes which the U.S. government itself denounces for the widespread use of torture. Apparatchiks of the organs make no secret of the practice -- or of their knowledge that the "rendered" will indeed be beaten, burned, drugged, raped, even killed. "I do it with my eyes open," one renderer told The Washington Post. Detainees -- including lifelong American residents -- have been snatched from homes, businesses, schools, from streets and airports, and sent to torture pits like Syria, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.

But this is not the scandal we were speaking of.

Of course, the American organs needn't rely exclusively on foreigners for torture anymore. Under the enlightened leadership of Ashcroft, Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and other upstanding Christian statesmen, America has now established its own centers for what the organs call "operational flexibility." These include bases in Afghanistan and Diego Garcia, the Indian Ocean island that was forcibly depopulated in the 1960s to make way for a U.S. military installation. Here, the CIA runs secret interrogation units that are even more restricted than the American concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay. Detainees -- again, held without charges or evidentiary requirements -- are "softened up" by beatings at the hands of military police and Special Forces troops before being subjected to "stress and duress" techniques: sleep deprivation (officially condemned as torture by the U.S. government), physical and psychological disorientation, withholding of medical treatment, etc. When beatings and "duress" don't work, detainees are then "packaged" -- hooded, gagged, bound to stretchers with duct tape -- and "rendered" into less dainty hands elsewhere, The Washington Post reports.

But this is not the scandal we were speaking of.

Not content with capture and torture, the organs have been given presidential authority to carry out raids and kill "suspected terrorists" (including Americans) on their own volition -- without charges, oversight or evidence -- anywhere in the world, including on American soil. What's more, through a series of executive orders, Bush has asserted the right to designate anyone he pleases "an enemy combatant" and have them "rendered" into indefinite detention or simply killed at his order -- again, without charges, evidence, oversight or appeal. The life of every American citizen -- every person on Earth -- is now at the mercy of his arbitrary whim.

But this is not the scandal we were speaking of.

All of the above facts -- each of them manifest violations of international law and/or the U.S. Constitution -- have been cheerfully attested to, for years now, by the organs' own apparatchiks, quoted in numerous high-profile, mainstream publications, including The New York Times, The Economist, Newsweek and others. The stories appear -- then they disappear. There is no reaction. No outcry in Congress or the courts -- the supposed guardians of the people's rights -- beyond a few wan calls for more formality in the concentration camp processing or judicial "warrants" for torture. And among the great mass of "the people" itself, there is -- nothing. Silence. Inattention. Indifference. Acquiescence. State terrorism -- lawless seizure, filthy torture, official murder -- is simply accepted, a part of "normal life," as in Nazi Germany or Stalin's empire, where "decent people" with "nothing to hide" approved and applauded the work of the "organs" in "defending national security."

This is the scandal, this is the nation's festering shame. This acquiescence to state terror will breed -- and attract -- a thousand evils for every one it supposedly prevents.

Feds Perplexed by Racist Expert Witness

By JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writer
Fri Nov 14, 3:17 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Government lawyers are trying to figure out why Washington sniper case prosecutors and defense attorneys weren't told that a federal expert witness used in the trial had a history of making racially charged statements.

A tougher question may be why the witness still worked for the government at all.

Chemist Edward Bender acknowledged in interviews as early as 1991 he had made comments and told jokes ridiculing blacks while he worked at the FBI's world renowned crime lab. "If you ask me if I've ever used racial statements, I'll say, of course, you know," Bender admitted once to investigators in documents obtained by The Associated Press.

But rather than face discipline, Bender simply moved to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, another federal agency, and continued the crime lab work that ultimately brought him to the trial last week in Virginia Beach, Va., of sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad.

Muhammad and his alleged co-conspirator, Lee Boyd Malvo, are black.

The prosecutors and defense lawyers say they weren't told by the government about Bender's admissions or the investigations into his racial remarks before he was allowed on the witness stand despite a legal requirement that the government disclose all evidence that could challenge witnesses' credibility. [...]

What US Should Do to Be Friends With Muslim World

Muhammad Al-Shibani,

We should read US President George Bush’s recent speech in which he laid out a vision for democracy in Arab countries thoroughly if we want to find out what the real motives and aims are. This was the most serious speech the president has ever given and could turn into a working program bringing both good and bad to the world, especially to our region, which was the target of 80 percent of the speech.

[...] The most dangerous conclusion of the speech is that Bush is preparing to plunge the world into yet another war, this time for democracy.

[...] As for terrorism, the speech barely touched on the issue because Bush has now shifted his strategy from war on terrorism to war for democracy. Again, the reason is the Zionist and neoconservative influence on the Bush administration. In the end, both issues — terrorism and democracy — would serve Israel. If we agreed on a fair and unified definition for terrorism, Israel would top the list of terrorists states.

[...] Islam does not need praise or appreciation from Bush or anyone else. All Muslims want is justice, fairness and integrity. If these are missing, whatever is said is worth nothing.

Pentagon explores option to export northern Iraqi oil via Israel
Kirkuk-Haifa pipeline, closed for 55 years, is back on the agenda

Circumventing sabotage of existing line is reason given for entertaining move, but Israel’s economic and energy dilemmas would also be solved

Iason Athanasiadis
Special to The Daily Star

ATHENS: More sabotage strikes in recent weeks on Iraq’s Kirkuk-Yumurtalik oil pipeline are prompting the US-led coalition authority to examine the possibility of reopening the long-defunct Kirkuk-Haifa export route.

“We’ve had a spike in these attacks over the last three weeks,” Colonel Robert Nicholson, head of engineers for the 4th Infantry Division, was quoted as saying.

The little-noticed attacks in Iraq’s main oil export route have slashed Iraqi exports to just over 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), from an expected 3 million bpd, and invalidated the progress made in boosting production. Every day the pipeline fails to function shaves another $7 million in lost revenue off Iraq’s reconstruction budget.

With domestic dissent mounting in the US over the billions of tax dollars directed at Iraq, Bush administration officials eager to reach the oft-quoted 6 million bpd long-term export mark have been lobbying hard for the reopening of the Kirkuk-Haifa route.

Editorial: Victory in Defeat?

14 November 2003

Palestinian Premier Ahmed Qorei may have lost his power struggle with Yasser Arafat for the control of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, but some will argue that in his defeat, he has won his first victory. Had the new prime minister thrown up his hands in despair and followed the example of his predecessor Mahmoud Abbas and resigned, he would have increased instability within the Palestinian leadership.

Staying on, in one of the toughest political jobs around, proves that Qorei is either a man with a blind lust for power, which even his political enemies would never claim, or a politician of sober and dogged principle. This is not to condemn Mahmoud Abbas. He was given specific assurances about his independence of action when he agreed to take the premiership. When those promises were not delivered, his resignation was inevitable. His successor, by contrast, knew just how difficult his job was going to be.

Former Israeli security chiefs warn of catastrophe if there is no peace deal

06:58 AM EST Nov 14

JERUSALEM (AP) - Four former heads of Israel's Shin Bet security service warned Friday of a catastrophe if a peace deal is not reached with the Palestinians, unusually brazen criticism of the government's handling of the conflict.

The four accused the government of not setting long-term policies that could lead to a peace deal with the Palestinians. They spoke on a Friday morning radio talk show and in an unusual interview with the Yediot Ahronot daily. Yaacov Perry, one of the former security heads, said the only way forward is for Israel to take unilateral steps, such as withdrawing from the Gaza Strip. Doing so, he said, could help draw the Palestinians to peace talks.

"We need to take the situation into our own hands and leave Gaza with all the difficulty that that entails, and to dismantle illegal settlements," Perry said in the interview on Israel Radio.

Sharon backtracks on meeting with Qurei: paper 2003-11-14 17:39:15

JERUSALEM, Nov. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon seems in no hurry to meet his Palestinian counterpart Ahmed Qurei though Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said such a summit would take place in 10 days, local Ha'aretz daily reported Friday.

Sharon's earlier promises to meet with Qurei very soon were made before the power struggle between Qurei and Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Chairman Yasser Arafat, the report quoted a source in Sharon's office.

"The Palestinians have gone backward," said the source, noting that Arafat still holds control of the security services through the PNA National Security Council.

Mofaz hints Israel may try to abduct Nasrallah


Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, has hinted that his country was ready to stage a massive hostage-taking campaign against Lebanon that could include the abduction of Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Israeli newspapers said Monday the mood of Ariel Sharon's cabinet is one of wresting the abduction initiative from Hizbullah by kidnapping scores of Lebanese figures, including high-ranking Hizbullah leaders, if Nasrallah rejects the last-minute terms the Israeli cabinet has added to the swap deal.

UN watchdog rebuffs US criticism of Iran nuclear program report

13-11-2003,12 :35

The International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday rebuffed criticism of its report on Iran's nuclear program by a high-level US figure, who claimed the UN was wrong to reach the conclusion it had no evidence Tehran wanted nuclear weapons.

Hohmann Expelled from CDU Group over Anti-Semitic Remarks

Martin Hohmann, the parliamentarian who called Jews a "race of perpetrators" in a speech, was expelled from his parliamentary group on Friday. Christian Democratic Union leaders also plan to revoke his party membership.

[...] In a speech given on Germany's national day on Oct. 3, Hohmann had compared the Russian revolution with the Holocaust.

Hohmann said that primarily Jewish Bolsheviks were responsible for crimes committed against civilians during the Russian revolution. He then went on to compare what he claimed was bloodshed orchestrated by Jews in Russia in the early 1900s with the murder of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis in the Third Reich.

"Jews were active in great numbers in the leadership as well as in the Soviet secret police firing squads," Hohmann told constituents in his hometown of Neuhof. "Thus one could describe Jews with some justification as a Tätervolk [roughly translated as race of perpetrators]."

Although he admitted in his speech that such a comparison "may sound horrible," Hohmann said it followed the "same logic with which one describes the Germans as a race of perpetrators."

Georgia 'on brink of civil war'

By Chloe Arnold
BBC, Tbilisi

Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze has warned that the country is on the brink of civil war, as thousands of protesters prepare to rally in Tbilisi.

In a television address the president urged opposition groups to avoid confrontation.

Protests have continued since the 2 November parliamentary elections, which protesters say were rigged.

Cuba exposes manipulation of U.S. émigré list

HAVANA, November 10 (ANSA).— Cuba today exposed how the United States has grossly manipulated a list of 636 persons allegedly prevented by Havana from emigrating to that country within the framework of the bilateral agreement signed in 1994, despite having their visas.

The list in question was presented by the U.S. delegation at the last round of migratory talks on June 6 in New York, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

The list "has been manipulated in a gross and lying way by the U.S. authorities, accusing Cuba of violating the migratory agreement, the text affirms.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry states that the list "is plagued by falsehoods and bears absolutely no relation to reality." Of the total 636 persons, there were errors in the case of 414; in other words 66.2% of the total names included on the list.

Anti-Iraq war veterans pulled from parade

Capital Bureau Chief

TALLAHASSEE -- A group of 30 military veterans critical of the war in Iraq hoped to use Tuesday's Veterans Day parade to call attention to the increasingly deadly conflict but instead found themselves fighting for something much more fundamental.

Members of Veterans For Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War were yanked off a downtown Tallahassee street, directly in front of the Old Capitol, while marching in the holiday parade they had legitimately registered in.

As organizers allowed the parade to roll on -- including veterans from various wars, several high school marching bands and even a group of young women from the local Hooters restaurant -- the anti-war veterans were ordered onto sidewalks where they passed out leaflets and displayed a banner reading, "Honor the Warrior, Not the War."

"There's a war going on that's based on lies, just like Vietnam," said veteran Tom Baxter, an Army equipment maintenance officer in Vietnam for 16 months in 1967-69. "They were lying then, and they're lying now."

Parade chairman Ken Conroy, a Korean War veteran, said he ejected the anti-war veterans because they were offensive and because Tallahassee police also wanted them removed. He offered to refund their $10 registration fee and said he was not suppressing the group's free speech rights.

California receives 125-million-dollar homeland security grants 2003-11-14 17:03:21

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Thursday that it is providing 125 million US dollars to 10 urban areas of California to protect them against future terror attacks.

The grants are part of the Urban Area Security Initiative, which helps communities strengthen security and prepare for terrorism, according to the department.

Muhammad jurors to begin deliberations Friday

Friday, November 14, 2003 Posted: 12:19 AM EST (0519 GMT)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (CNN) -- Jury deliberations will begin Friday morning in the sniper shootings trial of John Allen Muhammad after defense attorneys and prosecutors completed closing arguments Thursday.

Jurors are scheduled to begin deliberations at 9 a.m. EST. If a verdict is not reached beforehand, jurors will recess at 1 p.m. EST for the weekend.

On Thursday, prosecutor Richard Conway told jurors that Muhammad was the captain of a "killing team." Conway contended that there was "compelling physical evidence" of Muhammad's role in the 2002 killing spree in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., that left 10 dead and three wounded.

Trial gets under way for teen sniper suspect

Thursday, November 13, 2003 Posted: 1:40 PM EST (1840 GMT)

CHESAPEAKE, Virginia (CNN) -- Sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo told investigators he and his co-defendant acted as a team in last year's Washington-area killing spree, a Virginia prosecutor told jurors Thursday as Malvo's capital murder trial started.

[...] He faces the charges of killing Franklin in the commission of an act of terrorism, the killing of more than one person in a three-year period and unlawful use of a firearm during the crime.

Sexual trafficking of Latin American minors to the United States

MEXICO.—Dozens of Latin American minors arriving in the United States via Mexico are being sexually exploited by farmers in the state of California in a millionaire business that is flourishing due to impunity, according to a study made by Venezuelan Deputy Gladys Lange, AFP reports.

“A supply by criminals taking advantage of young girls’ poverty, demand from wealthy farmers and the impunity under which they are all acting, is creating an environment in which the trafficking of minors is flourishing,” she stated.

Lance, who affirmed that she made her study on the ground, claimed that California farmers “have set up a criminal business consisting of buying young virgin girls from Latin America to satisfy their sexual needs.

“A so-called ‘love camp’ is operating in some reed fields close to San Diego, in which 100-300 farmers and day laborers daily abuse young girls from Mexico and other Latin America countries, literally sold by person traffickers at around $1,500 each,” notes the study of the Venezuelan deputy to the Latin American Parliament.

In her study Lange quoted a CIA report noting that some 50,000 women and children enter the United States every year to be exploited as slaves.

Children's minister apologises for slur

By Dominic Hayes, PA News
14 November 2003

The children's minister Margaret Hodge apologised today to the child abuse victim she labelled an "extremely disturbed person" and promised not to repeat the words.

But she defied demands for her resignation over the remark she made about Demetrious Panton, who was sexually molested in a care home in Islington in north London, where she was council leader in the 1980s.

She acknowledged he suffered "appalling abuse" in the 1970s and said in a letter to Mr Panton that she was "genuinely sorry for having contributed to your pain and anger".

He had announced plans to sue her for libel over her remark, contained in a letter to BBC chairman of governors Gavyn Davies after she learnt the corporation was investigating Mr Panton's case.

Comment: Psychopaths in government.

UK and Ireland clash over new identity cards

By Nigel Morris
14 November 2003

A diplomatic row was brewing between London and Dublin last night over Britain's plans for identity cards.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, has set out a timetable towards the introduction of hi-tech passports and driving licences that will double as ID cards. Initially, they will be issued voluntarily to British residents but all foreign nationals living in the UK would be required to obtain a card.

That has set alarm bells ringing in the Irish Republic. There are fears the move could spell the end of the Ireland Act of 1949, which entitles the one million Irish people living in Britain to freedom of movement and most of the same rights as UK citizens. Likewise, British citizens have freedom to travel to Ireland without a passport.

Mr Blunkett's announcement could mean that Irish people would have to apply for a British identity card.

It has also left a question mark over the status of people who are living in Northern Ireland. Under the Good Friday Agreement, they are entitled to describe themselves as Irish citizens.

Neither Britain nor Ireland is a member of the European Union's Schengen Agreement, which allows EU citizens to move freely without having to show passports at the Union's internal frontiers.

Traditionally, both nations have argued in Brussels that they need to maintain passport checks on other EU citizens because, unlike most of continental Europe, they do not use ID cards to keep a check on the movement of people.

Latin American States Give Aliens ID Cards in U.S.

By Alan Elsner, National Correspondent
Thursday, November 13, 2003; 1:39 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Several Latin American countries plan to follow Mexico's example by issuing consular identification cards to illegal immigrants in the United States, despite FBI warnings that the cards pose a security threat, officials said on Thursday.

Mexico has issued around two million of the cards, known as the "matricula consular" to its nationals, whether they are in the United States legally or illegally, in the past two years. Guatemala began offering a similar card last year. [...]

The Mexican card has received growing acceptance from commercial institutions and state and local government. It is accepted as identification by more than 100 U.S. banks and at least 800 police departments. A handful of states accept them for issuance of driver's licenses and the Transportation Security Administration accepts them for air travelers.

But in congressional testimony last June, Steven McCraw, assistant director of the FBI's intelligence office, said the cards were not a reliable form of identification and posed a potential security hazard. [...]

When in Italy, Canadian PM likes to roam

The Canadian Prime Minister has revealed just what he does when his guards are not looking: run away.

Feeling shackled by the Canadian Mounties and Italian carabinieri who were protecting him ahead of a 2001 G8 summit in northern Italy, Mr Chretien and his grandson scampered across rooftops to get free.

"My grandson said, 'Grandpapa, let's escape'," Mr Chretien said with a boyish chuckle in remarks broadcast on CBC radio.

"So we managed to escape ... and it was quite a thrill. You know, we jumped from one roof to the other roof to a third roof.

"When we arrived there [at the edge of the third roof], there was a bunch of carabinieri cars there and my grandson wanted to slide along the pipe.

"[But] these guys shoot and ask questions after that, so we went back and we found another way and we managed to escape for about an hour."

Concorde crash 'almost killed French president'
06:41 Friday 14th November 2003

An author is claiming French president Jacques Chirac was seven yards from being killed in the Concorde crash in Paris in July 2000.

On that day, the burning Air France Concorde almost collided with an Air France Boeing 747 on which President Chirac was travelling and which was waiting to take off.

The 747's proximity to the incident was not recorded in the official accident report into the crash which claimed 113 lives, said the book Supersonic Secrets, written by broadcaster and journalist Rob Lewis.

Lewis wrote: "The French nation was left blissfully unaware of another key fact: how close they had come to losing their president.

"The final accident report diagram of the runway had been carefully drawn. While detailed, the choice of scale meant that Chirac's endangered 747 was just off the page - and did not have to be pictured. [...]

Germany Turns Off First Nuclear Plant in Phase-Out

By Christian Charisius
November 14, 2003

STADE, Germany (Reuters) - Germany took an initial step in its planned phase-out of nuclear power in the next two decades Friday when it switched off the first of its 19 atomic power stations. [...]

Germany's center-left government struck a deal with industry in 2000 to close all nuclear power plants by about 2025, the Greens making a phase-out a condition for forming a coalition with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats in 1998.

However, it is still unclear how Germany will make up for the loss of atomic power which provides a third of its energy requirements, at the same time as meeting commitments to phase out its emissions of greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuels. [...]

"Bush - Nazi Dealings Continued Until 1951" - Federal Documents

By John Buchanan and Stacey Michael
from The New Hampshire Gazette
Vol. 248, No. 3, November 7, 2003

After the seizures in late 1942 of five U.S. enterprises he managed on behalf of Nazi industrialist Fritz Thyssen, Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President George W. Bush, failed to divest himself of more than a dozen "enemy national" relationships that continued until as late as 1951, newly-discovered U.S. government documents reveal.

Furthermore, the records show that Bush and his colleagues routinely attempted to conceal their activities from government investigators.

Bush's partners in the secret web of Thyssen-controlled ventures included former New York Governor W. Averell Harriman and his younger brother, E. Roland Harriman. Their quarter-century of Nazi financial transactions, from 1924-1951, were conducted by the New York private banking firm, Brown Brothers Harriman.

The White House did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Although the additional seizures under the Trading with the Enemy Act did not take place until after the war, documents from The National Archives and Library of Congress confirm that Bush and his partners continued their Nazi dealings unabated. These activities included a financial relationship with the German city of Hanover and several industrial concerns. They went undetected by investigators until after World War Two.

At the same time Bush and the Harrimans were profiting from their Nazi partnerships, W. Averell Harriman was serving as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's personal emissary to the United Kingdom during the toughest years of the war. On October 28, 1942, the same day two key Bush-Harriman-run businesses were being seized by the U.S. government, Harriman was meeting in London with Field Marshall Smuts to discuss the war effort. [...]

At the same time the last Brown Brothers Harriman client assets were seized, Prescott Bush announced his Senate campaign that led to his election in 1952. [...]

No further action beyond the initial seizures was ever taken, and the newly-confirmed records went unseen by the American people for six decades. [...]

Star Trek Actor Returns to WWII Camp


ROHWER, Ark. (AP) - A cypress root harvested from an Arkansas swamp 60 years ago is one of the few mementoes Star Trek actor George Takei has from his childhood at a World War II internment camp.

The gnarled knee reminds him of a part of his past he had revisited only in his mind - until this week.

As he traveled Sunday through this remote stretch of southeast Arkansas farmland, where he and more than 8,500 other Japanese-Americans lived during the war, Takei spoke of finding resilience in beauty.

"What (the root) symbolizes for me is that my parents were able to survive by finding and creating things that were beautiful," said Takei, who keeps the memento on his desk in his Los Angeles home.

Takei, who portrayed Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series and in six Star Trek movies, was four when he, his parents and two younger siblings were ordered from their Los Angeles home and taken by railroad under armed guard to Arkansas after Pearl Harbor.

Six decades later, Takei drove alongside the same railroad tracks to visit the former Rohwer Relocation Center.
"My mother said the scariest part about that trip was the uncertainty," Takei said, glancing out of a car window at the abandoned rail tracks that once led to the camp. "I remember my father telling us we were going on a long vacation to a place called Arkansas."

The Takeis spent a year at the Arkansas camp. They were later sent to a higher security camp at Tule Lake, Calif. [...]

Comment: Why is this in the media now? This visit was sponsored by a Rockefeller grant. One PR angle that can be derived from this story is that some became famous actors even after growing up in concentration camps. Will the first step toward having concentration camps once again in the US be the rounding up of Muslims?

El Nino set for 2004 return

Queensland's drought-stricken farmers have received more bad news, with climatologists forecasting El Nino could be back next year.

[...] Dr Stone says there are strong indications the El Nino pattern may return by autumn next year, with the chances of drought-breaking rain in the interim remain slim.

Nasa admits the Sun has Gone haywire

Solar maximum is years past, yet the sun has been remarkably active lately. Is the sunspot cycle broken?

November 12, 2003: Imagine you're in California. It's July, the middle of summer. The sun rises early; bright rays warm the ground. It's a great day to be outside. Then, suddenly, it begins to snow--not just a little flurry, but a swirling blizzard that doesn't stop for two weeks. That's what forecasters call unseasonal weather.

It sounds incredible, but "something like that just happened on the sun," says David Hathaway, a solar physicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

Comment: A very clear "Sign of the Times" indeed.

Huge Sunspots Set to Return, Forecast Unknown

By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
13 November 2003

At least one of a trio of huge sunspots that contributed to the record string of 10 major flares in late October and early November is about to rotate back into Earth's view. And it remains active.

The spot remains strong and today it set off a good-sized flare and kicked up more space weather. Two other large sunspots trail the first are due back next week. All three have continued to generate space weather while on the far side of the Sun, astronomers said. [...]

Residents Reel From L.A. Storm Damage

Thu Nov 13, 6:35 PM ET
Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - Cecilia Perez stood in what was left of her living room Thursday and surveyed the damage from a freak storm that flooded her rental house with 2 feet of water, mud and debris.

Perez, 24, and her father spent the night huddled on a raised mattress supported by chairs as icy water poured in waves through the door of their home in the Watts section of Los Angeles.

"It was like a lake around us," Perez said. "It was terrible."

The storm dumped about 5 inches of hail and rain on parts of Los Angeles County during a two-hour period Wednesday night, creating a winter white landscape in some areas that looked more like Minneapolis than Los Angeles. [...]

New York City faced near "hurricane force" gusts of wind.

1.4 Million Lose Power As Windstorms Rush Across Midwest, East

Storms Blamed For 2 Deaths
November 13, 2003

Windstorms gusting to more than 70 mph swept across the Midwest and the East, knocking out power to more than 1.4 million customers and bringing rain and flooding that flushed out buildings "like a toilet."

A motorist who drove past a roadblock was swept away by a creek in West Virginia, and two people were killed in separate weather-related accidents in New York, including one in which a tree fell on a vehicle. A Virginia teenager was seriously injured when a tree fell on her as she waited for a school bus on Wednesday.

Michigan and Ohio were the hardest hit by power outages, with about 375,000 customers affected in each state. The majority had electricity restored by late Thursday.

Heavy wind also knocked out power to thousands in Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. On the West Coast, meanwhile, Los Angeles was recovering from a freak storm that dumped 5 inches of rain and hail in some areas in less than two hours.

Gusts up to 74 mph knocked down trees and power lines in Michigan. Scores of school districts canceled classes, and a live power line fell across Interstate 94 near the Detroit airport, creating a monster traffic jam.

Winds halted boat traffic on the Great Lakes, where waves of up to 16 feet were recorded on lakes Erie and Ontario.
New York-area airports had flight delays of up to three hours Thursday.

Seven people were injured Wednesday night in Wooster, Ohio, when a tornado damaged a Rubbermaid plant. The twister, with winds of 110 to 130 mph, was on the ground for about 12 miles, said meteorologist Mark Adams of the National Weather Service.

"We've had substantial damage," Rubbermaid spokeswoman Keri Butler said Thursday. The company was still running its distribution site, but manufacturing was shut down.

Another tornado that hit Lexington Township near Alliance, about 50 miles southeast of Cleveland, had winds of 75 to 100 mph and damaged a few homes and a school, Adams said.

In West Virginia, heavy rain caused flooding Wednesday. A car that had driven around a fire truck and into a creek was found early Thursday, jammed under a bridge in Kanawha County's Loudendale area. The driver had been swept away.
Loudendale, in a narrow valley packed with houses, got more than 4 inches of rain Wednesday.

Jeff Blount surveyed the damage to his in-laws' store, where about 4 feet of water turned over display cases. An ice machine and 3,000-gallon kerosene tank were washed away.

"Mother Nature flushed it out like a toilet," Blount said of the building.

More than 100 students were stuck in shelters past midnight in adjacent Lincoln County. In South Charleston, Linda McCune was rescued from rising water at her home on her 60th birthday.

"I didn't think I was going to make it this time," McCune said. "I'd seen it coming up very, very fast."

In Sterling, Va., the winds hurled a tree onto a 14-year-old, injuring her as she waited for her bus. And in Victor, N.Y., outside of Rochester, a 37-year-old woman died after winds blew a large tree onto her car.

Wind-whipped flames gutted most of a 42-unit apartment complex Thursday in Newark, N.J., leaving up to 80 people homeless.

In western North Carolina, a visitors center on the Blue Ridge Parkway had its roof ripped off Thursday morning. Parkway officials closed a 12-mile stretch of the road. [...]

Pleiades in rare interstellar three-body collision

November 12, 2003

The naked-eye Pleiades star cluster has long been known to professional and amateur astronomers for the striking visible nebulosity that envelopes the cluster's brightest stars, scattering their light like fog around a streetlamp.

Radio and infrared observations in the 1980s established that this nebulosity results from a chance encounter by the young stars of the Pleiades with an interstellar cloud, rather than being caused by debris from the cluster's formation. New data obtained at Kitt Peak National Observatory suggest that the Pleiades are actually encountering two clouds, giving rise to an extraordinary and previously unknown occurrence: a three-body collision in the vast emptiness of interstellar space.

"The idea of the Pleiades and one gas cloud in an interstellar train wreck already made this nearby cluster an especially interesting region for astronomers seeking to understand the details of physical and chemical processes in the interstellar medium," White says. "The presence of a second cloud interacting with the first cloud and with the cluster creates a situation more like a three-car crash in a demolition derby, which makes the Pleiades altogether unique as natural laboratory." [...]

Winds black out 100,000 Ont. households as U.S. storm heads east

Thu Nov 13, 7:03 PM ET

(CP) - Fierce winds knocked out power to about 100,000 homes and businesses across Ontario on Thursday as a wicked snowstorm originating in the U.S. Midwest hit the province with a vengeance. [...]

"It's really a one-two punch because the winds are strong," he said. "It's funnelling in this very cold, fresh Arctic air into the lower Great Lakes as well. That, of course, coupled with the moisture in the lower lakes generates snow flurries and snow squalls, creating very low visibility and reports of whiteouts."

Gusting winds in upstate New York intensified Thursday, creating near-blizzard conditions. In the Midwest and East, more than 830,000 customers, including 330,000 in Michigan, lost power as gusts of up to 120 km/h knocked down trees and power lines and closed schools.

High winds were expected to continue as the cold front moved eastward, dropping rain and snow and resulting in delays of up to 45 minutes at New York-area airports. [...]

Tornado packed wallop -- 120-mph winds slammed Phila

T-R Staff Writer

The tornado that demolished seven or eight houses in a Crooked Run Rd. neighborhood west of New Philadelphia Wednesday night – and also damaged 13 in the city – was an F-2 category with hurricane-force winds of 120 mph.

Amazingly, there were no significant injuries. [...]

Share 'True Crime,' do the time

By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET   

A forthcoming copyright bill backed by key U.S. senators would place file swappers in prison for up to three years if they have a copy of even one prerelease movie in their shared folders. [...]

ID cards in doubt as Scots opt out

By Tom Peterkin and Philip Johnston
The Telegraph

Plans for compulsory identity cards began to unravel last night when the Scottish government said they would not be introduced there on the same basis. [...]

There are also questions over whether the scheme would be adopted in full in Wales or Northern Ireland. [...]

Jeb Bush jokes people of San Francisco may be endangered

[...] "It looks like the people of San Francisco are an endangered species, which may not be a bad thing. That's probably good news for the country." [...]

Arkansas Child Chained to Bed Dies in Fire

The Associated Press

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. Nov. 12 — A 10-year-old girl who authorities say had been chained to a bed by her ankles was killed in a house fire, and her parents were arrested on manslaughter charges. [...]

4 Troops Accused of Stabbing Unit Member

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) - Four soldiers at Fort Benning have been arrested and accused of stabbing to death a member of their infantry unit, setting the body on fire and leaving it in the woods just days after their return from Iraq.

Police said the soldiers had gotten mad at Spc. Richard R. Davis for insulting a dancer at a strip club and getting them kicked out of the place. [...]

Schoolboy 'tortured and dismembered'

Adam's body parts were found in different locations

A Leicestershire schoolboy was beaten, doused in boiling water and strangled before his body was cut up with a hacksaw, a court has been told.

Adam Morrell, 14, was left with more than 280 injuries by the gang who tortured him in November 2002. [...]

Woman claims she gave Louisiana serial-killing suspect's name to police

Baton Rouge, Louisiana-AP -- A Louisiana woman says she repeatedly gave investigators the name of serial killing suspect Derrick Lee before his arrest and while the killings continued. [...]

Japan postpones Iraq deployment

Japan has said it will postpone sending troops to join the US-led coalition in Iraq until next year because of the worsening security situation.

Tokyo had hoped to deploy its first troops before the end of the year, but now says conditions are too unstable. [...]

Rock Band Rails Against E-Vote 

By Kim Zetter
Wired News

They might seem an unlikely duo -- a coiffed congressman from New Jersey and a pasty-skinned garage-band front man from Alaska -- but the two are on a mission to protect voter rights and the integrity of U.S. elections. [...]

USDA Sued Over Drug-Growing Crops 


WASHINGTON -- A coalition of environmental groups and consumer advocates sued the U.S. Agriculture Department in federal court on Wednesday to try to halt the experimental planting of biotech crops engineered to make medicine.

Environmentalists, consumer advocates and food industry groups have urged the USDA to impose stricter regulations on pharmaceutical crops, fearing the unapproved plants could accidentally slip into the food supply.

U.S. Diabetes Cases Hit New High

Scientists Gain on Artificial Life Forms

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scientists announced significant progress Thursday toward creating an artificial organism that one day may have uses ranging from pollution control to clean energy production.

Scientists using commercially available DNA took only two weeks to build from scratch an artificial virus with the identical genetic code of a simple virus already known to infect and kill bacterial cells. [...]

Play revived using mummy extracts

A Greek play believed lost when the Library of Alexandria burnt down in 48 BC is to be revived after fragments of text were found in an Egyptian mummy.

Papyrus inscribed with excerpts of Aeschylus's Trojan War trilogy Achilles were found by archaeologists.

Church to hold Lord of the Rings mass
11:25 Friday 14th November 2003

A Dutch church that held a Harry Potter mass last year is now planning to celebrate a Lord of the Rings mass.

The Rev Jaap Ridderbos says the mass at the Gorechtchurch, in Haren, is meant to appeal to young people.

Rev Ridderbos says he has spent more than a year trying to find Christian explanations for what happened in the Tolkien books. [...]

Bank robber says God told him banks are evil
12:14 Friday 14th November 2003

An Australian bank robber told a court that God told him to rob because banks are evil.

Gregory Eric White, 45, told a jury at Victoria's Court of Appeal that he robbed five banks between 1997 and 1999.

White admitted holding up the five banks and taking nearly £31,000, he said he believed it was the way to achieve salvation.

The court reduced White's sentence to a minimum of 13 years, says the Herald Sun.

Comment: Well, it works for Dubya, so why not bank robbers?

Motorist with 2DRUNK number plate on drink-drive charge

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