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November 27, 2003

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Thanksgiving, the day when all Americans celebrate the founding fathers of their "great nation" and give thanks, as their forebears did, for the bounty of food and land "given" to them by their benevolent God. "God and Country" apparently is what it is all about. It would be nice if this were true, but unfortunately like most of what Americans are told about their history, it is a lie, a fairy tale. The truth is that America is built on death and destruction, and so it continues to this day.

An article, written by a US veteran, includes a rather shocking list. The United States has been almost continuously at war. Make sure to read the paragraphs about why the government has gone to war. We have to give them points for being consistent.

Citizens of the US Empire, by remaining ignorant of the taking away of freedoms from others around the world, have left the door opened to having their own stripped away. Do not forget the CIA has helped overthrow twenty democratically elected governments. The machine of the Police State marches on, and that Police State did not rise out of a vacuum. Unless you consider the lack of seeing the truth a vacuum.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The "independent" 9/11 investigation panel seeks an extension, but it looks like they won't get one. For some reason, an extension requires Bush's approval. The stock market dipped for a while after terrorist fears in the NYC subway system. New York City has also been instrumental in blocking the 9/11 investigation panel. Isn't that strange? No, not really. Just business as usual.

Spain's foreign minister says many Iraqis are worse off under the US than they were when Saddam was in power. As Iraq's Shiite population expresses concern over the way elections will be held, the US announces it is readying more troops for Iraq. The official word is that the new troops will be part of troop rotations, but the Bush administration hints they may increase the number of troops given Iraq's security situation. On a happier note, Bush is going to make a Thanksgiving Day phone call to at least one soldier involved in the Iraq war.

Good news and bad news on global warming, Canada is a regular UFO "hot spot", "Western Powers redefine democracy" and the Mayo Clinic predicts the worst flu season in 30 years. Orphan planets, gag orders on reporters and strange sounds on the space station.

'Why I Hate Thanksgiving'

By Mitchel Cohen with much material contributed by Peter Linebaugh
and others whose names have over the years been lost

11-26-3

The year was 1492. The Taino-Arawak people of the Bahamas discovered Christopher Columbus on their beach.

Historian Howard Zinn tells us how Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. Columbus later wrote of this in his log. Here is what he wrote:

"They brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned. They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of sugar cane. They would make fine servants. With 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."

And so the conquest began, and the Thanotocracy -- the regime of death -- was inaugurated on the continent the Indians called "Turtle Island."

You probably already know a good piece of the story: How Columbus's Army took Arawak and Taino people prisoners and insisted that they take him to the source of their gold, which they used in tiny ornaments in their ears. And how, with utter contempt and cruelty, Columbus took many more Indians prisoners and put them aboard the Nina and the Pinta -- the Santa Maria having run aground on the island of Hispañola (today, the Dominican Republic and Haiti). When some refused to be taken prisoner, they were run through with swords and bled to death. Then the Nina and the Pinta set sail for the Azores and Spain. During the long voyage, many of the Indian prisoners died. Here's part of Columbus's report to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain:

"The Indians are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone." Columbus concluded his report by asking for a little help from the King and Queen, and in return he would bring them "as much gold as they need, and as many slaves as they ask."

Columbus returned to the New World -- "new" for Europeans, that is -- with 17 ships and more than 1,200 men. Their aim was clear: Slaves, and gold. They went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Indians as captives. But word spread ahead of them. By the time they got to Fort Navidad on Haiti, the Taino had risen up and killed all the sailors left behind on the last voyage, after they had roamed the island in gangs raping women and taking children and women as slaves. Columbus later wrote: "Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold." The Indians began fighting back, but were no match for the Spaniard conquerors, even though they greatly outnumbered them. In eight years, Columbus's men murdered more than 100,000 Indians on Haiti alone. Overall, dying as slaves in the mines, or directly murdered, or from diseases brought to the Caribbean by the Spaniards, over 3 million Indian people were murdered between 1494 and 1508.

The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties ... They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles... then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive."

What Columbus did to the Arawaks of the Bahamas and the Taino of the Caribbean, Cortez did to the Aztecs of Mexico, Pizarro to the Incas of Peru, and the English settlers of Virginia and Massachusetts to the Powhatans and the Pequots. Literally millions of native peoples were slaughtered. And the gold, slaves and other resources were used, in Europe, to spur the growth of the new money economy rising out of feudalism. Karl Marx would later call this "the primitive accumulation of capital." These were the violent beginnings of an intricate system of technology, business, politics and culture that would dominate the world for the next five centuries.

All of this were the preconditions for the first Thanksgiving. In the North American English colonies, the pattern was set early, as Columbus had set it in the islands of the Bahamas. In 1585, before there was any permanent English settlement in Virginia, Richard Grenville landed there with seven ships. The Indians he met were hospitable, but when one of them stole a small silver cup, Grenville sacked and burned the whole Indian village.

By 1621, the atrocities committed by the English had grown, and word spread throughout the Indian villages. The Indians fought back, and killed 347 colonists. From then on it was total war. Not able to enslave the Indians the English aristocracy decided to exterminate them.


And then the Pilgrims arrived.

When the Pilgrims came to New England they too were coming not to vacant land but to territory inhabited by tribes of Indians. The story goes that the Pilgrims, who were Christians of the Puritan sect, were fleeing religious persecution in Europe. They had fled England and went to Holland, and from there sailed aboard the Mayflower, where they landed at Plymouth Rock in what is now Massachusetts.

Religious persecution or not, they immediately turned to their religion to rationalize their persecution of others. They appealed to the Bible, Psalms 2:8: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." To justify their use of force to take the land, they cited Romans 13:2: "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." [...]

The English went on setting fire to wigwams of the village. They burned village after village to the ground. As one of the leading theologians of his day, Dr. Cotton Mather put it: "It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day." And Cotton Mather, clutching his bible, spurred the English to slaughter more Indians in the name of Christianity.

Dutch and English settlers unite to slaughter the Pequote

Three hundred thousand Indians were murdered in New England over the next few years. It is important to note: The ordinary Englishmen did not want this war and often, very often, refused to fight. Some European intellectuals like Roger Williams spoke out against it. And some erstwhile colonists joined the Indians and even took up arms against the invaders from England. It was the Puritan elite who wanted the war, a war for land, for gold, for power. And, in the end, the Indian population of 10 million that was in North America when Columbus came was reduced to less than one million.

[...]For the Puritans, men decided everything, whereas in the Iroquois federation of what is now New York state women chose the men who represented the clans at village and tribal councils; it was the women who were responsible for deciding on whether or not to go to war. The Christian idea of male dominance and female subordination was conspicuously absent in Iroquois society.

There were many other cultural differences: The Iroquois did not use harsh punishment on children. They did not insist on early weaning or early toilet training, but gradually allowed the child to learn to care for themselves. And, they did not believe in ownership of land; they utilized the land, lived on it. The idea of ownership was ridiculous, absurd. The European Christians, on the other hand, in the spirit of the emerging capitalism, wanted to own and control everything -- even children and other human beings. The pastor of the Pilgrim colony, John Robinson, thus advised his parishioners: "And surely there is in all children a stubbornness, and stoutness of mind arising from natural pride, which must, in the first place, be broken and beaten down; that so the foundation of their education being laid in humility and tractableness, other virtues may, in their time, be built thereon." That idea sunk in.

One colonist said that the plague that had destroyed the Patuxet people -- a combination of slavery, murder by the colonists and disease -- was "the Wonderful Preparation of the Lord Jesus Christ by His Providence for His People's Abode in the Western World." The Pilgrims robbed Wampanoag graves for the food that had been buried with the dead for religious reasons. Whenever the Pilgrims realized they were being watched, they shot at the Wampanoags, and scalped them. Scalping had been unknown among Native Americans in New England prior to its introduction by the English, who began the practice by offering the heads of their enemies and later accepted scalps.

"What do you think of Western Civilization?" Mahatma Gandhi was asked in the 1940s. To which Gandhi replied: "Western Civilization? I think it would be a good idea."
And so enters "Civilization," the civilization of Christian Europe, a "civilizing force" that couldn't have been more threatened by the beautiful anarchy of the Indians they encountered, and so slaughtered them.

These are the Puritans that the Indians "saved", and whom we celebrate in the holiday, Thanksgiving.

Tisquantum, also known as Squanto, a member of the Patuxet Indian nation. Samoset, of the Wabonake Indian nation, which lived in Maine. They went to Puritan villages and, having learned to speak English, brought deer meat and beaver skins for the hungry, cold Pilgrims. Tisquantum stayed with them and helped them survive their first years in their New World. He taught them how to navigate the waters, fish and cultivate corn and other vegetables. He pointed out poisonous plants and showed how other plants could be used as medicines. He also negotiated a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and Massasoit, head chief of the Wampanoags, a treaty that gave the Pilgrims everything and the Indians nothing. And even that treaty was soon broken. All this is celebrated as the First Thanksgiving.

My own feeling? The Indians should have let the Pilgrims die. But they couldn't do that. Their humanity made them assist other human beings in need. And for that beautiful, human, loving connection they -- and those of us who are not Indian as well -- paid a terrible price: The genocide of the original inhabitants of Turtle Island, what is now America.
[...]

Yes, I am an American. But I am an American in revolt. I am revolted by the holiday known as Thanksgiving. I have been accused of wanting to go backwards in time, of being against progress. To those charges, I plead guilty. I want to go back in time to when people lived communally, before the colonists' Christian god was brought to these shores to sanctify their terrorism, their slavery, their hatred of children, their oppression of women, their holocausts. But that is impossible. So all I look forward to the utter destruction of the apparatus of death known as Amerika -- not the people, not the beautiful land, but the machinery, the State, the capitalism, the Christianity and all that it stands for.

Comment: The massacring of the indigenous Indian population of "America" was the beginning of a campaign of war and death by American governments that ultimately spread over the entire globe, bringing us to the most recent "Iraqi Freedom" campaign. Over the years the names and victims have changed, but the founding ideal of perpetual war which began hundreds of years ago remains alive and stronger than ever in the US.

American "Thanksgiving" five months late

Below is the original thanksgiving proclamation. Contrary to popular belief, the Indians were unable to join the founding fathers at the table, being as they were, mostly dead, massacred by the settlers. By the power of their great and benevolent god they and their ancestors were to go on to virtually wipe out the indigenous Indian populations, killing 80 million in all.

"The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present war with the heathen natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular intimations of his fatherly compassion, and regard; reserving many of our towns from desolation threatened, and attempted by the enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our confederates many singal advantages against them, without such disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed. It certainly bespeaks our positive thankfulness, when our enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an insensible people, as not standing before him with thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our complaints in the time of pressing afflictions:

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many particulars of which mercy might be instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a people offering praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the respective ministers, elders and people of this jurisdiction; solemnly and seriously to keep the same beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and souls as a living and acceptable service unto God by Jesus Christ."

Why Some Veterans Oppose Counter-"Terrorist" Exercises

An Essay by S. Brian Willson
March 1999

WHY do many veterans, including members of Veterans For Peace, a national organization with local chapters, oppose the U.S. Marine Corps Urban Warrior exercises and similar counter-"terrorist" trainings by Army Delta forces and Navy Seals conducted in various U.S. cities? Continued policies of militarism, ad nauseum, and the assumptions and pretexts that underlie and rationalize them, respectively, urgently require thoughtful questioning if lasting global peace is to be achieved. A sincere effort by the United States to promote genuine justice around the world would signal an honest longing for such peace. [...]

Who are the REAL Terrorists?

The REAL Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda

THE REAL TERROR NETWORK is the title of a book authored by Edward S. Herman (South End Press, 1982), who at the time was professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In this book he analyzes historical U.S. imperial policies through study of economics, and his understanding of the political use of the term "terrorist" is very helpful.

In country after country in the expanding U.S. sphere of influence after World War II, "dominoes" fell, and military regimes and other dependent tyrannies came into power with the aid of U.S. covert and/or overt interventions. This occurred in virtually all of Central and South America, and in many parts of Africa and Asia. These regimes invariably exhibited common characteristics: (a) they represented a small, wealthy elite interest, including multinational corporations, promoting intense capitalist economics; (b) they all used terror, including torture, carried out by security forces often trained in these techniques by the U.S. military, to keep the aggrieved majority unorganized, powerless, and subservient to minority elite and corporate goals; (c) the leadership of these states was almost always knowingly corrupt; and (d) they assured, with the support of official U.S. policy, that already highly skewed income and wealth distribution disparities became ever more unequal and caused the majority of their populations to be kept in a state of extreme deprivation and misery.

In the post-Cold War, unipolar, Pax Americana world, many of these regimes are now being described as "democratic" by the U.S. government. This despite the fact that structural disparities between the Haves and Have-Nots have widened even further, and that the elected leaders continue to primarily represent the wealthy elite, and tend to be corrupt. Worse, they continue to use methods of terror, frequently U.S.- facilitated, in response to grassroots popular movements expressing an alternative to state-imposed, top-down "neoliberal capitalist economics." The numbers of voiceless poor are increasing in this so-called "democratic," post-Cold War era, in the U.S. as elsewhere.

Now, without existence of an alternative powerful pole, i.e. the Soviet Union, effecting a moderating influence, U.S. behavior has become ever more belligerent and lawless, as evidenced by its unilateral attacks with impunity on Panama, Sudan, and Afghanistan, and its relentless bilateral bombings, with Britain, of Iraq. U.S. aggressive foreign policy, along with its sponsored, funded, armed and/or trained "authoritarian" and "democratic" states comprise the REAL terror network, i.e., the network of WHOLESALE terrorists. The increasingly sophisticated, nearly unchecked propaganda machinery of the "democratic" West has successfully censored this demonic history of the real terror network.

Substituted in its place is an often desperate, frequently concocted network of the voiceless that includes, by careful definition and selectivity, only those "terrorists" who challenge important Western "neoliberal" economic interests, or who can be linked in some way, no matter how remotely, to the "enemies" of these interests. This substituted group of individuals and smaller groups of relatively poor people, in fact, become the network of RETAIL terrorists who serve to distract attention from the more substantial and systemic destructive behavior of the WHOLESALE terrorists.

The poor remain our enemy, whether described as "Communists," "terrorists," "drug traffickers," "demons," "backwards," etc., and whether they reside in the U.S. or abroad. The existence of the poor threatens the disproportionately privileged collective Western and American Way of Life (AWOL) because their misery is, in effect, inevitably and forcefully imposed as a trade-off enabling AWOL affluence. Genuine democracy (self-determination) and true justice for the majority of the world's people are not tolerated by political/economic systems such as ours so dependent upon resource and labor exploitation (theft) for their perpetuation and maximization of private profits at public expense.

A Chronicle of U.S. Military Interventions Abroad

A careful examination of U.S. foreign policy history reveals over 400 overt military interventions and over 6,000 covert interventions into at least 100 countries, killing MILLIONS of innocents. The first recorded use of U.S. Armed Forces abroad occurred in 1798 when the Marines were dispatched to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. The Marines have been practicing and refining their destabilizing intervention techniques into coastal cities for 200 years. Eighty-five interventions later, the U.S. Armed Forces invaded the Hawaiian Islands in 1889 to protect U.S. "interests" in the coastal city of Honolulu. Several hundred more interventions occurred between 1890 and the present. Virtually all of these interventions have violated international laws. Only 5 of our more than 400 military interventions have been declared wars as required by our Constitution! And the U.S. Armed Forces have intervened against its own citizens on numerous occasions to repress military veterans' protestations, Indigenous self- determination struggles, workers' labor strikes, racial strife, etc.

The following is a partial list of U.S. military interventions since 1890. This list does NOT include demonstration duty by military police, mobilizations of the National Guard, offshore shows of naval strength, reinforcements of embassy personnel, the use of non-Defense Department personnel such as the Drug Enforcement Agency and the CIA, military exercises, non-combat mobilizations such as replacing postal workers, the permanent stationing of armed forces, covert operations where the U.S. did not play a command and control role, the use of small hostage rescue units, most uses of proxy troops, U.S. piloting of foreign warplanes, foreign disaster assistance, military training and advisory programs not involving direct combat, civic action programs, and various other military activities.

Virtually all these interventions have been and continue to be in "Third World" countries, the "enemy" being the poor, and for much of the Twentieth Century, labeled as "Communist," a convenient pretext, now out of date. "Terrorists" has become the new rationale, with "drug traffickers" being a popular back-up option. In the case of Colombia, the U.S. Government refers to the guerrillas as "narco-terrorists," combining these two pretexts.

LOCATION/Period/Type of Force/Comments on U.S. Role:

SOUTH DAKOTA/1890/Troops/300 Lakota Indians massacred at Wounded Knee

ARGENTINA/1890/Troops/Buenos Aires interests protected.

CHILE/1891/Troops/Marines clash with nationalist rebels.

HAITI/1891/Troops/Black workers revolt on U.S.-claimed Navassa Island defeated.

IDAHO/1892/Troops/Army suppresses silver miners' strike.

HAWAII/1893 (-?)/Naval, troops/Independent kingdom overthrown, annexed.

CHICAGO/1894/Troops/Breaking of rail strike, 34 killed.

NICARAGUA/1894/Troops/Month-long occupation of Bluefields.

CHINA/1894-95/Naval, troops/Marines land in Sino-Japanese War.

KOREA/1894-96/Troops/Marines kept in Seoul during war.

PANAMA/1895/Naval, troops/Marines land in Colombian province.

NICARAGUA/1896/Troops/Marines land in port of Corinto.

CHINA/1898-1900/Troops/Boxer Rebellion fought by foreign armies.

PHILIPPINES/1898-1910(-?)/Naval, troops/Seized from Spain, killed 600,000 Filipinos.

CUBA/1898-1902(-?)/Naval, troops/Seized from Spain, U.S. still holds Navy base at Guantanamo.

PUERTO RICO/1898(-?)/Naval, troops/Seized from Spain, occupation continues.

GUAM/1898(-?)/Naval, troops/Seized from Spain, still use as base.

MINNESOTA/1898(-?)/Troops/Army battles Chippewa at Leech Lake.

NICARAGUA/1898/Troops/Marines land at port of San Juan del Sur.

SAMOA/1899/Troops/Battle over succession to throne.

NICARAGUA/1899/Troops/Marines land at port of Bluefields.

IDAHO/1899-1901/Troops/Army occupies Coeur d'Alene mining region.

OKLAHOMA/1901/Troops/Army battles Creek Indian revolt.

PANAMA/1901-03/Naval, troops/Broke off from Colombia, annexed Canal Zone.

HONDURAS/1903/Troops/Marines intervene in revolution.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC/1903-04/Troops/U.S. interests protected in Revolution.

KOREA/1904-05/Troops/Marines land in Russo-Japanese War.

CUBA/1906-09/Troops/Marines land in democratic election.

NICARAGUA/1907/Troops/"Dollar Diplomacy" protectorate set up.

HONDURAS/1907/Troops/Marines land during war with Nicaragua.

PANAMA/1908/Troops/Marines intervene in election contest.

NICARAGUA/1910/Troops/Marines land in Bluefields and Corinto.

HONDURAS/1911/Troops/U.S. interests protected in civil war.

CHINA/1911-41/Naval, troops/Continuous occupation with flare- ups.

CUBA/1912/Troops/U.S. interests protected in Havana.

PANAMA/1912/Troops/Marines land during heated election.

HONDURAS/1912/Troops/Marines protect U.S. economic interests.

NICARAGUA/1912-33/Troops, bombing/20-year occupation, fought guerrillas.

MEXICO/1913/Naval/Americans evacuated during revolution.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC/1914/Naval/Fight with rebels over Santo Domingo.

COLORADO/1914/Troops/Breaking of miners' strike by Army.

MEXICO/1914-18/Naval, troops/Series of interventions against nationalists.

HAITI/1914-34/Troops, bombing/19-year occupation after revolts.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC/1916-24/Troops/8-year Marine occupation.

CUBA/1917-33/Troops/Military occupation, economic protectorate.

WORLD WAR I/1917-18/Naval, troops/Ships sunk, fought Germany for 1-1/2 years.

RUSSIA/1918-22/Naval, troops/Five landings to fight Bolsheviks.

PANAMA/1918-20/Troops/"Police duty" during unrest after elections.

HONDURAS/1919/Troops/Marines land during election campaign.

GUATEMALA/1920/Troops/2-week intervention against unionists.

WEST VIRGINIA/1920-21/Troops, bombing/Army intervenes against mineworkers.

TURKEY/l922/Troops/Fought nationalists in Smyma (Izmir).

CHINA/1922-27/Naval, troops/Deployment during nationalist revolt.

HONDURAS/1924-25/Troops/Landed twice during election strife.

PANAMA/1925/Troops/Marines suppress general strike.

CHINA/1928-34/Troops/Marines stationed throughout the country.

EL SALVADOR/1932/Naval/Warships sent during Faribundo Marti revolt.

WASHINGTON, D.C./1932/Troops/Army stops WWI vet bonus protest.

WORLD WAR II/1941-45/Naval,troops, bombing, nuclear/Hawaii bombed, fought Japan, Italy and Germany for 3 years; 1st nuclear war.

DETROIT/1943/Troops/Army puts down Black rebellion.

IRAN/1946/Nuclear threat/Soviet troops told to leave north (Iranian Azerbaijan).

YUGOSLAVIA/1946/Nuclear threat/Response to shooting-down of U.S. plane.

URUGUAY/1947/Nuclear threat/Bombers deployed as show of strength.

GREECE/1947-49/Command operation/U.S. directs extreme-right in civil war.

GERMANY/1948/Nuclear threat/Atomic-capable bombers guard Berlin Airlift.

PHILIPPINES/1948-54/Command operation/CIA directs war against Huk Rebellion.

PUERTO RICO/1950/Command operation/Independence rebellion crushed in Ponce.

KOREA/1951-53(-?)/Troops, naval, bombing, nuclear threats/U.S.& South Korea fight China & North Korea to stalemate; A-bomb threat in 1950, and against China in 1953; four million Koreans killed; still have bases.

IRAN/1953/Command operation/CIA overthrows democracy, installs Shah.

VIETNAM/1954/Nuclear threat/Bombs offered to French to use against siege.

GUATEMALA/1954-?/Command operation, bombing, nuclear threat/CIA directs exile invasion and coup d'Etat after newly elected government nationalizes unused U.S.'s United Fruit Company lands; bombers based in Nicaragua; long-term result: 200,000 murdered.

EGYPT/1956/Nuclear threat/Soviets told to keep out of Suez crisis.

LEBANON/1958/Troops, naval/Marine occupation against rebels.

IRAQ/1958/Nuclear threat/Iraq warned against invading Kuwait.

CHINA/1958/Nuclear threat/China told not to move on Taiwan isles.

PANAMA/1958/Troops/Flag protests erupt into conftontation.

VIETNAM/1960-75/Troops, naval, bombing, nuclear threats/ Fought South Vietnam revolt & North Vietnam; five million killed in longest U.S. war; atomic bomb threats in 1968 and 1969.

LAOS/1961/Command operation/Military buildup during guerrilla war.

CUBA/1961/Command operation/CIA-directed exile invasion fails.

GERMANY/1961/Nuclear threat/Alert during Berlin Wall crisis.

CUBA/1962/Nuclear threat, naval/Blockade during missile crisis; near-war with Soviet Union.

PANAMA/1964/Troops/Panamanians shot for urging canal's return.

INDONESIA/1965/Command operation/Million killed in CIA- assisted army coup.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC/1965-66/Troops, bombing/ Marines land during election campaign.

GUATEMALA/1966-67/Command operation/Green Berets intervene against rebels.

DETROIT/1967/Troops/Army battles Blacks, 43 killed.

UNITED STATES/1968/Troops/After Martin Luther King is shot; over 21,000 soldiers in cities.

CAMBODIA/l969-75/Bombing, troops, naval/Up to 2 million killed in decade of bombing, starvation, and political chaos.

OMAN/1970/Command operation/U.S. directs Iranian marine invasion.

LAOS/1971-73/Command operation, bombing/U.S. directs South Vietnamese invasion; "carpet-bombs" countryside.

DAKOTA/1973/Command operation/Army directs Wounded Knee siege of Lakotas.

MIDEAST/1973/Nuclear threat/World-wide alert during Mideast War.

CHILE/1973/Command operation/CIA-backed coup ousts democratically elected Marxist president.

CAMBODIA/1975/Troops, bombing/Gas captured ship, 28 die in copter crash.

ANGOLA/1976-92/Command operation/CIA assists South African- backed rebels.

IRAN/1980/Troops, nuclear threat, aborted bombing/Raid to rescue Embassy hostages; 8 troops die in copter-plane crash. Soviets warned not to get involved in revolution.

LIBYA/1981/Naval jets/Two Libyan jets shot down in maneuvers.

EL SALVADOR/1981-92/Command operation, troops/ Advisors, overflights aid anti-rebel war, soldiers briefly involved in hostage clash; long-term result: 75,000 murdered and destruction of popular movement.

NICARAGUA/1981-90/Command operation, naval/CIA directs exile (Contra) invasions, plants harbor mines against revolution; result: 50,000 murdered.

HONDURAS/1982-90/Troops/Maneuvers help build bases near borders.

LEBANON/1982-84/Naval, bombing, troops/Marines expel PLO and back Phalangists, Navy bombs and shells Muslim positions.

GRENADA/1983-84/Troops, bombing/Invasion four years after revolution.

LIBYA/1986/Bombing, naval/Air strikes to topple nationalist gov't.

BOLIVIA/1987/Troops/Army assists raids on cocaine region.

IRAN/1987-88/Naval, bombing/US intervenes on side of Iraq in war.

LIBYA/1989/Naval jets/Two Libyan jets shot down.

VIRGIN ISLANDS/1989/Troops/St. Croix Black unrest after storm.

PHILIPPINES/1989/Jets/Air cover provided for government against coup.

PANAMA/1989-?/Troops, bombing/Nationalist government ousted by 27,000 soldiers, leaders arrested, 2000+ killed.

LIBERIA/1990/Troops/Foreigners evacuated during civil war.

SAUDI ARABIA/1990-91/Troops, jets/Iraq countered after invading fiefdom of Kuwait. 540,000 troops also stationed in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Israel.

KUWAIT/1991/Naval, bombing, troops/Kuwait royal family returned to throne.

IRAQ/1990-1991/Bombing, troops, naval/ Blockade of Iraqi and Jordanian ports, air strikes; 200,000+ killed in invasion of Iraq and Kuwait; no-fly zone over Kurdish north, Shiite south, large-scale destruction of Iraqi military.

LOS ANGELES/1992/Troops/Army, Marines deployed against anti- police uprising.

SOMALIA/1992-94/Troops, naval, bombing/U.S.-led United Nations occupation during civil war; raids against one Mogadishu faction.

YUGOSLAVIA/1992-94/Naval/NATO blockade of Serbia and Montenegro.

BOSNIA/1993-?/Jets, bombing/No-fly zone patrolled in civil war; downed jets, bombed Serbs.

HAITI/1994-?/Troops, naval/Blockcade against military government; troops restore President Aristide to office three years after coup.

Comment: The above list and essay were rescued from the internet archive. But wait, there's more!

We continue with selected military interventions from FROM WOUNDED KNEE TO IRAQ: A CENTURY OF U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTIONS by Dr. Zoltan Grossman:

ZAIRE (CONGO)/ 1996-97/ Troops
Marines at Rwandan Hutu refugee camps, in area where Congo revolution begins.

LIBERIA / 1997 / Troops
Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.

ALBANIA / 1997 / Troops
Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.

SUDAN / 1998 / Missiles
Attack on pharmaceutical plant alleged to be "terrorist" nerve gas plant.

AFGHANISTAN / 1998 / Missiles
Attack on former CIA training camps used by Islamic fundamentalist groups alleged to have attacked embassies.

IRAQ / 1998-? / Bombing, Missiles
Four days of intensive air strikes after weapons inspectors allege Iraqi obstructions.

YUGOSLAVIA / 1999 / Bombing, Missiles
Heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw from Kosovo. NATO occupation of Kosovo.

YEMEN / 2000 / Naval
USS Cole, docked in Aden, bombed.

MACEDONIA / 2001 / Troops
NATO forces deployed to move and disarm Albanian rebels.

AFGHANISTAN / 2001-? / Troops, bombing, missiles
Massive U.S. mobilization to overthrow Taliban, hunt Al Qaeda fighters, install Karzai regime. Forces also engaged in neighboring Pakistan.

YEMEN / 2002 / Missiles
Predator drone missile attack on Al Qaeda, including a US citizen.

PHILIPPINES / 2002-? / Troops, naval
Training mission for Philippine military fighting Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels evolves into US combat missions in Sulu Archipelago next to Mindanao.

COLOMBIA / 2003-? / Troops
US special forces sent to rebel zone to back up Colombian military protecting oil pipeline.

IRAQ / 2003-? Troops, naval, bombing, missiles
Saddam regime toppled in Baghdad. US, joined by UK and Australia, attacks and occupies country. Incidents on border with Syria.

9/11 Panel May Seek Extension

Pressure Mounts as Investigation of Attacks Bogs Down

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 27, 2003

Amid fears that it can no longer meet a spring deadline, the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is coming under increasing pressure to seek an extension of its work into the 2004 election season.

Although the panel's leadership says it can still complete its investigation on schedule, a growing number of commissioners believe that is unlikely and are pushing the group to consider asking Congress for more time, several officials said. [...]

"Unfortunately, the production of a timely report no longer seems to be possible, in large part because of the delays caused by the administration and the agencies that report to it," the group's statement said.

Any attempt to move the May 27 deadline, however, would require the approval of Congress and President Bush and could make the commission -- which has tried to remain above the political fray -- an issue in the presidential campaign. The White House, which opposed the commission's formation for more than a year, successfully fought to impose a deadline that is five months before the November elections. Commission officials and members of Congress expect the administration to oppose a request for an extension. [...]

Comment: If Bush's approval is required to extend the investigation, how is it independent? The Bush administration has controlled too much information regarding the 9/11 attacks. They have hidden too much from the American people in the name of national security. Americans seem to think that they are entitled to the truth. They never appear to believe that their beloved government would ever lie to them. Why else would any American accept an independent investigation that is so obviously manipulated and controlled?

'Evidence' for Link Is Administration Ploy

By Christopher Scheer
LA Times
November 26, 2003

Christopher Scheer is the co-author of the "The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq," co-published this month by Seven Stories Press and Akashic Books.

Two weeks ago, a flurry of opinion polls from CBS News and elsewhere showed that Americans were increasingly unhappy with the war in Iraq and didn't believe that it had achieved its aims or made us any safer. The following week, the Weekly Standard, the organ of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, published extensive excerpts of a leaked, top-secret memo sent to the Senate Intelligence Committee the previous month by Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith, a leading neocon ideologue in the Bush administration. The memo sought to retroactively defend the debunked claims that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden had meaningful ties.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But the leak and publication of the Feith memo, which selectively presented a few dozen raw intelligence items plucked from more than a decade of debriefings by national and foreign intelligence agencies, not only shows a certain desperation on the part of the administration to shore up support for the occupation, but it also fits squarely into the cynical pattern of abusing Americans' trust we have seen since 9/11. That, you will remember, was when the administration made the calculated political decision to exploit American anger and grief as the launching pad for an unrelated and extremely reckless foreign policy hatched up in a pair of right-wing think tanks.

"This is made to dazzle the eyes of [those] not terribly educated" about intelligence methods, said Greg Thielmann, a longtime veteran of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence who retired in late 2002.

For those who have watched this pattern, the modus operandi is familiar: Leak to the media or place in speeches intelligence nuggets of questionable value — aluminum tubes, Nigerian uranium, the undocumented Prague meeting — then retreat when pressed. Keep the story alive in the friendly pockets of the media, like William Safire's column or Fox News. When the factoid's cracks start showing, replace it with a new one. Repeat as needed. [...]

Gag order leaves troops, reporters speechless

COLORADO SPRINGS - Before the press was herded into the giant hangar in advance of George W. Bush's pep rally/photo op with the Fort Carson troops, we were given the rules.

No talking to the troops before the rally.

No talking to the troops during the rally.

No talking to the troops after the rally. [...]

Fumes Sicken Six in NY Subway; Not Terror-Related

Wed Nov 26, 3:34 PM ET
By Grant McCool

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Six New York transit workers were overcome by fumes in the city's subway system on Wednesday in an incident that briefly spooked financial markets before officials said the exposure was not related to terrorism. [...]

Comment: The economy appears to be extremely fragile. It would not take much for someone to rig the stock market, cause it to crash and scoop up shares at fire sale prices. It may cost a few lives, but in the struggle for power that is unimportant to psychopaths.

MEDICAL CARTEL DEATH STATS

Comment: We will include just a few statistics from Jon Rappoport's essay on No More Fake News, which cites references. These statistics are for the US. Strangely enough, the pharmaceutical and medical industries are not considered terrorists, but you are. Happy Thanksgiving:

100,000 Americans die each year from medications that they took CORRECTLY
90,000 people die every year from hospital infections
15 million unnecessary surgeries
60,000 people die from those unnecessary surgeries
36 million adverse drug events per year

Al-Qaeda, the Mythic Enemy

By Richard Labeviere
Le Figaro

24 November 2003

There's no terrorist attack in the world today that is not automatically attributed to al-Qaeda, an organization considered operational at the transnational, if not at the planetary level, and, in consequence, necessitating a planetary response: the war against terror, dear to American neo-conservatives. Bad analyses very obviously invite bad responses. This is so true that ever since this global war on terrorism has been launched, it has not really improved either world peace or world security. On the contrary, the precipitate action supplied by the American-British occupation of Iraq and the calamitous management of the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation only reinforce the Muslim-Arab world's menace and resentment against the new "Crusaders" of a West that decides the standard of good for all civilizations.

The misunderstanding, or contradiction, goes back to the interpretation of the September 11, 2001 attacks, which some thought it right to analyze as an historic rupture as important as the end of the Cold War: the old world ended, a new one began.To this optical illusion, a correction of perspective must be opposed. [...]

With regard to the latest attacks in Istanbul, the Turkish police almost immediately arrested about twenty local activists duly known to the intelligence services, even if it is politically more profitable for the Turkish Prime Minister to condemn the ancestral Arab enemy and foreign plots.

From then on the demonization of al-Qaeda is very practical. A superb media invention, security haute couture label, consensual poster for the bounty-hunters of another age, a crude, but effective, propaganda: if al-Qaeda didn't exist, it would have to be invented. Since September 11, 2001 the al-Qaeda label has surreptitiously slid from designating a criminal band with Bin Laden at their head, to specifying a high-tech organization, to finally qualifying a planetary network: al-Qaeda has "CNNized" itself, like the al-Jezira channel which serves its communications. Al-Qaeda is everywhere, therefore, nowhere. Just as the hidden Imam, Bin Laden, simultaneously dead and alive, is behind every unexplained bomb explosion. Fortunately, his organization is there to give sense to all the world's disorders.

The phantasm of a planetary, pyramidal al-Qaeda, that of a new orchestration or of an International similar in all respects to Comintern's, is in the process of justifying the biggest American military-strategic redeployment effected since the end of the Second World War. [...] For the American Empire, it's important that the al-Qaeda mythology persist. To survive, the empire needs an enemy to its measure and to make war on: endless war.

Flashback: Palestinian Man Says Mossad Sought to Induce Him to Set up Fake Qaeda Cell in Gaza

December 11, 2002

"He told me that all he wanted from me was to declare responsibility for the bombings in the name of al-Qaeda, said the masked Ibrahim .."

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM - A Palestinian citizen from Gaza has revealed how the Israeli intelligence Service, the Mossad, had been trying to enlist him to set up a terrorist cell in Palestine under the name of al-Qaeda, the group headed by Osama bin Laden.

Ibrahim (not his real name) said during a news conference in Gaza Monday night that he had been contacted by a man who identified himself as Haj Yousuf from the city of Akka, who told him that he was working for Osama Bin Laden and that he was able to carry out bombings in Tel Aviv and Haifa and other Israeli towns.

He told me that all he wanted from me was to declare responsibility for the bombings in the name of al-Qaida, said the masked Ibrahim.

He spoke very nicely and told me he would help me financially; then he asked me to try to enlist a number of sincere Islamic-minded youths to set up al-Qaeda cell in Gaza.

Ibrahim said his contacts with Haj Yousuf (the Mossad agents) became more frequent, adding that at one point the Mossad agent offered him a monthly salary of up to 3000 US dollars.

At a later date, the Mossad agent asked Ibrahim to rent an apartment in Gaza in order to facilitate communications between them. He also promised to provide Ibrahim with a computer and fax machine, saying that communication between the two would be conducted via the internet.

Ibrahim said the man would inject his telephone conversations with a lot of Quranic verses and would exhort him to perform daily prayers, particularly the Dawn prayer.

However, Ibrahim, said he began to be suspicious of the man when he told him that he knew him and his family.

Every thing he told me made me suspect his true identity. He told me he knew me, my home, my friends; he also told me to expect a visit to my home or place of work.

Ibrahim said his contacts with Haj Yousuf lasted for five months after which he decided to inform the Preventive Security Force in Gaza of the entire affair.

The Israeli government and media have been dumbfounded by the revelation.

A spokesman at the Israeli Prime Ministers office issued a terse statement on Tuesday describing these allegations as nonsense.

Earlier, a gleeful-looking Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told reporters that Israel had discovered an al Qaeda cell in Gaza and that Israel was a key partner in the worldwide war against terror.

The Israeli claims were instantly and vehemently denied by the Palestinian Authority whose leader Yasser Arafat labeled Sharons remarks as a big, big, big lie.

Moreover, the PA briefed the US, EU, Russia and the UN on the affair and urged them to be mindful of Israeli designs to carry out massacres and acts of wanton killings in the Gaza Strip under the false rubric of fighting al-Qaeda.

US to move troops worldwide

Pentagon wants new 'places, not bases' so it can react more swiftly to new threats

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is launching formal talks with a host of allies next month, on an ambitious plan to reshuffle tens of thousands of American troops posted around the globe.

The overhaul of the Pentagon's global 'footprint' is the most substantial since the end of World War II.

' The once-familiar threats facing our nation, our friends and our allies have given way to the less predictable dangers associated with rogue nations, global terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction,' President George W. Bush said.

'While we continue to make progress in the transformation of our uniformed military, it remains for us to realign the global posture of our forces to better address these new challenges.'

While details are sketchy, the overriding principle is clear: The Pentagon intends to move away from an era of 'static defence', built around a global chain of bases, to a set-up where highly-mobile forces will be repositioned around a larger number of bases.

In short, this is what defence analysts have tagged the Pentagon's new 'places, not bases' strategy.

The Pentagon has held informal talks with countries like Japan, South Korea and Germany on the possibility of moving some United States forces long based in those countries.

It wants new bases in countries like Hungary, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, to multiply its ability to send troops to the Middle East.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described the plan at a press briefing on Tuesday as an effort to react more quickly to trouble around the world, especially in the Middle East and South Asia.

'It's a readjustment to fit the 21st century,' he said.

Another aspect of the consultations with allies, he said, is encouraging them to work more closely with US forces in exercises and training sessions, so they can multiply their combat power [...]

Iraq's Shiites Oppose U.S. Election Plan

By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer
Wed Nov 26, 7:05 PM ET

NAJAF, Iraq - Iraq's powerful Shiite Muslim leadership declared its opposition Wednesday to the U.S. plan for indirect elections for a provisional administration, complicating American hopes for a smooth transfer of power to Iraqis by July 1.

Objections were raised by Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani, Iraq's most influential Shiite leader, and spelled out publicly Wednesday by Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, a Shiite member of the Iraqi Governing Council, who met with the elderly cleric. [...]

"He has shown serious concern about real loopholes that must be dealt with," al-Hakim said of Ayatollah al-Sistani. "Otherwise, the process will be deficient and fail to meet the expectations of the people of Iraq. Among the main objections (of al-Sistani) is the lack of a role by the Iraqi people in the process of transferring powers to the Iraqis."

Under the new transfer agreement, members of a transitional national assembly will be chosen in regional caucuses attended by politicians and specially selected scholars, professionals, tribal chiefs, legal experts and other prominent people. The assembly will in turn elect a provisional government to take power by July 1.

"This method alone is not enough," al-Hakim said of the caucuses. "In it we see the lack of real reflection of the will of the Iraqi people." [...]

US readies extra marines for Iraq

AFP
Thursday November 27, 5:53 PM

The United States said it would send thousands of extra marines to Iraq as it battles insurgents who have taken a mounting toll on US troops.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has approved the deployment of three fresh marine battalions, the Pentagon said late Wednesday.

The battalions will mean about 3,000 extra troops on top of those already planned for rotation with existing force in Iraq. [...]

They will be part of the total of 56,504 fresh troops who have now been mobilized for the Iraq rotation next year, the Pentagon said. [...]

The defense secretary and President George W. Bush have insisted, however, that they are ready to increase the number of troops in Iraq if necessary. [...]

US detains wife, daughter of Saddam associate as US readies fresh troops

AFP
Thursday November 27, 4:48 PM

US troops have announced the capture of two family members of Saddam Hussein's deputy in the ongoing hunt for alleged mastermind of anti-coalition violence, as the Pentagon prepared fresh soldiers for duty in Iraq.

The arrest of a wife and a daughter of Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri came Wednesday, just one week after the coalition announced a 10-million-dollar bounty for the fugitive Saddam henchman, and following air strikes on two of his homes and the arrest of 14 of his alleged agents.

The commander of the US 4th Infantry Division, which patrols north-central Iraq, said that Duri's wife and daughter were captured, along with a son of his doctor, on a raid in Samarra, north of Baghdad.

"It has to do with us trying to gain information on Ibrahim al-Duri, where he might be and what operations he may be conducting," Major-General Raymond Odierno told reporters in Tikrit. "We believe they may have some information of how he's moving and where he's moving to and from." [...]

He voiced confidence that US counter-insurgency operations and the accelerated handover of power to Iraqis would help stem the violence.

But an explosion caused by a missile or mortar shell shook the Italian embassy in Baghdad late Wednesday, Italian RAI public television reported. [...]

In a separate statement Thursday the US military said a general of Saddam Hussein's dissolved armed forces had died under interrogation by US forces, in what "appeared" to be natural causes.

Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush, a former air defence commander, died Wednesday morning, said the statement issued from the western town of al-Qaim in the troubled Syrian border region.

"Mowhoush said he didn't feel well and subsequently lost consciousness. The soldier questioning him found no pulse, then conducted cardiac and pulmonary resuscitation and called for medical authorities," the statement said. [...]

Comment: The Major General died of natural causes while under interrogation?! Isn't this sort of thing exactly what used to happen under Saddam's regime?

Western powers redefine 'democracy'

Linda S. Heard
11/25/03: (Gulf News)

Those halcyon days when "democracy" really meant "for the people, by the people" are tragically over in countries which purport to expound this ancient method of governance. In its place comes a system which spies on, categorises, labels and restricts "the people" for the benefit of governments. It's clever though.

The metamorphosis didn't happen overnight - far from it. Indeed, the change is surreptitious; an erosion of civil liberties here; an attack on human rights there with the individual being reduced to the contents of a know-all, tell-all chip just about everywhere.

So insidious are the changes that most of us don't realise they are even taking place. It began with video cameras on street corners - some five million in the U.K. alone. Then there is the secretive global surveillance body Echelon, the most powerful intelligence-gathering organisation in the world used by the United States Security Agency, NSA, to secretly monitor satellite, microwave, cellular, and fiber-optic traffic.

There's little doubt "we the people" have long been under scrutiny in both audio and visual terms by governments elected by us to serve us. Yes. serve us. However, as we saw prior to the invasion of Iraq in Britain, this is no longer the case. Although more than 80 per cent of Britons were anti-war with over a million protestors clogging London's streets last February 15, the government went ahead anyway on the basis that Saddam Hussain posed an imminent threat, a charge later found to be false. In this case, "the people" have been proved right. No proscribed weapons have been found; Iraqi scientists who now have little to fear insist they were destroyed in 1991, and pre-war Iraq had no links to Al Quida or international terrorism.

Donkeys towing missiles, recently responsible for devastating Baghdad hotels, perhaps sum up the irony of this. Iraq's illicit armoury now incorporates "weapons of ass destruction". [...]

Daily life in Baghdad worse since fall of Saddam: Spanish FM

Monday, 24-Nov-2003 10:10AM

MADRID (AFP) - Life for the residents of Baghdad is worse now than during Saddam Hussein's regime because of the lack of security in the Iraqi capital, Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio said Monday.

"There is a serious security problem" in Iraq, Palacio told national Spanish television channel TVE.

"Daily life, above all in Baghdad, is in worse condition than during Saddam Hussein's time," she added.

Palacio said maintaining security in Iraq was the responsibility of the US-run Coalition Provisional Authority and the country's interim government, which she said should also make efforts to improve the standard of living.

According to the foreign minister, however, in other Iraqi regions, notably in the south, that were "struck hard by Saddam Hussein's regime," the situation had improved.

Spain has been one of London and Washington's staunchest allies over the Iraqi intervention, providing 1,250 troops for the country's post-war reconstruction, despite Spanish public opinion bitterly opposed to the conflict.

Bush to Call Soldiers on Thanksgiving

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Nov 26, 6:43 PM ET

CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush will spend part of his Thanksgiving Day calling soldiers to express his and the nation's gratitude for their service in Iraq.

A senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Bush would call "a number of" soldiers. The official did not provide specifics, but at least one of the intended recipients of the president's personal thanks is recovering in Germany from injuries suffered in the Iraq war. [...]

Comment: Perhaps he will tell them that they are the carriers and "executors" of a wonderful American legacy of bringing death and destruction that began with the founding fathers...this will surely incite them to greater and more barbaric acts of violence against the innocent of the world.

Hearts and Minds - US style

By Scott Taylor in Tikrit, Iraq
Thursday 27 November 2003


As American troops exit the former Presidential Palace complex in Tikrit, the last thing they see emblazoned above the arched gateway is the 4th Infantry Division motto: Strike First.

Since the last of the organised Iraqi military resistance was crushed in late April, these expansive palace grounds have been the headquarters for the US 4th Division.

As the birthplace of ousted president Saddam Hussein, Tikrit has proven to be a hotbed of Iraqi resistance throughout the US occupation.

I asked my escort Specialist Jack Craig, a military policeman from Minnesota, how he correlated the "strike first" directive with the US military's current policy of attempting to win the "hearts and minds" of the local population.

"Actually, I see 'hearts and minds' as a tactical doctrine. To me, it means that's where we should aim first," said Craig. " Shoot them in the body or in the head, but just make sure you shoot them first."

From his humourless expression, I presumed that he wasn't joking.

"We have two major factors effecting the ability for some of our troops to understand restraint," said Eddie Calis, the civilian security adviser at the US airbase at Kirkuk, in northern Iraq.

"One problem is that a lot of our soldiers are shit-scared and want to get out of here alive, no matter what that entails.

"The second and much less widespread issue is that of misplaced patriotism," said Calis, giving as an example one of the soldiers stationed at the Kirkuk airfield will soon be rotated back to America, and who feels that he has yet to fulfil his national duty.

"Every day he complains that he has not yet had the opportunity to kill an Iraqi, and do his bit for the war," explained Calis.

"On several recent occasions he has initiated provocation deliberately with local drivers at the gate, and I only hope that [this soldier] will be sent home before he fulfils his quest at the cost of an innocent life." [...]

USA: Allegations of excessive use of force and ill-treatment of protestors in Miami

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
AI Index: AMR 51/142/2003 (Public)
News Service No: 268
26 November 2003

Amnesty International called today for a full and independent inquiry into allegations of excessive use of force by police during demonstrations in Miami on 20th November. The organization has also received dozens of reports of ill-treatment of those detained during the demonstration.

Police are reported to have fired rubber bullets and used batons, pepper spray, tear gas canisters and concussion grenades on crowds demonstrating against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations, leaving some people hospitalized and dozens more treated for injuries. Scores of people, including journalists and observers, were arrested during the demonstration, some reportedly subjected to ill-treatment in detention. Amnesty International is currently gathering more information on the reported violations.

"The level of force used by police does not appear to have been at all justified." Amnesty International said, noting reports that only a small minority of demonstrators had engaged in acts of violence. [...]

Warrant Issued in Investigation Into Government Kidnapping of Activists

By Morgan Lee Associated Press Writer
Published: Nov 26, 2003

MEXICO CITY (AP) - An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for a former state police commander accused in the kidnapping of a leftist activist who disappeared in 1974, in a potential breakthrough for an investigation into kidnappings of hundreds of activists in the 1960s and 1970s, federal prosecutors said. [...]

Fury as Israel 'legalises' West Bank camps

27/11/2003

Israel is in the final stages of legalising new West Bank settlements, a violation of its commitments to the United States and to an internationally backed peace plan.

The “road map” peace plan – which envisages the formation of a Palestinian state by 2005 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – requires Israel to remove dozens of unauthorised West Bank outposts established since March 2001 and to freeze construction at existing settlements.

But Deputy Defence Minister Zeev Boim said today that Israel was in the final stages of granting “legal” status to some West Bank outposts and had also granted a tender to expand the West Bank settlement of Negohot.

Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said the moves undermined the road map, and called on the United States to halt the Israeli measures.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said last week he would take “unilateral steps” to ease tensions between Israel and the Palestinians should the sides fail to reach agreement. Israeli media reported Sharon was putting together a plan that would include dismantling some West Bank and Gaza Strip settlements.

Jewish settlers have been establishing unauthorised hilltop outposts since 1998. They have enjoyed the quiet support of hard-line Israeli governments, which have provided soldiers to guard them.

Although the government calls some of the outposts “illegal,” it has allowed settlers to pave roads to the hilltop areas, which are often made up of no more than a few trailers and a handful of settlers.

Other outposts that are not being “legalised” will be dismantled, Boim said, adding that dozens of unauthorised outposts have been removed in the past three years. Israeli human rights groups say very few of the outposts have been dismantled, and those that have were quickly re-established. [...]

Bullshit Artists, Inc.

Yoel Marcus

Ariel Sharon reminds me these days of Chance the Gardener, the star of the movie "Being There," based on Jerzy Kosinski's book. Chance's world revolves around images from the world of gardening: "Seeds are sown in autumn;" "flowers blossom in spring;" "leaves turn yellow in the fall;" "when winter is over and summer comes, the trees will bear fruit."

The Washington political scene, including the president himself, is convinced that lurking behind Chance's simple words are incomparably profound political insights and multiple meanings that will solve the problems of the world. He utters a word and everyone thinks he might mean this or might mean that. Altogether, an out-and-out genius.

That's what popped into my head as I heard the news that the prime minister is planning to dismantle outposts, maybe even unilaterally, as soon as next summer. Why next summer? Heck, we just finished this one. At the moment, it's fall. Winter will be here soon, and then spring, and finally, summer. In the meantime, another year of doing nothing will go by.

Sharon's world is full of rhetoric that sounds promising. For example, his commitment to "painful concessions," which people can interpret however they want. It could mean giving up territories, but also the opposite: holding on to territories instead of peace. That's painful, too.

A couple of months ago, Sharon said it was impossible to lord over 3.5 million Palestinians. The pundits melted like butter: Sharon is finally about to do something big. But it was all talk. Since then, nothing has happened.

This week, with autumn still upon us, they said Sharon would begin unilateral action in the territories. It got a headline, but when the government convened, it turned out to be a typical Sharon bubble. All he said was that he didn't rule out unilateral action, but he hasn't decided what he plans to do, when he plans to do it, or whether he will do anything at all.

"It's all virtual," said Avigdor Lieberman. "It's all media spin," said Benny Elon. No one took Sharon's statements seriously, including Sharon himself: "I say half a sentence and everyone reads into it what they want."

Sharon has reached the point where his good friend Bush scolded him from London for not making the grade in terms of gestures that would propel the road map forward. In the atmosphere generated by the wave of terror that week, the president's words could have been interpreted as a warning: Israel was liable to be blamed for this wave of terror.

A chill wind is blowing from the White House. It is openly disappointed with Sharon for not taking steps that would pave the way for fruitful dialogue with the government of Ahmed Qureia. The United States supports a Russian proposal to put the UN Security Council in charge of implementing the road map.

Sharon is a one-man Bullshit Artists, Inc. He is bullshitting Bush the same way he is bullshitting the citizens of this country. The future of the settlements, the outposts, the fence project and where it is heading - none of these matters is being addressed in any tangible way. [...]

Sharon cartoon wins award

27 November 2003

The Independent's cartoonist Dave Brown has won the Political Cartoon of the Year award for a controversial depiction of Ariel Sharon apparently eating a Palestinian baby a day before the Israeli elections.

In the cartoon, published on 27 January, Sharon says "What's wrong? You never seen a politician kissing babies before?" as a loudspeaker from a helicopter gunship chants "Vote Sharon, Vote Sharon" overhead. The cartoon was based on Goya's Saturn Devouring His Children and was penned after a pre-election raid by Israeli missiles on Gaza City. The prize was presented after a vote by the members of the Political Cartoon Society and national newspaper cartoonists. It was presented by the former cabinet minister Clare Short on Tuesday night at the headquarters of The Economist in London.

Palestinians killed in Israeli blunder

Thursday 27 November 2003

The Israeli army has admitted that three Palestinians who were shot dead by soldiers late on Wednesday were unarmed, retracting earlier claims that the troops had killed two gunmen.

A new statement on Thursday said that while Israeli troops were pursuing "a group of armed gunmen" who were believed to be planning an attack in the Gaza Strip, they had fired on a car in which they thought the men were fleeing the area.

While the army admitted that three occupants of the car who were killed were in fact unarmed, it said two of them were members of the Islamic Jihad resistance movement.

The army spokesman said that the area where the car was travelling was the scene of several recent attacks on Israeli targets by Palestinian fighters.

The latest deaths raised to 3624 the number of people killed since the September 2000 outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada, including 2704 Palestinians and 854 Israelis, according to a count by news agency AFP.

Elsewhere, Israeli occupation forces backed by more than 20 heavy vehicles and Apache helicopters raided the city of Jenin and its refugee camp on Thursday.

Eyewitnesses told Aljazeera armed Palestinians exchanged fire with Israeli special units, which entered the camp from the Jabiriyat area

EU and Israel dispute labelling deal

Aljazeera

Israeli Trade Minister Ehud Olmert claimed on Tuesday a deal has been reached with the European Union in a dispute over the labelling of exports produced in Jewish settlements.

But the EU has firmly denied any such deal.

"We have decided to label on the products the town in which they were produced," said Olmert.

Until now, Israeli authorities refused to indicate on products whether they were made in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip or the Golan Heights.

Under the terms of a trade agreements with the 15-nation bloc, goods labelled "Made in Israel" get preferential treatment from EU customs authorities, with many escaping import duties altogether.

Argentina Says Warned of Possible Attack

By Alistair Scrutton
Wed Nov 26, 3:56 PM ET

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) - Argentina, which was hit by deadly bombings in the 1990s, said on Wednesday foreign intelligence services had warned it of a possible attack on U.S., British or Spanish interests there.

"Yesterday, we received information from national intelligence services and two foreign intelligence services that Argentina could face some kind of attack," Defense Minister Jose Pampuro told local radio.

Pampuro said the armed forces had been put on alert. He added that Argentina had received a similar warning about four or five months ago. The government said it had stepped up immigration controls and checks on domestic flights.

Security experts say Argentina has a high risk of being attacked because of its recent history of bombings, a large Jewish community and the porous border region with Paraguay and Brazil, a region suspected by Washington of bankrolling Islamic militants. [...]

Christmas shopping at K-mart, Thanksgiving day USA

Many People Homeless This Thanksgiving For First Time

NewsNet5

According to the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, 66 percent of Americans who are homeless this Thanksgiving are homeless for the first time. [...]

One family that suddenly found itself in financial crisis was the Rossell family.

Helen Rossell never thought she'd be struggling to make ends meet, and fighting to keep her home.

"We had everything. We owned our own home ... and in just a minute, it's gone," said Rossell.

When Rossell's husband's company closed its local office, the family lost its bank accounts, insurance and security. [...]

Chinese scholar pleads guilty to illegally exporting technology to China

Wed Nov 26, 6:46 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US-based Chinese scholar Gao Zhan, once convicted by Beijing of spying for Taiwan, admitted in a US court illegally exporting militarily sensitive US computer technology to China.

In a sensational twist to a saga which soured US-China relations two years ago, Gao pleaded guilty to exporting 80 micro-processors to China without required authorization from the US Department of Commerce.

The charge covered a transaction in October 2000, three months before Gao was arrested in China and accused of spying for Taiwan.

In a plea bargain deal, Gao, mother of a young boy, also confessed at federal court in Arlington, Virginia, to filing a false joint tax return with her husband Xue Donghua, which did not include most of the proceeds of the sales, worth 1.5 million dollars.

Infant's 911 call leads to mom's arrest

Fri Nov 21, 6:36 PM ET!
By Steve Irsay, Court TV

ORLANDO, Fla. - A baby's call to 911 may have his mom crying.

When a 1-year-old boy unwittingly called the emergency number this week, the dispatcher who answered could only hear gibberish on the other end.

So the dispatcher called back and reached the boy's mother, Navera Alexcia Noel, 27, who allegedly assured the dispatcher that everything was fine. Nevertheless, an Orange County deputy sheriff thought it best to check out the curious call.

When Deputy Sheriff Jeff Mayer arrived, Noel reportedly let him into the home. There the officer found the baby boy who made the 911 call. Mayer also allegedly found mounds of drugs, all in plain sight.

Narcotics officers returned with a search warrant and allegedly found more than 30 grams of cocaine, 100 grams of marijuana and some $69,440 in cash. It did not appear that the baby boy had ingested any of the drugs, investigators said.

One Killed in String of Ohio Interstate Shootings That May Be Related

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins Associated Press Writer
Published: Nov 26, 2003

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A bullet tore through the door of a car as it traveled down a freeway, killing a woman who was on her way to a doctor's appointment.

Authorities are investigating whether the shooting was related to reports of eight other shots fired at vehicles on or near the same stretch of highway. [...]

Comment: From this article we learn that, "Martin says he's not using the word 'sniper' yet."

260 feared dead in ferry disaster

27/11/2003

At least 160 people died and 100 are missing after two ferries collided during a violent storm on the Congo River today.

The disaster happened near the town of Inongo, officials in Kinshasa said.

Of roughly 500 on board, 222 are known to have survived the collision, said Catherine Nzuzi, Congo's minister of humanitarian affairs.

Authorities said both ferries were overloaded, but said bad weather was the main cause of the accident.

“There was a violent storm that provoked the collision,” Nzuzi said. [...]

It's time for Chirac to go says, minister

Philip Delves Broughton in Paris
27/11/2003

President Jacques Chirac is facing a palace coup after his chief party rival warned him not to run for re-election in 2007 but let "democracy breathe again".

Nicolas Sarkozy, who was appointed interior minister 18 months ago, told a private audience on Monday night that France should introduce term limits.

"When you have given all you are capable of giving to your country, your town, your constituency, it is wise, through term limits, to make room for others," he said.

His remarks cut right to M Chirac's greatest weaknesses: his age, growing decrepitude and a sense among voters that he is washed up, too comfortable in his trappings and disinterested in domestic problems.

"When one feels that time is counting down, one acts faster and faster. When the term of office is unlimited, it is only human to want to just hang on," said M Sarkozy. The object of his remarks were unnamed but obvious to all.

'Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought'

An invitation to the palace to accept an New Year honour... you must be joking. Benjamin Zephaniah won't be going. Here he explains why

Thursday November 27, 2003
The Guardian


I woke up on the morning of November 13 wondering how the government could be overthrown and what could replace it, and then I noticed a letter from the prime minister's office. It said: "The prime minister has asked me to inform you, in strict confidence, that he has in mind, on the occasion of the forthcoming list of New Year's honours to submit your name to the Queen with a recommendation that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to approve that you be appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire."

Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought. I get angry when I hear that word "empire"; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised. It is because of this concept of empire that my British education led me to believe that the history of black people started with slavery and that we were born slaves, and should therefore be grateful that we were given freedom by our caring white masters. It is because of this idea of empire that black people like myself don't even know our true names or our true historical culture. I am not one of those who are obsessed with their roots, and I'm certainly not suffering from a crisis of identity; my obsession is about the future and the political rights of all people. Benjamin Zephaniah OBE - no way Mr Blair, no way Mrs Queen. I am profoundly anti-empire.

There's something very strange about receiving a letter from Tony Blair's office asking me if I want to accept this award. In the past couple of months I've been on Blair's doorstep a few times. I have begged him to come out and meet me; I have been longing for a conversation with him, but he won't come out, and now here he is asking me to meet him at the palace! I was there with a million people on February 15, and the last time I was there was just a couple of weeks ago. My cousin, Michael Powell, was arrested and taken to Thornhill Road police station in Birmingham where he died. Now, I know how he died. The whole of Birmingham knows how he died, but in order to get this article published and to be politically (or journalistically) correct, I have to say that he died in suspicious circumstances. The police will not give us any answers. We have not seen or heard anything of all the reports and investigations we were told were going to take place. Now, all that my family can do is join with all the other families who have lost members while in custody because no one in power is listening to us. Come on Mr Blair, I'll meet you anytime. Let's talk about your Home Office, let's talk about being tough on crime.

This OBE thing is supposed to be for my services to literature, but there are a whole lot of writers who are better than me, and they're not involved in the things that I'm involved in. All they do is write; I spend most of my time doing other things. If they want to give me one of these empire things, why can't they give me one for my work in animal rights? Why can't they give me one for my struggle against racism? What about giving me one for all the letters I write to innocent people in prisons who have been framed? I may just consider accepting some kind of award for my services on behalf of the millions of people who have stood up against the war in Iraq. It's such hard work - much harder than writing poems.

And hey, if Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to lay all that empire stuff on me, why can't she write to me herself. Let's cut out the middleman - she knows me. The last time we met, it was at a concert I was hosting. She came backstage to meet me. That didn't bother me; lots of people visit my dressing room after performances. Me and the South African performers I was working with that night thought it rather funny that we had a royal groupie. She's a bit stiff but she's a nice old lady. Let me make it clear: I have nothing against her or the royal family. It is the institution of the monarchy that I loathe so very much, the monarchy that still refuses to apologise for sanctioning slavery. [...]

Mayo Clinic official predicts worst flu season in 30 years

11/26/2003 8:36 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — This could be one of the worst flu seasons in 30 years, with thousands more people dying than in a normal year because they failed to get vaccinated, according to the director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group.

"This will probably be the worst flu season we've had in several decades," said infectious disease specialist Gregory Poland. "My guess is that we'll be in the 50,000 to 70,000 deaths this year due to this strain."

In an average year, the disease infects up to 20% of the U.S. population, killing about 36,000 Americans and hospitalizing 114,000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [...]

Colorado flu numbers just keep heading up

Early start of season came as surprise to health-care providers

By Mike Patty and Bill Scanlon
Rocky Mountain News

The flu bug continued its rampage Wednesday, jump-starting a season some doctors believe may be the worst in 20 years.

"We have confirmed a total of 3,957 cases of the flu statewide as of today, and the numbers keep climbing," Doug Benevento, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said Wednesday.

"That is an increase of 558 cases reported on Tuesday, and the total is already more than we had for the entire flu seasons going back to 1999." [...]

Record heat in 2003 shows need to combat climate change: UN

BONN (AFP) Nov 26, 2003

Fast-rising temperatures in 2003 highlight the urgent need to combat global warming, the head of the United Nations Climate Change Convention (UNCCC) warned Wednesday ahead of a fresh effort to breathe life into the sickly Kyoto Protocol.

"The fact that 2003 is on track to be one of the warmest years on record should be a warning we must all take seriously," UNCCC Executive Secretary Joke Waller-Hunter said in a press statement issued here. [...]

Australian scientists announce good news at last on global warming

SYDNEY (AFP) Nov 25, 2003

Levels of methane, the second most important greenhouse gas responsible for global warming, have stopped increasing in the global background atmosphere and could even begin to fall, Australian scientists announced Tuesday.

Researchers at the government's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) described the findings of their study as exciting although they admit to being unsure why it is happening. [...]

The gathering storms (UK)

Forget the violent gales of 1987 - when a real hurricane hit Britain 300 years ago, it was an 'Army of Terror' that killed 8,000 people. And we're due for another, says Richard Hamblyn

26 November 2003

Three hundred years ago today - just before midnight on 26 November 1703 - a fast-moving Atlantic hurricane hammered into Britain from the west. It arrived entirely without warning, but it was to make its presence felt over the next six hours as it battered its way eastwards through the night. By dawn the following morning it had moved on to Scandinavia, but it left behind a 300-mile wide trail of devastation across England and Wales, all the way from Cornwall to the Wash. Some 8,000 people were killed, thousands more injured, and Britain looked and felt as if it had been transformed overnight into a war-torn country with a battlefield in every village and town. The author and journalist Daniel Defoe was in London at the time, and he used his own experiences of "this terrible Providence" as material for what became his first full-length book, The Storm, which he published the following year.

Defoe's account offers an unparalleled insight into what is still the worst storm in British history, and the only true hurricane ever to have arrived on our shores at maximum strength. We have had plenty of severe storms since 1703, most notably on the night of 15-16 October 1987, but we have never played host to another hurricane.

The meteorological definition of a hurricane is a tropical storm with sustained wind speeds of at least 74mph, originating in the western Atlantic. Given the rapidity with which our weather patterns are changing, however, and the increased number of damaging storms which we have suffered in recent years, how long will it be before Britain feels the force of another visiting cyclone like Defoe's? We are not just talking of a belter of a storm depression veering up from the Bay of Biscay, as happened in October 1987, but a full-blown hurricane flailing in from the tropics "like an Army of Terror in its furious March", as Defoe so memorably described it.

The question is difficult to answer with any degree of certainty, but since we know that the oceans are getting warmer every year, that a storm of such severity over Britain is viewed as a once-in-every-300-years event, and that the hurricane season for 2004 has been predicted to be unusually active by the US government's Hurricane Research Division, it appears that the question may well answer itself sooner rather than later.

Billions of people may suffer severe water shortages as glaciers melt: WWF

MILAN (AFP) Nov 27, 2003

Billions of people will face severe water shortages as glaciers around the world melt unless governments take urgent action to tackle global warming, the environmental group WWF said Thursday, ahead of a UN conference on climate change.

"Increasing global temperatures in the coming century will cause continued widespread melting of glaciers, which contain 70 percent of the world's fresh water reserves," it warned in a new study. [...]

China rattled by moderate earthquake

November 27 2003

Beijing - Thousands of houses collapsed or were seriously damaged when the fourth earthquake in five months hit the poor southwest Chinese province of Yunnan, an official said on Thursday.

The tremor, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, jolted Ludian county late on Wednesday, injuring four, according to a county official.

"A total of 1 449 rooms collapsed, and 9 431 were damaged," he said. [...]

Himachal Pradesh rocked by an earthquake

Dharamshala, Nov 27 (UNI) Dharamshala and its adjoining areas in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh were rocked by an earthquake of moderate intensity early this morning. [...]

Earthquake territory

The province of Groningen recently recorded three tremors in a month, sparking widespread community concern. Just how safe is the Netherlands?

Great Apes are going West, UN warns

PARIS (AFP) Nov 26, 2003

Warning that the clock stands at "one minute to midnight," the United Nations on Wednesday appealed for 25 million dollars to help save Man's closest genetic relatives, the Great Apes, from extinction in the wild.

The sum is urgently needed to combat the destruction of the planet's last few gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans and secure their natural habitat, it said. [...]

The creatures' biggest enemy is mankind, which is encroaching on its habitat and ripping through ape populations for poaching, bushmeat and the live animal trade.

Less than 10 percent of the remaining forest home of the Great Apes in Africa will be left relatively undisturbed by 2030 if road-building, the construction of mining camps and other schemes continue at their present pace, UNEP said.

"Research indicates that the western chimpanzee has already disappeared from three countries -- Benin, the Gambia and Togo," UNESCO expert Samy Mankoto, a specialist on biosphere reserves in Africa, said. [...]

Terror of the mysterious van strikes station kids

November 27 2003
IANS

AHMEDABAD: Like ghostly apparitions, people get off a mysterious white van that suddenly appears at the railway station here, pick up children at random, bundle them in and drive off. The kids are never seen again.

These are not scenes from a horror film, instead the grim reality faced by street children living on the murky streets dimly lit by the fading neon lights of the parking lot at the Ahmedabad railway station in this principal Gujarat city. [...]

Ravji still shivers when reminded of his encounter with the white van.

"It was early in the morning, probably at 4 a.m., when I saw the van parked just by the staircase of the railway station's entrance. Two giant figures got out of the van and started looking at the platform.

"Fortunately, all the children had gone to a nearby slum and I with my brother were behind a tea stall. Before they could spot me I made for the railway tracks and escaped from their clutches," Ravji told IANS. [...]

"These children are scum on the face of the railway station. They spread filth. They are not our passengers, why should we bother about them?" asked a senior railway official.

Scientists find mystery 'orphan planets'

Astronomers have discovered planets that appear to have been formed without a parent star.

A dozen of the 'orphan' planets were found in a star-forming region called Rho Ophiuchus B, 500 light years away.

They show that planets can be spawned on their own from the same process that makes stars.

One of the planets, named Rho Ophiuchus B-11, has nine times the mass of Jupiter.

"It's a planet but it has all the hallmarks of an embryonic star," said Jane Greaves from the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, who helped make the discovery.

Until recently it was thought that planets could only form from gas and dust swirling in a disc around a newborn star. [...]

Researcher says disputed New World map is real

By Diane Scarponi
Associated Press

NEW HAVEN -- The latest scientific analysis of a disputed map of the medieval New World supports the theory that it was made 50 years before Christopher Columbus set sail.

The study examined the ink used to draw the Vinland Map, which belongs to Yale University. The map is valued at $20 million -- if it is real and not a clever, modern-day forgery.

A study last summer said the ink on the parchment map was made in the 20th century.

But chemist Jacqueline Olin, a retired researcher with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said yesterday that her analysis shows the ink was made in medieval times.

"There is no evidence this is a forged titanium dioxide ink," said Olin, whose paper appears in the December issue of the journal Analytical Chemistry. [...]

More UFO sightings reported

Additional witnesses come forward after recent article

Paul Wells
Echo Editor

Airdrie Echo  — A British Columbia-based UFO researcher says a story which appeared in the Echo in September regarding sightings in the Airdrie area has spurred others to come forward with their experiences with strange lights in the sky.

Brian Vike, director of HBCC UFO Research and a regular contributor to TV and radio shows as a UFO expert, said numerous sightings of unidentified objects in the area over the past months has ensured that Airdrie has entered the lexicon of the UFO community.

"I do a weekly radio show (in B.C.) and I mentioned to the host that I have received a number of reports from the (Airdrie) area and we talked about the latest one, which came in on air," Vike said. [...]

Air Rage Granny Scrambles Fighters

Wed November 26, 2003 08:15 AM ET

MIAMI (Reuters) - Fighter jets were scrambled at Miami airport on Tuesday after an elderly woman threw a fit on an American Airlines plane and flight attendants thought she would attack them, police said.

Reports said the woman was aged between 69 and 79. [...]

'Master' and 'slave' Labels on Electronic Equipment Raise Concern in Los Angeles County

The Associated Press
Published: Nov 26, 2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A county official has asked computer and video equipment vendors to consider eliminating the terms "master" and "slave" from equipment because they may be considered offensive.

"Based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County, this is not an acceptable identification label," according to an e-mail sent to vendors on Nov. 18. The memo asks manufacturers, suppliers and contractors to change or remove any labels on components "that could be interpreted as discriminatory or offensive in nature." [...]

Space station crew hears crunching sound

By MARK CARREAU
Houston Chronicle

The U.S. and Russian crew of the international space station reported a brief unexpected metallic crunching noise outside the outpost early today. [...]

Both U.S. and Russian ground-based experts could find no evidence of penetration of the station's airtight hull or the cooling system for the electronic equipment that is responsible for many of the operations. [...]

Anatolian Roots Seen for Indo-Europe Language Tree

LONDON (Reuters) - Farmers in an area that is now in Turkey may have spoken the first words of Indo-European languages around 8,000 years ago, researchers said Wednesday.

Indo-European languages, which include Greek, Latin, English and Sanskrit among many others, originated thousands of years ago but their roots have been hotly debated by experts. [...]

MPs can say 'bloody' but not 'please'

Ananova.com
11:24 Thursday 27th November 2003

The Speaker in South Australia's Parliament has ruled MPs in the House of Assembly are allowed to say 'bloody', but not 'please'.

A month after the ruling that MPs shouldn't use 'please' in Parliament because it's a begging word, they have been told they can say 'bloody'. [...]

"'Bloody' is an oath, 'by our lady', arising from the ancient English of Chaucer's day in the 13th century," he said.

"It has nothing to do with gore or blood."

Comment: Sounds like they are accomplishing a lot...

Unfortunately...



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