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November 30, 2003

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New travelogue: Flamenco in Paris - Ark and Laura travel to Paris for TV interview

Flu season is upon us (November to April in the US), will you get the shot? We recommend you think twice about it and read the reports below.

Many Israelis are fed up with their country and have decided to move abroad. When one considers the murderous and genocidal policies of Sharon and the Zionists, we can't say we blame the emigrants.

We present a detailed report on life for the Palestinians behind the apartheid wall. And for anyone who still thinks this is being done for "security," we point you again to the 1982 interview with the killer Sharon that shows this man is doing what he does consciously and with forethought:

"And if anyone even raises his hand against us we'll take away half his land and burn the other half, including the oil. We might use nuclear arms. We'll go on until he no longer feels like it..."

"Leibowitz is right, we are Judeo-Nazis, and why not? [...]

"Even today I am willing to volunteer to do the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them, to have everyone hate us, to pull the rug from underneath the feet of the Diaspora Jews, so that they will be forced to run to us crying. Even if it means blowing up one or two synagogues here and there, I don't care."

A top US general claims that the last two weeks in Iraq have been "great", even though more soldiers have been killed in November than in any other month; seven Spanish intelligence officers die, and two Japanese officials are gunned down. Yep, sounds like everything is just peachy. After Bush's Thanksgiving visit, many troops say it was a nice gesture, but they still want out of Iraq. Even the Iraqi police are suspected of fighting against the US occupation.

The CIA admits it didn't have specific intelligence on Saddam's alleged WMDs and that it plainly stated so in its report to the Bush administration. So, where are the outraged Americans? They are recovering from Thanksgiving and doing some Christmas shopping. The Bush Reich's timing is impeccable, as always. Yet, the signs are still there for all to see. Will you make the effort?

British Guantanamo detainees will be sent home, while another officer at the camp is charged for an alleged breach of security; and psychopaths are real and in a government building near you. Also in the UK, a slur campaign against Muslims went into full swing, but it appears that few are falling for it and calling it a move for a 'cheap headline'.

Some 'journalist' from the local Nevada media decided to take a look at NORAD. We counter his inane babble with a bit of research of our own. It is astonishing that anyone could be so ignorant. Some just want to 'believe'.

A December meeting over the future of Internet regulation promises to pit the US, Europe, and Australia against other countries. But it won't matter much once the cables are cut.

A recent description of authoritarian Russia brings to mind the "leader of the free world."

It is only in the last few years that the idea of a "flu shot" has been widely promoted. Supposedly this is a small dosage of the virus (among other things as we shall see) which prevents contraction of the full blown virus. While initially being recommended for the elderly and young, now it is advised that everyone who wants to avoid the flu should receive the shot. The question is, how much do you trust your government, and how much of that trust is warranted. As we reported earlier this year, the Pentagon has been successful in reviving the "Spanish Flu" virus of 1918, which killed up to 40 million worldwide. New evidence however suggests that that epidemic was as a result of the inoculations against the virus rather than the virus itself. In regards to this years flu virus the Government Center for Disease Control has said:

"It is not possible to accurately predict in advance what type of flu season we are going to have. However, current surveillance data show that people in the United States are getting sick with flu earlier in the year than usual. Also, in laboratory tests from across the country, a greater proportion of specimens testing positive for influenza are type A (H3N2). Historically, A (H3N2) viruses have been associated with more-severe flu seasons during which higher numbers of influenza-related hospitalizations and deaths have occurred."

Should you get the Flu shot?

By Dr Sherri Tenpenny
www.nmaseminars.com

News reports have been flooding us with articles warning that the impending flu season may be the worst in years.Even though it is difficult to separate the facts from the hype, a close evaluation of the flu vaccine will reveal that serious questions must be raised about the recommendations that are routinely touted, namely high efficacy with little risk. Anyone considering a flu shot should become informed about the substances coming through that needle, and should be determined to investigate the safety and efficacy issues that are still unresolved.

What’s in a flu shot?

The influenza virus is grown in “specific pathogen-free” (SPF) eggs. Eggs are tested for a variety of agents—usually between 23 and 31—to confirm the absence of those specific pathogens. Laboratories limit the number of agents that are screened due to the shear abundance of potential viruses and/or bacteria to choose from. In addition, screening for every potential agent would be cost prohibitive. If none of the tested agents are detected, the vaccine is reported as “pathogen free.”

However, it should be understood that there is a distinct difference between “pathogen free” and “specific pathogen-free.” In its July 1996 report, the Institute of Medicine acknowledged that “although it is not possible to produce a completely uncontaminated animal, it is possible to produce an animal [or egg] certified to be free of specific pathogens.” Viruses that are harmless to their animal host, however, may be potentially harmful to humans.

During the manufacturing process, antibiotics (neomycin, polymyxin B and gentamicin) are added to eliminate stray bacteria found in the mixture. The final solution can contain the following additives in any combination: Triton X-100 (a detergent); polysorbate 80 (a potential carcinogen); gelatin; formaldehyde; and residual egg proteins. In addition, many of the influenza vaccines still contain thimerosal as a preservative. Thimerosal (mercury) is being investigated for its link to brain injury and autoimmune disease.

Does the flu shot protect?

There are no guarantees that the influenza viruses selected for the vaccine will be the identical strains circulating during a given flu season. In fact, it has recently been announced that this year's flu vaccine does not include the strain that is being reported by doctors in the community called the “A Fujian” strain. Outbreaks have been reported in Texas, Colorado and elsewhere that involve strains that do not match the current flu vaccine. CDC tests have confirmed that more than 80 per cent of the 55 strains of influenza virus isolated thus far are the A Fujian strain. Even so, the CDC still maintains that the current vaccine could provide cross-protection against the new variant, but the fact is, no one knows for sure.

Moreover, the majority of illnesses characterized by fever, fatigue, cough and aching muscles are not caused by the influenza virus. Non-influenza viruses (e.g., rhinoviruses respiratory syncytial virus [RSV], adenoviruses, and parainfluenza viruses) can cause symptoms referred to influenza-like illnesses. Certain bacteria, such as Legionella spp., Chlamydia pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pneumoniae, have been documented as the causes of ILI.

Notably, these microbes are not part of the flu vaccine. Unless an organism’s antigen is contained within the vaccine, there is no protection conferred by the vaccine.

Targeting the elderly

The flu vaccine is generally recommended for persons aged 65 and older, and those with medical conditions who could experience serious complications from the flu. Medical journals report broad differences in effectiveness for the elderly, ranging from 0 to 85%.

The CDC states that 90% of deaths from influenza occur among the elderly. Considering that nearly 65% of all deaths (from any cause) occur in this age group, it is nearly impossible to prove that flu shots significantly increase life expectancy in this group. The truth is that most people—young and old—will weather a bout of the flu without hospitalization or complications.

A serious concern: Alzheimer’s Disesase

Hugh Fudenberg, MD, an immunogeneticist and biologist with nearly 850 papers published in peer review journals, has reported that if an individual had five consecutive flu shots between 1970 and 1980 (the years studied), his/her chances of getting Alzheimer's Disease is ten times higher than if they had zero, one, or two shots.

Dr. Boyd Haley, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky, Lexington has done extensive research in the area of mercury toxicity and the brain. Haley’s research has established a likely connection between mercury toxicity and Alzheimer’s disease.In a paper published in collaboration with researchers at University of Calgary, Haley stated that “seven of the characteristic markers that we look for to distinguish Alzheimer's disease can be produced in normal brain tissues, or cultures of neurons, by the addition of extremely low levels of mercury.”

Does this prove that the mercury contained in the influenza shot can be directly linked to Alzheimer’s? No, absolutely not. But further research in this area is critically needed because the absence of proof is not the “proof of absence.”

Flu vaccine now for children

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) adopted a resolution effective March 1, 2003 that expanded the use of the influenza vaccine to include children aged 6-23 months. The recommendations also included vaccinating those aged 2 to 18 years who live in households containing children younger than 2 years of age.

The flu vaccine most commonly given to children is Fluzone, a trivalent vaccine grown in chicken eggs. Harvested with formaldehyde and containing the recommended ratio of 15 ug of each of the three prototype viral strains, each dose of Fluzone also contains 25 ug of mercury. The new CDC recommendations include giving the influenza vaccine to children beginning at six months of age and then annually, for the rest of their lives. Children less than age 9 receiving their first flu shot, two doses of vaccine are recommended, with a minimum interval of one month between the two doses. However, the CDC does not provide a direct reference to substantiate this recommendation.

On June 17, 2003, the FDA approved an intranasal influenza vaccine for use in healthy persons aged 5–49 years. Flumist> is a live-virus vaccine that can cause a litany of problems. (for further information on FluMist)

Alternatives?

If you choose not to receive the flu shot, have a discussion with your doctor regarding other options. However, some simple and possibly quite effective things you can do for yourself to prevent the flu include: 1) avoid white sugar;[xiv] 2) exercise regularly; 3) get adequate sleep; 4) eat a healthy diet, omitting trans-fats; 5) drink plenty of purified water daily and 6) wash your hands. A common way people contract viral illnesses is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after their hands have been contaminated with a virus. The CDC states, “the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands.”

We are so used to taking medications—for prevention and treatment—that it is difficult to comprehend that these modest recommendations are really the most powerful ways to minimize the likelihood of getting the flu.

Comment: Essentially in the "flu shot" you are getting a host of deadly chemicals along with supposedly a small dose of the actual flu virus. Leaving aside the mercury (extremely poisonous to humans) and formaldehyde (the main ingredient in rat poison), how are any of us to know just what virus the Pentagon has chosen to introduce into our bodies? Ask yourself, would you be happy to rely on the moral integrity of someone like Donald Rumsfeld to safeguard your own life and the lives of your children??

The US and other world governments may well be planning to introduce a "flu" that will decimate the human race. Of course it will be called "a deadly strain of flu", but in reality how would the public know that it was not deliberately introduced? The only argument that we have to fall back on is the popular, "They wouldn't do that". But as we look objectively at current and past world events, are we really in a position to make such an assertion? If the US government were happy to allow Pearl Harbor to happen in order to justify entry to WWII, if they planned to blow up a US passenger plane and blame it on Cuba as justification to invade that country; if they were willing to stage attacks killing over 3,000 of their own citizens on 9/11 to justify a worldwide campaign of further murder, how can anyone have faith in what they "would not do". Surely an assertion such as this is based more in wishful thinking than in objective reality, and as someone wise once said, "Wishful thinking will get you every time".

Experts cast bet on flu vaccine - Imperfect shield beat delivery delay

By SARAH AVERY, Staff Writer
November 29, 2003

Despite evidence that a flu bug had mutated and was defying the current vaccine, health officials around the world took a calculated risk not to change the formula for this year's flu shots.

Part of the reason was that the new strain was difficult to grow in the lab. That could have delayed the vaccine's development and, thus, its availability.

About 10 percent to 20 percent of U.S. residents will get influenza each year. Most will recover in one to two weeks, but some will develop life-threatening complications. An average of about 36,000 people per year in the United States die from influenza, and 114,000 per year are admitted to a hospital. People age 65 and older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions and very young children are more likely to get complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. The flu also can exacerbate chronic health problems such as asthma and congestive heart failure.

Given two options -- a late but better vaccine or a timely but flawed shot -- health officials chose the latter.

"Obviously, the hope was that the current vaccine would provide enough degree of protection," said Dr. Samuel L. Katz, a professor emeritus at Duke University and member of the advisory panel that recommends the nation's flu vaccine.

Whether that hope was valid is not yet known.

Flashback: US Army scientists create "Spanish Flu" virus in laboratory

- medical benefit questionable [...]

Biosafety Irregularity in Spanish Flu Experiments

Highlights the Need to Strengthen Biodefense Transparency

The Sunshine Project
News Release
21 October 2003

(Austin and Hamburg) - Genetic experiments to recreate one of the most devastating viruses of the past century were not reviewed or approved by a biosafety committee. The University of Georgia claims that it was too troublesome to convene its Institutional Biosafety Committee to review research to genetically reconstruct the Spanish flu. Instead, the University signed off on the experiments based on ad hoc talks between only four members of its biosafety committee. As a result, no minutes were taken to describe safety review of the experiments. In fact, by not convening its committee, Georgia's actions ensured that there was no timely opportunity to raise concerns at all.

The case demonstrates a severe weakness in the public disclosure provisions of federal research rules (the NIH Guidelines) and underscores the need for mandatory committee-level (or higher) review of research projects with disease agents. By approving the experiments with an ad hoc subcommittee, requirements for public disclosure were avoided. The existence of the experiments only came to light through journal articles. According to Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project, "Genetic engineering of bioweapons agents has national and international implications for health, biosafety, and security. But Georgia shied away from these and simply rubber-stamped the Pentagon-led project to recreate the Spanish flu."

In 1918-19, the Spanish flu killed 20-40 million people worldwide. In the US, deaths from the flu strain resulted in a 10 year drop in life expectancy. Recreating the deadly flu may create international unease, in particular because of the leadership of the US military in the project.

The Spanish flu reconstruction began at a University of Georgia biosafety level three (BSL-3) facility in 1999. Researchers from US universities, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are involved. The lab specializes in diseases of poultry, including avian influenza. The Sunshine Project has confirmed - and reconfirmed - under the Freedom of Information Act that USDA has no biosafety committee minutes related to the experiments. The Project also directly contacted the University of Georgia and requested Institutional Biosafety Committee meeting minutes that are required by the NIH Guidelines for Recombinant DNA Research. Georgia's Biosafety Officer stated that no minutes exist.

Scientists have recently begun to accept the need to reinforce the Institutional Biosafety Committee system established under the NIH Guidelines for Recombinant DNA Research. But the discussion, including that in a recent report on biosafety by the National Academies of Science, is out of balance because it is taking place almostly exclusively between scientists, government regulators, and the Pentagon. "There is a need to make more room at the table. The public has a right to help determine if, and under what conditions, risky research proceeds." says Hammond, "Biosafety review must be a matter of law, and public access provisions of federal research rules must be strengthened. Otherwise, risky experiments such as this one will take place with little or no transparency, and that will decrease international security and create environmental and health risks."

Flashback: Spanish Flu - Why is the US government interested?

A recent commentary in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (Madjid et al. 2003) noted that influenza is readily transmissible by aerosol and that a small number of viruses can cause a full-blown infection. The authors continued:"the possibility for genetic engineering and aerosol transmission [of influenza] suggests an enormous potential for bioterrorism" The possible hostile abuse of influenza virus is seen as a very real threat by public health officials in the USA. Just two weeks ago, $15 million was granted by the US National Institutes of Health to Stanford University to study how to guard against the flu virus "if it were to be unleashed as an agent of bioterrorism".

US scientists led by a Pentagon pathologist recently began to genetically reconstruct this specifically dangerous 1918 influenza strain. In one experiment a partially reconstructed 1918 virus killed mice, while virus constructs with genes from a contemporary flu virus had hardly any effect.

Attempts to recover the Spanish flu virus date to the 1950s, when scientists unsuccessfully tried to revive the virus from victims buried in the permafrost of Alaska. In the mid 1990s, Dr Jeffrey Taubenberger from the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology started to screen preserved tissue samples from 1918 influenza victims. It appears that this work was not triggered by a search for flu treatments, or the search for a new biowarfare agent, but by a rather simple motivation: Taubenberger and his team were just able to do it. In previous experiments they had developed a new technique to analyse DNA in old, preserved tissues and for now looking for new applications: "The 1918 flu was by far and away the most interesting thing we could think of" explained Taubenberger the reason why he started to unravel the secrets of one of most deadliest viruses known to humankind.

Vaccine not virus responsible for Spanish flu

Ryle Dwyer writes on the horror of the 1918-20 pandemic which the propaganda says was caused by Spanish flu

Irish Examiner, May 1 2003

How did they know it was the virus of Spanish flu that killed millions of civilians and soldiers? This disaster occurred when viruses were unknown to medical science. It took a British science team to identify the first virus in man in 1933.

As regards the origin of the outbreak, he relates that a senior US army officer suggested that the Germans might have been responsible for the bug as part of their war effort, by spreading it in theatres or where large numbers of people assembled.

Did they also spread it among their own people, killing 400,000 as reported? Ryle would have us believe that all those American soldiers who died from non-combatant causes may have died from Spanish flu.

But US Army records show that seven men dropped dead after being vaccinated.

A report from US Secretary of War Henry L Stimson not only verified these deaths but also stated that there had been 63 deaths and 28,585 cases of hepatitis as a direct result of yellow fever vaccination during only six months of the war.

That was only one of the 14 to 25 shots given to recruits.

Army records also reveal that after vaccination became compulsory in the US Army in 1911, not only did typhoid increase rapidly but all other vaccinal diseases increased at an alarming rate.

After America entered the war in 1917, the death rate from typhoid vaccination rose to the highest point in the history of the US Army.

The deaths occurred after the shots were given in sanitary American hospitals and well-supervised army camps in France, where sanitation had been practised for years.

The report of the Surgeon-General of the US Army shows that during 1917 there were admitted into the army hospitals 19,608 men suffering from anti-typhoid inoculation and vaccinia.

This takes no account of those whose vaccine diseases were attributed to other causes.

The army doctors knew all these cases of disease and death were due to vaccination and were honest enough to admit it in their medical reports.

When army doctors tried to suppress the symptoms of typhoid with a stronger vaccine, it caused a worse form of typhoid paratyphoid.

But when they concocted an even stronger vaccine to suppress that one, they created an even worse disease Spanish flu.

After the war, this was one of the vaccines used to protect a panic-stricken world from the soldiers returning from WWI battlefronts infected with dangerous diseases.

Comment: So there is evidence to suggest that it was the addition of the vaccine that caused the virus to mutate, making it deadly. Of course, this provides the perfect cover. There is a real flu virus that many will contract, either before or after taking the vaccine. If contracted before, the symptoms will manifest and people will rush to take the vaccine, thereby causing the mutation and death, with claims that it was "too late". If contracted after taking the vaccine, the same thing will happen with the claim perhaps being that the vaccine simply did not work. The groundwork has already been laid for this with the announcement in the above article, "Experts cast bet on flu vaccine..." that the current vaccine may not work.

In our Supplement on ethnic specific weapons we have made the case for the likelihood that "the powers that be" have for many years been testing and refining genetically specific "weapons" designed to kill as many people as possible, while at the same time sparing one select group, perhaps. Of course it is possible that left to her own devices mother nature could come up with a virus that would "naturally" kill the entire human race, but it seems that she simply would never get the chance. Those that have appointed themselves "directors" of human evolution make a point of always being "on first". It has become clear that there is no one looking out for the human race, there are no benevolent governments or groups that have our best interest at heart. If we are to wake up and see things as they really are, we must admit that there is no scope for the oft-used protestation, "They wouldn't do that!" The facts point to the reality that they WOULD, and indeed it seems they have been for many years, and plan to very soon.

Sept 24, 2001

Q: (L) Are there going to be any other kinds of violence, such as bombs or airplanes being flown into buildings, or release of anthrax, or small pox, or any other kind of chemical or germ warfare activities. Any of those?
A: Yes.
Q: (L) Which ones?
A: Fair chance of germ disbursement.
Q: (L) What kind of germ?
A: Influenza.
Q: (L) Do you mean a deadly form of flu?
A: Yes.
Q: (L) But nothing like anthrax or small pox or any of those really sick ones? Is that it?
A: No. Keep looking and listening.

Flashback: Spanish Flu - genetically specific?

[...] Not only was the Spanish Flu strikingly virulent, but it displayed an unusual preference in its choice of victims -- tending to select young healthy adults over those with weakened immune systems, as in the very young, the very old, and the infirm. The normal age distribution for flu mortality was completely reversed, and had the effect of gouging from society's infrastructure the bulk of those responsible for its day to day maintenance. No wonder people thought the social order was breaking down. It very nearly did.

But at the close of the First World War, when Spanish Flu appeared, the world was a very different place. Since then, outstanding advances in our knowledge of the germ world have been made, adding dramatically to our repertoire of medical wizardry. Surely what happened back then couldn't happen again.

Or could it?

During the 1918-1919 fall period the number of Americans who died from influenza is estimated at 675,000. Of those, almost 200,000 deaths were recorded in the month of October 1918 alone. Worldwide, the mortality figure for the full pandemic is believed to stand somewhere between 30 to 40 million. So, with the world population today having more than tripled in the intervening years, what is to stop a modern flu pandemic from claiming upwards of 100 million lives? The answer, it seems, is nothing at all. [...]

Comment: Once all of the above has been digested, consider an article from the Signs page on November 21st. On that day we reported on a story about how the US Congress had recently proposed an amendment that would enable it to elect its own members in the event of all or most of congress somehow being rendered unable to fulfill their civic duty. There is even a well-established " Continuity of Government Commission" that will take over in the event of that happening. The above articles on the upcoming possible "flu epidemic" certainly give us an answer to the question as to how congress might suddenly be made to disappear.

Stomach virus sickens dozens on Carnival cruise ship

FORT LAUDERDALE (AP) — Dozens of passengers came down with a stomach illness during an eight-day cruise on the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Legend, which returned to port Saturday, the company and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The illness was believed to have been caused by a Norovirus, a family of highly contagious viruses, Carnival said in a statement.

Noroviruses are among the most common causes of stomach ailments, infecting 23 million people every year, health officials say. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, typically lasting one to three days.

Comment: A cruise ship makes a great test environment. It is isolated, controlled...

Inside story of how Washington is losing its bottle

Andrew Neil
The Scotsman
Sun 30 Nov 2003

IN NEW York the mood is buoyant as the American economy continues to purr at a satisfying rate, but 250 miles to the south in Washington DC there is increasing private gloom among those in the know that events in Afghanistan and Iraq are going badly wrong - and growing despair about what to do about it.

President Bush’s bold Thanksgiving trip to Baghdad gave US troops a much-needed fillip and he said all the right things. But behind the scenes the war on terror is going badly wrong in its two main theatres. "In both places it is worse than you think," I was warned before arriving in the US capital for a series of off-the-record briefings. The warning was accurate.

Take Afghanistan first. You don’t read or see much about it these days. The reality is grim. The Taliban is resurgent; al-Qaeda is there too, but not as relevant as it was. Attacks on aid workers are soaring; many are refusing to leave the urban areas. The warlords are back in control of the countryside, where opium production is already above pre-invasion levels. "Afghanistan is a narco-economy once more," said one intelligence analyst.

The Taliban regularly mounts attacks in the rural areas and is expected to hit urban centres with greater force. "If they knew how weak we were," confided one intelligence source, "they would have done it already." Coalition forces are confined to Vietnam-style strategic hamlets from which they emerge for operations only in great force, before returning to their enclaves. Hamid Karzai’s grip on power is tenuous..

Last week the Los Angeles Times reported on its front page that loads of recruits are quitting the fledgling Afghan army because of pitiful pay. The US won’t provide figures, but an Afghan officer said: "We have roughly 6,000 trained soldiers, out of whom no less than 2,000 have left." The US says it plans to have 70,000 soldiers in the force; nobody has any idea from whence they will come.

Yet despite the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, a huge amount of US military assets have been shifted to Iraq. The Germans now make up the biggest part of the coalition forces along with various other European contingents. Washington fears they will not stay for long when casualties start to mount. "The prognosis for Afghanistan is miserable," was how one US intelligence source concluded his briefing.

It is not much better for Iraq. There are now an average of 130 attacks a day on coalition (mainly American) forces; almost 100 coalition troops have been killed in November, the grimmest month so far. "We only have a third of the forces we need to fight the insurgents," one former US diplomat told me. The intelligence is threadbare too: US commanders have no real idea who they are up against, except that they are well-organised remnants of Saddam’s Ba’athist regime, supplemented with some al-Qaeda-type Islamo-fascists. "We still don’t really know who is behind the attacks," I was told. "So we just go around kicking doors in - which is exactly what the enemy wants us to do."

The US forces might lack purpose or direction but there are plenty of both to the insurgents’ attacks. The UN was specifically targeted; it is now effectively gone from Iraq. Next were the various non-government organisations trying to assist in building a better Iraq; they, including the Red Cross, have also headed for the exit. Then it was the turn of what few allies America has in Iraq, specifically the Italians. Those most at risk now are Iraqis co-operating with the US. Last week a US commander reported a slackening of attacks on his own troops because the insurgents were concentrating on assassinating those they see as quislings.

Now it is the Americans themselves who seem to be in a rush for the exit. On September 22 Condoleezza Rice, the president’s national security adviser, attacked France for suggesting a speedier transfer of power to Iraqis. Yet since President Bush summoned Paul Bremer, his Iraqi governor general, to the White House, that is exactly what is happening.

Bush wants a substantial withdrawal of US forces before next November’s elections. Former Pentagon favourite, Ahmad Chalabi, is dismayed: "The whole thing [the speedier transfer of power] was set up so President Bush could come to the airport in October [2004] for a ceremony to congratulate the new Iraqi government." [...]

'Two great weeks' says general. For who?

By Phil Reeves in Baghdad
The Independent
30 November 2003

America's top military commander in Iraq conceded yesterday that the search for Saddam Hussein is proving "difficult" and appealed for help from the Iraqi population in finding the fugitive dictator.

But Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez also insisted that the last fortnight, in which US forces have been conducting a military offensive against Iraqi guerrillas has been a "great two weeks" for the US-led coalition forces and for Iraq.

The general's upbeat views will surprise critics of the occupation, not least because he delivered them at the end of the deadliest month for the 130,000 American troops in Iraq since the US-led invasion in March. [...]

Comment: Perhaps the below stories give a clearer explanation of what General Sanchez means by "a great two weeks"

US troops kill 2 Iraqi sisters aged 12 and 15

Saturday 29 November 2003

The murder occurred in Baquba, about 60km northeast of Baghdad

Bodies of two young Iraqi sisters have been discovered by US troops near Baquba, some 60km (35 miles) north of Baghdad, according to the occupation force.

A US military source said on Friday that they informed Iraqi police and handed over the bodies. The source said both deaths appear to be civil murder cases.

However, the brother of the girls had earlier said that US troops at Ibn Firnas airport, 7km (4 miles) from Baquba, shot Fatima and Azra, 15 and 12, on Thursday at midday as they were collecting wood from a field some 30m away.

"Azra died on the spot and my other sister later died from her wounds," said 18-year-old Qusay.

Policeman Hussein Ali said US forces handed one of the girls' bodies over to the police "arguing that she had a gun in her possession."

Police searched the girls' home, "without finding anything illegal," Ali added.

Comment: Not content with having shot two chidren, the US military press decides to blame it on the Iraqis.

U.S. troops open fire on Iraqi police officers, 8 dead

Fri, 12 Sep 2003

FALLULJAH, IRAQ - U.S. soldiers mistakenly opened fire on Iraqi police officers who ran though an American checkpoint, killing eight Iraqis and a Jordanian security guard, and wounding nine people.

It was the deadliest friendly fire incident since the end of major combat in Iraq.

Twenty-five police in two pickup trucks and a sedan from Fallujah, a city about 60 km west of Baghdad, were chasing four men in a BMW when they drove through the checkpoint.

The police had identified the car as one used by highway bandits on the road running from Baghdad to the Jordanian border.

"We were chasing a white BMW with bandits. We turned around in front of Jordanian Hospital and some American forces started shooting at us," said Asem Mohammed, 23, a police sergeant who was among the injured.

He said they were fired upon by an American Humvee.

The U.S. military had no information on the incident.

In continuing violence, two U.S. soldiers were killed and seven wounded early Friday in a shootout that broke out during a raid in Ramadi, the military reported.

Facing the Horrific Every Day

Army Hospital in Baghdad Is First Refuge for U.S. Casualties

By Theola Labbé
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 29, 2003; Page A01

BAGHDAD -- The patient was talking. He had arrived one recent Saturday night at the 28th Combat Support Hospital, bare-chested and bleeding from wounds in both legs. In the emergency room, when his voice rose above the din of the machines and medical staff, it was a good sign.

"Oh, I'm doing dandy," the soldier said as he lay prone on a green Army litter, his tone dripping with sarcasm but not bitterness. Two medics wheeled him into Trauma Room No. 2, where everyone seemed to exhale with relief at the soldier's sense of humor. The ER staff, dressed in beige boots, camouflage pants and scrub tops, worked crisply but without the urgency that accompanies a patient near death. [...]

Soon VanBuren was naked except for a thin blue gown draped across his private parts. The medical staff pored over the rest of his body. Hot shrapnel from a roadside bomb had gouged the underside of his left thigh, leaving a hole the size of a grapefruit that oozed blood and flesh. On his lower right leg, another shrapnel wound was bleeding. His right shoulder was injured, but it was not clear how seriously.

"Just sit back and relax," Boardman told VanBuren. "We're going to do all the work."

Since the largest U.S. Army hospital in Iraq opened its doors on April 10, nearly all U.S. casualties have passed through its first-floor emergency room. Some come already dead. Some arrive with one arm instead of two, a shattered leg or a face wiped away by an explosion.

Assaults on U.S. troops have numbered as many as 45 a day in recent weeks. For the staff at the 28th Combat Support Hospital, located within the U.S.-led occupation authority's headquarters at one of former president Saddam Hussein's palaces, that translates into a dozen patients some days. Twenty-four hours in the hospital's emergency room with soldiers stripped of their uniforms and gritty exteriors revealed the physical and emotional toll.

About 70 percent of the hospital's patients are wounded soldiers; the rest are Iraqi civilians and prisoners, along with a small number of U.S. civilian contractors, said Maj. Mark White, director of patient administration.

The number of soldiers treated for serious combat injuries is not publicly disclosed. Instead, the hospital releases statistics on patient admissions -- a total of 1,659 U.S. soldiers through Oct. 30. The combined number of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi patients admitted per month has increased since September, and this month was expected to reach about 400, White said.

Soldiers stay here for up to two days; those with serious wounds requiring further treatment are sent on to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and, if necessary, to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

"They come in here saying, 'Did he make it? Did my driver make it?' " said Lt. KomKwuan Pholtavee, 24, an ER nurse from Bellmore, N.Y. In their haze of pain and fear, she said, "I've had soldiers think that I'm their wife."

The worst that Maj. Michael Hilliard, 33, an emergency physician, saw back home in San Antonio were car crash and gunshot victims. Here, he estimates that he has treated the broken bodies of more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers.

"The injuries are horrific," he said. "They are beyond anything that you see in a textbook, and they are the worst that I have ever seen." [...]

U.S. Says Iraqi Police May Have Coordinated Attacks on G.I.s

Iraqi police net huge weapons cache

KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) Nov 29, 2003

Iraqi police nabbed a huge arms cache Saturday evening on the Kirkuk to Mosul road in northern Iraq that insurgents could have been planning to use in anti-US attacks, said the regional police commander.

Police found 55 boxes, each containing 16 120 mm mortar shells, three launching pads, Kalashnikov shotguns, 50 kilos of TNT explosives, detonators, wire cable and time switches, said Abdel Karim al-Jabburi.

The boxes were found on a disused former Iraqi military base, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Kirkuk not far from a near-by US base. [...]

Seven Spanish intelligence officers killed in Iraq attacks

AFP
Sunday November 30, 4:09 PM

Seven Spanish intelligence agents were killed in a mortar and grenade attack on their convoy near Baghdad, the deadliest such incident to hit Spanish troops since they deployed in Iraq in August, Spain's defence minister said.

The attack came on the same day the top US commander in Iraq hailed "a great two weeks for the coalition" which had seen insurgent attacks dip by more than 30 percent.

US President George W. Bush telephoned Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, a key ally in the Iraq war, to express his condolences at the deaths of the intelligence officers, the White House said. [...]

Two Japanese diplomats killed as they stopped en route to Iraq aid meeting

AFP
Sunday November 30, 4:32 PM

Two Japanese diplomats killed in Iraq in a new blow to the US-led coalition were shot dead as they stopped at a food stall en route to Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's birthplace, where an aid conference was taking place, a US military spokesman said. [...]

"A Lebanese national was wounded in the same incident."

"The three persons had stopped for food and drink when attackers fired small-calibre weapons at them."

"The three were taken to a Tikrit hospital. The condition of the wounded individual is unknown," said MacDonald, speaking shortly before the opening of the aid conference at the fortified 4th Infantry Division's headquarters compound in Tikrit, 180 kilometers (110 miles) north of Baghdad.

Japan said the two were heading to an aid meeting in Tikrit, but US military officials would not say whether the two had planned to attend the gathering at the 4th ID base. [...]

Two more US soldiers killed in Iraq

Ananova.com
09:54 Sunday 30th November 2003

Two United States soldiers were killed when guerrillas ambushed their convoy in western Iraq near the border with Syria.

A statement said a task force from the 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment was hit on Saturday by rocket-propelled grenades and automatic fire east of the border town of Husaybah, 180 miles north west of Baghdad. [...]

Bush's morale-boosting Baghdad visit doesn't make up for urge to go home, say troops

Troop Families Go to Iraq on Peace Mission

AP
Sat Nov 29, 6:51 PM ET

SAN DIEGO - Relatives of U.S. service members said they were nervous but hopeful Saturday as they embarked on a private peace mission to Iraq, where they will bring their message of friendship and doubts about the war.

The leader of the 10-member group, Fernando Suarez del Solar, said it is important for Iraqis to realize that not all Americans support the U.S. military presence in Iraq. His son, Marine Lance Cpl. Jesus Suarez del Solar, 20, was killed in Iraq eight months ago when he stepped on an unexploded American cluster bomb.

"The regular Americans like peace," Suarez del Solar, 48, said in a telephone interview a few hours before the group's scheduled departure. "The enemy is not the people from America.

"The young boys in Iraq only see the American flag on the uniforms. They see that as the destroyer of their life and family. It's very important to try to reach them." [...]

Comment: Instead of trying to reach the Iraqi people, why not try to reach the out-of-control US government?

CIA admits lack of specifics on Iraqi weapons before invasion

AFP
Sunday November 30, 4:41 PM

The US Central Intelligence Agency has acknowledged it "lacked specific information" about alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction when it compiled an intelligence estimate last year that served to justify the US-led invasion of Iraq.

But it said that and other uncertainties surrounding the case had been fully presented to President George W. Bush and other US policymakers in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, a document often referred to by members of the Bush administration as a basis of their claim that Iraq had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. [...]

"Any reader would have had to read only as far as the second paragraph of the Key Judgments to know that as we said: 'We lacked specific information on many key aspects of Iraq's WMD program,'" Cohen wrote in an article posted on the agency's Web site.

The document still concluded that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150-kilometer (93-mile) limit imposed by the UN Security Council. It also said that Baghdad did not have nuclear weapons. [...]

British Guantanamo detainees heading home: report

AFP
Sunday November 30, 11:42 AM

London and Washington are set to strike a deal for the return to Britain of nine British "terror" suspects held by the United States at a naval base in Cuba, a lawyer for the detainees was quoted as saying in a newspaper published here.

Human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith added in a separate newspaper interview that one of the detainees had been forced to admit taking part in an al-Qaeda plot to attack Britain's parliament with anthrax in a bid to kill Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Stafford Smith said the deal to have the detainees returned to Britain will be tied up by Christmas, ending a bitter two-year transatlantic row over the issue. [...]

Guantanamo Bay Officer Charged

AP Online via COMTEX
Nov 29, 2003

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- An Army intelligence officer was charged Saturday with violating security at the U.S. detention camp for terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He is the fourth worker at the base accused of such violations. Two Arabic translators and a Muslim chaplain face charges ranging from espionage to adultery.

U.S. Army Col. Jack Farr was charged Saturday with failing to obey a lawful general order and making a false official statement, all violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, said a statement from the U.S. Southern Command in Miami.

"Specifically, he's charged with wrongfully transporting classified material without the proper security container on or around Oct. 11, and making a false statement in the course of the investigation into his handling of classified material," it said. [...]

No proof of Al Qaeda in Iraq: US general

The top US commander in Iraq says the military is yet to formally link Al Qaeda to the anti-coalition insurgency in the country.

Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez made the admission after three separate attacks in Iraq in the last 24 hours which left eleven foreign personnel dead.

General Sanchez says while it is believed Al Qaeda is at least partly responsible for training and funding, and even possibly carrying out the attacks, there is no specific evidence.

"We still have not conclusively established an Al Qaeda operative in the country," he said.

A Warm And Costly Meal

Ghassan Charbel Al-Hayat 2003/11/29

"I was just looking for a warm meal somewhere. Thank you for inviting me." The speaker is George W. Bush who found no better place to celebrate thanksgiving than Baghdad airport. We almost forgot that this airport used to be Saddam International Airport.

[...] George Bush would have certainly preferred not to sneak into Baghdad. To find thousands of applauding Iraqis welcoming him, not to mention the roses. The sneaking scenario should push the members of the American administration to wonder: why should the American president sneak into Baghdad, despite the American army toppling the mass graves regime? Why does the hatred of the U.S. escalate in the Arab and Muslim worlds? Why is it even surer everyday that the leaders' stance from the U.S. is far better than their peoples'?

Bush administration moving too fast on Iraq power transfer - Hillary

Mubarak Air Base, Kuwait City |Reuters | 30-11-2003

US Senator Hillary Clinton said yesterday President George W. Bush's administration was moving too fast in a planned transfer of power to the Iraqis by July.

"It's going to take more time than has been allotted for the process to take hold," the New York Democrat said during a brief stopover to visit US troops in Kuwait.

"I don't think we should be setting artificial timelines as this is a very challenging undertaking and we need to work with our Iraqi counterparts and make sure that the steps that are being taken are going to work."

An ambassador, but no diplomat

It is tempting to hail the appointment of Rend Rahim Franke as Iraq’s ambassador to the United States as a victory for women. Only two months ago, Franke herself lamented the “meager” participation of women in the rehabilitation of post-Saddam Iraq. “The Governing Council has only three women out of 25,” she said. “There is only one woman minister in the newly appointed Cabinet. And there are no women in the preparatory committee for the constitution. In a country where women probably form 60 percent of the population, and where women have been earning university degrees and joining the workforce since the 1940s, this is a huge setback.”

Tempting, yes, but terribly partial, for Franke’s appointment should please many, not only supporters of women’s rights. This includes those who are dismayed by US management of post-war Iraq and feel, in her words, that “the US has lurched from one blunder to the next”; those who want an Iraq which is not built on ethnic, sectarian or tribal identity; those who want political organizations that reject “exclusivity and intrigue” in favor of accountability and inclusiveness; and those who believe that talk of freedom is empty without concern for human dignity.

Bush's Operation Clean Sweep: World War IV in 2004

By John Stanton
ICH
11/29/03

Even though Bush II will lose the popular vote in the US presidential election of 2004, his electoral college victory seems assured. With Republican party governors firmly in charge of Florida, California, Texas and New York, and supported by a whopping Bush campaign war chest approaching $200 million, dubious electronic voting schemes courtesy of Diebold, Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors ( http://www.blackboxvoting.com), it seems certain that Bush will make it back to the Oval Office through the back door that is the Electoral College.

And if not the Electoral College then by benefit of a rebel attack on US soil which kills thousands of Americans and leads to the suspension of the US Constitution. That according to General Tommy Franks, USA (Ret.), who opined in the magazine Cigar Aficionado that the US will have to shed its constitution in favor of a military style of government. Even the notorious aristocrat Alexander Hamilton would have been appalled as such a statement, as would Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. But these are mediocre times in history; particularly, and dangerously, in America where its people have eliminated those who might have continued to wage a struggle for an equitable form of government in the US, as well as engage the world through international treaty building.

Mediocre times produce the very worst that the world has to offer: Reagan, Bin Laden, Bush, Hussein, Sharon, and Blair. None but the feeble minded could draw inspiration from such a ghastly lineup of "leaders". This is the world as it has become absent the shortened lives of John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X and Yitzhak Rabin, all of whom were murdered for their beliefs, or, rather, for the threat they posed to the established interests. Even Nikita Khrushchev was removed from power in the then USSR in 1964 for trying to push his country towards a more peaceful coexistence with the rest of the world.

The threats these titans of history posed to the established order of their day was not so much monetary as it was ideology. Each of them planted in the minds of those who would listen the thought that the established order of war, racism, poverty, and income and wealth disparity could and should be questioned. However, those who pull the strings could not stand an ignorant populace that questioned the order of things. And so their fate was, it seems, preordained by disgruntled individuals agitated by those portions of business and government who were wedded to the status quo. And so, JFK and Khrushchev, King and RFK, and Malcolm X and Rubin were terminated and Americans, and the world, found themselves at the mercy of Bush and Bin Laden, Hussein and Blair, and Reagan and Sharon.

Crippled Opposition

With the election of Bush II in 2004, the ideological and economic fracturing of America will be complete and, for the foreseeable future, permanent. The three branches of the US government, corporations, and the majority of state's governors and state houses will be controlled by those Republicans and Democrats who have become indistinguishable in their belief that the government's only role in America is to make it safe and ludicrously easy for small and large corporations to make a profit without the drag of government regulations, programs and taxes that, in their view, steal from the bottom line.

With those folks at the helm, 2002 and 2003 saw the US federal and state governments give the business community trillions of dollars of hand-outs in the form of tax cuts, regulatory relief and legislation that allowed businesses to rape and pillage the American landscape and its middle and lower classes. The latter group’s struggle is getting worse. Even as its industrial, service and information technology jobs are exported to other countries, these Americans are being forced to work longer hours, endure more expensive privatized health and welfare benefits, and higher prices for feeding, clothing and educating their children. Slowly but surely, Americans from the middle and lower classes find themselves at an increasing distance from their rulers, yet must bear the burden of profit and war for these same dastardly people.

But those that rule have in their malleable plebian audience a strange group of middle and lower class acolytes. Among them, the notorious Christian right and an estimated 5 to 9 million American-Muslims who handed Bush II over 90 percent of their vote in the last presidential election. That group, along with neo-con Latinos and Asians, seem to have forgotten the struggles they waged to reach, what once was, a republic with a semblance of representative democracy. Are they trying to recreate the religious-military dictatorships of their own home countries? Bush II certainly has obliged them in that effort.

The invincible political-corporate-state apparatus (PCS) that George Bush II and his supporters have created will be opposed by a loose affiliation of hundred’s of local and urban communities-- supported by a handful of wealthy donors, actors and retired military personnel--who have refused to accept the destruction of the federal and state governments, the Iraq War and the draconian Patriot Act I and II, or, for that matter, the legitimacy of the Bush II presidency. But the deck is stacked against them.

Catholics and Muslims of the World: Unite!

Thanks to the Patriot Act, elements of the Bush PCS can now enter the homes of protestors that question opposition to the established order on the street, the Internet, in high schools, on television, in the newspapers, and even in common conversation. The Pentagon has its own domestic intelligence service that has begun working with the FBI who, in turn, is ramping up its efforts to build databases of Americans who oppose the Bush PCS machine.

Even local police, like the Miami Police Department, have become tools of the hideous juggernaut that has been created by the powerful and paranoid of the land. The Miami Police Department received $8.5 million from the $87.5 billion Pentagon appropriation for the Iraq War. The $8.5 million from that Pentagon appropriation was used for the defense of Miami against anti-globalization protestors in the same way it is used by the US military to quell disturbances in Iraq. The Miami protestors were made up of a broad spectrum of America society representing unions, teachers and the young and old alike.

That event should be burned into the minds of Americans and the world as the Bush PCS has made it clear that it makes no distinction between the Iraqis demonstrating for a free press, or a US steelworkers demonstrating against a “Free” Trade Agreement. Antiwar, anti-globalization, pro-labor, pro-women’s rights, pro-environment, pro-national healthcare movements should be cautious post-2004 as they take to the streets to protest. America has become a police state. [...]

Global Eye -- Naked Gun

By Chris Floyd
Friday, Nov. 28, 2003. Page XII

Don't kid yourself -- and don't let them kid you. When they come at you with that pious sugar, telling you how they're going to protect you, secure you, keep you free, you better run and check the back door – because that's where their goons will be breaking in.

Last week, the U.S. Congress approved an expansion of FBI powers that will allow Attorney General John Ashcroft's federal police to arbitrarily seize records from a range of private businesses without bothering a judge or grand jury with any silly-billy nonsense about evidence or even suspicion of criminal intent. All Ashcroft's boys have to do is say, "Boo! Terrorism!" and they can take whatever they want.

This expansion of Patriot (sic) Act powers was smuggled into the funding bill for the Bush Regime's security organs. Although the FBI is technically under the supervision of the Judiciary committees, Bushist bagmen in Congress routed the measure through the secret sessions of the intelligence committees to avoid any public debate, Wired Magazine reports.

As usual, the power grab was accompanied by earnest pledges that it would only be used in the most extreme cases of genuine terrorist danger. This was also the line given out when the Patriot (sic) Act was first passed in 2001. Ashcroft -- who is so holy that he had his daddy pour cooking oil over his head after his 1994 election to the Senate to signify that he, like King David, had been anointed with the Lord's "dominion over men" -- solemnly swore that the draconian measures would never be applied to anything but dire threats to the national security.

This was, of course, the usual load of mule manure we've come to expect from the incontinently mendacious Regime. Witness the scene in Las Vegas this month, where Ashcroft's agents invoked the Patriot (sic) Act's anti-terrorism powers to run roughshod over due process in a local probe of a lap-dancing joint. The club owner was suspected of offering bribes to Vegas officials to win approval of a law allowing a more hands-on approach between dancers and customers, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. While the case had nothing to do with terrorism, obviously the very thought of naked flesh being fondled constituted a dire threat to the national security in Ashcroft's oily mind. And obviously, nothing will prevent Ashcroft and his minions from using the Act to pursue any other personal bee that's buzzing in their fully armed federal bonnets.

While Ashcroft's sexual anxieties are mildly amusing (last year he installed an $8,000 curtain to hide the wantonly bare breast of a statue at his Washington headquarters), there's a far more sinister side to this corrosion of America's few remaining liberties. For the very day after the Congressional rubberstamps gave their Viagra-like boost to the FBI's reach, another legislative committee released its report on "one of the greatest failures in the history of federal law enforcement" -- the FBI's eager participation in Mob murders, carried out with the full knowledge and approval of the highest levels of government, The New York Times reports

It began in the heyday of J. Edgar Hoover, the cross-dressing martinet who reigned supreme in Washington for decades, blackmailing presidents, wiretapping dissidents (his sex tapes of Martin Luther King Jr. were said to be a particular favorite) and generally playing merry hell with American liberties all across the board. In the 1960s, the FBI formed a partnership with a Boston gangland outfit, using its hitmen as informants to finger other gangs. It was a sweet deal for both parties: the Bureau got high-profile collars for its PR mill, and the gangsters got to knock off their enemies with the blessing -- and cover -- of the biggest "roof" around: the U.S. government.

Not only did the FBI cover for its pet killers; agents actually allowed four men to be convicted (two of them sentenced to execution) for a murder that Hoover knew had been committed by one of his "informants." Two of the innocent men died in prison; the others were freed after serving 30 years of hard time. In all, the FBI's informants murdered more than 20 people in Boston -- "often with the help of FBI agents," noted the Congressional report. And lest you think this blood work was just something from the "bad old days," consider this: the FBI-Mob death squad was still operative at least as late as 1995, when a helpful fed tipped off Boston's top mobster, Whitey Bulger, before he could be arrested by some nonmobbed cops. Whitey is still at large -- and presumably still enjoying the shelter of his trusty "roof."

And by the way, not a single FBI agent has ever been arrested -- or even disciplined -- for their part in this murderous enterprise.

So don't kid yourself that these new powers won't be abused. They will. Power -- the armed power of the state, the power over life, death and the liberty of the individual -- will always go just as far as you let it. It will trample every ethical and moral boundary, pour itself into every nook and cranny of life, public and private, seeking dominance at every level -- unless you maintain a rigorous system of checks and balances to balk the flow of power, frustrate it, channel it, disperse it, subject it to reason, humanize it.

But in the militarized, one-party state of Bushist America, where law is scorned and reason has fled, those restraints are being swept aside. The back door is wide open.

Cowboy Junies Tour Diary

Minneapolis, St. Paul
October 6, 2003

It’s amazing how far you can travel in a bus overnight. We left Detroit at 1am and headed west, 700 miles and 12 hours later we pulled in to Minneapolis. Two hours ahead of soundcheck. Just enough time to enjoy a little bit of a seventy-five degree day, the start of Indian Summer in Minnesota.

Did you know that under the new Homeland Security laws, the police can stop and board any bus or motor home on the highway, without cause (which, for those of us who live on these vehicles, is like entering one’s home without cause)? Have you been watching the inanity in California? Did you know that in Minnesota you can legally carry a concealed weapon, so restaurants, theaters etc have to place signs in their windows proclaiming the space a no-gun-zone? Do you wonder, do you worry…..I do.

Sunday Times reports fears of Christmas terror bombing campaign in Britain

06:02 AM EST Nov 30

LONDON (AP) - Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reported security services fear a Christmas bombing campaign by al-Qaida terrorists but police said they have no intelligence that would prompt them to issue specific warnings.

Early editions of the paper said police and MI5 security service are worried about simultaneous attacks on soft targets like shopping centres. It reported unidentified security sources said suspects under surveillance have carried out possible reconnaissance or "dummy runs" for attacks on commercial centres.

Trust me, I'm a psychopath

30/11/2003

Anthony Hardy, released early from custody, went on to commit two horrific murders. How do such men dupe officials into believng that they are reformed? Alasdair Palmer reveals flaws in the treatment of serial killers

Anthony Hardy was jailed last week for the murder of three women. He had dismembered the corpses of his last two victims and hidden their body parts near his home in Camden, north London. The police had been alerted by neighbours who had complained about the disgusting smell.

Hardy is the latest in a long list of men who have either been convicted and imprisoned, or detained under the Mental Health Act, and then been released early - only to start committing the same horrendous, or even worse, crimes.

Two examples of such men include Paul Brumfitt, who received three life sentences after admitting killing two women in 1980. Having convinced psychologists and the prison authorities that he was no longer a threat to the community, Brumfitt was released in 1995 after serving 15 years in prison. He went on to murder 19-year-old Marcella Davis, butcher her body and burn it.

In 1995, Roy Whiting was released two years early after being convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl. After his release, he kidnapped, assaulted and murdered eight-year-old Sarah Payne.

The Home Office does not keep statistics on the number of psychopaths who reoffend after convincing the authorities that they are "safe" - but clearly many do. And few doubt that there are flaws in the system. It may, however, be even worse than that.

Dr Robert Hare, a Canadian professor of psychology who has studied psychopaths for 35 years, believes that participating in such courses actually increases the chances that a psychopath will reoffend when he gets out.

Within two years of their release, psychopaths who go on such courses reoffend at almost twice the rate as those who do not. More than 80 per cent of the psychopaths who complete therapeutic courses reoffend soon after release. However, fewer than half of those who do not undergo such courses go on to reoffend.

Yet the offenders who had been on the therapy courses had convinced prison and psychiatric staff that they had "genuinely addressed their own offending behaviour", and were "responding positively to therapy". Indeed, those offenders who were most successful at convincing their therapists that they had gained insight into their own behaviour and changed for the better actually went on to reoffend at the highest rates.

How could psychological assessment and therapy actually make psychopaths more likely to commit crimes? "It is probably that they pick up techniques for gaining people's trust in the sessions," says Dr Hare. "What they learn is not that they have done wrong. What they learn is how to be more effective at committing the wrongs they so enjoy committing.

They pick up a new vocabulary - they start saying things such as 'I never learned to get in touch with my feelings', or 'My parents never loved me' - and they find new ways of convincing others that they are decent people. And if someone trusts you, it is a lot easier to harm them. As one particularly cunning and brutal psychopath who had been through prison 'therapy' explained to me, 'These programmes are like a finishing school. They teach you how to put the squeeze on people.' "

Which is why, once psychopaths have managed to persuade prison or medical authorities to release them early, they often extend and even intensify their vicious attacks. Paul Beart, who was convicted in 1997 of a horrendous sex attack, is typical.

He went on a course of assessment and therapy, and convinced those assessing him that he had "addressed his offending behaviour"' and so was safe to release. Within five months of being freed, Beart committed an even worse crime than the one for which he was originally convicted: he kidnapped Deborah O'Sullivan as she walked home from work, and then sadistically tortured her to death.

After that offence, the judge who sentenced him stated that Beart was "an untreatable sexual sadist". Mrs Justice Hallett added that she was "astonished that you could have fooled the people who treated you into believing that you were a model prisoner". But the truth is that psychiatrists and psychologists are very often fooled.

"The psychiatric profession and its associates are very reluctant to admit they are wrong or that they have made a mistake, let alone to accept that they have been conned by a psychopath," says Dr Hare. "Therapists tend to insist that their diagnosis was right at the time and on the evidence they had - even when that is manifestly disproved by subsequent events."

Dr Anthony Farringdon, the psychiatrist who assessed Roy Whiting after he pleaded guilty to kidnapping and assaulting a nine-year-old child, is a perfect example of that tendency. On the basis of an interview with Whiting, Dr Farringdon stated in his report that Whiting did not have paedophile tendencies. Despite thinking that "Whiting has a relatively high risk of re-offending", Dr Farringdon insisted that he did not have "any recommendation for the court".

Clearly influenced by that report, Judge John Gower - who could have given Whiting 10 years - sentenced him to a mere four. Whiting was released after two. Within a few weeks of his release, he had murdered Sarah Payne. Nevertheless, Dr Farringdon, interviewed soon after Whiting was convicted of the murder, continued to insist that he stood by his report: "I do not feel guilty about what I wrote. It was the best I could do with the time and information I had."

Dr Hare is convinced that psychiatric assessments would be a great deal more accurate, and less liable to have catastrophic results, if the psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and others who decide on whether an individual should be released were first able to identify whether or not they were dealing with a psychopath.

"It cannot be too strongly emphasised," he says, "that psychopaths are a special category. They go against everything we want to believe about people, because they are totally without normal feelings for others. We tend to think it must be possible to reach everyone who has committed a crime and make them see that what they have done is wrong.

"But with psychopaths, it isn't. They're not 'mad' in any conventional sense. Indeed, they can often be highly rational and logical, in a brutally means-end way."

Comment: The above profile fits perfectly many members of the US, UK and other governments. Psychopaths exist, that is beyond doubt; they are also very difficult to identify. If they were able to effectively cover up their crimes they may never be seen for what they are. Those with the kind of power wielded by governments are clearly in a position to cover up anything. Consider then the possibility that there are many of them presently in the White House, and in 10 Downing street London; and in such a scenario, how does the future look to you? For more information on psychopaths, see our Special Report on Psychopathy.

Flashback: 'Psychopath' Blair under attack

The Times, London
Philip Webster
July 18 2003

BRITISH Prime Minister Tony Blair last night faced a ferocious attack on his leadership and calls for Gordon Brown to take over.

The assault in the journal New Statesman - owned by Geoffrey Robinson, a supporter of Mr Brown - claimed that Mr Blair was technically a psychopath.

During a torrid few weeks Mr Blair has been accused of most things by his backbenchers. Madness has not been among them and the charge was not taken too seriously.

Westminster's conspiracy theorists were given plentiful ammunition, however, by a series of articles in the New Statesman that highlighted the qualities of Mr Brown and suggested that Mr Blair might have outlived his usefulness.

The magazine denied any co-ordination and friends of Mr Robinson made plain that he had no role in determining the editorial line.

A leading article said that now that Mr Blair had lost so much public trust over the Iraq war "Mr Brown is probably the better bet for elections.

"Paradoxically, Mr Blair looks a rather dangerous, unpredictable figure given to foreign adventures and silly schemes for turning public services upside down . . . the reality is that a Brown government would have a sense of purpose that Blair governments lack."

This was followed by an item by a writer who said he had spent several weeks talking to psychologists about what drove Mr Blair.

He wrote: "One view emerged strongly: there appears to be something worryingly adrift in the mind of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, a man who doesn't really know who or what he is. More technically,he is diagnosed as a psychopath capable of reinventing himself with remarkable dexterity."

Israel's plans to increase population are threatened as thousands flee violence

By Inigo Gilmore in Jerusalem
The Telegraph
30/11/2003

Alarm over emigration levels is growing among Israel's political leadership as the country's Jews - many of them recent immigrants - seek to escape the violence of the second intifada and recession.

The government wants to bring another million Jews to Israel by 2010. Yet figures released by the absorption ministry, responsible for helping new immigrants, have revealed that an estimated 760,000 Israelis are living abroad, up from 550,000 in 2000.

Only 23,000 people are expected to move to the Holy Land this year, the lowest figure since 1989. Tzipi Livni, the absorption minister, has described immigration as being in a "tailspin".

Christine Shalev, 36, who has a three-year-old daughter, took the decision to join the exodus when her best friend left for Canada two months ago.

"Israel is falling apart and enough is enough," said Ms Shalev, who works for a delivery service in Tel Aviv. "I feel trapped here but I hope in Canada I can find my freedom." [...]

Some Israeli politicians are keen to boost the Jewish population to underpin their claim for more land. Yet interior ministry figures show that a quarter of the Americans who have come to Israel since 1989 have left. [...]

"I feel betrayed," said Hila, 37, whose husband, Dror, is also 37. "I don't want to raise my children in such a brutal society... My grandparents had such high ideals. What has become of Israel makes me so sad and bitter."

Speakout: Israel building its own Berlin Wall

By Ida Audeh
Rocky Mountain News

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Daniel Ayalon, misrepresented the nature and purpose of Israel's wall in the West Bank.

The structure in question (misleadingly called a fence or barrier) is in fact an ingeniously designed system of population control that includes 4-meter deep trenches on either side of a concrete wall or coiled wire through which an electric current runs, trace paths to register footprints, a two-lane military patrol road, and watchtowers at regular intervals. In other words, a maximum security prison in which an entire population is trapped. [...]

In August I visited communities affected by the wall.

Everywhere I heard stories of ruin: financial ruin, as private property was confiscated and olive groves were destroyed to build the wall and its access roads; environmental pollution, including sewage contamination of water supplies; and separation from schools and social and medical services provided by adjacent towns.

People were outraged and grieved by the destruction of their trees, a particularly savage act of wanton destruction. An elderly man described it like this: "If your son dies you know how to bury him. But I feel like my land is dead and I don't know how to lay it to rest." Having nurtured their trees for generations, they were stunned by their loss.

When one considers the implications of the wall in the context of the network of bypass roads (for Israeli settlers only), access roads (restricting entry to Palestinian towns to one or two gated roads that are locked overnight), and more than 480 checkpoints, it becomes clear that the West Bank has been divided into impoverished cantons subdivided into ghettos. Israel's system of control barely allows Palestinians to subsist. Already more than 70 percent of the population lives at or below the poverty level. Not only is Israel taking measures to prevent the emergence of a viable Palestinian state, but the Israeli policy of enforced hunger and caging Palestinians in ever shrinking spaces will make emigration the only viable option to an unsustainable existence.

Future generations will wonder why so many people remained silent for so long while Israel adopted a policy that slowly destroyed a nation. This month marked the 14th anniversary of the fall of the hated Berlin Wall. Why does the world watch in silence as Israel builds a much crueler wall in the West Bank?

Washington's Dubious Pressure

Walid Choucair Al-Hayat 2003/11/28

One can understand what the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassine, meant when he voiced his fear of a renewed wave of violence in the Palestinian territories. Every time there is talk of an Israeli-Palestinian truce and every time the U.S. asks Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to take measures to reduce the violence, the latter starts thinking of ways to escalate the military operations in a bid to take back the political track to the cycle of violence.

Israel’s New War Machine Opens The Abyss

James Brooks Dar Al-Hayat 2003/11/27

"We didn't know" will be no excuse

Israel's occupation of the Palestinian Territories passed through a profound transformation during the last several months. Through a series of policy changes and military orders, the West Bank "security fence" has gradually revealed itself to be the backbone of a comprehensive new system of land theft, imprisonment, collective punishment… and worse. The question is not whether it is a "political fence" or a "security fence," but whether it is an engine of ethnic cleansing.

In the past ninety days Israel has established a clear pattern of using its "security fence" to deny Palestinian farmers access to their own lands. Much of the olive harvest in the northern West Bank hangs dead on the trees because farmers have been 'caged' for weeks at a time. Entire villages have been issued permits to farm that give them as little as two days outside the barrier - for the entire year. Even if you have a permit, you must hope the soldiers open the gate for a few minutes on your appointed day, and open it again when you return from your labors.

In the past sixty days, Israel revealed its willingness to use deadly force to protect its "fence." It relaxed its rules of engagement, and shot an unarmed Palestinian dead for disobeying orders; he touched the wall.

In the past thirty days, Israel issued new military orders that obliterate the rights of Palestinians left outside the barriers to live in their own homes. The orders expropriate their land, and all Palestinian land west of the "security fence," to create a "closed zone" open only to Jews and citizens of Israel. All others, including the people who live there, must apply for a permit from the Israeli army. By the end of next year, at least 210,000 Palestinians are expected to be subject to similar orders.

No longer content to chop away at Palestine until it eventually disappears, Israel is now using the "security fence" as a vehicle for the more rapid and overt methods of large-scale ethnic cleansing. This grave step ushers in the terminal stage of the cleansing process, in which years of organized persecution, brutality, bigotry and theft, all the patriotic acts required in the effort to dehumanize another people, finally succeed in radically dehumanizing the perpetrators. At this point, it is simple to use the bureaucracy of the state to erase a people's very existence. With the stroke a pen, an entire region can be "Judaized," with assurance that the necessary consequences will follow in time.

They would not actually do this, right? They would not push another quarter of a million Palestinians right off their land, not now. The people will get their permits. Right?

Let us put it in perspective.

By the end of this summer, Israel's occupation had reduced the Palestinian people to the poverty and malnutrition levels of sub-Saharan Africa, according to studies by the UN, the World Bank, and CARE International. The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food said in mid-October, "The occupied Palestinian territories are on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe as a result of extremely harsh military measures… There can be no justification for harsh internal closures that prevent people from having access to food and water; otherwise the imposition of such military measures amount[s] to what has been called a 'policy of starvation'…"

Israel's incredibly dense network of army checkpoints, "flying" checkpoints, roadblocks and barriers has made travel for Palestinians in the West Bank almost impossible. A five-mile trip can take all day, waiting at checkpoints for hours on end out in the open, no shelter provided. It often does not matter if you are having a baby or bleeding to death from an Israeli-inflicted wound - you wait. So far, thirty-one "checkpoint babies" have perished. (On the other hand, any Jew can use the bypass roads and get from one side of the West Bank to the other in minutes.)

Since Israel signed the Oslo Accords, the settler population has doubled to 390,000, strewn over a thick web of at least 145 settlements and their interconnecting Jewish-only roads, blanketing the Palestinian West Bank. Since the beginning of the Second Intifada three years ago, the Israeli army has been systematically wrecking Palestinian infrastructure throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Water mains, wells, and pumping stations, sewage systems, telephone and Internet hubs, markets, airports, police stations, roads, civic buildings, mosques and churches, all have felt the special attentions of Israel's bulldozers, bomb teams, helicopter gunships, and F-16s. It is a slow-motion version of what Gulf War I did to Iraq.

The army goes virtually everywhere, usually raiding two or three cities or villages every day and night, leaving a string of casualties and appalling human rights abuses rarely reported by the American media. The death toll of innocent civilians, children, mothers, grandfathers, mounts daily, in ones and twos and fours that slip through the cracks of the wire services, or are entombed as eleventh-paragraph filler in policy-and-politics stories.

Over 41,000 Palestinian civilians have been wounded by Israeli fire in the last three years. Americans do not understand how constant it is, how the occupation teems round-the-clock, 24/7, month in, month out, leaving an ever-larger trail of both indiscriminate and calculated destruction. Even when they say they have withdrawn, or relaxed the curfews and closures, they have not. In Palestine, falling for those old lies can get you killed.

Do you think this is an army that likes to issue permits to civilians? No, this is an army that likes to demand permits, especially permits the "subject" cannot produce. And that is precisely the game they play.

A Palestinian must always have her ID card ready, to indicate her "Bantustan" assignment. If she has a West Bank ID, she cannot go to Jerusalem or Israel except for rare medical care. If she lives in Jerusalem, she may be issued a West Bank ID instead. That will be used later to prove that she is illegally residing in the Holy City, which is cause to demolish her home and seize her land for Israeli "military purposes." It is policy to give her five minutes to retrieve her belongings.

Wherever she lives, she almost certainly will not receive a permit to build or change her home. If she does so anyway, that is cause for the Israeli army to demolish it. Even houses hundreds of years old require permits in some areas, which the army almost never issues. These homes are also subject to demolition at Israel's convenience. And if a Palestinian's home lies in the path of a new Israeli road, settlement expansion, or the massive "security fence" project, that is cause to demolish the home and seize the land outright, sometimes with no pretext at all. This has been going on steadily for many years, as part of a larger accelerating project of land theft and dispossession that Israelis call "Judaization."

Now the "security fence" is carving out broad new areas of dispossession, invisibly creating tens of thousands of new permits that will never be issued. It is transforming the landscape of Israel's aggression from a study in many miniatures into a work of more sweeping scope, perhaps ultimately worthy of DeLacroix, or, since this is not art, but real, death-worshipping life, Speer. Israel is on course to render almost 15,000 Palestinians homeless this year. Why not 200,000 next?

U.S. politicians from Howard Dean to Dick Cheney support the "fence" as part of Israel's "right to defend herself." But most would "prefer" it built along the Green Line, the recognized Palestinian boundary since 1967. Meanwhile, "it is imperative" that America continue to pay Israel billions of dollars a year to wage war on civilians inside that same Green Line. Denial is the seat of hypocrisy.

Perhaps you have read that the "fence" deviates from the Green Line by "a few miles in places," and imagined that Israel was just taking a little land again. Israel is taking a lot of land again. A projected 45% of the West Bank will be in Israeli hands when the project is complete. Bush and Powell find that "troublesome."

On October 28, an official from the Israeli Defense Ministry announced that the barrier will now extend 450 miles, nearly five times longer than the Berlin Wall. And that's not including the 'eastern fence' beginning to amputate the Jordan Valley into Israel's waiting slop bucket. When it is all done, perhaps by the end of next year, there will be three walled Palestinian islands controlled by the Israeli army; one north, one south, and a tiny enclave around Jericho, marooned inside the Zionists' dream; a Greater Israel reaching from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River - at least.

The Israeli official offered an estimate of $1.6 billion for the cost of the "fence," but, according to Israel's Business Arena (Globes), he also explained that this figure does not include the cost of the 'eastern fence,' or the barrier's terminals, or anything else involved in making the damn thing operational. At the end of the briefing, the official said that "the fence, including the east and west fences, the terminals, and maintenance" would cost 15 billion shekels ($3.3 billion), "which Israel would have trouble meeting." But of course the U.S. media immediately agreed that the price tag is $1.6 billion. Perhaps it "looks better."

It is possible the U.S. will make good on its threats to deduct costs of the "fence" from the $9 billion in loan guarantees it pledged to Israel this summer. Apparently the deductions will be only for certain short sections that cause greatest U.S. "concern." One of the few points of sharp disagreement is the wall around Ben-Gurion Airport. The U.S. says the wall is not necessary to protect planes from shoulder-fired missiles. Israel says it is.

Following the pattern of similar "adjustments" for settlement construction, the modest deductions will probably be arranged entirely for Israel's convenience. Finance Minister Netanyahu has said that he is unlikely to use much more than a third of the three billion dollars in loan guarantees available this year. So the U.S. could deduct even the "whole" cost of the project ("$1.6 billion") from this year's loan guarantees, and Israel would not miss a red cent.

I recommend the reader study some maps of the "security fence" to get a stronger feel for the shape of the very near future. For a good picture of what it will look like when completed, see Gush Shalom's general map or Foundation for a Middle East Peace's highly detailed projection. B'tselem just published some updated maps that are very good. And now we finally have one from the Israeli Defense Ministry itself.

Unlike the smooth and coherent lines of devastation portrayed by Gush Shalom's general maps, the details of the IDM map reveal the shaky, recursive scratchings of an obsessed old man, soon to be superimposed upon the Holy Land as a 300-foot wide security zone, complete with trenches, electronic sensors, motion detectors, infra-red cameras, razor wire, and the actual barrier, be it fence, electric fence, or a 10- to 26-foot tall concrete wall, replete with guard towers.

The IDM map is a little out of date, and it coyly shows only half the plan, but it is revealing nonetheless. It projects the western side of the West Bank cracking apart with interior barriers, leaving thirteen areas totally walled in by the back-tracking scrawl, further separating Jews from Palestinians, and Palestinians from other Palestinians.

Of course, every kilometer of "fence" will have to be maintained by the Israeli army. So the fence will permanently insert the army within the West Bank. If a more forward base is required, Israel need only build another wall to encircle it. Soon we will be hearing about the "natural growth of the security fence."

It is not a "fence," nor a "wall," nor a "barrier" at all, but a machine of war, a forward basing system for the Israeli army and the geographical superstructure for an accelerated campaign of starvation, dispossession, and ethnic cleansing.

As one stares at the maps, absorbing the hideous geography, two fat fists begin to emerge, one north, one south, clutching the innards of the West Bank in a death-grip. Now the fists begin to sprout fingers, worming through the flesh, ripping apart the tissue of the people.

If you imagine that some new "peace initiative" or act of Congress or the UN or the silly ditherings of Bush are going to halt this U.S.-sponsored nightmare before the end of next year, you simply have not been paying attention. In today's world, only one force possesses both the potential morality and the power required to stop this monumental crime. And it is something you should already have: outraged public opinion. You must rain it down upon the heads of this blind government like a torrent, or else surrender to the shame, and the consequences.

The Palestinian Problem And The Israeli One

Mohamad Abdulaziz Rabih Al-Hayat 2003/11/27

November 2003 was one of the worst months for Sharon in all of his mandate: internal and external criticism of his policy, the European public opinion declaring Israel the greatest threat to world peace, the success of an Israeli-Palestinian joint team work to reach a comprehensive solution that contradicts Sharon and the ruling party's goals and the U.S. taking the decision to withdraw from Iraq. These developments are unusual for Sharon, especially if the economic situation in Israel continues to dwindle and certain Israeli military officials keep refusing to attack populated Palestinian regions under the cover of murdering leaders of the Palestinian resistance movements. These elements are all increasing the pressure on Sharon's government and a blow to the Jews' morale, whilst improving the Palestinians'.

Statements made by former heads of the Israeli intelligence (Shabak) are evidence to the bitter situation Israel is in and warn of a dark future awaiting it, if the status quo remains. General Ami Ayalon said that that Israel was taking steps that were certain to take it to a point where the state of Israel would not be a democracy or a homeland for Jews. As for General Yaakov Peri, he said that from whatever aspect you look at the situation, they (Israelis) are going towards decline, even a catastrophe. "If something doesn't happen here, we will continue to live by the sword, we will continue to wallow in the mud and we will continue to destroy ourselves." The Israeli chief of staff stated that Sharon's policy is "catastrophic" for Israel.

Playing with fire: deepening suspicions that Saudis are considering atomic arms

BEIRUT: Western military analysts have long believed that Saudi Arabia was the Arab power most likely to take up the nuclear weapons option and in recent days there has been mounting speculation that Riyadh is moving in that direction. That is a development that would have the most profound impact on the highly volatile Middle East-South Asia region at a time when the Americans are extending their military power. Nuclear proliferation by the Saudis and others and the “war on terrorism” is a dangerous mix.

That scenario has been given considerable weight by the hardening evidence that Iran has had a clandestine nuclear arms program for some years and that Israel’s newly acquired German-built submarines are being equipped with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, greatly extending Israel’s nuclear reach. Israel claims Libya is seeking nuclear know-how.

But possibly the most defining element has been the sharp deterioration in Riyadh’s relationship with the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite understands that it can no longer place any reliance on US protection, even in the face of Iranian intimidation.

Riyadh denies it is mulling a nuclear option, but questions remain. On Oct. 8, the Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, published in London, added to the conundrum with a report headlined: “Yes, we are afraid of Iranian uranium.” The article said: “It would be a mistake to defend our neighbor Iran because of its ignorance and because of the excuse that its actions are meant to deter Israel.

“The Iranian nuclear danger threatens us more than the Israeli and Americans ­ our duty is to seek the dismantling of Israel’s nuclear weapons but we cannot deceive ourselves that Iran is arming itself with nuclear weapons as a response to Israel. We have used conventional weapons against each other more than against Israel and the situation won’t change if we add a nuclear bomb to our arsenal.”

According to US analysts Kenneth Weisbode of the Atlantic Council and James Goodby of the Brookings Institution: “If Iran joins Israel as a de facto nuclear-weapon state, with three other nuclear-weapon states nearby ­ Russia, India and Pakistan ­ it is very unlikely that other nations in the vicinity will be able to resist launching or accelerating their own nuclear weapons programs.

“It is not at all inconceivable,” they wrote in an October analysis, “that a Middle East with four, five or six nuclear-weapon states, including Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, will be the reality of the early 21st century.”

Disbelief and anger greet arrest of devout Muslim

Matthew Taylor
The Guardian

The image of Sajid Badat as an Islamist terrorist was met with disbelief and anger in his home town of Gloucester yesterday.

Since the arrest on Thursday morning the authorities have described the man who was arrested as a potential suicide bomber with links to al-Qaida. According to some reports he was planning to blow himself up at a football match or target the royal family or the government's listening centre GCHQ, in Cheltenham.

But as forensic specialists continued to scour the house in St James Street, those in the community who professed to know Sajid Badat well painted a picture entirely at odds with this profile. [...]

Critics turn on Blunkett chase for 'cheap headline'

Gaby Hinsliff, chief political correspondent
Sunday November 30, 2003
The Observer

David Blunkett was fighting accusations of chasing 'cheap headlines' last night as the Attorney General confirmed he was considering whether his Cabinet colleague's remarks about a terror suspect had prejudiced a fair trial.

Sajid Badat was arrested in Gloucester last Thursday under anti-terrorism laws. Within hours, the Home Secretary had suggested that Badat posed 'a very real threat to the life and liberty of our country' and that security services believed he had connections with al-Qaeda.

Critics of Blunkett accused him last night of a serious error of judgment. 'People in positions of authority - most particularly those with a responsibility for law and order - should be very careful not to say anything that may prove prejudicial to a fair trial,' said his Tory shadow, David Davis. [...]

Powell prepares for Europe, African diplomatic sweep

WASHINGTON (AFP) Nov 30, 2003

US Secretary of State Colin Powell will embark upon a whirlwind diplomatic sweep of Europe and North Africa this week for a series of tough meetings on Iraq, the fight against terrorism and Georgia's political future. [...]

Plan to form new Mussolini party

The granddaughter of former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini says she is setting up a new party, after leaving the right-wing National Alliance.

Alessandra Mussolini quit the party - a partner in the government - after comments made this week by National Alliance leader Gianfranco Fini.

During a trip to Israel, Mr Fini called Mussolini's rule "disgraceful".

Ms Mussolini on Thursday said the party had become "incompatible with, and prejudicial to, my family name".

The 40-year-old parliamentarian announced her decision to form a new party in a brief statement on Saturday.

She gave no details, and told Ansa news agency that she would hold a series of consultations.

Pakistan to end India flights ban

General Musharraf said Pakistan was sincere in its efforts for peace
Pakistan is to end a ban on Indian flights over its territory, in what is being seen as a sign of improving relations between the neighbours.

President Pervez Musharraf said the move was a gesture of goodwill which would be confirmed on Monday.

India, EU sign trade accords

NEW DELHI, Nov 29: India and the European Union on Saturday inked two trade agreements besides pledging to patch up their WTO differences, while New Delhi formally threw in its lot with the EU's Galileo satellite navigation system.

Turkish standstill in Georgian crisis seen revealing lack of strategy

* Former President Suleyman Demirel criticizes government's attitude towards Gerogia and says Turkey is lost in the Caucasus

Fatma Demirelli
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

The passive reaction displayed by Turkish policy makers as neighboring Georgia, a country of key importance for Turkey's strategic interests, has been trying to recover from a major political crisis has shown lack of a mature policy towards this country and the Caucasus, political analysts said.

[...] "Turkey is lost in this region," said veteran politician Suleyman Demirel, Turkey's former president. "It speaks out whenever it faces an offensive, it remains silent otherwise. This is what happened in Iraq and what is happening in Georgia."

Demirel said he had warned earlier that Georgia and the Caucasus could fall into Russian hands if other countries did not take steps and create a Caucasus Stability Pact.

"This is what is happening now," said the former president and added that Shevardnadze, despite all warnings, failed to transform Georgia into a market economy and eventually into a democratic country.

Russia mediated between the two sides during the crisis and the United States welcomed the new leadership after the power transfer. Delegations from the United States, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are set to arrive in Tbilisi next week to discuss ways to resolve Georgia's urgent economic problems.

But some analysts warned Turkey and Russia were in different positions vis-a-vis the crisis in Georgia. "Russia's main goal was prevention of coming to power of a leadership that would challenge Russian hegemony in the country. It had to at least try to prevent this from happening," said Hakan Kirimli of Bilkent University.

Months before the street protests that led to his overthrow, Shevardnadze was subject to accusations at home for moves that enabled Russian firms to obtain a controlling interest in the Georgian energy sector, which the opponents said were meant to secure a political future for himself with help from Russia.

[...] Two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, are already out of the Georgian government's control and any instability in autonomous Ajaria would become another threat for Georgia.

Shevardnadze struck a deal with Ajarian leader Aslan Abashidze whereby he would provide political backing in return for Tbilisi not interfering in Ajaria. Abashidze's supporters were bused into Tbilisi to back Shevardnadze during the protests. Abashidze has refused to recognize the new leadership.

Opec, Russia heading for cold war

Sunday 30 November 2003, 11:21 Makka Time, 8:21 GMT

Russia and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are heading for a cold war, with Moscow now exporting more oil than Saudi Arabia, industry experts say.

The key issue is that Russians are refusing to go along with OPEC demands for a concerted drop in production, posing problems for the oil cartel.

OPEC oil ministers are scheduled to meet in Vienna on Thursday.

Russia does not belong to the organisation, but has become a prime mover on world petroleum markets, and there is not much OPEC can do about it, experts said.

"The sharp rise in Russian oil exports this year - which will continue next year - once again raises the question: 'Is OPEC doomed?'" said Leo Drollas of the Centre for Global Energy Studies in London.

Russia is pumping about 8.6 million barrels of oil a day, compared to 7.96 million for Saudi Arabia.

This, Drollas said, was "changing the power structure of the industry."

OPEC wants all oil-producing countries, whether or not they are members of the cartel, to reduce output in order to make way for exports by Iraq, which is expected to produce 3.5 million barrels a day within five years.

Without a cut in the production, the addition of Iraqi exports will create a glut in the market, making it difficult for OPEC to maintain the 25 dollars price per barrel, which it sees as a "fair price" for long-term market stability.

But the fact that benchmark Brent crude oil stands around 29 dollars a barrel, because of what OPEC calls temporary speculative pressures, gives Russia no incentive to curb its output. In fact, it is likely to increase production to 9.2 million barrels a day next year, according to Francis Perrin of the magazine Petrole et Gaz in Paris.

"Russia has no interest in collaborating with OPEC," Drollas said. "It's better off fighting another cold war with it."

"It's the so called 'free-rider syndrome,'" he added. "While Russia refuses to cut production, OPEC has to do it if it wants to sustain prices, so Russia gets a free ride on production levels and high prices without giving anything back to OPEC."

New Charge for Khodorkovsky

By Valeria Korchagina
Staff Writer
Friday, Nov. 28, 2003. Page 5

The Prosecutor General's Office continued to turn the screws on Yukos on Thursday, slapping former CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky with another charge and seizing a number of documents from Yukos-Moskva, the operational headquarters of the oil giant.

"Khodorkovsky faces charges based on seven articles of the Criminal Code, but one more episode was added to the final charges. It is related to the events that took place in 2000," prosecutors' spokeswoman Natalya Vishnyakova told Interfax.

In all, Khodorkovsky has been charged with 11 crimes, the latest being the alleged "theft" of $2.8 million from a sale of apatite concentrate in 2000, she said without elaborating.

Textbook Faces Ban Over Putin

By Maria Danilova
Staff Writer
Friday, Nov. 28, 2003. Page 3

A textbook on modern Russian history that invites students to discuss whether Putin is an authoritarian leader and has formed a police state may be banned in high schools.

The Education Ministry's expert council met Thursday night and tentatively decided to remove the book from school curriculums. The council's presidium and Education Minister Vladimir Filippov still have to approve the ban before it can come into force.

Igor Dolutsky, the high school history teacher who wrote the textbook, said the decision is clearly linked to upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

The last few pages of "National History, 20th Century," which deal with Putin's rise to power, ask students to "prove or disprove" a comment by journalist Yury Burtin about "Putin's personal power and authoritarian dictatorship" and an argument by Yabloko party leader Grigory Yavlinsky that "a police state was formed in Russia" in 2001.

Yukos and the State of U.S.-Russian Relations

By Dmitry Trenin
Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2003. Page 10

It is obvious that recent events surrounding Yukos and the arrest of its former CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky will have major consequences not only for Russia's image around the world but also for its relations with the West. It is equally obvious that these consequences will be mostly negative. For the past few weeks President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government have been busy with damage control. The Kremlin has confirmed its commitment to a liberal economic policy and to economic reform. It has sought to calm investors and to explain its actions to foreign leaders. Russia will be judged not by its words, however, but by its deeds.

[...] The picture painted by the hard-liners in Washington is fairly accurate. Russia today is a semi-authoritarian country whose political system borrows much from the Soviet as well as the imperial past. While a plurality of interests does exist, the regime is in the hands of bureaucratic clans that have merged with big business. The press enjoys only limited freedom, but the arbitrary actions of law enforcement know no limits. Politics remain the domain of the elite. Elections are held regularly, but most Russians are utterly apathetic. Russia's "democratic future" cannot be guaranteed, not because too little time has passed for democratic institutions to take hold, but because there is no broad consensus on the necessity of democracy itself.

Comment: Sounds like a description of the US, doesn't it?

Colombian Rebel Commander Threatens U.S.

Sat Nov 29,10:12 PM ET
By NICOLE KARSIN

BOGOTA, Colombia - Colombia's main rebel group warned Saturday that U.S. military personnel aiding government troops will face attack.

Raul Reyes, a commander and spokesman of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, issued the threat barely two weeks after a rebel grenade attack on two Bogota brewpubs killed one person and wounded 72, including four Americans.

The U.S. Embassy has banned its personnel and their families - and the hundreds of U.S. government contractors in Colombia - from two neighborhoods featuring bars and restaurants in the wake of the Nov. 16 attack. [...]

A Visit To NORAD

Comment: The article is a quick stroll through the top secret base buried in the mountains in Colorado Springs. The reporter did not bother to ask why they weren't releasing 9/11 data, and why they didn't do a thing to prevent those planes from smashing into the WTC. Instead, it is a "puff piece" about how you should feel safe since NORAD is watching. They must have just let something slip on 9/11. The reporter, who wrote the above story, should have had at least a passing awareness of the below stories that we pulled from our archives. Most journalists are not particularly concerned with the truth.

First public hearing of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

Statement of Mindy Kleinberg to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United State

[...] Prior to 9/11, FAA and Department of Defense Manuals gave clear, comprehensive instructions on how to handle everything from minor emergencies to full blown hijackings. These "protocols" were in place and were practiced regularly for a good reason--with heavily trafficked air space; airliners without radio and transponder contact are collisions and/or calamities waiting to happen. Those protocols dictate that in the event of an emergency, the FAA is to notify NORAD. Once that notification takes place, it is then the responsibility of NORAD to scramble fighter-jets to intercept the errant plane(s). It is a matter of routine procedure for fighter-jets to "intercept" commercial airliners in order to regain contact with the pilot. [...]

Yet they admit they will investigate a vapor trail!

NORAD investigates vapor trail reports - Fighter jets scrambled in an unsuccessful attempt to investigate a contrail of unknown origin first seen over the Caribbean and later reported over the midwestern United States, the Department of Defense said Thursday. The North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled the jets soon after unverified reports were received around 4 p.m. Wednesday that the contrail, seen near the Turks and Caicos Islands, was headed northwest toward the United States, said Lt. Cmdr. Curtis Jenkins, a spokesman for the Colorado Springs-based group. A contrail is a white trail of condensed water vapor that sometimes forms in the wake of an aircraft.

The question that should have been asked, but since most people fear the truth, wasn't:

Did NORAD Send The "Suicide" Jets? - "Controlling the aircraft from the ground is nothing new. The military has been flying obsolete high performance fighter aircraft as target drones since the 1950s. In fact, NORAD (the North American Air Defense Command) had at its disposal a number of U.S. Air Force General Dynamics F-106 Delta Dart fighter aircraft configured to be remotely flown into combat as early as 1959 under the auspices of a program known as SAGE. These aircraft could be started, taxied, taken off, flown into combat, fight, and return to a landing entirely by remote control, with the only human intervention needed being to fuel and re-arm them."

Those who want to pursue the War on Islam of course want to sustain the lie that Muslim suicide pilots were responsible for 9-11. They want to keep the real trigger men -- the men working under the NORAD cover -- hidden from public view. So public attention must be deflected from NORAD's culpability and focused on the FAA and the failureo of "the system." Top FAA executives and the FAA/NORAD liaison people were of course involved and could give us information. Their failure to speak is either a sign that they have been ordered to shut their mouths for the sake of "national security" or a testament to some other complicity.

Analysis Of White House Obstruction Of 9/11 Investigations

[...] Why has the government refused to make public the recorded pilots' conversations with Air Traffic Control, notifying them of a hijacking in progress? We know these conversations took place because the FAA has confirmed having reported the hijackings to NORAD within minutes of their commencement. [...]

Exposing NORAD's Wag The 911 Window Dressing Tale Using NORAD’s Own Press Release And Fifth Grade Math

Other strange things have happened in Colorado Springs as we have reported here:

Airwave glitch hits Springs area: Garage-door openers jammed, hundreds say

By Eileen Kelley
Denver Post
October 09, 2003

COLORADO SPRINGS - Next time NATO officials say they're doing a lockdown, the folks in the luxury Broadmoor neighborhood will take them seriously.

Very seriously.

Last week, NATO workers erected security and communications towers in the area in advance of this week's defense ministers' conference.

By 9 a.m. Friday morning, all 10 lines at Overhead Door Company of Colorado Springs were lit up with calls from the Broadmoor and the nearby town of Security complaining that their garage- door openers had jammed.

More than 400 calls from frantic, frustrated and flustered residents came on that day alone. They haven't stopped since, said the company's receptionist, Tina Oetken.

Coincidence?

Oetken and her bosses don't think so.

"With over 600-plus calls, it's hard to believe that it can be anything but" NATO, Oetken said Wednesday. [...]

No one followed up and actually discovered what they were really doing. The AP reports that NATO leaders face mock crisis to spur 'creative thinking'. "COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — On a high-security Rocky Mountain military base, NATO leaders worked their way through a fictitious Middle East crisis Wednesday to explore ways of using a new rapid-reaction force with global reach."

Strange things are planned in Colorado Springs, but with little media coverage..

U.S. 'negation' policy in space raises concerns abroad

By Loring Wirbel
EE Times
May 22, 2003 (1:26 p.m. ET)

[...] At the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs in early April, Teets proposed that U.S. resources from military, civilian and commercial satellites be combined to provide "persistence in total situational awareness, for the benefit of this nation's war fighters." If allies don't like the new paradigm of space dominance, said Air Force secretary James Roche, they'll just have to learn to accept it. The allies, he told the symposium, will have "no veto power."

Beginning next year, NRO will be in charge of the new Offensive Counter-Space program, which will come up with plans to specifically deny the use of near- Earth space to other nations, said Teets. [...]

Comment: We notice that the Japanese could not put their spy satellites in orbit yesterday. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Probably not related to any of the above, (not a good idea to see conspiracy everywhere) but as we reported yesterday, Colorado flu numbers just keep heading up.

Colorado flu deaths concern local doctors

By RANDY GRIFFITH
THE TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT
November 30, 2003

[...] The Colorado kids – at ages 21 months, 2, 8 and 15 – and their deaths surprised some health officials because they happened so close together and so early in the season. The flu normally peaks in January or February and runs through April. [...]

Bill Joy spurned job at 'out of control' Google

By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco
Posted: 26/11/2003 at 10:40 GMT

[...] Alas there's no space to discuss the fate of Google's marque search engine, which since the explosion of revenue from Adwords and Adsense this year has taken a beating: Google is fighting a losing battle to preserve the integrity of its search results. (You can however, now watch baseball in London again). Whether it wins the war, or even wants to, is another question. As we've noted here before, the search engine doesn't really matter commercially to Google. It's not impossible to imagine the day, several years hence, when besieged by pernickity regulators, Google dispenses with it altogether.

There is no 'search engine business'.

Will December make or break the Internet?

By Kieren McCarthy
Posted: 24/11/2003 at 14:57 GMT

There are always defining moments in anything’s lifetime and the Internet is no exception.

A meeting in Geneva on 10-12 December promises to be one of them - to define what is, what was and what shall become of the global electronic medium known as the Internet.

The World Summit on the Information Society, organised by the International Telecommunications Union, will see the heads of over 60 governments get together, discuss and hopefully agree on where we go from here.

It’s been a very long time coming. In fact, it is a year or two late, with the result that the topics to be covered have outgrown the meeting. It doesn’t help that there are several topics of great import but huge controversy. The chief among these is Internet governance. In short: who gets to run the Internet?

While other vital aspects are sure to get some coverage, it is this topic that looks set to override the others. And for good reason. There is a clearly definable split across the world over who should be put in charge of running the Net’s vital infrastructure.

The United States, Europe and English-speaking partners such as Australia favour the existing private-company organisation, ICANN. Whereas developing nations, China, India, Brazil, South Africa and others all want a recognised international body to run the show, ITU.

[...] So why is this issue of Internet governance so important and why is there such a strong split across the globe?

The tussle between ICANN and ITU for control of the Internet is as old as the Internet itself. It was always going to come to a head and the Geneva meeting is finally it - the make or break moment.

ICANN is a quasi-autonomous arm of the US government, a private Californian company of technical and business experts created in November 1998. Its remit was to oversee the increasingly global Internet with a view to becoming autonomous in a few years.

The ITU (International Telecommunications Union) on the other hand is the body that has been responsible for the roll-out of virtually every form of modern communication. It was started 140 years ago by countries across the world to standardise the telegram and has been at the forefront of every international telecommunication effort since.

Logic would appear to dictate that the ITU be in charge of the Internet. And it would be so except for the extraordinary history of the Internet.

Once the potential of networking an increasing number of computers across the world using phone lines had been grasped, the ITU outlined its view of the future.

It demonstrated the OSI stack that would be used to get computers to communicate with each other. It would be supplied by the huge incumbent telecoms providers and its evolution would be overseen by the ITU.

Its failure to implement this vision should be gratefully received by every man, woman and child on the planet. What arose instead was the vision of the (at that time) liberal and democratic US government. It had developed technology that was independent of the telecoms supplier and allowed computers to communicate directly with one another - it was TCP/IP and it forms the basis of the Internet.

This equipment allowed anyone to set up their own network. It was also far cheaper that ITU’s approach. The only constraint the US government put on it was that people made their network freely available to everyone. The technology was immediately seized upon by academics and computer scientists across the globe - a fact that has lent the Internet its culture borne of free speech, freely available information and software, and fierce independence from any form of control.

The ITU fought in vain to push its vision and as a result has always be viewed with suspicion by the Internet community.

A brief history of ICANN

The US government made a second excellent decision when it realised it could not be expected to be in control of this rapidly growing global network, and so set up ICANN. Originally answerable to the government, ICANN would soon split off and become an independent organisation that would keep the spirit of the Internet alive, promoting its values across the globe.

It was only here that things went wrong and eventually led us to the situation we now find ourselves in - the world fighting over who should be in charge of the Net.

The people chosen to run ICANN in 1998 were those who knew more about the technology than anyone else - computer scientists. It was an apparently logical decision but tragically flawed. The characteristics that make a computer scientist are not those that make a good politician or decision-maker.

No doubt believing they were acting in the Internet’s best interests, the ICANN decision-making process soon became an abomination. The ICANN Board agreed in private what was going to happen to their invention against the hordes of people outside all clamoring for a piece of the action and it then implemented it despite whatever opposition there might be. It rewrote its rules to make sure outsiders weren't admitted to the inner sanctum so it could keep control of which way the medium went.

The result of all this was increasing fury by those with a legitimate interest. It wasn’t long before the smell of revolution was in the air.

Recognising the risk, new head Stuart Lynn drew up a reorganisation of ICANN in which the status quo could be maintained but governments voices (Western mostly) were given far more weight. The idea was to save the ICANN ideal. Once everything was in place, he stepped down to help new head and Australian Paul Twomey sell the new ICANN.

But with an ICANN that has still yet to prove itself as willing to listen, with government now making significant decisions on how the Internet is run, what exactly is the difference between it and the ITU?

The crux

Plenty. And it explains exactly why there is such a deep split over the matter. ICANN is still beholden to the US government. Not for very much longer - it has recently been a three-year extension on its contract and it is widely expected that after that period ICANN will break away and become its own body.

Nevertheless, the fact that the US government is still fundamentally in charge of the Internet is of grave concern to a large number of countries across the globe, for obvious reasons. Even when ICANN does break away, those nations point out that the organisation running the Internet is a Californian company, created and run through the American system of law.

Not only this but ICANN is almost exclusively made up of English-speaking Westerners. Western governments are the only ones that have a real influence. When you are talking about a clearly global medium, it is essential that a truly international body be in charge, argue China, Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and many others.

The US, Europe and countries such as Australia clearly see the advantage of having disproportionate control over the organisation running the Internet and so they are extremely keen to keep things as they are. Their argument against the ITU taking over is that it would give different countries’ governments control over how they run the Internet in their own country and so would enable them to censor their citizens and so damage the democratising power of the Internet.

In the Internet community - which has little power at the Geneva meeting but remains extremely influential - opinions are split. Distrust and dislike of ICANN is rampant. However, new head Twomey is beginning to dispel some (but definitely not all) of those concerns. Many want to see the ITU play a stronger role in order to make ICANN accountable but then few want to see the destruction of ICANN because of what it represents - the victory of people over government. Besides, the Internet community still has at least some influence in ICANN. In the ITU, it is the governments that run the show.

And so the Internet sits at a crossroads. The ITU - which, don’t forget, is organising the Geneva meeting in December - is desperate to get control of the Internet. This is its one big - and only - chance. It has a huge international meeting on the Internet where dozens of world governments are in support of it. ICANN will be an independent body within three years and is currently in transition and so at its weakest.

ICANN meanwhile knows it only has to cling on. It has the support of Western governments and the grudging backing of the Internet community. If it survives, the ITU will never be in a situation to take control again.

And the reality?

The truth of the matter though is that ICANN will survive. The countries with the most Internet expertise and, crucially, all but one of the 13 root servers that the Internet runs on are defending it.

However there are some powerful names that want the ITU given a bigger role. To try to beat them down would destabilise the Internet as a whole. The ICANN-run Internet is only one of many possible Internets. The technology to build entirely new networks is already there. If countries feel that strongly against a US company running the show they may threaten to set up their own networks, essentially ruining the one ideal of ICANN - an open, worldwide network.

That, fortunately, remains an unlikely scenario. However it is all too probable that the two sides in this vital argument will fail to come to agreement or compromise, and a self-defeating situation be set up. We could still see battles over Internet procedures and protocols in a decade. In the meantime, large chunks of the Net could rise and fall, different systems make areas unaccessible, and a coherent worldwide solution to tackle such problems as viruses and spam vanish - to everyone’s detriment.

With luck the wide variety of governments at the meetings next month will see the value of compromise and the Internet be given a shot in the arm rather than a kick in the teeth.

Our ideal scenario would be for ITU to be given a veto role in the production of new protocols and standards; ICANN forced to become more accountable and transparent and offer to have its bylaws rewritten by an international committee; and the developing countries’ consent bought by Western governments offering billions in funds to build up their infrastructure. But then that’s the old Internet ideology slipping out again.

Damaged undersea cable blamed for UK Net problems

By Tim Richardson
Posted: 26/11/2003 at 12:30 GMT

A damaged undersea transatlantic cable is being blamed for causing havoc for Net and phone users in the UK last night.

A number of ISPs are understood to have been hit by the problem, which surfaced (the problem, not the cable) yesterday afternoon at around 4pm.

The cable - which is owned by a consortium of telcos - is believed to have hit a snag (figuratively speaking, of course) somewhere off the French coast. France Telecom, which is responsible for that section of cable, is sending a boat out to examine the damage.

Comment: We will not be surprised to see more and more of these types of problems in the future. What better way to bring down the Internet, or at least the ability of Americans to get news from outside of the Bush Reich, than to cut the lines to the rest of the world?

Landslide leaves B.C. towns without heat

Sat, 29 Nov 2003

PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. - Thousands of people could be without power for as long as a week after a landslide knocked out the natural gas supply to parts of British Columbia's north coast. [...]

Temperatures are near freezing and the city has opened an emergency shelter in the local high school. [...]

The storm also caused ferry cancellations, spot flooding and road closures. So much rain fell, about 100 millimetres overnight, that it created small rivers in some areas.

Storm knocks out power in parts of Ontario

Last Updated Sun, 30 Nov 2003 1:55:08

TORONTO - Tens of thousands of Ontarians have been without electricity this weekend after a fierce storm cut power lines in several communities.

More than 20,000 customers were waiting for service to be restored early Sunday, according to Hydo One, a provincially owned power supplier.

About 80,000 customers lost their electricity late Friday and early Saturday. The storm toppled trees and damaged transmission lines.

Elderly Man Kills Wife, Man and Himself

By STEVEN DU BOIS, Associated Press Writer
Sat Nov 29, 6:52 PM ET

PORTLAND, Ore. - A man suffering from dementia shot and killed his wife and another man before putting the gun to his head and pulling the trigger at a care center where they all lived, police said Saturday.

Authorities said there was a history of problems between the man they said was the shooter, 86-year-old Frank Kykendall, and the other man, 80-year-old Joe Bruscia. [...]

Implant could replace credit cards

Mark Prigg
Evening Standard

[...] Scientists have invented a credit-card chip they claim can be implanted into your arm, allowing you to authorise payments by simply standing near a cash register.

The tiny chip, the size of a grain of rice, uses radio waves to tell registers or cash machines who you are. Experts believe it could replace credit cards and other forms of ID card.

But civil rights campaigners have called the plan 'the end of privacy'. [...]

Album Lennon signed for killer being sold

NEW YORK (AP) -- The record album John Lennon signed for the man who killed him hours later is for sale online.

Comment: Laura discusses the assassination of Lennon in her article Will the World End on Thursday?

Interest Surges in Voodoo

By STEPHEN KINZER
Published: November 30, 2003

NEW ORLEANS - Last year, doctors told a 41-year-old New York woman who had been bedridden with meningitis and other ailments that she should prepare for the worst. Rather than resign herself to her fate, she boarded a train to New Orleans - her illness does not permit her to fly - and made an offering at the tomb of Marie Laveau, the "voodoo queen" who died in 1881 but has re-emerged as the center of a far-reaching religious movement.

After what she called a nearly complete recovery, the woman, who asked to be identified only as Jackie, recently made another trip to Laveau's tomb "to close the circle."If you believe there are spiritual forces with great power," she said, "this is definitely a place to come."

University searching for alien answers

[...] Scientists and students at Princeton University are searching for answers.

With world-renowned theorists, state-of-the-art extraterrestrial signal detectors and university courses discussing "life out there," Princeton has become a hub for alien hunters. [...]

Wal-Mart Sets Tone for Holiday Sales

By Emily Kaiser
Sat Nov 29,12:29 PM ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Americans scoured the malls for bargains on Saturday as retailers tallied up what looked to be a solid, if unspectacular, start to the make-or-break holiday shopping season.

If Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is any indication, the big retail weekend was living up to expectations for improvement over last year, when the holiday season generated the smallest sales gain in more than 30 years.

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest company by revenues, posted a record $1.52 billion in Friday sales at its U.S. stores, up 6.3 percent from a year earlier. That works out to about $5.19 for every American. Last year, Wal-Mart's day-after-Thanksgiving sales jumped 14.4 percent from 2001. [...]

Comment: In addition to improved sales, retailers said the number of customers knocked unconscious and trampled on increased this year.

HIV-AIDS outbreak in northeastern China confirmed, blood selling suspected

AFP
Sunday November 30, 5:08 PM

A new outbreak of HIV/AIDS has surfaced in northeastern China's Jilin province where up to 300 villagers could be infected with AIDS after donating blood at government blood stations, villagers and a rights group said.

"Right now there are three or four villages that have AIDS," an official at the Soudeng township in Jilin city told AFP by phone. [...]

The outbreak was only confirmed in June, but people had been dying from undetermined diseases starting in 2000, said Wu Shuhuan, a villager in Erdaogou village. [...]

A large number of the estimated up to 840,000 HIV/AIDS patients in China have contracted the disease through tainted blood or unsanitary blood donation stations, with the worst affected areas in central Anhui and Henan province. [...]

16 percent of Chinese wives beaten by husband: survey

www.chinaview.cn 2003-11-30 11:15:21

BEIJING, Nov. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- A recent survey by the All-China Women's Federation shows that 16 percent of married women have been beaten by their spouses, while five percent and 2.6 percent of women, respectively, said that they have been mentally or sexually hurt by their husbands.

German 'cannibal' tells of regret

23 November, 2003

[...] "Mr Meiwes, a computer expert, met 43-year-old Bernd-Jurgen Brandes in early 2001, after Mr Meiwes advertised on websites for "young, well-built men aged 18 to 30 to slaughter", the German daily newspaper Bild reported at the time of his arrest. Mr Meiwes told investigators he took Mr Brandes back to his home, where Mr Brandes agreed to have his penis cut off, which Mr Meiwes then flambeed and served up to eat together.

Mr Meiwes says he then killed Mr Brandes with his consent - recording the two-hour event on video."

Disturbingly, a number of websites dedicated to Mr Meiwes have appeared, with people advertising for willing victims.

"They should go for treatment, so it doesn't escalate like it did with me," said Mr Meiwes.

He said he believed there were about 800 "cannibals" in Germany. [...]


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