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December 5, 2003

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Today we detail one of the most striking of the many cases being brought against George W. Bush over the events of 9/11. The case itself is all the more damning given the wealth of supporting evidence, yet we are not hopeful that justice will be done. In truth, has it ever been done on this planet? One prosecuting lawyer might well agree with us...

Justice was most certainly not done when it comes to Henry Kissinger. A new report offers proof he approved human rights abuses in Argentina, and both Kissinger and Richard Perle are tied to questionable financial transactions involving Hollinger International.

"Terrorist" suicide bombers are at it again, this time in Russia. Perhaps Mossad and the CIA are trying to make a point to Putin about the oil... Speaking of Mossad, it appears they had something to do with the intelligence on Iraq's alleged WMD's before Gulf War II. Surprise, surprise! A French magazine reports that 1700 US soldiers have deserted in Iraq. In Japan, a new poll indicates only 7.5% of the population favor sending troops to Iraq immediately.

Flu strikes the US with twice as many cases reported compared to this time last year. A leading UK medical journal proposes the complete banning of tobacco and Yahoo gets in on the act.

8-year-old sex offenders, a snow storm heads towards the northeastern US, police state absurdities, bleeding statues, cracks in earth's atmosphere and space invaders are returning to the USA.

911 Victim Ellen Mariani Open Letter To The President Of The United States

Open Letter To The President Of The United States

Mr. Bush,

This ''open letter'' is coming from my heart. I want you to know that I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat and that this is not an attempt to ''bash the Government''.

You Mr. Bush should be held responsible and liable for any and all acts that were committed to aid in any "cover up" of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. As President you have a duty to protect the American people. On September 11th you did not instruct your staff to issue a nationwide emergency warning/alert to advise us of the attack on America. We had to receive the news of the attacks via the news networks.

In the months leading up to the attacks you were repeatedly advised of a possible attack on American soil. During your daily intelligence briefings you were given information that had been uncovered that the very real possibility existed that certain undesirable elements would use commercial aircraft to destroy certain "target" buildings. You never warned the American people of this possible threat. Who were you protecting?

When you took no responsibility towards protecting the general public from the possibility of attack, you were certainly not upholding the oath you spoke when you took office. In that oath you pledged to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.

On the morning of the attack, you and members of your staff were fully aware of the unfolding events yet you chose to continue on to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School to proceed with a scheduled event and "photo op". While our nation was under attack you did not appear to blink an eye or shed a tear. You continued on as if everything was "business as usual".

In the days following the attacks all air traffic was grounded and Americans, including myself, were stranded wherever they had been when the flight ban was imposed. I was stranded at Midway Airport in Chicago, unable to continue on to California for my daughter's wedding. Imagine my surprise when I later found out that during this "no fly" period a number of people were flown out of the country on a 747 with Arabic lettering on the fuselage. None of these people were interviewed or questioned by any local, State or Federal agencies. Why were they allowed to leave and who exactly was on that flight. We know for a fact that some of the people on the flight were members of (or related to) the royal family of Saudi Arabia and members of the Bin Laden family. Were these people allowed to leave because of the long-standing relationships that your family has with both families?

It is my belief that you intentionally allowed 9/11 to happen to gather public support for a "war on terrorism". These wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, have not accomplished what you stated were your goals. Why have you not captured Osama Bin Laden? Where are Saddam's weapons of mass destruction? All that has happened is a bill that is passed before Congress for 87 billion dollars to rebuild what you ordered blown to bits.

As an American who lost a loved one in the "war on terror" I do pray and support our troops who were sent to Afghanistan and Iraq by you. These troops have and will continue to die for your lies. As an American I can make this statement as it appears that associates of your family may stand to prosper from the rebuilding of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr. Bush the time has come for you to stop your control over us. Stop blocking the release of certain evidence and documents that were discovered by the 9/11 Investigation Commission if you have nothing to hide proving you did not fail to act and prevent the attacks of 9/11. Your reason for not releasing this material is that it is a matter of "national security". When in fact I believe that it is your personal credibility/security that you are concerned with. You do not want the public to know the full extent of your responsibility and involvement.

After 9/11 the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act were passed. Both of these allow the government to tap your telephone, search your home, and seize whatever they feel they need to do on a whim. They can do this without a judge's review or a warrant. I feel that this is in direct conflict with our rights as stated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

We the families of 9/11 victims need to have answers to the following questions:

1. Why were 29 pages of the 9/11committee report personally censored at your request?

2. Where are the "black boxes" from Flight 11 and Flight 175?

3. Where are the "voice recorders" from Flight 11 and Flight 175?

4. Why can't we gain access to the complete air traffic control records for Flight 11 and Flight 175?

5. Where are the airport surveillance tapes that show the passengers boarding the doomed flights?

6. When will complete passenger lists for all of the flights be released?

7. Why did your brother Jeb (the Governor of Florida) go to the offices of the Hoffman Aviation School and order that flight records and files be removed? These files were then put on a C130 government cargo plane and flown out of the country. Where were they taken and who ordered it done?

It has been over two years since hundreds of our lost loved ones "remains" have still yet to be identified and their remains placed in a landfill at Fresh Kill. We want our heroes brought back and given a public and proud resting place where we all can pay our respects and honor them. These innocent people never had a chance as they were taken from us on that sad September Day.

In the court of public opinion Mr. Bush, your lies are being uncovered each day. My husband, all of the other victims and their families and our nation as a whole, has been victimized by your failed leadership prior to and after 9/11!

I will prove this in a court of law!

Ellen M. Mariani

Mariani's case - the statement

Statement of the case

1. Plaintiff commenced this civil action on September 12, 2003, by filing of Complaint with this Honorable Court. Since Plaintiff's initial filing and the 'firestorm" surrounding Defendant GWB's refusal to comply with the "911 Commission[7]," this Amended Complaint provides newly discovered substantial additional facts, evidence and voluntary support from former federal employees and other concerned American Citizens who all seek justice and the truth as to how and why the events of September 11, 2001, (hereinafter "911"), occurred. Plaintiff hereby asserts Defendants, officially and individually are exclusively liable to answer the Counts in this Complaint under the United States Constitution and provisions of the 18 U.S.C. § 1964(a) and (c), Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (hereinafter "RICO Act") for "failing to act and prevent" the murder of Plaintiff's husband, Louis Neil Mariani, for financial and political reasons and have "obstructed justice" in the aftermath of said criminal acts and omissions.[8]

2. On "911," Plaintiff's husband, Louis Neil Mariani, an American Citizen and paying passenger on United Airlines Flight 175, was murdered by unidentified perpetrators, (hereinafter "terrorists") according to Defendant GWB.

3. At the time of the "911" attacks Defendant GWB was and continues to be President of the United States of America and Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces. Defendant GWB "owed a duty" not only to Plaintiff, but the American People to protect and defend against the preventable attacks based upon substantial intelligence known to Defendant GWB prior to "911" which resulted in the death of Plaintiff's husband and thousands of other innocent victims on "911."

4. Defendant GWB has purported to the American People, this Court and the Plaintiff that the infamous attacks of "911" were directly masterminded by Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda Network terrorists (hereinafter "OBL"), almost immediately after the attacks. Yet, Defendant GWB has not been forthright and honest with regard to his administration's pre-knowledge of the potential of the "911" attacks and Plaintiff seeks to compel Defendant GWB to justify why her husband Louis Neil Mariani died on "911.' Plaintiff believes Defendant GWB is invoking a long standard operating procedure of invoking national security and executive privilege claims to suppress the basis of this lawsuit that Defendant GWB, et al., failed to act and prevent the "911" attacks. This Court must see through this and Plaintiff argues from the onset, the reasons why "911" occurred are no longer a national security risk, but a national security disgrace and tragedy.

Plaintiff asserts, contrary to Defendant GWB's assertion that OBL is responsible for "911," the compelling evidence that will be presented in this case through discovery, subpoena power by this Court and testimony at trial will lead to one undisputed fact, Defendant GWB failed to act and prevent "911" knowing the attacks would lead to our nation having to engage in an "International War on Terror (IWOT)" which would benefit Defendants both financially and for political reasons. Plaintiff asserts, her husband was murdered on "911" and Defendant GWB and many of his cabinet members are now profiting from the IWOT. Plaintiff will prove, the "Bush family" has had long ties to power in the federal government and with the OBL family which raises serious public trust questions yet to be answered, to include, but not limited to, the fact that Defendant Cheney is profiting immensely from his former company's exclusive contracts to rebuild Iraq [...]

Comment: This well presented case posing reasonable questions that need answers is getting virtually no coverage in the mainstream media. One would think that this would be a big story, yet the media is not interested. If this is not clear evidence for extreme bias among the "media whores"... The rest of the statement of the case makes for very interesting reading. It remains to be seen how Bush and his co-conspirators will deal with this. Interestingly the plaintiff feels the need to insert the point that GWB is already attempting to kill the case using the claim of "national security".

Lawyer quits terror cases after death threat

Globe and Mail Update
Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003

Fighting for his composure, lawyer Rocco Galati said Thursday that he will drop all of his terrorism-related cases after a death threat that he said he believes came from an intelligence agency.

Mr. Galati is known as a tough-minded counsellor and he said he has put up with plenty of abuse for representing people many Canadians have no sympathy for. He has endured angry communications before and once found a strangled cat on his doorstep, but he almost broke down Thursday as he described his disillusionment upon receiving the threat.

“I'm not on the verge of tears for my safety. I'm on the verge of tears because it means we now live in Colombia. It means that the rule of law is meaningless. It means that lawyers cannot represent anyone even in what you profess to be a democracy here in Canada,” he said. “It comments on where we've arrived as a society.”

He issued a direct appeal to "whoever I've angered," pleading that they take his statement Thursday "as my bowing out."

The Toronto-based lawyer — who represents at least seven people in national security cases – said that he received a threatening message one day after he answered media questions with former terrorism suspect Abdurahman Khadr. He played it Thursday for reporters gathered at his office.

Flashback: Osama capture unnecessary, US general says

A senior US general said today that al Qa'eda mastermind Osama bin Laden had "taken himself out of the picture" and that his capture was not essential to winning the "war on terror". General Peter Pace, vice-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at US military headquarters just north of Kabul that the 11,500-strong US-led force hunting al Qa'eda and Taliban militants was not focusing on individuals.

"He (bin Laden) has taken himself out of the picture," Pace told reporters after visiting US troops serving in Afghanistan. [...]

Flashback: Mass-murderer Bin Laden Unwanted by the U.S. Government

Many of you might recall comments made by a field General during the Afghan war saying, in so many words, that they were not there to go after Osama Bin Laden... or reports by Seymour Hersch aired on Bill Moyers' NOW on PBS that, on orders from the Department of Defense, thousands of Taliban forces and even Al-Qeada operatives were airlifted to Pakistan in a break during the bombing of Kunduz. Now it appears the US military is saying that the man the US government maintains was behind the largest mass murder in U.S. history is off the hook because they tell us he's 'taken himself out of the picture"--thus no longer a priority.

Flashback: 9/11 Commission "Deal" with White House

9-11 Commission members and victims' families angered over White House "deal"

Deal on 9/11 Briefings Lets White House Edit Papers

The commission investigating the Sept. 11 "terror attacks" said on Thursday that its deal with the White House for access to highly classified Oval Office intelligence reports would let the White House edit the documents before they were released to the commission's representatives. [...]

Thomas Kean, Bush cousin, business partner with the bin Ladins, freemason and UN globalist. Also front-man for the 9/11 Whitewash Coverup Commission.

Flashback: New Chairman of 9/11 Commission had business ties with Osama's Brother in Law

by Michel Chossudovsky
27 december 2002

Unknown to most, UNOCAL's partner in the Cent-Gas trans-Afghan pipeline consortium, the Saudi Company Delta Oil is owned by the bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi clans which allegedly have ties to bin Laden’s Al Qaeda.

According to a 1998 Senate testimony of former CIA director James Woolsey, powerful financier Khalid bin Mahfouz’ younger sister is married to Osama bin Laden,. (US Senate, Senate Judiciary Committee, Federal News Service, 3 Sept. 1998, See also Wayne Madsen, Questionable Ties, In These Times,12 Nov. 2001 )

Bin Mahfouz is suspected to have funnelled millions of dollars to the Al Qaeda network.(See Tom Flocco, 28 Aug. 2002)

Now, "by sheer coincidence", former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean, the man chosen by President Bush to lead the 9/11 commission also has business ties with bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi.

Thomas Kean is a director (and shareholder) of Amerada Hess Corporation , which is involved in the Hess-Delta joint venture with Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia (owned by the bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi clans).

Delta-Hess "was established in 1998 for the development and exploration of oil fields in the Caspian region...In Azerbaijan Delta Hess is involved in the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli PSA (2.72%) and the Garabaghli-Kursangi PSA (20%). It is also an equity holder in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline":

"An air of mystery hangs over Delta- Hess, which... is registered in the Cayman Islands. Hess is in no hurry to reveal the terms of the alliance, which it says are subject to confidentiality clauses. 'There's no reason why this should be public information,' a Hess spokesman says." (Energy Compass, 15 Nov. 2002)

Coincidentally, the former Governor of New Jersey is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, together with another prominent member of the board of directors of Amerada Hess, former Secretary of the Treasury Nicholas Brady.

In other words, Delta Oil Ltd. of Saudi Arabia --which is a partner in the Hess-Delta Alliance--is in part controlled by Khalid bin Mafhouz, Osama's brother in law.

And former Governor Thomas Kean not only sits on the board of directors of a company which has business dealings with Khalid bin Mahfouz, he also heads the 9/11 Commission, which has a mandate to investigate Khalid's brother in law, Osama bin Laden.

Dr. Kissinger had a conflict of interest and resigned! The vice chairman of the Commission, former Sen. George Mitchell of Maine, resigned for the same reason. (See Xymphora, 19 Dec 2002 )

Now you would think that being a business partner of the brother in law and alleged financier of "Enemy No. 1" would also be considered a bona fide "conflict of interest", particularly when your mandate --as part of the 9/11 Commission's work-- is to investigate "Enemy No. 1".

And the corporate media applauds. Without acknowledging his Saudi business connections, Thomas Kean is heralded as "a man of extraordinary integrity, decency and intellect." In the words of the Baltimore Sun: "he lacks obvious conflicts of interest" (26 Dec.2002). To which I respond: "how more obvious can you get"!

It is also worth mentioning that Thomas Kean also sits as co-chairman of the Homeland Security Project (HSP) under the auspices of the Century Foundation. In this capacity, Kean has played a key role in the draft recommendations of the Century Foundation, which laid the groundwork of the Office of Homeland Security legislation. [...]

Flashback: Bush Snr. met with Osama's brother on 9/11

Sunday June 16, 2002

[...] Yesterday Texas, today Washington, tomorrow the world. With Bush family business back home in the US presidency, it now moves, in the form of the father, to the apex of global finance. The Carlyle Group defines the next phase of power: a Washington-based private equity fund with a difference. It is headed by Frank Carlucci, former CIA director and defense secretary under Ronald Reagan and lifelong friend of George Bush Sr. Bush (also once director of the CIA) sits next to Carlucci on the board with a portfolio specialising in Asia and does not hesitate to communicate with his son on concerns of regional relevance to Carlyle such as Afghanistan or the Pacific Rim. Bush Jr was once chairman of a Carlyle subsidiary making in-flight food.

On Carlucci's other flank is the ubiquitous James Baker III. Chairman of Carlyle Europe is John Major. The group's new asset management is headed by Afsaneh Beschloss, former treasurer of the World Bank. Carlyle has grown quickly to be worth some $12bn, specialising in energy and defence, with particular attention to the oil-producing Gulf states. Among its most eager investors is Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to Washington and his father Prince Sultan, the kingdom's defence minister. The group's most spectacular recent coup was to reap $400m in a stock sale of its subsidiary United Defence Industries, maker of the Crusader artillery system which most military experts argued was redundant, but which won $470m in development money from the Pentagon and whose future in the US arsenal still hangs in the balance after a series of recent meetings between Carlucci and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Within a month of 11 September last year, Carlucci was meeting with Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, and 10 days later offered an assessment which exactly predicted the endless-war scenario: 'We as Americans,' he said, 'have to recognise that terrorism is more or less a permanent situation.'

'What's the secret?' chided William Conway, a co-founder of the group. 'I don't think we have any secrets. We are a group of businessmen who have made a huge amount of money for our investors.' 'I never bought into this conspiracy theory about the Bush family, the energy companies or the Carlyle Group,' says Michael King, seasoned political editor of the Austin Chronicle , who has observed the phenomenon for decades. 'It is perfectly clear what they're aiming at from what they do in public: managing the global economy to their own advantage, and doing a pretty good job of it.'

On 11 September, while Al-Qaeda's planes slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Carlyle Group hosted a conference at a Washington hotel. Among the guests of honour was a valued investor: Shafig bin Laden, brother to Osama.

Comment: Could it be any clearer? The 9/11 government line is a complete and unadulterated LIE! This is no conspiracy theory, these are cold hard facts...

L'Etat, C'est Moi

By Brian Morton
Baltimore City Paper
December 3, 2003

My father, a retired career foreign service professional with more than 30 years of nonpartisan government service behind him, pointed out something a while back that took a little while to sink in here at Animal Control. He noted that, given the actions of the current administration and the political party to which it belongs, it becomes hard to call it on some of its activities and statements without sounding like you've gone off the deep end.

Ordinarily, anyone making the claim that the United States is slowly creeping toward becoming a police state would be expected to be seen wearing the latest in old holey garbage bags, surplus-store combat boots, and carrying a sign proclaiming the imminent demise of the planet. But when John Ashcroft is attorney general, these things aren't solely the province of the mentally ill. Much as this administration enjoys doing whatever it wishes, without the inconvenience of answering questions posed to it via regular presidential press conferences, the attorney general actually goes out and takes it to those who dare question him--albeit, like all the rest of the administration, in front of friendly audiences only. Leader of the "if you're not with us, you're with the terrorists" brigade, Attorney General Ashcroft has made selective prosecution something of an art form in recent years.

Just this week, the St. Petersburg, Fla., Times noted in an editorial that "Ashcroft has made it a centerpiece of his Justice Department to pursue capital charges against defendants in places where the death penalty is rarely invoked." Then there's the fact that, while the case of the outing of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame slowly vanishes into the limbo of time, the Ashcroft Department of Justice uses an obscure, circa-1872 maritime law to dredge up a case, 15 months after the so-called crime, against the ecological activist group Greenpeace for a nonviolent protest.

As The Miami Herald noted in October, six activists participating in the protest off the Florida coast pleaded no contest to the federal charges levied against them in April '02, were sentenced to time served and fined, and that was that. But this Justice Department couldn't leave well enough alone when it comes to liberal activist groups that disagree with the Bush administration, especially when the activists do something as subversive as hang a sign on a boat saying president bush: stop illegal logging. So the marching orders come down, like a chant at a football game--"hit 'em again, harder." The local U.S. attorney got a grand jury to come at the protesters yet again, this time on the 19th-century charge of "sailor-mongering." Don't ask.

Yet when our nation's undercover assets are exposed for the reasons of political retribution, likely coordinated at the highest levels of the White House--possibly by a man, Karl Rove, who himself served as a political adviser to Ashcroft during his political campaigns--is there a concerted effort to track down and find the felons? In a word, no.

Another example? Take Brett Bursey, a Columbia, S.C., man who is being prosecuted by U.S. attorneys for protesting an October 2002 visit by the president to his town. State officials dropped their charges soon after arresting Bursey for not moving to the "designated free speech zone" -- leading us to believe that wherever the president speaks is not a free-speech zone -- but five months later the feds decided to press charges, and Bursey's case went to court in November. A U.S. magistrate is to decide on his case sometime this month.

Secret trials with no access to attorneys or the evidence against the charged? That's Jose Padilla, Ashcroft's Osama bin Laden proxy. Padilla, born in the Bronx, was arrested last year in Chicago for allegedly being part of a "dirty bomb" plot--yet official charges have never been filed, and he has sat in a South Carolina Navy brig ever since. The case against him, made in a 16-page memo by a Defense Department official, admits that sources aren't telling the whole story. But this is John Ashcroft's America, where--like under Reagan-era Attorney General Edwin Meese--if you weren't guilty, you wouldn't be a suspect. So despite being as American as you or me, for Padilla, constitutional rights do not apply.

Further, this is a Justice Department with a poor batting average on this issue: After Sept. 11, 2001, it locked up more than 700 foreign nationals on immigration charges, claiming they were "of interest" regarding the terrorist attacks. In the end, not a single detainee was charged with crimes pertaining to that day, and to date nearly every single one has been cleared by the FBI of any link to terrorism.

Under this bunch, some feel the wrath of the law and some don't. So when Republican supporters break the rules, like last month when GOP staffers broke into Democratic Senate committee computers and released the memos they found there to partisan Fox News Channel talk-show hosts, don't be surprised if the incident goes nowhere.

John Ashcroft knows who his enemies are, and where he stands. After all, he is the law.

At least 40 dead in Russia train blast near Chechnya

Friday December 5, 6:02 PM

At least 40 people died and 180 were injured when a blast blamed on terrorists ripped through a Russian commuter train near the war-torn republic of Chechnya, two days before a national parliamentary election.

The interior ministry in Moscow said a suicide bomber was behind the blast, which was so powerful that it ripped one of the train's cars in half, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported Friday.

Another theory was that the blast was caused by a remote-controlled bomb placed on the train tracks, reported Rossiya television.

Television images showed one of the carriages as a mangled wreck of metal with shreds of bloodied clothing hanging from poking-out rods. The roof was collapsed, the windows blown out. The other train cars looked intact. [...]

Comment: Just yesterday, as reported on the Signs page, Powell warned Russia not to interfere in Georgia's newly formed administration. Perhaps the above is designed to make the point a little more clearly?

Georgia leaders worried by stability threat

By Tom Warner in Tbilisi
December 4 2003 23:51

Georgia's new leaders warned that they were facing a wave of attacks aimed at destabilising the country after a large bomb exploded outside the state television building late on Wednesday night.

There were no casualties, but the fact that it was the third apparently politically-motivated attack in Tbilisi in a week has jangled the nerves of the transition administration.

The bomb exploded while the Russian ambassador was inside the building taking part in a live broadcast and just ahead of a visit by Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, who is expected in Tbilisi today.

[...] But in a country where law enforcement has traditionally been weak and crime syndicates have frequently interfered in politics, there were worries that the country's new leadership could be facing a well-organised campaign that it was ill-equipped to deal with.

Washington's greatest worry is that Russia could use the apparent instability to increase the activity of its military forces based in four different regions of Georgia - the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the autonomous Adjara region and Javakheti, the largely ethnic Armenian region. Russia's ambassador said after Wednesday night's bombing that it "proved Georgia is unstable".

Georgian officials said Mr Rumsfeld's visit would have great symbolic impact. But discussions on how the US could actively assist Georgia in maintaining security are just beginning, they and US officials said.

Mr Rumsfeld is to meet Georgia's defence minister and visit a team of US special forces involved in a $64m train-and-equip programme, aimed mainly at helping the country deal with international terrorists and Chechen rebels who are sheltering in Georgia's mountains.

Rumsfeld arrives in Georgia

Friday December 5, 6:12 PM

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Georgia, becoming the most senior US official to visit the strategic Caucasus state since new leaders assumed power there after a bloodless revolution.

Rumsfeld was greeted by his Georgian counterpart David Tevzadze after his plane landed at the airport outside the capital of Tbilisi, according to AFP reporters on the scene Friday.

Rumsfeld's visit comes at a time when Moscow and Washington have renewed their Cold War-style rivalry for influence over Georgia, a country seen in the West as a crucial gateway for the export of oil from the nearby Caspian Sea to world markets.

Georgian authorities have laid on massive security for the Pentagon chief following a series of explosions in Tbilisi over the past 10 days which raised fears that the peaceful change of power could disintegrate into a violent counter-revolution.

"This is a very important visit," said Jemal Gakhokidze, Secretary of Georgia's Security Council. "We are controlling the situation. I do not think anything unexpected will happen."

Arafat expulsion spectre raised again

Thursday 04 December 2003, 18:23 Makka Time, 15:23 GMT

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat will be expelled from his Ram Allah headquarters if Israel is struck by a "mega-attack", Israeli Interior Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi has warned.

The hawkish Likud minister issued his warning on Thursday to the veteran leader after Israeli military sources said on Wednesday that an attack on a school in Israel had been foiled.

"Had the attack we foiled yesterday taken place, it is obvious that Arafat would no longer be in the region, in the Middle East," Hanegbi told military radio.

On 11 September this year, the Israeli cabinet passed a resolution allowing for the expulsion of the Palestinian leader, following two attacks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Sharon hit by rare US rebuke

By Reuters Fri 5 December, 2003 08:48

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon faces a rift with Washington over an unofficial peace plan he opposes and an opinion poll showing his popularity has dipped to its lowest point since he took office.

In another possible challenge to the right-wing leader, Sharon's deputy and political ally, Ehud Olmert, suggested in a newspaper interview Israel may have no choice but to give up most of the West Bank if it hopes to maintain a Jewish majority.

Stinging Sharon with his own veiled rebuke, U.S. President George W. Bush threw his weight on Thursday behind a meeting Secretary of State Colin Powell was to hold on Friday with the co-authors of a symbolic peace plan known as the Geneva Accord.

"I think it's productive," Bush said of the proposal by leading Israeli dove Yossi Beilin and former Palestinian minister Yasser Abed Rabbo.

[...) A Sharon aide suggested on Thursday that Washington would be interfering in domestic politics by giving a stage to the Geneva initiators, fanning a rare public argument between Israel and its closest friend.


A new opinion poll in Maariv newspaper showed the launch of the accord in Geneva on Monday had failed to rally support for the plan among Israelis.

The survey said 29 percent backed the pact, compared with 27 percent before its formal unveiling, and 45 percent opposed it.

Sharon's popularity in Israel, meanwhile, has slipped steadily since the collapse in August of a ceasefire Palestinian militants declared in June shattered a sense of security that had begun returning.

The Maariv poll found that only 33 percent of Israelis were satisfied with Sharon's performance as prime minister, compared with 59 percent who said they were dissatisfied. It was his lowest approval rating since his second term began in February.

Hamas-linked Canadian forced to confess, says lawyer

Last Updated Fri, 05 Dec 2003 5:47:10

JERUSALEM - Israel used psychological torture to obtain a forced confession from a Canadian man accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Canada, says his lawyer.

Israeli soldiers arrested 23-year-old Jamal Akel in Gaza in November. The Windsor, Ont. native's family says he travelled to the region to find a bride.

He faces prosecution in Israel for being a member of Hamas, the Islamic militant group responsible for suicide-bombings. Israel alleges Hamas recruited Akel to train him to carry out attacks on Jews and Israelis in North America.

Israel says he confessed to all this under interrogation. Akel denies all the allegations against him.

Akel's lawyer, Jamil Khateb, says the Israelis psychologically tortured his client by keeping him awake for 20 days. He was then forced to sign a confession written in Hebrew, a language he doesn't speak, said Khateb.

"They didn't let him sleep, all the time they asked him questions and I think because he got so tired…he didn't know what [answers] he had already given them," said Khateb.

Home of apartheid slams Israeli wall

Friday 05 December 2003, 0:34 Makka Time, 21:34 GMT

The president of the country that gave the world the word apartheid says Israel's "security fence" through the West Bank is an apartheid barrier that needs to be torn down.

"The wall is there to keep Arab and Jew apart." South African President Thabo Mbeki said in a message read to an audience marking the international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

"It has nothing to do with security or protection," he said. "It should be identified for what it is, an apartheid wall and it should be dismantled like apartheid had to be."

Report: Israel played key role in failed intelligence assessment before Iraq war

Al Bawaba

The mounting pressure inside the US and Britain for investigations into the intelligence failure prior to the war against Iraq "forgets there was a third senior partner to the assessment (that Saddam had WMD and the ability to deliver them) - and that third partner was Israel," a new report from Israel's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, written by Brig. Gen. (res.) Shlomo Brum, a former deputy commander of the Israeli Army's Planning Branch, said.

It appears Israel not only provided false intelligence to other Western intelligence agencies, but also played a crucial factor in pushing the US and its allies into launching a war against Saddam Hussein and his regime.

"Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by US and British intelligence about Iraq's non-conventional capabilities ... (and) the failures in the war in Iraq point to inherent failures and weaknesses of Israeli intelligence and decision makers. Similar failures could take place in the future if the issue is not fully researched, and the proper conclusions reached," Brum's report said. [...]

There was also damage to Israel's foreign relations, he added. "Foreign intelligence agencies could lose their faith in the intelligence assessments Israel provides, and foreign countries could suspect that Israel is providing false information meant to convince that foreign country to accept Israel's political positions."

Comment: Mossad providing false information? Perish the thought!

The exaggerated pre-war assessments, he added, could result "in a potential enemy concluding that if Israel as so terrified by such a marginal threat, it must have good reasons to be so scared." [...]

Comment: Perhaps Israel doesn't have a good reason to be scared of a "marginal threat". It is far more likely that Mossad has made and continues to make cold, calculated moves to further its goals. The question that the author fails to ask is: Who benefits?

Israel Vice Premier Discusses Borders

Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM - Israel's vice premier on Friday ruled out any chances of reaching an agreement with the Palestinians and said Israel will have to draw its own borders.

Ehud Olmert's comment in a newspaper interview came a week after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would take unilateral steps if peace talks with the Palestinians fail.

Olmert, who is considered close to Sharon, said unilateral steps are necessary because Israel is rapidly approaching the point where Arabs will outnumber Jews in areas under Israeli control. [...]

"I won't define the border," said Olmert, who served as Jerusalem mayor for 10 years. "I will just say that it will be based on a maximization of the number of Jews and a minimization of the number of Arabs inside the State of Israel." [...]

Israel's first Eskimo soldier

The Israeli army has inducted into its ranks one of the most unusual recruits in its history - an Eskimo girl from Alaska. [...]

US embarrassment over mistaken claim in Iraq

Friday 05 December 2003, 1:05 Makka Time, 22:05 GMT

The US has backtracked on its assertions that it captured the deputy of firebrand Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr.

The occupation troops’ deputy director of operations, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, had described the captive Sayed Amir Yassari as "operations director in Sadr City of Muqtada Sadr".

But in the face of strong denials from a Sadr spokesman that Yassari had any current position in his organisation, another US spokesman on Thursday backtracked on the accusations against the cleric, who has substantial support.

The report of a link between Yassari and Sadr was "speculation" based on "gossip from the street", said Captain Sean Kirley, spokesman for the 2nd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, which patrols the area.

[...] In Brussels, US Secretary of State Colin Powell called on NATO to take on a greater role in Iraq, saying the country's stability is critical for everyone.

Comment: "Uh, we got ourselves into kind of a mess here, and, er, we would really appreciate if you guys would bail us out. But, uh, you understand that we're in an election year, ummmm, and the cowboy can't let the American public in on the fact he made a mistake. Not that he made a mistake, that would be a mistake to think that he had made a mistake because it was all the CIA's fault. You're only as good as your intelligence, and the cowboy was short on intelligence..."

1,700 U.S. soldiers quit Iraq: French magazine

Kyodo News
Dec 04, 2003

PARIS -- One thousand and seven hundred U.S. soldiers have deserted their posts in Iraq, with many of them failing to return to military duty after getting permission to go back to the United States, according to the French weekly magazine Le Canard Enchaine.

The magazine, known for its satires and exposes, said the French intelligence agency obtained the information from what it described an "American colleague."

Citing a senior French official posted in Washington, the magazine also said that 7,000 U.S. soldiers have left Iraq allegedly due to psychological troubles and other illnesses.

Some 2,200 others sustained serious injuries including the loss of limbs, it said.

Not Enough Body Armor For US Troops

Do Americans Know the Score?

by Derrick Z. Jackson
Boston Globe

IN THE EARLY weeks of America's invasion of Iraq, Central Command spokesman Frank Thorp said, "We cannot look at combat as a scorecard."

This was because we did not count Iraqi military or civilian casualties. Until this week. Suddenly, the military is hawking scorecards, saying that 54 guerrillas have been killed.

The military now figures you can't tell who's winning the war without one.

In the great spirit of President "Bring 'em on" Bush, the military was back to lecturing the enemy as to how utterly superior we are. General Peter Pace, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: "They attacked, and they were killed. So I think it will be instructive to them." Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said: "Any enemy looking at eight tanks, four Bradley fighting vehicles, and 93 coalition soldiers and still decides to fight is making a dreadful mistake."

We Americans, of course, make no mistakes. "We take proper aim and fire at those firing at us," said Lieutenant Colonel Mike Consalves. "We don't indiscriminately engage. We engage people who are shooting and trying to kill us."

Our soldiers were so sure of their aim, they had no problem describing the gore. Specialist Sergio Silva told The New York Times how he literally blew apart a guerrilla with his Bradley cannon just before the guerrilla was about to fire a rocket-propelled grenade. "He just exploded," Silva said.

Enough of this proper aim. Since our invasion was a dreadful mistake based on lies (seen any weapons of mass destruction lately?), American scorecards are about as trustworthy as Vegas odds. Even the military admits the sudden interest in counting the bodies of Iraqi soldiers is a political ploy. It comes after the deadliest month for American soldiers since we commenced the bombing of Iraq. Eighty-one American soldiers perished -- more than the 65 in March or the 73 in April during the actual invasion.

The military did not want to count Iraqi soldiers or civilians who were killed for fear of humanizing the enemy. That boomeranged as the American bodies mounted. The number of US soldiers killed after Bush declared that major combat operations were over is currently 303, more than double the 138 of the invasion.

A senior military official told the Los Angeles Times that the new accounting of casualties is a "conscious change in policy." The official said: "We've been killing and capturing bushels of these guys, but no one was talking about it. . . . For a while there it was beginning to look like only Americans were being killed."

It is also clear that there will only be a scorecard when it looks like only Iraqis are killed. As vicious as the ambush was said to be, no Americans died.

The same official said: "We don't want to have a regular box score. As soon as you get into the body count business, it gets to look like the Super Bowl. That's not what we want."

When it has to be 54-0 before the government lets us know the score, it is no surprise to discover that this ploy may have as little credibility as the nation that issued it.

Iraqi doctors and civilians told American reporters a far different story of US soldiers shelling and riddling civilian houses, a mosque, a kindergarten, a minibus carrying Iranian pilgrims, and a pharmaceutical factory. People told reporters that American tanks randomly crushed Iraqi cars.

Satar Nasiaf, a shopkeeper who said he personally saw two civilians killed by American soldiers, said: "If I had a gun, I would have attacked the Americans myself. The Americans were shooting in every direction."

Saad Feisal, the brother of a mentally disabled brother who was wounded, asked, "This is the gift of Mr. Bush?"

Abdel-Rahman Abdel-Qadir, an official at a mosque where witnesses said a man and his son were killed, said, "Even in worship we're not safe from the Americans."

At least one woman who worked at the pharmaceutical factory was killed in the crossfire. An angry ambulance driver, Adnan Sahib Dafar, said: "Is this woman shooting a rocket-propelled grenade? Is she fighting?"

An elderly Iranian pilgrim was killed with shots to the head and chest. No one knows where the bodies of the 54 guerrillas went. The United States was not stopping to mop up, and the band of guerrillas was surely not anxious to take them to the local morgue.

The most tangible evidence of the United States was eight bodies at the local hospital, all civilians, according to local doctors. Two of the victims were under 18 years old.

The hospital did record a "54." It was the number of wounded who came to be treated.

Only 7.5 percent of Japanese favor early dispatch of troops to Iraq: poll

TOKYO (AFP) Dec 05, 2003

Only 7.5 percent of Japanese voters said Japan should send troops to Iraq as soon as possible, while one in three said troops should not be sent at all, according to a Kyodo News survey released late Thursday. [...]

The two diplomats, Katsuhiko Oku and Masamori Inoue, were gunned down last Saturday near the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit. Their Iraqi driver was also killed in the attack.

According to the Kyodo survey, an overwhelming 89.2 percent of respondents said Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had failed to sufficiently explain Japan's troop dispatch plan to support the reconstruction of Iraq. [...]

Comment: Two Japanese diplomats are gunned down in Iraq when there is poor support among the Japanese people for sending troops to Iraq. It seems that either the "terrorists" all over the world are incredibly stupid and enjoy continually shooting themselves in the foot, or we are all being manipulated.

Iraqis call for return of secret police

'We will use their own dogs to hound them'
Many of Saddam's ex-spies blamed for atrocities

Dec. 5, 2003. 06:28 AM

BAGHDAD—A security organization whose very mention turns many Iraqis catatonic with fear is quietly creeping back into the consciousness as the way to bring Saddam Hussein to his knees and put the country back on its feet.

At least four Iraqi political factions are now advocating the reformation of the Mukhabarat, the dreaded spymasters responsible for some of the most grotesque acts of human cruelty this side of Nazi Germany.

Such is the despair and frustration with the intelligence gap in postwar Iraq, where U.S.-led coalition efforts are widely seen as haplessly failing to foreclose on the futures of resistance leaders loyal to Saddam and foreign extremists in their midst.

"We will use their own dogs to hound them," Nabil Musawi, deputy director of the Iraqi National Congress, one of the backers of the drastic initiative, said yesterday in an interview with the Star.

"And why not? The Allies used Nazis to hunt down other Nazis after World War II ... I'm willing to deal with the devil in the short term if it can help my people."

Comment: And how useful these Nazis have been to the US elite. Mind control, ethnic specific weapons, biological arms, the space race.

Betrayel in the Ranks

The Denver Post

Thousands of women have been sexually assaulted in the United States military. Thousands more have been abused by their military husbands or boyfriends. And then they are victimized again.

This time, the women are betrayed by the military itself.

They are discouraged from reporting the crimes. Pressured to go easy on their attackers. Denied protection. Frustrated by a justice system that readily shields offenders from criminal punishment.

The women suffer for it.

Some cannot talk about what happened. They were killed by men whose violence was allowed to escalate. Other victims struggle with anger over a trusted system that betrayed them.

More than 50 women such as Beverly Kondel, Toni Walker and Iolanda Thompson, above from left, told The Denver Post their stories. [...]

Comment: Yet Rove makes a media spectacle out of Jessica Lynch, who is just on a temporary disability leave, and announces her every move, such as christening cruise ships, but the media keeps silent regarding the mysterious deaths of four of her "rescuers". The truth continues to leak out.

Transcript: U.S. OK'd 'dirty war' in Argentina

Thu, Dec. 04, 2003

New evidence suggests that Henry Kissinger gave the Argentine military 'a green light' in its 1970s-80s campaign against leftists.

BUENOS AIRES - At the height of the Argentine military junta's bloody ''dirty war'' against leftists in the 1970s, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the Argentine foreign minister that ''we would like you to succeed,'' a newly declassified U.S. document reveals.

The transcript of the meeting between Kissinger and Navy Adm. César Augusto Guzzetti in New York on Oct. 7, 1976, is the first documentary evidence that the Gerald Ford administration approved of the junta's harsh tactics, which led to the deaths or ''disappearance'' of some 30,000 people from 1975 to 1983.

The document is also certain to further complicate Kissinger's legacy, which has been questioned in recent years as new evidence has emerged on his connection to human-rights violations around the world -- including in Chile, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Kissinger and several top deputies have repeatedly denied condoning human-rights abuses in Argentina.


Among the 4,667 U.S. documents declassified by the State Department last year were diplomatic cables showing that the Argentine military believed it had Kissinger's approval. The information was requested by the families of the junta's victims and human-rights groups.

A transcript of the 1976 Kissinger-Guzzetti meeting was declassified recently under a Freedom of Information Request by the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington. The document was made available to The Herald on Wednesday and will be presented at a conference on U.S.-Argentine relations during the dirty war today in Buenos Aires.

''Look, our basic attitude is that we would like you to succeed,'' Kissinger reassured Guzzetti in the seven-page transcript, marked SECRET. "I have an old-fashioned view that friends ought to be supported. What is not understood in the United States is that you have a civil war. We read about human rights problems but not the context. The quicker you succeed, the better.''


''This is final, definitive evidence that Kissinger gave a green light to Argentine generals,'' said Carlos Osorio, director of the Argentina Documentation Project at the National Security Archive.

The Argentine military began its war against leftist guerrillas and suspected sympathizers in 1975, before taking power in a coup the following year. By the time of the conversation between Kissinger and Guzzetti, the machinery of murder and disappearances had received worldwide condemnation and the U.S. Congress was considering economic sanctions.

Guzzetti assured Kissinger that the ''struggle'' against ''terrorist organizations'' would be finished by the end of 1976. But a 1983 report by an Argentine truth commission showed that the killings accelerated in late 1976 and continued for two more years.

''This document is a devastating indictment of Kissinger's policy toward Latin America,'' said John Dinges, an assistant professor at Columbia Journalism School and author of The Condor Years, a book on military dictatorships in the Southern Cone due out in February."Kissinger actually encourages human-rights violations in full consciousness of what was going on.''

Comment: Can there be a human being alive that is anymore contemptible than Henry Kissinger? Well yes, probably quite a few, but we think Kissinger deserves an award, and we are not thinking Nobel Peace Prize.

And some will tell us that "there are no conspiracies"

Hollinger Investments Are Linked To Board's Perle and Kissinger

12:44 a.m. EST Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Hollinger International Inc. invested in a venture-capital fund and a conservative magazine linked to outside directors Richard N. Perle and Henry A. Kissinger, raising new questions about the board's independence in the wake of a widening financial scandal.

According to company filings and people familiar with the situation, Hollinger invested $2.5 million in a venture-capital firm that was co-managed by Mr. Perle and listed Mr. Kissinger as a board member.

Hollinger, a Chicago-based media company that owns the U.K.'s Telegraph Group, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Jerusalem Post, also invested $14 million in a British technology company that includes Mr. Perle and his business partner as shareholders. In addition, Hollinger gave $200,000 a year to the National Interest, a conservative publication that includes Mr. Perle, Mr. Kissinger and Hollinger's former chief executive, Conrad Black, as advisers.

There isn't any indication that any of the directors, including Messrs. Perle and Kissinger, did anything illegal. And neither Mr. Perle nor Mr. Kissinger served on Hollinger's audit or compensation committees. But the payments highlight the subtle financial relationships between companies and otherwise independent directors.

And the payments take on a starker light in the wake of investor accusations that the board stood by while Hollinger made large payments to Lord Black, who resigned as CEO last month, despite the company's flagging share price. [...]

More questions over Hollinger $9.5m payments

By Adrian Michaels and Stephanie Kirchgaessner in New York
December 4 2003 21:24

Conrad Black's deputy at Hollinger International arranged $9.5m (£5.5m) in tax-free payments to himself, Lord Black and two others by incorrectly telling the company's general counsel the money had been cleared by the board, investigators have been told. [...]

Global Eye -- Blood Kin

Chris Floyd
Friday, Dec. 5, 2003. Page XII

Imagine these banner headlines, circa, say, 1998: President's Brother in Biz With Red Chinese! President's Brother Beds Prostitutes as Corporate Perk! President's Brother Hip-Deep in War Profiteering: The More Blood His White House Sibling Spills, the Fatter the Family Coffers!

Hoo-boy! There would've been a hot time in the old media town with all that, eh? Wall-to-wall coverage, 24/7, Fox News frothing, Washington Post pounding, tabloids screaming -- "Oval Evil: Reds, Beds and Milking the Dead!" Earnest clucking in the halls of Congress: "We must get to the bottom of these unsavory connections." Late-night comics cracking wise: "Hey, when the president's brother orders Chinese, he ain't just talking chow mein: 'Yeah, I'll have the rice, the won ton, two blondes and a bag of unmarked bills, please.'"

But of course, that was another millennium. In our new, more enlightened age, we humbly accept -- even celebrate -- the special privileges accorded to the great ones among us. And so, with a couple of honorable exceptions, the big-time American media lay a nice soft comfy quilt of silence over last month's revelations about presidential brother Neil Bush -- details which emerged from the nasty divorce suit Neil brought upon himself by his flagrant adultery with a close family friend.

While others quilted, the Los Angeles Times and Houston Chronicle detailed Brother Neil's big "consulting" contract with Jiang Mianheng, son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Young Jiang and his well-connected Communist capitalists are paying Neil $2 million in stock for his "advice" on manufacturing high-tech computer circuits -- despite Neil's sworn oath that he has "absolutely no background" in the field. "But I've been working in Asia for a long time," he added.

He certainly has. Neil also admitted that he'd experienced carnal canoodling with several anonymous women during his business jaunts to Asia over the years. He told the divorce court that these brazen hussies had simply knocked on his hotel door, came in and had sex with him. These encounters were not emollients offered by the businessmen courting his favor and royal name, Neil insisted. Why, he's not even sure the women actually were prostitutes, because "they never asked for money and I didn't pay them." If it's true, as he swears under oath, that he didn't know why those women were there, then the best you can say about Brother Neil is that he is an idiot of the highest order.

But of course Neil is no idiot. He first entered the public eye for a sweet deal he pulled during the Reagan-Bush years. As a director of a Colorado savings-and-loan bank, he steered $100 million of homeowners' savings to his own business partners -- without telling his fellow directors of the personal connection. The partners defaulted, and Bush, using his family links to Argentine strongman Carlos Menem, tried to hide the scam in a bait-and-switch south of the border, as The Austin Chronicle reports. When the feds finally caught up with him in 1990, Bush had cost American taxpayers $1.3 billion in bailouts to cover his mismanagement. As the son of the sitting president, Neil could not possibly go to jail for stealing $100 million; the high-born don't do hard time. No, he was merely fined $50,000 and banned from all banking activities. Naturally, Neil didn't pay his own fine; fat-cat Republican fundraisers covered it for him.

We told you he was no idiot.

Now comes the sweetest deal of all -- enriched by the blood sugar seeping out from the bodies of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Yes, Neil has dipped his silver spoon into the reconstruction gravy being ladled out by his brother George, the White House warlord. Neil is now being paid a fat annual fee to "help companies secure contracts in Iraq," the Financial Times reports.

Bush is co-chairman of a pork funnel called Crest Investment Corporation. His partner, Syrian-American businessman Jamal Daniel, is wired into the chief private conduit of war profits, New Bridge Strategies, a lobbying firm packed with Bush family retainers, many of whom left government service this spring to leap into the Iraq money pit. As long as Brother George keeps tossing cannon fodder into the Iraqi cauldron, Brother Neil will keep padding his bulging Bush wallet.

Neil's sordid saga exemplifies the Bush clan's prime "family value": rake it in from all sides, blood and honor be damned. We've often noted here that Neil and George's grandpa, Prescott Bush, was a huge investor in the Nazi war machine, maintaining his profitable Hitlerian arrangements even after America was at war with Germany. Some of these assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act. But last month, newly uncovered government documents showed that Prescott and his partners, including Democrat bigwig Averill Harriman, secretly held on to more than a dozen other Nazi assets throughout the war, The New Hampshire Gazette reports.

Did anyone go to jail for these crimes? Of course not! Instead, Prescott founded a political dynasty that has used aggressive war, insider trading, covert operations, government corruption and sweetheart deals with virulently anti-democratic patrons (the bin Ladens, Saudi Wahhabi extremists, the Chinese Communist Party, cult leader Sun Myung Moon, etc.) to enrich themselves and their cronies.

If you have no honor, no integrity and don't care if people die to make you rich, why then, the world is just a nameless woman who shows up at your door unasked and lets you have your way with her. Right, Neil?

Dead Silence in the Brain: the CIA Assassination of John Lennon

Giscard: Better No EU Constitution Than Bad One

December 5, 2003

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who oversaw the drafting of a European Union constitution, warned Friday against attempts to redraw the charter, saying it would be better to have no deal than a bad one.

He spoke as EU leaders prepare for a crucial summit next week to finalize the constitution, meant to ensure the bloc can function effectively after it expands eastwards from 15 to 25 members next May and its population swells to 450 million.

"We would very much like to see the constitution adopted, but let's be clear about this, we would rather do without a constitution than have a bad one," he told European Parliamentarians and deputies from member states.

"A bad constitution would be a mutilated one."

Giscard warned some EU governments were trying to undo the work of the convention he headed and which drafted the treaty.

"History teaches us that bad constitutions, those which are felt to be unjust or ineffective by the citizens to whom they apply, lead to revolutions or rebellion," he added.

"In this particular case I don't think there will be any barricades being thrown up, but I do think we would see the gradual falling apart of the European Union," he said. [...]

Clean up corruption to win investment, blunt Chretien tells Africans

06:40 AM EST Dec 05

ABUJA, Nigeria (CP) - Prime Minister Jean Chretien had a blunt message for African business leaders seeking foreign investment and debt relief Thursday: clean up your act and manage your resources better.

Chretien's impromptu tough-love act came during a question-and-answer session following a speech to a Commonwealth business forum.

It provided a welcome, and well received, contrast to the diplomatic niceties being served up on the eve of the start of the Commonwealth heads of government meeting. Chretien was scheduled to meet the Queen and has arranged several other bilateral meetings with leaders.

[...] "Africa is very rich, I have no doubt on my mind," said Chretien.

"Two things: you have to have access to markets to sell your products. But you need good administration for the people to invest to develop business. You need political stability. Stop this bloody conflict that you have too often in some parts of Africa. You know, this is the reality, and the capital will come, I'm sure. But help yourself to succeed."

"I'm perhaps a bit blunt but I don't have to be elected here," he added, to laughter and applause.

Bush Steel Tariffs Move Avoids Trade War

Zimbabwe threatens to divide rich, poor nations at Commonwealth summit

06:40 AM EST Dec 05

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) - A 52-nation summit of Britain and its former colonies headed Thursday toward a split over an absent 53rd - Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe - with Britain's Tony Blair and Canada's Jean Chretien insisting the Commonwealth stand firm on Zimbabwe's suspension.

African leaders showed strong signs of going the opposite direction - three of them insisting that the bloc should lift its year-old ban on Zimbabwe.

[...] Blair, heading to Nigeria, left no doubt he would be happy to see Mugabe out entirely.

"I would like to see all regimes that oppress their people change," Blair told reporters. "But you have got to accept the limits of what you can and cannot do."

In the meantime, Blair said, world leaders - and Zimbabwe's neighbours in particular - have a responsibility to press for reform.

Comment: Gee, Tony, why don't you phone your good friend George and organise the invasion and occupation of Zimbabwe?

A "Bitter Decision" for Plutonium Plant Export to China

Despite political reservations, Foreign Minister Fischer has indicated he will decide in favor of exporting a German plutonium plant to China. There are "sometimes situations when one has to make bitter decisions," Fischer said on Thursday. Fischer stressed that in assessing the Chinese request it was essential to establish that military use of the facility would be impossible. He said that as an opponent of nuclear power he didn't think much of the plans to export the plant.

Wooing or Being Wooed in Central Asia

Chancellor Schröder wrapped up his Asian tour with a visit to Kazakhstan. The ink is now drying on half a billion euros worth of business deals in Astana, a city dubbed the capital by an authoritarian president.

Nursultan Nazarbayev has a particularly good vantage point. Not only does the Kazakh president run a country rich in oil, natural gas and coal, but since 9/11 the former Soviet republic has risen to strategic importance as a partner in the worldwide fight against terror. And Nazarbayev is now wooing Western countries to spend money in his state.

Oil cartel delays its decision on output cuts

By Carola Hoyos in Vienna
Published: December 4 2003 21:39 | Last Updated: December 5 2003 0:44

Opec on Thursday agreed to delay a further reduction in its output quota until February, when it will meet to discuss how to counter the expected seasonal drop in oil demand.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries expects a surplus of 2.4m barrels per day in the second quarter next year, when heating oil demand drops as the northern hemisphere winter ends.

Most members, including Saudi Arabia, the oil group's most influential member, expect the cartel to have to reduce its 24.5m b/d output ceiling early next year, probably at the February meeting, which will be held in Algiers.

Flu spreads across US, at least 11 kids dead 2003-12-05

[...] The flu is being blamed for the deaths of at least six children in Colorado, three in Texas and one each in Oklahoma and New Mexico.

[...] More than 6,300 flu cases have been reported in Colorado, more than in the previous two years combined. North Dakota has tallied 292 flu cases so far, compared to just two this time last year.

[...] Most of the outbreak this fall has been a strain called A-Fujian-H3N2, which was not selected for this year's flu vaccine, according to the CDC. Health experts say the strain is closely related to the strain the vaccine targets, A-Panama-H3N2.

The high number of cases has prompted more people to seek flu shots this year.

Comment: So let's get this straight. Even if one were to think that flu vaccinations could do something, this year's outbreak is not covered by the shot! But as there are reasonable questions that can be posed regarding the very efficacity of the shots, not to mention the dangers, this whole thing stinks. What exactly are in these shots that people are being prodded to accept?

Influenza Reaches Record Proportions in Colorado

VOA News
04 Dec 2003

Health officials say influenza has reached record proportions in Colorado and caused at least five deaths.
Authorities say 6,300 people in Colorado were infected with the flu virus as of Wednesday. That represents an increase of 1,600 cases since Monday and is more than twice the total of cases for last year. Experts say they are concerned because it is still early - flu season generally doesn't peak until December or later.

At least five people, all children, have died in Colorado of flu complications. Authorities also suspect flu in several other deaths. [...]

US extends anti-terrorism program to border with Mexico 2003-12-05 13:08:59

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- The US Department of Homeland Security on Thursday extended to the US-Mexico border a key Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program to counter terrorism and facilitate trade.

The program, Free and Secure Trade (FAST), provides expedited CBP processing for companies that adopt CBP-approved security measures.

To be eligible for FAST treatment manufacturers, importers and carriers must participate in another CBP anti-terrorism program, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, under which companies develop and implement plans to enhance operational security.

By utilizing private sector resources and cooperation, FAST protects cross border commercial shipments from being infiltrated by terrorists and streamlines CBP processing of these shipments.

Stone warrior delights experts

By Paul Rincon
BBC News Online science staff

Archaeologists are delighted by a 2,500-year-old stone statue that offers a rare insight into life in western Europe before the Roman conquest.

The stone torso, unearthed at Lattes in southern France, is one of just a few detailed figurines considered to have been made by the ancient Celts.

The statue of a male warrior wears a style of armour worn in Spain and Italy and was life-size when it was complete.

The "Warrior of Lattes" is described in the scholarly journal Antiquity.

[...] The style of armour worn by the warrior is similar to that found in graves and on statues associated with the Iberian culture of ancient Spain. However, the Iberians may have adopted this style of armour through links with Italy.

This is unusual because the people of the eastern Languedoc region of France, where the statue was found, are generally thought to have had a Celtic culture, different from people from the Iberian zone to the west.

Reagan 'unable to walk or talk'

Former US President Ronald Reagan can no longer walk or talk and is rarely awake, his daughter has said.

[...] Ms Davis told People magazine that Mr Reagan spends his days in bed or occasionally in a wheelchair.

"When he is awake, which is not that often, he can gaze at the trees outside the window," Ms Davis wrote.

Nobel loser launches ad campaign

A medical scientist who claims that he has been unfairly overlooked for the Nobel prize has taken full-page adverts in newspapers to press his case.

US expert Dr Raymond Damadian says he played a key part in the development of MRI scanners - which can detect disease - from the 1970s onwards.

However, two other MRI scientists, one from the UK, were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

The UK press adverts call for readers to write to the Nobel Assembly in Sweden to right this "shameful wrong."

The adverts have already appeared in high profile US newspapers since the announcement of the Nobel laureates two months ago.

Comment: An American embarrassment...

Mystery oak killer hits UK trees

By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent

A disease which has destroyed many thousands of Californian oaks has been found for the first time in several well-loved British tree species.

It is a fungus called sudden oak death, and till now it had been found only in UK shrubs and a tree native to the US.

But the Forestry Commission says the disease has now struck beech, horse chestnuts and holm oaks in Cornwall.

There is no known cure for the disease, which kills the trees' bark and is thought liable to affect other species.

The fungus, known as Phytophthora ramorum, has killed 80% of one oak species in the western US.

[...] But the disease did not appear in a British tree until November, when it was identified in a southern red oak in Sussex - a tree imported from the US.

Comment: Hmmmm. A disease that has been killing oaks in the US is now hitting Britain. And it arrived in November. Coincidence? We think not.

Medical journal calls for total UK smoking ban

Press Association
Friday December 5, 2003

A leading medical journal today called for an outright ban on smoking and cigarettes, a demand described as "health fascism" by smokers' groups.

An editorial in the Lancet argued that 80% of people in the UK were non-smokers, saying they had "the right to freedom from exposure to proven carcinogens".

An estimated 1,000 people die in Britain each year from inhaling second-hand tobacco smoke, the editorial claimed. It warned that passive smoking not only killed, but also made it harder for smokers to quit.

The journal cited a report by the Royal College of Physicians, which estimated that, if all workplaces in the UK became smoke-free, 300,000 more people would give up the habit. That move alone, the report said, would save 150,000 lives.

The Lancet suggested that an aggressive taxation policy was not enough to put people off smoking, arguing that price was not the main factor in whether or not they should give up the habit.

"Availability and acceptability are more important," it said. "If tobacco were an illegal substance, possession of cigarettes would become a crime and the number of smokers would drastically fall.

"Cigarette smoking is a dangerous addiction. We should be doing a great deal more to prevent this disease and to help its victims. We call on Tony Blair's government to ban tobacco."

Bans on smoking in public places had already been introduced in parts of the US and Canada, Thailand, and southern Australia, the Lancet said. Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands were introducing bans on smoking in workplaces or inside public areas next year.

In Britain, the government had said that more had to be done to persuade the public of the merits of a ban, but this was questioned by the Lancet.

The journal said that ordinary citizens were better at facing facts than the government, "perhaps because the UK public does not have to consider directly the £9.3bn per year raised in tax revenue on tobacco".

Compared with that figure, the £1.5bn that smoking-related diseases cost the NHS each year seemed "paltry", it added. Last month, the heads of the 18 Royal colleges of medicine wrote a letter to the Times, in which they condemned the government's failure to introduce legislation banning smoking in public places.

Comment: Now the idea that our "benevolent" governments ever do anything that is really in the interest of the people has already been debunked. So why would they want to dissuade people from smoking? Indeed, it seems that this is an international campaign with Yahoo displaying popup advertisements that associate smoking with stupidity. So what's so bad (or good) about smoking?

Cracks in Earth's Magnetic Shield

Immense cracks the size of California in our planet's magnetic field can remain open for hours, allowing the solar wind to gush through and power stormy space weather.

Dec. 3, 2003

Earth is surrounded by a magnetic force field--a bubble in space called "the magnetosphere" tens of thousands of miles wide. Although many people don't know it exists, the magnetosphere is familiar. It's a far flung part of the same

planetary magnetic field that deflects compass needles here on Earth's surface. And it's important. The magnetosphere acts as a shield that protects us from solar storms.

According to new observations, however, from NASA's IMAGE spacecraft and the joint NASA/European Space Agency Cluster satellites, immense cracks sometimes develop in Earth's magnetosphere and remain open for hours. This allows the solar wind to gush through and power stormy space weather.

"We've discovered that our magnetic shield is drafty, like a house with a window stuck open during a storm," says Harald Frey of the University of California, Berkeley, lead author of a paper on this research published Dec. 4 in Nature. "The house deflects most of the storm, but the couch is ruined. Similarly, our magnetic shield takes the brunt of space storms, but some energy slips through its cracks, sometimes enough to cause problems with satellites, radio communication, and power systems."

"The new knowledge that the cracks are open for long periods can be incorporated into our space weather forecasting computer models to more accurately predict how our space weather is influenced by violent events on the Sun," adds Tai Phan, also of UC Berkeley, co-author of the Nature paper.

The solar wind is a fast-moving stream of electrically charged particles (electrons and ions) blown constantly from the Sun. The wind can get gusty during violent solar events, like coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which can shoot a billion tons of electrified gas into space at millions of miles per hour.

Earth's magnetosphere generally does a good job of deflecting the particles and snarled magnetic fields carried by CMEs. Even so, space storms and their vivid effects, like auroras which light up the sky over the polar regions with more than a hundred million watts of power, have long indicated that the shield was not impenetrable.

In 1961, Jim Dungey of the Imperial College, United Kingdom, predicted that cracks might form in the magnetic shield when the solar wind contained a magnetic field that was oriented in the opposite direction to a portion of the Earth's field. In these regions, the two magnetic fields would interconnect through a process known as "magnetic reconnection," forming a crack in the shield through which the electrically charged particles of the solar wind could flow.

In 1979, Goetz Paschmann of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany detected the cracks using the International Sun Earth Explorer (ISEE) spacecraft. However, since this spacecraft only briefly passed through the cracks during its orbit, it was unknown if the cracks were temporary features or if they were stable for long periods.

In the new observations, the Imager for Magnetopause to Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) satellite revealed an area almost the size of California in the arctic upper atmosphere where a 75-megawatt "proton aurora" flared for hours. A proton aurora is a form of Northern Lights caused by heavy solar ions striking Earth's upper atmosphere, causing it to emit ultraviolet light--invisible to the human eye but detectable by the Far Ultraviolet Imager on IMAGE. While this aurora was being recorded by IMAGE, the 4-satellite Cluster constellation flew far above IMAGE, directly through the crack, and detected solar wind ions streaming through it.

This stream of solar wind ions bombarded our atmosphere in precisely the same region where IMAGE saw the proton aurora. The fact that IMAGE was able to view the proton aurora for more than 9 hours implies that the crack remained continuously open. Researchers estimate that the crack was twice the size of Earth at the boundary of our magnetic shield--about 38,000 miles (60,000 km) above the planet's surface. Since the magnetic field converges as it enters the Earth in the polar regions, the crack narrowed to about the size of California down near the upper atmosphere.

Fortunately, these cracks don't expose Earth's surface to the solar wind. Our atmosphere protects us, even when our magnetic field doesn't. The effects of solar storms are felt mainly in the high upper atmosphere and the region of space around Earth where satellites orbit.

Record breaking neutron stars stun experts

Bob Beale
ABC Science Online

The discovery of the fastest-orbiting pair of neutron stars ever found has raised hopes that a key mystery of fundamental physics, the existence of gravitational waves, can be solved. [...]

Comment: The article continues with:

"According to Albert Einstein's decades-old theory, a merger like that would throw off a massive burst of gravitational waves. [...] Despite hundreds of millions of dollars being spent around the world on various instruments designed to pick up such wave activity reaching Earth from space, none has yet been detected directly."

And no one dares to ask if perhaps the conclusions from the theory are wrong?

Storm bringing snow to Northeast

Friday, December 5, 2003 Posted: 0452 GMT

(AP) -- Meteorologists predicted a storm that dropped up to 5 inches of snow on the Mid-Atlantic states Thursday would move toward the Northeast into the weekend.

Meteorologists said 12 inches of snow could hit parts of the East Coast this weekend with winds of 50 mph, according to Reuters.

"For early December, it's a heck of a storm," Joe Bastardi, meteorologist with AccuWeather, told Reuters. "This is a major nor'easter," he said.

"This could be the worst storm since December of 1981 when we had 10 to 20 inches of snowfall whipped by high winds." [...]

Study: Massive Pacific Quake to Come?

Larry O'Hanlon
Discovery News

Dec. 4, 2003 &#821