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December 14, 2003

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So they finally have Saddam - again. His capture is in all likelihood a staged farce. Previous reports indicate that Saddam has been in US custody, or they have known exactly where he was for many months. This seems like pure propaganda for the benefit of the world public.

Now that the country has descended into chaos, has become the rallying point for Moslems with a grievance against US imperialism, become the heart of terror that Bush proclaimed it was before the invasion and occupation, only Bush and his advisors could imagine the capture of the old tyrant will change a thing.

Many Iraqis were genuinely happy to see him toppled. The Arab neighbors were happy to see him toppled. The countries that opposed the invasion were happy to see him toppled. But that is old news.

His capture does not change today's facts. Iraq is an occupied land. It is being run as a division of Halliburton. The fighting continues. The capture of Saddam does not change this one bit. His old police are back in place using the same methods to counter resistance to the occupiers as they did to counter dissent against Saddam. Rumsfeld continues to make trips to Baghdad to shake the hand of the leader.

The same day Bush's alter ego was taken, another 16 people died in an explosion in a police station.

The depleted uranium that has crippled and mutilated tens of thousands of Iraq children is still in place, with an ongoing effectiveness that will continue long after everyone on the planet is dead and gone.

Karl Rove will make certain the video and sound bites play to the masses in the US, portraying the heroic leadership of El Commandante Bush in the face of the stubborn resistance of Old Europe, and repeating the words of Madeleine Albright: "It was worth it."

The puppets in place in Baghdad are already predicting an improvement:

Jalal Talabani, Iraqi Governing Council member and head of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan:

"With the arrest of Saddam the financial resources feeding terrorists have been destroyed and his arrest will put an end to terrorist acts in Iraq,"

Amar al-Hakim, member of the Central Council of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq:

"The Iraqi nation is happy and the sound of gunfire indicates the Iraqi's people's joy and happiness. His arrest will put an end to military and terrorist attacks and the Iraqi nation will achieve stability. We want Saddam to get what he deserves. I believe he will be sentenced to hundreds of death sentences at a fair trial because he's responsible for all the massacres and crimes in Iraq."

We are not so sanguine.

We think the capture of Saddam will mean nothing for the daily welfare of the Iraqi people. A moment of celebration, a trial where the collective angst of his rule can be exorcised, and the effects of the depleted uranium, bombings, and civil war will go on.

We are not so convinced this news item is a coincidence: the Telegraph has an exclusive today that they received a "document" confirming Mohammed Atta's involvement with none other than - Saddam Hussein! The Telegraph mysteriously manages to ignore plenty of documentation linking Mohammed to the White House on 9/11. Anyone remember the Niger document fraud? Probably very few, if they knew about it at all.

Other Signs of the Times today: Negotiations over the EU Constitution broke down Saturday night. France and Germany are talking about a "fast-track," leaving behind the lap-dogs of the Bush trainer. How will Tony muscle his way in on this one?

Iran says it will sign the International Protocol on Nuclear Arms in the next few days. No word from Sharon when Israel will do the same.

The Afghanis are meeting to decide on their constitution. The current President wants to give himself all the powers of George the Second.

As more news surfaces about the despicable foreign policies of the Bush Reich, at least one American is talking about what went wrong in the US so long ago. The Blair government now says occupation of Iraq will end in July. Of course, the overt occupation is already being replaced with a covert one.

Floods in Costa Rica, scientists predict the flu outbreak will be worldwide and worst in America, another biologist dies who was conducting virus related research, yet another Bush story the media refuses to cover, more babble about NASA wanting to find aliens, more pharmaceutical industry lies targeting your children, and more climate woes.

Happy Saddam Sunday everyone.

Video of the captured Saddam Hussein.
Using the latest in advanced computer imaging software, the Signs team has enlarged the image.

Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein arrested 2003-12-14

Beijing/Baghdad (Xinhuanet) - Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was arrested by the US and Kurd forces in his hometown of Tirkrit, but the US officials in Washington said it still needs DNA tests to confirm it.

However, British Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a statement in London, confirming and welcoming the arrest.

Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, head of Iraq's interim Governing Council (IGC), also confirmed the news. Al-Hakim, who is visiting Madrid, said the suspect detained was Saddam. "A DNA test has already been carried out," he told a press conference in Madrid.

"I have the pleasure to announce on behalf of the Iraqi people that Saddam Hussein has been detained," he added.

Reports from Washington said that the US officials responded cautiously, only saying that the suspect may be Saddam and more DNA tests are needed to confirm it.

In Baghdad, Iraqis celebrated the capture of the former leader Saddam Hussein with gunfire.

Comment: "Ladies and gentlemen, today we, the US government, have great pleasure in announcing the greatest spectacle yet seen this side of the Tigris (after "shock and awe" that is). Saddam Hussein, the evil tyrant and arch enemy of freedom loving people everywhere has finally succumbed to the brave and noble efforts of "Operation Iraqi fun and games".

It was a precision operation, requiring months of preparation, involving dozens of casting directors, makeup artists, screenplay writers, media whores and 600 all-american Chuck Norris body doubles. With the crucial input of American big business and the willingness of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis to give up their expendable lives, we were able to secure the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, the souls of the our beloved US subjects and the fawning appreciation of the rest of the world.

A big thank you must go out to the patriots that were willing to suspend disbelief time and time again, despite the glaring truth staring them in the face, and keep the faith in the massive fraud and lie that the existence of the US government has come to represent. We certainly hope we can count on your continued cognitive dissonance as we bring the lies ever closer to home."

Saddam hid under vegetables 'like a rat'

December 14, 2003

Head of the Constitutional Monarchy Movement al-Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein said former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was hiding "like a rat" in a vegetable storage house when he was arrested.

"They (US soldiers) dragged him from under vegetables. He did not resist. He was hiding like a rat under vegetables.

"This is evidence that Saddam has nothing to do with the resistance taking place in Iraq," al-Hussein told al-Jazeera television.

He added that Saddam was hiding alone and was in a "terrible state" when he was arrested.

Comment: If he has had nothing to do with the attacks in Iraq, what cause is there for jubilation at his capture?

Saddam found in underground bunker

Dec. 14, 2003

In the end, Saddam Hussein was captured huddled in a dark underground bunker, bearded and unwashed. It was a humiliating end for the man who would rule Iraq with barbaric opulence for nearly 24 years [...]

Comment: So can we get a straight answer on where he was allegedly hiding? Was it a bunker? A spider hole? A vegetable warehouse? Or maybe it was at the local McDonald's where he had eluded troops for many months posing as Ronald Mc Donald.

Capture of Saddam involved 600 troops


The capture of Saddam Hussein involved a massive military operation in which US forces stormed the hiding place of the former Iraqi dictator.

About 600 soldiers were involved in Operation Red Dawn, which took place under the cover of darkness in the town of Ad Dawr, near Tikrit, last night.

Cavalry, engineers, artillery, aviation and special operations units were also deployed as the forces closed in on the man they had been seeking for eight months.

Details of the operation emerged as the commander of US forces – Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez – gave a detailed account of the successful mission to find the dictator.

He said the raid followed several months of intelligence gathered from sources, including Iraqi detainees.

The military operation began at 10.50am yesterday local time after US forces received a tip-off about the whereabouts of Saddam.

Two likely locations were identified near the town of Ad Dawr – they were named Wolverine 1 and Wolverine 2.

The First Brigade combat team from the 4th Infantry Division was then assigned a mission to kill or capture Saddam.

At about 6pm yesterday the mission got into full swing as troops positioned themselves north-west of Ad Dawr, and started moving towards the suspected locations.

After initial searches yielded nothing, soldiers cordoned off the areas and began to step up the hunt.

Coalition forces subsequently discovered a “suspicious location” north-west of Wolverine 2. The site was a small, walled compound with a metal structure and a mud hut with a spider hole.

As troops surrounded the compound, soldiers closed in on the hole, which was camouflaged with bricks and dirt.

Within minutes came the revelation the world had been waiting for – this hole was the hiding place of Saddam Hussein.

Comment: Readers should seriously consider the likelihood that every word of the above official account is a lie. The ridiculousness of this fairy tale is indeed beyond belief. It is pure, unadulterated theatrics.

This is Saddam, the once (and probably still) immensely wealthy, influential and powerful dictator that governed Iraq for decades, who undoubtedly made many contacts internationally, and we are expected to believe that he has spending the last 9 months in a hole in a wall!!?? Please! If you are not extremely insulted that the US government would attempt to pass off on the public such an blatant fabrication then there is something wrong with your reality reading instrument.

Saddam Hussein in U.S. hands; reportedly in good health, "cooperative"


Saddam Hussein, wearing a fake beard and burying himself in a cellar to hide from U.S. troops, was caught alive near his hometown of Tikrit.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him," U.S. top administrator L. Paul Bremer told a news conference Sunday. "The tyrant is a prisoner," Bremer added.

[...] Qanbar, basing his account on reports from members of the U.S.-led occupation authority, said Saddam had a salt-and-pepper beard when he was captured. Soldiers photographed him, shaved the beard and photographed him again before running DNA tests, he said.

Saddam Hussein is being "cooperative and talkative", Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq told the news conference in Baghdad.

"Saddam Hussein the captive is talkative and being cooperative," he said.

"The medical examination showed he had no injuries and is in good health," added Sanchez.

Comment: We remind readers of the recent press stories of the firefight in the Iraqi city of Samarra, where US forces claims of having killed dozens of Iraqi fighters were disputed by eyewitnesses who asserted that the only casualties were 8 civilians. That particular story bore all the hallmarks of a cover up, why should the story of Saddam's capture be any different?

Saddam was 'dishevelled and had long beard'


US raiders were not certain at first they had Saddam when they pulled a bearded man from a hole in a Iraq cellar, but soon were able to determine it was Saddam Hussein.

The Associated Press was shown documentary evidence that the person captured was Saddam Hussein. The evidence depicted Saddam as dishevelled and wearing a long beard.

Further evidence depicted Saddam with his trademark moustache but otherwise clean shaven.

One senior US official said scientific testing, possibly including DNA, was being done early Sunday morning to document Saddam’s identity.

The official said the captured man did not look like Saddam at first glance. The officials discussing identification methods did so only on condition of anonymity.

The military raids, in and near Tikrit, Saddam’s hometown, were based on fresh intelligence and were aimed at capturing Saddam, the officials said, and the man was captured in one of the targeted buildings.

"He was in a cellar of the building. His appearance was such that it made it not immediately certain you could say it was Saddam Hussein,” one senior US official said.

Comment: So first he was dishevelled with a long beard, then he was clean shaven, then it didn't look like him, but then it was really him. Ok, so they apparently shaved him, but check the second article above, is it really necessary to shave a false beard off someone?

Again we see that it is difficult to keep the story straight when the whole thing is a lie.

This is Bush's Christmas present to all the "patriotic" Americans who stuck with him and never lost faith. Just don't mention the fact that there are credible reports that the US spirited Saddam out of Iraq months ago, and were simply waiting for the best time to produce him. What a con!

The "capture" will be used to create the impression that the US has triumphed in their goal and the Iraq attack was therefore justified, forget about the fact that the reason for war was the existence of WMD not the mere existence of Saddam. Yet all of this will be lost on most of the masses. Most of them want everything to reflect their rosy view of the world, where no conspiracy theories ever exist, and they are only too happy to do the mental gymnastics to convince themselves that this is the case.

Needless to say, there will be much cheering and applauding from all the usual sycophants around the world, and Americans will have a bumper Christmas spending spree on the back of it. God is in his heaven and all is right with the world, or so they would have us believe...

Flashback: Iraqi Commander Swears he saw USAF fly Saddam out of Baghdad

Bill Dash - Alamo Christian Ministries Online

Film will soon be made public of an Iraqi Army officer describing how he saw a US Air Force transport fly Saddam Hussein out of Baghdad. The explosive eyewitness testimony was shot by independent filmmaker Patrick Dillon, who recently returned from a risky one-man odyssey in Iraq. In the film, the officer, who told Dillon that he commanded a special combat unit during the battle for Baghdad airport and whose identity is temporarily being withheld, explains in detail how he watched as the Iraqi dictator and members of his inner circle were evacuated from Iraq's capital by what he emphatically insists were United States Air Force cargo planes. [...]

Then early on the morning of April 9th, as the remnants of his unit were close to being overrun, a general cease-fire was unexpectedly declared for 6 AM. Shortly after it went into effect, and in broad daylight, the officer claims a motorcade of 10 Mercedes stretch limos suddenly barreled onto the airfield, carrying Saddam and his entourage. Almost simultaneously, a flight of what the officer asserts were four USAF Hercules transports swooped down and landed on the lone stretch of intact runway. All four C-130s dropped their rear loading ramps and the limos drove up into the cargo bays of the waiting planes, which then took off. The officer insists he has no idea where Saddam or any of the other members of his party may have gone. [...]

Flashback: Iran Media Leaks Secret US Deal with Saddam

Source: Gulf News Apr 15, 2003

AN Iranian news agency close to top conservative military figures attributed the fall of Baghdad to a secret tripartite agreement between Saddam Hussein, Russia and the US.

According to the Baztab agency, 13 days after the start of the war, Saddam and Russian intelligence allegedly pledged to hand over Baghdad with minimal resistance to allied forces provided they spared the lives of Saddam and a hundred of his close relatives. The US, for its part, promised to safely send Saddam and his entourage to a third country.

Baztab added that Mohammed Saeed Al Sahaf, Iraqi Information Minister, was instructed to stay in Baghdad until the very last moments to lend the impression that everything in Saddam's camp was under control. The agency also claimed that Russia gained $5 billion to orchestrate this agreement. [...]

Flashback: Pilger claims White House knew Saddam was no threat

September 23, 2003

Australian investigative journalist John Pilger says he has evidence the war against Iraq was based on a lie which could cost George W Bush and Tony Blair their jobs and bring Prime Minister John Howard down with them.

A television report by Pilger aired on British screens last night said US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice confirmed in early 2001 that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had been disarmed and was no threat.

But after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 that year, Pilger claimed Rice said the US "must move to take advantage of these new opportunities" to attack Iraq and claim control of its oil.[...]

Comment: So why should there be jubilation at the capture of Saddam? His arrest is worthless except for the false image of US success in Iraq that it portrays to the public.

The Proclamation of Baghdad

The following proclamation was issued to the inhabitants of Baghdad on March 19, 1917, by Lieut. General Sir Stanley Maude, shortly after the occupation of the city by British forces.

To the People of Baghdad Vilayet:

In the name of my King, and in the name of the peoples over whom he rules, I address you as follow:-

Our military operations have as their object the defeat of the enemy, and the driving of him from these territories. In order to complete this task, I am charged with absolute and supreme control of all regions in which British troops operate; but our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators. Since the days of Halaka your city and your lands have been subject to the tyranny of strangers, your palaces have fallen into ruins, your gardens have sunk in desolation, and your forefathers and yourselves have groaned in bondage. Your sons have been carried off to wars not of your seeking, your wealth has been stripped from you by unjust men and squandered in distant places.

Since the days of Midhat, the Turks have talked of reforms, yet do not the ruins and wastes of today testify the vanity of those promises?

It is the wish not only of my King and his peoples, but it is also the wish of the great nations with whom he is in alliance, that you should prosper even as in the past, when your lands were fertile, when your ancestors gave to the world literature, science, and art, and when Baghdad city was one of the wonders of the world.

Between your people and the dominions of my King there has been a close bond of interest. For 200 years have the merchants of Baghdad and Great Britain traded together in mutual profit and friendship. On the other hand, the Germans and the Turks, who have despoiled you and yours, have for 20 years made Baghdad a centre of power from which to assail the power of the British and the Allies of the British in Persia and Arabia. Therefore the British Government cannot remain indifferent as to what takes place in your country now or in the future, for in duty to the interests of the British people and their Allies, the British Government cannot risk that being done in Baghdad again which has been done by the Turks and Germans during the war. [...]

The report of the capture of Saddam Hussein sent stocks soaring on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Stock markets 'to soar on Saddam seizure'


Euphoria following the capture of Saddam Hussein is set to grip world markets tomorrow, driving London shares towards a 15-month high.

Traders are tipping the FTSE 100 Index to open 60 points ahead at 4407 with an even bigger rise in prospect on Wall Street as positive sentiment takes hold.

That would put both the Footsie and the Dow Jones Industrial Average on course for new highs in 2003.

London shares are set to move towards the 4410 mark it set at the beginning of the month but hopes are high of breaking past the 4449 high set on August 27 last year.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow is predicted to open 100 points up at 10,140 as it closes in on the 10,216 high it set in May last year.

Tom Hougaard, of financial bookmakers City Index, said the capture of the former Iraqi dictator would help lift some of the uncertainty that has been affecting world stocks since the September 11 terror attacks [...]

Terrorist behind September 11 strike was trained by Saddam

By Con Coughlin
The Telegraph

Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist.

Details of Atta's visit to the Iraqi capital in the summer of 2001, just weeks before he launched the most devastating terrorist attack in US history, are contained in a top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

The handwritten memo, a copy of which has been obtained exclusively by the Telegraph, is dated July 1, 2001 and provides a short resume of a three-day "work programme" Atta had undertaken at Abu Nidal's base in Baghdad.

In the memo, Habbush reports that Atta "displayed extraordinary effort" and demonstrated his ability to lead the team that would be "responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy".

The second part of the memo, which is headed "Niger Shipment", contains a report about an unspecified shipment - believed to be uranium - that it says has been transported to Iraq via Libya and Syria.

Although Iraqi officials refused to disclose how and where they had obtained the document, Dr Ayad Allawi, a member of Iraq's ruling seven-man Presidential Committee, said the document was genuine.

"We are uncovering evidence all the time of Saddam's involvement with al-Qaeda," he said. "But this is the most compelling piece of evidence that we have found so far. It shows that not only did Saddam have contacts with al-Qaeda, he had contact with those responsible for the September 11 attacks."

Although Atta is believed to have been resident in Florida in the summer of 2001, he is known to have used more than a dozen aliases, and intelligence experts believe he could easily have slipped out of the US to visit Iraq.

Abu Nidal, who was responsible for the failed assassination of the Israeli ambassador to London in 1982, was based in Baghdad for more than two decades. [...]

FLASHBACK: Secret Hearings Conceal 9/11 Terrorist Links to Congress & White House

by Tom Flocco
Centre for Research on Globalisation

While researching various sections of a related story surrounding growing evidence that the FBI and other government entities are more closely linked to pre-9/11 insider trading than previously was thought, it was found that the Secretary of State and two other State Department officials, the Central Intelligence Administration (CIA) Director, three senators, and a congressman actually met with Pakistanís Inter-Services Security Agency (ISI) chief, who had wired $100,000 to fund the operations of terrorist hijacker leader Mohammed Atta just prior to the attacks. But worse, actual evidence is available that the White House and CNN doctored the transcript of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Riceís damage control press conference, held at 4 pm that afternoon on May 18, 2001. [...]

FLASHBACK: Mahmoud Ahmad and The Secret Cult

Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Signs of the Times

[...] The existence of an ISI-Osama-Taliban-CIA-US government axis is a matter of public record. However, what was NOT expected - obviously - was the revelation by Indian intelligence - that the $100,000 bux was paid to Mohammed Atta on the orders of the guy having breakfast with Bob Graham - the same guy who was meeting with all the likely conspirators.[...]

Lethal car bombing in Iraq

Sunday 14 December 2003

At least 18 people have been killed and 29 others wounded in a car bomb explosion at an Iraqi police station in a town west of Baghdad.

A police lieutenant says 16 police officers are dead, as well as two civilians, including a seven-year-old girl.

The casualties from Sunday's explosion in Khalidiyah were taken to a hospital in Ramadi, 110km west of the capital, said hospital sources.

A Ramadi general hospital official said five of the injured are in a serious condition.bA US officer says there is "strong evidence" that the attack was a suicide bombing.

Black smoke billowed over the police station in Khalidiyah, 60 km west of Baghdad, as ambulances rushed to the scene and evacuated casualties.The US military said there were no casualties among occupation troops.

Comment: So what kind of Iraqi freedom fighters are killing their own people? The Israeli kind...

Detainees disabled in occupation custody

By Amal Hamdan
Sunday 14 December 2003, 12:43 Makka Time, 9:43 GMT

Three Arab detainees have been partially disabled after sustaining injuries while being held by occupation troops in Iraq, the ICRC has confirmed.

ICRC spokesman in Amman Kassis Muayin would not specify if the detainees, who were among eight Arabs released from Iraq, were being held by US or British troops.

But he admitted that the men were found "in a British military hospital in southern Iraq with severe injuries". He would not discuss the nature of the injuries.

US general to review pay after army walkout

December 13 2003 at 04:30PM
By Michael Georgy

Baghdad - The top US general in Iraq said on Saturday he would rethink the Iraqi army pay structure after a wave of recruits quit the new force over low salaries.

His remarks came after a bomb killed a US soldier west of Baghdad, the latest in a series of deadly attacks that have increased domestic pressure on the US administration over Iraq and led it to accelerate plans to hand power over to Iraqis.

Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez acknowledged soldiers who quit over salaries of $150 monthly for senior officers may have a legitimate grievance.

Ayoon wa Azan (Extreme Arrogance)

Jihad Al Khazen Al-Hayat 2003/12/14

President Bush banned the countries that opposed the war on Iraq from participating in the reconstruction, then he commissioned former Secretary of State James Baker to go to these same countries and ask for their assistance in writing off Iraq's external debts.

This comes off as extreme arrogance, but it does not come from the president, but from the deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who confected a memo claiming that 63 states had the right to participate in the bidding for 26 major contracts totaling the sum of $6.18 billion; France, Germany and Russia were not included in the list, because of their opposition to the war, and under the excuse that this exception was detrimental to U.S. security interests.

Naturally, this statement is added arrogance, since this exception neither protects nor threatens American security, but Wolfowitz had to add this claim because U.S. federal law itself states that if tenders are not made in a "complete and open" manner, the reasons must be clearly explained. So Wolfowitz had to come up with this lame excuse, and in support of the deputy secretary of defense, President Bush said that he was doing a great job to make the world a safer and better place.

Its is clear to everyone that what Wolfowitz and his allies in the administration are doing is in fact destroying security, and the world is no safer place today than it was before the 9/11 attacks; rather, the American war on terror has contributed to scattering these terrorist gangs around the globe, instead of having them centralized within Al Qaeda in Afghanistan; and Saddam Hussein was overthrown for reasons that varied between complete lies and complete wrongs. And while the Iraqis, the Arabs and the entire world population hailed his defeat, the resistance still goes on and there doesn't seem to be any prospects for peace.

[...] When a legitimate government, elected by the Iraqi people, is formed, it will no longer be compelled to pay the loans of the former regime. I had already discussed a study prepared by two Harvard professors, who explained very clearly that a legitimate regime is not bound by the loans of the former illegitimate one, especially if these loans were not spent on improving the conditions of living of the citizens. There are historical precedents to this, including the United States itself when it supported Cuba, when the latter was released from the Spanish colonialist rule.

I don't think the new Iraq will pay anything, and Russia seems to know this; this is why it is accepting to write off its loans, estimated at $8 billion, in exchange for maintaining the contracts it had with the former regime, including the contract of leasing the giant oilfield West of Qurnah.

The same old racket in Iraq

To the victors, the spoils: Bush's colonialism will only deepen resistance

Tariq Ali
The Guardian
Saturday December 13, 2003

Iraq remains a country of unbearable suffering, the sort that only soldiers and administrators acting on behalf of states and governments are capable of inflicting on their fellow humans. It is the first country where we can begin to study the impact of a 21st-century colonisation. [...]

The state facilities that were so carefully targeted with bombs and shells have now to be reconstructed, but this time under the aegis of private firms, preferably American, though Blair and Berlusconi, and perhaps plucky Poland too, will not be forgotten at handouts time. [...]

The secret plan to privatise the country by selling off its assets to western corporations was drafted in February this year and surfaced in the Wall Street Journal, which helpfully explained that "for many conservatives, Iraq is now the test case for whether the United States can engender American-style free-market capitalism within the Arab world". [...]

Iraq's state-run health service, which, prior to the killer sanctions, was the most advanced in the region, is now being privatised, courtesy of Abt Associates, a US firm specialising in privatisations that has clearly been forgiven its record of "invoice irregularities" by its Washington patron. Its first priority is instructive. It has demanded armoured cars for its staff.

Khudair Abbas, the orthopaedic surgeon from Ilford and "minister for health" in the puppet government, was recently in London boasting of the state-of-the-art hospitals they would soon build to create a "two-tier health system". Sound familiar? [...]

Bush Drops the Mask: They Died for Halliburton

December 11, 2003

The mask came off this week. George "No More Beating Around The" Bush came right out and admitted it, on camera no less. American soldiers have died in Iraq, and are still dying, said the Commander-in-Chief, so that Halliburton, Bechtel and other corporate contributors to his campaign can make money.

When it came down to money, Bush dropped all pretense. He blatantly didn't care whether he looked like a villain or a weeping clown.

"It makes sense," said the Selected One, for "countries that have risked lives" to "have the benefit" from the contracts to rebuild Iraq. [...]

"Friendly coalition folks risked their lives, and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that, and that's what the US taxpayers expect," Bush said.

(No, Mr. President. What US taxpayers expect is a legitimately elected government, a president with some integrity and intelligence, a congress with some courage, clean air to breath and water to drink, a functioning economy, a foreign policy that doesn't make us cringe when we think about it ....) [...]

Pentagon warned Halliburton-KBR on "dirty" food service: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) Dec 13, 2003

The Pentagon repeatedly warned contractor Halliburton-KBR that the food it served to US troops in Iraq was "dirty," as were as the kitchens it was served in, NBC News reported Friday.

Halliburton-Kellogg Brown and Root's promises to improve "have not been followed through," according to a Pentagon report that warned "serious repercussions may result" if the contractor did not clean up, the television network reported.

The Pentagon reported finding "blood all over the floor," "dirty pans," "dirty grills," "dirty salad bars" and "rotting meats ... and vegetables" in four of the military messes the company operates in Iraq, NBC said, citing Pentagon documents. [...]

Comment: The more details that emerge, the more clear it becomes that the Bush Reich cares nothing for the soldiers who fight their Commander in Chief's wars. And yet it seems most Americans still will not even entertain the possibility that we have all been had. The bigger the lie...

"A vanished dream"

By John Brand, D.Min., J.D. Columnist
Wednesday, December 10, 2003

( – The time was a balmy spring Sunday afternoon in Vienna, Austria in 1936. The incident took place in front of the Bristol Hotel across the street from the Vienna Opera House. The tableau consisted of two groups of people. In the first were several American tourists. The other group consisted of several Austrian boys and girls, including myself. We were on a chaperoned Sunday afternoon stroll along the Ringstrasse.

We knew that the members of the first group were Americans. Their dress, their language, their general appearance made us realize who they were. They represented messengers from a world about which we could only dream.

America was the land of opportunity. In spite of the worldwide depression, we believed that hard work and strength of moral character provided Americans with the possibility of a brighter future. In our very rigid and regimented class system, opportunities were limited or non-existing.

We knew that in that far off Eden there was freedom of speech, of the press, and of religion. In Austria, you could be put in jail for criticizing the Chancellor. Roman Catholicism was the official state religion. Other religions only existed if the government sanctioned them.

We belonged to a regimented society. Freedom was a dream belonging to another, far-away world. We, who had come into close proximity to these messengers from Utopia, thought we stood in the presence of divine messengers.

Worldwide, America was respected and envied. Of course, we knew there were problems in America. However, we believed that its ideals far outweighed its difficulties.

I came to America in 1938 filled with excitement that I know was part of the dream. My goal was to embrace the values, the beliefs, the opportunities that presented themselves. Many people helped me to fulfill the vision in my personal life.

It was with great pride that I joined the U.S. Army. In the fall of 1945, the 103rd Infantry Division drove up the Rhone Valley to relieve the 3rd Division which had been on the line for 105 consecutive days. In every village through which our convoy passed, we were warmly greeted by elated Frenchmen. The 3rd Division had brought them freedom from tyranny. We were on our way to finish a war that would lead to an ennobling future for humankind.

In our heart of hearts, we believed that our fight was for the high and noble purpose of freedom and justice. Some of my comrades now lie buried in foreign soil. Some of us made it back without disabilities. Some of us, over fifty years later, are suffering from combat related injuries and problems. Yet all of us served gladly. We accepted our burdens as a price that had to be paid to protect freedom.

But some years ago, storm clouds began to gather in America. The dream came under attack.

The first sign that the foundations of freedom were cracking occurred in the early 1950s. Senator Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee were the first signs that something very serious was amiss in our nation. A crazed fear that communism was about to take over America swept the nation. We came to believe that a Communist was hiding behind every bush and underneath every rock. In the frenzy to destroy our perceived enemies, constitutional rights were abrogated. Lives were destroyed and careers were ruined. A corrosive agenda started to dissolve the fibers of America's tapestry.

We began to fear ideas! We were alarmed that another ideology might destroy the dream of the Fathers. But instead of combating ideas with ideas, we fought the perceived enemy by bringing to ruin anyone suspected of harboring beliefs alien to our tradition. We were so frenzied that we forgot that an idea can only be overcome with a better idea.

We forsook the ideals of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. More than that, another insidious "bug" infected America. That vicious infection was materialism for the sake of materialism.

Those of us who fought World War II were children of the Depression. That era left an indelible mark on us. We would make certain that our children would not go through the hard times that marked our own childhood. After the war, we rolled up our shirtsleeves and built a nation flowing with milk and honey.

But over time, our possessions, our stock options, our assets became more important than the dream for which our forebears gave their lives, their honor, and their possessions. To them, ridding a newly born nation from the tyranny of government was more important than the Dow Jones average, GNP, or any other economic indicator.

We forged the good life from the ruins of WWII. We were not about to let any damned Commies take it away from us. We forgot that the fuel for the torch of freedom requires sacrifice and vigilance. But our hearts began to freeze at the altar of materialism. Our minds, grown cold, rejected anything that hinted that we might have to give up that second bathroom or the two-car garage. Our glacial spirits were only concerned with making money and more money.

Slowly, but ever so surely, we gave up our heritage and traded it in for a mess of lentils. We ripped the torch from the hand of the Statue of Liberty.

We put a P&L statement, audited and certified by the Anderson accounting firm, into her outstretched hand.

Corporate aggrandizement became more important than the Constitution. Financial reports overshadowed our concern for freedom. Selfishness drowned out the call to sacrifice.

What was the result of our newly found religion presided over by the god Mammon?

America is hated in most of the world. What is worse, we do not even understand the reason for the hatred. For decades, the leaders of our nation developed a foreign policy supporting dictators and destroying people's movements to bring justice and equity to their nations. We support an Israeli government that has learned nothing from the Holocaust.

Both Israel and America claim to be a people of the Book. But the prophetic message of righteousness and justice has been ripped from the pages of the Bible. A narrow-minded, provincial dogmatism has replaced the calls of the prophets "to let justice roll down like the waters and righteousness like an overflowing stream."

Our president had to fly to Buckingham Palace under the cover of darkness in the middle of the night while tens of thousands in the street proclaim the injustice of a war fought over nothing more than dominance over Iraqi oil reserves. Our president did not even address Parliament for fear that he might be shouted down. Just think of it! America's president having to scurry through the cover of darkness like a furtive prey being chased by its predator!

We think we can fight ideas we do not like with tanks and bombs. The more we rely upon Mars, the more intense will be the opposition to our rampant materialism. The more we worship the gods of war, the stronger will be the opposition to our forces.

We have yet to learn that ideas cannot be destroyed with weaponry.

I fear that the scene that took place in Vienna in 1936 cannot be repeated today. It might well be that visiting Americans might be the subjects of jeers and sneers.

US and British occupation of Iraq will end by July, says Blair's envoy

"How to make America get it"

By Gabriel Ash Columnist
Monday, December 08, 2003

( – This week the world learned a much needed lesson. The topic of the lesson was, "How to make the U.S. change its unacceptable policies." The teacher was the European Union, and the technique taught was bullying.

As expected, Bush finally rescinded the tariffs on steel imports, imposed two years ago and declared illegal by the WTO. He didn't do it because steel tariffs were the perfect symbol of the U.S. allowing itself what it denies to others. He didn't do it because steel tariffs were a symbol of U.S. hypocrisy with regards to "free trade" (the U.S. is free to protect its industry and other countries are free to have their industry destroyed). Nor did Bush abolish the tariffs because ignoring the WTO ruling against the tariffs would have made a mockery of the U.S. signature on an international treaty. The obligation to honor treaties, international law, and fairness were of little importance. What made Bush give in was that Europe was dead serious about imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

Yet there is more. The E.U. was smart and brazen. The retaliatory tariffs were tailored to harm a select groups of products manufactured in states like Florida, states that are crucial to Bush's plans for being elected president in 2004. Thus, Europe went beyond the WTO ruling allowing retaliation against the U.S. The threatened tariffs were an openly announced intervention in the internal electoral politics of the U.S. What chutzpah! Using threats of economic damage to either overthrow a government or change its policies is, by some definitions favored by the current Justice Department, nothing less than international terrorism!

The U.S. routinely intervenes in the electoral politics of other countries. For example, the Brazilian government of Cardoso was twice saved from electoral defeat by calibrated, financial interventions by the U.S. It is common practice for U.S. ambassadors to threaten Latin American voters with retaliation if they elect the "wrong" candidate. But Washington isn't used to being on the receiving end of these techniques for winning hearts and minds. "Old Europe" may not be wearing Stetsons, but it still has some cojones! [...]

Chickenhearts at Notre Dame

The Pervasive Fear of Talking About the Israeli Connection

December 14, 2003

It is wide open now. Israelis are training Americans at Fort Bragg on their well tested techniques for carrying out targeted--and of course extrajudicial--assassinations. Americans in Iraq are copying this and all the other wretchedly cruel, unjust (and failed) Israeli occupation tactics in the West Bank and Gaza, tactics that the U.S. through its massive aid enables and encourages Israel to pursue. It is impossible to exaggerate the stupidity and just plain evil of the Bush administration in transferring such copycat policies to Iraq, at a time when hatred of U.S. policies is already rising daily around the world. The training of assassination teams is only one of many manifestations of the United States' "Israeli connection."

At the same time, almost all influential individuals and groups in the U.S. political landscape still shy away from discussing the degree to which this Israeli connection has been a major factor in determining the entire complex of U.S. policies on Iraq and the Middle East since September 11. In the eyes of most Americans, the correctness of the ever stronger ties between the right-wing governments of the United States and Israel is simply not to be questioned. (If you do question these ties, you must be prepared to deal either with suspicions of anti-Semitism that may be directed at you, or, more likely, with suggestions that you are simply "too far out" of the mainstream and therefore deserve no further consideration. In the latter case, an unspoken motive of your interlocutors is often that they fear being charged with anti-Semitism, or with being "self-hating Jews," if they seem to agree with you.)

Here are a couple of examples that we have observed in recent weeks.

In the summer of 2003, we were asked, along with several dozen other people around the country, to participate in and lend our names to a study entitled Toward a More Secure America: Grounding U.S. Policy in Global Realities. The report was a joint project of the Fourth Freedom Forum and the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. We did participate initially and gave the drafters some thoughts on what we believed should be in the report. When we eventually received a near-final draft, we sent in a comment that (1) the paper failed to devote any meaningful attention to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the U.S. role therein as a critical issue in future U.S. relations with the Islamic world; (2) this was a serious flaw in the paper; and (3) we could not sign off on the paper without major changes on this and several other subjects, which we specified. The drafters would not or could not accept many of our proposed changes, and we ended our involvement with the group.

The final paper has just been published. [See http://www.SecureAmerica.US for the full text.] The executive summary--the only part many readers will read--contains no reference to the Israel-Palestine issue at all and has only a very general one-line admonition that the U.S. should try to "reduce the root causes driving people to radical violence." In the body of the report, the paper states on page 5 of the 20-page text that "facilitating a just peace in the Middle East" is "among the policies that can mitigate anti-American resentment and enhance global security." On page 15 the paper states that "a key priority is and must remain U.S. support for a genuine peace process in the Middle East that provides security, justice, and economic opportunity for both sides."

This is boilerplate; because they are meaningless, such generalizations have the advantage of being unobjectionable to pro-Israel lobbies in the U.S. The word "Palestinian" does not appear anywhere in the paper. "Palestine" appears only once, in a simple reference to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Nowhere can one find even a mention of the possibility that massive U.S. support and aid to Israel might be one of the factors encouraging future terrorism against the United States and its allies. Whatever one's views on the need for, and the value to the U.S. of, such support and aid to Israel, doesn't the subject deserve some discussion in a report entitled Toward a More Secure America? But such discussion is pretty much taboo in the American foreign policy establishment these days.

The second example involves not the staid establishment but the U.S. peace movement. [...]

In this case, the two of us were asked to participate as interviewees in the film and video Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War, recently released by and The Center for American Progress in association with Artists United. [...]

But--this piece of art is subtitled The Whole Truth About the Iraq War, and it by no means lives up to that billing. The reason is that the Israeli connection is nowhere mentioned. Once again, the subject is taboo.

Although the war was sold to Congress and the public on the basis of the WMD issue, many of us believed for months before the war that the actual reasons the Bush administration invaded Iraq were the U.S. drive for global domination, oil--and Israel. Cheney, Rumsfeld, and neocons in the administration, some of whom quite clearly have displayed loyalties toward Likud governments in Israel, have strongly supported war with Iraq at least since the mid-1990s, and their reasons for doing so have included the strengthening of Israel's hegemony in the Middle East. A video that claims to present the entire truth about the Iraq war should at least include some discussion of the relationship of Israel to that war. Even if one disagrees with the judgment that key U.S. supporters of Israel's Likud government played a significant role in getting the U.S. into this war, the evidence is massive that most people in most Arab nations believe Israel to be one of the reasons the U.S. initiated the war. That alone should be reason enough to have included some discussion of the issue in this video. [...]

Contrary to the hopes of the Bush and Sharon administrations, it will not be possible for them to so "transform" the politics and societies of the Middle East that hatred of U.S. and Israeli policies, and terrorism against these two states and their few remaining allies, will simply fade away. It is the policies of the U.S. and Israel themselves that will have to change, if the world is to have any chance of peace and stability in the next few decades.

To repeat, these points, or at least discussion of them, should be part of every study or video or any other serious analysis of what is going on in the Middle East today. It is vital that we break through the taboos, which have, if anything, grown stronger in recent months. --

Bill Christison joined the CIA in 1950, and served on the analysis side of the Agency for 28 years. From the early 1970s he served as National Intelligence Officer (principal adviser to the Director of Central Intelligence on certain areas) for, at various times, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa. Before he retired in 1979 he was Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis, a 250-person unit.

Kathleen Christison also worked in the CIA, retiring in 1979. Since then she has been mainly preoccupied by the issue of Palestine. She is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession.

Israeli soldiers torture 16-year-old Palestinian

London |By Mustapha Karkouti, Special to Gulf News | 14-12-2003

An urgent appeal went out yesterday by the International Secretariat of Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT), requesting the world public to intervene following the revelation of torturing a young Palestine boy by Israeli soldiers.

[...] According to the information received, at around 2pm on April 24, 2003, 16-year-old Majed Abdalatif Fatah Sabah was arrested by Israel Defence Forces soldiers near Kfar Geva/Jenin.

He was in a taxi on way to school. The soldiers handcuffed him, stripped him down to his underpants and hit him all over his body, including on the head.

They reportedly tightened his handcuffs so much that the marks were still visible two-and-a-half months later, when he submitted his complaint.

While they were transporting him blindfolded to the prison facility at Araba, the soldiers beat him again. When they arrived, they threw him into the camp with his hands and feet tightly handcuffed. He was left that way until 10pm, without receiving any food or water.

Majed abdulatif was then transferred to the Salem detention facility. On arrival, four soldiers beat him on the head, the face, the stomach and the legs until he bled, using the butts of their rifles and sticks. This lasted until 2am. Majaed was then taken to the Kishon Detention Centre.

Palestinian poet Tuqan dies

December 13 2003 at 02:15PM

Nablus, West Bank - The best-known Palestinian poetess, Fadwa Tuqan, 86, died on Friday night in Nablus, the West Bank, her family said.

She died in hospital, where she had been in a coma for several days after a stroke.

[...] The refined poet started her career writing about nature, love, loneliness, and sadness before turning to nationalist themes after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967.

One of the rare feminine voices in Palestinian poetry, her works tell of the struggle of her people stripped of their land and liberty, describing the cruelty of the occupation.

"My story is about the struggle of a seed battling with the land, rocky and hard. It is the story of a fight against dryness and the rock," she said in her autobiography Mountainous Journey.

The Blind Warrior’s Achievements

Ghassan Charbel Al-Hayat 2003/12/13

Ariel Sharon was never an admirer of negotiations with the enemy. He never believed that sitting at the table of negotiations with the Palestinians would convince them. This is why he was used to communicate with bullets, tanks, and air bombs. Sharon does not trust treaties. He does not trust international guarantees. He acts like a warrior in a war of destiny. The purpose is not to convince the foe of the advantages of peace. It is to force him to surrender. Forcing him to admit that what has been given to him, is the most he could ever get. Rejecting what is currently on the table would later force him to settle for less. Resorting to force is costly. Sharon does not believe in convincing the Palestinians. He believes in imposing a de facto situation. He pushed them to the edge of despair for them to accept what is available.

Iran to sign nuclear protocol in days 2003-12-13 20:23:16

TEHRAN, Dec. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Iran will sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the next few days, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said on Saturday.

Asked when Iran would sign the additional protocol during a press conference with visiting Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha Kharazi said "in the next few days we will sign it."

On Wednesday, Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Ali Abtahi said after a cabinet meeting that the government has given permission to the Foreign Ministry to sign the protocol.

Four persons shot dead in Pakistani police station 2003-12-14 17:36:06

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Four accused people locked up ina police station in Sargodha, about 200 kilometers south of Islamabad, were shot dead by three unknown assailants on the wee hours of Sunday, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan.

Police sources were cited as saying that three people wearing police uniform arrived at the police station in a car at three o'clock in the early morning. They overpowered the police officials on duty and locked them in a room.

Then they opened indiscriminate fire at the accused who were detained there. As a result, the arrested died on the spot.

Afghan president calls for US-style political system 2003-12-14 18:05:19

KABUL, Dec. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday told a constitutional assembly here that a US-style political system would be more helpful to steer the country's recovery from over two decades of war and conflicts.

"After over one year of discussions, we proposed a political system that will help the country," Karzai said at an opening ceremony of the constitutional Loya Jirga, or grand assembly.

He was referring to a US-style presidential system proposed by a newly drafted constitution by his transitional government, whichcame to power two years ago after the ouster of the former ruling Taliban regime.

"In Afghanistan we have no big political parties, and a coalition government formed by small parties would not benefit a country that just emerged from 23 years of war," Karzai told 500 delegates of the assembly as well as his cabinet members, diplomats and representatives of aid agencies.

[...] But controversies are expected to converge at the assembly as many delegates said that they don't want to see a US-style political system proposed by the draft.

Critics said the draft, which stipulates no post of a prime minister and stresses a powerful presidential system, had been copied from the United States to give absolute administrative power to the president.

"A presidential system in a backward country like Afghanistan changes a president to a dictator. If we support the real democracy, we should have a parliamentary system with a prime minister," Fazul Ahmad, a delegate from central Ghor province, told Xinhua.

Karzai, whose transitional government was legitimized by an emergency Loya Jirga last year, said last week he would not run for the presidency in next year's elections if the Loya Jirga voted for a parliamentarian system with a prime minister.

European summit ends in failure as power struggle derails constitution plan

06:35 AM EST Dec 14

BRUSSELS (AP) - The European summit to forge a constitution for a united, post-Cold War Europe collapsed Saturday after leaders failed to agree on sharing power within an expanded European Union.

The deal-breaker was a proposal to abandon a voting system accepted in 2000 which gave Spain, a member of the EU, and Poland, which joins next year, almost as much voting power as Germany, which has more than twice the population of either.

European leaders sought to minimize the damage, but the debacle leaves the EU in turmoil as it prepares for one of the greatest challenges in its 46-year history - accepting new members from the former Communist east.

"Europe is not in crisis," French President Jacques Chirac insisted. "Europe has institutions, Europe will expand, Europe works."

Talks on the constitution will resume next year. However, the conflict within the bloc raised doubts about its future direction.

Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder spoke of the need for a core group of countries to press ahead with closer integration, raising fears over the cohesion of the EU, which is to expand from 15 to 25 members in May.

EU is plunged into crisis by summit failure

By Judy Dempsey in Brussels

The European Union has been plunged into crisis after its leaders failed to reach agreement on a new constitutional treaty required to make the union more efficient and effective after its enlarges from 15 to 25 countries.

Leaders play down summit failure

European leaders are playing down the scale of divisions at their Brussels summit that made it impossible for them to agree on a constitution for the EU.

[...] And there are fears that continuing disagreements about the constitution could lead to a two-speed Europe, with a core group - including France and Germany - pushing ahead with integration.

But several leaders were playing down the scale of the divisions.

"There is no drama or crisis with a capital C," said French President Jacques Chirac.

[...] The failure to reach an agreement could deepen a split within Europe about the speed of integration.

Mr Chirac told reporters after the summit that he wanted to see a "pioneer group" of countries that wanted to push ahead with integration.

"It would be a motor that would set an example," he said. "It will allow Europe to go faster, better."

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder also said a definitive failure to agree a constitution could lead to a "two-speed Europe".

A summit agreement in Nice three years ago gave Spain and Poland - one of the new members - almost as many votes each as Germany, despite them having smaller populations.

Warsaw and Madrid are determined to hold on to those voting powers.

However, Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller said he was hopeful for agreement "in the coming weeks and months".

"We need to seek new ideas for a compromise, we must have more trust in each other," he told reporters.

Venezuela's oil industry reports significant recovery 2003-12-14 13:56:27

CARACAS, Dec. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Venezuelan state-run petroleum company PDVSA announced Saturday that its export of crude oil and its by-products reached over 2.0 million barrels per day from January to November, representing a substantial recovery amid the country's economic recession.

The company said in a communique that its foreign-sales volume demonstrates its capability to ensure a reliable supply to its clients around the world.

The PDVSA's daily petroleum exports stand at 2.066 million barrels, recovering from a record low of 250,000 barrels in the December 2002-January 2003 period after a 63-day national labor stoppage called by the opposition to oust President Hugo Chavez.

Mugabe plans Internet gag - reports

December 12 2003 at 09:56PM
Independent on Saturday

President Robert Mugabe's embattled regime is planning shock new measures to control all broadcast and Internet-based information, reports said on Friday.

The move comes barely a day after Mugabe accused Britain of using the Internet as its new tool in trying to recolonise the Third World.

Media organisations now fear that the government could soon move to regulate their Internet websites. - Independent Foreign Service

Bush should look into impact of anti-terror measures on civil liberties: panel

06:35 AM EST Dec 14

WASHINGTON (AP) - President George W. Bush should appoint an advisory board to assess how new anti-terrorism measures such as the Patriot Act have affected civil liberties, a new report by a U.S. terrorism commission said.

The commission, led by former Virginia governor James Gilmore, a Republican, also expresses concern the U.S. administration has failed to develop a comprehensive, forward-looking strategy to combat terrorism more than two years after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

[...] Time, quoting an anonymous source, said the new Homeland Security Department is focused on "the crisis of the moment," yet no one in the administration is examining "the broader issues of economic security and societal stability."

"If they're doing it, they're doing it in such a superficial or under-the-radar fashion that it did not become apparent to the panel," the source told Time.

On civil liberties, the report said greater oversight is needed for any use of U.S. spy satellites on targets in the United States and legislation may be required to set rules, the magazine reported.

Panel reluctantly backed flu vaccine to FDA

Saturday, December 13, 2003 Posted: 10:52 PM EST (0352 GMT)

(CNN) -- Members of an advisory panel that backed this year's flu vaccine expressed doubts about its potential effectiveness before recommending it for the Food and Drug Administration's approval.

Some said they were concerned the vaccine would not provide as much protection against the Fujian strain of flu that was thought most likely to dominate this year's flu season, according to a transcript of the group's deliberations.

The Fujian strain, which emerged in the Far East, is now responsible for 75 percent of U.S. flu cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

But drug makers could not culture the Fujian strain in a way to meet FDA standards, forcing the advisory committee to make this year's flu vaccine the same as it was last year.

The committee's decision in March has come under a microscope now because the flu is reaching near epidemic proportions in the United States.

Scientists Predict Worldwide Flu Outbreak

By MALCOLM RITTER, AP Science Writer
Sat Dec 13, 4:48 PM ET

NEW YORK - As bad as this year's flu season is, it hasn't brought the worldwide outbreak known as a pandemic. But experts warn that a pandemic is coming, it's just a question of when. "It's going to happen," said Dr. Greg Poland of the Mayo Clinic. "For the American public in particular, I think it will be horrific." [...]

Another Biologist Assassinated

Houston Chronicle

Police have released a composite drawing of a motorist who sped away after his van jumped the curb and killed a chemist walking on a sidewalk in the Texas Medical Center.

Robert Leslie Burghoff, 45, of The Woodlands was killed in the 1600 block of South Braeswood on Nov. 20. He was studying the virus plaguing cruise ships, police said. [...]

Comment: Well, the original title in the Chronicle was "Composite released in fatal hit-and-run". His death coinciding with the recent outbreak of the flu, and the most recent outbreak of a virus on a cruise ship inspired us to rewrite perhaps a bit more appropriate title. The only other mention we could find so far on the web of Dr. Burghoff was his work involved in forensic science and gene mapping. This lumps him in with the roster of dead microbiologists. Two dead microbiologists a conspiracy does not make, 14 ... probably.

See the Dead Scientists blog for regular updates on this topic:

Dr David Kelly's death in July 2003 has been put down as "suicide". This blog investigates whether or not this suicide is, in actual fact, murder dressed up as suicide. In recent months, a string of scientists across the world have also died unexpectedly and in mysterious circumstances. This blog also investigates the reason for their fate.

We have our own research: Ethnic Specific Weapons. We are all being set up.

In the western world, only one newspaper reports the suicide of the woman who accused George W Bush of rape 

by Simon Aronowitz
Saturday 13th December 2003

Despite the enormity of the story, a virtual news blackout has remained in place since Margie Schoedinger first filed charges against George W Bush in 2002. Schoedinger had accused Bush of rape and other sexual crimes against both her and her husband, only one publication in the USA saw fit to print anything about her or her allegations. That publication was her local newspaper.

Her subsequent suicide earlier this year raised many eyebrows amongst those who learned of her death via the internet. Even though the sequence of events was bizarre, again the American media ignored Schoedinger completely.

However, the US press were not alone. Both the (London) Times newspaper and the BBC as well as other major news organisations in the UK were furnished with the story and sources for the original court filings. This should have garnered some attention for the story from the big media sources, if only to ridicule the allegations. Instead, in the same way the American media served its audience a stream of controlled news, so too did the British media by pretending Schoedinger didn't exist.

Schoedinger apparently committed suicide on 22nd September of 2003 but her death only attracted new attention on the internet in November of 2003. Only now has one small-circulation newspaper in the UK run the story of her demise. It found the story so newsworthy it ran its headline on the front page next to the title header. [...]

Thousands evacuated amid Costa Rica floods

SAN JOSE (AFP) Dec 13, 2003

More than 2,500 people have been evacuated from Costa Rica's Caribbean zone as four days of persistent rains wiped out bridges and roads and left at least one person dead and another missing, officials said Saturday. [...]

Four children die as tornado hits school

December 12 2003 at 03:30AM

Rio de Janeiro - Four children died on Thursday in southern Brazil when a tornado destroyed a school building where the children were rehearsing a theatre play, local media reported. Twelve others were injured. [...]

Twin earthquakes rock Algerian capital

December 12 2003 at 01:15PM

Algiers - Two earthquakes rocked northern parts of Algeria south and south-east of the capital, where the tremors were felt but no casualties were reported, an Algerian research centre reported on Friday. [...]

Climates in cities changing: Research

Asian News International
Washington, December 13

New evidences from satellites, models, and ground observations reveal urban areas, with all their asphalt, buildings, and aerosols, are causing major impact on local and global climate processes. [...]

Frog deformities increasing, blamed on fertilizers

Dan Vergano
USA Today

The growing number of deformities in frogs, toads and salamanders nationwide may be caused by an outbreak of parasitic worms tied to fertilizer use, a historical survey of wetlands suggests. [...]

Baughman Dispels The Myth of ADHD

[...] I'm trying to expose the medical fraud and to get just and appropriate medical treatment for children when it is needed and, where it isn't required, I'm trying to get appropriate education, parenting, disciplining and training so these children can achieve self-control. They all certainly are capable of it.

We've got to do something because we're talking about 6 million to 8 million children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. This just can't wait.

NASA to Take a Closer Look at 'Weird Life' Beyond Earth

Scientists pinpoint ingredients for 'feelgood Christmas'
09:54 Sunday 14th December 2003

Scientists claim to have uncovered the essence of Christmas spirit after offering volunteers mince pies while exposing them a combination of sights, sounds and smells. [...]

The research, conducted under scientific conditions, involved exposing a group of volunteers to a selection of seasonal sight, sound and smell sensations. For each combination the 30 women participants were asked to give a score out of 10 for how Christmassy they felt.

Candles, carols and cinnamon came top with a rating of 7.3, followed by candles, carols and orange with a score of 6.2. The least Christmassy combination was candles, classical music, and the smell of pine, which scored 2.95. [...]

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