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December 15, 2003

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Let the games begin.

You will remember the incident as the invasion and occupation of Iraq began last spring. Five American soldiers were captured by the Iraqis and shown on TV. Well, the outburst from Rumsfeld and Co! "How could they treat our soldiers to such a humiliation!" Claims of not honouring the Geneva Convention.

So what is it when the video of a medical exam is broadcast around the world? But, of course, this is Saddam Hussein! The very devil himself! And is he cooperating? Is he admitting to having had weapons of mass destruction? Of course not! He says the US invented them to invade and occupy his country!

He must be punished!

Today's Signs include: While America celebrates the capture of Saddam Hussein, Arabs express mixed emotions. Many Iraqis couldn't care less and just want their lives back after the US invasion and now the deteriorating occupation.

Rumsfeld claims Saddam will be treated according to the Geneva Convention. It is sadly ironic that ordinary Arabs who have done nothing wrong are being detained for simply being an Arab in the wrong place at the wrong time, while a dictator like Saddam receives preferential treatment. It is also sad that "preferential treatment" from the US these days means actually honoring International Law.

More Iraqi policemen are killed by a car bomb.

South Korea reports a case of a highly contagious avian flu, China breaks out its very own "terrorist group" list, while the Chinese people are brought to task for "individualism."

We're not the only ones... We look out at the world each day, horrified by the ruthless opportunism in our "leaders" and the events they provoke. We look out at the world each day and wonder, are we the only ones that see the long, black cloud coming down? And every once in a long while we come across a piece such as the following article, and we are even more horrified than before because someone else sees it, too. In this world, is there anything more horrifying than to think that, no, you are not crazy. You have all your wits about you. It is, indeed, the world that is completely insane.

Bush's Operation Clean Sweep
A Nightmare Scenario


Even though Bush II will lose the popular vote in the US presidential election of 2004, his electoral college victory seems assured. With Republican party governors firmly in charge of Florida, California, Texas and New York, and supported by a whopping Bush campaign war chest approaching $200 million, dubious electronic voting schemes courtesy of Diebold, Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors (, it seems certain that Bush will make it back to the Oval Office through the back door that is the Electoral College. And if not the Electoral College then by benefit of a rebel attack on US soil which kills thousands of Americans and leads to the suspension of the US Constitution. That according to General Tommy Franks, USA (Ret.), who opined in the magazine Cigar Aficionado that the US will have to shed its constitution in favor of a military style of government. Even the notorious aristocrat Alexander Hamilton would have been appalled at such a statement, as would Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. But these are mediocre times in history; particularly, and dangerously, in America where its people have eliminated those who might have continued to wage a struggle for an equitable form of government in the US, as well as engage the world through international treaty building.

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

[...] Shortly upon taking office in 2004, Bush's PCS will move rapidly on a number of fronts. Unbound by the constraints of campaigning, the real work of the Bush PCS will begin. First, the Bush PCS will continue to rupture federal and state programs that assist the middle and lower classes of America and their culture and environment. The US Supreme Court will eliminate a woman's right to choose. Constitutional amendments banning gay rights, women's rights and civil rights/affirmative action will be proposed by the Bush PCS and, in all likelihood, will succeed. An additional amendment to the constitution concerning military rule in case of an attack on US soil by any foreign individual or state will be added easing the way towards military rule in America.

While the nation debates these issues, Bush will quietly issue an edict supporting a return to the draft. The massive military campaign that is sure to follow will require millions of US military personnel that can only be had forcibly through conscription. As early as the Christian holiday of Christmas in December 2004, or more likely, the Christian Easter Holiday in April 2005 (celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ), the Bush PCS will attack. Syria will be attacked by American-British-Israeli coalition forces, primarily from its Western, Southern and Eastern flanks. There will be no prolonged bombing campaign in this operation. The air campaign will be concomitant with an amphibious assault on Syria's Western shores, accompanied by a land invasion from the Southern and Eastern flanks. The forces of the American led coalition will crush the dilapidated Syrian military within 10 business days. The Palestinians will likely be granted a piece of the former Syria and will be relocated there by the US and Israel.

Simultaneously with invasion of Syria, Iran will be subjected to an extraordinary air and cruise missile assault led by American forces. This operation will include additional military elements from the Turkish and Afghani military who will have been promised a piece of Iran once it is defeated. A withering air assault will come from the Northwest through Turkey, from the West from US controlled Iraq, from the East from the air bases in Afghanistan, and from carrier groups and cruise missile launching submarines, to include an Israeli submarine, in the Persian Gulf. Within 60 business days, Iran will be defeated by US-led forces. And should Iran successfully test a nuclear weapon prior to that time, the Bush PCS will accelerate its timetable for attack opting to use tactical nuclear weapons to take out Iranian nuclear weaponry.

Since the Bush PCS believes that North Korea cannot be allowed to exist, it will attack North Korea simultaneously with its invasion of Syria and Iran. China will have been dealt with during back channel negotiations. The price China will demand of not intervening against the US invasion (Chinese troop strength at 100 million) will be Taiwan. The Bush PCS will turn a blind eye to China's takeover of Taiwan, which had become a bad US hangover from the Cold War. The US will be glad to rid itself of support for Taiwan. Vladimir Putin may sign on to the US-led invasion and commit Russian troops which will incur from the Northeastern portion of North Korea's border. Participation with Bush in this effort would allow Russia basing rights on the Eastern shores of North Korea. The US and South Korean military will attempt to neutralize the North Korean military with low yield tactical nuclear weapons which will be used primarily along the heavily fortified Southern border. This conflict will see the massive deployment of ordnance with calmative agents meant to literally put to sleep the North Korean military. An electromagnetic pulse weapon or weapons will be used to knock out North Korea's command and control infrastructure. Ground operations will be simultaneous with air and sea assault but the conflict will rage on for 12 business quarters as weather and terrain complicate the US led attack.

Meanwhile in Colombia, US military forces will openly engage in combat against the FARC and indigenous peoples movements there. Over in Venezuela, the US will finally topple Hugo Chavez (if not prior to 2004). The aged leaders of Cuba and Libya will be no match for the Bush PCS, and they will likely be toppled in US led coups. In each of these cases, Bush PCS friendly dictators will be installed and US corporations will quickly move to capitalize each of those societies, just as they are doing in Iraq.

All of this, it seems, is a fait accompli.

And now, live from center ring, broadcast around the world through the US Bread and Circuses International Network, we give you, Saddam Hussein! Or maybe one of his doubles. Or maybe it is one of his son's...uh, no, we got them last summer. Great job, guys, by the way. Took the heat off of the skipper's aircraft carrier stunt....uh, oh yeah...

Send us $49.95 and you, too, can have the complete Saddam Hussein (or his double) Medical Exam Video! Not since the Roswell autopsy video has any medical footage stirred up this much excitement! It was broadcast around the world to fanatical journalists who hadn't made it to Wal-Mart for the DVD special. You'll see the Iraqi strong man, fresh from cowering in his little hole like George Bush on AWOL, open his mouth to give DNA samples. Don't let him bite you, Doctor. You wouldn't want rabies!

Order now, and you'll receive as a special bonus, the Odai and Qusai Hussein Autopsy Video. This is as graphic as it gets! But don't take our word for it, read what CBS News had to say:

"The extremely graphic video showed the two bodies in a tent being used as a mortuary at Baghdad International Airport. The men's faces, shown in earlier pictures to be severely bruised and wounded, had been reconstructed. Each body had been shot more than 20 times, the military said."

But for now, we have Saddam, or his double, and we have him live!

Blasts rock Baghdad, toll rises

Monday 15 December 2003, 14:46 Makka Time, 11:46 GMT

Two car bombs have exploded outside police stations in Iraq, leaving at least nine people killed and shattering any hopes of an end to violence after Saddam Hussein's capture.

One car bomb ripped through the Zuhur police station at al-Husayniah village, 30 km north of Baghdad, killing eight policemen and injuring more than 20 others on Monday, reported our correspondent.

A second explosives-laden car, with the driver inside, exploded outside the Amiriyah criminal investigation department in Baghdad, shortly afterwards, killing at least one policemen and injuring more than twenty.

[...] Questions were raised whether the Iraqi resistance against occupation forces would continue after the former leader's capture.

US Senator Jay Rockefeller, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the circumstances of Saddam's arrest made it unlikely that he had been directing resistance attacks.

FLASHBACK: LaHood: Hussein's capture imminent

Pantagraph Staff
Tuesday, December 2, 2003

BLOOMINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood held his thumb and forefinger slightly apart and said, "We're this close" to catching Saddam Hussein." [...]

A member of The Pantagraph editorial board -- not really expecting an answer -- asked LaHood for more details, saying, "Do you know something we don't?"

"Yes I do," replied LaHood. [...]

Comment: This Publicity stunt has been in the planning stages for a while now. Perhaps they can put "Saddam" in a cage and take him on a tour through the towns of America and allow the good people to throw rotten fruit at him.

Arabs Have Mixed Emotions About Saddam Capture

By Edmund Blair
Sun Dec 14,11:58 AM ET

CAIRO (Reuters) - Arabs greeted the capture of Saddam Hussein with divided emotions Sunday, welcoming the arrest of a dictator yet tinged with regret that a symbol of Arab defiance against the United States was behind bars. [...]

"It is happy news but we wish it were the Iraqi people who had captured him, not U.S. troops, because this will give Bush a boost in the upcoming election," said Bahraini salesman Hussein Jafar as news of Saddam's capture swept through Arab capitals. [...]

"I only wish it was not the Americans who got him. I don't like Saddam but as an Arab I wouldn't like to see them (Americans) dragging him around Baghdad," said Syrian student Abdul-Nasser.

For others, the capture was disappointing news. Saddam may have been seen as a dictator who oppressed his people, but many also saw him as the only Arab leader who stood up to the United States, which they said rode roughshod through the region.

"Of course it's bad news. To us, Saddam was a symbol of defiance to the U.S. plans in the region. And we support any person who stands in the face of the American dominance," said Azzam Hneidi, an Islamist member of Jordan's parliament. [...]

Americans Celebrate Capture of Saddam

By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National Writer
Sun Dec 14, 4:55 PM ET

CHICAGO - First, Americans watched as his statue fell in Baghdad. On Sunday, many celebrated again as news that U.S. forces had captured Saddam Hussein spread across the country.

In Dearborn, Mich., a heavily Arab suburb of Detroit, people danced in the snowy streets, banging drums and waving Iraqi and American flags. Signs near Fort Hood, Texas, thanked the base's troops for making the capture. A cheer went up at the New York Jets-Pittsburgh Steelers football game after part of President Bush's announcement was broadcast over the stadium loudspeakers.

"Merry Christmas. This is a nice Christmas — we got him," said Naomi Jipping, a teacher in Columbus, Ohio, who digested the news over coffee at a 24-hour diner. "A lot of people aren't going to be in fear anymore."

Comment: Oh no? The infrastructure of Iraq is still in shambles. The US is bulldozing houses and farmland in a futile attempt to bully the guerillas. The effects of DU will linger in Iraq for years to come. Many Iraqis search in vain to find out where and why US forces are detaining their loved ones.

To be fair, perhaps Ms. Jipping meant that Americans aren't going to be in fear anymore. Most Americans seem to have bought the story fed to them by the Bush-controlled media about Saddam's WMD's and how he helped and funded terrorists. Now they can all sleep better knowing that he is in US custody... or so they think.

In homes and stores across the country, people gathered around televisions, shaking their heads and smiling as they watched footage of the scruffy, bearded man some thought would never be caught. [...]

The news was particularly sweet for Iraqi Americans.

"You know what they should do? Put a statue of Bush," said Habib Iradily, a 37-year-old truck driver from Detroit who fled Iraq to Saudi Arabia in 1991. [...]

Comment: We wholeheartedly agree. It would be most fitting to replace the statue of the old dictator with one of the new dictator.

Rumsfeld: Saddam to Have POW Protections

By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer
December 15, 2003

WASHINGTON - Saddam Hussein will have protections accorded to prisoners of war as U.S. officials try to press him for information on the insurgency against coalition forces, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld says. [...]

Saddam was taken to an undisclosed location where, Rumsfeld said, "he would be accorded the privileges as though he were a prisoner of war — not that he necessarily is one."

If it is found that Saddam was involved in the attacks against coalition troops, he might be placed in a different category, Rumsfeld said, without elaboration.

"One need not worry that he'll be treated in a humane and professional way," governed by the Geneva Convention that spells out the treatment that prisoners must receive, the secretary said on CBS' "60 Minutes." [...]

Comment: And what of all the other "detainees" in the Guantanamo prison camp? Don't they all deserve to be treated in a humane and professional way? Don't they all deserve at least an accusation of their alleged crime and a subsequent fair trial?

Revealed: shocking truth of Britain's 'Camp Delta'

Martin Bright, home affairs editor
Sunday December 14, 2003
The Observer

Disturbing new details have emerged about the treatment of 14 foreign terrorist suspects held without trial in British high-security jails.

At least half of them are showing signs of serious mental illness. Their lawyers say they have been pushed 'beyond the limits of human endurance'. One detainee is a polio victim, another has lost two limbs and a third has attempted suicide.

The men and their families fear some may not survive their indefinite imprisonment at Belmarsh prison in south-east London, which has been described as 'Britain's Guantanamo Bay' or 'Camp Delta UK', and Woodhill prison near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

The Home Office has said that none will be granted bail unless they are terminally ill.

The men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have been described as a serious threat to national security. But the Observer has discovered that two are seriously disabled and most have been on anti-depressant drugs for more than a year.

There are particular concerns about a North African in his thirties, who has suffered from polio since childhood. His mental health has deteriorated so much that he can no longer recognise or communicate with fellow inmates.

His condition worsened after he was confined to his cell by his illness. The prison authorities refused him a wheelchair, and inmates' offers to carry him to classes and prayers were rejected.

A second North African has no arms and has to be helped by fellow prisoners to carry out everyday tasks. A Palestinian detainee Abu Rideh was transferred to Broadmoor high security psychiatric hospital after trying to kill himself over a year ago and has been there ever since.

The men's morale was seriously hit by the failure of 10 appeals against the internments. The men's lawyers fear those who have kept their sanity have become exhausted by acting as full-time carers for the others.

The suspects are being held under emergency anti-terrorist legislation introduced two years ago this week. A Home Office spokesman said they had regular access to mental health services and any special needs of disabled prisoners was taken into account. Belmarsh also had a team of mental health specialists including three psychiatrists and three psychiatric nurses.

The highest-profile prisoner is Abu Qatada, a British-based Palestinian cleric whose demands for a holy war are alleged to have inspired al-Qaeda. Videos of his sermons were found in the flat of the leader of the 11 September attacks, Mohamed Atta.

The detainees have been charged with no crime; are unable to see the intelligence evidence against them; and are confined to their cells for up to 22 hours a day. The Government used emergency legislation against them because it had insufficient evidence to mount a prosecution.

Gareth Peirce of law firm Birnberg Peirce, which represents most of the men, said: 'They have now been pushed beyond the limits of human endurance. All these men are refugees and a number are torture victims. It is well-established that victims of torture should not be confined, because this can trigger former trauma.'

Peirce will raise her concerns tomorrow in a lecture for the human rights organisation Liberty at the London School of Economics to mark the second anniversary of the detainees' arrests.

Natalia Garcia, a solicitor with two internee clients in Woodhill prison, said: 'They have a feeling of total despair. One has told me that he feels he has been buried alive. It is as if the whole weight of the state is against you and there is nothing you can do.'

A report from Amnesty International last week condemned the emergency legislation saying it created a 'shadow criminal justice system' for foreign nationals which permitted indefinite detention using evidence from foreign intelligence services extracted under torture.

Matthias Kelly QC, chairman of the Bar Council said: 'I am completely opposed to the use of internment. If the Government has the evidence, why does it not have the confidence to put it up in court?'

Documents seen by The Observer reveal that several of the men are in prison because they were suspected of fundraising for the war against Russia in Chechnya. One man was arrested because he was thought to be 'working to procure items... for extremists fighting in Chechnya'. These included boots and sleeping bags.

The document shows that the Home Office believes the suspects, mostly Algerians, are members of extremist Islamic groups or associates of individuals connected with terrorism. Six Algerians are accused of membership of the GIA, the Armed Islamic Group, which have been blamed for for massacring of woman and children.

Others are believed to be members of a second Algerian extremist group, the GSPC, or Salafist Group for Call and Combat, the Tunisian Fighting Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Several detainees are said to have recruited for terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.

Saddam's Arrest to Sharpen Debate on Iraq Tribunal

By Alistair Lyon, Middle East Diplomatic Correspondent
Sun Dec 14, 3:47 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein's capture means he could face a trial by a newly created Iraqi tribunal -- and a possible death penalty.

The idea of involving the United Nations and eschewing capital punishment, as advocated by human rights activists and others, has so far found little favor with the United States or Iraq's U.S.-backed Governing Council.

"We want Saddam to get what he deserves," Amar al-Hakim, a senior member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shi'ite party, said on Sunday. [...]

Such sentiments are widespread in Iraq, but rights groups say it is vital that any trial aims to achieve justice, not revenge. It must be seen to be independent, impartial and fair. [...]

Iran Says It's Building a Court Case Against Saddam

December 15, 2003

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's government said Monday it was preparing a criminal complaint to present at any international court that may try former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein over the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. [...]

Saddam Arrest Cheer Fades Into Iraqi Ire at U.S.

By Joseph Logan
December 15, 2003

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Joy at the capture of Saddam Hussein gave way to resentment toward Washington Monday as Iraqis confronted afresh the bloodshed, shortages and soaring prices of life under U.S. occupation. [...]

Many were ecstatic to see Saddam captured and hoped he would answer for his deeds but said they would not rush to thank America -- in their eyes the source of their problems since a U.S.-led coalition toppled Saddam in April.

"I hope that we get the chance to try him our way, to let everyone who suffered make him taste what he had made us taste," said Ali Hussein, 29, a stationery shop owner who said he was still dizzy with joy.

"But whether he's in a hole or in jail, it does nothing for me today, it won't feed me or protect me or send my children to school," he said.

Even as news of Saddam's capture sank in, car bombs ripped through two police stations in the capital, the latest in a series of attacks U.S. forces blame on loyalists of Saddam and on foreign "terrorists" infiltrating Iraq. [...]

"It's great that he's caught, but it wasn't him who screwed up the petrol and the electricity and everything else so badly, so now a canister of gas that was 250 dinars costs 4,000, if you can get one," said Ghazi, a 52-year-old dentist, from his car as he queued with hundreds of other drivers waiting for petrol. [...]

"The Americans promised freedom and prosperity; what's this? Go up to their headquarters, at one of those checkpoints where they point their guns at you, and tell them that you hate them as much as Saddam, and see what they do to you," said Mohammad Saleh, 39, a building contractor.

"The only difference is that Saddam would kill you in private, where the Americans will kill you in public," he said. [...]

A zoom burst of the FTSE 100 stock exchange screen. World stocks and the dollar climbed while gold and oil prices fell as news of the capture of ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein cheered global investors.AFP photo

Sunday, December 14, 2003

by Greg Palast Former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was taken into custody today at approximately a.m. Washington time. Various television executives, White House spin doctors and propaganda experts at the Pentagon are at this time wrestling with the question of whether to claim PFC Jessica Lynch seized the ex-potentate or that Saddam surrendered after close hand-to-hand combat with current Iraqi strongman Paul Bremer III.

Ex-President Hussein himself told US military interrogators that he had surfaced after hearing of the appointment of his long-time associate James Baker III to settle Iraq's debts. "Hey, my homeboy Jim owes me big time," Mr. Hussein stated. He asserted that Baker and the prior Bush regime, "owe me my back pay. After all I did for these guys you'd think they'd have the decency to pay up." [...]

While having his hair styled by US military makeover artists, Saddam listed jobs completed at the request of his allies in the Carter, Reagan and Bush administrations for which he claims back wages:

1979: Seizes power with US approval; moves allegiance from Soviets to USA in Cold War.
1980: Invades Iran, then the "Unicycle of Evil," with US encouragement and arms.
1982: Reagan regime removes Saddam's regime from official US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
1983: Saddam hosts Donald Rumsfeld in Baghdad. Agrees to "go steady" with US corporate suppliers.
1984: US Commerce Department issues license for export of aflatoxin to Iraq useable in biological weapons.
1988: Kurds in Halabja, Iraq, gassed.
1987-88: US warships destroy Iranian oil platforms in Gulf and break Iranian blockade of Iraq shipping lanes, tipping war advantage back to Saddam. [...]

We Caught The Wrong Guy

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t

[...]  It is no small irony that Hussein, the Butcher of Baghdad, the monster under your bed lo these last twelve years, was paid probably ten thousand times more during his time as an American employee than the soldiers who caught him on Saturday night. The boys in the Reagan White House were generous with your tax dollars, and Hussein was a recipient of their largesse for the better part of a decade. [...]

With Saddam Hussein in U.S. custody, the war may become more deadly. It probably will become more deadly

Saddam Sideshow Obscures Reality

Former CIA Analyst: Bush is Lying

U.S. Troops Disperse Pro-Saddam Protest in Tikrit

December 15, 2003

TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. soldiers Monday used batons to break up a demonstration in Tikrit to protest against the capture of Saddam Hussein near his hometown, witnesses said.

Chanting "We sacrifice our blood and souls for you Saddam," scores of people gathered outside Tikrit university to denounce Saturday's arrest of Saddam, who was born and captured near the town.

"God is Greatest, America is the enemy of all peoples," they shouted with their fists raised.

Shortly afterwards U.S. soldiers charged the protest, beating and arresting some protesters, the witnesses said.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. military.

Comment: You can almost smell the freedom in the New Iraq...

Suicide Bombers Kill 8 Policemen in Iraq

December 15, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide bomber killed eight Iraqi policemen in an attack Monday on a station in the capital's northern outskirts, their commander said.

Lt. Col. Ali Amer said 10 officers were injured in the blast in the northern Husainiyah district. Earlier Monday, seven officers were wounded when another car bomb exploded in the western Ameriyah neighborhood. [...]

Rumsfeld: Saddam not cooperative

Monday 15 December 2003, 13:15 Makka Time, 10:15 GMT

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has refused to give any information to his captors.

"He has not been cooperative in terms of talking or anything like that," Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told CBS' "60 Minutes."

Although Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez, the top US military commander in Iraq, described Saddam as talkative and cooperative, other officials shied away from suggesting that he had provided any useful intelligence so far.

An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described Saddam's demeanour as sullen, not overtly defiant, but sarcastic.

Time magazine reported earlier on Sunday that during his first interrogation, Saddam denied his regime had any weapons of mass destruction.

"No, of course not," the weekly quoted him as saying. "The US dreamed them up itself to have a reason to go to war with us."

But Rumsfeld dodged the question of whether the Bush administration would be open to striking a bargain with Saddam, under which he would provide information about alleged weapons of mass destruction in exchange for escaping, for example, the death penalty.


However, Saddam asked to negotiate when US forces captured him, said Major Brian Reed, operations commander of the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.

"He said, 'I am Saddam Hussein, I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate'," said Reed on Monday.

"The reponse was 'President (George) Bush sends his regards'," Reed said, adding that a US soldier reported the conversation from Saturday night when Saddam was caught.

But Rumsfeld stopped short of saying the ousted Iraqi leader, who has been eluding US troops for almost nine months, would be granted formal prisoner of war status.

Instead, Saddam Hussein's future would be determined in consultations "at a very high level" with US coalition partners after thorough legal analysis of the situation, said Rumsfeld.

He said that the former president's "treatment will be governed by the Geneva Conventions," adding that "he will be accorded the privileges as if he were a prisoner of war."

The comments raised questions about whether US intelligence agencies would be able to mine Saddam for information because under the Geneva Conventions, he is obligated to give his captors only his name, date of birth, rank and regimental serial number.


The Defence Secretary said that given Saddam's record of mass killings, he "will have to be held accountable and brought to justice in some form in some way."

But whether he will be facing capital punishment is open to debate.

The death penalty has been suspended in Iraq, following the ouster of the former government.

However, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said its reinstatement was one of the legal issues being discussed by the Iraqi Governing Council and the Coalition Provisional Authority.

"This is a controversial issue that under the circumstances may continue until we have a sovereign government, until we have elections to revise and review," he said.

Under an existing plan, Iraq's sovereignty is to be restored in June 2004.


Under the Geneva accords, every captured fighter is entitled to humane treatment, including shelter, clothing, food and medical attention.

Even those suspected of war crimes cannot be subjected to torture or corporal punishment.

Six hundred US soldiers nabbed Saddam Hussein late on Saturday, after finding him hiding in a hole, dug under a small hut just 15km southeast of his native town, Tikrit.

Comment: So what exactly Rummy mean when he says Saddam is refusing to "cooperate"? That he continues to deny the existence of WMD? How inconvenient for the Bush clique. So, now they will try to make a deal. Tell us you had them or we'll kill you. Quite in keeping with the neighborhood thug.

Saddam tells interrogators: ''U.S. dreamed'' about Iraq WMD to have reason for war

15-12-2003,05 :50

U.S. officials said captured Saddam Hussein faces tough interrogations about ongoing attacks against occupation forces, and his regime's banned weapons programs. In the meantime, U.S. officials declined to specify Saddam's whereabouts, saying late Sunday only that he had been moved to a secure location. The Dubai-based Arab TV station Al-Arabiya said he was taken to Qatar, though that could not be confirmed.

Meanwhile, a U.S. intelligence official in Iraq said that Saddam "has not been very cooperative," with interrogators in initial questioning, Time Magazine reported on its website on Monday.

The official said that the former Iraqi president didn't answer any of the initial questions directly and was sometimes less than coherent.

The official said that when asked "How are you?", Saddam answered, "I am sad because my people are in bondage." He also refused a glass of water offered to him, saying, "If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage."

Interrogators also asked Saddam whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. "No, of course not," Saddam answered, according to the official, "the U.S. dreamed them up itself to have a reason to go to war with us."

Impartial judgement for Saddam?

By Lawrence Smallman
Monday 15 December 2003, 13:24 Makka Time, 10:24 GMT

Capturing Saddam Hussein is one thing, convicting him in an impartial court is something else.

One Iraqi Governing Council member and judge, Dara Nur al-Din, has highlighted the impartiality problem already.

Having helped draft the statute creating the war crimes tribunal, Nur al-Din told journalists on Monday that people in Iraq need "to see the nature of crimes committed with Saddam at the helm".

Ahmad Chalabi, another member of the Governing Council, promised: "Saddam will stand a public trial so that the Iraqi people will know his crimes".

US President George Bush has also promised that "the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions" - though he did not say where the former president would be tried and by whom.

No judges or administrators have yet been appointed to the tribunal, and with no transitional government set to assume sovereignty until 1 July – questions of how justice is to be meted out are bound to be asked.

For instance, could the Iraqi tribunal have the power to impose death sentences? International human rights groups are concerned over early indications.

Victor's justice?

Amnesty International has told that as Iraq's former military commander in chief, Hussein is most certainly a prisoner of war and should be given prompt access to the international Red Cross.

"Like any other criminal suspect he is entitled to all relevant safeguards under international law, including the right not to be subjected to torture or ill-treatment", said Amnesty spokeswoman Nicole Shuairy.

"Of course he has the right to receive a fair trial, a defense lawyer and the minimum safeguards as any other prisoner," she added.

Humiliating Saddam

But to the applause of "impartial" western and Iraqi journalists, the former president was paraded in front of television screens around the world.

It was only last March that American officials expressed their anger over the parading of five American soldiers on Iraqi television.

Just after the end of the invasion, the International Red Cross said occupation forces should re-examine the way they handled PoWs.

Referring to Article 13 in the third convention, Florian Westphal, from the ICRC, said PoWs should at all times be humanely treated, protected particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against "insults and public curiosity".

Fundamental flaws

Human rights' groups are wary that the Iraqi decree establishing the new tribunal is fundamentally flawed because it was proclaimed by an unelected body and without consultation with the Iraqi people or the international community.

Activists also say the decree does not ensure that guilt has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

"Another concern is the death penalty," Shuairy said. "He should be punished for his crimes, but the death penalty is not included. That goes without saying."

Convenient international justice

The London director of Human Rights Watch, Steve Crawshaw, told that any sense Saddam Hussein was being exposed to revenge justice would lessen the chance of stability in Iraq.

While he accepts The International Criminal Court (ICC) can only hear crimes committed since 1 July 2002, he believes it is a fundamental flaw that there is little provision to involve international judges.

"Part of the problem is the loathing that the US feels for international justice, as reflected by its desire to throttle the ICC at birth," Crawshaw said.

Eager not to upset Washington, the Iraqi Governing Council has set out plans for five Iraqi judges with no legal requirement for international legal observers on what will prove hugely complex cases, he added.

He too regrets the retention of the death penalty. "The example of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu - shot after a summary trial in 1989 - reminds us how things should not be done. That execution hindered long-term justice in Romania."

Geneva conventions

Louise Christian, solicitor for three British detainees in Guantanamo Bay, also believes the US continues to talk about international justice when it suits them.

"On their original arrest Guantanamo detainees too were humiliated and paraded on TV manacled, shackled and hooded," she said.

The Third Geneva Convention was signed by the United States, Iraq and more than 180 other governments.

It is designed to protect the lives, health and dignity of uniformed combatants; the civilians accompanying them, like war correspondents; and some guerrilla fighters.

It includes guarantees of things like food, clothing and shelter, and protections against torture, coercion and humiliation.

US position changing?

Officially, the US position as laid out in a State Department document in 1999 is that: "The goal of the United States is to see Saddam Hussein indicted by an international tribunal."

But until recently, the type of trial envisaged remained vague.

But Charles Forest, director of a London-based group funded partly by the US State Department believes the position is changing.

Responsible for gathering evidence for a war crimes trial, he told journalists on Monday: "There is a growing consensus that the best solution would be for Saddam Hussein to be tried in Iraq under Iraqi law."

Humiliation hits yesterday's men


BAGHDAD - The Ace of Spades has been dealt the final ignominy: capture by the very Americans he so effectively taunted into two wars and a generation of sanctions.

The only question that matters now: Is the game over?

[...] Beware, most of all, the humiliation factor. For with the bedraggled pathos of Saddam's parade yesterday on television screens worldwide comes a palpable bitterness in the minds of many Iraqis already soured by the indignity of occupation.

As the sun fell on Tikrit last night, that bitterness fell on us without invitation. Crowds of men were magnetized to the sight of a Western reporter's open notebook, virulently serving up the rage — and astonishing denial — one would expect from Saddam's tribal heartland.

"Saddam is not alone. We have tens of Saddam Husseins. There will be 10 times more resistance," said Sadoun Said, 29.

"We cry bloody tears for his capture. But this is about oil, this is about Islam, this is about freeing Iraq from the occupiers."

Omar Kanim, 34, spat in disgust at the twin humiliations — that Saddam was captured by "strangers," and that Saddam was captured alive.

"He should have been martyred, not captured. It is a curse to our people that he was taken alive."

[...] A more reliable clue as to what might now unfold came in the guarded words of Maj.-Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, who acknowledged last night "some satisfaction" — but only just — in capturing the trump card in America's deck of most wanted Iraqi fugitives.

"I will tell you there's a lot of work left to do," Odierno said in a hastily arranged news conference attended by the Star at division headquarters in Tikrit.

Next to Odierno sat a green metal army trunk stuffed with $750,000 U.S. in $100 bills, the comparatively paltry sum pulled from the nearby hideout from which the Ace of Spades was drawn.

Conspicuous in their absence, no satellite phones or communications equipment of any kind. Odierno said the squalid nature of Saddam's last stand confirmed his long-held belief that the former Iraqi dictator played little more than a "symbolic role" in the resistance against Americans.

Other U.S. soldiers on the scene of the capture were outright bleak in their assessment.

"This is not over," Capt. Joe Munger told the Star last night at a military checkpoint some 200 metres from Saddam's bare-dirt bunker at Adwar, 15 kilometres south of Tikrit.

"We were warned (by U.S. intelligence sources) to expect a bloody Christmas for the Americans. We still expect attacks," said Munger, of the 4th Infantry Division's 1st combat brigade.

Another soldier outside Saddam's sparkling Tikrit palace was ambivalent when asked if this felt like an early Christmas present. "Not really, sir. It's all right. But I'd be happier with a new Ford F150 pickup."

Saddam arrest lifts world markets

Stock markets have risen around the world following the capture of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

The news boosted the value of the dollar, and caused the price of bonds, oil and gold to fall.

Analysts said that the strength and duration of any rally will depend on whether Saddam Hussein's arrest leads to a more stable environment in Iraq.

Dollar's Saddam-based gains short-lived

By Jennifer Hughes in London
Published: December 15 2003 8:54 | Last Updated: December 15 2003 12:47

The dollar made strong gains in Asian trade as investors bet the capture of Saddam Hussein would lower the geopolitical risk weighing on US assets. But the US currency had drifted lower by European trade as the economic fundamentals behind the dollar's slide came to the fore once more.

The euro dropped sharply in early Asian trade to $1.2134 from $1.226 late on Friday. But by midday in Europe, the single currency was at $1.2200.

Analysts said the market had taken the news of Mr Hussein'a capture in its stride, and had heeded the warnings by the US and the UK that this did not mean the end of oppositions to Allied occupation in Iraq.


Saddam may find refuge in Belarus

Ottawa Citizen
Tony ALLEN-MILLS in Washington and Hilary MACKENZIE in Baghdad

The former Soviet republic of Belarus has emerged as a possible refuge for Saddam Hussein after American officials hinted that the Iraqi leader might be allowed to flee into exile to avert a U.S. assault on Baghdad.

A visit to Iraq by a presidential delegation from Belarus last week coincided with a suggestion by U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that Mr. Saddam and his family could "leave the country."

Mr. Rumsfeld said in a television interview: "If he doesn"t care to give up his weapons of mass destruction, then he"s got the choice of leaving."

As military preparations intensified with the mobilization of two more aircraft carrier battle groups and a 1,000-bed hospital ship, U.S. officials emphasized that no deal had been struck to allow Mr. Saddam to escape.

Mr. Rumsfeld's remark may have been no more than a psychological gambit intended to stir confusion in Baghdad.

Yet the Belarus visit heightened American suspicion that Mr. Saddam might be making contingency plans for a last-minute dash.

While it remains far from certain that the Iraqi dictator would flee, Mr. Rumsfeld recently singled out Belarus as one of the few countries that might offer him sanctuary.

"If Saddam Hussein is in a corner, it is because he has put himself there," he told a congressional committee.

"One choice he has is to take his family and key leaders and seek asylum elsewhere. Surely one of the 180-plus countries would take his regime — possibly Belarus."

The former Soviet republic has become a pariah state under the dictatorial rule of President Alexander Lukashenko and is suspected of violating United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

Comment: So there you have it, from the horse's mouth. In all likelihood the real Saddam is sitting in his high security compound in Belarus, while some the "double" that is presently being plastered over every news site will be hauled up in front of a war crimes tribunal. All in the interest of public brain washing

Hussein Given Safe Haven in Belarus?

The World Tribune – 25 April 2003

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has obtained safe haven in Belarus, several intelligence agencies believe.

Western intelligence sources said several intelligence agencies in the Middle East and Europe base this assessment on new information about a March 29 flight from Baghdad to Minsk. They said the flight of a chartered cargo plane could have transported Saddam, his sons and much of his family to Belarus.

"There's no proof that Saddam was on the plane but we have proof that a plane left on that day from Baghdad airport and arrived in Minsk," a senior intelligence source said. "If you can think of anybody else who could obtain permission to fly out of Baghdad in the middle of a war, then please tell me."

U.S. officials and Iraqi opposition sources said Saddam and his sons appear to have escaped two assassination attempts during the war. But they did not confirm the registration of a cargo flight from Baghdad to Minsk on March 29, Middle East Newsline reported.

The sources said the cargo aircraft took off from an unspecified Baghdad-area airport and entered Iranian air space on the flight toward Minsk. They said Iran did not attempt to interfere with the Iraqi flight.

About two weeks later, a registration of the cargo flight was found by the U.S. military in wake of the capture of the airport and the rest of the Baghdad area. Baghdad International Airport was captured on April 4.

U.S. officials said Saddam had been exploring the prospect of fleeing to Belarus over the last year. They said the Iraqi ruler was in close contact with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and that Minsk became a major military supplier to Baghdad.

Within hours after the departure of the cargo flight to Minsk on March 29, the Saddam regime was awash with rumors that the president had escaped. Intelligence sources said the rumors spread rapidly throughout the military command and among field officers.

"There was a significant decline in Iraqi combat strength starting from around March 31," an intelligence source said. "In interviews with coalition interrogators, Iraqi commanders have attributed the decline in combat to the feeling that Saddam had fled."

In Washington, Sen. Bob Graham, former chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, said on Thursday that a senior Saddam aide had been captured in Syria over the previous 24 hours. Graham did not identify the aide, but said he held one of the most sensitive positions in the regime.

The aide was believed to be Izzat Eddin Ibrahim Al Douri, vice chairman of the Revolutionary Council and the man who spent the longest amount of time with Saddam in power.

On Wednesday, British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said Saddam was believed to be alive and hiding somewhere in Iraq. "In the end we don't know, but it is still our best judgment that he is [in Iraq]," Hoon said.

"As each day goes by, as we continue to search those places he may be hiding, we have to keep an open mind, but it is still my best judgment."

On Thursday, U.S. officials reported that Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, regarded as the Western face of the Saddam regime, surrendered to U.S. military authorities. They said Aziz, who last month had vowed to die rather than be detained, held negotiations with the United States on the terms of his surrender.

Whilst the above article is interesting and informative it omits to make one critical conclusion. Coalition forces had complete mastery over Iraqi airspace: that being the case they must have allowed Hussein's flight out of Iraq

Saddam in Belarus?

However, according to our information, the deposed ruler and his sons were carried to safety in Minsk in late March aboard two chartered airliners. This week, the Polish news agency PAP sent a team of reporters to the Belarus capital to check on this account. They quote Natalia Pietkiewicz, spokesperson at President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s bureau, as evading a direct reply when asked if the former Iraqi ruler was in the country. She said: “We have no information that Saddam Hussein is in Belarus.” This is a long way from a flat denial.

The big question is how did the trio and its following of several hundred manage to elude coalition air forces, by then in full command of Iraqi skies, a question which leads to another: How did the men at the pinnacle of enemy power come to survive the two wars the Bush administration fought in less than two years?

Comment: Of course there is really only one answer to this question - the US allowed him to leave.

Belarus and Iraq

[...] Despite strong denials from Lukashenko, Belarus has been a key partner of Saddam Hussein in his effort to rebuild and modernize Iraq's air defense capability. Belarus has violated international law by secretly supplying Baghdad with SA-3 antiaircraft missile components as well as technicians. Given that Iraq has repeatedly tried to shoot down U.S. and British aircraft patrolling the U.N. no-fly zone -- with more than 420 attempts this year alone -- covert Belarusian-Iraqi military cooperation is disturbing and should set off alarm bells in Western capitals.

Former Belarusian defense minister Pavel Kozlovski, obviously someone with firsthand knowledge of Minsk's covert arms deals, recently summed up Belarus's cooperation with Iraq and other rogue states by saying, "I know that the Belarusian government does not have moral principles and can sell weapons to those countries [such as Iraq] where embargoes exist. This is the criminal policy of Belarusian leadership." [...]

Lukashenko congratulates saddam

Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs
October 28, 2002

President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko extended congratulations to President of the Republic of Iraq Saddam Hussein on the support given to him at the nation-wide referendum.

The congratulatory message says that this support demonstrates clearly the striving of the Iraqi people to guide their own destinies and to rebuff the attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of that country.

The Head of the State reaffirmed Belarus' interest in further developing comprehensive ties with Iraq for the benefit of our peoples, first of all in expanding political contacts and in intensifying trade and economic relations.

Alexander Lukashenko wished Saddam Hussein fruitful state activity, and well-being and peace of the Iraqi people.

Comment: Do a search on the web for Lukashenko and Saddam. There is a wealth of evidence showing that the two men have enjoyed a more than cosy relationship going back years.

At left: Saddam Hussein? At right: one of Saddam's many alleged body doubles? Consider the eyebrows: In the man on the left the right eyebrow appers to slant upwards, on the man on the right the right eyebrow slants downwards. The moustache: darker on the man on the left than on the man on the right? The ears: a definite bow in the middle of the ears of the man on the left. While in the man on the right the ear is partially obscured there is perhaps enough visible to see that the bow in the middle is absent?

Yes, but where are the Saddam look-alikes?

Times of India
Siddharth Varadarajan
APRIL 29, 2003

Ever since the fall of Baghdad , everyone's been asking where's Saddam and where are the weapons of mass destruction he allegedly had. Fair enough. But the question that intrigues me the most is this: Where on earth are his famed look-alikes? If Saddam is dead, did they all, to the last man, die with him? And if he's slipped out of the country -- to Syria , Belarus , wherever -- did he manage to take each and every one of his replicas with him? Are there, even as we speak, a dozen Saddams sadly sipping vodka (doubles, no doubt) in some seedy bar in Minsk or Vitebsk ?

From the first day, Iraqi television began broadcasting footage of a defiant Saddam untouched by the US `decapitation strike' against him, the American and British media have been telling us not to trust our own eyes. Even though you think you're seeing Saddam, reporters told us breathlessly, you can't be sure because the Iraqi leader is known to use a series of body doubles for his public appearances. This claim was often simply asserted as fact, or at best sourced to "Iraqi exiles" and "Western intelligence agencies".

To tell you the truth, I was always a bit sceptical about this explanation. First of all, in the 38 years I've been around on this planet, I've yet to see any human being with an exact body double, let alone several such human replicas so perfect in every manner as Saddam's were said to be.

And then there was the administrative aspect which bothered me. Was there a special department of the Iraqi government which kept track of the look-alikes, graded them according to quality and reliability, and decided whether Saddam 1, 4 or 8 should be used for such and such appearance? Finally, what would happen if one of the look-alikes - or his handlers - were to assert that the real Saddam was actually an impostor and order his summary execution? Was there a procedure laid down conclusively to identify the real McCoy? DNA tests, blood groups, perhaps a conveniently inflicted scar on the derriere?

On my part, I'm willing to bet that the failure of the US occupiers to locate and capture even one of the alleged Saddam doubles strongly suggests the Iraqi leader never had any. I reckon the story about body doubles is a classic psy-op, a theory probably floated by the Pentagon's erstwhile Office of Strategic Influence in order to demoralise and disorient the enemy. I don't know who or how this bit of information warfare was first foisted on the media but once it was out there, there was no shortage of journalists and editors gullible enough to retail an obviously suspect, nonfalsifiable theory.

But the psy-ops didn't end there. Throughout the war, the Pentagon used the media to spread disinformation about the course of the fighting, inventing civilian uprisings where there were none (Basra), chemical weapons factories where there were none (near Najaf), Iraqi anti-aircraft fire falling back onto earth to kill civilians (rather than US missiles being responsible), and bizarre claims about Iraqi soldiers "pushing women and children on to the street" and firing at "coalition forces" from behind these "human shields." Though the last claim has by now entered war lore, there is not even one credible eyewitness account from an embedded journalist to substantiate this charge, let alone establish that this was a widespread, pervasive Iraqi tactic. What the claim did, however, was to shift the blame for civilian deaths away from the invading army and on to the defenders.

The most impressive psy-op of the war, however, occurred on its last day, when US soldiers toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdous Square , Baghdad . The square is right opposite the Palestine Hotel where foreign journalists were staying. All US TV stations showed carefully framed, close-up footage of what seemed like a largish crowd toppling the statue with the assistance of a US army vehicle. The footage was shown live for hours, repeatedly broadcast throughout the day, especially by CNN and BBC, and cited by US leaders as proof of the 'legitimacy' of the war.

While most Iraqis were glad to be rid of Saddam, they had been reluctant to perform in large numbers for the invading army. With the blood of 2,000 Iraqi civilians and 10,000 soldiers on their hands, Bush and Rumsfeld needed cathartic footage of the oppressed masses surging forward towards freedom. The Firdous Square statue toppling was conceived for this purpose and executed brilliantly.

Had TV cameras shown a long shot of Firdous Square , the impression the toppling would have created would be very different. There is a long shot posted on the web which shows a largely empty square cordoned off by US tanks. Small clusters of Iraqis outside the square can be seen watching the toppling of the statue, as silent spectators rather than active participants.

Now, the question is, who were the few dozen Iraqis trying to bring the statue down? Obviously people the Americans trusted because the footage clearly shows some two dozen boisterous men clambering on top of the US army vehicle and charging at the statue. Remember, this was barely ten days after the suicide attack in central Iraq which claimed the lives of four US soldiers and a few days after nervous, trigger happy marines had mowed down a whole family when their car didn't slow down at a checkpost.

But even if the statue topplers were men the Americans could trust, who were they? Photographs doing the rounds on the Net strongly suggest they were members of Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress militia who had been flown into Nasiriya on April 6. One INC man in uniform shown with Chalabi at Nasiriya reappears in civilian clothes in a Reuters photograph from Baghdad on April 9, the day the statue is toppled, celebrating the entry of US soldiers. Readers can view and compare the two photographs at the same website mentioned above.

The only explanation for the coincidence is that like Saddam, the Chalabi supporter also has a body double. Wily aren't they, these Iraqis?

Secret Kuwaiti Pipeline Found From the Editorial Board

The Internet has turned out to be one of the most influential and powerful communication and information tools of our generation. We did not need to tell anyone this however, as you are all busy checking away messages and e-mails instead of laboring away at your school work. Besides the latent procrastination value however, the Internet has turned up a few more useful and interesting things. For instance: a secret oil pipeline from Kuwait to the Iraqi border.

Certainly, neither Kuwait nor Iraq is exactly a secretive location for oil transportation infrastructure, but this pipeline is different. Last May, an old man named Hank Brandli claimed that by observing and comparing weather satellite images of Kuwait, he discovered a pipeline in construction from central Kuwait to Iraq's rich southeastern oil fields. Now, everyone has an internet hobby or preferred distraction, be it news, sports, or even the Homestar Runner. However when a retired Air Force satellite information officer who is also MIT alumnus makes a claim like this, it should not fall on deaf ears.

Surprisingly this claim, including the accompanying photos, did. Amidst the deteriorating situation in Iraq, rising daily death tolls, overturning of constitutional amendments about abortion and the like, a pipeline was small news Stateside. Brandli's discovery will hopefully be receiving more attention soon, as the story was published (albeit in a very short article) recently in Popular Mechanics magazine, a publication that is typically pretty gung-ho about patriotism and military technology.

According to the Allied Command in both Kuwait and Iraq, this pipeline does not exist. Considering the trouble that the military has had maintaining order, let alone a safe passage from north Iraq across potentially volatile Turkey for oil export, it would seem more than plausible that our government and our liberated allies in Kuwait would be siphoning off oil through the well established and safe infrastructure in Kuwait. This is especially handy since the 87 billion dollars spent on killing Iraqi people and destroying Iraq, then subsequently feeding the Iraqi people and rebuilding Iraq is not going to be enough.


Sky News
January 3, 2001

Saddam Hussein has had a major stroke and may even be dead, according to Egyptian security sources.

The Iraqi dictator has not been seen since a New Year’s Day parade when he was shown on Iraqi TV firing his gun into the air. Reports say he was taking the salute from his military when he collapsed.

Sky News sources in Baghdad say that while all is quiet on the streets of the Iraqi capital there has been increased troop movement around Saddam ’s presidential palace. [...]

Iraq battles widespread rumors of Saddam's death

Special to World
Friday, January 5, 2001

NICOSIA — Iraq is fighting a flurry of claims that President Saddam Hussein might have died.

The assertions are coming from various sources in the Middle East. These include the Iraqi opposition in London and Damascus as well as Egyptian and Palestinian sources.

A Palestinian source with contacts to the leadership said Saddam died after he was hospitalized on late Sunday. Egyptian sources have made similar assertions.

The Iraqi regime has rebutted these claims. The Information Ministry in Baghdad called the reports "stupid" while the official Iraqi News Agency said Saddam chaired a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Arab diplomatic sources said this is a departure from Baghdad's usual practice of ignoring such reports. But they discounted the reports that Saddam has collapsed.

Still, Western officials urged Saddam monitors not to be fooled by Iraqi television footage of Saddam working in his office.

"We are aware that there are media reports around that Saddam Hussein has suffered a heart attack or stroke but we have no inside information at all confirming these reports," British Foreign Office Minister John Battle told the British Broadcasting Corp. "The regime has got a reputation for manipulating TV images, as we have seen before, and it's in the nature of this closed regime that the information to confirm or otherwise is not available."

On Monday, the Damascus-based Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq announced that Saddam sustained a severe stroke in Baghdad as he was reviewing a New Year's military parade. Opposition sources in London said Saddam had earlier sustained a minor stroke or heart attack over the weekend.

The London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat daily quoted an Iraqi source in Switzerland as saying Saddam sustained a severe heart attack and was hospitalized. The Saudi-owned newspaper has in the past frequently published claims that Saddam health is failing.

The uncertainty takes place as Iraqi Deputy Trade Minister Fakhri Rishan holds talks with Iranian officials on improving economic cooperation. Rishan heads a high-ranking delegation as the two countries seek to overcome such obstacles to a reconciliation as support for opposition groups and a dispute over prisoners of war.

On Thursday, the London-based Al Zaman daily reported that Saddam has ordered the execution of several senior military officers. The newspaper said two generals — identified as Osama Hassan Yawer and Taleb Saadoun — had been in prison for about two years on charges of criticizing Saddam.

At the same time, Iraqi leaders again raised the prospect of war with Israel. "We are ready to execute the orders of our command at any time and have taken the necessary measures to support our Arab brothers if they are the target of aggression," Iraqi Defense Minister Sultan Hashem Ahmad was quoted by the Al Zawra weekly as saying. "The Iraqi army, which is at the head of the armies in the region, is capable of facing up to the U.S. military technology."

Stealing Iraqi Oil? - Col. Hank Brandli

Charles Carlson interviews retired Colonel Hank Brandli, who sees a theft pipeline on satellite photos. The Colonel started his military career in the early NASA programs, was active in many phases of the Vietnam war and built his career as an expert in applying satellite photography to weather warfare. In May of 2003, Col. Brandli discovered what he interpreted as preparation for a hijacking of Iraq's enormous oil fields. Before and After photos captured in May and July 2003 can be seen on the WHTT website and are discussed at length on this audio.

Palm Bay Man has eye for detail Meteorologist's work featured in national weather magazine By Billy Cox

On May 25, while scanning the Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program images pipelined into his desktop from 450 miles in orbit, Hank Brandli skidded at a nighttime photo of Iraq. It looked familiar. But not exactly.

Brandli retrieved another DMSP image he'd archived from May 3. He compared the two. The most recent photo showed a blazing corridor of light running the length of Kuwait, south to north, all the way to the Iraqi border. The image wasn't there on May 3.

"It's going right up to Iraq's oil fields," says the retired Air Force colonel from his home in Palm Bay. "Maybe I'm full of s---. Maybe all they're doing is building a highway to put in McDonald's and sell hamburgers. But why go that way? I think we're in bed with Kuwait. I think we're pumping oil out of Iraq to pay for this war."

That's an audacious observation. Especially considering those labyrinthine lines of exasperated motorists waiting to gas up at the fuel pumps in Baghdad. Not to mention the fact that Iraq's infrastructure officially won't be capable of exporting oil for another week or so.

But as the May-June issue of Weatherwise magazine makes clear, Brandli isn't a conspiracy zealot squinting for guppies in the fig trees. An article titled "Weathering History" profiles the Vietnam veteran as a pioneer in satellite meteorology who was unable to discuss much of his defense work until 1995. That's the year President Clinton declassified vaults of Cold War satellite images.

Now 63, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumnus isn't allowing multiple sclerosis to derail his passion for eye-in-the-sky technology. Three times a day, he checks his the latest unclassified downloads from American and Russian weather satellites filtering into his home-wired receivers. He found last month's DMSP nocturnal shots over Baghdad especially compelling.

"You look for patterns. Patterns tell you things," says Brandli, who has masters degrees in meteorology, aeronautics and astronautics, and the author of "Satellite Meteorology" for the Air Force's Air Weather Service in 1976. "With night photos, you can distinguish natural gas burnoff, which looks globular, from city lights. And suddenly, over just a few weeks, we've got this straight line of lights leading all the way to those beautiful wells in southeastern Iraq.

"If you're building pipelines, you've got to have power, you've got to have light -- trucks and personnel and food and all sorts of support. If I had to bet, I'd say it looks like we're running Iraqi oil through Kuwait. It would make sense, because Kuwait's got its infrastructure intact."

At the State Department in Washington, D.C., David Staples on the Future of Iraqi Projects desk says he doesn't know if Iraq's oil is flowing into Kuwait. He referred the query to the Defense Department. A DoD spokesman suggested contacting the Office of Coalition of Provisional Authority (OCPA) in Baghdad. OCPA was not immediately available for comment.

In Indialantic, retired Air Force Col. Hyko Gayikian isn't sure what to make of Brandli's speculation. He wonders if maybe Kuwait's lights were pre-existing features that were temporarily shut down during the war. (Brandli says no, that he checked other photos prior to the March war campaign and could find no such lights.)

Either way, Gayikian has nothing but praise for Brandli's abilities. He was Brandli's commander at the Southeast Asia Tactical Forecast Center's intelligence compound in South Vietnam beginning in 1966. "Hank is one of the most knowledgeable people in satellite meteorology I've ever known," Gayikian says. "He's a real pro, and he's stuck with it. He'll always call to tell me about unusual satellite pictures he's just gotten his hands on." [...]

Brandli even views the 9/11 terrorist attacks through the lens of weather.

"They spent months, maybe years, planning this thing," he says. "But it had to come down to a last-second call, because there was a hurricane coming up the coast and a cold front moving out.

"Think about it: September is the worst month in the world to be planning anything in the air on the East Coast, because you're at the height of hurricane season. In fact, climatologically speaking, Sept. 3 is the worst day of the entire year to plan a flight. And yet, you had this day where the weather was perfect, from Maine all the way down to Washington. You can't plan that far out and hope you get lucky.

"What I'm saying is, I think they had a weather guy on their team to help set it up."

Photo mystery still unsolved

Billy Cox People
Jul 15, 2003

Palm Bay's Hank Brandli generated a buzz last month when the retired Air Force colonel suggested the United States had run a pipeline the length of Kuwait to siphon off Iraqi oil to help finance the war. Unfortunately, amid Washington's hall of mirrors, we're no closer to solving this mystery than when the story ran in June.

Rewind: In 1976, near the end of a career of handling classified projects, Brandli produced an analyst's bible for the Air Force Weather Service, a book called "Satellite Meteorology." Although he left the USAF shortly thereafter, Brandli took his passion into retirement with him by computer-rigging his home with receiving dishes that allowed him to download unclassified images from American and Russian weather satellites whenever they passed over.

On May 25, Brandli was riveted by some Defense Meteorological Satellite Program nighttime photos of Iraq and Kuwait. A north-south corridor of light -- not visible in a similar DMSP photo taken on May 3 -- had apparently been carved out of the Kuwaiti desert in little more than three weeks, all the way up to, and slightly inside of, the Iraqi border. Brandli failed to detect that same luminescent feature in photos prior to May 3. And after reviewing images he's studied after May 25, Brandli reports, "It's still there."

The State Department seemed to be the go-to choice for answers about this river of light, but a spokesperson was in the dark and said to call the Coalition of Provisional Authority, the office in charge of rebuilding Iraq. But the CPA never called back.

The U.S. Agency for International Development doesn't have any answers, either, and advises you to call the Defense Department. But the Pentagon media desk doesn't know anything about it, and urges you to call the CPA or U.S. Central Command in Tampa. CPA doesn't call back again. At CentCom, Lt. Col. Martin Compton is stumped.

"There are a number of possible explanations. All kinds of things are moving into Iraq right now, and it could be something as simple as water," he says. "But if it's something going on in Kuwait, I wouldn't know where to tell you to go for that. We might not even be in a position to tell you even if we knew."

You call the U.S. Commerce Department's Iraq Reconstruction Task Force in Washington. They refer you to CPA. CPA doesn't call back again.

Surely the American Petroleum Institute in Washington would know something about new Iraqi pipelines running through Kuwait. But after reviewing the e-mailed images, API spokesman Bill Bush says a key colleague is skeptical that they're oil-related.

"Presumably, if you're drawing oil out of Iraq, it would make more sense to go east toward the Gulf, where it could be unloaded," Bush says.

But in Monterey, Calif., Bob Fett says "Hank got it right."

Fett and Brandli worked together in Vietnam. Fett was the head of the Tactical Applications Department for the National Reconnaissance Organization, the spy-satellite program whose very existence was a state secret for 30 years. Fett, now a consultant for Naval Research Lab, provided a map showing how the lights line up into the region of Iraq's Rumaila oilfields.

"It's been an impressive operation," Fett says. "(Construction giants) Halliburton, or Bechtel, or Brown & Root, were contracted to get the oil flowing out of Iraq as quickly as possible, and hundreds of workers have been going at it 24 hours a day, around the clock. They needed lights to work at night." Fett adds that the project, which runs south into the metropolitan glow around Kuwait City, doesn't have to reach the Gulf for it to be oil-related. "Why not bring it south where the infrastructure is already in place?"

Bechtel and Halliburton didn't respond to messages. What's important is, Halliburton stocks are over $22 a share now. That's up from $12.62 last October.

General Clark to Testify for the Prosecution at Milosevic Trial

New York Times

[...] General Clark faces direct cross-examination by Mr. Milosevic, who conducts his own defense and usually demands as much time to question a witness as the prosecution. Frequently, he is given more time.

Among the 280 witnesses who have already testified at the trial, there have been many high-profile witnesses and many senior military officers from other nations. Only France is known to have insisted that its top military officers testify behind closed doors.

In court, Mr. Milosevic has often railed against NATO's bombing campaign and said NATO was the one that had committed war crimes. Of the 23,000 bombs and missiles used during the 78-day campaign, some struck the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, several bridges, a train full of civilian passengers and a television station.

How much finger-pointing Mr. Milosevic will be allowed with General Clark on the stand will depend on Richard May, the British judge who presides over the trial.

FLASHBACK: Our Next Savior? Grand Illusions About Wesley Clark


[...] Clark was among 68 leaders charged with war crimes by a group of international-law professionals from Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece, and the American Association of Jurists. [...]

Amongst the charges filed were: "grave violations of international humanitarian law", including "wilful killing, wilfully causing great suffering and serious injury to body and health, employment of poisonous weapons and other weapons to cause unnecessary suffering, wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, unlawful attacks on civilian objects, devastation not necessitated by military objectives, attacks on undefended buildings and dwellings, destruction and wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences."

At one point in the bombing campaign it was reported that "[Clark] would rise out of his seat and slap the table. 'I've got to get the maximum violence out of this campaign -- now!'" (Washington Post, 21 September 1999)[...]

12-Year-Old Allegedly Threatens Killing Spree

Knife Found In School Backpack

LANCASTER, Pa. -- A 12-year-old boy is being evaluated after allegedly threatening to go on a killing spree at school Tuesday.

Pittsburgh police were alerted Monday night to a posting on the Web site .

The posting by Freddy Fan reads: "I really am. I'm going to kill my teacher tommorrow and a lot of other people in my school. I'll probably kill a lot of people."

The original posting had a number of responses to it. Freddy Fan responded to them, saying, "Guys I am not kidding around. I am serious. If they blame it on the horror movies I'll tell them that horror had nothing to do with this. I won't be in deep shit because I'll be killing everybody who stands in my way. If I get killed then I'll be happy with that. [...]

With new Israeli gun, revolution in urban warfare is around the corner

TEL AVIV (AFP) Dec 15, 2003

A new weapons system was unveiled Monday in Israel which enables armed forces to fire guns around corners and looks set to revolutionize urban warfare around the world.

The patented "Corner Shot" provides unprecedented protection to the soldier by enabling the combatant to shoot down a street, through a window or a door frame with maximum accuracy while keeping out of the line of fire.

The system consists of a rod and a mobile end section which can be adjusted with any type of combat handgun and includes a camera allowing the soldier to scan the targeted area and aim while maintaining cover. [...]

Israelis kill unarmed Palestinians

Monday 15 December 2003, 13:03 Makka Time, 10:03 GMT

Israeli soldiers have shot and killed two unarmed Palestinians, and were searching for a third in southern Israel.

The army said a group of six Palestinians, in the early hours of Monday morning, approached a fence in the northern Gaza Strip that separates the occupied Palestinian area from Israel.

The army claimed that one of them was captured when four of the group apparently entered Israel. It was possible the group wanted to enter Israel to find work, the army said.

Police and soldiers, meanwhile, searched for the other three Palestinians, setting up impromptu checkpoints and roadblocks throughout southern Israel.

The two Palestinians who were killed and the one apprehended in Israel were unarmed, the army admitted.

They claimed the group might have been planning to carry out resistance attacks in Israel.

[...] Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers backed by tanks and bulldozers destroyed 18 homes and partially damaged another 13 during a pre-dawn invasion into southern Gaza's Khan Yunis refugee camp, said Palestinian witnesses.

An occupier tells all - the story of Israeli brutality towards Palestinians


Liran Ron-Forer is a war criminal. Don’t buy his book. Moreover, would someone in the District Attorney's office put him on trial?

That's the opening sentence in a recent article published on Israel's Yediot Aharonot website entitled "A Sadist's book", which discloses the story of a new book written by Ron-Forer,26 , who was an Israeli soldier positioned during his military service at a Gaza checkpoint. In his book, Ron-Forer describes, in chilling details, how he and his friends tortured Palestinians - with declared pleasure – in various ways.

Let's take a small glimpse into Ron-Forer's own words – "I ran toward them and punched the Arab right in the face, never before did I do such a thing, he collapsed on the road…I dragged him over behind the jeep, pushed him in…We sat in the back seat…Our Arab lay down there and just wept quietly to himself…and he bled and made a puddle of blood and saliva, which angered and disgusted me, so I grabbed him by the hair and twisted his head to the side. He cried out loud…He didn't stop crying and someone said his hands hurt from the handcuffs. One of the soldiers approached him and punched him in the stomach. The Arab suffered from pain and grunted, we all giggled, it was funny…I kicked him real hard in the bottom and he whirled inside, just as I planned. They shouted that I am crazy and laughed – and I felt great".

These actions and many more, which took place in the course of Ron-Forer and his friends' army service, can be read in his new documentary book. In honor of the book's publication, Ron-Forer received extensive coverage in two of Israel's leading newspapers. One of the journalists even wrote Ron-Forer is a "deep and opinionated young man". It appears, Ron-Forer is indeed "deep", especially when it comes to encounters with tied up bodies of Palestinians…

It should be added, however, that many publishers in Israel, including the well-known Steimatsky bookstore chain refused to publish his book because of its criticism of Israeli military conduct.

In short, Ron-Forer is a criminal of war. He is certainly not the only one in the Israeli army who behaves in such a manner, to say the least. In Yediot Aharonot's own words, it says "upon entering the [occupied] territories, our men go through a quick operation which removes their humanity, and after a short while, they turn into human animals which derive pleasure from abusing and humiliating".

The paper continues by saying that Ron-Forer is just an example, adding his book shows this kind of conduct constitutes an Israeli army norm throughout the roadblocks, as can be understood also by Ron-Forer's words, "The prestige of the matter is to be crazy...violent in an unusual way".

Besides the evident crimes Ron-Forer committed, it is quite important to stress the various responses the articles written about his book have received. In Israeli written and online papers, the readers' comments were not less atrocious. One response simply said Ron-Forer's actions were "justified", with another calling to check if he was not just making up those stories. Another reader said it was an excellent book, which made him laugh. There were also those that put the blame not on Ron-Forer as an individual, but, rather on the occupation, which has been ruining the Israeli soldiers. However, it is interesting to add that there were also those that strongly slammed Ron-Forer for his behavior, saying he should be thrown into jail along with his friends, with others saying they never caused any harm to Palestinians throughout their military service, and there were those that simply called him a human-beast.

In any case, what is quite clear is that this particular Israeli soldier is not just one rotten apple in a bunch. He definitely serves as a perfect symbol of the entire Israeli occupation of Palestine and of the Israeli soldiers' actions against the Palestinian people. Whether his book sells many copies or not is of no vital importance. What is significant is that the occupation of Palestinian lands and aggression against Palestinian civilians must come to an end, once and for all.

Israel charges Canadian man with conspiracy

Last Updated Mon, 15 Dec 2003 6:52:27

GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP - Israel has charged Jamal Akkal with conspiracy to commit murder and illegal military training.

The 23-year-old Windsor, Ont. man appeared in a Gaza court Monday for a preliminary hearing.

Akkal, who was born in a Gaza refugee camp, received Canadian citizenship after moving to Canada in 1999. His family says he was in Gaza to find a bride when he was arrested in November.

US singer Lauryn Hill blasts Catholic Church.

Vatican City - US hip-hop singer Lauryn Hill stunned leading members of the Roman Catholic Church when she accused them of moral corruption, exploitation and abuse from the stage during a Christmas concert at the Vatican.

Hill, 28, launched her diatribe in front of an audience of 7 500 guests at a packed Paul VI hall, used by Pope John Paul II for indoor public audiences.

"I'm not here to celebrate, like you, the birth of Christ, but to ask you why you are not in mourning for his death in this place," Hill said, reading from a prepared statement as she came on stage for her performance as part of a all-star gala concert.

"Holy God has witnessed the corruption of your leadership, of the exploitation and abuses which are the minimum that can be said for the clergy," she added, calling on the hierarchy to "repent".

At least two dead, 13 hurt in military accident near Iranian nuclear plant

TEHRAN (AFP) Dec 15, 2003

At least two civilians were killed and 13 injured by stray anti-aircraft shells during firing exercises near a controversial nuclear power plant being built at Bushehr, southern Iran, a local official said Monday. [...]

Spain and Poland may pay financial price

By George Parker and Judy Dempsey in Brussels and Hugh Williamson in Berlin
Published: December 14 2003 20:54 | Last Updated: December 14 2003 20:54

Germany has issued dark hints that Spain and Poland will be punished financially for blocking a deal on a new European Union constitution at the divisive EU summit in Brussels at the weekend.

The early breakdown of the meeting on Saturday has thrown the future of the constitutional treaty into doubt, and threatened to open up new rifts in Europe.

Germany is now expected to exact revenge on Spain and Poland early in 2004, when member states start discussing the next EU budget round. Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor, warned there were "certain parallels" between the treaty negotiations and the the seven-year EU budget period, which starts in 2007.

Germany, the biggest net contributor to the budget, says it wants to keep spending pegged to just 1 per cent of the EU's GDP, or roughly €100bn (£70bn, $117bn) a year. That is about €25bn a year less than many inside the European Commission argue is needed to sustain aid to the poorest EU regions, including southern Spain and all of Poland.

José María Aznar, the Spanish prime minister, and Leszek Miller, his Polish counterpart, refused to agree to a new EU voting system that would have sealed a deal on the new constitution in Brussels.

Although both leaders received domestic praise for defending the existing voting system - which gives Spain and Poland disproportionate power inside the EU - they know there could be a price to pay.

[...] French diplomats said Mr Chirac blamed Polish and Spanish intransigence - and Britain's determination to hold on to its national veto in key fields - as evidence of the need for a so-called avant-garde, or vanguard.

Some suspect Mr Chirac and Mr Schröder were happy for the summit to collapse early, specifically to make that point. "You would think it was a stitch-up by Chirac and Schröder to have the summit collapse," said one east European diplomat.

North Cyprus election ends in dead-heat

By Andreas Hadjipapas in Nicosia, Kerin Hope in Athens and agencies
Published: December 15 2003 2:10 | Last Updated: December 15 2003 2:10

An alliance of pro-European Turkish Cypriot parties claimed on Sunday night to have won the parliamentary election in North Cyprus, but the latest count shows the result may end in dead-heat. The poll is seen as an early referendum on the UN-sponsored plan to reunite the island ahead of accession to the European Union.

Officials of the leftwing Republican Turkish Party said on Sunday the opposition would have a one-or two-seat majority in the 50-seat parliament, in which seats are allocated under a complex proportional system.

But preliminary results show the RTP and its alliance partner, the Social Democrat Movement for Peace and Democracy, have together captured 25 seats. The bloc which opposes the re-unification plan, led by ruling National Unity Party, appears to have won the other 25 seats.

Momentum for change has accelerated in north Cyprus, with more than three-quarters of the population of about 200,000 supporting a settlement that would allow both sides of the island to join the EU on May 1. But without a clear outcome to the election, the opposition's effort to adopt the UN plan may be frustrated.

Cruelty and crowds 2003-12-15 10:46:26

BEIJING, Dec. 15, (Xinhuanet) -- It is a familiar scene in many places in China, as elsewhere in the world, that a group of curious people gather around to watch whenever an accident or a fight takes place.

The spectators just gather as observers to enjoy the spectacle. But these on-lookers murmuring and even joking are often accused of selfishness and apathy. Recently, media around the country have carried many reports criticizing such spectators.

In May this year, a man with a mental disorder in Xiangtan, in Central China's Hunan Province, attempted to commit suicide and climbed to the top of a six-storey building. After the police and rescuers had managed to calm the man down, hundreds of viewers on the street below started to cry, "Jump, jump". The man finally jumped off the building after a three-hour stand-off with the police. Applause and cheers burst out from among the crowd.

Last month, China Central Television reported that last year in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a 15-year-old girl was forced by another three girls to take off all her clothes and stand naked in public as punishment for stepping on one of the girl's feet.

The three even compelled the naked girl to parade through the streets among whistles and screams from surrounding viewers, yet no one stepped forward to stop the cruel behaviour. Four young men under the age of 18 from among the on-lookers then grabbed the scared girl, led her away and raped her.

"I was frightened," the victim told CCTV. "Yet, I was not afraid of the villains insulting me. It was the complicated expression in the viewers' eyes that scared me. It was these people who made me helpless."

Bomb blast just misses Pakistani president

By Zeeshan Haider
Sunday December 14, 05:48 PM

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan's military President Pervez Musharraf has had a narrow escape after a bomb tore up a section of road in the city of Rawalpindi moments after his convoy passed by.

"The president's motorcade passed a minute before the blast," military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said. "He is safe and sound."

"It is a terrorist act," Sultan said. "Whether it was an assassination attempt or not cannot be said until after the investigations." [...]

China issues first ever list of "terrorist" groups, seeks international help

Mon Dec 15, 1:51 AM ET

BEIJING, (AFP) - China has issued its first ever list of "terrorist" groups, blaming them for a series of bombings and assasinations and calling for international assistance to wipe them out.

The groups are accused of trying to create an independent Islamic state called "East Turkistan" in northwest China's Xinjiang region, which is populated by the Turkish-speaking Uighur Muslims. [...]

Scientists Agonized Over Flu Vaccine

Sun Dec 14, 6:15 PM ET

Late last winter, a committee of vaccine experts designing this season's flu shot considered their choices. They had two, and both seemed bad.

Should they stick with last year's formula, even though a new strain of the bug was ominously building strength? Or should they try to make a new vaccine and risk complications or delays that could result in a shortage or maybe even no vaccine at all?

In the end, the committee voted 17-1 to bring back last year's version, even though they feared they were telling millions of Americans to roll up their sleeves for shots that might not work very well. [...]

S.Korea Confirms Highly Contagious Bird Flu

December 15, 2003

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea said Monday it had confirmed a case of a highly contagious type of bird flu, which can be deadly to humans, at a chicken farm near Seoul.

"We have confirmed highly contagious avian influenza, known as H5N1, in chickens," an Agriculture Ministry official told Reuters. [...]

In rare instances strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza can be lethal to humans, as well as devastating for poultry. The H5N1 strain killed six people in Hong Kong in 1997 and 1998. [...]

Motorway reopens after chemical spill (UK)
08:06 Monday 15th December 2003

A stretch of the M42 which closed after a lorry overturned, spilling a hazardous chemical, has reopened. The accident took place on the southbound carriageway between junctions 6 and 5 near Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre and caused both carriageways to be shut. [...]

Ten West Midlands Fire Service firefighters who helped rescue the lorry driver from his cab were taken to hospital after feeling unwell but were later released. [...]

A 300-metre cordon was set up around the vehicle to protect people from the chemical which a fire service spokesman described as "highly toxic, narcotic and very flammable".

Inbound flights to Birmingham International Airport were diverted to Coventry for a time because of the crash.

IBM Said to Export Programer Jobs to Asia

Mon Dec 15,12:27 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp., the world's largest computer company, will move the work of as many of 4,730 U.S. software programers to India, China and elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. [...]

Bug devices track officials at summit

By Audrey Hudson

Officials who attended a world Internet and technology summit in Switzerland last week were unknowingly bugged, said researchers who attended the forum.

Badges assigned to attendees of the World Summit on the Information Society were affixed with radio-frequency identification chips (RFIDs), said Alberto Escudero-Pascual, Stephane Koch and George Danezis in a report issued after the conference ended Friday in Geneva. The badges were handed out to more than 50 prime ministers, presidents and other high-level officials from 174 countries, including the United States.

The trio's report said they were able to obtain the official badges with fraudulent identification only to be stunned when they found RFID chips — a contentious issue among privacy advocates in the United States and Europe — embedded in the tags.

Researchers questioned summit officials about the use of the chips and how long information would be stored but were not given answers. [...]

Evidence mounts of earlier asteroid annihilation

Meteorite fragments, metal from Antarctica may boost theory

UK bid to solve why matter exists

British scientists have been given a £2.3 million grant to try and solve one of the biggest mysteries of the universe - why matter exists.

Researchers at the University of Sussex will use the cash to make some of most sensitive measurements ever undertaken of sub-atomic particles.

They hope within six years to have answers which might finally explain the creation of matter at the dawn of time.

Physicist Dr Philip Harris, leading the group, said: "Although there are a couple of other teams in the world working in this same area, we're managing to stay ahead of them.

"This is all very exciting for us. With this new development, we are on the verge of a major breakthrough in our understanding of the very origin of matter in the universe."

For years scientists have been vexed by the question of why there is more matter in the universe than anti-matter. Both were formed at the time of the Big Bang, about 13.7 billion years ago. For every particle formed, an anti-particle would also have been formed.

When matter and anti-matter meet they turn to energy in a blinding flash. At the start of the universe, equal numbers of both would have annihilated each other, leaving nothing but light.

But a tiny imbalance in the laws of nature allowed a little matter to be left over and become galaxies of stars.

The only way scientists can verify theories to explain this anomaly is to study sub-atomic particles.

It involves making incredibly sensitive measurements of a phenomenon called the electric dipole moment. This allows neutrons in the atom, particles with no electric charge, to behave a little like magnets with positive and negative poles.

The £2.3 million grant from the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council will allow the scientists to develop a 300,000 volt measuring device that stores neutrons. The team is working with physicists at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot, Oxfordshire, and the universities of Oxford and Kure in Japan.

Previously Unseen 9/11 Footage

Comment: Just exactly who shot this professional quality video?

FLASHBACK: 'I Better Call My Lawyer'

14 Dec 2003

[...] At a photo op after a cabinet meeting, a reporter asked Bush if such punitive steps squared with international law. "International law?" Bush answered, with an edge of sarcasm. "I better call my lawyer. He didn't bring that up to me." [...]

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