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December 18, 2003

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Hot on the heels of the "wonderful" news and excellent timing of "Saddam's" "capture", serious allegations are made by the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attack. It "could have and should have been prevented" he said, this coming from an man appointed by Bush and reportedly his cousin. But would they really take the next step and accuse the government of complicity? It certainly seems that someone somewhere is not going to let Bush rest easy, but what is the ultimate goal? Could Israel figure in this somewhere? Perhaps, but the plan may not be to Israel's liking...

Cheney is bound and determined to shove perpetual war down on our throats. He is threatening us with terrorism yet again. By the way, the idea of a free press "bugs him."

With a little research into the history of US human experimentation, including children, one may think twice before succumbing to the media induced hysteria and stabbing them with US endorsed vaccines.

Putin announces that he will run for a second term of office. As the US warns Iran that signing the nuclear inspection protocol is not enough, Russia signs a different agreement to help set up Iran's first nuclear reactor. Meanwhile, the US is urging Americans to leave Saudi Arabia.

Is the military hosting spam? Yes, according to one researcher. The Bush Reich is sanitizing various government web sites. The first civilian lawyer allowed in Guantanamo describes the prison camp as a black hole.

Cons work for Diebold, a religious edict issued against moving out of Gaza (yes, the human race is still spilling blood over religion), curators freaking out over Egyptian artifacts doing things inanimate objects aren't supposed to do, in Japan, a dead man is ignored on a busy street corner for two months, several military aircraft accidents occur around the world, and the American educational system worsens.

9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable

CBS News
December 17, 2003

For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

"This is a very, very important part of history and we've got to tell it right," said Thomas Kean.

"As you read the report, you're going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn't done and what should have been done," he said. "This was not something that had to happen."

Appointed by the Bush administration, Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, is now pointing fingers inside the administration and laying blame.

"There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed," Kean said.

To find out who failed and why, the commission has navigated a political landmine, threatening a subpoena to gain access to the president's top-secret daily briefs. Those documents may shed light on one of the most controversial assertions of the Bush administration, that there was never any thought given to the idea that terrorists might fly an airplane into a building.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile," said national security adviser Condoleeza Rice on May 16, 2002.

"How is it possible we have a national security advisor coming out and saying we had no idea they could use planes as weapons when we had FBI records from 1991 stating that this is a possibility," said Kristen Breitweiser, one of four New Jersey widows who lobbied Congress and the president to appoint the commission.

The widows want to know why various government agencies didn't connect the dots before Sept. 11, such as warnings from FBI offices in Minnesota and Arizona about suspicious student pilots.

"If you were to tell me that two years after the murder of my husband that we wouldn't have one question answered, I wouldn't believe it," Breitweiser said.

Kean admits the commission also has more questions than answers.

Asked whether we should at least know if people sitting in the decision-making spots on that critical day are still in those positions, Kean said, "Yes, the answer is yes. And we will."

Kean promises major revelations in public testimony beginning next month from top officials in the FBI, CIA, Defense Department, National Security Agency and, maybe, President Bush and former President Clinton.

Comment: Kean was chosen by the Bush himself (allegedly) which makes his comments all the more interesting. Is it possible that a plan is afoot to oust the Bush administration, or is this merely the beginnings of a different plan to "come clean" about 9/11 but indict some other party?...

Albright thinks Bush hiding bin Laden

World Net Daily

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Fox News Channel analyst Morton Kondracke yesterday she suspects President Bush knows the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and is simply waiting for the most politically expedient moment to announce his capture.

Kondracke made the announcement about what Albright told him backstage before an appearance on another Fox show on "Special Report With Brit Hume."

Kondracke was incredulous that a former secretary of state could believe something like that about a U.S. administration.

"She was not smiling when she said this," offered Kondracke, who believes Albright is serious about the conspiracy theory.

"I'm one of these people that said I understood the 'why' of the war, but I didn't understand the 'why now' or the 'what next,'" she told O'Reilly.

Comment: The question is, why would Albright, even say this if did not have at least some basis in truth? Soon after she claims that it was "tongue in cheek". What does that mean? Again we ask, why would she joke about something as serious as this if it did not have a basis in truth? She has been known for making other extremely dubious remarks, like when asked about the death of 500,000 Iraqi children as a result of the sanctions imposed on Iraq, she responded that she thought it was "worth it". If this was a genuine slip, (unlikely in our opinion) it could be the beginning of a plan to ultimately expose the government, or some other party, as responsible for 9/11.

Albright: Bin Laden Comments Were 'Tongue-in-Cheek'

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright insisted Wednesday that she wasjust kidding when she wondered aloud whether the Bush administration is holding Usama bin Laden captive, waiting to break him out at the best political moment.

It was a "tongue-in-cheek comment and was not intended in any other way," Albright told Fox News.

But witnesses to Albright's comment said the ambassador did not appear to be joking Tuesday when she suggested President Bush may reveal bin Laden's capture as an "October surprise" before next November's presidential election.

Albright was in the Fox News studio's green room waiting to appear on an evening program when she made the remark.

"She said, 'Do you suppose that the Bush administration has Usama bin Laden hidden away somewhere and will bring him out before the election?'" said Fox News analyst and Roll Call executive editor Mort Kondracke. "She was not smiling."

Two makeup artists who prep the guests before their appearances also reported that Albright did not ask her question in a joking manner.

Democrats have long attacked Bush for his conduct in the war on terror, but conspiracy theories are gaining in frequency. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a presidential candidate, has several times suggested that Bush was told in advance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks by Saudi Arabia.

After Saddam's capture last weekend, Washington Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott (search) made the charge that Bush staged it to win points at home.

Colleague Rep. Norman Dicks, D-Wash., scolded McDermott for the comment, and the White House said it would not address such charges.

Wash. Congressman says Bush knew were Saddam was

By Matthew Daly
Associated Press Writer
December 16, 2003

WASHINGTON -- The Washington congressman who criticized President Bush while visiting Baghdad last year has questioned the timing of the capture of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., told a Seattle radio station Monday the U.S. military could have found Saddam "a long time ago if they wanted." Asked if he thought the weekend capture was timed to help Bush, McDermott chuckled and said: "Yeah. Oh, yeah."

The Democratic congressman went on to say, "There's too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing."

When interviewer Dave Ross asked again if he meant to imply the Bush administration timed the capture for political reasons, McDermott said: "I don't know that it was definitely planned on this weekend, but I know they've been in contact with people all along who knew basically where he was. It was just a matter of time till they'd find him.

"It's funny," McDermott added, "when they're having all this trouble, suddenly they have to roll out something."

State Republicans immediately condemned McDermott's remarks, saying the Seattle Democrat again was engaging in "crazy talk" about the Iraq war.

"Once again McDermott has embarrassed this state with his irresponsible ranting," GOP state Chairman Chris Vance said in a news release. "Calling on him to apologize is useless, but I call on other Democrats to let the public know if they agree with McDermott -- and Howard Dean, who recently said he thought it was possible that President Bush had advance knowledge about 9/11. The voters deserve to know if the entire Democratic Party believes in these sorts of bitter, paranoid conspiracy theories."

Last year, Vance and other Republicans labeled McDermott "Baghdad Jim" for comments he made during a trip to Baghdad that President Bush "would mislead the American people" but that Saddam could be trusted.

On Monday, Democrats joined the criticism of McDermott.

"With all due respect to my colleague, that is a fantasy," Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said of McDermott's comments. "That just is not right. ... It's one thing to criticize this administration for having done this war. I mean, that's a fair question.But to criticize them on the capture of Saddam, when it's such a big thing to our troops, is just ridiculous."

Comment: So it is not so much that there is no truth to the allegations but that it is not right to say such a thing when the troops are all so happy about it. Essentially it is the same as saying that it is not right to tell wide-eyed children that Santa does not exist, even though it is in fact the truth...

Flashback: Sons' Bodies Underwent 'Facial Reconstruction'

Tehran Times
7-26-03

BAGHDAD - The bodies of the two slain sons of Saddam Hussein, Uday and Qusay, underwent "facial reconstruction" before they were shown to international correspondents Friday, a U.S. military official said.

"The two bodies have undergone facial reconstruction with mortician's putty to make them resemble as closely as possible the faces of the brothers when they were alive," a U.S. military official told a pool correspondent.

This was standard practice and there was no intention to deceive, he said, speaking to around 15 journalists at Baghdad's international airport where the corpses were being kept, AFP reported.

Qusay's beard had been shaved off but his moustache had been left, while Uday's beard was still intact, the pool correspondent said.

He added that the corpses did not look like they had in the initial photographs taken of the two and released to the press on Thursday

Comment: From the information available it is quite clear that the men confirmed as Saddam's sons were in fact not his sons, and that this was merely another fabrication for the "benefit" of the public. As such, why should anyone believe that the alleged capture of Saddam is any different, given the enormous benefits that the US government is deriving from the alleged capture. See here for more analysis of the Uday and Qusay charade

Senator says briefing claimed Iraqi drones could hit US

17/12/2003

The Bush Administration told senior politicians before the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein had developed drones which could strike the east coast of the US with weapons of mass destruction, a Senator has claimed.

Democrat Bill Nelson said he was among around 75 Senators who received the classified briefing shortly before a Congressional vote last October, which authorised the removal of Saddam by force.

He said the Senators were told that Iraq had developed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) which could dump biological or chemical agents, including anthrax, on east coast cities, including Washington and New York.

“They have not found anything that resembles an UAV that has that capability,” Nelson said in a conference-call press briefing, reported by the Florida Today newspaper.

The Tallahassee Senator said the intelligence contradicted other reports senators had received before the war.

“If that is an intelligence failure… we better find that out so we don’t have an intelligence failure in the future,” he said.

The White House directed questions about the matter to the Department of Defence, which declined to comment.

President Bush referred to UAVs, otherwise known as drones, during a speech in October last year.

He warned of a “grave threat” from a “growing fleet” of the vehicles which might be used to carry out a September 11-style attack.

He said: “We have also discovered that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas.

“We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using UAVs for missions targeting the United States.”

But Senator Nelson said the classified briefing went further, warning that Iraq had actually developed ways of hitting the eastern seaboard with drones.

Comment: Iraqi drones?? Iraq could not even cobble together a chemical weapon never mind a "drone". This was not so much an intelligence failure as a intelligence tactic, given that the main objective of US intelligence agencies is to ensure that the people remain in the dark as to the real agenda of their government.

U.S.: ‘Credible threat’ of major attack in Italy

St. Peter's Square, Leaning Tower of Pisa get special attention

MSNBC
Dec. 17, 2003

Italian authorities have clamped unprecedented security coverage over the Vatican and other Christian landmarks after receiving a "credible threat" of a Christmastime terrorist attack, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Over the past two days, officials within the Vatican and elsewhere in Italy have increased security near major Christian symbols, including St. Peter's Square. The step was taken based on a warning from the Mossad, the Israeli security service, that there was a "high index of probability" that "an important symbol of Christianity" would be the target of an attack between Christmas and New Year's, senior officials told NBC News on condition of anonymity.

Italy has increased security around 8,000 or so sites, which are guarded by a 12,000-member security force, Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu told Agence France-Presse.

"There is a legitimate concern, a credible threat," one of the U.S. officials told NBC's Robert Windrem. "Italian police are taking the appropriate precautions."

The phrase "credible threat" has a specific meaning in the intelligence community, denoting information developed from a source or sources that have proved reliable in the past.

Security fears have risen worldwide as the Christian holiday season approaches with tens of thousands of U.S. troops occupying Iraq, a major Muslim nation. Earlier Wednesday, the State Department urged nonessential U.S. diplomats and the families of all U.S. officials to leave Saudi Arabia.[...]

Special attention focuses on the Vatican. The Via della Conciliazione, the main road leading to St. Peter's Basilica, will be closed every night until Dec. 25, a precaution that officials said was unprecedented. [...]

Comment: "Are you the President, Prime Minister or a member of the controlling elite of a western nation? Having trouble with uppity citizens? Do you recognise the need for effective control measures but lack the tools to get the job done? Then look no further, CIA/Mossad has the service for you! For an incredibly low price you can now receive a certified genuine faked terror attack, delivered right to where and when you need it most! With our tailored brand of bogus attacks you can be sure that even the most liberty-minded members of your population will soon be begging you to protect them!

US accused of double standards after granting Saddam prisoner-of-war status

By Robert Verkaik and Rupert Cornwell
17 December 2003

The US administration was accused of gross hypocrisy yesterday after granting Saddam Hussein the legal rights that for more than two years it has denied the 660 detainees held in Guantanamo Bay.

The treatment of Saddam as a prisoner of war under the terms of the Geneva Conventions and the promises he will be given a fair trial contrast sharply with the status of the "illegal combatants" picked up by the coalition forces in the war against terror.

The decision has been made by the Pentagon irrespective of whatever role Saddam may have had in orchestrating the resistance to the occupation, including the suicide bombings which have claimed the life of the UN representative Sergio Vieira di Mello and those of many Iraqi civilians. Insurgents have also killed almost 200 US soldiers since major combat ended in May.

While the Americans have consistently referred to the deposed dictator as a sponsor of world terrorism and guilty of crimes against humanity, the Guantanamo detainees still do not know the charges upon which they are being held.

Chemical, Nuclear Arms Still 'Major Threat,' Cheney Says

By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Vice President Cheney warned this week that "the major threat" facing the nation is the possibility that terrorists could detonate a biological or nuclear weapon in a U.S. city.

Cheney told commentator Armstrong Williams that the war on terrorism is "going to go on for a long time" and that U.S. soil remains vulnerable to al Qaeda, the network behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The vice president said one of his biggest worries is "the possibility of that group of terrorists acquiring deadlier weapons to use against us -- a biological weapon of some kind, or even a nuclear weapon."

"To contemplate the possibility of them unleashing that kind of capability -- of that kind of weapon, if you will, in the midst of one of our cities -- that's a scary proposition," he said. "It's one of the most important problems we face today, because I think that is the major threat." [...]

Cheney called the free press "a vital part of society," but added: "On occasion, it drives me nuts." [...]

Accidents Involving Nukes: Official List from the UK Ministry of Defence

COINTELPRO Squelching dissent in the name of security

Keeping Secrets

The Bush administration is doing the public's business out of the public eye.

US News

[...] Some of the Bush administration's initiatives have been well chronicled. Its secret deportation of immigrants suspected as terrorists, its refusal to name detainees at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the new surveillance powers granted under the post-9/11 U.S.A. Patriot Act have all been debated at length by the administration and its critics.

The clandestine workings of an energy task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney have also been the subject of litigation, now before the Supreme Court. But the administration's efforts to shield the actions of, and the information obtained by, the executive branch are far more extensive than has been previously documented. [...]

Skolnick: Saddam, Prisoner Of Carlyle Group

[...] Will Carlyle Group succeed in extracting, from Saddam, his part of the secret codes to unlock the details of his worldwide properties, so they can reportedly be stolen by the Bush Crime family jointly with the Carlyle Group? [...]

Israeli Soldiers Kill Four Palestinian Gunmen

December 18, 2003

NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli soldiers killed four armed Palestinian militants during fierce gun battles in the West Bank city of Nablus early Thursday, Palestinian sources said.

Palestinian medics said initially that five Palestinian gunmen were killed in the fighting, but later reduced the toll by one.

The fighting in Nablus was some of the fiercest in weeks in the West Bank, where Israeli forces encircle most major Palestinian towns and cities. [...]

Israeli Army Phases Out Uzi Submachine Gun

By JASON KEYSER, Associated Press Writer
Wed Dec 17, 5:39 PM ET

JERUSALEM - Israel's military is phasing out the legendary Uzi submachine gun, calling it antiquated and replacing it with more sophisticated, electronics-outfitted weaponry, an army spokesman said Wednesday.

But the Uzi, a national icon and the country's most famous contribution to the arms industry, will still be produced and exported, to the presumable delight of drug dealers, gang members, Secret Service agents and Hollywood action stars alike. [...]

This year, Israel announced the development of the Tavor, a new, compact assault rifle to be issued to soldiers starting in January. [...]

Rabbis issue prohibition against evacuating settlements

By Jonathan Lis
Haaretz Service and The Associated Press

The rabbinical council representing the West Bank and Gaza Strip issued a public statement Wednesday saying the government must not evacuate settlements and outposts.

"The government is forbidden by a total religious prohibition to evacuate any outpost or settlement, and has no right to give away parts of the land of Israel to strangers, and anything done toward this aim is void," said the statement from the Yesha rabbinical council, named for the Hebrew acronym for the territories. [...]

Israeli "policing" of Palestinian communities

CIA report: No full peace settlement before 2020

By Amir Oren,
Haaretz Correspondent
17/12/2003


The death of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat would set in motion a sequence of events that could culminate in an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, a report released this week by the U.S. intelligence community predicts.

The intelligence estimate casts doubt on the likelihood of a full peace settlement materializing in the years before 2020; nonetheless, should an Israel-Palestinian agreement for a "cold peace" win support among a majority of Palestinians, it would constitute the most significant development in the region since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

It improve the Arab world's attitude toward the U.S., and eliminate a pretext used by Arab countries which are reluctant to implement political reforms, the U.S. assessment claims. Israel, the evaluation adds, will not relinquish nuclear weapons it possesses. [...]

The Middle East section of this global assessment warns about the possibility of a war between Israel and Syria, or some other Arab state. In such a future war, it is possible that unconventional )biological, chemical or even nuclear( weapons could be used, warns the National Intelligence Council. Such a war would eradicate the softening of Arab attitudes toward the U.S., and also derail efforts to revive progress on the Israel-Palestinian peace track. Another rout of an Arab army by the IDF would cause Arab populations to reconsider the viability of their political regimes.

Comment: Sharon will surely be happy to read this report. It spells out the roadmap to his ultimate goal of ensuring that there can never be any peace in Palestine and forever alienating the Arab nations of the Middle East. According to the report all he has to do is wage war on Syria, something which he is only too eager to do. Yet what is in it for the US? Are Sharon and by default the Jewish people being baited by the US neocons? Time will tell.

Putin Confirms He'll Run for Second Term

December 18, 2003

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he would run for a second and, according to the constitution, final four-year term in March.

"Yes, I am going to run," he said on national television.

Putin, 51, was speaking in what has become an annual live, but well-scripted, question-and-answer session with ordinary Russians.

His popularity ratings are routinely above 70 percent, boosted by his promise of a more stable and prosperous Russia that emerged from the Soviet Union 12 years ago in near ruin. [...]

Russia and Iran to sign agreement on nuclear reactor soon

MOSCOW (AFP) Dec 17, 2003

Russia and Iran will soon sign an accord paving the way for the completion of the Islamic republic's first nuclear reactor, a top Iranian official told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti Wednesday. [...]

US says Iran's signature on new nuclear inspection protocol not enough

WASHINGTON (AFP) Dec 17, 2003

Iran's expected signing this week of a new agreement to allow surprise inspections of its nuclear sites will not be enough to assuage US concerns about its atomic program, the United States said Wednesday.

The State Department said Iran's accession to the additional International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) protocol would be only one step in dealing with suspicions that Tehran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.

"We'd certainly welcome Iran signing of the additional protocol, but the signature is only one step toward resolving the remaining open questions about Iran's nuclear program," spokesman Richard Boucher said. [...]

Comment: Do we believe for a second that Iran will be any different than Iraq? When "God" tells Bush to invade a country, he doesn't disappoint the Almighty.

NKorea says will build nuclear bombs until US accepts terms

Thu Dec 18, 1:12 AM ET

SEOUL, (AFP) - North Korea will continue to build nuclear weapons until Washington drops its hostile policy and accepts the Stalinist state's terms for an end to the nuclear crisis, Pyongyang's official media says.

North Korea has offered a package of "simultaneous actions" to resolve the impasse while Washington wants North Korea to move first on scrapping its nuclear weapons drive. [...]

North Korea has been seeking a non-aggression pact with the United States and said it needed nuclear weapons because Washington was "watching for a chance to mount a preemptive nuclear attack ..." [...]

U.S. Urges Citizens to Leave Saudi Arabia

By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer
Wed Dec 17, 6:38 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Nonessential American diplomats and the families of all U.S. officials in Saudi Arabia should leave, the State Department said Wednesday, stepping up its warnings about risks in the country.

Private U.S. citizens also should consider departing, the department said. Americans making plans to go to Saudi Arabia were advised to defer any such travel in light of "the potential for further terrorist activities."

The departure of U.S. officials and family members was voluntary, with the U.S. government covering the expenses. [...]

There are some 200 to 300 nonessential U.S. officials and family members in Saudi Arabia, and about 30,000 U.S. citizens in all. [...]

Global gains for civil liberties in 2003: Freedom House

Thu Dec 18, 1:49 AM ET

NEW YORK (AFP) - US rights group Freedom House reported Thursday gains for democracy and freedom around the world in 2003, despite attempts in some regions to turn the global war on terrorism into a tool of repression.

In its annual global review, the New York-based group said gains outnumbered setbacks by almost two-to-one, with 25 countries deemed to have made forward progress and 15 registering reversals.

"The war on terrorism has led to repression in certain countries and regions, such as in Central Asia, where counter-terrorism is sometimes used to justify the stifling of dissent," said Freedom House executive director Jennifer Windsor. [...]

Among the "not free" list, eight countries -- the fewest in the survey's 31-year history -- were given the lowest possible ratings: Burma, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Turkmenistan. [...]

Comment: Is the Saudi Arabia mentioned as "not free" the same country that Bush hailed as an example for the rest of the Arab world?

Guantanamo a 'Black Hole,' Says 1st Civilian Lawyer to Visit

By Grant McCool
Thu Dec 18,12:06 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where suspected Taliban soldiers are being held, is a "physical and moral black hole," the first civilian lawyer allowed to meet a client there said on Wednesday.

Australian lawyer Stephen Kenny, who last week visited detainee David Hicks of Adelaide, Australia, said at a news briefing in New York that Hicks was in "reasonable spirits" but "quite depressed about his conditions." [...]

The detainees have been held for two years without charges or contact with the outside world, drawing worldwide criticism of this aspect of Washington's war on terrorism.

The Australian was the first detainee at Guantanamo Bay to be allowed a visit by a lawyer. Kenny was accompanied at the Navy base by U.S. military defense counsel and restrictions were placed on what he could say about his five days of meetings. [...]

Kenny said he "did not see any other detainee, not even in passing" while at Guantanamo Bay.

White House Web Scrubbing

Offending Comments on Iraq Disappear From Site

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 18, 2003; Page A05

It's not quite Soviet-style airbrushing, but the Bush administration has been using cyberspace to make some of its own cosmetic touch-ups to history.

White House officials were steamed when Andrew S. Natsios, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said earlier this year that U.S. taxpayers would not have to pay more than $1.7 billion to reconstruct Iraq -- which turned out to be a gross understatement of the tens of billions of dollars the government now expects to spend.

Recently, however, the government has purged the offending comments by Natsios from the agency's Web site. The transcript, and links to it, have vanished.

This is not the first time the administration has done some creative editing of government Web sites. After the insurrection in Iraq proved more stubborn than expected, the White House edited the original headline on its Web site of President Bush's May 1 speech, "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended," to insert the word "Major" before combat.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, administration Web sites have been scrubbed for anything vaguely sensitive, and passwords are now required to access even much unclassified information. Though it is not clear whether the White House is directing the changes, several agencies have been following a similar pattern.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID have removed or revised fact sheets on condoms, excising information about their effectiveness in disease prevention, and promoting abstinence instead. The National Cancer Institute, meanwhile, scrapped claims on its Web site that there was no association between abortion and breast cancer. And the Justice Department recently redacted criticism of the department in a consultant's report that had been posted on its Web site. [...]

25,000 ton spam relay, with photos of it!

Doesn't it just make you feel all safe and cozy when the people responsible for our defense are allowing military hardware to be hijacked to relay spam? [...]

Life Expectancy in Retreat for World's Poorest, WHO Says

By Richard Waddington
December 18, 2003

GENEVA (Reuters) - While life expectancy increases in most of the world, in AIDS-ravaged parts of southern Africa adult mortality is higher than 30 years ago, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

In 14 African countries, the U.N. agency said in its annual World Health Report, child mortality is higher than it was in 1990, with over 300 children out of every 1,000 born in Sierre Leone dying before the age of five. [...]

"Today's global health situation raises urgent questions about justice," WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook, wrote in an introduction.

"In some parts of the world there is a continued expectation of longer and more comfortable life, while in many others there is despair over the failure to control disease though the means to do so exist." [...]

Comment: It is obvious that while rich countries at least pretend to help others in need, the real-world results of their actions are quite another story. Is it that much of a stretch to suggest that depopulation is actually a goal of the elite? Nah! That's just a crazy conspiracy theory, right...?

Official Says at Least 90 Indians Killed

Thursday December 18, 2003 11:16 AM
By NUPUR BANERJEE
Associated Press Writer

CALCUTTA, India (AP) - Bhutan's royal army has killed at least 90 Indian separatist guerrillas in three days of fighting to shut down their bases in the tiny Himalayan nation, an Indian army official said Thursday. [...]

Sixteenth Shooting Linked in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Investigators Wednesday linked a bullet fired at a house to a series of 15 other shootings along a highway encircling this city. [...]

Two colleagues of Taiwanese SARS patient are in America, official says

Associated Press
Wednesday, December 17, 2003

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Two colleagues who had close contact with Taiwan's SARS-infected scientist are now in the United States, a health official said Thursday, as about 90 people in two countries were placed in quarantine.

Singapore has ordered about 70 people to stay in isolation as a precaution, as were 22 people in Taiwan. Only the scientist has so far shown signs of the disease. [...]

Cost of vaccine for flu soars

BY TODD C. FRANKEL
Post-Dispatch
12/17/2003

Unprecedented demand for the flu vaccine has caused its price to skyrocket across the United States, from $40 a vial two months ago to as high as $215 today, leading to charges that companies are price-gouging health agencies amid fears of an unusually harsh flu season. [...]

EBay pulls plug on sale of flu shots

By Stephen Smith
Boston Globe Staff
12/18/2003

The way Canadian Brent Graham figured it, this was "just the American way." [...]

His opening price: $500 a vial, roughly five times what he paid for the vaccine at pharmacies in Canada, where the shots are available over the counter. [...]

Are Vaccines Causing More Disease Than They Are Curing?

Alan Cantwell, Jr., M.D.
Paranoia Magazine

[...] Covert Vaccine Experiments

Using kids as guinea pigs in potentially harmful vaccine experiments is every parents' worst nightmare. This actually happened in 1989-1991 when Kaiser Permanente of Southern California and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) jointly conducted a measles vaccine experiment. Without proper parental disclosure, the Yugoslavian-made "high titre" Edmonston-Zagreb measles vaccine was tested on 1,500 poor, primarily black and Latino, inner city children in Los Angeles. Highly recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the high-potency experimental vaccine was previously injected into infants in Mexico, Haiti, and Africa. It was discontinued in these countries when it was discovered that the children were dying in large numbers.

Unbelievably, the measles vaccine caused long-term suppression of the children's immune system for six months up to three years. As a result, the immunodepressed children died from other diseases in greater numbers than children who had never received the vaccine. Tragically, African girl babies in the experiment were given twice the dose of boys, and therefore suffered a higher death rate. The WHO pulled the vaccine off the market in 1992.

Ironically, the E-Z measles vaccine tested by Kaiser on minority babies was supposed to increase immunity in younger infants. Instead, the vaccine produced the opposite effect. A Los Angeles Times editorial (June 20, 1996) assured readers that "none of the 1,500 was injured by the unlicensed vaccine" and called upon the CDC to ensure that experiments like the E-Z measles vaccine could never occur again.

One wonders how many secret vaccine experiments are conducted by health authorities that never come to the attention of the public. During the two-year measles experiment I was employed by Kaiser and I never knew anything about it until I read the report in The Times five years later, in 1996 [...]

FLASHBACK: The Cold War Experiments

U.S News and World Report
January 24, 1994.
By Stephen Budiansky, Erica E. Goode and Ted Gest

[...] New revelations that government cold war experiments exposed thousands of Americans to radiation have prompted fresh congressional inquiries, including a hearing last week on tests conducted on retarded children in Massachusetts. a Department of Energy hot line set to to handle calls from possible subjects of the tests has been swamped. But the radiation experiments are only one facet of a vast cold war research program that used thousands of Americans as guinea pigs.

From the end of world War II well in to the 1970s, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Defense Department, the military services, the CIA and other agencies used prisoners, drug addicts, mental patients, college students, soldiers, even bar patrons, in a vast range of government-run experiments to test the effects of everything from radiation, LSD and nerve gas to intense electric shocks and prolonged "sensory deprivation." [...]

THE LBJ ROBOT: Part Three

mackwhite.com

Lyndon Johnson was also a killer. His first victims were animals. As a young man, he is known to have tortured and killed a dog, on another occasion a mule. These incidents are described in Blood, Power, and Money , the book written by Johnson's lawyer, Barr McClellan, who points out that, though the information is readily available to researchers in the LBJ Library, it has for some reason been ignored--even by Johnson biographer Robert Caro, whose critically acclaimed, multi-volume work paints a vivid picture of the moral depravity of the man. [...]

Three killed when military helicopter crashes in Ukraine

KIEV (AFP) Dec 17, 2003

A Ukrainian military Mi-8 helicopter crashed Wednesday in the southern Sumy region of the country, killing all three crew members on board, the defense ministry said.

The reason for the accident had not yet been determined, the Interfax news agency quoted the ministry as saying.

Much of the military equipment of this former Soviet republic is in a sorry state because of lack of financing.

Five dead, two missing after French air force plane crash

FOIX, France (AFP) Dec 17, 2003

A French airforce plane conducting a parachute exercise in the Pyrenees mountains crashed Wednesday, killing its four-person crew and at least one of the paratroopers it had been carrying, officials said.

A search was underway for another two paratroopers who were missing after the impact, in a remote area on the southern face of the Pioulou peak in the Vicdessos valley, close to the border with Spain. [...]

Two Malaysian crew members killed in jet fighter crash: official

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) Dec 18, 2003

A two-seater Malaysian air force Hawk 100 jet fighter crashed into the South China Sea during a routine military exercise, killing the two crew members aboard, a senior official said Thursday. [...]

SpaceShipOne Rockets To Mach 1.2

Mojave - Dec 17, 2003

To mark the 100th year of powered flight X Prize entrant Scaled Composites used the occassion to fire up the company's experimental rocket SpaceShipOne and accelerate to Mach 1.2 (930 MPH) in a fully powered climb.

The test flight marked not only the first powered test of SpaceShipOne itself, but also the first time a non-government funded plane has broken the sound barrier. [...]

Md. Blue Crab Harvest Expected to Fall

By GRETCHEN PARKER, Associated Press Writer
Wed Dec 17, 3:37 PM ET

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Despite a late burst of blue crabs churned up by Tropical Storm Isabel, state environmental scientists are predicting the 2003 harvest of Maryland's signature seafood will likely be the worst in 25 years. [...]

If the estimate holds, the harvest would be the worst since 1978, when seamen pulled in 17 million pounds. About 24 million pounds were harvested last year. [...]

Maryland's worst-ever crab harvest, 10 million pounds, was in 1968. The catch stayed low in the 1970s and rebounded in the 1980s and 1990s.

Fegley blamed the poor catch partly on this year's frigid winter and spring. The weather was so cold that it killed some crabs, and the lateness of the chill kept crabs from moving around as much as usual — preventing them from being harvested, she said. [...]

Princess Diana Inquest Set for January

By AUDREY WOODS
Associated Press Writer

LONDON - Inquests into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed are to be held on Jan. 6, the royal family's coroner announced Thursday.

The inquiries will be the first official public hearing on British soil into the deaths of Diana and Fayed, who were killed in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997. [...]

Dodi Fayed's father, Egyptian-born billionaire Mohammed Al Fayed has long contended the crash was part of a murder plot and urged a public inquiry into the crash. That was rejected by the British government. [...]

Earthquake measuring 5.6 shakes Taiwan

Taipei, Dec 17 (DPA) An earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale jolted southeast Taiwan early today, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. [...]

If Big One hits, many will go hungry

The Asahi Shimbun If the Big One strikes the Tokai region, nearly 2 million people will go without food and water and coastal areas could face 10-meter tsunami, a central government earthquake council said Tuesday.

A major earthquake could hit the Tokai region at any time, forcing an estimated 1.9 million people to evacuate to shelters for at least a week, the Central Disaster Management Council said.

And when it does, existing evacuation facilities would be short of about 23 million meals, the council said.

That estimate is based on figures for Tokyo and seven nearby prefectures including Shizuoka, Aichi and Gifu, judged likely to be hardest hit by a projected Tokai Earthquake, which could claim up to 10,000 lives. [...]

Unlucky 13 strike out

smh.com.au
December 18, 2003 - 4:32PM

A single lightning strike is believed to have killed 13 prized dairy cows at Fernvale, west of Brisbane.

Dairy farmer David Potter said he believed the lightning hit a tree the Friesians were under and they were killed in a "chain reaction".

"There was two big claps of thunder and when I went to get the cows, there were 13 of them dead under the tree," Mr Potter said.

"You could see where the lightning had hit the tree. It's just one of them things."

"We've had storms through here before with lightning and never had anything like that happen before." [...]

Students Score Below Average on Tests

By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer
Wed Dec 17, 3:54 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Students in some of the nation's largest urban school districts score below the national average on federal math and reading tests, new scores show. [...]

Education officials say the new scores reflect expanded efforts by urban districts to help children succeed despite language barriers, crowded conditions and poverty. The results, however, also underscore how much ground schools must gain in raising achievement for all.

Across the country, in reading, only 30 percent of fourth-graders and eighth-graders reach at least the key level, proficient, which means competency over difficult material. In math, 31 percent of fourth-graders and 27 percent of eighth-graders do at least that well.

In almost every case, the city students did worse. That means less than three out of 10 students achieved at the level they should have, based on federal standards. [...]

Comment: It is probably no coincidence that the country whose people honestly believe they are the most "free" also happen to have been schooled in one of the worst educational systems in the world. It appears that with the recent covert addition of Patriot Act II, the US and the world will soon realize that ignorance is not bliss - it is slavery.

Ex-Ill. Gov. Ryan Indicted on Corruption

By MIKE ROBINSON, Associated Press Writer
Wed Dec 17, 5:51 PM ET

CHICAGO - Former Gov. George Ryan, who gained a worldwide reputation as a critic of the death penalty, was indicted Wednesday on charges of taking payoffs in a corruption scandal that shadowed his entire four years in office and cut short his political career.

Prosecutors said the 69-year-old Republican and his family took cash, gifts, vacations and other favors to steer state business to friends and associates while he was governor and, before that, Illinois secretary of state.

"Basically the state of Illinois was for sale," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. [...]

Comment: And what of the Iraq reconstruction contracts? The entire US, as well as the countries it controls, are for sale - and the whole world wants a piece of the pie.

Con Job at Diebold Subsidiary

SAN FRANCISCO -- At least five convicted felons secured management positions at a manufacturer of electronic voting machines, according to critics demanding more stringent background checks for people responsible for voting machine software. [...]

U.S. grant to beef up DIA security

Video system among projects at 8 airports

By Jeffrey Leib
Denver Post Staff Writer

Federal air security officials said Denver International Airport and seven other U.S. airports will get $7.8 million in grants to test new security and surveillance technologies.

DIA will get about $310,000 to test an "advanced video surveillance system," the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday. [...]

1m eggs a day 'contain poison' (UK)

by SEAN POULTER, Daily Mail

ore than a million eggs eaten daily could be contaminated with a toxic drug, official figures show today.

Experts found traces of lasalocid in 4.8 per cent of eggs, which would equate to an astonishing 473million consumed in Britain last year.

It is thought that 40million will have contained levels six times higher than recommended limits.

The discovery, by the Government's Veterinary Residues Committee, has infuriated egg producers who last night blamed poor working practices at the feed companies which supply them.

Lasalocid, which is meant to stamp out a parasitic stomach illness, is routinely included in feed given to chickens reared for the table on factory farms.

The birds are supposed to be taken off the medicated feed at least nine days before slaughter to allow residues to leave their system.

This safety measure does not apply to egg-laying battery hens, as they are not meant to be given the medicated feed in the first place. However, it appears that the drug is also getting to them, either through accident or lack of care.

Organic farming lobby group The Soil Association said the discovery is part of a widespread problem in factory farming which relies on chemicals to keep animals healthy.

It said the drug is toxic and carries a health risk, having been shown to have potent effects on animals at low levels.

Rabbits' hearts contract when exposed to the drug, a discovery which prompted an experiment in 1974 using human heart muscle. Rapid contractions were observed and were still evident an hour after the drug had been given.

The Association is calling on the European Union to ban use of the drug on all chickens while safety doubts remain.

Shoppers 'ignored corpse for two months'

Ananova.com
09:13 Thursday 18th December 2003

Police in Japan say a man's dead body was ignored by crowds on a busy street corner for two months.

The body was found in front of a popular department store in the crowded downtown area of Osaka, Japan's second-largest city. It is believed to be that of a homeless man in his late 60s or early 70s and was only removed after a taxi driver finally alerted authorities.

A police spokesman said it was partially decomposed by the time authorities collected it earlier this month.

The corner is among the busiest in the city, with about a million people passing through the area each day.

The spokesman said the cause of death had not been determined, but foul play was not suspected.

Voodoo powder blights Miami courts

Ananova.com
17:03 Wednesday 17th December 2003

Prosecutors in a trial in Miami complain that their seats and evidence boxes are being covered with voodoo powder.

US District Judge Patricia Seitz has been shown a large quantity of the greyish dust which was dumped in what's believed to be a Santeria ritual. Santeria experts say voodoo powder can bring good luck, swaying juries, judges or prosecutors in favour of the accused.

The powder was left in evidence boxes next to the prosecution table in the courtroom which is trying defence attorney J.C. Elso on money-laundering charges. Veteran Assistant US Attorney Richard Gregorie said he respects all religions but is tired of getting his suit coats cleaned of powder residue, says the Miami Herald.

A team of cleaners, known as the Voodoo Squad, regularly remove sacrificial chickens, roosters and goats from the grounds of the courthouse.

Hot Time For Christmas?

Dec. 17, 2003

An errant advisory on the National Weather Service's Web site Wednesday briefly reported that Earth had broken out of its orbit and is careening toward a fiery end. [...]

Spooky mystery at Bergen Museum

Ancient Egyptian shabti - funerary figures that represent servants in the afterlife - are causing unease for those working at Bergen Museum. Professor Henrik von Achen says colleagues don't like working there at night, and the figures appear to be moving in their glass cases, newspaper Bergens Tidende reports. [...]

Nicaragua village in grip of madness

Doctors and traditional healers reach remote jungle community where 60 people are suffering from mysterious collective mania [...]

Nigerian Herbalist Shot Dead as Anti-Bullet Charm Fails

AFP – Wednesday December 17, 2003

LAGOS (AFP) - A traditional doctor in central Nigeria has been shot dead by a patient who was testing the potency of an anti-bullet charm the herbalist had prepared for him, police told AFP.

Ashi Terfa died when patient Umaa Akor fired a gun at his head two weeks ago in south-central Benue state, police spokesman Bode Fakeye said Wednesday.

"Akor went for an insurance against bullets and contacted Terfa to prepare it for him," he said.

"To confirm its efficacy, the herbalist tied the charm around his neck and insisted that Akor should fire a gun at him. The experiment proved fatal for the herbalist and his skull was shattered," he added. "He died immediately".

Fakeye said the suspect had appeared in court for culpable homicide, but had been release on bail.

"The motive to kill could not be established against the suspect since the herbalist asked him to shoot to test the charm," he added.

The belief in withcraft and charms is rife in Africa.



A fitting Christmas Present for the American people...


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