Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!

Thursday January 22, 2004

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For the last ten days, we have been beset with technical problems. We thank our readers for your patience. While we were offline, we took the time to reflect upon our work. You will be seeing some changes to the Signs page over the next few weeks as we implement new ideas.


Complexity. It has become an advertising tag line intended to scare you, "In an increasingly complicated world," you need to purchase such and such a product to maintain your edge. It appears that most people do fear complexity. Many seem to want to divide the world into a couple of categories at most. This strategy for making sense of the reality in which we are immersed was not consciously chosen, of course. We are confronted with the fact that either we choose our understanding, philosophy, and knowledge, or it is chosen for us.

Most people have not consciously realized and developed the critical faculties necessary for interacting in their own realities, thereby leaving themselves susceptible and vulnerable to propaganda and control. Most of us may desire equality and liberty, but we have not necessarily chosen to become critical thinkers so as to better maintain and sustain those lofty principles.

The world may not be more complex now than it has ever been; we are just fortunate enough to have a wide array of information at our fingertips if we so choose. Complexity adds color. The more variables of which we are aware, the wider the diversity of choices and understanding available to us. We do not have to live in a binary world of black and white; instead we can live in one full of color and diversity.

We all operate with subconscious beliefs that we are not aware of having accepted. Many of those beliefs we acquired in childhood, and we have never reexamined them. Other beliefs were merely absorbed from the din that constantly surrounds us. Most of us do not have an understanding of our own complexity, leaving us lacking in understanding of our own role and place in our world. Choose your role or it is chosen for you.

In a search for truth we should be aware that there really is no such thing as The Truth. No one can claim to have the whole truth. There is only relative truth at our level of reality. There is always another level beyond our current understanding. We can be seekers, seeking to understand objective reality, which necessarily implies a continuous process. Seeing objective reality means seeing the reality of our world without our subjective filters, biases, and beliefs, and being open to new layers of knowledge and complexity. We can be aware of personal hindrances that impede the progress of seeing and seeking, and then we can adjust our "reading machines" appropriately. Again, we can only get relatively close. Carl Jung wrote:

[T]he road to truth leads through far reaching and comparative observations, the results of which must be controlled by the help of freely chosen experiments, until well grounded hypotheses and theories can be put forward; but these hypotheses and theories will fall to the ground as soon as a single new observation or experiment contradicts them.

The way is difficult, and in the end all man obtains is relative truth. But such relative truth suffices for the time being, if it serves to explain the actual most important concatenations of the past, to light up present problems, to predict those of the future, so that we are in a position to achieve adaptation through our knowledge. But absolute truth could be accessible only to omniscience, aware of all possible concatenations and combinations; that is not possible, for the concatenations and their combinations are infinite. Accordingly, we shall never know more than an approximate truth. Should new relationships be discovered, new combinations be built up, then the picture changes, and with it the entire possibilities in knowledge and power.[...]

Of course, everyone admits the truth of this platitude, so long as it is a matter of "academic" discussion, but only so long; just as soon as a concrete case has to be considered, sympathies and antipathies rush into the foreground and darken judgment.[...] [Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology, p 283, 1920]

We can learn how to think. How to choose. We can give up obsession, belief, and the lazy human default option of lots of assumptions. We can work with hypotheses. We can realize that we know nothing, and not just as an intellectual exercise, but to really know it. We can face the unknown. We can deal with the paradox that the more we know, the more we realize how little we know. The more variables we are aware of, the more new variables will continually reveal themselves. We can begin making choices based on an exponentially increasing complex awareness.

Some make all kinds of assumptions, and all kinds of crazy theories spill out into every corner of the Internet and beyond. We as a species seem to have a fear of the unknown. We want answers. We are impatient. We will leap to conclusions to make ourselves feel better. We are addicted to comfort and ease, and are unwilling to hold out for the big prize - Truth - we want someone else to do the hard work. Surely, that state is not the natural human condition, or is it? Perhaps it is, unless we choose otherwise.

Peering into the unknown without flinching takes a strong stomach. For too long our fears have guided us, and it appears that one of the biggest fears is the fear of the unknown, and usually we will do anything to avoid venturing beyond the comfortable confines of the subjectively perceived order of what we think we know.

Truth at our level is complex, and we have introduced a dizzying array of variables on the Signs Page. Now what do we do with all this knowledge? One day at a time, we can do what is in front of us. We can start by rooting through all of our assumptions and sacred cows.

"The French are fuming over a proposed ban on beards. The latest twist in France's controversial plan to ban religious symbols from classrooms came Tuesday, when Education Minister Luc Ferry said the planned ban on religious symbols could also cover facial hair and bandannas, sometimes worn as a discreet alternative to the traditional Muslim head scarf.

This came as a shock to many in France, particularly to teachers who will be at the front line of policing the new law, expected to be in place for the next school year in September. Lawmakers begin debating the bill Feb. 3.

"Beards? Bandannas?" asked Daniel Robin, national secretary of France's largest union for high school teachers. "What next?" "This exercise has become absurd. Totally absurd," he said in a telephone interview." [...]

Uniformity. Today, while the powerful western governments remain at odds on certain issues (most notably how pillaged wealth is to be distributed among them) it would appear that they all share the same fundamental goal of breaking down the various barriers that separate the peoples of the world. A strategy is appearing, and its ultimate aim, it seems, is to homogenise humanity under a single set of principles. The US government, for its part, is moving eastward, bestowing its understanding of freedom, democracy and the American way on the Islamic world imposing westernised governments. At the same time the French government suggests the removal of all vestiges of religion from public life, even to the point of removing facial hair. The Catholic Church's wholesome and holy image has taken a severe beating due to the publicising of sexual abuse claims, with an unprecedented number of the faithful turning their back on the "faith of their fathers". Globalisation is continuing to open up the farthest reaches of the globe to western businesses and the western culture that follows and the father of the Euro has called for a global currency. Can we ignore the push towards unification of the peoples and countries of the world that these events seem to suggest? More to the point, what are we to make of it all?

At first glance the idea of a "brotherhood of man" is a noble one, holding as it does the promise of an end to war and conflict and a new age of peace among nations. Indeed, it has been the dream of many idealists over the centuries, and given rise to countless rebellions and revolutions in its name. Up to now all have however failed to achieve their goal. Unity among people in and of itself is not necessarily desirable then, soldiers unite to wage war after all, people unite to conspire against others, the devil, as always, is in the details. We live in a world where most human interactions are based on a hierarchical, pyramidal structure, a brief look at any business organisation shows this to be true. It is possible then that the drive we are presently witnessing to create a "new world order" is not being pursued to create "peace on earth", but rather to facilitate a much finer order of control of the planet's population.

For any attempt at global unification to be just it must be inclusive rather than exclusive. It is relatively easy to impose one theology on the world either by force or deception, to the detriment of all others. It is much more difficult to incorporate the uniqueness and diversity that we find in the people and cultures of our planet into one fair and balanced system. The work involved in creating such a open and limitless environment, as always, begins (and perhaps ends) with the self and requires that the lower human instincts of fear and contractile self centeredness be progressively rejected and replaced with the higher instincts of acceptance and creative open mindedness. Through conscious efforts to overcome our fear of the unknown we give ourselves the chance to experience a different reality, not by changing this world, since we have no desire to do so, but by becoming living examples of the higher ideals that would typify such an alternate reality. As we struggle to do so, we enter uncharted waters, but perhaps we can take some comfort in the knowledge that our planet is also ' entering uncharted waters'

"The Earth has entered a new era, one in which human beings may be the dominant force, say four environmental leaders.

In the International Herald Tribune, they say the uncertainty, magnitude and speed of change in many of the Earth's systems is without precedent.

The four, who include Margot Wallstrom, the European environment commissioner, say uncertainty cannot excuse inaction.

They believe humanity may cross some critical thresholds unawares, setting off changes which cannot be reversed.

The other authors are Professor Bert Bolin, founding chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Professor Paul Crutzen, winner of the 1995 Nobel prize for chemistry; and Dr Will Steffen, director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP).

There are significant risks of rapid and irreversible changes

Their article, The Earth's Threatened Life-Support System: A Global Wake-Up Call, marks the publication of an IGBP book, Global Change And The Earth System: A Planet Under Pressure.

They write: "Our planet is changing fast. Change is a fact of life, but in recent decades many environmental indicators have moved outside the range of variation of the last half million years...

"It is the magnitude and rate of human-driven change that are most alarming. [...]

The authors write: "The Earth has entered the so-called Anthropocene - the geologic epoch in which humans are a significant and sometimes dominating environmental force.

"Records from the geological past indicate that never before has the Earth experienced the current suite of simultaneous changes: we are sailing into planetary terra incognita."

They argue for a precautionary approach, partly because natural systems can flip very rapidly from one stable state to another.

The writers say: "We are unsure of just how serious our interference with Earth system dynamics will prove to be, but... there are significant risks of rapid and irreversible changes to which it would be very difficult to adapt."

Our world is plagued with problems: poverty, hunger, violence, injustice, intolerance, and on and on. One part of mankind has struggled for its entire history, at least its written history, to find solutions for these problems. Others take advantage of them to secure their own place, to impose their own Will over others. While the material conditions of our existence change, the fundamental problems remain.

During our enforced break, we received the following from a reader:

I'd like to know if the comment below was made by someone who understands the Constitution for the U.S.A. and if so why such a comment would be made?

On December 29 you made this comment:
Comment: But there is no money for health care, there is no money for schools, there is no money for the veterans, there is no money for daycare, there is no money for a basic income, there is no money for housing, there is no money for public transit...

Article:
A symbiotic relationship: terrorism and arms sales

A sobering thought as 2003 draws to a close: For the first time since the end of the Cold War, defense spending is rising in several countries, quite acutely.

The US defense budget, which accounts for roughly half of the world's defense spending, has grown from $300 billion when President George W. Bush took office to $487 billion today in response not to any conventional military threat, but to terrorism. In 2002, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the US was responsible for almost 75 percent of worldwide growth in military spending. Further increases substantial increases are planned up to 2009.

[...] But the real folly inherent in increased military spending is that the main threat to international stability today comes not from states, which can be fought with conventional military capabilities, but from terrorists, who cannot. Al-Qaeda and its like are transnational, decentralized, all but invisible. They cannot be deterred, or defeated, by conventional military capabilities and nuclear weapons. They thrive in weak and fragmented states. Defeating states even genocidal states like Saddam Hussein's Iraq only strengthens the terrorist threat.

MY COMMENTS:
While I don't agree with this war or the spending to support it, the U.S. government was not established to be socialistic. Support of health care, schools, daycare, public transit, etc. should be done on a local level by the people who desire to have those "things". Those "things" are not basic rights. This government is to protect the peoples rights, regulate (make regular) interstate commerce between the states, make a uniform currency system, and protect the union of states. They have failed to do their duties.

Although your group proposes to support free will, often comments are made about news articles that do not support that.

This is understandable if the comments are made by someone who was raised and comfortable with a different control system. You are still locked in your programming.

Overall I think your intentions are well meant and I greatly appreciate your work to provide the Signs of the Times.

R H

The idea of "socialism," of "capitalism," of a strong central state or a decentralized state, the idea of a central government providing the services described vs this being undertaken locally, the idea of what constitutes our basic rights, these are ideas of this world. They change as man changes, as his political and economic systems change. They are not absolutes. None is better than the other nor worse than the other.

However, it appears that this reader treats them as if they are absolutes, as if it were possible to say once and for all that they are "right" or "wrong," as if one were better. In other words, people identify with ideas. They internalize them, form an emotional attachment to them and to the outcome in the political, economic, or social arena.

It is our experience that people within the US are among the most ensconced in their ideas. The spectrum of political ideas is very narrow. There is a high degree of this identification. There is also a high degree of negative identification, in the sense that certain ideas are perceived as being "anti-American." These are ideas that certain people believe no "true" American should ever entertain.

Is this an open attitude? Is this an approach that will find solutions, or an approach that will limit our ability to find solutions?

If we speak of health care, veteran's benefits, etc, it is not to propose these ideas on a political level, but rather to invite the US reader to question his or her own beliefs, to examine the origin of their own ideas, to see outside of the blinders of their socialization and upbringing.

There is a larger issue here than that of proposing particular political ideas. This is the issue of point of view, of positioning: from what position are we making our comments? Are we taking a position for some existing or potential political structure within the accepted norms? Are we defending a left, right, neo-liberal, libertarian, or some other political current within the US or elsewhere?

No.

The political forms that exist in the world today reflect the level of BEing of the inhabitants of our planet. We are creatures whose basic drives are food, sex, and fear/survival. These are body-centric drives. Our political systems are reflections of this. As long as these are our basic preoccupations, our forms of social organisation, be they political, economic, or other, will reflect this. Therefore, we think that decentralized and local political bodies or forms of economic trade are subject to the same problems as highly centralized governments and economies when the individuals involved are driven by the same basic desires and needs.

The solution, therefore, is on a different level entirely.

The only way out of this feedback loop is to change our basic preoccupations, drives, and needs, to rise above them so that we can see out of the loop. We call the influences around us that pertain to these three basic drives the "A" influences. Those that pertain to man's higher drives, what we call spiritual, divine, or eternal drives, are "B" influences. In every situation we are in, in every choice we make, there are "A" influences and there are "B" influences, if we take the time and have the intention to make the distinction. In every decision, we can choose to align ourselves with one or the other.

As long as our needs are defined by the "A" influences, as long as the solutions we seek are defined by the "A" influences, we will continue on the course we are on. It takes an active choice to seek out the "B" influences.

By aligning ourselves with the "B" influences, we can find solutions that are genuinely new, the result of tapping into our repressed creative spirit.

Many people have no perception at all of the "B" influences. They find the daily work of satisfying their need for food, for sex, for survival to be fulfilling. They may even revel in this. They are at home in this world of "A" influences. Therefore, when they look out at history or at the political events of the day, they believe that this is the only way things can be, that things were ever so and will ever be so. The solution is to "make do," to accept this "reality" as it is, either making it work for you, or resigning yourself to accepting your lot in life through means of self-calming: television, Prozac, family, work, etc.

These people would most likely deny the very existence of the "B" influences because in their lives they have no experience of them. The higher influences do not exist for them. They have never felt the presence of something larger than themselves, have never sensed that there is something larger at play in our lives or that our lives might have a meaning that goes beyond the parameters of the material world.

These are the people who elaborate materialist theories of existence, who explain everything through chance organization and reorganization of matter. They are even able to explain consciousness as a collection of myriad smaller "programs" operating to solve the problems of food, sex, and fear/survival. They argue that the notion of "consciousness" as something in itself is a fiction, it is our mistaking the collection of little programs for something unified.

This is their reality. The world is this way for them.

As these are also the people who would be attracted to positions of power, they are the ones who run the show: the politicians, the business people, the bankers, the arms merchants, as well as those religious leaders whose interests lay in preserving the power of their churches in this world, not in helping their members discern the "B" influences.

It is therefore difficult to imagine a dialogue with them, a means of exchanging ideas that would open new paths when they are oblivious to that creative part of themselves that could provide the solutions we seek.

As well, for as long as these three basic drives remain the foundations of our own activities, those who have the potential to find these new solutions will be as blind as the rest.

What, then, to do?

We cannot, and do not wish, to change the arrangements that suit those who are driven by the three basic instincts, by the limits of the material world. They have the right to organize themselves and the world according to their experience of the world.

We, however, must find ways of living in this world that allow us to discern the "B" influences, to base our choices upon them, and to set out down the path these new choices open before us. But we cannot know beforehand where this path will lead. We will come to see the path as we make the choices, as we align ourselves with the "B" influences.

There are no recipes, no formulas that can be applied, no laid out plan for the well being of humanity that some group of like-minded people can elaborate and implement. The path opens as we take each step, as we move without anticipation of outcomes.

Any work done to get us from "here" to "there" will change us. These changes bring about new possibilities of finding answers. The rub is, this is work that each of us must do as individuals. The discernment of "A" and "B" influences is always there in each of our lives. As each moment is unique, so is the choice, even if they have certain symbolic or archetypal resemblances. That is why there are no recipes. That is why we cannot tell you what to do.

We do not have a party line to apply. We do not have a belief system to impose nor to propose. Each individual has the right to be truly his or her true self. There are those who will choose to be creative; there will be those who choose to be entropic, taking from others without ever giving anything in return. We are concerned with finding ways that those who choose the Creative Principle can exist in a world of entropy, where they are constantly confronted with those who would deny them this right.

It is within this dynamic of play between the Creative Principle and the Entropic Principle that the events of our world play out.

More mystery booms, this time in Pennsylvania. No one has discovered a probable hypothesis regarding this phenomenon, at least no one who is talking publicly, even though many assumptions have been tossed around for your perusal. In New Zealand, the country where mysterious items fall on roofs with a strange regularity, a huge block of ice crashed through the roof of the home of an elderly couple.

Speaking of falling objects and mystery booms, a fireball was reported falling over Germany.

[N]umerous residents reported seeing a bright flash in the sky and hearing a loud sound like a thunderclap.

Callers to radio station SWR1 reported seeing green and blue lights at around 6.30am local time (11pm AEDT) in the states of Rhineland Palatinate and Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Scientists from the German air and space administration were hoping that cameras it has aimed at the skies might be able to provide them with evidence of what happened, though footage was not expected to be available until tonight at the earliest.

Walter Flury, from the European Space Agency, said the noise and lights indicate the possibility of a meteor fragment between 10 and 30 centimeters long hurtling through Earth's atmosphere. Whether it made impact would depend on a range of factors like if the piece was made of iron or stone, he said.

All kinds of assumptions are contrived when celestial objects become terrestrial objects. For example the meteorite that crashed through a man's home in Tulane, LA, September 27, 2003, sparked the following reaction:

"I'm in shock," Fausset said after learning the rock had been identified as a meteorite. "Oh, that's scary. I will certainly go to church this Sunday, because the Lord was certainly sending me a message."

These assumptions have real world effects, particularly when they are accompanied with coincidences with incredibly remote probabilities:

A Bolt From the Blue

There is no stranger true story on record than that of the sudden and dramatic manner in which a civil war was brought to an end in Nicaragua. The year was 1907 and [...] a military group was seeking to shoot its way into office.

The Rebels were making considerable headway under the astute leadership of General Pablo Castilliano. He had ample weapons, plenty of money, and an excellent background of military training.

General Castilliano and his forces were within easy striking distance of complete victory. The government forces had been defeated twice in quick succession, many of the troops had deserted and others were ready to throw down their arms if it looked like the rebels were going to win again. Castilliano and his officers had their troops strategically placed along a ridge overlooking the enemy positions. The blow which should bring them victory was timed for daylight the next morning. General Castilliano bade his staff good night and retired to his tent to set down a record of the day's events in his diary. At about ten o'clock he blew out his candle and went to bed.

A few minutes later the camp was lighted up as if by a gigantic flare. A flaming mass was streaking down from the clear night sky - coming straight for the camp. The terrified guard outside the General's tent yelled and threw himself to the earth.

The fireball struck squarely into General Castilliano's tent with a roar like that of dynamite. It blasted out a pit ten feet deep and about fifteen feet in diameter. The General died instantly. His guard lived for two days, long enough to confirm that it had indeed been a fireball from the sky, just as the other sentries claimed. Their story was later found to be true when pieces of the shattered meteorite were found in the pit.

The General's dramatic and almost unprecedented death demoralized his troops. They took it as a sign that their cause was in disfavor in Heaven and the rebellion collapsed overnight. It remains to this day the only known case where a war was brought to an end by direct intervention of a celestial object. [Strange World, Frank Edwards, p. 222, NY 1964]

It is indeed a strange and mysterious universe we find ourselves in: Mysterious Object Caught On Video Over Kansas City Sky, NORAD Says It Did Not Track Object. No word from NORAD if they did or did not track the mysterious object in Washington state. The UK also has its fair share of mysterious object sightings.

In the Middle East, an Israeli businessman, David Appel close to the Likud party, has been indicted on charges of bribing PM Ariel Sharon. For the moment, Sharon is refusing to resign as he has not been indicted, but pressure is growing on him. If Sharon is indicted, there are voices calling for him to resign. Appel allegedly offered $3 million to Sharon's son for the financing of Sharon's 1999 campaign for the leadership of Likud. The violence continues in Iraq. Gunmen attacked a minibus bringing Iraqi laundresses to work at a US base, killing three and wounding six.

U.S. security officials reveal that they have composed a list of 5 million terrorists. If you are unlucky enough to be on the list, you may find it difficult to travel to or from America or to apply for a visa. It is interesting to compare America's approach towards terrorists with that of another country. Tom Godfrey of the Toronto Sun writes:

[...] Canadian visa officers abroad do not keep an extensive list like the U.S. because terrorists can use bogus documents and change their identities.

"We examine each application according to profiles," he said. "(We) apply experience and knowledge gained from a variety of sources. Canada's approach to identifying persons who may pose a danger was as sound as possible."

The U.S. takes the "either you are with us, or you are against us" approach. This stance assumes quite a bit about the details of the alleged terrorist. On the other hand, Canada seems to examine each case closely by gathering as much data as possible before making a decision. The Canadian tactic acknowledges that the issues that face us all in this world are rarely black or white. There are perhaps infinite shades of gray that must be considered and investigated. It should be noted that the comparison of the U.S. and Canada is not intended as a judgment of either country, but rather as a tool for understanding and learning.

Ignoring the inherent complexities of our world can only lead to problems of the worst kind. The case of two exonerated Russian exchange students is a prime example. The two graduate students were arrested in September in for riding their bicycles into a Texas police parking lot to ask for directions to a local rock-climbing gym. Even though the pair were investigated by authorities and found to be legally in the country, they were still charged with criminal trespassing. Fortunately, the judge dismissed the charges after weighing all the evidence.

In this age of global "terrorism", it seems that all too often, individuals around the world are judged based on a staggering number of assumptions based on nationality, accent, physical appearance, etc. These judgments may be more than just paranoia; they may be evidence of a much deeper and more complex problem. We must each learn to deal with our own preconceived notions, distorted perceptions, and ingrained programming.

As the Canadian immigration official put it: "We apply experience and knowledge gained from a variety of sources."

Knowledge means no room for assumptions.

The lack of attention to the complexities of our world aren't the only chill wind that is sweeping the BBM.

Last week, arctic winds and rock bottom temperatures hit the northeastern U.S., causing school closings, blackouts, and chaos for air travelers. Now, areas east of the Rocky Mountains may experience the coldest temperatures in 25 years over the next few weeks.

In other U.S. news, President Bush called for the renewal of the USA Patriot Act in his State of the Union speech. According to a report from CNET News.com, Bush is concerned that, "Key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire next year. The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule. Our law enforcement needs this vital legislation to protect our citizens..."

The "key provisions" of the Patriot Act will expire in a little less than 2 years. Nonetheless, Bush states with an unusual degree of certainty that the terrorist threat will still be around. One may wonder why it is so important to make these provisions permanent so far in advance. One might also wonder how Bush could know his War on Terror will still be raging two years from now, especially given the recent "capture" of Saddam Hussein.

Perhaps it is all simply part of Bush's reelection strategy. He portrays himself as America's protector, while his opponents are derided as weak on securing America's future. On the other hand, many believe Bush stole the 2000 election, and we have carried numerous stories on Signs of the Times to support that conclusion. Widespread electronic voting would make the task even easier in the 2004 vote. Perhaps Bush's actions are all just a show, but maybe there are more forces battling for control than we realize.

The latest 9/11 news includes the roller coaster trial of Moroccan Abdelghani Mzoudi. The BBC reports in New evidence halts 9/11 verdict:

A German court has agreed to allow a new prosecution witness in the trial of an 11 September suspect which appeared to have all but crumbled last month. [...]

Mr Mzoudi, 31, is accused of being an accessory to the murder of more than 3,000 in the 2001 attacks on America and membership of a terrorist group.

The Moroccan national was freed after new evidence cast doubt over the case. A defence lawyer said the prosecution had applied to delay proceedings by 30 days to allow them to present new evidence. [...]

Prosecutors gave no details of the new witness but Mr Mzoudi's defence lawyer, Guel Pinar, said the witness was an unidentified Iranian intelligence officer who was claiming to have informed US authorities of an impending attack before September 2001. [...]

The article goes on to state that Mr. Mzoudi is only the second person in the world to be tried for the attacks of September 11th. One might ponder why there aren't more trials. If the War on Terror is so successful, what does it say when Mr. Mzoudi is freed because of a lack of damning evidence? Are we to assume that the details are classified for our own safety, or do the details prove the exact opposite of what we are told? It seems odd that the world would be safer by keeping the average citizen of any country uninformed. On the other hand, perhaps it is the people themselves who are not seeking the details.

A Pentagon report warns that a severe lack of testing limits their confidence in the U.S. missile defense system.

UK against dictating Iraq government composition as report says US to agree on elections before power transfer

21-01-2004,20 :58
Ali al-Sistani

Britain's chief diplomat pledged to work toward a federal government but not dictate its composition as a British newspaper reported Wednesday that London now backs early direct elections.

[...] Straw comments came as a British newspaper reported the US-led occupation in Iraq is on the verge of bowing to mounting Muslim Shiite pressure for direct elections before the handover of power on June30 .

Comment: We are seeing the work of Karl Rove in repositioning Bush as an election candidate. When push came to shove, we saw that the US administration went its own way in the face of international opposition. In his State of the Union address, Bush diminished the opposition when he said: "There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations, and submitting to the objections of a few." That "few" was the majority of members of the United Nations.

In the new world of the US as monopole, the UN is being redefined. Japan, now sending troops to support Bush in Iraq, has stated that it wishes to cut its financial contribution to the international body.

The Japanese say that they contribute more than other countries, including members of the Security Council. The Council is where the real power lies in the UN, as its decisions have a binding character that the decisions of the General Assembly do not. Japan wants a seat there.

We have brought up the question of the veil that has become the focus of much debate in France. The following is an interesting take on the matter from the point of view of an Arab woman who sees through the political manipulations of both sides.

The Superpowers’ War Against Women...

Nawal Saadawi Al-Hayat 2004/01/21

During the last few days, we have witnessed the heated battle on covering women's heads. Whether or not a woman covers her head has become a major political issue and a grand electoral maneuver. This battle has transgressed the Arab political scene to the French, British and American political circles. The French government has endorsed a law that prohibits religious symbols and clothes whether Jewish, Christian or Islamic in its public schools. Jacques Chirac thought that the law would please a large sector of the French people, who want their children to be raised in an atmosphere free from political sabotage and religious fundamentalism, and would have positive consequences in the upcoming elections.

Jacques Chirac had differences with the policies of George W. Bush and Tony Blair concerning the war on Iraq; due to political and economic reasons like competition for Iraqi oil and political and cultural hegemony over Arab countries. This imperialist superpower struggle is a known phenomenon throughout history. Today, the issue of covering women's heads has entered this struggle; for Britain and the United States have critically described the French decision as a violation for the students' rights. This too is a political maneuver that aims to enhance the image of Bush and Blair after millions of feet stepped on their pictures in more than 300 cities all over the world. Millions of voices have screamed for the downfall of their pro-war policies of state terrorism. Hence, at the time when Bush and Blair are defending the rights of girls to cover their heads, their armies are killing thousands of Iraqis and stealing their economic resources. In fact, the Anglo-American and Zionist media campaign is playing a big role in concealing these political and economic incentives under the slogan of defending women's freedom. Foreign occupation can never liberate people. The situation of Afghan and Iraqi women has actually deteriorated after foreign occupation and as a result, they are taking part in the resistance movement against the Anglo-American and Zionist occupation, which previously supported the Iraqi and Afghan regimes.

How do women take an anti-woman position? I have met Iraqi women during a conference in New York who rejoiced for the American military occupation, which will liberate them!! Some girls in Cairo and Paris have demonstrated against the French law and have raised the slogan: "the veil is an ideology and not a symbol." The holy Koran itself does not include any single verse that directly calls for the covering of women's heads. In fact, the concept of covering women's heads pertains more to the Jewish rather than the Islamic religion. Anyway, in the Cairo demonstration we saw girls wearing tight American jeans and had painted their faces with French make-up while chewing gum and drinking Coca-Cola. After they finished, they probably left to meet their boyfriends. Arab women are the victims of American consumerism, as well as religion's frivolous manifestations. They are also the victims of the invisible 'mind veil' which is more dangerous than veiling the hair, because it leads to contradiction and perversion. Another misconception is considering the veil as an anti-imperialist and anti-westernization symbol.

This new wave of Israeli-American state terrorism has increased the degree of male violence particularly against women. Men feel powerless and afraid due to local and international tyranny and they take it out on women. Poverty and unemployment have also contributed in weakening women's position either in the workplace, where they work in inhumane conditions, or at home, where they are economically dependent on men. Furthermore, the Egyptian government has blamed women's fertility for the stagnant economy and has allowed the intake of anti-pregnancy pills, which are prohibited in America and Europe for their health hazards, but we allow women to consume them.

Yet, Arab women continue to seek changing patriarchal ideology. We, in the Association for Solidarity with Women, have renewed our slogans, which became:

1- Unity is power and organization is power

2- Removing the mind's veil because knowledge is power and awareness is power

The Arab and international women's movements are increasingly aware of the importance of men's participation in the struggle against the patriarchal and capitalist system. This movement is the only superpower that is capable of facing the American unipolar superpower in order to create a new, more just, free and peaceful world.

Arar to launch lawsuit against U.S. government

Last Updated Thu, 22 Jan 2004 8:32:10

NEW YORK - A Canadian citizen who says he was tortured in a Syrian prison after being deported by the U.S. wants financial compensation and a declaration that the American government acted illegally.

Maher Arar is launching a lawsuit Thursday at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against the U.S. government. Attorney General John Ashcroft is among the officials expected to be named in the lawsuit.

Canadian faces terrorism charges in U.S.

Last Updated Wed, 21 Jan 2004 19:31:53

NEW YORK - A Somali-born Canadian has been charged in New York with conspiracy to support al-Qaeda. [...]

Rigged Votes and Puppet Governments

Beware the Iraq Election Blowback

By DAVE LINDORFF
Counterpunch.org
January 20, 2003

With Iowa just having dramatically demonstrated to us the unpredictability of the democratic process, you start to understand what's motivating all those Shiite demonstrators in Iraq.

They see how Bush and his viceroy, L. Paul Bremer, and their handpicked quisling officials in the provisional authority, are trying to rig the summer "sovereignty" exercise by running elections through open ballot caucuses, and are demanding instead an election by universal suffrage.

Of course, if there were a real open one-person, one-vote election in Iraq, odds are that the outcome would be a government that would promptly demand that the U.S. pull out, immediately, lock, stock and barrel.

That's why Bremer is running back and forth between his Baghdad palace and Washington, and inviting in the U.N., trying to come up with some kind of a scheme in which the government could be somehow elected, but would have to agree in advance not to order the U.S. to leave. Some kinda "sovereignty!"

I checked my dictionary, and the definition of the term sovereignty was "supreme and unrestricted power." That's pretty unambiguous wording. Clearly if you have a government, but it can't tell an occupying army to scram, you don't have a sovereign government.

Although the corporate media is still content to repeat uncritically the White House's use of the term sovereignty, the dictionary definition of the word is rather hard to get around, and it makes a joke of the so called "handover of sovereignty" being planned by Washington for Iraq for this June or July. In fact, contemplating Iraq's future administration, the term "puppet government" comes most readily to mind. My dictionary defines that as "a state that appears independent but is controlled by another." [...]

In the current instance, what we're talking about is the handover of sovereignty in Iraq from the U.S. to the U.S.

No wonder tens of thousands of angry people are marching in the streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities demanding a real election.

What they need to remember, though, is that we have a president here in the Land of the Free and the Brave who has every reason to fear such a process, not just in Iraq, but at home in America.

Bush knows he himself would not be president today if the U.S. presidential election in 2000 had been conducted by universal suffrage rules. He lost the popular election by over half a million votes.

No wonder he favors a rigged system in Iraq. [...]

Iraq soldier 'sickened' by amputation claim

KIM MUNRO
Sun 18 Jan 2004
Scotland on Sunday

A SCOTS soldier at the centre of a row over the quality of equipment supplied to British troops in Iraq last night demanded to know if his leg was amputated only because there was a lack of medical supplies.

Sergeant Albert Thomson said it "sickened" him to think this could be true and confirmed that his family have hired a lawyer to investigate the claims. [...]

The case comes only days after the widow of Sergeant Steven Roberts - a tank commander who was shot dead in Iraq days after being ordered to hand back body armour because of shortages - called for embattled Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon’s resignation over inadequate army supplies. [...]

It's about money

Follow the greenbacks to learn where seemingly haphazard Bush policy comes from

Molly Ivins
Creators Syndicate
01.20.04

AUSTIN, Texas -- My fellow Americans, the state of the union's finances is enough to make an Enron accountant gag. When George W. Bush took office, he was handed a going concern. Projected annual surpluses from 2002 to 2011 were $5.6 trillion. In its most recent projection, the Congressional Budget Office says it expects $1.4 trillion in total deficits from 2004 to 2013. Bush's new future spending proposals -- including everything from the goofy manned-flight-to-Mars to the promotion of marriage -- already total an additional $2 trillion.

When Bush took office, the national debt was $5.7 trillion and his first budget proposed to reduce it by $2 trillion over the next decade. Today, the debt is $7 trillion. Last year, Bush predicted a deficit of $262 billion. According of the CBO, the deficit is currently $480 billion. Bush plans to cut biomedical research, health care, job training and veterans funding, and that still leaves a projected deficit of $450 billion.

It is unclear to me why anyone would believe anything the president says about our fiscal situation. Keep in mind, this is a man who took three Texas oil companies into bankruptcy. [...]

I believe in conspiracies

John Laughland says the real nutters are those who believe in al-Qa’eda and weapons of mass destruction

The Spectator

Believing in conspiracy theories is rather like having been to a grammar school: both are rather socially awkward to admit. Although I once sat next to a sister-in-law of the Duke of Norfolk who agreed that you can’t believe everything you read in the newspapers, conspiracy theories are generally considered a rather repellent form of intellectual low-life, and their theorists rightfully the object of scorn and snobbery. Writing in the Daily Mail last week, the columnist Melanie Phillips even attacked conspiracy theories as the consequence of a special pathology, of the collapse in religious belief, and of a ‘descent into the irrational’. The implication is that those who oppose ‘the West’, or who think that governments are secretive and dishonest, might need psychiatric treatment.

In fact, it is the other way round. British and American foreign policy is itself based on a series of highly improbable conspiracy theories, the biggest of which is that an evil Saudi millionaire genius in a cave in the Hindu Kush controls a secret worldwide network of ‘tens of thousands of terrorists’ ‘in more than 60 countries’ (George Bush).[...]


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