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Sunday, January 25, 2004

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Born into an apparently intelligent self organising universe of allegedly infinite dimension, the automatic human response to this state of being is, it seems, fear.

The concept of "infinite" carries with it the idea of limitless potential and possibilities. Faced with this reality - rather than acceptance - the default human response is to fear it and its implications. To a certain extent this response is understandable, given that along with being born into "infinity" we are also born with the belief that we are separate and unconnected to this infinite reality in which we find ourselves. Of course we understand that we can interact with it, but we do not automatically conceive that we are an integral part of it; quite the opposite in fact: we believe that our existence is defined by the limits of our physical bodies and the scope of what we can do with them.

This belief, and its juxtaposition with our unconscious awareness of the infinite nature of an expanded reality which threatens to encroach upon and engulf us at any moment, provokes fear. To assuage this fear we seek to control as much of our environment as possible. In doing so, we attempt to impose personal and subjective parameters and limits on something that has a limitless nature. Such a task is impossible at best, foolhardy at worst, yet this does not dissuade us from trying.

Perhaps we would be better off if we could begin the task of understanding and accepting the truth of our reality and our place in it. To do so, we must first give up the idea that we need to, or indeed can, control everything in our environment. We must repeatedly identify and reject the demands of our limited minds to control every aspect of our lives and our personal world. We must seek the truth at every opportunity, both in our world at large and in our inner personal worlds. In short, we must learn to make choices according to what reality is, not according to what we think it should be.

If we are born into a limitless universe it could be hypothesised that we may ourselves embody some aspect of that limitlessness, or that we might indeed have a limitless aspect to our being. An interesting concept to ponder is that, if two things each have absolutely no limits, they are precisely the same thing. As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr said: "Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."

The truth then, and what exactly truth is, is the bone of contention. There are those that honor subjective truth which is a mere reflection of the personal limits of their own minds and must be repeatedly defended and bolstered by the individual or individuals that subscribe to it. Conversely, there are those that honor objective truth which by definition exists outside of all of us yet incorporates all at the same time. Subjective truth is by definition controlled and is owned by one or more individuals. Objective truth by definition cannot be controlled and is a reflection of the limitless nature of our reality, which is why it is feared by so many and why so many attempt to subvert it and ensure that it remains hidden in our world.

The idea of acceptance of all aspects of an infinite reality should not be confused with the idea of embracing all of these aspects. Acceptance is synonymous with objective non judgmental observance of that which IS. While we can accept that "evil" exists, this does not mean that we embrace "evil" or extol its virtues, neither do we seek to change or eradicate it. The key is objective observance and acceptance of as much of reality as possible, after that we are required to choose those aspects of reality with which we will align ourselves.

To quote Francis bacon:

For as God was the help of our reason to illuminate us, so should we likewise turn it every way, that we may be more capable of understanding His mysteries; provided only that the mind be enlargened, according to its capacity, to the grandeur of the mysteries, and not the mysteries contracted to the narrowness of the mind.

Speaking of narrow minds:

First, Bush and members of his administration warn that their War on Terrorism may very well be a war without end. Then, on Friday, State Department counter-terrorism coordinator Cofer Black claimed that 70% of Al-Qaida has been neutralized.

Black's assertion, made in an interview with the London-based British Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday, is based on U.S. intelligence community estimates that about 70 percent of Al Qaida has been neutralized, officials said. [...]

U.S. officials said Al Qaida has been rapidly losing its attack capabilities and was relying increasingly on smaller Islamic groups based in Southeast Asia and North Africa. The officials said thousands of Al Qaida operatives have been captured, killed or neutralized, with cells eliminated even in such strongholds as Kuwait and Yemen.

The intelligence community assessed that Al Qaida was at the height of its strength in mid-2001 with thousands of recruits trained in Afghanistan and other sent abroad as agents and sleepers.

The intelligence assessment was presented to the Bush administration and reported by President George Bush during his State of the Union address on Tuesday. The assessment regards Al Qaida as becoming steadily weaker, with difficulties in raising funds and sustaining insurgency cells. [...]

It appears that Bush's political advisors feel it is important to present the illusion that the Commander in Chief is victorious in the war on terrorists - at least the Al-Qaida brand. But fear not! There are plenty of other countries to be conquered, and enemies to be invented. We suspect that the creators of the Project for a New American Century are just getting started. They will use the "defeat" of al-Qaeda to reinforce the illusion of American supremacy in the minds of the sheeple.

Yesterday in Iraq, two more US soldiers were killed in Baghdad in yet another helicopter crash.

IAEA head ElBaradei warns of heightened danger of atomic war

BERLIN (AFP) Jan 24, 2004

The danger of atomic war has never been so great, the head of the United Nation's nuclear watchdog agency Mohamed ElBaradei warned in an interview to appear in Monday's edition of Der Spiegel magazine.

"An atomic war will come upon us if we do not agree on a new system of international controls," said the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). [...]

"I am afraid that nuclear arms are falling into the hands of unscrupulous dictators and terrorists. I am also afraid of the nuclear arsenals in democratic states, because as long as these weapons exist, there is no certainty they won't be stolen, sabotaged or subject to accident," he said. [...]

"I am extremely worried about how things are moving in North Korea. I would in no way be surprised to find out that Pyongyang now has an atomic bomb ready for use.

"In the history of humanity, no civilization has yet managed to voluntarily get rid of its all-powerful weapons -- we shall see if we are the first to do it," he said. [...]

Talks on alternative Mideast peace plan in France in March or April

Saddam's WMD hidden in Syria, says Iraq survey chief

By Con Coughlin
The Telegraph

David Kay, the former head of the coalition's hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, yesterday claimed that part of Saddam Hussein's secret weapons programme was hidden in Syria.

In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Dr Kay, who last week resigned as head of the Iraq Survey Group , said that he had uncovered evidence that unspecified materials had been moved to Syria shortly before last year's war to overthrow Saddam.

"We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he said. "But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved." [...]

Comment: We can easily guess how this will be "resolved". It is a forgone conclusion that the US will invade Syria, much like Bush was planning war with Iraq before 9/11. The case is merely being built for the public.

The case is also being built for turning on long time, US ally Saudi Arabia. They are now being accused of supporting al-Qaeda, and in turn, Al Qaeda Recruited U.S. Servicemen: Testimony Links Plot To Saudi Government. Saudi Program Converted Thousands of U.S. Servicemen To Islam; After Gulf War, Soldiers Targeted As Bosnian Volunteers After Leaving Military.

How they are going to implicate Saudi Arabia and not Bush with his ties to Saudi Arabia is not clear at this point. Also Kurds are now designated as terrorists. Just exactly who is NOT being declared a terrorist is also unclear.

Benefits of Terrorism

Now, 28 months after 9-11, not a single government, military, or intelligence official has been punished for failing to protect the US, and not a single officeholder, building code official, architect, engineer or builder has been penalized for the collapse of WTC.

All senior federal, state and local officials serving on 9-11 remain in office (or have left for unrelated reasons); all leading congressional members, especially those on the intelligence, defense and government oversight committees, remain in office; all contractors, lobbyists and financial supportors of these remain in place; and all these appear to have increased their power, wealth and position as a result of 9-11: in Washington the mil-intel committee members, the President, intelligence agencies and military departments, the Justice Department, FBI and law enforcement; in New York Governor Pataki, ex-mayor Guiliani, the Port Authority, celebrated architects, engineers and builders, Wall Street and downtown developers; and across the US pundits, lobbyists, flacks and apologists churning their accounts.

Beneficiaries of the 9-11 failure of duty and responsibility hope the 9-11 Commission investigating the disaster -- the reasons it was not prevented and how to prevent its recurrence -- will not be extended. That the warmaking, homeland protection, and creating enemies will continue to climb the charts.

They hope the public will continue to buy into the notion that the disaster could not have been prevented, but that it will likely be repeated unless people like them are trusted to protect the nation, that preventive war is necessary whereever the US is challenged.

They warn that because of worldwide envy of US success there's really only so much can be done to protect the nation unless the American people gives up more freedom, accepts more secrecy, supports overwhelming military action against those opposed to US principles and beliefs, and trusts those who have a vested interest in promoting fear, uncertainty and doubt.

An uncowed, clear-thinking person might wonder who is benefiting from terrorism, who wants it never to end, and who pays the burgeoning cost in money and lives.

Said a brave man, "I have a dream."

The Bush Administration is implementing new border security measures that include biometric identification. They will begin with fingerprints and will very likely move to iris scans. The supposed reason for this tightening of the noose around travelers in and out of the US is that it will make the USA more secure against "terrorists".

The following article makes the rather pertinent point that this system will be of no help whatsoever in identifying terrorists because the US government does not have a collection of fingerprint scans or iris scans of the terrorists it is seeking to identify. All it has is a database of home-grown US criminals. Leaving aside any overlap between this criminal database and the employee lists of the CIA or other alphabet soup agencies, we find it hard to imagine that the "terrorists" accused by Bush, such as members of the Taliban or al Qaeda, would have criminal records in the US. Which raises the issue of the what is the real reason for the show of sound and fury around plane travel?

Iris scanning is the most accurate biometric system.

Jan. 24, 2004. 01:00 AM

It's going to be expensive and it's going to be inconvenient.

But, mainly, the high-tech border security introduced by the United States this month is going to be ineffective. At least for its stated intention.

Protecting against terrorists by biometrically identifying every person who enters the country is a fantasy, say leading experts in the field, and a potentially dangerous one.

[...] Biometrics works effectively on "one-to-one" identification, Tomko says, where a scanner reads a fingerprint on a passport or card, compares it to the real finger in front of it, and determines that you are you.

"But there are too many errors when it's used on 'one-to-many,' he says. "Biometrics doesn't have the accuracy needed to identify passengers against a huge database of bad guys."

Not that such a database exists.

At best, Washington may have a few dozen photos of suspected terrorists, say analysts.

But it has no database of their fingerprints, much less their irises or any other biometric identifier, such as walking gait, voice or hand geometry.

The only biometric databases are criminal ones. In the U.S., that is mainly the 40 million IDs compiled over 40 years by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Canada's RCMP database holds 4 million.

"So now they'll be collecting the identities of millions of people and comparing them to — what?" asks Peter Hope-Tindall, technical director at Toronto's dataPrivacy Partners, leading biometric consultants.

"Who the hell are they going to catch? Not terrorists. It'll catch people who haven't paid parking tickets, who haven't paid child support."

[...] "I don't think this is about security, it's about creating insecurity," Clements speculates. "It's like the orange and yellow alerts that keep Americans in a state of high anxiety. It's about keeping the public fearful because then it's more open to manipulation. And people go along with it because they see no alternative."

If it's missing information on terrorists, the U.S., by the end of the year, will have a horde of personal details on millions of ordinary visitors and Americans alike.

Insiders are calling the database that's being built the "black box" — no one knows what's going into it.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has stressed that the information gathered will be strictly governed by the U.S. Privacy Act and that "legitimate travellers have nothing to fear."

But Hope-Tindall snorts at the claim: "Nothing to fear, nothing to hide was the motto of Stasi, the East German secret police."

And Clements says flatly it's not true: "Depending on your name or country of birth, you have a lot to fear. Muslim-Canadians already get rough treatment down there."

[...] Finger scans, long the mainstay of the industry, may be the first to be used for border security, but experts warn they can have up to a 30 per cent false-rejection rate.

Given that the new "security" system does not do what it purports, it looks like the system is being put into place for other reasons, such as:

  • The collection of information on the entire US population as well as visitors.
  • The promotion and maintenance of a climate of fear and insecurity.
  • To acclimatise US citizens to a form of existence in which civil liberties are subordinate to the needs of the State and an endless "war on terror."
  • To cut the US off from the rest of the world by making travelling to and from the country so inconvenient and troublesome that only those who cannot avoid a visit will make the effort.
  • To instill in the US population the ever stronger sense of their own superiority and of their "difference" from the rest of the world. They will be led to believe that if such measures are being put into place, it shows that "not just anyone" should be allowed to visit, that America's "freedoms" are such a valuable treasure that extreme measures must be taken to guard them, even if these measures are in fact eradicating them. Human psychology is a strange creature, and by manipulating people's emotions, such logical fallacies can be made to appear as the obvious truth. The sensations of fear and insecurity will blind many to the reality.

The Bush Administration has yet to offer the American public the slightest evidence or proof of a link between Al Qaeda, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the Taliban, or any other Arab or Muslim and the events of that September two years ago. The link between one or all of them has been asserted, declared, suggested, implied, taken for granted, and come to be a truism without a shred of concrete evidence.

Powell: Saddam may have not possessed weapons of mass destruction


Secretary of State Colin Powell said Saturday that Iraq may not have possessed weapons of mass destruction. Powell was asked about comments last week by David Kay, the outgoing leader of a U.S. weapons search team in Iraq, that he did not believe Iraq had large quantities of chemical or biological weapons.

"The answer to that question is, we don't know yet," Powell told reporters.

Powell acknowledged that the United States thought Saddam Hussein had banned weapons, but added, "We had questions that needed to be answered.

"What was it?" he asked. "One hundred tons, 500 tons or zero tons? Was it so many liters of anthrax, 10 times that amount or nothing?"

Many people continue to believe the soft soaping given by the likes of Powell.

The hard evidence on Iraq shows that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to justify the invasion.

The hard evidence on 9-11, such as that found by Daniel Hudsucker on his site Mad Cow Morning News, shows that the men accused of the deed were trained at a flight school known for its connections with the CIA and CIA drug-running. Mohammed Atta, whose passport was conveniently found intact atop a pile of debris near the World Trade Center, had taken training at a US military base in Alabama in the 1990s. This suggests a different reading of the excuse for eternal war than that given by Washington.

The lies, the manipulations, have made it open season on Arabs and Muslims in the US.

Modern 'Dreyfus Affair' is unworthy of America

By ERIC MARGOLIS -- Contributing Foreign Editor
January 18, 2004

Hatred of Muslims has become the anti-Semitism of our era. The latest example of this ugly fact is the vicious prosecution by the U.S. military of a Muslim army chaplain, Capt. James Yee.

I call this disgraceful and shameful case America's Dreyfus Affair.

In 1894, a French army officer, Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, who was Jewish, was wrongfully convicted of spying on the basis of forged documents. Though evidence pointed to another officer, anti-Semites in the French Army framed Dreyfus. He was given a life sentence on Devil's Island, a brutal, malarial penal colony in the Caribbean off French Guiana.

Four years later, the great French writer Emile Zola published J'accuse (I accuse), his famous newspaper expose of the Dreyfus Affair in which he demolished the case against the persecuted officer and showed how hatred of Jews had led to this outrage.

Fast forward to 2003. Capt. Yee, a native of New Jersey, West Point graduate, convert to Islam and one of the few Muslim chaplains in the U.S. armed forces, was arrested for espionage. Yee had been chaplain at the Bush administration's very own version of Devil's Island, the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison camp, ministering to the 660 Muslim prisoners held there in cages.

Two Muslim-Americans working at Guantanamo as interpreters for the military, Ahmed Mehalba and Ahmad al-Halabi, were arrested on suspicions of passing information to Syria and possessing classified documents. U.S. Army Reserve officers at Guantanamo somehow believed they had uncovered a nefarious Syrian spy ring.

Capt. Yee had once visited Syria for religious studies. He had dinner at Guantanamo with al-Halabi and Mehalba. So he, too, was arrested and charged with espionage - a capital offence.

Spying charges have since been dropped against Halabi, but he and Mehalba still face other flimsy charges.

Capt. Yee was charged with spying and thrown into solitary confinement in a naval prison for 2 1/2 months, where he was chained hand and foot. Jailers refused to tell him the direction in which Mecca lay so he could properly pray. He was denied family visits and repeatedly threatened with execution.

Capt. Yee was finally released to face a court martial at Ft. Benning, Ga., which is ongoing.

The military's case against him has steadily crumbled. Not a shred of evidence has emerged of spying or foreign contacts.

After espionage charges were dropped, Yee was accused of the minor infraction of mishandling classified documents. But military prosecutors didn't even know which of the supposedly classified documents Yee had were actually classified. Most were apparently hand-written notes on his religious ministering.

Farce and a travesty

The U.S. Army's former judge advocate general (the most senior military legal officer), John Fugh, called the Yee case "ridiculous" and said it should be speedily ended. Other legal experts and high-ranking officers term the trial a farce and a travesty of justice.

But the military has continued with this preposterous show trial, unwilling to admit it was gravely mistaken in prosecuting Capt. Yee - just as the French Army refused to the bitter end to admit that Capt. Dreyfus was innocent.

To cover the collapse of its ludicrous espionage case, the army then bizarrely charged Yee with, of all things, adultery and keeping pornography.

So Yee, who is married, may have had an affair with a female officer. He may even have had a copy of Playboy, or used his computer to surf the smutnet.

Adultery is an offence under the Uniform Military Code, but only a few officers have ever been prosecuted for this Victorian offence - otherwise a good part of the senior ranks of the armed forces would be in jail.

Perhaps the military has forgotten that its former commander-in-chief, President Bill Clinton, violated this silly and unconstitutional regulation.

As a former member of the U.S. Army, I know there is not much real justice in so-called military justice.

It's up to the president and Congress to order the Pentagon generals who approved this sordid case to dismiss the charges against the American Dreyfus and present him with an enormous apology. If anyone belongs behind bars, it is the cretins who accused Yee of espionage. But as all soldiers know, the military always covers its backside.

If Capt. Yee was any religion except Muslim, his prosecution - persecution is a more apt term - would have raised a public outcry. But the Bush administration's paranoia and relentless anti-Islamic fervour, and the growing hate campaign directed against Muslims by the president's fundamentalist Christian and neo-conservative allies, has legitimized persecution of Muslim-Americans, who now live in a state of fear that is beginning to resemble the growing terror felt by German Jews in the early 1930s.

The Yee Affair is only one of a large number of cases in which Muslims have been charged by the government with non-existent or wildly exaggerated offences, then forced to admit guilt under threats of life sentences, or even execution.

Capt. Yee courageously refused to be intimidated into confessing to crimes he did not commit. His only serious offence, according to the evidence so far available, was being a caring chaplain in a Devil's Island created to terrify and punish Muslims.

If this can happen to a US citizen, imagine what the consequences will be for Moslems or Arabs who are not US citizens? The recent case of of Maher Arar, the Syrian-born Canadian who was taken off a flight in New York and sent to prison in Syria for a year, illustrates part of what we can expect to witness.

Having set the mechanism in motion by refusing to deal fairly with the plight of the Palestinians, by forging an almost unbreakable association between "Arab" or "Islam" and "terror," by the demonisation of Islam and its culture, the US and its allies are creating the conditions for a spiraling increase in violence around the globe. Every culture has its extremists, and it appears that Washington is playing on this fact. Having set up the new players itself by backing Islamic fighters against the Soviet Union, then igniting the powder keg with the events of 2001, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the US and its closest ally have the appearance of desiring this confrontation, of having provoked it with malice of forethought. By removing any possibility for dialogue, by demonizing Islam, by ignoring and sabotaging the international forums where discussion can occur, the US and Zionist warlords are eliminating any middle ground, forcing people to the extremes.

This will, in turn, give the pretext for the imposition of similar security measures in other countries, with the long term effect of cutting people off from one another, isolating populations at home, and sowing the seeds of distrust, suspicion, and hatred.

"Terrorism" is such a nebulous concept that it can be employed by any State against any of their enemies. In the quid pro quo of international politics, leaders can negotiate "I'll turn my back to your repression of your enemies if you turn your back to mine."

Global Eye – Royal Flush

By Chris Floyd

Out of the blood and murk of Iraq, yet another sinister connection is emerging, a skein of corruption tying Dick Cheney's Halliburton, the Bush Family fortunes -- and a mysterious Kuwaiti company that peddles material for building weapons of mass destruction.

Last week, Pentagon auditors called for a formal investigation of "overcharges" by Cheney's Halliburton hirelings. The well-connected corporation -- which has been the chief beneficiary of the Bush Regime's looting of the American treasury to pay for its ravaging of Iraq -- is accused of skimming $61 million in excess cream from a shady deal to import Kuwaiti gasoline into the conquered land.

To carry out this choice bit of war profiteering, Halliburton hooked up with Altanmia Marketing of Kuwait. Altanmia was given exclusive rights to ship Kuwaiti gasoline to Iraq -- "even though it had no prior experience transporting fuel," U.S. Congressional investigators report. So what is the firm's actual expertise? Investments, real estate -- and acting as "representative agents for companies trading in military and nuclear, biological and chemical equipment," The Wall Street Journal reports.

In other words, Halliburton's new partner traffics in the essential elements of WMD -- the very stuff whose spread and sale the United States is ostensibly dedicated to stopping around the world. Ostensibly. But as always with the Bushists, the rhetoric of "security" is a thin rag to cover their unquenchable thirst for state-supported brigandage. [...]

UK Author Questions Official Report of Dr. David Kelly Death

By Rowena Thursby
Jan. 24, 2004,

Will The Hutton Report tell us how Dr David Kelly died?

On the eve of publication of the Hutton Report, medical specialists are making public their doubts over how Dr David Kelly died. Items found with his body suggested suicide, but a UK surgeon and a specialist anaesthesiologist from South Africa believe the case may not be so clear-cut.


In July 2003 the coroner's inquest into the sudden death of Dr Kelly, the microbiologist who claimed the British government had “sexed-up” intelligence in support of war with Iraq, was perfunctorily dismissed and subsumed into a public inquiry. The Hutton Inquiry concerned itself largely with identifying who was responsible for pushing the scientist towards suicide. Scant attention was paid to the question of whether or not Dr Kelly did, in fact, take his own life.

Dr Nicholas Hunt, the forensic pathologist in the case, concluded that the scientist died primarily of a self-inflicted wound causing haemorrhage, with co-proxamol ingestion as a secondary cause. Given the absence of rigorous probing of Hunt's testimony by barristers at the hearing, Lord Hutton’s report is likely to confirm that verdict. But recently there have been murmurings of dissent amongst the medical fraternity.

Medical specialists dispute death caused by haemorrhage

A debate has arisen over whether haemorrhage emanating from a wrist incision could have been the primary cause of Dr Kelly’s death. David Halpin, FRCS, a retired British orthopaedic and trauma surgeon with professional experience of dealing with incised wounds, thinks it 'highly unlikely' Dr Kelly could have died as a result of transversely slashing one wrist. Mr Halpin wrote, in a letter to the 'Morning Star', 15 December 2003:

'As a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, I cannot easily accept that even the deepest cut into one wrist would cause such exsanguination that death resulted. The two arteries [in the wrist] are of matchstick size and would have quickly shut down and clotted.'

According to Dr Hunt, of the two main arteries in the wrist, only one - the ulnar artery - was severed, and from this wound Dr Kelly bled to death. Mr Halpin points out however, that complete transection (as opposed to partial transection) would have led to the artery quickly retracting and closing off the lumen. The chances of death from haemorrhage would thus have markedly decreased.

Notched and crushed edges to the wound, noted by Dr Hunt in his forensic examination, indicate the knife Dr Kelly used may have been blunt. Bluntness in the knife, in Mr Halpin's view, would have induced an even swifter clotting response:

If the Sandvik knife was blunt, that would have tended to produce greater spasm of the severed ulnar artery, and that severance, being more traumatic, would have been a greater stimulus to clotting within the lumen of the vessel and in the wound itself.

Vanessa Hunt and David Bartlett, the ambulance crew who worked at the scene of Dr Kelly's death, made a point of telling the Hutton Inquiry that they were surprised there was not more blood present; they did not see how Dr Kelly could have died from such a small blood loss. For Dr Kelly to have died from haemorrhage he would have had to have lost at least 3 litres of blood.

Dr Sennett, a specialist anaesthesiologist from Johannesburg, doubts that Dr Kelly could have lost more than 500ml (one pint) of blood:

To bleed to death from a cut blood vessel is not as simple as it sounds, because as the blood is lost the blood pressure falls, and this in turn, slows the blood loss. It is extremely difficult to lose significant amounts of blood at a pressure below 50 - 60 systolic in a subject who is compensating by vaso-constricting (contracting the blood vessels) - although the subject may lose consciousness at this blood pressure, he may not necessarily die.

In fact, I suggest that it would be impossible to lose a 'lethal' amount of blood from an ulnar artery which had been cut in the manner described for Dr Kelly.

Overdose not demonstrated

If Dr Kelly did not die from haemorrhage, might he have died from co-proxamol overdose? Mr Allan, toxicologist at the Hutton Inquiry found this improbable. Three packets of co-proxamol were found in the pockets of Dr Kelly's jacket. Each contained a blister pack of 10 tablets. Twenty-nine were said to be missing. Mr Allan, was not able to show however, that Dr Kelly had ingested all 29 tablets. Only a fifth of one tablet was found in the stomach. Although levels of the co-proxamol found in the blood were higher than therapeutic levels, Mr Allan conceded that the blood level of each of the drug’s two components was less than a third of what would normally be found in a fatal overdose.

Inquest, if resumed, may re-examine findings

If Dr Kelly died neither from haemorrhage nor overdose, how did he die? Did his heart condition play a part? Or were the items found at the scene of death - the knife, the packets of pills, the bottle of Evian water - not evidence of suicide as is widely assumed, but a false trail left in an attempt to cover up the scientist’s murder? Nicholas Gardiner, coroner at the original inquest, has spoken of resuming the inquest after studying the Hutton Report. If the inquest does re-open, let us hope it scrutinises much more closely Dr Hunt's conclusions as to the cause of Dr Kelly’s death.

Revealed: Hutton will clear Blair over Kelly death

Tony Blair will escape personal criticism over the events leading to the death of Dr David Kelly when the Hutton report is published on Wednesday. [...]

Bush 'stole' the presidential election: Cherie Blair

January 24, 2004

LONDON: In a forthright view that is likely to embarrass her husband, Cherie Blair, wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair, is reported to have observed that George W Bush "stole" the US presidential election from Al Gore.

"Cherie Blair still believed that Bush had stolen the White House from Gore," author Philip Stephens wrote in his book "Tony Blair: The Making of a World Leader. "

Although Tony Blair was pragmatic about Bush's victory, Mrs Blair was far less sanguine about the Supreme Court decision that gave him the keys to the White House.

She believed Al Gore had been "robbed" of the presidency and was hostile to the idea of her husband "cosying" up to the new President.

Even as they flew to Washington for their first meeting with the presidential couple, Mrs Blair was in no mood to curry favour, the book stated.

The book's disclosures of Mrs Blair's forthright views will cause embarrassment in Downing Street, because of Blair's good working relations with Bush, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, although they will not surprise officials or ministers who know her well.

Doing Business With The Enemy

Jan. 23, 2004

60 Minutes reveals how, thanks to 401(k)s, pension plans and mutual funds, ordinary Americans are unwittingly investing in companies that are doing business in terrorist-sponsoring states.

Correspondent Lesley Stahl's report will be broadcast Sunday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Nowhere is the issue more acute than in New York City, where William Thompson, the city's comptroller, discovered that municipal workers, including police and firefighters who lost hundreds of their own in the terror attacks of 9/11, own nearly a billion dollars worth of stock in three companies with operations in Iran and Syria.

These are nations the U.S. State Department identifies as state sponsors of terrorism. The companies include Halliburton and General Electric.

"The revenue that is generated from the work that these companies are doing, we believe, helps to underwrite and support terrorism. These companies, as far as we're concerned, appear to have violated the spirit of the law," says Thompson, referring to laws against doing business in states that have sponsored terrorism.

But those laws do not apply to a company's offshore subsidiaries so long as they are run by non-Americans. "[Halliburton] has an offshore subsidiary in the Cayman Islands. That subsidiary is doing business in Iran," says Thompson.

But Halliburton's business in Iran, oil field contracting work, isn't run from the Cayman Islands because, as Stahl found, there isn't a single Halliburton employee in the office where the company is registered.

Thompson says when he inquired about the Caymans operation, Halliburton told him the subsidiary is actually run out of Dubai. 60 Minutes visited there as well, and found that the company shares offices, phone and fax lines with a division of its U.S.-based parent.

Does that mean the U.S.-based Halliburton is facilitating trade with Iran? If it is, that would be against the law, which says the subsidiary must be completely independent of the U.S. company.

"If the intent was to try and prevent United States-based companies from doing business in these rogue nations, then it appears as if they've gotten around what the law had intended," says Thompson.

Halliburton declined 60 Minutes' repeated requests for an interview. It did, however, send an e-mail in which it says the company has broken no laws. The company also suggested that Thompson is playing politics with the pension funds.

Doubt cast on North Korea's nuclear weapons

North Korea has created and extracted plutonium but may not actually be able to make it into a nuclear weapon. That is the conclusion of the first Western scientist to see the country's nuclear facilities since it evicted UN inspectors in December 2002.

Siegfried Hecker, the former head of the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory in New Mexico, held a jar which he believed contained 200 grams of warm North Korean plutonium alloy. But he found no evidence that any had been fashioned into the complex implosion device at the heart of a nuclear warhead, or incorporated into a missile. [...]

20th Shooting Linked to Ohio Sniper

By JOHN McCARTHY, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jan 24,10:18 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A driver whose windshield was pierced by a bullet is the 20th known target of a highway sniper who has struck cars, school buses and buildings, investigators said.

In the latest shooting, which occurred Thursday, 30-year-old Michael Thomas of Columbus said he saw a person standing in shadows on a highway overpass just after the shooting. The driver was not hurt. [...]

No ballistic evidence was found at the scene of the latest shooting along Interstate 71, but physical evidence links it to the other shootings, Franklin County sheriff's Chief Deputy Steve Martin said. He would not elaborate.

Gail Knisley, 62, was fatally wounded Nov. 25 while riding in a car on I-270. No one else has been injured in the shootings. [...]

Comment: One highway, twenty shootings, and only one fatal injury... Ninety-five percent of the sniper's "victims" are unhurt. One might say that this shooter is inept. We are told that in the most recent incident, there was no ballistic evidence at the scene, yet there seems to be some classified physical evidence that allows police to link the shootings together. It is entirely possible that this hard evidence is a construct of a law enforcement organization that is simply trying to prevent hysteria. It is also possible that the sniper shootings have been arranged to instill even more fear in an already jittery population. Most people don't even need to see any actual evidence of a threat - that much has been proven by Gulf War II.

Columbine to unfold

An independent investigation into a mysterious 1997 report about Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold is expected to be released next month, along with videotapes and other evidence that have never been made public. [...]

CBS: 'No' to MoveOn, 'Yes' to White House

High-pay jobs lost

Labor markets have perked up over the past six months, but that doesn't mean they're necessarily generating high-paying jobs. [...]


The New Educational Eugenics in George Bush's State of the Union

Government adviser: killing children with defects acceptable


A GOVERNMENT adviser on genetics has sparked fury by suggesting it might be acceptable to destroy children with 'defects' soon after they are born.

John Harris, a member of the Human Genetics Commission, told a meeting at Westminster he did not see any distinction between aborting a fully grown unborn baby at 40 weeks and killing a child after it had been born.

Harris, who is a professor of bioethics at Manchester University, would not be drawn on which defects or problems might be used as grounds for ending a baby's life, or how old a child might be while it could still be destroyed. [...]

Up to 15 Years in Jail for Joke

Samantha Marson, a 21 year old woman from Britain, was jailed in Miami after making a joke to an American customs official.

The joke: "Hey be careful, I have three bombs in here," she quipped, as her carry-on luggage was screened.

Defiant MP sacked in suicide bomber row

Jenny Tonge was sacked yesterday as Liberal Democrat spokesman for children after standing by remarks in which she said she would consider becoming a suicide bomber if forced to live like Palestinians. [...]

'We don’t want the CIA,' protesters tell Maloney

By Philip Newman

Chanting, placard-carrying demonstrators picketed the Manhattan office of U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) Tuesday to protest legislation to permit the assigning of CIA agents to local police.

But a Maloney spokesman said the proposed law was about the sharing of information in an effort to improve a patchwork of cooperation between local and federal authorities since the World Trade Center attack in September 2001. [...]

"The CIA has a long history of violating international law as well as conducting illegal surveillance of lawful protest by Americans," said Frank Morales, a spokesman for the Campaign to Demilitarize the Police, which is preparing to demonstrate at the Republican National Convention in New York this summer.

"Imagine, if you will, an exhausting day of work for the CIA agent in your community. Somewhere between the long hours of ferreting out international terrorists, they would have to compile exhaustive lists of anti-war activists, NRA enthusiasts, anarchists, foreigners, civil rights attorneys, anti-racist organizations and environmentalists."

Morales said the danger the proposed legislation "poses to civil liberties is even greater given the recent repeal of the Handschu Agreement, a 1971 restriction the New York Police Department's ability to spy on political activists." [...]

A Report on CIA Infiltration and Manipulation of the Mass Media

Storms Pummel Middle East, Flood Roads

By HUSSEIN DAKROUB, Associated Press Writer
Fri Jan 23, 8:00 PM ET

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Heavy rains swept across parts of the Middle East on Friday, flooding roads, downing power lines and forcing airports to close.

But in Egypt, Jordan and Israel it was dust storms that raised havoc, forcing airports to close and sending dozens of people to hospitals with breathing problems.

Heavy rains flooded streets in Beirut and caused power failures in many parts of the country.

The Beirut airport to diverted seven planes to Cyprus, Syria and Jordan. Only one plane landed Friday, a Middle East Airlines flight that touched down safely despite strong winds and poor visibility. Outgoing flights were not affected.

In the southern port of Sidon, rain storms forced the closure of the city's harbor and cut off electricity supplies and high waves broke over the beach wall. Main streets and many parked cars were submerged and palm trees were uprooted along the seaside boulevard. The storm destroyed billboards and plastic canopies erected over vegetable plots.

In neighboring Syria, dozens of roads and highways were blocked because of snow and flash floods, the official Syrian Arab News Agency said. The agency said snow was falling at altitudes of 2,640 feet.

In Egypt dust storms and howling winds forced eight airports to close. Cairo airport remained operational, but airports in Luxor, Aswan and six other cities had to close.

Eighteen domestic flights were either canceled or delayed Friday, Cairo airport officials said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

In Jordan, dust storms and wind of up to 50 miles an hour blew across the kingdom. An official from the Civil Defense Department said electricity was cut to some parts of the capital, Amman, and some traffic lights were blown down, but no injuries were reported.

Amman International airport remained operational and no flight delays were reported.

Israelis awoke Friday to find their cars covered in dust. Many people remained indoors, and the rough weather appeared to help keep things quiet in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with no serious violence reported.

Heavy winds and dust storms forced the ports in Haifa and Ashdod to close, train service was canceled in Haifa and El Al airline flights were delayed from Tel Aviv to Cairo.

In Israel's south, sandstorms limited vision to about half a mile. More than 100 people were treated for breathing problems due to the dust storms, Israeli news media reported.

Second Rover Lands Successfully on Mars

Charles faces Diana police quiz

Daily Mail
23rd January 2004

Prince Charles is to be personally questioned by Britain's top policeman over the death of Princess Diana.
Metropolitan Commissioner Sir John Stevens believes he alone should handle the extraordinarily-sensitive interview.

In it, the prince will be directly asked if he plotted to kill his ex-wife, and about the breakdown of their marriage. [...]

Satanic Cult Probed in Monster of Florence Murders

Fri Jan 23

FLORENCE (Reuters) - Almost 20 years after the last murder blamed on the "Monster of Florence," investigators have reopened the case because they suspect a Satanic cult ordered the killings and kept body parts as prizes.

"The refrigerator of horror," was Friday's headline in Il Messaggero newspaper, referring to new witness reports of female genitalia and body parts in the fridge of a plush Tuscan villa.

The villa was rented by a doctor, thought to have drowned in a Tuscan lake in 1985. But when authorities recently discovered he was a suspected Satanist and had actually been murdered, they reopened their files, a judicial source told Reuters.

Investigators now suspect the doctor was part of a clan that ordered the "Monster" to kill eight couples.

Gates forecasts victory over spam

Spam will be a thing of the past in two years' time, Microsoft boss Bill Gates has promised.

Comment: We have no doubt. After they have shut down the Internet or restricted and curtailed its use, spam will no longer be a problem.

With This Law, You Can Spam 

Digging Out the Dirt From Behind the Kremlin Wall

By William Flemming

"Baiki Kremlyovskogo Diggera" (Tales of a Kremlin Digger). By Yelena Tregubova. AdMarginem. 382 pages.

[...] Although she puts a very different slant on things, the chapters covering events up to the end of 1999 go a long way toward explaining -- even vindicating -- the Putin administration's subsequent centralization drive and desire to monopolize power, including efforts to restore complete control over national television. Indeed, the direction of Putin's first term cannot be properly understood unless placed in the context of Yeltsin's second term, when the Kremlin, despite the enormous constitutional powers wielded by the president, ceased to have real control over the country. With Yeltsin plagued by severe illness, isolated and out of touch, power had effectively been usurped by a handful of oligarchs.

In the relative tranquillity of the Putin era, it is all too easy to forget just how destructive and destabilizing the wars between rival oligarch clans in the late 1990s were -- emasculating reforms and paralysing the work of the government for months on end. Tregubova provides vivid accounts of two prime examples in her book: The first is the Svyazinvest privatization auction of 1997, after which Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky unleashed a vicious media campaign on the national television stations they controlled, and mobilized their Kremlin allies in an attempt to oust those who had refused to do their bidding and fix the tender in their favor. Her second example concerns the Berezovsky-led attempt in 1998 to undermine the short-lived government of Sergei Kiriyenko (as Russia headed towards financial crisis) by inciting and covertly financing miners to strike and block key railway arteries -- thereby threatening to bring the country to a standstill.

Leonid Nevzlin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky's righthand man, is quoted at the time as threatening that if Yeltsin and the "young reformers" persisted in trying to squeeze taxes out of the oil magnates, "it would be cheaper [for them] to 'buy' the Communists and finance street demonstrations: by autumn Yeltsin would be out of the Kremlin." (Khodorkovsky's transformation into a paragon of corporate responsibility was still a few years off.)

Some kind of backlash was almost inevitable. Indeed, as head of the main control directorate of the presidential administration and then the FSB, Putin was one of the key people responsible for what feeble and half-hearted efforts the Kremlin did make to bring recalcitrant regions to heel and to curb the oligarchs' excesses. This first-hand experience clearly left its mark on the future president and influenced the direction of his presidency.

A Coming Out Party at Davos

By Lynn Berry
Staff Writer
Friday, Jan. 23, 2004. Page 1

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Before the three almost-oligarchs walked in out of a snowy night, Georgian President-elect Mikheil Saakashvili was addressing a small dinner at the World Economic Forum of about two dozen people, including some involved in a pipeline being built across Georgian territory and other potential investors.

Moral decay and Benny Morris

When does the banishment of an entire people become morally justified? That such a question can even be posed in today’s Israel is dismal testament to the transformation of Zionism into what it claims to abhor. In two recent, extraordinary documents - a commentary in London’s The Guardian and an interview with Haaretz - Israeli historian Benny Morris prepared the ground for Israel to justify any atrocity, no matter how much it transgresses human rights, law and decency.

In a Jan. 9 interview with Ari Shavit of Haaretz, Morris went further than he ever did in describing the 1948 exodus of Palestinians as the result of deliberate “transfer” by the Zionist militias. Far from being horrified, however, Morris said: “There are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing.” He admitted that a “Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them. There was no choice but to expel that population. It was necessary to cleanse the hinterland and cleanse the border areas and cleanse the main roads … (and) the villages from which our convoys and our settlements were fired on.”

Accepting this “necessity” stands on the belief that the Zionists had an absolute, unquestionable right to establish by any means necessary a Jewish state in Palestine, notwithstanding that the land was already inhabited.

Time to remember

Ghada Karmi

For those who have forgotten or never understood what Zionism is about two recently published pieces will make salutary reading. The first is an interview with the Israeli historian, Benny Morris, published in the Israeli daily Haaretz on 4 January. The second is an article by Morris in the 14 January edition of The Guardian. In both Morris explains, with breathtaking candour, what the Zionist project has entailed. Few Zionists outside the ranks of the extreme right have been prepared to be so brutally honest. Morris not only claims a leftist position but, more significantly, was the first to expose the circumstances of Israel's creation. Using Israel state archives for his groundbreaking 1987 book on the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, he was hailed as a courageous revisionist historian.

Though he balked at confronting the full implications of his discoveries and still refuses to recognise the deliberate Zionist transfer policy that aimed to drive Palestinians from their homeland long before the 1948-9 War, his work suggested to many that, knowing the facts, he was bound to be sympathetic to the Palestinians. In the last few years, however, he has been expressing ever more hard-line views, as if he regretted the pioneering research that helped expose the savage reality of Israel's establishment. This shift seems to have culminated in his most recent utterances about the nature of Zionism. Unpalatable as these are, we must thank him for saying so bluntly what all Zionists, however liberal, really think but cannot say.

There was a time when Arabs understood Zionism to be the basic cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict. From the 1920s onwards Palestinians feared Zionism might take over their country. They tried to fight it but failed and the Zionist project took hold. When other Arabs came on board it was commonplace to refer to Israel as the Zionist entity. It was a black and white issue.

After the 1967 War a new ambiguity appeared. Resolution 242 introduced the idea that the basis of the conflict was the Israeli occupation of post-1967 territory. This set the pattern for all subsequent Arab-Israeli peace proposals, the first successful application being the 1979 Camp David Agreement. By the time of the 1991 Madrid conference the post-1967 land- for-peace formula was firmly established. In 2002 the Saudi peace proposal upgraded the Arab offer to one of Israeli withdrawal from all the 1967 territories in exchange for normalisation of relations with the Arab world.

Israel was once viewed by all Arabs as an illegitimate body forcibly implanted into the region, possessed of an ideology, Zionism, that inevitably involved aggression and expansion to the detriment of the Arab world. Subsequently it was only Israel's post-1967 occupation that was the problem and, once rectified, Israeli integration into the region could presumably proceed.

The Palestinians had a clearer view of Zionism. In 1969 the PLO propounded a vision of a democratic state replacing Israel that would give equal rights to all its citizens, Muslims, Christians and Jews. This was a direct challenge to the idea of a Jewish state. More importantly, it refused to acquiesce the Zionist theft of 1948 Palestine. But the huge power imbalance between the parties forced the PLO to modify its stance and in 1974 a two-state idea was born. In 1988 the PLO formally recognised Israel's 1948 borders. By 1993 the PLO had signed up to the Oslo Agreement that finally legitimised Zionism, since its terms excluded any discussion of 1948 Israel and concentrated on the 1967 territories. This process found its apotheosis in the recent Geneva Accords, which require Palestinians to recognise Israel as "the state of the Jews".

Accompanying this U-turn in attitudes has been a sort of Arab flirtation with Zionism. Following the Israel-Egypt treaty a number of Arab-Israeli projects and initiatives came into being. Arab-Jewish dialogue groups sprang up as the breaking of traditional taboos became more enticing. All this intensified after the Oslo Agreement. Contacts between several Arab states and Israel were made, either officially or in secret. Even previously hard-line anti-Israel states like Libya and Syria have started to make overtures towards Israel. The majority of these initiatives have involved "liberal" Zionists, not the small minority of radical but marginalised anti-Zionist Jews.

Benny Morris's revelations are like a slap in the face. He reminds us that Israel was set up by expulsion, rape and massacre. His recent researches, cited in the new edition of his book, The Birth of the Palestine Refugee Problem Revisited, marshal much evidence. The Jewish state could not have come into being without ethnic cleansing and, he asserts, more may be necessary in future to ensure its survival. Force was always essential, he explains; native hostility to the project was inevitable and it had to be countered by overwhelming strength. The Arabs in any case have a tribal culture, he says, "with no moral inhibitions" and "they understand only force". Muslims are no better. "There's a deep problem in Islam... in which human life doesn't have the same value as it does in the West, in which freedom, democracy, openness and creativity are alien."

Morris regrets the Palestinians' suffering entailed in Israel's creation, but sees it as a necessary evil in pursuit of the greater good.

"The right of refugees to return to their homes seems natural and just", he says. "But this 'right of return' needs to be weighed against the right to life and well-being of the five million Jews who currently live in Israel."

He eloquently shows why Zionism is a dangerous idea: at its root it is a conviction of self-righteousness that justifies almost any act deemed necessary to preserve the Jewish state. If that means nuclear weapons, massive military force, alliances with unsavoury regimes, theft and manipulation of other people's resources, aggression and occupation, the crushing, however inhuman, of Palestinian and all other forms of resistance -- then so be it. The Zionist idea has lost none of its force today; it is deeply implanted in the hearts of most Jews, whether Israelis or not. No Arab should be under any illusion that it is a spent force, no matter what currently fashionable discourse about '"post-Zionism" or "cultural Zionism" may say.



Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock's new documentary, "Super Size Me," details his 30-day McDonald's diet and subsequent health woes.

LAST February, Morgan Spurlock decided to become a gastronomical guinea pig.

His mission: To eat three meals a day for 30 days at McDonald's and document the impact on his health.

Scores of cheeseburgers, hundreds of fries and dozens of chocolate shakes later, the formerly strapping 6-foot-2 New Yorker - who started out at a healthy 185 pounds - had packed on 25 pounds.

But his supersized shape was the least of his problems.

Within a few days of beginning his drive-through diet, Spurlock, 33, was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors who examined him were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock's entire body deteriorated.

"It was really crazy - my body basically fell apart over the course of 30 days," Spurlock told The Post.

His liver became toxic, his cholesterol shot up from a low 165 to 230, his libido flagged and he suffered headaches and depression. [...]

Over the course of the film, Spurlock is regularly examined by a gastroenterologist, a cardiologist and SoHo-based general practitioner Dr. Daryl Isaacs.

"He was an extremely healthy person who got very sick eating this McDonald's diet," Dr. Isaacs told The Post.

"None of us imagined he could deteriorate this badly - he looked terrible. The liver test was the most shocking thing - it became very, very abnormal." [...]

Cell Phone Towers Masquerading as Trees

Cell Phone Batteries Can Leave Users Burned

South Florida Man Suffers Second-Degree Burns From Battery

Neuroscience: A Swedish study links mobile phones to brain damage

by Elizabeth Svoboda
Popular Science
February 2004

The safety of cellphones has been called into question, again. This time the scientific community is paying very close attention.

Last summer neurosurgeon Leif Salford and colleagues at Lund University in Sweden published data showing for the first time an unambiguous link between microwave radiation emitted by GSM mobile phones (the most common type worldwide) and brain damage in rats. If Salford's results are confirmed by follow-up studies in the works at research facilities worldwide, including one run by the U.S. Air Force, the data could have serious implications for the one billion-plus people glued to their cellphones.

The findings have re-ignited a longstanding debate among scientists and cellphone manufacturers over cellphone safety.

Comment: With pictures of the poor rat's brain.

Hair Dye May Raise Cancer Risk

Charles Fort decrying the state of anomalies investigation wrote in LO!:

Our data have been bullied by two tyrannies. On one side, the spiritualists have arbitrarily taken over strange occurrences, as manifestations of the departed. On the other side, conventional science has pronounced against everything that does not harmonize with its systematization's. The scientist goes investigating, about as, to match ribbons, a woman goes shopping. The spiritualist stuffs the maws of his emotions. One is too dainty, and the other is gross. Perhaps, between these two, we shall some day be considered models of well-bred behavior.

Our current reality of such investigations have only gotten marginally better, if at all. You just can't count on journalist to follow up on stories, and there is so much disinformation and false leads. Still, our planet is so strange that it is becoming more and more difficult to overlook these types of stories.

Fort would have got along great with John Keel. If you haven't read his famous book The Mothman Prophecies yet, you are doing yourself a disservice. It appears that some such creature has fallen into our reality yet again, if the reports from Santiago are to be believed. " Monster" stories are so consistent, that we overlook most of them. But just for fun, here is another one, that reports multiple sightings of a "huge manlike creature with dark hair and long arms" in Pennsylvania, USA.

The usual bickering ensues regarding the latest UFO photo that we posted a link to yesterday. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world:

More UFO sightings reported

Witnesses terrified, transfixed by an object hovering in sky

Times & Transcript Staff

When Danielle Cormier of Moncton read about a UFO sighting by a couple in northern Kent County in yesterday's Times & Transcript, she had no problem relating to the story.

Not only did she get a first-hand look at the unidentified flying object for approximately 45 minutes, but she had three friends with her to witness the experience.

Danielle, 21, said she and her boyfriend Terry Steeves, along with her best friend Peggy and the latter’s then-boyfriend Ed, were leaving Shediac about 11:30 p.m. on a clear summer night last year to drive back to Moncton. She said they were on the ramp heading onto the four-lane highway when she glanced out the window and noticed a "brilliant star" which she thought was the North Star.

Then, suddenly, Ed brought the pick-up truck to a halt and she noticed that her three companions were staring out the window, "looking absolutely stunned, their faces white as though they had just seen a ghost," she said yesterday in an interview.

What she had perceived a few seconds earlier as the North Star was now hovering just above the tree line, characterized by three lights arranged in a triangle, with one on the top and two on the base, said Danielle. Apart from making slight movements up or down or to one side or the other, she said it remained there, "as though it was observing us," for the next 45 minutes. [...]

Speaking of Charles Fort:

Hair Today

Charles Fort was keenly interested in the phenomena of collective action and the behaviour of crowds, and he recorded many episodes of 'mass hysteria', from contagious fainting fits triggered by 'strange smells' to mystery assailants who stab with pins and epidemics of lights in the sky or ghosts.

Steve Moore here picks up Fort’s mention of one of the least known of historical social panics, the fear that swept through China, from time to time, of phantom hair-snippers. It has echoes in the 'vanishing penis' panics of Africa and the Far East and ‘bedroom-invader’ type experiences. [...]

Mass alteration of brain chemistry perhaps, self-induced or otherwise?

Panic attack patients lack key brain receptors

People who suffer from panic attacks lack a key neurochemical receptor in their brains, say US researchers. Their findings throw light on the molecular mechanisms that predispose a person to anxiety.

The study, led by Alexander Neumeister of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, is the first to identify a deficit in the 5HT1A receptor in living humans with panic disorder. Similar, but much smaller deficits have also been found in people with depression. [...]

Up the Hill Backwards

All over the world, certain places are known for their weird gravity anomalies. PAUL SIEVEKING rounds up some of the most notable, while JIM CONLAN uncovers the folklore behind Florida’s best known example, Spook Hill.

Comment: With pictures.

Cosmic Rays, Who's Yer Daddy? 

By Kari L. Dean  
Wired News

After years of incongruent research results, Japanese and American universities are pooling their money, secrets and ingenuity to track an astrophysical abnormality that's baffled scientists for almost a hundred years: cosmic rays.

Scientists aren't after just any old cosmic rays, the streams of subatomic particles jettisoned by the sun or exploding stars. They're focusing on high-energy cosmic rays -- particles producing so much power they seem to defy nature and that astrophysicists say show no origin at all. If theories on the source of the rays are confirmed, scientists may uncover insights into the earliest moments of our universe. [...]

US man sentenced to yoga class
13:58 Friday 23rd January 2004

A Texas judge has ordered a man who slapped his wife to take up yoga as part of his one-year probation.

James Lee Cross told Judge Larry Standley his wife was struggling with a substance abuse problem. He said he struck her on New Year's Eve during an argument about her drinking.

The sentence came as a surprise to Cross, who was told to enroll in a class and report back to Standley on his progress.

"It's part of anger management. For people who are into it, it really calms them down. I've thought about taking it myself, but I've got a pretty bad back," said the judge.Cross, 53, said he wasn't very familiar with yoga, reports the Houston Chronicle.

"From what I understand, it may help in a couple ways, not only as far as mentally settling, but maybe a little weight loss." [...]

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