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!
Monday, February 2, 2004
Picture of the Day
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte
The last few days we have focused on thinking. We all regularly fool ourselves that we are thinking, rather than merely reacting. Our brain jumping around and making automatic associations is not real thinking. Jumping to conclusions and assuming we are right is not thinking. Making associations is a normal part of our mechanism, as natural as breathing. Conclusion-jumping is a bad habit and a common defense against the unknown, based on fear.
We all face our fears eventually. Perhaps it is better to face them consciously.
We report every day here the strange twists and turns our little planet is taking. Lies and propaganda seeping out from every corner, and the earth apparently convulsing with various natural changes is enough to make anyone turn away and work really hard to forget. We all desire peace. Our natural impulse seems to be to create an artificial bubble, and struggle to never allow that bubble to be broken. Entire industries are dedicated to reinforcing that bubble.
The problem is, once encased in a bubble, we will never really know anyone else or our true selves. We will have our own subjective symbolism, and symbols created for us and inserted into our individual bubble. These symbols may even give the appearance of a shared reality, when in reality the only thing shared is the process of bubble reinforcement. Being subjective and artificial, the bubbles must constantly be reinforced and defended from intrusions from reality. Enormous amounts of energy are wasted on building something artificial and unnatural. These bubbles are so delicate that any intrusion from reality can cause it to burst. To reinforce this feeling of safety we must constantly be on the defensive against reality. Rather than defending ourselves we defend an artificial construct.
Entire rituals are designed to bring people together for regular reinforcement, where in a feed back loop frenzy of mutual self-aggrandizement, reassurance and validation, people are made to feel better about their particular strain of reactionary ideology and symbolism. Attending weekly church services, regularly sitting in a bar laughing and wisecracking with friends or viewing sporting events can classify as artificial reality reinforcing rituals; the main focus being to make each other feel good about choosing the particular ideology. Often small groups create an outside enemy, which is the quickest way to bond a group of people who may not have much else in common. The focus may be about being special or chosen, which automatically implies that others are less worthy for merely choosing differently, implicitly stated or not. This standard tactic may reinforce the feeling of a higher bond or a collective sense of destiny.
Artificial constructs are such a standard mode of being on planet earth that most may never imagine that another choice exists. Wealthy or poor, most of us live an extremely impoverished existence.
So, we write about thinking and objectivity. For some, that may not be quite as exciting as promises of salvation, religiously or politically, from an outside source. We write about learning and discovery. For some, that may not be quite as exciting as dopamine infusion sessions of mutual bubble reinforcement. We write about searching for truth and rejecting lies. For some, that is not as exciting as blind patriotism and ego identification. We write about free will in this most interesting of schools - planet earth.
It is easy to panic from the shock of seeing so many artificial constructs collapse around us. It is chaos. Creating order out of chaos depends on the observers awareness. We have enough time to learn what is necessary, particularly after we stop wasting energy on reinforcing artificial realities.
WASHINGTON (AP) - President George W. Bush will sign an executive order to establish a full-blown investigation of U.S. intelligence failures in Iraq, a senior White House official said Sunday.
The investigation will look at what the United States believed it knew before the war against Saddam Hussein's government and what has been determined since the invasion. Former chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay has concluded that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, a chief rationale for the war.
Bush has been under mounting political pressure to agree to an inquiry, and decided over the weekend to go forward. Democrats and Republicans alike have been pushing the White House to establish a commission.
By setting up the investigation himself, Bush will have greater control over its membership and mandate. The senior White House official said it would be patterned after the Warren Commission, so named for its chairman Earl Warren, a former chief justice of the Supreme Court, which led a 10-month investigation that concluded in 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing president John F. Kennedy.
Comment: We have no doubt that Bush's investigation will "be patterned after the Warren Commission." This will ratchet up the stakes even higher. If the US public buys it, the way they bought the Warren Commission, then the noose will have tightened considerably.
For more on the Warren Commission, see out JFK Supplement
Monday 02 February 2004
US President George Bush is set to announce an independent investigation into pre-war intelligence, following the failure of inspectors to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Nigel Morris and David Usborne in New York
British and American intelligence services look set to share the blame for the spectacular failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
President George Bush is to order a full investigation of US intelligence failures in Iraq, a senior White House official said last night, while politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are preparing to argue that MI6 and the CIA supplied a false picture of Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons stockpile. [...]
Comment: A perfect opportunity for the Bush Regime. They can say that the intelligence services need to be expanded to protect you. We doubt there was a failure of intelligence, it just suits them for you to think they are bumbling fools. They can then just go around blowing things up and blame it on incompetence, protecting the president.
Blair comes under pressure as Americans admit it was widely known that Saddam had no chemical arsenal
Beaumont, Gaby Hinsliff and Paul Harris
Senior American officials concluded at the beginning of last May that there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, The Observer has learnt.
Intelligence sources, policy makers and weapons inspectors familiar with the details of the hunt for WMD told The Observer it was widely known that Iraq had no WMD within three weeks of Baghdad falling, despite the assertions of senior Bush administration figures and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
The new revelation came as White House sources indicated that President George Bush was considering establishing an investigation into the intelligence, despite rejecting an inquiry the previous day.
The disclosure that US military survey teams sent to visit suspected sites of WMD, and intelligence interviews with Iraqi scientists and officials, had concluded so quickly that no major weapons or facilities would be found is certain to produce serious new embarrassment on both sides of the Atlantic.
According to the time-line provided by the US sources, it would mean that Number 10 would have been aware of the US doubts that weapons would be found before the outbreak of the feud between Number 10 and Andrew Gilligan, and before the exposure of Dr David Kelly as Gilligan's source for his claims that the September dossier had been 'sexed up' to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.
It would suggest too that some officials who defended the 24 September dossier in evidence before the Hutton inquiry did so in the knowledge that the pre-war intelligence was probably wrong. Indeed, comments from a senior Washington official first casting serious doubt on the existence of WMD were put to Downing Street by The Observer - and rejected - as early as 3 May.
Among those interviewed by The Observer was a very senior US intelligence official serving during the war against Iraq with an intimate knowledge of the search for Iraq's WMD.
'We had enough evidence at the beginning of May to start asking, "where did we go wrong?",' he said last week. 'We had already made the judgment that something very wrong had happened [in May] and our confidence was shaken to its foundations.'
The source, a career intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity, was also scathing about the massive scale of the failure of intelligence over Iraq both in the US and among its foreign allies - alleging that the intelligence community had effectively suppressed dissenting views and intelligence.
The claim is confirmed by other sources, as well as figures like David Albright, a former UN nuclear inspector with close contacts in both the world of weapons inspection and intelligence.
'It was known in May,' Albright said last week, 'that no one was going to find large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. The only people who did not know that fact was the public.' [...]
With various patriotic pundits proclaiming the exoneration of George Bush and Tony Blair by the Hutton report, it's becoming increasingly evident the truth no longer matters
MICHAEL HARRIS -- For The Ottawa Sun
This week U.S Vice-President Dick Cheney presented the Pope with a symbol of peace, a glass dove.
Apparently, a lecture on business ethics from Ken Lay could not be arranged.
Also this week, it was revealed that Republican staff members on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee infiltrated the computers of their Democratic counterparts. For more than a year, they downloaded the secret strategy memos of the other side, occasionally passing along the juicy bits to the media. So far, not a peep from some latter-day Woodward or Bernstein about this computerized Watergate.
Also this week, Wall Street bankers went over to George Bush in droves. It was part gratitude for past favours (a reduction in dividend and capital-gains taxes), part wish list to make the tax cuts of the past three years permanent. As one pundit put it, the bankers have been "rolling in catnip" ever since Bush was defeated by Al Gore in 2000 and became president by Supreme Court fiat.
The same bankers who will have raised $7 million for the president by the end of the month have not raised a single million for any of the Democratic presidential hopefuls, including the rising senator from Massachusetts, John Kerry. It gives the democratic deficit a whole new meaning.
Times have certainly changed. How much? This was also the week in which the Pentagon stuck by its new Internet voting system for American forces abroad during this year's presidential elections, even though four of the top computer experts in America advised the military brass that the experiment should be scrapped because "using a voting system based upon the Internet poses a serious and unacceptable risk for election fraud."
I sincerely hope no one is suggesting that Karl Rove or those guys on the justice committee might fiddle the e-mail in some cyber version of the hanging chad come next November.
How can everything be coming so, well, unglued? Personally, I blame it on the big daddy of news run amok, those weapons of misperception on the war in Iraq, George Bush and Tony Blair. The men continue to lie, but their offices make no apologies. No one is prepared to say the words: "These emperors have no clothes."
I wonder what it will take? Last Friday, David Kay threw in the towel as the Bush administration's chief weapons inspector in Iraq. The man who headed up the Iraq Survey Group concluded that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. When asked by Reuters if he was saying that Iraq did not have any stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, Dr. Kay replied: "That is correct."
As everyone knows, the war in Iraq was launched by the United States and Britain to save the world from the "imminent" danger of Saddam's WMDs. President Bush declared that there wasn't time for Hans Blix and his team of UN weapons inspectors to complete their work in Iraq. In the language of the post-9/11 White House, the threat level was a throbbing red. It was the Marines or chaos. [...]
In the meantime, Bush and Blair apologists now prefer to speak of weapons programs rather than weapons and the fact that everyone is better off without Saddam Hussein. Perhaps, or perhaps not, depending on whether you believe liberation is no free elections and 13,000 Iraqis in prison without charges. But one thing is beyond dispute. [At least] Fifteen thousand Iraqis and more than 500 American soldiers have so far died for reasons other than the ones that George Bush and Tony Blair earnestly pressed on their citizens.
But very few people care about holding the big dogs to account. They don't care that Donald Rumsfeld lied about U.S. intelligence on Iraq. They don't care about Republicans spying on Democrats. They don't care about the military potentially turning a presidential election into a video game. And they could care less about bankers who helped make corporate corruption America's hottest past-time.
Which is why, I guess, Dick Cheney can give a glass dove to the Pope without bursting out laughing.
Comment: Indeed, what will it take for someone - anyone - to stand up and say, "These emperors have no clothes"? America has become exactly the type of video game it adores. Voting is a game. Freedom is a game. Security is a game. War is a game. These games are often deadly - especially war. But even then, death itself becomes a game. The fallen "heroes" are praised and almost worshipped for their sacrifice - but in all the ruckus, the truth is drowned out.
Never contemplated are the reasons behind the events that led to the loved one's passing. It is situations such as these that grieve us the most at Signs of the Times. Bush lies, America's children die. Can anything be more horrible? Some accuse us of being insensitive - but no one ever said the search for truth would be easy. The best we can each do is to seek the truth, however horrible it may be. If that means standing up and stating that the emperor is naked, so be it. But in no way is such a statement intended to change what is externally. What the statement may change internally is another matter entirely...
One terrorist with deadly
disease 'could cause deaths of
The prospect of a terrorist, self-infected with a deadly disease at a stage before it shows its symptoms, boarding an aeroplane to infect tens or hundreds of other passengers is what risk experts call a "low likelihood, high impact" threat.
Despite sounding as unlikely as the plot of a trashy novel, the threat was considered real enough on Saturday for the American government to refuse security clearances for six flights to America.
It is deemed "low likelihood" because of the difficulty terrorists would face in obtaining or manufacturing a viable biological agent, yet "high impact" because of the ease with which disease would spread in the confined space of an airliner, eventually to infect millions.
The practice of recirculating cabin air to cut fuel costs has already been blamed for spreading colds, flu and gastrointestinal infections that have struck down 200 passengers at once.
Older aircraft such as Concorde and the Boeing 737 relied solely on air ducted from the jet engines for their ventilation. It meant the on-board atmosphere was extremely dry but at least the cabin air was replaced completely every three minutes.
Modern airliners use a 50-50 blend of fresh and old air simply because it is cheaper. Air conditioning units siphon power from the jet engines; less ventilation means lower fuel consumption.
With the increased carbon dioxide levels comes a greater circulation of particles, organisms and disease.
Potentially the biggest threat in these circumstances would be a terrorist infected with smallpox.
A single sneeze would be enough to put hundreds of thousands of saliva droplets carrying the variola virus into circulation, which would be fatal to three out of 10 people not vaccinated against the disease.
Unlike anthrax, smallpox can spread from person to person. It claimed about a billion lives before being declared extinct in 1980. "Smallpox is a very dangerous weapon in the hands of terrorists and you don't need some clever way of delivering it," said Dr Lev Sandakhchiyev, director of Russia's Vektor Institute, which holds one of only two official samples of the extinct disease.
"All you need is a sick fanatic to get to a populated place. The world health system is completely unprepared for this."
A study by Dr Tara O'Toole, of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, gave some indication of the "high impact" potential of a theoretical attack.
A smallpox-infected terrorist who boarded a plane on April 1 would, by mid-June, have led to 15,000 cases and 2,000 deaths in America, while the disease would have spread to at least four other countries.
Another study, by the American government, predicted three million cases and one million deaths within a few months of the first infected patient.
Smallpox is on a list of biological agents "of highest concern" issued by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. The list includes bubonic or pneumonic plague, which can be passed person to person, tularaemia (an acute infectious disease of rodents transmitted by ticks or flies) and Lassa fever.
Experts believe smallpox, anthrax, botulism and plague are the most likely pathogens to be used.
Comment: More fear based mind programming. It appears that "the powers that be" desire to increase the fear factor to a point where people will be too afraid to do anything other than hide in their homes and immerse themselves further into illusion via un-reality TV and wishful thinking.
Monday 02 February 2004
Seven Moroccan parliamentarians have been removed from a flight leaving the US state of Oregon, in what officials described as an embarrassing jumble of coincidences and miscommunications.
The group was preparing to board a flight on Saturday at Portland International Airport, when Abd Allah Abbasi left to get a cup of coffee, leaving a carry-on bag behind.
Before he returned, the rest of the group had boarded and someone had reported his unattended baggage.
Before he returned to collect his bag, Abbasi was detained, despite his colleagues' protests, reported The Oregonian newspaper. Apparently there were language difficulties and the crew could not understand the parliamentarians.
Monday, February 2, 2004
OSAKA — Japanese civic groups on Sunday held a mock war crimes tribunal to try the leaders of the United States, Britain and Japan in connection with alleged crimes against Iraq, which is still reeling from the effects of the U.S.-led invasion last year.
About 500 people gathered in a hall in Osaka for the first public hearing in Japan of the International Criminal Tribunal for Iraq, which is being held in various countries. The mock trial is targeted at U.S. President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
Arthur Neslen in London
A strange thing happened when David Johnson, the US embassy's Ministerial spokesman addressed the Royal Institute of International Affairs in Chatham House last week.
The distinguished diplomat was barracked.
Chatham House is the epicentre of the British establishment, as famed for its associations with the security services as for its gentlemanly rules of press access. An autographed portrait of the Queen hangs in its oak-panelled entrance.
Yet Johnson, who had come to try to mend fences with stealth-bomber sceptics in London, was left shaken by a string of critical questions.
At one point, he was reduced to accusing a member of the institute of anti-Semitism, for asking if the US was willing to stand up to its "Jewish lobby" (not Israeli lobby) and impose a peace in the Middle East.
A retired diplomat in the audience won a thunder-clap of applause when he countered that it was "absolutely outrageous" to equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. "I deeply deplore the slur you have cast on my colleague," he said.
Many would find it equally outrageous to equate all Jews with Israelis. But the one-sidedness of US policy on the Palestinian question has long-acted as a lightning conductor for wider discontent.
"The course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others," declared President Bush in his 2003 State of the Union speech. Such a bald assertion of American arrogance is not surprising, coming from a man whose worldview has been termed "messianic militarism." But this was one of Bush’s biggest applause lines, which I find discouraging. Can we voice a more attractive alternative to this jingoistic patriotism?
It has long been a conceit of North Americans that we operate on a moral plane above the rest of humankind. But in the transnational era, the rest of the world lives within us, and we live within the rest of the world. There is no escape from our inter-relatedness. But neither is there an escape, apparently, from the dangerous combination of "messianic fervor" and imperial ambition which drives those who hold the reins of power in the United States at this moment.
Acting on the belief that there are two sides to every story, at least, and that the United States does not possess the sole truth about world affairs, I have been listening to what foreign voices have been saying about the land of the free and the home of the brave. Contrary to what the Bush administration preaches, true patriotism, and national security, require more than ever that North Americans learn to see at least a partial truth in views of reality that conflict with our own.
The U.S. has "entered one of its periods of historical madness," writes novelist John Le Carré. The current national hysteria is "worse than McCarthyism," he believes, and "potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War." Like most foreigners who admire American culture and political ideals, Le Carré is convinced that most Americans who support an invasion of Iraq are "thoroughly decent and humane people." But they operate in a vacuum. Half of Americans now believe, it seems, that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center.
The view on the world available to most U.S. citizens, as framed by the administration through corporate media, is an ideologically constricted and self-referential peephole. So it is unlikey that most Americans would even hear about the poll in Time’s January 2003 European edition, in which 84% of its respondents saw the United States as the greatest threat to world peace. Most who do hear snatches of world opinion will become defensive about "why the world hates us."
The danger of this nation’s course is that we suffer from collective myopia: "a defective vision of distant objects; a lack of foresight." We absorb this myopia from the media, for whom the "distant objects" of foreign nations are seldom in focus. The American deaths in any disaster are counted first, leaving an implicit assumption that American lives are of higher value. We tend to see ourselves as innocent victims, to over-estimate our own suffering vis-a-vis the rest of the world, and to assume the victim’s entitlement to vengeance, or at least moral authority.
Now we have a president who amplifies the worst of our myopia. Who will speak truth to power? Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela felt compelled to say, on January 30, that Bush "has no foresight and cannot think properly." Meaning? Presumably, that Bush and his team are "using theological language to justify empire," as Chalmers Johnson says. Their foreign policy serves both the Regime of Oil and a fundamentalist Christian God who has chosen Americans as his global cop and savior. Bush’s instincts about world affairs, which Bob Woodward calls "his second religion," are informed by right-wing Christian fantasies about a Rapture arising out of an Armageddon during End Times. (The remaining Jews, in this post-apocalyptic vision, will convert to Christianity). Bush is surrounded by ideologues who share his combustible mixture of militarism, messianic zeal, and machismo. And being in possession of the truth, Bush doesn’t "feel like I owe anybody an explanation," as he told Woodward. Small wonder, then, that Gunter Grass, the German Nobel Prize winner in literature, describes Bush as "the perfect expression of this common danger we face."
A favorite tactic of American hawks is to remind the wimpy Europeans that it was American blood that "saved" them in two World Wars, as well as the Cold War. 292,000 Americans lost their lives in the Pacific and European Theatres combined, but in truth, this was surpassed by the loss of life in Poland or Romania alone during WWII. Our sacrifice is dwarfed by that of Europeans collectively, who lost 13 million soldiers and 25 million civilians. Russians claim that it was they who brought the Nazis to their knees, and they have long held a grievance against Americans for not recognizing their tremendous sacrifice. The British argue that they, not the U.S., "stood between the Nazis and the takeover of all Europe."
58,000 American soldiers died in Vietnam, which traumatized us for two generations. But the Vietnamese lost two million people—10% of their population. We claimed they placed a lower value on human life, thereby making the senseless slaughter more acceptable. Much of American foreign policy still flows from our humiliation in Vietnam. The "we’re number one" breast-beating of the Reagan era was clearly compensation. And Bush Senior’s testy desire for a "statute of limitiations" regarding Vietnam was apparently another way of saying that we should be free to engage in more wrong-headed imperial ventures.
Now America’s hawks want the rest of the world to pay for the trauma of 9/11. In typical American fashion, we have commercialized this to the point of nausea, and turned it into a political weapon. Many outside the U.S. who bore the brunt of war and terror during the 20th century—too much of it instigated by the U.S.—hoped this tragedy would lead us to look for the true sources of terror. As Indian novelist Arundhati Roy put it, the world sympathized with our tragedy, but they also said to us, "in the gentlest, most human way: ‘Welcome to the World’."
We don’t want to be welcomed to the world. We want to rule the world. The rest of the world recognizes clearly that America’s oil addiction is driving the Bush team’s march to war in Iraq, along with the aim to establish Israeli hegemony. But the Bush team cynically denies its interest in the world’s second largest oil reserves. After a year of network TV silence on the topic, in December 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said with a straight face on 60 Minutes that the war had "absolutely nothing to do with oil." In late January, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Rockwell Schnabel, claimed in Brussels that "this has nothing to do with oil." Meanwhile Secretary of State Colin Powell argued that Iraq’s oil fields would be "held in trust for the Iraqi people." And the Regime of Oil floated a trial balloon about paying for the invasion with Iraqi oil; then showed its true colors by voicing its fears that Saddam would torch his oil fields.
"While most Americans think that we are planning an attack on Iraq to save the world from a madman," wrote Jeremy Rifkin, "most Europeans think that Bush is the madman, with the evil intention of grabbing a foothold in the oil-rich Middle East to extend the American empire." Haven’t Europeans shed enough blood that Americans should take their opinions about war seriously? The Bush team ritually describes Saddam as a Hitler, while some European and Asian opinion leaders also refer to Bush as a Hitler. Shouldn’t this do more than outrage us? Can we dismiss out of hand widespread concerns of Asians, Europeans, and Latin Americans about Bush’s "cowboyish" politics? Can we afford to dismiss the criticism that "the lessons of Vietnam seem to have been lost on America"?
The religious roots of America’s myopic arrogance were apparent to Martin Luther King Jr. "Don’t let anyone make you think that God chose America as his divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world," he thundered. King was slain a year after he uttered those words. Americans who would today question their nation’s sense of entitlement, and messianic delusions, find it almost impossible to get a hearing. Meanwhile, as our leaders proclaim American pre-eminence, a disturbing number of people around the world are coming to think of the American government as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today," as King said, or even "the great enemy of the human race," as Che Guevara said in 1967.
Ah, the ease with which George W. Bush attracts superlatives! Helen Thomas calls him "the worst president ever." A kinder, gentler Jonathan Chait ranks him "among the worst presidents in US history." No such restraint from Paul Berman, who brands him "the worst president the US has ever had." Nobel Laureate George Akerlof rates his government as the "worst ever."
Even Bushie du jour, Christopher Hitchens, calls the man "unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things." Only Fidel Castro, it would appear, has had kind words for our 43rd President. "Hopefully, he is not as stupid as he seems, nor as Mafia-like as his predecessors were."
Vain hopes. In a mere three years, President Bush has compiled a record of disasters that Fidel could only envy. [...]
The Fairfax County, Va., home of John Culbertson – once a member of former U.S. Rep. James Traficant’s scandal-plagued congressional office – was raided Friday afternoon by Oklahoma City police detectives searching for evidence related to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
A copy of the search warrant obtained by the McCurtain Daily Gazette described the evidence sought by detectives as including any and all computer equipment, letters, correspondence, electronic mail and image files.
The raid was prompted after a Jan. 27 “in-camera hearing” attended by prosecutors and defense attorneys involved with the Terry Nichols murder trial, set to begin in McAlester one month from today.
Information seeking the warrant indicates that during the closed-door meeting with District Judge Steven Taylor, it was brought to the attention of prosecutors that Culbertson could have critical evidence of the bombing crime – evidence that had not come to the attention of state or federal prosecutors.
According to the affidavit filed with the search warrant, Nichols’ defense attorneys filed a motion under seal with the court and further advised prosecutors that Culbertson “may have possession of a video and/or still photographs of a Ryder truck parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah building before the explosion and during the explosion.”
The motion presented by defense attorneys stated that Dallas, Texas, attorney Thomas W. Mills Jr. observed and described a video and still photos that Culbertson showed him.
The affidavit also indicates that Nichols’ defense attorneys said they attempted to contact Culbertson and that he was not cooperative in showing them the possible evidence.
Following up on a recommendation by Judge Taylor to conduct an investigation into the matter, next Oklahoma City police detective Mark R. Easley the next day traveled to Dallas for an interview with Mills at his law office.
Mills advised that years ago he had gone to Washington, D.C. to meet with Culbertson and actually viewed the video on Aug. 26, 1998.
Mills specifically told police detectives that he saw a portion of a video and possibly three still pictures that were stored on Culbertson’s laptop computer.
In an affidavit obtained by this newspaper, Detective Easley said Mills told him the images he was shown included the Murrah building in “pristine condition.”
Mills then said, “Mr. Culbertson pushed a button and a second photograph came up with a small glow at the bottom of the building. Mr. Culbertson pushed another button and another frame appeared of a ball of fire rising from the building and the building fell.
“Mr. Mills asked
where the video and pictures came from (and) Mr. Culbertson said it
came from an ATF agent.”
When contacted by telephone late last week, Culbertson told an Oklahoma City police detective that he had turned over a copy of the evidence to the House Judiciary Committee several years ago. Asked if he still had a copy of the material, Culbertson was described as evasive – refusing to divulge that information.
Appearing July 27, 2000, before the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, the record shows that Culbertson alluded to the subject of the possible existence of a videotape of the bomb blast in Oklahoma City.
Speaking as the director of the Center for Reform in Washington, D.C., Culbertson told members of the committee:
“ With respect to the statements made by the Department of Justice that there are no photos or videos of the explosions of the Murrah Building, we have discovered that some indeed exist and are known to members of the law enforcement community.
“We have a short video presentation with a federal police officer describing a surveillance tape he personally witnessed at a gathering of law enforcement officers and comparing it to similar photos we have obtained in the Oklahoma City investigation, which will be presented after this opening statement, with your consent, Mr. Chairman. It is about 2 minutes long.
“This is a video taken April 13 of this year. It is a Federal police officer describing a surveillance tape from Oklahoma City he personally witnessed and comparing it to other photos we have uncovered."
During his appearance before the House Committee, Culbertson filed an affidavit containing statements he says were made by a federal agent who, Culbertson claimed, told him he was present at a training seminar after the bombing when this remarkable videotape was alleged to have been shown to several federal agents.
The statement included in the official record of the hearing is as follows:
“ The Federal Police Officer described two distinct explosions the locations of which are consistent with evidence uncovered in the course of investigating the attack on the Murrah Federal Building. The Federal Police Officer also stated that the photos and video frames recovered as described above are consistent with the surveillance video that he witnessed in the training seminar. The officer’s statement as well as photos obtained in the investigation is contained in this document.”
Culbertson went on to testify, “The Department of Justice has deprived the public of this important information as well as the courts in various jurisdictions charged with trying cases related to the bombing. This act is nothing short of callous and malicious obstruction of justice in what many might consider one of the most important cases of the Twentieth Century.”
However, under direct examination by a member of the committee, Culbertson admitted that he did not have possession of the film. [...]
Clear Channel gags an antiwar conservative.
[...] It seems to me that when there is reason to go to war, it should be self-evident. The Secretary of State should not need to convince a skeptical world with satellite photos of a couple of Toyota pickups and a dumpster. And faced with a legitimate casus belli , it should not be hard to muster an actual constitutional declaration of war. Now in the absence of a meaningful Iraqi role in the 9/11 attack and the mysterious disappearance of those fearsome Weapons of Mass Destruction, there might be some psychic satisfaction to be had in saying, “I told you so!” But it sure isn’t doing my career as a talk-show host any good. [...]
[...] I can assure you then that my criticism of Bush has been on the basis of long-held conservative principles. It begins with respect for the wisdom of the Founders and the Constitution’s division of power and delegation of authority, and extends to an adherence to the principles of governmental restraint and fiscal prudence. It proved to be a message that was more than a little inconvenient for my employer. [...]
A history of Hutton's life, from Bloody Sunday cover up to Pinochet affair to Iraq war lies.
Even BBC political editor Andrew Marr comments on Hutton's underlying assumptions and background, making him more likely to believe and trust certain social groups: "again and again, he comes down on the side of politicians and officials."
So who is Hutton? And what is in his background to come to these extraordinary conclusions? What has led to the report's extraordinary absolution of Blair's war lies and attack on journalistic freedom?
The 72 year old Baron Hutton of Bresagh, County of Down, North Ireland, is a classic representative of the British ruling establishment. A member of the Anglo-Irish elite, he was educated at Shewsbury all boys boarding school, and then Balliol, Oxford, before entering the exclusive club of the British Judiciary. Whilst British Judges are overwhelmingly conservative, upper class, white, male and biased, Hutton's background is even more compromised.
His name will be familiar to residents of the Six counties of Ulster. During the bloody thirty years war Hutton was an instrument of British state repression, starting in the late 1960's as junior counsel to the Northern Ireland attorney general, and by 1988 rising to the top job of Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland.
Hutton spent his career as Judge and Jury in the notorious northern Ireland kangaroo 'Diplock Courts'. These were special non-Jury courts, condemned by human rights advocates for their miscarriages of justice. He was hated for this role by the families of the many innocent Catholics wrongly convicted here.
Hutton distinguished himself after the Bloody Sunday massacre of civil rights protesters in 1972. He played a key role in the ensuing judicial cover-up called the Widgery Inquiry which absolved British troops of murder. This miscarriage of justice is only now being investigated by the current Saville inquiry.
Then in 1978 he represented the British Government before the European Court of Human Rights, defending it against a ruling that it abused and maltreated detainees from the conflict.
However, he will be remembered in the rest of the UK for his role in the 1999 Pinochet affair. Another senior Judge, Lord Hoffman had contributed to the decision to arrest and extradite the notorious former dictator of Chile and mass murderer General Pinochet during his visit to Britain.
As a law lord, Hutton led the rightwing attack on Lord Hoffman, on the excuse that Hoffman's links to the human rights group amnesty international invalidated Pinochets arrest! Lord Hutton said, "public confidence in the integrity of the administration of justice would be shaken", if Lord Hoffman's ruling was not overturned.
More recently, Hutton was also involved in the ruling that David Shayler, the former MI5 agent, could not argue he was acting in the public interest by revealing secrets.
This history of intimate links with, and knowledge of Britain's secret military intelligence operations meant he could be a trusted pair of hands when it came to the Kelly affair.
Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent
Greg Dyke lashed out at Lord Hutton yesterday, accusing him of living in "cuckoo land" for clearing the Government in his "incredibly one-sided" report, and for getting the law wrong.
The unrepentant former director general of the BBC also criticised Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former communications director, and Andrew Gilligan, whose radio report in May triggered the chain of events that has plunged the corporation into crisis.
His blunt comments - in which he, in effect, claimed the BBC's governors had betrayed him - dashed government hopes of an early end to the recriminations swirling in the wake of the Hutton inquiry. Cabinet ministers toured television and radio studios in an attempt to draw a line under the controversy which, despite a comprehensive vindication for the Government, appeared to have prompted a backlash from voters suspicious of a "whitewash".
Sunday 01 February 2004
A row between the UK government and the BBC has again intensified after the publishing of a letter from the former BBC chief to Tony Blair attacking the way his office handled news.
The 10-month-old personal letter was published on Saturday. In it, former director general Greg Dyke complained to Blair that Downing Street had often denied stories which later turned out to be true.
He singled out Alistair Campbell, Downing Street's former communications chief, for criticism.
"On many occasions in my time as director general, the Downing Street press office under Mr Campbell denied stories that later turned out to be true," said Dyke's letter, dated 21 March last year and published for the first time in The Sunday Times.
"I can list half a dozen," Dyke wrote. "There was never a certainty that a denial from the government director of information meant the story wasn't true."
"It often meant the Downing Street press office simply didn't want it reported," the letter said.
Publication of Dyke's earlier complaint threatens to reopen wounds over Lord Brian Hutton’s report, after both Blair and the BBC's new management declared their intention to draw a line under the past.
The BBC said the letter had not been considered admissible to the Hutton inquiry.
Hutton's rejection of the letter - which would have highlighted the undue pressure by the government on the BBC in general - will cast further doubt on the judge's findings, which have already been widely denounced as a "whitewash".
BBC reporters fear new management will cave in to
Senior BBC correspondents have expressed deep unease about the "nightmare ticket" of Lord Ryder of Wensum and Mark Byford, the two men who have taken charge of the corporation in the midst of its gravest crisis.
There is anger, in particular, at what is seen as the "opportunistically grovelling" apology to the Government offered by Lord Ryder. The former Conservative chief whip and political secretary to Margaret Thatcher is known to have led the faction of governors who accepted the resignation of Greg Dyke as director general. [...]
Philip Delves Broughton in Paris
President Jacques Chirac was fighting last night to regain control of a fast unravelling scandal encircling his political power base.
M Chirac seized charge of an inquiry into alleged telephone taps, break-ins and violent threats against judges investigating Alain Juppé, the former prime minister and his heir apparent, convicted on Friday of organising illegal party funding.
The extraordinary intervention came the day after the justice ministry announced it would investigate the allegations. [...]
JERUSALEM, Feb. 1 – The camera jostled past the crush of rescue workers, entered the bombed bus and paused on bloody pieces of flesh hanging from a twisted window frame. It moved to a severed right foot flung against a curb, then halted on an arm in the middle of the street.
For the first time in more than three years and after scores of suicide bombings, the Israeli government has taken the horror and gore of a bus bombing directly to the public via the Internet, bypassing what one senior Israeli official called the "distorted" coverage of the international news media.
"We decided this was the only way for us to bring our message to the world," said Gideon Meir, a senior foreign ministry officer. "It took us 3½ years to show these pictures."
The decision to put the graphic five minute and 38-second video on the Israeli Foreign Ministry Web site just hours after Thursday's explosion, which killed 11 people and the bomber, has unleashed an emotional public debate in a nation weary of a conflict that has turned Israeli buses, cafes and public streets into targets and frustrated by political leadership on both sides that has not ended the violence.
Foreign ministry official Meir said the agency's Web site had received 600,000 hits on the video as of Sunday night. On Thursday, the day of the bombing, the site temporarily collapsed under the volume of attempts to view the footage, which carried the understated warning – "Caution: Video contains very graphic footage."
According to Meir, the government decided to air the footage because of a pending case before the U.N.'s International Court of Justice in The Hague over the legal aspects of the massive complex of walls, fences and trenches that Israel is building around and though the West Bank.
The Israeli government describes the project as a "security fence" that is needed to prevent suicide attacks such as Thursday's bus bombing. Palestinians and some international human rights organizations argue that it is an attempt to unilaterally establish a new border deep inside the West Bank and expropriate Palestinian land.
With the decreasing frequency of Palestinian suicide bombings in recent months, many Israeli officials have expressed the view that the government is losing the public relations battle in the international news media. That helped convince many officials to go public with the bloody images of Thursday's attack, Israeli officials said.
"The decision was based on the fact that Israel is being taken to the International Court of Justice while Palestinians are perpetrating this barbaric terrorism," Meir said.
That rationale outraged some opponents of the barrier project.
"Showing bodies or body parts . . . lying on the ground and using it for political ends is disgusting," said Jeff Halper, who heads the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition, an organization that monitors Israeli military actions against Palestinians. He accused the Israeli government of "trying to sell a certain political program, the wall, and to recruit the dead for this mission." [...]
Comment: Don't forget about the terrible timing of many of these suicide attacks. The Zionists would have us believe that Palestinians enjoy continually shooting themselves in the foot. Consider the usage of the videotaped carnage reported above, and then think about Mossad's motto: "By way of deception, thou shalt do war."
Monday 02 February 2004
In an interview on Monday, Sharon told Haaretz newspaper he had already given the order to plan for the move that would affect 7500 Israeli citizens.
The PM said it was his intention to "carry out an evacuation - sorry, a relocation - of settlements that cause us problems" and of "places that we will not hold onto anyway in a final settlement, like the Gaza settlements".
"I am working on the assumption that in the future there will be no Jews in Gaza."
Sharon added he hoped to work with settlers rather than removing them by force.
"The first thing is to ask their agreement, to reach an agreement with the residents... it's not a quick matter, especially if it's done under fire."
Sharon has threatened to take unilateral steps to separate from the Palestinians should a US-backed peace "road map" fail.
But it was the first time Sharon had revealed a plan for such a far-reaching withdrawal from territories Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war, and sparked immediate outrage from settler leaders.
"I am in shock," Likud legislator Yehiel Hazan told Israeli radio in broadcast remarks.
"I think that the prime minister thinks he is the leader not of the Likud but of Labour, Meretz and Shinu," Hazan said, referring to parties with a political agenda to the left of Likud.
Sharon's comments also drew angry protest from settler leaders, but the reaction to Monday's announcement bordered on outrage.
A spokesman for the Gaza settlers called Sharon's statement "miserable" and said Israel's nationalist camp would "make every effort... to cut short Sharon's term as prime minister through legal means".
"We call on Sharon to immediately return to his old, good positions and not to bring another tragedy to the people of Israel through the expulsion of Jews from their homes."
Monday 02 February 2004
Egyptian President Husni Mubarak says Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has assured him he is ready to restart peace talks with the Palestinians, but that they are hesitant.
Sharon "told me he was ready to restart (the negotiations) but that the Palestinians were hesitant," Mubarak told national television on Saturday.
Castro Says Bush Plotting
to Kill Him
HAVANA - Fidel Castro (news - web sites) accused President Bush (news - web sites) of plotting with Miami exiles to kill him, and said he would die fighting if the United States ever invaded to oust him.
"I don't care how I die," Castro said at the end of a 5 1/2-hour speech that began Thursday night and continued into early Friday. "But rest assured, if they invade us, I'll die in combat."
The Cuban president didn't back up his accusations with details. He spoke at the close of a conference bringing together activists across the region who oppose the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
Castro has insisted over the past year that hardline Cuban exiles in Miami have been pressuring the Bush administration to invade the island — a charge U.S. officials deny.
Castro also has increasingly referred to his own mortality in recent years, promising to remain in power until his last breath.
"We know that Mr. Bush has committed himself to the mafia ... to assassinate me," the Cuban president said, using the term commonly employed here to describe anti-Castro Cuban Americans. "I said it once before and today I'll say it clearer: I accuse him!"
Castro has accused past U.S. administrations of seeking to assassinate him, and during his early years in power there were numerous documented cases of U.S.-sponsored attempts on his life.
The assassination of foreign leaders as U.S. policy was later banned in 1976 by an executive order signed by then-President Gerald Ford and reinforced by Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan (news - web sites).
Castro also criticized the Bush administration's Commission for a Free Cuba — a panel set up in October and headed by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites).
When the United States announced creation of the commission, Powell suggested that the goal is not to ease Castro out but to plan a strategy for Cuba once the 77-year-old leader is no longer in power.
Earlier in his speech, Castro called on the more than 1,000 activists from across the Americas gathered here to work against the U.S.-backed free trade pact, which he said will only further impoverish their nations. [...]
Inmates surrender; guard receiving medical attention
BUCKEYE, Ariz. - A corrections officer was released Sunday from the prison guard tower where she had been held hostage by a pair of inmates for two weeks, a Corrections Department spokeswoman said.
The inmates surrendered, corrections spokeswoman Cam Hunter said.
Hunter said the guard, whose name was not released, was receiving medical attention.
The surrender at the medium- to high-security Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis ended one of the nation’s longest prison hostage situations in decades. [...]
Government was on Sunday dismissive of Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's support for cases brought before US courts by apartheid victims.
Presidential spokesperson Bheki Khumalo referred queries to government chief spokesperson Joel Netshitenzhe, who told the paper Tutu should first have discussed his concerns with the state.
"If the archbishop had sat down with the Minister of Justice (Penuell Maduna) to discuss the issue, he would have had a clearer understanding of the government's position on the litigation in the US," Netshitenzhe said.[...]
Africa will witness several key elections this year, with some constituting a litmus test for nations emerging from war and unrest and others marking a milestone, as in South Africa which fetes the 10th anniversary of the end of apartheid.[...]
Seven people injured in a stampede on Sunday as they scrambled to throw stones at pillars representing the devil in this valley near Mecca have died, raising the death toll to 251, a spokesperson said Monday. [...]
Bird flu lands in Germany, claims
A woman who recently returned from Thailand has been taken to tropical diseases clinic in Hamburg, suspected of having bird flu, officials said.
A woman who travelled with her also taken to clinic, but not thought to be infected.
The clinic treating the German cases says it is "very unlikely" to be bird flu. Bird flu has hit 10 countries in Asia and is already suspected of claiming 12 lives.
Gene therapy techniques enhance the virus's effectiveness in mice.
Mosquitoes are notorious for their ability to spread disease, but in some cases they may prove to be a boon instead of a bane. In a recent study, researchers at New York University School of Medicine found that one mosquito-borne virus automatically targets and kills tumor cells in mice. Most importantly, it does so while leaving healthy cells alone, a feature that may make it a promising treatment for some forms of cancer. [...]
UPDATE: Egon Volcano (Indonesia)
Monday 2nd February, 2004
Most of the evacuees are in bad shape after breathing sulfurous gases and are now facing shortages of food and bedding at accommodation centers. Officials from the Sikka administration said that the refugees had began to suffer dysentery. What was most needed was food, medicine and bedding.
At least one person was reported dead amid the influx of refugees. The death toll is likely to increase as the local authorities continue to collect information on the victims. Residents began to evacuate the area after Mount Egon erupted on Thursday, spewing dark clouds of ash and molten lava over at least one subdistrict. Other subdistricts on the slopes of the volcano are now being evacuated.
Three subdistricts on the eastern side of the mountain are next to be evacuated because they may be next to be affected by the eruption.[...]
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Researchers have discovered a mineral gel created when rocks abrade each other under earthquake-like conditions. If present in faults during a quake, the gel may reduce friction to nearly zero in some situations, resulting in larger energy releases that could cause more damage.
Terry Tullis and David Goldsby of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and Giulio Di Toro of the University of Padova in Italy announce their findings in the Jan. 29 issue of the journal Nature. [...]
LIHU'E, Kaua'i — The earth shook on Kaua'i Thursday night, but no one is sure what caused it.
Residents from Ha'ena on the north shore to Wailua on the east side reported an extended shudder several seconds long that shook windows, walls and beds shortly before 8 p.m. Calls poured in to news media offices, police, civil defense and other county offices, the Navy at the Pacific Missile Range Facility and other agencies.
"Oh, my God! Our whole house shook, more than it ever has. We went downstairs to check whether things were OK," said Wainiha resident Barbara Robeson.
Princeville resident Donn Carswell said he felt a shaking about the same time.
"I felt a trembling and I thought I heard light thunder. It sounded like somebody was moving heavy sliding doors, but nobody was," he said. He thought it lasted less than 10 seconds.
Kaua'i Civil Defense officials said they received numerous calls, and the first thoughts were earthquakes and sonic booms, but they could confirm neither.
Agnes Tauyan, Navy public affairs officer, said neither the Navy at Pearl Harbor nor the Pacific Missile Range Facility had operations off north or east Kaua'i that could account for the tremors.
Donn Walker, Federal Aviation Administration regional public affairs officer, said there was no report in Honolulu FAA logbooks that might indicate a cause for the event. Tyler Johnson, Coast Guard 14th District public affairs officer, said the Coast Guard logs showed no activity at that time.
It could have been a small local earthquake, said Stuart Weinstein, geophysicist with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center on O'ahu, but he said the center has no sensors on Kaua'i and could not detect any temblor from its O'ahu equipment.
"It wasn't large enough to trigger our alarms," he said. "I went back and looked at the screens, and it didn't get above the noise level." [...]
"It is a fun, new exhibit," said Graham Criglow, the facilities manager. "It is so controversial and I think that it is a fun way to get new people into the museum."
The exhibit includes a life-size replica of Bigfoot, photographs, footprint casts, films, books and newspaper articles.
The stories of Bigfoot have been around for years, and there have been reported sightings in all states of the union except Delaware and Hawaii.
"Everybody has a story, someone you know has a story," Criglow said. "I think that is what gets people in here."
The museum, despite the controversial topic, has circumstantial evidence that will make everyone think twice, Criglow said.
"At first, I was extremely skeptical, but after evaluating all the evidence, I realized that it is quite possible that it can exist," said junior biology major Ganiva Reyes. "After seeing the research they displayed, I began to think that it could be true." [...]
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Juvenile humor dominated commercials at the Super Bowl this year as many advertisers aimed to please the widest possible audience and shied away from controversial or subtle statements.
Gags such as a flatulent horse and a crotch-biting dog made for the most popular ads during the annual contest to create memorable commercials for the year's biggest audience. [...]
"The humor has just gotten to such a base level," said Steven Addis, chief executive of the Addis Group branding agency, shortly after Sunday night's game. [...]
Comment: It appears American advertising is now geared to a first grade audience. Don't worry, things could be worse - there's still kindergarten and preschool.
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