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Tuesday, February 3, 2004

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Picture of the Day

©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Consider the idea of evolution. We have been told by our anthropologists and scientists that we evolved from apes, but there remains a crucial "missing link" in the chain of evolution, or in other words, we cannot be sure that we evolved from apes at all. Closer to us on the evolutionary chain, the debate on our relationship to Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal man took a new turn when a recent study suggested that humans are not related to Neanderthal man.

So just who are we and where did we come from?

Modern science can't or won't tell us, yet many people seem to still firmly believe the Darwinian theory to be accurate. Unfortunately, the most vocal opponents of Darwin's theory of natural selection as applied to man are the Creationists, the religious fundamentalists in the US who propose that the origins of Man lay 6,000 years ago because the Bible tells us so. Not a very strong opposition, is it?

The subtle skewing, or the belief in half or partial truths, seem to be employed regularly in manufacturing many areas of "common knowledge". One example: a majority of American citizens believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Allow us to propose a theory, since there appears to be a vacuum of an authoritative account of our true origins. Perhaps we are not who we think or have been told. Perhaps the real evolution of our species is not defined by physical change.

An outlandish theory? Perhaps not. Simply attempt to answer the question, "Who are you?" More than likely you do not merely describe yourself as your physical body. Perhaps there is more to evolution that the physical, if indeed the physical figures at all. When considering what makes us truly alive, logic seems to dictate that our mind or consciousness denotes a level of self-aware existence rather than flesh and bones. If we remove the mind, the body immediately dies.

The truth is, our mind or consciousness is central to any potential evolution of the species. The consistent rejection and ridicule of this concept may quite likely be a major contributing factor to the lack of evolution of our species. It could be argued that the attempt to force the monkey origin of the human species on humanity is designed to be a self fulfilling prophecy. By removing the concept of greater levels of being from general awareness, and therefore removing any possibility of man aspiring to such, humanity is more likely to remain at the level of the animal. Few will contest that we witness overwhelming evidence of the animal nature of humanity in current world events.

With mind as the key, responsibility for human evolution is taken out of the realm of "natural selection" and thrust into the hands of each and every one of us. In truth, where else could it be?

Perhaps it is through independence of thought and the truly creative power that it confers that we have the possibility to really evolve, individually and as a species. The task is, however, not easy. It seems to require persistent and deliberate work to overthrow the deeply ingrained beliefs which rob us of any possibility to contribute creatively to our reality, rendering us mere victims of a chaotic and unintelligent universe.

There appears to be a strong tendency in humans to desire and believe that the universe will provide a "free lunch", hoping against hope that someone else will carry the burden of responsibility to contribute creatively to life. With the "free lunch" mind set we merely contribute to the default entropic path, furthering the agenda of those who have chosen destructive aims. While the struggle need not always be a solitary one, the initial effort must be a personal and conscious one.

James Allen states in "As a man thinketh" -

A strong man cannot help a weaker unless that weaker is willing to be helped, and even the weak man must become strong of himself; he must, by his own efforts, develop the strength which he admires in another. None but himself can alter his condition. It has been usual for men to think and to say, "Many men are slaves because one is an oppressor, let us hate the oppressor". Now, however, there is amongst an increasing few a tendency to reverse this judgment and to say "One man is an oppressor because many are slaves, let us despise the slaves". The truth is that oppressor and slave are co-operators in ignorance, and while seeming to afflict each other, are in reality afflicting themselves.

Before a man can achieve anything, even in worldly things, he must lift his thoughts above slavish animal indulgence. There can be no progress, no achievement without sacrifice, and a man's worldly success will be the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal thoughts and fixes his mind on the development of his plans and the strengthening of his resolution and self reliance. [...]

The potential to create exists, without doubt, for those who consciously choose creativity over entropy. As Allen says:

Man is always the master, even in his weakest and most abandoned state; but in his weakness and degradation he is the foolish master who misgoverns his "household". When he begins to reflect upon his condition, and to search diligently for the law upon which his being is established, he then becomes the wise master, directing his energies with intelligence. Such is the conscious master, and man can only thus become by discovering within himself the laws of thought; which discovery is totally a matter of application, self analysis, and experience.

To hope that our potential can be realised, we must first struggle to destroy the illusions that hold us captive, and make efforts to seek and know the truth. The truth is that you simply cannot not contribute to life.

The only aspect yet to be defined is the nature of your contribution...

It must be an election year. The Bush administration is using every trick in the book regarding budgets and the economy. We begin with a look at the proposed defense budget:

Defense budget doesn't include funds for Iraq, Afghanistan

By Drew Brown
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Mon, Feb. 02, 2004

WASHINGTON - President Bush is asking Congress for $401.7 billion in military spending for 2005, including huge outlays for new manned and unmanned aircraft, advanced ships, missile defense and precision weapons. [...]

Noticeably absent from next year's request is money for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. White House budget director Joshua Bolten estimated that another $50 billion would be needed to cover those costs next year. The White House expects to cover the war costs with supplemental funds after next fall's elections. [...]

No problem! Feed the people another lie, and worry about the consequences later. After all, that scheme seemed to work so well with the nonexistent WMDs that were the reason for Gulf War II. Given the poor state of the US economy, you may wonder where all the money is going to come from. It's simple:

Record Deficit Forces Cuts in Bush Budget

By Adam Entous and Caren Bohan
Mon Feb 2, 5:01 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush proposed a $2.4 trillion election-year budget on Monday that would boost defense spending, slash 128 programs and seek to cut this year's record deficit in half -- a goal even fellow Republicans were skeptical he could achieve. [...]

He hopes to improve his fiscal image before the November election by laying out plans to reduce the record $521 billion deficit by a third next year and in half between 2007 and 2009.

To get there, he is asking Congress to terminate 65 major programs and reduce another 63, reserving the bulk of new federal spending for homeland security and defense while making his tax cuts permanent. Among those to be scrapped -- a $149 million public housing program and a $171 million Commerce Department advanced technology program for businesses. [...]

To placate conservatives threatening a revolt, growth of other discretionary spending would be capped at 0.5 percent. Because that is well below the inflation rate, it amounts to a cut in domestic programs and the lowest growth since 1993.

Among the hardest hit were agriculture, transportation, environmental and small business programs.

Housing advocacy groups warned that Bush's budget would reduce by 250,000 the number of families receiving aid.

Education would get an overall 3 percent boost -- not enough, Democrats say, to fulfill Bush's election-year pledge to improve school performance.

AIDS advocacy groups said he would cut assistance by almost two-thirds to the U.N.-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. [...]

"It's the most anti-family, anti-worker, anti-health care, anti-education budget in modern times, and it doesn't deserve to pass," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat. [...]

So, Bush's proposal is to make himself look better by reducing money for much-needed social programs, as well as those that help small businesses. Just in case the American people start to pay attention to the fact that they have been repeatedly lied to about 9/11 and Iraq, it never hurts to add a dash of fear into the new recipe.

16 Decontaminated in D.C. Ricin Incident

By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
February 3, 2004

WASHINGTON - The Senate majority leader's office apparently has suffered its second bioterror attack in three years, with another suspicious white powder delivered through the mail system — this time laced with poisonous ricin, officials said.

"This is a criminal action," said Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., whose staff discovered the white powder in their Dirksen Senate Office Building mailroom Monday afternoon.

Dirksen and the other two main Senate office buildings were to be closed Tuesday for officials to check other mail in the buildings, but the Capitol was to remain open with the Senate convening Tuesday morning as scheduled.

Sixteen people on the floor were decontaminated, and others who might have been in the area were urged to contact Senate officials, Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer told reporters at a late Monday night news conference.

However, no one was expected to get sick, said Frist, who normally uses his Capitol majority leader's office instead of the Dirksen office. [...]

In another My Way News article, we are told:

Police found traces of ricin in a north London apartment last January and arrested seven men of North African origin in connection with the virulent toxin that has been linked to al-Qaida terrorists and Iraq.

Has anyone actually seen any evidence to indicate that ricin is linked to al-Qaida and Iraq? Or is this the same kind of "evidence" that the Bush Reich had on Saddam's alleged WMDs? Apparently, the answers to these questions don't matter much at the moment. An increasing number of Americans have "bigger" problems to worry about, such as staying afloat financially. The Washington Post reports in Failing in Your Middle Class:

You would think that if you are a two-income family, living in a nice house in a good neighborhood, you've arrived. You've done what it takes to achieve middle-income status and you should be okay, right?

But what you may have done is fall into a two-income trap.

Two researchers have found that millions of middle-income families are in deep financial trouble or only breaking even.

In "The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers & Fathers Are Going Broke" (Basic Books, $26), authors Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi conclude that earning two incomes doesn't guarantee financial security.

"Over the past generation, the number of American families who have found themselves in serious financial trouble has grown shockingly large," the authors write. "In a world in which our neighbors seem to be doing fine and the families on television never worry about money, it is hard to grasp the breadth or depth of financial distress sweeping through ordinary suburbs, small towns, and nice city neighborhoods."

For February, I've selected "The Two-Income Trap" for the Color of Money Book Club. This book may change how you view achieving the American dream. The authors, a mother-and-daughter team, present astounding data on the state of many middle-income families.

Consider these statistics reported in the book:

  • In the past 25 years, the number of families in bankruptcy has increased 400 percent, and housing foreclosures are up 350 percent.
  • The average middle-class family can no longer buy a house without putting both husband and wife to work.
  • Parents with young children are more than twice as likely to go bankrupt than any other segment of the population.
  • More than 90 percent of those in bankruptcy would qualify as middle-class.

If these trends continue, the authors contend, more than 5 million families with children will file for bankruptcy by the end of this decade. [...]

But contrary to popular belief, middle-income families aren't squandering their second incomes on luxuries. They are financially fragile because so much of their two incomes is devoted to mortgages for homes bought in a shrinking number of desirable school districts. The rest of their money is being used to cover health insurance and preschool and college tuitions, and to pay the loan on a second car.

The sad truth is that the modern two-income family earns 75 percent more income than the one-income family of a generation ago but has less discretionary income. [...]

The sad truth is the American Dream is just that: a dream. It is an illusion so powerful that millions will live a lie, and do anything to maintain their distorted perception of reality. When the majority of people are so busy lying to themselves, one more lie from the White House Neocons won't even make a ripple. Voters won't even notice that Bush stole the 2000 election. They won't notice that with the new-and-improved electronic voting scheme, Bush doesn't even have to campaign - and yet he is at least trying to portray himself in a better light.

Perhaps he is worried. Now that he has perfected the task of stealing an election, one of his opponents might try to do the same. Or maybe there won't be any elections, and his handlers are creating an alibi of sorts for the President. In any case, best to throw the people a bone that they can use to help convince themselves that society is bettering itself - just to be safe...

Harlem Gets 1st New School in 50 Years

By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writer
Mon Feb 2, 5:01 PM ET

NEW YORK - On the first day at their brand new school Monday, a strange thing happened: High school students applauded teachers.

Even when told to be quiet, the students clapped and hooted. They cheered for math teachers. They clapped for science teachers. They rose to their feet for English teachers.

The students, 400 seventh- through 12th-graders, are the inaugural group to attend classes at the first new public school built in Harlem in more than 50 years. [...]

See? All is right with the world - although, in this case, "world" refers to the US. America has the World Series, and national winners in most sporting events are referred to as World Champions, even though only American teams compete. Add to this that, due to apathy and a controlled media, most Americans are woefully uninformed about world events, and what you end up with is one big mess.

Now that we appear to have thoroughly berated all things American, the reader may be wondering why we don't suggest an alternative course of action for the USA. The truth is that we don't know what course of action to take. We don't even think that one should try to change America - or any country, for that matter. It is what it is. To the best of our collective abilities, we report what is on the Signs page each day. One of the reasons is, quite simply, choice.

Does anyone believe that the Bush administration will mend its ways and "repent" for any wrongdoings? Take Halliburton, for example. A Halliburton subsidiary is once again "in trouble", this time for overcharging for food service at a US military base in Kuwait. These new allegations come shortly after the fuel price fixing fiasco. Bush touts the improving economy, but manufacturing jobs are still elusive even as factory output increases. The dollar weakens once again, this time hitting a three-year low versus the Yen.

What happens if Bush is somehow ejected from office, and someone else takes the reins? Perhaps another Bonesman like Kerry? He is poised to capture the Democratic nomination.

The point is not that we hate America, as hating any country or institution is a pointless waste of energy. While we admit we can be a bit sharp-tongued, our comments are not without reason. When faced with what seems to be a ridiculously huge, powerful, and manipulative opponent, one must choose one's moves very carefully. To make a choice, any choice at all, requires free will. But how much free will does a person possess if she is continuously lying to herself and others? Accepting a lie as the truth, whether consciously or unwittingly, is an agreement to be controlled by another. And so, each day, we dig for the truth and present it to our readers, along with what we hope to be effective commentary. If it happens that America finds itself in a certain position at present that can be used as an instructional tool for all of us, then so be it. In reporting what we believe to be the real news every day, we struggle, just like you. We are outraged, just like you. We hurt, just like you.

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."
"Before you can do something you must first be something."
- Goethe

Terrorist candidate for U.S. Senate

U.S. Senate candidate Mel Martínez – George W. Bush’s former secretary for housing and urban development – maintains close ties with the Cuban Liberty Council (CLC), the Cuban-American group that most encourages terrorism, with several of its leaders who have histories of terrorism, while he has openly taken part in this organization’s activities.

U.S. Senate candidate, Mel Martínez, a close friend of Miami’s mafia capos.

Last October 10, when the leader of the White House, accompanied by his Secretary of State Colin Powell, effusively embraced terrorist Luis Zúñiga Rey in the Rose Garden, Mel Martínez could not restrain a huge smile.

Zúñiga is a founder member of the CLC, along with 24 other former directors of the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF), who were all expelled from that organization after a fight with Jorge “El Niño” Mas Santos, shortly before the events of September 11. All those CANF “dissidents” share the characteristic of being identified with the “hard line” of the terrorism-supporting Miami mafia.

On October 10, 2001 Zúñiga had been recruited as a “special guest” at the press conference convened to publicly announce the founding of the CLC at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

Following this public event, the founder members went up to the ninth floor, escorted by U.S. Secret Service agents, to have lunch and plan their mafia activities in peace. [...]


By John Pilger
Feb 3 2004

IN THE wake of the Hutton fiasco, one truth remains unassailed: Tony Blair ordered an unprovoked invasion of another country on a totally false pretext, and that lies and deceptions manufactured in London and Washington caused the deaths of up to 55,000 Iraqis, including 9,600 civilians.

Consider for a moment those who have paid the price for Blair's and Bush's actions, who are rarely mentioned in the current media coverage. Deaths and injury of young children from unexploded British and American cluster bombs are put at 1,000 a month. The effect of uranium weapons used by Anglo-American forces - a weapon of mass destruction - is such that readings taken from Iraqi tanks destroyed by the British are so high that a British Army survey team wore white, full-body radiation suits, face masks and gloves. Iraqi children play on and around these tanks. British troops, says the Ministry of Defence, "will have access to biological monitoring".

Iraqis have no such access and no expert medical help; and thousands are now suffering from a related catalogue of miscarriages and hair loss, horrific eye, skin and respiratory problems.

Neither Britain nor America counts its Iraqi victims, and the fact, let alone the extent of the human carnage and material devastation is not even acknowledged by a government that says it is "vindicated" by Lord Hutton, whose report most British people clearly regard as a parody worthy of the Prime Minister's resignation.

Blair has now announced an inquiry into the "failure of intelligence" that has mysteriously denied him evidence of weapons of mass destruction, which he repeatedly said were his "aim" in attacking Iraq. Just as the brawl with the BBC and the Hutton inquiry were quite deliberate distractions, so this latest inquiry is another panic measure. It is clear that George W Bush, as one American journalist put it, "is now hanging Tony Blair out to dry".

Blair has, as ever, followed Bush. In announcing at the weekend his own inquiry into an "intelligence failure", Bush hopes to cast himself as an innocent, aggrieved member of the public wanting to know why America's numerous spy agencies did not alert the nation to the fact, now confirmed by Bush's own weapons inspector, David Kay, that there were no weapons of mass destruction and probably weren't any since before the 1991 Gulf War, and that the premise for going to war was "almost all wrong". "It was", Ray McGovern told me, "95 per cent charade". McGovern is a former high-ranking CIA analyst and one of a group of ex-senior intelligence officers, several of whom have described how the Bush administration demanded that intelligence be shaped to comply with political objectives, and the role of Britain in the charade.

"It was intelligence that was crap," a former intelligence officer told the New Yorker, "...but the brits wanted to plant stories in England and around the world". He described how "inactionable" (unreliable) intelligence reports were passed on to British intelligence, which then fed them to newspapers.

Former chief UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter says this false information was spread systematically by British intelligence. The clue to this secret operation was given by the weapons expert David Kelly the day before his suicide and which Hutton later ignored. Kelly told the Prime Minister's intelligence and security committee: "I liaise with the Rockingham cell."

As Ritter reveals, this referred to the top secret "Operation Rockingham" set up within British intelligence to "cherry pick" information that might be distorted as "proof" of the existence of a weapons arsenal in Iraq. It was an entirely political operation, whose misinformation, says Ritter, led him and his inspectors "to a suspected ballistic missile site. We...found nothing. However, our act of searching allowed the US and the UK to say that the missiles existed."

RITTER says Operation Rockingham's bogus intelligence would have been fed to the Joint Intelligence Committee. The committee was behind the two "dossiers" in which Blair government claimed Saddam Hussein was a threat. Ritter says that Rockingham officers were acting on political orders "from the very highest levels".

How high? Right up to Blair himself? It was Blair, after all, who made such a personal "mission" of finding weapons of mass destruction. The question of how high needs urgently to be answered. Will Scott Ritter be called to Blair's inquiry? And will Blair explain to the inquiry why the February 2003 British "arms dossier", which Hutton chose to ignore, was so bogus that it plagiarised an American student's theses, lifting it word for word including the spelling mistakes?

The truth is that the Blair government has known, almost from the day it came to office in 1997, that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were almost certainly destroyed following the 1991 Gulf War - just as Bush's weapons expert, David Kay, has now confirmed.

What else did Blair know?

In February last year, a transcript of a leaked United Nations debriefing of Iraqi general Hussein Kamel, revealed that both the US and British governments must have known that Saddam Hussein no longer had weapons of mass destruction. General Kamel was no ordinary defector; he was Bush and Blair's star witness in their governments' case against Saddam. A son-in-law of the dictator, he had overall authority for Iraq's weapons' programmes, and defected with crates of documents.

When Secretary of State Colin Powell made the Anglo-American case for an attack on Iraq before the UN Security Council, he relied on and paid tribute to the reliability of General Kamel's evidence. What he did not reveal, as the transcript of the general's debriefing reveals, was this categorical statement by Kamel: "I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons -biological, chemical, missile, nuclear - were destroyed."

The CIA and Britain's MI6 of course knew about this; and it beggars belief that Bush and Blair were not told. But neither of them let on - just as Colin Powell suppressed his informant's most sensational information, which would have contradicted all his spurious claims. General Kamel (who was later murdered by Saddam Hussein) corroborated Scott Ritter's statement that Iraq had been disarmed "90 to 95 per cent".

Iraq was attacked so that the United States and Britain could claim its oil and its assets. Only Mary Poppins would believe otherwise. For the latest in a catalogue of evidence, turn to the Wall Street journal, the paper of America's ruling elite, which has obtained copies of the Bush administration's secret plan to privatise the country by selling off its assets to western corporations while establishing vast military bases.

The plan was drafted in February last year, just as Tony Blair was assuring the British people that the only reason was Saddam Hussein's "threat".

THE Bush/Blair attack on Iraq has brought death, destruction and great bitterness to Iraq. Every indication is that most Iraqis now regard their lives as immeasurably worse than during Saddam Hussein's rule. More than 13,000 people are held in concentration camps in their own country.

This is many more than were incarcerated in Saddam's political prisons in recent years. None has been charged; most cannot see their families; the allegations of torture and brutality by the occupiers grow by the day. As the US-based Human Rights Watch reported last week, the worst atrocities were in the 1980s - when he was backed by America and Britain.

The uprising in Iraq has accelerated and almost certainly strengthened since the capture of Saddam. Drawn from 12 different groups, including those that were always anti-Saddam, the resistance is well organised and will not stop until the "coalition" leaves. The setting up of a puppet "democracy" will merely increase the number of targets. As Blair's knowledge of imperial history will tell him, this is precisely what happened in Britain's other colonies before they threw out their occupiers, and in Vietnam.

One piece of intelligence which was true and which we know Blair received is a report that warned him that an attack on Iraq would only increase worldwide terrorism, especially against British interests and citizens. He chose to ignore it.

Two weeks ago a panel of jurists called on the International Criminal Court to investigate the British government for war crimes in Iraq. Whether or not that succeeds, it is clear the Prime Minister will need to find another Hutton, and quickly.

Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programme is active, detailed and growing. The intelligence picture is extensive, detailed and authoritative

SEPT 24 2002 Not only do we know that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, we also know he is capable of using them. Saddam must disarm or face the consequences

NOV 30 2002 The biological agents we believe Iraq can produce include anthrax, botulinum, toxin, aflatoxin and ricin. All eventually result in excruciatingly painful death.

FEB 25 2003 We are asked now to accept that in the last few years - contrary to all intelligence -Saddam decided unilaterally to destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd

MAR 18, 2003 The UN weapons inspectors say vast amounts of chemical and biological poisons, such as anthrax mustard gas and VX nerve agent remain unaccounted for in Iraq

MAR 20, 2003 Before people crow about the absence

of weapons of mass destruction, I suggest they wait a little bit. I remain confident that they will be found

APRIL 28, 2003 There is no doubt about the chemical programme, the biological programme, indeed the nuclear weapons programme. All that is well documented by the United Nations

MAY 30, 2003 If we are wrong, we will have destroyed a threat that at its least is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering. That is something I am confident history will forgive.

JULY 18, 2003

Blair calls inquiry into WMD intelligence

Tuesday 03 February 2004, 13:23 Makka Time, 10:23 GMT

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair bowed to growing pressure on Tuesday and called an inquiry into apparently flawed intelligence about banned Iraqi weapons.

"I think it is right... that we have a look at the intelligence that we received and whether it was accurate or not," Blair told a senior parliamentary committee in London.

[...] Blair's announcement comes a day after United States President George Bush launched an investigation into pre-war charges that Saddam Hussein's Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Blair acknowledged that chief US weapons hunter David Kay, who quit his post last month, believed Iraq had no stockpiles of illicit weapons.

Unstable state

"This is one of the reasons why I think we need a further inquiry," the premier said.

[...] The widely anticipated move was met with scepticism from the British press who described the developments as a major U-turn.

"Following so hard on the heels of George Bush's announcement of his own inquiry, it gives ammunition to those who say Mr Blair is the US president's poodle," said the Financial Times, London's main business newspaper.

In Memory of Our Soldiers Dead in Iraq, More than 3,000 Dead On 9/11, and Patriots Outed by Treasonous Bush Staff, No More Sham "Investigations" Aimed at Covering Up the Truth and Protecting the Guilty. Impeachment, Prosecution and Jail Time, Now.

February 2, 2004

What a travesty: "Bush, Now to Allow an Investigation About WMDs"

What a pathetic betrayal of justice and the rule of law.

Pathetic that the White House could get still get away with headlines like this one. Pathetic that the GE-Viacom-Tribune Company-Murdoch-Hollinger-Disney-Clear Channel-Sinclair-Washington Post-New York Times corporate press would let him get away with this.

"Bush to order inquiry of Iraq intelligence lapses: By setting up the investigation himself, Bush will have greater control over its membership and mandate." [LINK]

Since when do we have a defendant in America pick his own jury?

Comment: This editorial continues, pointing out the problems the inquiry into the events of September 2001 is having getting information from the Bush Administration. Do we think this new "inquiry" is going to be any different? However, the inquiry that most Americans will be following attentively, is the one into the half-time show at the Super Bowl. In a land where John Ashcroft covered the exposed breast of justice, it is indeed fitting that it is an exposed breast that will serve as the cover for injustice. As a friend from Brazil once put it: "Americans are Puritans with dirty minds."

Ayoon wa Azan (No Answer)

Jihad Al Khazen Al-Hayat 2004/02/1

The last thing I heard from President Bush is that he did not reiterate his insistence about Iraq's possession of WMDs. However, answering questions, standing next to the Polish president, he said that Saddam Hussein presented a great and increasing threat on both America and the world.

How could it be if the man does not possess WMDs? The Bush administration has no answer; it is opposing an investigation of accountability for the lies.

My column today was inspired by an English e-mail I received from reader Yasser Al Anizan, who pointed out George Bush's gradual dissociation from the original accusations addressed to Iraq. In March 2003, he named them weapons of mass destruction, in June 2003 a WMDs program, in October a program related to WMDs, and in January 2004 he labeled them as the activity of a program related to WMDs.

The month was hardly over when he started refusing to answer journalists' direct questions, and insisting on the alleged threat of a stupid president who did not possess what to threaten with.

The Hutton Report cleared the British government from exaggeration in its dossier on WMDs; but despite that, the report was erroneous, and Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Foreign Minister Jack Straw, backed up just like Americans, and accused the intelligence bodies of providing wrong information, and these bodies could not deny the accusation. Thus, after Tony Blair's April 2002 announcement that Saddam Hussein was developing WMDs, and after he said last January15th that Iraq's WMDs and nuclear weapons presented a danger on the security of the world an the UK, Straw said last December 26th: we never said that Saddam was a threat to the United Kingdom.

Today, I would like to talk about Americans, based purely on American and British resources, which I will keep for those who desire additional information, and I will only mention places and dates here.

* A day after the resignation of top U.S. weapons inspector David Kay, and his saying that there were no WMDs in Iraq; Attorney General John Ashcroft said in Norway that even if there were no WMDs, war was justified to remove the possible danger of their use by Saddam Hussein.

How could Saddam Hussein present a threat when there are no WMDs? And how could the U.S. attack him for what might happen? This is justice the American way.

* Top U.S. weapons inspector David Kay said that evidence was found about Saddam Hussein's destruction of some of his biological and chemical weapons during the mid-1990's, which means according to the Washington Post, that Saddam Hussein had shown efforts to get rid of these weapons long before being threatened of war by George W. Bush.

* Daniel Ellsberg, who uncovered the lies of U.S. Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon concerning the Vietnam War, asked American and British officials to take his path and uncover the lies of the leaders of both countries concerning the war on Iraq.

* An official American report showed that soldiers in Iraq were facing dangerous nervous breakdowns, and that 600 of them were taken back to the U.S. as unfit for service. Around 20 soldiers in Iraq committed suicide since the president's announcement of the end of major battle on May 1st last year. Before the middle of this month, the toll of Americans killed in Iraq reached 500, and before the end of the month, the toll increased once again. When will the toll reach 600? When will it reach 1,000? There are many Americans who are starting to question the reasons for war, and whether it was indispensable. We ask for the toll of Iraqi victims, who are far more than American, or others', casualties.

* The Guardian's Naomi Klein wrote an article entitled "of course the White House fears free election in Iraq," making fun of the Coalition's civil administration Paul Bremer suggestions, noting that 100,000 Iraqis protested and asked for Iraqi elections, one day before Bush's "State of the Union" speech, in which he claimed that Iraqi people were free. She said in an allusion to the transitional period, that Bremer would appoint the members of regional committees; she did not forget that Bremer was appointed by George W. Bush, who, in turn, was appointed by Supreme Court.

* Remember this name: Catherine Gun. She is an employee expelled from the governmental communication center in Cheltenham, which is the official British center of spying, after leaking information about the NSA spying on members of the UN Security Council, on the eve of the war on Iraq. Gun is facing prosecution, and might be condemned for two years in prison after being fired; but Hollywood stars including Sean Penn, fervently defended her, as did Jesse Jackson, and the aforementioned Daniel Ellsberg.

I will close with billionaire George Soros, who is Jewish-American of Hungarian origins, who had assigned millions of dollars in order for George Bush to fail in his reelection bid. In his latest opinion, which was published in an article he wrote, was that the U.S. is in the hands of a bunch of extremists, which is our opinion as well.

Israel sets summer deadline for road map

Tuesday 03 February 2004, 16:26 Makka Time, 13:26 GMT

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement from the peace process will take place as early as June or July, according to diplomats.

Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israeli public radio on Tuesday Sharon was confident he would secure a majority needed to apply the plan.

"The aim of this plan is clear, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has spoken of it on many occasions: it will be applicable in four or five months, that is in June or July," he said.

Comment: Sharon's plans are timed to coincide with the summer political conventions in the US. This means his implementation of his "peace" plan will occur during the US elections. Sharon is hoping that he will continue to get away with murder as US politicians will be afraid to confront him.

Robertson defends statement that God says Bush will be re-elected

[...] “I’m hearing from the Lord it’s going to be, like, a blowout election in 2004. It’s shaping up that way.”

[...] “The Lord has just blessed him,” Robertson said of Bush.

In the UK, good ol' Blunkett is looking to convict people before they commit a crime: Fury over Blunkett's new terror law plan

LONDON (Reuters) - Home Secretary David Blunkett has come under fire for radical proposals to tighten anti-terror laws, with one eminent lawyer calling him a "shameless authoritarian".

Blunkett wants terror suspects to go on trial in secret if necessary to protect intelligence sources, to lower the burden of proof and bring in pre-emptive charges so that they could be put on trial before they mount an attack. [...]

The Washington Post reports that US "lawmakers" want yet another terrorist organization:

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a growing number of lawmakers, not to mention a few officials within the administration, began to argue that the United States might benefit from having its own domestic intelligence service, like Great Britain's famous MI5. At the very least, they said, a new full-blown intelligence agency should be included as part of the new Department of Homeland Security. [...]

Who these mysterious lawmakers are the report does not say, but these people have some nerve. As if the FBI COINTELPRO operations were not enough of a burden on US citizens. Speaking of nerve, if you want to know where the nerve gas is, look no further than Pueblo Colorado. For some reason, Bush doesn't want to get rid of the stuff:

Pueblo Chemical Depot, which stores 2,600 tons of mustard gas, expected to receive $151.6 million for fiscal 2005.

Instead, the proposed budget released by the Bush administration would give the depot $4.9 million. [...]

Construction of a plant to neutralize the mustard agent with water was expected to begin as early as late summer or fall. The Pentagon plans to spend $1.5 billion to build the plant, the largest public works project in southern Colorado since the Pueblo Reservoir was built in 1975. [...]

Wikipedia informs us about the physiological effects of the stuff:

Those exposed suffer immediate itching which develops (in 4 to 24 hours) into deep blisters on the skin, the eyes become sore and the eyelids swollen, possibly leading to conjunctivitis and blindness. At very high concentrations, if inhaled, it causes bleeding and blistering within the respiratory system , damaging the mucous membrane and leading to pulmonary edema.

NORAD couldn't be bothered to do anything about the planes on 9/11, and are rewarded by having their underground lair remodeled:

The Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center is being enlarged and remodeled for the first time since it opened in 1966.

The $13 million project makes room for the expanded role of the North American Aerospace Defense Command into the controversial arena of ground missile defense. [...]

Using 9/11 as an excuse to significantly expanded their operations, the poor dears are now cramped:

It’s been busier since the Sept. 11 attacks prompted the military to realign the mission to monitor activities in the United States in addition to those outside North America’s borders. [...]

The $1.5 billion project, by Lockheed Martin, will replace and modernize air and space surveillance, missile defense and warning and satellite controls.

“Currently, NORAD has systems that are decades old that perform well on their own, but it’s hard to make them work together as an integrated piece,” said Matt Kramer, Lockheed spokesman.

The Lockheed project will speed the sharing of information and wartime responses. [...]

Terrorism has been such a boon to the defense industry. Now they are planning to profit from global cooling. The Pentagon worried about an angry world pointing fingers at the US for polluting the world, once it gets real chilly are Making Contingencies for Climate Change:

by Ira Chernus
Common Dreams

If you want to know the prospects for major climate change in the years ahead, ask the Pentagon. They have to figure out how to fight and win, wherever the president sends them. And they always ask the same question first: What's the weather like out there? If the forecasters say, "Weather uncertain," smart soldiers plan for every eventuality.

As Thom Hartmann told readers the other day, weather forecasters are giving us the biggest "Uncertain" in history. They say that there might, just might, be a catastrophic climate change in the next few decades. Global warming might suddenly trigger a massive global cooling.

They've heard this forecast in the Pentagon, too. So they are drawing up contingencies plans for the worst case scenario: a long era of deep freeze, raging storms, and massive drought that leaves billions of people struggling for the necessities of life.

This is no secret. Fortune magazine just published a summary of the report. What you can read there may seem perfectly sensible or perfectly insane. It all depends on your basic assumptions. [...]

The Pentagon is attempting to prepare for climate change, and at the same time your are being soothed against such worries:

Earth 'shook off' ancient warming

UK scientists claim they now know how Earth recovered on its own from a sudden episode of severe global warming at the time of the dinosaurs.

Understanding what happened could help experts plan for the future impact of man-made global warming, experts say.

Rock erosion may have leached chemicals into the sea, where they combined with carbon dioxide, causing levels of the greenhouse gas to fall worldwide.

Lest Mr Bush, or anyone else, take this study as justification for continuing policies on the environment, the study also notes that:

Plants and animals were affected by the sudden rise in atmospheric CO2. Scientists have found evidence of a marine mass extinction during this period that killed off 84% of bivalve shellfish.

Over a period of about 150,000 years, the Earth returned to normal and life continued flourishing.

As if the Pentagon hasn't got us into enough trouble already:

Experts Warn of Accidental U.S., Russian Missile Launches

Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON — The United States and Russia unnecessarily continue to maintain thousands of strategic nuclear missiles on high alert for mutual deterrence, heightening the possibility of a catastrophic, unintended launch, an expert said this week at a nuclear arms control conference here.

“All of the thousands of U.S. and Russian launch-ready weapons only represent an accident waiting to happen and a temptation to terrorists to gain control over them,” said Center for Defense Information President Bruce Blair, speaking Sunday at a conference sponsored by the Nuclear Policy Research Institute (see GSN, Jan. 26). [...]

Advertisers probe brains, raise fears

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In the Emory studies, the brain's medial prefrontal cortex, an area above the nose associated with sense of self, lit up when volunteers saw images they liked.

When Peter Graser underwent an MRI scan at Emory University, doctors weren't looking for disease.

Instead, brain researchers flashed images -- Madonna, broccoli, sushi, a Ford truck, a golden retriever, Bill Clinton, Coca-Cola -- before the 37-year-old Marietta resident's eyes as he lay inside the coffin-like tube of the magnetic resonance imaging machine.

The scientists discovered a biological clue to what drives consumers: Whenever Graser and a dozen other study volunteers saw a picture they particularly liked, their brains showed increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex -- an area associated with preference, or sense of self.

On this Super Bowl Sunday, when advertising swells to a fever pitch, the researchers' conclusion is especially appropos: What really makes us loyal purchasers is a brand that reflects our self-image, not a product's taste, size, color or convenience. [...]

The study, funded through the Atlanta consulting firm BrightHouse by an undisclosed Fortune 500 client, has stirred up controversy about the emerging -- and some say Orwellian -- field of "neuromarketing." Scientific tools such as MRI scanners, which allow researchers to peer into the brain and better understand depression, addiction, autism and schizophrenia, should not be used by Coca-Cola, McDonald's or Ford to entice people to buy more of their soda, french fries or sport utility vehicles, critics say. [...]

"A lot of what motivates our behavior occurs below the level of conscious awareness," said Meaux, a neuroscientist. "We give [companies] insight into how to develop relationships with consumers." [...]

Comment: Yet another dreary example of scientists using their knowledge against their own kind.

A new Wired article seems to be kind of a throwback to the 1950's, when a massive propaganda campaign was launched to convince Americans that science was going to be humankind's salvation: The New Facts of Life. "Scientific advances point to a startling conclusion: The nonliving world is very much alive. [...] Life isn't the exception, but the rule."

NASA announces a peace sign on Mars, Hubble Spots Oxygen and Carbon in Distant Planet's Atmosphere, Popular Mechanics chooses to do a peculiar cover story, and scientists are exhuming 85 year old bodies:

1918 flu victim may hold clues to outbreak


A VICTIM of the world’s worst flu epidemic is to be exhumed to help scientists trying to avert the spread of bird flu, it was revealed yesterday.

Scientists plan to remove lung samples from the body of 20-year-old Phyllis Burn, who was buried 85 years ago.

The army officer’s daughter, from Strawberry Hill, London, was one of 50 million people killed by a devastating strain of influenza that swept across the world in 1918.

Evidence points to the 1918 virus being a type of bird flu similar to the one which is now claiming human lives in Asia.

Scientists are desperate to know more about what caused the pandemic, in order to avoid another disaster on a similar scale. [...]

Comment: Meanwhile, microbiologists are meeting mysterious ends, and the US government has been experimenting with reviving the Spanish Flu.

Benefits outweigh risks for pregnant women on anti-depressants: researcher

Last Updated Mon, 02 Feb 2004 11:48:43

HALIFAX - New research in the journal Pediatrics is cautioning pregnant women that taking anti-depressants known as SSRIs may pose risks to the nervous systems of their unborn babies.

Up to 15 per cent of pregnant women suffer from depression and many of them are treated with SSRIs, including Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa.

The study compared the days-old babies of mothers who took SSRIs while pregnant with babies of mothers who didn't. It looked at sleeping and waking patterns, movements and heart rates.

Researcher Philip Zeskind of the University of North Carolina says he found unusual behaviours in the babies exposed to the drugs, including erratic heart rate changes and a tendency to startle easily.

But a prominent Canadian researcher says those effects don't pose a long-term risk for babies. Gideon Koren runs the Motherrisk program at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. He's concerned Zeskind's study will frighten pregnant women unneccesarily[sic].

"We see a lot of sad stories of women who stop cold turkey with their drugs because they think something bad will happen to their baby...often with very severe cost to them and to their baby."

Koren says untreated depression is associated with more miscarriages, stillbirths and premature births, and can lead to suicide. He says the nervous system changes in the newborn babies are signs of withdrawal from the drugs they received through the mother's bloodstream.

That withdrawal can be difficult, but Koren says it's temporary and can be treated, or alleviated with breastfeeding.

Comment: This is indeed a curious article. Notice the headline: "Benefits outweigh risks" it says. However, the first part of the article is an account of a study that says exactly the opposite. The study found "unusual behaviours in the babies exposed to the drugs, including erratic heart rate changes and a tendency to startle easily," according to the article. However, this is followed by the comments of another researcher who is worried the study "will frighten pregnant women unnecessarily."

School Shooting in Washington DC

WASHINGTON -- A teenager has died after a shooting at Ballou Senior High School in Southeast Washington and police are looking for his killers. [...] An 18-year-old was shot in the leg. His wounds are not considered life-threatening.

Al Gore's Son Must Enter Substance Abuse Program

Florida Sinkhole Forces Family From Home

Snow Shuts Schools in Plains, Midwest

Robbery victim drives robbers off 30ft cliff
10:17 Tuesday 3rd February 2004

A South African farmer who was forced into his car by two robbers drove them off a cliff.

The 73-year-old and the two robbers survived the 30ft drop from the cliff in Woest Hill, Eastern Cape. [...]

'Backwards' shoppers banned from store
07:45 Tuesday 3rd February 2004

A Swansea woman's been banned from her local Lidl store after turning her trolley the wrong way around at the checkout.

Patricia Evans was barred after pushing her trolley alongside the checkout facing forwards.

An assistant told her she had to turn it around says The Sun.

Patricia objected and a manager was called at the store in Penlan. After paying £30 for her shopping she was told: "Don't bother coming back - you are banned."

She said: "It was outrageous. They don't talk to you like that at Marks & Spencer."

A spokeswoman for LiDL said: "We do have a policy that trolleys must be correctly aligned for the checkouts. We are investigating this complaint."

Upstate Man Accused Of Repeatedly Flashing Amish

January 30, 2004

HEUVELTON, N.Y. -- A northern New York man is accused of exposing himself repeatedly to Amish residents.

Timothy Thomas, 24, of Gouverneur, is accused of flashing members of the Amish community in a Saint Lawrence County village on several occasions earlier this month.

In his statement to sheriff's deputies, Thomas says he was driving home from work on Jan. 6 when he stopped his car, took off his clothes and exposed himself to an Amish man driving a buggy.

Another time, he allegedly exposed himself to two Amish boys in -7 degree weather. He told deputies he did "this type of thing about once a week." Thomas told deputies his actions were a cry for help.

Authorities say Thomas likely targeted the Amish because they don't have telephones and couldn't immediately report the incidents.

He faces charges of public lewdness.

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