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."
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Saturday, February 7, 2004

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Picture of the Day

Les Pyrénées
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

We are genetically tuned to being aware of our surroundings to ensure our survival. Our bodies are continually picking up impressions from the environment, weighing and measuring them, looking for signs of danger. Much of the time, this is automatic and subconscious. When the body senses danger, we may feel a shudder of fear pass over us, a disquieting sensation making us aware of what has been until then a subconscious activity. This brings a release of emotional energy. Note, also, that this emotional kick may produce different levels of awareness. We may accurately judge the danger, or we may misunderstand or not understand at all the shift in our emotions, putting the "blame" on an erroneous target.

Some will react automatically to the emotional shift. This can produce mixed results as it is clear that if we have misunderstood the nature of the danger, our actions will not likely be appropriate for resolving the problem. It is left to chance.

If after this shudder, however, we attempt to understand what brought it about, we have a better chance of correctly identifying the cause. These explanations, using data and ideas, are intellectual.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that our intellects will provide us with the correct answer. The energy that feeds them is emotional, and this emotional energy can colour our thinking depending upon their emotional flavour. This will affect our ability to weigh, measure, and calculate, bringing in a subjective element to what should be an objective process. We may also not have enough data in hand to correctly assess a situation, or the framework into which we insert this data may itself be faulty.

It is also possible to use the intellect in a dry and unemotional manner. This is the type of thinking that lies behind those who build weapons that would wipe out life or who engage in genetic research, without feeling deep within themselves the possible tragic consequences of their work. This is why we return to the necessity of bringing these three aspects of our individuality into balance: the physical, the emotional, and the intellectual. Only a well-balanced system can have the possibility of moving beyond subjective errors.

What holds for the individual in the case cited also holds when we begin to elaborate more complex and sophisticated explanations for our existence, frameworks that apply to the long-term angst of life, to our confrontation with our individual annihilation at death.

These explanations, be they religious, philosophical, or scientific, may force our reality into a box that appears to offer an accurate explanation of events, that gives us a framework within which we try to come to grips with our experience. Sometimes, we can be seduced by the appearance of the box, the neat way in which it ties up the lose ends of life. Psychoanalysis, Marxism, Neo-Liberal economic theory, Neo-Conservative political theory, Zionism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Humanism, Deconstructionism, these are but some of the boxes we build around our thought.

An important aspect of these boxes is their perceived ability to predict future events in order to give us the illusion of stability and of control.

A careful examination of the question has led me to the conviction that such sweeping historical prophecies are entirely beyond the scope of scientific method. The future depends on ourselves, and we do not depend on any historical necessity. There are, however, influential social philosophies which hold the opposite view. They claim that everybody tries to use his brains to predict impending events; that is is certainly legitimate for a strategist to try to foresee the outcome of a battle; and that the boundaries between such a prediction and more sweeping historical prophecies are fluid. They assert that it is the task of science in general to make predictions, or rather, to improve upon our everyday predictions, and to put them upon a more secure basis; and that it is, in particular, the task of the social sciences to furnish us with long-term historical prophecies. They also believe that they have discovered laws of history which enable them to prophesy the course of historical events.
[Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol I, p. 3]

In religious explanations, we are told that if we live a good life, we will be rewarded, sometimes in this life through material success or happiness, sometimes in an afterlife when God will give us the award for our sufferings.

Philosophical systems also offer us the means to lead the good life, although, as there is no after-life component, philosophical systems focus on how to live one's life in this world.

Science can also provide an explanation for our life and a means to predict the future, and in the centuries since the Enlightenment, we have seen a number of different attempts to use Social Science as the foundations for systems that lay bare certain inescapable laws to which man is tied, systems that attempt to move from a descriptive analysis of our conditions to a prescriptive analysis, that is, from simply describing what is to prescribing what should be according to the underlying laws to which we must submit. These systems claim something like prophetic truth: the proletariat must inevitably overthrow the bourgeoisie; a free market left to itself will provide for the needs of all.

These attempts to achieve a greater ability to predict the future serve to give us a increased sense of security. We think that if we align ourselves with the discovered laws, we will somehow be protected, that this "knowledge" will help us when the ignorant are crushed. Unfortunately, this is based upon two dangerous assumptions: that we have correctly analysed and understood these laws; that such laws actually exist.

Thus, boxed in by our faith in our intellectual construction, we think the walls of the box will protect us from the onslaughts of life. So we sit in a corner, huddled against the elements, while we believe our box is being carried forward on the crest of the historical wave to a bright and happy future.

We think there is a better way to face life. As Popper says, the future depends upon ourselves. We say: the future is open. Our consciousness gives us the ability, or at least the potential, to inject something new into any situation, something that is outside of the predictive or prophetic capacities of those interpreting any underlying laws. We must remember that any "discovered" laws are also the work of the human mind, with its weaknesses and fallible character, influenced by emotional energy of many different colours. In other words, they are the products of human thought and human research. We are not controlled by any of these laws; we can rise above them. If we submit to them in thought, we will submit to them in body as well.

By being open and aware at all times, by throwing off the lid of all the boxes in which we are trapped as we become aware of them, we will one day see for ourselves what is bearing down upon us. Yes, there will be surprises, but if we never assume what the future holds in store for us, if we do not identify with particular manifestations of the future, we will ever be ready to act in response to those events. That is certainly the surest way to be secure, holding our future in our own hands, being responsible for our own actions.

We live in a world where security is a mirage. We will all die, only the day and the hour are unknown. By assuming the weight and truth of this awareness, we are free to take up our responsibility in each moment until that day and hour arrives.

N.Y. City Council Passes Anti-Patriot Act Measure

By Michelle Garcia
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, February 5, 2004; Page A11

NEW YORK, Feb. 4 -- New York City, site of the country's most horrific terrorist attack, Wednesday became the latest in a long list of cities and towns that have formally opposed the expanded investigatory powers granted to law enforcement agencies under the USA Patriot Act. [...]

'George Bush knows only the politics of fear'

By Larry Fine
February 06 2004 at 07:18AM

New York - Former vice president Al Gore on Thursday accused President George Bush of abusing the trust of Americans by playing on their fears as he led the United States to war against Iraq.

Gore, who lost the contested 2000 presidential election to Bush, said that like most Americans he rallied behind Bush after the September 11 attacks, trusting his claims of ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda extremists blamed for the attacks and taking his word that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

But Bush's decision to enter into a war with Iraq was taken under "patently false pretenses," Gore said in a keynote address at a conference at the New School University.

"Fear was activated on September 11 for all of us," he said. "And it was exploitable for a variety of purposes unrelated to the initial cause of fear." [...]

Comment: If you missed yesterday's Signs page, be sure to check out the mysterious historical document we posted, asking for readers help in identifying if there is any connection to President Bush.

G7 nations meeting addressing weak dollar

BOCA RATON, Fla., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Finance ministers from Europe, North America and Asia are meeting in Florida, focusing on the strength and stability of the U.S. dollar.

Treasury Secretary John Snow is representing the United States in two days of meetings with other members of the Group of Seven Nations -- Canada, Japan, Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy.

The G-7 meeting will wind up Saturday afternoon with a communique outlining any agreements.

Among the more contentious issues will be the sagging strength of the U.S. dollar and America's deficits.

The Europeans want a stronger dollar because a weak dollar makes European products less competitive on the global market.

The administration is aware, however, that a weak dollar helps American exports and that could help the U.S. jobless picture

Comment: Understanding the behind the scenes financial manipulations is of universal importance for SEEing the bigger game at play on planet earth. An article that will help put it into perspective is Twilight's Last Gleaming, by Ed Steer. Highly recommended to read the whole thing, even though it is quite long with a lot of hyperlinks that should be read to help complete the picture. It discusses the four organizations with the real power in this world: The Council on Foreign Relations, The Trilateral Commission, The Bilderberg Group and The Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Also, A New American Century? Not! By Senator Tim Ferguson:

Yet, even as the dollar is steadily dropping against the Euro after the end of fighting in Iraq, Washington appears to be deliberately worsening the dollar fall in public comments. What is taking place is a power game of the highest geopolitical significance, the most fateful perhaps, since the emergence of the United States in 1945 as the world's leading economic power.

Van Shooting Becomes 21st Sniper Incident

US Soldier: "Sometimes it is a soldier’s duty to tell the truth, no matter what"

"Sometime you have to weigh your duty to your government, and the duty to your fellow soldiers to protect them and keep them safe. I feel the duty to my fellow soldier out weighs any loyalty to my government. I do not see this as treason or betraying my command, especially in light of how badly the government has betrayed our troops at every level.

By Jay Shaft
Coalition For Free Thought In Media

The following interview was conducted with a US Army high level commander who has been back from Iraq less than two weeks. I was shocked that someone of his rank would be so open and willing to speak out, but he told me he has lost over 100 soldiers from his command since the war started.

The man I spoke too had spent months with a front line combat unit and had seen terrible and horrific sights. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to get his tale of the horrors in Iraq.

I have taken every precaution to insure his identity remains a secret for reasons he details in this article. In this time of war and reprisals against soldiers who speak out, he has exhibited extreme bravery and true valor.

JS - Good morning sir, are you enjoying your time back in the states?

USO - No, to be honest, I am not enjoying being back here. I keep seeing the soldiers dying every time I turn on the news or pick up a paper. I can’t get a sense of relief at being home when many of my fellow soldiers will not ever be coming home. It is hard to feel good about no longer being in Iraq. I just can’t seem to put my feelings in any kind of perspective.

Imagine how terrible it is to be home and not be able to tear your mind away from the worst hellhole you could ever imagine. I pace the floor at night when I think about all the soldiers that are still there or imminently going over, I worry about the ones that are on call up or training to go take their turn at trying to stay alive.

I was in several other combat theaters and I have never seen something as bad as Iraq. I have well over 15 years in service and was in the first Gulf War. I thought I had seen every thing that had to do with combat and police actions. I was wrong, and most of my fellow officers have said the same thing. None of us were really prepared for this, no matter what type of training or experience we have.

I have seen officers with two or three combat tours just freezing up and getting this baffled look of panic and fear. I saw an officer with almost 15 years loose it and just start screaming after he lost ten guys in two days. Some of the NCOs who should have been the most experienced at losing men are being devastated by the continued loss of troops.

JS - I keep hearing that from the soldiers I talk to. Almost everyone I talked to said there was no way they could have ever been prepared for how bad Iraq really is. Is this something you think the Army could have prepared you for?

USO - No, there is no amount of training they could have given us to prepare us for how much of a hellhole Iraq really is. The first thing I want to point out is that most of our troops are not trained for a police action. They do not have any idea how to conduct peace keeping operations or effectively act as a police force. They are trained to kill any type of opposition forces, but not react peacefully to a civilian demonstration or day to day civil unrest.

The main line troops do not even know how to properly conduct peace keeping exercises, and after many months of hostilities, they really don’t care to learn. They see their buddies dying and getting severely wounded, and peaceful interaction goes right out of their minds. They are stuck in the middle of a massive civil unrest and factional strife, and they is no way to expect battle hardened troops to be objective. That is not what they were trained for and the Army has very little actual hands on training opportunities with an occupied population.

Most of the guys that were in Afghanistan are able to cope with it a little better, but the majority of them were involved with combat and not the civilian control and policing. That is another thing the military never really planned out. They had no real plan set up for long term occupation, and this occupation is going to be long and bloody, no matter what those policy hacks in the White House tell you.

It took us a few weeks to supposedly win the ground war, and then it was right into the role of peace keeper and police force. I am going to make this very clear: We are not giving our troops the proper training to occupy Iraq over the long run. Even if there was relative stability it would be hard, and in the midst of continuing hostilities it is impossible. These men are trained in gun barrel diplomacy, not as police or aid workers.

I always laughed at the term gun barrel diplomacy, but it fits the situation that occurred in Iraq.

JS - I have to ask the question that will be on everyone’s mind. Why are you speaking out and being so frank and honest? Some people are going to accuse you of outright treason and betraying your own government and chain of command. Why are you choosing to speak out about this?

USO - Sometime you have to weigh your duty to your government, and the duty to your fellow soldiers to protect them and keep them safe. I feel the duty to my fellow soldier out weighs any loyalty to my government. I do not see this as treason or betraying my command, especially in light of how badly the government has betrayed our troops at every level.

I feel it is my ultimate duty to do everything possible to make sure my men come home alive and unharmed

My men have no greater expectation than that I will do everything in my power to keep them alive and to protect them as much as possible in any battle.

There comes a time when every commander has to put the life of his troops at a higher level than the profits of our corrupt leaders. There comes a time when to sit silently and watch means you have a part in those soldier’s deaths, and their blood is ultimately on your hands if you do nothing to stop it. If you can do something to stop the death of even one soldier, and you sit back and do nothing, you are as culpable in that soldiers death as whoever actually kills them.

You won’t find a whole lot of support for the way Bush and the Pentagon are running this war, not in the military anyway. Someone has to come out and tell the truth so that the rest of the troops will not be afraid to be honest with themselves and the American public. There is such an under current of fear among the troops about what might get you in trouble. There are soldiers worried that something they say in a letter or on the phone will get them court-martialed or thrown in the brig for treason.

It is not right that our own men and women have to fear the government to that extent. What the hell is going wrong in America right now? The military has prosecuted and punished soldiers for simply telling the truth about the actual situation in Iraq. How can the American people let this go on? To punish a soldier for speaking his mind is one of the most atrocious things I can think of. If a soldier comes back from Iraq and wants to tell the truth we should let them do it. As long as they are not giving away any sensitive military information or revealing top secret documents there should be no reprisals against them.

These brave soldiers are putting their life on the line in Iraq, supposedly to bring about democratic elections, but they are not allowed to speak freely when they come home. I think the situation with the serving forces in Iraq is slightly different, but look at what I am doing. I had enough of the bullsh.t and made my decision a few weeks ago. I went to a journalist with a major US newspaper and offered to talk to him under anonymity and he told me he wasn’t looking to take that kind of heat from his paper.

I know of several soldiers who were interviewed by the press while on leave, and when they started really telling the truth they were ignored, and their words were never published. I know of the Sgt. Jessica Macek incident where she went on the radio and denounced Bush and the war. Her comments were reported to the Pentagon by a journalist from some newspaper in her home state. More soldiers might be willing to speak out if they knew they were not going to get harassed and sent back to Iraq as punishment.

I am doing this for all the soldiers who want to speak out but will not for reasons of fear and keeping a career intact. I know of a few guys who got called in to the O2 (intelligence operations for a military unit) after making harsh comments in e-mails home. The military has been trying to stomp out the grass fires of dissent and anger in the ranks. They are so afraid that a high level NCO or commander will go on record that they are crushing any form of dissent no matter how small.

I looked at all the reasons to keep quiet, and the need for the truth outweighed any personal consequences. I want to make sure that every American knows this information, and the press has not done sh.t to bring out the voices of the dissatisfied soldiers. I think that they are willingly taking part in keeping this type of interview away from the public eye, at least for the most part.

JS - So you feel it is your duty to do this interview?

USO - I swore an oath to defend this country, but I also swore to protect my men to the utmost of my ability. I am only doing this out of honor and loyalty to all the men who put their life on the line in my command and the command of others. I am sick of watching young men and women die needlessly. If there were a purpose behind it besides oil and the sick greed of our leaders, I would keep my mouth shut and drive on. There is a military term we have for this type of thing. FIDO: FU.K IT and Drive On! That is the attitude they try to pound into your head from the first day of training. You are supposed to follow orders and do as you’re told no matter what. That makes it feel unnatural to do an interview like this or to speak out publicly against any military problem, even if it is killing troops.

Another thing they have done over the past year is to make supporters of the peace movement look like traitors and terrorists. Many of our family members have joined in the protests or spoken out publicly against the war. To cast dispersion on the peace movement has really alienated many service members whose families are active in some type of peace group or activity to bring us home.

There is an enormous amount of veterans who are involved in Veterans For Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against War, and other organizations. There are also a large number of vets who don’t actively participate in those groups who are individually opposed o the war. My older brother is a Vietnam vet who has been anti-war for many years. He is not a part of VVAW anymore, but he still does his part to support the troops and send them letters and care packages. There is growing number of soldiers who have family members in the peace movement or have a veteran in their family who does not support the war.

We got letters and e-mails and all kinds of care packages from the peace movement. When you're half a world away, someone that writes you and says they want to bring you home doesn’t look that bad sometimes.

I feel that I needed to get all this in some kind of recorded form, and bring out the truth even if they come after me. I don’t want to be publicly identified because I have a family and a new baby at home. I don’t want to get in trouble unless I can avoid it. I had thought about going on record with my name, but it is still way too dangerous right now.

To finish this question off, yes I feel it is my duty and every commander and NCO who truly cares about their men. We must do whatever it takes to make the public call our leaders out on this. Our men are dying every day and there is no real purpose that I can see. We were told we were going to Iraq to Iraq to liberate them and keep Saddam from attacking the US.

I don’t see Iraq liberated and there are not any WMDs. I was there on some of the searches and I can tell you that we did not actually expect to find anything. Our leaders were telling us we would find them, but most of the officers knew that was bull sh.t. [...]

JS - All right let’s get to that. You told me on the phone the other day that you don’t think that there is a good reason for the soldiers continuing to die after the Pentagon has declared major combat operations to be over. Do you have any solution to this?

USO - That is one of the problems that is tearing me apart. We are stuck in Iraq now and committed to long term occupation, no matter what the Pentagon says. There is no simple solution, which is why I get angry with the peace movement on some issues. They just want us to come home right now and get out of Iraq. That is not possible right now, and if it were the US would not withdraw voluntarily. There is no way they are going to give up the foothold we have acquired. That is one of my biggest problems right now with the way they are directing this occupation.

It has nothing to do with liberation or ensuring a free election in Iraq. No way that will ever really happen. If you could see how they are parceling out the Iraq resources to the contractors there right now, you would understand what I mean. I have seen the profiteering on a first hand basis. I have never seen that level of outright greed even around the Pentagon at budget time.

It makes you nauseous to see how methodically they are taking over the Iraqi economy and work force. Right know if you don’t work for the CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority), or one of the US contractors, odds are that you will be among the 50% that are unemployed. If you take a job with the CPA or one of the contractors the Iraqis are liable to call you a traitor and take revenge on you or your family. This internal strife this is helping to make it more difficult for us to stabilize the country. As long as there is any kind of internal discord among the population, it is that much harder to stop the attacks and bombings. [...]

JS - Let’s talk about troop morale. I keep hearing from so many people that all they see on the news are soldiers who were quite happy to be in Iraq, and that their morale couldn’t be higher. That is one of the things I keep having hammered into my head. How happy are the troops and how is the morale on an overall basis?

USO - Are you really asking me that in a serious manner, or are you just being sarcastic? You have talked to some of the guys who came back. Did their morale seem high to you? Did they seem happy that they were going to have to go back to Iraq? I’d say about 25% of my men actually wanted to be in Iraq and were happy to be in combat. Most of them were just there because it was their duty, or else they had no choice in the matter. It’s not like you can really tell the military no, and most of the soldiers would never think about it. It’s not like we are looking to get out of our duty to fight in Iraq. We just want our duty to be meaningful and not cost unnecessary lives. [...]

I would not have this kind of problem if we were not losing good soldiers to such a stupid drive to completely rule Iraq. If this were about really liberating and freeing Iraq, we would have set up a different type of occupying force. We are trying to lock down a whole country while we keep telling the Iraqis that we are here to bring them freedom.

I have had many Iraqis tell me it is no different than when Saddam ruled them. They see us as just another master trying to control them. One of the comments you hear is that America is the white Saddam. [...]

So no, there are not a lot of recent events that would inspire high morale. The press and government will still keep trying to sell that to the public though. At best most soldiers are just committed to doing their duty and trying to stay alive. I don’t think you could say that there are that many ecstatic soldiers. [...]

There is not an unpatriotic bone in my body. A true patriot stands up for what he believes in. I have come to believe that doing this is right, and my duty as a patriot makes this necessary. This country was founded on the right of all men to address their grievances openly, without fear of reprisal. That is the opposite of what I have seen recently. [...]

Bush Iraq Intelligence Panel Criticized

By KEN GUGGENHEIM, Associated Press Writer
February 7, 2004

WASHINGTON - Democrats say President Bush's appointment of a bipartisan commission to examine intelligence on Iraq's weapons falls short of their demands for an independent probe of why prewar claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs now appear to have been wrong.

Although a former Democratic senator and governor, Charles Robb of Virginia, will serve as the panel's co-chairman, Democrats say the panel cannot be truly independent if all nine members were selected by Republican Bush.

"We had an opportunity to have a truly independent commission that could have brought fresh eyes to the subject. Instead, we have a commission wholly owned by the executive branch investigating the executive branch," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said.

Bush signed an executive order Friday creating the commission to examine why weapons inspectors have found no chemical and biological weapons stockpiles that U.S. intelligence believed Iraq had before last year's war or evidence of an aggressive nuclear weapons program.

Their existence was the administration's main argument for war.

"Some prewar intelligence assessments by America and other nations about Iraq's weapon stockpiles have not been confirmed," Bush told reporters. "We are determined to figure out why." [...]

The president had initially rejected demands for a commission on prewar intelligence, but pressure built after the former CIA adviser for the weapons search in Iraq, David Kay, said prewar intelligence was wrong. Seeking to defuse what could become a major campaign issue, Bush created the panel and gave it until March 31, 2005, to issue a report — well after the November
presidential election. [...]

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said, "On the one hand, the commission is charged with looking at prewar intelligence assessments on Iraq but apparently not at exaggerations of that intelligence by the Bush administration.

"On the other hand, the commission is tasked to look at so many other areas that it will not be able to adequately focus on the paramount issue of the analysis, production and use of prewar intelligence on Iraq. "

First award for depleted uranium poisoning claim

A SCOTS ex-soldier has become the first veteran to win a pension appeal after being diagnosed with depleted uranium (DU) poisoning during the 1991 Gulf war. [...]

He says he has evidence that his children's health problems are linked to his service. Kenneth, 10, Andrew, eight, and six-year-old Heather, have symptoms similar to those suffered by some Iraqi children, including deformed toes, and low immune systems making them susceptible to asthma, hay fever and eczema. [...]

Cheney's staff focus of probe

By RICHARD SALE, UPI Intelligence Correspondent

Federal law enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of a CIA officer's identity last year.

The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said.

According to these sources, John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby were the two Cheney employees.

"We believe that Hannah was the major player in this," one federal law enforcement officer said.

Calls to the vice president's office were not returned. Hannah and Libby did not return calls.

The strategy of the FBI is to make clear to Hannah "that he faces a real possibility of doing jail time," as a way to pressure him to name superiors, one federal law enforcement official said. [...]

Rumsfeld: no discrepancy over Iraq intelligence

MUNICH, Germany (AFP) Feb 05, 2004

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday there was no discrepancy between CIA director George Tenet's views on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and those of his chief weapons inspector.

"The only difference, if someone is looking for daylight, and wants a news story and they want to make something out of it, the question is: is the glass half full or half empty?" he said. [...]

Tenet outlined his "provisional" conclusions and said more time and data were needed for the search being conducted by the Iraq Survey Group.

"And despite some public statements, we are nowhere near 85 percent finished. The men and women who work in that dangerous environment are adamant about that fact," he said. [...]

Asked about his own unequivocal prewar assertions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Rumsfeld acknowledged he had perhaps gone too far in the first days of the war when he said he knew where Iraq's banned weapons were.

He said he was referring to "suspect sites" that had been identified in areas to the north of the advancing US forces.

But, he added, "There are a lot of things being said about what the administration said which the administration did not say."

"I've read the critics comments and I cannot find where I've said those things," he said.

"I've not gone back and researched what everyone else in the administration said, but it seems to me a worthwhile thing to do, for the clarity of the thing, to take what people are saying and going back and checking," he said. [...]

Comment: In fact, going back and researching who said what, and when, is exactly what numerous alternative news sites have done. The Bush administration's lies and twisting of the facts are exactly the reason we continually question the official line on Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld is in no position to make judgments that affect the lives of so many people from so many different countries if he can't even remember what policies he helped to create six months or a year ago. Either Rummy is hideously incompetent, or he is lying - again.

CIA says no to scapegoat role over elusive Iraq weapons

WASHINGTON (AFP) Feb 06, 2004

The failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq raises troubling questions about the quality of US intelligence despite CIA chief George Tenet's refusal to let the spy agency be scapegoated, experts said Friday.

Experts said the lack of deadly weapons found in Iraq so far also raised questions about how the White House used pre-war intelligence to support the US-led invasion of Iraq.

CIA head Tenet struck a delicate balance here Thursday, refusing to take the heat as scapegoat amid doubts over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq while also moving to try to protect President George W. Bush. [...]

Janet Jackson's Breast Exposure Triggers Suit

Comment: It seems it is all too easy for the Bush Reich to distract voters...

The Prince Of Darkness

By Ian Gurney

"The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to
change the course of history."
--Israeli Journalist Ari Shavit

[...] Perle, whom some refer to as "The Prince of Darkness", is considered to be the "intellectual guru" of the hardline right wing neo-conservative hawks in the Bush administration. He has the "ear" of the President and is an advocate of America using its military superiority to "democratise" those countries around the world who don't hold to American interests and principles.

However, examining just what Perle's interests and principles are and what he has done and said over the years is extremely revealing, as it appears there are a great many conflicts of interest and even possible treachery in Mr. Perle's past.

Let's start with Perle's work with the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). Here is an organisation that, as far back as 1997, was advocating the ousting of Saddam Hussein, the take over of Iraqi oil, and the eventual American take-over of oil in Iran and Saudi Arabia. They called for the defeat of Syria and North Korea and eventual American world domination by military power.

In other words, Perle, along with the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Dov Zakheim, Douglas Feith, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, Dick Cheney and other founding members of the PNAC now ensconced in the White House, was calling on America to start a "total, continual war" on those it considered were acting against America's interests. As George W Bush said: "You're either with us or against us".

John Pilger, the emininent British journalist, wrote the following about Richard Perle: "I interviewed Perle when he was advising Reagan; and when he spoke about "total war", I mistakenly dismissed him as mad. He recently used the term again in describing America's "war on terror" saying: "This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq... this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war... our children will sing great songs about us years from now."

Decide for yourself; completely, barking mad; frighteningly dangerous; or both.

During his career Perle has, somewhat disengenuously, laid claim to the moral high ground, telling anyone who would listen that he was speaking and acting on behalf of America's best interests. Yet a quick investigation of Perle's past shows that he has other interests at heart, some of which appear to be more important than those close to home. Indeed, Perle seems to be somewhat ambiguous with regards to just exactly "where" he considers home to be.

Perle has an M.A. in political science from Princeton University and a B.A. in international relations from the University of Southern California. During the Carter administration Perle was part of the "Committee on the Present Danger", which believed that the US was about to be overrun by the Soviet Union. The committee advocated huge military budgets and was totally opposed to any and all arms treaties with the Soviets.

He was a member of the U.S. Senate staff between 1969 and 1980 and during this time Perle was expelled from Senator Henry (Soop) Jackson's office after the National Security Agency caught him passing highly- classified National Security information to the Israeli Embassy. He was granted a pardon for these un-American (treasonous?) activities by George H W Bush. He later worked for the Israeli weapons firm, Soltam. From 1981 until 1987 he was assistant secretary of defence for international security policy in the Reagan administration, where he once again opposed arms-control agreements with the Soviet Union.

He has been one of US deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz's best friends since 1969, as well as the mentor of Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defence whose Office of Special Plans oversaw preparations for the Iraq invasion and the postwar occupation. A longtime ally of both Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, Perle was described by the Washington Post last year as enjoying "profound influence over Bush policies".

Since 1987 Perle has served as Resident Fellow of the pro Israeli American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. He returned to the US administration under Bush Jr. in 2001 as chairman of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board, a post he was forced to resign over his links to the bankrupt telecoms company Global Crossing. Though he resigned as chairman of the Defence Policy Board, he still attends their meetings.

Now comes an interesting connection between Canadian born British peer Lord Conrad Black, Hollinger International and this so called "Prince of Darkness". Perle is co-chairman of the investment bank Morgan Crucible. He is also chairman and chief executive officer of Hollinger Digital Inc. and a director of the Jerusalem Post. Both these companies are currently owned by the embattled Lord Black, whose Hollinger Corporation, which owns the Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun Times and the UK's Daily and Sunday Telegraph is currently under investigation regarding alleged bribery, money-laundering, misuse of corporate assets and unauthorised payments to Lord Black and former directors of Hollinger International. The companies regulatory filing to the Security Exchange Commission also disclosed that Hollinger made a $2.5m investment in Trireme Associates LLC, a venture-capital firm founded by Richard Perle which had Perle's good friend Henry Kissinger as a director. The company is the general partner of Trireme Partners LP, a venture-capital fund co-managed by Mr. Perle and Gerald P. Hillman, who also served on the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board.

In December of last year, it was revealed that Perle lobbied on behalf of Boeing for an $18 billion government contract to provide air tankers to the Pentagon. In exchange, Boeing made a $20 million "investment" in Trireme Partners. Mr. Perle holds a 5% stake in Trireme and Lord Black is a member of Trireme's strategic advisory board. Mr. Kissinger served on the advisory board until this year, when he resigned because he had reached the firm's mandatory retirement age, according to Mr. Hillman. Hollinger's internal investigators are also looking at an investment by Hollinger's digital unit in a company that includes Mr. Perle as a shareholder. According to people familiar with the matter, Hollinger Digital invested $14 million in a U.K. based technology firm called Cambridge Display Technology (C.D.T.). Mr. Perle was a co-chairman of Hollinger Digital and was paid a salary by the company to help find investments. The investment, confirmed by C.D.T. Press Officer Terry Nicklan, was part of a syndicate led by Kelso Co. and Gerald P Hillman's company Hillman Capital that acquired control of C.D.T. for about $130 million. Mr. Hillman confirmed that Mr. Perle also bought a stake in Cambridge Display Technology.

Mr. Perle also served as a director of GeoBiotics, Inc. from 1996 to 2000 and currently serves as a director of E.Certify and NAPRO Biotherapeutics, Inc. He is also a director of the British software company Autonomy, Inc. Autonomy supplies the US Department of Defence, the Department of Homeland Security, and Britain's GCHQ and MI6 with tools that enable the "bugging" of computer communications. When the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh documented Perle's business dealings in the Middle East on behalf of the venture capital firm Trireme, Perle threatened to sue the journalist, saying that he was the "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist."

[...] Perle originally came to government from the the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). There are those who claim he has Israeli citizenship and is an agent of Mossad, the feared Israeli secret service, whose motto is "By way of deception, thou shalt do war". [...]

...[I]n a demand that rivals Bush's assertion that the French have no word for "entrepreneur" the book calls for tough action against France. "We should force European governments to choose between Paris and Washington," it states. So, here we have a man who is advocating "total and continual" war against anyone who dares to speak out against the interests of the United States of America and its "friends". They believe China will cave in to American threats against North Korea and turn against their long term friend Kim Jong-il. Perle honestly believes that America, already militarily lacking, can overthrow the regimes in Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia and bring "American democracy" to these countries by military force without so much as a whisper from other Islamic countries. And in a final act of revenge and hubris, Perle threatens France, and by extension all of Europe, with making a choice between Washington or Paris. If Europe decides on Paris, what's Perle's advice? Nuke Marseilles?

Given that Perle, who said Americans would be welcomed as "liberators" in Iraq, has got things so badly wrong about that country, does anyone believe that he's got it right about Iran, Korea, Saudi Arabia and Syria? Perhaps people are now seeing that Perle is not quite the "intellectual" some portray him to be, just another mad warmonger who wants to "bring on" Armageddon. He argues for America to sacrifice its young people on the altar of US imperialism for the benefit of a small group of ruthless, greedy, megalomaniacs who have continually lied to the American public and do not have the best interests of the United States as their prime objective. [...]

John Pilger said he "mistakenly" thought Richard Perle was mad. I agree. What Richard Perle is transcends madness. This man wishes to extinguish perhaps four billion people in a never ending total war against those who disagree with American policies. The world should beware Richard Perle and his friends. They are the devils in the White House

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt
business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of today."
-- Theodore Roosevelt 1906.

The NYT Whitewashes the Obituary for Thomas Moorer, Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

History News Network

On Friday February 6, 2004 the NYT announced the death of Thomas Moorer:

Adm. Thomas Hinman Moorer, a World War II hero who was appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President Richard M. Nixon, died on Thursday, the Department of Defense said. He was 91.

A 41-year veteran of the Navy, Admiral Moorer was appointed as the military's senior uniformed officer in 1970, and served in that post until he retired in 1974. Before that appointment he served as chief of naval operations for three years.

The paper devoted two columns to the obituary, noting that Moorer had been stationed at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked and later escaped when his plane was shot down. The Times also noted that in 1998 he had been accused by CNN of authorizing the use of nerve gas in Laos, a charge that was later disavowed.

Two events in Moorer's life received no mention: his role in what has been called the most serious case of military spying in American history and his dissent in the case involving the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty . [...]

Moorer's Statement About the USS Liberty Affair

In 1967 Israel attacked the USS Liberty at the time of the Six Day War. Israel claimed that the ship been mistaken for an Egyptian vessel. The U.S. investigated and concluded the attack had been a mistake.

Admiral Moorer always insisted that Israel intentionally torpedoed the ship:

It's ridiculous to say this was an accident. There was good weather, she was flying the U.S. flag and the planes and torpedo boats attacked over a long period of time. I think Congress should investigate the incident, even now.

Moorer's statement has repeatedly been cited in accounts of the controversy.

Canadians to Bush: Hope You Lose, Eh

By Jonathon Gatehouse
Feb 6, 2004, 10:24

According to a new poll, only 15 per cent of us would vote for the President

February 9, 2004-Maybe it's that smug little smile. His penchant for fantastically expensive military photo-ops. Or the swaggering, belt-hitching walk that cries out for a pair of swinging saloon doors. And though, God knows, we have too many of our own syntactically challenged politicians to be casting stones, shouldn't the leader of the free world know that "misunderestimate" isn't a word? [...]

300,000 women to get raises after Quebec pay equity ruling

Last Updated Fri, 06 Feb 2004 14:45:55

QUEBEC CITY - The Quebec government has decided not to challenge a court ruling that struck down limits on its pay equity law, clearing the way for up to 300,000 women working in the province's public sector to receive a second round of raises.

U.S. sells advanced missiles to Egypt

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The United States government has decided to sell advanced air-to-air missiles to Egypt.

The Defense Department awarded Raytheon Systems a $54 million contract to ship hundreds of AIM-9M-2 missiles to Egypt, the Middle East Newsline reported Friday.

Raytheon will supply missiles to both Egypt and Taiwan. Egypt will obtain 414 AIM-9M-2 missiles and Taiwan will receive 182 missiles

The AIM-9M-2 is called one of the most advanced short-range missiles available to U.S. allies. The missile can be fired from most U.S.-origin airborne platforms, including Egypt's F-16 multi-role fighters.

The US Media and the Wall

The Electronic Intifada
4 February 2004

Why do Americans understand so little about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the damage created by Israel's colossal West Bank Wall?

There are many reasons for the media blackout and failures, but the most important is probably fear that criticism of Israel, even reporting the truth about what Israel is doing, is quickly labeled anti-Semitic.

The self-imposed US media blackout on the Wall's construction finally began to lift last August when President Bush mentioned the problems created by Israel's Wall "snaking its way through the West Bank."

Last December, a year and half after bulldozers began cutting the Wall's path through Palestinian villages, Thomas Friedman hosted a Discovery Channel program in association with The New York Times, and Bob Simon anchored a CBS 60 Minutes segment introducing the controversy surrounding one of the world's largest construction projects.

The Friedman/Discovery program was muddled, but Simon's shorter yet stronger 60 Minutes segment presented a clear picture of the devastation resulting from the Wall's construction. All of the US media's failures in reporting on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict are played out to varying degrees within these two television productions.

Both programs cover the difficulty that the Wall causes for the many Palestinians who have been cut off from their land and livelihoods. However, neither program mentions the possibility that Israeli military occupation and expulsion of Palestinians from their land might actually be the root causes of the conflict. On the contrary, one could leave both programs with the impression that Palestinian suicide bombings, which first occurred in 1994, are the cause of a conflict which began in the late 1800s. There is no mention that over 360 Palestinians were killed before the first suicide bombing of this uprising. [...]

Child killed in Gaza missile attack

Saturday 07 February 2004, 14:05 Makka Time, 11:05 GMT

An 11-year old boy has been killed and at least 10 people injured in a missile attack by Israeli helicopter gunships on a vehicle in the Gaza Strip.

Khatami qualifies poll promise

Saturday 07 February 2004, 12:23 Makka Time, 9:23 GMT

Iranian President Muhammad Khatami says his government will hold elections on 20 February - but warns they will not be fair owing to the disqualification of thousands of reformists.

In a joint letter to Iran's supreme leader Ayat Allah Ali Khamenei, Khatami and Parliament Speaker Mahdi Karubi warned that under these circumstances, there would be little motivation for people to vote.

Kenya opens Africa's first counter-terrorism centre

[...]The United States, Kenya's biggest partner in the war against terror, has welcomed Kenya's initiative. The spokesman at the US Embassy in Nairobi, Peter Claussen, says helping to ensure the success of the counter-terrorism centre will be a priority for the embassy.

"The president has promised aid for east Africa counter-terrorism assistance and the embassy is committed to making that promise good," said Claussen. "The counter-terrorism centre will give us a good place to start."

Fears over US Hawala crackdown

[...]The secret, ancient and complex trade in goods and money is widespread in the Middle East and Asia.

The US has been seeking to regulate hawala traders, fearing it could be used by terrorist groups to move money around the world.

Nigeria: Five Charged With Swindling $242 million From Brazilian Bank

[...]Prosecutors described the case, which opened at the high court in Abuja on Thursday, as as the world's "single biggest advance fee fraud" scam.

Zimbabwe upholds law requiring licensing of newpapers

[...]President Robert Mugabe introduced a batch of new press laws, called the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, shortly after he was re-elected in March of 2002.

The law says that any journalist who works without a license from the state-appointed Media and Information Commission can be prosecuted, and may face up to two years in prison if found guilty.

Dozens of journalists have been prosecuted under the Act, which has also been used to prevent publication of Zimbabwe's only major independent daily newspaper, The Daily News.

Zim's Daily News fails to publish

Zimbabwe's independent newspaper the Daily News did not publish on Friday, a day after the Supreme Court ruled it was a criminal offence for journalists to operate without accreditation from a government-appointed body.

The anti-government paper was conspicuously missing from the newsstands with expectant vendors wondering why it had not been delivered to them yet.

Zim left out of US Fund

ZIMBABWE has been left out of a lucrative United States fund that would see about 63 countries worldwide share billions of dollars in US aid to developing nations committed to democratic principles.

US Secretary of State Collin Powell announced the list of 63 beneficiary nations in Washington on Tuesday after a meeting of the board of directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a body formed last year to administer the fund.

Report Questions Bush Plan for Hydrogen-Fueled Cars

The New York Times
February 6, 2004

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 — President Bush's plan for cars running on clean, efficient hydrogen fuel cells is decades away from commercial reality, according to a report by the National Academy of Sciences. [...]

Second Big Quake in Two Days Strikes Indonesia

By Tomi Soetjipto
February 7, 2004

NABIRE, Indonesia (Reuters) - An earthquake measuring up to 7.1 on the Richter scale struck eastern Indonesia Saturday, a day after one of similar magnitude killed 27 people and injured hundreds.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the latest quake's epicenter was near the town of Nabire, in remote Papua province, according to survey spokesman Butch Kinerney. It was of greater magnitude than the 6.9 earthquake that struck nearby early on Friday, causing widespread damage. [...]

Moderate Earthquake Shakes Taiwan

Fire-ravaged Portugal to spend 200 million euros on reforestation

Weather Knocks Out Power in Appalachians

By The Associated Press
Sat Feb 7,12:13 AM ET

Ice grounded dozens of flights in the East on Friday and put tens of thousands of people in the dark in West Virginia during a sloppy storm that made Colin Powell late to the United Nations. [...]

Noxious undersea eruptions killing billions of fish

New Scientist

Undersea eruptions of noxious hydrogen sulphide are having a major impact on one of the world's richest fisheries. Satellite images show that toxic eruptions off the coast of Namibia are more frequent and widespread than anyone realised.

The world's most productive fisheries are found in upwelling regions of ocean, where wind-driven currents fertilise surface waters with nutrients from the deep. The Benguela upwelling along Namibia's coast has the strongest such currents in the world. The area supports a fishery that was worth around $400 million in 1998, providing Namibia with its second largest source of revenue after mining. [...]

The researchers found that there were nine major hydrogen sulphide eruptions in 2001. The largest one smothered 22,000 square kilometres of ocean. "These events are not new - they are known from the turn of the last century," says Weeks, "but they were always understood to be very small, localised effects." [...]

The team hopes that monitoring gas eruptions and understanding what triggers them will help authorities take sulphide events into account when setting annual catch quotas.So far, the eruptions appear to be unique to the Benguela upwelling, but Weeks is worried that climate change might make similar regions elsewhere susceptible.

Comment: Don't miss yesterday's research on the Signs page regarding ocean outgassing that ties in a lot of interesting, and often deadly, phenomena that has occurred recently and in the past.

The report of 10,000 birds mysteriously dropping dead from the sky in Beijing encouraged us to post some of our research into this phenomena that deserves for further investigation. We uncovered a few other historical and rather spectacular incidents regarding mysterious bird falls to add to the more recent ones from yesterday. We will present some of them a little further below.

So far, no new information from Beijing, except to mention there is an ongoing investigation and that the Chinese government may have a few concerns about superstition.

The above New Scientist article presents this theory for the poisonous gases which has caused the death of billions of fish:

Microscopic algae called diatoms grow where upwelling is most intense. These are grazed by plankton, but any that are not eaten sink when they die, forming beds of sediment on the seafloor.

Bacteria in the sediments break down the diatoms and produce hydrogen sulphide in the process. The sulphide builds up in gas pockets that eventually erupt into the ocean, poisoning marine life and stripping oxygen from the water.

But the below article, also carried by New Scientist, appears to contradict this theory:

Lake methane could power entire nation

09:45 03 March 03

A giant pipe tapping gas from a huge lake could provide electric power for much of Rwanda, help revive its devastated forests and quell the danger of a bizarre natural disaster.

The deep waters of Lake Kivu, on Rwanda's north-western border, are brimming with vast quantities of three dissolved gases: carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and methane. The carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide come mainly from volcanic activity, while the methane comes from lake bed bacteria. Engineers are now planning to suck out the methane and burn it to produce electricity.

The gas reserve should be enough to supply the country's electricity needs for 400 years. Using it will mean far less logging since Rwanda currently gets 90 per cent of its energy from wood burning. And tapping the gas will reduce the risk of a massive gas explosion killing people who live near the lake.

There is a precedent. In 1986, Lake Nyos in Cameroon released a vast cloud of carbon dioxide that had slowly been building up in the water - suffocating more than a thousand people. For safety, an elaborate system of pipework is draining away the lake's carbon dioxide output. [...]

Notice that one of the mass bird deaths described below occurs over a sea side city, and that Baton Rogue is not too far away form the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Maurepas and the Mississippi River:

Disasters for the Birds

In mid-October of the year 1846, some sections of France were subjected to the phenomenon of red rain, mixed with birds, dead or half-dead. Comptes Rendus, Volumes 23 and 24 contains the details of this unique celestial broth. Just what the red coloring consisted of is not clear from the deliberations of the scientists who were forced to deal with this event. There was no such problem regarding the birds which came tumbling down with the thick red rain, however. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of battered and bedraggled quail, larks, robins, ducks and water hens came tumbling down. Most of them were presumed to have been dead when they struck; a few were able to effect glancing approaches which prolonged their lives for a few hours. It was, as the scientists of Lyons and Grenoble concluded after surveying the evidence, a most unusual occurrence.

Nor was it without parallel. In July of 1896 the sky over Baton Rouge, Louisiana, divested itself of a sizable collection of defunct birds. On a clear day the startled citizens of Baton Rouge were pelted with dead woodpeckers, catbirds, thrushes, blackbirds, and a few wild ducks; and interested parties noted among the hundreds of specimens numerous birds that were unknown to them and some that were quite rare, which appeared to be canaries.

Against this background, let us now consider the experience which befell a city policeman in Capitola, California, on warm night in August of 1960.

Something flashed in the headlights of the car. Whatever it was, it fell into the street about a hundred feet ahead of him, and bounced a few inches. [A] second object - a third - a fourth came tumbling down. Then the officer saw that the things were birds - dead birds, and sizable ones at that. He started to get out of his car to investigate this remarkable deluge - and then changed his mind.

Said Officer Cunningham: "by the time I had stopped the car they were raining down all around me. they were big birds and they were falling so fast and hard they would have knocked me senseless. I thought I had better stay in the car and that's just what I did!"

[...] Next morning the citizens of the affected communities were treated to the strange spectacle of power lines festooned with birds. Others were impaled on television antennas, fence posts, and jammed into shrubbery by the force of their falls. The birds were identified as Sooty Shearings, a kind of petrel that achieves a wing spread of more than thirty inches and a body length of as mush as a foot and a half. They roam the Pacific, making the swing from their nesting grounds in the Australian area around the coastlines of Japan, the Aleutians , and down the west coast of the Americas.

Authorities estimated that about four thousand of the big birds were killed outright around Capitolan and another two thousand survived the plunge but could not get off the ground. When kindhearted citizens lugged the ailing birds back to the sea, however, the gulls generally managed to recover sufficiently to fly away.[...] [Strange World, Frank Edwards, New York, 1964, pp. 61-63]

Bird flu discovered at U.S. farm that ships chickens to New York City

06:51 AM EST Feb 07

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware state officials ordered the destruction of some 12,000 chickens Friday on a farm that ships the birds to New York City after confirming the flock has been infected by avian influenza.

[...] Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael] Scuse said the strain of avian influenza is different from the one that has spread to the human population in Asia and there is no threat to human health.

Nevertheless, the strain, known as H7, is one of the most virulent types of the virus and has the potential to cause severe economic damage if it spreads to the commercial broiler industry, a linchpin of the region's agricultural economy.

Doctors remove baby's second head

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - An international team of doctors in the Dominican Republic on Friday successfully removed an undeveloped second head from a baby girl born with one of the world's rarest birth defects.

Medieval ruins found off Atami?

The Asahi Shimbun These steps, archaeologists believe, may be signs of a city from the Kamakura Period. ATAMI, Shizuoka Prefecture-Archaeologists say they may have found ruins of a submerged city from the Kamakura Period (1192-1333) off the coast of Shizuoka Prefecture.

They say numerous stone structures at depths of 20 to 50 meters unlikely occurred naturally and appear to have been made deliberately. Archaeologists pinpointed about 20 sites of interest covering a 1-square-kilometer area.

While no one is certain, historical evidence points to an ancient city having existed in this part of Sagami Bay. [...]

U.S. soccer team hears Osama chants in Mexico

Associated Press
Feb. 6, 2004 12:30 PM

ZAPOPAN, Mexico - The Mexican crowd hooted "The Star-Spangled Banner." It booed U.S. goals. It chanted "Osama! Osama! Osama!" as U.S. players left the field with a 2-0 victory.

And that was in a game against Canada on Thursday before just 1,500 people. [...]

Preteens rape girl in elementary school bathroom

A 10-year-old girl was raped Wednesday by two preteen boys in a bathroom at Royal Palm Elementary in Lauderhill, Florida. [...]

Pueblo police sued over Taser death

By The Associated Press

PUEBLO, Colo. — The parents of a man who died in a scuffle with police have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Pueblo Police Department, saying the victim was hog-tied and hit with a stun gun. [...]

George W. Bush: Fortunate Son a/k/a AWOL Cokehead?

Put a Bushi on your baby's bum

Beijing - A Beijing businessman has filed an application to trademark the Chinese name of American President George Bush to help market his disposable nappies, state media said on Friday.

[...]"I hit upon the idea by chance," said Guo. "Back in my hometown in Henan province, the pronunciation of 'Bushi' sounds exactly like 'I'm wet'."

Government officials are not amused.

'Mouse-tronauts' to pave way for men on Mars

The Telegraph

Space scientists are planning one small step for mice that could mark a giant leap for mankind's ambition to create colonies on Mars.

In the wake of plans by President George W Bush to put a man on Mars, and a rival European effort, a £13 million project to launch 15 "mouse-tronauts" has been announced that will provide a stepping stone for the ambitious manned missions. [...]

On this day in 1912

Roy Cleveland Sullivan was born. Better known as the Human Lightning Rod because he was struck by lightning seven times in the course of his thirty-six-year career.

The first strike, in 1942, caused the loss of a big toenail. Twenty-seven years later a second bolt burned his eyebrows off. The following year, in 1970, a third bolt seared his left shoulder.

After Sullivan's hair was set afire by a forth strike in 1972, he began hauling a bucket of water around with him in his car. He was driving on August 7, 1973, as a bolt came out of a small, low-lying cloud, hit him on the head through the hat, set his hair on fire again, knocked him ten feet out of his car, went through both legs and knocked his shoe off. Sullivan poured the bucket of water over his head to cool off.

Sullivan was struck for the sixth time on June 5, 1976, hurting his ankle. The seventh blow from above hit Sullivan on June 25, 1977, while he was fishing. He required hospitalization for stomach and chest burns on that occasion.

Though he was never able to explain his peculiar attraction for lightning, Sullivan once said that he could actually see the bolts as they headed for him.

At 3 A.M. on the morning of September 28, 1983, Sullivan, aged seventy-one, took his own life with a bullet. Two of his Ranger hats, burned through the crown by lightning blasts, now reside in Guinness World Exhibit Halls in New York City and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, proof that lightning DOES strike the same place twice. [ COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT.... ]

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