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Friday, February 13, 2004

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New! Signs Supplement: Fortean Fire

Picture of the Day

©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte


Thessaloniki, 13 February 2004 - A blizzard has struck most of the country, while Attica is in a state of emergency, as the snow has made movement in the streets very difficult. Anti-skid chains are required even at Syntagma Square. Schools and courthouses are closed. The “El. Venizelos” and 7 other airports have closed throughout Greece. The General Secretariat of Civic Protection has recommended emergency measures be taken due to the dangerous weather phenomena.


Comment: A reader from Athens sent us this photo and commented, "The temperature in Athens is -5C. This is the first time in 60 years this happens. [This picture is taken] only 500 meters from the sea."

It just so happens that Athens is at the same latitude as Messina, Sicily where so much high strangeness has taken place recently. Our Signs Supplement on this strange event has been updated several times in the last two days.

Also, Sicily and Athens are on the same latitude where the meteorites fell in Spain just last month! El Mundo reported that it was estimated that the meteorite was the "size of a house" and up to 100 tons. It was reported across the full width of Spain with hundreds of witnesses seeing fireballs with "silver trails" streaking across the sky. Many also heard loud explosions that rattled windows and doors and felt the ground shake.

Now read this passage we just discovered from Charles Fort's book LO!:

EMISSIONS of arms -- the bubbling of faces, at crevices -- fire and smoke and a lava of naked beings. Out of a crater, discharges of bare bodies boiled into fantastic formations --

Or -- five o'clock, morning of Dec. 28, 1908 -- violent shocks in Sicily. The city of Messina fell in a heap, which caught fire. It is the custom of Sicilians to sleep without nightclothes, and from this crater of blazing wreckage came an eruption of naked beings. Thick clouds of them scudded into thin vapours.

The earth quaked at Messina, and torrential rain fell. According to Nature, Dec. 31, 1908, a fall of meteorites had been reported in Spain, a few days before the quake. According to the wisemen of our more or less savage tribes, the deluge at Messina, at the time of this quake, fell only by coincidence. No [313/314] wisemen would mention the fall of meteorites, as having any relation.

There were, at the time, world-wide disturbances, or rather, disturbances, along a zone of this earth -- Asia Minor, Greece, Sicily, Spain, Canary Islands, Mexico. But all wisemen who wrote upon this subject clipped off everything else, and wrote that there had been a subsidence of land in Sicily. It is the same old local explanation. Scientists and priests are unlike in some respects, but they are about equally parochial. [...]

1908 also happens to be the year of the Tunguska blast.

Is there some sort of 96 year cycle of upheaval?

Also in 1908, Fort reports these strange items in LO!:

[...] Shining things, flying like birds, in the fields of North Norfolk continued to be reported. The brilliant things looked electric. When they rested on trees, everything around them was illuminated. Purdy's descriptions are very different from "a pale, yellow glow." Upon the night of December 1st, he saw something that he thought was the lamp of a motor cycle, moving rapidly, in a field, stopping, then rising several yards, moving higher, and then retreating. It moved in various directions. See the Field, Jan. 11, 1908. [...]

Something else was reported, in this region. In the Eastern Daily Press, Jan. 28, 1908, it is said that, at night -- moon bright -- "a dark, globular object, with a structure of some kind upon the side of it, travelling at a great pace," had been seen in the sky, by employees of the Norwich Transportation Company, at Mousehead. (10) "It seemed too large for a kite, and, besides, its movements seemed under control, for it was travelling against the wind." [...]

Or maybe it is a 9.6 year cycle:

Another computer study of twelve hundred anomalies and unusual occurrences, sifted from the works of Charles Fort, was recently carried out by C.L. Mallows of the Bell Telephone Laboratories. Here it was found that a broader cycle of 9.6 years was seemingly involved. "The conclusion is inescapable that these cycles of activity, which pass through our world like radio waves of enormous length, must have a common cause," Damon Knight explained in his book, Charles Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained. "The cause of the cycles, the controlling force that keeps them in synchrony, must lie outside the earth."

The Bell study includes such diversified phenomena as sky falls (odd objects dropping out of the sky, unusual storms, rains of frogs, etc.) things observed in space, and things seen in the sky. All of these phenomena tended to cluster - to occur simultaneously in specific months and specific years. The waves or cycles of these events were repeated approximately every 9.6 years. The study dealt largely with data from the nineteenth century. [Our Haunted Planet, John A. Keel, Minnesota, 1999, p. 83]

Regular readers of the Signs page know that we have experienced a large surge of reports of all kinds of phenomena. Another interesting phenomena that follows cycles is the Chandler Wobble, which is the movement of the earth's axis:

Scientists have been particularly intrigued by the Chandler wobble since its cause has remained a mystery, even though it has been under observation for over a century. Its period is only around 433 days, or just 1.2 years, meaning that it takes that amount of time to complete one wobble. The amplitude of the wobble amounts to about 20 feet at the North Pole. It has been calculated that the Chandler wobble would be damped down, or reduced to zero, in just 68 years, unless some force were constantly acting to reinvigorate it. But what is that force, or excitation mechanism? Over the years, various hypotheses have been put forward, such as atmospheric phenomena, continental water storage (changes in snow cover, river runoff, lake levels, or reservoir capacities), interaction at the boundary of Earth’s core and its surrounding mantle, and earthquakes.

Researcher Michael Mandeville has charted and analyzed the Chandler Wobble and suggests that it is progressively shifting the location of the poles at an accelerating rate. His conclusion is that something is “driving” this change — possibly some interaction between the earth and the Sun and/or Moon. Whatever is driving it, it seems that the result is a heating up of the interior of the earth resulting in increased El Nino activity, and accelerating earthquake activity.

The above quotes are from Laura Knight-Jadczyk's book Ancient Science, a vital book in helping to understand these cycles that affect every one of us.

Blizzards Lash Turkey, 20 Missing as Ship Sinks

Fri February 13, 2004
By Daren Butler

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Blizzards cut off thousands of Turkish villages, blocked roads and kept air and sea routes closed on Friday, while rescue workers battled high seas in the search for 20 men lost when their ship sank off Istanbul.

Neighboring Greece and Bulgaria were also battered by storms that disrupted air, sea and road transport.

Athens ground to a halt amid one of its worst snow storms in decades. Planes were grounded, ports and highways closed and thousands were stranded at bus stops and train stations as up to 50 Cm of snow blanketed the capital.

Guards turned away tourists at the Acropolis, symbol of the city, saying it was too dangerous to climb the slippery marble stairway to the temple site.

Strong winds forced Bulgaria to close down its largest and second largest Black Sea ports of Varna and Bourgas, port authorities said. Bourgas airport was also closed.

In the western Turkish city of Bursa, where 17 inches of snow fell, five people died after breathing fumes from faulty stoves as they tried to keep warm.

Since blizzards began on Thursday, two ships have sunk and two have grounded in storms near Istanbul, Turkey's sprawling commercial center. Flights at the city's airport were suspended.

Maritime officials said rescue workers were searching for 20 people missing after their Cambodian-flagged ship "Hera," loaded with coal, sank in the Black Sea 7.5 miles from the Bosphorus strait around midday. [...]

Comment: Note that Turkey is a neighbour of Athens.

Abusing environment is damaging: Study

[...] This year, global losses from sudden floods, droughts, fall in agricultural productions, heavy rainfall or rise in heat levels is expected to cost close to $50 billion, according to a UN study. [...]

NASA Predicts More Tropical Rain in a Warmer World

As the tropical oceans continue to heat up, following a 20-year trend, warm rains in the tropics are likely to become more frequent, according to NASA scientists.

In a study by William Lau and Huey-Tzu Jenny Wu, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., the authors offer early proof of a long-held theory that patterns of evaporation and precipitation, known as the water cycle, may accelerate in some areas due to warming temperatures. The research appears in the current issue of Geophysical Research Letters. [...]

Comment: As the theory goes, the increased evaporation in the atmosphere leads to global cooling. But many scientists say this is not a balancing act. Certain models predict that the temperature goes from one extreme to the other rather quickly.

Nissan Uses Device to Stop Hail

By Bert Case

Nissan demonstrated its new device designed to protect its parking lot from a hailstorm for WLBT News on Tuesday. It is a cannon that sends sonic waves up to 50,000 feet in the air to keep hailstones from forming.

There are more than 400 such machines in operation in the world, and this is the ninth one installed in the United States. They are made in Canada and are used primarily to protect crops. It works by using its own radar to detect the conditions that are favorable for hail to form.

It automatically activates when its own weather radar system detects conditions favorable for the formation of hail. It fires every 5.5 seconds, making a sound we know can be heard at least five miles away from the Nissan plant near Canton. It then starts sending sound waves into the cloud every five-and-a-half seconds.

The sound at ground zero is about 120 decibels, or about the same as a tornado warning siren. Workers are installing fences around two of the machines in the 140-acre parking lot at Nissan and filling the fences with hay in an effort to reduce the sound level.

Comment: When this type of technology is so widely available, one wonders what other, more advanced, technologies might be being used beyond the gaze of the public.

Oceans in peril: 'We have to change course,' say scientists

[...] Next month, a report from a panel appointed by President Bush is expected to paint a stark picture of oceans in trouble, and will call for sweeping new oversight measures to reverse decades of ecological decline in marine waters. [...]

Extreme fire conditions put SA on alert

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) will send 50 firefighters to South Australia today ahead of a predicted weekend of very hot weather in the state.

Today is the anniversary of the fire-bombing of Dresden during WWII by allied bombers. 135,000 civilians died.

Americans Target Of Largest Media Brainwashing Campaign In History

[...] Dresden had no military value as a target. For centuries, it had been a center of German cultural heritage--a heritage that had everything to do with positive developments in human civilization, and nothing to do with the Nazi disease that had been imposed on Germany by the Anglo-American financial elite. Dresden was chosen for destruction as an act of TERRORISM, directed, not against the Nazis, per se, but the German people.
The firebombing of Dresden, creating a raging inferno of destruction that slaughtered more that 100,000 human beings, was conceived and directed by a group of social psychiatrists at the Strategic Bombing Survey, affiliated with the Special Operations Command of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). This group was effectively overseen by the head of the British Psychological Warfare Directorate, Brig. Gen. John Rawlings Rees, the director the Tavistock Clinic in London, which, since the 1920s, had served as a center of psychological warfare operations of the British Empire.
The team at the Strategic Bombing Survey, which included a host of U.S.-based Tavistock operatives, such as Kurt Lewin, Rensis Likert, and Margaret Mead, theorized that the terror inflicted on the German population through the "message of Dresden" would break their will to fight, leaving them fearful, frightened, and disorganized. They projected that it would have a lasting effect on Germany, removing that nation from among the great states of Europe, making it a permanently psychologically scarred entity. The German people, they argued, would be made to realize that "all that is German" could be wiped away, all of its culture and history, in an instant, as it were, by powers who would oppose an assertive future Germany.
In his 1941 book, "Time Perspective and Morale," Kurt Lewin described the psychology behind the use of this terror tactic for mass effect:
"One of the main techniques for breaking morale through a `strategy of terror' consists in exactly this tactic--keep the person hazy as to where he stands and what just he may expect. If, in addition, frequent vacillations between severe disciplinary measures and promises of good treatment, together with the spreading of contradictory news, make the cognitive structure of this situation utterly unclear, then the individual may cease to know when a particular plan would lead toward or away from his goal. Under these conditions, even those individuals who have definite goals and are ready to take risks will be paralyzed with severe inner conflicts in regard to what to do."
As the pilots and their crews came to realize what they had done--the creation of a raging inferno, burning civilian targets and civilians--many returned to their bases horrified. At the instruction of the psyops warriors, the crews had not been fully briefed on the mission. Now, they were greeted by teams of psychologists and others, who would profile their responses to the terror they had unleashed; they were told, as the crews who later dropped, unnecessarily, atomic bombs on two Japanese cities, that it would "shorten the war."
As one former intelligence officer remarked decades later, "we killed for pure terror, slaughtered people as A TERRORIST WOULD. And, it had no effect on shortening the war. In fact, it seemed to help rally the German people to the Hitler government. The fools who designed this mission probably extended the war". [...]

Iraqis blame US for bomb attacks on army recruits

By Jack Fairweather in Baghdad
The Telegraph

Distraught survivors of yesterday's bloodbath in Baghdad rushed to blame the Americans for the second suicide bombing in as many days, which brought the death toll to over 100.

"The Americans did this, the Americans killed my brother," screamed a man named Essam, who lost two brothers in the explosion.

Few Iraqis wanted to confront the reality that terrorists had struck another "soft" target, this time hundreds of young men queuing to join the army. Instead they turned their hatred on the US forces they accuse of bringing chaos to their country.

"The Americans are planting these bombs so it will never be safe enough for them to leave," cried Essam, cradling the body of one of his brothers in his arms. [...]

Comment: There are other countries who have an interest in upheaval in Iraq.

Sovereignty for Iraq may have to wait, Powell says

World Press photo of the year by Jean-Marc Bouju
France, The Associated Press.

"Iraqi man comforts his son at a regroupment center for POWs, Najaf, Iraq, 31 March"

UN: No voting in Iraq before handover

Friday 13 February 2004, 13:44 Makka Time, 10:44 GMT

A UN official has said that elections can not be held in Iraq before the occupation US-led authorities hand power to an Iraqi government at the end of June.

Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, also said Shia cleric Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani, who has been demanding early direct elections, appeared to accept that time was too short to organise proper polls before the handover.

Chirac criticizes Israel over West Bank security wall

www.chinaview.cn 2004-02-13 21:23:24

PARIS, Feb. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Israel is going against international law by building a security wall in the West Bank and risks provoking more anger among the Palestinians, French President Jacques Chirac said in an interview published Friday in Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.

Referring to the measures Israel is adopting to fight terrorism, Chirac said "no one can dictate decisions to Israel."

"But if Israel considers that a barrier would be technically efficient, the measure must be legally acceptable," he added.

Speaking ahead of the visit of Israeli President Moshe Katsav to Paris starting Monday, Chirac said "the ongoing action is not in conformity with international law" and reaffirmed that since last October the European Union has been urging a United Nations order on Israel to halt construction of the wall.

The barrier, part fence and part wall, is planned to cut deep into West Bank territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War. Israel says the wall is being built to defend the country from suicide bombers.

Palestinian farmer is shot dead

Friday, 13 February, 2004

Israeli troops have shot dead a Palestinian farmer as he drove to work, Palestinian witnesses have said.
Ahmad Nazal was travelling to his field in the West Bank village of Qabatia when he was killed by Israeli soldiers responding to gunfire, witnesses said.

An Israeli army spokesman told Reuters that soldiers shot the driver of a suspicious vehicle after he ignored warning shots and shouts to stop.

The death comes two days after 15 Palestinians were killed in Gaza raids. [...]


Wed, 11 Feb 2004

WASHINGTON [MENL] -- The Bush administration has avoided pressing Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or related accords.

A report by the Washington-based Arms Control Association asserted that the administration has done little more than mouth rhetoric for countries to sign the NPT and related agreements. The report said that neither President George Bush nor senior aides have pressed Israel to sign the NPT or the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would place a cap on the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for weapons. [...]

Can bags of pig fat deter suicide bombers?

Jerusalem - Israeli police have come up with plans to place bags of pig lard on buses in a bid to deter Palestinian militants from carrying out suicide attacks, the Maariv daily reported on Thursday. [...]

Comment: What a great way to remind Israelis that their lives are constantly in danger from crazed bombers, and that the ethnic cleansing schedule should continue.

Stewardess ID'd Hijackers Early, Transcripts Show

by Gail Sheehy
The New York Observer
February 13, 2004 | 12:07 PM

Hearing the taped voice of a courageous flight attendant as she calmly narrated the doomed course of American Airlines Flight 11 brought it all back. The frozen horror of that September morning two and a half years ago. The unanswered questions. Betty Ong narrated that first hijacking right up to the moment that Mohamed Atta drove the Boeing 767 into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

Twenty-three minutes into her blow-by-blow account, Ong’s voice abruptly ceased. "What’s going on, Betty?" asked her ground contact, Nydia Gonzalez. "Betty, talk to me. I think we might have lost her."

Emotional catharsis, yes. There was scarcely a dry eye in the Senate hearing room where 10 commissioners are probing the myriad failures of our nation’s defenses and response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But answers? Not many. The most shocking evidence remains hidden in plain sight.

The politically divided 9/11 commission was able to agree on a public airing of four and a half minutes from the Betty Ong tape, which the American public and most of the victims’ families heard for the first time on the evening news of Jan. 27. But commissioners were unaware of the crucial information given in an even more revealing phone call, made by another heroic flight attendant on the same plane, Madeline (Amy) Sweeney. They were unaware because their chief of staff, Philip Zelikow, chooses which evidence and witnesses to bring to their attention. Mr. Zelikow, as a former adviser to the pre-9/11 Bush administration, has a blatant conflict. [...]

Mr. Woodward ordered a colleague to punch up those seat locations on the computer. At least 20 minutes before the plane crashed, the airline had the names, addresses, phone numbers and credit cards of three of the five hijackers. They knew that 9G was Abdulaziz al-Omari, 10B was Satam al-Suqami, and 9D was Mohamed Atta—the ringleader of the 9/11 terrorists. [...]

At 8:46 a.m., Mr. Woodward lost contact with Amy Sweeney—the moment of metamorphosis, when her plane became a missile guided into the tower holding thousands of unsuspecting civilians. "So sometime between 8:30 and 8:46, American must have known that the hijacking was connected to Al Qaeda," said Mike Sweeney. That would be 16 to 32 minutes before the second plane perforated the south tower.

Would American Airlines officials monitoring the Sweeney and Woodward dialogue have known right away that Mohamed Atta was connected to Al Qaeda?

"The answer is probably yes," said 9/11 commission member Bob Kerrey, "but it seems to me that the weakness here, in running up to pre-9/11, is an unwillingness to believe that the United States of America could be attacked. Then you’re not putting defensive mechanisms in place. You’re not trying to screen out people with connections to Islamic extremist groups." [...]

Comment: If American Airlines officials knew so quickly what was happening on the doomed 9/11 flights, surely some element of the US government also knew more than they claim. Given Zelikow's filtering of 9/11 evidence, as well as his ties to the Bush administration, it appears that the failure to prevent or stop the events of September 11 directly involved Bush. If not, then Bush has been severely duped. In either case, it's more bad news for America.

9/11 Panel to Seek Testimony From Bush

February 13, 2004

MADISON, N.J. - The federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks will soon ask President Bush, former President Clinton and their vice presidents to testify in public about possible warnings they might have received from U.S. intelligence sources before the attacks.

"We need them to testify," former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean, the bipartisan commission's chairman, told The Record of Bergen County in a story published Thursday. He said the panel would issue formal invitations within the next few weeks, although he conceded that all four men would probably decline to be questioned at a public forum.

However, Kean said their cooperation was crucial to the commission's work, so he hoped they would at least consent to private interviews with the panel. [...]

Kean, who is now president of Drew University in Madison, said the commission also plans to seek public testimony from Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, CIA Director George Tenet, Attorney General John Ashcroft and their counterparts in the Clinton administration.

Comment: It is obvious that the 9/11 panel has no real authority if current administration officials can exempt themselves from public hearings.

Soldier Accused of Trying to Aid al-Qaida

Friday February 13, 2004 12:16 AM

FORT LEWIS, Wash. (AP) - A National Guardsman was arrested Thursday and charged by the Army with trying to provide information to the al-Qaida terrorist network, the military said.

Army Lt. Col. Stephen Barger confirmed that Spc. Ryan G. Anderson was charged with aiding the enemy by wrongfully attempting to communicate and give intelligence to al-Qaida. Anderson, 26, is being held at Fort Lewis, an Army base near Tacoma.

Barger declined to give any details on the arrest, including what information allegedly was given to al-Qaida or how it was provided. [...]

Anderson is a tank crew member from the National Guard's 81st Armor Brigade, a 4,000-member unit set to depart for Iraq for a one-year deployment. It is the biggest deployment for the Washington Army National Guard since World War II. [...]

Ex-officer: Bush file's details caused concern

By Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard

WASHINGTON — As Texas Gov. George W. Bush prepared to run for president in the late 1990s, top-ranking Texas National Guard officers and Bush advisers discussed ways to limit the release of potentially embarrassing details from Bush's military records, a former senior officer of the Texas Guard said Wednesday.

A second former Texas Guard official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, was told by a participant that commanders and Bush advisers were particularly worried about mentions in the records of arrests of Bush before he joined the National Guard in 1968, the second official said.

Bill Burkett, then a top adviser to the state Guard commander, said he overheard conversations in which superiors discussed "cleansing" the file of damaging information. [...]

Top U.S. Commander Escapes Attack in Iraq

Pentagon: 3 Months in Iraq Cost $14B

By JOHN J. LUMPKIN, Associated Press Writer
Thu Feb 12,12:24 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The ongoing war in Iraq cost about $4 billion in September, spiked to $7 billion in October and hit just under $3 billion in November, the Pentagon said Wednesday in its latest report on how much the military operation costs. [...]

The invasion was justified.

W.C. Allen
Information Clearing House

Saddam didn't have 30,000 warheads, but he could have had them.

He didn't have "500 tons of chemical weapons", but he could have had them.

He didn't have "25,000 liters of anthrax", but he could have had them.

He didn't have "38,000 liters of botulism toxin", but he could have had them.

He didn't have "1 million pounds of sarin mustard and VX gas and tons of yellowcake uranium", but he could have had them.

He didn't have any of these, but if he had these weapons, he would have used them to kill Americans. I know, because I called the Psychic Hotline and they told me. But, just to make sure they were right, I dusted off my old ouija board and sure enough, it confirmed everything, not only was Saddam a bad guy, but he would have, if he could have, destroyed the United States. Oh, and the magic eight ball said the same thing. That's good enough for me, the invasion was justified.

Now I'm going send my findings to the president so he can call every one of the 530 families who have lost loved ones, and every one of the thousands of U.S. soldiers who are without arms, legs, hands, fingers, feet and eyes, and then the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have suffered losses or mutilating wounds, and tell them of my findings, and I'm sure, no doubt, that based on my concrete, meticulously substantiated evidence, they'll be convinced. I know I am.

Iran accused of hiding atomic plans

www.chinaview.cn 2004-02-13 10:27:17

BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Iran hid designs for centrifuges capable of producing material for nuclear bombs from the U.N. atomic watchdog, diplomats said on Thursday.

U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said it was clear what Tehran was up to.

"There's no doubt in our mind that Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapons program," said Bolton, described by diplomats in Vienna as one of Washington's hardest hard-liners.

But Russia defied U.S. pressure to sever nuclear ties with the Islamic Republic as Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev said Moscow would sign a deal with Iran next month to ship nuclear fuel for Iran's Bushehr power plant.

US signals 'possible use of force' over Iran weapons

ABC Radio Australia News
13/02/2004 12:00:47

A senior American state department official says Iran is still trying to develop nuclear weapons, and the United States will consider all options to deal with the problem, including the possible use of force. [...]

"It's another act of Iranian deception, and not something that leads to any feeling of security that they're carrying through on their commitment to suspend enrichment activity."

Comment: Yes indeed, and you can bet your bottom dollar that this new intelligence on Iran is just as reliable as the data on Iraq's WMD's...

American evangelical groups block-book cinemas

By Marcus Warren in New York

More than 2,000 cinemas are expected to show The Passion of the Christ when it is released on Ash Wednesday.

America's powerful evangelical Christians believe its depiction of Christ's last hours on Earth is the best opportunity for spreading the word of God since the events the film portrays. Churches have block-booked whole venues for the opening day and encouraged members to bring a non-believer friend in need of "saving".

Some Christian groups have printed badges in Aramaic, one of the film's two languages, complete with "witnessing cards" for strangers who ask about them. The film has even been endorsed by the Pope, who is reported to have said "it is as it was" after seeing it.

Controversy over the film's alleged anti-Semitic content has only won it extra publicity. Daniel Southern, the head of the American Tract Society, called the film "one of the greatest opportunities for evangelism in 2,000 years".

A few months ago Mel Gibson, who sank £13 million of his own money into the project, had no distributor. The Passion looked as though it would end up an expensive, if glorious, disaster. Now it seems sure to be the first box-office smash of the year, with some cinemas opening at dawn on its first day to cope with the demand for tickets.

The first showing at the Cinemark Tinseltown in Plano, Texas, deep in the Bible Belt, starts at 6.30am and the 20-screen multiplex will feature nothing but The Passion all day.

Comment: The rapture might not be such a crazy idea after all. If there is even a hint of truth to the maxim "be careful what you wish for, you might just get it", then the fervent and desperate wishes of millions of Christians across the world to be "saved" are sure to produce something. Just what might come along to "save" them is anybody's guess.

Former Chechen leader killed in Qatar

By Lawrence Smallman
Friday 13 February 2004, 16:31 Makka Time, 13:31 GMT

Former Chechen President Salim Khan Yandarbiyev has died after a car bomb attack in Qatar.

The explosion in Doha on Friday also killed two of the bodyguards travelling with him.

Police in the Gulf State have not given any details except to confirm the death and identity of the former separatist leader.

Living in exile for the last three years, Yandarbiyev was the first nationalist from the breakaway republic to be added – at Russia's request - to a UN list of groups with suspected ties to Usama bin Ladin and his al-Qaida network.

U.S. Working Paper For G-8 Sherpas

Al-Hayat 2004/02/13

Al-Hayat obtained the text of the United States Working Paper For The Greater Middle East, which considers that the Middle East stands at a crossroads and comes to the decision that the alternative is the road to reform. It states the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative, and the multilateral reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate the G-8's commitment to reform in the region.

Washington is seeking to obtain full support from the G-8 for its initiative. It is preparing to launch it during the G-8 summit at Sea Island, Georgia (U.S.) this coming June. The American administration distributed this working paper to the G-8 countries, however, it has yet to inform Arab countries of its content.

From the report:

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative, and the multilateral reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate the G-8's commitment to reform in the region.

The demographic changes described above, the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq from oppressive regimes, and the emergence of democratic impulses across the region, together present the G-8 with a historic opportunity.

Comment: Bush has said: "When we talk about war, we mean peace." In this report, when they talk about "reform" and "liberation," they mean invasion, occupation, and the opening of local markets to US corporations. The report also says:

Democracy and freedom are essential to the flourishing of individual initiative, but are sorely lacking throughout the GME. In Freedom House's 2003 report, Israel was the only GME country rated "free," and just four others were defined as "partly free."

Freedom House has this to say about itself:

Non-partisan and broad-based, Freedom House is led by a Board of Trustees composed of leading Democrats, Republicans, and independents; business and labor leaders; former senior government officials; scholars; writers; and journalists. All are united in the view that American leadership in international affairs is essential to the cause of human rights and freedom.

Aznar can't justify support for Iraq war

Fri, Feb. 13, 2004

The leaders of France, Germany and Britain will gather in Berlin to hammer out the details of a ''rapid deployment battle group,'' the heart of a more-ambitious European military presence in the world. The ''big three'' have also agreed to join efforts in reinforcing the institutional framework of the European Union, badly divided as a result of disagreements over Iraq and the EU Constitution draft. Absent from this EU ''directorate'' will be Spain's Premier José María Aznar, the most vocal ally of the United States in recent months.

In contrast, last week Aznar came again (his 15th time in his eight years in power) to address a joint session of Congress. He was the 98th foreign leader to do so since Lafayette inaugurated this tradition. Aznar is also aiming to be awarded a congressional medal.

His merit lies in his uncompromising support of President Bush in the Iraq war, in stark contrast with some of the most important European partners, and in opposition to more than 80 percent of Spanish public opinion. The timing was problematic, while the controversy over the existence of the weapons of mass destruction is brewing.

At first, Aznar justified his unpopular decision on two grounds:

• He wanted to be part of the fight against international terrorism and show loyalty to the United States. Because he has suffered the scourge of Basque ETA criminal acts, joining the coalition of the willing under Bush made sense.

However, the supreme reason for going to war rested on the threat of WMD in the hands of rogue states. While Spain did not have its own intelligence to rely on, the word given by the U.S. government and the endorsement of British Prime Minister Tony Blair were enough guarantees.

• Spain's strategic policy was to play ''in the major leagues.'' In Aznar's view, before he came to power in 1996, Spain was a Third World country, politically situated in an international limbo, and for centuries under the wings of France -- Mon Dieu!

This attitude partially explains the door-slamming given by the Spanish premier as a closing to the failed conference to approve the EU Constitution, siding with Poland and stubbornly opposing French-German intentions. Aznar stated that he did not want Spain to be a weak and simpatico country, but just serious.

However, when doubts of the real reasons for the invasion of Iraq became evident and expectations for higher strategic glories seemed to be out of reach, Aznar resorted to a novel historical and ethnic-oriented sense of duty. He presented his alliance with Bush as being justified by the presence of 350 million Spanish-language speakers in the Americas, including 40 million in the United States.

He asked French President Jacques Chirac what he would do if he had such numbers of French speakers in the Americas. To this day, Chirac is stupefied, as are most Spaniards -- asking themselves what 40 million Hispanics have that the other 40 million Spaniards lack.

In any event, of 'the Azores' three tenors'' (Bush, Blair and Aznar), as the Spanish press calls them in reference to the pre-invasion summit, Aznar is in isolation. Blair is engaged in an open parliamentary investigation over the faulty data regarding the existence of missing weapons. Bush promises to search for the truth over the CIA reports (although delaying the results until after Election Day).

But Aznar remains silent in explaining to the Spanish Congress his backing of the U.S. action in Iraq. He will never have a chance, among other reasons because the Spanish Parliament has been dismissed until after the March 14 elections, in which Aznar is not running, fulfilling his promise of limiting his tenure to two terms.

Tongue-in-cheek, Aznar now claims that he never vouched for the existence of such weapons that justified the war and occupation. Leaving office, he is passing the buck to Mariano Rajoy, the Popular Party candidate and likely winner.

Rajoy knows that the future of his government and his country rests on a solid relationship with Spain's European partners, now forming an EU inner club. It is not on the other side of the Atlantic.

Comment: Recent events suggest that much has been going on behind the scenes in the contest for global domination. The US is clearly bent on nabbing as much power and control as possible, which would seem to include control of Europe. Why the power grab? Well, perhaps the US has been forewarned of something "big" coming down the pipe, be it natural or of their own making, and feel the need to be in a position to capitalise on it (no pun intended). We mere mortals, on the other hand, must be content to sit and wait to find out just what it is that has the power brokers in a fluster. Naturally, some European nations are not predisposed to the idea of the US being the sole arbiter of international affairs, most notably France and Germany. Initially the UK, Spain, Italy and Poland all fell in behind Bush on the "attack Iraq" issue, but allegiances can be fickle in international politics. With the UK planning to sign up to the Franco-German "Rapid Response Force", Spain back-tracking on it's Iraq stance and Poland apparently irked that their paycheque from Uncle Sam was a little on the thin side, "Old Europe" seems determined to ensure that it's younger members' allegiances stay close to home.

Aznar under fire to "urgently explain" Iraq

12 February 2004

MADRID - Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar was under fire Thursday to "urgently explain" the country's position over Iraq following an attack in which five soldiers were injured.

It emerged Thursday that the soldiers, who were not seriously injured, were only 500 metres from their base at Diwaniyah and not considered to be in any danger.

The attack took place late on Wednesday.

It is the latest attack on Spanish troops stationed in Iraq. So far nine soldiers have been killed. All the opposition parties have called on Aznar to "urgently explain" the situation.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, leader of the main opposition socialist PSOE party, said it was "more necessary than ever" for the prime minister to give the country an account of the Spanish involvement in the conflict.

Aznar has maintained his support for the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq throughout. [...]

Spain has approximately 1,300 troops deployed in Iraq as part of the Plus Ultra Brigade. The unit is headquartered in Diwaniyah and also contains contingents from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. [...]

End Game

The Bushists have only ever had two methods of masking the truth of their extremist ideology: sham and blood. Now that the sham is unraveling, their only choice is war.

By Chris Floyd

Well, that's it then. The show is over. The scales have fallen. The monstrous gears of the dark satanic mills that spewed their poison fog across the land have ground to a halt at last.

George W. Bush's performance in his nationally televised interview this week was so abysmal, so completely divorced from the waking reality of the rest of the world, that even his faithful spear-carriers in the far-right horde -- not mention the power-worshipping poltroons of the mainstream media -- reacted as if they'd been slapped upside the head with a particularly dank and smelly mackerel. They're shocked -- shocked! -- to find incompetence in this establishment!

As the delusion and dissembling tumbled from Bush's nervously pursed lips, his stalwarts at the National Review and the Wall Street Journal bemoaned his "bumbling," his strange "disconnection," and the "patently dishonest" answers he offered to questions about the larcenous boondoggle he calls a budget. The great gray goose of The New York Times -- which had notoriously stovepiped the lurid WMD fantasies of would-be Iraqi strongman Ahmed Chalabi and his Pentagon paymasters directly into the public discourse, fanning the fever for war -- reeled in disbelief at the president's "fuzziness and inconsistency" on Iraq and his frightening inability "to distinguish real threats from false alarms."

From hard right to soft center, the collective lament arose: "What's happened to our hero? Why is he suddenly shuffling, shifting, skulking, why is he telling such lies?" The answer of course is that nothing has happened to Bush; he has always shuffled, shifted, skulked and told lies, like some kind of nightmare reanimation of Richard Nixon's corpse. (Indeed, the main wormtongues at Bush's ear -- Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld -- learned their dark arts in the Nixon White House.) That the media poltroons themselves were guilty of "patently dishonest fuzziness and inconsistency" in eagerly swallowing -- nay, abetting -- the Stalinist manipulations of Bush's reekingly false public image is a truth not likely to be universally acknowledged any time soon by, er, the media.

The Lie Factory

Only weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration set up a secret Pentagon unit to create the case for invading Iraq. Here is the inside story of how they pushed disinformation and bogus intelligence and led the nation to war.

Enquiry made about U.S., U.K. espionage (Mexico)

Wire services
February 13, 2004

Mexico has sent a letter to Britain and the United States asking them to explain recent accusations that they spied on countries before the Iraq war.

In a statement sent out late Wednesday, the Foreign Relations Secretariat said it had expressed "concern about the alleged espionage case, which, if real, would affect the confidence that should exist between nations." The letter also asked both countries for an answer to the accusations. On Tuesday, Mexico's U.N. ambassador, Enrique Berruga, said Mexico had not confirmed that it was spied on, but it was seeking answers.

British and U.S. officials have declined to comment, saying they never discuss intelligence matters.

However, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, who served as Mexico's U.N. ambassador until he was forced out in November, told local media that Mexico was monitored.

"Yes, there was spying," he told a leading daily. "The United States has always used spying to anticipate the decisions of other countries and to try to rope them in." He added that he told Mexico's government of the potential security concerns, but they did nothing. [...]

On the Blacklist

McCarthyism neither began nor ended with Senator Joseph McCarthy, Ted Morgan argues in a sweeping review of official witch hunts, smears and behind-the-scenes wrangling in 20th-century American politics.

By Elliott Noyes

Some stories are so important that they deserve to be told again and again, not only because we learn something new from each telling but for the simple reason that we should never be allowed to forget what happened. The rise and fall of Joseph McCarthy -- alcoholic, bigot, homophobe, wrecker of hundreds of lives, U.S. senator -- is one of those stories. Even now it is difficult to read the record of his high crimes and misdemeanors while remaining in an entirely sane state of mind. McCarthy's greatest crimes occurred in the course of his hysterical crusade against communist subversion, but more telling in some respects are the story's parentheses, the occasions of McCarthy's arrival and exit from the center stage of American public life.[...]


Feb 12 2004

THE heads of MI5 and MI6 face questioning about claims Princess Diana was killed by a conspiracy, Britain's top policeman has confirmed.

Sir John Stevens, investigating claims that Diana's death was not an accident, said he'll interview security service chiefs if he feels it will help.

"If I feel it is necessary to question the heads of MI6 and MI5, then I will interview them," he said.

Sir John was asked by Royal Coroner Michael Burgess to look into claims that the Paris crash was not an accident.

Officers from his team have already visited the Alma underpass where Diana's Mercedes lost control in 1997.

Sir John added: "This will be a completely comprehensive investigation. We will be looking at all the conspiracy allegations. If it becomes necessary to interview members of the Royal family, they will be interviewed and I will do that personally."

He is expected to visit the underpass himself within weeks.

Bird flu outbreak hits Shanghai

Millions of birds have been killed in Asia following the outbreak.

Friday, February 13, 2004

BEIJING, China (Reuters) -- China has reported outbreaks of bird flu in the financial hub, Shanghai, and three other regions as the World Health Organization said it could not rule out the possibility of human infection in the country.

Fourteen of China's 31 provinces and major cities have confirmed outbreaks of the avian influenza that has killed 14 Vietnamese and five Thais and led to the culling of millions of poultry in eight Asian countries. [...]

Vaccine could be made quickly if Asian bird flu goes global: U.S. officials

07:14 AM EST Feb 13

WASHINGTON (CP) - Drug companies could quickly produce 270 million doses of a human vaccine for bird flu in the United States if it develops into a worldwide killer, U.S. health officials said Thursday.

Scientists have begun developing a vaccine to combat the outbreak of bird flu in Asia that has killed 19 people. The World Health Organization said tests so far show no sign of a killer hybrid virus that could easily pass between people. No cases of bird flu in people have been seen so far in the United States. A strain of bird flu not known to be harmful to humans has been found in chickens in Delaware and New Jersey in recent days.

Planning for a nightmare
Health Canada outlines strategy in case of a flu pandemic
Experts prepare for staggering hardships and losses

Feb. 13, 2004. 06:50 AM

A microscopic virus mutating too fast for modern science, swirling through the most populated corner of the globe, swiftly killing millions of birds.

An exhausted city already recovering from the world's last major epidemic. An international shortage of anti-viral medication. A vaccine production schedule that could take up to a year to provide enough protective drugs for the entire country.

It's the stuff of nightmares for infectious disease experts.

Yet, as the world stares down an outbreak of avian flu that, under the appropriate circumstances, could leap into humans and trigger a devastating flu pandemic, it's also in the realm of possibility.

"There is no human danger yet," said Toronto Hospital infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Gardam. "It's just that we have historical precedent that it happened before, it could happen again, and God help us if we let it happen again, because we know about it and should take every means possible to control it."

Influenza is a promiscuous virus, swapping and sharing its DNA with virtually every other bug it comes into contact with, in an evolutionary game of survival. Its genetic makeup is never the same from one year to the next, meaning humans need flu shots every year in order to get protection.

Comment: This is the kind of reporting that will drive people into the needles of the vaccine companies. The whole thing is written to scare the wits out of the reader, leading you to the inevitable conclusion of "humans need flu shots every year in order to get protection." Check out our Signs Supplement for a different side of the Flu scare.

Aspartame - Anxiety, Depression And Suicide Among Children

From Dr. Betty Martini

This information will help answer a lot of questions as to why so many children are depressed and committing suicide.

Two-thirds of the population and 40% of the children in this country are using products with aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal/Spoonful/Canderel, Benevia, E951, etc.). It is a neurotoxic drug, a deadly chemical poison, and masquerading as an additive.

The 50% phenylalanine in it as an isolate is neurotoxic and goes directly into the brain. It lowers the seizure threshold and depletes serotonin. When you lower serotonin it triggers manic depression or bipolar, mood swings, anxiety, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, panic attacks, paranoia, hallucinations, etc. It also interacts with ALL antidepressants. In fact, it interacts with just about every drug used to treat the problems it causes. This is all discussed in the huge medical text, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic by H. J. Roberts, M.D. www.sunsentpress.com or 1 800 827 7991.

The concern also in this country right now is obesity and diabetes. Aspartame is the cause of this in my opinion as it's a drug that makes you crave carbohydrates so you gain weight. See the protest of the National Soft Drink Association which is part of the congressional record - www.dorway.com. Also read Dr. Sandra Cabot's paper: Aspartame Makes you Fatter. The Trocho Study in l998 showed the formaldehyde converted from the free methyl alcohol in aspartame accumulates in the cells and damages DNA with most toxicity in the liver. When the liver is this toxic it is even more difficult to lose weight. It also showed substantial toxicity in the adipose tissue or fat cells. If you want to get fat, NutraSweet is where its at.

Dr. Roberts who wrote the medical text and declared aspartame disease to be a global plague is a diabetic specialist. He says aspartame can precipitate diabetes, aggravates and simulates diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy, destroys the optic nerve and can even cause diabetics to go into convulsions. It keeps blood sugar out of control and interacts with insulin. [...]

Comment: There is a great deal of information available on the web regarding the harmful effects of aspartame. One can even view a Department of Health and Human Services document allegedly obtained via the FOIA that lists the symptoms attributed to aspartame in complaints submitted to the FDA.

Ohio Highway Shooter May Have Been Caught On Tape

Wal-Mart Accused Over Chinese Factory

Mon February 9, 2004
By Grant McCool

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Labor rights groups on Monday accused the world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of turning a blind eye to abusive conditions at a factory in China that makes plastic toys for the company.

The National Labor Committee and China Labor Watch said in a report that workers at the factory in Chang Ping Township in Guangdong province were paid less than the legal minimum and worked longer hours than legally allowed.

A Wal-Mart spokesman said he was not aware of the specific allegations but that the company worked to ensure factories all over the world were run legally and inspected for abuses.

The report said the Chinese factory management trained workers to answer prepared questions and paid them a bonus for remembering them correctly during visits by Wal-Mart inspectors.

It said emergency fire exits and medical boxes were normally locked, but the Chinese managers unlocked them ahead of inspections. They also doctored time cards, the report said.

The rights groups said Wal-Mart appeared to condone the Chinese management's methods. "No company could be that shallow or gullible, unless it were consciously acting out a role with the full intent of achieving the desired result -- a whitewash," the report said.

Bill Wertz, a spokesman for Bentonville, Arkansas-based company, said Wal-Mart had experienced inspectors who adhered to its corporate standards.

"It would be a complete violation of our policy for anyone to participate in any charade that would merely make a pretense of observing a thorough inspection," Wertz said.

The rights groups said workers received an average 16.5 cents an hour when the legal minimum in China was 31 cents an hour. The workweek was seven days when five days was legal and people toiled for up to 20-1/2 hours per shift. [...]

Girl, 9, Stabbed to Death in St. Pete

By Carl Schreck
Moscow Times

Nine-year-old Khursheda Sultanova, center, posing in a family snapshot. She died after being stabbed 11 times Monday night.

A group of teenagers in St. Petersburg stabbed a 9-year-old Tajik girl to death and beat her father and 11-year-old cousin in a brutal attack that prompted calls Tuesday for tougher action against racially motivated crime.

Yusuf Sultanov, a 35-year-old Tajik citizen, was returning home from an ice rink at around 9 p.m. Monday with his daughter Khursheda and nephew Alabir when 10 to 12 teenagers ran up from behind, St. Petersburg police said.

The teens, wielding brass knuckles, chains, sticks and knives, attacked the trio with in a courtyard and stabbed Khursheda 11 times in the chest, stomach and arms, police said.

By the time an ambulance arrived at the scene, the girl had died from an excessive loss of blood. Alabir Sultanov managed to get away from the attackers and hide under a nearby parked car until help arrived. [...]

Ala. School Gets Cleaner in Milk Cartons

MOBILE, Ala. -- Cleaning fluid was accidentally packaged in cartons of fat-free milk sent to an elementary school, but a teacher noticed the odd taste and no students were hurt. [...]

Researchers Make Cloning Breakthrough

February 13, 2004

WASHINGTON - Researchers in South Korea have become the first to successfully clone a human embryo, and then cull from it master stem cells that many doctors consider key to one day creating customized cures for diabetes, Parkinson's and other diseases.

This is not cloning to make babies, but to create medicine.

But it immediately revived controversy over whether to ban all human cloning, as the Bush administration wants, or to allow this "therapeutic cloning" that might eventually let patients grow their own replacement tissue. [...]

New state of matter may help solve scientific mysteries


Chicago Tribune CHICAGO -(KRT) - A team of Colorado scientists has produced a new state of matter on the atomic scale where conditions are so strange that, in the everyday world, it would be like skiing uphill or throwing a baseball all the way to the moon.

The researchers hope their achievement will help to unravel the mysteries of superconductivity, where electricity runs without resistance, and superfluidity, where fluids flow without friction, and to possibly produce these extraordinary properties at room temperature. [...]

Comets spread Earth-life around galaxy, say scientists

If comets hitting the Earth could cause ecological disasters, including extinctions of species and climate change, they could also disperse Earth-life to the most distant parts of the Galaxy.

The "splash-back" from a large comet impact could throw material containing micro-organisms out of the planet’s atmosphere, suggest scientists from Cardiff University Centre for Astrobiology.

Although some of this outflowing material might become sterilised by heat and radiation, they believe that a significant fraction would survive. As the Earth and the Solar system go round the centre of the galaxy every 240 million years, this viable bacterial outflow would infect hundreds of millions of nascent planetary systems on the way. Hence, they suggest, the transfer of Earth life across the galaxy is inevitable.

These ideas are discussed in detail in two papers appearing in the current issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. [...]

Drawn to Human Drama 

Director Laurel Chiten delves into the world of alien abductees in her latest documentary " Touched."

Director Laurel Chiten says that she "keeps making the same film over and over again." Of course, the parallels between Chiten’s stories of alien abductees, individuals with Tourette’s Syndrome, and a Jewish writer and group of rabbis on a trip to meet the Dalai Lama may not seem obvious, but each is driven by the search for a sense of connection, Chiten explains.
Chiten recently completed the documentary, "Touched," which will premiere on February 20, 2003 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

The film focuses on people who believe that they have experienced alien encounters. This is not the typical tabloid treatment of the topic, but rather an exploration of real people looking for answers. Whether or not the subjects’ stories are real, it is clear that each individual’s life has been irrevocably transformed by their quest to solve the mystery of their experience. [...]

Comment: Here is another hypothesis to examine in regards to the abduction phenomenon. It may not account for all cases, but we would suspect it just may account for a large number of reports.

This spirit is in the house

Cameron Smith

RESIDENTS of a Victorian country town hope to identify a ghost they believe is haunting their historic pub.

And they believe an unidentified mystery man in a 96-year-old photograph is the presence lurking in the hotel's corridors.

The unusual quest was ignited after a sighting at Kyabram's Commercial Hotel, in the state's north, less than a month ago.

Hotel employee Pauline De Boer said she could not believe her eyes when she saw a human figure disappear while closing the pub early one morning.

"We were all sitting at the back having a knock-off drink when he just walked past," Ms De Boer said. "It was a figure with a hat on. I just said to the owner, 'there is a ghost'.

"He walked past as if he was looking to see who was in the room and then he just vanished." [...]

Family not spooked by spirit in house

It's splitsville for Barbie and Ken

Thursday, February 12, 2004 Posted: 1:06 PM EST (1806 GMT)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Just like J.Lo and Ben, the romance is over for Barbie and Ken.

After 43 years as one of the world's prettiest pairs, the perfect plastic couple is breaking up. The couple's "business manager," Russell Arons, vice president of marketing at Mattel, said that Barbie and Ken "feel it's time to spend some quality time -- apart."

"Like other celebrity couples, their Hollywood romance has come to an end," said Arons, who quickly added that the duo "will remain friends." [...]


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