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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

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New Article: Jupiter, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and the Return of the Mongols - Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12

Picture of the Day

La Romieu under snow
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

When you see George Bush swagger up to the mike to speak, he sometimes has the appearance of John Wayne sizing up the Indians. One has the impression that Bush identifies with John Wayne. Perhaps this is a conscious imitation of the Duke, part of Karl Rowe's bag of media tricks for the brainwashing of the US public. Perhaps it is the unconscious manifestation of Bush's inner cowboy. In either case, it is apparent that Bush is not himself as he struts and strides.

Carl Jung defined identification this way:

This term connotes a psychological process in which the personality is either partially or totally dissimulated from itself. Identification is an estrangement of the subject from himself in favour of an object in which the subject is, to a certain extent, disguised. For example, identification with the father practically signifies an adoption of the ways and manners of the father, as though the son were as the father and not a separate individual.

If we look at identification from the point of view of Truth, we see that identification is another form of the lie - rather than being ourselves, we take on the traits of someone else, we seek to become someone or something else.

Jung's definition of identification is a psychological definition and as such sees it as a form of psychological disorder. The esoteric definition takes it much further because identification is recognised as the norm in mechanical man and as one of the ways in which we are kept separated from our real selves.

We can identify with any object, not only another person. We can identify with an idea, a product, a brand name, a way of life, our culture, nationality or religion, or anything else that comes across the automatic processes of our so-called awareness. In fact, most of us are likely to be in a state of identification throughout the day.

"'Identification' is so common a quality that for purposes of observation it is difficult to separate it from everything else. Man is always in a state of identification, only the object of identification changes.

"A man identifies with a small problem which confronts him and he completely forgets the great aims with which he began his work. He identifies with one thought and forgets other thoughts; he is identified with one feeling, with one mood, and forgets his own wider thoughts, emotions, and moods. In work on themselves people are so much identified with separate aims that they fail to see the wood for the trees. Two or three trees nearest to them represent for them the whole wood.

"'Identifying' is one of our most terrible foes because it penetrates everywhere and deceives a man at the moment when it seems to him that he is struggling with it. It is especially difficult to free oneself from identifying because a man most naturally becomes more easily identified with the things that interest him most, to which he gives his time, his work, and his attention. In order to free himself from identifying a man must be constantly on guard and be merciless with himself, that is, he must not be afraid of seeing all the subtle and hidden forms which identifying takes.

"It is necessary to see and to study identifying to its very roots in oneself. The difficulty of struggling with identifying is still further increased by the fact that when people observe it in themselves they consider it a very good trait and call it 'enthusiasm,' 'zeal,' 'passion,' 'spontaneity,' 'inspiration,' and names of that kind, and they consider that only in a state of identifying can man really produce good work, no matter in what sphere. In reality of course this is illusion. Man cannot do anything sensible when he is in a state of identifying. If people could see what the state of identifying means they would alter their opinions. A man becomes a thing, a piece of flesh; he loses even the semblance of a human being that he has." [Gurdjieff cited by Ouspensky , In Search of the Miraculous, P. 150]

The enthusiasm and passion mentioned by Gurdjieff is often apparent in people who are new to the Work. Having found what they think may be the solution to their problems, they may throw themselves into the Work with great passion. The test comes after the chemicals subside and a different little 'I' comes to the fore. Will the individual be able to maintain the interest and energy in the Work after this initial enthusiasm is gone or he is confronted with the enormous effort of remaining in a state of awareness and self-observation? If the enthusiasm is but another form of identification, will the seeker be able to sever himself from identification when the zeal passes?

Another way the seeker can become identified with the Work is by wearing it as badge, using it to draw a line of demarcation between himself and others. This is similar to the outward signs worn by members of certain religious groups, be it the veil worn by Islamic women or the yarmulke worn by religious Jews. Such outward displays are signs that the person identifies with the religion. That the religion demands such displays is a clue that it serves to bring its believers into slavery, rather than liberating them from conditioning and programming.

One may also identify with certain aspects of the Work. Readers of the Cassiopaea material may be fascinated with stories of hyperdimensional reality and the manifestations of other realms into our world. If they identify with these phenomena, they are missing the central component, the work on the self.

The Truth is found within, not without, and this is the reason that identification is dangerous: it takes us out of ourselves and away from our only means of finding the truth within. In order to remember ourselves, we must first of all learn to stop identifying. This includes identification even with ourselves, for it is our normal state to identify with our personality, that is, with the impermanent part of ourselves, rather than with the divine and eternal spark within. Identification with the self leads us to constantly set ourselves apart from others, weighing and measuring what is said to us, what is not said to us, constantly seeing everyone's actions in relation to their effect on our own, pitiful self-importance.
This is called "internal considering."

When we "consider" ourselves, we are apt to believe that others do not appreciate our true value, and we are in a constant state of "awareness" to ensure that no one slights us, no one dismisses our ideas, no one ignores us. This is obviously a very low state of awareness, one that comes from our primal instincts of survival and that is tied to what Don Juan called the "predator's mind." The predator's mind expects attack. It is constantly on the alert for attack. It acts this way because it, too, is always on the prowl, ready to pounce and demean another to bolster its own energy, or when it has the opportunity to exact its revenge for a previous injury.

All this internal consideration expends energy, energy that is necessary for the Work, for our self-observation and "external considering." When we are identified with something, we are not able to observe ourselves. "Identifying is the chief obstacle to self-remembering," cautioned Gurdjieff. Internal consideration fires our imagination, our fantasy world, and we fill our mind with imagined slights, hurts, and insults - that is, with lies. Our self-importance is a lie, and any slighting of this self-importance with which we identify is also identification with a lie.

External considering, on the other hand, is the conscious act of putting ourselves in the place of someone else. We are forced to break the shell of our own petty concerns and to know and to understand others. External consideration is a test of our ability to be objective, to read objective reality, because we can no longer dwell in the domain of our imagination, of what we think another person sees or thinks or feels. We are confronted with the reality of another's needs or feelings. When we externally consider, we are responding to what is real, what is objective, not to what we wish to believe. If we do not, then we are lying to ourselves and using the mask of external consideration to hide our own internal considering, our rejection of the truth.

"External considering is based upon an entirely different relationship towards than internal considering. It is adaptation towards people, to their understanding, to their requirements. By considering externally a man does that which makes life easy for other people and for himself. External considering requires a knowledge of men, an understanding of their tastes, habits, and prejudices. At the same time external considering requires a great power over oneself, a great control over oneself." [ISOTM, p. 153.]

We return to the question of the mastery of self that we discussed a few days ago . The process of replacing internal considering with external considering demands an effort that will stoke the fire necessary to fuse our small and tyrannical petty 'I's permitting us to achieve self-mastery.

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130 US Soldiers killed in Iraq - Reports

A Pentagon source has said up to 130 US troops have been killed in fierce fighting in Iraq.

The large scale battle, described as "intense", has taken place in the town of Ar Ramadi, 20 miles west of Fallujah.

Sky News' David Chater said: "None of this is official yet - none of it is confirmed."

But he added: "It sounds very much like this is being carried out by men who are militarily trained."

Chater described the attack as "highly sophisticated".

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Private Guards Repel Attack on U.S. Headquarters

Dana Priest - Washington Post April 6, 2004

An attack by hundreds of Iraqi militia members on the U.S. government's headquarters in Najaf on Sunday was repulsed not by the U.S. military, but by eight commandos from a private security firm, according to sources familiar with the incident.

Before U.S. reinforcements could arrive, the firm, Blackwater Security Consulting, sent in its own helicopters amid an intense firefight to resupply its commandos with ammunition and to ferry out a wounded Marine, the sources said.

The role of Blackwater's commandos in Sunday's fighting in Najaf illuminates the gray zone between their formal role as bodyguards and the realities of operating in an active war zone. Thousands of armed private security contractors are operating in Iraq in a wide variety of missions and exchanging fire with Iraqis every day, according to informal after-action reports from several companies.

In Sunday's fighting, Shiite militia forces barraged the Blackwater commandos, four MPs and a Marine gunner with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 fire for hours before U.S. Special Forces troops arrived. A sniper on a nearby roof apparently wounded three men. U.S. troops faced heavy fighting in several Iraqi cities that day.

The Blackwater commandos, most of whom are former Special Forces troops, are on contract to provide security for the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Najaf. [...]

During the defense of the authority headquarters, thousands of rounds were fired and hundreds of 40mm grenades shot. Sources who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of Blackwater's work in Iraq reported an unspecified number of casualties among Iraqis.

A spokesman for Blackwater confirmed that the company has a contract to provide security to the CPA but would not describe the incident that unfolded Sunday.

A Defense Department spokesman said that there were no military reports about the opening hours of the siege on CPA headquarters in Najaf because there were no military personnel on the scene. The Defense Department often does not have a clear handle on the daily actions of security contractors because the contractors work directly for the coalition authority, which coordinates and communicates on a limited basis through the normal military chain of command.

The four men brutally slain Wednesday in Fallujah were also Blackwater employees and were operating in the Sunni triangle area under more hazardous conditions -- unarmored cars with no apparent backup -- than the U.S. military or the CIA permit.

One senior Blackwater manager has described those killings to U.S. government officials as the result of a "high-quality" attack as skilled as one that can be mounted by U.S. Special Forces, according to a copy of a report on the incident obtained by The Washington Post. [...]

Comment: Notice in the above two articles the mention that the attacks currently being carried out on the US military are "high-quality" and "highly sophisticated" and "as skilled as one that can be mounted by U.S. Special Forces". Then ask yourself, which country in the Middle East is capable of such high quality attacks? Which country has a long legacy of training foreign armies. Which country is armed to the teeth with the latest in American military technologies and therefore able to supply these to any "militant" groups they choose. Which country's intelligence agency operates "by way of deception"? Most importantly, which country was behind the push for the US invasion of Iraq and has the most to gain from the continuation of the conflict in Iraq in order that it eventually spread throughout the greater Middle East, most specifically to Iran and Syria? Which country aspires to expand its current meager borders to encompass a mythical "greater" nation? Which country's first prime Minister in 1948 promised "We shall mete historic vengeance to Assyria (Syria) Aram (Iraq) and Egypt"?

Notice in the below the claim that "Syrian Mercenaries" are involved in the attacks. Consider also yesterday's report in the World Net Daily that Iran was also playing its part in the attacks on US troops. Are things beginning to make sense? It is becoming more and more clear that the current incursion into Iraq is but the first step in a plan to transform the entire Middle East to Israel's "taste". Of course, as can be seen from Israeli army actions in Palestine and those of its intelligence agency Mossad around the world, Israel most definitely has a "taste" for death and destruction. We wish to make clear that when we speak of "Israel" we are in no way speaking of Jewish people in general. "Israel" is used to denote that small group of unseen people that are shepherding the semitic peoples of the Middle East, Jews and Arabs alike, towards certain death. As always, our concern is for all those that "the powers that be" plan to use as cannon fodder as they push forward with their megalomaniacal plans.

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U.S. Hits Fallujah Mosque; 40 Said Killed

By Bassem Mroue

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP - 7 April - U.S. Marines in a fierce battle for this Sunni Muslim stronghold fired rockets that hit a mosque filled with people Wednesday, and witnesses said as many as 40 people were killed.

The fighting in Fallujah and neighboring Ramadi, where commanders confirmed 12 Marines were killed late Tuesday, was part of an intensified and spreading uprising involving both Sunni and Shiites stretching from Kirkuk in the north to near Basra in the south.

An Associated Press reporter in Fallujah saw cars ferrying the bodies from the mosque, which witnesses said had been hit by three missiles. There was no immediate confirmation of casualties.

Until the mosque attack, reports had at least 30 Americans and more than 150 Iraqis dead in fighting for the two cities.

Anti-American violence intensified and spread to cities in northern Iraq on Wednesday as a U.S. helicopter went down and a Marine commander confirmed 12 of his men had been killed in fighting west of Baghdad.

Scores of Iraqis also have been wounded, as mosques called for a holy war against Americans and women carried guns in the streets.

American and allied forces fought both Sunni and Shiite Muslim militants nationwide in a continuation of the heaviest fighting since Baghdad fell to U.S. troops a year ago this week.

Marines fought for control in the Sunni Triangle cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, and soldiers battled Shiite militiamen in cities stretching from near Kirkuk in the largely Kurdish north to holy cities in the Shiite heartland to the south of Baghdad.

U.S. Marines have vowed to pacify the violent towns of Ramadi and Fallujah that had been a center of the guerrilla insurgency seeking to oust the U.S.-led occupation force. The 12 dead Marines were killed Tuesday in Ramadi, where Maj. Gen. James Mattis, 1st Marine Division commander, said his forces still were fighting insurgents that included Syrian mercenaries along a one-mile front.

Sixteen children and eight women were reported killed when warplanes struck four houses late Tuesday, said Hatem Samir, a Fallujah Hospital official. [...]

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Plan To Attack Syria & Iran--Saving Bush

By Sherman H. Skolnick

Without a Declaration of War by Congress, the Bush White House and their War Cabinet intend to go forward with a secret plan to spread the Mid-East conflict by an attack on Syria and Iran.

This comes at a time that the U.S. foreign invasion of Iraq appears to be spinning out of control. Insurgents are attacking U.S. troops across the country.

The justification for the plan includes the following but is not limited thereby:

1. That alleged satellite images from the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, NRO, purport to show that the spreading shoot-back within Iraq is, in part, from weapons supplied in part from Iran and from weapons trans-shipped through Syria.

2. The weapons supposedly contain toxic substances including bio-chemical agents to be supposedly let loose on U.S. forces, together with the small number of coalition troops, within Iraq.

3. Further purported justification is that the use of such weapons within Iraq by purported insurgents might, inevitably, draw Israel into the conflict. In that, Israel, being nearby, would feel endangered thereby. And further, Israel has already quietly informed the Bush White House and their War Cabinet, that Israel reserves the sovereign right to defend themselves, with sub-nuclear retaliatory weapons if they so deemed it necessary. This, against whosover appears to be, or is actually, threatening the entire safety of Israel, surrounded as they are by religious enemies pledged to the destruction of that tiny sliver of map. [Americans find it convenient to forget that the British, to control the Arab oil fields, in 1948, inserted the Jews to be amongst their mortal enemies, and be surrounded by enemies, to forever irritate the Arabs, with the Jews and Arabs attacking each other, with no clear-cut remedy available.] [...]

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US death toll mounts as forces try to quell savage rebellion

By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
07 April 2004

Savage fighting raged across Iraq yesterday as at least 20 US soldiers were killed in attacks on the American-led coalition that reached a crescendo of violence not seen since the end of the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

At least a dozen US Marines were killed in the town of Ramadi near the Sunni hotbed of Fallujah, a US official said, when their position near the governor's palace in the city was attacked by dozens of Iraqis. The official said a "significant number" of Iraqis were also killed.

Five marines were also reported killed in fighting in an operation to get Americans into Fallujah itself, where four Americans were killed and mutilated a week ago. Iraqi casualties are unknown from those clashes because ambulances are not being allowed to enter the town. A further three US soldiers were killed in Baghdad. The latest confirmation of deaths meant more than 30 US troops have been killed since trouble erupted in three cities on Sunday.

There was also heavy fighting in the Shia cities of southern Iraq yesterday between supporters of the militant Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr and coalition troops. Fifteen Iraqis were killed by British troops in Amara on the Tigris river north of Basra and a further 15 Iraqis died and 35 were wounded in gun battles with Italian soldiers for control of the bridges over the Euphrates in Nasariyah. A Ukrainian soldier was killed and five wounded when two armoured vehicles were set ablaze in Kut, a Shia city south of Baghdad. [...]

Comment: As the American public slumbers on, more and more of America's sons fight and die in yet another war with another nation, both united in their ignorance and delusion about the real reasons for the current mindless conflict. It appears that it is beyond the grasp of many that certain people in power see death and destruction as a goal in itself. Just as the US public willingly accepts the lie about the rationale for war, US soldiers too must convince themselves, or be convinced, that they are dying for a just cause. The more jingoistic rhetoric that spews from the White House and the military leaders, the more likely the foot soldiers are to sacrifice themselves, cheered on by their loved ones back in the "homeland". Yet even if by some miracle the general public were to see through the lies, what if anything could they really do about it?

Democracy is supposedly "government of the people by the people", yet it seems to be true that the people's power to effect change exists only in theory. Democracy claims that the masses have the right to dismiss their elected officials if they are deemed to be governing ineffectively or in way that is detrimental to the people. But we see that this power has in fact never been exercised. It appears that the people are content merely with the idea that they have "rights" and "power". There is no requirement on the part of those that govern to actually confer these rights on the people in any real way. As such, "democratic rights" exist in name only. The truth of this has never been discovered because so few people have ever been motivated to attempt to exercise their alleged power and in doing so discover that no such power exists. It is the apathy inherent in human nature and the lack of desire or will on the part of the people to take responsibility for their lives that leads to the situation where a few amoral, ruthless individuals find themselves in the position of deciding the fate of the entire population. The Will to Do and the exercising of this will defines the realness of our existence. When our entire identity is tied up with with something that in reality does not exist, we are little more than an illusion ourselves.

All of this leads us to the conclusion that, we are "in the soup", and at this stage, we are in it up to our necks.

It seems to be true that, those that refuse to accept responsibility for their lives and their own destiny are deemed expendable, either by some law of the "universe" or a law of those that believe in predestination. From the point of view of "the powers that be", it is as a result of an inherent "eliteness" or "chosenness" that they find themselves in a position of almost absolute power and control over the masses. Such "leaders" are convinced that there is nothing wrong or unjust in the fact that they hold the lives of billions in their hands. They see themselves as "divinely" ordained stewards of the planet, and as such they are fully entitled, even "burdened", with the responsibility to decide what is best for the world and its inhabitants. In the same way, these "elite" believe that the masses, in their ignorance and servitude, are ignorant and subservient because it is their nature. They believe that the "great unwashed" are simply incapable of growth and development, and while the vast majority of people may agree with this assessment and actually seek to reinforce the hierarchical structure, those of us that would claim some self determination are nevertheless counted with the sleeping majority.

This is the true state of the dynamic on our planet, and it has always been this way.

The task confronting all "seekers after truth" is to understand the above and tie it in with the idea that there are two races within the human race, along with the reality of psychopaths and the concepts of hyperdimensions and time loops. That done, we come to the understanding that our goal has less to do with attempting to create a peaceful world, or saving the environment, and more to do with realising that "life" or "existence" are not absolute terms but are relative to what you See and Know. We all believe that this world is "ours", but did we come to that conclusion as a result of objective observation and research, or was it simply one of the foundational layers of the programming that we are all subject to as a result of being human?

As we gather more objective knowledge, we begin to allow for the idea that there may be much more to life and existence than we currently understand. The three quotes below may help to make the situation a little clearer. Do not be put off by the slightly metaphysical bent of quotes 2 and 3, for now they should be taken as theoretical and may be used to wedge open a little further that one thing that "the powers that be" are adamant should remain tightly shut - your own mind:

"Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the U.S., in the field of commerce and manufacturing, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." - President Woodrow Wilson 1913

"All there is is lessons. This is one infinite school. There is no other reason for anything to exist. Even inanimate matter learns it is all an 'illusion.' Each individual possesses all of creation within their minds. Now, contemplate for a moment. Each soul is all powerful and can create or destroy all existence if it knows how. You and us and all others are interconnected by our mutual possession of all there is. You may create alternative universes if you wish and dwell within. You are all a duplicate of the universe within which you dwell. Your mind represents all that exists. It is "fun" to see how much you can access."

"Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the worlds will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the 'past.' People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the 'Future.'"

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Will the 2004 Election Be Called Off?

Why Three Out of Four Experts Predict a Terrorist Attack by November

by Maureen Farrell
Apr 06 2004

On Dec. 31, 2003, New York Times columnist and former Nixon speech writer William Safire offered his standard New Year’s predictions. This time, however, one item stood out. In addition to speculating on everything from which country would next "feel the force of U.S. liberation" to who would win the best picture Oscar, Safire predicted that "the 'October surprise' affecting the U.S. election" would be "a major terror attack in the United States." [Salt Lake Tribune]

While such speculation is hardly worth a trip to the duct tape store, when combined with repeated assaults to our democratic process and troublesome assertions from noteworthy sources, it warrants further investigation.

In Nov. 2003, you might recall, Gen. Tommy Franks told Cigar Aficionado magazine that a major terrorist attack (even one that occurred elsewhere in the Western world), would likely result in a suspension of the U.S. Constitution and the installation of a military form of government. "[A] terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world -- it may be in the United States of America -- [would cause] our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event," he said. []

Right around the same time, former Clinton administration official David Rothkopf made similarly distressing observations. In a Washington Post op-ed entitled, "Terrorist Logic: Disrupt the 2004 Election," he described a meeting in which nearly 75 percent of the professional participants (characterized as "serious people, not prone to hysteria or panic") also foresaw another terrorist attack occurring on American soil before the next election. "Recently, I co-chaired a meeting hosted by CNBC of more than 200 senior business and government executives, many of whom are specialists in security and terrorism related issues," he wrote. "Almost three-quarters of them said it was likely the United States would see a major terrorist strike before the end of 2004." [Washington Post]

Saying that "history suggests that striking during major elections is an effective tool for terrorist groups," Rothkopf explained why terrorists will most likely target us soon. And though he and Safire made these observations months before terrorists changed Spain’s political landscape, they were not alone in thinking along such lines. "Even before the bombings in Madrid, White House officials were worrying that terrorists might strike the United States before the November elections," USA Today reported, before commenting on how terrorists could "try the same tactics in the United States to create fear and chaos." [USA Today]

The New York Times also reported on the possibility that Al Qaeda would try to "influence the outcome of the election" by striking U.S. oil refineries. "The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned the Texas oil industry of potential attacks by Al Qaeda on pipelines and refineries near the time of the November presidential election," the Times reported. [New York Times]

MSNBC, CNN and other news organizations also chimed in, raising concerns about this summer's political conventions. "In the wake of what happened in Madrid, we have to be concerned about the possibility of terrorists attempting to influence elections in the United States by committing a terrorist act," FBI Director Robert Mueller told CNN. "Quite clearly, there will be substantial preparations for each of the conventions." [CNN]

Right-wing columnists and pundits have since (surprise, surprise) tried to capitalize on such fears. "If a terrorist group attacked the U.S. three days before an election, does anyone doubt that the American electorate would rally behind the president or at least the most aggressively antiterror party?" David Brooks opined in the New York Times on March 16, [] before Richard Clarke revealed that the Clinton administration was actually more "aggressively anti-terror" than the bumbling Bushes. (Could that be why the Bush administration refuses to turn over thousands of pages of the nearly 11,000 files on the Clinton administration’s antiterrorism efforts?)

Sean Hannity twisted things further. "If we are attacked before our election like Spain was, I am not so sure that we should go ahead with the election," he reportedly said. "We had better make plans now because it’s going to happen."

And, of course, what usurpation of democracy would be complete without Rush Limbaugh weighing in? "Do [the terrorists] bide their time and wait, or do they try to replicate their success in Spain here in America before our election?" Limbaugh asked, before revealing how "titans of industry," and "international business people (who do not outsource, by the way)" were "very, very, very concerned" that one true party forever rule the Fatherland. [...]

Though it seems surreal that people are actually wagering that another terrorist attack will occur on our soil by November (and it’s even more bizarre that on-air personalities are calling for the suspension of elections), the fact that this un-elected gang who barreled into power and forever changed the course of a nation, is so completely untrustworthy makes the situation even more disturbing. On Sept 11, 2003, William Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News asked, "Why don’t we have the answers to these 9/11 questions?" [The Philadelphia Daily News] before addressing a variety of concerns, which, thanks to the 9/11 commission, are finally making their way into our national consciousness. And now that another whistle blower, FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, has come forward, saying, "'I saw papers that show US knew al-Qaeda would attack cities with airplanes," [The Independent] it’s clear we’ve been under attack for quite some time. []

But before the Madrid bombings; before Richard Clarke’s revelations; before more whistleblowers peeked out from under the muck, David Rothkopf made everything oh-so-clear. Writing about the "military officers, policymakers, scientists, researchers and others who have studied [terrorism] for a long time," he explained how the majority of experts he spoke to not only predicted that the pre-election assaults would "be greater than those of 9/11," but that any act of terrorism would work in the President's favor. "It was the sense of the group that such an attack was likely to generate additional support for President Bush," he wrote. [...]

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Candidates will ignore most voters in this election

Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas -- Strange peaches. All of us out here in the boonies should be aware this is a truly weird political year. For one thing, nobody has ever seen this much money involved. What can $200 million do in a political race, answered, we presume, by at least $100 million by the Democrats? No one knows.

And now brace yourselves for the really bad news. All this money, intensity and advertising is not going to be spread out across 50 states. There are only 14 to 19 states considered "in play" in this election, not either solidly red or blue, Republican or Democrat. What that means is that all this money is going to hit relatively few citizens like a tidal wave.

Most of us, in most of the states, will barely be aware there is a presidential election going on -- we're out of this loop, team. Nobody will be talking to us. Because we're not "in play," this election is not about us. For reasons established by supposedly skillful polling, none of us even get to be part of this election. We're taken for granted.

Meanwhile, our fellow citizens in these 19 states are about to be subject to brainwashing unlike anything any of us have ever known. Poor honeys, they are going to be subject to a barrage of mind-bending garbage. By the time it's over, nobody will feel much like voting for either candidate. If I were living in any of those states (Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin) I would feel like hibernating for the next seven months. Failing that, y'all will just have to turn into some of the best citizens ever -- now is the time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of their country. It's your responsibility to get your information from several sources, to see past the spin, to doubt everything that comes in ad form -- holy cow.
For the rest of us, if we want to be involved, the best we can do is call and help to inform folks we know in the 19 states that matter. (Personally, I believe few of us are capable of discussing politics with our blood kin, and it's best to stick to friends.)

The race is already bizarre beyond belief. Richard Clarke is now under ferocious attack for stating both the obvious and the already known. Of course the Bush administration was on automatic pilot before 9-11. Donald Rumsfeld was actually on Capitol Hill on Sept. 9, threatening a veto of a $600 million diversion from star wars to counter-terrorism. John Ashcroft was trying to slash funding to the Justice Department's antiterrorism budget.

Comment: Of course voters are superfluous to the democratic process in the US. The "democratic process" in the US was never about giving the people what they want because a sleeping electorate is incapable of consciously choosing anything, and must simply be told what they want. At present the American people are being told that they want to give up the "democratic rights" they never had to ensure their safety. Just to be sure they get the message, another fake terrorist attack will more than likely be carried out.

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Bush, the Saudi billionaire and the Islamists: the story a British firm is afraid to publish

Publication of book cancelled as libel laws blamed for stifling free speech

David Leigh
Wednesday March 31, 2004
The Guardian

A book investigating links between rich Saudis and US politicians has been suppressed by the giant publishing firm Random House because, it says, of growing "libel tourism" by wealthy foreigners, and exorbitant legal "success fees".

Libel lawyers are stifling free speech, the deputy chairman of Random House, Simon Master, said yesterday.

The UK publication of House of Bush, House of Saud, by the American writer Craig Unger, has been cancelled because Secker and Warburg, a Random House subsidiary, says it can no longer afford such risks.

The book focuses in part on the activities of a Jeddah-based Saudi billionaire, Khalid bin Mahfouz, who has been engaged in a war of words in the US, where there have been public accusations by officials linking him and others to funding received by Osama bin Laden.

Unger collates links between Mr Bin Mahfouz and Islamist fundamentalists. But the new dimension of his research is that he also analyses the Texas business links between the Bush circle and the families of Mr Bin Mahfouz and other rich Saudis.

Unger's thesis is that the eagerness of US politicians to tap into Saudi money over the years may have compromised Mr Bush's determination to fight terrorism: "Never before has an American president been so closely tied to a foreign power that harbours and supports our country's mortal enemies." [...]

Comment: More evidence to suggest that someone has decided to pull the plug on the Bush administration. But could there be more to this unfolding drama? In the past, Bush and the Neocons have been given little shocks by "rogue elements" designed to push him to act. The destruction of the Columbia space shuttle was one such event which served to convince the White House that there was no going back on the plans to invade Iraq. Could the current mounting pressure on Bush be something similar? If so, we dread to think what Bush and Co might do to avert their seemingly inevitable defeat this November.

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U.S. Faces Tough Urban Battle in Fallujah

Associated Press Writers
Tue Apr 6, 6:19 PM ET

FALLUJAH, Iraq - In a narrow alley, Marines pinned down by a hail of guerrilla fire sent up red smoke in a cry for help. Tanks pounded shell after shell into houses, while troops on the city's edge crawled forward on their bellies, firing on insurgents.

U.S. forces faced a tough urban battle Tuesday in their drive to pacify one of Iraq's most dangerous cities. Block by block, they fought their way into Fallujah, where Iraqi guerrillas killed four American civilians and a mob mutilated their bodies last week.

After nightfall, troops held a swath several blocks deep in one corner of the city of 200,000, Marine Maj. Briandon McGolwan said.

U.S. forces called out a weapon rarely used against the Iraqi guerrillas: the AC-130 gunship, a warplane that circles over a target, laying down a devastating barrage of heavy machine gun fire.

Tuesday evening, U.S. planes firing rockets destroyed four houses in two neighborhoods, witnesses said. The strike killed 26 Iraqis, including women and children, and wounded 30 others, said Rafie al-Issawi, a doctor at Fallujah General Hospital, where the casualties were taken. The deaths brought the total number of Iraqi dead on Tuesday to 34, according to the hospital's count. [...]

Comment: Such a glorious and liberating display of force - slaughtering women and children, no less! Why, the Iraqis are sure to accept American rule now. It is obvious that Iraq doesn't want the US in their country. Not just Baathists, not just "Al-Qaeda terrorists", not just Shiites - Iraqis do not want to be ruled by America. Frankly, we don't blame them. To get an idea of the devastation and carnage that weapons like the AC-130 cause, watch this video.

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U.S. troops drag the corpse of an un-named Vietcong soldier behind their tank (Vietnam, 1966)

What kind of bloody savages would kill people and drag their corpses along the road?

by Helen & Harry Highwater
Unknown News
April 5, 2004

War is about killing. Most people find it hard to kill people they don't hate, so war is also about hatred. And sometimes, after you've gotten used to hating people, killing them isn't enough.

You not only want to kill them, you want to kill them twice. You hate 'em so much you want to kill 'em and strangle their souls. Maybe you want to kill 'em and drag their frickin' corpses through the road.

What kind of bloody savages would do that? The answer is, almost anyone. Maybe you. Maybe me.

War brings out the worst in people, even good people.

After Americans saw grisly photos of their killed countrymen being dragged through the streets of Fallujah, what was the response of many Americans? Hatred. Vengeance. I've heard a lot of people mutter -- or shout -- that we should just nuke Iraq. You've heard it too.

Well, that might be more efficient than dragging their corpses through the road one at a time, but it means the same thing: Kill 'em, and then strangle their souls.

And that's from Americans who presumably haven't lived in a war zone. They've only seen bits and pieces of war on TV. How much more hatred must people feel, Iraqis and Americans, who've lived through the last year in Iraq?

This American response is no different than the Fallujah response, or the Mogadishu response. It's the hatred that comes with war. So please, unless one of the dead was your friend or relative, cut the "we're so outraged and offended" act.

At least acknowledge that if America was invaded and occupied, your average American would be willing and very eager to kill the invaders and drag their corpses through the streets.

I probably would, and chances are you would, too. It ain't savage or psychotic. It's patriotism. It's a perfectly natural response when your country is invaded and occupied.

And of course, it will happen again and again, as long as the occupation of Iraq continues. So get used to it.

Comment: If patriotism does indeed drive a person to commit savage acts, then perhaps the whole concept of love of one's country should be carefully reevaluated.

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Sorrows of Empire

Mercenaries and Occupiers

April 6, 2004

The killing and mutilation of four Americans in Iraq were played to shock television audiences at home -- "too terrible to show." The attack added four more to the more than 50,000 deaths in Iraq that we're responsible for during the Bush administration. (The Clinton administration was responsible for many more.) American officials replied with immediate threats of revenge attacks, and have now sealed off Fallujah. Apparently this is what the White House meant when it "vowed [according to the New York Times] that the United States would finish its peacekeeping mission in Iraq despite the grisly attacks on civilian contractors." [...]

These "contractors," the Times explained elsewhere, were from Blackwater USA, "a private military firm that provides an array of services once performed solely by military personnel. The company trains soldiers in counterterrorism and urban warfare. It also provides the American government with soldiers for hire: former Green Berets, Army Rangers and Navy Seals. In February it started training former Chilean commandos -- some of whom served under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet -- for future service in Iraq."

"Blackwater has about 400 ... armed commandos" in Iraq, said the Washington Post: it, not the military, guards US proconsul L. Paul Bremer. Blackwater "has contracts as well with the departments of Defense, State and Transportation. The company also did work in Afghanistan ... Blackwater is in Moyock, N.C., just across the Virginia border, and U.S. law enforcement and military personnel frequently use its 6,000-acre site for weapons training ... [it was also] paid $13 million between April 2002 and June 2003 for security training of Navy personnel. The firm's president and training director, and Blackwater Security Consulting's director, are veteran Navy SEALs. The name Blackwater alludes to covert missions undertaken by elite divers at night."

The men killed in Fallujah were in short American mercenaries, being paid $1,000 a day -- one wonders, for what? Were their "contracts" of the Mafia sort? Were they part of an American death squad, contributing to the pacification of Iraq as the American Phoenix program once in did in Vietnam, by arranging literally tens of thousands of mob-style hits?

There is evidence that the killing of these mercenaries was not random, and that it was done in retaliation for the American-sponsored assassination of the head of Hamas (which killed eight people and wounded twenty-four others), ordered by the Israeli government. (As Juan Cole pointed out, "He could have easily been arrested, and had been in the 1990s, but he was incinerated in a piece of state terror instead.") The US patron and the Israeli client seem to be following the same policies of occupation, with similar results. [...]

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US toll mounts as Bush vows to crush "thugs"

April 7, 2004

BAGHDAD (AFP) - US marines lost at least 12 dead in their worst single toll in Iraq this year as occupation forces battled Shiite and Sunni opponents and US President George W. Bush vowed to crush those he called "thugs and killers".

Another 54 Iraqis were reported killed in the past 24 hours in fighting which, since Sunday, has resulted in well over 100 Iraqi dead.

Most of the clashes have been between US-led troops and militiamen of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, but at least 30 Sunni Iraqis have been killed in a separate US operation in Fallujah.

In a briefing in Baghdad on Wednesday, US Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt vowed to destroy Sadr's Mehdi Army which has been banned by the occupation authorities.

"We will attack to destroy the Mehdi Army," Kimmitt said, echoing the unmoving stance of Bush.

"We will not be shaken by the thugs and terrorists," Bush said in a speech earlier. "These killers don't have values ... We face tough action in Iraq but we will stay the course." [...]

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ANALYSIS - Arab Rulers' Worst Fears on Iraq Come True

By Samia Nakhoul
April 7, 2004

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Reuters) - As U.S. forces battle on a new front in Iraq, Baghdad's Arab neighbors watch the escalating violence with alarm and a message that affords them only the grimmest satisfaction: "We told you so."

Arab leaders had said loudly and repeatedly that a U.S. war against Saddam Hussein would unleash chaos in multi-ethnic Iraq and the region and open a Pandora's box of radicalism.

With U.S.-led forces now battling Shi'ite Muslims in several cities, they now feel their ominous prophecy has come true.

The leaders fear that clashes between Shi'ites loyal to firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and occupation forces could lead to civil war -- and spill over their borders.

"This is what we've been warning about. We told the Americans Saddam Hussein was only five percent of the problem. The other 95 percent just wasn't visible to them," a Gulf Arab diplomat said. "It's a very dangerous situation. It's painful."

Qatar, a staunch U.S. ally, said it feared civil war could break out in Iraq and that the country was becoming a "fertile ground for (various) terrorists."

"The developments in Iraq are alarming and we fear that we are facing a civil war in Iraq like Afghanistan and Lebanon," Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said.

"We cannot leave Iraq in this state because this disease will spread and I believe the situation is out of control."

U.S. troops in Iraq, under attack for a year by Sunni Muslims and Saddam loyalists, now risk a major conflict with the Shi'ite majority. They had been seen as allies in their opposition to Saddam, who brutally suppressed them. [...]

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All nations have a stake in stabilizing Iraq

Wed Apr 7, 6:41 AM ET

Stung by double blows delivered in the past week by two Iraqi factions resisting the U.S. occupation, American troops struck back Tuesday. In Fallujah, Marines poured into the encircled Sunni city bearing photos of those who murdered and mutilated four U.S. security guards on March 31. Separately, U.S. forces were preparing to move against a radical Shiite cleric who inspired clashes between his militia and coalition forces.

The responses of the U.S. military are appropriate to quell a spreading uprising that threatens to throw Iraq into greater chaos. Ultimately, however, the U.S. cannot remake Iraq into a democratic society through the barrels of its guns.

The daunting job of creating a stable Iraq requires broad international military, economic and political support - largely missing because of lingering anger over the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Involving the world community in the country's future has a greater chance of success if a sovereign Iraqi government appeals directly for help.

Making that appeal requires the U.S. to strive to meet its timetable of turning over civil authority to Iraqis by June 30.

Certainly, a transition of power is complicated by growing violence involving Sunni insurgents loyal to Saddam Hussein and Shiites, who make up 60% of the country. And the fighting adds to the difficulty of coaxing other nations to contribute troops.

Already, some of the 29 countries that have donated 15,000 forces to bolster U.S. and British troops are planning to withdraw. They include the Netherlands and Spain, which says it will stay only if the United Nations gets involved. And South Korea is balking at sending 3,600 soldiers.

While many foreign leaders see the U.S. struggle in Iraq as I-told-you-so payback for ignoring their opposition to the war, the world has as much at stake in a peaceful Iraq as the U.S. The reasons include:

Terrorism. If Iraq erupts into civil war, terrorism experts say the country could turn into a haven for international terrorists who could strike anywhere in the world.

Economics. Iraq controls the world's second largest oil reserves. Once it is stabilized, its production facilities can be rebuilt more rapidly to help ease a worldwide oil crunch that is sending gasoline prices higher. Oil and military analysts warn that a civil war in Iraq could disrupt production in oil-rich neighbors Kuwait and Saudi Arabia if unrest were to spread to those countries.

The flare-up of fighting shows how U.S. plans to turn over power to Iraqis on June 30 could be set back by unexpected events.

Still, the sooner an independent Iraqi government can emerge, the sooner it can try to rally global support.

A successful appeal would give the Iraqi people hope that the world community - not just U.S. troops - wants to help them achieve a peaceful future.

Comment: First of all, it is highly doubtful that the Iraqi people view the actions of US troops as those of a power that wants to help Iraq achieve a peaceful future. When an Iraqi's spouse and children have been blown to pieces by US artillery and missiles, chances are he will not feel like giving US soldiers a big hug.

The author of the article also remarks that America needs to get civil authority turned over to Iraqis by June 30th. Yet Paul Bremer will still rule over the new Iraqi governing council. All laws they decide to pass will require Bremer's approval. Therefore, the June 30th deadline is meaningless to Iraqis because they are most likely aware - or at least suspicious - that the government, although composed of Iraqis, is a puppet of the US.

The article then swerves into talk of foreign leaders viewing the current US struggle as an "I-told-you-so payback" for America's total disregard for other nations' opposition to the invasion of Iraq. The US doesn't seem to want to play by its own rules. According to the author, its okay for the US to thumb its nose at other countries, but when things go terribly wrong, those other nations are expected to immediately jump in and clean up America's new Vietnam.

The argument is made that all nations have an interest in Iraq due to economics and the idea that Iraq could become a terrorist breeding ground. From an economic standpoint, the best option for other countries would be to let the US sit in Iraq and ultimately be defeated. Once America's influence was removed from Iraq, the other countries would move in and work out contracts for the oil that the US is currently trying to control.

As for terrorism, it seems far more likely that any supposed terrorists would not want to harm nations that pull out of Iraq. Spain was allegedly struck on 3/11 for its involvement in the US push for global domination. Of course, other nations have certainly stoked the anger of various extremist groups over the years, but why add more fuel to the fire by helping the US? Perhaps the most absurd move by any terrorist group would be to provoke every country they can find into hunting them down.

Of course, given that it appears that many "terrorist" events have the fingerprints of Mossad, one can only guess where the Israeli agen--er, the terrorists will strike again. It seems the push for total control by the puppet masters will not be hindered by small annoyances such as the illogical motives of the alleged terrorists. The slumbering masses will unwittingly do much of the work for their masters.

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Rumsfeld Backs More Iraq Troops if Needed

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer
Wed Apr 7,12:35 AM ET

WASHINGTON - If violence in Iraq gets worse, U.S. military commanders will get the troops they need to deal with it, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday.

Coalition forces fought on two fronts Tuesday, battling a Shiite-inspired uprising in southern Iraq and Sunni insurgents in the city of Fallujah in clashes that have killed dozens of American troops and at least 100 Iraqis since the weekend.

Commanders are studying ways they might increase troops in Iraq if violence should spread much more widely, defense officials said.

Among the options are:
-Troops already inside Iraq could be moved around.
-Troops eventually headed for Iraq, now training in nearby Kuwait, could be sent early.
-More troops could be sent from the United States — either reservists or active duty troops who have already served.

Officials said they also are talking to six more countries about the possibility of contributing forces. Such talks have continued throughout the campaign but have brought in only 24,000 international troops, compared with 135,000 Americans in Iraq.

"I'm fearful of sending more American troops who will be drawn from the guard and reserve forces once again," said Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb. "That's when we're going to exacerbate what I believe is a looming retention and recruitment problem." [...]

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US resolve in Iraq 'unshakable'

President George W Bush has declared that US resolve in Iraq remains "unshakable", despite ongoing clashes with insurgents across the country.

His comments came after one of the worst single attacks since the war left 12 US marines dead and about 20 others injured in Ramadi, west of Baghdad.

Tuesday's attack was one of several clashes between US-led troops and Shia and Sunni Muslim gunmen.

At least 36 Iraqis are said to have been killed in Falluja in the past day.

The last three days of clashes throughout the country are estimated to have left more than 100 Iraqis dead.

During the same period, at least 20 coalition troops have died.

[...] "The president mourns the loss of each of our fallen," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

"Our resolve is firm... and we will prevail," the spokesman said after Mr Bush had been briefed about the attack at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Comment: Get out the Signs Sick bag, it's another attack of the Bush faux sincerity! "Although I, myself, was unable to fight in Vietnam due to pressing engagements with the Republican Party in Alabama and at a little bar around the corner from a hot, America will not be cowed nor steered off her ranch, uh, when I saw that first plane fly into the WTC that morning, I knew that it was a dream come true for my friends in the oil business, uh, al Qaeda, huh, no, uh that they hated America because of our freedoms. Thank you."

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US vows to wipe out cleric's army

The US military in Iraq has vowed to "destroy" the militia which backs a radical Shia cleric responsible for much of the latest wave of violence.

[...] The Shia-led violence has opened a second front for US-led coalition troops who had previously been confronting mainly Sunni supporters of the former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein.

At least 36 Iraqis are said to have been killed in the past 24 hours in the flashpoint town of Falluja in the Sunni triangle that has been the centre of opposition to the occupation.

US President George W Bush has insisted the US resolve in Iraq remains "unshakable", despite the clashes.

The White House is now back on a war footing, the BBC's Justin Webb in Washington reports, and Secretary of State Colin Powell has urged the nation to rally behind its troops.

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Falluja engulfed in fighting

Wednesday 07 April 2004, 13:25 Makka Time, 10:25 GMT

Fierce street battles are raging in Falluja between resistance fighters defending the town and US occupation forces, who are launching missile attacks in and around residential areas.

At least 52 Iraqis have died in attacks since Tuesday in the besieged town which American forces completely sealed off on Sunday, according to hospital sources reported Aljazeera's correspondent Ahmad Mansur. More than 100 others, including children, have been injured.

[...] Speaking live from a rooftop in the tense town, Mansur said the hospital is struggling to cope with the rising casualties.

"They are attacking residential neighbourhoods," he said as US warplanes swooped over the area and fired rockets. Intense gunfire could be heard from the streets.

"The residents of Falluja are asking where is the (US-appointed) Iraqi Governing Council," said an obviously shaken Mansur. "They are asking why the Iraqis are not protecting them."

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Uprising in Iraq could derail Bush: As US forces suffer another bloody day, Republicans turn on president

Julian Borger in Washington
Wednesday April 7, 2004
The Guardian

President George Bush was yesterday struggling to prevent the escalating violence in Iraq from engulfing his re-election campaign, after his worst political week this year triggered bipartisan calls for a rethink of US strategy there.

[...] Washington insisted yesterday that US commanders would have all the troops and resources they needed, and Mr Bush signalled once more that he was prepared to stake his presidency on defeating the insurgents. "There are thugs and terrorists in Iraq who are trying to shake our will," the chief White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, told journalists. "And the president is firmly committed to showing resolve and strength ... They cannot shake our will."

However, with even Republicans warning of the imminent danger of a civil war in Iraq, and the administration's handling of the terrorist threat under increasing scrutiny, the president's image as a wartime leader is taking a battering.

Comment: Get out the Signs Sick bag again....

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Do what you must, but do it without me

by Kathy Fisher
Unknown News
April 6, 2004

Go, do what you must, do it fast.

I understand you have this great desire to rid yourselves of George Bush, because just like the last bastard before him who pissed you all off, you feel compelled and slightly empowered to rid yourselves of another liar. Go ahead, change the name, but it's all the same.

What are you going to do when things don't get better, what will you say when we are still in Iraq? Who will you blame when jobs are still leaving the country?

Maybe you'll feel better replacing the would-be King with a self-appointed Prince?

When will you understand it's going to take a whole lot more effort then just going to the polls one Tuesday in November every four years to make a difference.

Americans want instant change as fast and easy as they want their fast food. Well, it ain't gonna happen just like that. We didn't get into this mess all at once -- it took decades.

Voting one liar out and another in is just settling for various degrees of torture. It's like changing the level of heat under a pot of boiling soup. No matter what the setting it's still hot as hell.

I can hear you all saying 'Yeah, but you don't understand ... "anybody but Bush" ... and Kerry could never be as bad!' Well, to that I have a few questions.

Do you really think the president is the head honcho, the one in charge? Do you think George W. Bush is the man calling all the shots? You better look closer. There's someone else pulling the strings of these mysterious marionettes.

But if you really believe that these puppets possess Absolute Power, well, maybe you believe that cardboard wild-west town in the movies is real too. And tonight you might as well tell the tooth-fairy to leave your pensions and Social Security checks under your pillow.

We are Americans, and we expect more from our cars than our leaders. Hell, we take more time choosing our cars than our leaders, and we certainly demand more choices. Come to think of it some of my neighbors change cars every four years.

The presidency has become a huge cancerous growth, one that has resisted every form of chemo. The highest doses of radiation can't stop it and no scalpel cuts all of it away. It just keeps growing back, bigger and more offensive.

I have simply decided that if I can't stop it, I will at least die with a little bit of dignity. It was a good fight, but I would rather die with cancer than live with a new growth every year killing me slowly piece by piece.

The only word a cancer patient likes to hear is remission.. It means the cancer has disappeared. Now, that would be nice for America -- that would be hope. I hear in rare cases this happens all by itself. Now if you thought that was too macabre of an analogy, well, try this.

I think it's time we gave up on our presidents and the people who prop them up like undertakers. They put make-up on the dead to try and convince you that a corpse is still your dear sweet Aunt Tilly, or a marionette is the leader of the free world.

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Globalization vs. Americanization

By Andrew Lam
April 6, 2004

A friend, well traveled and educated, recently predicted the evils of globalization in very simple terms. "Everyone will be eating at McDonald's, listening to Madonna and shopping at mega-malls,'' he prophesied. "It'll be absolutely awful.''

What I told him then is that globalization is not the same as Americanization, though sometimes it's hard for Americans to make that distinction. The most crucial aspect of globalization is the psychological transformation that's affecting people everywhere.

Let me offer my own biography as an example. I grew up a patriotic South Vietnamese living in Vietnam during the war. I remember singing the national anthem, swearing my allegiance to the flag, and promising my soul and body to protect the land and its sacred rice fields and rivers. Wide-eyed child that I was, I believed every word.

But then the war ended and I, along with my family (and eventually a couple of million other Vietnamese), betrayed our agrarian ethos and land-bound sentiments by fleeing overseas to lead a very different life.

Almost three decades later, I make a living traveling between East Asia and the United States of America as an American journalist and writer. My relatives, once all concentrated in Saigon, are scattered across three continents, speaking three and four other languages, becoming citizens of several different countries. Once sedentary and communal and bound by a singular sense of geography, we are now bona fide cosmopolitans who, when we get online or meet in person, still marvel at the difference between our past and our highly mobile if intricately complex present.

Yesterday my inheritance was simple – the sacred rice fields and rivers that defined who I was. Today, Paris and Hanoi and New York are no longer fantasies but my larger community, places to which I feel a strong sense of connection due to familial relationships and friendships and personal ambitions. Once great, the distances are no longer daunting but simply a matter of rescheduling. [...]

The new man's talent is the ability to overcome paralysis of the many conflicting selves by finding and inventing new connections between them. He holds opposed ideas in his head without going crazy. He resists the temptation to withdraw into a small shell of separatism and fundamentalism and xenophobia. He learns instead to hear others and respect differences and, in the process, transcends paradox. He sees the world with its many dimensions simultaneously. Geography for him may be memory and logistics, but it's no longer destiny.

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US-Israel agree on Gaza withdrawal

Wednesday 07 April 2004, 0:53 Makka Time, 21:53 GMT

United States and Israeli officials have reportedly reached a tentative agreement on key components of an Israeli plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

Sources familiar with the negotiations on Tuesday said President George Bush was expected to back the withdrawal as an interim step.

Comment: We saw earlier this week that Sharon has explicitly stated that the goal of the unilateral withdrawal is to prevent the formation of a Palestinian state, so it is "good" to know that the US agrees with Sharon's goals: the slow and painful mass murder of the Palestinian people. We see that the US is now using Israeli tactics in Iraq.

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Academics 'harming' efforts to combat terrorism

Lucy Ward
Wednesday April 7, 2004

University academics are hampering efforts to defend western democracy against Islamist threats because they are fundamentally hostile to the UK's security services, according to a leading professor.

Anthony Glees, Brunel University's professor of politics and author of previous research suggesting dozens of UK academics acted as agents for the east German secret police, Stasi, will risk inflaming the academic establishment by warning in a lecture today that universities are nurturing a political culture deeply sceptical over the role of British intelligence agencies.

[...] In his paper, published in today's Times Higher Education Supplement, Professor Glees - who is director of the centre for intelligence and security studies at Brunel - says: "There is still a marked suspicion of professional security activities, even in the defence of liberal democracy... Some senior members of Britain's diplomatic community and more than a few members of Britain's academic community believe that security and intelligence services do not provide the answer to the problem but are, in fact, its cause."

Academics are mainly "hostile to the idea of intervention in international affairs and have, since 1980, harboured strong suspicions of American motives".

Comment: Can't have that, now, can we, academics who are suspicious of American motives! No, we should take the psychopath at his word.

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10 Years Ago - Rwanda

Rwanda: Conference Recommends Reparations Fund for Genocide Victims

April 7, 2004

Kigali An international conference on prevention of genocide recommended on Tuesday that an international fund be established to cater for reparations of victims of Rwanda's 1994 genocide. The conference, whose theme was "Preventing and banishing genocide forever through universal active solidarity", recommended that the UN and countries that could have intervened to stop the genocide but failed to do so should pay reparations "for the material, psychological and moral losses incurred". Belgium, Britain, France and the US as well as the Roman Catholic Church came under repeated criticism during the conference. Some accused them of involvement and others of maintaining silence as extremists Hutus killed hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus.

The conference also called upon the UN to cater for medical and psychological support for rape victims, a large number of whom had become infected with HIV/AIDS. A survey carried out by AVEGA, an umbrella organisation that groups widows of the genocide, showed that Hutu extremists raped up to 80 percent of its members during the genocide. The UN Security Council should adopt a resolution which explicitly recognises and condemns, without equivocation, the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda, participants said in recommendations made at the end of the three-day conference . They called upon UN member countries to enact legislation that puts in place punitive measures for individuals and organisations that develop and propagate the ideology of genocide.


Participants also accused the UN as well as the international community in general of "choosing to ignore" the killings by refusing the then UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda to protect civilians and for failing to reinforce the size of the force. "You were abandoned," Romeo Dallaire, former head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda, said. "You are an orphaned country." Dallaire told the more than 600 participants that the Rwandan genocide was "brutal, criminal, disgusting" and continued for 100 days under the full glare of the international community. "The international community did not give one damn for any Rwandan because Rwandans do not count. Rwanda was of no strategic value to anybody and had no strategic resources," he said.[...]

Comment: Today is the 10th anniversary of the start of the genocide that killed over 900,000 people in Rwanda in a horrific 100 days. Although there is an apparent flurry of sympathetic and pious sounding statements from the colonial masters involved, and the UN has called for a minute's silence to commemorate the event, we doubt that many outside Africa will take any note of this infamous date in human history, or seek to examine what led to this relentless slaughter. We also know that a lesson that hasn't been learnt, is one that will surely be repeated.

Like the psychopath that always likes to be seen as being most helpful in the aftermath of a crime they themselves helped commit, the US Department of State issued a press release a week ago on April 1st, stating that they were taking the lead in the "support for Rwandan reconstruction and reconciliation". Amongst the stories outlined in this "fact sheet" is the following:

Success Story - A Map and Bananas

One young boy was considered untraceable because he could not help the center staff determine where he was from. IRC staff had him draw places that he could remember going to frequently. It turned out that he went often to his neighbor's house because she would give him bananas--and he loved bananas! Luckily, he also remembered the first name of his neighbor. IRC broadcast a radio announcement with this unusual information and a relative of the boy recognized the neighbor's name and remembered how his nephew loved bananas. The relative went to the center on the chance that the boy might be his relative. It was, and they were reunited!

While the US State Department was talking bananas on April Fool's day, please note the statement in the above article, from Romeo Dallaire, former head of the UN peacekeeping mission: "The international community did not give one damn for any Rwandan because Rwandans do not count. Rwanda was of no strategic value to anybody and had no strategic resources." Like many millions of Rwandans, Romeo Dallaire was so traumatised by what he helplessly witnessed, that he had what amounted to a nervous breakdown in the aftermath of the genocide. Unfortunately Dallaire's statement still holds true on this day. Will you give a minute of your time to remember and think about Rwanda's dead on any day, or are you happy to play April Fool's games like the US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues and his delegation?

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US Delegation Goes to Kigali to Commemorate Rwandan Genocide.

The State Department April 5 released the following statement on the U.S. delegation to the 10th anniversary commemoration of the genocide in Rwanda:

Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, will lead the U.S. Delegation to Rwanda for the 10th anniversary Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide, which will take place in Kigali, Rwanda from April 7-8. The delegation also will include USAID Deputy Administrator Frederick Schieck and other government and private sector representatives. Together they will participate in official Commemoration events, including a "Night of Mourning" ceremony and a U.S. Embassy ceremony for Foreign Service nationals who lived through those events.

[...] The United States has worked continuously to help bring those responsible for these heinous acts to justice, and we continue to stand with the people of Rwanda as they seek to rebuild their country in the aftermath of the Genocide. The U.S. delegation will recall the underlying causes of those events, and will pledge our commitment to work to help ensure that they never happen again.

Comment: It is a shame the US government under President Clinton didn't work "continuously" to stop the genocide on this day in 1994. Although we are familiar with the trend, this sickening feigning of compassion still beggars belief. Unfortunately very few in the US either know of this dissembling done in their name, or even care to know. Although ordinary US citizens can do nothing about the situation, knowledge protects and the truth always speaks volumes. Wanna listen?

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U.S. Intelligence Warned 'Genocide' In Rwanda In April, But Clinton Administration Waited Until Late May To Use Word.

New Documents And Report Highlight Array Of Info Before U.S. Policymakers.

U.S. intelligence reports concluded that the slaughter in Rwanda ten years ago amounted to genocide as early as April 23, 1994, while policymakers debated for another month over whether to use the word publicly, according to a new report and declassified documents posted on the Web by the National Security Archive.

Obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, the documents illuminate the vast array of 'information and intelligence' available to Clinton Administration officials during the crisis, as well as the policymaking committees and working groups that used the information.

The documents reveal:

* The CIA's top secret National Intelligence Daily, circulated to President Clinton, Vice President Gore and hundreds of senior officials, featured the slaughter in Rwanda on a daily or near-daily basis in April and May 1994, including an April 23 analysis that Rwandan rebels will continue fighting to "stop the genocide, spreading south";

* The State Department's intelligence briefing for Secretary Christopher and other top officials saw in Rwanda "genocide and partition" as early as April 26, reporting declarations of "a 'final solution' to eliminate all Tutsis", but the U.S. did not officially declare the killing genocide until May 25;

* U.S. officials, including Secretary Christopher and Secretary Perry, met with and telephoned counterparts such as UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali, Gen. Romeo Dallaire, and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe throughout the crisis, with Gen. Dallaire pleading with USAID head Brian Atwood that "without U.S. equipment, UNAMIR can do virtually nothing" to save civilians in Rwanda;

* U.S. officials met throughout April and May with human rights and humanitarian agency representatives concerned with Rwanda, including a May 17 meeting where International Committee of the Red Cross official Jean de Courten told State Department Under Secretary Timothy Wirth the "mass killings" in Rwanda compared to the "genocide in Cambodia".

Archive consulting fellow William Ferroggiaro, who wrote the report and obtained the documents through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, said, "The documents show that despite Rwanda's relative unimportance to U.S. interests and despite other crises demanding their attention, U.S. officials had the capacity and resources to know what was happening in Rwanda. In a sense, the system worked: Diplomats, intelligence agencies, defense and military officials--even aid workers--provided timely information up the chain to President Clinton and his top advisors. That the Clinton Administration decided against intervention at any level was not for lack of knowledge of what was happening in Rwanda."[...]

Comment: Even when a colony is of no "strategic value", a policy of divide and rule still takes centre stage because oppression is all about control for the sake of control. The recent history of Rwanda is a tragic case in point. Psychopaths exert control over others just for the pleasure of being in control. Just as is the case in individual scenarios, when it comes to countries or whole continents, the principle remains the same. With the individuals scenario, the psychopath likes to be seen as a messiah/hero figure, and when it comes to control over a nation, the messiah/hero figures are usually housed in places called churches.

Remember, religions kick start the emotional centre through associated guilt, to get the individual to give up their free will. In other words, "Look what Jesus did for you, now what are you going to do for Jesus?" The trick is to get you to cut off your own head - the intellectual centre - so that what drives you is the emotional centre. One literally becomes like a headless chicken. Some call this abrogation of individual responsibility "faith". And as in the case of the US and other colonial controllers, when the dust has settled over the skeletons of the ones offered as a sacrifice to the entropic principle, the psychopath steps up as the saviour. The article below sheds some light on the historical roots of this tragedy and shows what "faith in God" did for the people of Rwanda.

The Role of the Church in Genocide

[...]To this day, people still wonder what the causes of this slaughter were. Some even point at the church of Rwanda, in this instance the Catholic Church, which was then the most representative and the most influential in the country. Indeed, it represents more than 60% of the population and had for a long time boasted the moral high ground, which could have been used to curb this disaster.

The question is then to know whether the church really tried to make use of its influence or if it rather failed to fulfill its duties, as several analyses seem to confirm. At the moment when we commemorate the tenth anniversary of those tragic events, it is necessary to sort the events out and draw out the responsibilities of the parties. This contribution is based on personal experience as well as various investigations in this field.

As soon as they arrived in Rwanda in the 1900s, the first settlers and white missionaries found a well-structured country ruled by the Mwami. Even though the power was concentrated in the hands of the Tutsi minority, the missionaries did not deign to protest against this situation.

They even found it natural and went as far as asserting that the Tutsi were intellectually superior to the Hutus and were the only ones able to rule the country. They invented the Hamite myth that said the Tutsi were actually white men with a black skin. They developed typologies that were probably influenced by the evolutionist theories that were fashionable in those days.

The schools they opened were almost exclusively reserved for Tutsi children. They also made an obvious effort to convert to their religion numerous children from the aristocracy. For decades, both the Belgian colonial power therefore relied on the Tutsi, stockbreeders more akin to a cast than to an ethnic group, to rule the country and dominate the Hutu farmers, by far the largest group in the country.

But in the late 1950's, when the Tutsi elite started to wave claims of independence and the Mwami contemplated appealing to the United Nations, both Belgium and the Church decided to defend the democratic rights of the Hutu majority, embodied by Grégoire Kayibanda, former secretary of the bishop of Kabgayi and founder of the Party for the Promotion of the Hutu People (ParmeHutu).

The Catholic Church actively involved itself with the first Hutu revolutionaries, often former pupils of its schools, and denounced the social injustice it had once promoted. A letter of Mgr André Perraudin, then bishop of Kabgayi, that was published at the occasion of the Lent of 1959, agrees in many aspects with the broad outlines of the Hutu manifesto launched on the 24th of March 1959.

In this pastoral letter entitled 'Super Omnia Caritas', the prelate declared that the resources as well as the political and even judicial powers were in truly considerable proportion within the hands of people of one race only. He predicted imminent bloodshed if the situation was to remain unchanged.

After a referendum, carefully guided by the Belgian colonial power and the church, had installed a republic, thus exiling the last king, the Tutsi were stripped from their power, evicted from their lands and physically threatened. Hundred of thousands of them sought refuge in neighbouring countries, notably Uganda.

Throughout the three following decades, the Church was perfectly aware of human rights violations but did not lift a finger. It gave its blessing to the abuses of power of the young republic and got further involved in social activities. This conniving silence was indubitably interpreted by the rulers as a sign of support.

Grégoire Kayibanda, the first president, was close to catholic circles and had clergymen among his counsellors, specifically his grace André Perraudin, who was seen as his spiritual father. The first republic displayed notorious intransigence towards the exiles and exercised undisputed power under cover of majority democracy. Instead of grasping this opportunity to reassure the royalists and the Tutsi in general, the government was driven by feelings of revenge.

Every time an attack was launched by the exiles, the Tutsi paid for it with their blood. This was the case in the years 1961/1962. The president himself declared in his speeches that such actions by the exiles endangered the lives of their brothers who stayed in the country. The Catholic Church, present out in the field all across the country, did nothing to stop the mass killings and went on working hand in hand with the government until it collapsed.

Major-General Juvénal Habyarimana, then staff officer of the army, seized power in 1973. The Church ignored the circumstances in which this power was taken and gave full support to the new regime. When the MRND, the party of the president and future grassroots of the infamous interahamwe, was founded in 1975, some religious leaders became active members. A system of ethnically based quotas introduced by the government was also applied in some religious schools. The same racial discrimination was carried out in the choice of bishops.

At no point did the Church raise its voice to denounce the dictatorship of the MRND and its policy of exclusion. Those who dared to criticize it, such as Mrs Félicula Nyiramutarambirwa and father Silvio Sindambiwe, have paid dearly for their views.

The Church also took an active part in party propaganda. Certain homilies often sounded like popular meetings. After the attack of the FPR rebels in 1990, the government did a mock attack on Kigali and arbitrarily arrested thousands of Tutsi. The Church again missed the opportunity to distance itself from the government.

Mass killings like those in Bugesera and Bigogwe, which were aimed at Tutsi, did not change anything. When it was time to contribute to the war effort, the Church was more than eager. This connivance from the Church and the state would carry on until the genocide and even its eruption in April 1994 did not change the position of the Church. The first massacres of the morning of the 7th of April took place in Kigali at Remera Christus Centre where priests, seminarians on holiday and other visitors were killed.

The behaviour of these men of God in those crucial moments is revolting to say the least; some of them even handed over their own colleagues to the executioners; others refused to shelter in their parishes the refugees flocking there; and others offered to hide them only to fetch the interahamwe afterwards.

This was the case of the two Benedictine nuns, Consolate Mukangango and Julienne Mukabutera, who used to run the convent in Sovu and collaborated with the killers to the point where they provided them with the petrol that was to set ablaze the building where 500 Tutsi were hiding. They have recently been sentenced by a Brussels court to 15 and 12 years respectively.

The case of minister Elizaphan Ntakirutimana should not be ignored either. At more than 70 years of age, he was the minister of the Adventist Church of the Seventh Day in Mugonero, Kibuye. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda recently sentenced him to 10 years in jail. Instead of answering to the cries for help of his Tutsi colleagues who relied on his influence in the area and begged him to intervene, he sent them militia men while he was himself driving killers to different massacre sites in his own vehicle.

These are only a few examples among thousands. Indeed, other religious people are still held prisoners or are wanted by justice. Churches, once seen as sanctuaries, were turned into slaughterhouses. The churches of Nyarubuye, Cyahinda, Karama, and Kibeho have become remnants of this sad episode. Men of God, who once were seen as role models and enjoyed an indisputable moral authority, did not know how to use it in order to save lives of innocents. Their silence and their participation in those fatal moments brought a sort of "acknowledgement and legitimacy" to the ignoble acts in the eyes of the killers. [...]

From the Vatican to the Episcopal council of Rwanda, there is contentment with saying that the crimes of some of theirs have nothing to do with the Church as a whole, thus seeming to ignore that they have been educated, ordained and appointed by the Church. Furthermore, those who ran towards them did so because they saw in them a representative of the Church. Without playing down its part in the economic and social field of the country, the Church failed seriously. Whether one admits it or not, it has played an active part in the misery that has befallen on Rwanda and has lost some of its credibility. Not to acknowledge it would be foolish.

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'Capitulation' Not Exactly to Kremlin's Taste

By Yulia Latynina

Mikhail Khodorkovsky's article "The Crisis of Liberalism in Russia," published last week in Vedomosti, aroused the wrath of the country's liberals. Many in Russia and the West decried it as a capitulation to the Kremlin. Whether by design or moral blindness, our liberals chose not to distinguish between an act of penitence before the people and grovelling before the regime. Perhaps because they are experts at the latter but have little experience of the former.

More interesting, however, is that in dismissing Khodorkovsky's essay as a capitulation, most of the former Yukos CEO's critics didn't bother to consider the Kremlin's response. This was two-fold: Khodorkovsky's article was followed by the release of a 55-page summary of the charges against jailed Menatep chairman Platon Lebedev; and even before the article appeared, the Kremlin launched a covert operation to compromise it -- the significance of which cannot be overestimated.

I'm referring to the posting of an abbreviated version of the article on an Internet site ( under the pseudonym Stepanov.

Anyone who knows Khodorkovsky recognized the text as his own. The ideas he expressed there are the same ones he was espousing before his arrest, the same ones he discusses endlessly with his lawyers rather than focusing on the case against him. There is no shortage of Khodorkovsky's letters from prison addressing the same issues -- the crisis of liberalism, the responsibility borne by the oligarchs and the fact that Putin is, unfortunately, more liberal than 70 percent of the electorate. I came across this phrase myself last December.

Logistically, the authorities would have had no trouble stealing the text of the article. Khodorkovsky had been working on it since February, and he was regularly absent from his cell during meetings with his lawyers. It is now abundantly clear that this is exactly what happened. The mysterious Mr. Stepanov never materialized, and the editors at now admit that they received the text posted on their website from someone connected with the Kremlin or the security services who emphasized that the text was "not just idle philosophizing."

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Administration wages war on pornography

By Laura Sullivan
Sun National Staff
Originally published April 6, 2004

WASHINGTON - Lam Nguyen's job is to sit for hours in a chilly, quiet room devoid of any color but gray and look at pornography. This job, which Nguyen does earnestly from 9 to 5, surrounded by a half-dozen other "computer forensic specialists" like him, has become the focal point of the Justice Department's operation to rid the world of porn.

In this field office in Washington, 32 prosecutors, investigators and a handful of FBI agents are spending millions of dollars to bring anti-obscenity cases to courthouses across the country for the first time in 10 years. Nothing is off limits, they warn, even soft-core cable programs such as HBO's long-running Real Sex or the adult movies widely offered in guestrooms of major hotel chains.

Department officials say they will send "ripples" through an industry that has proliferated on the Internet and grown into an estimated $10 billion-a-year colossus profiting Fortune 500 corporations such as Comcast, which offers hard-core movies on a pay-per-view channel. [...]

It is unclear, though, just how the American public and major corporations that make money from pornography will accept the perspective of the Justice Department and Attorney General John Ashcroft. [...]

In a speech in 2002, Ashcroft made it clear that the Justice Department intends to try. He said pornography "invades our homes persistently though the mail, phone, VCR, cable TV and the Internet," and has "strewn its victims from coast to coast."

Given the millions of dollars Americans are spending each month on adult cable television, Internet sites and magazines and videos, many may see themselves not as victims but as consumers, with an expectation of rights, choices and privacy.

Ashcroft, a religious man who does not drink alcohol or caffeine, smoke, gamble or dance, and has fought unrelenting criticism that he has trod roughshod on civil liberties in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, is taking on the porn industry at a time when many experts say Americans are wary about government intrusion into their lives. [...]

But administration critics and First Amendment rights attorneys warn that the initiative could smack of Big Brother, and that targeting such a broad range of readily available materials could backfire. [...]

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Axis of execution: American justice ranked alongside world's most repressive regimes

By Justin Huggler, Asia Correspondent
07 April 2004

America is just one of just four countries responsible for 84 per cent of executions around the world last year, a report released yesterday by Amnesty International said.

The report groups the US with China, Iran and Vietnam as one of the countries responsible for the overwhelming majority of executions worldwide. It puts America ahead of Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo for known executions ­ although in many countries complete figures are unknown. The US and China were the only countries in the world to execute child offenders last year, the report says

"The intense secrecy that surrounds use of the death penalty in many countries makes this depressing log of last year's executions an underestimate of the true extent of the use of this outdated punishment early in the 21st century," Lesley Warner of Amnesty said yesterday. "In China alone we fear that many thousands of people ... are being executed in secret each year, the majority after shockingly unfair trials.

"The US's defiant stance over executing those convicted for crimes committed as children is one particular area of concern, sending a dangerous message around the world. We call on the US to abandon child-offender executions as a first measure towards ending all judicial killing."

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Gas plot 'justifies war on terror'
April 7, 2004

Reports of a thwarted poison gas attack vindicate the decision to bring in tough anti-terror measures, says Home Secretary David Blunkett.

Details of the alleged plot, feared to have focused on the London Underground, an airport or major public area, emerged in a report by ABC News.

Security services are said to have foiled a plan to use a highly toxic chemical called osmium tetroxide after listening in on communications between terror suspects.

Mr Blunkett said: "All of us, for two-and-a-half years, have been indicating that that is precisely what the network called al Qaida, in its loose form, are actually about." [...]

Comment: First, Bush and Blair invent threats, which they use to terrorize their citizens. Then those citizens discover that Bush and Blair lied. The response of the leaders is to lie again, and say, "See? We weren't wrong after all!" Now, what's wrong with this picture? Take your time...

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RAF may make CFB Cold Lake second home

April 6, 2004

Cold Lake - Negotiations are taking place in Ottawa that could lead to Britain's Royal Air Force sharing the huge Canadian Forces airbase at Cold Lake.

Col. Charles Sullivan, a commander at the base, says if the talks are successful, some British officers would be permanently stationed there. Their presence would allow RAF fighters to operate out of the facility for five to seven months a year, he said.

The RAF would also participate in training exercises with the British army, which already comes to Alberta every year. Cold Lake, which is about 290 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, once housed 3,500 military and civilians, but staffing cuts have seen that number drop to about 2,300. The base, where Canada's fighter pilots train and which houses a tactical bombing range, is marking its 50th anniversary this year.

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Police step up security in wake of fire

April 6, 2004

MONTREAL - Montreal police have stepped up security around Jewish institutions and Muslim mosques following yesterday's firebombing of a Jewish school in the borough of St. Laurent.

The Library of the United Talmud Torah school was destroyed and an anti-semitic note was left on the door. Police said that a previously unknown group is claiming responsibility. The fire was apparently set in response to the situation in the Middle East. No one was hurt and the school is closed for Passover. The fire provoked angry denunciations of anti-semitic violence from Prime Minister Paul Martin, Premier Jean Charest and a number of other politicians and community leaders.

In response to the incident, Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay said he may consider having a specialized hate crimes division created within the police department. Tremblay said he will discuss creating a hate crimes division with Montreal's public security director Peter Yeomans.

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One Killed As Mississippi Amtrak Derails

By JOEDY McCREARY, Associated Press Writer
April 7, 2004

YAZOO CITY, Miss. - A 68-year-old passenger was killed and more than 60 others were injured when an Amtrak passenger train jumped its tracks in a swampy area of the Mississippi Delta, the first deadly accident involving the rail line in two years.

The nine-car train, traveling from New Orleans to Chicago, derailed Tuesday night near the town of Flora, tumbling off a trestle five or six feet approximately 25 miles north of Jackson.

Coroner Ricky Shivers identified the dead passenger as Clara L. Downs, 68, from Chicago. Lee Stokes, of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said it appeared about 65 people suffered "minor to critical injuries." [...]

Dan Stessel, a spokesman for Amtrak, said 68 passengers and 12 crew members were on the train, the City of New Orleans. He said he had no information on what caused the accident. [...]

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HIV infects one in four young S.African women

By Andrew Quinn
Wednesday April 7, 11:20 AM

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Nearly one in four South African women aged between 20 and 24 is infected with the AIDS virus, but broad HIV infection rates among youth appear to be stabilising, a national survey says.

The study by researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand said women bear the brunt of the country's raging AIDS epidemic -- which infects an estimated five million of South Africa's 45 million people, the highest caseload in the world. [...]

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More drought to come, Wheat Board warns

April 05, 2004

SASKATOON - Farmers in the west central part of the province could be heading into another serious drought this year.

Experts at the Canadian Wheat Board say soil moisture in that part of Saskatchewan is now as low as it was two years ago, when the province experienced the worst drought in a century. Lorne Sheppard, who has been farming for more than 30 years near Lucky Lake, says his land has never been this dry.

"There's been absolutely zero runoff," says Sheppard. "I've never seen anything like it. There isn't a drop of water that ran through any culvert that I know of, and the sloughs are all dry." Sheppard says if it doesn't rain soon, he doesn't know what he will plant, because nothing will germinate. [...]

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Thessaloniki, 7 April 2004 (14:27 UTC+2)

No damages were recorded as a result of the earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale that was recorded at 4:30am today at the Greek-Albanian borders, 70 kilometers west of the northwestern Greek city of Florina. The quake was felt in the prefectures of Florina and Kastoria alarming the people.

Scientists have to wait for 48 hours before reaching safe conclusions on whether this earthquake was the main one. No aftershocks have been recorded in the region.

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Science on verge of new `Creation'

Labs say they have nearly all the tools to make artificial life

By Ronald Kotulak
Tribune science reporter
Posted March 28 2004

More than 3.5 billion years after nature transformed non-living matter into living things, populating Earth with a cornucopia of animals and plants, scientists say they are finally ready to try their hand at creating life.

If they succeed, humanity will enter a new age of "living technology," where harnessing the power of life to spontaneously adapt to complex situations could solve problems that now defy modern engineering.

Scientists eagerly talk of a new world of ultra-small living machines, where marvelously made-to-order cells heal the body, clean up pollutants, transform electronics and communication, and much more.

The researchers say it may be possible to make sweaters that mend themselves. Or computers that fix their own glitches.

Though some experts see this new technology as providing unlimited benefits, others worry about the moral appropriateness of human-made life and the introduction of new species with the potential to evolve into creatures that could run amok.

"It's certainly true that we are tinkering with something very powerful here," said artificial-life researcher Steen Rasmussen of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

"But there's no difference between what we do here and what humans have always done when we invented fire, transistors and ways to split the atom," he said. "The more powerful technology you unleash, the more careful you have to be."

Such concern is escalating as more than 100 laboratories study processes involved in the creation of life, and scientists say for the first time that they have just about all the pieces they need to begin making inanimate chemicals come alive.

Unlike any other technology invented by humans, creating artificial life will be as jarring to our concepts of ourselves as discovering living creatures on other planets in the universe would be. It also would bring into sharper focus the age-old questions of "What is life?" and "Where do we come from?"

Comment: It is for this very reason that when the shocking "revelations" are made public, they will be revealed in such a way as to continue the illusory nature of reality that has always been fed to public.

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Free will, but not as we know it

Daniel Dennett, director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University in Massachusetts, is one of the few philosophers you will have heard of. Over the past 20 years he has produced a series of bestselling books, including Consciousness Explained and Darwin 's Dangerous Idea . In his new book, Freedom Evolves, Dennett takes on one of the big questions in philosophy how is free will compatible with a scientific view of the world?

[...] The British mathematician John Conway developed a "Game of Life" in the 1960s, in which a computer screen is divided into pixels. Some are On, filled black, and others are Off. Sets of simple rules determine how neighbouring pixels change. In this very simple world, you can see complex patterns emerge. Some patterns of cells move around and persist for a long time, avoiding being eaten up by others. So here you can see what I call "the birth of avoidance". And right at the moment of birth, we can discern a key distinction some kinds of harm can in principle be avoided. So in a world where everything is deterministic there can be an increase in "evitability" a word I use for the opposite of inevitability.

How does this work?

It is the very reliability of deterministic worlds that makes it possible for organisms to extract information from the world so that they can look ahead and avoid disasters that they see coming. In a truly random world everything really would be inevitable. It is just the opposite of what people often think a world of randomness would be a world where everything was inevitable and nothing was evitable.

Here is another way to think about it. Something is inevitable for you if there is nothing you can do about it. If an undetermined bolt of lightning strikes you dead, then we can truly say there was nothing you could have done about it. You had no advance warning. In fact, if you are faced with the prospect of running across an open field in which lightning bolts may strike, you will be better off if their timing and location is determined by something, since then they may be predictable by you, and hence avoidable. Determinism is the friend, not the foe, of those who dislike inevitability. This should help break the traditional link between determinism and despair.

So freedom is bound up with being able to see the future coming. Having sophisticated nervous systems, we may be better able to predict the future and avoid harm. Is that the origin of your title "Freedom Evolves" ?

Yes. The French poet Paul Valery once spoke of "producing future". I like to think that 's what brains are for they are for producing future. You extract information from the past and use it to produce future, and the more future you can produce the more freedom you have.

At the primitive beginnings of life there is precious little freedom. Then organisms that respond appropriately to changing conditions are the ones that are more likely to have progeny. The tracking of reasons by behaviours is a process that starts very simple and then gradually creates ever more sophisticated "proto-agents". They begin to have the ability to discriminate between different states in the world, and then eventually actively gather information in order to make more long-range adjustment to their plans so that they can be guided by information.

The task of controlling all that freedom becomes an ever bigger part of what you 're up to, and in the course of evolution the growth in nervous systems really becomes explosive. At the very pinnacle of that particular heap is us, because we have so many more things that we can do and so many more reasons for doing them or from refraining from doing them. [...]

Comment: All of the above ties into what we have been saying on this site of late. We live in a system which is predetermined to be "chaotic" or "indeterminable". This "indeterminability" is effected by preventing those that interact with the system (reality) from being able to read the past, predict the future and thereby protect themselves from the more negative aspects of life and existence. It is the idea of the quality of, or objectivity with which, those that observe or view their reality. The higher the quality or objectivity of the observation the less chaos or predetermination that we are subject to. Knowledge, then, really does protect in the most amazing ways!

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DIY caesarean with kitchen knife

By Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent

A woman living in Mexico gave birth to a healthy baby boy after performing a caesarean on herself with a kitchen knife, doctors said yesterday.

It is thought to be the first such case in which both mother and baby survived.

The unidentified 40-year-old lives in a rural area without electricity or running water and an eight-hour drive from the nearest hospital. She had lost a previous baby because of labour complications.

"She took three small glasses of hard liquor," said Dr R F Valle, of the Dr Manuel Velasco Suarez Hospital in San Pablo.

"Then, using a kitchen knife, she sliced her abdomen in three attempts and delivered a male infant that breathed immediately and cried."

Before losing consciousness she told one of her children to call a nurse for help.

After the nurse stitched the wound with a sewing needle and cotton thread, the mother and baby were taken to hospital and treated by Dr Valle.

Dr Valle said that a mother's instinct to save her child can move a woman to perform extraordinary acts.

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Jailers: Murder Suspect Plucks Out Own Eye

April 6, 2004

SHERMAN, Texas -- A man accused of killing his wife, son and stepdaughter is undergoing psychiatric evaluation after jailers say he plucked out his own right eye.

The incident happened Friday morning at the Grayson County jail in Sherman as Andre Lee Thomas was under suicide watch in full view of a nearby booking area.

Sheriff Keith Gary says Thomas turned his back to jailers, knelt and screamed, then turned around with his right eyeball in his hand.

Gary says Thomas quoted a Biblical passage to a jail nurse that "if thy right eye offends thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee."

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And Finally...

Nous sommes desoles que notre president soit un idiot

by Volker Weber

Care instructions on a laptop bag made my Tom Bihn in the Pacific North-West: Nous sommes desoles que notre president soit un idiot. Nous n'avons pas vote pour lui. (We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We didn't vote for him.') That part of the country is not exactly Bush-friendly:

Someone (probably one of you) just emailed us to let us know about this. Thanks for your support. I was wondering when someone would notice the tag. My idea to put that on the care label was inspired by these t-shirts. I just hope that not too many people notice. I'm going to have nightmares about this ending up on Drudge!

Too late, I guess.

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