Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!

Saturday, April 10, 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

Cirrusundulatus
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Within the last 30 years a new word has been added to the English language. The word is 'Meme' and was first used in 1976 by Professor Richard Dawkins, an Animal Behaviourist at the University of Oxford, in his book The Selfish Gene. The Oxford dictionary defines it thus: 'A self-replicating element of culture, passed on by imitation'. Dawkins wrote of memes propagating, not from body to body, but "by leaping from brain to brain". A virus of the mind no less. It is a mechanical explanation for creativity and the propagation of new ideas. Memes emerge full blown from the brain, and, needing to reproduce for survival, infect those brains it can reach. Creativity is merely the juxtaposition and rearranging of memes into new mosaics.

We made reference to this word in yesterday's Signs when discussing humanists, memeticists and other physical/matter theorists who are doing a grand job of steering us away from considering the two race theory, and a non-materialist conception of the universe.

As you may have guessed, the most obvious memetic engineers are advertisers, who utilise television as their biggest battleground. What you watch on TV is not called programming for nothing. With the Easter holiday ritual in mind, one is reminded that religious belief is perhaps the oldest cultural meme, a sort of virtual grouping of constituent memes of self negation, sacrifice, and matyrdom, all for the higher, and much delayed in the future, goal of eternal life. The religious memes lock onto the individual component memes, that is, your existing ideas, prejudices, and assumptions, to produce a compound effect. "Ah! There is a reason for all this suffering! If only I can endure it, there will be a payoff!"

This might be called compound interest as is the case with religions, or the materialist conception of humanists.

As Don Juan put it through Carlos Castaneda, the battle is within and through our minds. What you see determines what you think, what you think determines what you see, and what you see determines what you do. Therefore, if your mind is not your own, if it is the playground of hand-me-down virii, the battle is lost.

Progress, in the material world, is the progress in the development of the mechanical meme replication machine, illustrated by this quote from Douglas Rushkoff who wrote Media Virus in 1994: "The hardwiring of human beings together through a global interactive media has led to the mass transmission of memes, which, instead of infecting individuals one by one, attack the entire cultural organism."

Talking of attack, Operation Terror utilises memes to the max, pounding our consciousness with simplistic linear explications of why we must support the mission of the "war leader" currently enjoying an Easter break on a ranch in Texas while the world burns. In these Signs pages we constantly tease apart the individual memes that combine to form the dominant value system that rules our world. We not only question the premise of the programming, we aim to de-programme ourselves; to de-bug our minds, so that the real "I", or our true self, does not remain just a virtual idea in our minds.

Nothing is sacred on these pages, as all is open to question and close examination. Accepting that we cannot change this world is perhaps the biggest catalyst for the work on our individual selves. Yet this is also a group endeavour, based on a collective understanding that a different possibility for our planet should not stagnate in the realms of theory, as with so many materialist movements that sought to "change the world". If we do not manifest the creative principle through our work, then by the very nature of objective reality, we will be subsumed into the entropic principle. This is nothing more, nothing less than a choice. Believe it or not, we still do have a choice. The "war leader" and his ilk have also made their choice, except they do not uphold freewill, and they'd like to take you to a hell disguised as a New Jersualem. No doubt they'll have the Jesus and the Easter Bunny memes, along with St Peter, waiting for you at the gates.

From a QFS Member

[We received the following from a QFS member, an example of the kind of subtle programming that goes on in Christian circles in the United States.]

Below is a recipe for an Easter themed activity that I got from a local Christian homeschooling newsletter. I thought it to be an amazing example of using attractively packaged visual and tactile stimuli, as well as basic biology (remember sweets triggers endorphine production which makes us happy), in order to introduce a belief. Moreover, this particular belief is a twisted and simplified version of a complex idea, which goes into the very depths of the brain, while depriving the recipient of choice -- and not only now, but also in the future. Just a spoonful of sugar helps the programming go down, in the most delightful way.

Easter Cookies

1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon
tape
Bible

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (this is important don't wait until you're half done with the recipe!)

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19:1-3.

[Another QFS member responded to the recipe by adding his own Biblical references] Explain what the Bible says about beating slaves. It's OK as long as they don't die within a couple of days.

"When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property." (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. Vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19:28-30.

Explain that the Nazarites were not allowed to have vinegar and how this ties into compliance. Yet another one of GOD'S LAWS which on a surface level appear not to make sense. There are reasons for this which only God and writers of the Bible know about. Ours is not to question but to obey.

"And The Lord said to Moses, 'Say to the people of Israel, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to The Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink, and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins'" (Numbers 6:1-4 RSV)

Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.
Read John 10:10-11.

Explain whilst some of these "scientists" are out to disprove elements of the Bible, the writers of the Bible knew best. The Bible is TRUE and once again ours is not to reason why. If it is written that Ostriches don't protect their eggs and scientists go on and say this is false. THEN THEY ARE LYING.

"The wings of the Ostrich wave proudly; but are they the pinions and plumage of love? For she leaves her eggs on the earth, and warms them in the dust, and forgets that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may trample them. She deals harshly with her young ones, as if they were not hers: Though her labor be in vain, she is without fear; because Eloah (God) has deprived her of wisdom, neither has he imparted to her understanding" (Job 39:13-17)

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing.
Read Luke 23:27.

Explain to the little ones what will happen if they fail to obey a command of GOD, Sodom and Gomorrah style. Remember, a child who doesn't fear God will grow up being a heretic or, worse still, a liberal.

"But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt" (Genesis 19:26).

Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.

Explain the sweet loving that you can find in the "sealed section" of the Bible.....Songs of Solomon.... hubba, hubba. An excellent "Birds and Bees" educational text.

"As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste." Songs of Solomon [2:3]

Beat eggs with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Is. 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Explain that white is the colour of the horse that the first riders of the Apocalypse rode symbolising war. Tie this into the current troubles in the Middle East where baby Jesus was born. Explain why this is a GOOD thing.

"I watched as The Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, 'Come!' I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest." Revelation 6:1

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read Matt. 27:65-66.

Explain that Heretics are nuts and broken ones at that. Take God's word and reject these people outright, not giving them a second hearing. After all God commands it.

"A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject . . ." Titus 3:10

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read John 16:20 and 22.

Explain to the kids that Mummy and Daddy have to go to bed early because they are "very tired".

"I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon." Proverbs 7:17

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow. On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read Matt. 28:1-9.

And the Bible has this to say about emptiness. Yes God is indeed a vengeful and fear inducing God. Making it empty, trashing it, flipping it over and dispersing people all over the place. As he does in Isiah.

"Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof." Isaiah 24:1

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Ambush, murder and kidnap: another day in 'post-war' Iraq

By Patrick Cockburn in Abu Ghraib
10 April 2004

First there were staccato bursts of fire from Iraqi guerrillas on the other side of the road. Then came the whoosh of RPG launchers. American soldiers on their Humvees immediately fired back with shuddering machine guns and M-16s. We rapidly drove off the road on to a piece of waste ground along with several other cars. We jumped out of the doors and lay on the ground. Bassil al-Kaissi, our driver, shouted to other Iraqis who had also taken cover: "Take off your keffiyehs [Arab head dresses] or the Americans will think you are mujahedin and kill you."

The violence has spread from the Sunni cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, 30 miles up the main road, to the fringes of the capital.

[...] Yesterday, we watched as Iraqis opened fire on the US convoy of armoured vehicles and petrol tankers with light machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades just as it drove past us on the main highway to Fallujah.

We were caught in the ambush because we had been trying to get into Fallujah by following the trucks and cars of an Iraqi aid group carrying food and medicine to the besieged city. We had just got back to the highway, after driving down back roads and tracks for half an hour to avoid a US road block, when the attack began.

[...] The US military has not taken on board the way in which the week-long siege of Fallujah, where at least 280 people have been killed, is spreading rebellion in this part of Iraq. Otherwise they would not have risked vulnerable petrol tankers on the exposed highway. Everywhere in Abu Ghraib, a Sunni Arab district, there are freshly painted anti-US slogans. One reads: "We shall knock on the gates of heaven with the skulls of Americans."

[...] The lesson of the ambushes on the main highway, including the one that we witnessed, is that the rebellion is moving east from the Euphrates towards the capital. The siege of Fallujah, a city of 300,000 people, by the US Marines and the high loss of civilian life there has ignited a nationalist reaction. It has made it easy for the insurgents to recruit young men in the villages and towns, many of whom are armed and were formerly in the Iraqi army. The US generals do not seem to understand how quickly their military position is deteriorating, which may explain why so many of their men are dying in the blazing wreckage of their vehicles on the road west from Baghdad.

Comment: More young US citizens die far from home. More Iraqis die defending their homes.

Death is all around us.

It is all pervasive. It is on TV, in Hollywood blockbusters, in the headlines, in the music, and, more and more, it seeps from the cracks of an Earth both parched and inundated as we face global warming and a possible ice age.

And yet we ignore death completely in our daily lives.

We act as if we are immortal, as if our empire, our way of life, can continue indefinitely guzzling gas and repressing the automatic and mechanical reactions Western, US, and Judeo-Christian hegemony provokes within those over whom it rules.

But how can we expect otherwise when, as individuals, as the mechanical components of this mechanical system, we ourselves ignore our own mortality. Dr Johnson mused "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." How many of us live with minds so concentrated, so aware of our impending hanging?

And, depend upon it, sir, we are all going to hang sooner or later.

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US allies call for truce in Iraq

The US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council has called for an immediate ceasefire, as US forces battle Sunni militants for a sixth day in Falluja.

The council said a political solution needed to be found to the crisis in the besieged city, west of Baghdad.

[...] One Sunni Muslim member, Ghazi Ajil al-Yawer, said he was ready to resign over the Falluja crisis.

"How can a superpower like the US put itself in a state of war with a small city like Falluja? This is genocide," he told AFP news agency on Friday, the first anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi interim Human Rights Minister, Abdel Basit Turki, and a member of the Iraqi Governing Council's rotating presidency, Iyad Allawi, both resigned on Friday.

In Washington, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said the Shia and Sunni rebellions had proved stronger than expected.

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Crisis meeting to end bloodshed in Falluja

Saturday 10 April 2004, 17:33 Makka Time, 14:33 GMT

A crisis meeting is underway in Falluja in a desperate bid to end nearly a week of fighting that has left hundreds of people dead.

[...] Occupation forces continued to attack the Iraqi town of Falluja, with US warplanes striking twice in the early hours of Saturday.

According to Aljazeera's correspondent, the planes struck at 12:50am (20:50 GMT) and 03:30am (23:30 GMT). Several bombs were dropped on different parts of the town, he added.

The western part of the town also came under fierce mortar attack.

Comment: Hundreds of people dead. Did they have time to prepare their deaths? What would you do if you knew you were going to die today?

For some, facing death means choosing to "live life to the fullest," that is, partying, drinking, being with friends, travel, doing the things they never did before.

To be happy? Is that it?

Other people confront the meaning of our existence. Why are we here? What is the point?

Is there a point? Some reason that you sense but that you have not yet understood, a knowledge locked within that there is something more, something unseen?

What is the sense and purpose of such an existence? We cannot find an exact answer to this question until we examine it in a large context-that of the life of the Cosmos. We shall then understand the meaning of human life, and its objective 'raison d'etre' in relation to the economy of the Universe. On the other hand, looked at from the individual point of view - subjectively - such an existence seems absurd. Great minds have always seen this and clearly said it. Pushkin cried: 'Marvellous gift, useless gift, life, for what purpose were you given to us?'

Pushkin's words will ring true to many a seeker. Confronted with life, with its joys and its horrors, we wonder if there is a purpose.

Mouravieff suggests we look for it in a "large context." But what does this mean, to understand our existence in relation to the economy of the Universe? What could the universe possible have to do with me?

If you are asking these questions, you may be feeling the call of the divine, calling you to the path home. But to find this path, we must confront our esoteric death, the death of our identification with the impermanent part of ourselves the Tradition calls the Personality.

Here we are touching on the great problem of Death. The more man identifies himself with his Personality, the less he thinks of death. Contrary to all evidence as he sees everything die all around him, man has no spontaneous feeling of his mortality. Though gifted with fertile imagination, man can conceive of his own death only with difficulty. An effort is needed in order to come to the idea of one's own death, and to create its image. All man can imagine in this respect is to evoke the image of his own corpse: he can never exclude from this representation the observer who contemplates this image. This fact is known, and certain authors have seen it as proof of our immortality. There is in this a fragment of truth. Without his being aware of it, the mental effort of representing his own death detaches man a little, unaccountably not only from identification with his own body, but also from his Personality - so that he identifies himself, partially and for a few instants, with his real 'I'. Otherwise, the latter remains neglected, generally forgotten somewhere in the deepest parts of our waking consciousness - which is the consciousness of the 'I' of our Personality, accompanied by the consciousness of the 'I' of the body.

By imagining the death of the body, we can detach ourselves from our Personality. For that moment, we can touch our real 'I', the divine spark of Creation within us.

[...] Death is the only real and unique event which happens to us without fail. In other words, constantly bearing in mind the idea of death approaching nearer every day is a concrete means of facing an implacable reality - before which all the joys and all the worries of the Personality fade. It is thus that one learns that in effect: 'all is vanity and torments of the mind.' 18 (Boris Mouravieff, Gnosis, Vol I, p. 39)

Dr. Johnson speaks of concentration of the mind. Mouravieff speaks of the object of this concentration, the understanding that all is vanity. Knowing this, we can focus on that which is permanent, that which will continue on beyond the life of the body.

[...] If we keep the image of death constantly in our minds, we will appreciate with bitter regret the value of each lost day. (Ibid., p.42)

How would you lead your life if you knew the true value of each day?

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Rumsfeld denies Iraq situation spiralling out of control

The US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, denies the situation in Iraq is spiralling out of control. He says the attacks are the work of a relatively small number of people and not a popular uprising. But laying the groundwork for an increase in US troops in Iraq, Mr Rumsfeld said the Pentagon may delay the return home of some US troops who are currently there, in order to reinforce overall troop levels.

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All is well in Iraq and Wall St, says Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch began yesterday with a rare radio interview and a whistlestop visit to where his empire was founded. He ended the day $228 million richer. In between he backed George Bush to win the presidential election and ventured that Australian troops should stay in Iraq. In an interview with Alan Jones on 2GB, he said the situation in Iraq had been misrepresented in the media. "[There has been] tremendous progress in Iraq - all the kids are back at school, 10 per cent more than when Saddam Hussein was there," he said.

"There's 100 per cent more fresh water. Most of Iraq is doing extremely well. There's one small part where the Sunnis . . . are giving trouble and more by, I think, giving cover to international terrorists. "They're really trying to kill Americans, they're trying to kill people from the United Nations, anyone who is trying to come in and help get their country going properly."

Comment: If there ever was proof that the public are little more than impotent pawns in the game plan of the cabal of elite, self-obsessed maniacs that dictate world events, it is the deafening silence with which the current events in Iraq, and the lies that typify the media reporting on it, elicits from them. In truth "we the people" find ourselves in a very difficult position. We have much sympathy for the fact that at this point most people seem to have given up and have chosen to bury themselves in illusion. We sympathise because we feel very acutely the same hopelessness. Indeed, in the face of current world events, how can we not? What really is the point in gathering knowledge about the nature of our world and those that control it when clearly it serves only to bring into ever sharper relief the fact that we have no hope, no chance to divert the current course towards utter destruction that is being fanatically pursued?

At the heart of this lies the fact that we as humans are our own worst enemies. Consider the words of Murdoch or Rumsfeld in the above articles. Despite the fact that we all admit that people lie, it remains very difficult for most of us reading his words to reject them as outright lies. To a certain extent we have just cause not to do so, because most of us in the west have no way to verify what the real truth is. One the one hand, we have the article below telling us that currently only 50% of Iraq has clean water, and under Saddam the figure was 60%. On the other hand we have Murdoch claiming that there is "100% more fresh water." How do we decide who is telling the truth?

What seems to be true is that people like Murdoch and Rumsfeld ensure that, at the very least, their audience is left unsure as to whether they are telling the truth or not by denying their audience access to the means to verify the truth themselves. On a global scale this tactic has been used systematically for many hundreds of years. From the sciences to history to archeology to astronomy, the control system has sought to ensure that the real truth about the nature of our reality never reaches the public.

To make matters worse, we have the fact that, as humans, we WANT to believe that our leaders are telling the truth. We WANT to believe them when they paint a rosy picture of the world. We really WANT to believe in a "better world", in "peace" and "love" and "good will to all humankind". The people that set the agenda for life on our planet know this aspect of our nature only too well well, and while it appears that they do not share this nature themselves, they use it ruthlessly against us in the form of telling us what they know we WANT to hear rather than telling us the truth.

The last thing any of us want or are willing to accept is that there are people who are capable of lying in the most natural and unashamed way, and in doing so show utter disdain for the lives of innocent men, women and children - which includes you and me, we might add.

It strikes us that the one thing that "seekers of truth" must come to terms with, and feel and know in the utmost clarity, is the fact that the people that are orchestrating the destiny of this planet and the people upon it, are utterly devoid of any human feeling, compassion or care for our the welfare. As such, any faith that "we the people" place in these "leaders" or any expectation we might have that, in the end, they will do what is "right", is so misplaced and delusional as to instantly make a strong case for the fact that "we the people" have completely lost all reason and logic and therefore can have no claim to be rational, conscious human beings.

Confronted with such a scenario, we have two choices; The first is to blind ourselves to the little bit of truth that, now and again, seeps out and wholeheartedly believe in the "truth" that issues from the mouths of our "leaders". The second option is to begin the difficult task of digging for the truth. No doubt the first option is an attractive one. By choosing it, we absolve ourselves of any requirement to Do anything other than to simply sit back and wait and hope that our faith in our leaders will ultimately prove to have been well placed. The second option is a lot less palatable given that it involves giving up our dreams of a secure, happy world and a peaceful life, and doing the research that might eventually uncover truth that we can claim to really KNOW as the truth. Even in the case that we attain this goal, what good would it do? Unfortunately, we cannot answer that question definitively. At best we can propose a theory. The theory is presented in full clarity in Laura Knight Jadczyk's newly revised and updated book "Ancient Science A Radical Reassessment of Myth and History"

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Iraq's enemy within

The US-appointed governing council cannot deliver democracy

Haifa Zangana
Saturday April 10, 2004
The Guardian

In Iraq we say: "Choose the companion first, then the road." We believe it very important to know who one is travelling with. On June 30 the US-led occupation forces will hand power to an Iraqi government. Iraqis would like to begin our journey towards a much-needed stability and democracy. But at the moment our "companions" are the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and their appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). We have not chosen them.

The governing council is as responsible as the US-led occupation forces for Iraq's rapid slide into chaos and bloodshed. They stood aside last Sunday when the Sadr City demonstration against the closure of a newspaper was machine-gunned from helicopters - 32 people were killed and hundreds injured. They stood aside when rockets were fired into the Shulla neighbourhood further north in Baghdad, with more casualties. They have been watching in silence while Iraqis have been killed in Basra, Nassiriya, Kirkuk, Amara, Baquba, Kut, Kerbala and Najaf.

It was left to journalists and organisations like Amnesty International and Occupation Watch to document and condemn hundreds of occupation excesses and outright atrocities, starting from the shooting of 17 civilians at a demonstration in Falluja in April last year.

While the IGC denounced the savage mutilation last week of four American mercenaries in Falluja, they failed to issue an equal condemnation of the US marines' besieging of the town, sending tank columns into neighbourhoods, guns blazing, and attacking a mosque with F-16 planes, killing 40 people. The odd IGC member who could not hide from journalists does no more than murmur about the need for "restraint on both sides" or mouth well-worn phrases about foreign hands trying to delay the handover of sovereignty to the Iraqi people. What sovereignty? [...]

The CPA and IGC's early promises were colourful: they would build a new democratic Iraq, they said, guaranteeing human rights and freedom. But a year on, the picture they painted is fading. Car bombs, shootings and kidnapping have become part of daily life. Only 50% of the population have fresh water, compared with 60% before "liberation". Electricity is intermittent. Drugs are sold openly in the streets. Ten thousand Iraqi civilians have been killed since the start of the conflict. But it is not for the security crisis alone that the majority of Iraqis hold IGC members in utter disdain.

Corruption is widespread. To get a job, one needs a tazkia (letter of recommendation) from one of the IGC parties. Allocation of subcontracts only follows a payment of 5%-10% of the value of the contract to the American contractors. Nepotism starts at the very top (eight ministers are close relatives of the IGC members).

Although most of the IGC members were once victims of Saddam's regime, they now turn a blind eye to the violations of human rights by occupation troops. One of the first things the CPA did was to issue a memorandum to remove the jurisdiction of Iraqi courts over any coalition personnel in both civil and criminal matters. According to a recent Amnesty International report: "Coalition forces appear in many cases to be using the climate of violence to justify violating the very human rights standards they are supposed to be upholding. They have shot Iraqis dead during demos, tortured and ill-treated prisoners, arrested people arbitrarily and held them indefinitely, demolished houses in acts of revenge and collective punishment."

The CPA also ignores the violent activities of the four militias in Iraq, which have taken the law into their own hands: the peshmergas of the two Kurdish parties; the Badr brigade of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq; Ahmed Chalabi's troops; and the ex-Ba'athist Mukhabarats under Iyad Alawi's national accord. These militias are run by members of the IGC and no one can touch them. No high-ranking official of Saddam's regime has yet been prosecuted either, despite the wish of most Iraqis that they be bought to justice.

For all the talk of democracy, opposition in any form to the IGC and the occupation is not acceptable. I saw women queuing for hours at the gates of Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad begging for news of their loved ones, many of whom are political prisoners. It brought back bad memories. In the 1970s, under the Ba'ath regime, my mother had to wait in the same place desperate to hear if I was held inside.

In Baghdad, on January 12, I met Abdullatif Ali al-Mayah, professor of politics and director of Baghdad's Centre for Human Rights. He was concerned about women's and young people's rights. A believer in human dignity and justice, he spoke with anger about the plight of Iraqi people under occupation. We arranged to work together. On January 18, on al-Jazeera television, he denounced IGC corruption and demanded elections as soon as possible. Twelve hours later, he was killed. Al-Mayah, a former prisoner of Saddam's regime, was no Saddamist or Bin Ladenist. The CPA and IGC met his murder with silence - as they did the murder of at least 17 other Iraqi academics. With this silence, the oppressed becomes oppressor. [...]

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The battle the US wants to provoke: Sadr's revolt

I heard the sound of freedom in Baghdad's Firdos Square, the famous plaza where the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled one year ago. It sounds like machine-gun fire. On Sunday, Iraqi soldiers, trained and controlled by coalition forces, opened fire on a demonstration here. As the protesters returned to their homes in the poor neighbourhood of Sadr City, the US army followed with tanks, helicopters and planes, firing at random on homes, shops, streets, even ambulances.

According to local hospitals, 47 people were killed and many more injured. In Najaf, the day was also bloody: 20 demonstrators dead, more than 150 injured. In Sadr City on Monday, funeral marches passed by US military tanks and the hospitals were overflowing with the injured. By afternoon, clashes had resumed. Make no mistake: this is not the "civil war" that Washington has been predicting will break out between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. Rather, it is a war provoked by the US occupation authority and waged by its forces against the growing number of Shia who support Moqtada al-Sadr.

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Rotation reassessed as Iraq death toll spikes

Rumsfeld raises possibility of prolonged tours of duty

U.S. forces have suffered their bloodiest week in Iraq since just before the fall of Baghdad a year ago, reporting 40 combat deaths in the seven days from March 31 to April 6. Unlike earlier spikes in casualty figures, notably ones last autumn that resulted from a few helicopter crashes, the latest jump reflects a broad range of incidents, from fierce firefights to roadside bombs. U.S. military deaths in Iraq since the invasion now total 635, including 444 caused by hostile fire. The number of wounded has reached 2,988. [...]

Comment:

"Well, we have a society in which one of the greatest things you can do is a platform to see victim status, and one of the qualifications for that is that you have these exquisitely tender feelings about things and sensibilities which are easily offended. And in America today, if your sensibilities are offended by something that has happened, you get an enormous amount of credibility and are taken very seriously. My own view of this is, the president's there poking fun at himself over what goes down, I think, as one of his failures. And I thought it was a good-natured performance, and it made him look good only in the sense that it showed he could poke fun at himself. But he certainly doesn't disguise the record on weapons of mass destruction. And you have to feel like saying to people,

'Just get over it.' "

- Brit Hume, news anchor for Fox News, when asked on-air about the criticism Bush had received, from families of American soldiers killed in Iraq, concerning Bush's sick jokes about non-existent WMD during a White House event. (March 28, 2004 edition of Fox News Sunday.)

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The Phantom Sovereign

By Jonathan Schell, The Nation and TomDispatch.com
April 9, 2004

The Iraqi struggle for independence from American rule has begun in earnest. US forces there now face a double insurrection – one part Sunni Muslim, the other Shiite Muslim – that threatens at the same time to turn into a civil war. Only the Kurdish north is quiet. With these events, US policy for Iraq has taken leave of reality as thoroughly as America's claims regarding weapons of mass destruction did before the war. The policy was declared on November 21, when Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, announced that on June 30 of this year the "occupation of Iraq will end," and Iraq will then enjoy "sovereignty."

Since then, news commentators and officials have repeatedly told the public that on that date the United States "will hand over sovereignty to the Iraqi people" (in the words of Dan Senor, a senior adviser to the CPA), who will then enjoy what is commonly called an "interim constitution." Every word of these short phrases is based on assumptions radically at odds with the facts.

1. "Sovereignty." According to Webster's, sovereignty is "supreme power, especially over a body politic." But it is no longer possible, if it ever was, to argue that the United States and its allies wield "supreme power" in Iraq. True, US forces can go where they like, but do they rule? Do the Iraqi people obey them? When the American authorities order something to happen, does it? On the contrary, none of the US plans for running the country announced by the Bush Administration has so far even been enacted, much less succeeded. Even now, GOP Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has said that he has "no idea" what the plans for the June 30 transition are. [...]

2. "Hand over." How can the United States "hand over" power that it has never possessed? In any case, sovereignty is not a physical object, like a desk, that can be moved from one office to another. It is a relationship among people – one of command and obedience. Even if the United States did have sovereignty in Iraq, as it obviously does not, it would not be able to pass it on to someone else. Either the United States would remain the real sovereign behind the scenes or the new group would have to build up sovereign power for itself. Admittedly, the United States does possess something in Iraq – unopposable military force. But this is one thing, needless to say, that the United States decidedly will not hand over on June 30 or any other day. [...]

3. "The Iraqi people." The Iraqi people will have no involvement, whether as givers or takers of power, on June 30. Those to whom the United States plans to hand over something or other (it will certainly not be power) are a small group of Iraqi officials, most of whom are to be US appointees. No one knows yet exactly who they will be or how they are to be chosen, Bremer's previous plan of selecting them by means of managed "caucuses" having been scuttled in the face of opposition from Ayatollah Sistani.

4. "Interim Constitution." A series of temporary regulations promulgated, before any election has been held, in the name of a conquering power and its local appointees is wholly misdescribed as a constitution. A constitution is the fundamental, enduring law of a country. In a democracy, it proceeds from the will of the people. Nothing of this kind will be instituted in Iraq on June 30.

5. "June 30, 2004." Among political observers, it is widely and believably said that this date is geared not to any events in Iraq but to the 2004 US presidential election. The Bush Administration wants to bolster the President's campaign by creating an impression of progress in Iraq, and is staffing the CPA's office of strategic communications with GOP operatives including Rich Galen, former press spokesman for Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle.

Keeping all these things in mind, we should revise the commonly used phrases. Instead of saying, "On June 30, the Coalition will hand over sovereignty to the Iraqi people," we should say, "On June 30, the re-election campaign of George W. Bush will hand over the appearance of responsibility for the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq to certain of its local appointees."

And the Iraqi people? They are busy, violently and otherwise, struggling for their own future. One of the organizers of the Sistani petition, Saad Taher, commented to Shadid, "America has a term: the rebuilding of Iraq. We are rebuilding ourselves. We want to create a new Iraqi personality. That's our task. That's not the Americans' task."

For better or worse, these words are already on their way to becoming true.

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Marine in 'Fall of Baghdad' Photo Injured

By KEN KUSMER, Associated Press Writer
Sat Apr 10,12:51 AM ET

INDIANAPOLIS - A Marine from Indiana whose smiling, cigar-smoking image helped symbolize the fall of Baghdad a year ago suffered severe head injuries in fighting this week in the besieged Iraqi city of Fallujah.

Gunnery Sgt. Nick Popaditch, 36, of Terre Haute, marked Friday's one-year anniversary of the fall at a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. Surgeons removed a piece of shrapnel that lodged near his optic nerve when a rocket-propelled grenade slammed into his tank Tuesday in Fallujah, his wife said Friday.

"He had to have his right eye removed. He's very concerned about that," April Popaditch said from Twentynine Palms, Calif., where her husband is based. [...]

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Two US helicopter gunships reportedly downed in Iraq

09.04.2004, 03.31

BEIRUT, April 9 (Itar-Tass) - Two US helicopter gunships were reportedly downed near El-Falluja. One of the craft crashed in the Al-Qarma suburb and the other in a green locality close to the city.

The US command has not confirmed the loss of the helicopters so far. [...]

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Falluja Fighting This Week Killed 450 Iraqis-Doctor

Apr 9, 11:47 AM (ET)

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - At least 450 Iraqis were killed and more than 1,000 wounded in fighting in the city of Falluja this week, the director of the main hospital, Rafi Hayad, told Reuters.

U.S. Marines launched a major mission last weekend to confront guerrillas in the town. The U.S. military said on Friday it had agreed a temporary suspension of offensive operations in Falluja.

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Do these people seem "liberated" to you?

by Tess Ellis, Unknown News
April 9, 2004

What a horrible thing for the families of the four contractors killed in Iraq to have to endure. Knowing that their loved one was the victim of desecration, the pictures of their mutilated bodies on the front page of newspapers throughout the world.

How have we come to this?

The country was sold this war on the premise that we were liberators. Saving the poor backward Iraqis from the evil rule of Saddam Hussein. Oh, and of course saving the world from weapons of mass destruction.

Well, Saddam has been out of power for over a year, and the WMDs are nowhere to be found. Iraqis still don't have reliable electrical service. There are more people in prison now in Iraq than there were when Saddam was running things. There is no longer a legal system, and women who could once go to school and hold jobs can no longer do so. American soldiers kick people's doors in and arrest them at will.

American contractors bring in foreign nationals instead of hiring Iraqis. When Iraqis are hired, it's at less than the foreigners. Their nation's resources are being sold off to other countries.

Even Iraqis who welcomed us a year ago have changed their minds.

A recent article in the Washington Post about the fighting in the Sadr City area of Baghdad quoted a woman at a hospital with her husband who was shot by our troops:

"When the Americans came, we applauded. We were giving the thumbs-up. We were jumping and shouting. I took a picture of Saddam Hussein and stomped on it," said Iqbal Jabbar, 38.

She lifted a foot to demonstrate on the dirty tile floor beside the hospital bed of her husband, a burly man who lay groaning, with bullet wounds in the stomach, arm, legs and feet. The fire that Americans returned into the suddenly mean streets of Sadr City caught Sabri Sharrati Badr behind the wheel of the family car; it caught 10-year-old Weaam Abdulatif Walhan in the doorway of her house; and it caught Ali Sagheer Kherallah walking home from work.

"Why do they do like this to us?" Jabbar asked.

Good question. Why?

When did the Iraqis, ALL Iraqis, become the enemy?

Why are our soldiers risking their lives when the people they are there to help are the same people they are killing? [...]

In planning this war of so-called liberation, while they were moving little markers around in the Pentagon war room, did anybody consider that they were talking about the lives of real people? How would you feel if the "collateral damage" they blow off as inconsequential (part of the cost of war) were your wife and kids?

Why is it, in a war that was supposedly started to save the Iraqi people from the evil clutches of Saddam Hussein and the world from a threat posed by fictitious weapons of mass destruction, we value the lives of the Iraqis so little that we aren't bothering to keep count of how many we've killed? [...]

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US unaware of Americans kidnapped in Iraq

Fri Apr 9, 3:53 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US State Department said that it was not aware that any US citizens have been kidnapped in Iraq after reports that two Americans had been taken hostage along with four Italians.

Deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said the US consulate in Baghdad and the Coalition Provisional Authority had "not been able to substantiate" the reports, but were still checking rosters of Americans in Iraq to see if any were missing. [...]

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Italy says no registered citizens in Iraq missing

04/09/2004 15:07

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's Foreign Ministry said Friday that none of the Italian citizens known to be in Iraq were missing after Iraqi insurgents said they had seized four Italians and two Americans on the outskirts of Baghdad.

The ministry said that all of the registered military troops and civilians, including aid workers, journalists and government employees, were accounted for.

"On that basis, it's possible to exclude that any of these have been kidnapped," the ministry said in a statement, adding that it was still investigating the possibility that there were Italians in Iraq that the ministry was not aware of.

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News Analysis: Germany and France staying mum

John Vinocur/IHT IHT
Saturday, April 10, 2004

PARIS France and Germany have been strikingly discreet about America's new troubles in Iraq, reflecting what appears to be their judgment that the country's instability threatens any positive development in the Middle East over the long term.

"No one has any interest in an American fiasco," the former French foreign minister, Hubert Védrine, said Friday. That did not take in the schadenfreude of some French and German commentary, but it had the sound of an operative formula to describe a situation in which Washington's misery did not objectively equal Paris' or Berlin's gain.

[...] Besides, the French and Germans shared an absence of alternatives and an element of direct self-interest. With time, France and Germany's attempt to turn Europe against the United States in the run-up to the war has come to be regarded by strategists in both countries' capitals as a tactical mistake that resulted instead in a majority of the 25 European Union countries opposing the French-German drive for European pre-eminence.

In a Europe greatly weakened by its fractures over the war, and frightened now by terrorism on its soil, the error of trying to turn the Americans into the ultimate villains in Iraq while they are still the ultimate guarantors of European security was clearly not one the French and Germans would repeat.

[...] Le Figaro, in an editorial, said that since the United States was not going to clear out of Iraq, "France would be well advised to abstain from diplomatically harassing its ally on the question of the handover of power, and to stop continuously referring everything to the United Nations."

Another newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche, an exceptionally persistent critic of the United States, even wrote last week that Iraqis "would not understand if France uses Iraq to pursue its disagreements with the United States." Before the latest fighting, Le Monde's correspondent in Baghdad had gone further still in presenting a revisionist account of where France's excellent view of its own record stops in explaining how Iraq had gotten to where it was.

Without directly touching on it, the report presaged French discretion on America's grief of the moment.

It said: "Iraqis remain exceedingly critical of French policy. Contrary to what Europeans often think, the fact of having opposed the American occupation does absolutely nothing to boost the popularity of Europe or of a given country in Iraq."

"French policy over the past year is severely criticized," the correspondent continued. "It's impossible to find anyone, apart from a few out-of-work Baathist officials, who support the French position over the Iraq crisis."

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Europe's new demagogues

NYT
Saturday, April 10, 2004

To the shock of many Slovaks, last weekend their discredited former prime minister, Vladimir Meciar, led the first round of balloting to become Slovakia's president. He now faces Ivan Gasparovic - his former top aide, who would be an even more disastrous choice - in a runoff on April 17. The return of Meciar, rejected six years ago by Slovakia for his thuggish behavior and incoherent economic policies, is unfortunately not an isolated event in Eastern and Central Europe.

Politicians espousing nationalism, ethnic bigotry, economic populism and a rejection of all things European are gaining ground, most dangerously in Poland, Central Europe's most important nation. People in Poland, Slovakia, Romania and to a lesser extent their neighboring countries, are embracing demagogic populism because they feel betrayed by pro-Europe reformers. The move away from Communism stripped people accustomed to dependence of their safety net, however threadbare it was. Now, as their governments shed inefficient state-owned companies and cut the welfare state to meet budget and market-reform requirements to join the European Union, many citizens feel especially vulnerable.

Over time, the reform process will lead to sustainable prosperity. But some of the cuts are needlessly harsh on the poor, and populist politicians exploit these resentments. One of the most successful is Poland's Andrzej Lepper, a popular nationalist who wants to greatly increase state control of the economy.

While his policies would be disastrous for Poland, it's easy to understand why his diatribes against the EU prove so effective. For a dozen years, the people of Eastern Europe have been striving to join the European Union, a prospect that was held out to them as the ultimate reward for reforming their ways. It turns out the reward will be doled out in installments. When Poland joins the EU on May 1, it will do so as a second-class member. Europe's shameful agricultural subsidies allow Western farmers to dump their crops elsewhere, but the EU does not intend to fully share this bonanza with the newcomers. Poles and citizens of the other nine new members are also not being immediately afforded the freedom to work anywhere within the Union.

An anti-immigrant backlash in nations like France, Italy and Austria has emboldened plenty of populist demagogues in Western Europe. These politicians have generally toned down their vitriol when successful, and it is possible the same would happen to Lepper or Meciar, who is already moderating his anti-Europe stance. The difference is that Central European nations still lack the strong institutions that can compel authoritarian-minded politicians to act like democrats. The rise of the protest politician in Central Europe, however understandable, can do lasting damage in nations still finding their way.

Comment: Ah, there is nothing like the arrogance of the New York Times, so certain of their ideas, so right. The neo-liberal ideas of the Americans have not lead to a better life for any of the people's where they have been imposed. Economic security and the social net have been exchanged for the phony American version of democracy where corporatist puppets vie with one another for power in the "people's" name and the masses are brainwashed by TV. Yes, those poor Central Europeans. They lack the "strong institutions" like a US Supreme Court that can hand-pick the US president. They lack the strong institutions such as the "free press" that can railroad a population into supporting the destruction of Afghanistan and Iraq based not upon proof of guilt but only the chemical fervour coursing through the bloodstream of a manipulated populace on the heels of a fake "terrorist" attack.

Oh, America is great, indeed. It is a model of ignorance, inequality, and self-interest hidden under the mask of individualism.

America, the neon-choked smiley face of death.

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Converting Threat Into Cooperation

Editorial
Friday, Apr. 9, 2004. Page 6

The visit of NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is pure protocol. The Dutch career diplomat (who replaced Britain's Lord Robertson in January) could not help paying a visit to the nuclear superpower which NATO has been trying not to alienate, while gradually engulfing its former Warsaw Pact satellites.

Just as his predecessor did, de Hoop Scheffer said the main goal of his visit was to convince President Vladimir Putin and the Russian leadership that the arrival of NATO at Russia's western frontiers is not a threat. These assurances might be a tough sell, given that NATO members made clear at their Prague summit last year that they will conduct military operations outside their territory with or without UN consent.

The fact that NATO largely remains structured to ward off its former Cold War foe and that Russia has no real say in the alliance's decision-making process also weaken de Hoop Scheffer's case.

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Upside down American Flag raises neighbor's ire

Tom Boné
Havelock News
04/07/2004

(Havelock, NC) - Richard Evey is proud of his brand new American flag.

Even though he’s flying it upside down.

His Westbrook subdivision neighbors don’t share his pride.

“I think it’s downright disrespectful,” said Michael Grantham who lives diagonally across the street.

Grantham, a student at Craven Community College, is barely half Evey’s age, but his background includes a healthy knowledge of flag etiquette and patriotism. As an Eagle Scout in a military town, he’s convinced Evey’s upside down flag shows a lack of patriotism.

“I’m not the only one,” he said. “One of our neighbors called the police about it.”

Police chief Mike Campbell says calling the police won’t rotate Evey’s stars and bars 180 degrees.

“My father fought in several wars during his Marine Corps days,” said Campbell. “As an individual, I can tell you I don’t particularly like it [Evey’s upside down flag], but as police chief I recognize he has a right to express his opinion.”

Evey says his decision to buy a brand new flag from E.T.’s Military Surplus and deliberately fly it upside down followed months of deliberation.

“It’s a signal of distress,” he said. “I’m convinced that our country is in distress because our government has run amuck.”

Evey said his attitude is best described by an old saying: “I love my country, but fear my government.”

“Even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks our government has been slowly taking away our rights, and now, with the Patriot Act, our government has been moving towards becoming a police state.” [...]

He readily admits his greatest worry, that the Patriot Act is “a massive violation of the Constitution” is debatable. [...]

Comment: This last statement is particularly interesting. It seems to imply that those who disagree with the "War on Terror" and the accompanying clampdown on civil liberties are so firmly attached to their viewpoint that they won't stand for any debate on the matter. In fact, the opposite appears to be true. Those who blindly support the Bush Reich are the ones whose self-importance is so violated by any action taken by those against the new American Police State.

Evey didn't call the police on his neighbors for their opinions or displays of national pride - it was the neighbors who called the police on Evey in an attempt to force their views on him. In fact, the very act of calling the authorities in to quash dissent is a sign that Evey's suspicions about the creeping fascism in the US are correct.

At this point, does anyone doubt that there are already lists of those who disagree with the official government line? This is not just paranoia - see next article. It starts with sharing private information with Big Brother so he can implement "No Fly" lists, and goes downhill from there... It is obvious that those in power in America - and probably in every country around the world - are seeking to herd the population to a finer order of control. Once the juggernaut of fascism starts rolling, there will be little that can stop it. In the US, the clampdown has already begun in earnest. Changing presidents will do no good. The puppet masters use Republicans and Democrats alike to further their insidious plans.

Given recent events, it seems there is a high probability that things will get worse before they get better - if they ever get better. Global climatic change is accelerating. Fireballs streak through the skies, yet reports of such events are suppressed or ridiculed by the media. The idea of life on other planets is being slowly revealed through data from the Mars rovers.

The data is there for those who have eyes to See. It appears that it is an impossible task to understand the present unless we find the truth about the past. Is it such a stretch to think that since our governments seem to be lying to us today, they no doubt lied to us in the past? And what of the "history" we are taught by official institutions? Wouldn't it then behoove each of us to consider a radical reassessment of myth and history while simultaneously working to see our cultural, societal, and personal programs and biases?

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American Air: Passenger Data Disclosed

Fri Apr 9, 9:20 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American Airlines' passenger names and travel itineraries were released to four research companies vying for contracts with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, the airline disclosed on Friday.

AMR Corp.'s American is the third U.S. airline to admit to turning over passenger data since the government tightened airline security following the Sept. 11, 2001 hijacked plane attacks. The revelations have raised privacy concerns and sparked several lawsuits.

American said in a statement it had authorized one of its vendors to give a week's worth of passenger name records -- about 1.2 million records -- to the security agency in June 2002. Instead, the vendor, Airline Automation Inc., gave the data to the four research companies.

American discovered the disclosures recently during a review that followed other carriers' announcements of data releases, the airline said.

"Our desire to assist TSA in the aftermath of the events of Sept. 11 was consistent with our focus on safety and security," American spokesman John Hotard said in a statement released late Friday afternoon.

"No passengers were harmed by the transfer of the data," Hotard said. [...]

Comment: Shouldn't the passengers themselves make that assessment? Oh wait, how silly of us! Most of them are still fast asleep, even as tanks crash through their bedroom walls to "secure" their liberties...

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9/11 Documents Show Hijacking Warnings

U.S. government agencies issued repeated warnings in the summer of 2001 about potential terrorist plots against the United States masterminded by Osama bin Laden, including a possible plan to hijack commercial aircraft, documents show. While there were no specific targets mentioned in the United States, there was intelligence indicating al-Qaida might attempt to crash a plane into the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. And other reports said Islamic extremists might try to hijack a plane to gain release of comrades. [...]

A Reader Comments:

Listening to Condi the other day I suddenly realized we no longer need to know who knew what before 9/11. Condi told us everything we needed to know. She said they heard lots of chatter and threats but nothing specific, they didn't know who, what, when, or where. Let's say for now we buy this story. I don't believe there is a single policeman in this country who would not love to know, who, what, when, and where the next robbery will be. But you know what? They are out on the streets everyday, patrolling, watching...and the when the alarm sounds at the corner liquor store they are there in a matter of minutes, sometimes even catching the crook.

On the morning of 9/11, the NYC fire fighters heard the alarm and answered the call placing their lives on the line for other Americans, hundreds giving their lives. And still no one asks the most glaring question of all. Why did our defense system not answer the call when we knew, when the world watched on TV, that 4 commercial airliners had been hijacked? We have had hijackings before and at that very moment we had no clue what might follow, but we knew for sure 4 commercial airlines had been hijacked. Condi, how can you say we had no structure in place to deal with type of situation? We have had a defense system in place for years to intercept hijacked airliners, where were they? Who told NORAD to stand down? Or in the alternative, who failed to order NORAD to stand and defend?

It seems very clear it was this administration's job to make sure the plan fully executed, sending 3,000 American citizens to the slaughter like so many sacrificial sheep for the appeasement of Bush and Sharon's murdering, warmongering, self professed angry, vengeful, jealous god! Ask any christian, they will tell you, "there can be no redemption without the shedding of blood", and they don't care whose blood it is!

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Jets Force Down Plane Near Bush Ranch

Fri Apr 9

CRAWFORD, Texas - Fighter jets forced down a small plane that flew too close to President Bush (news - web sites)'s ranch Friday.

Secret Service spokeswoman Ann Roman said it wasn't clear how close the plane came to the central Texas ranch, but it flew into a restricted area.

Bush is spending a long Easter weekend at the ranch.

The unidentified pilot was being questioned after landing in San Marcos, Texas, Roman said. Inadvertent violations happen "routinely," she said.

Comment: Where were they on 9/11?

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Bush warned about al-Qaida plot in August 2001 memo: sources

05:19 AM EDT Apr 10

WASHINGTON (AP) - President George W. Bush's August 2001 briefing on terrorism threats, described largely as a historical document, included information from three months earlier that al-Qaida was trying to send operatives into the United States from Canada for an attack, several people who have seen the memo said.

The so-called presidential daily briefing, or PDB, delivered to Bush on Aug. 6, 2001 - a month before the Sept. 11 attacks - said there were various reports accused terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden had wanted to strike inside the United States as early as 1997 and continuing into the spring of 2001, the sources said.

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Polls suggest Rice not persuasive at 9/11 hearing

FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice apparently didn't change many minds with her Thursday appearance before the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Three-quartres of those who responded to a CBS News poll Thursday night said they think President George W. Bush's administration is either hiding something (66 per cent), or lying (10 per cent), about what they knew before the terrorist attacks in September 2001. That was essentially unchanged from a CBS poll taken last week.

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N Korea on 'brink of nuclear war' with US

Last Update: Saturday, April 10, 2004. 7:30am (AEST)

North Korea has issued its latest pronouncement in its diplomatic stoush with the United States, saying it is on the brink of nuclear war with the US.

Pyongyang has dismissed the recent multilateral talks on the region as fruitless. The Korean Central News Agency says Washington is "driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war". It argues Pyongyang has no choice but to step up its push for nuclear weapons.

In February, six nations, including North Korea and the United States, held talks in Beijing. Pyongyang is describing the negotiations as "fruitless" and blaming Washington for the lack of progress. US Vice-President Dick Cheney is about to begin a tour of the region. The nuclear crisis will be high on his agenda.

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Cheney to Promote Nuke Reactors to China

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer
Sat Apr 10,12:52 AM ET

WASHINGTON - On a trip to China next week to talk about high-stakes issues like terrorism and North Korea, Vice President Dick Cheney will have another task — making a pitch for Westinghouse's U.S. nuclear power technology.

At stake could be billions of dollars in business in coming years and thousands of American jobs. The initial installment of four reactors, costing $1.5 billion apiece, would also help narrow the huge U.S. trade deficit with China.

China's latest economic plan anticipates more than doubling its electricity output by 2020 and the Chinese government, facing enormous air pollution problems, is looking to shift some of that away from coal-burning plants. Its plan calls for building as many as 32 large 1,000-megawatt reactors over the next 16 years.

No one has ordered a new nuclear power reactor in the United States in three decades and the next one, if it comes, is still years away. So, China is being viewed by the U.S. industry as a potential bonanza. [...]

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Six home-made bombs found in building

EDMONTON - An apartment building was evacuated late Thursday night after a home-made bomb ignited and started a fire. Fire investigators say six such devices were found in the building.

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Mayor backs police chief's terrorist warning

WebPosted Apr 8 2004 03:13 PM PDT

VANCOUVER - Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell says he's glad the city's top cop is making terrorism his top priority.

Chief Jamie Graham had said on Wednesday that residents would suffer sleepless nights if they knew what he knows about terrorist threats.

Campbell says he understands where his police chief is coming from. "As an ex-police officer I've certainly been in the position that the chief has," he says. "Maybe not at the same level, but having knowledge that has kept me awake at night.

"That's what police are for. We pay them to stay awake at night, to worry about our safety." Campbell says the chief was trying to make the public aware that we live in a dangerous world. But he says he's not aware of any specific threat to Vancouver. Solicitor General Rich Coleman and a spokesperson for the RCMP have both downplayed Graham's statement, saying they know of no imminent terrorist threat to the city.

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More than 20 Abu Sayyaf, other detainees escape Philippine jail

AFP
Saturday April 10, 5:01 PM

More than 20 prisoners, most of them suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrilla group, escaped from jail in the southern Philippines island of Basilan, officials said.

The prisoners at a jail on the outskirts of Isabela City rushed at guards handing out food and grabbed their firearms before making their escape, local police chief Chief Superintendent Servando Hizon said.

Three guards were wounded in the melee, he said.

Hizon said his men were pursuing the escaped detainees but they were putting up a fight in some areas.

The escaped prisoners had broken up into smaller groups and scattered in different directions, local army commander Colonel Raymundo Ferrer said, adding his troops were ready to help in the pursuit.

The officials could not immediately say exactly how many prisoners escaped or whether they included top leaders of the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic extremist group that has kidnapped and bombed Christian and foreign targets for over a decade.

The jailbreak came despite tightened security in the south imposed to guard against retaliatory attacks following the killing of senior Abu Sayyaf leader Hamsiraji Sali and five other members of the group on Thursday.

Washington and Manila have linked the Abu Sayyaf to the Al-Qaeda network of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden. [...]

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20 miners dead, up to 30 missing, in Siberian pit blast

April 10, 2004

MOSCOW (AFP) - Twenty miners were killed and another 20 to 30 were trapped underground after an explosion overnight in a mine in southern Siberia, the Keremovo regional authorities told AFP.

"The death toll has risen to 20," a spokeswoman for the regional governor said Saturday.

Sixteen miners had been brought to the surface alive and two injured men had been taken to hospital, Ria-Novosti news agency quoted the ministry for emergency situations as saying.

Around 150 rescuers were working to locate the remaining miners still trapped in the Taizhina pit, estimated to number at least 20 to 30, but possibly more.

The blast, which happened at 6:55 am (0255 GMT), was believed to have been caused by volatile gas, probably methane, at a depth of 560 metres (1,800 feet).

The region's governor Aman Tuleyev went to the scene to comfort the miners' families. [...]

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60% of U.S. corporations paid no taxes during boom years

Dow Jones News Service
April 6, 2004

WASHINGTON -- More than 60% of U.S. corporations didn't pay any federal taxes for 1996 through 2000, years when the economy boomed and corporate profits soared, Tuesday's Wall Street Journal reported, citing the investigative arm of Congress.

The disclosures from the General Accounting Office are certain to fuel the debate over corporate tax payments in the presidential campaign. Corporate tax receipts have shrunk markedly as a share of overall federal revenue in recent years, and were particularly depressed when the economy soured. By 2003, they had fallen to just 7.4% of overall federal receipts, the lowest rate since 1983, and the second-lowest rate since 1934, federal budget officials say.

The GAO analysis of Internal Revenue Service data comes as tax avoidance by both U.S. and foreign companies also is drawing increased scrutiny from the IRS and Congress. But more so than similar previous reports, the analysis suggests that dodging taxes, both legally and otherwise, has become deeply rooted in U.S. corporate culture. The analysis found that even more foreign-owned companies doing business in the U.S. -- about 70% of them -- reported that they didn't owe any U.S. federal taxes during the late 1990s. [...]

Comment: This article indicates that most corporations in the US are supposed to pay a 35% tax. Those that didn't decide to just skip paying their taxes have teams of accountants and lawyers who find every loophole they can to reduce the tax on their company to a level well below 35%. Meanwhile, the average US citizen works away madly on their personal income taxes for fear of being chased after by the IRS.

So, the New American Empire is paid for by American civilians - in both dollars and the blood of their children - and yet numerous huge corporations avoid paying any portion of the bill while setting up lucrative contracts for supplying the military, reconstruction efforts, and so on.

If that isn't proof of the depth of the slumber of the American sheeple, we're not sure what is.

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Ex-Enron CEO Taken to NY Hospital

Fri Apr 9,10:10 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Indicted former Enron Corp. chief executive Jeff Skilling was taken to a New York City hospital early on Friday, after police responded to complaints that he was accusing patrons at a bar of being FBI agents and pulling on their clothes, police officials said.

New York City police picked up Skilling after finding him at 4 a.m. EDT on the corner of Park Avenue and East 73rd Street on Manhattan's Upper East Side, after receiving calls about an emotionally disturbed person, said Det. Thomas Kuchma.

"He was acting erratically, taken into custody and then removed to a New York hospital for evaluation because of his erratic behavior," said Det. Kuchma, who declined to give more details.

Emergency medical personnel who were present when Skilling was picked up reported that he was highly uncooperative, police sources told Reuters.

"EMS determined that he was intoxicated, irrational and possibly suffering from paranoid delusions, due to the fact that he was pulling open people's clothes and looking for recording devices, accusing them of being FBI agents and stalking him," a source said.

Skilling, 50, is the highest-ranking former executive charged in the fall of Enron amid a scandal that has rocked Wall Street as well as Washington, sparking a wider probe of corruption in Corporate America. On Feb. 18, he was charged with 35 counts of conspiracy, fraud, insider trading and lying about Enron's finances.

Skilling had earlier visited several bars on the Upper East Side, where he allegedly went up to customers and pulled open their clothes while shouting accusations that they were FBI agents, according to the Associated Press, which first reported the story.

Skilling, who was with his wife at the time, did the same thing to people on the street, the AP report said.

The police did not press charges against Skilling. New York Presbyterian Hospital, where police sources said Skilling was sent for observation, said they had no information on him.

Skilling's lawyer disputed the police reports.

"Mr. Skilling and his wife were in New York attending a concert for one of his children, when two strange men began aggressively questioning him about Enron, and he told him he wasn't going to answer their questions," Daniel Petrocelli, Skilling's lead counsel, told Reuters.

Skilling's wife, Rebecca Carter, is a former Enron executive and worked as the company's corporate secretary.

"Mr. Skilling's wife was thrown to the ground and she suffered a mild concussion, and had to go to the hospital," Petrocelli said. "He's under indictment for crimes he didn't commit and is fighting for his life and in a very difficult situation. People need to be respectful of his circumstances and leave him alone."

Skilling, who has pleaded innocent to the charges against him, resigned as Enron's CEO in 2001 after just six months in the job and months before its collapse.

Those who have worked with him have described him as extremely driven and competitive, but also prone to mood swings. [...]

Comment: While we certainly doubt that Skilling is as squeaky clean as he claims to be, perhaps his "paranoid delusions" about FBI agents following him are at least partly based on reality - especially given that he seems to be the designated fall guy in a scandal that appears to reach all the way up to Bush.

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Will Britain hold peace talks with Bin Laden?

A former member of Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet called Thursday for Britain and the United States to begin talks with Osama bin Laden and described the current war on terrorism "completely counter-productive". Mo Mowlam, who was Northern Ireland secretary from 1997 to 1999, said the current American and British policy in the Middle East was acting as a "recruitment officer for the terrorists". Mowlam said Britain and the United States had to open a dialogue with their enemies.

Asked if she could imagine al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden arriving at the negotiating table, she responded: "You have to do that. If you do not, you condemn large parts of the world to war forever. [...]

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Drugs push Afghanistan to brink of failure

Opium poppy production has escalated out of control

Less than three years after the first bomb was dropped on Afghan soil by the US-led coalition against the Taliban, Afghanistan looks like its becoming a failed state. In the government's bid to create a modern, democratic country free from corruption, "terrorism" and drugs, the opposite has happened. "There is a palpable risk that Afghanistan will again turn in to a failed state in the hands of drug cartels and narco-terrorists," says Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. He warns that if the Afghan government supported by the international community does not take the necessary measures the "drug cancer will spread beyond the country’s borders". Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is rising once again, rivalling its all-time peak of 1999 when a staggering 91,000 hectares were recorded. [...]

Comment: Under the Taliban, limited opium production - Under US (CIA) control, opium production rockets. You figure it out the real reasons for the invasion of that country.

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UN Oil-for-Food Program: Scams R Us

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his son Kojo are at the center of an enormous scandal involving Saddam Hussein’s $100 billion oil-for-food program. Just as Iraq is being readied for UN stewardship in Baghdad, a mammoth scandal is breaking that threatens to expose the rampant corruption and criminal activity in the UN’s administration of Iraq’s oil-for-food program between 1996 and 2003. Evidence that has been emerging from Saddam Hussein’s captured records implicates top UN officials, including UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UN Assistant Secretary-General Benon V. Sevan, in an enormous racket that skimmed billions of dollars from funds that were supposed to be for humanitarian aid. The skimmed billions were instead funneled into private bank accounts.

Comment: While 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result. Nice world isn't it?

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Necedah teen says mother forced her to wear electric dog collar

ROBERT IMRIE
Associated Press
Thu, Apr. 08, 2004

MAUSTON, Wis. - A 17-year-old girl testified Thursday that her parents repeatedly made her wear an electric shock collar used to train dogs and how it hurt when it was activated to its highest setting.

Her mother used it the most to get her to clean faster or "if she didn't like what I was doing," Nicole Dobratz testified in Juneau County Circuit Court.

"She would keep zapping me until the battery needs to be recharged," the teenager said. "I would say 10 or 20 times. I was usually crying and fell to the ground. She would keep pressing the button or tell me to get up. It made me feel pretty bad."

Dobratz testified via video conference during the preliminary hearing for Troy and Lee Ann Miller, both 37, of rural Necedah. Troy Miller is Dobratz's stepfather.

Circuit Judge Dennis Schuh heard about four hours of testimony and adjourned the hearing until April 16. He must rule whether prosecutors have enough evidence to justify a trial. The Millers remained in jail.

The Millers are each charged with 15 felony counts: four counts of physical abuse of a child, four counts of mental harm to a child, four counts of child enticement, one count of possession of an electric weapon, one count of second-degree reckless endangerment and one count of false imprisonment.

The charges carry a maximum punishment of about 200 years in prison.

Dobratz and her 13-year-old half-sister, Amanda Miller, testified from another room in the courthouse because they did not want to face their parents in the crowded courtroom, Assistant District Attorney Stacy Smith said.

Dobratz testified she was hit in the face by her parents, forced to sleep in a dirty basement or next to a dog kennel and forced to drink a half-gallon of "sewer water" as a form of discipline.

Speaking in a steady voice with her head bent down, Dobratz said her parents hit her with their fists, a belt, a chain and plastic and metal pipes.

She held up her left hand, showing a partially disfigured thumb.

"My mother was hitting me with a stick once. I tried to grab it and missed and I got hit on the thumb," she said.

Prosecutors also introduced a picture of Dobratz showing a scar on her lip, which she said was from when she was punched in the face. [...]

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Human Rabies Vaccine Recalled in U.S.

A rabies vaccine for humans is being recalled in the United States and 23 other countries because a live strain of the virus was found in another batch made at the same time. Testing of Aventis Pasteur's IMOVAX vaccine revealed the presence of a live Pittman-Moore strain of the rabies virus, when the drug was not supposed to contain live virus, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. [...]

Prostitutes Charge NATO Troops More

Prostitutes are charging NATO troops dispatched to this Baltic state more than three times as much money as Lithuanian clients, police said Thursday. In recent days, prostitutes have been arriving in the city of Siauliai, where 100 NATO soldiers are stationed, part of a team to service four Belgian F-16s that patrol the skies above Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Police Commissioner General Vytautas Grigaravicius told reporters.

He said that the sex workers were hiking their rates for the Western troops, who come from Belgium and Norway. "Prostitutes take $35 an hour from Lithuanian citizens, while NATO troops are asked to pay $125 an hour," he said, calling it a clear case of discrimination.

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Girl, 9, 'Cuffed For Rabbit Heist

A 9-year-old girl accused of stealing a rabbit and $10 from a neighbor's home was arrested, handcuffed and questioned at a Florida police station. A Pasco County sheriff's deputy found the black-and-white rabbit, named Oreo, hopping around in the girl's living room, according to the arrest report. She was read her rights and taken away in the back of a patrol car. The girl began to cry during questioning Tuesday. She admitted taking the rabbit belonging to another child, but denied taking two $5 bills and some change, according to reports. "I think this is a little unusual to say the very least," Cecka Green of Voices for Florida's Children said. "To treat children as hardened criminals, when back in the old days that may have just been seen as mischief that could have been handled by the parents, can contribute to some problems with our kids in this society."

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Another dangerous forest-fire season expected

WebPosted Apr 9 2004 11:33 AM PDT

BANFF, ALTA. - British Columbia appears to be headed for another dangerous forest-fire season, and people should prepare for the worst. That's according to Dr. Reece Halter, the president of Global Forest Science, a forest-research institute in Banff. He says the small fires that are burning in the B.C. interior are eight to ten weeks earlier than last year. The areas he's most concerned about are the Okanagan and East Kootney regions. Both areas are on the lee-side or dry-rain-shadow side of the mountain. Halter says this is exacerbated by the white pine beetle that has infested hundreds of acres of lodgepole-pine forests. Halter says people should be conserving water now to get ready for a potentially dry summer.

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Low runoff means risk of summer drought

EDMONTON - Anyone planning a river outing this year should plan for a spring getaway instead of a summer one.

Alberta Environment says spring mountain runoff is much below average again this year.

It says, unless there is a lot of rain this spring, rivers will be extremely low by late summer and early fall. Alberta Environment forecasters say there is little to no snow left in the province south of Edmonton and Lloydminster. They say water conservation should begin sooner rather than later, and should not be put off until we have another drought.

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Einstein, the first spin doctor: An experiment to test the theory of relativity could rock the science world

Paul Davies
Saturday April 10, 2004
The Guardian

[...] In 1959 Leonard Schiff, a physicist at Stanford University in California, devised an experiment to put a gyroscope in orbit around the Earth, and observe its motion very carefully. According to Newton's theory, the spin axis of the gyroscope should always point to a fixed part of the sky (this is the basis of spacecraft navigation). But general relativity predicts a tiny twist in the spin axis caused by the Earth's rotation tipping the gyroscope's axis. The trouble is, the effect is almost unbelievably small. It has taken an incredible four decades of planning and laboratory development before Schiff's experiment is ready to fly. The payload, to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on April 19, consists of four gyroscopes engineered to astonishing precision, cooled by a huge vat of liquid helium to enhance stability and provide superconducting shielding from electromagnetic disturbances.

It is very rarely that physicists get a chance to test the foundations of a fundamental theory in a clean, make-or-break manner. General relativity is the cornerstone of cosmology and astrophysics. It has also provided the conceptual basis for string theory and other attempts to unify all the forces of nature in terms of geometrical structures. But general relativity is not the only show in town. Other theories of gravity besides Newton's exist, some of which predict different effects of rotating bodies.

If the experiment confirms the general theory of relativity, it will be a stunning tribute for Albert Einstein in the centenary year of his annus mirabilis. If the results turn out to be different, then the cat will truly be put among the pigeons. A central pillar of modern physics will have collapsed, with consequences that can scarcely be predicted. Our painstakingly crafted understanding of stars, black holes and the universe would be thrown into the melting pot. The stakes are therefore very high. To paraphrase Neil Armstrong, one tiny twist for a gyroscope would turn out to be one giant leap for theoretical physics.

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Village boasts recorded history of 6,000 years

www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-10 15:10:43

ZHENGZHOU, April 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese archaeologists have discovered a village which boasts a recorded history of more than 6,000 years in central China's Henan province.

Yuyang Village, located 22 km northwest of Anyang city, in northern Henan, records the chronological development process of Chinese history, constituted by locals, in a period of over 6,000 years with vivid, colorful relics, said Tang Jigen, head of the Anyang Work Station under the Archaeological Research Institute ofthe Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Tang said most of the relic items spotted in the village were fragments of daily life used by common folks, like cooking utensils, pottery jars, and other kinds of pottery and porcelain ware.

Ruins of irrigation canals and ditches built in the Warring States Period (475 B.C.-221 B.C.) and kilns of the Northern Dynasties (386-581 A.D.) were also discovered in the village.

Tang said the date of the relics unearthed in the village started from as early as the Yangshao Culture period, dating back to 5,000 B.C.-3,000 B.C., the Longshan Culture period, dating back3,000 B.C.-1,700 B.C., and then to the Shang Dynasty (1,600 B.C.-1,100 B.C.)...

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Cross-Dressing Heats Up Republican Race

What started as a dull runoff race to field a Republican candidate for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives has heated up due to a controversy over cross-dressing. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on Tuesday photographs of candidate Sam Walls dressed in women's clothes have circulated among political leaders in Johnson County, south of Fort Worth.

Local Republican leaders confirmed separately that they had seen the photographs of Walls in a wig, dress and high heels. Walls, 64, who describes himself as a fervent Baptist, told the paper his family had "dealt with" the issue of his cross-dressing and that he asked for forgiveness.

Comment: Hey, if J Edgar Hoover could do it...

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