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Monday, April 12, 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

Storm, 27 August 2003
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

It is starting! I contemplate, not far from home, the development of a sheet of rain towards the south. (The photo above.)

What I don't realise at the moment I take the shot is that the storm is accompanied by a microburst, a destructive, descending gust that hits on Saint-Puy, breaking many small trees and felling countless branches. It doesn't seem so terrible seen from my vantage point, situated a dozen kilometres to the north. This precipitation falls from a tormented, cloudy ceiling, designing an "arm" that extends to the west, a zone of activity of a very vigorous cumulonimbus that is passing about 15 kilometres to the east. This storm seems to have been particularly virulent near Montfort as well as la Lomagne.

As this sheet of rain is coming right at me, although quite slowly, I estimate that I have the possibility to flee rapidly to avoid being caught by the beast. It is finally only at Moirax, several kilometres south of Agen, that I allow myself to be submerged voluntarily by the wall of rain mixed with hail. I wait for it to pass, hoping that after this serious downpour I will be able benefit from the limpid air. I was to be overjoyed!

Pierre-Paul wrote the above text to accompany the above photo. It is full of the zeal and passion he brings to his work.

The photos of Pierre-Paul Feyte have graced these pages for the past several months. Pierre-Paul chases clouds and storms, and his photos of this natural violence capture their beauty and their force, reminding us of the mysteries of Nature and of our own fragile existence.

When the weather changes, Pierre-Paul's face lights up, he grabs his equipment, and jumps into his car to track down the best spots from which to take his photos. Setting his car radio to the lowest band, he can pick up the static of the electrical storm and let it lead him on. But as he says below, this method is more and more being replaced by following his instincts.

The following are a few more comments from Pierre-Paul about his work.

Photography is a very engrossing activity, but, manipulating carefully the camera and the tripod in the face of the oncoming storm, I try not to forget to contemplate the extraordinary spectacle. To discover several days later that, moreover, I have a successful slide, is the cherry on the cake! The exceptional image for me is one that captures that magic moment when the the photographer knew how to "communicate" with nature. That is be the fury of a storm, the magnificence of the night sky or the magic of the early morning mist...

To find the storms, nothing replaces the "flair" developed on the ground over the years, much patience and observation. I rely more and more upon this "instinct." It is, at times, troubling...

We are spoiled in the south west of France for storms. During 2003, I must have travelled between 1000 and 3000 kilometers just for the storms, which is not much compared to other photographers. But the area I cover is growing and I now give myself the following: From Bayonne to Montpellier, including the Massif Central and the whole of the Pyrénées, including the Spanish coast (Aragon is, I think, one of the most beautiful regions in the world.)

My passion for the sky started when I was young. Between the ages of 6 and 8 I lived with my parents in a isolated Provincial village overlooked by a magnificent sky. By day, I ran in the fields under the shade of the clouds; by night I wondered about the Milky Way... Curiosity, contemplation and a pile of books did the rest, with, as well, the luck of having lived often in open spaces, as I do now in the Gers.

The coming years will unfortunately move the climate and the hazards of weather to the centre of our preoccupations. Making pretty pictures is one thing, but to use them to inform as best as possible our concitizens on the risks of nature is better!

Lightning is both beautiful and dangerous, although I would speak first of its beauty because a sense of wonder is the first step towards knowledge... But lightning has far from revealed all its secrets. According to Heraclitus of Ephesia, it governs the universe!! I also wish to evoke the magic of photography, that fixes forever a phenomenon that illustrates brevity and suddenness par excellence. But there isn't enough time!

There is a horror and a beauty in the events we cover for the Signs page each day. There are elemental forces at work in the world and each Signs page is like a photo of objective reality, fixing the brevity and suddenness of our existence on Earth. As Pierre-Paul puts it: "But there isn't enough time!"

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From the point of view of many "truth seekers" the 9/11 investigation will, at best, result in the impeachment of Bush and Co for the crime of not doing enough to stop the "Arab terrorists" from planning and carrying out the attacks on the "homeland". If this is indeed the result, many disgruntled Americans and alternative news site pundits will surely hail it as a victory for "truth and justice".

In reality however, it will simply signify another victory for "the powers that be" in the continued mass deception of the public and the implementation of their plan for complete and utter control of the planet.

The core and crucial point that is being overlooked is that by establishing the details of the debate as; "did the White House do enough to prevent the "Arab terrorists" from attacking on 9/11", the "powers that be" subtly establish in the minds of the public the first "fact" that is beyond debate before the debate even begins - that it really was "Arab terrorists" that carried out the 9/11 attacks. In doing so they remove the requirement for anyone to first of all provide proof that "Arab terrorists" were actually involved in the attacks or indeed if they even exist as they are portrayed. Furthermore, any proof that suggests that some OTHER party was responsible for the attacks will be dismissed out of hand.

Again we see that the "powers that be" possess a detailed knowledge of human nature. As the public begins, or better said, are allowed to sense that they have been deceived, "the powers that be" are ready to hand over the patsy of the day (George, Condi etc) to pacify the angry mob, ensuring that the real perpetrators are never detected.

Such Machiavellian tactics are SOP for those that control world events, and should stand as but a small example of the how deep the rabbit hole may actually go. The one thing that will immediately spell defeat for our efforts at uncovering the truth is to become complacent and believe that we know the "real deal". As we have said before, we can be our own worst enemies in terms of our tendency towards egotism, self calming and lying to ourselves. All of these things are anathema to the discovery of the truth.

With this in mind, consider the following articles:

Dark Suspicions About 9/11 President's secret briefing noted pre-9/11 "pattern of suspicious activity"

April 12, 2004

Condoleezza Rice's much-anticipated testimony before the 9/11 Commission was widely touted as having deflected the critique proffered by former counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke – that the Bushies were too fixated on Iraq to pay much attention to Al Qaeda. A few days after her appearance, however, it looks like she committed a fatal error when she inadvertently blurted out the truth.

Hailed as the "Warrior Princess," but looking like a Bad Barbie, the President's closest foreign policy advisor staunchly defended administration policy down the line. No surprise there. But the stunner of the hearings was this exchange between Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, veteran Watergate prosecutor, and Rice:

Rice: I remember very well that the president was aware that there were issues inside the United States. He talked to people about this. But I don't remember the al Qaeda cells as being something that we were told we needed to do something about.

Ben-Veniste: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?

Rice: I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States. Now, the..."

Ben-Veniste: Thank you.

Rice: No, Mr. Ben-Veniste...

Ben-Veniste: I will get into the...

Rice: I would like to finish my point here.

Ben-Veniste: I didn't know there was a point.


Ben-Veniste's sharp questioning did indeed have a point, which was to crack the Bad Barbie's plastic veneer and get at the documents – the record of this administration's odd disinterest in Al Qaeda in the crucial months prior to 9/11, in spite of warnings from Clarke and CIA Director George Tenet. The August 6 Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) was released a few days later, and shows up Rice as a prevaricator, at best, in describing the document as primarily "historical." It is true that, in terms of word count, much of the memo builds its case that Al Qaeda is planning attacks in the U.S. on the history of Bin Laden's prior operations and reported threats, concluding:

"FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York. The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our Embassy in UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives."

As the focus of the Commission's investigations zeroes in on the crucial months and weeks prior to 9/11, Sibel Edmonds, a 32-year-old former translator at the National Security Agency, has her turn in the spotlight. She has been trying to direct the attention of government officials and Congress to her explosive contentions. Edmonds says that a cabal of spies, associated with Turkish intelligence, was working inside the NSA listening station, where electronic messages and other sorts of "chatter" are picked up, sifted, and translated, and that they tried to recruit her.

They wanted her to refrain from translating certain taped phone conversations and other surveillance, and threatened her when she refused. In an affidavit filed with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Ms. Edmonds testified that "investigations are being compromised, incorrect or misleading translations are being sent to agents in the field. Translations are being blocked and circumvented."

The NSA is the eyes and ears of the US government as it surveys the world, and its own back yard, assessing threats and preparing to respond. But if foreign agents have penetrated the system, then decision-makers are deliberately blinkered, flailing about in the dark, deaf, dumb, and blind. Just as we were on the eve of 9/11, when two crucial messages were picked up:

"The match is about to begin."


"Tomorrow is zero hour."

These bits of "chatter" were given low priority and left untranslated until September 12. Given what we now know about the threat level at that point, how can such a "glitch" be explained?

In spinning the contents of the declassified PDB, the administration's fallback position is that there is no specific information about a hijacking, or using aircraft as bombs: White House flacks are basically reiterating Rice's testimony. But Edmonds blows their entire case out of the water.

Her secret testimony before the 9/11 Commission should be declassified and released in full, but, meanwhile, she has come forward on her own to give the gist of it by forthrightly declaring that Condi Rice is telling "an outrageous lie" when she says the US government had no inkling of the nature or imminence of the 9/11 attacks. The British Independent reports:

"Sibel Edmonds said she spent more than three hours in a closed session with the commission's investigators providing information that was circulating within the FBI in the spring and summer of 2001 suggesting that an attack using aircraft was just months away and the terrorists were in place. The Bush administration, meanwhile, has sought to silence her and has obtained a gagging order from a court by citing the rarely used 'state secrets privilege'"

Edmonds spent over three hours with the Commission, and, from what she told The Independent, her testimony must have curled their toes:

"I gave [the commission] details of specific investigation files, the specific dates, specific target information, specific managers in charge of the investigation. I gave them everything so that they could go back and follow up. This is not hearsay. These are things that are documented. These things can be established very easily."

"There was general information about the time-frame, about methods to be used ­ but not specifically about how they would be used ­ and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks. There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities ­- with skyscrapers."

No wonder the commissioners seemed unimpressed by Bad Barbie's suave circumlocutions.

Edmonds has been speaking out for nearly a year, and her story is now getting major coverage (albeit still mostly in the overseas media) in addition to the respectful attention of the 9/11 Commission. Perhaps this new openness, this glasnost in the field of 9/11 studies, will throw the spotlight on another long-ignored claim that advance warning of 9/11 was in the possession of more than just Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts.

The idea that Israel may have known about the terrorist plot in advance, and, somehow, neglected to inform us, was first raised by Fox News – hardly a bastion of anti-Israel sentiment – in a four-part investigative report by Carl Cameron. On December 17, 2001, when the nation was still reeling from the shock of the biggest and deadliest terrorist attack in its history, Cameron was the first to raise the question of who knew what, and when:

"There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but investigators suspect that they Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are 'tie-ins.' But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, 'evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information.'"

So, too, was the August 6 PDB, and that was declassified quickly enough in response to a national outcry. When the Commission gets around to this particular angle on the 9/11 saga, they might want to talk to the high intelligence official interviewed by Salon's Christopher Ketchams, who details an extensive covert action by Israeli nationals in the US up to a year prior to 9/11, Israelis claiming to be "art students" were observed conducting surveillance of federal facilities, from Florida to Texas to the Northeast. An inter-agency task force studied the phenomenon, and wrote up a report, which was leaked to the media – those heroic whistleblowers strike again! – generating a number of news stories, government denials, and an outcry from Israel's amen corner in the US But the story refused to die: it was taken up by Le Monde, and Die Zeit, a respected German weekly, which ran a story detailing how Israeli agents were watching Mohammed Atta and his fellow conspirators "24/7," and that these agents literally lived " Next Door to Mohammed Atta."

As one of the government whistleblowers interviewed by Cameron put it, the question is not "how could the Israelis have known" – the question is "how could they not have known."

It is clear that, in the words of the declassified PDB, there is "a pattern of suspicious activity" here that goes beyond anything that might be construed as sheer incompetence and/or bad luck. The amount of fairly high-level obstructionism that occurred in the crucial prelude to 9/11 – the spring and summer of 2001 – that made an effective effort to quash Al Qaeda utterly impossible, is suspicious in and of itself: why didn't the FBI carry out the President's clear orders? Combined with the Edmonds revelations and the Israeli "art student" gambit, what we are faced with is the possibility of an organized effort to create an environment in which the terrorists were not only observed by one or more foreign intelligence agencies, but were protected and nurtured. Our foreign policy, in Iraq and elsewhere, is still nurturing them.

The declassified PDB mentions "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." But that's what those Israeli "art students" were doing: snooping around federal buildings. Houston's KHOU-TV reports that one was even found wandering the halls of a government facility in Texas carrying a blueprint of the building: now that's suspicious! Which is why the anonymous whistleblowers inside the DEA, the INS, and other agencies titled their report " Suspicious Activities Involving Israeli Art Students."

The "Bush knew" crowd may think itself vindicated by recent developments, but, as I have pointed out above, this is hardly the case: more than ever, it seems that Bush didn't know, because he was deliberately kept in the dark. Not that he doesn't have to take ultimate responsibility for what happened on his watch. In any case, the evidence points to some level of foreign involvement, albeit not from Iraq: Turkey and Israel are the main suspects, although, for intelligence purposes, there seems little to distinguish the two.

As we subject the mysterious prehistory of 9/11 to a close reexamination, the official mythology of that seminal event begins to crumble. Behind the phony façade the truth peaks out, shyly, at first, and then with growing confidence. The 19 terrorists who blew up the Pentagon and took down the World Trade Center couldn't have pulled it off alone: they had to have some form of state assistance, if only passive compliance.

I have long believed that the key to fighting the War Party is demolishing its central myth: the outlandish idea that the 19 Arab hijackers, all on their own, and managing to avoid detection for years, somehow humbled the mightiest superpower on earth. As new revelations make this fairy tale increasingly untenable, the issue of foreign involvement in 9/11 is certain to come to the fore.

Comment: Again, as we stated above, it is very likely that some type of "truth" will begin to peek out in order to appease the increasing clamor from sections of the public. But it behooves all of us to never assume that we have scored any kind of victory. At the "top" level, the forces involved are, without doubt, infinitely smarter than you or I can even imagine. We would all do well to keep this concept at the very forefront of our minds.

Notice in the above article that Sibel Edmonds, the 32-year-old former translator at the National Security Agency, claims that a "a cabal of spies, associated with Turkish intelligence, was working inside the NSA listening station, where electronic messages and other sorts of "chatter" are picked up, sifted, and translated"and that they "tried to recruit her".

A web search on Turkish intelligence agency "MIT", throws up some VERY interesting connections.

Flashback: Continued cooperation between Turkish, Israeli intelligence

Turkey-Israel, Politics, 2/27/1999

The London-based "Foreign Report" weekly news bulletin said in its most recent issue that the Israeli intelligence, the Mossad, had expanded greatly its base in Turkey and opened branches in Turkey for other two departments stationed in Tel Aviv.

The London-based al-Quds al-Arabi daily said on Friday, quoting Foreign Report, that the Mossad carried out several spy operations and plans through its elements stationed in Istanbul and Ankara, where it received support and full cooperation from the Turkish government.

The paper reported that according to the military cooperation agreement between the Mossad and its Turkish counterpart, the MAT, signed by former Turkish Foreign Minister Hekmet Citen during his visit to Israel in 1993, the Mossad had provided Turkey with plans aiding it in closing its border with Iraq as well as being involved in the arrest the chairman of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan.

Flashback: Zionist 'intelligence' engineered Istanbul blasts

Nov 27, 2003

Ankara - Turkish media sources have pointed out that the Zionist foreign intelligence known as the Mossad might have been involved in the two explosions in Istanbul against two Jewish synagogues last week.

The sources said that the Turkish intelligence, in cooperation with the intelligence of a neighboring country, have reached the conclusion that the Mossad had masterminded the terrorist blasts in Istanbul for yet unknown reasons.

A Turkish daily close to the ruling justice and development party quoted Turkish intelligence sources as saying that the Mossad had established the organization that launched the two attacks on 15th November.

The sources said that the situation would be totally different in the region if it were proven that the Mossad had played a role in those explosions.

Comment: Note in the above, that is was not Mossad directly, but one of the bogus "Islamic" organisations that the Mossad is so adept at creating and/or infiltrating.

Turks gather to condemn attacks, blame U.S. policy

22 Nov 2003
By Daren Butler

ISTANBUL, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Several thousand Turks gathered in Istanbul and other cities on Saturday to condemn this week's suicide bombings, with many protesting against what they see as the root cause of the attacks -- the United States.

"Curse this terrorism, it killed my friend," said retired businessman Ismail Yildirim. "The imperialist powers are behind this, they are turning the Middle East into a bloodbath. They want to drag Turkey into it but they will fail." [...]

Some in the crowd also suggested that U.S. and other intelligence services were directly responsible.

"I believe these attacks carry the fingerprints of the CIA, Mossad and (Turkish intelligence service) MIT. They want to push Turkey and America closer together after recent tensions between them," said 22-year-old engineering student Mustafa Colak.

Comment: Note that the target in Turkey was a Jewish Synagogue. Of course, no one would believe that the Israelis would attack a Jewish place of religious worship and endanger the lives of their own people! Think Machiavelli, Think again.

So we have Mossad associated with Turkish intelligence planting bombs in Turkey, and in the words of the NSA employee Sibel Edmonds "a cabal of spies, associated with Turkish intelligence" operating in the US prior to 9/11, infiltrating the NSA, blocking and sending wrong information to agents in the field and trying to recruit NSA staff. We wonder who they were...

Massive Spy Ring Linked to Sept. 11

American Free Press
By Michael Collins Piper

There is strong evidence Israeli intelligence operatives engaged in clandestine dealings on American soil and almost certainly had advance knowledge of the impending terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Israel, however, did not report this information to the American authorities.

A sudden spate of news stories in the mainstream media over a three-day period cast new light on this story that first reached a national audience in the Dec. 17 issue of American Free Press which actually went to press on Dec. 7, 2001.

At that time, AFP noted that buried within a story in The Washington Post on Nov. 23 was the little-known fact that a number of Israeli nationals taken into custody by federal authorities after the Sept. 11 tragedy were suspected of having material knowledge relative to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Then, on Dec. 12, five days after the AFP story was published, Carl Cameron of Brit Hume’s Special Report on Fox News, broke his report on a wide-ranging Israeli espionage ring uncovered on U.S. soil.

Cameron reported that there was evidence that those Israeli agents were watching the 9-11 terrorists prior to the Sept. 11 tragedy. On Dec. 24, AFP summarized Cameron’s report.

During the segment, host Brit Hume asked Cameron: “What about this question of advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on 9-11? How clear are investigators that some Israeli agents may have known something?”

Cameron responded: “It’s very explosive information, obviously, and there’s a great deal of evidence that they say they have collected. None of it necessarily conclusive. It’s more when they put it all together. A bigger question, they say, is “How could they not have known?” [That is] almost a direct quote [from the investigators].”

The Fox report indicated that even prior to Sept. 11 as many as 140 other Israelis had been detained or arrested in what was described by reporter Cameron as “a secretive and sprawling investigation into suspected espionage by Israelis in the United States.” According to Cameron:

Investigators are focusing part of their efforts on Israelis who said they are art students from the University of Jerusalem or Bezalel Academy and repeatedly made contact with U.S. government personnel by saying they wanted to sell cheap art or handiwork.

Documents say they “targeted” and penetrated military bases, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, dozens of government facilities and even secret offices and unlisted private homes of law enforcement and intelligence personnel.

After Fox made this amazing report, there was an angry response from the Israeli lobby in America. The Dec. 21 issue of the New York-based Forward reported that Fox and Cameron were “under fire.”

Whatever the case, Fox News pulled the transcriptions of Cameron’s broadcast reports off its Internet web site, saying that “this story no longer exists,” even though, at the time, Cameron had told Forward that he continued to stand behind his story. It appeared as though Cameron’s story was destined for the Memory Hole, but for reports about it that had appeared in AFP and on the Internet. [....]

The report cited by Le Monde specifically pointed out that one-third of the suspected Israeli spies had been based in Florida, and at least five of them were on site in Hollywood, Fla., where accused Sept. 11 hijacker ringleader Muhammad Atta and four of his purported accomplices also lived.

The United States has deported 120 young Israelis posing as “art students” for visa violations. However, some officials do suspect them of spying. [...]

On March 6 Washington Post staff writers John Mintz and Dan Eggen also wrote a story about the affair, but their version had a notably different spin.
The Post story was headlined “Reports of Israeli spy ring dismissed” and claimed that “a wide array of U.S. officials” had dismissed the reports that the U.S. government had broken up “an Israeli espionage ring that consisted of young Israelis attempting to penetrate U.S. agencies by selling artwork in federal buildings.” [...]

DEA spokesman Thomas Hinojosa said that multiple reports of suspicious activity on the part of young Israelis had come into the agency’s Washington headquarters from agents in the fields.

Comment: We see that the reports of Israeli "spying" connected to the 9/11 attacks were coming from agents "in the field", these are men and women out there getting more or less objective evidence, yet we see that these reports were "dismissed" by "officials".

What is perhaps the most intriguing twist about the Post story is that co-author Mintz is the Post staffer who wrote in the Post on Nov. 23 that among a total of some 60 young Israeli Jews picked up by the FBI in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, there was at least a handful being held on suspicion of having material knowledge about the attacks themselves.

At that time Mintz pointed out that while most of the Israelis arrested and detained since Sept. 11 were held on immigration charges and not suspected of any involvement in terrorism, there were exceptions. According to Mintz’s previous Post article (published on Nov. 23):

In several cases, such as those in Cleveland and St. Louis, INS officials testified in court hearings that they were “of special interest to the government,” a term that federal agents have used in many of the hundreds of cases involving mostly Muslim Arab men who have been detained around the country since the terrorist attacks.

An INS official who requested anonymity said the agency will not comment on the Israelis. He said the use of the term “special interest” means the case in question is “related to the investigation of Sept. 11.” [...]

Comment: Remember that the Mossad's motto is "by way of deception". They have a well established track record of playing both sides in any conflict and of actually starting conflicts themselves, much in the same way that the US intelligence services have done for many decades around the world.

In order that our readers can get an idea into the mind set of the type of people that are recruited into Israel's most infamous intelligence service, we present the below article by renowned Mossad authority, Gordon Thomas.

"Sharon" and the State of "Israel"

The nemesis of a Jewish representation

Upon the meeting of President George W. Bush and "Israeli" Prime Minister Sharon on April 14, at the White House, Washington DC,
Orthodox Jews will be demonstrating in front of the White House, to proclaim and clearly state that: Sharon and the State of "Israel" are illegitimate and they do not represent the Jewish people.

Date: Wednesday April 14, 2004
Place: White House, Lafayette Park
Time: 12:00 PM

Let it be known that:

The State of "Israel" does not represent the voice of Judaism and/or the Jewish people. The Torah clearly forbids the formation of a State, for the Jewish people, in their time of exile.

The Torah forbids stealing land, subjugating and oppressing a people etc.

The root cause of the endless bloodshed and suffering in the Holy Land is Zionism and the State of "Israel".

The root cause for the continual rise of worldwide anti-Semitism is Zionism and the State of "Israel".

The Jewish people have been living in Muslim countries, including Palestine, in peace and harmony with their Arab neighbors, until the advent of Zionism.

True to the above and for many other reasons, the rabbinic authorities universally, have vehemently opposed the State of "Israel" since the time of its inception.

Consequently, Sharon has no legitimacy to be the representative of the Jewish people.

The only working solution to a true and lasting peace is the total dismantling of this illegitimate State of "Israel" - a transformation to a Palestinian rule. Any other of the countless proposals for peace, whereby the State of "Israel" would continue to exist, is futile. As the Torah states "why are you violating the words of G-d, it will not be successful" (Numbers, 14: 41).

Our fervent prayer to G-d is, for this transition from the State of "Israel" to a Palestinian State, to transpire, speedily and peacefully, without any further suffering and bloodshed. Under this new Palestinian rule, we will once again, G-d willing, be able live side by side, Jew and Arab, in brotherhood.

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Around 770 Die in Recent Iraq Fighting

April 12, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq - About 70 U.S.-led coalition troops and around 700 Iraqi insurgents have been killed in fighting across Iraq since April 1, but there is no authoritative figure on Iraqi civilian deaths, U.S. Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Monday.

Kimmitt's comments were the first full casualty statistics released by the military since a bloody uprising by a radical Shiite militia started April 4 and U.S. forces began their siege against Sunni insurgents in Fallujah early April 5.

"The coalition casualties since April 1 run about 70 personnel. ... The casualty figures we have received from the enemy are somewhere about 10 times that amount, what we've inflicted on the enemy," Kimmitt told a Baghdad press conference.

"In terms of civilian casualties, there is no reliable, authoritative figure out there. We would ask the Ministry of Health, once Iraqi control ... is allowed back in Fallujah, they can get a fair, honest and credible figure and not one that is somehow filtered through some of the local propaganda machines," he said. [...]

Comment: First of all, the idea of "Iraqi control" of any city in Iraq is absolutely ridiculous as long as the occupying US forces remain in the country. Even after June 30th, Iraqis will not be running their country. The temporary government will be a mere puppet of US administrators. As for the "local propaganda machines", perhaps the greatest propaganda machine ever created is the American media. The fact that US forces have no idea of the number of Iraqis they have slaughtered is evidence that America's true motives for invading Iraq have nothing to do with liberating Iraqis - most US soldiers and the Americans they represent couldn't possibly care less about ordinary Iraqis.

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Falluja toll tops 600

Monday 12 April 2004, 10:17 Makka Time, 7:17 GMT

More than 600 Iraqis have been killed in fighting in Falluja since US occupation forces launched an offensive against resistance fighters in the town a week ago, say hospital sources.

"I can say more than 600 have been killed, but the number may not be totally correct as many families have already buried their dead in their gardens", Dr Rafa Hayad al-Issawi, the director of Falluja's hospital, told Aljazeera.

As well as the dead, al-Issawi estimated that about 1200 people had been injured in the fighting, some of the fiercest that Iraq has seen since US-led forces invaded the country to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Aljazeera's correspondent in Falluja reported that 11 people were killed and about 50 others wounded by US gunfire, despite the ceasefire agreed upon between the US occupation forces and the Iraqi resistance.

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Violence erupts in Iraq

Violence has erupted in Iraq despite a fragile ceasefire between Sunni militants and US marines in the besieged city of Fallujah, where Iraqis said more than 600 civilians were killed in the past week.

Near Baghdad, gunmen shot down a US attack helicopter, killing two crewmembers. Three loud explosions also went off in a large compound in central Baghdad that houses the headquarters of the US-led coalition in Iraq. White smoke came from the area and a siren was sounded.

Meanwhile, the US military has suggested it is open to a negotiated solution in its showdown with a radical Shi'ite cleric in the south. Most of the Iraqis killed in Fallujah in fighting that started last Monday were women, children and elderly, the director of the city hospital, Rafie al-Issawi, said. But a marine commander disputed that, saying most of the dead were probably rebels.

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Al-Rubaie calls on Fallujah residents to hand over killers

The Iraqi national security adviser has called on the people of Fallujah to hand over insurgents who killed and mutilated four American civilians last month. Speaking at a press conference in Baghdad, Mouwafak al-Rubaie said handing over the killers would remove any American pretext for launching attacks on the city.

US Marines launched their assault on Fallujah after the four American contractors were killed in an ambush there on March 31st. A mob then mutilated their bodies. A tentative cease-fire between the Marines and insurgents in Fallujah appears to be holding. A local hospital official has said that more than 600 Iraqis, mainly civilians, have been killed over the past week. US Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt told a press conference that most of the casualties had been insurgents.

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Suicide Bomb Belts Found in Fallujah

FALLUJAH, Iraq - American troops have discovered U.S. military uniforms and suicide bomb belts in an insurgent cache hidden in a house, raising concerns of a new rebel tactic for killing troops. Marines on Sunday examined a house that was discovered three days earlier where two such belts were found. The new search revealed three more belts and a carton with "82nd Airborne" stamped on the top that was full of U.S. Army-issued desert fatigues, said Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.

The discovery of the house was first reported Thursday, after troops shot and killed two men who approached their positions and were found to be wearing two more belts bearing plastic explosives and shrapnel. "The body bombs were a big deal. No one wants to have their guys blown up," Byrne said after Sunday's search. Byrne said the discovery suggested attackers intended to use the uniforms to get close to Marine positions, then set off their explosives.

[...] A search of the house also found sacks full of chemical-coated rocks, leather belts stuffed with explosive putty, boxes of batteries with wires taped to them, and bomb-making instructions, The Washington Post reported Monday. Islamic books, pamphlets, tapes and farewell letters in Arabic also found suggested that some of the men were not Iraqis, but foreign Sunni Muslims who came here to fight in a holy war, the newspaper said.

It quoted an unidentified Marine captain as saying a 16-member terror cell was operating from the site. But there have been scores of suicide attacks, mostly using car or truck bombs, in other parts of Iraq, including against Iraqi defense forces, the Red Cross and United Nations.

Comment: The Bush Reich wants you to believe that the resistance in Iraq comes from dem furerners. No, not the Yanks and their buddies, but from Syrians, Iranians, Afghanis, and other members of al Qaeda. The idea that the Iraqi people, so overjoyed only a year ago that they welcomed US troops with cheers and flowers (it must be true, we saw it on the US news), could now be brandishing guns and bombs in an attempt to take back their country from the looters and occupiers is just too outrageous, right? Bush needs a "transfer of power" by the end of June to reassure US voters. Of course, we all know that this won't change a thing. Proconsul Bremer will continue to call the shots and US administrators will continue to run the Ministries.

But what is happening on the ground in Iraq isn't important. All that counts is the US voter's perceptions, and those are controlled by the corporate media.

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Bush: 'What we're doing in Iraq is right'

Monday, April 12, 2004 Posted: 8:40 AM EDT (1240 GMT)

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) -- President Bush on Sunday braced the country for the possibility of more American casualties in Iraq while saying the U.S.-led mission is just.

"What we're doing in Iraq is right," Bush said after attending an Easter service at a chapel on this sprawling base.

"Today, on bended knee, I thank the good Lord" for protecting U.S. troops, Bush said before heading to a military hospital to meet with wounded soldiers who have returned recently from Iraq. [...]

Comment: "Right" according to whom? The Christian God that tells Dubya what to do? It seems the US president's prayers to the good Lord didn't work very well, given that the previous article estimated 70 "allied" troops were killed recently in Iraq. And what of the 770 Iraqis killed? No doubt they prayed to their own god for protection. The sad truth seems to be that even after hundreds and thousands of years, humanity has learned very little. Wars are still waged over land, resources, money, and monotheistic religions. Each side is absolutely sure that they are "right".

As the next article demonstrates, many Iraqis feel that the US is not better off under US rule than under Saddam. Some are even saying their country is worse off under America. Some liberation.

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'Shut Up'

Robert Fisk in Baghdad – The Independent April 10, 2004

Just shut up. That's the new foreign policy line of our masters. When Senator Edward Kennedy dubbed Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam", US Secretary of State Colin Powell told him to be "a little more restrained and careful" in his comments. I recall that when the US commenced its bombing of Afghanistan, the White House spokesman claimed that some journalists were "asking questions that the American people wouldn't want asked". Back in the early 1980s, when I reported on the Iranian soldiers on a troop train to Tehran who were coughing Saddam's mustard gas out of their lungs in blood and mucus, a Foreign Office official told my then editor on The Times that my dispatch was "not helpful". In other words, stop criticising our ally, Saddam.

So maybe the policy has been around for quite awhile. When the occupation authorities deliberately concealed the attacks against US troops after the start of the Iraq occupation last year, journalists who investigated this violence were told that they weren’t covering the big picture, that only small areas of Iraq were restive. And there was a lot of clucking of tongues when a few of us decided to take a close look at US proconsul Paul Bremmer’s press laws last year. A whole team of “Coalition Provisional Authority” lawyers was set up to see how they could legalise the closure and censorship of Iraqi newspapers the “incited violence”. And whenever we raised questions about it, the CPA spokesman – and its current attendant lord, Dan Senor, used the same phrase last week – would announce that “we will not tolerate incitement to violence”.

So when Bremmer’s own closure last week of Muqtada Sadr’s silly little weekly – circulation about a quarter of the Kent Messenger – incited the very violence he supposedly wanted to avoid, what did the American High Commissioner announce? “This will not be tolerated.” One of the papers major sins was to have condemned Paul Bremmer for taking Iraq down “Saddam’s path”, an article which Bremmer condemned in painstaking detail in his signed letter – in execrable Arabic – to the editor of the miscreant paper.

Now I’m all against incitement to violence. Just like I’m against incitement to war by the use of fraudulent claims of weapons of mass destruction and secret links to al-Qa’ida. Just like I’m against the use of Saddam’s army against Iraqi cities. For let’s remember that some of Muqtada Sadr’s dangerous militiamen fought Saddam in the 1991 insurgency – the one we supported and then betrayed. Saddam, of course, knew how to deal with resistance. “We will not tolerate…,” he told his commanders. And we all know what that meant. No, the Americans are not Saddam’s army. But the siege of Fallujah is likely to give that city the heroic status among future generations of Iraqi Sunnis as Basra – surrounded by Saddam’s hordes in 1991 – holds among Iraqi Shias today.s

But still, we must shut up. I remember how last autumn the cabal of rightwing neo-conservatives who urged the Bush administration into this war suddenly went to ground. What was this so-called neo-conservative lobby behind Bush and Cheney, a New York Times columnist demanded to know, these so-called former Likudist supporters of Israel? When one of them, Richard Perle, turned up on a radio show with me a few weeks ago, he insisted that things were getting better in Iraq, that we were all en route to a cracking little democracy in Mesopotamia.

The moment I suggested that this was a massive case of self-delusion, Perle replied that Fisk had “always been for the maintenance of the Baathist regime”. I got the message. Anyone who condemned this bloody mess was a secret Baathist, a lover of the dictator and his torturers. Thus far have the falcons of Washington fallen.

Of course, the “shut-up” principle works both ways. Back on 16 March 2003, when the world was obsessed with the war that would break out in Iraq three days later, a tragedy occurred on another battlefield 500 miles west of Baghdad. On that day, an Israeli soldier drove his nine-ton Caterpillar bulldozer over a young American peace activist called Rachel Corrie who was unarmed, clearly visible in a fluorescent jacket and trying to protect a Palestinian home that the Israelis intended to destroy. The Caterpillar was part of the regular US aid to Israel. Israel acquitted its own army of responsibility for Rachel’s death – which was taped on video by her appalled friends – and the Bush administration remained gutlessly silent.

Rachel’s grieving mother Elizabeth had been a picture of dignity. US citizens, she wrote, “should ask themselves how it is that an unarmed US citizen can be killed with impunity by a soldier from an allied nation receiving massive US aid… When three Americans were killed, presumably by Palestinians, in an explosion on October 15th, 2003 … the FBI came within 24 hours to investigate the deaths. After one year, neither the FBI nor any other US-led team has done anything to investigate the death of an American killed by an Israeli".

Well, the answer is that Bush and his administration know how to shut themselves up when it pays them to do so. That’s what Condeleeza Rice initially tried to do when summoned before the 11 September hearings. And thanks to the subservience of many members of the White House and Pentagon press corps, the administration has an easy time. Why, for example, no press questions about Rachel Corrie?

It seems that as long as you say “war on terror”, you are safe from all criticism. For not a single American journalist has investigated the links between the Israeli army’s “rules of engagement” – so blithely handed over to US forces on Sharon’s orders – and the behaviour of the US military in Iraq. The destruction of houses of “suspects”, the wholesale detention of thousands of Iraqis without trial, the cordoning off of “hostile” villages with razor wire, the bombardment of civilian areas by Apache helicopter gunships and tanks on the hunt for “terrorists” are all part of the Israeli military lexicon.

In besieging cities – when they were taking casualties or the number of civilians killed was becoming too shameful to sustain – the Israeli army would call a “unilateral suspension of offensive operations”. They did this 11 times when they surrounded Beirut in 1982. And yesterday, the American army declared a “unilateral suspension of offensive operations” around Fallujah.

Not a word on this mysterious parallel by America’s reporters, no questions about the even more mysterious use of identical language. And in the coming days, we shall – perhaps – find out how many of the estimated 300 dead of Fallujah were Sunni gunmen and how many were women and children. Following Israel’s rules is going to lead the Americans into the same disaster those rules have led the Israelis. But I guess we’ll shut up about it.

In the end, I suspect, the Iraqis will probably have a greater say in the US presidential elections than American voters. They will decide if President Bush loses or wins. The same may apply to Mr Blair. Funny thing, that a far away people, just 26 million, can change our political history. As for us, I guess we’ll be expected to shut up.

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How GI bullies are making enemies of their Iraqi friends
April 12, 2004 - 1:10AM

It should have been a weekend of celebration - the first anniversary of the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the first chance in decades for millions of Iraqi Shiites to join the Arbi'een pilgrimage to the southern shrine city of Kerbala - their holiest day which had been outlawed by Saddam.

Instead, the country is in convulsions and it seems the Americans have already lost the battle for Iraqi hearts and minds.

The Tigris River was like glass beneath an empty corn-blue sky as we set out for the Mother of All Battles Mosque to talk to Sunnis and Shiites, who, after centuries of enmity, were working together, packing trucks for a humanitarian convoy to besieged Falluja.

We were approaching an overpass when suddenly there were multiple explosions and a towering pillar of smoke. Ammunition was going off in the blazing wreck of a US tank on the highway below. The rest of the US convoy had fled, but one of the insurgents had hung back to observe their handiwork.

When we slowed to ask a man on the bridge what had happened, he jumped into a car that went off at speed, saying: "I'm from Falluja. Now I go back to continue fighting." [...]

Sadeer, my driver in Baghdad, is leaning the same way.

When he arrived at the Palestine Hotel yesterday he was limping; the leg of his jeans was soaked in blood. The cut was small and we were able to bandage it, but George Bush had lost another Iraqi friend.

Sadeer, a 28-year-old Shiite, had been an enthusiastic supporter of the Americans and he takes his life in his hands by working for me. Iraqis are being executed just for being in the company of Westerners.

But his encounter with a bullying US soldier, who roughed him up as he came through the security cordon around the hotel, has pushed him into the nationalist Iraqi camp.

When the GI challenged him, Sadeer tried to explain in his limited English that he entered the hotel routinely. But he was barked at, shoved away and then belted on the foot with a rifle. He used to slow in traffic to greet the US troops. Now he has turned: "Americans bad for Iraq - too many problems."

Leaving the hotel on foot, we had to go through the same streets to get to his car. I tried to explain our movements to the officer in charge of a US tank unit, but we were greeted with a stream of invective.

As I thanked the officer for his civility and moved on, one of his men fell in beside me, mumbling. Asked to repeat himself, he exploded: "Don't you f---in' eyeball me."

Nodding to his officer and raising his weapon, he shrieked: "He has rank to lose. I don't. I'll take you out quick as a flash, motherf---er!"

Comment: Such a touching story! It just warms our hearts to see how America - the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave - has brought freedom and peace to all Iraqis...

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US soldiers in Iraq asked to pray for Bush

ABC News Online
Sunday, March 30, 2003. 2:55am (AEST)

They may be the ones facing danger on the battlefield, but US soldiers in Iraq are being asked to pray for President George W Bush.

Thousands of marines have been given a pamphlet called "A Christian's Duty," a mini prayer book which includes a tear-out section to be mailed to the White House pledging the soldier who sends it in has been praying for Bush.

"I have committed to pray for you, your family, your staff and our troops during this time of uncertainty and tumult. May God's peace be your guide," says the pledge, according to a journalist embedded with coalition forces.

The pamphlet, produced by a group called In Touch Ministries, offers a daily prayer to be made for the US president, a born-again Christian who likes to invoke his God in speeches.

Sunday's is "Pray that the President and his advisers will seek God and his wisdom daily and not rely on their own understanding".

Monday's reads "Pray that the President and his advisers will be strong and courageous to do what is right regardless of critics".

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Cheney praises Japan PM over Iraq hostages

Last Updated Mon, 12 Apr 2004 7:17:50

TOKYO - U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney said Monday that he supported Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's handling of the hostage crisis in Iraq and promised American help in freeing three Japanese captives.

"We wholeheartedly support the position the prime minister has taken with respect to the question of the Japanese hostages," Cheney said.

The United States will do all it can to help secure their release, he said.

Comment: Cheney is an evil man. From his secret energy commission to his promotion of the war in Iraq for the benefit of Halliburton, he has shown himself to be singularly firm in his conviction that only his buddies in the oil industry should have any representation in US government. He probably even considers himself a "moral" man! Morals are cheap. Everybody has them and knows that his, and his alone, are worth fighting and killing for.

Kinda like "Gods." "Mine" and "mine" alone is the one, true, God, the only one worth killing for.

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Seven new hostages seized in Iraq

The hostage crisis in Iraq has widened, with seven Chinese being seized on the road from Jordan to Baghdad.

The latest kidnappings follow the seizure of three Japanese citizens whose fate remains unknown.

[...] It is not clear what the seven Chinese men detained late on Sunday were doing in Iraq. Chinese sources say they did not work for the government.

Chinese media report that the 10 Chinese companies doing business in Iraq have about 40 employees there.

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Army: 7 employees of U.S. firm missing in Iraq

Monday, April 12, 2004 Posted: 12:41 PM EDT (1641 GMT)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Seven employees of the American construction and engineering company Kellogg, Brown & Root are unaccounted for in Iraq, the top U.S. general in Iraq said Monday.

"We ... have seven KBR employees ... unaccounted for," said U.S. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.

Sanchez also said two U.S. troops were unaccounted for and he had no further details about the troops or the missing employees.

Kellogg, Brown & Root -- a division of Halliburton -- is the same firm that employs kidnapped truck driver Thomas Hamill of Mississippi, who was taken hostage Friday by gunmen in Iraq.

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Bush Vacations While U.S. Soldiers Die

By Matt Bivens

A recent editorial in The Washington Post conceded that the latest eruption of violence in Iraq marks "a turn for the worse," but then quickly found a silver lining: "For months it has been evident that it will be impossible to stabilize Iraq ... unless factional militias are disarmed and disbanded." Now, "that painful but necessary battle will go forward."

In other words, the unfolding bloodbath is progress. Which raises the question: Is there anything that hawks for this war wouldn't consider progress? If we're greeted with flowers, that's helpful. If we're greeted with machine-gun fire, that's helpful, too.

Such blather aside, however, many have called this past week a turning point in our Iraqi misadventure.

But that's imprecise. If you drive your car off a cliff, and your car smashes through tree branches on its inevitable path downward, it would be odd to describe the impact with the branches as "a turning point." Call it instead an alarming taste of how truly bad things are going to get.

Here in the United States, the airwaves are filled with a shrill consensus that no matter what happens, this mission is too important to abandon, and that "we can't fail."

Can't fail? We failed the moment we decided to roar in with our tanks and air power to deliver liberal democracy -- to a land, what's more, where the majority will apparently cast their votes for repressive theocracy.

The rest is just epilogue.

So we will engage in a "robust" and "muscular" military response against our enemies, wherever we meet them. And foreign policy wonks will insist that if we hit just the right mix of lethal force, financial aid and moral commitment, we can build a shining city on a Mesopotamian hill.

And then, of course, after we've squandered enough lives and treasure and it's still not working, we will cut and run. And yes, it will have all been for nothing.

It's so unforgiveably stupid. I find myself looking around for the man who brought us there, George W. Bush. Doesn't he have some explaining to do?

What do you know, he's skipped town.

Yes, he's taken another unearned vacation down in Texas. President Bush chalked up his 500th vacation day this past weekend, even as the 455th U.S. soldier fell in combat. (Overall, 728 "coalition" soldiers, including 58 British, have died so far in this war zone. So have somewhere from 8,800 to 10,000 Iraqis, according to

And yet the president who authored this disaster is taking it manfully in stride. As The Washington Post reported, "This is Bush's 33rd visit to his ranch since becoming president. He has spent all or part of 233 days on his Texas ranch since taking office ... Adding his 78 visits to Camp David and his five visits to Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush has spent all or part of 500 days in office at one of his three retreats, or more than 40 percent of his presidency."

Forty percent of his presidency! That's the equivalent of taking paid leave off from Jan. 1 to May 24. Must be nice.

Bush can also proudly claim the longest presidential vacation in 32 years -- a month-long siesta in August 2001.

Come to think of it, those days of languid leisure coincided with the presidential intelligence briefing document of August 6, 2001 -- the one he apparently ignored, no doubt bored by its title: "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

Comment: Here, again, we see the subtlety of the Bush cover-up. Bivens is no friend of Bush, and, yet, he buys into the whole "mysterious memo of August 6th." That is, he is buying into the idea that "We didn't do enough" to stop the threat of al Qaeda rather than looking at the facts and seeing that the whole thing was an inside job. And in Washington, an "inside job" these days includes Israel.

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Bush and Mubarak welcome Israeli plan to quit Gaza Strip

By Haaretz Staff and Agencies

United States President George W. Bush and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Monday that they would welcome an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as a positive step toward a Middle East peace agreement and a future Palestinian state. "I think any withdrawal from the occupied territory is very highly appreciated," Mubarak told reporters following a private meeting at Bush's Texas ranch.

The president warned, however, that such a withdrawal would not take the place of the internationally-brokered road map to Middle East peace, unveiled by Bush in June 2003. "If he were to decide to withdraw, it would be a positive development," Bush said at a news conference at his central Texas ranch. "We both are in agreement that if Israel makes a decision to withdraw, it doesn't replace the road map." But, Bush said, a Palestinian state would remain in jeopardy "if terrorists are willing to kill" in order to interrupt progress. "We can't let people blow up the process, but that's what's happening," Bush said. "It's a very complicated problem," the Egyptian leader added.

Mubarak also pledged to Bush that his country would do "whatever it takes" to revive efforts to strike a peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. After discussing Israel's plan to close its settlements in the Gaza Strip, Bush offered an appeal for true peace in the entire Middle East, "not just a pause between wars." "We also believe the future of the Middle East and the future of Iraq are closely linked," Bush told reporters. "The people of the greater Middle East have a right to be safe, secure, prosperous and free."

Bush's meeting with Mubarak marks the start of 10 days of talks focusing on the Middle East, which will include a meeting on April 14 with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The series of meetings is intended to help lay the groundwork for Sharon's plan to withdraw from the settlements in the Gaza Strip. Mubarak is making his first visit to the United States in two years. [...]

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US rebukes Australian opposition over criticism of "unequal" alliance

Monday April 12, 3:28 PM

US authorities have rejected a claim by opposition Labor leader Mark Latham the Australia-US alliance is unequal under Prime Minister John Howard's government.

In a rare intrusion into Australian politics, the US State Department said Latham's claim the alliance was weighted in favour of the United States was neither well-informed nor well-based.

Latham said last week that if Labor wins the upcoming election it would seek to make the alliance more equal instead of allowing Australia to be America's deputy sheriff. [...]

Australia is expected to go to the polls by November in an election in which Howard's staunch support for the US-led war in Iraq is looming as a key issue.

But the State Department's Kurtis Cooper told Australian Associated Press by phone from Washington that the US government regarded equality as vitally important to the alliance.

"The alliance between Australia and the United States is a partnership of equals in principle and in reality," Cooper said. "Characterisations to the contrary are neither well-informed nor well-based.

"Successive Australian and US governments have made equality a hallmark of our partnership and the bedrock of our alliance."

US governments had always respected Australia's right to its own decisions with regard to its national, regional and international interests, he said, adding: "The people of America and Australia are bound by shared values of freedom and democracy.

"We are grateful to the Australian people for being in the forefront of the global war on terrorism and look forward to the continued vitality of an alliance that serves the cause of peace around the world." [...]

Comment: Translation: The US has found itself in the quicksand in Iraq, and needs all the help it can get before the invasion to liberate Iraq from its sovereignty and oil turns into another Vietnam.

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Germans Evacuated from Iraq, Guards Still Missing

April 12, 2004

BERLIN (Reuters) - German aid organizations evacuated their last four workers from Iraq on Monday due to the deteriorating security situation, a spokesman for one of the groups said.

The government said two embassy guards feared killed in an ambush last week remained missing.

A spokesman for the "Aktion Deutschland Hilft" said the last four members of a 10-person team removing munitions from residential areas left Baghdad on a U.N. aircraft for Amman. He said they hoped to return to Baghdad as soon as possible. [...]

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No early French decision on troops for Iraq

PARIS, April 9 (AFP) - France Friday confirmed that it has been approached by the United States to contribute to a force protecting UN personnel in Iraq, but said it was too early to give a response.

"I can confirm that France along with other countries has been approached by the American authorities on the subject of protecting the United Nations in Iraq," said foreign ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous.

"However the question of a possible UN reinvolvement in Iraq depends on a number of questions which are far from being resolved as they hinge both on the political aspect of the affair and on what happens on the ground," he said.

Lakhdar Brahimi, who is a special envoy of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is due to make recommendations shortly on a possible role for the UN in Iraq. [...]

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Three more Moroccans detained over Madrid train bombings

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Threat of chemical attacks in Europe is "underestimated"

Mon Apr 12, 3:27 AM ET

LONDON (AFP) - Terrorist plans for chemical attacks against targets in Europe have been under-estimated by the security services, the Financial Times quoted a senior French counter-terrorism official as saying.

"We have underestimated the terrorists' willingness and capacity to develop chemical weapons," the unnamed official told the economic daily. [...]

Small groups of chemical experts had been detected in several European countries and "the thing that is most clear is that the people with the knowledge of chemicals are very organised," the official was reported as saying.

Several of the groups had links with Chechen Islamic militants, the Financial Times said, adding that Western intelligence services believed extremists linked to Al-Qaeda had conducted tests of chemical weapons in Chechnya. [...]

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A 1935 US Plan for Invasion of Canada

Submitted by F.W. Rudmin
Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario Canada

The following is a full-text reproduction of the 1935 plan for a US invasion of Canada prepared at the US Army War College, G-2 intelligence division, and submitted on December 18, 1935. This is the most recent declassified invasion plan available from the US archival sources. Centered pagination is that of the original document. The spelling and punctuation of the original document are reproduced as in the original document, even when in error by present-day norms.

This document was first identified by Richard Preston in his 1977 book, "The Defence of the Undefended Border: Planning for War in North America 1867-1939" (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.) Preston's reference citation (p. 277) identified this to be archived at the US Military History Collection, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., coded AWC 2-1936-8, G2, no. 19A. It was located by the US National Archives and supplied on microfilm. [...]

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Fugitive Warlord Urges Afghan Uprising

Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of America's most-wanted men, has urged his compatriots to rise up against the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan

In a statement obtained by The Associated Press on Sunday, Hekmatyar calls for an Afghan uprising in a competitive spirit with Iraq . He welcomed the uprising by supporters of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who have been battling U.S. forces in Iraq. Afghans "like Iraqi mujahedeen, will choose the way of uprising against the occupiers," said the Pashtu-language statement, translated by the AP.

Hekmatyar heads Hezb-e-Islami, an Islamic guerrilla faction that fought invading Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He has reportedly joined forces with the Taliban against the U.S.-backed government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. "Everyone believed that ... Afghans would be ahead of Iraqis in starting a popular uprising to evict the foreign occupiers," the statement said.

The statement was released to AP by a Hekmatyar aide who visited Peshawar in northern Pakistan, some 30 miles east of the Afghan border. It was not clear when or where the statement was made, and its authenticity could not immediately be confirmed. It was signed "Hekmatyar, Afghanistan." Hekmatyar has issued numerous calls to fight against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He is believed hiding in Afghanistan since leaving Iran in 2002.

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Truce in Sudan between government and rebels

A ceasefire in Sudan has come into effect between the government and rebels. The truce is to last initially for 45 days and was mediated by the government of Chad. Both sides said they hoped it would lead to a lasting peace in the Darfur region. The United Nations has described the conflict as currently the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

Around 670,000 people have been displaced within Sudan by the war since last year. A further 100,000 have fled to neighbouring Chad.

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10 killed in stampede at northern Indian election meeting

April 12, 2004

LUCKNOW, India (AFP) - At least 10 people were killed in a stampede for free clothes during a function organised to mark a local politician's birthday in this northern Indian city, an official said.

Local administrator Aradhana Shukla told AFP that the stampede occurred when people rushed to collect free saris, a traditional Indian dress, which Lalji Tandon, a member of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's BJP party, was distributing. [...]

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British hostage's 'nightmare' over

Released British hostage Gary Teeley has thanked those who "ended a nightmare" by securing his release from captivity in Iraq. The 37-year-old was enjoying his first full day of freedom following six days of being held hostage at the hands of an Iraqi militia.

Mr Teeley was snatched from the southern city of Nasiriyah last Monday. He was held until his release to Italian troops early on Sunday. The father of five told the Aljazeera news channel: "I am very tired and I need a shave." He added: "I would like obviously to thank those people that ended a nightmare."

Mr Teeley was taken to an Italian field hospital for check-ups following his ordeal and it remained unclear what his next movements would be.[...]

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Dutch hostage returns home

Arjan Erkel, a worker for Medecines Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, who has been released by Russian security services from captivity in Dagestan (Russian Federation republic neighbouring on Chechnya), has returned to the Netherlands. His plane landed at the Rotterdam airport late on Sunday night.

[...] The aid worker was kidnapped in Dagestan on August 12 2002. His whereabouts were unknown, although he was known to be alive. Mr Erkel was released in a joint operation conducted by the Dagestanin interior ministry and the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) department for Dagestan.

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Pakistan opposition leader given 23-year imprisonment

A Pakistani opposition leader has been sentenced to 23 years in prison after he was accused of defaming the military and trying to incite a mutiny. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, de facto leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) party led by exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was handed a total of 23 years in jail on seven counts including forgery, defamation and inciting hatred against the army.

Hashmi, who leads the multi-party Alliance for Restoration of Democracy, was arrested on October 29 last year on charges of defaming the government and the army, incitement to mutiny and document forgery. "The court has sentenced Hashmi to 23 years imprisonment," spokesman for Hashmi's PML, Siddiqul Farooq said.

The case was brought after Hashmi, a former minister in deposed premier Nawaz Sharif's cabinet, circulated a letter allegedly written by an army officer opposing the role of the military in national politics. "The verdict has proved that judiciary is in (President Pervez) Musharraf's clutches," Mr Farooq said. He said the PML will appeal the verdict and "fight against the decision at all legal forums, in the parliament and in the court of people".

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S Korea party chief quits post

The head of South Korea's pro-government Uri Party has resigned as its election chief just three days ahead of a parliamentary poll. Chung Dong-young had been criticised for saying that older voters could stay at home on election day, in an attempt to encourage younger voters. The party has since seen its approval rating dip.

It had been boosted by sympathy for its backer, President Roh Moo-hyun, who was impeached last month. Mr Chung gave no reason for his resignation at a hastily convened news conference on Monday, according to Reuters news agency. But his remark about older voters had attracted widespread opprobrium in a society dominated by the Confucian culture, which honours seniority. He had hoped to attract South Korea's 20- and 30-somethings to vote, who have traditionally shown less interest in politics.

[...] The elections are widely seen as a referendum on Mr Roh, who was censured by parliament on 12 March for violating election rules by saying he would like his supporters in the Uri party to do well.[...]

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Teachers oppose any hijab ban

Banning Muslim girls from wearing the hijab, or headscarf, at school would be a serious setback in the fight against racism, teachers have warned. Vowing to do whatever they could to stop the rise of the "fascist" British National Party, the National Union of Teachers said England and Wales must not follow France in banning conspicuous religious symbols, including the hijab, from the classroom.

Delegates at the union's annual conference in Harrogate censured the Far Right BNP for trying to spread its message among pupils during an era of rising tension between whites and Asians in some parts of the country. But they also lambasted New Labour in general and Home Secretary David Blunkett in particular for sending out the message that it was acceptable to "denigrate" immigrants and asylum seekers.

Opening the debate, Philippe Harari, an NUT member from Cambridgeshire said: "The Government has been criticised for being too soft on asylum seekers. "I want to live in a country that is perceived around the world as a safe haven, as a soft touch, if you like."

Delegates were united over the need to teach anti-racism in schools and to prevent them from being turned into recruiting grounds for the BNP. Jackie Ranger, an activist from Birmingham, said: "Children have to be prepared for life in a multi-cultural society." She branded the Government's policy of educating asylum seeker children in detention centres "apartheid".

Lawrence Wong, an NUT official from East London said Mr Blunkett fuelled ethnic tension by claiming that NHS hospitals were being "swamped" by asylum seekers and by saying immigrants should speak English at home.

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'Many prisoners to be freed early'

Fears that thousands of prisoners may be released early to help ease overcrowding have been raised. One of the two key conditions for inmates to be eligible for release under home detention curfew has been axed, according to the National Association of Probation Officers.

Napo describes the move as "a panic measure" because prison numbers have risen to 75,000. According to Napo News, the union's magazine: "Governors have been told to relax the strict interpretation of this criteria so that the only bar to being released on the scheme, if the prisoner is eligible, is if he or she poses a risk of harm to the public.

"A previous criteria of likelihood of re-offending is no longer considered a priority." An extra 1,000 prisoners each month will be released under the relaxation, in addition to the 1,600 freed on average each month last year, Napo says.

It predicts the number of people who are sent back to prison for having breached their curfew could jump to 500 or 600 by the summer, up from 288 in October. Harry Fletcher, Napo assistant general secretary, said: "There is no further capacity.[...]

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Crucial And Scary Weeks

Raghida Dergham Al-Hayat 2004/04/9

This week, Iraq has become the place where the United States might slip from the position of the only superpower, because of the adventures and mistakes of the American Department of Defense and its hawks. All the players who crammed themselves in the corner will not be able to get out of there unless through an unlikely surprise reflected by Iraqi unity and the American administration's determination to acknowledge its mistakes and correct them. Up till now, there is no indication that George Bush is willing to rebel against those who got the U.S. entangled in such a war, for his stubbornness might cost him his dream of a second term. Bush is the victim of his religious obsession, and the victim of a group of fundamentalists who fascinated him with a preemptive ideology, and blinded him from the risks of adopting Israel's policies. The coming weeks are crucial and scary for Iraq and the region, and Bush might not survive from the accumulated mistakes committed by civil governor of Iraq Paul Bremer, who followed the instructions of Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, in contribution with Ruling Council member Ahmad Chalabi.

[...] The date of 30 June for the transfer of power to Iraqis was set in order to tell the American voter "we have succeeded in turning an Arab country into a democracy." This date might come without an interim government, and might foil the plans of Bush's campaign.

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Brief Raises Credibility Questions

Sun Apr 11, 7:55 AM ET
By Ronald Brownstein Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Questions about the Bush administration's vigilance dominated Condoleezza Rice's appearance last week before the commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

But with the release Saturday night of a classified warning delivered to President Bush at his Texas ranch one month before the attacks, questions of credibility may become a growing challenge for Rice — and the president she serves.

The virtually unprecedented publication of the classified Aug. 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing is bound to stir intense debate in the coming days over whether Rice was misleading commissioners in her testimony last week when she described the report as a "historical memo" and "not a warning."

Much of the page-and-a-half document focuses on information about Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda developed from 1997 through 1999. But it also reported that "FBI information … indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks."

Senior White House officials briefing reporters late Saturday said that assertion did not reflect any specific intelligence relevant to the Sept. 11 plot. But Bush now faces the likelihood that many critics will view the briefing as precisely a warning — and ask whether the administration responded urgently enough at the time, or described it honestly in Rice's testimony last week.

"Maybe I'm lost in a fog, but how much more information could you get?" asked James Carville, a veteran Democratic strategist. "Of course it was a warning."

At once troubling and vague, the memo may prove to be something of a Rorschach test, offering evidence both for Bush's supporters and critics.

Comment: The memo can be a Rorschach test only for those who view it in isolation from the rest of the evidence. We reported yesterday that Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial jets in July of 2001. We reported several days ago that Condi had alerted the mayor of San Francisco not to fly on September 11. Don't these facts indicate that she knew something was happening?

Why weren't these facts brought up at the hearing?

Because the whole thing is a farce designed to make you believe that "they didn't do enough" instead of looking coldly at the facts and seeing that "they organised the whole thing themselves." It is theatre. It is entertainment. It is wall-to-wall lies. And if the Bushites can convince you that "they didn't do enough", they have convinced you of a lie. They will walk away from their bloody deeds unpunished.

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Ayoon wa Azan (The Palestinian Demand)

Jihad Al Khazen Al-Hayat 2004/04/11

While the catastrophic situation in Iraq is getting more attention, we are in front of one or two decisive weeks for the future of the Palestinian cause.

[...] All Palestinian officials I have talked to or met, are comfortable with the Egyptian and Jordanian stances, and hope for an Arab support for the President and the King, in the face of the U.S.

Nevertheless, all this does not guarantee success. Ariel Sharon is the man of criminal ideology, we are in a year of presidential elections, and the American administration does not wish to rock the Middle Eastern boat. Circles around Sharon speak of compensations reaching $5 billion that would be given to Israelis in return for the withdrawal, in addition to $1 billion of military assistance, and $9 billion of loan guarantees. Would the cost of withdrawal from the West Bank be $1 trillion? Sharon wants a reward in return for the crime of occupation, and asks for an American promise that the withdrawal would exempt him from sticking to the Roadmap; whereas Benjamin Netanyahu asks for an American promise against the Palestinians' right of return, and for the Gaza borders to remain under Israeli control, in return for supporting Sharon's plan.

Should the withdrawal eventually happen the way Palestinians want it, it would be a miracle; at a time when miracles no longer exist.

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Sharon seeks US approval for 'going-it-alone'

Israeli troops killed at least two Palestinian gunmen inside a Jewish settlement on Monday as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon prepared to go to Washington to seek United States approval for his plan to withdraw from Gaza. Sharon wants to evacuate Israel's 20 settlements in Gaza, including the Netzarim enclave the three militants intended to attack, under a plan of "disengagement" from years of violence.

Palestinians say the plan is a trick as it also entails Israel annexing larger West Bank settlement clusters in the future. Sharon flies to Washington later on Monday for a meeting with US President George Bush at which Israeli sources said they would seal a deal ensuring Israel would not have to cede all of the West Bank in any future peace deal with Palestinians. In return Israel would carry out an historic pullout from Gaza, seized along with the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war.

Sharon faces resistance from pro-settler nationalists in his party and wants Bush's guarantees to overcome it. US sources have said "understandings" on key aspects of Sharon's unilateral plan had been struck, without elaborating. A joint statement by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah militant groups, claiming responsibility for the attempt to assault Netzarim, said two of three gunmen involved were killed and gave their names.

The other militant escaped, it said. The Israeli army at first said three militants were shot dead in a gunbattle after being intercepted in a greenhouse while preparing a pre-dawn attack on settlers living nearby. But a spokesperson said later just one body was recovered and troops were searching for more outside Netzarim's perimeter fence.

About 7 500 Jewish settlers in Gaza live in comfortable enclaves among 1,3 million impoverished Palestinians and have been frequent targets of a Palestinian uprising since 2000. Washington has signalled receptiveness to Sharon's go-it-alone plan provided he can show that it could help revive, not replace, Bush's "roadmap" peace plan which envisages a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. A source in Sharon's office said the prime minister would reiterate in Washington a commitment to the roadmap.

Sharon says his move would shield Israel from militant threats by scrapping vulnerable enclaves in Gaza and drawing a security line around key West Bank settlements - leaving Palestinians with less land than they want for a state. Palestinian officials say any commitment from Bush to such a course would tear up the roadmap with its vision of reciprocal steps towards Palestinian statehood, and strengthen Islamists sworn to destroying Israel.

"We reject this way. It will bring no solution. We have discussed this with the Americans and told them it is we who need guarantees. We want a UN Security Council resolution to give this (Sharon plan) international legitimacy," Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Korei told reporters in the West Bank. [...]

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Israeli troops kill 3 Palestinian gunmen

Monday, April 12, 2004 Posted: 4:32 AM EDT (0832 GMT)

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli troops early Monday shot and killed three Palestinian gunmen, who were trying to infiltrate a Jewish settlement in central Gaza, an Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman said.

According to the IDF's account, four Palestinian militants approached greenhouses near Netzarim, opened fire on Israeli troops and then threw a grenade, before they were shot. [...]

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Taking stock

Hassan Nafaa

A year after the US went into Iraq, it may be useful to restate a number of facts:

Fact one: The war on Iraq was a purely American decision, a decision taken by the Bush administration against the better judgement of the international community, without consultation, and for reasons exclusively related to US global strategy. The US decision was but one stage in a crisis that is still unfolding, one that leaves the door open to various possibilities.

Fact two: The gap separating the US public and the hidden goals of its administration is big and widening.

Fact Three: Countries across the world have reacted to the US decision according to their own interests. Only a few felt comfortable with this decision and regarded it as politically, morally, or legally justifiable.

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World's Reformers Pay Putin a Visit

By Catherine Belton
Staff Writer

NOVO-OGARYOVO, Moscow Region -- President Vladimir Putin brainstormed with some of the world's leading practitioners of liberal economic reform late into the evening Friday as he steps up his drive to meet his pledge of doubling GDP within 10 years.

Among those gathered round an oval table for nearly four hours of discussion at Putin's tree-surrounded Novo-Ogaryovo residence were economists whose implementation of liberal reforms in their countries fueled the rapid growth Putin has been seeking to achieve here.

[...] Presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov brought the eclectic line-up of economists to meet Putin from a two-day conference in Moscow called "A Liberal Agenda for the New Century: A Global Perspective" in which they had all participated. The conference was organized by the Cato Institute in Washington together with Illarionov's Institute of Economic Analysis.

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UPDATE: Russian mine blast death toll tops 44

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Taiwan vote recount may begin 'by mid-May'

Taiwan vote recount may begin 'by mid-May' April 12 2004 at 12:51PM Taipei - Taiwan's ruling and opposition parties have agreed on many aspects of a recount of last month's disputed presidential election and may be able to start the recount by mid-May, said lawyers for both sides on Monday.

At a hearing at the High Court, they agreed to a full recount to be conducted by the Central Election Commission and witnessed by judges and representatives from both parties, said Wellington Koo, a lawyer for President Chen Shui-bian. Chen defeated opposition leader Lien Chan by a razor-thin margin on March 20.

Lien has filed a suit seeking to nullify Chen's victory, citing voting irregularities and a record number of invalid ballots. "There's a high degree of consensus between the two sides. I think it is quite likely that we can have the recount before mid-May," Koo told reporters after meeting Lien's lawyers for three hours. Lien's lawyers said the court also felt mid-May was a reasonable timeframe for the recount.

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DRC: 25 People Hacked to Death Discovered in North Kivu,

The bodies of at least 25 people hacked to death by unidentified assailants have so far been discovered in Lutwegi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the public information officer for the UN mission in the eastern town of Goma, Jacqueline Chernard, told IRIN on Sunday. "We anticipate that the figure of those dead during the attack could rise," she said.

Quoting a local administrator of the affected area, in North Kivu Province, she said the dead were mostly women and children. She said 150 homes were completely burnt down by the unidentified attackers. In addition, a bridge connecting Lutwegi and neigbouring Goma has been severed, making it difficult for MONUC and humanitarian agencies to reach the displaced population. [...]

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Peru evacuates 1,500 tourists from Inca ruins

Sun Apr 11, 2:49 PM ET

LIMA (AFP) - Peruvian authorities helicoptered hundreds of stranded tourists away from the famed Machu Picchu Inca ruins, as rescue teams searched for 10 people missing in avalanches, caused by flash floods that left one confirmed dead.

Peru's civil defense organization said around 500 tourists had been flown out of the area, after mud and rock slides early Saturday hit Aguas Calientes, the town closest to the 600 year old ruins, cutting off tourists.

Around 1,000 tourists were still stranded in the city -- both Peruvians and foreign nationals --where they had headed during the Easter holidays.

Authorities said they expect to be able to transfer them Sunday to Cusco, 150 kilometers (90 miles) away.

Civil defense chief Juan Podesta said rescue teams were searching for the missing.

Around 15 homes were destroyed by Saturday's avalanches which killed one person at Aguas Calientes, which sits below the Inca ruins. [...]

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Effects of 'killer' comets on UA Web site

Tucson Citizen
Monday, April 12, 2004

Should the end zoom into Earth on a comet's tail, Web surfers now can calculate if they have time only to cuss before bursting into flames, or have a couple of minutes to seek shelter from a downpour of hot rock.

A Web site posted by the University of Arizona lunar and planetary sciences department calculates the effects of a killer asteroid or comet, depending on certain variables.

The site went up Wednesday and has been getting thousands of hits per hour, said its creator, Jay Melosh, a UA lunar and planetary science professor.

"I'm frankly a little overwhelmed by the response," Melosh said.

Visitors can plug variables into to determine the overall effect.

Should a typical porous-rock asteroid 1 kilometer in diameter land on Phoenix, within 30 seconds Tucson would experience a good jolt 2 1/2 minutes before a storm of ash began covering the ground.

Many scientists believe the long-term effects of such an asteroid strike could lead to the end of civilization as the atmosphere changes and crops fail globally, Melosh said.

Going for the big one, a 20-kilometer iron asteroid augering into Los Angeles would ignite most of the plants in Tucson and badly burn most skin. Three minutes later, the desert would shake violently, and five minutes after that, hot rock would rain from the sky and bury Tucson under 47 feet of granules.

A similar blast killed the dinosaurs and occurs every 1.3 billion years.

Melosh, an expert in near-Earth objects, got the idea to develop the Web site in the late 1990s, when the media peppered him with questions about hypothetical effects of some asteroids that came close to Earth.

In September, Melosh gained the services of Robert Marcus - a sophomore in physics and computer whiz kid - to put the Web site together.

The threat of an asteroid or comet striking our planet is real, but remote.

There's a 1-in-a-million chance each year of a 1-kilometer-diameter asteroid striking Earth, Melosh said.

Comment: Ah, the wonders of seeing the world in linear terms. Each year is exactly the same, statistically, as the one preceding it. Of course, if we look at things cyclically, then this changes. You have to know where you are in the cycle. Our own research indicates that there are several cycles of cometary interaction with the Big Blue Marble, including a 3600 year cycle that was last here...let's see...about 3600 years ago.

Those readers who have been with us for the last year will have seen the increasing number of fireballs that have been reported. India, Iran, Spain, Australia, the US, Canada, the reports are quite frequent. The explanations given by the "authorities" are quite amusing, too. Remember the young skateboarder who took a picture of the fireball in the UK? The "official explanation" was that he had caught the Concorde! Now enjoy the explanation of the following fireball:

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Baxterville Fireball Mystery Solved

April 11, 2004

Lamar County authorities believe they've cleared up the mystery regarding reports of a fireball in the sky over the Baxterville area last night. Lamar County Emergency Management Department officials say someone most likely fired a couple of oil field flares into the air near Gulf Camp Road. Those flares may have started a brush fire that burned a good-sized portion of a wooded area before U.S. Forestry Service workers could contain it. Some eyewitnesses initially reported that an airplane had crashed, but an extensive search by county officials and the Rescue-7 helicopter turned up nothing. The Lamar County Sheriff's Department is still investigating the case tonight.

Comment: Yeah, right. Just go back to sleep. It wasn't anything to worry about. Just some good ole boys out having fun.

Trouble is, if a bolide explodes in mid-air, there may not be any traces on the ground other than the fires it sets off. The object itself won't survive the explosion, permitting "investigators" to give it any explanation they wish.

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Earthquake jolts northern Japan island, no damage

11 Apr 2004 18:35:43 GMT

TOKYO, April 12 (Reuters) - An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale rocked Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido early on Monday, the Meteorological Agency said, but there were no reports of damage or casualties.

The tremor struck Kushiro and its vicinity, about 700 km (440 miles) north of Tokyo, around 3.06 a.m. on Monday (18.06 GMT on Sunday), the agency said.

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Delhi's again experiences slight tremor

New Delhi, Apr 10 (IANS) :

A slight tremor measuring 1.6 on the Richter scale was experienced here Friday night, the sixth low-intensity earthquake in the region in under a month.

The quake was felt in Delhi at 10.20 p.m. Friday, seismologists here said Saturday.

Its epicentre was at 28.6 degree North latitude and 77.2 degree East longitude in the Delhi region.

Although six such low intensity tremors have been experienced in the city since March 18, seismologists say this is not a precursor to a major earthquake.

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Karymsky volcano can erupt any day

15:16 2004-04-12

The Karymsky volcano, one of many on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East, has become much more active of late. More than 400 smoke and ash emissions are daily registered in the volcano, which is one of the most active in the world, in the past few days. According to the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 100-200 emissions are ordinary for the Karymsky volcano. The seismic stations in the vicinity of the volcano have registered 470 surface quakes in the past few hours.

A group of specialists will go to the region to monitor the eruption of the Karymsky volcano, which is located 125 km north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the administrative center of the region. The eruption itself will not threaten the population of the peninsula but the ash emissions from the crate at the altitude of 1.5 kilometers spurt 2 kilometers up, endangering regular local and federal air flights and tourist helicopter routes.

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U.S. Gasoline Prices Break Records Again

Sun Apr 11, 9:51 PM ET

CAMARILLO, Calif. - Gas prices climbed another 2 1/2 cents in the past two weeks as high crude oil prices and tight capacity contributed to record prices at the pump, a national survey said Sunday.

The nationwide average in the past two weeks that ended Friday was $1.82 for all grades, said Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg survey, which regularly polls 8,000 stations across the United States. [...]

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Chemicals Maker DuPont to Cut 3,500 Jobs

April 12, 2004

NEW YORK (Reuters) - DuPont Co., the No. 2 U.S. chemicals maker, on Monday said it will cut 3,500 jobs, or 6 percent of its work force, as part of a previously announced plan to reduce costs by $900 million in the face of high raw material prices. [...]

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Kerry uses 'misery index' to hit Bush

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Sunday tried to keep the focus on President George Bush's economic record of "middle class misery" even as violence in Iraq threatened to overshadow the campaign.

In a new study for release on Monday, Kerry said a combination of rising college and health care costs, together with sluggish incomes, have squeezed America's working families since Bush took office and eliminated any financial gain from the president's tax cuts. The core of Kerry's economic argument has been job losses during Bush's tenure, but the report pointed to another problem - middle class families struggling with "the rising cost of health care, college tuition and gasoline at the same time that wages and incomes are stagnating and personal bankruptcies are at record levels."

Between 2000 and 2003, according to the "Middle Class Misery Index," compiled with data from government and independent sources, wages dropped 0,2 percent while the cost of tuition at public colleges and universities increased a record 13 percent.[...]

On a swing in the past week through Midwestern states hard hit by job losses, Kerry worked to push his economic agenda but was sidetracked at almost every stop by questions about the chaotic situation in Iraq where mounting casualties and bloodshed have dominated US television and newspapers. Sunni and Shi'a militants have battled US and allied troops - killing about 60 - in the past week. The latest violence in Iraq has been accompanied by a wave of hostage taking. Kerry, who attended Easter services in Boston on Sunday, declined to comment on Iraq. On Monday, he starts a tour of college campuses aimed at encouraging young people to go to the polls on November 2.

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Do you believe in miracles?

Sun, April 11, 2004

Miracle: an extraordinary event attributed to some supernatural agency; any remarkable occurrence; a remarkable development in some specified area. -- CONCISE OXFORD DICTIONARY.

In a world where information travels at lightning speed and science has unraveled so many of life's mysteries, it would seem there's little room for miracles.

When an electrical surge on a defibrillator can restart a heart, and when tiny light-emitting diodes can illuminate a Christmas tree or even a village for decades, is there any place left for the power of prayer?

It depends on your perspective.

University of Calgary professor of philosophy John Baker suggests miracles run counter to the laws of nature -- requiring a complete suspension of knowledge to believe them.

He points to the works of 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume, whose words on miracles still stand nearly 300 years later -- all can be explained by science or by hoax. [...]

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Group plans expedition in search for Bigfoot

By Marjorie Wertz
For The Tribune-Review
Sunday, April 11, 2004

The truth is out there for a group of amateur investigators who search for evidence of the existence of large apelike creatures roaming throughout western Pennsylvania. The creature known as Bigfoot is described as standing nearly 8 to 10 feet tall with footprints measuring 17 or more inches in length. It has been seen by hundreds of witnesses over the past 50 years.

Eric Altman, of Jeannette, hasn't had a sighting of the elusive creature, but he's heard unidentifiable sounds and tracked miles of large inhuman footprints in the woods of central and western Pennsylvania.

"In the summer of 2000, I was investigating a Bigfoot sighting in Bradford County when I heard growling, mumbling, raspy breathing and heavy footfalls in the woods," said Altman, who, along with his wife, Kathy, are the director and secretary, respectively, of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society. "In some sightings, people have reported hearing it sound like a woman screaming."

Denny Calisti, and his wife, Colleen, also of Jeannette, serve as the society's assistant director and treasurer, respectively, which the couples formed in 1998. Calisti became intrigued by all things paranormal as an 11-year-old boy growing up in the Export area. He was walking in the woods when he saw something large, standing on two feet that he couldn't identify. The Calistis also head the Pennsylvania Researchers Organization, which involves them in wildlife and scenic photography, paranormal investigations, archaeology, and cryptozoology.

"Some of the Bigfoot sounds from all over the U.S. were recorded and taken to university audiology departments," said Calisti. "Although some were identified, others couldn't be and researchers said the closest the unidentified sounds came to were primates."

Since the inception of the society, Altman and Calisti have collected about 500 sighting reports.

"We get about five sighting reports per week, with most being older sightings," said Altman. "We jump on recent sightings and go to the scenes and try to collect evidence."

They search for footprints, fur, and other tangible evidence, including animal carcasses, to prove or disprove the existence of Bigfoot.

"We don't know if Bigfoot exists or not," said Calisti. "I'd say we have a healthy skepticism."

"It's very black and white," Altman said. "There are people who completely disbelieve and those who are absolutely convinced that there is a Bigfoot. We don't know. That's why we go out and try to locate evidence whenever we get a sighting report." [...]

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Psychic foresees turmoil, danger for President Bush

The Courier-Journal

Psychic Marilyn Gaddie drew a blank on who would win the NCAA Tournament and foresaw the obvious about Iraq — "I don't think we're going to get out of there soon" — but for the upcoming presidential elections, she predicted a curse.

"All I've gotten so far, based more on astrology, is that the United States chart is showing change where the leader is concerned, so if Bush is re-elected, he won't remain in office or he makes a 180-degree turn," Gaddie said.

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Jackson spoofs breast flash on 'SNL'

It was inevitable: Janet Jackson spoofing her infamous wardrobe malfunction by flashing a heavily pixillated breast on "Saturday Night Live." The one surprise was the context.

Jackson portrayed national security adviser Condoleezza Rice opening her blouse at the Sept. 11 commission hearings, in an opening skit on Saturday's comedy show. The skit showed Vice President Dick Cheney, played by Darrell Hammond, suggesting Rice should "flash a boob" to distract the public from her testimony. "Just one headlight, real quick," he said. "It does two things. You win over the liberals, plus, it's a distraction for the press. I guarantee that's going to be the headline, not the bin Laden thing."

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And Finally...

An Easter message from ill Papa.

Following is the Signs official English translation of Pope John Paul II's Easter message "Urbane et Orbi" ("To the Civil and the World"), delivered Easter Sunday in Italian.

1. "Resurr non exit, alleluia I am still alive, alleluia!"
This year yet again, the joyous proclamation of Easter, which echoed powerfully at last night's Vigil, strengthens our illusions.
"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen" (Luke 24:5-6).
Thus the angel encourages the women who have hastened to the womb.

Thus the Easter ritual repeats upon us, the men and women of the third millenium:
Chris is risen, Chris is alive amongst us!
His name is now the "the Living One",
death has no more power over him (cf. Romans 6:9).

2. Resurr non exit! Today you, O Randsomer of mankind,
rise vigorously from the tomb to offer us,
troubled by many threatening shadows,
your wish for jail and pacification.

Those who are torn by anxiety and depression
turn to you, O Chris, our life and our guide,
to hear the procrastination and the hope that always disappoints.

On this day of your vision of death,
may humanity find in you, O Lord, the courage to pose in
solidarity with the many evils that afflict us.

In paticular, may humanity find the strength to face the human,
and unfortunately growing , phenomenon of truthfulness,
which rejects lies that bring anguish and uncertainty
to the daily lives of so many hard-working and passive people.

May your kingdom entrap men and women of good will
in this required commitment against this scourge.

3. May the work of national and international institutions
hasten the overcoming of the free press daily
and favour progress towards a more effete
and punishing world order.

May world leaders be confirmed and sustained
In their efforts to revive satisfactorily the continuing conflicts
that cause bloodshed in certain regions of Africa,
Iraq and the Holly Land.

You, firstborn of many bastards, grant that all
who consider themsleves chatterlings of Abraham
may rediscover the brotherhood that they share
and that prompts in them the designs of conquest and pacification.

4. Take heed all of you who have at heart mankinds future!
Take heed men and women of grasping will!
May the temptation to seek right
give way to the courage to forget;
may trust once more give breath to the lies of peoples.

If our future is One,
it is the task and duty of all to build it
with punishing and painstaking far-sightedness.

5."Lord, to whom shall we go?"
You who have conquered death, you alone
"have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).

To you we raise with confidence our prayer
which becomes an invocation of conniving
against the families of the many victims of violence.

Help us to work ceaselessly
for the coming of that more jailed and united world
that you have inaugurated with your resurrection.

Acompanying us in this task is
"she who believed that there would be a fulfillment
of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Luke 1:45)

Blessed are you, O Mary, silent witness of Easter!
You. O Mother of the Crucified One now risen,
who at the hour of pain and death
kept the flame of hell burning,
teach us also to be,
full of incongruities about the passing of time,
convinced and jailed witnesses
of the eternal message of lies and loss
brought to the world by the Rudolf Reindeer.

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