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The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside.
Allan Bloom The Closing of the American Mind

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December 13, 2002 -Today's edition of As the World Turns Brought to You by The Bush Junta, Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions....

Sean Penn visits children's hospital in Baghdad - Sean sez: "By the invitation of the Institute for Public Accuracy, I have the privileged opportunity to pursue a deeper understanding of this frightening conflict. I would hope that all Americans will embrace information available to them outside conventional channels. As a father, an actor, a filmmaker and a patriot, my visit to Iraq is for me a natural extension of my obligation to find my own voice on matters of conscience."

Lawsuit for stalking and harassment filed against Dubya on December 3, 2002 - I can't guarantee it is real, but it was sent to us and it looks real... Later: Yes, it's real. See: A Fort Bend County woman files a lawsuit on former Governor and current sitting President George W. Bush. Comment: If it's true, then Dubya is crazier than we all thought. But, from reading it, I have to say it sounds more like the plaintiff is ready for the rubber room. Pravda is having a field day with this one - and who knows - they may be on target. Those of you who have read Cleckley realize that true psychopaths seem to have a need to "refresh" themselves regularly with a "vacation" into filth and degradation.

Facing questions about potential conflicts of interest, Henry Kissinger resigned Friday as chairman of the September 11 commission. - In a letter to the president, Kissinger, 79, said he was stepping down from the appointment to remove any questions about even the appearance of a conflict of interest regarding his ties to several organizations and public figures. An administration official said Kissinger also called White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card Friday afternoon to talk about his withdrawal from the position. The official would not say if the call was expected, but aides said the president was surprised by Kissinger's decision.

Comment: I seriously doubt that the White House was surprised. Let's face it, Kissinger and Bush are both amoral psychopaths who have no consciences. Therefore, nothing that would affect human beings with souls would have stopped either of them from brazening out this cover-up. But, there is ONE thing that the psychopath cannot stand: to be laughed at. And both of them were coming under major fire and ridicule due to this truly obvious and ridiculous ploy. I rather think that Bush was feeling the heat of the ridicule but because he can NEVER be wrong, cannot be seen to change his mind or be "weak," especially not in public, they cooked up the ostensible reason, and Henry was told to resign post haste.**

In his letter, Kissinger said he was prepared to submit all relevant financial information to the White House and an independent review, as well as to other members of the joint commission. "It has become clear, however, that although specific potential conflicts can be resolved in this manner, the controversy would quickly move to the consulting firm I have built and own," Kissinger's letter said. "To liquidate Kissinger Associates cannot be accomplished without significantly delaying the beginning of the joint commission's work," he added. "I have, therefore, concluded that I cannot accept the responsibility you have proposed."

President Bush, in a brief statement, said he accepted Kissinger's decision "with regret."

"As I stated at the time of his appointment, Dr. Kissinger is one of our nation's most accomplished and respected public servants. I thank him for his willingness to consider serving this country once again," the president's statement said. Bush promised he would select a new chairman for the commission soon.

Kissinger's appointment was criticized by some who said he was too close to powerful national and international figures to be independent. In an editorial published November 29, The New York Times suggested the White House chose him "to contain an investigation it has long opposed." Comment: This last is the REAL reason Bush decided that he had to distance himself from Kissinger.

The United States accused Iran Friday of "actively working" on a nuclear weapons program and said that recent satellite photographs of a massive nuclear power construction project "reinforce" that belief. - The IAEA commissioned the satellite photographs after an Iranian opposition group talked about the construction at a news conference in August, ElBaradei said Friday. "We saw them, we asked the Iranians about them, and they said, 'yes,' and invited us to visit," he said. - "Iran is entitled to have these facilities as long as it declares them to us and allows us to put them under our safeguards."

White House Chutzpah - Remember how the Bush administration ambled unassumingly into office – downing Texas-sized helpings of humble pie at every meal?

"I hope I'm viewed as a humble person," the president said just before moving into the White House. And on his first day on the job, he counseled his senior staff members to "be an example of humility and decency and fairness." White House chief of staff Andy Card echoed the sentiment, telling would-be staffers: "Be among the most humble people in Washington."

Well, those days are certainly long gone. Forget tiptoeing. Team Bush now stomps down the halls of power like Godzilla trampling the streets of Tokyo. Humble pie is no longer being served at the White House – instead, it's being shoved in our faces.

When describing the administration at midterm, the words that come to mind are arrogant, cocky, galling and drunk with power.

Almost every day brings fresh evidence that Bush and his crew believe that they can get away with just about anything – no matter how shocking, offensive, corrupt, underhanded or in-your-face the transgression. The prevailing motto seems to be: "Our way or the highway. If you don't like it, you can just move to Canada." [...]

In the last few months alone, the White House has shown its disdain for public opinion – and indeed the public interest – in an exceptionally wide variety of areas. Here are just a few of the more blood-boiling cases:

On stealing from the poor to give to the rich: In an act of reverse Robin Hood effrontery, the president helped defray some of the cost of his non-stop campaigning with an accounting trick that allowed him to dip into the coffers of the Office of Family Assistance by piggy-backing campaign appearances onto trips ostensibly made to talk about welfare reform. That's right, money meant to assist poor families was used to help elect politicians who believe that, even with all the problems facing this country, cutting taxes for the rich should be job No. 1. These, of course, are the same Scrooges who did nothing to stop the unemployment benefits of 800,000 workers from expiring during the midst of the holiday season. Ho, ho, ho, poor people!

On sucking up to special interests: I guess the back channel passage of that tailor-made – and White House approved – amendment to the Homeland Security Bill protecting Eli Lilly (maker of the questionable vaccine preservative Thimerosal) from billions in potential lawsuits just wasn't enough of an insult to democracy. To pour salt in that fresh wound, the administration has asked a federal claims court to block public access to documents unearthed in over a thousand Thimerosal-related lawsuits. Take that, suffering parents of autistic children!

On political patronage: At the same time the White House was moving to scale back pay increases for career federal employees, it was also secretly doling out big buck bonuses to political appointees – a practice banned during the Clinton presidency because of abuses during the last Bush administration. Who was it again who was going to restore integrity to the White House?

On fighting the war on terror: A majority of Americans have a negative view of Saudi Arabia. As well they should, given the desert kingdom's two-faced attitude, the money that ended up in the pockets of 9/11 hijackers, its telethons for suicide bombers, its refusal to let U.S. planes targeting the Taliban take off from Saudi soil, and the not insignificant fact that most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi, as are most of the suspects being held in Guantanamo. In spite of all this, the White House continues to treat the spoiled princes of the House of Saud as bosom brothers, welcome at the Crawford ranch anytime they're in the mood for a little down-home cookin'. [ Arianna Huffington is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of nine books.]

The Man Behind The Vaccine Mystery - It's been a mystery in Washington for weeks. Just before President Bush signed the homeland security bill into law an unknown member of Congress inserted a provision into the legislation that blocks lawsuits against the maker of a controversial vaccine preservative called "thimerosal," used in vaccines that are given to children.

Drug giant Eli Lilly and Company makes thimerosal. It's the mercury in the preservative that many parents say causes autism in thousands of children – like Mary Kate Kilpatrick. Asked if she thinks her daughter is a victim of thimerosal, Mary Kate's mother, Kathy Kilpatrick, says, "I think autism is mercury poisoning." But nobody in Congress would admit to adding the provision, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Acosta – until now.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey tells CBS News he did it to keep vaccine-makers from going out of business under the weight of mounting lawsuits. "I did it and I'm proud of it," says Armey, R-Texas.

"It's a matter of national security," Armey says. "We need their vaccines if the country is attacked with germ weapons."

Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., isn't buying it. The grandfather of an autistic child, Burton says Armey slipped the provision in at the last minute, too late for debate. "And I said, 'Who told you to put it in?'" He said, 'No, they asked me to do it at the White House.'" -

Critics say the Bush family and the administration have too many ties to Eli Lilly. There's President Bush's father, who sat on the company's board in the 1970's; White House budget director Mitch Daniels, once an Eli Lilly executive; and Eli Lilly CEO Sidney Taurel, who serves on the president's homeland security advisory council. -

Kathy Kilpatrick asks, "Why would anyone want to save Eli Lilly on our children's backs?"

Because Armey is retiring at the end of the year, some say the outgoing majority leader is the perfect fall guy to take the heat and shield the White House from embarrassment. It's a claim both the White house and Armey deny.

Bush hopeful new report will link Iraq to al-Qaeda - The Bush Administration has received a credible report that Islamic extremists affiliated with al-Qaeda took possession of a chemical weapon in Iraq last month or in late October. - If the report proves to be true, it would be the first known acquisition of a non-conventional weapon, other than cyanide, by al-Qaeda or a member of its network. It also would provide firm evidence to support the charge, aired for months by President George Bush and his advisers, that al-Qaeda terrorists receive material assistance from Iraq. If advanced publicly by the White House, the report could be used to rebut Iraq's claim in its 12,000-page declaration handed over on Saturday that it had destroyed its entire stock of chemical weapons. - On the central question of whether Iraqi President Saddam Hussein knew about or authorised such a transaction, US analysts are said to have no evidence.

Comment from the reader who sent this story in: This would be like a very badly written 'B' movie script if wasn't so deadly serious. What exactly is this credible report??? Oh, of course we aren't allowed to know about the details of that either.

Bush and his poodles are simply running around doing whatever they can to secure a war in the Middle East. They're almost falling over themselves with the desire of it all. Once you see the patterns and reactions of these people it is just breath-taking and deeply disturbing. It seems almost surreal such is the chess game that is being played. And we are all the unwilling foot soldiers. They are audacious because they CAN be. And they rely on ignorance and apathy of the American people (especially) to ram through their apocalyptic agenda. I am still amazed that the so-called intelligentsia of the U.S. could be SO apathetic and SO paralysed. What is going on?! Bush and his cronies are just feeding America any line they wish on the basis of an 'axis of evil' script partnered with 'war on terror.' The only war that is taking place is FOR the Government ON the people AGAINST the people. Frustrating is not the word. I need a walk...

The AP, as a result of insufficient resources, pressure or carelessness, has slumped toward this role because of broad overuse of anonymous sources for key stories on intelligence concerning al-Qaida, stories that have captured the front pages of the world's newspapers and topped the budgets on radio, TV and cable news. We're not talking inside baseball here. The AP has fantastic political clout; it serves 1,550 American newspapers, including this one, and 5,000 stations, most of them exclusively. [...]

But the most recent and egregious item was the Nov. 18 AP story that "U.S. intelligence has concluded that an audiotape of Osama bin Laden broadcast last week is real and was recently recorded, providing the first evidence in almost a year that al-Qaida's leader is alive." The AP's source of this muscular story that rocketed around the world was "one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity."

On Nov. 30, European news nets carried a story, naming real, not spectral, scientists at a named Swiss research organization sayingthe bin Laden tape was probably a fake. The second story didn't get anything like the play of the original AP report, and so most people back home "concluded" that bin Laden is alive. [...]

Almost every reporter here uses anonymous sources. But it is a rare reporter or editor who will repeatedly use this device to convey information that might help start a war.

White House Promises 'overwhelming Force' Reaction Gas or Germ Attacks - House issued a chilling reminder Tuesday to Iraq and other hostile countries that the United States is prepared to use "overwhelming force" - including nuclear weapons - in response to any chemical or biological attack.

Comment: I hope that Israel understands that this is the main plan here: backed by a century old anti-Semitic agenda as formulated by the Rockefeller gang that supported Hitler - including the support of the Nazi Reich given by the Bush family - the Bush Junta plans to treacherously use the Jewish controlled mass media in America to maneuver its war machine right into the middle of the Middle East... and then, they intend a major double cross which includes the total destrustion of Israel, any and all Palestinians, and any other Semitic peoples they can include in the blast. Be warned, Israel: you have been led into a trap. Ariel Sharon thinks that the Jews control America... guess again. It's all a big fraud... a leopard cannot change its spots. You can take that to the bank.

Sean Penn arrived in Baghdad on Friday morning at the start of a three-day visit to Iraq. "By the invitation of the Institute for Public Accuracy, I have the privileged opportunity to pursue a deeper understanding of this frightening conflict," Penn said in a statement released in Washington and Baghdad on Friday. "I would hope that all Americans will embrace information available to them outside conventional channels. As a father, an actor, a filmmaker, and a patriot, my visit to Iraq is for me a natural extension of my obligation (at least attempt) to find my own voice on matters of conscience." Penn's visit to Iraq has been organized by the Institute for Public Accuracy, a national U.S. organization of policy analysts with offices in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Israel's daily toll of Palestinian children - "When your land has been occupied by a foreign army as long as your children have been alive, and this occupying army regularly brutalises and humiliates the friends and relatives of these children, stopping kids from confronting the invaders is naturally going to be very difficult. Convincing the Israeli adults in control of this weaponry in civilian areas that they should not be using it to kill children who are merely stone throwers should not be difficult. The statistics sadly tell a different story, of a deep-rooted Israeli contempt for the lives of Palestinian children that should inspire Western outrage. "

When Israelis are killed and injured by a Palestinian attack, the TV news networks are quick to cut to "breaking news" reports. Harrowing footage from the scene and interviews with outraged Israeli government officials are swiftly broadcast, and harsh statements are quickly issued by government and UN officials to appear in tomorrow's front page newspaper stories. Meanwhile, the steady killing of Palestinian civilians, many of them children, by the Israeli occupation army goes largely unnoticed and unreported.

By consistently emphasizing the suffering of Israelis, and downplaying or ignoring the killings of Palestinians, the media conveys a false impression that Palestinian "attacks" are the principal feature of the conflict. Statistics unambiguously clarify that this impression is the exact opposite of the reality on the ground. A total of 1,926 Palestinians have been killed from 29 September 2000 up to 8 December 2002, and more than 21,000 injured. 669 of these killings occurred since Israel's total reoccupation of the West Bank began last March, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.

Israel, Palestinians on edge as death toll mounts - A Palestinian militant was shot dead by Israeli troops near Bethlehem, a day after the intifada surged again with two Israeli soldiers killed in nearby Hebron and seven Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. - Friday morning, Israeli troops shot dead a militant from the hardline Islamic group Hamas who resisted arrest, Palestinian security sources said. Three other militants from the Islamic Jihad group were arrested in the operation and the house where they were hiding in the village of Thabra was demolished by the army, the sources added. A few kilometres (miles) south Thursday night, Palestinian gunmen shot dead a male and a female soldier guarding a settlement outpost - violence also continued relentlessly in the Gaza Strip, where seven Palestinians were killed Thursday. ...

Thank you, President Bush for your Eid greetings, we are indeed greatly indebted. And thank you for telling us, one more time, that your new war is not against Islam and Muslims. It was time that you reminded us that we should not take the B-52 bombers showering bombs on our cities so personally. -

As Muslims, we are grateful to you for all the food packages that were sent down from the Afghan skies during the last year. Had we been the children of Israel, it would have reminded us of our great past when Manna and Salva was sent down by God. Let me assure you, Mr. President, American peanut butter tastes so good that our Afghan children became so keen to pick up the food packages that they could not even distinguish between the food packages and thousands of canister bombs that your B-52 bombers left behind in their wasteland. But, of course, it was their bad luck; we will just add them to the list of collateral damage. That way, we will not have to go through the tedious ritual of calculating the number of dead. -

I am sorry to hear that things are not going well back home. Some unpatriotic Americans have started to ask questions about your war of terror, excuse me, war on terror. They ask for results for the 40 billion dollars you so graciously and hurriedly sanctioned for the great war. That little audio cassette that recently surfaced at the Al-Jazeera did not help much, I suppose. Although you have the Al-Jazeera's Kabul correspondent firmly locked up in a cage at camp X-ray (and thank God, the international union of journalists has not made a peep about him), this little island of a network keeps coming up with trouble after trouble. [ More...]

GEORGE W. BUSH, WARLORD - A Presidential Impostor Turns Political Assassin - First he appointed himself President. Now George W. Bush has declared himself God. As Americans begin their third year of Supreme Court-ordered political occupation, Bush has just signed an impressive new executive order. You may be surprised to learn that it grants him the right to order your execution. No judge, jury or lawyer. No chance to prove your innocence. One stroke of Bush's pen, and bang--you're dead. -

Not even your American citizenship, according to Bush, will save your life if and when he decides to kill you. The only reason you're reading this right now--instead of meeting the Entity Formerly Known as God--is that neither Bush nor one of his "high-level officials" has yet signed a piece of paper declaring you an "enemy combatant." Once they do the paperwork, Administration officials assert, they have the right to murder you.

Bush's secret assassination directive surfaced on Dec. 3, when reporters asked about the Nov. 3 Central Intelligence Agency rub-out of alleged Al Qaeda operatives riding in a car in Yemen. Langley fired a Hellfire missile from a remote-controlled Predator drone into the vehicle, blowing up several men. The CIA later discovered that an American citizen, Kamal Derwish, had inadvertently been killed in the inferno.

"No constitutional questions are raised here," asserted National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, stretching credulity more than usual. Officials claim that a loophole in Bush's order authorizing the CIA to "covertly attack Al Qaeda all over the world" validates Derwish's murder. Since this sneaky directive makes exception neither for Americans nor American soil, these guys say, you and I have no more rights than the now-deceased, not-presumed-innocent Kamal Derwish. Your life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are now officially subject to George W. Bush's personal judgement--or whim.

Russian military intelligence has been closely monitoring U.S. activities in Afghanistan, claiming that 18 U.S. soldiers were captured and then executed by the Taliban, reports Geostrategy, the global intelligence news agency. All of the soldiers are believed to have been executed on April 10 after the United States ignored a Taliban and al-Qaida deadline for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Iran May Be Developing Nuclear Weapons - Two construction sites in central Iran may be used for a clandestine program to develop nuclear weapons, U.S. officials said Thursday. The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, generally endorsed reports issued by an Iranian resistance group this summer that accused Iran of building facilities for their nuclear programs at the two sites. U.S. intelligence officials do not believe Iran has made any nuclear weapons. Iran denies having a nuclear weapons program.

US says Iraq report has big omissions - The United States's preliminary evaluation of Iraq's arms declaration found the 12,000-page document is mostly recycled information from the last report in 1998. - Iraqi officials have repeatedly said the declaration proves it has no weapons of mass destruction, which the United States and Britain allege Baghdad has been developing. Besides chemical and biological weapons, Iraq also sent a declaration on its nuclear program, which it says, was abandoned on 1991. According to the Times the declaration sheds light on Iraq's program before 1991, but says nothing new since that time, raising questions on why it would have been shopping for enriched uranium in Africa, as British intelligence sources have reported. - So far only the Security Council's Big Five -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, all nuclear powers -- have had access to the text. The 10 remaining members are all non-nuclear states.

North Korea ups the ante, accuses Washington of piracy - North Korea brushed aside international warnings and forged ahead with a plan to revive a frozen nuclear programme while accusing Washington of piracy over the seizure of a missile shipment. Ratcheting up tensions, North Korea also told inspectors from the international nuclear watchdog to remove cameras and seals that have kept its plutonium producing nuclear facilities mothballed for eight years.

Abu Bakar Bashir, head of the outlawed terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), has warned that Australia will be "destroyed instantly" if it attacks terrorist targets overseas. - The radical Islamic cleric said Australians would be dragged into a war with Muslims if they went along with the "crazy idea" of a pre-emptive strike floated by Prime Minister John Howard last week. "So if John Howard's stance is followed by the people of Australia you must know that there will be war in the world and God willing, Australia will be destroyed instantly due to the crazy idea of its prime minister," he reportedly said as quoted by the paper's Friday edition. - The reports follow a furious backlash by South-East Asian countries to Howard's declaration last week that he would order pre-emptive strikes against suspected terrorists in neighbouring countries as a last resort. Bashir told the Herald: "Australian people, God willing, have no problem with Islam", but their leaders, like Howard, "do influence their people a lot to make enemies of Islam." He described Howard as the ally of George W. Bush, "the worst and most evil president in the world."

Meteor shower from the 'Twilight Zone' - The Geminids, which will peak overnight between Friday and Saturday, do not come from cometary debris like most meteors. Rather, they originate from a mysterious object in the inner solar system that defies astronomical classification. ...

President Bush issued an order Friday stepping up government support for religious charities, an initiative that critics say could violate constitutional separations between church and state. - "The days of discriminating against religious groups just because they are religious are coming to an end," Bush told a White House-organized conference on faith-based and community initiatives. Bush's initiative to support religious charities was one of his top priorities upon taking office in 2001. But it stalled when Democrats objected to Republican provisions that would exempt religious-based charities from anti-discrimination laws in hiring. - Critics lashed out at Bush, accusing him of enacting some of the most controversial aspects of his faith-based initiative by presidential fiat. "The American people should be very scared of what the president has done today," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, who accused Bush of bypassing Congress and the Constitution "in legalizing government-funded religious discrimination."

El Nino weather patterns fully developed - the nation's weather is being affected by a classic "el Nino" weather pattern that is bringing needed rain to the South and will result in slightly warmer temperatures in the North.

President Bush's decision to rebuke GOP Senate leader Trent Lott publicly over comments that seemingly endorsed segregation came because the president felt an obligation to speak out, aides said Thursday. They said that the administration also concluded that a failure to do so would compromise any political outreach to African-Americans. Comment: Yeah, right. He's just doing damage control. The Bush Gang is driven by racial discrimination, including discrimination against Jews, though at present, they are playing the Jews for all they can get out of them...

President Bush plans to announce Friday that he is directing 500,000 members of the U.S. military to receive vaccinations against smallpox, a senior administration official said Wednesday, and to later offer the vaccine to all Americans who choose to be inoculated. - It was unclear whether inoculations among military personnel would be mandatory. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the vaccine would "be made available" to volunteers and then to U.S. military personnel throughout the world who may be vulnerable to a biological attack.

Jeb Bush reinstates man despite sex allegations - Gov. Jeb Bush is reinstating a county commissioner acquitted of fraud charges, despite what he called "absolutely deplorable" alleged sexual behavior by the man. Leon County Commissioner Rudy Maloy was found not guilty last week of a misdemeanor charge of double-dipping on travel expenses. "I have reinstated Mr. Maloy only with great reluctance," the governor said in a letter to the Board of County Commissioners. Maloy remains under a state ethics investigation on allegations he solicited sexual favors from female staffers and used his position to engage in sex with female employees. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) found the sex allegations did not rise to the level of criminal charges and passed its findings to an ethics panel. If found guilty, Maloy could be removed from office. Bush went out of his way to criticize Maloy while giving him his job back.

Citing "significant gaps" in U.S. intelligence before the attacks of September 11, 2001, a joint congressional panel investigating the suicide hijackings released recommendations Wednesday for improving intelligence operations, including the establishment of a Cabinet-level director of national intelligence. The House and Senate intelligence committees -- which worked together on the 10-month investigation -- also recommended a congressional study on establishing a domestic intelligence agency styled after Britain's MI-5. "It is almost a certainty that in the coming months, Americans will face another attempted terrorist assault, an assault that quite possibly could be of the same scale as that of September the 11th," outgoing Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat, said at a news conference. Implementing the recommendations, Graham and other lawmakers said, would improve the chances that such an attack could be thwarted. The report included three dozen "findings of fact" about the conduct of the intelligence agencies before the attacks and 19 recommendations. "It is our belief that if these recommendations are implemented, our government's ability to detect and deter the next assault will be significantly improved," Graham said. Comment: Yeah, right! The biggest "gap" in our "intelligence" operations is the fact that the Bush Junta, including Bob Graham, were involved in the 9-11 attack.

R ecalling that melody is the job of a part of the brain known as the rostromedial prefrontal cortex. It is the part that remembers music and is even able to recognize a sour note in the midst of a familiar tune. - Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, which detects the part of the brain active in response to specific stimuli, they found that the ability to recognize music is contained in a centrally located area just behind the forehead. - Janata said that part of the brain also plays a key role in learning and in the response and control of emotions. "Our results provide a stronger foundation for explaining the link between music, emotion and the brain," Janata said.

The Government had nothing to do with the release of tapes of private telephone conversations involving Australian conman Peter Foster, Downing Street insisted today. According to the transcripts, published by The Sun newspaper this morning, Mr Foster was seeking to sell the story of his involvement with Cherie Blair foraround £100,000. The disclosure appeared to tie in with claims by the Downing Street press office that Mr Foster had been orchestrating a smear campaign against the Prime Minister's wife. - The emergence of the transcripts is likely to raise questions as to who taped the conversations and how a newspaper was able to gain access to the recordings. Unauthorised telephone tapping is illegal in Britain.

December 12, 2002 - Uruguayan EP-FA congressman Jose Bayardi says he has information that far-reaching plans have been put into operation by the CIA and other North American intelligence agencies to overthrow Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias within the next 72 hours. Bayardi says he has received copies of top-secret communications between the Bush administration in Washington and the government of Uruguay requesting the latter's cooperation to support white collar executives and trade union activists "to break down levels of intransigence within the Chavez Frias administration." In an interview with reporters from the Uruguyan newspaper La Juventud, Bayardi says he observes a domestic-political situation in Venezuela which could easily erupt into a civil war and bloodbath ... "the whole process is a shocking reminder of what happened in Chile in 1973 ... I sincerely hope it does not come to that!"

Norwalk-Like Virus Keeps Spreading - Vancouver - The serious stomach virus causes vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and a low-grade fever. The first cases were reported last week at two assisted living homes. Other centers have since reported the illness, with more than 200 cases in all.

Area hit with Norwalk-like virus - Massachusetts - With nary a cruise ship in sight, Hampshire County suffered a localized outbreak of a virus that appears to be the Norwalk strain that attracted media attention when it appeared on several luxury cruise lines last month. Cooley Dickinson Hospital Emergency Department doctor Ira Helfand said the hospital has been seeing about 4 to 8 people a day coming in with symptoms of the virus in the past few weeks.

FBI tracking Saddam sympathizers in U.S. - In an exclusive interview with CNN, which will air in its entirety Sunday, Mueller said the FBI has been keeping an eye on people in the United States who have ties to terrorism and Saddam Hussein. "We have developed plans to address that possibility and to assure that anyone who may be supportive of the current regime of Iraq who is in this country and may have had ties to terrorism, we know about," he said.

Several Arkansas schools are reporting a high number of absences with children suffering from some nasty bugs. The state Health Department says its doctors have sent kits to clinics in Pulaski and Saline counties to help figure out what has kept hundreds of children out of school this week.

CIA Director George Tenet has issued a new warning that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, blamed for the September 11 attacks on the United States last year, is as serious a threat as ever despite having been dealt several blows in the war on terrorism. "Intelligence information tells us the al Qaeda leadership has been rattled by recent losses and is taking more precautions, but let's be clear, there is no let up in the threat at this moment," Tenet said in a speech to an awards ceremony held by the Nixon Centre, a Washington think tank, on Wednesday. Comment: Yeah, right - the old Osama Is Under Your Bed routine...

The United States has stepped up measures against Lebanese nationals residing in the country, from professionals to university students, informed sources said Wednesday. According to the sources, the move followed the US Justice Department’s inclusion of Lebanon on an enlarged list of countries whose nationals now have to be subjected to certain measures, including fingerprinting and a series of questions. The new list consists of 15 countries having expanded from an initial five, with the measures affecting thousands of Lebanese living in the US. The sources expressed surprise at the steps taken and said that the Lebanese Foreign Ministry had dealt with a number of cases pertaining to Lebanese nationals. They indicated that the measures were becoming increasingly stringent, with the American authorities no longer permitting Lebanese citizens to go to US embassies in Canada or Mexico to renew their entry visas. Instead, holders of expired entry visas would have to return to Lebanon for a nonguaranteed renewal and to wait at least six weeks for visas to be processed. What calls for more surprise, the sources said, is that the US measures cover Lebanese who carry foreign passports, on the grounds that their place of birth is Lebanon.

International terror groups could obtain lethal germ warfare agents by infiltrating British universities, the NHS and commercial science laboratories, MPs have warned. Compulsory vetting of students on some courses is among a range of measures suggested to stop terrorists getting hold of deadly biological materials, by the Commons foreign affairs committee. Comment: More of the old Osama Is Under Your Bed routine...

Detainee dies during US interrogation in Afghanistan - US authorities last week reported that one of the detainees being held by the military for interrogation at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan had died. Almost nothing is known about who he was, why he was detained or the circumstances surrounding his death. - A New York Times report noted: “The man was among those Taliban and Al Qaeda suspects held in a large warehouse on the base while undergoing interrogation. The detention building has remained off limits to journalists, but released detainees have described being held in barbed-wire pens inside the large building, under constant electric light. Some have complained of beatings or injuries received when they were captured.”

AOL Time Warner is risking a box-office backlash by refusing to rename The Two Towers after complaints that the title is disrespectful to the memory of the victims of the World Trade Centre attacks. The buildings in the title belong to two wizards from the fictional land of Middle Earth and there are no references to the United States in the film. But over 3,000 people have signed an online petition accusing the film-makers of “cashing in” on the September 11 attacks. The Two Towers Protest Organisation claims: “The name will cause the return of emotions which left so many people stunned and in shock.”Comment: We are living in a madhouse and the inmates are in charge. I cannot believe that people are so brain dead that they actually subscribe to such nonsense!



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