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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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January 4, 2003 -Today's edition of As the World Burns 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....

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis turn from the service of his country, but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, yet we have the consolation with us, the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it." [Thomas Paine]

Hurricane Winds, Floods Wreak Havoc Across Europe - Hurricane force winds and torrential rains battered Europe on Friday, killing at least six people, flooding tens of thousands of homes and hampering rail, road and waterway traffic. Winds of nearly 125 mph and flooding caused chaos in Germany, France, Britain, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic with barge traffic halted on key rivers and toppled trees blocking roads and rail lines. There were also widespread power outages from the storms, which refocused attention on the odd weather in Europe this winter that has left parts of the Alps without snow because of unseasonably warm temperatures while leaving northern Europe shivering from a cold snap not experienced for decades.

Flood warnings across Britain remained in force, mostly in the south of the country. Torrential rain over the past week has already caused widespread flooding, causing accidents and severe disruption to the nation's railway services. In Portugal, heavy overnight rains caused landslides, closed roads and flooded several towns. Emergency workers were also searching for cars which witnesses said had plunged into the River Douro, running through Portugal's famed port wine region. Winds of up to 60 mph hit Austria early on Friday, temporarily cutting off power to thousands of homes. The Dutch government issued a warning that the Meuse river would rise to near flood levels later on Friday and urged people in the towns of Itteren and Borgharen to evacuate ground floors.

In Helsinki, by contrast, a dry cold snap not seen in the past four decades has been so extreme that the Finnish government has urged people to limit their use of the beloved sauna even as temperatures plunged -- due to fears of power shortages.

Parts of the Northeast were socked by heavy snow Saturday, and blizzard warnings advised southeastern Maine residents to expect 10 to 20 inches of snow. The heaviest snow was falling over central and northern parts of eastern New York state, western Vermont, northern New Hampshire and the southern third of Maine, the National Weather Service said. As much as 2 to 5 inches of snow per hour fell between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. at Burlington, Vermont.

California's Monarch butterflies -- whose appearance in winter is a celebrated show of color and beauty that draws tourists from around the world -- have dwindled in numbers this year. Sarah Hamilton of the Ventana Wilderness Society, a group that counts the orange and black butterflies as they spend the winter clustering in California's coastal groves of eucalyptus, pine and cypress, said the numbers are "dramatically fewer."

An asteroid playing a cat-and-mouse game with Earth will pull to its closest point in almost a century on Monday before swinging away for another 95 years, NASA said in a statement. - This particular asteroid is the first ever found to orbit the sun in nearly the same path as Earth, but never manages to pass it, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said. "In some ways, the Earth and this asteroid are like two race cars on a circular track," said Paul Chodas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Right now the asteroid is on a slightly slower track just outside Earth's, and our planet is catching up." - "There's no possibility that this asteroid could hit Earth, because Earth's gravity rebuffs its periodic advances and keeps it at bay," said Don Yeomans of JPL in Pasadena, California. "The asteroid and Earth take turns sneaking up on each other, but they never get too close."

Severe winter weather wreaked havoc across Europe, with nearly 200 people freezing to death in Poland, two killed by storms in Germany and floods threatening several European countries. Most of the 183 victims of Poland's bitterly-cold winter were men who died of hypothermia after drinking heavily and falling sleep outside, police said. Floods washed out parts of southern Belgium, took out Czech railways, and threatened northern Portugal, after rains and winds whipped up across western and central Europe overnight. In Slovakia, a 51-year-old woman was killed and 15 injured, including four seriously, when the bus they were riding in spun out of control in high winds and crashed into a hillside.

Pope John Paul II is "deeply worried" as tensions increase over a possible war in Iraq, a top Vatican official said, adding that no country can act alone to police the world. The comments by Archbishop Renato Martino, prefect of the Council for Justice and Peace and the Holy See's former U.N. envoy, came amid a series of Vatican criticisms of a possible war in Iraq. In the last two weeks, the pope himself has called for peace in the Mideast, although without explicit reference to Iraq.... Martino argued that "unilateralism is not acceptable." "We cannot think that there is a universal policeman to take a stick to those who behave badly," he said.

Early next month the war with Iraq apparently will begin. ... The men around the president are persuaded that the American people will overwhelmingly support the war. However, recent surveys call into question that assumption. Only 52 percent of Americans support a war, according to Gallup. Moreover, two-thirds of Americans insist that they want to see proof--either from the report of the United Nations inspectors or from American intelligence evidence--of the ''weapons of mass destruction'' that Iraq is alleged to possess. Thus, it seems clear that the public is not convinced yet that a war is necessary.

The administration has yet to provide clear and convincing proof that Iraq has these ''weapons of mass destruction'' and is prepared to use them. I wonder if our leaders really do have anything more than their absolute conviction that such weapons exist and that the president's popularity is so great that the public would go along with the war if he says it is necessary. Is there any stronger evidence, and if there is, why haven't we seen it yet?

Yet last week's issue of Time--which celebrates the Bush-Cheney team like it is Michael and Gabriel--provides data that runs against the notion that Americans are enthusiastic supporters of the administration. The president's approval rating has dropped to 55 percent. The country is split between those who say they trust the president (50 percent) and those who don't (48 percent). No one seems to have noticed that the 60 percent approval rating the media have celebrated all these months is about the same as President Bill Clinton's at the time of the Lewinsky scandal.

FDA Approves Prozac for Children, Teens - The US Food and Drug Administration said on Friday that it has approved Eli Lilly & Co.'s Prozac (fluoxetine) to treat depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in children and adolescents aged seven to 17 years. According to the FDA, Prozac is the first selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) to receive approval for treating depression in children. The approval was based on two studies of children and adolescents with depression, which showed that the drug produced a statistically significant effect compared with placebo. The drug also produced a statistically significant effect compared with placebo in studies of children and adolescents with OCD.

Health Officials Fear Local Impact of Smallpox Plan - Many local health departments across the nation say they will have to curtail an array of services, including cancer and tuberculosis screening and children's dental examinations, to meet the needs of President Bush's federal smallpox vaccination program. ... The Bush administration has requested that health departments administer smallpox vaccine to health care workers on a voluntary basis. Local health departments are responsible for giving smallpox vaccinations in two stages. In the first, which is expected to begin this month and last about 60 days, up to 500,000 civilian health care and emergency workers will be vaccinated. In the second, up to 10 million health care workers, police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians will be offered the vaccine.

At least one hospital in Washington state is declining to participate in a national campaign to vaccinate health workers against smallpox, state officials have confirmed, and more than a dozen other hospitals say they have not decided whether to ask workers to be immunized. Citing security reasons, Department of Health spokesman Donn Moyer declined to identify the hospital, one of 91 acute-care hospitals in the state, or its reasons for rejecting the vaccination program. Many hospitals and medical workers have raised concerns about the vaccine, which carries a small risk of severe and even deadly side effects. Nationwide, two large hospitals announced they would not participate in the program, citing concerns about safety to patients and workers, and several others are reportedly leaning against participation. The first phase of the federal smallpox anti-terrorism program, which could begin as early as this month, calls for more than 400,000 front-line health workers nationwide, including about 7,000 in this state, to volunteer to receive immunizations. The vaccinations have prompted worries by workers about health effects and transmission of the live vaccine virus to vulnerable patients, family members or others.

Tallahassee Democrat reporter suspended for e-mail criticizing Arabs - A Tallahassee Democrat reporter was suspended Thursday for using strong language in an e-mail criticizing Arab nations for the way they've reacted to Israel. Political writer and columnist Bill Cotterell, in an e-mail exchange, wrote "Except for Jordan and Egypt, no Arab nation has a peace treaty with Israel. They've had 54 years to get over it. They choose not to." - The complaint started an exchange with Cotterell, who also wrote, "I don't give a damn if Israel kills a few in collateral damage while defending itself. So be it." Cotterell was suspended a week without pay. Democrat Executive Editor John Winn Miller apologized for the remarks. Comment: Cotterell ought to have been fired... what a limp grip on reality!

UN biowarfare experts have extended the hunt for weapons of mass destruction to Iraq's second city of Basra for the first time after US President George W. Bush issued a rallying cry to US troops. Meanwhile, strategic US ally Turkey continued to voice opposition to war with Iraq, as Prime Minister Abdullah Gul kicked off a Middle East tour aimed at reaching a peaceful solution. - n Fort Hood, Texas, Bush addressed soldiers Friday at the largest US military base, saying a war on Iraq would be "not to conquer anybody, but to liberate people." - The United States has agreed to wait for the report, but Bush warned Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that "America will act deliberately ... decisively and ... will prevail" if Iraq fails to disarm. Comment: The double standards, dubious morality and duplicity of this fight against terror - I think I'm getting the picture. North Korea breaks all its nuclear agreements with the United States, throws out UN inspectors and sets off to make a bomb a year, and President Bush says it's "a diplomatic issue". Iraq hands over a 12,000-page account of its weapons production and allows UN inspectors to roam all over the country, and – after they've found not a jam-jar of dangerous chemicals in 230 raids – President Bush announces that Iraq is a threat to America, has not disarmed and may have to be invaded. So that's it, then.

U.S. Deleted Iraqi-run Florida Chemical Plant from UN Weapons List - Most recently activated American soldiers are unaware that they will likely be facing the same deadly chemical and biological agents provided illegally to Iraq by their own government just prior to the last Gulf War – and that high-ranking Bush 41 cabinet officials profited from secret investments in these companies manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. (WMD) This, while war with Saddam Hussein is considered by most to be a foregone conclusion, what with 70% of Congress having already voted to permit the president to order troops into combat in the Middle East. - According to Anu de Monterice’s translation of a 12-18-2002 truncated version of the Iraqi weapons dossier in the German periodical Taz (die tageszeitung), there is a huge portion of missing data in Iraq’s recently submitted report to the United Nations concerning foreign suppliers of Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons arsenal. (de Monterice’s translation can be found on Jeff Rense’s news website at Rense. com)

Israeli officials are preparing to head for Washington in a bid to secure 12 billion dollars in emergency aid ahead of an anticipated war on Iraq, as the United States again criticized its ally for its actions in the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, low-level violence continued on the ground, with five Israeli soldiers and a Palestinian wounded during fighting in the town of Jenin and the arrest of militants elswhere in the West Bank.

The Israeli army staged an overnight raid in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where Palestinian prisoners and their Israeli guards clashed, while the United States delivered a rare rebuke to its main Middle East ally over demolitions of Palestinian houses. -

Palestinian security sources also said four Israeli tanks backed by two bulldozers staged a brief incursion into the southern Gaza Strip flashpoint town of Rafah and demolished two houses near the border with Egypt. The Israeli army has bulldozed or dynamited more than 110 houses in the West Bank since August, when it launched its demolition policy which human rights groups have condemned as collective punishment. However, it has been razing Palestinian houses in Rafah for much longer, creating an ever-widening strip of rubble which serves as a buffer zone between the first row of inhabited houses and Israeli-controlled border posts. Earlier this week, the Palestinians said 25 houses in Rafah were destroyed by tanks and bulldozers. The Israeli army put the number at four, saying they were used to fire at Israeli border positions. In Washington, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher reiterated the long-held US position in support of Israel's right to defend itself against violence, but said the destruction of homes and the resulting displacement of Palestinian families were damaging peace efforts. -

"We recognize Israel's need to take legitimate anti-terrorist action and we've been very clear about the need for Palestinian action against violence and terror," he told reporters. "However, steps such as the displacement of people through the demolition of homes and property exacerbate the humanitarian situation and undermine trust and confidence," he said. Despite the US rebuke, a senior Israeli delegation was preparing to fly to the United States at the weekend to follow-up on the Jewish state's request for a mammoth 12-billion-dollar aid package from Washington.

A Jewish rabbi was stabbed in an attack inside a Paris synagogue, but wounds to his abdomen were not life-threatening, police and a Jewish group said. - He said that his assailant wore a helmet. He was attacked when he was alone in the synagogue two hours before the start of the weekly Sabbath service. Farhi said he received "written threats early Friday containing references to the jihad (the Muslim holy war) and the war against all enemies of the Palestinians".

AIPAC trains student activists - As part of an initiative to groom a new generation of pro-Israel activists on campus, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee brought 240 students to Washington for four all-expense-paid days of intense advocacy training. - The effort appears to be working: Students say the anti-Israel forces are on the wane on campus. - The program now focuses on 60 campuses, chosen because they have large Jewish populations and feed Congress with future leaders. On each campus, AIPAC works with four ``portfolioed" activists -- each with his or her own designated tasks -- to turn Jewish leaders into pro-Israel activists. - AIPAC trains the activists to sway opinion by targeting campus leaders. ``AIPAC said, 'Become friends with them, meet them for coffee,' " said Toby Osofsky, 22, a senior at the University of North Carolina, where she is the AIPAC campus liaison. - Osofsky can interest and influence campus leaders with exclusive offers. With AIPAC's help, Osofsky arranged a 50-person lunch with Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, and made an opportunity for certain guests, including the student body president, to have some private time with Regev. - Now the ``pervading sense is that we have taken back the campus" from ``people who hate the State of Israel and are anti-Semitic,'' Gabriel said.

A South Korea envoy flew to Moscow on Saturday hoping to persuade Russia to use its influence and warming ties with North Korea to try to end the brinkmanship with the United States over Pyongyang's nuclear program. South Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hang-kyung arrived in the Russian capital bearing a compromise plan aimed at ending the nuclear standoff between Pyongyang and Washington. He said his two-day trip was part of a broad diplomatic effort involving contacts with the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan. "We all have a common task to solve this problem through peaceful means," he told journalists at Moscow's Sheremetyevo-2 international airport. Kim said Russia, which has radically improved ties with Pyongyang and is the only member of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations to have good relations with both halves of the divided Korean peninsula, was "a very effective channel for dialogue." "We set great store by the role of the Russian government (in resolving the crisis)," he added according to a Russian translation of his remarks. -

North Korea, meanwhile, continued to blame the United States for the tensions, saying on Saturday the standoff was serious and that it had acted in self-defense. The communist state has expelled atomic energy inspectors monitoring its nuclear programs under a 1994 deal in which Pyongyang agreed to end such work in exchange for fuel oil from the United States and its allies. Washington cut off oil supplies after North Korea told a U.S. official in October it had a covert nuclear program. The U.S. move prompted a furious response from the hermit state. North Korea said on Friday, however, it was still willing to talk to Washington and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It said a non-aggression pact was the only way to defuse the crisis. The United States said it refused to renegotiate a 1994 agreement which froze North Korea's nuclear programs.

India, which came close to war with nuclear-armed neighbor Pakistan last year, put its nuclear arsenal under the control of a formal command chain on Saturday and reiterated its "no first strike" policy. Indian defense analysts said the move would improve the transparency of the country's nuclear policy and enhance regional stability in South Asia, seen as a nuclear flashpoint because of bitter tensions between India and Pakistan over disputed Kashmir. The decision by the Cabinet Committee on Security gave the prime minister final power to decide on the use of nuclear arms. India reaffirmed in a statement its "no first use" nuclear stand but said "nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage." In an extension of its earlier doctrine, the government added India would "retain the option" of retaliating with nuclear arms in the event of a major biological or chemical weapons attack against India or Indian forces anywhere.

The economic plan President Bush will unveil in Chicago next week will have a price tag of approximately $600 billion, according to an administration official. The price is double that of earlier White House estimates.

'Felony Stop' Traumatizes North Carolina Family For Life - It was the most traumatic experience the Smoak family of North Carolina has ever had, and it happened yesterday afternoon as they traveled through Cookeville on their way home from a vacation in Nashville. Before their ordeal was over, three members of the family had been yanked out of their car and handcuffed on the side of Interstate 40 in downtown Cookeville, and their beloved dog, Patton, had been shot to death by a police officer as they watched. What was their crime? There was no crime. -

"I immediately pulled to the side, and expecting him to come to the window, I started reaching for my wallet to get my license and it was not there," Smoak said. About that time, he heard the officer broadcast orders over a bullhorn, telling him to toss the keys out the car window and get out with his hands up and walk backwards to the rear of the car. Still not knowing what he was being stopped for, Smoak obeyed, and when he reached the back of the car, with a gun pointed at Smoak, the trooper ordered him to get on his knees, face the back of the car and put his head down. When he did that, the officer handcuffed him and placed him in the patrol car. Then the same orders were blared over the bullhorn to "passenger" and Pamela Smoak got out with her hands up, was ordered to the ground, held at gunpoint, and handcuffed. Next, Brandon was ordered out and handcuffed in the same way.

Terrified at what was happening to them for no reason they knew, the family was also immediately concerned about their two pet dogs being left in the car there on the highway with the car doors open. "We kept asking the officers -- there were several officers by now -- to close the car doors because of our dogs, but they didn't do it," said Pamela Smoak. And as the officers worked in the late evening darkness, their weapons drawn as the Smoaks were being handcuffed, the dog Patton came out of the car and headed toward one of the Cookeville Police officers who was assisting the THP. "That officer had a flashlight on his shotgun, and the dog was going toward that light and the officer shot him, just blew his head off," said Pamela Smoak. -

Finally, after a time, someone in authority figured out that the officers here had stopped and were holding the very family that someone in Davidson County had assumed had been robbed, though how that assumption grew to the authorization for a felony stop, James Smoak cannot understand, he said today. "Finally, they asked me my name and I told them my name, date of birth, and other information, and they talked by radio to someone in Davidson County and finally realized that a mistake had been made," he said.

"A lady in Davidson County had seen that wallet fly off our car and had seen money coming out of it and going all over the road, and somehow that became a felony and they made a felony stop, but no robbery or felony had happened," Pamela Smoak said. "Apparently, they had listened to some citizen with a cell phone and let her play detective down there," said James Smoak. "Here we are just a family on vacation, and we had to suffer this." When the officers did discover the mistake, "they said, 'Okay, we're releasing you and we're sorry,'" Smoak said. As soon as Brandon was released from the handcuffs, he rushed over to the dead dog and began to cry, Smoak said. And that's when one of the most infuriating parts of the ordeal happened, according to James Smoak. "I saw one of the THP officers walk over to the city officer who had shot the dog and grin," he said. Police Chief Bob Terry's statement:

January 3, 2003

The double standards, dubious morality and duplicity of this fight against terror - I think I'm getting the picture. North Korea breaks all its nuclear agreements with the United States, throws out UN inspectors and sets off to make a bomb a year, and President Bush says it's "a diplomatic issue". Iraq hands over a 12,000-page account of its weapons production and allows UN inspectors to roam all over the country, and – after they've found not a jam-jar of dangerous chemicals in 230 raids – President Bush announces that Iraq is a threat to America, has not disarmed and may have to be invaded. So that's it, then.

How, readers keep asking me in the most eloquent of letters, does he get away with it? Indeed, how does Tony Blair get away with it? Not long ago in the House of Commons, our dear Prime Minister was announcing in his usual schoolmasterly tones – the ones used on particularly inattentive or dim boys in class – that Saddam's factories of mass destruction were "up [pause] and running [pause] now." But the Dear Leader in Pyongyang does have factories that are "up [pause] and running [pause] now". And Tony Blair is silent.

Why do we tolerate this? Why do Americans? Over the past few days, there has been just the smallest of hints that the American media – the biggest and most culpable backer of the White House's campaign of mendacity – has been, ever so timidly, asking a few questions.

Months after The Independent first began to draw its readers' attention to Donald Rumsfeld's chummy personal visits to Saddam in Baghdad at the height of Iraq's use of poison gas against Iran in 1983, The Washington Post has at last decided to tell its own readers a bit of what was going on. The reporter Michael Dobbs includes the usual weasel clauses ("opinions differ among Middle East experts... whether Washington could have done more to stop the flow to Baghdad of technology for building weapons of mass destruction"), but the thrust is there: we created the monster and Mr Rumsfeld played his part in doing so.

But no American – or British – newspaper has dared to investigate another, almost equally dangerous, relationship that the present US administration is forging behind our backs: with the military-supported regime in Algeria. For 10 years now, one of the world's dirtiest wars has been fought out in this country, supposedly between "Islamists" and "security forces", in which almost 200,000 people – mostly civilians – have been killed. But over the past five years there has been growing evidence that elements of those same security forces were involved in some of the bloodiest massacres, including the throat-cutting of babies. The Independent has published the most detailed reports of Algerian police torture and of the extrajudicial executions of women as well as men. Yet the US, as part of its obscene "war on terror", has cosied up to the Algerian regime. It is helping to re-arm Algeria's army and promised more assistance. William Burns, the US Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East, announced that Washington "has much to learn from Algeria on ways to fight terrorism".

And of course, he's right. The Algerian security forces can instruct the Americans on how to make a male or female prisoner believe that they are going to suffocate. The method – US personnel can find the experts in this particular torture technique working in the basement of the Château Neuf police station in central Algiers – is to cover the trussed-up victim's mouth with a rag and then soak it with cleaning fluid. The prisoner slowly suffocates. There's also, of course, the usual nail-pulling and the usual wires attached to penises and vaginas and – I'll always remember the eye-witness description – the rape of an old woman in a police station, from which she emerged, covered in blood, urging other prisoners to resist.

Some of the witnesses to these abominations were Algerian police officers who had sought sanctuary in London. But rest assured, Mr Burns is right, America has much to learn from the Algerians. Already, for example – don't ask why this never reached the newspapers – the Algerian army chief of staff has been warmly welcomed at Nato's southern command headquarters at Naples.

And the Americans are learning. A national security official attached to the CIA divulged last month that when it came to prisoners, "our guys may kick them around a little in the adrenaline of the immediate aftermath (sic)." Another US "national security" official announced that "pain control in wounded patients is a very subjective thing". But let's be fair. The Americans may have learnt this wickedness from the Algerians. They could just as well have learned it from the Taliban.

Meanwhile, inside the US, the profiling of Muslims goes on apace. On 17 November, thousands of Iranians, Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans, Afghans, Bahrainis, Eritreans, Lebanese, Moroccans, Omanis, Qataris, Somalis, Tunisians, Yemenis and Emiratis turned up at federal offices to be finger-printed. The New York Times – the most chicken of all the American papers in covering the post-9/11 story – revealed (only in paragraph five of its report, of course) that "over the past week, agency officials... have handcuffed and detained hundreds of men who showed up to be finger-printed. In some cases the men had expired student or work visas; in other cases, the men could not provide adequate documentation of their immigration status."

In Los Angeles, the cops ran out of plastic handcuffs as they herded men off to the lockup. Of the 1,000 men arrested without trial or charges after 11 September, many were native-born Americans.

Indeed, many Americans don't even know what the chilling acronym of the "US Patriot Act" even stands for. "Patriot" is not a reference to patriotism. The name stands for the "United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act". America's $200m (£125m) "Total Awareness Programme" will permit the US government to monitor citizens' e-mail and internet activity and collect data on the movement of all Americans. And although we have not been told about this by our journalists, the US administration is now pestering European governments for the contents of their own citizens' data files. The most recent – and most preposterous – of these claims came in a US demand for access to the computer records of the French national airline, Air France, so that it could "profile" thousands of its passengers. All this is beyond the wildest dreams of Saddam and the Dear Leader Kim.

The new rules even worm their way into academia. Take the friendly little university of Purdue in Indiana, where I lectured a few weeks ago. With federal funds, it's now setting up an "Institute for Homeland Security", whose 18 "experts" will include executives from Boeing and Hewlett-Packard and US Defence and State Department officials, to organise "research programmes" around "critical mission areas". What, I wonder, are these areas to be? Surely nothing to do with injustice in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict or the presence of thousands of US troops on Arab lands. After all, it was Richard Perle, the most sinister of George Bush's pro-Israeli advisers, who stated last year that "terrorism must be decontextualised".

Meanwhile, we are – on that very basis – ploughing on to war in Iraq, which has oil, but avoiding war in Korea, which does not have oil. And our leaders are getting away with it. In doing so, we are threatening the innocent, torturing our prisoners and "learning" from men who should be in the dock for war crimes. This, then, is our true memorial to the men and women so cruelly murdered in the crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001.

Bush's Master Plan for the Internet - Bush and his Machiavellian minions will no longer put up with you roaming free into dangerous territory on the internet. You need to be corralled, electronically tethered, kept away from sites promoting conspiracy theories -- in other words, information the corporate media, the official US Ministry of Disinformation, does not want you to read or see. It's now increasingly obvious the Bushites want to lock us up in a hermetically sealed informational box and throw away the key. All the information they consider worthwhile will be pumped in through a one-way hole.

During war, as they say, the first causality is truth. And war -- all the time and everywhere people resist -- is what Bush will deliver. It will be easier for him to accomplish this if you can't read the truth, if you remain ignorant, or if you are obstructed from organizing and speaking out on the internet against war and madness. Bush knows this -- or, at least, those around him know this. The internet, regardless of its trashy and lame commercial characteristics, is a nearly perfect medium for organizing. It's a thorn in the side of neo-cons and fascists everywhere.

Enter Dubya's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board (CIPB), which the unelected one created with a flourish of his pen (another executive order, a most popular way to rule vassals). The men and women around Bush want to require internet service providers, ISPs, to build a centralized network capable of monitoring where you go, what you look at and read, what you write in your email -- and all in real-time. Of course, they don't say this. What they say is they want to protect you against viruses and terrorist attacks. They want to shield you from Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, who are everywhere, ready to attack, even on the internet (Osama's cave in Tora Bora, don't you know, bristled with computers and crack virus software programmers).

CIPB is working on a report, "The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace," which it will release early next year. It is billed as a strategy for the Ministry of Homeland Security and -- this is the laughable part -- is subject to congressional review. Yeah, like Congress protected us from Bush's totalitarian Patriot Act and the Ministry of Homeland Security bill. What a joke. 99% of these folks are Bush co-conspirators. When Bush tells them to jump, they ask how high. Your right to travel through cyberspace without a snoop noting your every move is one of the next hoops Bush will wave before an obeisant Congress. The internet is one of the last bastions of resistance. Besides, some rabble-rouser posted the Anarchist's Cookbook on there.

Of course, converting the internet into a big Carnivore system is one thing, while denying you access is quite another. Bush's centralized system will make this a reality. Get labeled a malcontent, a "security risk," or even a "cyber-terrorist" and you can be easily barred from Bush's "secure, trusted, robust, reliable, and available infrastructure." Say the wrong thing on a bulletin board or forum and your ISP -- afraid of the government breathing down its neck, yanking its business license, or sicking the IRS on it -- may terminate your service. Hell, if things go as Bush and Clan envision most small ISPs will go out of business, replaced by AOL, Comcast, and other rich communications industry friends and big dollar contributors to Project Bush.

Dubya wants to essentially authorize a Department of Approved Internet Use within the Ministry of Homeland Security. This new department will create and demand implementation of new network protocols, take over the task of verifying IT vendors (so much for the conservative idea of getting rid of big government), and issue security assessment and policy tools (maybe Dubya can roll Microsoft into the Ministry of Homeland Security, demand everybody use Windows instead of Mac or Linux because Windows will be "secure" and adapt, at taxpayer expense, the latest government mandated protocols). Don't worry about the cost -- this idea comes from the guys who think a $200 billion war is nothing to sweat, even if it wrecks the economy. Plus, a lot of the cost will be picked up by the ISPs, which is to say you, the subscriber. Nothing like paying through the nose to have the government turn your computer into a Carnivore box.

Just in case you think I'm playing fast and loose with the word "Carnivore," consider what an official with a major data services company who has was briefed on several aspects of the government's plans told John Markoff of the New York Times the other day, "Part of monitoring the Internet and doing real-time analysis is to be able to track incidents while they are occurring... Am I analogizing this to Carnivore? Absolutely. But in fact, it's 10 times worse. Carnivore was working on much smaller feeds and could not scale. This is looking at the whole Internet." OK, I inserted the required quote from a "respected" source, so I guess we can all rest easier now. The idea of Bush squashing a (relatively) free and unhampered internet has now broken free of the besmeared realm of conspiracy theory. Hallelujah!

So there you have it, in a nutshell. You can't be trusted and you will never have privacy again -- not on the internet, not with your bank or credit card transactions, medical records, not when you fly on a plane or cross the border, and certainly not if you decide Bush and his neo-con fascists are wrong about forever war and you decide you want to do something about it. As it looks now, things are moving in a bleak direction rather quickly. But even Russians under the yoke of Soviet communism managed to publish samizdats -- typed on manual typewriters with multiple carbons, since the photocopying machines were locked up and closely watched by the state -- and news thus disseminated, people learned the truth.

Somewhere buried in a box in the closet of my apartment is BBS software on an old, dusty floppy disk. In the days before the web -- when the internet was mostly confined to computer students, faculty, government types, and other such privileged geeks -- a few of us dialed into computers running BBS software. If Bush and his Critical Infrastructure Protection Board bureaucrats have their way, we may be forced to return to those less sophisticated days. Call it a dial-up samizdat where information remains free. Of course, sooner or later, Bush will get around to making this illegal, too. But where there's a will, there's a way. We may even be reduced to sending CD-ROMs via snail-mail in the future. Or passing them hand-to-hand under the cover of darkness. Truth refuses to be suppressed. It will always break out, regardless of the technology.

US Image Is Worsening Worldwide: Review Over the past two years, the favorability ratings for the United States among the people in 20 out of 27 countries have fallen, according to the result of a survey conducted by the US-based Pew Research Center for the People & the Press between July and October. -

The image of the United States in the eyes of the people worldwide has been deteriorating in recent years. In the Middle East, anti-American sentiment is rising high; in Southeast Asia, anti-US marches are staged one after another; in the ROK and Japan , there have been frequent demonstrations against US soldiers' disgusting conducts. Even in its European allies, a "sentiment of alienation" from the old "Uncle Sam" has bred and grown among local people. In a recent demonstration in Denmark, on placards held up by people were written these words: "Bush, the biggest terrorist in the world!" -

The problem has drawn attention from US policy-makers. US defense officials recently revealed that the Pentagon was discussing whether an "image project" should be kicked off in certain nations to reverse the negative view on the country. -

Even most Europeans, U. S. allies, hold that the "September 11" event is connected with the US's foreign policy and its strike against Iraq is fight for oil. There are even people who compared the United States with the fascist Germany. -

Perhaps only those Americans who frequently travel the world can feel that the image of their country is not as nice as they once imagined. According to the result of a survey conducted by National Geographic Society, only 18 percent Americans know the geographic location of Afghanistan , 87 percent Americans aged between 18 and 24 cannot find out Iraq on a world map, and it is most difficult to believe that one-fourth of the Americans do not know where the Pacific Ocean is. Such an attitude of the Americans toward the outside world constitutes an important reason why foreigners dislike the country.

Vladimir Putin Creating Anti-USA Axis? - Russia, China, and India – the anti-supremacy triangle? - The fear of unrestrained American aggression caused the reaction. The Hong Kong press wrote that the American brutality against Iraq and the USA-NATO aggression against Kosovo that followed the bombing of Iraq spurred Chinese President Jiang Zemin to talk to Chinese politicians. They allegedly recommended to pay more priority to the countries whose role in the NATO politics is insignificant. Then, they suggested the retrieval of relations with the third world. Finally, Chinese politicians recommended that Jiang Zemin to cooperate with Russia and India. -

The victory of the America/NATO monster over Yugoslavia resulted in negative consequences for the United States on the international arena. Russia and China recollected the identity of their global interests. This eventually resulted in two important events that occurred during the year 2001. The Shanghai Five (the discussion club that makes up Russia, China, and three countries of Central Asia) turned into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This organization consists of six countries. In addition, Russia and China signed a treaty for neighborly relations, friendship, and cooperation in Moscow. -

The American president has shown that the USA was totally against a multi-polar world order. The USA aspires on for a New World Order, which causes many troubles in global political life. NATO expands eastwards, aggression against Iraq is being prepared in public, and separatists are supported everywhere, from Taiwan to Chechnya. Most likely, this is what has initiated the idea of creating a Eurasian triangle. -

Putin made it understood that he is interested in preserving a counterbalance, despite the USA’s policy of forcing the world to acknowledge that it is the only current superpower. Putin signed a declaration for the advantages of the multi-polar world order, which is completely opposed to the American New World Order.

New World Order Theater Presents: Fear For The Next Generation - With all the focus directed towards Iraq, the globalists are free to set up the next act in the New World Order Theater. Now that Bush is set to deploy the new missile defense system (similar to Reagan’s Star Wars program) and Vladimir Putin is working to set up the anti-U.S.A. axis the next phase of fear is ready to be implemented. The threats are everywhere - Iraq, North Korea, Al Qaeda and of course the Constitutionalists of America - or militia members as the media would describe us. They’re coming at us from every angle on a minute by minute basis, the news anchors, right wing conservatives and reporters alike are spinning faster than an Olympic figure skater in the midst of a perfect scratch spin. The term snowballing is by far too inadequate to describe the build-up of the fear inducing propaganda that is continuously bombarding our lives. The threat of nuclear war and the creation of a domestic enemy is proven to be a very effective way of keeping the masses under control. If you think back to the seventies and eighties the population was considerably more docile. This was the time in our history when the use of CIA distributed cocaine and heroin rocketed, political protesting all but vanished and the every man for himself attitude became a prominent way of living. -

Never in the wildest realms of the imagination could anyone have drudged up the images we’ve seen in the few years since the turn of the century. The production team over at the New World Order Studios proved that they were alive and well (even though there were a few who knew this all along) and that they were playing for keeps. No more subtleties in this takeover. -

We are now under full scale attack and with the next episode due to be released soon it would appear that we are in for one ferocious ride. The first rule in any sequel is to make bigger and better than the first and from what we’ve seen so far it certainly leads me to believe that will be true about this one. Make no mistakes about it folks, there is tyranny on a scale never seen before in store for us. The curtains have been drawn and the show is about to begin, the only hope we have now is an awakening of epic proportions on our behalf. We can not take this lightly, our enemy sure isn’t. They are counting on us to huddle up in a corner and pray for it to be over, but we can’t do that. -

There are more of us than there are of them and as long as we keep the factual information coming we will gather more like-minded individuals to help out in this fight. Ignore the propaganda, don’t buy into the fear they’re pushing, that only helps them to beat us back and that is unacceptable. This is the revolution and it will not be televised.

When the powers that be were allowed to proclaim, forty years ago, that the murder of John F. Kennedy was the work of a lone gunman - a conclusion virtually no one ever believed - the American people sent a signal to their leaders that they could basically get away with anything they wanted, and the people would not significantly - and certainly not effectively - object. -

Now the World Trade Center has come and gone, the fragments of what was once the world's tallest buildings are now buried in secrecy, and still no legitimate investigation into how this incomprehensible tragedy happened has been undertaken, never mind concluded. The message could not be clearer: the people who have obstructed a probe into 9/11 are the ones who benefit from obstructing it, and quite likely the ones who dreamed up the whole thing in the first place.

THE credibility of President Bush’s multibillion-dollar missile defence plans are being questioned by leading scientists after claims that the results of key tests were falsified. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is considering an investigation into accusations that fundamental flaws in the proposed “Son of Star Wars” system have been covered up. -

The criticism is led by Theodore Postol, a physicist and missile defence critic at MIT, who has said that the institute is sitting on what is potentially “the most serious fraud that we’ve seen at a great American university”. After months of demanding an inquiry into the affair, Ed Crawley, the chairman of MIT’s aeronautics and astronautics department, has reversed previous refusals and recommended an investigation. -

Dr Postol has written to 20 members of Congress saying that MIT’s reluctance to investigate the role of its own research centre “may indicate an attempt to conceal evidence of criminal violations”. Critics say that MIT’s independence is compromised by its interest in maintaining hundreds of millions of dollars in annual government contracts. -

Dr Postol, a persistent missile defence critic who is accusing MIT of a “serious case of scientific fraud”, cannot be lightly dismissed. After the Gulf War he challenged the Pentagon’s claims for the success of its defensive Patriot missiles, saying they had intercepted few if any Iraqi Scuds. Despite initial ridicule, his assertion is now accepted. -

Separately the State Department yesterday charged two US aerospace companies with illegally supplying China with satellite and rocket technology that could be used for intercontinental missiles. Hughes Electronics Corp and its parent company, Boeing Satellite Systems, stand accused of 123 arms control violations by helping China with technical data after failed rocket launches in 1995 and 1996. Hughes said that it had done nothing wrong.

The United States has asked Israel to suspend sales of military equipment to China over concerns that the technology could be used to threaten Taiwan, officials and the media said Thursday. Israeli government officials were surprised by the U.S. request but had to comply in order not to jeopardize Washington's massive defense assistance program to Israel, the Haaretz daily said. Two years ago, Israel pulled out of a deal to supply China with a sophisticated airborne radar system after the Pentagon warned that the early warning planes could be used in an armed conflict with Taiwan. Israel was forced to pay $350 million as compensation after it canceled the contract. - Military ties between Israel and China have grown quickly over the past decade, and Haaretz said some Israeli officials believe the real reason for Washington's opposition stemmed from the fact that U.S. defense companies were trying to break into China's market and wanted to eliminate their Israeli competitors.

China has said other countries have no right to interfere in its arms trade with Israel, following a report that the Jewish state had halted contacts on weapons sales to China at the request of the United States. "It is China's consistent position that the development of normal military trade cooperation with Israel is a matter between the two countries," the foreign ministry said in a statement Friday. "Other countries have no right to interfere in this."

Los Alamos National Laboratory's next director must do a better job telling the public about the lab's failures as well as its success, outgoing director John Browne said. The 60-year-old physicist has resigned amid a growing number of government investigations into charges of widespread theft and fraud at the nuclear weapons lab

Whose side are you on, Mr. President? - THE Bush administration has it in for trial lawyers and is planning a big push for "tort reform." The public should be wary of this new attempt to curtail consumer protection. And I hope Congress will slam the brakes on this White House maneuver to trample on the rights of citizens who seek recourse from doctors for malpractice and from big corporations for defective products. The administration has co-opted the word "reform" to roll back progress and promote its goals of weakening government restraints in a variety of areas. It's noteworthy that the administration has never pursued the corporate chieftains whose greed stunned the nation last year with the same energy that it goes after lawyers who are fighting for the consumer.

How Bush Sr Sold The Bombing Of Iraq To America - The Role of the 1991 Gulf War in the emergence of George Bush's New World Order

Government Openness at Issue as Bush Holds Onto Records - The Bush administration has put a much tighter lid than recent presidents on government proceedings and the public release of information, exhibiting a penchant for secrecy that has been striking to historians, legal experts and lawmakers of both parties. Some of the Bush policies, like closing previously public court proceedings, were prompted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and are part of the administration's drive for greater domestic security. Others, like Vice President Dick Cheney's battle to keep records of his energy task force secret, reflect an administration that arrived in Washington determined to strengthen the authority of the executive branch, senior administration officials say. -

A telling example came in late 2001 when Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the new policy on the Freedom of Information Act, a move that attracted relatively little public attention. Although the new policy for dealing with the 1966 statute that has opened millions of pages of government records to scholars, reporters and the public was announced after Sept. 11, it had been planned well before the attacks. -

The Ashcroft directive encouraged federal agencies to reject requests for documents if there was any legal basis to do so, promising that the Justice Department would defend them in court. It was a stark reversal of the policy set eight years earlier, when the Clinton administration told agencies to make records available whenever they could, even if the law provided a reason not to, so long as there was no "foreseeable harm" from the release. Generally speaking, said Alan Brinkley, a Columbia University historian, while secrecy has been increasingly attractive to recent administrations, "this administration has taken it to a new level." -

Since Sept. 11, three new agencies were given the power to stamp documents as "Secret" — the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.

'United States foreign policy: A comedy of errors' - It seems more apparent with each passing day that American foreign policy is being run by the Wizard of Oz, hidden behind the curtain using smoke and mirrors, and anything that comes to mind, in articulating its position and place in the world. It is high time that American citizens pull back the curtain like Toto, to uncover what is really going on. One would have thought the disastrous events of September 11 would have ushered in a total revamping of US international policy in dealing with the world, in an effort to deter another similar disaster. It is alarming that nothing of the kind seems to have happened. Instead, what we have seen is a hodgepodge of policies and actions that seem chaotic, lacking in direction, and downright comical at times. -

Currently the world is experiencing a bit of a crisis, with North Korea throwing out weapons monitors and reactivating its nuclear program. Bush grand policy for dealing with this situation is to not talk to North Korea and levy tough sanctions. Ultimate warrior Donald Rumsfeld has weighed in John Wayne style, warning North Korea that America is able to take on, at the same time, both them and Iraq in military confrontation. Such a ridiculous macho bully-in-the-schoolyard US foreign policy is the worst recipe for resolving this situation. In fact US policy toward North Korea prior to the current situation shows how unfocused and amorphous the Bush Administration really is in this instance, and how its policy might have contributed to North Korea’s current stance. -

In the wake of September 11 Bush decreed that North Korea constituted part of an axis of evil. In short order the Administration made available a document of nations on a nuclear targeting list by the Pentagon. North Korea was on that list. About that same time the US backed out of the ABM nuclear treaty, lifting limits on its nuclear expansion. Shortly thereafter the US revealed that North Korea was up to no good, and in violation of its commitment to not pursue nuclear weapons. About this time Bush said of North Korea’s leader ‘I absolutely loathe Kim Jong Il.’ Then the US illegally held a ship carrying North Korean made missiles to Yemen. A legal purchase. In the face of such belligerence by the US, is it any wonder that North Korea would rationalize that rapid acquisition of nuclear weapons would be their best bet for self preservation against attack? -

If the US truly desires to make its citizens safe and secure, with a guaranteed enthusiastic future, then the current policies of war on terrorism, axes of evil, preemptive strikes, threat of using nuclear force, braggadocio of taking on two enemies at a time, and blatantly touting regime change, is the most unrealistic way of achieving this. A comprehensive overhaul of this nation’s foreign policy is a must for this to happen. A policy based on compassion, respect for others, and leading by example, is a prerequisite for goodwill abroad and peace of mind at home.

Judge Rules Against Homeland Security Office in Privacy Suit - The Office of Homeland Security lost the first round in a legal fight to keep its activities secret as a federal judge ruled it will have to answer questions about its power over other federal agencies. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the office to prove it has no authority other than helping and advising President Bush if it wants to dismiss a lawsuit seeking access to its records. -

David Sobel, attorney for the privacy group, called the ruling an intermediate victory over Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge. "This is about opening a window into the activities of what has been, until now, a very secretive entity," Sobel said. Homeland Security tried to get the lawsuit dismissed, claiming it doesn't have to release records because it's not an agency. The privacy group said it didn't have enough information to prove otherwise and asked for permission to find out how the office exercises its authority. - Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the office is reviewing the opinion and working with the Justice Department to figure out what to do next. The office, created by President Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has consistently denied that it's an agency. Earlier this year, Ridge refused to testify before Congress about the office's budget on the grounds that he merely advises President Bush.

President Bush is putting together an economic stimulus plan likely to raise major objections among Democrats that it is heavily tilted to higher-income taxpayers. - White House officials said that two major components are likely to be an acceleration of personal income tax rate cuts that were included in the 2001 tax bill and a new tax break for investors who get income from corporate dividend payments. Because higher income individuals, who pay more taxes, get the biggest benefits from rate cuts, the administration had considered not accelerating the scheduled reductions in the top tax rate, currently at 38.6 percent, but instead focus just on the three lower rates. - The other key component of the president's plan is expected to be a reduction in taxes paid on corporate dividend payments, a long cherished goal of conservatives.

Foreclosures closing in on cash-strapped families - Unemployment remains stubbornly and comparatively high in certain industries, and bankruptcy filings are surging. Home values continue to increase, but so do the number of people who can no longer afford to make their mortgage payments. - By the end of November, home foreclosure sales in fast-growing Sherburne County were already up 50 percent over all of 2001. Foreclosures in Carver County, home to some of the highest household incomes and home values in the region, have almost tripled this year, and personal bankruptcy filings are up 26 percent. - Recessions always bring a spike in foreclosures and bankruptcies, but lawyers, mortgage counselors and others say things are different this time. Many homeowners have taken advantage of soaring home values and low interest rates and have borrowed heavily against their homes to pay off credit cards, meet margin calls in their depleted brokerage accounts, or buy new plasma-screen televisions. A job loss, drop in income or a sudden, unexpected expense has left them with little or nothing to fall back on. -

"People have been encouraged or duped into stripping all the equity out of their homes," said Liz Ryan Murray, a program officer with the Home Ownership Center, a consumer advocacy group in St. Paul. - The economy is the main culprit. Minnesota has seen a net loss of about 54,000 jobs since March 2001. Unlike previous recessions, the most recent hit the Twin Cities especially hard as companies such as ADC Telecommunications and Northwest Airlines slashed their payrolls. State figures show that the Twin Cities lost almost 30,000 high-paying transportation and high-tech manufacturing jobs in an 18-month span. - Some people have to sell their home to avert foreclosure, but many are reluctant to sell. Many have so much debt on their house that they would not get enough equity back to buy another one. The tight and expensive apartment market makes some fear that their family will end up homeless.

A natural cycle of thawing may cause an Antarctic ice sheet as big as Texas and Colorado combined to melt away in 7,000 years, possibly causing a worldwide sea level rise of about 16 feet, according to new research. In a study appearing Friday in the journal Science, researchers say that geochemical measurements of when mountainside rocks first become free of ice near the south pole show that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet began melting about 10,000 years ago and is still shrinking.

Heavy rainfall sent rivers cresting over their banks in parts of Europe Friday while a powerful storm that swept across several southern German states killed two people and injured dozens. The flooding and high winds caused disruption in Germany, Britain and Portugal, with barge traffic curtailed on key German waterways and toppled trees blocking roads and rail lines. In Romania, floods caused by melting snow killed three people and destroyed hundreds of homes. Flood warnings across Britain remained in force, mostly in the south of the country. Torrential rains over the last week have already caused widespread flooding, causing accidents and severe disruption to the nation's railway services. In Portugal, heavy overnight rains caused landslides, closed roads and flooded several towns. Emergency workers were also searching for cars which witnesses said had plunged into the River Douro, the center of Portugal's famed port wine industry. In Germany an 18-year-old motorist was killed when his car flipped over north of Hamburg on a road covered with black ice. -

Authorities said swollen Rhine tributaries, the Mosel and Main rivers, had flooded over their banks in many areas, bringing barge traffic to a halt. Traffic on the Rhine, one of the world's busiest waterways, was being restricted in some areas. A 20-mile segment of the river near Koblenz was closed, German river police said. ROOFS BLOWN OFF "It's been raining here hard for the last three days," said an official at the water and shipping office in Cologne, where the Rhine was more than 16.5 feet higher than normal at 26.9 feet and expected to reach a level of 27.4 feet later Friday -- a point that would idle all barge traffic. Flood barriers were being prepared in Cologne and other Rhine towns such as Cologne and Koblenz. Barges traveling on some parts of the swollen Rhine were required to travel at reduced speeds and only in the center of the river. Many towns along the rivers Main, Saale and Itz were already being flooded, authorities said. The Bavarian town of Coburg was especially hard hit with much of the town center under two feet of water. - The German weather service (DWS) is forecasting more heavy rain that is likely to swell rivers further. Flooding was also reported in southern and eastern Germany. The weather service said winds gusting up to 118 mph were recorded in the Black Forest.

The threat of flooding in southern England reached a critical point yesterday as heavy rain continued to lash an already sodden region and with warnings it could last for the next three months. Three severe flood warnings - two in the Anglia region and one in Thames Valley - were in place and there were a further 136 flood warnings across the south and Midlands.

The unknown "parents" of the purportedly cloned baby known as "Eve," and the principals involved in her birth, have been summoned to appear before a Florida court to determine if she should be placed under court protection, the plaintiff-lawyer said. - "The clerk of the court of Broward County, Juvenile Division, has set a hearing for an arraignment scheduled on January 22," attorney Bernard Siegel of Miami told AFP by telephone. The seat of Broward County if Fort Lauderdale, north of Miami. - Siegel told AFP earlier Thursday that he had petitioned the court, in his own capacity as plaintiff, to place "Eve" under the court's protection. "I was concerned that, if this (the clonage) is true, this child is an abused child, that it could have some serious genetic, fatal problems and that the child was being exploited by Clonaid," he said. "The purpose of my lawsuit is to appoint a guardian for this child. Because I perceived that this child, more than any other child in the world, needs legal protection under the United States courts," said Siegel, who stressed he was acting on his own and without a specific client. - Siegel's petition to name the court as guardian, was lodged Tuesday in Circuit Court, juvenile division, in Fort Lauderdale, north of Miami. It alleges, "this child is at risk of having permanent genetic defects, imperfections and mutations, with the possibility of mutations only noticeable after birth," and that the girl was being used as a human "guinea pig." Calling the "Eve" case a "dangerous medical experiment," the petition argues Clonaid seeks to commercially exploit cloning and plans to charge potential customers 200,000 dollars per clone. "At the same time they are secreting the child, they are seeking maximum publicity and commercially exploiting her," it says.

The Israeli army staged an overnight raid in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where Palestinian prisoners and their Israeli guards clashed, as Israel's election campaign picked up steam. A unit of some 20 Israeli jeeps raided Ramallah's Al-Amari refugee camp, Palestinian sources said. The sources said the troops apparently abandoned a plan to destroy the home of Wafa Idris, who became the first female Palestinian suicide bomber, as it would have caused serious damage to neighbouring houses in the camp. - In the southern West Bank, Israeli forces moved into Beit Fakhi village in the Hebron autonomous zone and blew up the home of Mahmud Ismael Barwish, a local Islamic Jihad leader arrested six months ago, the army and witnesses said.

Israeli President Moshe Katsav made a powerful call for a "new strategy" to end more than two years of violence that has cost close to 3,000 lives, the latest of which was a 70-year-old Israeli whose charred body was found in the Jordan Valley. As Israeli forces launched many-pronged raids into the Gaza Strip, smashing homes and rounding up suspects, Katsav said he suspected the solutions offered by the left and right in their election manifestos were redundant. "I don't see a solution to the problem of terrorism coming from the left nor the right. We need a new strategy," Katsav, a former member of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party, told army radio "The time has come to examine whether Israel is heading in the right direction," the president said without suggesting what this new direction might be.

Officials Contradict Sharon's Warnings - He told a television interviewer that there are unconfirmed reports that Iraq has hidden biological and chemical weapons in Syria, that a Palestinian terrorist cell trained in Iraq to use shoulder-launched missiles to shoot down planes at Ben Gurion International Airport was recently caught, that Iraqi nuclear scientists are working in Libya, and that the PA and Iraq are working together. - Labor Party leaders said that Sharon was "causing panic" merely to divert public attention from the headlines of alleged corruption in the Likud. They were particularly incensed after IDF Intelligence Chief Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the likelihood that Iraq would attack Israel before an American attack is low. - In a related item, the Health Ministry has decided that there is currently no need to incoculate the entire population against smallpox.

Pakistanis torch Bush effigies, warn of danger to Americans - Hardline Islamists threatened Americans in Pakistan and burnt effigies of US President George W. Bush in nationwide rallies against a possible war on Iraq and the US al-Qaeda hunt. "If the US attacks Iraq there will be open war here," Maulana Samiul Haq, a leader of the newly powerful Islamic party alliance, hollered before some 400 impassioned protestors outside Islamabad's Red Mosque. "No American will be safe here," he warned, as protestors yelled "Death to America" and brandished placards inscribed with "Stop Muslim Genocide" and "We Stand By Our Iraqi Muslims." - Anti-US feeling in the country has been fanned in recent weeks by several FBI arrests of doctors and the US bombing of an empty religious school on the Afghan border Sunday, sparking accusations that Washington is treating its key war on terror ally with contempt.

The U.S. military said on Friday it reserved the right to cross from Afghanistan into neighboring Pakistan in pursuit of fugitive Taliban or al Qaeda militants. The military said this was a long-standing policy which had the express consent of the government of Pakistan, although it has never been acknowledged publicly before and the government in Islamabad denied any formal agreement to allow U.S. troops to cross into Pakistan. "It has been a long-standing policy that if we are pursuing enemy forces, we are not just going to tiptoe and stop right when we get to the border," said U.S. military spokesman Major Stephen Clutter at Bagram air base. "We do reserve the right to go after them and pursue them and that is something Pakistan is aware of." He added that to his knowledge U.S. forces had never exercised that right, and that the closest they came was an incident on December 29 which culminated in a U.S. warplane bombing a disputed border location. The question of U.S. troops operating inside Pakistan is a sensitive one for the government in Islamabad, particularly after hardline Islamic groups registered large electoral gains in October on the back of their opposition to Pakistan's support for U.S. military action in the region.

Tongue meat could carry a risk of infection from mad cow disease, a new report suggests1. Tongue could contain high levels of the prion protein thought to cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, say Richard Bessen and his colleagues. Prions injected into hamster brains travelled to the tongue and accumulated to relatively high levels, the team found.

The Universe is not as bouncy as some think, say two physicists. If a Big Crunch follows the Big Bang, it may get stuck that way for ever1. A fluid of black holes would bung up space. There would be nothing to drive another Big Bang, and nowhere else to go. The Universe would be, you might say, stuffed.

Inuit or Basque, Laotian or Pashtun: we're much more similar than we are different, says the most detailed analysis of human genetic variation to date1. When it comes to sensitivity to drugs or diseases, the analysis also suggests that a person's account of their ethnic origin is almost as reliable an indicator as intrusive genetic tests. -

Previous studies relying on 20 or 30 markers have only found strong evidence of genetic variation between very isolated populations. The latest high-resolution analysis "allows us to answer questions people couldn't before," says study co-author Jonathan Pritchard, of the University of Chicago. It reveals that humans fall into six broad genetic groups, corresponding to people living in Eurasia, the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Oceania.

WHEN KOSHER ISN'T KOSHER - You may think, when you hear a phrase like "ritual slaughter," or "kosher slaughter," that this refers to a better kind of killing. You may think, as I did, that the act is done with respect for the dignity of the animal, and concern that it suffer as little as possible. You may think, as I did, that kosher ways of slaughter are more compassionate than "ordinary" slaughterhouse deaths. - Orthodox Jewish and Moslem dietary laws forbid consumption of meat from animals which are not "healthy and moving" when killed. Religious orthodoxy today interprets this to mean that kosher meat must come from animals who have not been stunned before being killed. They must be fully conscious when it's done.

Former Israeli Minister: “We’ve Become Barbarians” - "'The year 2002 was the worst in the state’s history, not because of problems related to security, economy and corruption; it was the year of moral degeneration during which we became an apartheid state, it was the year in which the government’s legal advisor began burying the democratic system.” Shulamit Aloni, former Minister of Education, was quoted by the Israeli newspaper Yedeot Ahranot Wednesday. “We transformed ourselves into barbarians; we turned 3.5 million human beings into hostages, we turned every town and village into a detention camp; we destroy ancient buildings dating back 800 years in order to build a park…we allowed an officer to decide to destroy an entire neighborhood with a mere hand signal…”

Mt. Herman UFO - With 20 years experience flying and repairing military and civilian helicopters, Roberts added cryptically, "Whatever that is – it’s not something the general public knows about. I’ve seen some photos of military jets blowing small holes in clouds when they broke the sound barrier. But those photos don’t compare with what you have. That hole is huge and that’s no jet!"

UFO Cylinder Photos - I was taking photos of chemtrails on Nov. 20th, 2002 and accidentally got these two cylinders on video at two separate times on the same bright sunny day. Each video take is 30 seconds long.

Full Skeleton Of 50-Ton Ocean Monster Discovered - The complete skeleton of the largest predator of all times have been found by German and Mexican palaeontologists although its existence was known in 19th century through partial fossils, according to a report in Times Online. The details of the October discovery have been published in the German magazine Der Spiegel. The marine behemoth was also featured in the BBC series Walking With Dinosaurs. - The skull, as large as a car, was found to have a huge hole in it, possibly made by a victim that fought back. The bones were discovered mingled with those of smaller ichthyosaurs, which the Liopleurodon had probably eaten, together with huge chunks of rock which it would have swallowed along with its prey as an aid to digestion or as ballast.

A cruel sham is being perpetrated on the American public and especially on the families of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. One of the expectations of the public is that the Commission established to investigate the attacks will find out what the government (in particular intelligence agencies) knew prior to the attacks. However, both the restrictions on the Commission and the composition of its members are designed to prevent just that.

Earth may once have been dual star system - According to some estimates, one-half to two-thirds of all stars in the sky may exist, not as solo acts, but as pairs, each "companion" orbiting the other. Technically speaking, they revolve around a common center of mass. Some binaries, as they are called, take tens of thousands of years to complete their orbits around each other, while others make the trip in a much shorter time. - Many astronomers think that our sun might have been a member of a binary system - that it could have had a companion star. The likely candidate? The planet Jupiter. As any school kid knows, Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system with a diameter roughly 10 times that of the Earth. Though gargantuan, that's still too small for it to have achieved stardom.

America ‘Pearl Harbored’ - The cabal of war fanatics advising the White House secretly planned a “transformation” of defense policy years ago, calling for war against Iraq and huge increases in military spending. A “catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor”—was seen as necessary to bring this about. The huge increases in U.S. military spending that have occurred since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were planned before President George W. Bush was elected by the same men who are pushing the administration’s “war on terrorism” and the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Billions of dollars in additional defense spending are but the first step in the group’s long-term plan to transform the U.S. military into a global army enforcing a terroristic and bloody Pax Americana around the world.

A neo-conservative Washington-based organization known as the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), funded by three foundations closely tied to Persian Gulf oil and weapons and defense industries, drafted the war plan for U.S. global domination through military power. One of the organization’s documents clearly shows that Bush and his most senior cabinet members had already planned an attack on Iraq before he took power in January 2001. -

The PNAC was founded in the spring of 1997 by the well-known Zionist neo-conservatives Robert Kagan and William Kristol of The Weekly Standard. The PNAC is part of the New Citizenship Project, whose chairman is also William Kristol, and is described as “a non-profit, educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership.” Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz signed a Statement of Principles of the PNAC on June 3, 1997, along with many of the other current members of Bush’s “war cabinet.” -

The strategic “transformation” of the U.S. military into an imperialistic force of global domination would require a huge increase in defense spending to “a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually,” the PNAC plan said. “The process of transformation,” the plan said, “is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.” -

The “new Pearl Harbor,” in the form of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, provided the necessary catalyst to put the global war plan into effect. Congress quickly allocated $40 billion to fund the “war on terrorism” shortly after 9-11. -

Veteran journalist John Pilger recently wrote about one of PNAC’s founding members, Richard Perle: “I interviewed Perle when he was advising Reagan, and when he spoke about ‘total war,’ I mistakenly dismissed him as mad,” Pilger wrote. “He recently used the term again in describing America’s ‘war on terror.’ ‘No stages,’ he said. ‘This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq . . . this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war . . . our children will sing great songs about us years from now.’ ” -

“This is a blueprint for U.S. world domination—a new world order of their making,” Tam Dalyell, British parliamentarian and critic of the war policy from the Labor Party said. “These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world.

Did Early Humans Mate With The Locals? Human Genome Data Cast Doubt On "Replacement Theory" Of Human Evolution - A new analysis of human genetic history deals a blow to the theory that early people moved out of Africa and completely replaced local populations elsewhere in the world. The findings suggest there was at least limited interbreeding between our African ancestors and the residents of areas where they settled. - Earlier studies of genetic material known as mitochondrial DNA and microsatellites supported the notion that a small group of perhaps 5,000 to 20,000 primitive humans migrated from East Africa, spread around the world, a rapidly expanded in population as they replaced other human populations elsewhere in Africa 80,000 years ago, and in Asia 50,000 years ago and Europe about 35,000 years ago. The new study, however, analyzed mutations called SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in DNA from the nucleus of human cells studied for the Human Genome Project, the effort to map the entire human genetic blueprint. The analysis indicates there was a bottleneck in the human population - what looks like a sharp reduction in the number of people - when ancestors of modern humans colonized Europe roughly 40,000 years ago. Researchers are not sure what this means because it conflicts with studies of other kinds of human genetic information, which support the idea that a rapidly expanding African population spread globally and replaced local populations elsewhere.

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