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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

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." - Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural


It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. --Voltaire--

Faith of consciousness is freedom
Faith of feeling is weakness
Faith of body is stupidity.
Love of consciousness evokes the same in response
Love of feeling evokes the opposite
Love of the body depends only on type and polarity.
Hope of consciousness is strength
Hope of feeling is slavery
Hope of body is disease. [Gurdjieff]

Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the worlds will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the "past." People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the "Future." [Cassiopaea, 09-28-02]


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IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH! - Articles of Impeachment and the FAX number of your representative. Download, print and FAX.

Signs of the Times

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February 4, 2003

France is no longer an ally of the United States and the NATO alliance "must develop a strategy to contain our erstwhile ally or we will not be talking about a NATO alliance" the head of the Pentagon's top advisory board said in Washington Tuesday. Richard Perle, a former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and now chairman of the Pentagon's Policy Advisory Board, condemned French and German policy on Iraq in the strongest terms at a public seminar organized by Iraqi exiles and American Middle East and security officials. But while dismissing Germany's refusal to support military action against Iraq as an aberration by "a discredited chancellor," Perle warned that France's attitude was both more dangerous and more serious.

"France is no longer the ally it once was," Perle said. And he went on to accuse French President Jacques Chirac of believing "deep in his soul that Saddam Hussein is preferable to any likely successor." French leaders have insisted the country will oppose any military action against Iraq without a second resolution by the United Nations Security Council, where it holds one of five crucial veto powers. Last November France did vote for Resolution 1441, which promised "serious consequences" if Iraq did not cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors verifying that Iraq has indeed dismantled its programs for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

"I have long thought that there were forces in France intent on reducing the American role in the world. That is more troubling than the stance of a German chancellor, who has been largely rejected by his own people," Perle said, referring to the sharp electoral defeat suffered by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's party in state elections Sunday.

Although he is not an official of the Bush administration, Perle's position as the Pentagon's senior civilian adviser gives his harsh remarks a quasi-official character and reflects the growing frustration in the White House and Pentagon with the French and German reluctance to support their U.S. and British allies. "Very considerable damage has already been done to the Atlantic community, including NATO, by Germany and France," Perle said. "But in the German case, the behavior of the Chancellor is idiosyncratic. He tried again to incite pacifism, and this time failed in Sunday's elections in Hesse and Lower Saxony. His capacity to do damage is now constrained. Chancellor Schroeder is now in a box, and the Germans will recover their equilibrium."

Perle went on to question whether the United States should ever again seek the endorsement of the U.N. Security Council on a major issue of policy, stressing that "Iraq is going to be liberated, by the United States and whoever wants to join us, whether we get the approbation of the U.N. or any other institution."

"It is now reasonable to ask whether the United States should now or on any other occasion subordinate vital national interests to a show of hands by nations who do not share our interests," he added.

Comment: In other words, the U.S. is generating a World War.

Cassiopaean's commentary on the Shuttle "Event"

Cracks Are Creases In Insulation On Shuttle Rear Payload Bay Bulkhead - Not Wing - This photo does not show Columbia's wing. What it does show is the aft bulkhead of the payload bay. The angles are a little different, but this is essentially the same part of the Shuttle in both pictures. The black object is part of the equipment...and the "crack" is merely a crease in the insulation blanket. I, too, was shocked by the first viewing of the photograph from Israel, but now it is just a nice picture from space. [Challender is a world renowned researcher of NASA shuttle flight anomalies.]

Proof that life exists outside the boundaries of Earth continues to elude scientists, but President Bush's budget suggests that "space aliens" may be out there somewhere. And it could just be a matter of time before they are discovered. - In a brief passage titled "Where Are the Real Space Aliens?" Mr. Bush's budget document says that several important scientific discoveries in the past decade indicate that "habitable worlds" in outer space may be much more prevalent than once thought. - "Perhaps the notion that 'there's something out there' is closer to reality than we have imagined," the passage concludes. The budget justifies the funding for one space project by mentioning the chance that life exists beyond this plant. The president calls for $279 million next year and $3 billion over five years for Project Prometheus, which includes building the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter. "This mission will conduct extensive, in-depth studies of the moons of Jupiter that may harbor subsurface oceans and thus have important implications in the search for life beyond Earth," the budget reads. Mr. Bush is not the first president to show an interest in the possibility of extraterrestrial life. - The budget is the second time in recent months that the Bush administration has addressed questions about life in space. On Dec. 24, the White House issued a September determination by Mr. Bush in which he followed his predecessors' lead by issuing a determination exempting the Air Force facility near Groom Lake, Nevada, from environmental laws allowing the release of classified information about the area. Groom Lake is the place that UFO buffs call Area 51.

In ancient days, people looked to the skies and saw signs and portents in comets, meteor showers, solar eclipses. Today, people are no longer as superstitious about natural phenomena, but man-made phenomena — including tragic accidents, such as the loss of the space shuttle Columbia Saturday — still set minds in motion. Rumor-mongering and conspiracy-theorizing might be inevitable, but such discussions will likely detract from the ultimate purpose of the space program, which is to carry human reason and rationality to higher levels of discovery and understanding. First, as a nation, we will have to get past the strangeness of Saturday’s sadness. Columbia broke up when it was flying over central Texas, where President George W. Bush’s ranch is located. The shuttle, symbol of American technological supremacy, failed on the eve of America’s likely war with Iraq, about which the world has been assured that American military precision will minimize loss of life on both sides. Warning: Debunkery in action....

An Israeli professor and military historian hinted that Israel could avenge the holocaust by annihilating millions of Germans and other Europeans. Speaking during an interview which was published in Jerusalem Friday, Professor Martin Van Crevel said Israel had the capability of hitting most European capitals with nuclear weapons.

“We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets of our air force.”

Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, pointed out that “collective deportation” was Israel’s only meaningful strategy towards the Palestinian people. “The Palestinians should all be deported. The people who strive for this (the Israeli government) are waiting only for the right man and the right time. Two years ago, only 7 or 8 per cent of Israelis were of the opinion that this would be the best solution, two months ago it was 33 per cent, and now, according to a Gallup poll, the figure is 44 percent.”

Creveld said he was sure that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to deport the Palestinians. “I think it’s quite possible that he wants to do that. He wants to escalate the conflict. He knows that nothing else we do will succeed.” Asked if he was worried about Israel becoming a rogue state if it carried out a genocidal deportation against Palestinians, Creveld quoted former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan who said “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.” Creveld argued that Israel wouldn’t care much about becoming a rogue state. “Our armed forces are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that this will happen before Israel goes under.”

I write this article for the same reason I wrote my book: to tell the American people, and especially American Jews, that Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate willingly to Israel; that, to force them to leave, Jews killed Jews; and that, to buy time to confiscate ever more Arab lands, Jews on numerous occasions rejected genuine peace initiatives from their Arab neighbors. I write about what the first prime minister of Israel called “cruel Zionism.” I write about it because I was part of it. [...]

I was disillusioned at what I found in the Promised Land, disillusioned personally, disillusioned at the institutionalized racism, disillusioned at what I was beginning to learn about Zionism’s cruelties. The principal interest Israel had in Jews from Islamic countries was as a supply of cheap labor, especially for the farm work that was beneath the urbanized Eastern European Jews. Ben Gurion needed the “Oriental” Jews to farm the thousands of acres of land left by Palestinians who were driven out by Israeli forces in 1948. And I began to find out about the barbaric methods used to rid the fledgling state of as many Palestinians as possible.

The world recoils today at the thought of bacteriological warfare, but Israel was probably the first to actually use it in the Middle East. In the 1948 war, Jewish forces would empty Arab villages of their populations, often by threats, sometimes by just gunning down a half-dozen unarmed Arabs as examples to the rest. To make sure the Arabs couldn’t return to make a fresh life for themselves in these villages, the Israelis put typhus and dysentery bacteria into the water wells. [...]

I have several boxes of valuable documents that back up what I have written and books I hope to write. These documents, including some that I illegally copied from the archives at Yad Vashem, confirm what I saw myself, what I was told by other witnesses, and what reputable historians and others have written concerning the Zionist bombings in Iraq, Arab peace overtures that were rebuffed, and incidents of violence and death inflicted by Jews on Jews in the cause of creating Israel. [...]

Zionist propagandists still maintain that the bombs in Iraq were set off by anti-Jewish Iraqis who wanted Jews out of their country. The terrible truth is that the grenades that killed and maimed Iraqi Jews and damaged their property were thrown by Zionist Jews. [...]

This, too, was the conclusion of Wilbur Crane Eveland, a former senior officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), whom I had the opportunity to meet in New York in 1988. In his book, Ropes of Sand, whose publication the CIA opposed, Eveland writes: In attempts to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to terrorize the Jews, the Zionists planted bombs in the U.S. Information Service library and in synagogues. Soon leaflets began to appear urging Jews to flee to Israel. . . . Although the Iraqi police later provided our embassy with evidence to show that the synagogue and library bombings, as well as the anti-Jewish and anti-American leaflet campaigns, had been the work of an underground Zionist organization, most of the world believed reports that Arab terrorism had motivated the flight of the Iraqi Jews whom the Zionists had “rescued” really just in order to increase Israel’s Jewish population.” [...]

Ben Gurion told the world that Israel accepted the partition and the Arabs rejected it. Then Israel took half of the land that was promised to the Arab state. And still he was saying it was not enough. Israel needed more land. How can a country make peace with its neighbors if it wants to take their land? How can a country demand to be secure if it won’t say what borders it will be satisfied with? For such a country, peace would be an inconvenience. I know now that from the beginning many Arab leaders wanted to make peace with Israel, but Israel always refused. Ben Gurion covered this up with propaganda. He said that the Arabs wanted to drive Israel into the sea and he called Gamal Abdel Nasser the Hitler of the Middle East whose foremost intent was to destroy Israel. He wanted America and Great Britain to treat Nasser like a pariah. [...]

With the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the Israeli-condoned Sabra and Shatilla massacres, I had had enough of Israel. I became a United States citizen and made certain to revoke my Israeli citizenship. I could never have written and published my book in Israel, not with the censorship they would impose. Even in America, I had great difficulty finding a publisher because many are subject to pressures of one kind or another from Israel and its friends. I ended up paying $60,000 from my own pocket to publish Ben Gurion’s Scandals: How the Haganah & the Mossad Eliminated Jews, virtually the entire proceeds from having sold my house in Israel. [...]

Alexis de Tocqueville once observed that it is easier for the world to accept a simple lie than a complex truth. Certainly it has been easier for the world to accept the Zionist lie that Jews were evicted from Muslim lands because of anti-Semitism, and that Israelis, never the Arabs, were the pursuers of peace. The truth is far more discerning: bigger players on the world stage were pulling the strings. These players, I believe, should be held accountable for their crimes, particularly when they willfully terrorized, dispossessed and killed innocent people on the altar of some ideological imperative.

All material that refers to a "war" between the U.S. and Iraq is putting a spin on what Bush is proposing. What is really being proposed is a massacre...a massacre of Iraqi men, women and and children fom a distance. The massacre will not only kill many now but, because of depleted uranium, destruction of water and sanitation systems and stealing of Iraqi oil, will kill many not yet born. Perpetrating this will be an international crime against humanity. Soldiers who participate in this will be guilty of murder of innocent women and children. They should if they retain a shred of morality refuse to rain death and destruction of the Iraqi. Otherwiase they will never have a clear concience. Iraq's best defense will be world opinion. If Iraqi ceases all defense activity other than against ground invasion then the nature of the intended massacre of Iraqi by Americans will be clear.

Israeli and U.S. soldiers fired Patriot missiles in a joint exercise Tuesday as the Jewish state stepped up preparations for possible Scud missile strikes if the United States launches an attack on Iraq. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told reporters that Israeli preparations for a war in Iraq were on schedule. "I am convinced the Americans are determined to implement their attack plans and I can cautiously say this attack is inevitable," Mofaz said during a tour of a military base. The comments came a day ahead of Secretary of State Colin Powell's address to the U.N. Security Council in which Powell has said he would provide "compelling proof" Iraq is hiding forbidden weapons. The United States and Britain, its closest ally on the Iraq crisis, have indicated they are running out of patience with Baghdad.

A Rabid Flock Of Lying Killers - How American Christians And Jews Justify The Mass Murder Of Innocents In The Name Of "The Lord" - Imagine - not a single member of Congress who will stand up for the most important teaching of Jesus, for the idea that killing large numbers of innocent people for some nebulous and unprovable political assertion is wrong - not only wrong but evil and contemptible. Not only nebulous and unprovable, but deliberately deceitful, because it is not Iraq that has weapons of mass destruction, but Israel - and Americans have no objection to that, even though Israel has unjustly murdered a thousandfold more innocent victims than Iraq has over the past decade. We don't want freedom for the Iraqis; we just want their oil, and the whole world knows this.

I will risk my political future over Iraq PM admits he has failed to convince Britons of need for military action - Tony Blair admitted yesterday that he could be risking his political survival by taking a firm stance on Iraq. He appealed to the United States and France to back a fresh United Nations resolution authorising war. [...] The Prime Minister admitted the British public was not yet convinced of the need for military action, but he told MPs: "When people say to me why are you risking everything in a sense, politically, on this issue I say to them in all honesty I do not want to be the Prime Minister when people point the finger back at history and say you knew perfectly well those two threats [weapons of mass destruction and terrorism] were there and you did nothing about it." [...] The Prime Minister faced hostile questions from Labour MPs. Gordon Prentice, MP for Pendle, said: "There are many people who feel, like me, that we are being led by the nose into war." Derek Foster, MP for Bishop Auckland and a former chief whip, said: "There will be profound implications for the long-term security of the world if the United States was to take international law into its own hands." The former Labour MP Tony Benn, back in Britain after meeting President Saddam Hussein on Sunday, said Mr Blair held "an effective veto" on war. "If he says to Bush, 'I'm sorry, I can't go along with you', Bush would find it very difficult to go," he said.

Chirac to Blair: France will not change its position on Iraq - Washington's closest ally Britain failed to coax France into backing early military action against Iraq Tuesday. Secretary of State Colin Powell has promised to unveil "compelling proof" Wednesday that Baghdad is hiding banned weapons from U.N. inspectors, but French President Jacques Chirac said more could be done to disarm Iraq peacefully. "We will only adopt a position when we believe that nothing further can be achieved there," he told a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair after a summit in the French seaside town of Le Touquet.

Amid this fresh evidence of divisions, the European Union considered calling an emergency summit after Powell's address. The EU was also discussing whether to join a possible last-ditch Arab peace mission to Iraq, where several thousand volunteers paraded in the northern town of Mosul chanting, "No Peace, No Surrender" in the latest show of defiance.

Israel stepped up preparations for possible Scud missile strikes from Iraq and Israeli and U.S. soldiers fired Patriot missiles in a joint exercise.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who held talks with President Bush last week, said he thought a decision on taking military action against Iraq was less than a month away. "I don't think more than four weeks will be needed to make the case for military action," Berlusconi told reporters when asked whether military action over Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction might begin in weeks or months.

Britain said it would begin loading tanks from Germany onto 20 to 30 ships this week, indicating a possible mid-March start date for a ground war against Iraq. Blair, trying to straddle the yawning gap between the United States and key members of the EU over a war, won tentative support from Bush last week to agree to seek new authorization from the United Nations for any attack. But France, along with neighbor and fellow Security Council member Germany, insists everything must be done to disarm Baghdad without war. France has not ruled out vetoing in the Security Council any action it deems unjustified.

Both Blair and Chirac said after their meeting that differences remained over Iraq but they had agreed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had to be disarmed through the U.N. Security Council.

Bush also wants to rally as many countries as possible behind a war to disarm and depose Saddam but insists time is running out and has warned that any new U.N. resolution should not be used as a delaying tactic.

U.S. officials said Powell would use satellite photos and intercepted conversations among Iraqi officials to make his case that Iraq was pursuing banned weapons.

FINANCIAL MARKETS BRACE FOR SPEECH - Financial markets reeled in anticipation of the speech, due to start shortly after 1530 GMT Wednesday, with gold, the traditional safe haven in times of turmoil, hitting a 6-1/4 year high, bond prices rising and stocks battered again.

EU president Greece was sounding out other members on convening a possible summit following Powell's address as long as there was a clear understanding of what it could achieve, a spokesman for the European Commission said Tuesday.

Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who has been rallying Arab states to press Saddam to avert war by complying with U.N. disarmament resolutions, said in Beirut an Arab peace mission to Iraq was a "real possibility" and the EU might join. Arab officials said worried leaders in the region were also exploring 11th hour solutions to get assurances the Iraqi army would be kept intact to prevent a post-Saddam Iraq disintegrating into rival Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish enclaves.

OPPOSITION WARNING - Iraq radiated defiance again Tuesday, insisting the U.S. had no true evidence to present to the U.N. Security Council and asserting that it would provide the council with "lies." "I do not think that the United States has anything frightening," Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan told reporters in Damascus, where he met top officials.

Powell wrote in the Wall Street Journal Monday that although there was still no "smoking gun," the world must recognize Iraq had defied the world body. The Kremlin said Bush telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday to discuss the latest developments, adding that Putin had stressed U.N. arms inspectors had a key role to play "in defining further steps over Iraq."

Moscow hardened its stance toward Baghdad on January 28 and many analysts say it will not use its veto on the U.N. Security Council to block U.S. military action formulated in any new Council resolution or even abstain.

Noam Chomsky - There's never been a time that I can think of when there's been such massive opposition to a war before it was even started. And the closer you get to the region, the higher the opposition appears to be. In Turkey polls indicated close to 90% opposition, in Europe it's quite substantial. In the United States the figures you see in polls, however, are quite misleading because since September there's been a drumbeat of propaganda trying to bludgeon people into the belief that not only is Saddam a terrible person but in fact he's going to come after us tomorrow unless we stop him today. And that reaches people. They have to terrify the population to feel there's some enormous threat to their existence and carry out a miraculous, decisive and rapid victory over this enormous foe and march on to the next one. [...]

I don't want to suggest that they have no reasons for wanting to take over Iraq. Of course they do. Controlling Iraq will put the US in a very powerful position to extend its domination of the major energy resources of the world. That's not a small point. North Korea is a different case. What they are demonstrating to the world with great clarity is that if you want to deter US aggression you better have weapons of mass destruction, or else a credible threat of terror. That's a terrible lesson to teach, but it's exactly what's being taught.

It won't be an easy choice for Russia's Vladimir Putin and it won't be free of political risk. But, in the end, he seems likely to throw Moscow's weight behind a U.S. decision to go to war with Iraq rather than damage his crucial partnership with President Bush, diplomats and analysts say. Fresh clues to Putin's thinking on Iraq are likely to emerge after Secretary of State Colin Powell Wednesday presents alleged evidence to the U.N. Security Council that Iraq has banned weapons. Until a week ago, Russia, despite its strategic partnership with the United States, had criticized Washington's line on Iraq, warning it against hasty military action and emphasizing diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis. Its stance was close to that of France, another of the U.N. 'Big Five' and which made the running in getting Washington to back a pivotal Security Council resolution in November allowing U.N. arms inspectors to return to Iraq. But, sharply changing tone on January 28, he pointedly told Iraq's Saddam Hussein that if Baghdad hindered arms inspectors in their weapons searches Russia would take tougher steps. Putin added Monday that a second Council resolution might be needed if the inspectors were obstructed. Use of force was "a last resort," he said after talks with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Analysts now doubt Russia will use its veto of a permanent Council member to block U.S. military action should this be formulated in a second resolution. Nor is it likely to abstain.

All our travels outside the country are recorded, tracked and analyzed. A Big Brother dossier of information is kept on every person and made available to every federal department and agency. Police and security agencies are able to access any e-mail we send, any cellphone call we make, and any Web site we visit. We all carry compulsory national ID cards that contain our fingerprints and retina scans, and police use video surveillance cameras to track our every move through the streets. Oceania in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four ? No, Canada in the 21st century.

Interview with Saddam Hussein set to air tonight - Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has denied any link with the militant al Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden and says the United States and Britain are intent on war, a British television station said Tuesday. Britain's Channel Four television said it would air an interview with the Iraqi leader by left-wing British politician Tony Benn later Tuesday, in which Saddam declared: "We have no relationship with al Qaeda." "If we had a relationship with al Qaeda and we believed in that relationship, we wouldn't be ashamed to admit it," the station quoted Saddam as saying during the interview with Benn at one of his palaces in Baghdad. Channel Four said the Iraqi leader also denied that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction, and insisted that that the United States and Britain were bent on a conflict to control oil in the Middle East. The full interview is to be broadcast during Channel Four's 7 p.m. news program.

Senior British Army officers have been told to prepare for an occupation of Iraq lasting up to three years in the event of war, BBC News has learned. Ministry of Defence sources also said that many UK troops being sent to Kuwait would probably be used for peacekeeping and "rearguard" duties, rather than in frontline fighting.

The Pentagon has launched an investigation into allegations of possible misconduct by the man who would lead U.S. forces in the event of a military strike on Iraq, CNN has learned. [...] Sources said that there were several allegations -- the most serious may be that Franks allowed his wife, Cathy, to be present during discussions of highly classified material. These sources said there are also questions about whether Franks properly repaid the government for his wife's travel on military aircraft. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- who would decide what, if any, disciplinary action Franks would face if any wrongdoing is found -- took the unusual step of expressing his support for the general before the investigation was completed.

What Bush Really Said In State Of The Union Speech - We also have a moral right to invade Iraq because Saddam might use biological and chemical weapons and nuclear weapons against the United States at some time in the future. After all, he's an evil man. And the fact that he has the weapons means that he might use them against us, especially since he might be angry that our blockade has contributed to the deaths of so many Iraqi children over the past 10 years. Don't let the fact that Saddam hasn't used those weapons against us for more than 10 years influence you. All that means is that he's been lulling us into a false sense of security. Don't forget: he is an evil and cunning man. And we know that Saddam is lying when he denies having those biological and chemical weapons because when my father was serving as our vice president his regime gave them to him. No, my father is not evil for delivering biological and chemical weapons to an evil man. My father is good. It was Saddam and his evil and seductive ways that induced my father to deliver those evil weapons to him. That's also why my father's regime knowingly and intentionally helped Saddam to use the biological and chemical weapons we gave him against the Iranian people. My father and his regime were duped by that evil man.

There is a myth in the west, mainly promulgated by the US, that Iraqi oil production would increase dramatically if there were a regime change. In fact, it's going to take years of major investment to get it back to the levels that existed before the first Gulf war. And because oil is the lifeblood of Iraq, this means it will take years for stability to return to the country, no matter what government replaces Saddam. The only source of revenue for a new administration is oil, but Iraq's oil industry is in no shape to finance the major reconstruction the country needs. So there's no real prospect for a quick turnaround in Iraq's economic situation.

Kuwait's Defense Ministry declared Tuesday northern areas bordering Iraq a military zone closed to unauthorized personnel starting Feb. 15, the state-run Kuwait news agency said. "No one will be allowed to enter these regions after this date without official permission from the army," the news agency quoted a Defense Ministry statement as saying. It gave no reason for the closure but the statement follows several weeks of stepped-up U.S. military exercises in northern Kuwait amid preparations for a possible U.S.-led attack on Iraq. Kuwait is expected to be the launch pad for any U.S.-led assault on Iraq if Washington decides to use force to dismantle alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Iraq denies it has such weapons. Thousands of U.S. troops are amassing in Kuwait and tensions are mounting within the country as the possibility of war looms. Two Kuwait schools used by Western expatriates announced on Monday they would close for six weeks as a security precaution in the Gulf Arab state. A spate of attacks on Westerners by suspected Islamists extremists in Kuwait in recent weeks has raised security concerns among the 8,000 U.S. civilians and the similar number of European expatriates living there.

Britain's most high-profile radical Muslim cleric, who applauded the Sept. 11 attacks and last week's space shuttle crash, has been removed as head of the mosque where he preached. The UK Charity Commission said Tuesday Abu Hamza al-Masri "had used his position within the charity to make inappropriate political statements." His north London mosque was raided by police last month in a probe into the discovery of ricin poison. Egyptian-born Masri, whose missing eye and hook in the place of his right hand have helped make him a hate figure in British tabloids, said he would ignore the ruling. "The reason for banning me is for making political comments against America and Israel," he told Reuters. Masri was already at the center of a row this week after tabloids reported he had "gloated" over Saturday's crash of the space shuttle Columbia and the death of its crew. "It was a trinity of evil against Muslims, because it (the shuttle) contained Americans, an Israeli and a Hindu," he was widely reported as saying.

Some U.S. bombers, fighter jets and warships have been alerted for possible deployment to the western Pacific to deter any aggression by North Korea in case of a war in Iraq, U.S. defense officials said on Monday. The officials told Reuters that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had not issued any final orders to move B-52 bombers, F-16 fighter jets or naval units closer to the tense Korean peninsula, now gripped in a nuclear crisis. The additional forces were requested by Adm. Thomas Fargo, who directs U.S. forces in the Pacific and Asia from Hawaii. "If such forces are moved, it would be done as a precautionary deterrent presence against any North Korean aggression in the event of a war in Iraq," said one of the defense officials, who asked not to be identified. Washington has said it intends to settle differences with Pyongyang peacefully and officials stressed the possible deployment did not include any ground forces to join the 37,000 U.S. troops now stationed in South Korea. The goal is to maintain the status quo of the region's military balance, they said. The Pentagon refused to confirm any alert of forces.

Russia said Tuesday it opposed any U.S. military build up for the Korean peninsula, a day after reports the Pentagon was considering such a move to deter any North Korean aggression if there is war in Iraq. Any expansion of U.S. forces in the Korea region would play a "negative role because it won't bring a desirable solution of the problem by talks but ... may provoke a response," a Russian foreign ministry statement said. U.S. defense officials said Monday U.S. bombers, fighter jets and warships had been alerted for possible deployment to the western Pacific to deter any aggression by North Korea in case of a war in Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had not issued any final orders to move B-52 bombers, F-16 fighter jets or naval units closer to the Korean peninsula, gripped in a nuclear crisis, they told Reuters. The Pentagon refused to confirm any alert of forces. Russia, which has friendly relations with both Koreas, sent an envoy to Pyongyang last month in an attempt to calm mounting tension over the reclusive communist state's nuclear programs. North Korea has said its troops were ready for an attack, which, it said, the United States was plotting. Washington has lumped North Korea into what it calls an "axis of evil" along with Iraq and Iran. In public, Washington has repeatedly said it wants to settle its row with Pyongyang peacefully and has no intention of sending in its troops -- some 37,000 of which are based across the border in South Korea. "There is, and can be, no alternative to a peaceful negotiated solution to the crisis," the Russian statement said. It repeated Moscow's call for Washington and Pyongyang to sort out the problem directly between themselves. "The internationalization of the issue right now would be counterproductive."

North Korea said Tuesday the U.S. approach to Korea was a "policy of evil against the Korean nation, its reunification and peace" that aimed to dominate the peninsula. "The U.S. policy toward the DPRK (North Korea) is a policy of aggression and a policy of war to stifle the DPRK and its basic goal is to strangle the DPRK by force," said a commentary in the North's ruling party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun. The excerpt from the commentary carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency made no mention of the nuclear crisis unfolding on the peninsula or of President Bush's famous speech last year bracketing North Korea, Iran and Iraq in an "axis of evil." The United States "aimed to swallow up the DPRK and put the whole of Korea under its domination," it said.

Magical mystery tour, age of Aquarius, good vibrations, mind expansion. No, not a flashback to the 1960s but part of a Vatican document in which the Roman Catholic Church seeks to face threats from "New Age" religions. In a 100-page document issued Monday, the Vatican said the Catholic Church had to take the appeal of the New Age spiritual phenomenon seriously because it addresses a spiritual hunger which Christian Churches sometimes fail to feed. "The success of New Age offers the Church a challenge. People feel the Christian religion no longer offers them -- or perhaps never gave them -- something they really need," the document said. New Age, which is spread across cultures, includes spiritual elements of various religions. Adherents believe that dawn of the astrological age of Aquarius early in the current millennium will mark the phasing out of Christianity. New Age includes a loose mix of cosmic religiosity, rituals and beliefs, therapies and practices, some pre-dating Christianity. The document was -- almost literally -- a magical mystery tour of New Age and the movement's history and practices. In fact, sections trying to explain what New Age is and its perceived dangers had headings such as "Wholeness: Magical Mystery Tour" -- a play on The Beatles song -- and "Harmony and Understanding: Good Vibrations," a play on the Beach Boys song. It includes a glossary of references to yoga, zen, transcendental meditation, rebirthing, karma, and Feng-shui, an ancient Chinese method of deciphering the hidden presence of positive and negative currents in buildings and places. Comment: Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

The number of cyber attacks on corporate networks rose 20 percent in the second half of 2002, Web security provider Symantec Corp. said in a report published this week, as the number of reported vulnerabilities nearly doubled from a year earlier. The report came days after the debilitating attack of the "SQL Slammer" worm that suddenly slowed Internet traffic worldwide, nearly shut down Web access in South Korea and brought many U.S. automatic teller machines to a standstill. Average attacks per company, according to research conducted by Symantec, rose 20 percent in the last six months of 2002 compared to the same period a year earlier, Symantec said.

How Asteroids Trigger Volcanos - Large asteroid impacts have nasty side effects, as any dinosaur could have told you were she not obliterated by one of these calamity combos 65 million years ago. The ground shakes. Fire arcs across the sky and beyond the horizon. Clouds of debris race around the planet and blot the Sun out for months. At least that's what theory tells us. Since the scenario has never played out in modern times, scientists don't really know exactly what will happen when the next space rock slams into Earth. One long-supposed incendiary side-effect is enhanced volcanic activity, which can make life pretty miserable for survivors who find themselves on or near the flanks of a newborn plume of molten rock. Some scientists suspect the Hawaiian Islands were born of an asteroid impact. [...]

Dallas Abbott of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute and Ann Isley from the State University of New York at Oswego examined existing impact data going back 4 billion years. They found 10 major peaks in activity -- stretches of time when asteroids and comets hit the planet in relative flurries. During nine of the 10 peaks, volcanic activity also peaked, as measured by evidence of magma from deep inside Earth, in the mantle, flowing to the surface. Further, two prominent lulls in impact activity also matched up with periods of decreased volcanism. The volcanic activity is most likely a tertiary effect, Abbott and Isley figure, resulting from the massive earthquakes triggered by the impact. Other studies have shown that the shaking would reverberate through the planet and even cause serious surface earthquakes on the other side of the globe, at a point called the antipode. "Large impacts generate large earthquakes," Abbott explains. "These earthquakes can trigger volcanic eruptions. If the earthquake is large enough it could do more, it could make the eruption more intense by allowing more magma to escape."

THE discovery of an unidentified animal skeleton in the Erongo mountains near Usakos is causing excitement at the coast. Some people are even speculating that it could be a dinosaur. - The 25 cm long skeleton, still mostly intact with skin in places, has very long hind legs and short front legs. A geologist who saw it said it was definitely not older than 10 000 years, especially as the skin was still intact. He ruled out the possibility that it could be a dinosaur. Nobody has so far been able to identify the animal.

A tropical cyclone is headed for sugar plantations and tourist resorts in eastern Australia, but was not expected to cause significant damage. Cyclone Beni -- which lashed the Solomon Islands, then slid between Vanuatu and the French territory of New Caledonia before curling back and crossing the Coral Sea -- had now weakened to a minimum category one storm with 100 kph gusts (62 mph).

A low-pressure area and a pair of weather fronts were dragging rainy and snowy weather across the eastern third of the nation early Tuesday, while relatively tranquil conditions were expected in most of the rest of the country. Messy weather was forecast for much of the Northeast, with freezing rain likely to change over to snow by the afternoon. Up to 2 inches of snow was expected, and the possibility of ice under the snow threatened to create hazardous travel conditions. Much of the South was forecast to be wet, with up to half an inch of rain likely in many locations. Strong thunderstorms were possible, carrying the threat of 50 mph winds and occasional lightning.

Death in Texas comes for a lot of men and some woman in the form of an injection needle while they are strapped on a gurney in the death house in Huntsville Texas in the United States. This month the state of Texas expects to dispose itself of its 300th murderer after the reintroduction of the death penalty in 1976. [...] You can only wonder how such an occasion is celebrated in Texas. Will governor Rick Perry personally travel down to Huntsville to push the button which will cause the death of Johnson? Or will it be George Bush, the American president, who oversaw the execution of the greater half, namely 152 of these executions, when he was governor of the state of Texas? Probably not. Both declined to witness executions. [...] The example set by Illinois where all death penalty’s where commuted because the governor of that state doubted the fairness of has only caused ripples on the surface in Texas. This year alone already six men have abandoned there lives on the ultimate altar of ‘tough on crime’ politicians and hardboiled crime fighters, pushing for more executions. As flawed as capital punishment was in Illinois, as flawed it is in Texas. International treaties are breached by the state executing foreign offenders, which were not given the assistance of the home country guaranteed under the Vienna convention. The execution of a Mexican last year caused a major diplomatic incident with the neighbors. President Fox of Mexico cancelled a visit to Texas as protest. Seven innocent people are already released after the spent together more than seventy years on death row, according to figures from Amnesty International. Some controversial executions have taken place, where opponents protest the guilt of the executed. The systems also allowed children and people with limited mental capacity to be executed, although steps are taken to mend that.

Russian Police investigates Activity of Satanist Sects The interior ministry has set up a special department to investigate the activity of Satanist sects, announced Alexander Grichanin, deputy head of the Chief Criminal Investigation Department of the Russian interior ministry. In his words, the interior ministry is seriously worried by the deeds of Satanists, whose ritual sacrifices often involve murder or serious disabling. The ministry says there are several thousand members of various Satanist sects in Russia, of which 500 are based in Moscow, 500 in St. Petersburg, and about 100 more in the country's large regional centers. Unfortunately, Grichanin said, members of Satanist sects are often teenagers aged between 13 and 17, who feel attracted to the rituals and ideas advocated by the Satanists.

Many Malawians, especially in the country's rural south, give credence to reports that teams of so-called "blood suckers" are murdering poor people on a nightly basis, draining their blood and selling it to international aid agencies in return for food. Vague in all but the nastiest details, the fantastical stories have become so widespread, and the fear so rampant, that the central-African Presbyterian church (CCAP) has called for an independent commission to investigate the allegations. "We would like to recommend the immediate creation of an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the allegations of blood sucking," the CCAP said in a statement. [...] "People in the south of Malawi, in the Blantyre region, are adamant that international organisations come and take the blood of poor villagers with government help every night," said one foreign resident in Malawi who did not wish to be identified. "They believe in spirits and witchcraft, which is still widely practised in Malawi. Many of the villagers are in such a state of distress that they will believe whatever rumour happens to be going around." Under Banda's 30-year reign, stories began to circulate that his omnipresent security police were selling the blood of murdered poor people to South Africa's apartheid regime. "The blood suckers story is not new," said one young Malawian who identified himself only as Jeremiah. "It already existed under Banda, as a way for people to explain the things they didn't understand -- poverty, droughts, floods." Comment: How about aliens????

The distinctive appearance of the Andaman Islanders has fascinated anthropologists since Victorian times. Hunter-gatherers living in the Bay of Bengal, the islanders are short, dark skinned and have tight curly hair - making them physically very different from other populations living in Asia. The same features are seen in several other isolated groups scattered across Southern Asia. This has led some to speculate that they may be closely related to African pygmies, or, more plausibly, that they are descendants of the first inhabitants of Asia. The Andamanese remained relatively isolated from the rest of the world until a British penal colony was established in the islands after the Indian mutiny of 1857. The islanders had earned a reputation for ferocity, mostly because of their violent resistance to foreign intrusions. Today just four tribes remain, with a combined population of 400 to 500 people. Some have kept their hunter-gatherer way of life; others have become settled. Oxford University researchers have now analysed mutations in mitochondrial DNA - the genetic component that is only passed on from mothers - from the islanders. Most people in Asia carry a type of mitochondrial DNA known as haplogroup M, which has several subgroups and can be traced back 60,000 years. The Andamanese were shown to belong to this M group - and more particularly, a subgroup called M2 which is about 53,000 years old. In a paper published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, the Oxford team shows that the Andamanese are no more related to Africans than any other Eurasian populations. - The islanders may be linked to surviving hunter-gatherer groups in mainland India. Many of these groups live in southern India, suggesting that Asia was originally settled by a coastal route within the past 100,000 years. This route is likely to have been along the coasts of what are now Pakistan and India.


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