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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.
It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. --Voltaire--
Faith of consciousness is freedom
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]
February 6, 2003
US gives Iraq one week to avoid war - THE US has given Iraq a week to disarm in compliance with UN Resolution 1441 or face war. Setting the stage for the most crucial week in the crisis, US Secretary of State Colin Powell laid before the UN Security Council in New York yesterday an array of "irrefutable and undeniable" evidence he said proved Saddam Hussein would never give up his terror weapons. General Powell unveiled phone intercepts and satellite photographs he said showed an Iraq strategy to deceive UN weapons inspectors and conceal illegal material, including nerve agents. He also claimed Iraq had allowed a nest of nearly two dozen al-Qaeda affiliates to operate with impunity in Baghdad for at least eight months, and said one operative had been directing terrorist plots in France, Spain, Russia, Britain, Italy and Germany. There was no "smoking gun", but the detail of the presentation and its delivery by the Bush administration's most trusted member is likely to push more Americans into supporting a war.
In the face of stiff opposition from allies, President Bush said Thursday that world leaders "must not back down" from Saddam Hussein and demanded quick action to disarm Iraq. "The game is over," he declared. "Saddam Hussein will be stopped." Bush said he would be open to a second U.N. resolution on Iraq, following up one approved last November, but only if it led to prompt disarmament. "The Security Council must not back down when those demands are defied and mocked by a dictator," Bush said. If the U.N. fails to act, "The United States, along with a growing coalition of nations, is resolved to take whatever action is necessary to defend ourselves and disarm the Iraqi regime," he said. Bush spoke after meeting with privately with Powell to discuss efforts to win U.N. approval of a resolution specifically authorizing use of force. Powell, who laid out the U.S. case to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, told lawmakers Thursday that the Iraqi situation would be brought to a conclusion "one way or another" in a matter of weeks. Sticking largely to the case outlined by Powell on Wednesday, Bush said there is no doubt Saddam is not complying. "Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons, the very weapons the dictator tells the world he does not have," Bush said. "Saddam Hussein has made Iraq into a prison, poison factory and a torture chamber for patriots and dissidents," Bush said. "Saddam Hussein has the motive and the means and the recklessness and the hatred to threaten the American people. Saddam Hussein has to be stopped."
Comment: Isn't it amazing how every time the Bush Junta is shown to be all wet, the harder Bush pushes and the more he "ups the ante" of ridiculous assertions and disinfo. He's gotta be the energizer bunny of lies and propaganda. Does he - or Blair for that matter - have any idea how absurd he looks? I don't think that anybody on the planet - except the half of the U.S. population that is asleep, and those foreign countries that want Bush dollars - even take the guy seriously anymore.
US fabricated evidence in Yugoslavia, says former official Any US evidence against Iraq should be viewed with skepticism - The US "fabricated evidence" against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic during clashes between Serbia and Bosnia in the mid-1990s, according to a prominent and experienced international peacekeeping official who served there. Retired Swedish Brigadier General Bo Pellnas, who was head of UN Military Observers (UNMOs) in Croatia, now says that the US should not be trusted. Pellnas says that he learned to distrust US-provided evidence during peacekeeping service in the former Yugoslavia. Pellnas's misgivings are described in an article from the Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet.
Is this war now unstoppable? 113,000 US troops now in Gulf; UK sends 127 aircraft; Blix calls for 'drastic change' from Iraq - Militarily and diplomatically, war on Iraq seems increasingly inevitable, perhaps within a month, barring the most unexpected events in Baghdad. In a host of developments yesterday, the Pentagon said 113,000 US troops were in the Gulf, on course for the target of 150,000 the accepted minimum for a war by 15 February. An important unit, the 20,000-strong 101st Airborne Division, was ordered to the Gulf. - The timetable is becoming clear. Despite assurances that US forces, with their air power and night-fighting capabilities, could wage war in any season, the Pentagon would vastly prefer to fight in the relative cool of late winter or early spring. And politically, a war cannot be delayed a year to early 2004. By then the presidential primaries will be in full swing. A war of self-defence is one thing. For George Bush to launch an unprovoked war months before he comes up for re-election is another. It is now or never.
'Madness of George Dubya' a UK hit - British theatre-goers are flocking to a new farce which mocks U.S. President George W. Bush as a pyjama-wearing buffoon cuddling a teddy-bear while his crazed military chiefs order nuclear strikes on Iraq. "The Madness of George Dubya" -- which mercilessly satirises British Prime Minister Tony Blair as well as Bush -- has proved such a success at a fringe theatre in London that it is moving to a larger venue next week for an extended run.
Downing St dossier plagiarised The government's carefully co-ordinated propaganda offensive took an embarrassing hit tonight after Downing Street was accused of plagiarism. Read samples of the accused plagiarised text
Britain's Iraq dossier was a cut-and-paste job - A dossier released by the British government purporting to show how Iraq is deceiving U.N. weapons inspectors was based on old information, including an article by an American university lecturer, a British news program said Thursday. Channel 4 News said the 19-page report — entitled "Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment Deception and Intimidation" and posted Monday on Prime Minister Tony Blair's Web site — contained large chunks lifted from other sources. Channel 4 said the "bulk" of the document was copied from three articles, including one in Jane's Intelligence Review and another by Ibrahim al-Marashi, a research associate at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, that appeared last September in the Middle East Review of International Affairs. In response to the Channel 4 report, Blair's 10 Downing St. office said the dossier had been "put together by a range of government officials." The office said, "We consider the text as published accurate."
US bombers on alert for Pyongyang conflict - The Pentagon has put 24 bombers on standby for deployment within range of North Korea. The aim is to warn Pyongyang against exploiting the US preoccupation with Iraq and to strengthen American forces in case George Bush decides on military action against the North. [...] The alert came four days after the US said that its spy satellites had detected trucks that could be moving spent fuel rods from the previously mothballed nuclear facility at Yongbyon. This has sharply raised fears that the North Koreans plan to extract plutonium from the rods to make several nuclear devices, possibly within the next few months.
US courts 'ignored evidence clearing executed Briton' - Lawyers and supporters of Jackie Elliott, the British-born man convicted of a murder in Texas 17 years ago, reacted furiously yesterday to his execution, saying the US legal system had refused even to look at compelling evidence pointing to his innocence or to allow more time for DNA testing. Elliott, who was 42, was put to death by lethal injection on Tuesday night after a flurry of last-minute petitions were turned down by the Texan and the federal courts. The state's reputation for cowboy justice – it has executed 296 people, more than any other state, since the death penalty was reinstated by the US Supreme Court in 1976 – was highlighted when the prosecution produced 51 pages of potentially exculpatory evidence hours before the execution but no judge thought the documents were worth examining before going ahead. The court also chose to disregard petitions from all 12 original trial jurors, who said they would not have opted for the death sentence had they seen all the evidence and that they favoured a commutation.
Meteor 'may have hit shuttle' Nasa says a small meteor or piece of man-made space junk may have struck the Columbia shuttle causing it to crash. Even a tiny scrap of debris grazing the shuttle could have damaged thermal tiles just enough to start a chain reaction. The comments by Milt Heflin, the space agency's flight director, cast doubt on the lead theory that a piece of foam insulation damaged the craft during blast off. "Did we take some hit? That's a possibility. Something was breached," he has told the Los Angeles Times. Comment: In other words, they have to do damage control regarding the film shot by the amateur astronomer. See also: Top investigators of the Columbia space shuttle disaster are analyzing and Cassiopaean's commentary on the Shuttle "Event"
NASA backed away Wednesday from the theory that a piece of foam that struck Columbia during liftoff was the root cause of the space shuttle's disintegration over Texas. Shuttle program manager Ron Dittemore said investigators now are focusing more closely on the desperate effort of Columbia's automatic control system to hold the speed of the spacecraft stable despite an increasing level of wind resistance, or drag, on the left wing. Dittemore said that after a careful study of the damage possible from the fall of a chunk of foam insulation that was believed to be 20 inches and 2 1/2 pounds, investigators are "looking somewhere else."
Iraq dismissed as lies and a "typical American show with special effects" a presentation Wednesday by Secretary of State Colin Powell to the U.N. Security Council on alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. After Powell's speech, Iraqi officials scrambled to refute what one said were "hollow allegations" designed to hamper U.N. weapons inspections and justify a U.S. military invasion. "This was a typical American show, complete with stunts and special effects. ... It is really below the level of a country leading the world now to come up with such allegations and ideas," Amir al-Saadi, President Saddam Hussein's top scientific adviser, told a news conference. "What we heard today was for the general public and mainly the uninformed in order to influence their opinion and to commit aggression on Iraq," Saadi said. Iraqi Information Minister Mohammad Saeed al-Sahaf told the official Iraqi News Agency: "We can confirm that these are hollow allegations that have nothing new to add to previous CIA reports." He described satellite pictures produced by Powell of suspicious activities outside weapons sites as "nothing different to cartoon films."
Flashback! - Selling A War - If you followed the first Gulf War you remember the infamous story of how Iraqi soldiers removed babies from incubators in Kuwait city; left them to die and shipped the incubators back to Iraq. This was front page news in every newspaper in the U.S. and the lead story on every major news station as the public was deciding whether to support going to war.
This story was repeated by President Bush senior in a number of speeches saying that such "ghastly atrocities," were like "Hitler revisited."
There is only one problem with this story. It never happened! It was a complete fabrication! Months after the war ended TV Guide reported in Feb., 1992 that both 20/20 and Sixty Minutes interviewed doctors in Kuwait and determined no such incident ever happened. Bush Senior LIED.
When the invasion of Kuwait took place in August, 1990 US public opinion was not predisposed to the government of Kuwait. Only a few weeks before Amnesty International accused the government of Kuwait of jailing dozens of dissidents and torturing them without trial. To help build support for the war "Citizens for a Free Kuwait," which was the Kuwait government in exile, hired the Washington based public relations of Hill and Knowlton for $10.7 million to devise a campaign to win support for the war.
The CEO of H & K at the time, Craig Fuller, had access to the power elite in Washington, as he had served as the President’s chief of staff when Bush was Vice President under President Reagan.
One aspect of their campaign was to coach a young woman Nayirah, who appeared Oct. 10, 1990 in front of a Congressional committee. She testified to the committee that she saw Iraqi soldiers come into a hospital, remove babies from incubators and leave them "on the cold floor to die."
It later came out long after the war was over that she was the daughter of Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States and hadn’t actually seen the incident she described taking place - an incident which was later proven to be a fabrication. Hill & Knowlton also coached a team of witnesses who appeared a few weeks later at the United Nations about atrocities in Iraq.
Another example from the first Gulf war, according to an article in the Christian Science Monitor was a report by Pentagon officials, citing top-secret satellite images. Pentagon officials estimated that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border of Saudi Arabia, threatening the major supplier of oil for the US.
The St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time which showed no Iraqi troops visible near the Saudi border - just empty desert.
Jean Heller, the Times Journalist who broke the story asked Secretary of Defense Cheney (now Vice President) for evidence refuting the Times photos, offering to hold the story if proven wrong. The official response: "Trust Us." To this day the photos cited by Pentagon officials remain classified.
In a September 7, 2002 news conference President Bush said that Iraq in 1998 was "six months away" from developing a nuclear weapon citing a report from The International Atomic Energy Agency.
On Friday, Sept. 27, in a news interview Mark Gwozdecky, the IAEA’s chief spokesman said, "There’s never been a report like that issued from this agency."
When questioned, the White House said the President was referring to a 1991 IAEA report.
Mr. Gwozdecky said no such report was ever issued by IAEA in 1991. "I don’t know where they have determined that Iraq has retained this much weaponization capability because when we left in December 1998 we had concluded that we had neutralized their nuclear-weapons program. We had confiscated their fissile material. We had destroyed all their key buildings and equipment," he said. Bush Junior LIED. [...]
citizens of the world’s most powerful country we have an
obligation to critically examine the position of our government
regarding the merits of going to war and each come to our own
conclusion. If we are to be true to those who die defending our
freedom this is our patriotic responsibility.
The Saddam Hussein Interview - "Most Iraqi officials have been in power for over 34 years and have experience of dealing with the outside world. Every fair-minded person knows that when Iraqi officials say something, they are trustworthy. A few minutes ago when you asked me if I wanted to look at the questions beforehand I told you I didn't feel the need so that we don't waste time, and I gave you the freedom to ask me any question directly so that my reply would be direct. This is an opportunity to reach the British people and the forces of peace in the world. There is only one truth and therefore I tell you as I have said on many occasions before that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever."
Powell's multi-media presentation was a rag-bag of old allegations, which the United States has been making for years, some of them based on information Iraq has itself provided to UN inspectors. Other claims were based on audio recordings and satellite images, and still more were based on unverifiable claims from unidentified human witnesses and "defectors." Powell all but admitted the weakness of his case by continually saying "these are facts, not assertions," at moments when he was providing the most sensational yet least supported claims. He also resorted to the comic book tactic of calling Saddam Hussein an "evil genius" for having succeeded in hiding what the US says is a vast arsenal, not only from UN inspectors, but from the world's only super power.
An Open Letter to the U.N. about Colin Powell - Secretary Powell is a brilliant man, but I ask that you leave open the question of trust and credibility. For starters, you might ask Hans Blix to expound on this portion of a recent New York Times article: “Mr. Blix took issue with what he said were Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's claims that the inspectors had found that Iraqi officials were hiding and moving illicit materials within and outside of Iraq to prevent their discovery. He said that the inspectors had reported no such incidents.” If Blix is correct, this suggests that Powell is willing to deceive on matters that are easily checked. What would such a man be capable of when presenting “evidence” that is not subject to verification?
Powell’s Fairy Tales: Puerile and Patronising - The “evidence” which was presented to the United Nations Security Council today by Colin Powell was a miscellany of obscure recordings which were misinterpreted by the US Secretary of State and risible satellite photographs which bore a strange resemblance to those which had been taken in Afghanistan two years before. Colin Powell described the snippets of conversation and cloudy satellite pictures as “solid evidence” that Iraq was in breach of UN SC Resolution 1441 and that this created the grounds for “serious consequences” to be applied.
He began by playing two recordings of conversations between Iraqi officials speaking about sites to be inspected by the UNMOVIC team. In one, the Iraqi claimed “We don’t have anything left”, interpreted by Colin Powell, to quote, “It was not around” when the inspectors came. There is a subtle and unsubstantiated insinuation in Powell’s remark, this being that the material had been removed. Or destroyed, in accordance with the provisions of the UN Resolution but this hypothesis was systematically ignored by the head of US diplomacy throughout his arrogant, forbearing and bullying intervention.
In the second recording, a Republican Guard received a message from an official which stated “There is a possibility that there is by chance forbidden ammo” in the compound. Colin Powell interpreted this as a message to “evacuate it” because there was a “presence of weapons of mass destruction”. Not so. The Iraqi message could have involved anything from out-of-date shells, and we do not know whether the subject of this conversation was the cache of obsolete arms that the inspectors found lying under three years of bird excrement, to banned components. It does not automatically mean that weapons of mass destruction are involved as Colin Powell so simplistically and childishly tried to state.
The fact that Colin Powell was trying so obviously to find links where there were none, does nothing to further the notion that the Bush administration believes in the UNO as a forum of debate. Instead, it lends weight to the belief that the United States of America prefers to ride roughshod over the rest of the international community, as has long been suspected.
The next piece of “solid intelligence” was a series of reports that weapons of mass destruction were being hidden in homes or moved around the countryside in cars, or in trucks under palm trees. It is patently evident that Colin Powell, or the speechwriter, does not understand the complicated, delicate systems which compose the high-tech weaponry of today. These are not shields and spears that can be slung into the back of a truck and carted off across the desert. Colin Powell did not back up this claim with any source of evidence and as such, it is no more than hearsay and gossip, making the US Secretary of State no more than a cheap guttersnipe.
“Solid Intelligence” was supposed to be corroborated by many sources, including intelligence agencies of other countries. Again, the sources were never mentioned. If these sources were the cream of world intelligence agencies which allowed the 11th September to happen on Colin Powell’s doorstep, perhaps it would have been more plausible to leave them out of what was supposed to be a serious report. Interspersed with interjections such as “Tell me! Answer me!” seeming as if he were addressing a convention of boy scouts, showing an utter disrespect for his colleagues on the UN Security Council, Powell went on to back up his evidence with puerile remarks such as “We know from evidence”, without ever substantiating what.
The greatest guffaw is the satellite pictures. True, Colin Powell had said before he introduced them, that they were very difficult to interpret and that experts had spent hours poring over them. In other words, in a sickeningly patronising tone, he was saying “These are so difficult to understand but I will tell you how to interpret them”, as if his misinterpretations of the recordings were a sound precedent. Evidently, if it took experts hours and hours to discern what they were looking at, the photographs serve as nothing regarding “solid evidence”, making the presentation of these images ludicrous. Obscure rectangular buildings were then shown, looking suspiciously like those taken over Afghanistan, which Colin Powell referred to as “one of the chemical bunkers” and then vehicles, “decontamination vehicles” or “vehicles to move missiles”. Previous claims that WMD was being produced at a similar-looking building, which was subsequently inspected, turned out to be wrong: the building was a production facility for powdered baby milk. [...]
This presentation of “hard evidence” is a tissue of lies, gossip, misinterpretation, cynical manoeuvring and possibly even misrepresentation, aimed at providing a case for a war against Iraq. The UN Security Council is not a kindergarten or a scout camp. The international community is not a class of primary school pupils to be lectured in this way by an incompetent teacher. Were this the case, Colin Powell would be the one to have a donkey’s tail pinned to his trousers when he turned around to illustrate his great case against Iraq. If people believe this report, they will believe that there are fairies at the end of the garden. Colin Powell has managed to allow himself and his image descend from a respected world-class diplomat to some sort of confused, rambling and unconvincing Peter Pan.
The suspected leader of the Iraqi Kurdish Islamic extremist group Ansar al-Islam rejected charges from US Secretary of State Colin Powell that the organisation offered shelter in Iraq to al-Qaeda members in 2000. "In 2000 an organisation did not even exist which bore the name Ansar al-Islam," Mullah Krekar told a news conference called after Powell made the accusations during his keenly awaited appearance before the UN Security Council Wednesday. "Ansar al-Islam was founded December 10, 2001," Krekar added.Powell alleged that the Iraqi regime had employed an agent from the Ansar al-Islam organisation, which controls an enclave in Iraqi Kurdistan, who then offered shelter to al-Qaeda in the region. But Krekar commented: "That is not true. Neither Powell or anyone else can prove it. The proof is that he (Powell) did not give the name (of the agent)."
Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it had made a proposal to the U.N. Security Council to solve the standoff with Iraq peacefully to avert bloodshed and prevent the disintegration of its neighbor. "We have presented a proposal to the Security Council on this issue," Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a news conference in Riyadh. He did not give details of the proposal at the conference but in an interview with this week's issue of Time magazine, he said the initiative would grant amnesty to a group of Saddam's generals to encourage them to topple him and avoid war. "Everybody agrees that a unilateral (U.S. military) action should be avoided and that the only way to get a unanimous position in the Security Council is by offering ideas that define a mechanism for military action," he said in Riyadh. "The goal of military action should not to punish or occupy Iraq. It should result in maintaining Iraq's unity, sovereignty and independence ... because if internal security is lost I don't think the United Nations, with all its forces, can regain it. There will be a collapse of the administration and that will result in grave consequences for the region."
France signaled on Thursday it would not easily be sold on war with Iraq, saying Washington had yet to prove to the United Nations that Iraq possessed banned weapons of mass destruction. France, one of three countries with the veto power to deny a U.S.-British alliance the support of the 15-member U.N. Security Council, said the time was not ripe to discuss a new U.N. resolution clearing the way for war. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented "suspicions, clues and witness reports...but no major surprises, no formal proofs," French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told Europe 1 radio, adding U.N. arms inspections must go on. After Powell's technical 80-minute U.N. address, nearly every Security Council member agreed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had fallen short of complying with U.N. resolutions -- but most still asked if this warranted going to war.
If the truth really is out there, the French are taking serious steps to find it - ON A cold Monday morning 22 years ago, Jean-Jacques Velasco was sitting in his office when a gendarme rang to tell him about a strange incident. Renato Nicolai, a retired technician, had been working in his garden in Trans-en-Provence, near Nice, when he saw a dark, round object come down from the sky, settle on the ground and take off again, the gendarme said. Over the years, Velasco has heard many such stories, and disproved most of them. But this one was different — this one was credible, he believes. Something seems to have landed in Trans-en-Provence, he says, and that something has never been identified. Velasco is a scientist working for the state-run National French Centre for Space Studies (CNES), where he heads a department responsible for analysing what are commonly called unidentified flying objects (UFOs) but what are officially known as unidentified aerospace phenomena (UAP). It is a unique department, the only permanent government-financed scientific project set up by a developed country to unravel fact from fiction in the debate about UFOs.
Russia's foreign minister said Wednesday that the information given the U.N. Security Council by Secretary of State Powell must now be verified by U.N. inspectors inside Iraq. "The information that was given us today definitely will require very serious and thorough study," Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told the 15-nation council. "The main point is that this information has to be immediately handed over for processing by UNMOVIC and the IAEA, including direct on-site verification to give inspectors answers to questions raised by the secretary of state," he said. He was referring to the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Ivanov, referring to the council's Resolution 1284, adopted in December 1999, said it had a timetable calling for the key remaining disarmament tasks to be laid out at the end of March and said this "should make the international inspections and monitoring even more systematic and effective."
China's foreign minister told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that it should allow U.N. arms inspectors in Iraq to carry on with their work. "We should respect the views of the two (U.N. inspection) agencies and support the continuation of their work," Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told the 15-nation body after hearing Secretary of State Colin Powell present America's case that Iraq has illegal weapons programs and is concealing them from the inspectors. The U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency "have been working very hard (and) it is their view that now they are not in a position to draw conclusions," he said.
Arabs said Thursday that Secretary of State Colin Powell's charge sheet against Iraq was unconvincing, but probably started the final countdown to war. "It is basically a lot of hoopla, but no substance at all," said political commentator Hussein Shobokshi, based in the Saudi port city of Jeddah. "(It) reminds me of pep rallies that they hold before a football game in the (United) States." Newspapers, analysts and a few Arab officials said the razzmatazz of Powell's address Wednesday failed to convince a doubtful world that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein posed a serious threat which should be eliminated by force if necessary. "The whole speech was an attempt to present compelling reasons for an attack on Iraq, but these reasons are not in fact compelling," said Lebanese Information Minister Ghazi al-Aridi. "The speech was long on accusations, and short on evidence," said Egyptian political scientist Emad Shahin, adding U.N. weapons inspectors should now be asked to prove the allegations.
Secretary of State Colin Powell failed to persuade key Security Council members to back an early war in Iraq as attention shifted to a weekend trip to Baghdad by the top U.N. arms inspectors. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told Europe 1 radio on Thursday the time was not right to discuss a new U.N. resolution opening the way for a U.S.-led war to rid Iraq of any hidden weapons of mass destruction. "A second resolution? We are not at the time for that right now," he said, adding that a "broad majority" in the Security Council wanted inspections to continue. "As long as the arms inspections make progress, we must pursue them," he said. After Powell's highly technical 80-minute address on Wednesday, nearly every council member agreed that Saddam Hussein's government fell far short of compliance with U.N. resolutions, but few made the leap to suggesting Iraq presented a big enough threat to warrant war. The next step is a trip to Baghdad this weekend by chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, who heads the nuclear inspections. The two address the Security Council on February 14. - The United States, which has amassed troops in the Gulf region for an invasion, hopes the inspectors' reports will convince skeptics that further inspections are useless. But France, China and Russia, who have veto power in the 15-member council, maintained past positions that U.N. arms inspectors needed more time. So did six other council members. Powell sought to show that no matter how diligent inspectors were, Iraq could move equipment and bulldoze suspected sites in violation of a November 8 Security Council resolution.
The head of an al Qaeda network that Secretary of State Colin Powell accused Iraq Wednesday of harboring is believed to be a fugitive Jordanian under sentence of death who lost a leg after a U.S. air raid on Afghanistan. Ahmad Fadheel Nazal al-Khalayleh, better known as Abu Musab Zarqawi, is believed to be an important al Qaeda planner and an expert in toxins. He was sentenced to death in absentia by a Jordanian court in September last year for plotting attacks against U.S. and Israeli targets in the kingdom. Jordan's Prime Minister Ali Abu al-Ragheb last December also named Zarqawi as the mastermind behind the murder on Oct. 28 of U.S. diplomat Lawrence Foley on the doorstep of his home in Amman. Abu al-Ragheb said two alleged al Qaeda operatives, Libyan Salem Saad bin Sweid and his Jordanian accomplice Yasser Fathi Ibrahim, had confessed to killing Foley and said they were working under Zarqawi's direction. They said Zarqawi, who was born in 1968, was a lieutenant of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, whose network Washington has accused of carrying out the devastating attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. The two men, arrested in December, are still in detention have yet to go on trial. In an address to the U.N. Security Council, Powell said: "Iraq harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Zarqawi, an associate an collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda lieutenant."
Most positive comments following Powell's presentation to the U.N. Security Council came from countries that have already publicly supported the United States -- including Britain, Spain and Australia. But Powell's 75-minute presentation -- which used electronic intercepts, satellite photographs and other intelligence sources -- did little to win over countries that have already expressed doubts over America's stance.
Britain denied Wednesday it was trying beef up the case for war with Iraq by highlighting possible links with the militant network al Qaeda, but insisted members of the group had been allowed to operate inside Iraq. Responding to a leaked British intelligence report which appeared to play down ties between Washington's principal foes, Prime Minister Tony Blair's government said Saddam Hussein was offering a "permissive environment" for al Qaeda operatives. But it said the case for military action against Baghdad was still based on U.N. disarmament demands, not terror links. "There are unquestionably links between al Qaeda and Iraq," Blair told parliament. "Just how far the links go ... is a matter of speculation."
The threat of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is at a higher level than in previous months because of the possibility of impending military action against Iraq, U.S. counterterrorism officials told CNN on Wednesday. "The threat level is definitely up. Our guys have been told to act as if we have already bombed Iraq," one senior counterterrorism official told CNN. Government officials said they are concerned that al Qaeda, Iraqi agents or individuals could launch an attack coinciding with a U.S. strike against Iraq.
North Korea said on Wednesday it had restarted and put on a "normal footing" the atomic facilities at the center of its suspected nuclear weapons program. The move raises the stakes in a crisis Pyongyang said the United States had triggered by threatening the isolated communist state. "The DPRK (North Korea) is now putting the operation of its nuclear facilities for the production of electricity on a normal footing after their restart," said a statement by the North Korean Foreign Ministry carried on the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). North Korea's latest defiant move came as international attention was focused Secretary of State Colin Powell address to the U.N. Security Council designed to persuade the council and world opinion that U.N. weapons inspectors cannot disarm Iraq and that war may be the only resort.
North Korea said Thursday that any U.S. attack on its nuclear facilities would bring a "powerful counterattack" from the communist state that would mean "total war." "When the U.S. makes a surprise attack on our peaceful nuclear facilities it will spark off a total war," the North's ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary. "It is foolish for the U.S. to think that we sit idle with folded arms to wait until it gives orders for a forestalling attack to be started," said the commentary published in English by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). "We will answer a forestalling attack with a powerful counterattack and a total war with a total war," it said in the latest of series of belligerent statements on the four-month-old nuclear impasse with the United States.
North Korea may strike U.S. forces pre-emptively rather than wait for an American attack after a war with Iraq, a spokesman for the communist state told Britain's Guardian newspaper in Pyongyang. "The United States says that after Iraq, we are next," the Guardian Web Site quoted Ri Pyong-gap, a North Korean Foreign Ministry deputy director, as saying Wednesday amid rising tensions over a nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula. "But we have our own countermeasures. Pre-emptive attacks are not the exclusive right of the U.S," said Ri, according to the Guardian Web Site. His reported remarks went further than numerous recent dire warnings issued by Pyongyang's state media. A Guardian correspondent, one of several British journalists admitted to secretive North Korea this month, quoted Ri as saying that the current nuclear stand-off was more dangerous than that a decade ago when Washington and Pyongyang nearly went to war.
India's military said on Thursday it had shot down a pilotless Pakistani spy plane which intruded into Indian airspace in disputed Kashmir. The Indian report of the downing Wednesday of the unmanned aircraft came just over a week after Pakistan said it had shot down a pilotless Indian spy plane after it crossed Pakistani airspace in the Himalayan region of Kashmir. "The movement of this unmanned (Pakistani) aerial vehicle was observed in the afternoon (Wednesday) and was knocked down immediately," Lieutenant Colonel Bhanwar Rathore told Reuters, adding the debris fell near the Indian side of the Line of Control that divides Pakistani and Indian forces in Kashmir. The plane was shot down in the Mendhar sector of the Poonch district, 160 miles north of Jammu, Kashmir's winter capital, the defense official said. Both sides often report intrusions by unmanned spy planes into each other's air space. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of arming militants who have been fighting Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989. Pakistan denies the charge, saying it only provides moral support to what it calls a legitimate freedom struggle by Kashmiris. Comment: And we already know that India discovered the "missing link" between the 9-11 hijackers and the Bush Junta...
Don't mention the war in Afghanistan The near collapse of peace in this savage land is a narrative erased from the mind of Americans - [...] So let's break through the curtain for a while and peer into the fastness of the land that both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair promised not to forget. Hands up those who know that al-Qa'ida has a radio station operating inside Afghanistan which calls for a holy war against America? It's true. Hands up again anyone who can guess how many of the daily weapons caches discovered by US troops in the country have been brought into Afghanistan since America's "successful" war? Answer: up to 25 per cent. Have any US troops retreated from their positions along the Afghan-Pakistan border? None, you may say. And you would be wrong. At least five positions, according to Pakistani sources on the other side of the frontier, only one of which has been admitted by US forces. On 11 December, US troops abandoned their military outpost at Lwara after nightly rocket attacks which destroyed several American military vehicles. Their Afghan allies were driven out only days later and al-Qa'ida fighters then stormed the US compound and burnt it to the ground.
The American economy has fallen into its worst hiring slump in almost 20 years, and many business executives say they remain unsure when it will end. With economic growth having slowed to less than 1 percent in recent months, about one million people appear to have dropped out of the labor force, neither working nor looking for a job, according to government figures.
In Chicago there are nearly 100,000 young people, ages 16 to 24, who are out of work, out of school and all but out of hope. In New York City there are more than 200,000. Nationwide, according to a new study by a team from Northeastern University in Boston, the figure is a staggering 5.5 million and growing. This army of undereducated, jobless young people, disconnected in most instances from society's mainstream, is restless and unhappy, and poses a severe long-term threat to the nation's well-being on many fronts.
Stocks sagged on Wednesday as worries about possible war with Iraq unnerved investors, erasing a rally sparked by Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations Security Council. Powell's presentation, a bid to win over anti-war sentiment at home and abroad as well as among governments, included satellite photos and covertly taped conversations that he said showed that Iraq was hiding banned weapons from inspectors. Stocks climbed during the address as investors hoped the evidence would convince other nations to support military action, but the market took a tumble after Iraq's information minister said the allegations were "hollow" and envoys from such key countries as France, Russia, China and Germany remained leery of war and hoped inspections would continue.Iraq's defiant rebuttal added to jitters that war with Iraq may be longer and more costly than earlier anticipated, investors said. Already, major market gauges have fallen for the year as companies and consumer hold off spending, hurting corporate profits."This (war) is not going to be easy. It's not going to be short and it's not going to be limited," said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer at First Albany Corp.
The U.S. government is expected to hit the $6.4 trillion ceiling on the national debt around Feb. 20, the Treasury Department said Wednesday, renewing its call for Congress to boost the government's borrowing authority. AP Photo Treasury asked Congress late last year to increase the government's ability to borrow, setting the stage for a political fight in Congress. Treasury, however, hasn't said exactly how much of an increase in the current statutory debt ceiling it wants. Late last year Treasury warned Congress the government would hit the debt ceiling in late February, but didn't specify a date.
Dustin Hoffman accused the Bush administration of "manipulating the grief of the country" after the events of September 11. The president's real motives for going to war are power and oil, he said. He spoke out after receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Empire Film Awards in London. "For me as an American, the most painful aspect of this is that I believe that that administration has taken the events of 9/11 and has manipulated the grief of the country and I think that's reprehensible," he said.
Two soldiers develop bad reactions to smallpox shot - but no problems have been reported among more than 400 civilian health workers immunized in the past two weeks, a health official said Wednesday. The soldiers are the first known cases of severe reactions among thousands being vaccinated as part of the president's bioterrorism preparedness plan. Both men are recovering. Under the first phase of the plan, 500,000 military personnel will be immunized. About 450,000 civilian public health and hospital workers are being offered the vaccine. They would care for the first victims if terrorists unleash the virus.
Satellite Tracking Spurs Stalking Fears - "He told me no matter where I went or what I did, he would know where I was," Adams testified at a recent court hearing. Police say Adams' case and several others across the country herald an incipient danger _ high-tech stalking. Just as the global satellite positioning system can help save lives, so can its abuse endanger them, advocates of stalking victims say. "As technology advances, it's going to be almost impossible for victims to flee and get to safety," said Cindy Southworth, director of technology at the National Network to End Domestic Violence in Washington.
Two Palestinian gunmen killed two Israeli soldiers in an attack on a military post in the West Bank on Thursday before troops shot them dead, the army said. In northern Israel, paramilitary border police shot and killed an Arab who tried to stab one of them after being stopped for an identity check, police said. A senior officer said the attacker was apparently a Palestinian from the West Bank. The latest bloodshed followed Israel's killing a day earlier of five Palestinians, including an elderly woman crushed in a house demolition and two medical workers who Palestinian witnesses said were hit in a hospital by gunfire. The violence surged as war loomed in the Gulf and Secretary of State Colin Powell tried in the U.N. Security Council to indict Iraq over alleged weapons of mass destruction he said it was hiding from U.N. inspectors. Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Powell's presentation had provided overwhelming evidence that Iraq was developing banned weapons.
Israeli forces killed five Palestinians in separate incidents on Wednesday, including the stepmother of a militant who was crushed to death when Israeli forces razed their Gaza home, Palestinian sources said. They said the elderly woman had apparently not heard warnings to leave the building. Israeli military sources said soldiers searched the house before destroying it. Late on Wednesday, Israeli helicopter gunships opened fire on the edge of a Gaza City suburb, killing two Palestinian medical staff as they worked inside a hospital in the area, the hospital's director said. The army was checking the report. In the West Bank, witnesses said a Palestinian policeman was shot as he and others fled their base in Qalqilya during an army raid. Israeli military sources said he ignored orders to halt.
Why are Jews Burning Israeli Flags? - You won't see this on television because the media is trying to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism! These pictures cause a problem, and so must be suppressed.
The World Court Wednesday ordered the United States to stay the executions of three Mexican nationals on death row. Mexico had asked for stays of executions for 51 of its nationals. But judges said in their order, which is binding, that just three -- who Mexico had argued could be put to death in weeks or months -- should have their deaths put on hold. Mexico took Washington to the International Court of Justice in The Hague last month, alleging that state and municipal officials breached an international treaty by failing to tell the men of their right to consular help after their arrests. Mexico wants retrials for all 54 of its nationals on death row in the United States, but three of those are commuted by the Illinois governor last month, who commuted all death sentences in his state. With the whole case likely to take years, Mexico had asked the United Nations' highest court to issue an urgent order forbidding the United States from putting to death any Mexicans or fixing execution dates for them.
An 85-year-old man who appears to have died from spontaneous self-combustion has been buried in his back garden. Police are refusing to issue a death certificate because his head was burnt to the size of an orange, but his body and clothes were unmarked.
Discovered in Russia last summer, the well-preserved legs of a mammoth have yielded living cells that could allow for a cloning project to bring the creature back. "We consider these cells conditionally alive," says Vladimir Repin, who led the research team. "The inner structure of these cells is undamaged." The team is reporting the discovery of subcutaneous cellular tissue containing living cells with intact nuclei. Japanese biologists hope to clone mammoths, and if the nuclei contain intact DNA then this could be possible. Repin says that the cells were preserved after being extracted from the mammoth body.
A tornado tore through remote villages in central Congo, killing 164 people, destroying homes and ruining crops, the country's top health official said Wednesday. The 15-minute twister also injured 1,700 people -- more than 200 critically -- in Bandundu province on Sunday, said Mashako Mamba, Congo's health minister. "Most people were killed or injured by debris from huts and buildings made of sticks," Mamba said. "The crops have been uprooted by the wind and the water and famine is threatening." Bandundu province is 150 miles northeast of the capital, Kinshasa. News of the disaster was slow to reach the capital due to the region's remoteness.
February 5, 2003
Top investigators of the Columbia space shuttle disaster are analyzing a startling photograph -- snapped by an amateur astronomer from a San Francisco hillside -- that appears to show a purplish electrical bolt striking the craft as it streaked across the California sky. The digital image is one of five snapped by the shuttle buff at roughly 5: 53 a.m. Saturday as sensors on the doomed orbiter began showing the first indications of trouble. Seven minutes later, the craft broke up in flames over Texas.
The photographer requested that his name not be used and said he would not release the image to the public until NASA experts had time to examine it. Comment: Which means, of course, that the public will only see a doctored copy - IF they ever see it at all. And most certainly, there will be a "benign" explanation.
Although there are several possible benign explanations for the image -- such as a barely perceptable jiggle of the camera as it took the time exposure -- NASA's zeal to examine the photo demonstrates the lengths at which the agency is going to tap the resources of ordinary Americans in solving the puzzle.
Late Tuesday, NASA dispatched former shuttle astronaut Tammy Jernigan, now a manager at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, to the San Francisco home of the astronomer to examine his digital images and to take the camera itself to Mountain View, where it was to be transported by a NASA T-38 jet to Houston this morning. A Chronicle reporter was present when the astronaut arrived. First seeing the image on a large computer screen, she had one word: "Wow."
Jernigan, who is no longer working for NASA, quizzed the photographer on the aperture of the camera, the direction he faced and the estimated exposure time -- about four to six seconds on the automatic Nikon 880 camera. It was mounted on a tripod, and the shutter was triggered manually. In the critical shot, a glowing purple rope of light corkscrews down toward the plasma trail, appears to pass behind it, then cuts sharply toward it from below. As it merges with the plasma trail, the streak itself brightens for a distance, then fades.
"It certainly appears very anomalous," said Jernigan. "We sure will be very interested in taking a very hard look at this." [...] It was an astounding day for the San Francisco photographer, who said he had not had any success in reaching NASA through its published telephone hot lines. He ultimately reached investigators through a connection with a relative who attends the same church as former astronaut Jack Lousma, who flew 24 million miles in the Skylab 3 mission in 1973. Lousma put him in direct touch with Ralph Roe Jr., chief engineer for the shuttle program at Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston. After a series of telephone conversations Tuesday afternoon, the photographer had a veteran shuttle mission specialist knocking at his door by dinnertime. Within hours, he was left with a receipt, and his camera was on its way to Houston. Comment: Very likely, that's the last that will be seen of THAT photo!
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