October 6, 2004

The Empire of Darkness Series #15: The Smirking Robot Terrorizes The World

Hello everyone

While watching the debate tonight between Cheney and Edwards and hearing their usual boiler plate yadi-yada political tit-for-tat talks and jousting for who is the best to lead, I was taken aback by Edwards' sudden all-out support of Israel's right to defend itself while not balancing out his words with at least some show of concern for the Palestinians continuously crushed under the mighty Israeli, mostly American-made, military power. His outright pandering to the Jewish voters and, more to the point, to the powerful Jewish lobby whose influence reaches so very deeply into the heart of American foreign policy, and also his vehement promise to pre-emptively kill whomever may happen to be deemed a security threat to the United States, and the rest of his pro-expansion-of-the-military platform likewise shared by Kerry, made me singularly cringe and was an unmistakable, urgent reminder that a Kerry-Edwards administration may only turn out to be more of the same American superpower insanities, but with wider popular support - at least initially! No wonder Cheney seemed to be looking with a barely veiled air of satisfaction upon Edwards as he was making those remarks and pledging to be even more aggressively military-inclined than the Bush/Cheney operatives already are.

Now if we look at the dark reality on the ground resulting from current all-out military assaults both in Iraq and Gaza, as exemplified in this compilation, we can but conclude that, as argued in "Time to Recognize State Terror" (#2 below), wholesale terror, and "a head for an eye" style punishment are the hallmark of military strategies that not only will absolutely fail to bring about peace, but are sowing the seeds of the doom and gloom prophecies given by an extraterrestrial seer to Billy Meier almost 30 years ago - See "The Henoch Prophecies" (more on this below).

So even if Kerry wins, there will still be plenty of intense citizens' political monitoring and action required to make sure the silver lining of "sensitivity" Kerry has professed do not turn out to be yet another smoke screen deployed to hide the Skulls & Bones' shady control in the background...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

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"Had Toutatis hit the Earth, it would have had the explosive impact of a one million megaton bomb, many times the total nuclear arsenal of the superpowers, and destroyed all life on the planet. "

- Taken from "Near-miss asteroid could have wiped out Greater London area" below.

"Oil peak and decline will mean far higher oil and gasoline prices, with obviously devastating economic consequences. Even worse is the possibility of genuine energy famine. Americans face nothing less than the greatest economic upheaval in history. If the pessimistic forecasts are right - and the evidence points that way - oil production will peak in the next four years. In other words, whoever is elected president in November will have to deal with this problem. But unfortunately the candidates so far have focused little attention on the problem."

- Taken from "Gas prices soar as oil reserves near peak" below.

"Enjoyed the site very much. Amid the nonsense in this wild frontier of cyber space it is heartening to find life affirming, positive intention."

- Michael Ahern> -- Comment posted on the ERN guestbook at

Worthy of Your Attention

Amazing New Deep Space pictures obtained with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
More details at
This one is astoundingly awesome!
More such astounding pictures of the months at

New electronic Florida ballot eliminates the "Hanging Chads" problem. Try using it yourself at
Hilarious yet holding more than a kernel of truth...

The Henoch Prophecies from the Billy Meier Contacts (from the Nexus Magazine, August-September 2004 issue)
So many of the Plejaren predictions given to Swiss contactee Billy Meier have come true, that we'd be wise to heed the warning that terrible things will befall humanity and our planet if we can't learn to live together. (...) In addition to producing the clearest photos, films and video of UFOs ever taken, as well as other physical evidence, for the past 48 years Meier has published the most specific, prophetically accurate, scientific and world-event-related information of any known source. Before you consider the prophetic information below, please note that from his 251st Contact on February 3, 1995, Meier published advance warning of the US attack on Iraq, the increase in Islamic terrorism to follow, the appearance of SARS, the spread of "mad cow disease", the renewed public concern over chemical warfare, and the near accident at the nuclear power plant near Lyon, France (which occurred in August 2003). All of this information and more from the 251st Contact was also published in Guido Moosbrugger's book, And Yet They Fly!, in September 2001—well before any of the foretold events occurred.Combine this unprecedented evidence and all of the following with the still irreproducible, scientifically authenticated physical evidence, and you may understand why this remarkable one-armed man, who has been the target of 19 documented assassination attempts, stands at the centre of the most important story in all of human history. (...) Meier and his extraterrestrial friends seem to be able to predict, i.e., accurately calculate, the results of causal actions known to them, originating from humanity and/or nature and the cosmos. And they have made it clear that certain prophesied (undesired) events can still be changed for the better—if humanity recognises its errors and makes sufficient effort in the correct, positive direction to alter those outcomes that can still be changed. In the 215th Contact, known as the Henoch Prophecies, special emphasis was placed on America and the very times we are in. (These prophecies are contained in the 2004 book, And Still They Fly!) More recent comments by Meier have also carried harsh and heavy warnings about the current American administration and leadership and the danger of its leading the world into a cataclysmic Third World War. Considering the credibility the Plejaren have established with their track record of accuracy since at least 1975, it would be wise for us to give serious consideration to their warnings about the future. (... - LONG LIST OF PREDICTIONS LATER PROVEN TO BE ACCURATE SUCH AS REMARKABLY!) 1978: In a Wasserman publication, Meier foretold the launch of a telescope at end of the 1980s that would make unfathomable discoveries in space, and wrote that a comet would be discovered in the late 1980s to early 1990s; it would be named Toutatis, and may threaten Earth in September 2004.. Corroborated: April 1990, Hubble telescope was launched. Corroborated: 1989, French astronomers discovered a comet [asteroid], named it Toutatis, and predicted it would come closest to Earth on September 29, 2004. (...) 251st Contact, February 3, 1995: This contact contains startling information regarding technological developments such as hybrid warriors created by mixing human and pig DNA. People will have biochips attached to their nerve endings, and Meier warned of ominous biochipping with links to Deep Space Platform satellites and supercomputer. Corroborated: Human–pig DNA experiments have begun in the last several years; people are starting to get "chipped".Still speculative: Creation of half-human/half-machine beings, clones and androids; discoveries that conclusively confirm existence of previous human life on Mars; rectification of the "ageing" and "aggression" genes; Plejaren warnings of deep-impact scenario, and need for a defence system for incoming objects. CLIP - WARNING! THE PREDICTIONS GIVEN FOR THE NEAR FUTURE ARE GRUESOME AND DOWNRIGHT HORRIFYING! HOPEFULLY NONE OF THIS WILL COME TO PASS THANKS TO LIGHT SERVERS' GROWING GLOBAL POSITIVE INFLUENCE. More details also (make sure to check the UFO pictures gallery once there!)


1. Mr. Tall and Mr. Small
2. Time to Recognize State Terror
3. This is a Massacre, Not a War in Iraq
4. The eyes that cannot see beyond Jabaliya and Samarra
5. From Baghdad: A Wall Street Journal Reporter's E-Mail to Friends
6. Indonesia: US Underwriting Terrorism?
7. George W. Bush guilty of war crimes
8. The Unfeeling President
9. A Failed “Transition”: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War
10. Gas prices soar as oil reserves near peak
11. Near-miss asteroid could have wiped out Greater London area
12. King of beasts on road to extinction?
13. Extreme-Right Republicans' "Global Endangerment Project"

See also:

The Grief of Baghdad (05 October 2004)
The painful stories and pictures of some of the 16,000 American soldiers – like Cpl. Tyson Johnson – wounded in Iraq might move Americans to action. Maybe that's why we don't see them in the mainstream media.(...) During much of the Vietnam war, disturbing images like these were broadcast into American living rooms on a nightly basis. Along with protesters and returning heroes, like John Kerry, who were able to testify first hand as to the horror and chaos occurring "on the ground," these images ultimately proved a deal-breaker for many Americans. That's the lesson that the Pentagon and the State Department took from Vietnam: The way to maintain support for a war is to keep the pictures and stories of the dead and the wounded from the American people. CLIP

When Might Turns Right - Golly GE, Why Big Media is Pro-Bush (1 - 7 October 2004 Issue)
On any given day, the major TV networks rarely demonstrate good judgment, much less morality, when it comes to accepting a litany of nauseating advertisements. Hemorrhoid creams. Vaginal ointments. Erectile dysfunction. Army recruiting ads that portray war as a gee-whiz video game. KFC’s claim that fried chicken is the new health food. And, lest we forget, Bud Light’s farting horse during the Super Bowl. But ads for the October 5 release of the new Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD? Now that makes Big Media gag. L.A. Weekly has learned that CBS, NBC and ABC all refused Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD advertising during any of the networks’ news programming. Executives at Sony Pictures, the distributor of the movie for the home-entertainment market, were stunned. And even more shocked when the three networks explained why. "They said explicitly they were reluctant because of the closeness of the release to the election. All three networks said no," one Sony insider explains. "It was certainly a judgment that Sony disagrees with and is in the process of protesting." (...) Just when we think Big Media’s handling of this election can’t get any worse, something like this comes along and we realize the situation is totally whack. For all the hundreds of thousands of words broadcast and written about so-called Rathergate, the news of Sonygate hasn’t received any attention at all. Yet here is more bile rising in our throats as Big Media does yet another favor for Dubya. At the very least the networks managed to delay Fahrenheit 9/11’s DVD ads for several weeks by claiming they had to consult their attorneys to make sure the ads didn’t fall under the Federal Election Commission rules governing electioneering communications - a bunch of laughable hooey, especially considering the armadas of attorneys already on network payrolls keeping the Election Commission at bay. And speaking of lawyers, how interesting that Big Media spent so much time spanking - or, worse, ignoring - Kitty Kelley’s newly released The Family that dares to criticize the Bushies. When, by contrast, the networks fell all over themselves basically promoting the bejesus out of that swift-boat book of half-truths and full lies, Unfit for Command. As if, in some parallel universe, the lawyers for Kelley’s publisher, Doubleday/Random House, are inferior to those of the Swifties’ Regnery Publishing. Where is the level playing field? Gone, thanks to the shenanigans of Big Media. Nor is it an exaggeration to state that the networks increasingly look like they’re doing everything possible to help George W. win re-election. CLIP

Cheney, Edwards Go Toe to Toe in Debate (06 October 2004)
(...) Cheney and Edwards got some encouraging news from post-debate polls. An ABC News poll of debate watchers said the vice president had won. A CBS survey of undecideds said Edwards had triumphed. CLIP

William Rivers Pitt: Cheney's Avalanche of Lies

Misstatements Include Iraq, Taxes and Voting (October 5, 2004)
Sen. John Edwards and Vice President Cheney clashed repeatedly in their debate last night, making impressive-sounding but misleading statements on issues ranging from the war in Iraq to tax cuts to each other's records, often omitting key facts along the way. CLIP

The Falling Scales (05 October 2004)
Last week President Bush found himself defending his record on national security without his usual protective cocoon of loyalty-tested audiences and cowed reporters. And the sound you heard was the scales' falling from millions of eyes. Trying to undo the damage, Mr. Bush is now telling those loyalty-tested audiences that Senator John Kerry's use of the phrase "global test" means that he "would give foreign governments veto power over our national security decisions." He's lying, of course, as anyone can confirm by looking at what Mr. Kerry actually said. But it may still work - Mr. Bush's pre-debate rise in the polls is testimony to the effectiveness of smear tactics. Still, something important happened on Thursday. Style probably mattered most: viewers were shocked by the contrast between Mr. Bush's manufactured image as a strong, resolute leader and his whiny, petulant behavior in the debate. But Mr. Bush would have lost even more badly if post-debate coverage had focused on substance. Here's one underreported example: So far, Mr. Bush has paid no political price for his shameful penny-pinching on domestic security and his refusal to provide effective protection for America's ports and chemical plants. As Jonathan Chait wrote in The New Republic: "Bush's record on homeland security ought to be considered a scandal. Yet, not only is it not a scandal, it's not even a story." CLIP

FBI's Pre-Election Plan (October 3, 2004)
Several months ago, some Bush administration officials publicly floated out the possibility that the November presidential elections might be"postponed" if there is a major "terrorist incident." Now, it seems the FBI has formulated its own pre-election plan.According to a September 17 CBS news report, the FBI is "preparing a massive counter-offensive of interrogations, surveillance and possible detentions." CBS reveals that "FBI field offices and Homeland Security agencies will be advised of `extraordinary measures' that will go into place "beginning the first week of October through the elections." "What is this "October Plan" supposedly a "counter-offensive" against? The government claims that it is acting on "credible" intelligence that al-Qaida is planning a serious attack in the period around the elections--while leaving very vague what this intelligence information is.Whatever the reality behind these warnings, the government is using these "terror alerts" as justification to dramatically step up police-state repression. (...) The CBS News report on the FBI October Plan says that "Throwing hundreds of agents on the street and conducting invasive surveillance has become a standard post-9/11 tactic for the bureau." In other words, people should just get used to such gestapo tactics and consider them part of "normal life"! As Dick Cheney has declared, there is a "new normalcy" in this country.Those in power insist that "either you're with us or against us"--and, from their standpoint, those "against us" include increasing numbers of people, from thousands and thousands of immigrants, to whole countries and peoples around the world, to those who take to the street to protest their wars for empire.Where is all this headed? For the sake of humanity, people of conscience cannot afford to just wait to find out.

Letters from Our Troops in the Warzone (October 5, 2004),2763,1319718,00.html
Dear Mike, Iraq sucks - Civilian contractors are fleecing taxpayers; US troops don't have proper equipment; and supposedly liberated Iraqis hate them. After the release of Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore received a flood of letters and emails from disillusioned and angry American soldiers serving in Iraq. Here, in an exclusive extract from his new book, we print a selection. (...) I hate the army and my job. I am supposed to get out next February but will now be unable to because the asshole in the White House decided that now would be a great time to put a stop-loss in effect for the army. So I get to do a second tour in Iraq and be away from those I love again because some guy has the audacity to put others' lives on the line for his personal war. I thought we were the good guys. (...) Man, there is a huge fucking scam going on here! There are civilian contractors crawling all over this country. Blackwater, Kellogg Brown &Root, Halliburton, on and on. These contractors are doing everything you can think of from security to catering lunch! We are spending money out the ass for this shit, and very few of the projects are going to the Iraqi people. CLIP

CIA: No evidence Iraq harbored Zarqawi (Oct. 05, 2004)
U.S. INTELLIGENCE: Iraq-al Qaeda tie called unlikely -- A new review by the Central Intelligence Agency undercut the Bush administration's case that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was linked to Islamic terrorists.

Rumsfeld: No 'Hard Evidence' of Iraq - Al Qaeda Link

Bush Blows Debate: Talks to Rove in Earpiece (2 October 2004)
During the Presidential Debate Bush made what may be his most costly error - he exposed that he's using an earpiece to help him answer debate questions. In the middle of an answer bush said, "now let me finish" as if someone was interrupting him - yet nobody did - he was talking to the person in his earpiece. Listen to the mp3 yourself- or watch the video at c-span rtsp://>rtsp://
ffwd to 40 min 30 sec

Life and death in Darfur (October 6, 2004)
Separated from her family and her home destroyed, Halima is just one of the thousands of elderly victims of the nightmare that has ravaged Sudan. (...) The instability started 10 years ago. There were reports that armed bandits were taking people's camels and horses, and also reports of cattle being stolen when they were being led to take water in the wadi [dried river beds with streams]. At around the same time, we also heard that people had started to be killed by government people with stars on their shoulders - they were shooting people with Kalashnikovs in our area. Some people in our village began to talk about moving to Chad or northern Sudan. Some of them did, but we decided to stay. We still had our land and our animals and our crops, and it seemed better to wait.Then things got much worse - this was about five years ago, and that was when our family took the decision to move to Chad until the situation improved. What decided it for us was the aeroplanes. They had started to bomb our village from the sky. We ran to the bush and came back to our village to find our house being burnt by government men with stars on their shoulders. That was when the Janjaweed tribe first came. They came on horseback and on camels, with guns, to help the government men burn down the houses.A lot of my relatives were killed then - it's when Fatima's husband was killed. She was pregnant with my grandson, so he never saw Ismail. Another daughter lost her first husband, too - he was on the road home from market in Habila one evening, and was shot in the head. We have never understood why the government does these things to us - we are poor and innocent.

Deaths in Darfur could reach 300,000, US official says (October 5, 2004)
GENEVA--The death toll in Sudan's conflict-ravaged Darfur region could rise sixfold by the end of the year--hitting 300,000--because of worsening food shortages among refugees, a senior US aid official said yesterday. The conflict already has killed at least 50,000 people and displaced 1.4 million villagers from their homes. More than 200,000 have crossed to neighboring Chad, where tensions have risen because of scarce resources for refugees, who are in temporary camps.''The crisis in Darfur has not yet peaked," said William J. Garvelink, deputy assistant administrator of the US Agency for International Development. ''We have not yet seen the worst." Earlier this year, USAID predicted that 80,000 to 300,000 people could die if the situation failed to improve. ''We're now coming to the high side of that range," Garvelink told reporters. The United Nations and aid groups have dubbed Darfur the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Sudan's Arab-dominated government is accused of mobilizing an Arab militia known as the Janjaweed for attacks on Darfur's non-Arab villagers in retaliation for uprisings launched by two rebel movements in February 2003. CLIP -- More on the situation in Darfur at

The Barbarians - By Chris Floyd (October 1, 2004)
Here's a direct quote from the campaign trail: "Vote for the president -- or we'll burn your house down!" Ah yes, democracy in action, Bush-style -- ya gotta love it! As it happens, this particular manifestation of the Bushist Party's peculiar notion of free elections comes not from the White House -- whose court-appointed denizens have thus far confined themselves to mild, civilized declarations that anybody who opposes them is a godless, baby-killing traitor in league with Satanic terrorists. Instead it's the Big Oil bagman whom the Bushists have installed as ruler of their stepchild colony in Afghanistan. Installee Hamid Karzai, facing election on Oct. 9 (in those isolated portions of the country not controlled by the "defeated" Taliban, that is), has hit upon a novel campaign strategy, the BBC reports: arson. Tribal chiefs touting their fellow Pashtun for prez have broadcast explicit warnings to their people: Anybody who doesn't vote for Karzai will have their house burned down and their family cut off from all communal activities, such as weddings and funerals. Karzai, the polished sophisticate whose urbane manner and dynamite threads have put a glamorous face (Ben Kingsley's face, actually) on the Bush Regime's atrocious botching of the Afghan adventure, urbanely refused to condemn this barbarity on his behalf. And why should he? Barbarity is all the rage in Bushist Afghanistan, where large numbers of women are now burning themselves alive to escape continuing repression at the hands of fundamentalist warlords in the pay of the Pentagon, the Guardian reports. And while three years of pounding sand has failed to turn up Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush's hugger-mugger "Special Forces" crews -- operating without supervision or accountability -- have done a crackerjack job torturing and killing civilians, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Weather Warfare (Sept 30)
The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction: "Owning the Weather" for Military Use (...) The significant expansion in America's weather warfare arsenal, which is a priority of the Department of Defense is not a matter for debate or discussion. While, environmentalists blame the Bush administration for not having signed the Kyoto protocol, the issue of "weather warfare", namely the manipulation of weather patterns for military use is never mentioned.The US Air Force has the capability of manipulating climate either for testing purposes or for outright military-intelligence use. These capabilities extend to the triggering of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes. In recent years, large amounts of money have been allocated by the US Department of Defense to further developing and perfecting these capabilities. CLIP

Insurers See Hurricane Costs as High as $23 Billion (October 4, 2004)
NEW YORK - Insurance claims for damage caused in the United States this year by four major hurricanes may reach $23 billion, surpassing payments on claims for 1992's Hurricane Andrew, an insurance industry group said.

Over 100 Killed in U.S. Assault in Iraq (01 October 2004)
Samarra, Iraq - U.S. and Iraqi forces launched a major assault Friday to regain control of the insurgent stronghold of Samarra, trading gunfire with militants as they pushed toward the city center. More than 100 insurgents and at least one American were killed, an Iraqi minister said. (...) The push into Samarra appeared to be the start of a promised major offensive to retake several cities that insurgents have rendered "no-go" zones for U.S. and Iraqi troops. Officials have said recapturing those cities is key before nationwide elections scheduled for January. The offensive came a day after a string of bombings across the country killed at least 51 people, including 35 children at a government-sponsored celebration to inaugurate a sewage plant in Baghdad. Also Friday, U.S. warplanes and tanks attacked the vast Baghdad slum of Sadr City, killing 12 Iraqis and wounding 11 others, a hospital director said. The military said only one rebel was killed. Samarra residents cowered in their homes as tanks and warplanes pounded the city. The sound of shelling mixed with the crackle of automatic gunfire. At least three houses were flattened and dozens of cars charred, residents said. "We are terrified by the violent approach used by the Americans to subdue the city," said Mahmoud Saleh, a 33-year-old civil servant. "My wife and children are scared to death and they have not being able to sleep since last night. I hope that the fighting ends as soon as possible." CLIP

Freed Italian backs Iraqi resistance (01 October 2004)
An Italian aid worker in Iraq held captive and subsequently freed has said guerrillas there were right to fight US-led forces and their Iraqi "puppet government". In comments that were bound to annoy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government, Simona Torretta also called on Rome to withdraw the troops it sent to Iraq to support its US ally. "I said it before the kidnapping and I repeat it today," she told Corriere della Sera newspaper in an interview published on Friday. "You have to distinguish between terrorism and resistance. The guerrilla war is justified, but I am against the kidnapping of civilians." Torretta and her Italian colleague Simona Pari, both of them 29, were freed on Tuesday, three weeks after being snatched from their Baghdad office. Puppet Berlusconi has brushed aside widespread reports that his government paid a ransom of up to $1 million. "The guerrilla war is justified, but I am against the kidnapping of civilians" Simona TorrettaDescribing the administration of Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi as "a puppet government in the hands of the Americans", Torretta said elections planned for January would have no legitimacy: "During my days in detention ... I came to the conclusion it will take decades to put Iraq back on its feet." Torretta, who lived in Iraq before, during and after the US-led invasion, said she wanted to return despite her ordeal - but would not do so as long as US troops were there: "I've got to wait until the end of the US occupation," she said. She said she did not know whether Italy bought her freedom from the captors: "If a ransom was paid then I am very sorry. But I know nothing about it ... I believe that (the captors) were a very political, religious group and that in the end they were convinced that we were not enemies."

Searching for Purpose in a Brutal World (Oct 5)
(...) It can be discouraging to try to think about "purpose" in a world that seems to get bloodier and more vicious with each day, where the vast majority of the population is doing well to just survive, and where the fate of so many rests in the hands of people who have no "purpose" beyond their own acquisition of power. But of course, this is precisely why it is so important to examine our own sense of purpose.

USA's FCC raids KFAR 90.9FM half-hour after 'Axis of Good' premiere...(September 26)
Knoxville First Amendment Radio KFAR 90.9FM. has been raided and equipment confiscated only 30 minutes after the premier of as scheduled weekly 'The Axis of Good' broadcast that discusses the Venezuelan democratization process and its relevance at the Latin American and International levels. Bolivarian Circles International member Jesus Rivas had introduced his program saying that "many progressive and liberal minded people ask about the (Venezuelan) process ... reliable information on topics or interest regarding the process is difficult to obtain in the United States of America... especially in English ... so the radio show in English aimed to discuss all types of alternates with Venezuelan music." Jesus Rivas' show, which admittedly has a modest audience, is exactly the kind of grassroots communication that the current US Bush 2 administration does not want between the citizens of the US and Venezuela. But, in a curious pretext, US FCC authorities acted precipitously on a spurious claim that KFAR 90.9FM was interfering with other frequencies and alleged that the radio station was broadcasting a higher wattage than permitted.Radio KFAR has denied the accusation and instead draws attention to the fact that the raiding order was signed by an FBI operative known to broadcast personnel and it is possible that the FBI was monitoring KFAR's broadcast when they decided to take prevent transmission. "If the Bush administration wants to 'go Iraq' on Venezuela and fabricate a war with some made up excuse to invade it to loot the country from their wealth, they'll need to make sure they can construe Chavez as an evil dictator with no popular support ... they do have a lot of media paid PR working on that." Radio KFAR executives are trying to obtain the return of their transmission gear back but so there is no information available from the authorities as to when or if this will happen.

Lawmakers, residents condemn raid of tiny station

'Superbug' a Growing Problem Outside Hospitals (October 4, 2004)
NEW YORK - An antibiotic-resistant germ is increasingly causing skin infections and pneumonia in otherwise healthy children and adults. That's according to two of several reports on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus - known as MRSA - delivered at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America underway in Boston. What's particularly worrisome, one researcher told Reuters Health, is that these infections are being acquired in the community - not the hospital, as has been the usual case until now. (...) The average age of the people coming down with community-acquired MRSA pneumonia - 21 years - is also noteworthy, Hageman told Reuters Health, explaining that "community-acquired pneumonia is generally a disease of older populations, greater than age 65." Of the 17 community-acquired MRSA pneumonia cases, 16 required hospitalization for an average of 22 days, 12 had to treated in an ICU, and five died.

Arctic sea ice declines again in 2004, according to U. of Colorado study (4 Oct 2004)
Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder have found that the extent of Arctic sea ice, the floating mass of ice that covers the Arctic Ocean, is continuing its rapid decline.The latest satellite information indicates the September 2004 sea ice extent was 13.4 percent below average, a reduction in area nearly twice the size of Texas. CLIP

Omega-News Collection 1. October 2004

Omega-News Collection 3. October 2004

Omega-News Collection 5. October 2004


Forwarded by "Joy Rae Freeman">

Sent: October 01, 2004
Subject: Mr. Tall and Mr. Small

Mr. Tall and Mr. Small

By Greg Palast

September 30, 2004

Our President told the debate audience, "You cannot lead if you send mexxed missiges." I certainly hope not.

But that's exactly what we got. You watch our President, the nervous hand-hiding, the compulsive water-glass-fondling, the panicked I-wish-I-had-a-whiskey look, and you think, "My god, this is the guy who's supposed to save us from al Qaeda."

And how are we going to win the War on Terror, Mr. President? "First of all, of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that," he said. Well, that's a start, I suppose.

But it doesn't have to stay this way. This is America, home of the brave and where, I remember from school, we could vote for president and the votes would count. So we looked to the tall man next to him to show us the way out.

In Iraq, "We don't have enough troops there," said the tall one. Really, Senator? We should send MORE? Not exactly: Mr. Tall's got a plan to get our troops out. He'll have a big meeting of "allies," and after he talks with them, they will all jump up and volunteer to send THEIR kids to Fallujah. France and Indonesia and Kuwait can't wait to ship in soldiers and extra body bags. Right. We love you, John, but there's no band of Hobbits coming to the rescue -- that's just a movie.

Well, he looked kind of "presidential." But given the line-up includes Nixon, Ford and two Bushes, that's not a big trick.

I'm sorry. I know I'm supposed to stand up and cheer that John Kerry didn't get Gored. In fact, if you look at presidential debates the way the media plays it, as something akin to Olympic figure skating, where you score for the competitor's style, you could say Kerry won.

But I don't feel WE won anything.

I mean, when Jim Lehrer asked how the candidates would make America safe from terrorists, Mr. Tall said he'd hire more firemen. And add more cops. Maybe he thought he was running for mayor.

It was disappointing, but then Mr. Small's answer was downright frightening. We have to "stay on the offensive," and "stay on the offense," and "I repeat, stay on the offense." We have no doubt that Mr. Small can be extraordinarily offensive, but even he can't take his offensiveness to the bad guys if he doesn't know where they are. And on that point, he's clueless.

There were two words I was hoping to hear from Mr. Tall: "Saudi" and "Arabia." Imagine if he laid it on the line, "The terrorists didn't put the hijackings on a credit card, Mr. President. Their Saudi sponsors are fattening on the bloated war-driven price of oil. But you can't touch your buck-buddies in the Gulf, can you, Mr. President?. As Commander-in-Chief, I'd cut'm off at the spigots, beginning with the release of oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And then I'd seize their fat assets in the USA to compensate the victims of terror attacks."

When Mr. Tall was asked what whoppers the President has told us, surely there was something a bit more memorable than Mr. Small's failing to win over allies for his whacky crusade.

Here's what Mr. Tall said . in my dreams:

* "Beginning in March 2001, your Administration began a series of meetings with oil company executives to map the conquest of Iraq and its oil, a plan Americans would pay for in blood. You originally called this scheme, 'Operation Iraqi Liberation' -- O.I.L. We don't appreciate your little joke, Mr. Small."

* "One month after seizing Baghdad you fired General Jay Garner, the man you put in charge of Iraq, after he called for rapid elections in Najaf; after he refused to impose your plans to sell off Iraq's oil fields. In Najaf, citizens denied ballots, turned to bullets. And then, as General Garner predicted, the seizure of Iraq's assets resulted in the type of war one expects -- when seeking to impose colonial control."

* "Mr. Small, you claim we've given a thousand lives to bring democracy to the Mid-east. But so far, your democracy, Mr. Small, comes down to a puppet prime minister, we've installed in Iraq and a puppet government, the Saudis have installed in Washington."

OK, I can't expect all that in a presidential debate, where the message has to fit through a tube. But still, Mr. Tall could have won my vote with two words. It's the two-word answer John Kerry gave three decades ago when asked the same question -- "How can we get our troops out of a disastrous war?"

Then, the clear-minded, tall young men said, "In ships."


View Greg Palast's exclusive interview with General Jay Garner for BBC Television in the film, "Bush Family Fortunes," available this week on DVD in an updated edition from Ryko at ram

To receive Greg's investigative reports hot off the press click here:


See also:

Bush Tries to Shut Off Criticism on Iraq
This column should not be necessary. A more decent president would not accuse his opponent of assisting terrorists and harming American troops merely because he criticizes U.S. policy. A more decent conservative movement would call such accusations anti-democratic, rather than mindlessly parroting them, as National Review Online's Jed Babbin did this week. But the president is who he is. And so are his supporters. And so, in
response to John Kerry's increased criticism of U.S. policy in Iraq, Bush and his surrogates have essentially accused Democrats of helping insurgents kill American troops.

That split screen
"I just know how this world works." - George W Bush (...) According to another rule, "There will be no TV cutaways to any candidate who is not responding to a question while another candidate is answering a question." In true Monty Python fashion ("Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"), nobody was expecting the split screen. But doing without it would have made very boring TV. So Fox News, generating the images and cutaway shots, perhaps inadvertently delivered to the world The Smirking Robot: the president of the United States lip-smacking, smirking, blinking, eye-rolling, performing anguished jazz solos of facial contortions, and looking genuinely angry. His voice was petulant. He barely remembered his own record. He said absolutely nothing new. And he could barely disguise his rage: How could anyone even dream of questioning and holding him to account for his foreign-policy choices - in the "war on terra" and in Iraq? After all, "I just know how this world works." Whatever the merits of the "debate", the perception of a winner is shaped by the larger-than-life spinning machine. And the ghosts in the corporate machine, many of them reluctantly, are almost unanimous: even with the absence of any knockout punches, Kerry won - in style and in substance. Most instant polls confirm it. Fox itself had to admit that Kerry looked like a commander-in-chief (one possible reason for why he never looked at the camera is because he was genuinely amused looking at the smirking president). Bush told Americans what political adviser Karl Rove and his minions think Americans want to hear. So the usual catalogue of inaccuracies, blunders and endless repetition - recited by a real tough guy - was on show: "The Taliban are no longer in power"; "of course we're after Saddam Hussein, I mean bin Laden"; "our coalition is strong"; "we're making progress"; "it's hard work"; "you cannot change positions in this war on terra"; "the enemy attacked us" (referring to Saddam Hussein); "trying to be popular in a global sense makes no sense". And of course the key mantra of the night: Kerry's "missed mexages" (sic). Kerry, for many looking surprisingly presidential, was cool, calm, collected and - even more surprising - concise. He was visibly thinking, not only criticizing Bush's blunders but detailing how to be "smarter on how to wage the war on terror", telling the real story on North Korea and making the crucial flat statement, on the record, that really distinguishes his policy from the Bush neo-conservatives: "We have no long-term designs on Iraq." CLIP




Time to Recognize State Terror

By John Pilger

17 September 2004

The world is dividing into two hostile camps: Islam and "us." That is the unerring message from Western governments, press, radio and television. For Islam, read terrorists. It is reminiscent of the cold war, when the world was divided between "Reds" and us, and even a strategy of annihilation was permissible in our defense. We now know, or we ought to know, that so much of that was a charade; released official files make clear the Soviet threat was for public consumption only.

Every day now, as during the cold war, a one-way moral mirror is held up to us as a true reflection of events. The new threat is given impetus with every terrorist outrage, be it at Beslan or Jakarta. Seen in the one-way mirror, our leaders make grievous mistakes, but their good intentions are not in question. Tony Blair's "idealism" and "decency" are promoted by his accredited mainstream detractors, as the concocted Greek tragedy of his political demise opens on the media stage. Having taken part in the killing of as many as 37,000 Iraqi civilians, Blair's distractions, not his victims, are news: from his arcane rivalry with treasurer Gordon Brown, his Tweedledee, to his damascene conversion to the perils of global warming. On the atrocity at Beslan, Blair is allowed to say, without irony or challenge, that "this international terrorism will not prevail." These are the same words spoken by Mussolini soon after he had bombed civilians in Abyssinia.

Heretics who look behind the one-way mirror and see the utter dishonesty of all this, who identify Blair and his collaborators as war criminals in the literal and legal sense and present evidence of his cynicism and immorality, are few; but they have wide support among the public, whose awareness has never been higher, in my experience. It is the British public's passionate indifference, if not contempt for the political games of Blair/Brown and their courts and its accelerating interest in the way the world really is, that unnerves those with power.

Let's look at a few examples of the way the world is presented and the way it really is. The occupation of Iraq is presented as "a mess": a blundering, incompetent American military up against Islamic fanatics. In truth, the occupation is a systematic, murderous assault on a civilian population by a corrupt American officer class, given license by its superiors in Washington. Last May, the US Marines used battle tanks and helicopter gunships to attack the slums of Fallujah. They admitted killing 600 people, a figure far greater than the total number of civilians killed by the "insurgents" during the past year. The generals were candid; this futile slaughter was an act of revenge for the killing of three American mercenaries. Sixty years earlier, the SS Das Reich division killed 600 French civilians at Oradour-sur-Glane as revenge for the kidnapping of a German officer by the resistance. Is there a difference?

These days, the Americans routinely fire missiles into Fallujah and other dense urban areas; they murder whole families. If the word terrorism has any modern application, it is this industrial state terrorism. The British have a different style. There are more than 40 known cases of Iraqis having died at the hands of British soldiers; just one soldier has been charged. In the current issue of the magazine The Journalist, Lee Gordon, a freelance reporter, wrote, "Working as a Brit in Iraq is hazardous, particularly in the south where our troops have a reputation (unreported at home) for brutality." Neither is the growing disaffection among British troops reported at home. This is so worrying the Ministry of Defense that it has moved to placate the family of 17-year-old soldier David McBride by taking him off the AWOL list after he refused to fight in Iraq. Almost all the families of soldiers killed in Iraq have denounced the occupation and Blair, all of which is unprecedented.

Only by recognizing the terrorism of states is it possible to understand, and deal with, acts of terrorism by groups and individuals which, however horrific, are tiny by comparison. Moreover, their source is inevitably the official terrorism for which there is no media language. Thus, the State of Israel has been able to convince many outsiders that it is merely a victim of terrorism when, in fact, its own unrelenting, planned terrorism is the cause of the infamous retaliation by Palestinian suicide bombers. For all of Israel's perverse rage against the BBC - a successful form of intimidation - BBC reporters never report Israelis as terrorists: that term belongs exclusively to Palestinians imprisoned in their own land. It is not surprising, as the recent Glasgow University study concluded, that many television viewers in Britain believe that the Palestinians are the invaders and occupiers.

On September 7, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 16 Israelis in the town of Beersheba. Every television news report allowed the Israeli government spokesman to use this tragedy to justify the building of an apartheid wall - when the wall is pivotal to the causes of Palestinian violence. Almost every news report marked the end of a five-month period of "relative peace and calm" and "a lull in the violence." During those five months of relative peace and calm, almost 400 Palestinians were killed, 71 of them in assassinations. During the lull in the violence, more than 73 Palestinian children were killed. A 13-year-old was murdered with a bullet through the heart, a 5-year-old was shot in her face as she walked arm in arm with her 2-year-old sister. The body of Mazen Majid, aged 14, was riddled with 18 Israeli bullets as he and his family fled their bulldozed home.

None of this was reported in Britain as terrorism. Most of it was not reported at all. After all, this was a period of peace and calm, a lull in the violence. On May 19, Israeli tanks and helicopters fired on peaceful demonstrators, killing eight of them. This atrocity had a certain significance; the demonstration was part of a growing nonviolent Palestinian movement, which has seen peaceful protest gatherings, often with prayers, along the apartheid wall. The rise of this Gandhian movement is barely noted in the outside world.

The truth about Chechnya is similarly suppressed. On February 4, 2000, Russian aircraft attacked the Chechen village of Katyr Yurt. They used "vacuum bombs," which release petrol vapor and suck people's lungs out, and are banned under the Geneva Convention. The Russians bombed a convoy of survivors under a white flag. They murdered 363 men, women and children. It was one of countless, little-known acts of terrorism in Chechnya perpetrated by the Russian state, whose leader, Vladimir Putin, has the "complete solidarity" of Tony Blair.

"Few of us", wrote the playwright Arthur Miller, "can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied."

It is time we stopped denying it.


Forwarded by "Mark Graffis">


This is a Massacre, Not a War in Iraq

By Sam Hamod

Oct 5, 2004

This is a massacre, not a war in Iraq. The U.S. bombing Samarra, Fallujah, Baghdad and other cities, killing hundreds of civilians and calling them terrorists is like the massacres of the Native Americans during America's push westward.

In this case, it has to do with America's push eastward.

What is also troubling is that no major media outlet, no major politician--none are calling this what it is, an immoral, unmitigated killing of hundreds of Iraqi civilians every week.

Those who are experts in Arabic have claimed for months that the man alleged to be Zarqawi is not really Zarqawi because he does not have the real Zarqawi's Jordanian accent. But, the American military, we are positive by now, has created this mythical Zarqawi to allow it to mercilessly attack Fallujah and punish its inhabitants because they withstood the American ground attack and chased the Americans out. Even today, the Fallujhans have said aloud to Al Jazeera and other outlets, that they will come out into the streets and fight the Americans--but our country, America, is immoral and cowardly, every day attacking Fallujah by F16, Apache and long range cannon fire. In the process, killing hundreds of civilians, but as in the Viet Nam war, saying, "It's just collateral damage and we are not responsible for that."

My question then, is who is responsible for the killings. I point my finger at General Abizaid, a man who should know better. I also point the finger of guilt at his subordinate commanders in Iraq and all the way up to the two devils at the top of the pole, George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. By now, it is obvious why Bush and his cronies do not want to support the International Criminal Court and are even attacking the court at the Hague--because they know that they are breaking international laws and that they would be pulled up, kicking and screaming a la Milosovich, to that court for their war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq.

It is time for Americans to speak up to stop this massacre. We are killing Iraqis in the name of "Freedom" and "Democracy!" How absurd, must we kill the Iraqis to "save them". This sounds almost like the old Salem Witch Trials, where they put people to death in order to save them. But it also smells of the aforementioned slaughter of the Native Americans by the jolly good American cavalry--ironically, it's the same cavalry that is repeating its deeds 200 years later, but this time against Iraqis. For shame.

Also, shame on our media outlets, our church leaders, those phony Christians, Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson--men who shall certainly be condemned to hell by God on the day of judgement. Some may say, I have no right to say such a thing, but all you have to do is see how they are supporting these atrocities--especially Billy Graham and his son, both men who had built reputations for decency but have now destroyed them with this endorsement of slaughter in Iraq.

As for Falwell and Robertson, they not only endorse the Iraq slaughter, they also are doing all they can to praise Sharon and Israel for their slaughter, on a daily basis for the past 3 years of Palestinians. They also cheer when Palestinian homes are bulldozed, as in the 200 taken down in the past month.

In the process, some at the UN have spoken out, even Kofi Annan, but people in America are not hearing. Instead, America is trying to distract the public with stories about Darfur, about the non-existant Zarqawi, about "staying the course" (as if there is a course and as if it is justified), and few are asking, "Just why are we in Iraq, after all, Saddam is gone?" We hear such nonsense as, "We have to stay to settle things down in Iraq." But President Jimmy Carter and most international experts say that we are the problem and that Iraqis could solve their own problems if we'd leave. But, as most know, and this has been pointed out by Jane's of London and other experts in the U.S. such as Chalmers Johnson, America intends to build at least 2 dozen bases or more in Iraq to stay on--never to leave.

I want to say again, as I said in articles since Bush's invasion of Iraq, we shall pay a heavy price for this slaughter of Iraqis who are Arabs and Muslims. This slaughter, this massacre has incensed the entire Muslim world. America is no longer respected in any part of the Muslim world. In fact, a recent poll in Egypt, one of our strongest allies in the Arab and Muslim world, showed that over 90% of the Egyptians are now angry at America. But what of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, many of them are so incensed that they will become militant against us. Our behavior has taken away any credibility moderates had, now the radicals can say, "See, moderation got you nowhere with America. They even kicked Cat Stevens out of America, a leading moderate in England, a man who had even given advice to the White House on how to deal with radicals."

Samuel Huntington in his book, The Clash of Civilizations, claimed Islam was intent on making a war on the West. This was not true, but what has happened is that Bush and his fundamentalist Christian friends are making war on Islam--it can be seen with American troops attacking Muslims in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the Phillippines, in Indonesia, in Malaysia, in Yemen, in assisting Israel with money, weapons and expertise in their killing of Palestinians.

America may win some battles, but is losing the larger war. The entire world is condemning our behavior in Iraq as illegal and immoral. What is coming is the long term hatred of America by the majority of Muslims in the world, and some will become combatants in time--not necessarily in Iraq, but in their own countries. Bush and his massacre of Muslims is sowing anger, hatred, desire for revenge--in time, America will reap a whirlwind that the ignorant GW Bush has sown. Make no mistake about it.

America has played its last cards as a moral world leader. Our moral arguments now are laughable to the rest of the world. The word has gotten out on how we tried to remove Chavez from office in Venezuela, have placed a puppet regime in Iraq to lord over the people a la Vichy in France in WWII, have supported Israel in its massacres of Palestinians, and the continued killing and bombings of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan, while now threatening Syria, Iran and Lebanon. It is obvious to any intelligent and moral observer that the Bush team has gone out of its mind.

And one last point, have you noticed two important things that never get into the news: 1. Israel has the second largest supply of atomic weapons in the world and has threatened to use them, but you never hear that criticized or even admitted by America. 2. Bush is afraid of North Korea because it has atomic weapons, but also because China told him in no uncertain terms, "Keep your nose out of this area or we'll bloody it for you and wreck your economy as well."

Our fearless leader is only good at killing innocent civilians through attacks from the air with F16s, Apaches and long range missiles, then calling those killed "enemy combatants," "terrorists," or "insurgents." I hope more people in America will wake up before things get much worse. It is already too late in most cases for America to recover its place in the world. But, if we kick Bush out of office and replace his military commanders in the field, especially Myers and Abizaid, we may be able to salvage something--but it's going to be a long, hard road and will take us decades and maybe centuries to ever again be trusted by any Muslims or Arabs in the world.

Let's call it what it is in Iraq and Palestine, massacres, not wars. Somehow, it is as if Bush and Sharon are joined together at the hip and in their immoral hearts and minds. Both are guilty of war crimes. We knew this about Sharon by recalling his infamous invasion of Lebanon in the 1980s; but we didn't know how much Bush would follow Sharon's lead and take America down this illegal and immoral path with him. Unfortunately, for America, Bush has, as President Carter said, "Destroyed our reputation in the world as a moral leader, it may take decades or more to repair the damage."

Just remember what I am saying, "This is a massacre, not a war."

The Iraqis have no planes, helicopters or tanks; the Palestinians have no planes, helicopters or tanks; but America does and uses them indiscriminately, as does Israel. America should take a cue from the resistance to Israel, some day it will come here, when the people in the Muslim and Arab worlds have had enough and decide to strike back.

Woe unto us for allowing the madman Bush to kill people in Iraq, Afghanistan and by proxy, in Palestine. Some day, as Malcolm X prophesied, "The chickens will come home to roost."

Sam Hamod is an expert on Islam and the Middle East; he is a former advisor to the State Department, editor of 3rd World News and Director of The Islamic Center of Wash, DC. Watch for his new book, in 2005, ESSAYS IN TIMES OF WAR. He may be reached at

Originally from ">,150&values[0]=&values[1]=1933


See also:

'I Saw Dogs Eating the Body of a Woman' (05 October 2004)
Samarra, Iraq - Waving white flags, Iraqis have fled Samarra on river boats as US forces claimed victory over insurgents in an offensive aimed at taking control of rebel-held cities. Iraq's US-backed interim government is hoping American and Iraqi forces will crush a bloody insurgency and take back all of the country before the scheduled January elections. But Sunday's operation in Samarra, north of Baghdad, brought condemnation from residents about the cost in lives and suffering, and guerrillas in the fiercest rebel-held city of Fallujah are expected to put up a tougher fight. The US strategy of "precision strikes" also came in for criticism from Iraqi President Ghazi Yawar, who described the air assaults as collective punishment. In 36 hours of fighting in the city, the US military said it killed 125 guerrillas and captured 88. About 3 000 US troops and 2 000 Iraqi soldiers had stormed Samarra on Friday. Aid organisations said they were concerned about a lack of water and electricity and the fate of hundreds of families forced to flee. One man, who said he escaped the city yesterday, reported that civilians had been killed. He said he had seen dogs picking at corpses in the street. "I swear I saw dogs eating the body of a woman," he said. Residents said bodies were left in the streets, untended due to the fear of snipers. CLIP

U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution (October 5, 2004)
UNITED NATIONS -- The United States vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its incursion into the Gaza Strip, calling the resolution "lopsided and unbalanced" because it failed to mention Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli civilians that triggered the action. The resolution, which was co-sponsored by Pakistan and Algeria, obtained 11 votes in favor Tuesday. Britain, Germany and Romania abstained, citing concern that the text did not fault Palestinian attacks. But the U.S. veto, the seventh cast by the Bush administration on a resolution that condemned Israeli actions, blocked its adoption. (...) Israeli forces launched an offensive in northern Gaza late last month to stop Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. Five Israelis were killed in Palestinian mortar and rocket attacks in the past three months. On Sept. 28, Palestinians killed two children and wounded 10. Since then, Israeli forces have killed 82 Palestinians, the United Nations said. The failed resolution condemned Israel's "military incursion" into northern Gaza, citing "extensive human casualties and destruction." It also demanded "the immediate cessation of all military operations in the area of northern Gaza and the withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces from that area." CLIP



The eyes that cannot see beyond Jabaliya and Samarra

Simon Tisdall

October 5, 2004

The Guardian

At first glance the violence in Jabaliya in Palestine and in the Iraqi town of Samarra appear to be unconnected. The Israeli army's incursion into northern Gaza looks like just another deadeningly familiar episode in the unending conflict between Palestinians and Jews.

The US-led weekend assault on insurgents in mainly Sunni Samarra seems to be broadly typical of the continuing turmoil in Iraq.

But peer beneath the headlines and it is clear that these ostensibly separate events are far from routine, and are closely linked in many ways, directly and indirectly.

In both Jabaliya and Samarra modern armies with state-of-the-art weaponry and unanswerable air power attacked residential areas, causing numerous civilian casualties.

In both cases the degree of lethal force used was grossly disproportionate to the assessed threat. Three US and two Iraqi battalions - about 5,000 men - were sent against 200-300 insurgents in Samarra.

In Gaza, in order to deter the sort of vicious home-made Hamas rocket attacks that killed two children in Sderot last week, the Israelis have deployed an estimated 2,000 soldiers and 200 tanks, and are threatening an escalation.

In both places, enormous damage has been done to homes and infrastructure, including basic services. The Palestinians are appealing for international assistance for what they say is a developing "humanitarian tragedy".

The Iraqi Red Crescent, reporting that 500 families were forced to flee Samarra, said the Iraqi interim government had asked for emergency aid.

Present horrors apart, Jabaliya and Samarra both offer disturbing portents, and both have considerable political significance.

In Gaza, Israel seems intent on establishing a buffer zone on Palestinian land, the equivalent of the wall with which it is enclosing the West Bank and which, despite official denials, is prospectively just as permanent.

This is linked in turn to the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's controversial unilateral plan to evacuate most of the Gaza Strip next year while consolidating Israel's grip on growing swaths of the West Bank.

The US attack on Samarra, a relatively easy target, appears to be a dress rehearsal for coming attempts to seize control of better defended insurgent strongholds such as Falluja, Sadr City and Ramadi.

On the success of this campaign rests, to a large degree, the Bush administration's strategy for creating a democratic post-Saddam Iraq.

And thus are the personal political fortunes of Mr Sharon and the US president, George Bush, bound up to a critical degree in what happens in places such as Jabaliya and Samarra.

Both men are fighting to convince sceptical electorates, and their own parties, that they know what they are doing. When elected, Mr Sharon promised to achieve security for Israelis. Mr Bush declared victory in Iraq more than a year ago.

Each man has a credibility gap. To fill it, it seems ongoing civilian carnage is not too high a price to pay.

Jabaliya and Samarra may also be seen as linked symbols of a bigger problem. In Iraq and Palestine, two allied occupying powers - and democracies, at that - act with questionable or no legal authority and with evident impunity.

Resolutions and protests from the UN are ignored. European and Arab governments wring their hands impotently. Tony Blair is reduced to hinting at better times to come. Yet the bald fact remains: the US and Israel behave they way they do because they can; there is simply nobody to stop them.

And just as Israel's unbending stance, favouring force over dialogue, threatens a spreading conflict, drawing in Syria and Lebanon, so does an aggressive US policy, confusing power and legitimacy, intensify the risk of an Iraqi fragmentation embroiling Iran, Turkey and other neighbours.

Jabaliya and Samarra, officially, are distinct theatres in the wider "war on terror".

But far from being unconnected, to many in the Arab world they look dismayingly like integral parts of a western crusade against both Muslims and Islam in general, to which violent resistance is the only possible response.

On both sides of the divide this dread downward spiral creates a kind of unseeing rage to which all are held hostage: blind in Iraq, eyeless in Gaza.

See also:

Samarra Residents Flee US Hell:
Hundreds of Iraqi families, mostly women and children, lined up at the main entrances of Samarra, 125 kilometers north of Baghdad, in a desperate attempt to escape the gates of hell broken loose by the American occupation forces. (...) Many bodies were strewn in the streets but could not be collected for fear of the American snipers, residents said."Dead bodies and injured people are everywhere in the city and when we tried to evacuate them, the Americans fired at us," one ambulance driver told AP Television News." Later on they told us than we can evacuate only injured women and children and we are not allowed to pick up injured men." Meanwhile, the Iraqi Red Crescent has set up more than twenty tents on the outskirts of the city to help the wounded, barred by the US from leaving. Iraqi medical sources accused the American forces of denying ambulances access into the city. CLIP

Iraq town struggles back to life after US assault§ion=news

Iraqi cleric warns of jihad if civilian toll rises,4390,276426,00.html
BAGHDAD - A prominent Muslim Sunni group warned on Tuesday that a nationwide jihad, or holy war, could be declared if the killings of innocent civilians by US and Iraqi government forces continued. A spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars said his organisation condemned the weekend attack on the Sunni Triangle of Samarra, during which civilians, including at least 23 children and 18 women, were killed, according to the city's doctors.

More news on what happened in Samarra at

50,000 trapped by Israeli assault on Gaza Chris McGreal in Jabaliya refugee camp (Oct 5),2763,1319776,00.html
The Guardian Israeli forces have demolished the homes of hundreds of Palestinians, bulldozed swaths of agricultural land and destroyed infrastructure in their bloodiest assault on the Gaza Strip in years. More than 70 people have died in Operation Days of Penitence, launched in northern Gaza six days ago after a Hamas rocket attack killed two Israeli children. The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said that the dead included 31 civilians. Nineteen were under 18. CLIP

Gaza on verge of humanitarian crisis (06 October 2004)
As many as 12 United Nations agencies have expressed serious concern about a looming humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. -- The organisations - including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) - said that the ongoing Israeli offensive in northern Gaza is exasperating an already appalling humanitarian situation and "pushing the Palestinian population into a deep crisis". Over 80 Palestinians have been killed, including 24 children, since the Israeli army stormed northern Gaza last Tuesday under the pretext of stopping Qassam rockets being fired into its terriroty. The Israeli offensive has also left 316 Palestinians, including 110 children, injured. According to the report by one of the signatories, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Israeli army has denied UN personnel secure access into Gaza for the last 14 days. UNRWA, the United Nations agency in charge of Palestinian refugees, has so far been unable to deliver emergency food aid to the besieged areas of northern Gaza, where some 50,000 residents are with limited food, water, and electricity. "As the incursion approaches the end of the first week there is growing concern among international organisations over the ability of people to access food. In the worst affected areas, shops remain closed and people are too afraid to leave their homes to buy food. CLIP

UN slams Israeli raids on Palestinian schools
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees yesterday accused the Israeli army of taking over schools in the Gaza Strip, while children were still in class, and using them as firing positions for tanks.

'Sharon feels little constraint' (October 6, 2004),2763,1320480,00.html
Israel has struck in Gaza while international attention is elsewhere - "For those friends of Israel - and this paper counts itself one of them - the last few days have been extremely distressing. With the world's eyes turned on Iraq and the American elections, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been engaged in a brutal attack on Gaza ... "The scale of [Israel's] latest intervention is out of all proportion to the threat. Excessive use of military force will test the loyalty of Israel's many allies. More pertinently, it will convert a new generation of Palestinians to terrorism.

The Gazan pot is threatening to boil over
When the army is instructed by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz "to collect a price" from the Palestinians, it means hitting armed units, but also, incidentally, killing civilians and widespread demolition of buildings and cultivated lands.

The all-force approach won't help (October 6, 2004)
Qassam rockets raining down on Sderot in the midst of the disengagement process is an outrage. And the killing perpetrated by both sides in Gaza is yet more madness in the ongoing, savage encounter between peoples that has caused rivers of blood. It is possible to destroy, to threaten, to bury and be buried, to install devices that can spot Qassam rockets 20 seconds before they land, to spout denunciations left and right, including this nonsense of accusing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. It is possible to go crazy. And it is possible to try a different way. The army will not be victorious there. Nor will Hamas or Islamic Jihad. As in the whole conflict, major force alone won't be of much use. Only an agreement will make the difference. It is necessary because, in Gaza, self-respect and national pride, motivators that have always inspired millions to march to death in battle, are colliding. The initiative for a cease-fire agreement can only come from Israel. Why must we be the ones to volunteer again? Because we are the side that is less desperate, supposedly more enlightened and, above all - stronger. CLIP

More news on what happened in Jabaliya at


Forwarded by "Mark Graffis">


From Baghdad: A Wall Street Journal Reporter's E-Mail to Friends

September 30, 2004

From Baghdad

by Farnaz Fassihi

Being a foreign correspondent in Baghdad these days is like being under virtual house arrest. Forget about the reasons that lured me to this job: a chance to see the world, explore the exotic, meet new people in far away lands, discover their ways and tell stories that could make a difference. Little by little, day-by-day, being based in Iraq has defied all those reasons. I am house bound. I leave when I have a very good reason to and a scheduled interview. I avoid going to people's homes and never walk in the streets. I can't go grocery shopping any more, can't eat in restaurants, can't strike a conversation with strangers, can't look for stories, can't drive in any thing but a full armored car, can't go to scenes of breaking news stories, can't be stuck in traffic, can't speak English outside, can't take a road trip, can't say I'm an American, can't linger at checkpoints, can't be curious about what people are saying, doing, feeling. And can't and can't. There has been one too many close calls, including a car bomb so near our house that it blew out all the windows. So now my most pressing concern every day is not to write a kick-ass story but to stay alive and make sure our Iraqi employees stay alive. In Baghdad I am a security personnel first, a reporter second.

It's hard to pinpoint when the 'turning point' exactly began. Was it April when the Fallujah fell out of the grasp of the Americans? Was it when Moqtada and Jish Mahdi declared war on the U.S. military? Was it when Sadr City, home to ten percent of Iraq's population, became a nightly battlefield for the Americans? Or was it when the insurgency began spreading from isolated pockets in the Sunni triangle to include most of Iraq? Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq remains a disaster. If under Saddam it was a 'potential' threat, under the Americans it has been transformed to 'imminent and active threat,' a foreign policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come.

Iraqis like to call this mess 'the situation.' When asked 'how are thing?' they reply: 'the situation is very bad."

What they mean by situation is this: the Iraqi government doesn't control most Iraqi cities, there are several car bombs going off each day around the country killing and injuring scores of innocent people, the country's roads are becoming impassable and littered by hundreds of landmines and explosive devices aimed to kill American soldiers, there are assassinations, kidnappings and beheadings. The situation, basically, means a raging barbaric guerilla war. In four days, 110 people died and over 300 got injured in Baghdad alone. The numbers are so shocking that the ministry of health -- which was attempting an exercise of public transparency by releasing the numbers -- has now stopped disclosing them. Insurgents now attack Americans 87 times a day.

A friend drove thru the Shiite slum of Sadr City yesterday. He said young men were openly placing improvised explosive devices into the ground. They melt a shallow hole into the asphalt, dig the explosive, cover it with dirt and put an old tire or plastic can over it to signal to the locals this is booby-trapped. He said on the main roads of Sadr City, there were a dozen landmines per every ten yards. His car snaked and swirled to avoid driving over them. Behind the walls sits an angry Iraqi ready to detonate them as soon as an American convoy gets near. This is in Shiite land, the population that was supposed to love America for liberating Iraq.

For journalists the significant turning point came with the wave of abduction and kidnappings. Only two weeks ago we felt safe around Baghdad because foreigners were being abducted on the roads and highways between towns. Then came a frantic phone call from a journalist female friend at 11 p.m. telling me two Italian women had been abducted from their homes in broad daylight. Then the two Americans, who got beheaded this week and the Brit, were abducted from their homes in a residential neighborhood. They were supplying the entire block with round the clock electricity from their generator to win friends. The abductors grabbed one of them at 6 a.m. when he came out to switch on the generator; his beheaded body was thrown back near the neighborhoods.

The insurgency, we are told, is rampant with no signs of calming down. If any thing, it is growing stronger, organized and more sophisticated every day. The various elements within it-baathists, criminals, nationalists and Al Qaeda-are cooperating and coordinating.

I went to an emergency meeting for foreign correspondents with the military and embassy to discuss the kidnappings. We were somberly told our fate would largely depend on where we were in the kidnapping chain once it was determined we were missing. Here is how it goes: criminal gangs grab you and sell you up to Baathists in Fallujah, who will in turn sell you to Al Qaeda.

In turn, cash and weapons flow the other way from Al Qaeda to the Baathisst to the criminals. My friend Georges, the French journalist snatched on the road to Najaf, has been missing for a month with no word on release or whether he is still alive.

America's last hope for a quick exit? The Iraqi police and National Guard units we are spending billions of dollars to train. The cops are being murdered by the dozens every day-over 700 to date -- and the insurgents are infiltrating their ranks. The problem is so serious that the U.S. military has allocated $6 million dollars to buy out 30,000 cops they just trained to get rid of them quietly.

As for reconstruction: firstly it's so unsafe for foreigners to operate that almost all projects have come to a halt. After two years, of the $18 billion Congress appropriated for Iraq reconstruction only about $1 billion or so has been spent and a chuck has now been reallocated for improving security, a sign of just how bad things are going here.

Oil dreams? Insurgents disrupt oil flow routinely as a result of sabotage and oil prices have hit record high of $49 a barrel. Who did this war exactly benefit? Was it worth it? Are we safer because Saddam is holed up and Al Qaeda is running around in Iraq?

Iraqis say that thanks to America they got freedom in exchange for insecurity. Guess what? They say they'd take security over freedom any day, even if it means having a dictator ruler.

I heard an educated Iraqi say today that if Saddam Hussein were allowed to run for elections he would get the majority of the vote. This is truly sad. Then I went to see an Iraqi scholar this week to talk to him about elections here. He has been trying to educate the public on the importance of voting. He said, "President Bush wanted to turn Iraq into a democracy that would be an example for the Middle East. Forget about democracy, forget about being a model for the region, we have to salvage Iraq before all is lost."

One could argue that Iraq is already lost beyond salvation. For those of us on the ground it's hard to imagine what if any thing could salvage it from its violent downward spiral. The genie of terrorism, chaos and mayhem has been unleashed onto this country as a result of American mistakes and it can't be put back into a bottle.

The Iraqi government is talking about having elections in three months while half of the country remains a 'no go zone'-out of the hands of the government and the Americans and out of reach of journalists. In the other half, the disenchanted population is too terrified to show up at polling stations. The Sunnis have already said they'd boycott elections, leaving the stage open for polarized government of Kurds and Shiites that will not be deemed as legitimate and will most certainly lead to civil war.

I asked a 28-year-old engineer if he and his family would participate in the Iraqi elections since it was the first time Iraqis could to some degree elect a leadership. His response summed it all: "Go and vote and risk being blown into pieces or followed by the insurgents and murdered for cooperating with the Americans? For what? To practice democracy? Are you joking?"

Farnaz Fassihi, a Wall Street Journal reporter sent this report as an e-mail to friends.


Date: 29 Sep 2004
From: Nita Noor>

Hi Jean,

I thought these links/articles below might be of your interest. It’s just annnotherrrr example of our ’disillusioned’ brother interference in other countries. (This time the arena is the country I am living in, Indonesia). It’s been going on for pretty long time. Be that Bush or Eisenhower; Before was the Communist, this time is Al-Terrorista. Be that Iraq, Iran or Indonesia.... The script is based on the same mind set; Fear! Some might add ‘and greed’, but I feel that greed arises from fear of not having enough!?!

Happy reading,



From: Progressive Response>
Date: 28 Sep 2004
Subject: [PR] Terrorism, Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia

By Conn Hallinan

(Editor's Note: With the recent election of former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the new president of Indonesia, the issue of strengthening U.S.-Indonesian military ties is likely to be on the agenda, something that would strengthen the forces of impunity in Indonesia, argues FPIF analyst Conn Hallinan in this excerpt below, the full version of which is available at .)

Indonesia: US Underwriting Terrorism?

by Conn Hallinan
Foreign Policy in Focus

Behind a recent, highly controversial indictment by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Bush administration is maneuvering to revive military ties with the Indonesian Army (TNI), one of the world's most oppressive institutions.

In late June, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft convinced a federal grand jury to indict Anthonius Wamang for a 2002 ambush in West Papua that killed two Americans, an Indonesian, and wounded 12 others. The indictment identifies Wamang as a commander in the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and, despite strong evidence to the contrary, clears the Indonesian military of charges that it engineered the incident.

Human rights groups, longtime observers of Indonesia, and even the Indonesian police say the indictment ignores evidence tying the ambush to the most notorious unit of the TNI, Kopassus. Indeed, rights groups charge that Wamang works for Kopassus, not the OPM.

The OPM has been fighting a low-key rebellion since Indonesia - with U.S. support - short-circuited a UN election and engineered the seizure of West Papua in 1969. West Papua is the western half of New Guinea and Indonesia's easternmost province.

The U.S. has a long relationship with the TNI, dating back to the 1965 coup that overthrew President Sukarno and led to the murder of over 500,000 Communists and leftists. According to declassified U.S. documents, American intelligence helped finger some of the coup's victims. The U.S. also supported Indonesia's violent takeover of East Timor in 1975.

The Bush administration is currently pushing Congress to fund an International Military Education and Training (IMET) program for Indonesia, but Congress is holding up the money because of Indonesia's resistance to seriously investigate the 2002 ambush.

CLIP - Read the rest at


Recommended by "Joy Rae Freeman">


George W. Bush guilty of war crimes

Michael Berglin

September 23, 2004

International Criminal Tribunal findings: George W. Bush guilty of war crimes

In the final opinion of the court, Judge Niloufer Bhagwat, rules against Bush.

Citing: George Walker Bush, President of the United States and Commander -in-Chief of US military forces for serious crimes; waging a war of aggression on Afghanistan, war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Afghan people, against prisoners of war; and the use of radioactive depleted uranium weapons of mass destruction, against the people of Afghanistan; with serious fall out effects on the military personnel of the United States, UK and other forces deployed; and on countries, in and around the region.

In a court action not seen since Nuremburg, 1946, the court issued its ruling in no uncertain terms that the US has used weapons of mass destruction, protracting an illegal military conflict, and crimes against humanity. Very serious allegations indeed.

Bush has never acknowledged this ruling, nor was the American people ever informed of it. Is the concealment an effort by Bush to keep the American people in the dark about what is really happening in the world?

In the final findings, the court said: "The Defendant [George Walker Bush] is a convicted war criminal consequently unfit to hold public office ; citizens ,soldiers and all civil personnel of the United States would be constitutionally and otherwise , justified in withdrawing all co-operation from the Defendant and his government ; and in declining to obey illegal orders of the Defendant and his administration ;including military orders threatening other nations or the people of the United States on the basis of the Nuremberg Principle, that illegal orders of Superior must not be obeyed".

The court has also faulted the US for using weapons of mass destruction; something the US invaded Iraq for in an effort to halt the creation of WDMs. The UN inspectors have said that Iraq did not have WDMs, the US can show no evidence that Iraq even had WDMs.

The court has also introduced a new word into the vocabulary of court proceedings and that is: "omnicide" - in relationship to the US's use of depleted uranium that retains it's radioactive threat for approximately 4.5 billion years. Not only are the present victims of American hostilities directly suffering the after effects of radioactive poisoning, but future generations will suffer equally.

Michael Berglin


See also:

Greg Palast: Bush Family Fortunes
Bush Family Fortunes BBC 3 documentary on the history of the Bush family and how George W. Bush got to the White House. ...


Forwarded by Holly Porter>,


The Unfeeling President

by E.L. Doctorow

September 9, 2004

I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-Day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man.

He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the 1,000 dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be.

They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life . . . they come to his desk as a political liability, which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.

How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that, rather than controlling terrorism, his war in Iraq has licensed it. So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice.

He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to.

Yet this president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing -- to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends.

A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children. He is the president who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead, he does not feel for the 35 million of us who live in poverty, he does not feel for the 40 percent who cannot afford health insurance, he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills - it is amazing for how many people in this country this president does not feel.

But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest 1 percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the quality of air in coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a-half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.

And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it.

But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneous aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over he world most of the time.

But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble.

Finally, the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail. How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

E. L. Doctorow is an American novelist. His works are noted for their mingling of American history and literary imagination through the interaction of fictional and real-life characters.



A Failed “Transition”: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War


Hot facts from the study by the Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy In Focus

The bill so far: $151 billion

U.S. military casualties (wounded and killed):
Monthly average since June 28, 2004: 747
Monthly average before the “transition”: 449

Number of U.S. troops wounded in combat since the war began: 7,413 (94% occurred after May 1, 2003)

Percentage of U.S. wounded unable to return to duty: 64%

Iraqi soldiers and insurgents killed since May 1, 2003: 24,000

Iraqi civilians killed since March 20, 2003: 12,800-14,843

Contractor death rate:
Monthly average since June 28, 2004: 17.5
Monthly average during the previous 14 months of occupation: 7.6

Number of civilian contractors killed: 154

Number of international journalists and media workers killed: 44

Number of insurgents in Iraq:
November 2003: 5,000
August 2004: 20,000

Percentage of the world’s population represented by countries (including the U.S.)
On original “Coalition of the Willing” list (March 2003): 19.1%
With forces in Iraq as of September 2004: 13.6%

Percentage of Americans who believe that the Iraq War has worsened the U.S. image in the world: 69%

Number of months the Army National Guard failed to meet recruitment goals October 2002 through May 2004: 14

Number of soldiers whose tours of duty have been extended by the Army: 20,000

Percentage of reserve troops who earn lower salaries while on deployment: 30-40%

Fraction of National Guard troops among U.S. force now in Iraq: 1/3

U.S. military casualties:
(wounded and killed)
747 monthly average since June 28, 2004
449 monthly average prior to “transition”

Percentage of U.S. police departments missing officers due to Iraq deployments: 44%

The bill so far: $151.1 billion

What $151 billion could have paid for in the U.S.:
Housing vouchers: 23 million or
Health care for uninsured Americans for one year: 27 million or
Years of salary for elementary school teachers: 3 million or
New fire engines: 678,200 or
Head Start slots for a year: 20 million

$151 billion could also pay for 2 years worth of:
Food for half the hungry people in the world and
A comprehensive global AIDS treatment and prevention program and
Clean water and sanitation throughout the developing world and
Childhood immunizations for all children in the developing world

Estimated long-term cost of war to every U.S. household: $3,415

Average monthly cost of the Vietnam War, adjusted for inflation: $5.2 billion

Average monthly cost of the Iraq War: $5 billion

Amount contractor Halliburton is alleged to have charged for meals never served to troops and for cost overruns on fuel deliveries: $221 million

Kickbacks received by Halliburton employees from subcontractors: $6 million

Effect on al Qaeda of the Iraq War, according to International Institute for Strategic Studies: “Accelerated recruitment”

Estimated number of al Qaeda terrorists as of May 2004: 18,000 with 1,000 active in Iraq

Percentage of Iraqis expressing “no confidence” in U.S. civilian authorities or coalition forces: 80%

Full report available at:

The Institute for Policy Studies is a progressive multi-issue think tank that links ideas to action for peace, justice and the environment. Foreign Policy In Focus, a joint project of the Institute for Policy Studies and the Interhemispheric Resource Center, is a “think tank without walls” that functions as an international network of more than 650 policy analysts and advocates.

IPS/FPIF, 733 15th Street NW, Suite 1020, Washington, DC 20005; 202-234-9382.

A Study by the Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy In Focus. By Phyllis Bennis and the IPS Iraq Task Force; a comprehensive accounting of
the costs of the Iraq War on the United States, Iraq, and the world. Report released September 30, 2004. Data as of September 22, 2004.



Near-miss asteroid could have wiped out Greater London area

By Charles arthur Technology Editor

30 September 2004

An asteroid measuring nearly three miles across squeezed past Earth by the astronomical equivalent of a hair's breadth yesterday.

The flypast, by the asteroid Toutatis, was the closest it will make this century, and one of the nearest by any "near-Earth object" for the next 180 years.

But astronomers warned that there are potentially thousands of much smaller objects that could devastate an area as large as the M25 region which are not being picked up because governments are failing to fund the detection of one of the greatest threats to the planet.

Toutatis is one of thousands of asteroids left over from the formation of the solar system six billion years ago which could still crash into the Earth.

Had Toutatis hit the Earth, it would have had the explosive impact of a one million megaton bomb, many times the total nuclear arsenal of the superpowers, and destroyed all life on the planet. But it's closeness is relative - it remained a little less than a million miles away.

But even smaller objects, as small as 100 to 200 metres across, could wipe out an area the size of London, warned Kevin Yates of the Near-Earth Objects group at the British National Space Centre. "Nasa has calculated that such an object will hit the Earth about once every 700 to 1,000 years," he said yesterday. "Such an object did hit the Earth in 1908, over Tunguska in Siberia, which devastated two thousand square kilometres of forest."

Dr Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer at Queen's University Belfast who wrote a report in 2000 detailing what the government should do to increase detection of such "near earth objects", said: "The search programmes now under way use relatively small telescopes, which means they can only see fairly bright objects that reflect sunlight; that means they can only detect things larger than about 200 metres across. Most of the effort, though, is being focussed on objects larger than one kilometre."

Toutatis posed little risk. The peculiar-shaped asteroid - described by one astronomer as looking like a "cosmic yam" - whizzed past at roughly four times the distance between the Earth and the Moon, precisely as astronomers had expected.

"Toutatis isn't any risk to the Earth," said Dr Yates. "It has an extremely well-known orbit, and has been observed with radio telescopes, which gives a pretty accurate prediction of where it's going."

Named after an obscure Celtic and Gallic god - whose name was then picked by the writers of the Asterix cartoon as an expletive - the asteroid measures 4.6 kilometres (2.9 miles) by 2.29 kilometres by 1.92 kilometres.

Its next close approach to the Earth will not come before 2100. The next close approach to the Earth by an identified near-Earth object will be on 26 January 2015 - when an object called 2004 BL86, discovered only this year, will pass just 800,000 miles from the Earth.



King of beasts on road to extinction?

Kenya lobbies other nations to better protect African lions

By C. Bryson Hull

Sept. 28, 2004

NAIROBI, Kenya - Even the King of Beasts needs a hand staying alive in his own domain. And Kenya, a country famed for its wildlife sanctuaries and conservation efforts, is one of the African lion’s biggest champions.

The Kenya Wildlife Service is pushing a plan to give the African lion maximum protection under a U.N. body that governs trade in endangered or threatened plants and animals.

The government will ask a gathering next month of signatories of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to give the lion its most protected status, a proposal that will face opposition from several other African nations.

“The lion population has declined by over 50 percent in the past decade, and nobody has actually brought this to international attention,” said Patrick Omondi, the Kenya Wildlife Service’s CITES coordinator.

Populated estimated at 23,000

Conservative estimates place the African lion population at 23,000, Kenya wrote in its proposal to be discussed at the CITES meeting in Bangkok from Oct 2 to 14.

Habitat destruction, the loss of prey and what Kenya calls unsustainable trophy hunting are pushing one of the world’s most feared predators closer to extinction.

An article published in the respected conservation journal Oryx earlier this year sounded the alarm.

“The number of free-ranging African lions ... has never been comprehensively assessed,” it said. “We present an inventory of available information, covering most protected areas ... This gives a conservative estimate of 16,500-30,000 free-ranging lions in Africa.”

Lions, or Panthera leo, to give them their scientific name, once prowled over a swathe of territory that included most of Africa, much of west Asia and even southeastern Europe.

The big cat’s current range in Africa is less than a third of what it was historically and today the only Asian lion population, about 300, is found in India’s Gir Forest.

Convention specifics

Kenya wants the lion placed in Appendix 1, which in the dry technical language of the convention means animals and plants in this category are threatened with extinction and their trade is banned, with very few exceptions.

The Asian lions are already listed in Appendix 1.

African lions are presently listed in the less stringent Appendix 2, and adding to the top category will allow for better management and monitoring of the population, Kenya and its supporters say.

“We want to be able to monitor the trend now,” said Winnie Kiiru, the regional representative for the Born Free Foundation, which is involved with the CITES proposal. “We don’t want to wait until we have 300 lions left and then wonder where they went.”

Since the convention’s ambit is limited to wildlife exported for primarily commercial purposes, Kenya is banking that members will consider the export of lions shot on trophy hunts as trade.

It is an important distinction to make, conservationists say, as hunting has an exaggerated effect on lion populations.

“Sport hunting focuses on the prime members of the pride. When they go hunting, they don’t look for the lame lions,” Kiiru said, adding that such targeting can weaken the genetic pool and induce stress that inhibits breeding.

South Africa among opponents

But Kenya’s efforts at the CITES meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, are expected to face opposition, particularly from southern African nations where trophy hunting is permitted —South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Esmond Martin, a Kenya-based conservationist involved with rhinoceros and elephant protection, said he expects that Kenya’s lion proposal will fail because trophy hunting cannot really be considered trade.

“The wealthy people that hunt them don’t need the money. They want to put it on the wall and show it off to their friends,” Martin said.

It is a different case altogether from the old African conservation fight over ivory, where the trophy-hunting element existed alongside the export of elephant products such as skins and tusks, he said.

South Africa, in its response to Kenya, said that trophy hunters are not exporting their kills for primarily commercial purposes, so most countries would issue an import license under an Appendix 1 listing.

Along with South Africa, Namibia also opposes Kenya’s proposal on the grounds that stronger national rules to prohibit trophy-hunting at unsustainable levels make more sense, and that the primary threat to lions is their interaction with humans.

Namibia's counterproposal

Lions often cause livestock losses outside of protected areas, pushing the cost onto the neighboring communities, Namibia’s Ministry of Tourism and Environment wrote in its response to Kenya’s proposal.

“These communities can only be expected to tolerate and conserve lions when the benefits they derive from lions outweighs the costs,” Namibia wrote.

Its solution is to open up problem lions to trophy hunting, and charge fees that are given back to lion conservancies.

“The trophy-hunting of lions outside of protected areas, and along the border of protected areas, is thus critical to maintaining a viable balance between the cost and benefit of preserving the species,” Namibia wrote.

Kenya, for its part, is willing to risk the fight to bring attention to the problem. “Sometimes it’s Kenya against everybody, and it’s quite lonely,” Kiiru said.


Global talks on protecting wildlife

Bangkok plays host from Oct. 2-14 to a U.N. meeting to regulate global trade in endangered species through what's known as CITES -- the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Click a category below for details.

• Listing species
• Mammal proposals
• Plant proposals
• Fish proposals
• Bird proposals

CITES is an agreement among 166 governments to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival and imposes controls on international trade in species.

CITES regulations apply to live animals as well as body parts, such as ivory from elephant tusks or the fur of a fox or seal.

CITES members reach their decisions by consensus but if they fail to do so it goes to a two-thirds vote for major issues and appendix listings.

Countries can also ask for a secret ballot. Such a motion must be seconded by at least 10 parties.Species covered by CITES are listed in three Appendices:-- Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. It covers 600 animal species, including tigers and great apes, and 300 plant species, ranging some types of orchids and cacti. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.-- Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled. It includes more than 4,100 animal species and 28,000 plants. It includes all primates, cats, whales, parrots, crocodiles and orchids not covered by Appendix I.

Appendix III contains 290 species that are protected in at least one country.

ELEPHANTS -- Namibia wants to be granted an annual export quota of two tonnes of ivory -- accumulated from natural deaths and culls.

WHITE RHINOS -- Swaziland wants to transfer its population of white rhinos from Appendix 1 to Appendix II to allow it to sell live animals abroad and to let foreign hunters take home trophies.LIONS -- Kenya is seeking additional protection for lion populations by transferring them to Appendix I.

WHALES -- Japan, which hunts minke whales despite a global moratorium, wants three populations of the cetaceans to be shifted to Appendix II from Appendix I to allow a resumption of trade.

LEOPARDS -- South Africa and Namibia want to increase their annual export quotas of leopards for trophy hunters. South Africa wants to up its quota to 150 from 75; Namibia wants to raise its to 250 from 100.

CHINESE YEW -- China and the United States want to tighten protection for the Chinese yew, which is the main source of the top-selling anti-cancer drug paclitaxel.

RAMIN -- Indonesia wants to place ramin, one of Southeast Asia’s main export timbers, on Appendix II because of over-logging and habitat destruction. Indonesia already has the wood on Appendix III.

HOODIA -- Namibia and South Africa want to add hoodia, a plant that acts as an appetite suppressant, to Appendix II. The listing would regulate exports of a plant that could reap huge profits for pharmaceutical companies as it holds the key to potentially lucrative anti-obesity drugs.

HUMPHEAD WRASSE -- Fiji, the European Union and the United States want the fish, which lives around coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, placed on Appendix II because of overfishing. The fish is a delicacy in parts of Asia.

GREAT WHITE SHARK -- Australia and Madagascar want to place the great white shark -- star of the Hollywood movie “Jaws” -- on Appendix II. The shark’s fins are prized for food and its teeth and jaws as trophies.

BALD EAGLE -- The United States wants to shift the bald eagle, a symbol of the United States, off Appendix I and onto Appendix II after a sharp recovery in populations since 1960. Source: Reuters


Forwarded by "Mark Graffis">


Gas prices soar as oil reserves near peak


By John Attarian

The Detroit News

The recent oil price surge underscores the economic importance of oil and the reality that oil supplies are starting to dwindle. This is an issue that no longer can be ignored.

During the past 15 years, world oil consumption rose an average of 948,000 barrels a day. It rose more this year, and the International Energy Agency forecasts higher consumption next year.

But whether supply can meet exploding demand is problematic. We are consuming oil faster than we are replacing it. Worldwide oil discovery peaked in 1965. Beginning in 1984, consumption has exceeded discovery every year.

Since 1999, the discovery of large oil and gas fields has collapsed: 16 in 2000, eight in 2001, three in 2002 and none last year.

More and more countries have peaked in their oil supply as consumption has surged. Of the 48 major oil-producing countries listed by British Petroleum, which provide 98 percent of the world's oil, 17 were past their peaks in 2003, and 31 were past their peak as of 2002.

World oil supply depends heavily on a few giant oil fields. The 14 largest supply more than 20 percent of the world's oil. The trouble is, these giants have been producing for decades, and they're getting tired. The average age of the 14 largest is almost 46 years.

Given all this, a world oil production peak cannot be far off. The only question is when it will happen. The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas predicts that regular oil will peak in 2005 and that extraction of oil of all kinds will peak in 2006. Others say it could be just a year or two after then.

Reaching a peak doesn't mean that oil is about to run out. It means that oil supply will no longer be able to meet demand, and that the shortfall will keep getting worse - unless people drastically cut consumption.

That won't be easy. Our dependence on oil is enormous. Oil is America's largest energy source, supplying almost 40 percent of our energy consumption in 2002. (All fossil fuels furnished 85.8 percent.) Nuclear power supplied 8.4 percent.

Some people put their hopes in renewable energy, but don't get your hopes up. Renewables supplied just 6.1 percent, with wind and solar energy contributing a pitiful 0.17 percent.

Oil peak and decline will mean far higher oil and gasoline prices, with obviously devastating economic consequences. Even worse is the possibility of genuine energy famine.

Americans face nothing less than the greatest economic upheaval in history. If the pessimistic forecasts are right - and the evidence points that way - oil production will peak in the next four years.

In other words, whoever is elected president in November will have to deal with this problem. But unfortunately the candidates so far have focused little attention on the problem.

John Attarian is a free-lance writer in Ann Arbor.


See also:

The 2007 Peak Oil date explained (5 October 2004)
The real point is not so much the exact date of peak but the statement that the First Half of the Oil Age, which was characterised by growing production, is about to be followed by the Second Half when oil production is set to decline along with all that depends upon it. Colin Campbell, Sept 2004. As peak oil theory begins to break in Governments and the mainstream media around the world there is some confusion as to how we have arrived at the 2007 date. CLIP

Nothing OPEC can do to bring oil down
JAKARTA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - OPEC is powerless to stop the rise in oil prices at the moment although it has about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of spare capacity to add to supplies, president Purnomo Yusgiantoro said on Tuesday. As U.S. crude rose to a record $50.17 a barrel on Tuesday, Purnomo said he had not yet had any contact with OPEC's 10 other members."At the moment there's nothing we can do. OPEC has spare capacity, however, whatever we do there is no sensitivity in the market," Purnomo, who is also Indonesian oil minister, told Reuters."OPEC has the ability to add output. There is around 1.5 million bpd of spare capacity. Saudi Arabia has the capability," he said."We are worried because there is an increase in the price of goods and services because of high oil prices. We are watching closely the price movement. If prices continue to go up, there will be a danger to the global economy," Purnomo said."I warn that high oil prices will result in the start of a recession, there are already some indications in some industrialised countries."

Stocks Lower as Oil Breaches $51/Barrel (Oct 5)
U.S. stocks closed mostly lower on Tuesday as oil prices climbed to another record and economic data showed slower-than-expected growth last month.

EXCERPTS from Post Carbon Newsletter October 2004
(...) As a reminder that it is those of us in the rich nations that will have the real problem with peak oil, a slide in one of Matt Simmons's latest and highly recommended presentations shows that the US uses over 100 times more oil per person than Bangladeshis, and nearly 30 times as much as the Chinese, who are even now trying so hard to catch up. It shows how far they would have to go, and how even with their still relatively modest use when they start to open the throttle, how much the global oil markets are now being destabilized. Indians meanwhile, consuming half the Chinese per capita level, are only just beginning. Simmons is practically begging the world to start studying peak oil and gas with the utmost seriousness.

End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream
Many people have found showing End of Suburbia in their communities helpful for raising awareness of energy issues.

Lots of Interviews on Peak Oil

The Politics of Oil
How one of the richest industries influences government and policy -- The oil and gas industry has spent more than $440 million since 1998 on campaign contributions and lobbying, as disclosed by the Center for Public Integrity .

Is The World Facing a 3rd Oil Shock?
The International Energy Agency, which studies energy for the industrialized nations, knows about peak oil. They are very concerned despite their normal public stance of denial and near ridicule of peak oil.

Solar Energy is a clean environmentally friendly source of power. Now is the time to take advantage of this abundant resource. Solar save money and conserves energy. Solar is ecological, safe and clean. Journey to Forever - how free solar energy is saving lives, saving
trees, fighting poverty and hunger in the Third World Post message on:
Recommended by "Davinder">


From: "Irregular Unit 005">
Subject: Extreme-Right Republicans' "Global Endangerment Project"
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2004

B.Z. Bywyd

Dear Editor:

The world approaches what is arguably the most crucial "election" in the history of humankind, one which will decide the direction of America's immense military and nuclear arsenal, as well as the ideals of the European colonial (ie. Roman) "Republican" political agenda. Some find in the Bush regime a frightening premonition of Hitler's Third Reich, but being brutally honest-- the Bush regime is more dangerous in the extreme.

While the Third Reich perfected political propaganda, their ends always justifying horrific means, keep in mind they didn't have a global television network, 24 hour right-wing smear-mongers, or billionaires like Rupert Murdoch pounding their message into millions of minds-- they had newsreels and posters. While Hitler had at his disposal a vast military force, with ruthless special forces and death camps, he didn't have a global satellite survelliance network, a nuclear arsenal capable of incinerating entire countries, stealth bombers, aircraft carriers, or Trident submarines. If he had, we would all be living in a much more ruthless world, pledging allegiance to the superior white race.

George W. Bush and Richard Cheney have taken us halfway around the world once again into Hitler's nightmare. This time, however, they are playing a global game of corporate Monopoly¨. The millions of citizens are but pawns in struggle between two factions of extremely wealthy and powerful elite for control of the last resources on the planet. The far-right ideologues known as "Project for a New American Century" are the reactionary revolutionaries whose motto was carved by Karl Rove into the oily political landscape: "Win at any cost." This "Cabal" has a secret army of operatives at its disposal, deploying "destabilization" around the world and hatred at home, keeping pace with another of their mottos "Order out of Chaos."

Meanwhile, the Republican extremists' appeal to American "democratic" ideals is a monstrously ludicrous exercise in cognitive dissonance. Their seizing power through a corrupted election in 2000, with a biased Supreme Court appointing the son of their benefactors, was as far from a democratic process as having a King declare himself ruler. Though they lost the popular vote, at every step the Bush regime has deployed an expoitative agenda, shredding our hard-won civil rights, environmental protections, and economic prosperity.

Make no mistake, the fate of the Earth is in the balance here, and these far-right "chickenhawks" have extended the American warfront to the point where nuclear launching is on the table as an inevitable option. Dr. Strangelove is chuckling with George Jr. in a secure underground missile base while Dick Cheney counts his Swiss accounts...

Wise up, America! The media has been squashed beneath the boots of these criminals! We aren't being told the truth about the most critical evidence of the time-- regarding the 9-11 attacks, the Saudi-corporate connections, the Bush-CIA history of drugs and corruption, or even the FACT that a former attorney general of the country (Ramsey Clark) has launched impeachment proceedings as well as war crimes indictments against the Bush regime. He can't get even 60 seconds of recognition by the corporate media!

How can a society have any chance of "election" when the citizens are overwhelmingly ignorant of the most crucial factors at stake, terrorized by a political spin-masters and corporate criminals, and decieved to an extent that can only be considered tyrannical?

Meanwhile, fellow Earthlings, the planet is reminding us that greater issues of survival are pressing on us. Our immune systems, our atmosphere, our oceans, what's left of our wildlands and forests, are all caught up in the most rapid and radical extinction since the fall of the dinosaurs.

Is it possible that the Bush regime's far-right reactionary revolution is all a carefully-scripted distraction from the needs of a suffering planet? If so, they've succeeded beyond their most arrogant ambitions.

B.Z. Bywyd

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
--George Orwell

"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe."
--H. G. Wells


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