11/19/2004

Top News 11/19/04

IRAQ
Site: Zarqawi Group Beheads Two Iraqi Soldiers
The group led by al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said it beheaded two Iraqi soldiers in broad daylight in Mosul, a statement found on an Islamist Web site on Friday said
Zarqawi's HQ had a sign on the door
Troops Find al-Zarqawi HQ In video footage shot by an embedded CNN crew, soldiers walked through one imposing building with concrete columns with a large sign in Arabic on the wall reading 'Al-Qaeda Organization' and 'There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.' Oh, dear me. You mean they put up a sign? Why not put a big bull's-eye on the roof, and arrows saying, 'Hey, over here! TERRORISTS!' (by geeksagainstbush)
Yahoo! News - US military intelligence issue pessimistic report on Fallujah offensive
Marine intelligence officials have issued a report warning that any significant withdrawal of troops from the Iraqi city of Fallujah would strengthen the insurgency, it was reported.. the assessment.. also said that.. the insurgents would continue to increase in number, carrying out attacks and fomenting unrest in the area One officer said the seven-page classified report, parts of which were provided to the daily, was "brutally honest." [The report]t also appears to contradict the US government's victorious account of the US-led fight against insurgents in Fallujah and other parts of northern Iraq. Although the resistance crumbled in the face of the offensive, the report warned, "the enemy will be able to effectively defeat I MEF's ability to accomplish its primary objectives of developing an effective Iraqi security force and setting the conditions for successful Iraqi elections." The pessimistic analysis was prepared by intelligence officers in the First Marine Expeditionary Force, or I MEF, last weekend as the offensive in Falluja was winding down, the daily said. Senior military officials in Iraq and Washington disputed the findings of the report, describing it as a subjective judgement of some Marines that did not reflect the views of all intelligence officials and commanders in Iraq.
Prime minister Iyad Allawi said there had been no civilian casualties during the battle for Fallujah
We learn that typhoid is spreading in "ghost town" Fallujah and that puppet president (unrecognised by Iraqis) Allawi laughably insists there has been not a single civilian loss in Fallujah. No wonder he's so unpopular with his people. Not even Rumsfeld or Hoon are brazen enough to make that bold a claim. Conservative estimates are currently around 2,000 Iraqi dead. The distinction between "insurgent" and "civilian" is impossible to make.
Yahoo! News - Injured Marine's Brother Granted Leave:
"HARTFORD, Conn. - U.S. military officials granted an emergency leave to a Marine fighting in Iraq (news - web sites) whose brother was seriously wounded in the assault on Fallujah and who now is hospitalized in the United States. Rep. John Larson (news, bio, voting record), D-Conn., said he confirmed the leave with the Marines on Thursday.
Bounties Offered on Americans in Iraq

A portly Shiite cleric, Abu Qusai sheds his black robe for a training suit and exchanges his white turban for a baseball cap, an effort to mask his identity for a risky trip through what has become known as the "triangle of death."
U.S., Iraqi Troops Storm Baghdad Mosque
Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. soldiers, stormed one of the major Sunni Muslim mosques in Baghdad after Friday prayers, opening fire and killing at least three people, witnesses said. In the battle for control of Mosul, Iraqi forces raided several areas overnight, killing 15 insurgents, Iraqi and U.S. military officials said.
IRAQ: The Other Face of U.S. 'Success' in Fallujah
BAGHDAD - Everyone saw it coming, only the U.S. forces did not: humanitarian disaster in Fallujah, and stronger resistance against U.S. and allied occupying forces all around Iraq..
RIGHTS: U.N. Report Slams Use of Torture to Beat Terror
UNITED NATIONS - No country can justify torture, the humiliation of prisoners or violation of international conventions in the guise of fighting terrorism, says a U.N. report released here....
The Middle East in Bible Prophecy: "You need to understand what is prophesied to yet happen in the Middle East. Whether you realize it or not, or understand it or not, events there are destined to affect the lives of every person on earth.



Election Woes
Voting Fraud Article, Part 1 of 4
NOTE: A SHORTER VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE ON HOW THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WAS HACKED AND STOLEN THIS YEARWILL RUN IN THURSDAY'S Orlando Weekly,
How the Grinch Stole the White House...Again By Alan Waldman. Despite mainstream media attempts to kill or ridicule away the story, Talk Radio and the Internet are abuzz with considerable evidence that John Kerry was elected president on November 2
OHIO Election Night 2004 : Race Detail - Absentees Huh ? It looks FISHY!!!
Statewide Totals Bush, George W. Republican 16,230 62.44% Kerry, John F. Democratic 9,644 37.11% Badnarik, Michael 65 0.25% Peroutka, Michael Anthony 52 0.20%
Group Cites Electronic Voting Problems
The record use of electronic voting machines on Nov. 2 led to hundreds of voting irregularities and shows the need for higher standards, a voting rights group said Thursday. The companies that make the electronic machines said their equipment was reliable and had relatively few problems considering the millions who cast their ballots. The Election Verification Project reviewed nearly 900 reports of electronic voting problems on Election Day, ranging from lost votes in North Carolina to miscounted votes in Ohio and breakdowns in New Orleans that caused long lines and shut down polling places. "The documented problems with touch screen machines, vote-counting irregularities and the fact that votes cannot be verified or recounted show us how vulnerable our democracy will be in the future when there are disputed or unclear results," said Kim Alexander, a project member and president of the California Voter Foundation.
Study Claims E-Voting Irregularities Found in Florida
Voting irregularities in three Florida counties that used electronic voting machines in this month's election may have awarded as many as 260,000 votes more to President George W. Bush than were expected, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

DUH!
Greenspan Warns About Trade Deficit Impact
The persistence of bloated U.S. trade deficits over time can pose a risk to the U.S. economy, which thus far has proven resilient, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned Friday. Policy-makers must not get lulled into a sense of complacency, he said
Greenspan: Appetite for Dollar to Dwindle
The insatiable foreign demand for dollar holdings would eventually fall as investors diversify, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Friday in remarks that landed hard on the dollar
Stocks Fall on Greenspan Deficit Warning
Stocks fell modestly Friday as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan sounded a warning over the nation's spiraling trade deficit.
Dollar Sags to New Record Low Vs. Euro
BERLIN - The U.S. dollar sagged to another record low against the euro Thursday, fueling speculation that the European Central Bank may stage a risky intervention in currency markets to prop up the dollar and protect Europe's export-driven recovery.  
Leading Indicators Down for 5th Month
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A key forecasting gauge of future U.S. economic activity fell for a fifth straight month in October, a private research group said on Thursday.  The Conference Board said its index of leading indicators fell 0.3 percent in October to 115.1, a fifth straight monthly decline. The index fell by a matching 0.3 percent in both September and August. The September figure was downwardly revised from a previously reported drop of 0.1 percent. "A fifth straight decline in the leading indicators is a clear signal that the economy is losing steam, and may start off 2005 with a relatively weak pace of economic activity," Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said in a statement. Wall Street economists surveyed by Reuters had expected a more modest decline in October of 0.1 percent.


New W Order


QUOTE OF THE DAY
================
The present [U.S.] missile defense approach is utterly useless against ICBMs of new or existing nuclear powers because midcourse countermeasures are so effective. -- --Richard Garwin, scientist and former member of the 1998 U.S. Ballistic Missile Threat Commission


Pentagon Finds First Responders Inadequately Prepared for WMD Attacks Against Army Bases 
(And army bases are all that our government seems to be protecting at this point. -Uni)
US expert says he was pressured to stifle negative study on Vioxx
An expert with the US Food and Drug Administration said he was pressured by his agency to stifle study results showing the potential dangers of the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx.
FDA Reviewer Says 5 Drugs Need Closer Scrutiny
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewer who has accused the agency of being lax in monitoring drug safety on Thursday said five medicines on the market need closer scrutiny Dr. David Graham, speaking at a Senate hearing, singled out Abbott Laboratories Inc.'s weight-loss drug Meridia, AstraZeneca's cholesterol fighter Crestor, Pfizer Inc.'s arthritis treatment Bextra, Roche's acne drug Accutane and GlaxoSmithKline's asthma drug Serevent.
1/3 of Bush Fund-Raisers Got Appointments
One-third of President Bush's top 2000 fund-raisers or their spouses were appointed to positions in his first administration, from ambassadorships in Europe to seats on policy-setting boards, an Associated Press review found
FDA Failed Public on Vioxx -- Scientist
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration failed to protect the public from Merck & Co. Inc.'s now-withdrawn painkiller Vioxx and is incapable of guarding America from dangerous drugs, a veteran FDA researcher told Congress on Thursday.
EPA Back Seven Chemicals As Lesser Evils
The Environmental Protection Agency is lowering regulatory barriers to encourage broader commercial use of seven chemicals that previously were considered toxic, smog-forming or hazardous (
One solvent, ethylene glycol mono-butyl ether, or EGBE, Another chemical, t-butyl acetate, or TBAC Four other chemical compounds — HFE-7000, HFE-7500, HFC-227ea and methyl formate — were also excluded from being defined as VOCs under the Clean Air Act. They are used as refrigerants, fire suppressants and propellants.) . Separately, the EPA said it was taking phosmet off its list of "extremely hazardous substances". It does not alter regulation of phosmet as a pesticide used on crops such as fruit and nuts.
Diplomats: Iran Is Readying Nuke Processes
Iran is using the last few days before it must stop all uranium enrichment to produce significant quantities of a gas that can be used to make nuclear weapons, diplomats said Friday

Bush to Take Security Plan to Asia Meeting
President Bush, meeting with Asian-Pacific leaders, is seeking more international backing to both persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions and to take concrete steps to cripple terrorist networks around the world.
Afghan Opium Cultivation Reaches Record High-UN 
Afghanistan's opium cultivation jumped 64 percent to a record 324,000 acres this year and drug exports now account for more than 60 percent of the economy, the United Nations drugs office said Thursday.


v


SECURITY GUARDS AND CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE (CRS) -(pdf)
Much of the burden of protecting the nation's critical facilities against terrorist attack falls on approximately one million security guards and other security personnel. A new report from the Congressional Research Service examines their adequacy to the task, including questions of training, authority, salary, and more.Summary
The Bush Administration’s 2003 National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets indicates that security guards are “an important source of protection for critical facilities.” In 2003, approximately one million security guards (including airport screeners) were employed in the United States. Of these guards, analysis indicates that up to 5% protected what have been defined as “critical” infrastructure and assets. The effectiveness of critical infrastructure guards in countering a terrorist attack depends on the number of guards on duty, their qualifications, pay and training. Security guard employment may have increased in certain critical infrastructure sectors since September 11, 2001, although overall employment of U.S. security guards has declined in the last five years. Contract guard salaries averaged $19,400 per year in 2003, less than half of the average salary for police and well below the average U.S. salary for all occupations. There are no U.S. federal requirements for training of critical infrastructure guards other than airport screeners and nuclear guards. Twenty-two states do require basic training for licensed security guards, but few specifically require counter-terrorism training. State regulations regarding criminal background checks for security guards vary. Sixteen states have no background check regulations.
American values - The triumph of the religious right
It may look like that, but liberals should think again before despairing
A moral majority? Not really
    But they hardly formed a moral majority. Look at the figures: the moralists' share of the electorate was only 22%, just two points more than the share of those who cited the economy, and three points more than those who nominated terrorism as the top priority. A few points difference (and the exit polls are, after all, not entirely reliable) and everyone would have been saying the election was about jobs or Iraq.
    Moreover, that 22% share is much lower than it was in the two previous presidential elections, in 2000 and 1996. Then, 35% and 40%, respectively, put moral or ethical issues top, and a further 14% and 9% put abortion first, an option that was not given in 2004. Thus, in those two elections, about half the electorate said they voted on moral matters; this time, only a fifth did.
    Of course, in those previous elections there was no war on terrorism, nor had there just been a recession. So one could argue that it was remarkable that even a fifth of voters were still concerned about moral matters when so many other big issues were at stake. Maybe, but all that this means is that the war on terrorism has not fundamentally altered, or made irrelevant, the cultural, moral and religious divisions that have polarised America for so long.


OTHER NEWS
CLARKE TESTIMONY FROM 2002 DECLASSIFIED (pdf)
    Classified testimony on the threat from Al Qaeda that was presented
by then-White House adviser Richard A. Clarke in 2002 to the
Congressional Joint Inquiry into September 11 was declassified and
posted yesterday on the web site of the Senate Intelligence
Committee.
NGA PURSUES CONTROL OF UNCLASSIFIED SATELLITE IMAGERY
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) contacted a private web site this week to advise that a one year old commercial satellite image of the Iraqi city of Fallujah should not have been publicly disclosed even though it is unclassified and should not be further distributed. John Young of Cryptome.org noted the incident and republished the unclassified image in question here:
Secret Complex Exists Underneath Belgrade
A probe into the mysterious shooting of two soldiers has revealed the existence beneath the Serbian capital of a secret communist-era network of tunnels and bunkers that could have served as recent hideouts for some of the world's most-wanted war crimes suspects.
Cheap Antibiotic Works Well with HIV Children
A low-cost antibiotic which has performed well in tests should be given to all HIV children in developing countries to prevent infections such as pneumonia and reduce deaths, scientists said on Friday
Sudan, Rebels Agree to End Civil War
Rebel officials and the Sudanese government committed themselves Friday to ending the 21-year civil war in southern Sudan before January, signing an agreement at a special meeting of the U.N. Security Council in Africa
Melting Glaciers Threaten World Water Supply
Mountain glaciers, which act as the world's water towers, are shrinking at ever faster rates, threatening the livelihoods of millions of people and the future of countless species, a scientist said Thursday

Drizzle of Shooting Stars Expected Friday Morning
This week brings us the return of the famous Leonid Meteor Shower, a meteor display that over the past several years has brought great anticipation and excitement to sky watchers around the world
N.Korea Says Kim Portrait Reports a 'U.S. Plot'
Some diplomats in the North Korean capital and experts in the South said this week portraits of Kim had been removed from some public places, starting as far back as August, in what may be a bid to soften the personality cult surrounding Kim. North Korean Foreign Ministry official, Ri Gyong-son, was quoted as saying  "The words are an intrigue that the United States and its attaching countries want to overthrow the DPRK," he added, referring to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "General Kim Jong-il is the fate of the Korean people and the DPRK's socialism, it is unimaginable that DPRK people and army can separate their fates from Kim Jong-il," he said. "It is nothing but stupid and ridiculous acts just like trying to remove the sun from the sky.
UN Short-Circuits U.S.-Led Drive to Ban Cloning
U.S. efforts to secure a global treaty banning the cloning of human embryos, including for stem cell research, were dealt a major setback on Thursday when U.N. diplomats agreed to work for a political declaration on the issue instead
IRA 1974 Pub Bombings Were Wrong, Says Sinn Fein
The Irish Republican Army's (IRA) political ally Sinn Fein said on Thursday the 1974 bombing of two English pubs was wrong, raising expectations the guerrillas will issue an apology on the 30th anniversary of the attacks.

Russia to Acquire Unique Nuclear Weapon, Putin Says

North Korea Could Give Up Nuclear Program, Roh Says


Odd Bits

CNN.com - That moose may soon be just a mouse click away - Nov 16, 2004
HOUSTON, Texas (Reuters) -- Hunters soon may be able to sit at their computers and blast away at animals on a Texas ranch via the Internet, a prospect that has state wildlife officials up in arms.

CNN.com - 'Virgin Mary' sandwich back on eBay - Nov 16, 2004
MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- The people at eBay were no believers in this cheesy miracle: half of a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich whose owner claimed it bore the image of the Virgin Mary.
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