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Employees Bring Own Toilet Paper to Work
Workers Are Bringing Their Own Toilet Paper to Government Building Because County Can't Afford It
The Associated Press
Mar. 17, 2005 - The Buffalo area's county budget crisis is taking a toll on the bathrooms in at least one public building.

Erie County has had to slash 2,000 jobs and cut back on services in order to close a more than million budget shortfall.

In the Rath Building in downtown Buffalo, workers report that the bathrooms aren't being cleaned or maintained. One longtime worker in the building tells Buffalo's WGRZ-TV that there's no soap, paper towels or toilet paper in the restrooms.

The Rath Building is home to many county offices, including those of County Executive Joel Giambra, the Department of Social Services and the Health Department.

It's so bad, some county employees are bringing in their own toilet paper and other supplies. The worker told WGRZ that's "like working in another country a bad country."


Tests Negative in Pentagon Anthrax Scare
Tests on Military Mail Facilities in Washington Come Back Negative for Anthrax, Officials Say

The Associated Press
Mar. 16, 2005 - An apparent mix-up at a military laboratory is being blamed for the scare that closed three area mail facilities that handle Pentagon-bound mail, and prompted nearly 900 workers to receive antibiotics.

The two-day scare that recalled the fatal bioterrorism attacks of 2001 turned out to be a false alarm after definitive tests at two facilities came back negative Tuesday for the deadly spores.

Officials believe the confusion stemmed from a mistake at a Defense Department laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md. Officials there apparently mixed up a sample of actual anthrax that is kept on hand for comparison purposes with the sample taken from a Pentagon mailroom, a senior administration official said.

Later tests proved negative and officials realized their error, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Warning signs at the two Pentagon mail facilities on Monday led to the comprehensive testing. Nearly 900 workers were given precautionary antibiotics, and officials closed three mail facilities at the Pentagon and in Washington.

"We have nothing to suggest anything remotely like the events of October 2001, and we hope that with further information we'll be able to completely rule out any threat at all," Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant defense secretary for health affairs, said.

Winkenwerder said some additional tests remained incomplete. All tests that have been completed on samples from both Pentagon facilities have come back negative, he said.

Workers who were advised to take antibiotics would be told to stop if those tests also proved negative, Winkenwerder said.

In the meantime, area hospitals were advised to look out for respiratory problems, rashes and flu-like symptoms that could signal exposure to anthrax.

In 2001 anthrax-by-mail attacks killed five people and panicked Americans still raw from the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, scores of initial tests in government mailrooms have falsely reported anthrax. But this week's alarm was set off by two alert systems that independently suggested the presence of the bacteria what officials now believe was a coincidence.

First, a filter on a device that screens mail for chemical and biological agents on the Pentagon grounds tested positive for anthrax. Separately, an alert was set off at a nearby satellite mail processing facility. Officials set out to retest the initial filter and gathered additional samples from the facilities for testing.

Initially, tests suggested anthrax might be present, according to a counterterrorism official close to the investigation. Subsequent testing of both the initial filter and of other samples at both locations came back negative, Winkenwerder said.

"We're very encouraged with the information that we now have in hand," he said.

As a precaution, antibiotics were given to 166 employees at a post office processing center in the District of Columbia and to about 700 workers at the facility on the Pentagon grounds in Arlington, Va., and the satellite facility several miles away in Fairfax County, Va.

Virginia officials said they received fewer than 10 calls from concerned residents, perhaps indicating a change in how the public confronts a potential crisis. State homeland security director George W. Foresman said the government response to the scare on the local, state and federal levels was far better coordinated than in 2001.

"The unfortunate reality of when we have an event like this is we become better honed in our skill set in dealing with it," Foresman said.

Anthrax can be spread through contact with the skin. A more serious form of the disease, inhalation anthrax, is contracted by breathing in spores. After the 2001 attacks, health officials concluded that some people can contract the disease through exposure to a small number of the microbes.

Associated Press Writer Lara Jakes Jordan contributed to this report



Protests Against the US War in Iraq Take Place Around the World

London, Mar 19 (Prensa Latina) Protests have been taking place across the world Saturday marking two years since the beginning of the US-led war on Iraq, according to reports monitored here.

Thousands of people turned out in Japan and Australia to protest their countries´ involvement in Iraq and demand the return of each country´s soldiers home.

People have been gathering in London for a rally that is expected to attract tens of thousands, with events also taking place across Europe and in the U.S., the reports highlight.

Anti-war protesters also gathered in London´s Hyde Park on Saturday for a march.

The American peace movement, also joined by families of the veterans of the Iraq war, have organized rallies in 750 cities in all the Union´s 50 states.

More than 4,500 people marched in Tokyo during a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"The Self-Defence Force [Japan´s military] should withdraw from Iraq immediately... and the occupation of Iraq should be stopped," said Ken Takada, a member of civic group World Peace Now.

In Greece, unions and left-wing groups organised marches on the streets of Athens, while in Istanbul, Turkey, an estimated 15,000 people marched against the war. In Stockholm, Sweden, hundreds of people challenged the cold weather and turned out to display their anger over the war.

In the US, the Troops Out Now Coalition said it had won the right to march through New York´s s Central Park and on to the mansion of the city´s mayor, Michael Bloomberg.

Americans have gather in more than 725 communities, in all 50 states, to mourn the devastating losses and call for an immediate pullout of the troops from Iraq.

The unprecedented number and geographic spread of these events reflect the growing breadth of U.S. peace organizing, which is reaching into more communities than it ever has.

Veterans and family members of active-duty soldiers organized a rally against the war in Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of Fort Bragg.

US House backs higher war spending

Thursday 17 March 2005, 2:00 Makka Time, 23:00 GMT

Bush could get billion more for defence than he asked for

The US House of Representatives has approved an .4 billion war spending bill - nearly billion more than what President George Bush had sought for defence.

The House voted 388-43 for the bill that includes a measure rejecting Bush's plan to use part of the money to build an embassy in Iraq, potentially delaying construction.

"The bill involves sizable amounts of money designed essentially to support our troops wherever they may be but especially in the Middle East," said House Appropriations Committee chairman Jerry Lewis, a California Republican.

The Senate must approve its version of the bill and then the two chambers will have to work out differences before it can become law. The Senate is expected to start work on it next month.

"I thank the House for its quick action and look forward to working with the Senate so that all of my top priorities are included in the final legislation," Bush said in a statement.

War bill

If approved, the bill would bring to almost billion the amount Congress has authorised in emergency war spending since US-led forces invaded Iraq in March 2003.

The bulk of the funds - billion - would cover defence costs to help pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That money, $1.8 billion more than Bush asked for, would be used to buy new weapons, body armour and medical supplies for troops.

The bill particularly provides for
US troops in the Middle East

Democrats largely supported the Republican-written bill but said Congress was not providing enough oversight of how the money was being spent.

They cited a military audit released on Monday that said leading US defence contractor Halliburton, once headed by Vice-President Dick Cheney, may have overcharged the US
government by more than million under a no-bid oil deal in Iraq.

Cost cutting

Republican lawmakers who wrote the bill have had to balance spending pressures with a request by Bush and some conservative Republicans for fiscal discipline to bring down the record budget deficit.

In an effort to cut costs, the House measure bars the White House from using million in the bill to build a Baghdad embassy.

The bill cuts million Bush had asked for to reward war allies. In a statement, the White House asked the House to put it back, saying it would help partners such as Poland and Slovakia.

Lawmakers also left out million the president requested for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan and chopped million for counter-narcotics projects. The bill provides million for anti-drug programmes and police training in that country.

The bill additionally cuts million Bush asked for to pay for US participation in an international debt relief plan for countries hit by the Asian tsunami. The bill left intact million in tsunami disaster relief.


Ahmad Umar Ali is accused of plotting to kill President Bush

A northern Virginia man who admitted to Saudi police he joined al-Qaida and plotted to assassinate US President George Bush wants a forensic examination of scars on his back.

Ahmad Umar Ali, 23, insists an examination would prove that Saudi officials had extracted a confession about the assassination plot from him through torture.

Ali's lawyer filed a motion on Monday seeking "immediate access to medical, psychological and forensic experts to examine and evaluate Mr Abu Ali for evidence of torture".

The motion was filed at Ali's arraignment in US District Court, where he pleaded innocent to providing material support to terrorists and other charges. The six-count indictment handed down last month could result in up to 80 years in prison.

Al-Qaida link

Prosecutors say Ali, a US citizen, joined al-Qaida while studying overseas in Saudi Arabia and that he discussed "numerous terrorist acts" with other al-Qaida members, including a plan in which he would either shoot President Bush or detonate a car bomb.

Other discussions included a September 11-style attack in which planes would be hijacked from Britain or Australia and flown to targets in the United States.

An FBI agent testified at a previous hearing that Ali had admitted his guilt multiple times in interviews with Saudi and American authorities.

But Ali's lawyers say the government's evidence was obtained through torture and beatings he endured while in Saudi custody. Ali has said he was whipped by Saudi authorities.

Prosecutors have denied that Ali was mistreated.

US District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said he would hold a hearing on the defence's request, possibly as soon as Friday.


Ex-caregiver charged in Florida girl's killing
Authorities haven't found body of missing Rilya Wilson

CNN | March 17, 2005

MIAMI, Florida -- A woman faces a murder charge in the case of a missing 4-year-old girl whose disappearance prompted harsh criticism of Florida's child-welfare system, a prosecutor said.

Authorities discovered they had lost track of Rilya Wilson in April 2002 -- 15 months after a caregiver said she turned the child over to a state agency. Rilya's body has never been found.

One of the girl's caretakers, Geralyn Graham, has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said Wednesday.

Graham also faces previous kidnapping and child abuse charges in the case.

Graham's attorney, Brian Tannebaum, called the charges "all lies," saying his client was shocked.

Graham, who is serving a prison sentence for fraud, maintains she gave Rilya to a Florida child welfare worker in January 2001 after asking that the state take charge of the child due to behavioral problems.

The state insists it has no record of anyone from the Florida Department of Children & Families picking the girl up. But Florida officials also admit they lost track of her in the state system.

The indictment accuses Graham of killing Rilya in December 2000, saying the girl was beaten and suffocated.

After Graham was charged six months ago with kidnapping and child abuse, she made admissions to someone in prison, "and that became another key ingredient in this prosecution," Fernandez Rundle said in a statement.

"We feel that we have her admissions, and we have some corroboration. ... So we feel very confident," Fernandez Rundle told reporters Wednesday.

Police have found "sufficient evidence" that the girl was dead by the time her disappearance was discovered, the state attorney's office said.

"You all know there is no crime scene, there is no body in this case, but we feel very comfortable in our charges here," Fernandez Rundle said.

"Our grand jury has heard the facts and determined that Rilya's disappearance was the result of an act of violence and has indicted the child's former caretaker," she said.

"We do know that she passed away in a very painful way."

Prosecutors said they can't release evidence to back up their findings.

Graham is serving a prison sentence on convictions for identity and Medicaid fraud -- for accepting payments on Rilya's behalf after she no longer had the child in her care.

Defense attorney Tannebaum said: "The state has made it clear they want to keep my client in jail for the rest of her life. My understanding is the state is saying in their press release that they have not found this child. So I don't know what new evidence they have."

He added, "I don't know who testified before the grand jury. I don't know what evidence was presented. All I know is that they've charged my client with murder, and they have not found a body."

Rilya's father, Manville Cash, said he does not believe investigators' conclusions about his daughter's fate.

"I don't think she's dead," said Cash, who was serving a prison sentence for a drug conviction at the time the child disappeared.




Claims brain-injured woman said she wants to live

World Net Daily | March 19 2005

An attorney for Terri Schiavo said the severely brain-injured woman cried and yelled out that she wants to live after being told today her life-sustaining feeding tube was about to be removed by court order.

Barbara Weller was in Terri Schiavo's room at the Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., when the encounter took place, according to activist Randall Terry, who spoke with WorldNetDaily from outside the building as demonstrators continued a vigil.

If true, the report apparently refutes the court's finding that Terri Schiavo is in a "persistant vegetative state" and cannot currently express her wishes. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, contends she had indicated she would not want to live in such a condition, but parents Robert and Mary Schindler dispute that and suspect he is responsible for the 1990 incident in which oxygen to her brain was temporarily cut off, causing severe brain damage.

Weller essentially told Terri Schiavo, "You had better say you want to live or they will kill you. Just say you want to live."

Schiavo responded with a drawn out, "IIIIII," then screamed out "waaaaaaaa" so loudly that a police officer stationed outside the room came in.

The officer then ordered Weller removed from the room, according to Terry.

The event was witnessed by Terri Schiavo's sister Suzanne Vitadamo and Suzanne's husband Michael.

"I talked to Suzy and Michael, and they both said it was unbelievable," Terry said. "It was very articulate, for Terri, but they also say this is normal [for her to communicate]."

Terry explained the family says Schiavo often is talkative, though similar to a 10-month-old.

"The words usually are not discernable, but she's responsive to commands, uses slow diction and her voice lilts to show emotion and context," he said.

Weller teared up after hearing Schiavo respond today, Terry said, and indicated Schiavo was crying.

Terry has established a website, with information about how to get involved, including phone numbers of lawmakers and details of a rally and lobby-training sessions to be held next week in the Florida capital, Tallahassee, beginning Monday.

"We need people there Monday night, people who have never lobbied before, to come, and we're going to be begging the [Florida] Senate to get its act together," Terry said.

Doctors removed Terri Schiavo's feeding tube today to carry out her estranged husband's requested court order.

Barring an intervention, she is expected to live another week to 10 days.

The tube removal came after a Florida judge blocked an eleventh-hour end-run waged by members of House and Senate panels, ruling the device can be removed immediately.

Early this morning, the House Government Reform Committee decided to launch an investigation into the case and issued subpoenas that order doctors and the administrator at the hospice facility not to remove her feeding tube and keep her alive until the investigation is complete.

At the same time, the Senate Health Committee also requested Terri and Michael Schiavo appear at an official committee hearing March 28.

As a result, minutes before the 1 p.m. EST deadline for the tube removal passed Pinellas Circuit Court Judge David Demers ordered the feeding tube remain in place while presiding Judge George Greer addresses the matter of the congressional subpoenas in a court hearing.

But an hour later, Greer disregarded the subpoenas and again ordered the feeding tube pulled.




Barcode Babies: Microchip Implantation in Hospitals

Mobile Health Data | March 14, 2005

Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center will become the second provider organization that can read radio frequency identification chips embedded in patients. The 683-bed, not-for-profit provider plans to test the VeriChip system--from Delray Beach, Fla.-based Applied Digital--in its emergency department.

The technology can read the vendor's RFID chips that have been implanted underneath a patient's skin, between the elbow and shoulder. Each VeriChip contains a 16-digit identification number assigned by Applied Digital.
Hackensack will map patients' VeriChip numbers to their medical records number. The provider then will be able to access patient data from their electronic medical records system, which is in development, by scanning them with the vendor's reader to find their chip number. The chip numbers will be mapped to patients' electronic records ID numbers.

Hackensack already has a patient who has volunteered to be implanted with the VeriChip. Molly Phillips, who was diagnosed with diabetes as a child, will receive a chip this week. Phillips' father, Nicholas Minicucci Jr., is the founder and president of the MOLLY Foundation, a fund-raising initiative for the provider's MOLLY Center for Children with Diabetes and Endocrine Disorders.



Big Brother Airport Tech: X-Ray Screeners and Sweat Sensors
Reuters | March 14, 2005
By Mark Trevelyan

MALVERN, England - The "suicide bomber" clips a shrapnel-filled belt around his waist and buttons up his jacket to conceal it.

As he turns back and forth in front of a semi-circular white panel, about the size of a shower cubicle, a computer monitor shows the metal-packed cylinders standing out clearly in white against his body.

This is no real security alarm: it's a demonstration at the British technology group QinetiQ of a scanning device that sees under people's clothes to spot not just metal but other potential threats like ceramic knives or hidden drugs.
The electromagnetic technology, known as Millimeter Wave (MMW), is just one aspect of a potential revolution in security screening being pioneered at QinetiQ, formerly part of the research arm of the British defense ministry.

"Actually, detecting a suicide bomber in the lobby of an airport is not a great thing to happen," Simon Stringer, new managing director of QinetiQ's security business, says with British understatement.

"It's slightly better than having him do it in the departure lounge or perhaps on the plane, but you're still doing to have to deal with a significant problem."

That's why, he says, the trend for the future will be to move the scanners outside the terminal building and operate them in "stand-off mode" -- checking people from a distance before they even set foot inside.

The advantage is obvious: to spot potential attackers without alerting them to the fact, and gain precious seconds for security forces to prevent an attack.


Another prospect in store for air travelers is "hyperspectral sensing" that will check for chemicals called pheromones, secreted by the human body, which may indicate agitation or stress.

"People under stress tend to exude slightly different pheromones, and you can pick this up ... There are sensing techniques we're working on," Stringer said.

The stress may have an innocent cause, such as fear of flying, but could also betray the nervousness of a potential attacker. The point is to alert security staff to something unusual that may need further investigation.

As with MMW, the technology could function at a distance and without the need for people to wait in line. By conducting such checks while people are approaching the airport and moving through it, authorities could avoid bottlenecks and queues.


As the passenger proceeds through the terminal, the next layer of surveillance could be carried out through "cognitive software" which monitors his or her movements and sounds a silent alarm if it picks up an unusual pattern.

"Someone who's been back in and out of the same place three times or keeps bumping into the same people might be something that's worthy of further investigation ... I think that's really the sort of capabilities we're going to be looking at," Stringer said in an interview.

While many of these technologies are still under development, others have already been rolled out to clients by QinetiQ, which made group operating profit of 28 million pounds (.9 million) in the six months to last September.

Millimeter wave, for example, has been tested at airports and, in a different application, is being used by British immigration authorities and Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel to detect illegal immigrants trying to enter the country as stowaways in the back of trucks.

Stringer says the potential market for MMW runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars and goes well beyond the transport sector.

"We're spending quite a lot of time talking to multinationals who want to establish perimeter security systems around plant, installations and buildings," he said.

QinetiQ -- owned 30 percent by private equity group Carlyle and 56 percent by the British government -- expects rapid growth for its security business as it gears up for a stock market launch.


But how will ordinary people embrace the prospect of surveillance technology that sees through their clothes, checks how much they're sweating and tracks their airport wanderings between the tax-free shops and the toilets?

Stringer acknowledges that some might see this as George Orwell's Big Brother come true. "There are always going to be issues of privacy here and they're not to be belittled, they're important."

But he says smarter technology will actually make the checks less intrusive than those now in standard practice, such as being searched head to foot after setting off a metal detector alarm.

"Personally I find that more irritating than the idea of someone just scanning me as I walk through," he said.

"You're under surveillance in airports anyway. What you're looking at here is just being applied more intelligently."



Bush Defends Packaged News Stories from Government
Reuters | March 17 2005

President Bush said on Wednesday that the U.S. government's practice of sending packaged news stories to local television stations was legal and he had no plans to cease it.

His defense of the packages, which are designed to look like television news segments, came after they were deemed a form of covert propaganda by the Government Accountability Office watchdog agency.

GAO, an arm of Congress, said this ran counter to appropriation laws and was a misuse of federal funds.

But Bush cited a Justice Department opinion that disagreed with the GAO.

"There is a Justice Department opinion that says these -- these pieces -- are within the law, so long as they're based upon facts, not advocacy," the president told a news conference.

Among the packages the GAO looked at was one produced by the Health and Human Services Department to promote the Medicare prescription drug law. The story included a paid actor who narrated the piece in a similar style to the way a television reporter would.

"The entire story package was developed with appropriated funds but appears to be an independent news story," the agency said.

It added that some stations were airing such pieces without a disclaimer saying they were produced by the government.

Bush said government agencies, such as the Agriculture Department and the Department of Defense, had been producing such videos for a long time and he said it was appropriate so long as they were "based upon a factual report."

He said it was up to the local news stations to disclose that the segments were produced by the government.

It was not the first time the Bush administration has been criticized for blurring the line between media and government. Earlier this year, the Education Department acknowledged that it paid conservative commentator Armstrong Williams ,000 to promote the No Child Left Behind Act.


Children were held at Iraq Torture prison
Associated Press | March 11, 2005

WASHINGTON - A boy no older than 11 was among the children held by the Army at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, the former U.S. commander of the facility told a general investigating abuses at the prison.

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski did not say what happened to the boy or why he was imprisoned, according to a transcript of her interview with Maj. Gen. George Fay that was released by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The transcript of the May 2004 interview was among hundreds of pages of do*****ents about Iraq prisoner abuses the group made public Thursday after getting them under the Freedom of Information Act.

Karpinski, who was in charge of Abu Ghraib from July to November 2003, said she often visited the prison's youngest inmates. One boy ``looked like he was 8-years-old,'' Karpinski said.

``He told me he was almost 12,'' Karpinski said. ``He told me his brother was there with him, but he really wanted to see his mother, could he please call his mother. He was crying.''

Military officials have acknowledged that some juvenile prisoners had been held at Abu Ghraib, a massive prison built by Saddam Hussein's government outside Baghdad. But the transcript is the first do*****ented evidence of a child no older than 11 being held prisoner.

Military officials have said that no juvenile prisoners were subject to the abuses captured in photographs from Abu Ghraib. But some of the men shown being stripped naked and humiliated had been accused of raping a 14-year-old prisoner.

The new do*****ents offer rare details about the children whom the U.S. military has held in Iraq. Karpinski said the Army began holding women and children in a high-security cellblock at Abu Ghraib in the summer of 2003 because the facility was better than lockups in Baghdad where the youths had been held.

The do*****ents include statements from six witnesses who said three interrogators and a civilian interpreter at Abu Ghraib got drunk one night and took a 17-year-old female prisoner from her cell. The four men forced the girl to expose her breasts and kissed her, the reports said. The witnesses - whose names were blacked out of the do*****ents given to the ACLU - said those responsible were not punished.

Another soldier said in January 2004 that troops poured water and smeared mud on the detained 17-year-old son of an Iraqi general and ``broke'' the general by letting him watch his son shiver in the cold.

On another subject, Karpinski said she had seen written orders to hold a prisoner that the CIA had captured without keeping records. The do*****ents released by the ACLU quote an unnamed Army officer at Abu Ghraib as saying military intelligence officers and the CIA worked out a written agreement on how to handle unreported detainees. An Army report issued last September said investigators could not find any copies of any such written agreement.

The Pentagon has acknowledged holding up to 100 ``ghost detainees,'' keeping the prisoners off the books and away from humanitarian investigators of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he authorized it because the prisoners were ``enemy combatants'' not entitled to prisoner of war protections.

The ACLU has sued Rumsfeld on behalf of four Iraqis and four Afghans who say they were tortured at U.S. military facilities. Rumsfeld and his spokesmen have repeatedly said that the defense secretary and his aides never authorized or condoned any abuses.

Six enlisted soldiers have pleaded guilty to military charges for their roles in abuses at Abu Ghraib, and Pvt. Charles Graner Jr. was convicted at a court-martial this year and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Karpinski, one of the few generals to be criticized in Army detainee reports for poor leadership, quoted several senior generals in Iraq as making callous statements about prisoners.

Karpinski said Maj. Gen. Walter Wodjakowski, then the No. 2 Army general in Iraq, told her in the summer of 2003 not to release more prisoners, even if they were innocent.

``I don't care if we're holding 15,000 innocent civilians. We're winning the war,'' Karpinski said Wodjakowski told her. She said she replied: ``Not inside the wire, you're not, sir.''



Abu Ghraib Prisoner Looked Like He Was 8 Years Old
ASSOCIATED PRESS | March 11, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Children held by the U.S. Army at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison included one boy who appeared to be only about 8 years old, the former commander of the prison told investigators, according to a transcript.

"He looked like he was 8 years old. He told me he was almost 12," Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski told officials investigating prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. "He told me his brother was there with him, but he really wanted to see his mother, could he please call his mother. He was crying."

Karpinski's statement is among hundreds of pages of Army records about Abu Ghraib that the American Civil Liberties Union released Thursday. The ACLU got the do*****ents under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records about abuse of prisoners in Iraq.

Karpinski didn't say what happened to the boy in her interview with Maj. Gen. George Fay. Military officials have previously acknowledged that some juvenile prisoners had been held at Abu Ghraib, a prison built by deposed President Saddam Hussein's government outside Baghdad.

Military officials have said no juvenile prisoners were subject to the abuses captured in photographs from Abu Ghraib. However, some of the men shown being stripped naked and humiliated had been accused of raping a 14-year-old prisoner.

The do*****ents released Thursday offer rare details about the children the U.S. military has held in Iraq. Karpinski said the Army began holding women and children in a high-security cell block at Abu Ghraib in the summer of 2003 because the facility was better than lockups in Baghdad where they had been held.

The do*****ents also include statements from six witnesses who said three interrogators and a civilian interpreter at Abu Ghraib got drunk one night and took a 17-year-old female prisoner from her cell. The four men forced the girl to expose her breasts and kissed her, the reports said. The witnesses -- whose names were blacked out of the do*****ents -- said those responsible were not punished.

On another subject, Karpinski said she had seen written orders to hold a prisoner that the CIA had captured without keeping records.

The do*****ents released by the ACLU also quote an unnamed Army officer at Abu Ghraib as saying military intelligence officers and the CIA worked out a written agreement on unreported prisoners. An Army report issued in September said investigators could not find any such agreement.

The Pentagon has acknowledged holding up to 100 "ghost detainees," keeping them off the books and away from humanitarian investigators from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he authorized the practice because the prisoners were "enemy combatants" not entitled to prisoner of war protections.

RESERVIST TRIAL: Army Pfc. Lynndie England, who was shown in photographs of Iraqi prisoners being humiliated, will go on trial May 3, officials at Ft. Hood, Texas, said Thursday.

England, a 22-year-old reservist, faces up to 16 1/2 years in prison if convicted at a general court-martial of nine counts involving acts at the Abu Ghraib prison in 2003.


Ex-caregiver charged in Florida girl's killing
Authorities haven't found body of missing Rilya Wilson
Thursday, March 17, 2005 Posted: 10:43 AM EST (1543 GMT)

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- A woman faces a murder charge in the case of a missing 4-year-old girl whose disappearance prompted harsh criticism of Florida's child-welfare system, a prosecutor said.

Authorities discovered they had lost track of Rilya Wilson in April 2002 -- 15 months after a caregiver said she turned the child over to a state agency. Rilya's body has never been found.

One of the girl's caretakers, Geralyn Graham, has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said Wednesday.

Graham also faces previous kidnapping and child abuse charges in the case.

Graham's attorney, Brian Tannebaum, called the charges "all lies," saying his client was shocked.

Graham, who is serving a prison sentence for fraud, maintains she gave Rilya to a Florida child welfare worker in January 2001 after asking that the state take charge of the child due to behavioral problems.

The state insists it has no record of anyone from the Florida Department of Children & Families picking the girl up. But Florida officials also admit they lost track of her in the state system.

The indictment accuses Graham of killing Rilya in December 2000, saying the girl was beaten and suffocated.

After Graham was charged six months ago with kidnapping and child abuse, she made admissions to someone in prison, "and that became another key ingredient in this prosecution," Fernandez Rundle said in a statement.

"We feel that we have her admissions, and we have some corroboration. ... So we feel very confident," Fernandez Rundle told reporters Wednesday.

Police have found "sufficient evidence" that the girl was dead by the time her disappearance was discovered, the state attorney's office said.

"You all know there is no crime scene, there is no body in this case, but we feel very comfortable in our charges here," Fernandez Rundle said.

"Our grand jury has heard the facts and determined that Rilya's disappearance was the result of an act of violence and has indicted the child's former caretaker," she said.

"We do know that she passed away in a very painful way."

Prosecutors said they can't release evidence to back up their findings.

Graham is serving a prison sentence on convictions for identity and Medicaid fraud -- for accepting payments on Rilya's behalf after she no longer had the child in her care.

Defense attorney Tannebaum said: "The state has made it clear they want to keep my client in jail for the rest of her life. My understanding is the state is saying in their press release that they have not found this child. So I don't know what new evidence they have."

He added, "I don't know who testified before the grand jury. I don't know what evidence was presented. All I know is that they've charged my client with murder, and they have not found a body."

Rilya's father, Manville Cash, said he does not believe investigators' conclusions about his daughter's fate.

"I don't think she's dead," said Cash, who was serving a prison sentence for a drug conviction at the time the child disappeared.

County Official Wants Ban On Smokers Getting Government Jobs

Tony Phyrillas | March 17 2005

A Republican county official in Pennsylvania wants to ban smokers from applying for government jobs. Why stop at smokers? How far will Big Brother go eliminate to undesirable personal habits?

In the fictional world of George Orwell’s "Nineteen Eighty-Four," Big Brother is everywhere, controlling all aspects of a person’s life. Around every corner in the totalitarian state of Orwell’s Oceania, giant posters stare back at you with the ominous warning, "Big Brother is watching you."

If Jim Matthews gets his way, the nightmarish world of "Nineteen Eighty-Four" may soon become a reality in Montgomery County. Jim Matthews is the big brother of maniacal talk-show host Chris Matthews of MSNBC fame. Jim Matthews is also the chairman of the Board of Commissioners in Montgomery County, just outside Philadelphia.

In a move believed to be the first of its kind in the country, Big Brother Matthews floated the idea of adopting a policy that would ban the hiring of smokers for county jobs.

We're not talking about people who smoke during work hours or sneak a cigarette during their lunch break. If you smoke any time, any place — whether it’s in the privacy of your home or at your favorite tavern or in your car — don’t bother applying for any of the 3,200 full-time jobs Montgomery County offers.

Matthews, a Republican, says he’s trying to save taxpayers some money by reducing the number of smokers employed by the county. He thinks there’s nothing wrong with banning smokers because their habit is bad for their health and leads to higher premiums paid by the county.

I’m not a smoker. Never have smoked and have no desire to start. And I don’t enjoy breathing in second-hand smoke. But there’s something inherently wrong about government telling people how to live their lives on their own time.

Is there any more punishment we can inflict on the estimated 47 million Americans who smoke? The government already taxes cigarettes to the point where a pack of smokes costs .50 in New York City. Let’s be up front about those taxes. The government will tell you it’s trying to discourage smoking by placing such burdensome taxes on tobacco, but it’s just an easy way to tax a group that isn’t organized enough to fight back.

Smokers have suffered much humiliation at the hands of government in recent years. They’ve been chased from restaurants, bars and all manner of public buildings. They can’t smoke in airplanes or taxis or buses. Private employers have followed suit, forcing smokers into back alleys or ledges for a quick drag. You almost feel sorry for smokers.

If you carry Big Brother Matthews reasoning to its logical conclusion, people won’t be able to smoke in the privacy of their own homes. I can’t wait until this case gets to the Supreme Court, which previously plucked the "right to privacy" from the Constitution even though those words don’t appear anywhere in the do*****ent. Where is a person’s right to privacy if your boss can fire you for a lifestyle choice not connected to your job performance?

Big Brother Matthews is riding a slippery slope. If smokers are banned from the workplace, who would be next? What about fat people? Obesity is a public health crisis in the United States. Are we nearing the day when workers will have to get on a scale every morning before they start work?

What other undesirables are lurking in the cubicles of offices or assembly lines? If a guy goes home after a hard day at the office and has a few beers, shouldn't his boss know about that? What about a person with tattoos? Shouldn’t Big Brother Matthews be worried about hiring these kind of people? And will the policy cover "elected" county employees, such as Big Brother Matthews, who quit smoking two years ago, but chews nicotine gum to curb his craving?

There are other "vices" besides smoking. How can you single out one? What about people who buy lottery tickets? That’s gambling, isn’t it? Aren’t gamblers prone to stealing from their employer to feed their habits? Oh, wait. The lottery is government-sponsored gambling. Never mind. It's OK to gamble as long as the government gets the money.

What if someone starts smoking after they’re hired? Will Big Brother Matthews order county detectives to follow suspected smokers after they leave work? Will he set up surveillance of workers on weekends and holidays? Will he round up employees who try to wolf down a Big Mac or a Whopper? Maybe the county should hire only vegetarians.

What if a top county administrator is having an extra-marital affair and Big Brother Matthews' secret police get pictures of the indiscretion? Is the tryst OK as long as the philanderer doesn't light up a cigarette after leaving a motel room? Is there anything wrong with frequenting a strip club as long as you don't smoke?

How far is Big Brother Matthews willing to go to invade the privacy of a worker? And why stop at vices? Shouldn’t Montgomery County impose limits on how many children workers can have? After all, those dependents cost the county money when they're added to the health plan.


Did a federal agent ban anti-Bush signs in downtown storefronts?

Memphis Flyer | March 13 2005

“The man who called was very polite and nice,” says John Gasquet, owner of Empire coffee at 2 N. Main in Downtown Memphis. “He said he was special agent Something-or-other. He said that due to the fact that in some states the President had been to, there were issues of security regarding area businesses, he was calling businesses to tell them not to put up any negative signs in their windows that were negative toward President Bush. He said there were designated areas of protest and this would cut down on the possibility of problems.”

Gasquet didn’t have any negative signs in his window, and he hadn’t been planning on posting any signs at all. As a businessman—about to pass his business off to new owners—it didn’t seem logical to post material that might antagonize half his clientele.

“I thought sure, okay. Fine. But then it started to irritate me. I’m a veteran… I’ve served my country. I was happy to do it and I would do it again. And it bugged me that someone from the Federal Government would try to tell me not to do this.”

As Gasquet understood it, his job as a soldier had been to defend the Constitution, not a pet policy of this or any administration. By his estimation the first amendment under attack. He wanted to make and post a sign that showed respect for the office of President, but still got the message across.

The sign Gasquet posted notified customers that Empire had been contacted by a federal agent and told not to display any anti-Bush signage. In smaller letters it said, “We would like to remind the agent of our first amendment rights.” No action was taken against Empire coffee for displaying the sign, and the authenticity of the caller is still in question.

Customers who saw Gasquet’s sign started telling him that other businesses in the area had been contacted and given similar instructions. No other local incidents have been confirmed at this time. After information concerning the call broke on the Internet on Saturday morning Empire received a call from another business owner in Alabama who had been contacted by "the feds."

“This was one of four things,” Gasquet says. “It was either a federal agent acting in an official capacity. It could have been an agent acting in an unofficial capacity—a cowboy. It might have been an enthusiastic Bush supporter or somebody from the right side of the political spectrum who really thought he was trying to make things better for the President. Or it could have even been someone on the Left trying to agitate.”

Gasquet and others who have received similar calls will be discussing their polite, but unnerving calsl with Sam Seder (sitting in for Randi Rhodes) on Monday afternoon. Gasquet has also been interviewed by NPR, and Salon.

EU fusses over cyberhumans
By Lester Haines
Published Thursday 17th March 2005 14:25 GMT
The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) has called for regulation of the field of "information and communication technologies" (ICT) implants in humans, citing privacy and data protection concerns surrounding the burgeoning technology.

An EGE presentation to the EU today claims: "ICT implants, due to their network capability could be misused in several ways for all kinds of social surveillance or manipulation." It further notes that ICT implants can be used for medical and other purposes. In both cases, informed consent is required, but: "This information should not only concern possible benefits and health risks but also risks that such implants could be used to locate people and/or obtain access to information stored in these devices without the permission of the individuals in whom the devices are implanted."

Rather worryingly, the EGE continues: "The idea of placing ICT devices 'under our skin' in order not just to repair but even to enhance human capabilities gives rise to science fiction visions with threat and/or benefit characteristics. However, in some cases, the implantation of microchips with the potential for individual and social forms of control is already taking place."

An example? Well, the EGE offers the brain implants developed to control tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease, which show that "ICT implants may influence the nervous system and particularly the brain and thus human identity as a species as well as individual subjectivity and autonomy".

It's not that the EGE is opposed to such medical applications, but is making the "general point that non-medical applications of ICT implants are a potential threat to human dignity and democratic society". Accordingly, the EGE declares:

Currently, non-medical ICT implants in the human body are not explicitly covered by existing legislation, particularly in terms of privacy and data protection. In the EGE’s view, implantable devices for medical purposes should be regulated in the same way as drugs when the medical goal is the same, particularly as such implants are only partly covered by Council Directive 90/385/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to active implantable medical devices. The EGE recommends that the European Commission should launch legislative initiatives in these areas of ICT implant applications.

The EGE insists that surveillance applications of ICT implants may only be permitted if the legislator considers that there is an urgent and justified necessity in a democratic society and that there are no less intrusive methods. Nevertheless, the EGE does not favour such uses and considers that surveillance applications, under all cir*****stances, must be specified in legislation, and that surveillance procedures in individual cases should be approved and monitored by an independent court.

So what of Kevin Warwick - aka Captain Cyborg - and his ongoing attempts to create an unregulated cyberhuman? Fear not, the EGE has it covered:

ICT implants could be used to enhance physical and mental capabilities. Efforts should be made to make sure that such ICT implants are not used to create a two class society or to increase the gap between the industrialized countries and the rest of the world. Access to ICT implants for enhancement should only be for the purpose of bringing children or adults into the “normal” range for the population (normal meaning the conditions that generally prevail and that are not caused by genetic malfunction, disease or deficiency and lacking observable abnormalities), if they so wish and have given their informed consent.

Which pretty well sounds the death knell for Warwick's plan to surgically enhance himself for the greater benefit of humanity. Good show.


AS OF TODAY, it seems virtually certain that anthrax scares at two Defense Department postal facilities on Monday were false alarms, odd though that coincidence may be. But the procedures followed in both cases still reveal a great deal about how well the national capital region, with its confluence of federal, state and local agencies, managed what could have been a health crisis. Unexpectedly, they may have also revealed a deep gap between military and civilian approaches to bioterrorism.

First, the good news: Enormous progress has been made since October 2001, when the first -- and still unsolved -- anthrax attack took place in Washington. The mere fact that the Pentagon's mailrooms are no longer inside the Pentagon itself is a big advantage. The screening systems also represent an advance. Last time around, nobody realized that postal workers were even endangered until some of them became sick. This time postal facilities were immediately shut down and workers were issued antibiotics. Both the Pentagon and local authorities were prepared for this kind of crisis and had the right equipment to deal with it.

But while it seems that the Defense Department worked well with Arlington County police -- who agree that they have had ample time to train and practice with the agency -- the Pentagon failed to coordinate its initial activity with the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Health and Human Services and its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not only were the latter not informed of the first incident for several hours, it isn't clear that the Pentagon ever intended to rely on them anyway. Apparently, the Pentagon has developed its own system of gauging and dealing with threats. This system depends heavily on private contractors, whose labs not only sounded the first false-positive alarm on Monday morning but let some mail circulate before establishing that it was safe to do so. The Pentagon has no explanation for that lapse, or for the fact that neither federal public health authorities nor Fairfax County police were aware of the first incident until after the second one took place in their jurisdiction. The Pentagon says it informed all relevant law enforcement agencies in good time, but if some didn't get the message, something is seriously wrong with the communication system.

The post hoc examinations of the incident may reveal more. But it is already clear that deeper and more frequent cooperation among all of the region's federal and local authorities has to be a critical part of emergency preparedness. It is also time to ask why the Pentagon has felt the need to develop, in effect, its own internal biohazard detection procedures, separate from those of the rest of the country. Does the Pentagon not think that DHS and HHS are up to the job?

Fujitsu sees biometric future in palms

C Net | March 16 2005

HANNOVER, Germany--Cross Fujitsu's palm with silver, and you'll get a biometric scanner that identifies people by looking at the veins in the hands.

The infrared scanner, the Contactless Palm Vein Authentication System, was on display at the CeBit trade show here Friday. It can read palms from a short distance with few restrictions on hand positioning, within certain limits--something Fujitsu says previous scanners have struggled with.

Fujitsu explained that vein patterns are difficult to forge, and it claimed that the scanner was more hygienic than other scanners because it requires no physical contact to read palms.

It works using infrared light to scan for hemoglobin, which provides oxygen to cells in the body, the company said. Reduced hemoglobin absorbs near-infrared rays, so on the image it shows up as black, with the rest of the hand colored white.

The scanner took two years to develop. Japanese biometric engineers said the hardest part was getting the scanner to read veins that constantly move and change shape. The system had a false rejection rate of 1 percent and a false acceptance rate of 0.5 percent when tested on 700 people aged from 10 years old to 70 years old.



Groups ask Columbia to oppose Patriot Act

The State | March 17 2005

A coalition of local political activists wants Columbia City Council to pass a symbolic resolution opposing the USA Patriot Act.

“The act creates an unfunded mandate,” said Denyse Williams, president of the S.C. branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. “Police power is directed away from local problems to enforcing the act.”

More than 370 cities and four states have passed resolutions in opposition to the Patriot Act, according to a national advocacy group leading the effort.

City Council members gave no indication Wednesday they intend to add Columbia to that list. No S.C. cities have passed such a resolution.

“You’ve got to show there is a local connection before City Council should take time to discuss it,” Mayor Bob Coble said.

Congress passed the Patriot Act months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to give law enforcement authorities more powers to investigate terrorism. The Justice Department credits the act with helping prevent new terrorist attacks since Sept. 11, 2001.

Opponents, however, have called the act an attack on civil liberties because it gives law enforcement easier access to people’s personal records and places political activists under greater government scrutiny.

Coble, a Democrat who briefly ran for U.S. Senate, said he does not have a personal opinion on the Patriot Act. But he said if he was convinced that the Patriot Act had detrimental effects on Columbia, he would support a resolution opposing it.

Councilman Hamilton Osborne said the city should not be involved.

“The debate regarding constitutionality should take place in the courts, not in City Council,” he said. “If we start engaging in debates to suit our own political purposes, we’re misusing public resources.”

City Council heard from Williams — speaking for at least 30 organizations seeking the resolution — but took no action Wednesday.

Other organizations supporting the effort include local chapters of the NAACP, the AFL-CIO, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Carolina Peace Resource Center.

Williams said similar efforts are under way in Beaufort and Charleston.



Hackers target U.S. power grid
Government quietly warns utilities to beef up computer security

The Washington Post | March 11, 2005
By Justin Blum

WASHINGTON - Hundreds of times a day, hackers try to slip past cyber-security into the computer network of Constellation Energy Group Inc., a Baltimore power company with customers around the country.

"We have no discernable way of knowing who is trying to hit our system," said John R. Collins, chief risk officer for Constellation, which operates Baltimore Gas and Electric. "We just know it's being hit."

Hackers have caused no serious damage to systems that feed the nation's power grid, but their untiring efforts have heightened concerns that electric companies have failed to adequately fortify defenses against a potential catastrophic strike. The fear: In a worst-case scenario, terrorists or others could engineer an attack that sets off a widespread blackout and damages power plants, prolonging an outage.

Patrick H. Wood III, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, warned top electric company officials in a private meeting in January that they need to focus more heavily on cyber-security. Wood also has raised the issue at several public appearances. Officials will not say whether new intelligence points to a potential terrorist strike, but Wood stepped up his campaign after officials at the Energy Department's Idaho National Laboratory showed him how a skilled hacker could cause serious problems.

Wood declined to comment on specifics of what he saw. But an official at the lab, Ken Watts, said the simulation showed how someone could hack into a utility's Internet-based business management system, then into a system that controls utility operations. Once inside, lab workers simulated cutting off the supply of oil to a turbine generating electricity and destroying the equipment.

Describing his reaction to the demonstration, Wood said: "I wished I'd had a diaper on."

Growing concerns
Many electric industry representatives have said they are concerned about cyber-security and have been taking steps to make sure their systems are protected. But Wood and others in the industry said the companies' computer security is uneven.

"A sophisticated hacker, which is probably a group of hackers . . . could probably get into each of the three U.S. North American power [networks] and could probably bring sections of it down if they knew how to do it," said Richard A. Clarke, a former counterterrorism chief in the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Clarke said government simulations show that electric companies have not done enough to prevent hacking. "Every time they test, they get in," Clarke said. "It's nice that the power companies think that they've done things, and some of them have. But as long as there's a way to get into the grid, the grid is as weak as its weakest company."

Some industry analysts play down the threat of a massive cyber-attack, saying it's more likely that terrorists would target the physical infrastructure such as power plants and transmission lines. James Andrew Lewis, director of technology policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the District, said a coordinated attack on the grid would be technically difficult and would not provide as much "bang for the buck" as high-profile physical attacks. Lewis said the bigger vulnerability may be posed not by outside hackers but by insiders who are familiar with their company's computer networks.

But in recent years, terrorists have expressed interest in a range of computer targets. Al Qaeda documents from 2002 suggest cyber-attacks on various targets, including the electrical grid and financial institutions, according to a translation by the IntelCenter, an Alexandria firm that studies terrorist groups.

Power grid seen as vulnerable
A government advisory panel has concluded that a foreign intelligence service or a well-supported terrorist group "could conduct a structured attack on the electric power grid electronically, with a high degree of anonymity, and without having to set foot in the target nation," according to a report last year by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

Cyber-security specialists and government officials said that cyber-attacks are a concern across many industries but that the threat to the country's power supply is among their top fears.

Hackers have gained access to U.S. utilities' electronic control systems and in a few cases have "caused an impact," said Joseph M. Weiss, a Cupertino, Calif.-based computer security specialist with Kema Inc., a consulting firm focused on the energy industry. He said computer viruses and worms also have caused problems.

Weiss, a leading expert in control system security, said officials of the affected companies have described the instances at private conferences that he hosts and in confidential conversations but have not reported the intrusions publicly or to federal authorities. He said he agreed not to publicly disclose additional details and that the companies are fearful that releasing the information would hurt them financially and encourage more hacking.

Weiss said that "many utilities have not addressed control system cyber-security as comprehensively as physical security or cyber-security of business networks."

The vulnerability of the nation's electrical grid to computer attack has grown as power companies have transferred control of their electrical generation and distribution equipment from private, internal networks to supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, systems that can be accessed through the Internet or by phone lines, according to consultants and government reports. That technology has led to greater efficiency because it allows workers to operate equipment remotely.

Other systems that feed information into SCADA or that operate utility equipment are vulnerable and have been largely overlooked by utilities, security consultants said.

Some utilities have made hacking into their SCADA systems relatively easy by continuing to use factory-set passwords that can be found in standard documentation available on the Internet, computer security consultants said.

The North American Electric Reliability Council, an industry-backed organization that sets voluntary standards for power companies, is drafting wide-ranging guidelines to replace more narrow, temporary precautions already on the books for guarding against a cyber-attack. But computer security specialists question whether those standards go far enough.

Officials at several power companies said they had invested heavily in new equipment and software to protect their computers. Many would speak only in general terms, saying divulging specifics could assist hackers.

"We're very concerned about it," said Margaret E. "Lyn" McDermid, senior vice president and chief information officer for Dominion Resources Inc., a Richmond-based company that operates Dominion Virginia Power and supplies electricity and natural gas in other states. "We spend a significant amount of time and effort in making sure we are doing what we ought to do."

Executives at Constellation Energy view the constant hacking attempts -- which have been unsuccessful -- as a threat and monitor their systems closely. They said they assume many of the hackers are the same type seen in other businesses: people who view penetrating corporate systems as fun or a challenge.

"We feel we are in pretty good shape when it comes to this," Collins said. "That doesn't mean we're bulletproof."

Old equipment may be a threat
The biggest threat to the grid, analysts said, may come from power companies using older equipment that is more susceptible to attack. Those companies many not want to invest large amounts of money in new computer equipment when the machines they are using are adequately performing all their other functions.

Security consulting firms said that they have hacked into power company networks to highlight for their clients the weaknesses in their systems.

"We are able to penetrate real, running, live systems," said Lori Dustin, vice president of marketing for Verano Inc., a Mansfield, Mass., company that sells products to companies to secure SCADA systems. In some cases, Dustin said, power companies lack basic equipment that would even alert them to hacking attempts.

O. Sami Saydjari, chief executive of the Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.-based consulting firm Cyber Defense Agency LLC, said hackers could cause the type of blackout that knocked out electricity to about 50 million people in the Northeast, Midwest and Canada in 2003, an event attributed in part to trees interfering with power lines in Ohio. He said that if hackers destroyed generating equipment in the process, the amount of time to restore electricity could be prolonged.

"I am absolutely confident that by design, someone could do at least as [much damage], if not worse" than what was experienced in 2003, said Saydjari, who was one of 54 prominent scientists and others who warned the Bush administration of the risk of computer attacks following Sept. 11, 2001. "It's just a matter of time before we have a serious event."




Hospitals reluctant to deploy RFID

Healthcare sector will stick to barcodes for another six years, finds report
Robert Jaques, 25 Mar 2004

The majority of hospitals are unable to integrate radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies for drug tracking due to cost and other concerns, according to a recent study.

Research from Provizio found that hospitals will continue to rely on barcode technology for another six years.

"Our conversations with many healthcare providers reveal a common difficulty to justify the cost outlay for the more expensive, but clearly promising, RFID technology," said Dr Tim Rhodes, president and healthcare practice leader at Provizio.

"Today, barcode technology has many advantages due to its lower cost and capability to use much of the already existing IT infrastructure within hospitals. Hospitals are already working with vendors to implement it."

But Provizio suggested that RFID technology could bring important advances, such as the ability to prevent mix-ups with prescriptions.

"RFID will eventually replace barcode technology at the bedside, but it will take time for RFID vendors to create a lower cost, end-to-end solution for hospitals to easily adopt," said Dr Rhodes.




How Television Controls
And Programs Minds
Turn Off Your Television
By L. Wolfe
The subconcscious is powerful. It is aware of every particle and detail around you. But it doesn't know the difference between fact or fiction and acts on all information passing through the conscious mind as fact, and responds to it. So what do you think happens when you watch silly, moron, goofy commercials and television programs? They are training your thought processes.
Hey buddy, I'm talking to you. Yes, you, the guy sitting in front of the television. Turn down the sound a bit, so that you can hear what I am saying. Now, try to concentrate on what I am going to say. I want to talk to you about your favorite pastime. No, it's not baseball or football, although it does have something to do with your interest in spectator sports. I'm talking about what you were just doing: watching television.
Do you have any idea about how much time you spend in front of the television set? According to the latest studies, the average American now spends between five and six hours a day watching television. Let's put that in perspective: that is more time than you spend doing anything else but sleeping or working, if you are lucky enough to still have a job.
That's more time than you spend eating, more time than you spend with your wife alone, more time than with the kids. It's even worse with your children. According to these same studies, young children below school age watch more than eight hours each day. School age children watch a little under eight hours a day. In 1980, the average 20-year-old had watched the equivalent of 14 months of television in his or her brief lifetime. {That's 14 months, 24 hours a day.}
More recent figures show that the numbers have climbed: the 20-year-old has spent closer to two full years of his or her life in front of the television set. At the same time, the researchers have noted a disturbing phenomena. It seems that we Americans are getting progressively more {stupid}. They note a decline in reading and comprehension levels in all age groups tested. Americans read less and understand what they read less than they did 10 years ago, less than they have at any time since research began to study such things.
As for writing skills, Americans are, in general, unable to write more than a few simple sentences. We are among the least literate people on this planet, and we're getting worse. It's the change--the constant trendline downward--that interests these researchers. More than one study has correlated this increasing stupidity of our population to the amount of television they watch.
Interestingly, the studies found that it doesn't matter what people watch, whether it's ``The Simpsons'' or ``McNeil/Lehrer,'' or ``Murphy Brown'' or ``Nightline':' the more television you watch, the {less literate, the more stupid} you are. The growth in television watching had surprised some of the researchers. Back a decade ago, they were predicting that television watching would level off and might actually decline. It had reached an absolute saturation point.
They were right for so-called network television; figures show a steady dropoff of viewership. But that drop is more than made up for by the growth of cable television, with its smorgasbord of channels, one for almost every perversion. Especially in urban and suburban areas, Americans are hard-wired to more than 100 different channels that provide them with all news, like CNN, all movies, all comedy, all sports, all weather, all financial news and a liberal dose of straight pornography.
The researchers had also failed to predict the market penetration of first beta and then VHS video recorders; they made it possible to watch one thing and record another for later viewing. They also offered access to movies not available on networks or even cable channels as well as home videos, recorded on your own little camcorder. The proliferation of home video equipment has involved families in video-related activities which are not even considered in the cumulative totals for time Americans spend watching television.
You might not actually realize how much you are watching television. But think for a moment. When you come home, you turn the television on, if it isn't on already. You read the paper with it on, half glancing at what is on the screen, catching a bit of the news, or the plot of a show. You eat with it on, maybe in the background, listening for a score or something that happens to a character in a show you follow.
When something you are interested in, a show or basketball game, is on, the set becomes the center of attention. So your attention to what is on may vary in intensity, but there is almost no point when you are home, and inside, and have the set completely off. Isn't that right? The studies did not break down the periods of time people watched television, according to the intensity of their viewing.
But the point is still made: you compulsively turn the television on and spend a good portion of your waking hours glued to the tube. And the studies also showed that many people can't sleep without the television turned on! Brainwashing Now, I'm sure you have heard that watching too much television is bad for your health. They put stories like that on the evening news. Bad for your eyes to stare at the screen, they say. Especially bad if you sit too close. Well, I want to make another point.
We've already shown that you are addicted to the tube, watching it between six and eight hour a day. But it is an addiction that {brainwashes} you. There are two kinds of brainwashing. The one that's called {hard} brainwashing is the type you're most familiar with. You've got a pretty good image of it from some of those old Korean war movies. They take some guy, an American patriot, drag him into a room, torture him, pump him full of drugs, and after a struggle, get him to renounce his country and his beliefs. He usually undergoes a personality change, signified by an ever-present smile and blank stare.
This brainwashing is called {hard} because its methods are overt. The controlled environment is obvious to the victim; so is the terror. The victim is overwhelmed by a seemingly omnipotent external force, and a feeling of intense isolation is induced. The victim's moral strength is sapped, and slowly he embraces his torturers. It is man's moral strength that informs and orders his power of reason; without it, the mind becomes little more than a recording machine waiting for imprints. No one is saying that you have been a victim of {hard} brainwashing. But you have been brainwashed, just as effectively as those people in the movies. The blank stare? Did you ever look at what you look like while watching television?
If the angle is right, you might catch your own reflection in the screen. Jaw slightly open, lips relaxed into a smile. The blank stare of a television zombie. This is {soft} brainwashing, even more effective because its victims go about their lives unaware of what is being done to them. Television, with its reach into nearly every American home, creates the basis for the mass brainwashing of citizens, like you.
It works on a principle of {tension and release}. Create tension, in a controlled environment, increasing the level of stress. Then provide a series of choices that provide release from the tension. As long as the victim believes that the choices presented are the {only} choices available, even if they are at first glance unacceptable, he will nevertheless, ultimately seek release by choosing one of these unacceptable choices. Under these circumstances, in a brainwashing, controlled environment, such choice-making is not a ``rational'' experience. It does not involve the use of man's creative mental powers; instead man is conditioned, like an animal, to respond to the tension, by seeking release.
The key to the success of this brainwashing process is the regulation of both the tension and the perceived choices. As long as both are controlled, then the range of outcomes is also controlled. The victim is induced to walk down one of several pathways acceptable for his controllers. The brainwashers call the tension-filled environment {social turbulence}. The last decades have been full of such {social turbulence}--economic collapse, regional wars, population disasters, ecological and biological catastrophes. {Social turbulence} creates crises in perceptions, causing people to lose their bearings.
Adrift and confused, people seek release from the tension, following paths that appear to lead to a simpler, less tension-filled life. There is no time in such a process for rational consideration of complicated problems. Television is the key vehicle for presenting both the tension and the choices. It brings you the images of the tension, and serves up simple answers. Television, in its world of semi-reality, of illusion, of escape from reality, {is itself the single most important release from our tension-wracked existence.} Eight hours a day, every day, through its programming, you are being programmed.
If you doubt me, think about one important choice that you have made recently that was not in some way influenced by something that you have seen on television. I bet you can't think of one. That's how controlled you are. Who's Doing It But don't take my word for it. Ten years ago we spoke to a man from a think tank called the Futures Group in Connecticut. Hal Becker had spent more than 20 years of his life manipulating the minds of the leaders of our society. Listen to what he said: {``I know the secret of making the average American believe anything I want him to. Just let me control television.
Americans are wired into their television sets. Over the last 30 years, they have come to look at their television sets and the images on the screen as reality. You put something on television and it becomes reality. If the world outside the television set contradicts the images, people start changing the world to make it more like the images and sounds of their television.
Because its influence is so great, so pervasive, it has become part of our lives. You lose your sense of what is being done to you, but your mind is being shaped and moulded.''} ``Your mind is being shaped and moulded.'' If that doesn't sound like brainwashing, I don't know what is. Becker speaks with the elan of a network of brainwashers who have been programming your lives, especially since the advent of television as a ``mass medium'' in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
This network numbers several tens of thousands worldwide. Occasionally one appears on the nightly news to tell you what {you} are thinking, by reporting the latest ``opinion polls.'' But for the most part, they work behind the scenes, speaking to themselves and writing papers for their own internal distribution. And though they work for many diverse groups, these brainwashers are united by a common world view and common method. It is the world view of a small elite, whose financial and political power rests in institutions that pass this power on from generation to generation.
They view the common folk like yourself as little better than beasts of burden to be controlled and manipulated by a semi-feudal international oligarchy, whose wealth, power and bloodlines entitle them to rule. One of the oligarchy's institutions for manipulation of populations is located in a suburb of London called Tavistock. The Tavistock Institute for Human Relations, which also has a branch in Sussex, England, is the ``mother'' for much of this extended network, of which Becker is a member. They are the specialists in {both} hard and soft brainwashing.
The Tavistock Institute is the psychological warfare arm of the British Royal household. The oligarchs behind Tavistock, and similar outfits in the United States and elsewhere, are determined that you should be a television addict, sucking up a daily dose of brainwashing from the ``tube;'' that is how they control you. Like his fellow brainwashers, Becker prides himself in knowing the minds of his victims.
He calls them ``saps.'' Man, he told an interviewer, should be called ``homo the sap.'' ``Soft'' brainwashing by television works through power of suggestion. Television watching creates a state of drugged-like oblivion to outside reality. The mind, its perceptions dulled by habituated viewing, is ready to accept any new illusion of reality as presented on the tube. The mind, in its drugged-like stupor of television watching, is prepared to accept that the images that television {suggests} as reality {are} reality. It will then struggle to form fit a contradictory reality into television image, just as Becker claims. Another Tavistock brainwasher, Fred Emery, who studied television for 25 years, confirms this.
The television signal itself, he found, puts the viewer in this state of drugged-like oblivion. Emery writes: ``Television as a media consists of a constant visual signal of 50 half-frames per second. Our hypotheses regarding this essential nature of the medium itself are:
``1) The constant visual stimulus fixates the viewer and causes the habituation of response. The prefrontal and association areas of the cortex are effectively dominated by the signal, the screen.
``2) The left cortical hemisphere--the center of visual and analytical calculating processes--is effectively reduced in its functioning to tracking changing images on the screen.
``3) Therefore, provided, the viewer keeps looking, he is unlikely to reflect on what he is doing and what he is viewing. That is, he will be aware, but unaware of his awareness....
``In other words, television can be seen partly as the technological analogue of the hypnotist.''
The key to making the brainwashing work is the {repetition of suggestion} over time. With people watching the tube for 6 to 8 hours a day, there is plenty of time for such repeated suggestion. Some Examples Let's look at an example to make things a bit clearer. Think back about 20 years ago. Think about what you thought about certain issues of the day. Think about those same issues today; notice how you seemed to change {your} mind about them, to become more tolerant of things you opposed vehemently before.
It's your television watching that changed your mind, or to use Becker's terms, ``shaped your perceptions.''
Twenty years ago, most people thought that the lunacy that is now called environmentalism, the idea that animals and plants should be protected on an equal basis with human life, was screwy. It went against the basic concept of Christian civilization that man is a higher species than and distinct from the animals, and that it is man, by virtue of his being made in the image of the living God, whose life is sacred.
That was 20 years ago. But now, many people, maybe even you, seem to think otherwise; there are even laws that say so. This contrary, anti-human view of man being no more than equal to animals and plants was inserted into our consciousness by the suggestion of television. Environmental lunacy was scripted into network television shows, into televised movies, and into the news. It started slowly, but picked up steam. Environmental spokesmen were increasingly seen in the favorable glow of television.
Those who opposed this view were shown in an unfavorable way. It was done over time, with repetition. If you weren't completely won over, you were made tolerant of the views of environmental lunatics whose statements were morally and scientifically unsound. Let's take a more recent example: the war against Iraq. That was a war made for television. In fact, it was a war {organized} through television. Think back a year: How were Americans prepared for the eventual slaughter of Iraqi women and children? Images on the screen: Saddam Hussein, on one side, Hitler on the other.
The images repeated in newscasts, backed up by scenes of alleged atrocities in Kuwait. Then the war itself: the video-game like images of ``smart'' weapons killing Iraqi targets. Finally, the American military commander-in-chief Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, conducting a final press briefing that was consciously orchestrated to resemble the winning Superbowl coach describing his victory.
Those were the images that overwhelmed our population. Only now, months later, do we find out that the images had nothing to do with reality. The Iraqi ``atrocities'' in Kuwait and elsewhere were exaggerated. Our ``smart'' weapons like the famous Patriot anti-missile system didn't really work.
Oh, and the casualty figures: it seems that we murdered far more women and children than we did soldiers. Hardly a ``glorious victory.'' But while it might have made a difference if people knew this while the war was being planned or in progress, polls show that Americans no longer find the war or any stories about it ``interesting.''
Looking at the question more broadly, where did your children get most of their values, if not from what they saw on television? Parents might counteract the influence of the infernal box, but they could not overcome it. How could they, if they themselves have been brainwashed by the same box and if their children spend more time with it than them? Studies show that most of television programming is geared to a less than 5th grade comprehension level; parents, like you, are themselves being remade in the infantile images of the television screen. All of society becomes more infantile, more easily controllable.
As Emery explains: {``We are proposing that television as a simple constant and repetitive and ambiguous visual stimulus, gradually closes down the central nervous system of man.''} Becker holds a similar view of the effect of television on American's ability to think:
{``Americans don't really think--they have opinions and feelings. Television creates the opinion and then validates it.''}
Nowhere is this clearer than with politics. Television tells Americans what to think about politicians, restricting choices to those acceptable to the oligarchs whose financial power controls networks and major cable channels. It tells people what has been said and what is ``important.'' Everything else is filtered out. You are told who can win and who can't. And few people have the urge to look behind the images in the screen, to seek content and truth in ideas and look for a high quality of leadership.
Such an important matter as choosing a president becomes the same as choosing a box of laundry detergent: a set of possibilities, whose limits are determined, by the images on the screen. You are given the appearance of freedom of choice, but that you have neither freedom nor real choice. That is how the brainwashing works. ``Are they brainwashed by the tube,'' said Becker to the interviewer. ``
It is really more than that. I think that people have lost the ability to relate the images of their own lives without television intervening to tell them what it means. That is what we really mean when we say that we have a wired society.'' Turn It Off! That was ten years ago. It has gotten far worse since then.
In coming issues, we will show you the brainwashers' vision of a hell on earth and how television is being used to get us there; we will discuss television programming, revealing how it has helped produce what is called a ``paradigm'' shift in values, creating an immoral society; we will explain how the news is presented and how its presentation has been used to destroy the English language; we will discuss the mass entertainment media, showing who controls it and how; we will deal with America's addiction to spectator sports and show how that too has helped make you passive and stupid; and finally, we will show where we are headed, if we can't break our addiction to the tube.
So, after what I just told you, what do say, buddy? Do you want to stay stupid and let your country go to hell in a basket? Why don't you just walk over to the set and turn it off. That's right, completely off. Go on, you can do it. Now isn't that better? Don't you feel a little better already? You've just taken the first step in deprogramming yourself. It wasn't that hard, was it? Until we speak again, try to keep it off. Now that will be a bit harder.
From New Federalist V6, #29.
From Ted Twietmeyer
On May 2 2004, I wrote a very similar article to this one, about brainwashing and the Tavistock Institute. It was the first in my Couch Patriot series (
Their subversion of thought not just in America but around the world is well known. Is it any wonder that satellite dish television is being brought to the most remote corners of the earth, even if a solar panel is required ?
Although it's easy to focus just on brainwashing of Americans, in reality the entire world is at stake.
Ted Twietmeyer



Karl Rove Seen At
Homosexual Orgies
In Washington
By Tom Flocco

Walter Storch, editor of the Barnes Review News reported three weeks ago that "Karl Rove was seen by one of my people entering a private homosexual orgy at a five-star Washington hotel over the Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL) weekend last year." [2004]
A Barnes reporter told Storch that "Karl greatly enjoyed the supervision of a certain hairy 350-lb. Leather Dominator who had won the Miss Virginia Daddy Bear title at the MAL festivities."
Storch wrote, "Karl used to hang out a JR's, which is on 17th between P & S streets, before he became so well-known. This is a respectable gay bar for discreet people...," adding, "there is an expensive apartment...over near Dupont Circle that certain powerful senators take turns visiting with their pickups."
"Bush, via Karl Rove, was projected as a moral man who would return a hedonistic America to the simpler virtues of a bygone era. A large part of the American public, unhappy with what they saw as debilitating liberalism, abortion on demand, gay marriage and other forms of moral decay, put Bush back in office," said the Barnes editor.
All this closeted news makes one wonder if that comment by Bush the First was a Freudian slip.... "For seven and a half years I've worked alongside President Reagan. We've had triumphs. Made some mistakes. We've had some sex...uh...setbacks." -George Bush, Sr.


Man dies after police pepper-spray him

SF Chronicle | March 16, 2005
By Wyatt Buchanan

A Redwood City man died early Tuesday after being arrested by San Mateo County sheriff's deputies, authorities said.

Fernando Casares, 36, died after being pepper-sprayed, pushed to the ground and handcuffed around 2 a.m., according to the sheriff's office. The incident, which started after a woman called 911 screaming for help, occurred in the 300 block of Second Avenue in an unincorporated part of Redwood City.

When deputies responded to the call, Casares confronted them outside the home, charged them and punched them in the face and head, according to the sheriff's office. The deputies responded by spraying Casares with pepper spray, pushing him to the ground and handcuffing him.

Casares stopped breathing and was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The county coroner conducted an autopsy Tuesday, but results will not be ready for several weeks. The sheriff's office is conducting an investigation into the death.




Man sentenced for crimes he may commit: judge

Canadian Press | March 17, 2005
By Mia Vare

COURTENAY, B.C. (CP) - A man who has fantasies of murder and cannibalism has been sentenced to two years in prison for a string of offences, including decapitating two cats, but also for crimes a judge believes he's likely to commit in the future.

Judge Keith Libby ruled that protection of the public was the most important consideration in sentencing Dwight Barnes. And in a move that invited the defence to appeal, Libby said the prison term reflected what Barnes might do in the future, rather than what he had done.

"I am prepared to sentence him for the crimes he may commit," Libby said Wednesday. "I'll give you your grounds for appeal now."

Barnes, 20, pleaded guilty in January to four counts: theft under ,000, arson and two counts of killing an animal. The incidents all took place in August 2004.

Court heard that one psychiatric report concluded that Barnes was virtually certain to violently offend in the future.

Libby said the case was one of the most disturbing and frightening he's encountered in 25 years on the bench.

Documents presented in provincial court, including entries from Barnes's journal, an e-mail he sent to his uncle and an interview with the RCMP, showed he had fantasized about killing someone.

One journal entry, described by Libby as frightening, identified an apparent plan to kill two homeless people in Vancouver's Stanley Park, which was interrupted when someone else approached.

Defence lawyer Robert Yeo urged the judge to sentence Barnes for what he had done, not what he wrote in his journal about wanting to do.

"To the best of my knowledge, Parliament has yet to criminalize thought," Yeo said. "We need to sentence this gentleman for the crimes he has committed, not the crimes he may commit."

In a statement to police after his arrest for the fire, Barnes told police about his fantasies of killing people and the fear that had been holding him back.

"He sort of thought he was past that fear now that he'd killed the cats," Crown prosecutor Bob Richardson said.

Barnes, who grew up in an adopted home in Vancouver, moved to the Comox Valley last July with the support of his family. Court heard he was having some behaviour problems at home and was trying to live independently for the first time.

After Barnes was charged with forging cheques and killing the cats last August, he set several small fires inside a building that serves as a social club for adults with mental health problems.

Court heard that Barnes hid in the building after staff locked up at night, stole money from a cash box and lit several small fires in an effort to hide the theft. The fires caused about ,000 worth of damage.



Medicines could be RFID-tagged

System may be rolled out to chemists in the next 12 months
Miya Knights, Computing 16 Mar 2005

Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology could be introduced in chemists across the UK within the next 12 months, following a successful trial.

A three-month pilot backed by a number of pharmaceutical companies, which ended at the end of January, added RFID tags to 180,000 medicines to improve visibility in the supply chain and to counter the distribution of counterfeit and illegal drugs.

Results of the trial were announced earlier this week. The technology companies involved in the project are now discussing a national scheme with the government and industry bodies such as the National Pharmaceutical Association and the Dispensing Doctors' Association.

'We're now working to create an integrated system and are in discussions with major stakeholders, who are looking to move the group forward to take the next commercial step,' said Ian Rhodes, chief executive of Aegate, the lead technology company in the pilot.

'I would say a commercial launch is possible in as little as 12 months, but can't estimate how long those discussions will take.

'This pilot is not about tracking product from A to B. It's about checking that, as a pharmacist is about to hand over a drug to a patient, the product will be received as intended when leaving the manufacturer, and dispensed as prescribed by a doctor.'

The trial involved 44 pharmacies - including chemists and hospital dispensaries - which scanned tags attached to various products to check each item's supply chain status against a central database, matching its traditional barcode number.

The Authentication at the Point of Dispensing (APOD) system also flags other features, such as expiry dates, associated recalls or alerts, and will eventually cross-reference the name and dosage against the prescription before the drug can be dispensed to the patient.

The system uses six products from eight manufacturers, including Merck, Novartis, Schering Healthcare and Solvay.

Rhodes says the group behind the trial is working with patient medical record system vendors and the NHS to integrate the APOD system into a commercial scanning device.

Fliss Davies of Cordon Pharmacy, one of the chemists that took part in the trial, told Computing: 'This project helps chemists finally feel as though they are on an integrated NHS network, and not just shopkeepers.'

Rhodes estimates that the cost of fraud in the industry could be (£36bn) by 2009.



More Than 100 Die in U.S. Custody in Iraq

Associated Press | March 17 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) -- At least 108 people have died in U.S. custody in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and roughly a quarter of the cases have been investigated as possible U.S. abuse, according to government data provided to The Associated Press.

The figure, far higher than any previously disclosed, includes cases investigated by the Army, Navy, Central Intelligence Agency and Justice Department. Some 65,000 prisoners have been taken during the U.S.-led wars, most later freed.

The Pentagon has never provided comprehensive information on how many prisoners taken during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have died. The 108 figure, based on information supplied by Army, Navy and other government officials, includes deaths attributed to natural causes.

To human rights groups, the deaths form a clear pattern.

"Despite the military's own reports of deaths and abuses of detainees in U.S. custody, it is astonishing that our government can still pretend that what is happening is the work of a few rogue soldiers," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "No one at the highest levels of our government has yet been held accountable for the torture and abuse, and that is unacceptable."

To the Pentagon, each death is a distinct case, meriting an investigation but not attributable to any single faulty military policy. Pentagon officials point to military investigations that have found that no policy condoned abuse.

Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. John Skinner said the military has taken steps to reduce the chance of violent uprisings at its prisons and the use of excessive force by soldiers, and also has improved the health care available to prisoners.

"The military has dramatically improved detention operations, everything from increased oversight and improved facilities to expanded training and the availability of state-of-the-art medical care," he said in a statement.

Some death investigations have resulted in courts-martial and convictions, others in reprimands. Many are still open. In some cases, during riots and escape attempts, soldiers were found to have used deadly force properly.

The most serious sentence handed out in the completed cases is three years imprisonment, which was given to two soldiers in separate cases.

Pfc. Edward Richmond was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for shooting Muhamad Husain Kadir, an Iraqi cowherd, in the back of the head on Feb. 28, 2004; Richmond said he saw Kadir lunge for another soldier.

Staff Sgt. Johnny M. Horne pleaded guilty to killing a critically wounded Iraqi teenager in Sadr City, Iraq, on Aug. 18, 2004. Horne described it as a mercy killing.

In Iraq, the military is currently holding around 8,900 people at its two largest prisons, Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca.

At least two prisoners died during interrogation, in incidents that raise the question of torture. Human rights groups say there are others:

- Manadel al-Jamadi, a suspect in the bombing of a Red Cross facility in Baghdad, died Nov. 4, 2003, while hanging by his wrists in a shower room at Abu Ghraib prison. Nine SEALs and one sailor have been accused of abusing al-Jamadi and others in Iraq. The CIA and Justice Department are also investigating the death.

- Four Fort Carson, Colo., soldiers, including three in military intelligence, are charged with murder for the death of an Iraqi major general who died in November 2003. The CIA has also acknowledged that one of its officers may have been involved and referred the case to the Justice Department for investigation.

Of the prisoner deaths:

- At least 26 have been investigated as criminal homicides involving possible abuse.

- At least 29 are attributed to suspected natural causes or accident.

- 22 died during an insurgent mortar attack on April 6, 2004, on Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

- At least 21 are attributed to "justifiable homicide," when U.S. troops used deadly force against rioting, escaping or threatening prisoners and investigations found the troops acted appropriately.

The majority of the death investigations were conducted by the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, as most prisoners are held in Army-run facilities.

In many of the cases, resolution has not been swift. Military officials have attributed this in part to the difficulties of conducting investigations in war zones, and they say accuracy is more important than speed.

"Our special agents have literally been mortared and shot at while going about investigative duties," said Army spokesman Christopher Grey.

Grey said Army investigators have looked into 79 deaths in 68 incidents. Most were in Iraq. No prisoners have died at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the third major site for prisoners since the Sept. 11 attacks.

A Navy official said the Navy Criminal Investigative Service has investigated eight deaths. One of those, of al-Jamadi, has also been investigated by the Army and is counted among their numbers, officials said.

The CIA and Justice Department have looked into four deaths that may have involved agency personnel or contractors. One CIA contractor has been charged with assault in connection with a third death investigation in Afghanistan. The fourth death was attributed to hypothermia, not mistreatment.



Officer Quits Over Use Of Taser on Suspect

The Associated Press | March 12, 2005

PENSACOLA -- A police officer resigned Friday after an internal investigation showed he violated policy by using a stun gun on a jailed prisoner

Raymond McPhail, 35, resigned after he was caught on tape using a Taser gun on an inmate suspected of having driven under the influence, police said.

Police Chief John W. Mathis said he would have recommended McPhail be fired had he not resigned.

"I believe the termination was necessary in order to maintain public confidence," Mathis said in a statement.

The incident happened in October while McPhail was interviewing the suspect at the Escambia County Jail. Apparently, the suspect would not get out of a chair, and tapes indicated McPhail used the stun gun while out of camera range.

The investigation revealed McPhail violated department policies on conduct standards, prisoner custody, the use of a Taser and the use of force, police said.

Police said they are trying to limit the use of Tasers and have modified their policy on stun gun use as a result of the incident.




One Duval County officer arrested, one fired over inmate beating

A Duval County corrections officer is behind bars today, facing one count of battery.


Tiffany Wade was arrested and booked into the Clay County jail facility following an investigation initiated by Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford.


According to Rutherford, Wade is accused of hitting an inmate twice in the face while walking her down the hall.


The Sheriff said the inmate was in full restraints at the time of the battery.


Another officer, Roslyn Cotton-Frances, was also escorting the inmate. The Sheriff says she was not truthful during an internal investigation into the incident, and the Sheriff’s Office was in the process of firing her.


Three other officers who the Sheriff says witnessed the incident will be disciplined for not coming forward after the incident.


Prior to this encounter, Wade had been a county employee since 2003.


Check back for more on this story as it develops


Over 725 Protests Planned to Mark Second Anniversary of Iraq Invasion

Friday, March 18th, 2005

More than 725 anti-war protests and events are scheduled across the country on March 19th to mark the second anniversary of the invasion Iraq. We hear from organizers around the country who describe what is happening in their communities. [includes rush transcript]

Saturday, March 19th, marks the second anniversary of the Iraq invasion.

More than 725 anti-war protests and events are scheduled across the country to mark the anniversary. United For Peace and Justice reports this is more than double the number of actions that took place a year ago to mark the first anniversary of the war. One of the largest rallies is expected to take place in Fayetteville, North Carolina outside the military base Fort Bragg. Main sponsors of that protest include Veterans For Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Military Families Speak Out. Yesterday we spoke with organizers around the country to get a sense of what is happening in their communities.
  • Voices of Dissent, protests organizers around the U.S. describe what is happening in their communities on March 19, 2005.





Prosecutors: G8 Protesters Were Abused

Associated Press | March 14 2005

GENOA, Italy -- About 150 protesters detained at the Group of Eight summit in northern Italy in 2001 were kicked, slapped, tripped, kneed in the groin and dragged by their hair, according to a report.

Prosecutors in Genoa released a 534-page report over the weekend detailing "inhuman" and "degrading" behavior by police officers, corrections officers and doctors at the Bolzaneto police garrison, Italian media reported Sunday. The extent of the brutality has prompted comparisons to the abuse and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

The report denounced what it said was a violation of human rights but stopped short of describing the abuse as torture.

What happens next is unclear: Nearly four years have gone by, and unless the judicial process is put on a fast track the statute of limitations could run out, Milan daily Corriere della Sera reported. The prosecutors themselves, in their report, suggested presenting their findings to Europe's top human rights court.

About 500 people were taken to the garrison following a raid against anti-globalization protesters during the 2001 summit, according to Corriere.

The pre-dawn raid on the Diaz school in Genoa, which housed many protesters, was one of the most controversial episodes of the July 2001 summit. Some protesters said they were attacked as they slept. Police said they were acting on a tip that violent demonstrators were hiding in the school.

The entire summit was marred by violence. A 23-year-old protester was shot dead by police, more than 200 were injured and more than 300 people were arrested. The city was ravaged.

In October, a policeman was convicted of clubbing a teenage demonstrator in the face and ordered to serve 20 months in prison. In December, a judge ordered 28 police officers to stand trial for their alleged brutality in the raid. The start of the trial was set for this April.

But protesters said the abuse wasn't limited to the streets, continuing after they were detained.

Those held at Bolzaneto -- many of them from other European countries and the United States -- said they were physically and mentally abused. They said they were deprived of food, water and medical care.

Foreign detainees said it took days to see their lawyers and consular officials. Some European countries lodged formal protests, and the United States expressed concern.

The report acknowledged finding "grave jeopardy to people's rights" at the hands of 15 police officers, 16 corrections officials, 11 Carabinieri paramilitary police and five doctors, the Corriere and ANSA news agency reported.

The prosecutors found that a "welcoming committee" at the garrison insulted, kicked and pushed the detainees upon arrival.

The prosecutors also said the abuse included shoving people's heads in toilets, forcing at least one detainee on his hands and knees and making him bark like a dog, and the threat of sexual assault, according to ANSA. Female prisoners also were forced to strip in front of male officers.




Schools to Get 'SpongeBob' Tolerance Video
'SpongeBob SquarePants' Tolerance Video That Raised Conservatives' Ire to Be Distributed Nationwide

Associated Press | March 10, 2005

A children's music video that conservatives charge is part of an effort to encourage acceptance of homosexuality is being distributed to more than 60,000 schools nationwide, producers said Thursday.

The video features about 100 children's TV characters including SpongeBob SquarePants, Miss Piggy and Oscar the Grouch singing the 1979 disco hit "We Are Family." It will be accompanied by a teaching guide that promotes tolerance of diversity.

"The opportunity to bring that message to children around the entire country is truly exciting," said Caryl Stern, senior associate national director of the Anti-Defamation League. "We know at ADL that people are not born as little haters, we learn to hate. And just as we learn to hate, we have to unlearn to hate."

To produce and distribute the video, the ADL teamed with the We Are Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by music producer Nile Rodgers, who co-wrote "We Are Family."

TV networks and production companies also are involved, and FedEx has agreed to ship the videos for free.

The effort sparked controversy in January when the American Family Association, in an article by the editor of its monthly journal, charged that the video had a pro-gay subtext.

"On the surface, the project may appear to be a worthwhile attempt to foster greater understanding of cultural differences," wrote Ed Vitagliano. "However, a short step beneath the surface reveals that one of the differences being celebrated is homosexuality."

The video was also criticized by James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, who alluded to SpongeBob SquarePants' role in a "pro-homosexual video" during remarks to a pre-inauguration dinner in Washington.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Vitagliano said he does not object to the "innocuous" video itself but to the accompanying teaching guide, which he said "distorts the definition of family to produce a nontraditional model."

Vitagliano pointed to a section where children are asked who is in a family, and if they say "a mommy," "a daddy," "a sister" or "a brother," the teacher is prodded to "ask further questions of the class."

"We feel that this is part of an attempt to include same-sex couples in the institution of marriage and the family," he said.

Rodgers, who joined ADL officials and others at an event promoting the video, said the project is not about sexual orientation.

"We're not talking about sex at all," he said. "This is for young children."

Christopher Cerf, the author and children's TV producer who's another of the video's creators, said he was "amazed" by the criticism.

"At first I thought this was so ridiculous that it's funny," he said.




Sex, Lies and Call Girls: Why the U.S. Media Is a Whore

Douglas Herman | March 17 2005

"The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media." ~ William Colby, Former Director, CIA

Most of them have been given Pulitzer Prizes for “distinguished commentary.” Their work appears in hundreds of American publications. They command huge salaries and they appear on most of the television news programs. Their books invariably enjoy instant access to publicity and become bestsellers. They are the made men of the media mafia. And they are all “owned,” as the late William Colby once admitted.

What sets the group apart from the average STR writer of independent mind is a tight-knit togetherness that allows no real discourse or original thought. Rarely do we read an insightful observation or uncomfortable comment (the news publishers, editors and TV producers see to that). Each is a master of disinformation—distinguished commentary—that passes for learned dialogue in the mainstream media. When Cal Thomas pens the column, “A Successful Iraq Helps Bush Agenda at Home,” few remark on the obvious. When Joseph Farah, of, editorializes that the US must flatten Fallujah, and then the Pentagon does it, few see the connection. When Peter Jennings narrates a one-sided documentary dismissing the “myth” of Roswell , or when the scribes at adhere to a single foreign policy course that parallels that of the administration, few realize the words were appraised and accepted by those who control the major media.

Perhaps the greatest proof of media censorship is the fact so little powerful dissent or opposing opinion is ever allowed to surface. “Noam Chomsky, who is a brilliant man,” wrote pamphleteer George Humphrey, “produced a movie titled Manufacturing Consent, and in this movie he shows that of the approximately 33,000 newspapers and magazines in our country, over 95% are controlled by eight multinational corporations.” Which explains why you and I will never appear in print in the mainstream media. When I sent my essay, Detective Columbo Asks: Was 911 an Inside Job? to every New York-based publication, I never expected or received a single response. Nor have I ever read of a similar column that broached the subject of 9-11 critically that has ever appeared in the CIA-owned, mainstream media. Denial is a New York state of mind and healthy skepticism went out of fashion when Thoreau died.

Thus, when the Rush Limbaughs and Ann Coulters of the owned media decry the “liberal media bias,” this too is part of the agenda of disinformation. If you pan a non-existent opposition long enough and make it appear that opposition actually exists, an uninformed citizenry soon begins to believe the claim. Recently Cal Thomas wrote of Bush policy critics: “Count on the big media in America and Europe to look for dark linings within the silver cloud.” Where exactly has this big media been, the bobble-headed dolls of Bush policy, if not on the sidelines for the last two years, practicing patriotic cheers for those chimeras mistaken for silvery clouds?

Does anyone remember when, exactly, an outspoken critic of the Neocon agenda enjoyed television air time or major press coverage? Patrick Buchanan, you say, the old Nixon crony? When all was said and done, the former Reform Party man and isolationist tossed his hat into the ring for Bush. So much for opposition.

A partial list of those owned in the mainstream media (MSM) might look like the one I've compiled below. Certainly dozens, or even hundreds more, could be added. Like the aliens in that fine film Invasion of The Body Snatchers, these pod people can replicate pretty fast.

William F. Buckley--Former CIA man, probably salaried for life.

Bill O’Reilly--Fox = CIA, like pentagrams = devil.

Tom Clancy--CIA cyborg.

Joseph Farah--Jesus was a CIA man, right?

Michael Savage—old herbalist now new Neocon ranter.

Ann Coulter—CIA poster girl?

Kathleen Parker—Pentagon spokesmodel and Rumsfeld devotee.

Richard Perle—Loyalties lie with Mossad but probably CIA too.

Norman Podhoretz—What’s good for Israel is good for America , right?

William Kristol--What’s good for the Neocons is good for America , right?

Abe Foxman--What's good for the ADL is good for America, right?

Daniel Pipes--What’s good for AIPAC is good for America, right?

Max Boot--What’s good for Zionism is good for America , right?

Thomas Friedman—What’s good for Israel . . . Are you beginning to see a pattern here?

Rush Limbaugh—CIA's favorite fat man and undercover Oxycontin operative?

James Meigs—Editor of Popular Mechanics, magazine for war toy groupies.

David Corn--Children of the corn and Company vegetable?

Andrew Sullivan--Company's Rainbow Warrior?

Cal Thomas--Company scold.

George Will—Probably enjoys inner office at CIA headquarters.

Charles Krauthammer--Probably enjoys office with a view.

Peter Jennings--Probably lives there.

Sean Hannity—Probably born there.

Robert Novak--Plame dropper?

William Safire--The Strunk & White of the Right. CIA’s venerable English professor.

Satire aside, separately these people are pretty pathetic, befouled by lies, distortions and the spread of official government disinformation. Together they wield enormous power, a tsunami of propaganda. Why do they do this? Aside from huge sums of money or accolades or an ideological agenda, many may actually believe they’re doing good work. And why would the CIA want to control them? Consider the CIA as an elite businessman’s club (much like the Mafia but with more guns and less morals), with an agenda to spread global influence, either through friendly persuasion, coercion, bribes, subterfuge or outright armed invasion. If you realize that almost all the heads of the CIA have worked in Wall Street banks, you understand the necessity of also owning all the channels of mass communication. Any policy move that shifts the ponderous American machine must be first heralded by good press releases from the media. That is how those listed above serve. They are the brainless cheerleaders, the Pentagon is the brute force, and the elite power brokers of the military/industrial/banking machine stride the sidelines calling the plays.

Which brings us to the new breed of pod people passing for independent journalists. Not simply the Maggie Gallaghers of journalism but the true whores of the media. If for nothing else, the Jeff Gannon-Jim Guckert sex scandal should indicate the depth of media prostitution. The only difference between Gannon and those who write for the mainstream media is that Gannon usually got undressed before he sold himself.

Some stories NEVER see the light of day, no matter how relevant their importance. "Except for the outbreak of news stories concerning the Franklin Credit Union-Lawrence King-Craig Spence child prostitution scandal in 1989 that involved midnight tours of the White House for underage male sex slaves from Nebraska and reached high into the upper echelons of the elder Bush administration, little has been heard about the sex crimes of top Republicans," wrote Washington insider Wayne Madsen. "The fact that Gannon/Guckert, a male escort who adopted a military theme for his clientele, was made privy to classified information involving CIA covert agent Valerie Plame and her husband's (former Ambassador Joseph Wilson) trip to Niger to investigate possible uranium shipments, has a precedent with prior GOP illegal sexcapades involving national security breaches."

Notice that few (if any?) of those listed above have castigated Gannon/Guckert or the Bush administration for what should be a serious breech of ethics, not to mention a serious breach of morals and our national security interests. Where’s the outrage from the Religious Right? Where’s the clamor for an independent investigation, akin to that of Ken Starr, or calls for impeachment? What appears to be a scandal equivalent or greater than that of the Christine Keeler/ Mandy Rice-Davies call girl scandal that toppled an entire British government has been swept under the Washington rug by the our “owned” media.

By contrast, the British tabloids sank their teeth into the Profumo affair. What began as an investigation into call girls and party houses became an embarrassing government scandal that cost a prime minister his job. Profumo's mistake, we are told, was to lie in his testimony before the House of Commons. Bush and his stable of journalistic whores seems unfazed by the current scandal; they happily concoct lies everyday as normal policy. For no other reason than this, the Gannon affair proves William Colby right. The mainstream media is owned--bought and paid for.




St. Petersburg 5-year-old cuffed after school outburst
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A 5-year-old girl was arrested, cuffed and put in back of a police cruiser after an outburst at school where she threw books and boxes, kicked a teacher in the shins, smashed a candy dish, hit an assistant principal in the stomach and drew on the walls.

The students were counting jelly beans as part of a math exercise at Fairmount Park Elementary School when the little girl began acting silly. That's when her teacher took away her jelly beans, outraging the child.

Minutes later, the 40-pound girl was in the back of a police cruiser, under arrest for battery. Her hands were bound with plastic ties, her ankles in handcuffs.

"I don't want to go to jail," she said moments after her arrest Monday.

No charges were filed and the girl went home with her mother.

While police say their actions were proper, school officials were not pleased with the outcome.

"We never want to have 5-year-old children arrested," said Michael Bessette, the district's Area III superintendent.

The district's campus police should have been called to help and not local police, he said.

Bessette said campus police routinely deal with children and are trained to calm them in such situations.

Under the district's code of student conduct, students are to be suspended for 10 days and recommended for expulsion for unprovoked attacks, even if they don't result in serious injury. But district spokesman Ron Stone said that rule wouldn't apply to kindergartners.

"She's been appropriately disciplined under the circumstances," he said.

The girl's mother, Inda Akins, said she is consulting an attorney.

"She's never going back to that school," Akins said. "They set my baby up."




Taser Death in Lake City

WAWS Fox 30 | March 13, 2005

Milton Woolfolk from Lake City died after police shot him with a taser.  Woolfolk had a history of psychiatric problems and around noon on Friday, Columbia county sheriff's deputies attempted to take him into custody for a psychiatric evaluation.

Deputies say Woolfolk also had a history of physical confrontations with police and, in this instance, they say he refused.

After several verbal warnings, deputies used taser guns to subdue him.  At one point, deputies say Woolfolk began pulling the taser prongs out of his skin. Deputies then wrestled him to the ground and handcuffed him.  

Soon after deputies noticed he wasn't moving much and Woolfolk was taken to a nearby hospital.  A short time later he was pronounced dead.

A full investigation is now underway to find out all the details.  An autopsy is being performed and the results are expected Saturday.

The Columbia County Sheriff's office says since they started using tasers in 200, they've had three deaths from tasers .




Teen girls' Bible talks of oral sex, lesbianism
Critic says publication smears 'filthy graffiti across the Word of God'

WorldNetDaily | March 18, 2005
By Ron Strom

A Bible created especially for girls age 13-16 that includes profiles of fictional teenagers discussing oral sex, lesbianism and "dream" guys is drawing sharp criticism from some Christian parents who say such material should not appear alongside Scripture.

The "True Images" Bible, published by Zondervan, promises on its dustcover to "strengthen your relationship with God, family, friends and guys."

While the book includes the entire text of the New International Version of the Bible, it's the "over 1,000 relevant and compelling notes and articles" that have critics upset.

The "In Focus" profiles are peppered throughout the text of the Bible and deal with subjects like sex, pregnancy, alcoholism, dating, homosexuality, depression, pornography and flirting.

An introduction in the Bible explains its goal: to present to young girls "true images": "God's message about who you are in his eyes."

The "In Focus" article on sex appears amidst scriptural regulations on offerings in the book of Leviticus. It profiles the fictional girl "Ashley" and is entitled "Casual or Not?"

While the message of the profile is to save sex for marriage, critics aren't convinced the frank-talk approach is appropriate for young teens.

Discussing her friend "Emma," Ashley says, "The story is that she had oral sex with a guy friend of ours last week. Just for fun. They're not dating, although they've always flirted with each other a lot. Emma took one look at my face this morning, and she knew I knew."

Emma goes on to claim that oral sex "is not even sex," but Ashley disagrees, saying, "God's definition of sexual purity covers much more than intercourse."

Following Ashley's narrative is a warning that "the physical and emotional effects of oral sex are similar to intercourse," along with tips for dealing with friends who are engaging in the practice.

'Am I Gay?'

Another "In Focus" story highlights the experience of "Trish" in "Am I Gay?"

Says Trish: "All my friends are wondering if this guy or that guy likes them. I don't like any guys right now. Instead, I wonder if I have a crush on Sierra. She's one of my best friends."

Trish goes on to explain that her uncle tried to rape her when she was 12 and that ever since, "I haven't wanted any guy to touch me – not even my dad."

The follow-up warning to Trish's story directs the reader to read Romans 1:24-32, in which Paul condemns homosexual behavior.

Wedged into the pages of the book of Jeremiah is a profile by "Lorraine," in which she discusses finding Playboy and Penthouse magazines belonging to her father in the basement.

"I couldn't believe it when I found the box. Those horrible magazines!" Lorraine says.

"I couldn't even look at my dad after I found it. … My dad's a Christian! Yet he's got this porn stash. It's like he's got this secret life."

The feature then advises girls in Lorraine's situation to "talk with a trusted Christian adult about the issue. Pray together, and come up with a plan for what to do next."

'Cuddling opps'

Though there is a rising movement within Christianity to promote courtship over traditional dating, the "True Images" Bible, like a secular teen magazine, appears to assume its readers are dating – or wish they were.

The "In Focus" feature on dating has "Taylor" upset because her boyfriend may be "cheating" on her with another girl.

"Does he really think I don't have a clue?" she laments. "But I can't stand the thought of losing him."

One of several personality tests throughout the Bible deals specifically with dating, entitled "The Perfect Date." One of the creative date ideas is to go to a symphony concert under the stars, since it will provide "romantic tunes" and "cuddling opps."

On the same page is a colorful graphic stating: "You gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince!"

Another quiz helps young teen readers discover what their "Prince Charming" will be like – everything from how he should look to what an imaginary night on the town would entail. After tallying the answers, readers can then "piece together a portrait of your dream man."

One group of Christian teens the Bible doesn't appear to recognize is homeschoolers. Many of the scenarios and personality quizzes use hypothetical situations that would only occur in a traditional school atmosphere, such as "You're sitting next to the prom queen in English class. What are your thoughts?"

'Filthy graffiti'

Leonie Beltzer is a homeschooling parent from Sterling, Va., who sent an e-mail warning to other homeschool families about the "True Images" Bible.

"I was exceptionally shocked when I was previewing the 'True Images' Bible for our daughter," Beltzer writes. "It would be very easy to just think that because it contains God's Word we can just give it to our kids and let them read it without censorship (believe me, I nearly did but thank God I did not!). I send this out as a warning."

Beltzer goes on to describe the oral sex and lesbian features, saying, "I felt very compelled to at least give you all a head's up."

Stacy McDonald is editor of Homeschooling Today, author of "Raising Maidens of Virtue" and the mother of seven girls.

"I find this 'Bible' comparable to filthy graffiti smeared across the Word of God. Instead of edifying young girls and encouraging them to godliness it actually violates their purity by its very text," she told WND.

"Having seven daughters myself, I am deeply grieved that parents would encourage their young daughters to read such graphic narratives. I would not give this 'Bible' to my 20-year-old virgin daughter to read – much less a 13-year-old. Why should she have images of oral sex, lesbianism and rape in her mind?"

A spokesman for Zondervan defended the content of the teen Bible, saying the company would be irresponsible not to include the controversial subject matter.

"In putting 'True Images' together, our guiding principle was to be as edgy as the Bible is and no more," Cameron Conant, Zondervan's public relations manager for Bibles, told WorldNetDaily. "We've forgotten that the Bible is filled with sex and violence, and God's redemptive role in the lives of sinful people. The Bible itself is a pretty provocative book."

Zondervan worked with the Livingstone Corporation, a Bible content developer that has worked on many study Bibles, to put together the publication. Conant explained that Livingstone did extensive research on 13 to 16-year-old girls to identify the main issues of concern to them.

"Again and again and again, the issues that repeatedly came up were a lot of issues related to sex," he said. "Today's teens are just bombarded with … highly suggestive, highly sexual media messages every day."

Stated Conant: "These issues are out there, and we need to make sure teens have a biblical view of sexuality. We felt it would be irresponsible not to address some of these specific issues, even oral sex and homosexuality, even for 13-year-old girls. … Virtually every 13 to 16-year-old out there is dealing with these issues."

Conant said Zondervan didn't want to bury its "head in the sand" and act as if teens aren't aware of the sexual issues addressed in the "True Images" Bible.

"We want to point them to God-centered solutions and responses to the things they're seeing on TV and the things they're hearing from their friends," he said.

Conant said the "True Images" website receives "tons of e-mails" from children who read the Bible "and are benefiting from it."

Said one e-mail Conant supplied to WND: "I really like this Bible. It made me realize that God does understand what a girl has to go through with everybody – parents, siblings, friends, acquaintances, boyfriends and temptations."

Another teen girl stated: "I truly believe that God has blessed me with this Bible to get a better understanding about dating and flirting and about me and my body, and I thank you for making the Bible that way, in that kind of style."

Assaulting purity

McDonald said she doesn't believe Zondervan's contention that "virtually every" teen girls is aware of and concerned about the matters discussed in the "True Images" Bible.

"If they do know [about these issues]," she said, "it's the parents' responsibility to share these things with their children in a protected way. It shouldn't come from a teen Bible."

The author said she's concerned that a grandmother might purchase the "True Images" Bible and give it to her granddaughter, not realizing its content.

"What's wrong with giving them just the Bible," McDonald asked, "and then encouraging relationships where girls can ask questions of parents? If an issue comes up, it needs to be the parent presenting it in a godly way, not in some little story."

Continued McDonald: "Not every 13-year-old girl needs to be discussing oral sex, so why would we put it in a narrative that is almost titillating?"

Even if the sidebar texts point the reader to Scripture that gives the biblical perspective on an issue, McDonald said, "in attempting to instill purity in a child, what they're doing is actually robbing them. They're assaulting their purity because they're exposing them to way more than they need to be exposed to at that young age."

Conant countered McDonald's view, saying, "As much as we as parents want to shield our kids from the world, it's very difficult to do that. Even if we're doing all we can, these issues are going to come up, and what better way for them to come up than in the context of a Bible."

McDonald believes parents can better protect their children by schooling them at home.

"If the 'real world' of public school exposes them to oral sex, pregnant 14-year-old friends, homosexuality, rape, fornication, etc., the answer isn't to 'talk about it' in some hip teen book," she said. "The answer is to protect them, which may mean homeschooling them."

The Bible has a companion version for teen boys called "Revolution.



The government wants your information - and so do thieves

Portland Press Herald | March 16 2005

Some companies are working on technology that would allow your toilet to analyze your urine to see if you're sick.

The government, at the same time, is trying to expand a new, space-age program called Matrix, the point of which is to collect bunches of data about you to see if you're a terrorist.

Both ideas slip into that "too much information" category.

What, you may ask in Keanu-esque fashion, is the Matrix?

Matrix, or Multi-state Anti-TerroRism Information eXchange, is run by a Florida company, Seisint Inc., for a network of participating state governments. It collects information from government and commercial databases to look for "patterns" that could mean trouble of the terrorist kind.

It's certainly a good idea to connect criminal databases to make it easier for law enforcement officials to find the bad guys - but this system ventures into data mining.

Only four states are currently participating - Florida, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Ohio - and Michigan recently made the right decision to pull out of the program.

The Matrix, excepting its fancy Hollywood name, looks suspiciously similar to a trashed government program called Total Information Awareness. That program, which sought to compile a massive database that included credit card purchases, travel information and even e-mail messages, was nixed by Congress as too intrusive.

Whereas TIA was a nationwide program, Matrix is only operating in states that choose to have it. As the ACLU puts it, TIA was Big Brother, Matrix is Little Brother.

Don't think that makes it less scary.

Matrix creators, the American Civil Liberties Union says, won't specify exactly what information is being collected except to say it includes government and commercial data.

A New York Daily News story said it could include marriage and divorce records, real estate purchases, arrest records, hunting licenses and even pictures of neighbors and business associates.

What else?

Can the government really use all of the information it seeks? Perhaps the government could get out of the Big Brother business and into the Nagging Mother business. It could analyze our grocery receipts, for instance, and send us annoying little messages: "Pardon us, Mrs. Jones, but that's your third bottle of wine this week. Are you having a party?"

So, what's the problem with sharing your information if you're not doing anything wrong?

For one thing, no one can guarantee this information won't be filched by hackers.

Did the name Seisint sound familiar? It should. The Matrix operator, owned by Lexis Nexis, was hacked last week. The names, addresses, Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers of 32,000 people were stolen. As if to make us feel better, Lexis Nexis' parent company, Reed Elsevier, said no credit reports, financial information or medical data were stolen.

See? Nothing to worry about.

The ACLU's Web site said Seisint kept the system's data in a room "sealed by biometric locks" and "watched over by Florida police."

Guess what, everyone? Hackers gain access to databases not with special hacker superpowers or expensive underground equipment, but with the ability to charm legitimate system users out of their passwords and user names, or the ability to fake their way in some other way. ChoicePoint - another data collection firm that was hacked this year - sold the personal information of 145,000 consumers to identity thieves posing as legitimate business officials.

Congress is working on boosting protections, but your personal information is one human error away from being stolen.

So, what if some of your information got into the wrong hands? What if terrorist activity was conducted using your identity?

Well, could you prove that you didn't do it?

Forget identity theft for a minute and consider simple cases of mistaken identity.

The film "Brazil," a 20-year-old prescient British satire, illustrates this when everyman Archibald Buttle is arrested by the ominous Ministry of Information Retrieval. The ministry was actually looking for Archibald Tuttle, who was wanted for "freelance subversion."

That's another problem: Are we sure our dear leaders are searching these databases with a uniform definition of "terrorism" in mind?


U.S. Report Lists Possibilities for Terrorist Attacks and Likely Toll
WASHINGTON, March 15 - The Department of Homeland Security, trying to focus antiterrorism spending better nationwide, has identified a dozen possible strikes it views as most plausible or devastating, including detonation of a nuclear device in a major city, release of sarin nerve agent in office buildings and a truck bombing of a sports arena.
The document, known simply as the National Planning Scenarios, reads more like a doomsday plan, offering estimates of the probable deaths and economic damage caused by each type of attack.
They include blowing up a chlorine tank, killing 17,500 people and injuring more than 100,000; spreading pneumonic plague in the bathrooms of an airport, sports arena and train station, killing 2,500 and sickening 8,000 worldwide; and infecting cattle with foot-and-mouth disease at several sites, costing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. Specific locations are not named because the events could unfold in many major metropolitan or rural areas, the document says.
The agency's objective is not to scare the public, officials said, and they have no credible intelligence that such attacks are planned. The department did not intend to release the document publicly, but a draft of it was inadvertently posted on a Hawaii state government Web site.
By identifying possible attacks and specifying what government agencies should do to prevent, respond to and recover from them, Homeland Security is trying for the first time to define what "prepared" means, officials said.
That will help decide how billions of federal dollars are distributed in the future. Cities like New York that have targets with economic and symbolic value, or places with hazardous facilities like chemical plants could get a bigger share of agency money than before, while less vulnerable communities could receive less.
"We live in a world of finite resources, whether they be personnel or funding," said Matt A. Mayer, acting executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness at the Homeland Security Department, which is in charge of the effort.
President Bush requested the list of priorities 15 months ago to address a widespread criticism of Homeland Security from members of Congress and antiterrorism experts that it was wasting money by spreading it out instead of focusing on areas or targets at greatest risk. Critics also have faulted the agency for not having a detailed plan on how to eliminate or reduce vulnerabilities.
Michael Chertoff, the new secretary of homeland security, has made it clear that this risk-based planning will be a central theme of his tenure, saying that the nation must do a better job of identifying the greatest threats and then move aggressively to deal with them.
"There's risk everywhere; risk is a part of life," Mr. Chertoff said in testimony before the Senate last week. "I think one thing I've tried to be clear in saying is we will not eliminate every risk."
The goal of the document's planners was not to identify every type of possible terrorist attack. It does not include an airplane hijacking, for example, because "there are well developed and tested response plans" for such an incident. Planners included the threats they considered the most plausible or devastating, and that represented a range of the calamities that communities might need to prepare for, said Marc Short, a department spokesman. "Each scenario generally reflects suspected terrorist capabilities and known tradecraft," the document says.
To ensure that emergency planning is adequate for most possible hazards, three catastrophic natural events are included: an influenza pandemic, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in a major city and a slow-moving Category 5 hurricane hitting a major East Coast city.
The strike possibilities were used to create a comprehensive list of the capabilities and actions necessary to prevent attacks or handle incidents once they happen, like searching for the injured, treating the surge of victims at hospitals, distributing mass quantities of medicine and collecting the dead.
Once the White House approves the plan, which could happen within the next month, state and local governments will be asked to identify gaps in fulfilling the demands placed upon them by the possible strikes, officials said.
No terrorist groups are identified in the documents. Instead, those responsible for the various hypothetical attacks are called Universal Adversary.
The most devastating of the possible attacks - as measured by loss of life and economic impact - would be a nuclear bomb, the explosion of a liquid chlorine tank and an aerosol anthrax attack.
The anthrax attack involves terrorists filling a truck with an aerosolized version of anthrax and driving through five cities over two weeks spraying it into the air. Public health officials, the report predicts, would probably not know of the initial attack until a day or two after it started. By the time it was over, an estimated 350,000 people would be exposed, and about 13,200 would die, the report predicts.
The emphasis on casualty predictions is a critical part of the process, because Homeland Security officials want to establish what kinds of demands these incidents would place upon the public health and emergency response system.
"The public will want to know very quickly if it is safe to remain in the affected city and surrounding regions," the anthrax attack summary says. "Many persons will flee regardless of the public health guidance that is provided."
Even in some cases where the expected casualties are relatively small, the document lays out extraordinary economic consequences, as with a radiological dispersal device, known as a "dirty bomb." The planning document predicts 540 initial deaths, but within 20 minutes, a radioactive plume would spread across 36 blocks, contaminating businesses, schools, shopping areas and homes, as well as transit systems and a sewage treatment plant.
The authors of the reports have tried to make each possible attack as realistic as possible, providing details on how terrorists would obtain deadly chemicals, for example, and what equipment they would be likely to use to distribute it. But the document makes clear that "the Federal Bureau of Investigation is unaware of any credible intelligence that indicates that such an attack is being planned."
Even so, local and state governments nationwide will soon be required to collaboratively plan their responses to these possible catastrophes. Starting perhaps as early as 2006, most communities would be expected to share specially trained personnel to handle certain hazardous materials, for example, instead of each city or town having its own unit.
To prioritize spending nationwide, communities or regions will be ranked by population, population density and an inventory of critical infrastructure in the region.
The communities in the first tier, the largest jurisdictions with the highest-value targets, will be expected to prepare more comprehensively than other communities, so they would be eligible for more federal money.
"We can't spend equal amounts of money everywhere," said Mr. Mayer, of the Homeland Security Department.
To some, the extraordinarily detailed planning documents in this effort - like a list of more than 1,500 distinct tasks that might need to be performed in these calamities - are an example of a Washington bureaucracy gone wild.
"The goal has to be to get things down to a manageable checklist," said Gary C. Scott, chief of the Campbell County Fire Department in Gillette, Wyo., who has served on one of the many advisory committees helping create the reports. "This is not a document you can decipher when you are on a scene. It scared the living daylights out of people." But federal officials and some domestic security experts say they are convinced that this is a threshold event in the national process of responding to the 2001 attacks.
"Our country is at risk of spending ourselves to death without knowing the end site of what it takes to be prepared," said David Heyman, director of the homeland security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based research organization. "We have a great sense of vulnerability, but no sense of what it takes to be prepared. These scenarios provide us with an opportunity to address that."
Bless the Beasts and the Children
Photographer for White House child sex ring arrested after Thompson suicide
by Tom Flocco
WASHINGTON -- March 13, 2005 -- -- Photographer Russell E. "Rusty" Nelson was recently arrested two days after journalist Hunter Thompson reportedly committed suicide four weeks ago on February 10, according to two phone interviews with attorney John DeCamp last week.
Nelson was allegedly employed by a former Republican Party activist to take pictures of current or retired U.S. House-Senate members and other prominent government officials engaging in sexual criminality by receiving or committing sodomy and other sex acts on children during the Reagan-Bush 41 administrations.
Hunter Thompson’s death and the news blackout of Rusty Nelson’s simultaneous arrest raise questions that someone may be attempting to limit Nelson’s freedom or threaten him, since according to testimony, both men had allegedly witnessed homosexual prostitution and pedophile criminal acts in a suppressed but far-reaching child sex-ring probe closely linked to Senate and House members--but also former President George H. W. Bush. [In U.S. District Court testimony, Rusty Nelson told Judge Warren Urbom he took 20,000 to 30,000 pictures, 2-5-1999, p.52]
Pedophile victim Paul Bonacci--kidnapped and forced into sex slavery between the ages of 6 and 17--told U.S. District Court Judge Warren Urbom in sworn testimony [pp.105, 124-126] on February 5, 1999: "Where were the parties?...down in Washington, DC...and that was for sex...There was sex between adult men and other adult men but most of it had to do with young boys and young girls with the older folks...specifically for sex with minors...Also in Washington, DC, there were parties after a party...there were a lot of parties where there would be senators and congressmen who had nothing to do with the sexual stuff. But there were some senators and congressmen who stayed for the [pedophile sex] parties afterwards...on a lot of the trips he took us on he had us, I mean, I met some people that I don't feel comfortable telling their name because I don't want to --- ...Q: Are you scared?...Yes..."
DeCamp, a former Nebraska state senator and decorated Vietnam War vet, told "there are tons of pictures still left; law enforcement is currently looking for them," adding, "you can also assume there are senators and congressmen implicated; otherwise this would not be such a big issue."  But no federal official has stepped forward to protect Rusty Nelson's life, as Congress would be reluctant to hold hearings or force a federal prosecutor to probe its own members for sex acts with children--still punishable by law.
Sex with minors?
In his testimony before Judge Urbom, Bonacci specifically named Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) as having participated in the parties--also telling the judge he had "relationships with him" in Washington, DC and was flown to Massachusetts for sex in the basement of Frank's Boston home.
[2-5-1999, p. 126]
However, Urbom did not subpoena all the photos and did not ask Bonacci to identify photos of specific senators and congressmen, or reveal their names in court transcripts and depositions we examined; nor did Judge Urbom explain why investigations have never commenced regarding which members of congress had sex with children.
The evidence DeCamp presented was so credible and substantial that Urbom awarded Paul Bonacci $1 million for child abuse on February 19, 1999 regarding his lawsuit involving Larry King. This, despite a Nebraska jury having already indicted Bonacci for perjury in 1990, ultimately sending an intentionally damaged, spiritually and physically abused young man to prison for five years--and despite his treatment by King, described in court testimony:
"They put guns up to my head. Had guns put in my mouth...Larry King sent out boys, men, to jump me...he had them pretty well beat the tar out of me from the waist down so nobody would see the marks...I had my fingers broken...I can remember them burning me with hot instruments...placing stuff inside me...almost what I call a cattle prod...But it would be put inside then they'd shock me inside my -- ...Judge Urbom: Anus?...Yes... And they would -- ...Judge: You mean electrically heated?...They would put it in and then push a button and it would shock me...Judge Urbom:..done by Larry King at his direction?...At his direction..."
"I threatened to go to the police in California, thought maybe they would listen whereas in Omaha they were in his pocketbook...he had me hung out of an airplane with a rope by my ankles...If they wanted to get something passed through the legislature, he would put some people that were against it in a compromising position. By using us boys and girls...Judge Urbom: Was this by your being the sexual partner of that person?...Yes...Judge Urbom: ...Any estimates of how often you participated as the sexual partner of one of these persons that he wanted to get some kind of control over?...There were times when it would be four or five in a night...on probably a couple thousand times...sometimes dozens of times with the same person..." [U.S. District Court testimony, 2-5-1999, pp. 146-151]
Curiously, Paul Bonacci told investigators that the sex ring was based out of Offutt U.S. Air Force Base near Omaha, having been taken there to be abused since he was three years old in 1970. At Offutt, Paul said he was "trained" by tortures, heavy drugging and sexual degradation. [Offutt AFB played a major role immediately following the 9/11 attacks as George W. Bush made the base his post-attack headquarters for a short period.]
So intent upon his physical harm, the government "moved Bonacci to different facilities--despite agreements worked out by DeCamp, purposefully gave him food to which he was allergic while his weight dropped, and denied him a blanket for months...[he was] beaten several times in jail and placed with potentially violent people associated with Larry King," according to Decamp.
John DeCamp told us last week that "Larry King was released from prison on April 11, 2001 after serving about five years," adding "he's back in Washington, DC and now involved in this story again."  [DeCamp's book also said "King went to prison for embezzlement, conspiracy and making false financial record entries...there was no trial on any other charges, and the evidence of child prostitution and abuse perpetrated by King was never presented in any court."  Franklin Cover-up, p. 224]
John DeCamp just released an updated 2005 edition of his original book about the secret White House-linked national child sex-ring entitled The Franklin Cover-up [.95 + .00 shipping: contact for 2005 edition]. The carefully researched and graphic expose involves convicted [and recently released from prison] GOP operative Lawrence E. "Larry" King Jr. who allegedly hired photographers to capture legislators and high officials in compromising sexual positions with children while he managed the Franklin Federal Credit Union--according to court testimony on 2-5-1999. [Franklin was raided by federal agencies and shut down two days before George H. W. Bush was elected president in 1988.]
Past mysterious deaths, clandestine arrests, court testimony, and credible evidence of FBI and CIA participation in their cover-up also raise questions as to why elderly pedophile priests are removed from their pulpits, prosecuted and imprisoned for sex acts committed 40 years ago and why famous music entertainers are prosecuted for pedophilia; yet elderly pedophile federal legislators may still remain in the U.S. House and Senate--drawing a free pass for past criminal child-sex acts.
Regarding his role in taking blackmail photos of government officials, Rusty Nelson confirmed Bonacci’s testimony to Judge Urbom: "Q: Children on the airplane?...yes. Q: How young?...There was one situation went back to Washington, DC...he had probably 10, 12 years old...Q: Boys, girls?...Both...Q: Who attended the parties?...Prominent business people, very prominent high-ranking officials, politicians. The younger people. What would transpire was they would have a party and then a party after the party...after the party was more of a sex-type deal...That’s what Larry [King] would -- -- Q: These old politicians were having sex with each other?...Or people Larry would bring...some younger people...Did you take pictures of the parties?...I took pictures at some of the parties, yes..." [U.S. District Court testimony, 2-5-1999, pp. 89-91]  
After the Secret Service allowed Paul Bonacci to have access to the White House on July 3, 1988, one of DeCamp’s investigators said the young pedophile victim was able to draw a floor-plan of the presidential inside living quarters of the White House--an area not available to the public--lending stong credence to a June 29, 1989 Washington Times front page story, "Homosexual prostitution inquiry ensnares VIPs with Reagan, Bush," when reporters Paul Rodriguez and George Archibald said "Call-boys took midnight tour of White House."
Presidential indiscretions--or criminal acts?
According to a Nebraska state police report, Nebraska Foster Care Review Board letter to the Attorney General, Nebraska Senate’s Franklin committee investigative report, and a 50-page report by Omaha’s Boys Town welfare case officer Mrs. Julie Walters, pedophile victims Nelly and Kimberly Webb detailed a massive child sex, homosexual and pornography operation run out of Nebraska by Larry King--but with close ties directly to the Congress and the White House.
Mrs. Walter’s Nebraska Dept. of Social Services report (3-25-86) revealed: "[14 year-old] Nelly said at these trip parties hosted by Larry King, she sat naked ‘looking pretty and innocent’ and guests could engage in any sexual activity they wanted, but penetration was not allowed...Nelly said she first met V. P. George Bush at the Republican Convention where King sang the national anthem, and saw Bush again at a Washington, DC party Larry hosted...Last year [1985] she met V.P. Bush and saw him at one of the parties Larry gave while on a Washington, DC trip. At some of the parties there are just men (as was the case at the party George Bush attended)...Nelly said she has seen sodomy committed at those parties."
The Walters report continued: "On December 19, 1988, Nelly was contacted and voluntarily came to the FBI offices on December 30, 1988. She was interviewed by [FBI agents] Brady, Tucker and September or October, 1984 when Lisa was 14 she went to Chicago with Larry King and 15-20 boys from Omaha...She indicates she attended a party in Chicago with King and the male youths. She indicated George Bush was present...she sat at a table at the party wearing nothing but a negligee. She stated George Bush saw her on the table. She stated she saw George Bush pay King money and Bush left the party with a nineteen year old black boy named Brent. Lisa said the party Bush attended was in Chicago in September or October 1984. The Chicago Tribune of October 31, 1984 said Bush was in Illinois campaigning for congressional candidates at the end of October."
Bush 41 surfaced again in Lowe's May, 1989 review of reports by Thomas Vlahoulis from the state attorney general's office: "Sorenson told Vlahoulis that both Kimberly and Nelly [Webb] brought up the name of George Bush and indicated that they had both met him..."
In spite of four polygraph tests administered by a Nebraska state trooper who said he was convinced Nelly was telling the truth, in December, 1990, a Washington country, Nebraska judge ignored
Julie Walter’s 50-page report, numerous debriefings of the girls by foster care officials and youth workers stating the sisters told the truth--specifically about George Bush Sr., and dismissed all charges against their foster parents Jarrett and Barbara Webb, who Nelly and Kimberly said had allowed them to be abused.
Gosch to Guckert to Gannon?
Cable television news reports have recently linked an alleged male prostitute to the present White House since George W. Bush permitted James Guckert to use an unprecedented Secret Service-approved alias (Jeff Gannon) while having access to the White House for two years as a pool reporter serving the younger Bush--before which Gannon had advertised himself on internet pornography sites as a male "escort" charging an hour. [Gannon is the subject of independent news reports which have referred to him as the former kidnapped Des Moines, Iowa paperboy Johnny Gosch--forced into child sex-slavery.] John DeCamp told this writer "I believe Johnny Gosch and Jeff Gannon are one and the same person--but I am not in a position to know positively."
During a recent phone interview, Noreen Gosch told that she is still not sure whether her missing son Johnny is in fact James Gannon, because she has "not seen enough evidence." But having been abducted in 1982, Johnny Gosch would now be about 35-36 years old. Gannon claims to be 47 but his "male4male" website escorts profile lists him as 31 in 2000, which would also make him 35-36 years old today.

George W. Bush has not explained how Guckert/Gannon--who had advertised himself as a male escort--could apparently operate in the White House as a reporter for two years using a Secret Service-approved alias and regularly be called upon by George W. Bush and press secretary Scott McClellan during nationally televised presidential press conferences.
Questions can be raised as to whether Gannon also had access to the White House living quarters as Paul Bonacci and other call-boys did during his father’s administration--as the Washington Times reported. Photos of George W. Bush and Jeff Gannon together indicate that they have a cordial personal relationship.
Noreen Gosch said her son Johnny is living under an assumed name after being abducted on September 5, 1982 while serving his Sunday morning paper route. During a clandestine visit from her son when he was 27 or 28, Mrs. Gosch said Johnny told her he was taken by a highly organized, very corporate global pedophile/pornography ring--linked to the Washington, DC congressional call-boy scandal during the 1980's.
Hunter Thompson directed child murder-sex film?
  A controversial author, Hunter Thompson was allegedly linked to Larry King as implicated in Paul Bonacci's testimony in which the pedophile victim revealed that Thompson directed a graphic ‘snuff’ film [Franklin Cover-up, pp.102-105 & 327] made near Sacramento, California at a location called "Bohemian Grove."
Bonacci--flown numerous times across state lines for sexual exploitation to Washington, DC and other cities--testified on videotape [5-14-1990] for Nebraska State Police investigator Gary Caradori. Bonacci said that while on a trip to Sacramento, he was forced at gun-point to commit homosexual acts on another boy before he watched other men do the same--after which the boy was shot in the head.
In separate testimony, Decamp said Bonacci told him "Larry King was smiling and laughing the whole time the film was being the men watched, they passed Nicholas [another victim] and me around as if we were toys, and sexually abused us." [U.S. District Court, 2-5-1999, pp.115-129]
Bonacci’s testimony has been evaluated as credible and well-informed by leading child abuse experts, psychiatrists, psychologists and polygraph tests; and he has also testified that he was forced to lure Johnny Gosch into being kidnapped--considered by many to be the most notorious U.S. child sex-slavery case.
Protecting legislators at the expense of children

John Decamp told that Franklin child-abuse witness "Alisha Owen was convicted of lying that as a minor, she had sex with Omaha Chief of Police Robert Wadman. She was placed in solitary confinement for years--the most brutal treatment of a female inmate in Nebraska history for a first-time offense," to which Decamp added, "it was done to keep her silent and away from other inmates, but also as a warning to the other children."
21 year-old Alisha Jahn Owen was sentenced on August 8, 1991 to serve nine to twenty-seven years in prison for telling a grand jury that she was sexually abused as a juvenile by a Nebraska District Court judge, by Omaha's Chief of Police, by the manager of the Franklin Credit Union, and others.
DeCamp said "Alisha witnessed abuse of other children and functioned as an illegal drug courier traveling nationwide for some of Nebraska's wealthiest, most powerful and prominent businessmen." But a local and a federal grand jury indicted the victim-witnesses for perjury--throwing the key young people in prison to cover up child-sex and illegal drugs.
The Nebraska State Senate’s primary Franklin Committee investigator Gary Caradori's March 14, 1990 notes revealed that on the day of the federal agents' raid on Franklin Credit Union, "a large amount of pornographic material was taken out of the credit union, including videos and photographs depicting sexual acts. I was told that if Friedrichs or any of the other people working for the CPA firm contacted by the government [audit] would say anything, they would automatically lose their jobs."
That evidence was never made available to the Nebraska Senate's Franklin Committee, nor was its existence publicly acknowledged by the FBI; and all raid warrants were sealed by United States Magistrate Richard Kopf--the same court official who ordered to have Larry King taken by federal agents to a federal psychiatric facility for "tests," on February 7, 1990 as President George H. W. Bush was coming to Omaha for a fundraising event.
Alisha Owen testified to the Franklin Committee on June 11, 1990 that the FBI attempted to influence federal witness testimony--that her former lawyer Pam Vuchetich had come to see her in the spring: "giving a proposal from the FBI that if I recanted my story then nothing would happen to me; I could get out of prison and no charges would ever be brought against me...they would write letters to the judge asking for my sentence reduction..."
Her parents, Donna and Alvin Owen told the committee about the incident on June 21, 1990: "Q: You testified that your husband was there?...sitting in the living room, I remember...Q: Did she tell you who in the FBI made that deal, made that offer to her?...Mickey Mott...He works closely with Rick Culver and John Pankonon...
Curiously, state policeman Gary Caradori, died July 11, 1990 in a small-plane explosion, one month after FBI officials attempted to coerce a key child witness to recant her testimony--and even though a deputy sheriff first at the crash site said there was child pornography scattered all over the farmer’s field and the farmer said he witnessed the plane exploding in mid-air before crashing to the ground.
Johnny Gosch’s mother, Noreen, said "undisclosed sources told her the FBI immediately arrived with three flatbed trucks [modus operandi of FBI and Gov. Jeb Bush confiscating 9/11 hijacker documents at Venice, Florida’s Huffman flight school?], grabbed the evidence from the sheriff’s hands, cordoned off the field, walked the field, picked up every piece of evidence, took the plane and all its parts and put it on the flatbed trucks, and told the peace officer, ‘This is confidential information and don’t ever speak of it again.’ The evidence has never surfaced again in Nebraska’s Franklin investigation or any other investigation." [Ted Gunderson Report, June 28, 2000]

DeCamp's book reveals more clear evidence of witness tampering and possible accessory to murder: On the evening of July 11, 1990, the day her husband crashed to his death, Sandie Caradori received several phone calls from [key Franklin child-abuse witness] Troy Boner. She wrote in her notes: "I am familiar with his voice and can be 100% assured that I did in fact receive telephone calls from him...Troy: Gary wasn't lying. He didn't tell me what to say. What I told him was the truth. (He spoke rapidly, fighting back tears) They made me take it back. They threatened me...You don't understand, they threatened me. They made me take it back. I was so scared..." [pp. 186-187]
In 1990, according to DeCamp, "Troy Boner was going to provide the information in open court, under oath, that would blow the lid off the Franklin case and force a new trial for Alisha Owen...As Troy came into the courthouse, he was immediately ushered into a private room by county judicial authorities...the hearing was delayed for one hour...Troy was in the room with a "Special Attorney" and with other officials from the prosecutor's office--the very same prosecutorial team Troy was about to testify against."
"...Troy leaned over and whispered to me, "Oh God, forgive me. They guaranteed if I talk here today, they will put me away for twenty years...told me I would be charged with perjury for my original testimony if I opened my mouth today in court...Look what they did to Alisha...Look what they did to my brother." [found dead after playing "Russian Roulette"]                                    
DeCamp's 2005 edition incredibly reveals, "In late 2003 [just before the 2004 election campaign started to heat up], Troy Boner [key abused child witness to national sex-ring] walked into a hospital in New Mexico screaming "they're after me, they're after me because of this book." The book Boner was waving was The Franklin Cover-up. Boner was '...mildly sedated and calmed down...and put in a private room for observation.' "
"When nurses came back to check on him early next morning, Boner was sitting in a chair, bleeding from the mouth and quite dead. Former FBI Los Angeles Bureau Chief Ted Gunderson tried to get autopsy and other information and details that were promised him on Boner's death, but Gunderson and apparently every other entity, were totally shut out of all information. No news stories were published on Boner's death despite his "notoriety" in the Franklin case." (John DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-up) Another witness was gone.
DeCamp added that the FBI had also confiscated Larry King’s flight manifests from various airline charter companies, thus helping to cover up proof of sexual exploitation of children and interstate transportation of minors across state lines for sexual purposes.
Washington, DC: child sodomy hotbed?
Rusty Nelson’s quick arrest following on the heels of Hunter Thompson’s ‘suicide’ and alleged assertions that Jeff Gannon could be Johnny Gosch may all have serious criminal implications, as Thompson and Nelson were said to be closely linked to child sexual criminality at the highest levels of government--acts still punishable by law and easily meriting cover-up attempts by powerful forces.
Paul Bonacci, forced to help kidnap Johnny Gosch into sex-slavery, also told Franklin Committee investigators he toured the White House at midnight on July 3, 1988 with Craig Spence--a lobbyist and political operative who arranged male prostitute visits to the White House but who turned up dead himself just three months after the 6-29-89 Washington Times call-boy headline. The police were quick to call Spence's death a suicide, according to DeCamp.
Spence had "hinted the tours were arranged by ‘top-level’ persons, including Donald Gregg, national security advisor to Vice-President Bush," according to the Washington Times [8-9-89], adding, "Spence, according to friends, was also carrying out homosexual blackmail operations for the CIA."
Spence and Gregg were reportedly close friends, as Spence had sponsored a dinner in Gregg’s honor in the spring of 1989 at Washington posh Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown just before the White House prostitution scandal broke at the beginning of the Bush 41 tenure. [George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin, Chapter 21--Omaha]
A June 30, 1989 Washington Times report said "Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat and a self-proclaimed homosexual who several weeks ago threatened to reveal a list of Republican homosexuals in Congress, said he was ‘not surprised’ by the revelations."
The Times also said [8-25-1989], "A male prostitute convicted of drug trafficking and sex offenses against a minor used the Chevy Chase Elementary School in late 1987 to run his prostitution operation after the school's principal began buying sex from him."
"The call-boy was allowed to sleep and use phones in the school even after the principal left at 5 p.m., while teachers and the children were still involved in after-school activities such as chorus," said the principal, Gabriel A. Massaro, who also revealed "he had a four-year relationship with the prostitute and provided him with a guidance counselor's office and telephone at the model ‘magnet school’ even while children were in classes elsewhere in the building."
Also according to the Times, "Massaro acknowledged that he attended a meeting between Davis and his Alexandria probation officer at the Capitol Hill home of Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, another client whose home the call-boy used to perform sexual services." The paper did not reveal the age or name of the call-boy or whether he serviced Congressman Frank.
A clearly unethical and likely illegal presidential appointment was also linked to the White House child sex-ring: "In August, 1990, Bush appointed Ronald Roskens of Nebraska to head the Agency for International Development (AID). Roskens had been fired the previous year as chancellor of the University of Nebraska, where Larry King was a member of his advisory committee.
[State Police "Franklin" investigator] Gary Caradori’s daily notes for February 19, 1989 record: ‘I was informed that Roskens was terminated by the state because of sexual activities reported to the Regents and verified by them. Mr. Roskens was reported to have had young men at his residence for sexual encounters." [Franklin Cover-up, p.177]
DeCamp added that AID assignments have been used as a "cover" by CIA agents; and in spite of Roskens’ sexual background and termination by Nebraska educators and his clear potential for being blackmailed, President Bush appointed him anyway.
Karl: ‘Rove’ing DC, approving 'special' WH press passes?

The extent to which White House Senior Domestic Policy Advisor Karl Rove played a part in approving the Gucket/Gannon White House press passes is not known.
However, CBS News spoke of a Rove-Gannon connection, saying  "Gannon's aggressively partisan work and the ease with which he got day passes for the White House press room the past two years make it hard to believe that he wasn't at least implicitly sanctioned by the "boy genius."
Following on the heels of Guckert-Gannon, Walter Storch, editor of the Barnes Review News reported a three weeks ago that "Karl Rove was seen by one of my people entering a private homosexual orgy at a five-star Washington hotel over the Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL) weekend last year." [2004]
A Barnes reporter told Storch that "Karl greatly enjoyed the supervision of a certain hairy 350-lb. Leather Dominator who had won the Miss Virginia Daddy Bear title at the MAL festivities."
Storch wrote, "Karl used to hang out a JR’s, which is on 17th between P & S streets, before he became so well-known. This is a respectable gay bar for discreet people...," adding, "there is an expensive apartment...over near Dupont Circle that certain powerful senators take turns visiting with their pickups."
"Bush, via Karl Rove, was projected as a moral man who would return a hedonistic America to the simpler virtues of a bygone era. A large part of the American public, unhappy with what they saw as debilitating liberalism, abortion on demand, gay marriage and other forms of moral decay, put Bush back in office," said the Barnes editor.
"Now they have to deal with rampant male whores prancing around the White House in consort with a small army of closet queens, all of whom very obviously have the ear, and the confidence, (and hopefully, that’s all they have) of their ‘moral’ choice for President," said Storch.
Interestingly, also counts "one Supreme Court Justice, several governors (all Republican) and at least one very prominent televangelist" among those high officials who are saying one thing and doing another with respect to Storch's closet queen issue.
While American citizens watch, unanswered questions remain as Democrats and Republicans ignore young witnesses with clear and credible evidence--refusing to hold each other's legislators criminally accountable for their unspeakable crimes against children.

Andy Stephenson and Mary Schneider contributed to this report.

Town meetings held to debate tasers  waws fox 30 fla

The great taser debate continues this week, and the Jacksonville Sheriffs has opened the floor to the public with several scheduled town meetings.


In January, Sheriff John Rutherford offered himself as a guinea pig to prove the safety of a taser gun. However, the demonstration left many parents worried and uneasy rather than satisfied.


Now, parents and other concerned parties will have a chance to voice their opinions in front of law enforcement officials at one of many public town meetings.




Tracking units set to go into TPS buses
Devices give precise location of vehicles

Toledo Balde | March 17 2005

Toledo Public Schools officials hope global positioning satellite systems, cameras, and new radios could be installed beginning this summer on the school district's 185 yellow buses and other vehicles.

"The main purpose for doing this is safety," said Dan Burns, the district's chief business manager.

"I also look at this as effective management of a large organization's fleet."

Global positioning systems, commonly known as GPS, will allow school officials to pinpoint the location of any of the district's school buses, vans, and maintenance vehicles within 100 feet of their position at any given time.

In addition, they will be able to determine if the vehicle's engine is running, its speed, rate of acceleration or deceleration, and whether doors are open.

The school system, which transports just under 9,000 students on yellow school buses everyday, will pay about ,000 for the new systems.

Mr. Burns said bids for the project would go out over the next two months.

He said it would take about two years to outfit all of the buses with the new system.

Joe Kahl, director of transportation for the Toledo school system, said each bus would have a two-way radio and at least three cameras.

Some Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority buses, which carry about 10,830 TPS school children to and from school, are also equipped with cameras and GPS systems.

Mr. Kahl noted that the GPS systems would primarily be used to locate broken-down buses, but it could also offer a measure of security for drivers and students alike.

"One of the top three targets for terrorism is schools and school buses," Mr. Kahl said. "This is going to give everyone a better feeling."

Mr. Kahl said it is unlikely that a school bus would be hijacked, but he noted that it has happened elsewhere in the country.

In November, 2003, a man hijacked a Miami school bus with 38 students aboard.

The man was arrested a short time later and no one was injured during the incident.

Other school systems began equipping buses with cameras and GPS systems years ago.

In New Haven, Conn., for example, the 20,000-student district began using the technology in 2003.

Detroit Public Schools has GPS installed on 90 out of 400 buses, said Mattie Majors, a district spokesman.

"We are hoping to get to 100 percent by the fall," she said.

Despite safety and possible economic advantages, Mr. Kahl acknowledged that some TPS bus drivers are wary of the technology.

"They are a little apprehensive about the idea that Big Brother is watching," he said.




Two big law enforcement divisions ban use of Tasers

USA Today | March 18, 2005

Questions raised about safety of using stun guns

WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security's two largest law enforcement divisions have rejected the use of stun guns for about 20,000 agents and officers, largely because of questions about the safety of the devices that emit electrical charges to temporarily incapacitate suspects.

The bans were adopted by the bureaus of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection in internal directives that were issued during the past two years.

ICE rejected the devices in December 2003, spokesman Russ Knocke said.

That was about a month after an officer with the Federal Protective Service, a part of ICE, allegedly was injured during a stun gun training session.

CBP issued its own ban several months later, spokesman Barry Morrissey said.

''There are enough question marks about the safety of this device,'' Morrissey said, citing a recent review by the agency. ''The safety of our officers and the public is always a concern. It was determined that the device just didn't fit.''

The bureaus' acknowledgements of the bans comes at a time when stun guns, which are used by more than 7,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States, are under increasing scrutiny.

Since 1999, more than 80 people have died after being shocked with stun guns, according to reviews by The Arizona Republic and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The Republic has reported that autopsies have linked 11 deaths to stun guns, which also are known as Tasers.

In recent weeks, several civil rights groups, including the SCLC, an interfaith group in Atlanta, have called for a moratorium on the use of stun guns.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police and other law enforcement groups have called for more extensive research into whether stun guns are safe.

Arizona-based Taser International, by far the largest manufacturer of the devices, has vigorously defended the safety of the more than 130,000 Tasers it has sold to police agencies.

''While we understand the concerns of the public concerning the topic of in-custody deaths after Taser usage, there are medical experts who dispute the few cases, out of tens of thousands of lifesaving uses, where a Taser device has been cited as a contributing factor to an in-custody death,'' Taser spokesman Steve said recently in a statement.





U.S. toll in Iraq war starting to hit home
By Brian Knowlton International Herald Tribune
Saturday, March 19, 2005

2 years on, the voices of protest rise


BARRINGTON, Illinois To pierce the still-frozen earth of the corner yard at his Main Street business in this comfortable Chicago suburb, Paul Vogel sometimes needs a drill. Finding a spot to plant another small flag to represent the latest American war death in Iraq has become harder as well, two years after the war began.

Vogel's sea of flags has been spreading since late 2003, when he began planting them. Then there were 480; this week, out in the yard fussing over some that had tipped a bit, he set the total at 1,518. Four of them represent men lost to his son's reserve unit, a bridge-building outfit that spent a year in Iraq without, Vogel said, ever building a bridge.

"People are forgetting the human costs of the war," Vogel said in an interview at the employment agency that he and his wife, Patricia, run in a handsome green Victorian house.

Along with the flags honoring the dead, Vogel has erected a sign that asks simply, "Do you care?"

With the second anniversary of the "shock and awe" assault on Iraq this weekend, hundreds of war protests are planned against the continuing violence there, including the recent deaths from U.S. fire of an Italian and a Bulgarian. But there has also been hopeful movement throughout the Mideast, and as Americans take stock, the picture is mixed.

Signs of division, over the war and the president who ordered the attack, remain stark and undeniable.

Bookstores carry "The Right Man," which sings the praises of President George W. Bush.

But antiwar activists, even one who said that organizing against the war "can feel like stirring concrete with an eyelash," point to tangible changes: Scores of local communities have voted to demand that U.S. troops come home. Small protests are staged weekly.

And military recruiters have had increasing difficulty in attracting enough recruits.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll underscored the ambivalence in the United States. Only 45 percent of Americans said that the war had been worth fighting, down from 70 percent at its outset. But a majority also believed that Iraqis were now better off than before the war. More Americans believed that the war had improved chances for democracy in the region than said that it has hurt those chances.

"I don't think that Americans are simply living with the war, or ignoring it," said William Connelly, a professor of politics at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. "We're as sensitive as the next person to not just the American deaths but the Iraqi deaths. That said, there fairly clearly is some good news emerging from the region."

Indeed, many Americans, even some who opposed the war, say they are willing to endure in hopes that stability will return to Iraq, terrorists will be scourged and democracy will take root. Few see any other choice.

Criticism of the war by some Democratic politicians has softened. Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, long a strident critic of the war, has struck a more conciliatory tone. He said this month that Bush deserved credit for the democratic stirrings in the Middle East.

"What's taken place in a number of those countries is enormously constructive," he said on ABC-TV. Softening his call for a quick U.S. troop withdrawal, he now says a pullout must be approved by an Iraqi government., the pioneering political Web site that backed the antiwar presidential candidacy of Howard Dean, has turned increasingly toward broader political goals like Social Security. Antiwar militants complain that MoveOn, its membership split, has lost its nerve.

It is hard for Americans to ignore the war completely. But it is possible for many to watch from a distance, without personal sacrifice. So far about one American in 200,000 has died in Iraq; the Vietnam War killed one in 4,000.

For Paul Vogel, every death is a tragedy, and he wanted to make people aware of the war. But affluent Barrington lies in a deeply conservative part of a state that supported Senator John Kerry, the president's Democratic opponent, in the election last year.

"Speaking out in this town, we figured we could be jeopardizing our business," said Vogel, a spare, careful-spoken man with a neat beard. "But you reach a breaking point. My breaking point came in June 2003 when I went to the funeral of the first man killed in my son Aaron's unit," the 652nd Engineer Company of the U.S. Army Reserves.

That man, Sergeant Dan Gabrielson, 39, was a mechanic and father of three before a rocket-propelled grenade slammed into his truck. Vogel attended the funeral and was moved by the grief that tore the sergeant's small Wisconsin town of Spooner.

A concerned Vogel took a highly unusual step: He traveled to Iraq to see his son, quietly arranging the trip with the help of a Quaker group active in relief work, slipping in through Jordan. Aaron was astonished.

Paul has a picture of the two standing side by side before curled concertina wire. It was the longest of weeks for Patricia Vogel.

The experience hardened Paul Vogel's opposition to the war, and he began speaking out. He organized a march. His sea of flags kept growing.

His efforts have encountered mixed reactions. One day a retired marine came in to Vogel's office to thank him, in tears; two days later, another ex-marine walked in, angrily mouthing obscenities at Vogel.

Vogel said his business had not unduly suffered.

A worker at the liquor store across the street, who did not give his name, shrugged wearily when asked about the war: "Whatever we say about it, it's not going to do any good."

Others in town disagreed. Gwendolyn Whiston of Tivoli Garden Antiques said she was delighted that Saddam Hussein had been removed and the Iraqis freed and that America's enemies were being kept busy far from American shores. She was particularly gratified by the liberation of women in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"There's nothing but good coming out of this," she said, "except for the deaths of American soldiers." She grieves for them, but added that soldiers should know the risks.

Dawn Turner Trice, a columnist at The Chicago Tribune, wrote that Americans seemed barely to note when the number of deaths reached 1,500. Some peace activists fault news coverage.

"The media isn't doing the job, and this is one reason why people in Europe don't know about the very extensive antiwar movement that exists here," said Joseph Gainza, the Vermont director for the American Friends Service Committee.

Gainza helped push for local referendums urging Bush to bring the troops home from Iraq. Forty-nine towns - 86 percent of those that voted - passed such referendums in a state that has sent more guardsmen and reservists to Iraq, per capita, than any state but Hawaii. Eleven Vermonters have died in Iraq

"We're getting a lot of excited phone calls and e-mails from people all over the country, and overseas, too," he said.

People like Connelly, the professor in Virginia, say that young people are not as mobilized as they were during the Vietnam War. "You clearly don't see the campuses erupting," he said.

But Bill Dobbs, a spokesman for the antiwar group United for Peace and Justice, insisted that below-the-radar efforts were working.

"Steady, low-profile organizing work has slowly helped to move a huge glacier," he said. "Certainly over half the country believes that Bush's handling of the war has been very bad."

His group's Web site lists more than 800 antiwar protests planned for this weekend, more than twice last year's figure, including a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where many military families and veterans are expected to take part. Flying in from California, where he now studies photography - though as an army reservist, he could be sent back to Iraq at any time - will be Aaron Vogel.



UK Government In Secret Payments For Childhood Vaccine Damage

London Evening Standard | March 16 2005

Secret payments to patients disabled by childhood vaccines are revealed today.

New figures show the Government has paid out £3.5 million to families who claim their children fell sick after jabs.

Over the years, up to 30,000 people have battled for compensation, with only a handful winning their cases.

The payouts - all made since 1997 - were revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. But ministers refuse to say which injections were involved - claiming such records are not kept.

The money was paid under a little-known government scheme for patients who have suffered adverse effects from immunisations.

Details of successful claims are never publicised - with ministers anxious not to encourage applications.

Families must convince health chiefs that the injections their children were given as part of public health programmes were directly responsible for making them seriously ill. Payouts are only made if there is overwhelming medical evidence to back the claim.

Information released to the Evening Standard shows that 917 payments have been made since the scheme was introduced in 1979. Last year, just one in every 33 claims was successful.

If that figure is typical, it suggests that since 1979, more than 30,000 people have fought for compensation for illnesses or disabilities they believe were caused by vaccines.

The revelation threatens to further undermine public confidence in the Government's child immunisation programme.

Today, parents demanded to know which vaccines had attracted most claims.

Isabella Thomas of the campaign group Jabs, said: "The public has a right to know which injections are involved. Parents should be able to see how many people believe their children were damaged by particular jabs. They can then make up their minds about whether it is worth the risk."

Under changes introduced by Labour in 1997, successful claimants receive

tax-free lump sums of £100,000. A total of 35 awards have been made since then - a £3.5 million bill.

Ministers insist the money is not "compensation" but to "ease the present and future burdens of the vaccinated person and their families".

They say they do not keep statistics about which vaccines are involved because it is too difficult to pin the blame on a specific injection.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions, which oversees the scheme, said: "It is not a requirement of the medical adviser. Indeed, this would be a difficult, if not impossible, task where several vaccinations had been administered within a short time, as is often the case."

However, at least one payment in recent years is known to have been made to the family of a child who died because of the MMR vaccination.

Parents want a public database to record the claims.

More than 1,000 families who believe their children were harmed by MMR jabs are embroiled in a lengthy court fight for compensation.

They include youngsters suffering from autism, brain damage, arthritis, bowel disease, epilepsy and immune system disorders. Some conditions are acknowledged - but rare - side effects of the controversial triple vaccine.

Many parents involved in the class action applied unsuccessfully for compensation under the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme.




VeriChip, the company that makes radio frequency identification--RFID--tags for humans, has moved one step closer to getting its technology into hospitals.

The Federal Drug Administration issued a ruling Tuesday that essentially begins a final review process that will determine whether hospitals can use RFID systems from the Palm Beach, Fla.-based company to identify patients and/or permit relevant hospital staff to access medical records, said Angela Fulcher, vice president of marketing and sales at VeriChip.

VeriChip sells 11-millimeter RFID tags that get implanted in the fatty tissue below the right tricep. When near one of Verichip's scanners, the chip wakes up and radios an ID number to the scanner. If the number matches an ID number in a database, a person with the chip under his or her skin can enter a secured room or complete a financial transaction.

"It is used instead of other biometric applications," such as fingerprints, Fulcher said.

The approval process does not center on health risks or implications, Fulcher said. VeriChip can already sell implantable RFID chips in the United States for standard security applications and the financial market. The company's basic technology has also been used in animals for years.

Instead, the FDA may mostly examine privacy issues, Fulcher indicated. In other words, the agency will look at whether the technology will lead to situations where confidential information can get improperly disclosed.

Technically, the FDA on Tuesday issued a letter stating that there were no equivalent products on the market. This allowed VeriChip to then seek a de novo, or additional, review. The application process started in October 2003.

The Italian Ministry of Health kicked off a six-month trial of the chips for hospitals in April.

VeriChip, a division of Applied Digital Solutions, generated headlines worldwide recently with the announcement that the Attorney General of Mexico implanted one of the small company's RFID tags in his arm.

Fulcher said the basic technology has been around for a while. For 15 years, Digital Angel , a sister company under the Applied corporate umbrella, has sold thousands of tags for identifying animals. The U.S. Department of Energy employs Digital Angel's technology to monitor salmon migration. Several implants have been placed in household pets and livestock.

"We believe the tags can last 20 years," Fulcher said.

The idea for employing the tags to identify humans came after the horror of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Fulcher said. Richard Seelig, vice president of medical applications at Applied, saw on TV how firemen were writing their badge numbers on their arm with pen so they could be identified in the event of a disaster.

He inserted Digital Angel tags in his body and told the CEO that they worked. VeriChip was born. In June, the company hired Next Level and Motorola alum Kevin Wiley as CEO.

About 7,000 VeriChip tags have been sold, and approximately 1,000 have been inserted in humans. The chips only work with VeriChip's scanners. Along with scanners, VeriChip also sells complementary security systems for opening or shutting doors after the identification process.

So far, most of the sales have been outside the United States. Along with its attorney general's implant, Mexico has evaluated the chips as a way to better identify children in the event of a kidnapping. The Baja Beach Club in Spain has used them as electronic wallets to buy drinks. Sales have also taken place in Russia, Switzerland, Venezuela and Colombia.

"The applications that have taken hold at this point have been international so far," Fulcher said.

But FN Manufacturing , a South Carolina gun maker, is evaluating the technology for "smart guns," which contain sensor-activated grips so that only their owners can fire them.

The chips themselves are inserted into humans and animals with a syringe. When emerging from the syringe, the chips get coated with a substance called BioBond, which insulates the chip from the body and allows it to adhere to local tissue. If removed, it becomes inactive.

Privacy has been an issue for the company, but the complaints have actually begun to die down. "The pushback is less and less," Fulcher said.

The chip is an ID tag, Fulcher emphasized. When a person with an embedded chip passes near a scanner, the dormant chip simply wakes up and issues an ID number. The administrator of the security systems and databases determines how the information is used. A person has to stand within a few feet of a scanner for the tag to wake up. Thus, the tags can be used to follow someone's steps only when they are near scanners. The company's hand scanners can ping chips about 12 inches away, although the devices for counting salmon are 10 to 12 feet away from the fish.

Also, VeriChip is working on an implant that will contain a Global Positioning System . Such a device would allow an individual with a scanner to pinpoint someone's position on the globe.

The lab device, however, is relatively large right now, about the size of a pacemaker.



US pays out for looting Nazi gold

BBC News | March 12, 2005
By Lesley Curwen

The US is to pay .5m (£13.2m) to families of Hungarian Holocaust victims as compensation for the plundering of family treasures in World War II.

US officers took the goods from a train known as the Nazi gold train, heading from Hungary to Germany in May 1945.

It was loaded with gold, silver, china, jewels, 1,200 paintings and 3,000 oriental carpets seized by the Nazis from Jewish families in Hungary.

The money will be handed out to needy survivors of the Holocaust.

The settlement is the final chapter in the disturbing story of the Nazi gold train.

Today it is estimated that the cargo might be worth as much as (£46m).

The train was intercepted by the US army, and never reached Germany. Its treasures disappeared.

'Defrauded and cheated'

More than half a century later, a special commission appointed during the 1990s by then-President Bill Clinton confirmed it had been plundered by US soldiers, including high-ranking officers.

The episode has been seen as a shameful blot on the record of the US army in World War II. The Hungarian families who brought the case have given a guarded welcome to the settlement.

Their lawyers say it was never about money alone, but about having a reckoning with history.

The bulk of the money will go not to the families who lost possessions.

It will be distributed to needy survivors of the Holocaust living in Hungary, the US, Israel and Canada.

Perhaps the most important thing for the families is that the federal government has agreed to acknowledge the US army's role in the affair.

Prominent members of Congress have been urging the Bush administration to reach agreement for some time.

Republican Senator Arlen Specter said the US government should admit the Holocaust survivors had been "defrauded and cheated".



US troops kill woman, kids

SA | March 14, 2005

Baghdad - Three civilians were killed and another 10 injured, including five children, when US troops retaliated to an earlier missile attack by insurgents from a residential region in Qaim on Monday, said hospital sources.

Dr Mohammed Saleh al-Kubaisi of the border city of Qaim, 500km west of Baghdad, said that insurgents fired missiles on the Qaim customs office building which is being used as a US military base.

The US troops responded by firing on the nearby residential regions, killing three and injuring 10 others. Most of the injured are in serious condition, Kubaisi said.

On Sunday, members of the Iraqi National Conference were ambushed in Ramadi, west of Baghdad. One member was seriously injured when gunmen opened fire on his car. Hameed Ali al-Dulaimi is in a coma, according to Dr Abdul-Salam Mohammed of Ramadi hospital. - Sapa-dpa


White House seeks renewal of Patriot Act
White House adviser urges lawyers to resist 'partisan politics'

CNN | March 17, 2005
By Justine Redman

WASHINGTON -- President Bush values debate over the Patriot Act but still intends to seek congressional reauthorization of the entire act, President Bush's homeland security adviser said Thursday.

Frances Townsend told a meeting of the American Bar Association in Washington that although it is important to debate the balance between freedom and security, it is "equally important that we not permit this valuable tool to be caught up in unnecessary rhetoric."

Townsend urged the assembled lawyers to help the country "divorce this from partisan politics."

Elements of the USA Patriot Act are set to expire at the end of this year. The law has been a crucial component of the government's war on terror since it was passed in October 2001.

President Bush and U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have publicly called for Congress to reauthorize the expiring portions. Several members of Congress have already said they want changes made to the law.

Addressing one of the most controversial points of the Patriot Act, Townsend recalled asking an audience to raise their hands if they were concerned about the law's "library records provision."

"Probably 70 percent of hands went up," Townsend said. "And people were really stunned that there is nowhere in the Patriot Act the mention of library records."

Critics point to Section 215 of the act, arguing that it unconstitutionally expands investigators' powers to obtain records to the point where library records could be seized.

Section 215 states investigators may ask a judge's permission to search "books, records, papers, documents, and other items for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution."

Townsend cited successes in other aspects of "the president's chosen path to ultimate victory" in confronting terrorism, including increasing funding for law enforcement and homeland security, and freezing million of terrorist assets worldwide.

She said that through offensive strategies, the United States has made allies of Afghanistan and Iraq, and that Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Libya have also joined "the struggle against evil."

Of the destruction of Libyan chemical munitions, Townsend said, "When the civilized world demonstrated its determination, the Libyan government correctly judged its own interests, and the American people are safer."

However, Townsend said, there are still governments that sponsor and harbor terrorists. "We must be unanimous in our strong condemnation of such state sponsorship of terrorism and demand its end in our lifetime."

A former prosecutor, Townsend closed by honoring as heroes the judge, court reporter, and sheriff's deputy killed in Atlanta last week, along with the judge in Chicago whose husband and mother were killed earlier in February.