Friday, September 12, 2003

Life on Venus

Today Venus has temperatures that are hot enough to melt lead. There is a continuous drizzle of concentrated sulfuric acid and thick clouds block out the Sun. But it once had a climate like ours, complete with large oceans. It lost its water due to a runaway greenhouse effect, but it's not known if this happened before life had a chance to get started there.

Geologist Jeffrey Kargel thinks the climate of Venus changed four billion years ago, just 600 million years after the Solar System's birth. That wouldn’t be enough time for life to take hold. But David Grinspoon thinks things changed much later, and says Kargel didn’t take into account the cooling effects of the clouds.

About 700 million years ago, the entire surface of Venus actually melted and reformed. Could life have survived and it still be hiding there?



On April 24, 2001 the Baltimore Sun and ABC News reported on a shocking, declassified Pentagon document, titled Operation Northwoods. In Operation Northwoods the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called for hijacking jet airliners, attacking US military bases, blowing up US ships and wounding civilians in Miami, Florida and Washington, DC using paramilitary sniper teams. Page eight of the formerly Top Secret Pentagon plan stated that “casualty lists in US Newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.” The opening paragraph in the Baltimore Sun read “US leaders proposed in ’62 a secret plan to commit terrorist acts against Americans and blame Cuba to create a pretext for invasion.”

The Northwoods Document spells out the US Government's plan to frame innocent people for the shootings and bombings that the US Government was preparing to commit. Page 9 of the Northwoods Document states that after the Government carried out shootings and bombings in Washington DC that "the arrest of Cuban agents and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government." Now in 2002 they're telling us that they think that they have the two men responsible for the sniper shootings in DC. Can the government be trusted?

Forty years after the Northwoods plan was rejected by John F. Kennedy, we see striking similarities between the sniper attacks and the terrorist activities called for in the Northwoods plan. Whereas the Northwoods document planned to create a pretext for war with Cuba, the sniper attacks are being used as a pretext to put military on the streets of America and to push for gun control. Now, White House officials are saying that there’s a good chance that al-Qaeda or Iraq are behind the sniper attacks and are warning the American people to look for similar attacks in other cities, thus creating a timely pretext justifying military action to capture Middle Eastern and Central Asian oil supplies in a war with Iraq.


Personal privacy being destroyed in the name of public safety

Anti-terrorism legislation hurriedly introduced around the world since the September 11 terrorism attacks is having a devastating impact on privacy, a global survey has concluded.

Information collected for the purposes of combating terrorists is frequently being used in other areas of law enforcement, the report says.

However, new invasive technologies, such as biometrics and video surveillance, are yet to be proved effective as terrorism deterrents.

The Privacy and Human Rights report by an independent civil liberties group, Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC), looks at privacy and anti-terrorism legislation in 55 countries, including Australia.

Australia is criticised for its poor privacy protection laws while being named as one of the more aggressive in adopting DNA database technology and video surveillance.

The report claims the National Privacy Principles introduced in December 2000 impose a lower standard of protection than data protection laws among countries of the European Union. It also claims the Federal Privacy Commissioner's office has inadequate resources to cope with an increase in complaints.

The report claims "the number of complaints received in 2002-03 will exceed 1000, a more than five-fold increase since 2000-01" and inquiries have risen from 9000 to 25,000.


Thursday, September 11, 2003

Terrorist Group Profiles
Index of Groups


World's Worst Water Comes from…Belgium?

Belgium has the world’s worst water, according to UNESCO. It's dirtier than the water in India, Jordan and nine African countries. The next worst European country is Germany, in 57th place. The best water comes from Finland, Canada and New Zealand. The U.S. is 12th on the list for the cleanest water.
The water quality index rates countries according to the cleanliness of their rivers and underground water, the amount of treatment that they give to sewage and the way they enforce anti-pollution laws. The U.K. is now number 4 for clean water, but the Thames was once filled with sewage. It's now so clean that salmon swim in it. Belgian's environment ministry says things will improve when a sewage treatment plant is completed in Brussels in 2005.

Got old medicine? Don’t flush it

What’s the best way to throw away leftover, expired medicines? Once the answer was “flush ‘em,” to ensure children and animals couldn’t stumble on the drugs and be poisoned. Now scientists are increasingly warning not to flush drugs. Antibiotics, hormones and other medicines are being found in waterways — raising worrisome questions about potential health and environmental effects.

Astronomers hatch plan to move Earth's orbit from warming sun

The researchers' theory is a twist on the "gravity-assist" technique used to send spacecraft to the outer planets. The team says that by shooting a large object (such as an asteroid about 62 miles across) past the Earth, the planet could be gradually pulled away from the Sun. It would take thousands of encounters to make a difference. One million encounters would move the Earth out 41 million miles, or about 50 percent farther from the sun than it is today.

But the researchers say that if the technique is repeated an average of every 6,000 years, the orbit could be increased to keep pace with the Sun's increasing brightness. The result, they say, would be to keep the Earth habitable for up to an extra 5 billion years.


Your own digital guardian angel

Digital Angel Corporation (AMEX: DOC) today unveiled its second-generation “My Digital Angel” web portal featuring content-rich, multi-layered programming and updated web-based software offering mobile device users a new level of connectivity and rich content anytime, anyplace.
[...] The second-generation Digital Angel GPS/sensor technology will offer three distinct product platforms: vehicle mount, pager and wristwatch.


Anti-terror laws increasingly used against common criminals

In the two years since the nation began giving law enforcement agencies fresh powers to help them track down and punish terrorists, police and prosecutors have increasingly turned the force of the new laws not on al-Qaida cells, but on people charged with common crimes.
The Justice Department said it has used authority given to it by the USA Patriot Act to crack down on currency smugglers and seize money hidden overseas by alleged bookies, con artists and drug dealers.

Federal prosecutors used the act in June to file a charge of "terrorism using a weapon of mass destruction" against a California man after a pipe bomb exploded in his lap, wounding him as he sat in his car.

A county prosecutor in North Carolina charged a man accused of running a methamphetamine lab with violating a state law barring the manufacture of chemical weapons.


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Searching at the Edge

Martin Rees, Britain's astronomer royal, says, "Our cosmic importance depends on whether we are alone or not. The main aim of science is to take steps toward answering the big questions." Now a Swedish university is funding a chair for a professor of the paranormal and SETI says they're being taken seriously—it's a start.
Sweden's Lund University will appoint Europe's first professor of parapsychology, who will start work in 2004. He'll study and teach hypnosis, clairvoyance and other edge subjects. "Verifying the existence of paranormal phenomena does not seem to be a promising field of science," complains philosophy professor Sven Ove Hansson. He"ll find out that's not true—as Dreamland listeners know, there's a lot of scientific evidence to back up these ideas.

SETI has been searching for signals from extraterrestrial life for over 40 years, and they haven't received any clear ET evidence yet. Ten years ago, NASA cut off SETI's funding, but they're still going strong, by "borrowing" off-hours computing power from thousands of volunteers.

"It's a great goal. That is a lot of what sustains you—the payoff," says SETI researcher Kent Cullers. "That's why we keep the champagne on ice."

Schwarzenegger: 'I was dreaming about being some dictator'
- LibertyThink unearths 1976 interview

"I feel you only can have a few leaders," [Arnold] says in a guttural, confident voice, "and then the rest is followers. I feel that I am the born leader and that I've always impressed with being the leader. I hate to be the follower. I had this when I was a little boy. . ."

Arnold grew up in Graz, Austria. His mother was a hausfrau; his father, now dead, a policeman . . .

"Around the time of grammar school, I had this incredible desire to be recognized. . . I got the feeling I was meant to be more than just an average guy running around, that I was chosen to do something special.

Controlling the News.

In-House Memos on Television And Print Media News Presentations

To see prior Installments of "Controlling the News" click here

During the middle of March, 2003, tbrnews received an email from a man who claimed to be a mid-level executive with a major American television network. He stated in this, and subsequent, emails that he was in possession of “thousands” of pages of in-house memos sent from his corporate headquarters in New York City to the head of the network’s television news department. He went on to say that these memos set forth directives about what material was, and was not, to be aired on the various outlets of the network.

This individual claimed he was developing serious doubts about the strict control of media events and decided that he would pass this material along to someone who might make use of it.

There was the question of his job security. If someone published his name, it would be certain he was not only fired but blackballed throughout his profession.

If tbrnews.org would agree to protect his identity, he would send us these alleged thousands of pages of notes, going back to 2001.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating so we accepted his caveats and he then sent to us by disk the pages he spoke of. All are on corporate stationary, signed or initialed by the senders and again, signed or initialed by the recipients in the news division.

It was always possible that this material consisted of a very involved hoax or was something designed for the news site to use and then have it revealed that it was not original. It would not be the first time that spurious disinformation had been sent to us in the hopes that it would be used.

There were not “thousands of pages” of memos but a total of 1,497 separate pages involved. Many of them consisted of short memos while others ran to a larger format.


Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Dr. Laura and Eugenics

Organisations like the National Advocates for Pregnant Women do not deny that there can be problems with children born of addicted parents but stress that many drug addicts become loving mothers and that their children in many cases do not suffer life-long health problems.
The programme diverts efforts away from helping addicts to become clean, they argue.

"Barbara Harris couldn't care less about the addicts themselves and what might be best for them. And while it may be dressed up in the language of choice, for them to argue that these people come to them entirely of their own free will is totally disingenuous," says Wyndi Anderson, co-ordinator for NAPW.

"The project targets poor women - and you tell me what sort of choice it is when its made by someone living in poverty and desperate for money. The whole project is eugenist, it recalls what went on in the 1930s in America, or even in Nazi Germany."

U.S. launches spy satellite

Roaring into orbit, an Atlas 2AS rocket illuminated the night sky over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Wednesday, carrying with it a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, an agency that maintains spy satellites for the United States.

As is customary for the NRO, no details were released about the satellite, but experts told Reuters news agency that the type of rocket being used for launch and the location of the launch pad indicated it was a relay satellite rather than one used to collect imagery.

The rocket was launched by International Launch Services -- a joint venture of U.S.-based Lockheed Martin and Russian companies Khrunichev and Energia.

CNN.com - U.S. launches spy satellite - October 11, 2001
Police Helicopter Tapes UFO

Amazing images of a UFO in Brighton in the U.K. were caught on video by a police helicopter that was followed by the UFO for about 10 miles. UFOs are being seen by witnesses all over England.
In another part of the country, a man working in his garden saw a yellow D-shaped object that changed shape before it flew off. Michael Sopher, of the UFO organization Contact, says, "Any sightings over the Ipswich area are of great interest to us due to the historic events at Rendlesham. New evidence recently released from the government admits that this event was a proper UFO landing."

In 1980, a UFO is said to have landed in the Rendlesham forest near the airbase there. Recently someone claimed this was a hoax, but Sopher says that no one could have damaged leaves 50 feet up in the trees or caused the surge in radioactivity that was measured in the area.


Different Kind of Life on Mars?

The planet Mars may have had life forms vastly different from Earth's, that emerged from deep beneath the Martian surface billions of years ago, and are based on DNA, genes and proteins that are unlike anything found on Earth.
NASA's Christopher McKay says if there was life on early Mars (even if there isn’t any there now), it means life should be possible throughout the solar system in unimaginable forms.

David Perlman writes in San Francisco Chronicle that water first rained down on the newly-formed Earth from comets and meteors 4.9 billion years ago and that massive impacts a billion years later brought organic chemicals to our planet. All this time, Earth was getting warmer and wetter.

Mars might not have been at all like that, but it still could have developed life. "A very cold Mars is by no means an uninteresting place for life to begin," McKay says. The problem with astronomers is that they only look for one kind of life—the kind that developed in the warm, wet atmosphere of Earth.


N.Korea May Display New Missile on 55th Birthday

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea will hold its first major military parade in a decade to celebrate its 55th birthday, and a South Korean newspaper said Monday Pyongyang may use the event to display a new long-range missile.

Tuesday is the anniversary of the founding of the communist North in 1948. Defense analysts and South Korean media expect it to make a gesture, although probably not a missile test because that could scupper nascent nuclear crisis talks.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan urged North Korea not to raise tensions on the divided peninsula.

"For North Korea's own good and the sake of peaceful negotiations, the worsening of this situation would not be right," he told reporters. North Korea, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States met in Beijing last month.

Chosun Ilbo, a leading South Korean newspaper, quoted an unidentified source as saying North Korea had finished developing a new ballistic missile last year. It was not clear whether it was part of North Korea's efforts to enhance its nuclear force.

"This missile is expected to be showcased at a parade for the first time on North Korea's 55th anniversary," the daily said. "South Korea and the United States are on careful watch."

Minister rejects fluoride by force

The government has promised not to impose a national programme to add fluoride to the water supply.
MPs were debating fluoridation as part of the second reading of the Water Bill in the Commons.

Environment minister Elliot Morley said the decision would be made by health authorities and the local population.

Dentists say adding fluoride to water supplies would improve dental health, but critics say it could be harmful.

Mr Morley told MPs: "We're not planning to put in place a central, national fluoridation programme.

"On the contrary, we believe that the choice should be made locally, and we also believe that people should have that choice."


Monday, September 08, 2003

US says it doesn't know how many detainees in Cuba

SAN FRANSISCO - The US government said today it had neither an exact count nor all the names of hundreds of people captured in Afghanistan over a year ago and now detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

US government lawyers made the disclosure during a court hearing in a case on behalf of Falen Gherebi, a Libyan national believed to be in US custody in Cuba.

In May, a US District Court said it did not have the authority to consider whether Gherebi was being held lawfully and remanded the matter to an appeals court.

A Goddess Goes to College

In Nepal, there is the ancient custom of choosing a young virgin goddess, who reigns until she reaches puberty. Rashmilla Shakya was taken from her family at when she was 4 and enthroned as the Kumari in an ancient palace, where she was worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists. But once she started menstruating, she was sent back home and is now a college student.
Sanjeev Miglani writes that Rashmilla has been replaced by a 5-year-old girl. When she first came home, she could neither read or write, so she had to make up for lost time. "Rashmilla considers herself lucky," says her sister Pramilla. "She says she has had two lives, being a Kumari was one life, and now she is born again." But she adds, "We had mixed feelings when she was going. She was too small to remember anything."

Many critics say it's cruel to take a young girl from her home and deny her a childhood. As a goddess, Rashmilla could leave her palace only a few times a year, when she rode in a chariot pulled by devotees. She could never visit her family. She played with the children of the family that took care of her in the


U.S. fails to meet international deadline on destroying its own chemical weapons

The United States cannot meet an international deadline next April for destroying at least 45 percent of its chemical arms stockpile and is seeking an extension, to 2007, for reaching that milestone, the Pentagon said.
Citing "political and operational issues" that have caused delays at some domestic destruction sites, the Defense Department said the international Chemical Weapons Convention allows signatory states to seek such delays. The six-year-old agreement calls for member states to completely destroy their chemical stockpiles by December 2007.


Motorists face travel tax and 'Big Brother' microchip law enforcement

Transport Minister Paul Swain said with vehicles becoming more fuel efficient, revenue from petrol tax would drop and alternative charges needed to be considered.

It is one of a number of transport schemes being looked at by officials, including a Big Brother-style project to equip every car with a personalised microchip so law-breaking motorists can be prosecuted by computer.

Petrol excise made up $462 million of the national roads fund in 2001-02 but Swain fears the amount from fuel taxes could start stalling.

He said taxing motorists based on the distance they covered would help fund roading improvements and the charges would come on top of any road tolling or congestion fees.

"In the long run we are going to have to shift from a system of paying taxes on energy (petrol) to one based on distance, similar to road-user charges," said Swain. "Because car engines are getting more and more efficient the ability to tax the energy becomes less and less."

At the same time, police and transport officials are looking at "spy-chips", which automatically report speeding, illegal parking, and vehicles that are unregistered or without a warrant of fitness certificate.


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