Friday, May 30, 2008

Computer Generated "NIGHTMARE"

Al-Qaeda's terrifying vision of a devastated America in the wake of a nuclear attack

Last updated at 11:12am on 30.05.08

Washington is laid to waste. The Capitol is a blackened, smoking ruin. The White House has been razed. Countless thousands are dead.

This is the apocalyptic scene terrorists hope to create if they ever get their hands on a nuclear bomb.

The computer-generated image below was posted on an Islamic extremists' website yesterday.

Enlarge Washington

This computer generated image posted on terror forums depict what would happen if a nuclear attack took place in Washington D.C

It appeared as rumours swept the Internet that the FBI was warning that an Al Qaeda video was about to be released urging militants to use weapons of mass destruction to attack the West.

The information was said to be coming from 'groups that monitor Islamic militant websites'.

The FBI was quick to point out that it had not issued any warning and that the video was not an official Al Qaeda release through its media arm, Al Sahab, but simply an ' amateur' collection of old footage spliced together and posted on the Internet.

U.S. analysts said a lot of effort had been put into the video - entitled Nuclear Jihad, The Ultimate Terror - with graphics, music, and clips of different leaders and groups.

The same expertise seems to have gone into creating this image of a devastated Washington.

Al Sahab puts out more than 80 'officially sanctioned' videos a year to keep up the propaganda on the West. And the Internet shows how easy it is to stir up militancy. One message with the Washington picture said: 'The next strike's in the heart of America. When? When? When? And How?'

Last night FBI sources said Al Qaeda was desperate to get its hands on a weapon of mass destruction, be it nuclear, chemical, or biological.

So far that is only a dream... or, as this picture suggests, a nightmare.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Deuteronomy Chapter 28

א וְהָיָה, אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת-כָּל-מִצְו‍ֹתָיו, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם--וּנְתָנְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, עֶלְיוֹן, עַל, כָּל-גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ. 1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth.
ב וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל-הַבְּרָכוֹת הָאֵלֶּה, וְהִשִּׂיגֻךָ: כִּי תִשְׁמַע, בְּקוֹל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
ג בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה, בָּעִיר; וּבָרוּךְ אַתָּה, בַּשָּׂדֶה. 3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
ד בָּרוּךְ פְּרִי-בִטְנְךָ וּפְרִי אַדְמָתְךָ, וּפְרִי בְהֶמְתֶּךָ--שְׁגַר אֲלָפֶיךָ, וְעַשְׁתְּרוֹת צֹאנֶךָ. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the young of thy flock.
ה בָּרוּךְ טַנְאֲךָ, וּמִשְׁאַרְתֶּךָ. 5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough.
ו בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה, בְּבֹאֶךָ; וּבָרוּךְ אַתָּה, בְּצֵאתֶךָ. 6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
ז יִתֵּן יְהוָה אֶת-אֹיְבֶיךָ הַקָּמִים עָלֶיךָ, נִגָּפִים לְפָנֶיךָ: בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶחָד יֵצְאוּ אֵלֶיךָ, וּבְשִׁבְעָה דְרָכִים יָנוּסוּ לְפָנֶיךָ. 7 The LORD will cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thee; they shall come out against thee one way, and shall flee before thee seven ways.
ח יְצַו יְהוָה אִתְּךָ, אֶת-הַבְּרָכָה, בַּאֲסָמֶיךָ, וּבְכֹל מִשְׁלַח יָדֶךָ; וּבֵרַכְךָ--בָּאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ. 8 The LORD will command the blessing with thee in thy barns, and in all that thou puttest thy hand unto; and He will bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
ט יְקִימְךָ יְהוָה לוֹ לְעַם קָדוֹשׁ, כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע-לָךְ: כִּי תִשְׁמֹר, אֶת-מִצְו‍ֹת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, וְהָלַכְתָּ, בִּדְרָכָיו. 9 The LORD will establish thee for a holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee; if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in His ways.
י וְרָאוּ כָּל-עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ, כִּי שֵׁם יְהוָה נִקְרָא עָלֶיךָ; וְיָרְאוּ, מִמֶּךָּ. 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the name of the LORD is called upon thee; and they shall be afraid of thee.
יא וְהוֹתִרְךָ יְהוָה לְטוֹבָה, בִּפְרִי בִטְנְךָ וּבִפְרִי בְהֶמְתְּךָ וּבִפְרִי אַדְמָתֶךָ--עַל, הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָה לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ, לָתֶת לָךְ. 11 And the LORD will make thee over-abundant for good, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers to give thee.
יב יִפְתַּח יְהוָה לְךָ אֶת-אוֹצָרוֹ הַטּוֹב אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם, לָתֵת מְטַר-אַרְצְךָ בְּעִתּוֹ, וּלְבָרֵךְ, אֵת כָּל-מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶךָ; וְהִלְוִיתָ גּוֹיִם רַבִּים, וְאַתָּה לֹא תִלְוֶה. 12 The LORD will open unto thee His good treasure the heaven to give the rain of thy land in its season, and to bless all the work of thy hand; and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow.
יג וּנְתָנְךָ יְהוָה לְרֹאשׁ, וְלֹא לְזָנָב, וְהָיִיתָ רַק לְמַעְלָה, וְלֹא תִהְיֶה לְמָטָּה: כִּי-תִשְׁמַע אֶל-מִצְו‍ֹת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם--לִשְׁמֹר וְלַעֲשׂוֹת. 13 And the LORD will make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if thou shalt hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them;
יד וְלֹא תָסוּר, מִכָּל-הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם--יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאול: לָלֶכֶת, אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים--לְעָבְדָם. {פ} 14 and shalt not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. {P}
טו וְהָיָה, אִם-לֹא תִשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת-כָּל-מִצְו‍ֹתָיו וְחֻקֹּתָיו, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם--וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל-הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה, וְהִשִּׂיגוּךָ. 15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.
טז אָרוּר אַתָּה, בָּעִיר; וְאָרוּר אַתָּה, בַּשָּׂדֶה. 16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
יז אָרוּר טַנְאֲךָ, וּמִשְׁאַרְתֶּךָ. 17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough.
יח אָרוּר פְּרִי-בִטְנְךָ, וּפְרִי אַדְמָתֶךָ--שְׁגַר אֲלָפֶיךָ, וְעַשְׁתְּרֹת צֹאנֶךָ. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the young of thy flock.
יט אָרוּר אַתָּה, בְּבֹאֶךָ; וְאָרוּר אַתָּה, בְּצֵאתֶךָ. 19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
כ יְשַׁלַּח יְהוָה בְּךָ אֶת-הַמְּאֵרָה אֶת-הַמְּהוּמָה, וְאֶת-הַמִּגְעֶרֶת, בְּכָל-מִשְׁלַח יָדְךָ, אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה--עַד הִשָּׁמֶדְךָ וְעַד-אֲבָדְךָ מַהֵר, מִפְּנֵי רֹעַ מַעֲלָלֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר עֲזַבְתָּנִי. 20 The LORD will send upon thee cursing, discomfiture, and rebuke, in all that thou puttest thy hand unto to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the evil of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken Me.
כא יַדְבֵּק יְהוָה בְּךָ, אֶת-הַדָּבֶר--עַד, כַּלֹּתוֹ אֹתְךָ, מֵעַל הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה בָא-שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ. 21 The LORD will make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until He have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest in to possess it.
כב יַכְּכָה יְהוָה בַּשַּׁחֶפֶת וּבַקַּדַּחַת וּבַדַּלֶּקֶת, וּבַחַרְחֻר וּבַחֶרֶב, וּבַשִּׁדָּפוֹן, וּבַיֵּרָקוֹן; וּרְדָפוּךָ, עַד אָבְדֶךָ. 22 The LORD will smite thee with consumption, and with fever, and with inflammation, and with fiery heat, and with drought, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
כג וְהָיוּ שָׁמֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר עַל-רֹאשְׁךָ, נְחֹשֶׁת; וְהָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר-תַּחְתֶּיךָ, בַּרְזֶל. 23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.
כד יִתֵּן יְהוָה אֶת-מְטַר אַרְצְךָ, אָבָק וְעָפָר: מִן-הַשָּׁמַיִם יֵרֵד עָלֶיךָ, עַד הִשָּׁמְדָךְ. 24 The LORD will make the rain of thy land powder and dust; from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
כה יִתֶּנְךָ יְהוָה נִגָּף, לִפְנֵי אֹיְבֶיךָ--בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶחָד תֵּצֵא אֵלָיו, וּבְשִׁבְעָה דְרָכִים תָּנוּס לְפָנָיו; וְהָיִיתָ לְזַעֲוָה, לְכֹל מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ. 25 The LORD will cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies; thou shalt go out one way against them, and shalt flee seven ways before them; and thou shalt be a horror unto all the kingdoms of the earth.
כו וְהָיְתָה נִבְלָתְךָ לְמַאֲכָל, לְכָל-עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּלְבֶהֱמַת הָאָרֶץ; וְאֵין, מַחֲרִיד. 26 And thy carcasses shall be food unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and there shall be none to frighten them away.
כז יַכְּכָה יְהוָה בִּשְׁחִין מִצְרַיִם, ובעפלים (וּבַטְּחֹרִים), וּבַגָּרָב, וּבֶחָרֶס--אֲשֶׁר לֹא-תוּכַל, לְהֵרָפֵא. 27 The LORD will smite thee with the boil of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
כח יַכְּכָה יְהוָה, בְּשִׁגָּעוֹן וּבְעִוָּרוֹן; וּבְתִמְהוֹן, לֵבָב. 28 The LORD will smite thee with madness, and with blindness, and with astonishment of heart.
כט וְהָיִיתָ מְמַשֵּׁשׁ בַּצָּהֳרַיִם, כַּאֲשֶׁר יְמַשֵּׁשׁ הַעִוֵּר בָּאֲפֵלָה, וְלֹא תַצְלִיחַ, אֶת-דְּרָכֶיךָ; וְהָיִיתָ אַךְ עָשׁוּק וְגָזוּל, כָּל-הַיָּמִים--וְאֵין מוֹשִׁיעַ. 29 And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not make thy ways prosperous; and thou shalt be only oppressed and robbed alway, and there shall be none to save thee.
ל אִשָּׁה תְאָרֵשׂ, וְאִישׁ אַחֵר ישגלנה (יִשְׁכָּבֶנָּה)--בַּיִת תִּבְנֶה, וְלֹא-תֵשֵׁב בּוֹ; כֶּרֶם תִּטַּע, וְלֹא תְחַלְּלֶנּוּ. 30 Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her; thou shalt build a house, and thou shalt not dwell therein; thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not use the fruit thereof.
לא שׁוֹרְךָ טָבוּחַ לְעֵינֶיךָ, וְלֹא תֹאכַל מִמֶּנּוּ--חֲמֹרְךָ גָּזוּל מִלְּפָנֶיךָ, וְלֹא יָשׁוּב לָךְ; צֹאנְךָ נְתֻנוֹת לְאֹיְבֶיךָ, וְאֵין לְךָ מוֹשִׁיעַ. 31 Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof; thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee; thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies; and thou shalt have none to save thee.
לב בָּנֶיךָ וּבְנֹתֶיךָ נְתֻנִים לְעַם אַחֵר, וְעֵינֶיךָ רֹאוֹת, וְכָלוֹת אֲלֵיהֶם, כָּל-הַיּוֹם; וְאֵין לְאֵל, יָדֶךָ. 32 Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day; and there shall be nought in the power of thy hand.
לג פְּרִי אַדְמָתְךָ וְכָל-יְגִיעֲךָ, יֹאכַל עַם אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָדָעְתָּ; וְהָיִיתָ, רַק עָשׁוּק וְרָצוּץ--כָּל-הַיָּמִים. 33 The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed away:
לד וְהָיִיתָ, מְשֻׁגָּע, מִמַּרְאֵה עֵינֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר תִּרְאֶה. 34 so that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
לה יַכְּכָה יְהוָה בִּשְׁחִין רָע, עַל-הַבִּרְכַּיִם וְעַל-הַשֹּׁקַיִם, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-תוּכַל, לְהֵרָפֵא--מִכַּף רַגְלְךָ, וְעַד קָדְקֳדֶךָ. 35 The LORD will smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore boil, whereof thou canst not be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the crown of thy head.
לו יוֹלֵךְ יְהוָה אֹתְךָ, וְאֶת-מַלְכְּךָ אֲשֶׁר תָּקִים עָלֶיךָ, אֶל-גּוֹי, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָדַעְתָּ אַתָּה וַאֲבֹתֶיךָ; וְעָבַדְתָּ שָּׁם אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, עֵץ וָאָבֶן. 36 The LORD will bring thee, and thy king whom thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation that thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.
לז וְהָיִיתָ לְשַׁמָּה, לְמָשָׁל וְלִשְׁנִינָה--בְּכֹל, הָעַמִּים, אֲשֶׁר-יְנַהֶגְךָ יְהוָה, שָׁמָּה. 37 And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all the peoples whither the LORD shall lead thee away.
לח זֶרַע רַב, תּוֹצִיא הַשָּׂדֶה; וּמְעַט תֶּאֱסֹף, כִּי יַחְסְלֶנּוּ הָאַרְבֶּה. 38 Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather little in; for the locust shall consume it.
לט כְּרָמִים תִּטַּע, וְעָבָדְתָּ; וְיַיִן לֹא-תִשְׁתֶּה וְלֹא תֶאֱגֹר, כִּי תֹאכְלֶנּוּ הַתֹּלָעַת. 39 Thou shalt plant vineyards and dress them, but thou shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worm shall eat them.
מ זֵיתִים יִהְיוּ לְךָ, בְּכָל-גְּבוּלֶךָ; וְשֶׁמֶן לֹא תָסוּךְ, כִּי יִשַּׁל זֵיתֶךָ. 40 Thou shalt have olive-trees throughout all thy borders, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olives shall drop off.
מא בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת, תּוֹלִיד; וְלֹא-יִהְיוּ לָךְ, כִּי יֵלְכוּ בַּשֶּׁבִי. 41 Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be thine; for they shall go into captivity.
מב כָּל-עֵצְךָ, וּפְרִי אַדְמָתֶךָ, יְיָרֵשׁ, הַצְּלָצַל. 42 All thy trees and the fruit of thy land shall the locust possess.
מג הַגֵּר אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבְּךָ, יַעֲלֶה עָלֶיךָ מַעְלָה מָּעְלָה; וְאַתָּה תֵרֵד, מַטָּה מָּטָּה. 43 The stranger that is in the midst of thee shall mount up above thee higher and higher; and thou shalt come down lower and lower.
מד הוּא יַלְוְךָ, וְאַתָּה לֹא תַלְוֶנּוּ; הוּא יִהְיֶה לְרֹאשׁ, וְאַתָּה תִּהְיֶה לְזָנָב. 44 He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him; he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.
מה וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל-הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה, וּרְדָפוּךָ וְהִשִּׂיגוּךָ, עַד, הִשָּׁמְדָךְ: כִּי-לֹא שָׁמַעְתָּ, בְּקוֹל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ--לִשְׁמֹר מִצְו‍ֹתָיו וְחֻקֹּתָיו, אֲשֶׁר צִוָּךְ. 45 And all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded thee.
מו וְהָיוּ בְךָ, לְאוֹת וּלְמוֹפֵת; וּבְזַרְעֲךָ, עַד-עוֹלָם. 46 And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever;
מז תַּחַת, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-עָבַדְתָּ אֶת-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּשִׂמְחָה, וּבְטוּב לֵבָב--מֵרֹב, כֹּל. 47 because thou didst not serve the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things;
מח וְעָבַדְתָּ אֶת-אֹיְבֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר יְשַׁלְּחֶנּוּ יְהוָה בָּךְ, בְּרָעָב וּבְצָמָא וּבְעֵירֹם, וּבְחֹסֶר כֹּל; וְנָתַן עֹל בַּרְזֶל, עַל-צַוָּארֶךָ, עַד הִשְׁמִידוֹ, אֹתָךְ. 48 therefore shalt thou serve thine enemy whom the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things; and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.
מט יִשָּׂא יְהוָה עָלֶיךָ גּוֹי מֵרָחֹק מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ, כַּאֲשֶׁר יִדְאֶה הַנָּשֶׁר: גּוֹי, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-תִשְׁמַע לְשֹׁנוֹ. 49 The LORD will bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as the vulture swoopeth down; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;
נ גּוֹי, עַז פָּנִים, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יִשָּׂא פָנִים לְזָקֵן, וְנַעַר לֹא יָחֹן. 50 a nation of fierce countenance, that shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favour to the young.
נא וְאָכַל פְּרִי בְהֶמְתְּךָ וּפְרִי-אַדְמָתְךָ, עַד הִשָּׁמְדָךְ, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יַשְׁאִיר לְךָ דָּגָן תִּירוֹשׁ וְיִצְהָר, שְׁגַר אֲלָפֶיךָ וְעַשְׁתְּרֹת צֹאנֶךָ--עַד הַאֲבִידוֹ, אֹתָךְ. 51 And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy ground, until thou be destroyed; that also shall not leave thee corn, wine, or oil, the increase of thy kine, or the young of thy flock, until he have caused thee to perish.
נב וְהֵצַר לְךָ בְּכָל-שְׁעָרֶיךָ, עַד רֶדֶת חֹמֹתֶיךָ הַגְּבֹהֹת וְהַבְּצֻרוֹת, אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֵן, בְּכָל-אַרְצֶךָ; וְהֵצַר לְךָ, בְּכָל-שְׁעָרֶיךָ, בְּכָל-אַרְצְךָ, אֲשֶׁר נָתַן יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לָךְ. 52 And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fortified walls come down, wherein thou didst trust, throughout all thy land; and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.
נג וְאָכַלְתָּ פְרִי-בִטְנְךָ, בְּשַׂר בָּנֶיךָ וּבְנֹתֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר נָתַן-לְךָ, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ--בְּמָצוֹר, וּבְמָצוֹק, אֲשֶׁר-יָצִיק לְךָ, אֹיְבֶךָ. 53 And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters whom the LORD thy God hath given thee; in the siege and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall straiten thee.
נד הָאִישׁ הָרַךְ בְּךָ, וְהֶעָנֹג מְאֹד--תֵּרַע עֵינוֹ בְאָחִיו וּבְאֵשֶׁת חֵיקוֹ, וּבְיֶתֶר בָּנָיו אֲשֶׁר יוֹתִיר. 54 The man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil against his brother, and against the wife of his bosom, and against the remnant of his children whom he hath remaining;
נה מִתֵּת לְאַחַד מֵהֶם, מִבְּשַׂר בָּנָיו אֲשֶׁר יֹאכֵל, מִבְּלִי הִשְׁאִיר-לוֹ, כֹּל--בְּמָצוֹר, וּבְמָצוֹק, אֲשֶׁר יָצִיק לְךָ אֹיִבְךָ, בְּכָל-שְׁעָרֶיךָ. 55 so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat, because he hath nothing left him; in the siege and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall straiten thee in all thy gates.
נו הָרַכָּה בְךָ וְהָעֲנֻגָּה, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-נִסְּתָה כַף-רַגְלָהּ הַצֵּג עַל-הָאָרֶץ, מֵהִתְעַנֵּג, וּמֵרֹךְ--תֵּרַע עֵינָהּ בְּאִישׁ חֵיקָהּ, וּבִבְנָהּ וּבְבִתָּהּ. 56 The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil against the husband of her bosom, and against her son, and against her daughter;
נז וּבְשִׁלְיָתָהּ הַיּוֹצֵת מִבֵּין רַגְלֶיהָ, וּבְבָנֶיהָ אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵד, כִּי-תֹאכְלֵם בְּחֹסֶר-כֹּל, בַּסָּתֶר--בְּמָצוֹר, וּבְמָצוֹק, אֲשֶׁר יָצִיק לְךָ אֹיִבְךָ, בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ. 57 and against her afterbirth that cometh out from between her feet, and against her children whom she shall bear; for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly; in the siege and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall straiten thee in thy gates.
נח אִם-לֹא תִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשׂוֹת, אֶת-כָּל-דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת, הַכְּתֻבִים, בַּסֵּפֶר הַזֶּה: לְיִרְאָה אֶת-הַשֵּׁם הַנִּכְבָּד וְהַנּוֹרָא, הַזֶּה--אֵת, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ. 58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and awful Name, the LORD thy God;
נט וְהִפְלָא יְהוָה אֶת-מַכֹּתְךָ, וְאֵת מַכּוֹת זַרְעֶךָ: מַכּוֹת גְּדֹלֹת וְנֶאֱמָנוֹת, וָחֳלָיִם רָעִים וְנֶאֱמָנִים. 59 then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
ס וְהֵשִׁיב בְּךָ, אֵת כָּל-מַדְוֵה מִצְרַיִם, אֲשֶׁר יָגֹרְתָּ, מִפְּנֵיהֶם; וְדָבְקוּ, בָּךְ. 60 And He will bring back upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast in dread of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
סא גַּם כָּל-חֳלִי, וְכָל-מַכָּה, אֲשֶׁר לֹא כָתוּב, בְּסֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת--יַעְלֵם יְהוָה עָלֶיךָ, עַד הִשָּׁמְדָךְ. 61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
סב וְנִשְׁאַרְתֶּם, בִּמְתֵי מְעָט, תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר הֱיִיתֶם, כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם לָרֹב: כִּי-לֹא שָׁמַעְתָּ, בְּקוֹל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ. 62 And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
סג וְהָיָה כַּאֲשֶׁר-שָׂשׂ יְהוָה עֲלֵיכֶם, לְהֵיטִיב אֶתְכֶם וּלְהַרְבּוֹת אֶתְכֶם--כֵּן יָשִׂישׂ יְהוָה עֲלֵיכֶם, לְהַאֲבִיד אֶתְכֶם וּלְהַשְׁמִיד אֶתְכֶם; וְנִסַּחְתֶּם מֵעַל הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה בָא-שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ. 63 And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest in to possess it.
סד וֶהֱפִיצְךָ יְהוָה בְּכָל-הָעַמִּים, מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ וְעַד-קְצֵה הָאָרֶץ; וְעָבַדְתָּ שָּׁם אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָדַעְתָּ אַתָּה וַאֲבֹתֶיךָ--עֵץ וָאָבֶן. 64 And the LORD shall scatter thee among all peoples, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers, even wood and stone.
סה וּבַגּוֹיִם הָהֵם לֹא תַרְגִּיעַ, וְלֹא-יִהְיֶה מָנוֹחַ לְכַף-רַגְלֶךָ; וְנָתַן יְהוָה לְךָ שָׁם לֵב רַגָּז, וְכִלְיוֹן עֵינַיִם וְדַאֲבוֹן נָפֶשׁ. 65 And among these nations shalt thou have no repose, and there shall be no rest for the sole of thy foot; but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and languishing of soul.
סו וְהָיוּ חַיֶּיךָ, תְּלֻאִים לְךָ מִנֶּגֶד; וּפָחַדְתָּ לַיְלָה וְיוֹמָם, וְלֹא תַאֲמִין בְּחַיֶּיךָ. 66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear night and day, and shalt have no assurance of thy life.
סז בַּבֹּקֶר תֹּאמַר מִי-יִתֵּן עֶרֶב, וּבָעֶרֶב תֹּאמַר מִי-יִתֵּן בֹּקֶר--מִפַּחַד לְבָבְךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּפְחָד, וּמִמַּרְאֵה עֵינֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּרְאֶה. 67 In the morning thou shalt say: 'Would it were even!' and at even thou shalt say: 'Would it were morning!' for the fear of thy heart which thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
סח וֶהֱשִׁיבְךָ יְהוָה מִצְרַיִם, בָּאֳנִיּוֹת, בַּדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר אָמַרְתִּי לְךָ, לֹא-תֹסִיף עוֹד לִרְאֹתָהּ; וְהִתְמַכַּרְתֶּם שָׁם לְאֹיְבֶיךָ לַעֲבָדִים וְלִשְׁפָחוֹת, וְאֵין קֹנֶה. {ס} 68 And the LORD shall bring thee back into Egypt in ships, by the way whereof I said unto thee: 'Thou shalt see it no more again'; and there ye shall sell yourselves unto your enemies for bondmen and for bondwoman, and no man shall buy you. {S}
סט אֵלֶּה דִבְרֵי הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת-מֹשֶׁה, לִכְרֹת אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--בְּאֶרֶץ מוֹאָב: מִלְּבַד הַבְּרִית, אֲשֶׁר-כָּרַת אִתָּם בְּחֹרֵב. {פ} 69 These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which He made with them in Horeb. {P}

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Scott McLellan, Former Press Secretary, Attacks Bush's White House

Politico | Mike Allen | May 27, 2008 06:36 PM

Buzz up!

The Politico and Washington Post have excerpts from former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's scathing book on the Bush Administration.

From The Washington Post:

Bush is depicted as an out-of-touch leader, operating in a political bubble, who has stubbornly refused to admit mistakes. McClellan defends the president's intellect -- "Bush is plenty smart enough to be president," he writes -- but casts him as unwilling or unable to be reflective about his job.

"A more self-confident executive would be willing to acknowledge failure, to trust people's ability to forgive those who seek redemption for mistakes and show a readiness to change," he writes.

In another section, McClellan describes Bush as able to convince himself of his own spin and relates a phone call he overheard Bush having during the 2000 campaign, in which he said he could not remember whether he had used cocaine. "I remember thinking to myself, 'How can that be?' " he writes.

The former aide describes Bush as a willing participant in treating his presidency as a permanent political campaign, run in large part by his top political adviser, Rove.

"The president had promised himself that he would accomplish what his father had failed to do by winning a second term in office," he writes. "And that meant operating continually in campaign mode: never explaining, never apologizing, never retreating. Unfortunately, that strategy also had less justifiable repercussions: never reflecting, never reconsidering, never compromising. Especially not where Iraq was concerned."

Friday, May 23, 2008


FOX News labels John McCain a Democrat

America in Ashes ?

By Christopher S. Carson | Friday, May 23, 2008

The latest audio message from al-Qaeda, reportedly from Osama bin Laden himself, is only the most recent confirmation that the jihadist threat to the West remains real and deadly serious. But the fact that it could take the form of nuclear terrorism should be most worrying to citizens and policy makers alike.

Where a nuclear attack once may have been beyond the capacities of stateless terrorists, that is no longer the case. One need only consider Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), mastermind of 9/11 and chief operating officer of al-Qaeda, who revealed under intensive interrogation -- including the much-maligned tactic of waterboarding -- that a nuclear attack against the United States was a top priority for al-Qaeda.

According to the New York Daily News and its sources, the captive KSM told his interrogators that Osama bin Laden was planning a “nuclear hell storm” in America. Normally such a lurid claim would be disbelieved by our “inside-the-box” intelligence officers, but KSM’s recovered laptop had corroborating details.

The agents learned that the chain of command for this new operation went simply: bin Laden, his terrorist doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri, a mysterious scientist named “Dr. X,” and an operational coordinator. The scientist turned out to be Dr. A.Q. Khan, the founder of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, national hero, and nuke material proliferator extraordinaire. The operations ringleader was known as “Jafer the Pilot” (Jaffer al-Tayyar). This ID was corroborated by former al-Qaeda No. 3 Abu Zubaydah when he himself was waterboarded.

Dr. Khan’s input was important: One month before 9/11, according to The Washington Post, bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, met around a blazing campfire with Pakistani scientists from an A.Q. Khan-affiliated group called Umma Tameer-E-Nau, to discuss how al-Qaeda could build a nuclear device themselves and ship it to a target.

The night meeting went well. 'Jafer the Pilot" is the nom de guerre of U.S. citizen Adnan el-Shukrijumah. Young, intelligent, fluent in multiple languages and a trained jet pilot who had apparently been in flight schools with Mohammed Atta, Shukrijumah had studied and worked with other jihadis at the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor at McMaster University in Canada. But one day all the terrorists disappeared from campus forever.

John Loftus of WABC news reported on November 7, 2003, that in the immediate wake of Shukrijumah and his fellow travelers’ disappearance, 180 pounds of uranium ended up “missing” from the reactor. Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, who interviewed Osama bin Laden in the wake of 9/11, reported bin Laden saying that one of the founders of al-Qaeda, Anas el-Liby, had helped the Pilot haul out the stash of uranium.

McMaster U. has always insisted that no material was ever missing from the reactor, but instead claims that low-grade radiological material did turn up missing from their pharmacological/medical labs at the time. Paul Williams, author of The Day of Islam, published the Loftus-Mir assertions in his book and elsewhere. For his trouble, he was promptly sued by the University for $4,000,000. The suit is still pending.

But the Pilot and his atomically-inclined friends had not gone to live in a cave somewhere in Waziristan like their bosses had. Shukrijumah had much work to do for his “American Hiroshima” plan, which would detonate actual nuclear bombs in seven American cities at once. Paul Williams surmises that Osama bin Laden’s increasingly messianic pronouncements over the airwaves are psychologically tied up with his expectations of the nuclear destruction of the Great Satan—with bin Laden himself as the prophesied Mahdi, the fiery culmination of 1,600 years of Islamic history.

Whatever pangs of conscience remaining to the plotters as they contemplated burning millions of women and children alive was thoroughly assuaged by bin Laden’s diplomacy. The supremo had duly arranged for a compliant mullah to issue a fatwa, which expressly authorized the destruction of the United States of American in clouds of atomic ash. Entitled “A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels,” and dated May 2003, this fatwa can be read online by all the faithful. FBI chief Robert Mueller has also said that there is a “clear intent” by al-Qaeda to acquire and use nuclear weapons against the United States. As far back as 1993, said Mueller, Osama bin Laden had attempted to buy uranium from a source in the Sudan. Why should we expect him to stop in the last 15 years?

One thing is certain: homicidal doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri's made a decision when KSM was captured: Cancel that planned mass cyanide gas attack in the New York subway system. He told the operational plotters to stand down because "we have something better in mind,” which would presumably suck up all the resources then available to him. What would be “better” than a mass cyanide attack in a confined urban rush-hour space? There is only one thing more murderous.

Unfortunately, even in 2004, the American intelligence services tasked with protecting the country seemed about as prepared for the Pilot as they were for the Hamburg Cell of 9/11. One full year after KSM spilled his guts in a secret CIA prison in Eastern Europe, Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director John Mueller issued a joint press conference that everyone should be on the lookout for five exceedingly dangerous terrorists. Adnan al-Shukrijumah, the Pilot, was first on the list. Director Mueller called him the “Next Mohammed Atta.” The American Hiroshima plan was not specifically mentioned, presumably to prevent panic in the country.

It turns out that the Pilot himself need not have been panicked. Several days after the press conference naming Shukrijumah, a certain Samuel Mac, the manager of a Denny’s restaurant in Avon, Colorado, became uneasy as he served two “demanding, rude and obnoxious” patrons at his restaurant. One of them looked, for all the world, like the guy he remembered was in the Ashcroft-Mueller press conference’s first poster: Adnan the Pilot. The other one, wolfing down a health-conscious chicken sandwich and a salad, looked like the guy the FBI said was Abderraouf Jdey, the head of al-Qaeda’s cell in Toronto. They said they were traveling cross-country.

From behind his counter, Mr. Mac looked at these patrons again. He figured at least Washington, D.C., would have an FBI office, so he called there. The agent who answered the phone was uninterested and referred him to the Denver office. Calling this number, Mr. Mac was left with an endless loop of voice mail. The purported al-Qaeda officials eventually strolled out of the restaurant and took off. Five hours later an agent from the Denver field office called back, took a few perfunctory notes, and said he’d pass the info along. Mr. Mac thoughtfully preserved the plates and utensils the men had eaten with, but no one ever bothered to come over and collect them for DNA evidence, or interviewed any of the restaurant’s employees. So much for the national “Be on the Lookout” alert.

The Pilot quickly resurfaced in Waziristan province, Pakistan, home of Osama and Dr. Zawahiri. In April 2004, according to Paul Williams’ sources in the FBI, where Williams had worked as a consultant, this turned out to be a “pivotal planning session” for the American Hiroshima plot, much as Kuala Lumpur in 2000 was the final planning session for the 9/11 plot. Mohammed Babar, an indicted terrorist, was also present. (Babar’s Islamic Thinkers Society had held placards while demonstrating outside the Israeli consulate in 2006, helpfully saying, “The Mushroom Cloud is On Its Way.”)

Thus funded and instructed, the Pilot flew to Honduras the next month, where he met with jefes of the violent street gang MS-13 (Mara Salvatruchas) and was noticed by the café owner, who had seen newspaper pictures of that Ashcroft-Mueller press conference. The Honduran security ministry confirmed Shukrijumah’s presence there, and also the Pilot’s multitude of calls then to France, the USA, and Canada.

Why was the Pilot meeting with MS-13 gang leaders? The answer became painfully obvious that summer, when he was seen again in Mexico in late August 2004, near “terrorist alley” in Sonora, the main thoroughfare for illegal aliens into the United States. MS-13 was the Pilot’s new supply chain and courier of nuclear material for the bombs he was setting up.

The Pilot was now moving around at will, with no hindrance, all through Latin America. U.S. intelligence got another too-late break in November, when Sharif al-Masri, an al-Qaeda official working directly with Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, was snatched and questioned by interrogators.

Al-Masri told his American captors that his bosses had arranged for nuclear supplies for bombs to be shipped into Mexico and thus into the USA with the help of the MS-13 street gang. This created a new sense of urgency, because on November 1st, Mexican officials reported that a man looking very similar to Adnan al-Shukrijumah had just stolen and flown off with a Piper PA Pawnee crop duster near Mexicali, destination unknown.

Since 2005, the Pilot has vanished from sight.

While the mainstream media currently mostly ignore this story and the almost certain fact that a nuclear plot is ongoing today, Senator Joseph Lieberman has held at least three separate hearings in 2008 of his Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on this very subject.

The testimony from experts summoned to these hearings has been grim. Nobody doubts that once terrorists acquire fissile material, which is either Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) or plutonium, a bomb is within their theoretical capacity and will to make and use. A simple gun-type device, like that used for the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima, is sufficient to yield a one to ten kiloton explosion.

Al-Qaeda has been increasing its recruitment for nuclear-skilled workers. Al-Qaeda-in-Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri issued a public call in September 2006 for “people of distinguished skills and high levels of expertise…particularly…nuclear scientists and explosives engineers” to work with al-Qaeda-in-Iraq. The mainstream media and the Democratic officeholders ignored this proclamation, because the counterinsurgency effort in Iraq is supposed to be a “distraction” from the “real” war on terror, which to them presumably would not include a mushroom cloud over Chicago.

The only good news is that terrorists cannot make HEU or plutonium; they have to get it from somewhere else. HEU is not found in nature and has to be juiced up from normal uranium. For that reason, HEU is highly prized on the world’s black markets. How will Adnan Shukrijumah get hold of this HEU (or even plutonium) to assemble into working bombs?

He has a range of options. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has documented 15 incidents of theft and smuggling of small amounts of separated plutonium or highly enriched uranium confirmed by the nations involved. But these 15 cases represent the tip of the iceberg of what has actually occurred. So there is always just approaching the right people and buying it—not an easy task, but not an impossible one either.

Nuclear terror expert Matthew Bunn testified last month that “Nuclear weapons or their essential ingredients exist in hundreds of buildings in dozens of countries, with security measures that range from excellent to appalling – in some cases, no more than a night watchman and a chain-link fence.”

In recent months, shadowy surveillance teams have been reported scoping out secret nuclear weapons facilities in Russia. They probably don’t have to be: In February 2006, Russian citizen Oleg Khinsagov was arrested in Georgia (along with three Georgian accomplices) with some 100 grams of 89 percent enriched HEU, claiming that he had kilograms more available for sale. We can’t know how many thefts that occurred were never detected. Dr. Bunn told Senator Lieberman that “it is a sobering fact that nearly all of the stolen HEU and plutonium that has been seized over the years had never been missed before it was seized.”

The Pilot doesn’t need too much HEU for his seven-city destruction plan. For one “simple” gun-type design HEU bomb, roughly 50 kilograms of HEU would be needed – roughly the size of a six-pack.

The Pilot could also try hitting up a HEU-based research facility, like his old alma mater McMaster University, although McMaster apparently didn’t employ HEU per se. But some 130 research reactors around the world still do use HEU as their fuel.

Or has he already? The Washington Post, right before last Christmas, reported a strange story. Sometime in the night of November 8, 2007, two coordinated teams of armed men attacked the Pelindaba nuclear facility in South Africa, where hundreds of kilograms of weapon-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU) are stored.

One of the teams was chased off by the guards, but the other team of four gunmen disabled the perimeter alarms, went to the emergency control center and shot a worker in the chest. Bleeding out, the worker was still able to sound the first alarm.

He might not have bothered. The attack team then spent 45 minutes inside the perimeter, without anyone harassing them. What they did next is unknown to the public. The team promptly disappeared through the same hole they had cut in the fence. South African officials later arrested three individuals, but soon released them. The South African government has since been close-lipped about what really happened last November, and it has refused earlier U.S. offers to remove the HEU at Pelindaba—if indeed any remains after the attack. We don’t even know how much HEU, if any, was spirited away.

But surely the point is not whether the Pilot hit this specific facility. It is that he could well have—or dozens of others like it. We do know that if a 10 kiloton A-bomb, somewhat smaller than the bomb that obliterated Hiroshima, is set off at ground level in midtown Manhattan, the death toll would be perhaps half a million people. We could expect roughly $1 trillion in direct economic damage from this one bomb alone. Multiply this by seven bombs, and we can expect the wholesale depopulation of America’s cities in fear, incalculable economic devastation, and the end of the country as we currently know it.

Chicago naturally is on the list of targets. According to nuke expert Dr. Graham Allison, the HEU needed to nuke the city is smaller than a football. He writes, “If a bomb were put in the back of a tanker truck, driven downtown, and detonated at the Sears Tower, everything within a third of a mile would vanish. The United Center and all of Grant Park would look like the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The resulting firestorm and cloud of fallout would reach nearly to U.S. Cellular Field and Wrigley Field.”

The experts are not talking about vague probabilities far into the future. Former Clinton Secretary of Defense William Perry and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Graham Allison are among those who have estimated that chance at more than 50 percent over the next decade. That is, two respected experts in the field believe that the nuclear destruction of one or more American urban centers is more probable than not in the very near future.

Al-Qaeda keeps increasing the number of Americans it publicly dreams of killing in its nuclear hellstorm. In 2002, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden’s former official press spokesman, claimed the right for jihadis “to kill four million Americans.” Just one year later, in his fatwa declaring the use of WMD obligatory, Nasir al-Fahd put the number of Americans that it is permissible to kill without further ado at 10 million souls, roughly 3 million of them children.

Because a nuclear attack would achieve the greatest possible destruction on American soil, there is every reason to think that the terrorists are plotting its execution. The question confronting American policy makers is: Are we prepared to stop this threat before it becomes a terrible reality?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008



Friday, May 16, 2008


Conyers on Karl Rove: 'Someone's got to kick his ass'

Nick Langewis and David Edwards
Published: Thursday May 15, 2008


We'll "Hold Him In Contempt. Either That Or Go And Have Him Arrested"

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Watch the video here; the full transcript is below.

Keith Olbermann - 'Countdown'

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Lightning bolts appear above and around the Chaiten volcano ...

Overlooked in the global food crisis: A problem with dirt

Email this Story

May 8, 6:06 PM (ET)

(AP) Farm laborers plant rice seedlings at the experimental plots of the International Rice Research...
Full Image

WASHINGTON (AP) - Science has provided the souped-up seeds to feed the world, through biotechnology and old-fashioned crossbreeding. Now the problem is the dirt they're planted in.

As seeds get better, much of the world's soil is getting worse and people are going hungry. Scientists say if they can get the world out of the economically triggered global food crisis, better dirt will be at the root of the solution.

Soils around the world are deteriorating with about one-fifth of the world's cropland considered degraded in some manner. The poor quality has cut production by about one-sixth, according to a World Resources Institute study. Some scientists consider it a slow-motion disaster.

In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 1 million square miles of cropland have shown a "consistent significant decline," according to a March 2008 report by a worldwide consortium of agricultural institutions.

(AP) A farm laborer carries rice seedlings for planting at the experimental plots of the International...
Full Image
The cause of the current global food crisis is mostly based on market forces, speculation and hoarding, experts say. But beyond the economics lie droughts and floods, plant diseases and pests, and all too often, poor soil.

A generation ago, through better types of plants, Earth's food production exploded in what was then called the "green revolution." Some people thought the problem of feeding the world was solved and moved on. However, developing these new "magic seeds" was the easy part. The crucial element, fertile soil, was missing.

"The first thing to do is to have good soil," said Hans Herren, winner of the World Food Prize. "Even the best seeds can't do anything in sand and gravel."

Herren is co-chairman of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, a collection of scientists sponsored by the United Nations and World Bank. It produced a 2,500-page report last month which, among other recommendations, emphasized a need to improve the world's soil.

Genetic improvements in corn make it possible to grow up to 9,000 pounds of corn per acre in Africa. But millions of poor African farmers only get about 500 pounds an acre "because over the years, their soils have become very infertile and they can't afford to purchase fertilizers," said Roger Leakey, a co-author of the international report and professor at James Cooke University in Australia.

(AP) A farm laborer plants rice seedlings at the experimental plots of the International Rice Research...
Full Image
Soil and water issues "have been taken for granted," said Ohio State University soil scientist Rattan Lal. "It is a problem that is not going to be solved. It's going to get worse before it gets better."

In Africa, farmers are forced to use practices that rob nutrients from the soil, not put it back, said Herren, who heads an Arlington, Va., nonprofit. Fertilizer is a quick, short-term fix, but even that isn't being done, he said.

The current crisis could have been avoided "if we, the world, had promoted fertilizer in Africa and we have known for ages it works," said Pedro Sanchez, Columbia University tropical agricultural director.

In that way, the problem with soil is a prime example of a larger failing of agriculture science, said Sanchez, who has won both the World Food Prize and a MacArthur genius grant. Scientists have the knowledge to feed the world right now, but that is not happening, Sanchez said. "It's very frustrating, especially when you see children dying."

The fruits of biotechnology and the staples of modern agricultural scientific techniques include irrigation, crop rotation, reduced tilling, use of fertilizer and improved seeds. It's a way of farming differently instead of just using better seeds that requires extra money up-front that many African farmers don't have, scientists said.

(AP) Farm laborers plant rice seedlings at the experimental plots of the International Rice Research...
Full Image
Fixing soil just isn't "sexy" enough to interest governments or charities, said Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute in Manila, Philippines.

Zeigler's center last week planted its 133rd crop of rice in the same land since 1963, trying to pinpoint the right combination of nitrogen and fertilizer. Better seeds worked wonders. But finding money for soil health is difficult and because of that, less work is accomplished, he said.

But there are success stories, Sanchez said, pointing to the small African country of Malawi. Three years ago, the country's new president invested 8 percent of Malawi's national budget in a subsidy program to get fertilizer and better seeds to small farmers. Each farmer got two bags of fertilizer and 4 1/2 pounds of seeds at less than half the cost.

Before the program started, one-third of Malawi was on food aid and the country wasn't growing enough food for itself, Sanchez said. It was producing 1.2 million tons of maize in 2005. In 2006, Malawi had more than doubled its production. By 2007 and 2008, the crop was up to 3.4 and 3.3 million tons. Now Malawi is exporting corn.

"In two years, the country has changed from a food aid recipient to a food aid donor and is self-sufficient," Sanchez said. "if Malawi can do it, richer countries like Nigeria, Kenya can do it."

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Americans unload prized belongings to make ends meet

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Business Writer Tue Apr 29, 6:04 PM ET

NEW YORK - The for-sale listings on the online hub Craigslist come with plaintive notices, like the one from the teenager in Georgia who said her mother lost her job and pleaded, "Please buy anything you can to help out."

Or the seller in Milwaukee who wrote in one post of needing to pay bills — and put a diamond engagement ring up for bids to do it.

Struggling with mounting debt and rising prices, faced with the toughest economic times since the early 1990s, Americans are selling prized possessions online and at flea markets at alarming rates.

To meet higher gas, food and prescription drug bills, they are selling off grandmother's dishes and their own belongings. Some of the household purging has been extremely painful — families forced to part with heirlooms.

"This is not about downsizing. It's about needing gas money," said Nancy Baughman, founder of eBizAuctions, an online auction service she runs out of her garage in Raleigh, N.C. One former affluent customer is now unemployed and had to unload Hermes leather jackets and Versace jeans and silk shirts.

At Craigslist, which has become a kind of online flea market for the world, the number of for-sale listings has soared 70 percent since last July. In March, the number of listings more than doubled to almost 15 million from the year-ago period.

Craigslist CEO Jeff Buckmaster acknowledged the increasing popularity of selling all sort of items on the Web, but said the rate of growth is "moving above the usual trend line." He said he was amazed at the desperate tone in some ads.

In Daleville, Ala., Ellona Bateman-Lee has turned to eBay and flea markets to empty her three-bedroom mobile home of DVDs, VCRs, stereos and televisions.

She said she needs the cash to help pay for soaring food and utility bills and mounting health care expenses since her husband, Bob, suffered an electric shock on the job as a dump truck driver in 2006 and is now disabled.

Among her most painful sales: her grandmother's teakettle. She sold it for $6 on eBay.

"My grandmother raised me, so it hurt," she said. "We've had bouts here and there, but we always got by. This time it's different."

Economists say it is difficult to compare the selling trend with other tough times because the Internet, only in wide use since the mid-1990s, has made it much easier to unload goods than, say, at pawn shops.

But clearly, cash-strapped people are selling their belongings at bargain prices, with a flood of listings for secondhand cars, clothing and furniture hitting the market in recent months, particularly since January.

Earlier this decade, people tapped their inflated home equity and credit cards to fuel a buying binge. Now, slumping home values and a credit crisis have sapped sources of cash.

Meanwhile, soaring gas and food prices haven't kept pace with meager wage growth. Gas prices have already hit $4 per gallon in some places, and that could become more widespread this summer. The weakening job market is another big worry.

Christine Hadley, a 53-year-old registered nurse from Reading, Pa., says she used to be "a clotheshorse," splurging on pricey Dooney & Bourke handbags. But her live-in boyfriend left last year, and she has had trouble finding a job.

Piles of unpaid bills forced her to sell more than 80 items, including the handbags, which went for more than $1,000 on a site called Now, except for some artwork and threadbare furniture, her house is looking sparse.

"I need the money for essentials — to pay my bills and to eat," Hadley said.

At, which helps novices sell things online, for-sale listings rose 66 percent from February to March, much faster than the 25 percent to 30 percent average monthly pace since the company was formed in September, CEO Maureen Ellenberger said. She said she was surprised to see that most of her clients desperately needed to sell items to raise cash.

For, a classifieds and business directory site, for-sale listings for January through March rose 10 percent from the previous year.

"We can definitely detect economic stress on the part of the consumer," said John Raven, the site's chief operating officer.

On Craigslist, Buckmaster said, three of the four fastest-growing for-sale categories are tied to gas — recreational vehicles like campers and trailers, cars and trucks, and boats.

Raven noted more and more listings for furniture, particularly in areas around Miami and Las Vegas and other regions hardest hit by the housing crisis.

Baughman, who runs eBizAuctions, said that over the past four months she's been working with mostly desperate sellers instead of mainly casual ones. Most are middle-class customers who can't pay their bills and now want to be paid up front for the items instead of waiting until they are sold, she said.

The trend may be hurting secondhand stores too. Donations to the Salvation Army were down 20 percent in the January-to-March period. George Hood, the charity's national community relations and development secretary, said that was probably partly because people were selling their belongings instead.

And secondhand buyers want better deals now as well, driving prices down. Secondhand merchandise online is going for 25 to 35 percent below what it commanded a year ago, estimated Brian Riley, senior analyst at research firm The TowerGroup.

"It won't hit the saturation point until the (economy) hits the bottom and right now, we don't know when that is," he said.

In Alabama, Bateman-Lee said that she only received $30 for her TV and $45 for her DVD player at a local flea market. She doesn't have too much left to sell, but she's going back to "sort through more things."

Her $30 water bill is due this week.


Friday, May 09, 2008


An Ally Slips Away

By Joel Hilliker

Pervez Musharraf hasn’t exactly been America’s most dependable ally. But in a region seething with anti-Americanism and hostility against the “war on terror,” the Pakistani president’s open support for Washington has been pretty remarkable. Facing intense public disapproval in the world’s second-most-populous Muslim country, he has allowed the United States to conduct military operations and air strikes against terrorist targets in Pakistan and provided intelligence and operational assistance. For his efforts, the U.S. looked past his warts—and awarded his country with billions of dollars.

But as of right about now, this alliance is in serious jeopardy.

For the U.S.—and all those not interested in the Taliban taking back control of Afghanistan—this is bad, bad news. For anyone not excited to see nuclear weapons in the hands of Muslim extremists, it rings a warning alarm.

Pakistanis, on the other hand, are ecstatic. In elections on February 18, they dealt a deadly blow to Musharraf by empowering a collection of opposition parties—parties that have since formed a coalition government which promises to restore Pakistan to being a parliamentary democracy. Musharraf’s political opponents are in charge now.

Musharraf himself is calling this the start of a “real democratic era” in his country. Being as how the alliance with Washington only existed because of an autocratic military leader’s willingness to defy the public, this means one thing: America’s need for an ally in Pakistan has smacked headlong into a brick wall of hostile Pakistanis.

Officials are vocally expressing their right to make judgments independent of Washington. In April, Pakistan’s foreign minister made clear that no foreign forces will be permitted to operate on Pakistani soil. U.S. officials, fully aware of the dangers fomenting within Pakistan’s borders, are on the knife’s edge, watching for how Islamabad will confront these dangers. They have good cause to be nervous.

Many observers are noting the far greater complexity that will accompany this “real democratic era.” Musharraf alone ruled everything. By contrast, the new prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, will have to balance competing elements within his coalition against Musharraf (who will remain president) and the Pakistani Army—all while paying heed to the wishes of his people and, to whatever degree he chooses, to those of the U.S. That is quite the tangled political snarl. The White House used to be able to make its requests known with a single phone call to a sympathetic and powerful ear. No longer.

This loss of U.S. influence in volatile Pakistan makes the new prime minister’s strategies for securing his nation incredibly important. Early indications are, those strategies give further cause for concern.

Gilani, while acknowledging the seriousness of the threat of Islamist extremism in his country, advocates addressing it through non-violent means. He proposes to combat radicals primarily through political and economic changes in tribal areas, including better education and more financial aid. He seeks peace with the Taliban. “We are ready to talk to all those people who give up arms and are ready to embrace peace,” he has said. He shouldn’t hold his breath.

The Pakistani Taliban praised Gilani’s gesture, but then laid out its own condition for a dialogue: that the prime minister sever ties with Washington. Our jihad is with America, the Taliban commander, Maulvi Faqir, said, but we’ll fight this government too as long as it remains an ally of the U.S. Chances are, this ultimatum won’t dissuade Gilani from trying to sweet-talk the Taliban into giving up its weapons.

One coalition leader announced that the government will pull out of a district in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province where the military has been battling Islamic warriors since November. The New York Times reported that it wants “sustained dialogue that, it hopes, will answer many grievances with the government that have pushed ethnic groups toward the militants” (March 26). What pushes people toward the militants? Grievances with the government? In truth, what pushes people toward the militants is the militants—who aggressively promote their violent anti-Western ideals through every possible means.

Pakistan is a world-renowned incubator of Islamism. Huge swaths of the country are ruled independently by Islamists. The more fragmented, disunited and gridlocked the government becomes, the stronger the Islamists grow.

This change in government could seriously cripple efforts in the “war on terror.” First, there is the prospect of Pakistan’s status as a haven for terrorism to grow. Also, the success of allied efforts in Afghanistan depends in large measure on the ability to seal that nation’s border with Pakistan; that will be far more difficult now.

But beyond these implications is the most dangerous trump card of all. As editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in our January issue, “Pakistan also has the nuclear bomb and could be taken over by radical Islam, with plenty of help from Iran. That means it could become a proxy of the Iranian mullahs. This would be the worst possible disaster!”

Blog Archive