Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Honduras Coup: Is Obama Innocent?

Is President Obama innocent of the events occurring in Honduras, specifically the coup launched by the Honduran military resulting in the abduction and forced deportation of democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya? Obama has denounced the coup and demanded that the rules of democracy be honored. Still, several troubling questions remain.

First, almost all the senior Honduran military officers active in the coup are graduates of the Pentagon’s School of the Americas (known to many of us as “School of the Assassins”). The Honduran military is trained, advised, equipped, indoctrinated, and financed by the United States national security state. The generals would never have dared to move without tacit consent from the White House or the Pentagon and CIA.

Second, if Obama was not directly involved, then he should be faulted for having no firm command over those US operatives who were. The US military must have known about the plot and US military intelligence must have known and must have reported it back to Washington. Why did Obama’s people who had communicated with the coup leaders fail to blow the whistle on them? Why did they not expose and denounce the plot, thereby possibly foiling the entire venture? Instead the US kept quiet about it, a silence that in effect, even if not in intent, served as an act of complicity.

Third, immediately after the coup, Obama stated that he was against using violence to effect change and that it was up to the various parties in Honduras to resolve their differences. His remarks were a rather tepid and muted response to a gangster putsch.

Fourth, Obama never expected there would be an enormous uproar over the Honduras coup. He hastily joined the outcry against the perpetrators only when it became evident that opposition to the putschists was nearly universal throughout Latin America and elsewhere in the world.

Fifth, Obama still has had nothing to say about the many other acts of repression attendant with the coup perpetrated by Honduran military and police: kidnappings, beatings, disappearances, attacks on demonstrators, shutting down the internet and suppressing the few small critical media outlets that exist in Honduras.

Sixth, as James Petras reminded me, Obama has refused to meet with President Zelaya. He dislikes Zelaya mostly for his close and unexpected affiliation with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. And because of his egalitarian reformist efforts Zelaya is hated by the Honduran oligarchs, the same oligarchs who for many years have been close to and splendidly served by the US empire builders.

Seventh, under a law passed by the US Congress, any democratic government that is the victim of a military takeover is to be denied US military and economic aid. Obama still has not cut off the economic and military aid to Honduras as he is required to do under this law. This is perhaps the most telling datum regarding whose side he is on.

As president, Obama has considerable influence and immense resources that might well have thwarted the perpetrators and perhaps could still be applied against them with real effect. As of now his stance on Honduras is too little too late, as is the case with too many other things he does.

By Michael Parenti

Google to introduce PC operating system

Based on Chrome browser, it would directly challenge Microsoft

In a direct challenge to Microsoft, Google is expected to announce on Wednesday that it is developing an operating system for a personal computer based on its Chrome browser, according to two people briefed on Google’s plans.

The details of the technology could not be learned, but Google plans to make the announcement on a company blog on Wednesday afternoon, this person said.

Google did not immediately return calls and e-mail messages seeking comment.
The move would sharpen the already intense competition between Google and Microsoft, whose Windows operating system controls the basic functions of the vast majority of personal computers.

Google could well be hoping to capitalize on the rise of netbooks, the compact, low-cost computers that have turned the PC world on its head.

Google already has already developed an operating system called Android, that is used for mobile phones. The software is also being built into lightweight PCs called netbooks by several manufacturers.

Google has not encouraged netbook makers to use Android as an operating system, and the Chrome-based operating system appears to be the company’s preferred software for operating netbooks.

Google has also long promoted a vision of computing in which applications delivered over the Web play an increasingly central role, replacing software programs that run on the desktop. In that world, applications run directly inside an Internet browser, rather than atop an operating system, the traditional software that controls most of the operations of a PC.

Chrome browser first step
Last year, the company released the Chrome browser, which it described as a tool for users to interact with increasingly powerful Web programs, like Gmail, Google Docs and online applications created by other companies. Since then, Google has been adding capabilities to Chrome, like the ability to allow it to run applications even when a user is not connected to the Internet.

It is not clear how much work it would take for Google to turn Chrome into the central part of a full fledged operating system. But in a recent interview, Marc Andreessen, who developed the first commercial browser and co-founded Netscape, compared Chrome to an operating system.

“Chrome is basically a modern operating system,” Mr. Andreessen said.

Google has also long customized a version of the Linux operating system for use internally.

The rise of netbooks has started to challenge some of Microsoft’s dominance in personal computing software. The first wave of netbooks relied on various versions of the open-source Linux operating system, and major PC makers like Hewlett-Packard and Dell have backed the Linux software.

In an unusual move, Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, has worked on developing a Linux-based operating system called Moblin as well.

The company has aimed the software at netbooks and smart phones in a bid to spur interest for its mobile device chip sold under the Atom brand.

To combat these efforts, Microsoft began offering its older Windows XP operating system for use on netbooks at a low price. In addition, the company has vowed that is upcoming Windows 7 software, due out this fall, will run well on the tiny laptops.

Netbooks have stood out as the brightest part of the PC market during the global economic downturn. Overall, PC sales have plummeted, while netbooks sales have surged.

Human sperm created from stem cells in world first, claims British university

British scientists have created human sperm using stem cells in a medical first that could revolutionise fertility treatment, they claim.

Researchers at the pioneering Northeast England Stem Cell Institute say they have made the breakthrough using stem cells from an embryo.

They claim that with some minor changes the sperm could theoretically fertilise an egg to create a child.
Within 10 years, the scientists say the technique could also be used to allow infertile couples to have children that are genetically their own. It could even be possible to create sperm from female stem cells, they say, which would ultimately mean a woman having a baby without a man.

This is the first time human sperm has been created anywhere in the world in a laboratory. However, the experiment has proved controversial, threatening to reopen the fierce debate over embryo research.

Last night, the scientific community was divided over its merits, with campaigners questioning the ethics and fellow scientists querying its validity, despite describing the work itself as 'very important'.

The medical breakthrough, which is reported in the respected journal Stem Cells and Development, is the latest from the institute, which is made up of the Newcastle and Durham Universities along with the Newcastle NHS Foundation.

Led by the leading stem cell biologist Professor Karim Nayernia, the team has already used the technique in mice which have then gone on to produce offspring.

Professor Nayernia, who is calling for a debate on the use of his breakthrough, said the sperm created was not perfect but had all the essential qualities for creating life.

He said: "This is very amazing and very exciting. They have heads, they have tails and they move. The shape is not quite normal nor the movement, but they contain the proteins for egg activation."

In the technique developed at Newcastle University, stem cells with XY chromosomes – containing both male and female characteristics – were developed.

A laser was used to separate and isolate the male stem cells and they were then grown in a dish. Researchers saw the cells split and divide, then eventually push out a tail and head and begin to move.

These were shown to produce fully mature, functional sperm, they say.

Professor Nayernia said the work was in its early stages and more investigation was needed to decide whether such sperm would be safe or suitable as a fertility treatment – although this is currently against the law.

The mice in his earlier experiment all died shortly after they were born.

However he said he believed that within a decade such a treatment could be offered to, for example, young boys who had received chemotherapy which can leave them infertile.

"Soon we will be able to isolate stem cells from the skin to generate sperm cells," he said. "This would enable us to look at individual stem cells from an infertile patient and find out what is the cause.

"We hope that eventually this could help create sperm for infertile men."

He called for a debate on the subject before the science overtook the law.

"You can use all technology in the right way or the wrong way," he said. "This is the case in all new technology. Nuclear power can be used for electricity or the bomb for example.

"This should be decided not by scientists but by the law which is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to provide treatments for infertile people. The test tube babies are now routine but it was controversial at the time."

It is estimated one in seven UK couples have difficulty conceiving – about 3.5 million people. In about a third of all couples having IVF, male fertility is a contributory factor.

Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, using artificial sperm and eggs in fertility treatment is banned. It is legal to create sperm in the laboratory but to combine it with an egg to create an embryo for scientific research requires a licence. Even then the embryo must be destroyed within 14 days.

There is an absolute ban on the use of artificial sperm and eggs used in fertility treatment as the HFEA scientists believe there are still "significant safety concerns". The ethical concerns have yet to be decided on.

Some experts cast doubt on the claims from Newcastle, arguing that the cells did not constitute "authentic" sperm with all the necessary biological characteristics.

Dr Allen Pacey, senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield, said "It potentially could be a breakthrough, and I hope it is, but for me the jury is still out.

"It would be really good to be able to do this. I am very supportive of this kind of research."

Sarah Norcross, Director of the UK assisted conception and genetics charity the Progress Educational Trust, said: "The latest developments in creating in vitro derived sperm are exciting, as they point to a possible future where fertility can be restored to men who cannot produce sperm in vivo. While this solution is still a way off, it gives hope to males whose fertility is compromised and who wish to have a child who shares their genes. This would be a novel way to solve the shortage of donor sperm in the UK."

Professor Robin Lovell Badge, Medical Research Council National Institute of Medical Research, said the research was still far from perfect but offered real potential.

"Despite these drawbacks, it may be that the authors have made some progress in obtaining sperm from human Embryonic Stem cells in vitro," he said. "This will be very important for research and ultimately, although definitely not yet, for fertility treatments. "

Dr Evan Harris MP, who tabled amendments to the 2008 bill on laboratory-made eggs and sperm said: "While the Newcastle team is not seeking at present to use stem cell derived sperm as a treatment for infertility, it is clearly a possible future application."

Josephine Quintavalle, director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said that the research was "totally wrong".

"This is man at his maddest," she said. "I think that sometimes we have to stop meddling and accept infertility. Science must be totally ethical and totally safe – this is neither."

Scientists create 'artificial brain cell'

Scientists have created an artificial brain cell they believe could one day be used to treat devastating neurological diseases.

The team has managed to pass messages within the mind in the same way as nerve cells, using a tiny piece of plastic which can transmit electricity.

These messages are used by the brain to control many actions in the body.
Correcting when they go awry could be the key to treating some diseases like Parkinson's disease researchers believe.

Using the artificial brain cells, called a "delivery electrode", they have managed to control the hearing of guinea pigs.

Nerve cells in the brain release and use neurotransmitters, or chemicals that to talk to each other.

The new artificial cells can do the same, opening up potential treatments, the researchers claim.

Prof Agneta Richter-Dahlfors, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who led the research, said: "The ability to deliver exact doses of neurotransmitters opens completely new possibilities for correcting the signalling systems that are faulty in a number of neurological diseases."

The scientists now plan to develop a small unit of cells which can be implanted in the body.

Studies have already begun into potential uses of the technology to treat hearing loss, epilepsy and Parkinson's.

The research is reported in the journal Nature Materials.

Earlier this year researchers at Aston University in Birmingham created an artificial "brain" by taking cells from a cancerous tumour and reprogramming them to create those identical to the human nervous system.

Robo-bats to be next eyes in the sky

Tiny flying machines can survey anything from indoors to collapsed buildings. Now researchers are mimicking nature's small flyers - and developing robotic bats that offer increased manoeuvrability and performance.

Small flyers, or micro-aerial vehicles (MAVs), have garnered a great deal of interest due to their potential applications where manoeuvrability in tight spaces is necessary, said Gheorghe Bunget, North Carolina State University (NCSU) researcher.

"Due to the availability of small sensors, MAVs can be used for detection missions of biological, chemical and nuclear agents," said Bunget.

But, due to their size, devices using a traditional fixed-wing or rotary-wing design have low manoeuvrability and aerodynamic efficiency.

So Bunget and his advisEr Stefan Seelecke looked to nature. "We are trying to mimic nature as closely as possible," Seelecke said, "because it is very efficient. And, at the MAV scale, nature tells us that flapping flight - like that of the bat - is the most effective."

The researchers did extensive analysis of bats' skeletal and muscular systems before developing a "robo-bat" skeleton using rapid prototyping technologies, said an NCSU release.

The fully assembled skeleton rests easily in the palm of your hand and, at less than six grams, feels as light as a feather. The researchers are currently completing fabrication and assembly of the joints, muscular system and wing membrane for the robo-bat, which should allow it to fly with the same efficient flapping motion used by real bats.

"The key concept here is the use of smart materials," Seelecke said. "We are using a shape-memory metal alloy that is super-elastic for the joints. The material provides a full range of motion, but will always return to its original position - a function performed by many tiny bones, cartilage and tendons in real bats."

Bunget will present the study at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Conference in California in September.

Feeling Hopeless? Take Inspiration from the Hero of the American Revolution

George Washington was a great leader. He commanded the revolutionary forces to victory against the British.

But Washington was actually a terrible military strategist and tactician.

Right from the start of his military career, Washington showed that he was prone to military blunders, and he failed to recognize good military advice when others provided it.

Washington actually lost more battles than he won during the revolutionary war.

And it took him 8 years (1775-1783) to finally prevail.

What made Washington a great leader was his persistence.

Setbacks, defeat, betrayal, and failure did not deter Washington. He kept hope alive against all odds. Even when it seemed like all was lost, he persisted.

As I have frequently written, we never know when our efforts will bear fruit. Even when it seems like our years of struggle our futile and that our enemies have overwhelming power and resources, something we have done may suddenly and unexpectedly win the battle.

Remember, Washington did not even realize that he had won the Revolutionary War after prevailing in the Battle of Yorktown. People had to explain to him and convince him that the Americans had actually won the war.

The reason we overestimate the enemy's strength is that we do not know about his weaknesses (he tries to project total strength and so tries to hide his weaknesses).

Never give up. Your struggles for truth and justice may just be the thing - or one of the many things - which turns the tide.

This is not to say that we should keep doing the same thing over and over even if it isn't working. We should frequently re-assess our tactics to see if there is something more effective we can do instead.

And things are admittedly bleak right now, given the economic crisis, the looting of the Treasury and taxpayer and the transfer of trillions to the giant banks, and the unresponsiveness of the government to the wishes of the American peole.

But as George Washington showed, we must keep persisting even during the bleak times like the American troops' winter at Valley Forge, because - if we never give up - we will eventually win.

It is hard to beat a person who never gives up.
- Babe Ruth

I don't think anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do it. I think if you are determined enough and willing to pay the price, you can get it done.
- Mike Ditka

It isn't whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get back up.
- Vince Lombardi

My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging
- Hank Aaron

I've always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn't have a chance to win.
- Arnold Palmer

My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball. My list of matches shows that I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories.
- Bjorn Borg

Continuous excellent effort, not maximum strength or superior IQ, is the key to unlocking your potential as an achiever.
- Greg Werner (Strength & Conditioning Coach)

Energy and persistence conquer all things.
- Benjamin Franklin

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
- John Quincy Adams

Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer.
- Winston Churchill

Never, never, never give up.
- Winston Churchill

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
-Calvin Coolidge

The power to shape the future is earned through persistence. No other quality is as essential to success. It is the sandpaper that breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles. It is the ability to move mountains one grain of sand at a time.
- Calvin Coolidge

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Edison

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
- Thomas Edison

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
- Thomas Edison

Sticking to it is the genius! Any other bright-minded fellow can accomplish just as much as I did if he will stick like hell and remember nothing that's any good works by itself. You got to make the damn thing work. I'll never give up, for I may have a streak of luck before I die.
- Thomas Edison

The three great essentials to achieving anything worthwhile are; first, hard work, second, stick-to-it-iveness, and third, common sense.
- Thomas Edison

Nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. That's not the place to become discouraged.
- Thomas Edison

It's not than I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.
- Albert Einstein

In the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity.
- Albert Einstein

When one door closes another one opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
- Alexander Graham Bell

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.
- Louis Pasteur

Those who have found real success, whatever field they might work in, will tell you that the better part of success is persistence, sticking with it, refusing to give up.
- Lawrence G. Boldt

It's the constant and determined effort that breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles.
- Claude M. Bristol

Never consider the possibility of failure; as long as you persist, you will be successful.
- Brian Tracy

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there's love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.
- Ella Fitzgerald

When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe

With ordinary talents and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.
- Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton

If you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never, never give up.
- Norman Vincent Peale

Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.
- Samuel Johnson

Your biggest break can come from never quitting. Being at the right place at the right time can only happen when you keep moving toward the next opportunity.
- Arthur Pine

All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line.
Many a man has taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

For now you know one of the greatest principles of success; if you persist long enough you will win.
- Og Mandino

I will persist until I succeed. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult... I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking.
- Og Mandino

Persistent people begin their success where others end in failures.
- Edward Eggleston

We can do anything we want as long as we stick to it long enough.
- Hellen Keller

What doesn't kill me makes me stronger.
- Camus

A knowledge of the path cannot be substituted for putting one foot in front of the other.
M.C. Richards

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.
- Thomas Carlyle

Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.
- Douglas MacArthur

A jug fills drop by drop.
- Buddha

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.
- Antoine De Saint-Exupery

To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.
- Mother Teresa

The best way out is through.
- Robert Frost

History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed.
They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.
- B.C. Forbes

The big shots are only the little shots who keep shooting.
- Christopher Morley

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
- Confucius

Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; While others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.
- Herodotus

Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.
- William Feather

That which we persist in doing becomes easier - not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think I'd like to be remembered as someone who beat the odds through just plain determination. ... that I persevered. Because I think that being somewhat of a pest to life, constantly plaguing and pursuing, will bring results.
- Sylvester Stallone

People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don't know when to quit. Most people succeed because they are determined to.
- George E. Allen

Persevere and get it done.
- George Allen

The majority of people are ready to throw their aims and purposes overboard, and give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune. A few carry on DESPITE all opposition, until they attain their goal . . . . There may be no heroic connotation to the word persistence, but the quality is to the character of man what carbon is to steel.
- Napoleon Hill

Luck favors the persistent. This simple truth is a fundamental cornerstone of successful company builders. The builders of visionary companies were highly persistent, living to the motto: Never, never, never give up.
- James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Persistence is insurance against failure.
- Earl Nightingal

Let perseverance be your engine and hope your fuel.
- H. Jackson Brown Jr

When I thought I couldn't go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck.
- Norman Lear

Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Victories often occur after you see no way to succeed but refuse to give up anyway.
- Dave Weinbaum

One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.
- Napoleon Hill

Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.
- Marilyn vos Savant

Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning.
- Dennis Waitley

Through perseverance many people win success out of what seems destined to be certain failure.
- Benjamin Disraeli

A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.
- Jim Watkins

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
- Dale Carnegie

How long should you try? Until.
- Jim Rohn

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins; not through strength, but through persistence.
- Unknown

What we do not see, what most of us never suspect of existing, is the silent but irresistible power which comes to the rescue of those who fight on in the face of discouragement.
- Napoleon Hill

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
- Nelson Mandela

If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence. Determination. The will to endure to the end, to get knocked down seventy times and get up off the floor saying, Here comes number seventy-one!
- Richard M. Devos

A hero is one who knows how to hang on one minute longer.
- Norwegian proverb

Hold on tight
To the place inside where the candle burns
And tend to the flame
Then it will always light your way
The vision seen
Was more than just a dream
And the truth will shine
Even through the darkest night

- The Voice

Note: Two other qualities made Washington a great leader. First, Washington was courageous, and he fought on the front lines along side his soldiers. In his first major battle, Washington had watched the commanding general - General Braddock - do the same thing, and Washington likely copied this behavior.

Washington also learned early in his military career that treating the common soldier and local townspeople with respect and dignity was key to success, for he saw that generals who treated them with disdain lost their much-needed support. For example, soldiers treated without respect often deserted. And townspeople treated with arrogance and disdain often failed to provide the provisions they had promised.

Investigators Easily Smuggled Bomb Material Into Government Buildings

Revelation debunks claim that bombs could not have been smuggled into twin towers & WTC 7

Investigators Easily Smuggled Bomb Material Into Government Buildings 080709top

Paul Joseph Watson

A new report by the Government Accountability Office inadvertently discredits a claim often made by 9/11 truth debunkers – that bombs could not have been smuggled into the twin towers or Building 7 without being noticed by security.

“In the past year, investigators successfully smuggled bomb-making materials into ten high-security federal buildings, constructed bombs and walked around the buildings undetected,” reports the Washington Post.

The GAO said that Federal Protective Service security at the offices of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the State Department amongst others was easily penetrated by investigators carrying liquid explosives and low-yield detonators.

“In one instance, the GAO obtained a building security tape showing an investigator walking through a security checkpoint with bomb making materials,” according to the Post.

“We knew that the FPS was a troubled agency, but that GAO could penetrate security at these buildings and make bombs without detection is truly shocking,” said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman.

Several factors would have made it easier for conspirators to smuggle bombs inside the twin towers before 9/11.

According to a September 12, 2001 Newsday report, “bomb-sniffing dogs were abruptly removed,” on the Thursday before the attacks took place. Heightened security procedures had been lifted just days before September 11.

Security for the World Trade Center complex was provided by Securacom, a company that counted amongst its directors Marvin P. Bush, the brother of President George W. Bush. The contract for security on the WTC complex ran “up to the day the buildings fell down,” according to Securacom CEO Barry McDaniel.

According to Scott Forbes, who worked in the south tower of the WTC for Fiduciary Trust, during the weekend of September 8th and 9th, there was an “unprecedented” power down which affected the top 50 floors of the south tower. The reason given for the power down was that cabling was being upgraded in the building.

The power down meant that all security cameras were not working during this period and according to Forbes, there were many “engineers” coming and going from the tower over the course of the weekend that Forbes had never seen before.

“When the South Tower collapsed, like a pillar of sand, it seemed unreal and inconceivable and I immediately thought something weird was going on. I became more suspicious several months later when the power down condition was never acknowledged and in some instances was denied by authorities,” said Forbes.

Forbes attempted to alert the 9/11 Commission to his experiences but was completely ignored.

Forbes’ statements are backed up by Ben Fountain, a financial analyst who worked in the World Trade Center, who told People Magazine that in the weeks before 9-11, There were a number of unannounced and unusual drills where sections of both the Twin Towers and Building 7 were evacuated for ’security reasons’.

Big Banks Don't Want California's IOUs

A group of the biggest U.S. banks said they would stop accepting California's IOUs on Friday, adding pressure on the state to close its $26.3 billion annual budget gap.

[Dorothy Cottrill of the state controller's office inspects IOUs last week.]
Associated Press

Dorothy Cottrill of the state controller's office inspects IOUs last week.

The development is the latest twist in California's struggle to deal with the effects of the recession. After state leaders failed to agree on budget solutions last week, California began issuing IOUs -- or "individual registered warrants" -- to hundreds of thousands of creditors. State Controller John Chiang said that without IOUs, California would run out of cash by July's end.

But now, if California continues to issue the IOUs, creditors will be forced to hold on to them until they mature on Oct. 2, or find other banks to honor them. When the IOUs mature, holders will be paid back directly by the state at an annual 3.75% interest rate. Some banks might also work with creditors to come up with an interim solution, such as extending them a line of credit, said Beth Mills, a California Bankers Association spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, on Monday morning, a budget meeting between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders failed to produce a result. Amid the budget deadlock, Fitch Ratings on Monday dropped California's bond rating to BBB, down from A minus, the latest in a series of ratings downgrades for the state.

The group of banks included Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., among others. The banks had previously committed to accepting state IOUs as payment. California plans to issue more than $3 billion of IOUs in July.

Ms. Mills of the CBA said some banks were concerned that there aren't processes in place to accept IOUs, and also worried about fraud issues. She noted that not all banks have set a July 10 deadline, and that dozens of credit unions in the state will keep accepting IOUs.

Wells Fargo's head of community banking, Lisa Stevens, said: "We're very disappointed, as are many Californians, that California has taken the unfortunate step of issuing IOUs in lieu of payments to some businesses and individuals."

State officials said they were disappointed by the banks' decision. Garin Casaleggio, a spokesman for Mr. Chiang, said: "We don't want anybody to suffer who can't redeem them when they need cash."

Activists on both the left and the right spotlight a broken federal government

On October 28, 2005, 400 citizens of Vermont met amid the pomp of their capitol building and voted to secede from the Union. The media, to say the least, was surprised. Those who noticed (which included CBS News and the Christian Science Monitor) treated the story as a novelty, only slightly more serious than the latest sighting of the Virgin Mary’s face in a Texas taco. But the vote was the first rumble of what could become a political and cultural earthquake. And Vermont isn’t the only state on the fault line. Other secessionist or state sovereignty movements are building from Hawaii to New Hampshire.

Millions of Americans perceive that the federal government is broken and might not be fixable. They view centralized power as heavy-handed, intrusive—and yet useless when it’s called upon for help, as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Right or wrong, like them or not, state sovereignty activists say, “We have a solution.”

Their solution is radical local activism to restore power to citizens at the state level. They aim to make state laws that counteract federal ones. They hope to preserve local or regional cultures against homogenization. They’re all aiming for their idea of freedom—although often their concepts of freedom are diverse, to say the least.

Watch them: They may be the vanguard of a much larger movement of frustrated citizens who feel helpless to achieve their aims at the federal level but who aren’t willing to accept the status quo.

The Vermont meeting was a gathering of activists, not a session of the state legislature, so the secession vote has no legal force. The members of the Second Vermont Republic (SVR) consider it simply the first of many planned steps.

The SVR is “left-wing.” In addition to opposing big government, it also opposes “big business, big markets, and big agriculture” and what members see as a dreary, institutional sameness being imposed on the entire world.

But secession isn’t inherently left-wing. Secession is simply the separation of one political entity from another. And it’s just one of a number of related ideas now being actively promoted.

Next door to Vermont, for instance, the libertarian Free State Project (FSP) aims to encourage enough activists to move to New Hampshire to permanently alter that state’s politics. They want smaller government, a free-market economy, and the ability to “just say no” to the worst federal laws and bureaucratic policies. The FSP has already signed up 7,000 of a hoped-for 20,000 activists.

The FSP and the SVR arise from opposite ends of the political spectrum. They differ in tactics and goals. The FSP is not secessionist. But both groups share that key central concept: local activism to achieve aims that can’t be achieved at the federal level.

Other sovereignty movements have arisen in Hawaii, Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska, among other places. The group, Christian Exodus, aims to spark an en masse move to South Carolina. There, they hope to gain control of the legislature and run state government on religious principles.

Others would like to unite Canada’s western plains provinces to the USA’s western mountain states, pointing out that they have more in common with each other than with their respective eastern urban centers.

Some groups, like the FSP, are determined to work within the system. Even the most radical secessionist groups hope to “go in peace.” They want no trouble, just to be left alone.

“But isn’t secession illegal?” some object.

Actually, probably not.

The U.S. Constitution is silent on secession. But the 9th and 10th amendments make it clear that states have higher authority than the federal government in all but a few specified areas. Those same amendments proclaim that the people have rights, while the central government has only limited powers delegated to it by the states and the people. In other words, since the Constitution doesn’t say that states can’t secede, then naturally, say the organizers of the SVR and other secessionist groups, they can.

But of course, theory and practice are two different things. The last time American states tried to act on such a claim, the federal government overpowered them, with catastrophic loss of life on both sides.

Will the Second Vermont Republic—or any other regional independence movement—succeed? The example of 1861 sets a disastrous precedent for those who want the most radical solutions. On the other hand, the former Soviet republics more recently separated from Russia without war. And historically the boundaries of countries are ever-shifting.

It’s probably a long way to the first true secessionist vote. Possibly no such vote will ever be taken. But even if these projects don’t achieve their ultimate aims, they do succeed in bringing activists together. They shine much-needed light on deep national problems. They get people to think “outside the box.” Organizations like the SVR and the FSP could renew the cultural climate of their states and restore an independent spirit to parts of North America. That alone could be a worthy goal.

For more information:

  • The Second Vermont Republic, PO Box 1093, Montpelier, VT 05601,
  • The Free State Project, PO Box 1684, Keene, NH 03431, 1-888-532-4604,
  • The American Secession Project, (This is a web-only listing of many secession and free state projects.)
By Claire Wolfe

Gerald Celente - “G8 is Weak”

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Cynthia McKinney Speaks on Return to U.S. After Being Held by Israel

Check this link ........

Scientists create test-tube sperm

Breakthrough offers hope of finding cure for male infertility

Scientists have created human sperm in the laboratory for the first time. The extraordinary development, which until a few years ago belonged in the realms of science fiction, raises hopes that infertile men may one day be able to father their own biological children.

The sperm were created in a test tube, from stem cells derived from a five-day-old male embryo. The advance raises ethical questions over the safety of the procedure and the threat it poses to the future role of men. It was also challenged by experts who claimed the sperm-like cells produced in the experiment were not genuine sperm.

If the finding is confirmed, a single male embryo could, in theory, yield a stem-cell line which when stored could provide an unlimited supply of sperm. Once the stem-cell line was established, there would be no further reproductive need for men. In a briefing on the research, the scientists at Newcastle University and the NorthEast England Stem Cell Institute, led by Professor Karim Nayernia, raise the question of whether their discovery means "the end of men".

They point out that the stem cells from which the sperm were made could only be derived from a male embryo – one containing a Y (male) chromosome – so at least one male would be required.

"However, researchers believe that the issue does need to be debated and legislated for," they said. "As work progresses and results improve at Newcastle and elsewhere it may, in theory, be possible to develop sperm from embryonic stem cell lines which have been stored."

Professor Nayernia said:"In theory it would be possible [to dispense with men], but only if you want to produce a population all the same size and shape [because they have the same male genetic origin]. Personally I cannot see human reproduction as purely a biological process. It has human, emotional, psychological, social and ethical aspects, too. We are doing this research to help infertile men, not to replace a reproductive procedure."

The breakthrough was achieved using stem cells derived from a human embryo which were first developed into germ line stem cells – with half the number of chromosomes – and then prompted to produce sperm which were "fully mature and functional", despite being made in a petri dish rather than the testes of a sexually mature man. The results are reported in the journal Stem Cells and Development.

In a parallel but incomplete experiment, the same group of researchers are creating stem cells out of skin cells from which they have produced sperm, with the same genetic make-up as the skin cells from which they are derived.This would allow infertile men to produce their own biological children, using only their skin cells. Professor Nayernia said the results of this research were "promising" and added: "We hope in a few months to publish that work as well."

However, efforts to produce sperm from female stem cells failed. It had been thought the technique might allow lesbian couples to have their own biological children but the researchers say the genes on the Y (male) chromosome are essential to sperm maturation.

Three years ago, Professor Nayernia led scientists at the University of Gottingen in Germany who became the first to produce viable sperm from mouse embryonic stem cells which were used to produce seven live offspring. However, the baby mice died shortly after birth.

The latest discovery is a further step on the way to finding a cure for male infertility. Under current legislation, researchers are banned from using sperm (or eggs) produced in the laboratory – known as in-vitro derived (IVD) sperm – to treat patients. But it is permitted for research purposes.

"Sperm production takes 15 years in a human and there are thousands of factors that could affect it," said Professor Nayernia. "We can investigate these factors in the laboratory in a matter of months with this technique."

Experts yesterday challenged the Newcastle researchers' claims to have created genuine sperm.

Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: "As a sperm biologist of 20 years' experience, I am unconvinced from the data presented in this paper that the cells produced ... can be accurately called 'Spermatozoa'."

Azim Surani, a professor of physiology and reproduction at the University of Cambridge, said: "These sperm-like cells made in a dish from embryonic stem cells are a long way from being authentic sperm cells." Professor Robin Lovell Badge, from the National Institute for Medical Research, echoed the academic criticisms, but said: "Despite these drawbacks, it may be that the authors have made some progress in obtaining sperm from human embryonic stem cells in vitro.

"This will be very important for research and ultimately, although definitely not yet, for fertility treatments."

Professor Nayernia said his research was submitted as "proof of principle" which needed confirmation by further studies. "Our intention was to open up new avenues of research," he said. "It seems unreasonable to criticise our work on the basis that we have not done more."

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which regulates research, has estimated that it will be at least five or 10 years before eggs of sperm could be produced which could potentially be used in treatment.

Before laboratory-produced sperm could be used to make babies for couples who are infertile, the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act would have to be changed.

Sperm: The facts

* It takes 10 weeks to make a sperm in the testes.

* Once produced they are stored for about a fortnight.

* If they are not ejaculated they are broken down and reabsorbed.

* A healthy male can produce 70 to 150 million sperm a day.

* A teaspoon can hold 200 to 500 million sperm.

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Al Gore sued by over 30.000 Scientists for fraud

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NYPD Finding Weapons Hidden Inside Cell Phones

Although we seem to daily hear reports of stupid criminals being foiled by technology, some deviants have devised some clever uses for their tech, including turning cell phones into weapons and hiding places. According to Newsday, an incredibly common way to smuggle a weapon in a cell phone (specifically a T-Mobile Sidekick) is to hide a razor blade within the battery compartment between the battery and the back cover.

Newsday also reported that police officers in Harlem recently arrested a man who had turned his cell phone into a mild stun gun. This rise in cell phone-related criminal innovation is especially troublesome, because prisoners have created several methods of smuggling cell phones into jails in order to plan escapes, negotiate drug deals, and perform other illegal activities. While you can certainly expect upgraded prison security measures, don't be surprised either if you're asked to remove your battery the next time you go through airport security. [From: Newsday, via Textually]

Everything suggests that the American bonds seized at Chiasso are real

Milan (AsiaNews) – Four weeks have passed since American bonds were confiscated from two Japanese men who were travelling on a direct train to Chiasso, Switzerland, and while there has been clarification of some - very few -points, Italian authorities have remained silent on the rest of the episode.

In addition, a strange coincidence in the timing of the arrest of a director of an internet radio who had made revelations regarding the incident ,increases the already strong oddities surrounding the case. This added to the revaluation of the fact that among the evidence seized there were "Kennedy Bonds", all points toward the authenticity of the items seized by the Guardia di Finanza (GdF) in early June.

The major English-speaking newspapers ignored the story for a couple of weeks. They only started to report on it after the Bloomberg agency carried a story on 18 / 6, in which a spokesman for the Treasury, Meyerhardt, declared that the bonds, based on photos available on the Internet, were "clearly false." The same day, the Financial Times (FT) published an article whose title laid the blame for the (alleged) infringement at the feet of the Italian Mafia, despite the fact that the article failed to make even one possible connection with the episode in Chiasso. Nevertheless, the version of events as reported in FT was taken up by others as being "appropriate" (given that it is a very common cliché about Italy and it is a sequester that took place in Italy) and in the end "colourful." It’s a pity that it goes against all logic: that the Mafia tried to pass unnoticed in its attempt to dump fake bonds amounting to 134.5 billion dollars and moreover were to "stung" a mere step from their gaol, is not very credible.

Most recently last week, 25 / 6, the New York Times reported on the story in particular, the allegations of CIA spokesman, Darrin Blackford: the U.S. Secret Service carried out inspections, as required by the Italian judiciary, and found that they were fictitious financial instruments, never issued by the “U.S. government”. It is not clear, however, how the checks mentioned by Blackford were carried out and whether they were also are carried out via internet. In fact according to official Italian sources the Commission of American experts, expected in Italy, have yet to arrive. Furthermore, the bonds were accompanied by a recent and original bank record. It is therefore unclear how the U.S. authorities can declare fake documentation that does not originate from the Fed or the U.S. Department of Treasury.

On the contrary, claims in support of the bond’s authenticity were made 20 / 6 on the Turner Radio Network (TRN), an independent radio station broadcast via Internet. On that date in a massive exposure, TRN stated that the two Japanese men arrested by the Guardia di Finanza (GdF) and then released in Ponte Chiasso were employees of the Japanese Ministry for Treasury. AsiaNews had also received similar reports: one of the two Japanese arrested in Chiasso and then released is Tuneo Yamauchi, is the brother of Toshiro Muto, until recently vice governor of the Bank of Japan. On its website, the creator and presenter of the Radio, Hal Turner, had also claimed that his sources had revealed that the Italian authorities believe the evidence to be authentic and that the two Japanese officials are from the Japanese Ministry for Finance. They were supposed to bring the bonds to Switzerland because the Japanese government had apparently lost confidence in U.S. ability to repay its debt. Japanese financial authorities therefore were trying to sell a part of the securities in their possession through parallel channels ahead of an imminent financial disaster, thanks to the anonymity which, Turner said, is guaranteed by the laws of Switzerland.

AsiaNews does not know to what extent Turner’s revelations can be held as credible, given that in this case too, it is difficult to believe that $ 134.5 billion would pass unnoticed anywhere in the world. It seems far more logical to assume that the bonds, if authentic, were directed to the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, BIS, the central bank of central banks ahead of the issuance of securities in a new supranational currency. Turner had in any event added that as evidence to support his revelations he would have provided the serial numbers of the seized bonds. Before he could do so, however, was imprisoned. Hal Turner is the journalist who long ago first broke the news of a secret plan to replace the dollar, after a severe financial crisis, with a common North American currency, the Amero. In a dramatic phone call from inside the prison in which he is detained pending trial, relayed via internet, Hal Turner claims that his arrest is political and it is in relation to the securities seized in Chiasso, because the authorities are terrified by his revelations of the bonds’ authenticity. Of course, the allegations made against him have to nothing to do with the story and thus an already intricate story becomes ever more complex. Turner maintains that he did not personally formulate the disclosure for which he has been imprisoned. Although it was clearly his responsibility to remain vigilant, it is also true that blogs from around the world and the U.S. themselves are full of threats and provocations. The coincidental timing, the unusual diligence and the details of his arrest arouse suspicions about the true motives of the American federal police. Indeed, this very arrest suggests that the evidence seized from GdF are truly authentic.

One more element in favour of the bond’s authenticity is found in the securities, which in the June 4 statement, the GdF termed "Kennedy Bonds” with photos provided. These photos reveal that the securities under discussion are not bonds but Treasury Notes, because they are securities that can be immediately exchanged for their worth in goods or services and because they are devoid of interest coupons. One side carries a reproduction of the image of the American president, the reverse side that of a spaceship. From confidential, usually well-informed sources, AsiaNews has learned that this type of paper money was issued less than ten years ago (in 1998), although it is difficult to know whether those seized in Chiasso are authentic. But the fact that the release of this particular State Treasury was not completely in the public domain tends to exclude the possibility of counterfeiting. It highly unreasonable to suppose that a forger would reproduce a State Treasury not commonly in circulation and of which there is no public knowledge. For this reason, it can be concluded that the 124.5 billion dollars divided in 249 bonds of 500 million each are authentic. These titles, although referred to as "Federal Reserve Notes" are actually bonds, because they accrue interest and are redeemable at maturity. But one question remains unsolved regarding them. It is somewhat hard to understand why the securities, which were from the outset indistinguishable from the original to the GdF, all have their coupons. Any ordinary investor, even a state, would have cashed in the interest coupon every year, so as not to lose purchasing power.













他說,也只有一部份中小學數理教師在去年參與了英語專業水平評估考試(Ujian Penilaian Tahap Profesionsi)。



















如果得分低於平均分,電腦熒幕會向員工發出訊息:“你的表情太嚴肅。” “將嘴角翹起。”













































The world in nuclear weapons

As the US and Russia negotiate over nuclear weapons, what does the nuclear world look like? These figures are from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and show the best estimates for the big five nuclear powers: the US, Russia, China, France and the UK.

We've also included estimates for other nuclear powers like India, Pakistan and Israel - and for the so-called rogue states like North Korea and Iran. These are just the active warheads - both Russia and the US have thousands more in storage and pending dismantling

Malaysia opposition leader's sodomy trial delayed

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia's High Court on Wednesday postponed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial by at least one week after his main defense lawyer fell ill.

Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, right, and his wife Wan Azizah arrive at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia, Wednesday, July 8, 2009. Anwar was charged last August with sodomizing a 23-year-old male former aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan. Sodomy, a crime in this Muslim-majority country, is punishable by up to 20 years in jail. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The long-awaited trial had been scheduled to start Wednesday, but his attorneys said their top representative was hospitalized for dizzy spells. The court will determine a new date for the trial July 15.

Anwar, 61, was charged last August with allegedly sodomizing a 23-year-old male former aide. He has denied the charge. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of sodomy, a crime in this Muslim-majority country.

It is the second time that the former deputy prime minister has been accused of sodomy. He spent six years in prison between 1998 and 2004 after being convicted of corruption and sodomizing his former family driver. Anwar insisted he had been framed and was freed when Malaysia's top court overturned the sodomy conviction.

Anwar reiterated his claim Wednesday that the new sodomy charge was part of a government conspiracy to undermine his three-party opposition alliance, which made massive gains in general elections last year. Government officials have denied any plot against Anwar.

"These are trumped-up charges," Anwar told reporters. "I'm not optimistic as far as the so-called due process is concerned. ... It's just a mockery of the whole process."

About 100 opposition supporters, many clad in black, rallied outside the court Wednesday amid heavy police security.

Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the man who accused Anwar of sodomizing him, did not appear in court but wrote on his blog and Twitter feed that he was eager for the trial to start. "I want to urge the accused not to make any more excuses for delaying the trial," Saiful wrote.

Even if Anwar's lawyer had not fallen sick, the trial was likely to be postponed because Anwar claimed he had not received prosecution documents that were crucial for the defense's preparations.

The delay will give Anwar time to focus on problems within his alliance following weeks of public bickering among opposition officials over policy decisions.


Associated Press writer Sean Yoong contributed to this report.

Official: NKorea believed behind cyber attacks

South Korean intelligence officials believe North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces in South Korea committed cyber attacks that paralyzed major South Korean and U.S. Web sites, a lawmaker's aide said Wednesday.

Images Previous ImageNext Image(showing 1 of 5 photos)
Employees of Korea Internet Security Center work inside a monitoring room in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, July 8, 2009. South Korean intelligence authorities believe that North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces in South Korea committed cyber attacks that paralyzed major South Korean and U.S. Web sites, an official said Wednesday.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

The sites of 11 South Korean organizations including the presidential Blue House and the Defense Ministry went down or had access problems since late Tuesday, according to the state-run Korea Information Security Agency. Agency spokeswoman Ahn Jeong-eun said 11 U.S. sites suffered similar problems.

On Wednesday, the National Intelligence Service told a group of South Korean lawmakers it believes that North Korea or North Korean sympathizers in the South "were behind" the attacks, according to an aide to one of the lawmakers briefed on the information.

The aide spoke on condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the information. He refused to allow the name of the lawmaker he works for to be published.

The National Intelligence Service — South Korea's main spy agency — said it couldn't immediately confirm the report.

Earlier Wednesday, the agency said in a statement that 12,000 computers in South Korea and 8,000 computers overseas had been infected and used for the cyber attack.

The agency said it believed the attack was "thoroughly" prepared and committed by hackers "at the level of a certain organization or state." It said it was cooperating with the American investigative authorities to examine the case.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said military intelligence officers were looking at the possibility that the attack may have been committed by North Korean hackers and pro-North Korea forces in South Korea. South Korea's Defense Ministry said it could not confirm the report.

South Korean media reported in May that North Korea was running a cyber warfare unit that tries to hack into U.S. and South Korean military networks to gather confidential information and disrupt service.

An initial investigation in South Korea found that many personal computers were infected with a virus program ordering them to visit major official Web sites in South Korea and the U.S. at the same time, Korean information agency official Shin Hwa-su said. There has been no immediate reports of similar cyber attack in other Asian countries.

In the U.S., the Treasury Department, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department Web sites were all down at varying points over the U.S. Independence Day holiday weekend and into this week, according to American officials inside and outside the government.

Others familiar with the U.S. outage, which is called a denial of service attack, said that the fact that the government Web sites were still being affected three days after it began signaled an unusually lengthy and sophisticated attack. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

Yonhap said that prosecutors have found some of the cyber attacks on the South Korean sites were accessed from overseas. Yonhap, citing an unnamed prosecution official, said the cyber attack used a method common to Chinese hackers.

Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

Shin, the Information Security Agency official, said the initial probe had not yet uncovered evidence about where the cyber outages originated. Police also said they had not discovered where the outages originated. Police officer Jeong Seok-hwa said that could take several days.

Some of the South Korean sites remained unstable or inaccessible on Wednesday. The site of the presidential Blue House could be accessed, but those for the Defense Ministry, the ruling Grand National Party and the National Assembly could not.

Ahn said there were no immediate reports of financial damage or leaking of confidential national information. The alleged attacks appeared aimed only at paralyzing Web sites, she said.

South Korea's Defense Ministry and Blue House said Wednesday that there has been no leak of any documents.

The paralysis took place because of denial of service attacks, in which floods of computers all try to connect to a single site at the same time, overwhelming the server that handles the traffic, the South Korean agency said in a statement.

The agency is investigating the case with police and prosecutors, said spokeswoman Ahn.


Associated Press writers Wanjin Park in Seoul and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

Presidential records a time capsule of Bush years

LEWISVILLE — Spread upon a table are a sampling of gifts to former President George W. Bush: a purse made of vines from the Thai queen, a Texas Rangers jersey autographed by pitcher Nolan Ryan and a framed mosaic of St. Peter's Basilica from the pope.

Dr. Jennifer M. Schulle is shown with a sampling of gifts to former President George W. Bush, Tuesday, July 7, 2009 in Lewisville, Texas. Schulle stands in front of a handmade quilt that was started on inauguration Day 2001 and completed February 6, 2005 as she displays a baseball bat signed by all living members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001 and a Texas Ranger jersey autographed by pitcher Nolan Ryan. There are about 40,000 artifacts and 65 million documents accumulated during Bush's two terms that will remain in storage until his presidential library opens in 2013. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)

The gifts, documents and electronic records accumulated during Bush's two terms have gone from the White House to a warehouse in suburban Dallas, just a few miles north of a turnpike named for his father. They will remain there until Bush's $300 million presidential library — the nation's 13th and the third in Texas — opens in 2013 on the Southern Methodist University campus near downtown Dallas.

"It's a wonderful eight-year time capsule," said Jennifer M. Schulle, the registrar for the Bush library. "It's everything that was going on — politically, personally and socially."

There are about 40,000 artifacts and 65 million documents stored in the facility. The 100 terabytes of electronic records is by far the largest of any presidential collection, as the Bush administration was the first that worked entirely during an era of e-mail.

Also among the artifacts is the 9 mm pistol Saddam Hussein carried when U.S. soldiers captured him hiding in a spider hole in 2003. Inside two dozen unopened crates are the disassembled pieces of the White House Situation Room, which was renovated and upgraded during Bush's first term. Not all of it can be found, however.

"I think it's like the Berlin Wall," said Shannon Jarrett, the library's supervisory archivist. "Everyone seemed to get little chunks of it."

The Air Force moved the materials from Washington to Texas, the first wartime transfer of presidential records. The move involved 16 18-wheelers and three planes.

"It's a colossal amount of material," Jarrett said. "We won't get to all of it in our lifetime."

The documents and records are filed in labeled boxes stacked neatly upon rows of shelves in different vaults within the warehouse. There are 79 boxes labeled presidential letters and correspondence. Other boxes contain records from the desk of political adviser Karl Rove and Chief of Staff Josh Bolten. It's the kind of place where you might expect to stumble across the Ark of the Covenant.

The warehouse has temperature and humidity controls, and around-the-clock security.

A sealed room holds classified records. Under the 1981 Presidential Records Act, records can be withheld for at least five years and up to 12 years if they fall under any of six categories: national defense or foreign policy; appointments to federal office; records specifically exempt by law; trade secrets or financial information; records concerning advice given the president and his advisers; and personnel or medical files. Documents concerning national security issues can be withheld longer.

"That's when you get the good stuff," Jarrett said.

The National Archives and Records Administration has a legal mandate to preserve every presidential record, which covers anything produced by White House staff. A handwritten note scrawled on a cocktail napkin qualifies as a presidential record. So does a draft copy of a State of the Union address.

Even Christmas decorations, including trees and holiday-themed paintings, wind up in the warehouse. There are boxes full of presidential cuff links, crayons and pens.

No record or gift is too small or insignificant for archival.

"Not when it deals with the president," Jarrett said. "People will come look for the letter they wrote to the president in the 5th grade. Our goal is to find that for them."

Most of the records and items will never be seen by the public, stored off-limits in parts of Bush's presidential center. Those that eventually are displayed will reflect the four broad themes on which Bush's private foundation wants to focus the exhibits: freedom, opportunity, compassion and individual responsibility.

"This was an administration of great consequence and there are a stunning array of issues we can educate about," said Alan C. Lowe, the director of the Bush Library. "I'm a historian suddenly in the middle of history."


SMU's President George W. Bush Library site:

TAMU's President George H.W. Bush Library site: