Saturday, October 23, 2004

Report Says Aussies Given Contaminated Vaccines

Australia probes report that suspect polio virus released to the public
AFP | Oct 23 2004

SYDNEY - Australian authorities moved Saturday to reassure people vaccinated against polio in the 1950s and 1960s after a report that a contaminated vaccine linked to cancer was issued at that time.
Australian Chief Medical Officer, Professor John Horvath, said there was no evidence of an increased cancer risk to those exposed to the vaccine, produced between 1956 and 1962.
The Age newspaper said it had uncovered evidence that almost three million doses of the Salk polio vaccine made then were contaminated by a monkey virus linked to a range of cancers.
Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, then a government agency, released at least four batches of the vaccine knowing they were contaminated with the virus, called Simian Virus 40 or SV40, the paper said.
Internal research conducted by the laboratories in 1962, but never made public, reportedly showed the monkey virus was a potential cause of cancer in humans.
Scientists linked the virus, which came from pulped infected monkey kidneys used to produce cell cultures to grow the polio virus, to a range of rare human lung, brain and blood cancers.
The paper said the laboratories produced more than 18 million doses of the vaccine, enough to vaccinate six million Australians, between 1956 and 1962.
By 1965, 90 percent of Australian children aged between five and 14 had been injected with the vaccine.
The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories was privatised in 1994.
Horvath said however that there had been no link between the vaccine and an increased risk of cancer.
“This issue was reviewed at an international workshop on SV40 in the USA in January 1997,” he said in a statement.
“The meeting concluded that there is no evidence of increased cancer risk in people who were given vaccine containing SV40.
“Much research had been undertaken overseas since that time. In 1997 and again in 2001 Australian health authorities reviewed the most up-to-date literature and came to the same conclusion,” he said.

Iraq Audit Can't Find Billions

Iraq audit can't find billions
Gaps found in spending for reconstruction
By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | October 16, 2004

WASHINGTON -- About half of the roughly $5 billion in Iraq reconstruction funds disbursed by the US government in the first half of this year cannot be accounted for, according to an audit commissioned by the United Nations, which could not find records for numerous rebuilding projects and other payments.
One chunk of the money -- $1.4 billion -- was deposited into a local bank by Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq but could be tracked no further: The auditors reported that they were shown a deposit slip but could find no additional records to explain how the money was used or to prove that it remains in the bank.
Auditors also said they could not track more than $1 billion in funds doled out by US authorities for hundreds of large and small reconstruction projects.
The audit, released yesterday, found serious gaps in how the Development Fund for Iraq -- a pool of money drawn from Iraqi oil revenues and international aid, including some from the United States -- was handled by American occupation officials responsible for funding reconstruction projects and the operations of Iraqi ministries and provincial governments. The development fund is separate from the $18.4 billion in US reconstruction funds set aside last year to rebuild the country.
All the funds -- more than $5 billion -- were spent between Jan. 1 and June 28, 2004, during the period when the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority ran the country.
The audit reported numerous instances of improper disbursement practices by the coalition authority. Among the findings:
Hundreds of projects worth more than $100 million covered by the Commander's Emergency Response Program, designed to allow US military officers to quickly fund small reconstruction projects around the country, had either no contracts on file, no evidence that bids were obtained through competition, no purchase invoices, or no payment vouchers.
Weapons were paid for under a buyback program with funds specifically prohibited for such use.
The coalition authority gave money to the Iraqi Ministry of Finance, which then maintained two different sets of records. The report said a ''reconciliation between these two sets of accounting records was not prepared and the difference was significant."
Checks were made payable to the coalition authority's senior adviser to the Ministry of Health, rather than to suppliers, raising questions about whether the money was spent for its intended purposes.
A number of projects were awarded without bids ''without justification" by treasury officials in one Iraqi province.
The coalition authority could not find an underlying contract or evidence of services rendered for a $2.6 million disbursement earmarked for the Ministry of Oil. The audit said the matter is under investigation by the State Department, which became the primary American presence in Iraq after the coalition authority dissolved.
The auditors said they were told by US officials that all discrepancies were ''under investigation."
The Bush administration did not respond late yesterday to the audit, which follows a sharply critical report in July from the inspector general of the coalition authority, which itself found ''insufficient controls" over at least $600 million spent on Iraqi reconstruction.
The more comprehensive UN audit -- released yesterday by Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee -- provided new fodder for the presidential campaign of Democrat John F. Kerry, which portrayed it as evidence that President Bush mishandled postwar Iraq. ''The audit report is yet more evidence of the Bush administration's mismanagement of Iraqi and US taxpayer resources in their failed effort to reconstruct Iraq," Susan Rice, a top national security adviser for Kerry, said in a statement. ''Unfortunately, waste, fraud, and abuse have become the hallmark of the Bush administration's handling of Iraq."
Democrats on the Government Reform Committee, which has responsibility for monitoring the reconstruction effort, said in a joint statement that ''serious problems" in the management of Iraq funds must be rectified.
''These problems involved hundreds of millions of dollars, numerous sole-source contracts, missing and nonexistent contracting files, and continuing investigations into major irregularities," the statement said.
Representative Henry Waxman of California, senior Democrat on the committee, said the audit indicates that Congress must immediately launch its own investigation.
''The Bush administration cannot account for how billions of dollars of Iraqi oil proceeds were spent," he said in a statement. ''The mismanagement, lack of transparency, and potential corruption will seriously undermine our efforts in Iraq."
Spokespersons for the Republican majority on the committee did not return phone calls.
Rice suggested the findings raise further questions about whether the US-led rebuilding effort is making a difference in the lives of Iraqis and bringing stability to the war-ravaged country.
Citing the former head of the coalition authority, L. Paul Bremer III, she said: ''Over a year ago, Paul Bremer hit the nail on the head when he said that 'early progress on reconstructing Iraq will give us an edge against the terrorists and save American lives.' A year later, it appears the administration is still not listening."
The audit was performed by the accounting firm of KPMG for the UN's International Advisory and Monitoring Board.
The Development Fund for Iraq was created under the aegis of the UN in May 2003 and set up by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the coalition authority's request. The UN's advisory board was established at the same time to ensure that the Iraqi oil money and international contributions were ''used in a transparent manner" during the occupation, according to UN Security Council Resolution 1483.

Three-Quarters of British Workers Are 'Drunk After Lunch'

Three-quarters of Brit workers drunk after lunch
By Startups.co.uk
Published Friday 22nd October 2004 14:18 GMT

An alarming 76 per cent of employees are coming back to work drunk after taking a "liquid lunch", according to a new survey carried out by Peninsula employment law constancy. The results show that an increasing number of employees are consuming alcohol during their lunch break - a trend that could harm the reputation and productivity of a business.
Out of the 1342 employees polled, 68 per cent said they enjoyed alcoholic beverages during lunch, the same percentage of those polled who said they found it hard to relax after their break unless they'd had a tipple.
Peninsula is warning businesses of the detrimental effects that liquid lunches can have, especially when employees have to talk to important clients and customers. Penisula MD Peter Done said: "Liquid lunches are often associated with executives with their glass of red wine while discussing the future of their business in a conservative fashion. But in reality the idea of a liquid lunch could prove to be very damaging to businesses and potentially very dangerous, depending on the type of business that is in operation."
Even more worrying is that a third of respondents (33 per cent) claimed to enjoy a liquid lunch three times a week with 76 per cent feeling slightly drunk when returning to work. "A company’s policies must be stated to all employees to ensure that the rules are not broken when it comes to alcohol," Done concluded.

Media Said to Be Biased for Kerry

The media for Kerry
By Diana West
October 22, 2004

"Absolutely," most reporters want John Kerry to win the election, declares Newsweek's Evan Thomas, commenting on the media bias he says translates into "maybe" five extra points for the Democratic ticket at the polls. That's down from the 15 points Mr. Thomas first predicted Fourth Estate favor would bestow on Kerry-Edwards, but even five points could tip a race as close as this one.
Which is a chilling thought, but also a golden opportunity. It means that a vote for Bush-Cheney is not only a vote against Kerry-Edwards, but also a vote against Kerry-Edwards-CBS-CNN-New York Times. Are you incensed over Dan Rather's crude attempt to influence the presidential election with a sheaf of pathetic forgeries? Appalled by "Nightline's" Ted Koppel for using dictatorship-vetted sources in communist Vietnam to contradict the testimonies of decorated American veterans? Outraged by ABC's head-office directive to its reporters to go easier on John Kerry than George W. Bush, and not "reflexively and artificially hold both sides 'equally' accountable"? Don't get mad, vote Republican.
The fact is, never before have mainstream media (MSM) organizations, and I mean the hunters and gatherers of news, not its cooks and consumers, sunk so deep in the tank for a Democratic ticket. The election is days away, but vital questions about Mr. Kerry remain not just unanswered in MSM outlets, but unasked. This is evidence of the efficiency with which the only-selectively adversarial media have embraced the role of Democratic star-maker, not newsmaker.
"It's up to Kerry to defend himself, of course," ABC News political director Mark Halperin admits in a "1984"-style directive leaked to the Drudge Report. "But as one of the few news organizations with the skill and strength to help voters evaluate what the candidates are saying ..." — gee, thanks a lot — "now is the time for all of us to step up and do that right." And how's that done — by covering for Mr. Kerry? Given what we still don't know about the candidate after practically incessant blah-blahing, including three debates, this becomes the inescapable conclusion. And I don't just mean de-emphasizing such Kerry facts as his inexplicable failure to attend three-quarters of his public Senate Intelligence Committee hearings. Or failing to ponder the coincidence that Kerry cousin C. Stewart Forbes' company won a $900 million contract from Vietnam after Sen. Kerry pushed to normalize relations.
Here we are, on the brink, possibly, of electing a self-confessed war criminal to the Oval Office — a man who, as an American officer, parlayed with the enemy, and... nothing. No questions, no stories. No thoughts, no curiosity. We contemplate a new wartime leader whose political epiphany — the famous Christmas in Cambodia, "seared, seared" into Mr. Kerry's memory — never happened. Questions, stories in the MSM? Not a one. We consider trusting our very lives to a man who has consistently hewed to the wrong side of history, favoring appeasement and disarmament over democratic principle and strength, but we know nothing of his current thinking on those old positions.
How, for instance, does this American presidential candidate explain his place of honor in a Vietnamese war museum dedicated to an American defeat? Does Mr. Kerry believe the anti-war movement in which he figured so prominently bears any moral responsibility for the mass brutality — executions, re-education camps, boat people — that marked Hanoi's victory? Indeed, does Mr. Kerry still believe North Vietnam "liberated" South Vietnam, and that the conflict itself was not a front in the Cold War? We saw valedictory comments from Mr. Kerry on Ronald Reagan's death, but we have no idea whether he still reviles the Reagan years as a "moral blackness." We don't know because no one in the MSM has asked him. This glaring failure makes a mockery of the media. It leaves us gasping for facts. It also explains the volcanic eruption of alternative sources of campaign information like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the newsies of the blogosphere, and a slew of independent ads and documentaries, including "Stolen Honor." Such activity has injected vital blasts of oxygen into otherwise stilted coverage.
But in the land of the free and the free press, we shouldn't have to rely on the unique gumption of, say, a John O'Neill, the Swiftee spokesman who went so far as to write a best-selling book about John Kerry ("Unfit for Command") to publicize crucial information the MSM ignored. I remember well the veritable news blackout on the Swift Boat vets when they first assembled last spring in downtown Washington. The Associated Press didn't even send a correspondent, calling the group's press conference "old news"before it happened.
Whatever the final tally on Election Day, we, the people, need to take a good hard look at the MSM scorecard the day after.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Dubious Projects Funded in Liberal Ridings

'Dubious' projects funded in Liberal ridings, says former ACOA boss
Last Updated Fri, 22 Oct 2004 14:36:50 EDT

FREDERICTON - The former head of the federal economic development agency for the Atlantic provinces says Liberal politicians often pressured him to fund "dubious" projects with public money during the 1990s.
Norman Spector, who served as president of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency during the mid-1990s, points to former ACOA minister David Dingwall as one of the biggest offenders.
Spector's allegations come in an afterword to a new book about Brian Mulroney, who had earlier appointed him as Canada's ambassador to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
In author William Kaplan's A Secret Trial: Brian Mulroney, Stevie Cameron and the Public Trust, Spector says he was offered the job at ACOA in part to "to keep an eye on David Dingwall, whose proclivity for pork-barrelling – though much appreciated by Cape Bretoners – had attracted negative press."
Set up in 1987, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency provides funding to businesses and training ventures across the Atlantic provinces. It has been plagued for years by allegations that its decisions on government loans are influenced by politicians.
Dingwall 'insatiable,' says Spector
Spector describes what happened to a $60-million chunk of ACOA's budget snared by Dingwall, then the health minister, after the Devco coal mine closed in his riding of Cape Breton-East Richmond.
"Because most of the applications flooding in to his political staff contained no analysis and no rationale, he did not want normal program criteria to apply," Spector writes.
"Dingwall was insatiable, and the projects were of increasingly dubious merit. Eventually I suggested that he sign off on the projects. Not surprisingly, he was anxious that public servants take responsibility for 'economic development' projects that included refurbishing the Sydney waterfront, a chair in tourism, a new student residence at the local college, and a variety of forestry projects that ACOA did not fund in any other province."
Dingwall's defeat in the 1997 election ended his 17-year career as a member of Parliament. He is now head of the Royal Canadian Mint.
Earlier this year, his name started coming up in connection with the federal sponsorship scandal. Chuck Guité, the former bureaucrat who ran the program, told a parliamentary committee that Dingwall once congratulated him for keeping a discreet silence on how he used to operate under the Mulroney Tories.
"You won't rat on them, you won't rat on us," said Dingwall, then the public works minister, according to Guité's testimony.
ACOA a popular source of funds
Dingwall wasn't the only Atlantic Liberal who tried to channel ACOA money into Liberal ridings during his presidency, Spector writes.
"I was having difficulty stopping the agency's embarrassing proclivity to lend cash to companies that didn't need it, deserve it, or have the ability to use it profitably ... One MP summoned me to her office and explained that she, not I, should decide who received government money because she had to get re-elected every four years."
Pressure to fund certain projects for political reasons also came from staffers in the office of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Spector said – including Chrétien assistant Dominic LeBlanc, now the MP for the New Brunswick riding of Beauséjour.
LeBlanc, the son of former governor general Roméo Leblanc, didn't respond to a request for an interview.
David Dingwall's former assistant, Warren Kinsella, says it's the job of all MPs to work on behalf of their ridings.
That includes the minister responsible for ACOA, Kinsella says, and Spector should have known that.
"He's an incredibly bright person and a person of great integrity, but if he thought it was so bad, and it was so odious and terrible, why did he stay on the job so long?"
Spector writes that he did eventually leave the civil service because of political interference.
"Faced with a choice of giving in to political pressure or resigning, I advised [then-Clerk of the Privy Council Jocelyne] Bourgon that I would be leaving the public service."

Hostility to Religion is Up in U.S.

Report Details Hostility to Religious Expression in America
U.S. Senator: Purging Campaign 'Pervasive, National, Well Organized'
By Jody Brown
October 21, 2004

(AgapePress) - Thanks to the efforts of a Texas-based legal group, the nine members of one Senate subcommittee now have in their hands a document that outlines literally hundreds of examples of violations of individuals' religious freedoms -- in the United States.
In September, the U.S. State Department reported in its sixth Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom that eight national governments are designated as being of particular concern as violators of internationally acknowledged religious freedom rights. Those eight countries are North Korea, China, Burma, Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Eritrea. (See Related Story)
Now comes a report from the Liberty Legal Institute (LLI) in Plano, Texas, that reveals what the group describes as "widespread religious hostility" across the U.S. That report, titled "Examples of Hostility to Religious Expression in the Public Square" [PDF], documents acts of hostility towards, and discrimination against, expressions of faith by students, faculty, government employees, churches, religious organizations, and ordinary citizens.
Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel for Liberty Legal, says the report's contents should get people's attention. "It is amazing that a document like this has never been assembled before," the attorney says. "When you look at what is actually happening around the nation, it's truly scary."
ACLU, Others Tagged
The LLI report was presented on Wednesday (October 20) to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property, chaired by Republican John Cornyn of Texas. During a subcommittee hearing in early June, it was suggested by some of those testifying that religious freedom was not an issue in America. Cornyn was not convinced by those detractors. The LLI document backs him up.
"The campaign to purge expressions of faith from the public square is pervasive, national, and well organized," the senator states in a press release. "The report not only contains page after page and example after example of hostility to religious expression, it also notes how this effort to cleanse the public square of all religious expressions is carefully orchestrated and organized by some of the nation's leading liberal special interest groups."
The 51-page document identifies three organizations that LLI contends have led a nationwide campaign to remove religious expression from the public square: the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and People for the American Way.
Cornyn's press release accuses all three of those organizations of actively litigating against such things as equal access for religious groups in public schools, school choice programs that would permit needy children to attend parochial and nonsectarian schools alike, and voluntary, student-led religious expression.
The senator says he was not surprised during his subcommittee's hearings to hear from those groups that there was not a problem with religious expression in the United States. "[N]o one will actually admit to being hostile to religious expression," he says. "They know full well that they are far more likely to advance their extreme ideology through the courts, rather than through the democratic process."
Concrete Examples
Following are some samples of hostility to religious expression, as provided in the Liberty Legal Institute report:
 A 12-year-old elementary school student was reprimanded by a public school in St. Louis, Missouri, for quietly saying a prayer before lunch in the school cafeteria, according to a federal lawsuit.
 Public high school students in Massachusetts started a Bible club and tried to hand out candy canes with a biblical passage attached. The school suspended the students for distributing the candy canes.
 A public school sixth grader in Boulder, Colorado, tried to complete her book report assignment by presenting the Bible, but was forbidden from doing so by her teacher. She was also forbidden from bringing the Bible to school.
 A Texas school district refused to hire a public school teacher for the position of assistant principal, because her children attended a private Christian school, in violation of the district's policy that the children of all principals and administrators attend public school.
 A Vietnam veteran and member of an honor guard at a New Jersey veterans' cemetery was fired for saying "God bless you and this family" to the family of a deceased veteran, even though the family had consented to the blessing beforehand.

Copies of the report are available from Senator Cornyn's website [PDF]: http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/LLI.pdf

© 2004 AgapePress all rights reserved.

Actor Speaks of Hollywood's Left-Liberal Orientation

Republican activism costs Silver in Hollywood
Associated Press
Updated: Thu. Oct. 21 2004 10:57 AM ET

SAN FRANCISCO — For years, Ron Silver was a partisan Democrat -- a one-time president of the Actors' Equity union and co-founder of the Creative Coalition, which encourages left-leaning political activism among celebrities. He even played Bruno Gianelli, the Machiavellian political consigliere to Democratic President Jed Bartlet on TV's The West Wing.
But everything changed for Silver after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Now he calls himself a "9/12 Republican."
A strong supporter of Israel and the war in Iraq, Silver spoke at the Republican National Convention and is featured prominently in a new documentary, Fahrenhype 9/11, a searing indictment of Michael Moore's blockbuster film.
Silver says his political change of heart and outspoken support of President George W. Bush has exacted a high professional cost in Hollywood, where Republicans are a decidedly rare breed.
"It's affected me very badly. I can't point to a person or a job I've lost, but this community is not very pluralistic,'' Silver said. "I haven't worked for 10 months.''
It's been just a few weeks since the Republican gathering in New York where Silver made his first high-profile splash on Bush's behalf. Skeptics in the entertainment industry question how Silver can trace a drop-off of career opportunities in such a short time.
When Silver decided to hit, he hit hard -- using his convention speech in large part to lash out at Hollywood and the hypocrisy he sees in its politics.
"I find it ironic that many human rights advocates and outspoken members of my own entertainment community are often on the front lines to protest repression, for which I applaud them,'' Silver said. "But they are usually the first ones to oppose any use of force to take care of these horrors that they catalogue repeatedly.''
Silver shows particular venom for Michael Moore, whose Fahrenheit 9/11 documentary broke box-office records. In Fahrenhype 9/11, Silver teams with former Clinton adviser Dick Morris and others to deconstruct Moore's movie. They score strong points when some of the subjects -- an Oregon state trooper, a maimed soldier, the aunt of a young man killed in Iraq -- say Moore had no business involving them in his film.
Silver's film has sold more than 200,000 copies on the Internet since its release Oct. 5.
"Michael Moore and that faction of the party was one of the factors that did not let me support the Democratic nominee this year,'' Silver said. "He is a charlatan in a clown suit. I compare him to Leni Riefenstahl and Goebbels,'' referring to Adolf Hitler's infamous propagandists.
Margery Tabankin, who advises Barbra Streisand and other Hollywood heavyweights on their political giving, said Silver's views, behaviour and claims about his career are in keeping with his persona.
"Ron loves controversy, he loves to say the contrarian thing. That's who he is,'' Tabankin said. She dismissed Silver's claim about losing jobs, pointing to Republican actors Bruce Willis and Tom Selleck whose careers have sizzled over the years.
Also, Silver is 58, and Hollywood's love affair with youth and the "next big thing'' may have affected Silver's career more than a shift in his political sensibilities.
Barry Greenberg, a Hollywood agent who for many years was a member of the Wednesday Morning Group, a gathering of entertainment industry conservatives, agreed that while the facts may not prove the notion of political blackballing in Hollywood, it remains strongly rooted in lore.
"There has always been the great perception in the industry, that (Hollywood) is run by liberal Democrats and that those of us who are conservative don't work,'' Greenberg said. "I have spent 23 years in the industry and there is plenty of rumour and innuendo that Charlton Heston lost work and so on.''
But both Greenberg and Tabankin note that Hollywood is always more about business than politics.
"I think studios and networks and cable companies are interested in projects that will make them money,'' Tabankin said. "I don't know anyone who doesn't hire someone based on their politics if they think that person is right for the project.''
As for Silver, he remains committed to campaigning and speaking out for Bush no matter the consequences, real or imagined. While he continues to take a liberal stance on issues such as abortion rights and stem cell research, he has officially registered as an Independent.
"I know John Kerry, I like John Kerry and I respect him, but he is the candidate of the party,'' Silver said. "And if it's the party of Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich and Michael Moore, then it's not my party.''

Revenue Canada Threatened Catholic Bishop

Revenue agent threatened tax hit, bishop says
Warning allegedly came after Calgary cleric denounced PM's 'moral incoherence'
By MICHAEL VALPY AND GLORIA GALLOWAY
UPDATED AT 2:55 PM EDT
Friday, Oct 22, 2004

TORONTO and OTTAWA -- The Roman Catholic bishop of Calgary said yesterday that a federal revenue agent threatened to lift the church's charitable status in the city because of a letter he wrote to his flock saying Prime Minister Paul Martin was not a good Catholic politician.
Bishop Fred Henry said a Canadian Revenue Agency official called him in June during the election campaign and asked him to remove his pastoral letter from the Calgary diocesan website.
"I said, 'Of course not.' "
He then quoted the official as stating that the letter left the perception that the bishop was telling Calgary Catholics how to vote. "I said, 'I can't control that perception.' "
The 20-minute conversation ended with the official vowing that he would file a report on the affair with his superior, Bishop Henry said in an interview from Cornwall, Ont., where he is attending the annual meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Canadian Revenue Agency call is on the bishops' agenda.
The agency's regulations say: "A partisan political activity is one that involves direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, any political party or candidate for public office."
Charitable organizations, including churches, are prohibited from partisan political activity and strictly regulated as to the amount of time they can devote to political lobbying.
It is not clear under which of these categories falls Catholic Church teaching on the moral obligations of Catholic politicians, which is what Bishop Henry says was the sole substance of his pastoral letter.
The government frequently revokes the charitable status of organizations deemed to be in violation of its rules. For example, in recent years the government has delisted the anti-abortion organization Human Life International Canada, three Sikh temples, a Montreal rabbinical college and a group raising money for the equivalent of the Jewish red cross, among other organizations.
But only in the case of HLI Canada did the government say the cause was that the organization had crossed the line on political activity.
Canadian Revenue Agency spokeswoman Colette Gentes-Hawn said yesterday that no church organization has had its charitable status revoked because of improper political activity.
She would neither confirm nor deny that a call to Bishop Henry was made. But she said: "We speak to charities on an ongoing basis, and sometimes we speak to charities whenever we see there is something that can use correction. We also act on complaints."
Which is what Bishop Henry, no stranger to controversy in his many forays into the public square, figures happened in this case. Someone didn't like his pastoral letter, and complained to the federal revenuers, he said.
The bishop described his pastoral letter, posted on the diocesan website on June 6, as nothing more than a summary of church teaching on the role of religious faith in public life and a clarification of what he called media and public "confusion" around Mr. Martin's claim to be a "devout Catholic" while at the same time not opposing same-sex marriage and abortion.
The letter did not pull punches. It described Mr. Martin's views as "a source of scandal in the Catholic community" reflecting "fundamental moral incoherence." But at no point did Bishop Henry state, or even hint, that Catholics should not vote for the Prime Minister or his Liberal Party candidates.
The bishop said he had the distinct impression that the official hoped he was penitent as a result of the phone call and would not do anything more.

Federal Revenue Agency Intimidates Only Conservative Churches

Calgary Sun
Fri, October 22, 2004
Double standard threat to church freedom
By LICIA CORBELLA

There is, without question, a double standard in this
country when it comes to political debate in Canada.

Consider this. When was the last time the United
Church of Canada was threatened by a government agency
for entering political debate that could be viewed as
partisan?

My understanding is that has never happened, which is
a good thing, to be sure.

"Conservative" churches, however, are not so lucky.

As revealed yesterday in my column, Bishop Fred Henry
was called during the federal election campaign in
June by a bureaucrat with Canada Customs and Revenue
Agency (CCRA) who threatened that the church's
charitable status could be revoked if the bishop
continued to speak out against Prime Minister Paul
Martin's "moral incoherence."

It was very much an act of thuggery, reminiscent of a
mob-like shakedown, minus the kneecapping.

As Bishop Henry said: "The call was a veiled threat --
'you either play ball or we'll revoke your charitable
status number.'"

So what was the Bishop's sin, so to speak?

He revealed Martin's hypocrisy for parading about as a
"devout Catholic" while holding views diametrically
opposed to Catholic tenets on abortion and same-sex
marriage.

Concerned that his flock would be confused by the
mixed message being sent out by the PM, Henry wrote a
letter, published in the June 6 church bulletin, that
clarified the church's position on abortion and gay
marriage.

Some two weeks later, Henry got a call from a
"gentleman" from CCRA.

The Bishop called him back and was threatened with
excommunication, if you will, from tax-exemption.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in
Ottawa was informed of the CCRA threat, and many
bishops were "alarmed and surprised," said Bishop
Henry last night.

"There's definitely a double standard," says David
Krayden, national chairman of Concerned Christians
Canada, a Calgary-based advocacy group.

"The United Church involves itself in political issues
all the time -- many of which are easily identified
with a particular political party or parties," says
Krayden.

"As long as Christians stay in the left spectrum, you
can bet they won't be getting a call from the CCRA,"
he adds.

"But as soon as Christians become involved in
principled conservative issues -- suddenly there's a
problem with the separation of church and state."

Krayden is right. Yesterday, I received at least half
a dozen, mostly abysmally inarticulate letters,
agreeing with the CCRA's attempt to muzzle the Bishop
from doing his job, which is to instruct his
parishioners on moral issues.

All these letter writers brought up the phrase
"separation of church and state" -- perhaps the most
misunderstood phrase in the U.S. Constitution --
though these same people have never made the same
complaint when the United Church pushed the agenda on
allowing same-sex marriages.

So here's a quick crash course. The phrase "separation
of church and state" means the government should not
establish an official religion or control religious
groups. The main intent behind this First Amendment to
the U.S. Constitution was to protect peoples'
religious freedom from the mighty government; not the
government from religious peoples or bodies.

Look it up. The amendment was put forward and
supported almost exclusively by Christian men -- the
main framers of that glorious document of freedom.

Krayden points out that "free speech is an extremely
fragile thing," and he believes it's starting to crack
in Canada.

Prior to the election, lawyers for the Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada and the Canadian Conference of
Catholic Bishops were apparently warned they would
lose their tax-exempt status if they became
politically active in the election.

"We're on very dangerous ground," warns Krayden,
"because the definition of partisanship in this
country is growing wider and includes any issue that
might come up in an election, when in fact
partisanship is much more narrow, it means endorsing
one party over another."

-----

Calgary Sun
Thu, October 21, 2004
Spirit of law
By LICIA CORBELLA

This story is essentially one of political thuggery --
if not outright blackmail -- that should concern all
of us who care deeply about freedom of expression and
freedom of religion.

During the federal election campaign in June, Catholic
Bishop Fred Henry was called by a bureaucrat with
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) and
threatened that the church's charitable status could
be revoked if he continued to speak out against Prime
Minister Paul Martin.

This troubling issue was expected to be discussed last
night in Ottawa at the Canadian Conference of Catholic
Bishops.

The bureaucratic call -- designed to silence Bishop
Henry -- was made following the release of a pastoral
letter the controversial cleric wrote criticizing
Martin.

In his June 6 letter, which appeared in church
bulletins, Henry, who is bishop for Calgary and
southern Alberta, wrote: "In much of the secular media
Prime Minister Paul Martin is frequently described as
a 'devout Catholic.' However, his recently clarified
position regarding abortion and same sex unions is a
source of scandal in the Catholic community and
reflects a fundamental moral incoherence," he wrote.

"The Revenue Canada gentleman proceeded to say,
'you've engaged in an activity that's inappropriate
and violates the Elections Act. You're encouraging
people to vote a particular way and you're writing
this against Paul Martin.'"

"And I said: 'Wait a minute. Hold on. First of all, I
wrote a pastoral letter to my people not an open
letter. However, it was picked up by the media who
then asked me about my letter, and I think the
distinction is very important,'" explained Henry.

"I wrote the pastoral letter because what was going on
was the media was featuring Paul Martin parading under
the umbrella of being a devout Catholic and yet
contradicting church teachings with respect to both
abortion and same-sex unions and I said it's my
responsibility as a bishop first of all to teach. So,
in light of the confusion that's being engendered by
the media and by Paul Martin himself, who seems to be
exploiting it, I felt I had an obligation to write a
pastoral letter clarifying what the role of a Catholic
politician is and that Mr. Martin was not
representative of Catholic Church teachings."

In other words, Bishop Henry was doing his job.

In Canada, that's increasingly becoming a dangerous
thing to do if your morals conflict with those of the
reigning government. Indeed, Bill C-250, soon to be
law, could criminalize pastors for spreading "hate"
simply by reading portions of the Bible.

Regardless of your opinion on the issues of same sex
marriage or abortion or whatever, such heavy
handedness by the feds should scare anyone who loves
freedom.

"I regarded it as a veiled threat -- 'you better keep
quiet or else we'll pull your charitable number' --
that's what I took the whole thing to mean," admits
Henry.

The bureaucrat also asked Henry to remove his letter
from the church's website. To his credit, Henry
refused.

The bureaucrat then asked the bishop if he was
"'contemplating doing anything else.'"

"I said: 'I don't know what you mean but right now I
don't have a strategic plan as to how I might position
myself regarding this election but if there are moral
issues I will undoubtedly speak out about them.'

"I got the impression that he expected me to cave in,
profess my guilt and do public penance and I refused,"
said Henry, who added that the bureaucrat said he was
going to write a report to his superior about Henry.

A spokeswoman for CCRA said yesterday that privacy
rules prevent her from discussing the conversation.

But then Colette Gentes-Hawn denied any such
conversation could have taken place.

"We would never do that," she said from Ottawa.

"By all means, clergy speak out about moral issues.
They do this every day. It's their work. So we would
never tell religious charities that they can't speak
out about moral issues."

Who to believe? Hmmm? The bishop gets my vote.

Henry says he worries about the whittling away of our
freedoms and "regardless of the outcome and
consequences," he will never back down from speaking
the truth.

A lesson to live by.

Spanish Abortuary Under Criminal Investigation

Spanish clinic faces police inquiry over late abortions
By Daniel Foggo in Barcelona and Charlotte Edwardes
(Filed: 17/10/2004)The Telegraph

A judge is to be asked to institute criminal proceedings against the Spanish
clinic which was exposed as carrying out illegal late abortions on hundreds
of British babies.

A denuncias - the Spanish term for an accusation of criminal activity - will
this week be laid against the Ginemedex clinic in Barcelona, citing the
extensive video and audio evidence collected by this newspaper, proving that
it is flouting abortion laws.

The judge will decide whether to order a full police investigation into the
scandal, which was uncovered when staff at the clinic agreed to carry out an
abortion on an undercover reporter who was 26 weeks, or almost six months,
pregnant, even though both she and the baby were healthy.

The clinic said it would falsify medical notes to say that she had suffered
a "gynaecological emergency" and that it was prepared to carry out such
terminations up to 30 weeks.

The charge will also contain a reference to the British Pregnancy Advisory
Service (BPAS), the NHS-funded charity that "fully recommends" the Ginemedex
clinic to British women wanting late abortions without a medical reason.
Under Spanish law, women more than 22 weeks' pregnant can have an abortion
only if their physical or mental health is at "serious" risk.

The legal move against the clinic is being undertaken by Josep Miro i
Ardevol, a former Catalan government minister who is the president of
E-Christians, a Catholic think-tank. "This charge will be brought mostly on
the evidence, which our lawyers believe has a lot of weight and therefore
has a strong chance of resulting in a conviction," Mr Miro said. "But it
will not only rely on that since there have been suspicions about the
Ginemedex clinic practising illegal late abortions for some time now.

"It is possible that BPAS can also be prosecuted under Spanish law because
of their recommending the clinic to British women. They might claim that
they didn't know the clinic was operating illegally, but ignorance is no
defence.

"They must have a reason to keep recommending it again and again. The
British authorities have a responsibility to look into BPAS to look for any
kind of financial exchange or commission."

Inquiries by this newspaper have uncovered a number of recent concerns
regarding Ginemedex's fitness to practise, which contradict statements last
week by Ann Furedi, the BPAS's chief executive, that the clinic's reputation
was spotless.

Dr Ramon Tanda, one of the clinic's doctors who was filmed during the
undercover investigation preparing to abort the foetus of the reporter for
€3,200 (£2,212), refused to comment when approached outside his flat in a
Barcelona suburb. "I have nothing to say at all," he said.

Catalan government health officials confirmed last week that Ginemedex's
licence to carry out abortions had been withdrawn for almost two years,
between July 2002 and April this year, because of concerns over
"environmental" factors, such as the disposal of its waste and other hygiene
issues.

After this newspaper's expose - which was picked up by the Spanish media -
the Catalan department of health has now launched a new investigation into
the clinic. Last week it sent an inspector to Ginemedex to inspect its
paperwork.

Rafael Manzanera i Lopez, the department's director, said the matter would
be investigated further including the use of copies of the audio and video
tapes and transcripts of the pregnant reporter's conversations with
Ginemedex staff.

On the video and audio tapes, Ginemedex staff are heard confessing that they
are willing to carry out late abortions without the necessary medical
reasons by forging documents to make it appear that the women had urgent
gynaecological problems. They also state that up to eight out of 10 of their
clients are British and most are referred to them by BPAS.

Mr Manzanera said: "I am already liaising with the British ambassador in
Madrid and the consul here in Barcelona and of course I will look at this
new information and act on what I see.

"If there is any falsification of documents, then it is a criminal matter
and it is out of my hands," he said. "That is a very serious crime and a
matter for the police. If there is a prosecution brought, then my department
will strictly seek to comply with the law."

Campaigners have long suspected the Ginemedex clinic of carrying out illegal
abortions. In October 2003, a legal attempt was made to stop a symposium on
abortion held at Ginemedex - and two other clinics run by the Barnamedic
company that owns them - because of suspicions that illegal late-term
terminations were being carried out.

A report from the symposium, which was open only to abortionists, said that
over the course of one weekend, 51 foetuses of gestations varying from a few
weeks to more than 26 weeks were killed. At Ginemedex itself, 15 women had
foetuses aborted by doctors.

The attempted injunction, brought before a judge - who is the equivalent of
a British magistrate but with more authority - by anti-abortion campaigners,
including the Medicos Cristianos de Cataluna (the Christian Doctors of
Catalonia), was rejected for lack of evidence because it could not be proved
that the terminations had not been medically justified.

Dr Josep Maria Simon Castellvi, the president of the Christian doctors'
group, last week hailed The Telegraph's investigation as "a spectacular
breakthrough".

He said: "We have suspected for at least two years that Ginemedex and other
clinics in the Barnamedic group are carrying out illegal late-term abortions
but getting the evidence proved harder than showing that weapons of mass
destruction exist in Iraq.

"It had proved impossible for us to get proof. Thanks to you, however, now
we have it."

When approached last week, staff at Ginemedex claimed that they had done
nothing illegal.

Remedios Valls Herrero, the clinic's head of administration, added: "If they
are going to try to prosecute us they can go ahead. We don't care. We have
not changed any of our practices."

Ms Valls also said that the owner of the clinic, Dr Carlos Morin, a
Peruvian, was not prepared to speak to The Telegraph.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Ford Foundation Funds Anti-Catholic Groups

20-October-2004 -- Catholic News Agency
CATHOLIC LEAGUE SLAMS FORD FOUNDATION FOR SUPPORTING ANTI-CATHOLIC GROUPS

NEW YORK, USA, October 20 (CNA) - The Ford Foundation has established a
new policy, barring beneficiaries from engaging in any activity that
"promotes violence, terrorism, bigotry, or the destruction of any state."

But the Catholic League says this policy is hypocritical since the
foundation has been funding at least one anti-Catholic group for decades.

"The Ford Foundation has long violated its newly established restrictions
by lavishly funding the most anti-Catholic organization in the United
States, Catholics for a Free Choice," Catholic League president William
Donohue pointed out.

"Thus, for the Ford Foundation to now insist that its recipients forswear
a commitment to bigotry is rank hypocrisy," said Donohue. "Catholics for a
Free Choice has been bashing the Catholic Church for decades, and could
not do so without the support of the Ford Foundation."

The American Civil Liberties Union has decided to reject funding from the
Ford Foundation because it objects to the new restrictions.

Implanted Chip Company Bails Out

Digital Angel Exiting Applied Digital? Did Company Fail To Publicize
VeriChip Risks?

Oct 21, 2004 (financialwire.net via COMTEX) -- (FinancialWire) Digital
Angel (DOC), which manufactures the VeriChip "Big Brother" biochip
licensed by Applied Digital (ADSX) for human applications, appears to be
bailing out of Applied Digital.

According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,
"on October 14, 2004, Digital Angel Corporation sold 1,069,650 shares of
Applied Digital common stock held by Digital Angel Corporation. The shares
of Applied Digital common stock were previously registered with the
Securities and Exchange Commission and were sold at prevailing market
prices through a registered broker dealer for net cash proceeds of $4.0
million. Digital Angel Corporation acquired the stock from Applied Digital
in March 2004."

WorldNetDaily.com, meanwhile hints at a possible reason.

"Though Applied Digital, the company that markets the human-implantable
VeriChip device, has trumpeted recent Food and Drug Administration
approval of the technology, it failed to include in its announcement
warnings by the agency about the downsides of having a transponder lodged
under the skin.

"According to a letter issued by the FDA Oct. 12, the ID chip, which is
touted as an immediate way to obtain medical history about the wearer, has
several possible negative effects.

"The potential risks to health associated with the device are: adverse
tissue reaction, migration of implanted transponder, . failure of
implanted transponder, . electromagnetic interference, electrical hazards,
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) incompatibility and needle stick," said
the letter, which was obtained by Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy
Invasion and Numbering, or CASPIAN.

WorldNetDaily quoted Katherine Albrecht, founder and director of CASPIAN,
chastised Applied Digital and manufacturer Digital Angel for failing to
mention the negative aspects of its technology:

"By omitting this information from their press material, the companies
marketing the VeriChip have painted an inaccurately rosy picture of their
product that could mislead consumers into believing the devices are
completely safe."

She was quoted as singling out the MRI-incompatibility issue as one of
particular concern.

"Patients contemplating a VeriChip implant need to know that the FDA has
raised incompatibity as a potential risk," she said. "If it's a choice
between a potentially life-saving diagnostic procedure or a VeriChip
implant, I believe most patients would choose the MRI." She said a
document from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that when under
MRI, "Electrical currents may be induced in conductive metal implants"
that can cause "potentially severe patient burns."

In addition to outlining the health risks of the VeriChip, WorldNetDaily
says the FDA letter also cites the risk of "compromised information
security" among its concerns.

"The implant, about the size of a grain of rice, uses radio waves to
transmit medical and financial account information to reader devices.
There is a risk that these transmission could be intercepted and
duplicated by others or that ' as privacy advocates have warned ' the
devices could be used to track an individual's movements and location."

"Once you're chipped, you can be identified by doorway portal readers
without your knowledge," it quoted Albrecht. "That tracking potential,
coupled with VeriChip's potential health risks make the VeriChip a very
poor choice for medical patients seeking safety and security."

The VeriChip is in fact used in Europe for non-medical purposes.

A syringe-injected microchip implant provides users with VIP treatment at
the Baja Beach Club in Barcelona. A "reader" recognizes the individual,
credit balance and opens doors automatically into exclusive areas of the
club, according to Conrad K. Chase, the club's director.

VeriPay implanted patrons can buy drinks and food with a "wave of their
hand."

"The objective of this technology is to bring an ID system to a global
level that will destroy the need to carry ID documents and credit cards,"
Chase said.

Only 900 individuals have so far asked to be implanted, howeer.

Chase was also quoted as claiming that the VeriChip company had told him
that the Italian government was preparing to implant government workers.

Religious fundamentals believe that the VeriChip may be "The Mark of the
Beast" referenced in the "Book of Revelations," that says only those with
the "mark" in their hands or forehead may buy or sell.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

U.S. Said to Be 'Obsessed' With Celebrity Culture

U.S. 'Obsessed' By Celeb Culture
BBC News
10-20-4

Americans are more "obsessed" than ever by celebrity culture, the editor of magazine Vanity Fair has told the BBC.

Graydon Carter said he believes the interest in the US in the lives of celebrities stems from an unwillingness to engage with the realities of the global situation.

Shortly after 9/11, Carter said that he believed America would become more serious and less "frivolous," declaring it "the end of irony."

But he told BBC World Service's The Interview programme that the prediction had patently not come true.

"That lasted for as long as it took the words to come out of my mouth," he said.

"Americans are by and large obsessed with crummy reality TV, and the lives of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

"That may be just some diversion from the realities of the world, in the way that screwball comedies were in the 1930s. That's the only explanation."

Bush savaging

While Vanity fair is famous for its covers featuring film and other stars, it also covers politics and business, and is known as one of the heavyweight US magazines.

Cater, who has edited the magazine since 1992, declined to say, however, whether he felt such an interest in high-profile stars - particularly screen actors - was a good thing or not.

"It is just here - it's been here since the advent of movies," he said.

"With global culture being what it is, the movie business is in one way the only universal cultural language in the world.

"Movies go all the way around the world. Books don't necessarily travel from country to country, nor do musicians, or political stars or sports stars. But movie stars are known all around the world."

He added that putting a film star on the cover of the magazine makes it much more likely to sell - Vanity Fair is the only magazine to have the same cover worldwide.

Carter said the days of magazines being able to put scientists or politicians on the cover had gone: "They'll sell 14-15,000 copies in a month."

Carter has shot to prominence by writing a book strongly critical of US President George W Bush, arguing that he is taking the country in the wrong direction.

The editor, who describes himself as a "liberal libertarian," said he agreed with one New York Times columnist who had written about the "tyranny of even-handedness" and that he now wanted to make his views known.

"I'm of the opinion that when politicians run for office, they should pretty much say up front what they plan to do during their administration," Carter said.

"The fact is, George Bush ran as a uniter, not a divider - that turned out to be incorrect. The fact that he ran as a compassionate conservative that turned out to be incorrect.

"Granted September 11 changed all the rules after he got into office, but the war in Iraq - which is what really got me going - seemed so unnecessary, so optional, and such the wrong thing to do at that moment, because it took all the resources away from a fight against terrorism from the troops in Afghanistan."

Guest list

He said that as editor, he had traditionally made it a personal policy not to vote, and for similar reasons he does not buy stock in public and trading companies.

However, he said he felt compelled to speak during what he described as a "strange turning point" in American history.

"The Bush administration, even if they've voted out off office in November, will leave behind a trail of time bombs in a way," he added.

"In my book, I go through a number of areas - healthcare, the environment, the judiciary - and show that the Bush administration came into office and immediately, from the very first day, started rolling back."

He argued that 200 environmental protections "that have been built up over 30 years" had been taken away since 2000, when Bush came into office.

"They have walked away on most of our international accords - whether environmental or otherwise - and what they've done is really focused on the federal courts."

He argued that the Federal courts, which hear 30,000 cases a year, have been filled with judges who are "very right-wing... and they're there for life."

Vanity Fair's biggest night, however, is well away from politics - it is Oscars night.

The magazine is famous for giving the parties that the Oscar winners attend, and has a more high-profile guest list than any other.

Carter said that around 700 stars attend, but that the key thing was not who is let in, but who is left out.

"In a strange way it's a business. I look at it as a long, nine-and-a-half hour day at the office - with cocktails," Carter said.

"I'm of the opinion that if the host looks like they're having a good time, everyone else is more inclined to have a good time."

Man Refuses Biometric Driver's Licence

Fear of the Antichrist pushes farmer to fight Ontario bid to take his picture
Man refuses to provide biometric data for driver's licence, based on religious beliefs
Sarah Staples
The Ottawa Citizen
Wednesday, October 20, 2004

In Canada's first legal case involving the use of biometric information by governments, an Ontario farmer who was denied a driver's licence because he would not let his digital picture be taken will appear in court this week arguing the province's decision infringed on his right to religious freedom.

George Bothwell, a 57-year-old organic farmer from Owen Sound, believes that allowing a photo to be added to his Ontario Ministry of Transportation-issued licence would mark him for the Antichrist.

So strong was his conviction, that in 1997, Mr. Bothwell applied for a religious exemption from the photo requirement. But in 2003, after a nearly six-year wait, the exemption was turned down. He is slated to appear before Ontario Superior Court justices, beginning tomorrow, seeking to overturn the provincial ruling so that his driver's licence may be reinstated.

Clayton Ruby, a Toronto defence lawyer who is representing Mr. Bothwell, said the landmark case promises not only to reinterpret Canadians' Charter-inscribed right to freedom of conscience and religion, but may influence the way sensitive personal information is handled in the future.

"The value that's in play is privacy of religious thought and action on the one hand, against the need for governments to collect biometric data," Mr. Ruby said.

Privacy advocates say increasingly centralized government databases containing mounds of personal data are an enticing target for hackers, and secondary uses of the information have become difficult to track.

"Whether it's health records that are constantly found in backyards and ditches and dumps, or the selling of motor vehicle information to collection agencies for profit by the Ontario government, the lesson of the 21st century is, if you give data to governments, it keeps getting passed along to other hands," the lawyer said.

Mr. Bothwell did not object to a two-part driver's licence Ontario issued beginning in 1996 -- which consisted of a Polaroid photo laminated into a plastic card, and a blue paper permit -- because both items, including the original photo, were given back to drivers to keep.

Digital images kept in a government database replaced the Polaroids in 1997.

In Mr. Bothwell's opinion, 17th-century translators of the King James version of the Bible, who had no concept of digital photography or fingerprinting, erred in interpreting the original Greek verse of Revelations, Chapter 13:14, to mean that man would be deceived into receiving the Beast's "mark on the right hand or the forehead."

His own reconstruction of the holy text's meaning yields "to give or bestow one's exact likeness, in the midst of the face, as a badge of servitude."

"The scripture speaks to every individual heart differently," he said, "and who's to say who is right? The truth will be revealed in time."

A spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General would not comment on a case before the courts. However, documents filed in pre-trial hearings argue that the transportation ministry places a "justifiable limit" on religious freedom in a bid to deter "suspect and unreliable claims for religious exemptions" and preserve the aim of the licence, which is to keep fraudsters and terrorists from getting hold of multiple forged pieces of ID.

The province also argues Mr. Bothwell's objection is based on "perceived threats to individual and personal liberty" and not "sincere' religious belief."

Mr. Ruby says it is unjustifiable that the province demand, among other things, that applicants claiming an exemption be part of an organized religion that is officially recognized by the government.

Jennings 'Concerned' About Media Objectivity

Jennings: Media In Glaring Spotlight
Jennings Says Aim Is Objectivity, Fairness
POSTED: 5:02 PM CDT October 19, 2004
UPDATED: 5:32 PM CDT October 19, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- ABC news anchor Peter Jennings said he's getting an earful on media coverage.

Jennings is on a swing through battleground states, including Iowa and Missouri, where polls show the race could go either to President George W. Bush or Sen. John Kerry.

"I think one of the best reasons to go on the road is just to listen," Jennings told KETV NewsWatch 7's Rob McCartney during a stop in Kansas City, Mo., Monday.

Jennings gets questions about a CBS report on Bush's National Guard service, for which CBS news anchor Dan Rather later apologized and said the story was a mistake. He's also asked about Sinclair Broadcasting's decision to air a controversial documentary on Sen. John Kerry's Vietnam war record. Another big question regards an ABC internal memo from the political director suggesting that reporters need not "reflexively" hold both sides of the presidential election "equally" accountable.

Jennings said the media is now under the hot lights.

"I'm a little concerned about this notion everybody wants us to be objective," Jennings said.

Jennings said that everyone -- even journalists -- have points of view through which they filter their perception of the news. It could be race, sex or income. But, he said, reporters are ideally trained to be as objective as possible.

"And when we don't think we can be fully objective, to be fair," the anchorman said.

Does the public think network news is fair? There are a number of opinion polls that show news consumers feel that the media does have a slant.

Jennings maintains those polls may be driven by groups with an agenda.

"There's a whole industry of conservatives saying, 'Ah, it's those damn liberals,' and a whole group of liberals saying, 'It's all those damn conservatives,'" Jennings said.

The problematic response, Jennings said, is the way people tailor the way they consume news.

"If you tailor your news viewing, as some people are now doing, so that you only get one point of view, well of course you're going to think somebody else has got a different point of view, and it may be wrong," Jennings said.

British Begin Human Cloning Effort

British team takes first step to cloning human embryos
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
(Filed: 20/10/2004)

British scientists have begun an attempt to create Europe's first cloned human embryos.

As the United Nations discusses a ban on all such research today - one that the UK would never sign and ratify even if it was agreed - a team in Newcastle upon Tyne has conducted experiments that mark the start of its human cloning effort.

The work, which is bitterly opposed by pro-life groups, will place the UK at the forefront of research to create a new generation of medical treatments using cloning to grow a potentially unlimited supply of a patient's own "stem cells" to treat a vast range of diseases, from Alzheimer's to Parkinson's.

The Newcastle team - Prof Alison Murdoch and Dr Miodrag Stojkovic - is based at the Centre for Life.

In August, they were given permission by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to study how to clone microscopic human embryos and use them as a source of stem cells, which can turn into any of the 200 types in the body.

Yesterday Dr Stojkovic said that he had begun to use spare eggs, left over from IVF treatments.

"I have done the first manipulation with human eggs," he said.

However, the eggs were not in a suitable state - with all the DNA in an easy-to-remove lump - for nuclear transfer, the cloning process. Prof Murdoch admitted that, although her team at the Newcastle NHS Fertility Centre has access to as many as 2,000 human eggs each year, they had a "huge mountain to climb" to use these eggs, which are a day or two old. "The quality is pretty awful."

But Dr Stojkovic said he was still confident that the first nuclear transfer - the actual process of cloning - will take place this year.

Prof Murdoch said she had also been reassured by the Government that the work could continue, no matter what the UN decides this week.

The overall aim of the original cloning application submitted in February - to develop a treatment for diabetes - was questioned by an HFEA committee and the team was given permission only to clone normal cells.

Now the authority is considering allowing the Newcastle team to clone cells taken from a person with Type 1 diabetes to increase understanding of the disease and to replace the use of animals in testing drugs. A decision is expected in a few weeks.

When the cloning licence was granted to Newcastle in August, Josephine Quintavalle of the pro-life group Comment on Reproductive Ethics (Core), questioned whether it was proper for the head of a fertility unit that would provide eggs for cloning - Prof Murdoch - also to submit the application to use them in cloning.

In response to this concern over what she called a theoretical conflict of interest, Prof Murdoch said she now no longer held the HFEA licence for the unit, which had passed to Dr Jane Stewart, though she remained head of the department.

The Newcastle Human Embryonic Stem Cell Group has launched a funding appeal to raise around £10 million to accelerate its research.

Medical Dangers to Implantable Chip

Implantable chip's medical dangers
FDA approves technology but also warns of possible downsides
Posted: October 20, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

Though Applied Digital, the company that markets the human-implantable VeriChip device, has trumpeted recent Food and Drug Administration approval of the technology, it failed to include in its announcement warnings by the agency about the downsides of having a transponder lodged under the skin.

According to a letter issued by the FDA Oct. 12, the ID chip, which is touted as an immediate way to obtain medical history about the wearer, has several possible negative effects.

"The potential risks to health associated with the device are: adverse tissue reaction, migration of implanted transponder, … failure of implanted transponder, … electromagnetic interference, electrical hazards, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) incompatibility and needle stick," states the letter, which was obtained by Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, or CASPIAN.

Katherine Albrecht, founder and director of CASPIAN, chastised Applied Digital and manufacturer Digital Angel for failing to mention the negative aspects of its technology.

"By omitting this information from their press material, the companies marketing the VeriChip have painted an inaccurately rosy picture of their product that could mislead consumers into believing the devices are completely safe," Albrecht said in a statement.

Albrecht singled out the MRI-incompatibility issue as one of particular concern.

"Patients contemplating a VeriChip implant need to know that the FDA has raised incompatibity as a potential risk," she said. "If it's a choice between a potentially life-saving diagnostic procedure or a VeriChip implant, I believe most patients would choose the MRI."

CASPIAN quotes an FDA document discussing MRI systems, which says, "Electrical currents may be induced in conductive metal implants" that can cause "potentially severe patient burns."

In addition to outlining the health risks of the VeriChip, the FDA letter also cites the risk of "compromised information security" among its concerns. The implant, about the size of a grain of rice, uses radio waves to transmit medical and financial account information to reader devices. There is a risk that these transmission could be intercepted and duplicated by others or that – as privacy advocates have warned – the devices could be used to track an individual's movements and location.

"Once you're chipped, you can be identified by doorway portal readers without your knowledge," stated Albrecht. "That tracking potential, coupled with VeriChip's potential health risks make the VeriChip a very poor choice for medical patients seeking safety and security."

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Clinic Offers Designer Babies Without Surgery, Genetics

Clinic Offers Designer Babies Without Surgery, Genetics
TerraNet
10-19-4

From a plush new clinic tucked away on the seventh floor of a drab Hong Kong office building, businessman Min Yoo says he can give would-be-parents the child of their dreams.

Without the need for surgery or genetic manipulation he claims to be able to give couples all they need to select the gender of their child -- a simple calendar.

His technique has, however, been greeted with scepticism by some in the medical fraternity who say there is no evidence to show it works.

"There are good times for women to conceive if they want a boy and good times for boys. We simply work out those times," said Min, of CHOIX clinic in downtown Hong Kong.

CHOIX says it uses a simple gender selection technique that identifies the best times for a would-be mother to conceive a boy and when she is likely to conceive a girl.

Min said it relies on being able to identify when a woman will have the eggs -- or ova -- that will produce a child of the required sex.

"Human biology works in cycles," said Min, who has no medical training and whose only experience of such matters comes from his mother who is a fertility specialist in Los Angeles.

"Using data we collect from the client, we work out a fertility calendar for our clients that maps out when it would be best for them to conceive a boy or a girl."

The cycle depends on physiological data particular to each client that clinicians gather from a medical history questionnaire, a consultation and a single blood sample.

"It takes about an hour or so to do, but from that we can establish the best time of conception for any couple," adds Min, a Korean-born American who helped found the company a year ago with three other partners.

They bought the only Asian licence for the technique, which was devised by a private laboratory in Switzerland. The lab is in the process of patenting the procedure and may not be named.

A treatment package, including midwife visits and other medical back-up, costs 50,000 Hong Kong dollars (6,410 US).

Although since opening late last month CHOIX has only signed one client, Min expects would-be parents to be willing to pay that much to get the baby they want.

"There are many constraints on family size in Hong Kong -- not least, the generally small size of people's homes here," he said.

"Most people these days want at least two children, one of each. If they already have one, they will want to ensure the next one is of a different sex.

"This procedure takes away the risk of having to have a third, fourth or fifth baby if they all turn out to be the same sex as the first."

While CHOIX has the backing of a leading local midwife and private hospital group, some in the medical fraternity have questioned the legitimacy of the technique.

"We've had similar gender selection clinics come and go; there's no scientific or medical evidence to show any of them work," Dr. Ernest Ng, assistant professor at the obstetrics and gynaecology department of Queen Mary Hospital, attached to the Hong Kong University, told AFP.

"You cannot select the gender of a child from the cycles of the would-be mother alone -- sperm has as much a part to play, adding to the unpredictability of it."

Min is resolute his business is valid.

"The point is," argues Min, "this is not a medical procedure. It is pointless asking a medical practitioner because there is no medicine involved.

"It is all about natural timing and identifying the best time to conceive. It's akin to the rhythm method that has been used for years to avoid conception."

The procedure has been put forward as a possible solution to growing population problems in China, where the cultural premium placed on sons has produced orphanages filled with baby girls and where the punitive one-child policy has produced high numbers of backroom abortions.

Although Ng questions the ethics of such a suggestion, saying such gender selection is banned in some countries on the grounds it could destabilise the male-female balance, Min questions it on commercial grounds.

"This is not an answer to China's population problem but an aid for family planning," he said. "And anyway, I'm not so sure those traditional views really hold in modern China -- except in the backward rural areas."

Min is confident the technique will sell among Asia's middle classes because there are no medical risks nor religious objections to a procedure that requires no manipulation of human embryos.

In fact he is so confident the company offers a full money-back guarantee if a client conceives a child of the wrong sex.

"We can't guarantee you will get pregnant, but we are pretty certain that when you do, we'll know what the sex (of the baby) will be."

Monday, October 18, 2004

Irshad Manji: A Symbol of the Globalist Push

Makow - A Culture Buster Comes To Town
NWO Agent Irshad Manji
By Henry Makow, PhD
10-17-4

Muslim "reformer" and lesbian activist Irshad Manji, 35, symbolizes the globalist push to extinguish true religion and enslave humanity.

Her book "/The Trouble With Islam: A Wake Up Call for Honesty and Change"/ is being translated into a dozen languages. (See her web site www.Muslim-refusnik.com )

Last week, for the second time in six months, Manji spoke here in Winnipeg.

The Asper Foundation and the Jewish Women's Federation sponsored her. The Aspers (Canwest Media) own a TV network and the largest chain of newspapers in Canada.

In her speech, Manji called on Muslims to return to their ancient tradition of "ijtihad" which encouraged them to scrutinize their social and religious institutions and make their own decisions about how to live.

As far as I could tell, there was only one Muslim in the audience of about 800.

The title of her lecture (/"Why I Support Women, Jews and Pluralism"/)/ /may have been a factor.

Most of the people present were Jews (many out of social obligation) with a smattering of lesbians and misguided globots. (globalists)

It was comical to listen to Manji exhort Muslims to challenge their tradition in front of an audience composed mainly of Jews, a community not noted for welcoming constructive criticism.

Ever heard of a book (or lecture) entitled /"The Trouble with Judaism: A Wake Up Call for Honesty and Change/?"/ /

The globalist elite peddles Manji, a Toronto writer who immigrated from Uganda as an infant, as a herald of necessary change in Muslim society.

Oprah Winfrey and /Maclean's /magazine have honoured her. She has spoken at Oxford University, the United Nations press club, the World Presidents Organization, the International Women's Forum, and the Pentagon. The /New York Times/ described her has "Osama bin Laden's worst nightmare." You get the picture.

The wonder is that Manji and her audience actually think they are /bucking/ the establishment. Many are anti globalization!

SELECTIVE "TOLERANCE AND DIVERSITY"

In the Q & A session, the sole Muslim at the Winnipeg event said she had flouted her family by having a Black child out-of-wedlock. She also had adopted two aboriginal children so her family was "a regular United Nations."

She was heartily applauded for her rebellion and presented as an example of racial tolerance.

I doubt if any of these Jews would have applauded had this woman been/ their daughter/.

Organized Jewry seems to promote "tolerance" for other people (like Muslims) but does not embrace it itself.

For example, I asked Manji to comment on Israel's policy to forbid Palestinians who are married to Israelis from living in Israel. Manji evaded my question and the moderator didn't remind her of it.

Jews (and homosexuals) have no idea how they are being used to create the New World Order, only to be cast aside or made a scapegoat later.

A cabal of Masonic dynastic families based in the City of London control the New World Order. They decided to use Jews to colonize the Middle East long before the birth of "Zionism." The US invasion of Iraq is the latest phase in this satanic plan for "world government."

Yes, Virginia, there /is/ a Conspiracy.

See "The Jewish Conspiracy is British Imperialism" http://www.savethemales.ca/000447.html and "Bush Victory Could Foil Occult Plot" http://www.savethemales.ca/000594.html

This occult cabal uses some Jews (and homosexuals) to dynamite the four pillars of our personal and collective identity and thereby transform humanity into a faceless slave race.

These four pillars are Race, Religion, Nation and (heterosexual) Family. They are the sources of our visceral power.

Irshad Manji is sabotaging all four and is rewarded handsomely.

EMASCULATE MUSLIMS USING FEMINISM

In her talk, Manji alluded vaguely to women's oppression in Muslim societies. She advocated "micro business loans" for women (not men) so they could become "entrepreneurs."

Muslim men then would be "working for their wives," she said.

In other words, deprive men of their social role as protectors and providers. Muslims are the only men resisting the New World Order precisely because they haven't been gelded like "men" in the West.

In the words of "insider" Harold Wallace Rosenthal:

"We have castrated society through fear and intimidation. Its manhood exists only in combination with a feminine outward appearance. Being so neutered, the populace has become docile and easily ruled. As all geldings...their thoughts are not involved with the concerns of the future and their posterity, but only with the present and with the next meal." http://www.savethemales.ca/000334.html

In Muslim society women are cherished and loved for their service to their families. Manji would export the West's family breakdown and plummeting birthrate by "liberating" women from this place of honor. How like a lesbian activist.

Globalists hate nothing more than a woman devoted to her husband and family. She is dangerous. They can't control her. She might have a healthy happy family with independent values. This could spread!

Manji said some women in Afghanistan are using these small business loans to start schools for girls (not boys.)

"They believe that if you educate a boy, you educate only him," she said. "But if you educate a girl, you educate the whole family."

Huh? Don't fathers have any role in educating their children?

This unsubtle attempt to exclude fathers is typical of the hateful underhanded attack on the heterosexual family made by self-described "women of conscience" and "champions of human rights" who say they are opposed to "marginalizing any group."

These pious self-serving dupes define "human rights" selectively.

The vast heterosexual majority of European or Muslim origin, males in particular, evidently are not entitled to them. They can be attacked mercilessly and if they resist, they are accused of bigotry.

Many homosexuals and Jews have this in common: they feel they are "outsiders" socially and metaphysically.

While most are content to live and let live, organized Jewry and gay activists like Manji must convince their constituencies they are being persecuted in order to advance their own hostile agenda: to recast the world in their own image.

These activists are financed and promoted by the financial elite whose goal is to control society by destabilizing it.

CONCLUSION

The political ramifications of Manji's crusade became clear when she referred to Israel's

occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as a "double occupation."

She acknowledged that indeed there was a military occupation. But she spoke of how Palestinians are "occupied ideologically" by their religion, which made them reject Israel's "many generous peace offers."

She related a conversation she had in Gaza City with the political chief for Hamas. He told her most suicide bombers were very successful in life and because of their religion, considered it an honor to sacrifice their lives. They will be rewarded in heaven.

She cited this as an example of Islam's fanaticism. Without condoning Hamas' tactics, clearly there would be less resistance in general if Muslims were stripped of their religion and culture.

What better way to disinherit Muslims than encourage them to become "free thinkers" like all the courageous and independent "free thinkers" we have here in the West.

These days the champions of "freedom, diversity, human rights and tolerance" wear a deceptive face. One such face belongs to Irshad Manji.

c. 2004 Henry Makow Ph.D.

Henry Makow Ph.D. is the inventor of the board game Scruples and the author of "A Long Way to go for a Date." His articles exposing feminism and the New World Order appear on his web site www.savethemales.ca

Cal Thomas: Don't Take the 'Mark of the Beast'

Implantable Chips For Medical Records
Cal Thomas
October 15, 2004

I'm not one who likes to play the end times game.

Jesus said not to be concerned with dates and times.

But this story is too good to pass up.

The food and drug administration has cleared the way for a Florida company to market implantable chips that would provide easy access to individual medical records.

This is supposed to make patient care more effective.

The chip would not contain any records, but with a number, the care provider would be able to retrieve medical information about blood type, drug histories and other critical data stored in computers.

It was interesting that the New York Times brought up the "mark of the beast" reference from revelation.

Of course it mentioned that this belief comes from "fundamentalist religious groups," implying that smart people don't think this way.

All prophecy has a physical component.

Fulfillment is in real time and in the real world.

Are computer chips implanted in the human body the "mark of the beast"?

I don't know, but I do know it's coming.

Don't take the number!

I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.

(al Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C. Watch his television show, After Hours with Cal Thomas, on the Fox News Channel, Saturdays at 11 p.m. Eastern Time.)

Annan 'Responsible' for Slaughter and Butchery

Not one to talk
Lorne Gunter
National Post
October 18, 2004

Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General, thinks the invasion of
Iraq has made the world a more dangerous place.

Mr. Annan told a British television audience yesterday, "I cannot say the
world is safer when you consider the violence around us ... and see the
terrorist attacks around the world and you see what is going on in Iraq. "

Last month, Mr. Annan told another British television interviewer the
invasion was "illegal," that "it violated the UN Charter."

He's a great one to talk.

Mr. Annan, personally, probably bears as much responsibility for slaughter
and butchery -- through his inaction and ineptitude -- as any person on
Earth.

First as under-secretary for peacekeeping and later as secretary-general,
Mr. Annan has consistently had difficulty distinguishing good from evil.

It's not his shortcoming alone, of course. The entire United Nations and
most of the European Union are great practitioners of "moral equivalence."
According to their view, both sides in any dispute have been equally bad.
Both have committed crimes, atrocities and violations against
international law. Both are equally in need of a time out.

In his insightful 2003 book, Of Paradise and Power, U.S. foreign policy
analyst Robert Kagan argued that Europe and the UN have wrongly convinced
themselves that the world has entered "a post-historic paradise of peace"
and "is moving beyond power into a self-contained world of laws and rules
and transnational negotiation and co-operation."

That might work if all 200-plus nations in the world were post-modern
industrial states with stable democracies; rich, secular, educated
populations and an ingrained commitment to the rule of law. But try
talking "soft power" and cultural exchanges to the nationalist militia
commander with a legion of fervent soldiers, 10,000 AK-47s and a
centuries-old hate-on for the tribe across the river.

Idealist naivete such as the UN's may score high marks in an undergraduate
debate on international conflict resolution. But in the real world, it is
typically a recipe for bloodshed. While high-minded diplomats such as Mr.
Annan mill about conference rooms and buffet tables, piously reassuring
one another of their intellectual complexity and moral sophistication,
jihadis, warlords, death squad leaders, dictators and generalissimos show
no hesitation in killing their enemies.

Usually, Mr. Annan dithers until it is too late to stop barbarism. Most of
the time, the best he can muster is to send in his humanitarian workers
after the ethnic cleansing or forced relocation is over and minister to
the needs of the refugees.

On those rare occasions Mr. Annan has been able to see what needs doing
while there is still time to act -- as in the current genocide in the
Darfur region of Sudan -- he has either lacked the courage to pull the
trigger or been insufficiently persuasive to provoke international action.

The slaughter of 7,000 men and boys in Srebrenica, Bosnia, in July, 1995,
is the worst genocide in Europe since the Second World War. As the
first-ever UN-designated "safe area," Srebrenica was Mr. Annan's
responsibility as the organization's chief peacekeeper.

The massacre of up to 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda in the spring of 1994 by
Hutu tribesmen wielding clubs and machetes -- roughly 10,000 per day for
nearly three months -- also happened on Mr. Annan's watch.

And to the extent the Srebrenica carnage is still used by Islamic
fundamentalists to recruit new suicide bombers and terror operatives --
the dead were Muslims murdered by Orthodox Bosnian Serbs -- the
Secretary-General's failure to order force to protect those inside has
contributed as much to making the world more dangerous as Operation Iraqi
Freedom.

Add in his powerlessness to intervene in Kosovo and his willingness to
turn a blind eye to hundreds of millions in bribes paid to UN, French,
Russian and Chinese officials through the Iraq oil-for-food program and
Mr. Annan hasn't much of a moral leg to stand on.

But is he right? Is the world more dangerous now?

In the short-term, probably. In the longer term, definitely not.

Right now there is more danger and violence as a result of the invasion,
and there are at least four reasons for that. The United States didn't
turn over administration of Iraq to Iraqis fast enough, having
overestimated the gratitude with which Iraqis would welcome U.S.
liberation. This led to the second reason: The United States
underestimated how troops would be needed -- how many "boots on the
ground" -- to mollify the Iraqi insurgency. This undermined the Pentagon's
primacy in running the post-war transition, which prompted the third
reason: The multilateralists at the U.S. State department and CIA were
handed a wedge to meddle in (and delay) the turnover of authority to the
Iraqis themselves.

But mostly the invasion has made the world (temporarily) more dangerous
because the terrorists who have rushed into that country understand better
than the nabobs of Western diplomacy and academia that whether or not Iraq
should have been such a high priority in the war on terrorism, it has
nonetheless become the front line. They know, even if the invasion's
Western critics do not, that their worldwide jihad rises or falls on their
ability to pin down the United States in Iraq the way the Soviets were
mired in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

But as the Israeli experience has shown, confronting terrorists -- blowing
up their training camps, assassinating their leaders, rooting them out of
their hideouts and building walls against their attacks -- will ultimately
reduce those attacks, even if it cannot end them completely. Before Israel
changed its tactics in 2002, from containment to confrontation of its
terrorists, suicide bombings came at the rate of more than one per week.
Now it is about one per month.

Now, too, that the Americans and their coalition allies have begun
attacking the Iraqi insurgents and terrorists in Fallujah, Sadr City,
Najaf and elsewhere in Iraq, the world may look more dangerous for a
while. But it is the right thing to do. In Iraq, as in other nations,
terrorism cannot be wiped out entirely. But it will be reduced.

Bush, Kerry Members of Same Secret Society

TIE THAT BINDS?
Bush's, Kerry's secret society
Yale graduates both belong to Skull and Bones, one of country's most elite
college groups
BY ANDREW METZ
STAFF WRITER
October 18, 2004

So what did President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry say to each other
before having at each other in their televised debates? Was there more
than a perfunctory "good luck"? And what about the handshakes?

For those inclined to wonder, consider this: The president and the senator
are members of one of the country's most elite college societies, where
loyalty and ritual - and most of all secrecy - are sacred.

Bush versus Kerry is a clash of political parties, but it's also an
unprecedented faceoff between Bonesmen, brothers from Yale University's
revered Skull and Bones. The two have refused to comment on their shared
experience, citing the privacy of the order. "It's so secret, we can't
talk about it," Bush told NBC's Tim Russert earlier this year.

But whether or not these Bonesmen exchanged a clandestine greeting, the
order occupies a hallowed spot in their identities and highlights their
enduring association with exclusivity and privilege.

"It raises an interesting question when two Bonesmen end up on the
opposite sides of the political aisle. How deep do allegiances run?" said
Graham Boettcher, a Yale doctoral student who has dug into the order's
history and has friends who are members, though he is not.

Bush and Kerry were two years apart at Yale, the president the class of
'68, the senator '66. Both were among 15 seniors ushered into an order
that has fueled fabulous speculation.

Members are said to revere the number 322, to use the phrase "Do you know
Gen. Russell?" to identify one another and to bare their sexual histories
in group sessions. The Internet is full of Skull and Bones lore,
conspiracy theories and occult overtones. One sensational claim has
Bonesmen, including Bush's grandfather, pilfering the Indian leader
Geronimo's skeletal remains from Oklahoma and bringing them to the order's
campus home, the Tomb.

Rituals and rumors aside, Bones alliances endure through retreats and
networking, and the path from the Tomb to power is well worn. Besides
three presidencies - Bush, his father and William Howard Taft - Bonesmen
have landed in Congress, the CIA, Supreme Court, Cabinet posts, top banks
and media outlets.

Skull and Bones has been an incubator for what Bonesman Alan Cross, a
North Carolina pediatrics professor and Kerry contemporary, calls "the
cream off the top of the cream." And it has been an abiding association
for the men vying to be president. Kerry still counts members as friends;
there are several Bonesmen in the Bush administration.

Ron Rosenbaum, the New York Observer columnist who wrote a 1977 expose on
the order in Esquire, calls it "an underreported network of influence and
power" and "a source of a mindset of privilege." Rosenbaum, a Bush
classmate who was not in Bones, has urged the contenders to quit the
order, writing in a March column that the public has the right "to know
about the nature of their presidents' associations and how they affect who
they really are."

Fellow Bonesmen, however, insist the order's only impact is a high regard
for friendship and public service.

Donald Etra, a Los Angeles defense lawyer who was in the society with
Bush, said the Bones bond may also create a mutual respect, even in this
contentious campaign.

At the least, said Alexandra Robbins, a Yale graduate and author of
"Secrets of the Tomb," a 2002 book on the society, "they both acknowledge
that the two of them went through something special."

And if Bush and Kerry pose a strange alignment to Bones loyalty, Robbins
said for the order, "it is a win-win situation. No matter who wins, they
have a Bonesman in the White House for the next four years."