CASSINI FLYBY GRABS FIRST CLOSE-UP PHOTOS OF TITAN
The robot spacecraft Cassini had a close encounter with Saturn's giant moon, Titan, last week and obtained the first close-up photos of that strange icy world.
On Tuesday, October 26, 2004, "the spacecraft was to turn its cameras and other instruments toward the cloud- shrouded moon...The maneuver was expected to bring Cassini the closest to Titan since the spacecraft went into orbit around Saturn on June 30," 2004.
"The orbiter is carrying 12 scientific instruments, including spectrometers, infrared cameras and radar designed to pierce the moon's dense atmosphere and 'reveal a whole new world,' said Charles Elachi, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory" in Pasadena, California.
"Titan is bigger than the planet Mercury. It has an atmosphere that is one-and-a-half times as dense as Earth's and contains organic--meaning carbon-based compounds."
"'Titan is one of the most fascinating places in the whole solar system,' says astronomer Antonin Bouchez of Hawaii's W.M. Keck Observatory, who is not a Cassini team member. 'It is a completely alien place, but it may be the most Earth-like place we know, with beaches, lakes and oceans. That's what makes it interesting.'"
"On Tuesday, the $3.27-billion international space probe passed within 730 miles (1,168 kilometers), the second largest moon in the solar system. Jupiter's ice moon, Ganymede, is the biggest."
"At a Wednesday," October 27, 2004, "briefing at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., scientists unveiled the first high-resolution images from the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft's flyby of Titan. The images show a surface of bright and dark regions streaked by unknown materials in some locales, and a lower atmosphere with a few clouds."
"'With the sun at our backs, we had an ideal view down to the surface,' said mission imaging team chief Carolyn Porco of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. 'We are still mystified and not quite sure what we are looking at.'"
"One surprise for scientists was that sensors suggested Titan's dark and light regions are made of the same stuff, a mixture of ice and naturally occurring tar, despite their differences in brightness. The find may indicate that a coating covers Titan's surface, much like the dust that coats Mars and obscures the chemistry in the bedrock below."
"Streaks seen in the surface images resemble features on both Mars and Venus, said astronomer Antonin Bouchez of Hawaii's W.M. Keck Observatory."
NASA released more Cassini images on Thursday, October 28, 2004.
"The surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, looks like a cracked eggshell, a windblown landscape dotted with propane lakes, according to images that NASA released Thursday."
"'Titan is an extremely dynamic and active place,' says mission scientist Jonathan Lunine of the University of Arizona in Tucson."
"Radar images of a 1,242-mile (1,987-kilometer) strip of Titan, about 1 percent of the moon's surface, were released at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. They suggest that the surveyed strip has about a dozen lake, including one the size of Lake Tahoe," on the border of the USA's states of California and Nevada.
"The new images indicate that winds in the atmosphere reshape the surface, likely streaking frozen tars and oils across the terrain. Ridges 62 miles (104 kilometers) long, but no taller than 165 feet (50 meters) suggest that the cracks seen from space are from an ice 'eggshell' covering the moon."
"NASA scientists also report that volcanic eruptions of ammonia and ice water reshape Titan's frigid surface."
(Editor's Note: The surface temperature on Titan is minus 290 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale.)
"'Titan is a place that is alive, in a geologic sense,' says JPL chief Charles Elachi, who also heads the Cassini radar team. The mission, managed cooperatively by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) is scheduled to explore Saturn and its moons for at least four years, including 44 flybys of Titan."
"On Christmas Eve," December 24, 2004, "the spacecraft will release the ESA's Huygens probe, which will parachute onto Titan in mid-January," 2005.
"Titan's temperature varies somewhat from region to region, suggesting that it's blanketed with carbon-based compounds. 'The place is just covered in the stuff,' says mission scientist Ralph Lorenz of the University of Arizona." (See USA Today for October 26, 2004, "Saturn's moon Titan comes into focus today," page 8D; for October 27, 2004, "Spacecraft zooms in on Saturn's big moon," page 10A; for October 28, 2004, "Cassini probe's first flyby of Titan reveals some surprises," page 4D; and for October 29, 2004, "Titan's surface like an icy eggshell, images show," page 4D.)
UFOs SIGHTED BY MANY IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA
On Saturday, October 23, 2004, at 12:34 a.m., eyewitness Carol reported, "My son woke me about 12:30 a.m. and said he observed a UFO across the street from our house" in Belle Vernon, Pa. (population 1,211), located on the east bank of the Monongahela River about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Pittsburgh.
Carol's son said the UFO "was hovering over a wooded area," she reported, "When I went to investigate his sighting, I first thought it to be the moon. It seemed like a cluster of smaller lights, making it seem to be somewhat circular in shape. I'm still trying to believe it is the moon."
"At 1 a.m.," on Sunday, October 24, 2004, "I decided to look back in the sky to see if it had moved around in a period of time. I figured, if it was the moon, I should be able to tell better as time would pass. At 1:05 a.m., just five minutes of me last checking on the object, it was gone. I stepped outside to see if it may have drifted elsewhere, and the object was gone."
Other UFO sightings were reported in the Pittsburgh area.
"At about 11:15 p.m. on Sunday night, October 24, 2004, residents throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area reported a brilliant blue light moving across the sky, then turned dark only to highlight for several minutes."
"Witnesses concerned about the object illuminating the sky reported their sightings to various agencies in Pittsburgh. It appears that the source of the object was a brilliant meteor associated with the annual Orionid meteor shower."
Pennsylvania ufologist Stan Gordon reported, "One witness I interviewed from Beaver County, located north of Pittsburgh, said her bedroom lit up in blue light for four to five seconds. The light seemed slowly to brighten, then faded away. No sound was reported."
"I contacted Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center" near Seattle, Washington state, USA, "who confirmed that he received numerous reports of the event from several Northeastern states." (Many thanks to Jim Hickman, executive director of Skywatch International, for the Belle Vernon report; and to Stan Gordon for the Pittsburgh and Beaver County reports.)
LUMINOUS UFO SEEN BY A COUPLE IN IRONTON, OHIO
On Thursday, October 14, 2004, Josh Griffith and his wife were driving in their truck in Ironton, Ohio (population 11,211) when they spotted something unusual in the southeastern sky.
"I was in my truck talking to my wife, when she suddenly said, 'What is that!?' When I looked, I saw something very bright like a star but much brighter, much larger, moving over the horizon at an extreme rate of speed. When the object was about halfway across the sky, it went completely black. Then, at an instant (later), the object was pulsating in a very dark and deep red--the whole craft, not part of a light or a plane. At first a brilliant light, then pulsating reddish. The altitude was between 5,000 and 10,000 feet (1,500 to 3,000 meters). The speed was unlike anything I have ever seen."
Ironton is on Ohio Route 141, on the north bank of the Ohio River about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Huntington, West Virginia. (Email Form Report)
(Editor's Note: Ironton is just downriver from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the home of the entity known as Mothman.)
WEST VIRGINIA POLICE WATCH UFO OVER CAPITOL
A police officer in Charleston, West Virginia (population 53,421) claims to have witnessed, along with other officers, a UFO hovering over the state Capitol during late September 2004.
"My name is William H. Fink. I am a Sergeant with the West Virginia Division of Protective Services, better known as the Capitol Police for the state capital of West Virginia. I am a shift commander for the evening shift which is how I encountered the following UFO."
"It was Monday, September 20 (2004). At about 7:30 p.m., another officer and I were walking from one building to another when we both saw what looked like fireballs in the sky. At first sighting, there were two of them, and they were not moving. I watched them for a few seconds, then ran back into the building to retrieve my binocular camera. I was able to take 12 photos of the UFO."
"At one time, there were four of them in the sky, but I could only get two photographed at a time. I called the rest of my shift outside and these things were observed by four trained, experienced police officers, a security guard supervisor, two carpet installers and a couple walking the grounds."
"We observed these things until 7:40 p.m.--a full ten minutes. The sun was almost below the mountains, and it cast an orange glow on the objects as well as two airliners that flew over at the same time. It was clear with noticeable ground winds and no sound. The objects began to move southwest until they faded out in the glowing sun."
"At times, one would circle the others as they appeared to race each other--only to fade out at either behind the building or in the setting sun. As the airliner flew over, one object seemed to race with it and overtake it before fading."
"I don't know if these were all the same object going back and forth or if there was a whole group of them. I could not judge height, but it was considerably lower than the airliners. (The airliners likely took off from Chuck Yeager Airport in Charleston--W.M.F.) Yeager refused to talk to me, and I finally got the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration--J.T.). The man I spoke to at the FAA was nice but not helpful."
"In the October 6 (2004) edition of UFO Roundup, there is a case very similar to mine. It is entitled, 'Silver sphere sighted in Englewood, Colorado.'" (Email Report)
THREE UFOs SIGHTED IN NORTHERN ARGENTINA
"Several witnesses have added their names to the statements made by councilman Rodrigo Garcia and district administrative secretary Walter Nunez, who along with hundreds of persons attending the start of the Popular Loyalty Day celebrations" on Sunday, October 24, 2004, "were treated to the sight of a luminous UFO fallen to the ground near the city" of Rosario de la Frontera in northern Argentina.
"The phenomenon was seen from Rosario de la Frontera, a city located 30 kilometers (18 miles)" south of Salta, the provincial capital. "It occurred at 7:55 p.m. and caused a commotion."
"'It was incredible, truly something out of the ordinary,' explained a police officer, who was on duty in the area and requested anonymity."
"The eyewitnesses, who included Adrian Quiroga, a correspondent for (the Argentinian newspaper) El Tribuno, agreed that they first saw three large columns of smoke, similar to the wake of jet aircraft, and which gave the impression of a swift north-to-south movement."
"However, they suddenly changed their course by 90 degrees and plummeted vertically, with light resembling flames reported. The objects then seemed to disappear."
"Witnesses speculated that a meteorite could have been involved, or else an alien spacecraft or space junk. They agreed that 'if something fell, it was very near Rosario de la Frontera,' although the majority reported no likelihood of an impact on Earth since no sound was heard."
"Police units searched the area after the 'crash' to no effect."
"Sheriff Mario Paz, chief of Regional Unit 3, stated that 'no area officer reported anything falling from the sky. Officially, we can say nothing happened.'"
"'They resembled three incandescent balls that fell, leaving behind a great quantity of smoke. I've never seen anything like it,' said Walter Nunez."
"Victor Brazanovich, another witness, said that 'whatever it was, it put forth a large amount of white smoke and, at the time it appeared, a yellowish color like fire as it fell quickly.'"
"Miguel Angel Fucho, who also observed the strange event, stated, 'I was amazed to see contrails similar to those of a jet aircraft, but there was no continuity to their trajectory, because the object finally fell to Earth.'"
Rosario de la Frontera is located in southern Salta province, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. (See El Tribuno for October 25, 2004. Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Guillermo Gimenez de Planeta UFO para esto articulo de diario.)
BIRDS' NAVIGATION SENSE SUDDENLY GOES HAYWIRE
"European birdwatchers are scratching their heads over why a particular species of bird, the booted eagle, is migrating north this winter instead of the balmier south."
"According to the Ligue Protectif des Oiseaux (Translated: Bird Protective League--J.T.), nearly 1,000 of these rare eagles have been spotted in southern France over the past two months--more than 30 times the normal number--after resuming their normal September migration, which should see them head for Africa and India."
"The bizarre phenomenon has never been witnessed before, the LPO stated Thursday," October 28, 2004.
"Speculation that the birds, which have a wingspan up to 1.3 meters (4 feet, 4 inches) might have been affected by weather disturbances linked to global warming has butted up against the fact that no other species appears to be having the same navigation trouble."
"Normally, the booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus) spends the warmer months of the northern hemisphere breeding in southern Europe and in parts of North Africa."
A similar case of "navigation failure" occurred in Minnesota this week.
UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor reported, "The day after I read the French news story, this item appeared in one of our Lake Superior region newspapers."
"This past weekend, Silver Bay (Minnesota) was host to an unusual visitor from the West."
"Last Thursday (October 21, 2004), four-year-old Al Robertsen declared, 'Daddy, there's a big bird outside,' and when Steve Robertsen looked out the window, he was amazed to see a Clark's Nutcracker. This relative of the jay and crow (Corvidae family--J.T.) hasn't been seen in Minnesota since 1986, and this bird is the first since 1971 that birders have been able to chase."
"It is a gray bird with black wings that is between a jay and a crow in size. It was named after William Clark who described it in 1805 during the famous Lewis and Clark expedition."
"Nutcrackers aren't migratory and aren't usually found east of the (Rocky) mountains, so how the bird ended up in Silver Bay isn't clear. It could be that the bird was just here to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition, but a more reasonable explanation is that in the past nutcrackers have wandered from home when there is a shortage of whitebark pine seeds (a favorite food) in the mountains."
"Peg Robertsen turned in the sighting to the Minnesota Birding Network listserver and, within a couple of hours, birders from Duluth had shown up to confirm the sighting."
"By the weekend (Friday, October 22 to Sunday, October 24, 2004), birders were showing up from as far away as Rochester, Winona (Minnesota) and Green Bay (Wisconsin). People in the neighborhood weren't sure which was more interesting: the bird or the people armed with high-powered cameras and spotting scopes."
Silver Bay, Minn. (population 800) is on Highway 61, on the north shore of Lake Superior, approximately 55 miles (88 kilometers) northeast of Duluth. (See the North Shore Journal of Silver Bay, Minn. for October 23, 2004, "Silver Bay hosts rare bird," page 8. Also the Agence France Presse news story for October 22, 2004. Merci beaucoup a Robert Fischer pour cette article de journal.)
FOSSILIZED HOBBIT FOUND ON INDONESIAN ISLAND
"Fans of The Lord of the Rings may be interested to know that a remote Indonesian island has yielded the remains of a pint-sized people--a surprising new human species--that paleontologists say lived just 18,000 years ago."
"In fact, scientists have nicknamed the new creature 'Hobbit' after the diminutive folks in the famed J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy. Fiction aside, the discovery reported today by an Australian paleonology team is a big deal, challenging decades of human origins research."
"Buried amid scattered stone tools and the bones of pygmy elephants at Liang Bua cave on the eastern Indonesian island of Flores were the skeletal remains of a female belonging to the species that the discoverers have formally named Homo floresiensis."
Flores Island lies 500 kilometers (300 miles) east of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
"In today's Nature journal, the team, led by Peter Brown of Australia's University of New England, describes the being as a human relative, or hominid, that stood less than 40 inches (100 centimeters or 1 meter) tall. Except for a snout, she had a human face and a brain one-third the size of ours. She was older than 30, judging from her worn teeth and bone structure. Though like modern humans in some respect, she also resembled ancient species."
"'Probably this is one of the most important discoveries in hominid paleontological history,' says University of Pittsburgh paleontologist Jeffrey Schwartz. 'This is just about the wildest thing anyone could have discovered."
"Brown's team believes that Hobbit is an example of island dwarfism, the widely observed tendency of isolated species to evolve toward smaller sizes because they are separated from mainland predators. The scientists suggest that the species started as an offshoot of Homo erectus, a human ancestor dating to 1.8 million years ago, that reached Flores by boat and eventually got smaller hunting pygmy elephants and dodging Komodo dragons."
"These beings must have been reasonably smart 'as they were manufacturing sophisticated stone tools, hunting pygmy elephants and crossing at least two water barriers to reach Flores,' says study co-author Richard Roberts of the University of Wollongong. 'The latter two activities must surely have been group activities, which implies communicative skills and use of language...all with a brain the size of a grapefruit.'"
"Indeed, the brain size of Homo floresiensis is most like those of our ancestors who lived more than 3 million years ago. The ratio of brain size to body mass resembles that of present-day" chimpanzees.
"'The idea of linear progress is brain size throughout human evolution has been the one steadily held idea in the field for the last few decades,' says Rick Potts, head of the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian Institution. 'This is a big shot at that idea.'"
"Since submitting the Nature paper, the discovery team has uncovered parts of five to seven other individuals of the same stature at the cave, Brown says." (See USA Today for October 28, 2004, "Hobbit-size skull holds surprises," page 1D.)
(Editor's Comment: If there are Hobbits on Flores, does that mean Saruman's tower is at the bottom of the Savu Sea?)
WITCHES PARDONED IN SCOTLAND ON HALLOWEEN
"A Scottish township marked Halloween by officially pardoning 81 people--and their cats--executed centuries ago for being witches."
"'There'll be no witches' hats, dress-ups or that sort of thing--it will be a fairly solemn occasion,' Adele Conn, spokeswoman for the baronial court that granted the pardons, said in a telephone interview Friday," October 29, 2004.
"Sunday's ceremony in Prestonpans publicly declared pardons for 81 people executed back in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. The pardons were granted under ancient feudal powers due to be abolished within weeks."
"More than 8,500 Scots, mainly women and children, and their cats, were killed in witch hunts at a time of political intrigue and religious excess. Many were condemned on flimsy evidence, such as owning a black cat or brewing homemade remedies."
"Prestonpans had recorded one of the largest numbers of witch executions in all of Scotland, said Conn, spokeswoman for the Barons Court of Prestoungrange and Dolphinstoun."
"She said Gordon Prestoungrange, the 14th baron, granted the pardons in the last session of his court, which is due to be abolished on November 28 (2004)."
"'Most of those persons condemned for witchcraft within the jurisdiction of Prestoungrange and Dolphinstoun were convicted on the basis of spectral evidence--that is to say, prosecuting witnesses declared that they felt the presence of an evil spirit or heard spirit voices,' the court said in its written findings."
(Editor's Note: During the famous Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts in 1692, attorneys for the defendants tried to ban spectral evidence from being introduced in court on the grounds that it constituted hearsay. But Justice Hawthorne of the Court of Oyer and Terminer ruled that spectral evidence could be introduced. The result? Nineteen people were convicted of witchcraft. Eighteen were hanged and one, Giles Corey, was pressed to death.)
"'Such spectral evidence is impossible to prove or to disprove; nor is it possible for the accused to cross- examine the spirit concerned. One is convicted upon the very making of such charges without any possibility of offering a defence.'"
"Conn said 15 local descendants of executed witches had been invited to attend the ceremony and an inaugural Witches' Remembrance Day, which will become an annual event in the township each Halloween."
"The last execution for witchcraft in Scotland was in 1727. Such cases were outlawed by the Witchcraft Act of 1735, which made it a crime only to pretend to be a witch." (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for October 30, 2004, "On Halloween, Scottish town to officially pardon witches executed centuries ago," page 4A.)
FAIRHAVEN, MASS. POLICE PROBE MURDER THREAT
Just a week after police in Massachusetts made the latest arrest in the NBK conspiracy case, a middle school in Fairhaven, Mass. (population 16,132) received a note threatening to "kill everyone."
"Police spent Tuesday afternoon," October 26, 2004, "searching the Hastings Middle School" in Fairhaven "for weapons. News Channel 10," in nearby Providence, Rhode Island, "was informed that a threatening note was found in a schoolbook. The report told Channel 10 that when the note was written is unknown."
"The note reportedly threatens to kill everyone" at Hastings Middle School on Wednesday, October 27, 2004.
"Fairhaven police said the (town) school department said a note was sent home to parents telling them about the threat. It was up to parents if they wanted to send their children to school on Wednesday."
In Marshfield, Mass. (population 4,246), police arrested teenaged boys alleged to belong to a group called NBK (named after the movie Natural Born Killers--J.T.). The arrest warrant alleged that members of NBK were planning to carry out a Columbine-style massacre in Marshfield during April 2005. (See the News Channel 10 Web site for October 26, 2004. Many thanks to Mary Lou Jones-Drown for this news story.)
SPY BLIMP SIGHTED AGAIN IN NEW ENGLAND STATES
The mysterious white spy blimp, seen recently over the Massachusetts-Rhode Island stateline area, reappeared during daylight hours on Saturday, October 23, and Sunday, October 24, 2004.
UFO Roundup correspondent Mary Lou Jones-Drown reported, "I received dozens of reports the day after the sightings. Phyllis (a local teacher-J.T.) called and said it was all her (high school) students were talking about."
The blimp, described as "dull white with no markings except a vertical red stripe on the tail (empennage-- J.T.)," was spotted during the early afternoon of Saturday, October 23, 2004, over the Philipsdale and Rumford sections of East Providence, R.I. (population 48,688), over the Agawam Hunt Club and Central Pond in East Providence, and over a golf course just east of Route 114 near Six Corners in Rumford.
The blimp was then seen in Rehoboth, Mass., 7 miles (11 kilometers) east of Rumford, on Sunday, October 24, 2004.
"One witness saw the white blimp hovering over the millrace on Perryville Road (in Rehoboth), right at treetop level. When she went to get some binoculars, the blimp turned northwest and headed for North Seekonk," Mary Lou reported, "I have no idea what they were looking for out there. That's a heavily-wooded area, only a few farms."
(Editor's Note: The old mill on Perryville Road is notorious for its ghost sightings.)
"A family on Danforth Road saw the blimp pass over their backyard at an altitude of 100 feet (30 meters). The engine sound was very faint."
Another sighting was over North Walker Street in Taunton, Mass., 5 miles (8 kilometers) east of Rehoboth.
The blimp was also sighted over the Three Mile River in North Dighton and three miles (5 kilometers) to the south, in Segregansett, Mass.
On Monday, October 25, 2004, Mary Lou reported, "Betty, a 58-year-old eyewitness, went outside to take her wash off the line. She lives on Hortonville Road in Swansea, Mass. (just south of Rehoboth--J.T.) She saw the blimp just above the tops of the pine trees east of her farmhouse. It was moving very slowly, and there was scarcely any engine noise."
That afternoon, a woman and her brother, both in their 80s, were raking leaves and cleaning up the yard of their farmhouse on Hornbine Road in South Rehoboth. "They saw the white blimp coming up from the southeast. When it got to Hornbine Road, it turned away from them and began moving southwest, towards Barrington, R.I. The man, a World War II veteran, said he remembered seeing Navy blimps over Mount Hope Bay 60 years ago. He thought the white blimp was protecting the Brayton Point electrical generating station" in Fall River, Mass. "from terrorist attack. The kids in Phyllis's class thought it had something to do with the (Boston) Red Sox," which won the 2004 World Series a few days afterward.
No sooner had the spy blimp left the area than Rehoboth residents again began seeing and hearing black helicopters.
"We had a lot of sightings on Friday," October 30, 2004, Mary Lou reported. "I heard loud helicopter engine noise early that morning. It sounded very close to the house. But when my husband and I went outside, we couldn't see anything. People living up behind the Palmer River School, just north of Route 44, heard and saw the helicopters. There were two of them, both pitch black and what they described as 'military.' They were flying from east to west over the woods, just over the treetops, 'very low and slow' as if they were looking for something. We've also heard a lot of high-flying jets in the evening."
Rehoboth was the site of black helicopter flaps during the summer months of 2002 and 2003. (Many thanks to Mary Lou Jones-Drown for these news reports.)
FLASHING UFO SIGHTED IN NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA
On Wednesday, October 13, 2004, at 10 p.m., Dean Murphy looked out the window of his home in Great Village, Nova Scotia, Canada. "It was a clear night," Dean reported, "The object was moving west. It was two flashing lights in the sky, one on top of the other. They were orange lights. One was slightly ahead of the other. My guess is that the objects were 6 metres (20 feet) tall and 10 metres (33 feet) wide. I kept both of them in view until they were out of sight."
Great Village (population 620) is on Route 2, on the north shore of Cobequid Bay, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Dartmouth and Halifax, N.S. (Email Form Report)
ISRAELI KNESSET PASSES LAW TO ARREST FOREIGN "HOLOCAUST DENIERS"
"Legislation that would make Holocaust-denial committed overseas an offense under Israeli legal jurisdiction was passed unanimously in first reading by the Knesset on Tuesday," October 19, 2004.
"The passage of the measure would enable Israel to demand the extradition of Holocaust-deniers for prosecution."
"The bill was drafted by MK (Member of the Knesset-- J.T.) Aryeh Eldad" of the National Union Party "in a move against former Palestinian Authority prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen--J.T.) for his doctoral dissertation twenty years ago in which he estimated that the Nazis killed less than a million Jews" during World War II.
"It is likely to serve as a deterrent against Holocaust-deniers visiting Israel, although the possibility of countries consenting to extradition of the offenders is unlikely."
"The legislation extends the territorial jurisdiction of the Israeli law against Holocaust denial outside of its borders." (See the Jerusalem Post for October 23, 2004, "Global Holocaust-denial bill passed in Knesset." Many thanks to Wes Boutilier for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: So even if you think there are holes in that Holocaust story you could drive a German gas van through, you'd better not say anything, or you'll end up in the glass booth with Ernst Zundel, Mel Gibson's dad and a host of other supposed "criminals" under Israeli law.)
DUBYA SIGNS GLOBAL ANTI-SEMITISM BILL
"In Sunrise, Florida (population 85,779), President George W. Bush said he had signed into law a bill requiring the (USA's) State Department to monitor global anti-Semitism and rate countries annually on their treatment of Jews."
"'This nation will keep watch; we will make sure that the ancient impulse of anti-Semitism never finds a home in the modern world,' Bush said as he campaigned in the key battleground state of Florida. The state's Jewish population is the third largest in the world after Israel and New York" state in the northeastern USA.
"The U.S. State Department had opposed the legislation, saying it was unnecessary as the Department already compiles such information in its annual reports on human rights and religious freedom."
"'Extending freedom also means destroying the evil of anti-Semitism,' Bush told thousands of cheering supporters packed into a sports arena usually used by the Florida Panthers professional ice hockey team."
"'Today I signed the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. The law commits the government to keep a record of anti-Semitic acts throughout the world, and also a record of responses to those acts,' he said."
"Jewish voters are thought to back the Democrats historically, but the Bush campaign hopes that his strong support for Israel and aggressive outreach efforts could gain a majority of Florida's sizeable Jewish community."
"The State Department had drawn fire for their position from Jewish groups--which wield significant political power, especially during a presidential election year--and in September (2004) over 100 prominent Americans signed a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell," demanding that the Department change its stance.
"'The fight against anti-Semitism deserves specific, focused attention,' said the letter, which was signed by former Republican vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp and ex-UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, among others."
"The bill, known as the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act, was introduced by California Democratic Representative Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor in the Congress, in response to recent acts of anti-Semitism in Europe and the Middle East."
"Jewish groups have hailed passage of the bill, which they said provided a new avenue to fight anti-Semitism."
"Under the legislation, the State Department will have to produce an annual report on anti-Semitism around the world and fund a specific office headed by a special envoy to document anti-Semitic incidents and design strategies to combat them."
"It requires the Department to documents acts of physical violence against Jews, their property, cemeteries and places of worship abroad and to monitor the local government's response to this and to take note of instances of anti-Jewish prejudice and governments' efforts to promote unbiased school curricula."
The president signed the legislation aboard Air Force One on Thursday, October 28, 2004, on his way to Florida. (See the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Sun-Sentinel of October 29, 2004, "Bush signs global 'anti-Semitism' law." Many thanks to Jim Dean of Heritage TV for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: So much for the "make no establishment of religion" clause in the Bill of Rights' First Amendment. I never thought I'd see the day when an American president--and a Republican, no less!--would sign a bill trampling the First Amendment and in effect enshrining Orthodox Judaism as the de facto state religion of the USA.)
HALLOWEEN UNDER FIRE
"The school superintendent's order was final. Halloween was 'prohibited' during school hours. Black cats, pointy hats and all images of witches could no longer be displayed in any of the 31 schools in" Puyallup, Washington state, USA (population 33,011), a "suburban city south of Seattle."
"The first official reason: Halloween parties and costumes detract from the (school) district's core mission of academic achievement in a competitive world."
"The second official reason: 'We have been contacted by followers of the Wiccan religion, and they indicated that they have been offended after seeing elementary school depictions of witches with long noses, warts, cauldrons and such,' said Tony Apostle, the superintendent who banned Halloween."
"When Apostle's order was issued two weeks ago, parents alerted the media and howled about political correctness. 'What is next? Santa?' many asked."
"They packed a School Board meeting last week, where children waved signs ('Ghosts and Goblins have rights, too!') and parents jeered the superintendent, along with the School Board that supported his Halloween edict."
"The Puyallup Halloween uprising is not an isolated event. It is part of a contentious nationwide trend, as public school administrators, in the name of test-centered learning and multicultural sensitivity, attempt to abbreviate and homogenize classroom celebrations of Halloween, Christmas and Easter."
"To prepare even kindergarten-age children for a career of standardized testing, recess, naps and field trips, in-school parties of all kinds are being cut back or phased out in many schools across the country, according to Daniel Kaufman, a spokesman for the National Education Association. He said the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which starts testing at third grade, has accelerated the trend."
"Complains about Halloween from Pentecostal (Christian) parents in Texas have forced a significant number of the state's school districts to cancel in-school parties, said Richard Stadelmann, a professor of religious studies at Texas A & M University."
"There is a geographical pattern to the grumbling, according to Stadelmann and others. Christian complaints come mostly from the South and the West, whereas Wiccan complaints are more likely to come from California and the Pacific Northwest."
"Much of this complaining from pagans and Christians is unwarranted by the facts, according to Judith Schaeffer, deputy legal director of People for the American Way Foundation, a liberal organization that often goes to court to defend separation of church and state."
"'Looking at Halloween from the perspective of a reasonable parent, Halloween is not a religious celebration, it is a secular enjoyment, candies and dressing up,' she said, 'It is not something that schools need to band.'"
"Puyallup Superintendent Apostle respectfully disagrees. He said that while he personally enjoys Halloween--his home has pumpkins, and he plans to take his two daughters trick-or-treating--the educational demands and religious sensitivities of modern America make his ban necessary."
"'Things are not like they used to be,' Apostle said, 'We have reached a time in our society when activities that make some children uncomfortable--that exclude some children because of faith, values or culture--need to be scheduled outside of the school day.'" (See the Washington Post for October 31, 2004, "Schools cast out Halloween." Many thanks to Jim Danvers for this newspaper article.)
From the UFO Files...
2004: STRANGE MANEUVERS
On Wednesday, October 27, 2004, at 4:35 a.m., I awoke momentarily, glanced at the digital clock and closed my eyes again. What followed was the most vivid, realistic, detailed precognitive dream I've ever had. Here it is:
I dreamed that I had just stepped onto a Greyhound bus. I stopped for a second, thinking, Wait a minute! What am I doing here? A male voice behind me said," Hey! What's the hold-up!?" And I felt a hand on my right shoulder. I turned, and it was Tackanash.
Now, Tackanash is an elderly Anishinabe (sometimes called Chippewa Indian --J.T.) who has appeared from time to time in dreams throughout my life. Spirit guide, guardian angel--I don't know what you'd call him. My communication with Tackanash is strictly a one-way street. I don't contact him--he contacts me! In fact, it's been quite a while since the last "contact." That was three and a half years ago, on Sunday, May 20, 2001, when I was deathly sick with the flu.
He gave me a nudge. "Take a seat, Joe. There's a line behind us."
I slid into a plush seat by a left-side window. "Hey, it's been a while." To my surprise, he took the seat immediately behind me. "Why don't you sit here?"
Tackanash shook his head. "We're here to observe, youngster."
"Where are we?"
"The Mohawk Trail," he said, and then sat back in his own seat.
I glanced out the window. Sure enough, I was in Massachusetts. The bus was parked in front of the Searstown Mall in North Leominster, Mass., near the junction of Route 2 and Route 13. The last time I was here on a day trip was in February 1998, over six years ago, so there were a few new stores and businesses around.
Just then, over a dozen men and women boarded. They were in their 20s and 30s, and they all seemed to know each other. A brown-haired woman with a J.Lo-type ponytail, wearing a long-sleeved sweatshirt and slacks, took the seat beside me. She tucked her vinyl carryon bag beneath the seat in front.
As soon as everyone was seated, the pneumatic door hissed shut, and, with a low engine rumble, the bus pulled out of the parking lot.
Within minutes we were heading west on Route 2, up the steep slope into the town of Westminster. The day was sunny, and it was late morning. I'm guessing at the time of year, but I would say it was late April or early May. The maple leaves were green, and there were blossoms everywhere.
About the time we got to Athol, I learned the young lady's first name--Lisa. She gave me a strange look. "You're not from around here, are you?"
I grinned. Honey, I lived in the Commonwealth more years than you've been alive. And I replied, "No. I'm from the Upper Midwest."
"What are you doing out here?"
"Visiting some family." I glanced at Tackanash. "Now I'm headed home. How about you?"
"I've been called up. I just got the fax yesterday."
"Called up?" I echoed.
"National Guard," she replied, "Mister, everybody's been called up."
That was the first indication I had in the dream that "something big" had happened. Something really big. I do not know what it was. I do not know what date it was or who had won the 2004 presidential election or if Britney Spears was still married or anything else. I just had the feeling that "something big" had happened--something on the order of the Kennedy assassination or 9/11--and that I shouldn't ask Lisa, because she automatically assumed that I knew why she and the rest of the Guardsmen had been called up. Which, of course, I didn't.
Lisa didn't care to discuss the National Guard, except to confirm what I already suspected--that the men and women who boarded at Searstown were all members of the same unit. She was from Gardner, Mass. but had grown up in nearby Fitchburg, where I had worked for three years back in the 1970s. So we chatted off and on about Fitchburg as the bus headed west on Route 2.
As we crossed Franklin County, Lisa excused herself and headed aft to the onboard toilet. Tackanash poked the back of my head, whispering, "Take a look in her carryon bag. Quickly, boy."
The bag was unzipped, so I leaned forward and pushed the zipper edges apart and caught a glimpse of what looked like a mustard-yellow magazine. The black-letter title jumped out at me. Operation Abacus - Training Guide
I plucked it out of the bag and ruffled the pages. I had the impression it was a compendium of other Army Field Manuals--different pages with checklists of equipment to be used, diagrams of different weapons, landing zones and detention camps, procedures for processing P.O.W.s, and then, as if by itself, the booklet fell open to a really scary page.
Questions for Suspect Civilian Detainees
(1) Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?
There were more questions, and, beside each of them, a little check-mark box. I felt a sudden shiver, thinking, Talk about loaded questions!
"She's coming back," whispered Tackanash.
I slipped the manual back into her carryon, then stretched out and settled back and forced a smile. She sat down again. Just then, a white highway sign marked Shelburne whizzed by the left-side window.
"Almost there," she muttered, not at all pleased at the prospect.
"You're going to Shelburne?" I remarked, "Why didn't you just take your car?"
"I won't need a car where I'm going," Lisa said, and then, almost as an after-thought, "Where did you say you were from, Joe?"
"Upper Midwest." But I gave her the wrong city. "Ironwood, Michigan."
The Guardsmen were the first people off the bus, followed by a woman with three children. Tackanash and I brought up the rear. We walked away from the bus as the driver slid open the luggage bay doors. The bay was filled with packed olive drab duffel bags. Two passengers began hauling them onto the asphalt. Like Lisa and the others, they were in casual civilian clothes. Then a female sergeant in Woodland Camo BDUs came over and told them to grab their gear and line up. And that was the last I saw of Lisa and her colleagues.
Walking out of the parking lot, I looked around in amazement. I hadn't been to Shelburne in thirty years. A few of the older buildings that I remembered were gone. Others, like Cumberland Farms, were still there. For a moment, I thought about going over there and looking at page one of the Boston Globe or the Boston Herald, just to see what today's date was. But Tackanash steered me away.
"All right, Nimishoo," I murmured. (That's the Anishinabe word for Grandfather, my nickname for Tackanash.) "Now I understand why you brought me here. Operation Abacus is off the shelf, I take it."
"Off the shelf and ready to go," he said.
"How much time do we have left?" I asked.
"Not much, boy. It will happen soon. Sooner than anyone thinks. The Likud plans to move against the born- again Christians very soon."
"Why Shelburne? What are we doing here?"
Tackanash gestured at a crowd of people lined up to watch a parade of Humvees. "The town council volunteered to serve as a temporary training site. The whole Massachusetts National Guard is moving through here. They want to train as many people as they can in the next couple of weeks."
I noticed that several streets were cordoned off with yellow police tape. The crowd stayed on one side of the tape. Two-decker homes and bungalows were on the other side. Typical Small Town USA. Lawn furniture and gardens and a lone tricycle.
Then an M2 Bradley came up the street, with crouching soldiers in full combat gear moving behind the armored vehicle. The soldiers fanned out and took up position on either side of a bungalow. There was a rattle of machine gun and M-16 rifle fire, followed by a bullhorn voice saying, "The house is surrounded. Open the front door and slide your weapons onto the porch. Then come out, one at a time, with your hands on top of your heads."
I watched as other Guardsmen, without helmets and wearing bright orange vests, came out of the house. They were role-playing, the "terrorists" of this exercise. One by one, they were grabbed by the rifle-toting soldiers and led down the front steps. It was P.O.W.-handling right out of the manual. Prisoners searched, pockets emptied, wristwatch and belt removed, prisoners kept at a distance from each other, pocket contents dumped into a clear vinyl evidence bag, which was then marked by a grease pencil.
The lead "terrorist" was carrying a book in one hand. I recognized it as a small, leather-covered King James Bible. This, too, was taken from her and dropped into a vinyl evidence bag and marked.
Without knowing quite how, I found myself inside the yellow line, standing with Tackanash at the rear of a platoon of uniformed Guardsmen. They were watching the exercise. The black sergeant out in front said, "Pay close attention to the extraction. We're on deck at 1330. We're going to do it all, including the extraction. So pay attention."
"I see," I whispered to Tackanash, "They're walking them through it. Sort of like a dress rehearsal. They see it done, and then they have to do it." Mild tone of disbelief. "They're doing this with everybody in the Guard!?"
"The whole division, Joe. And not just in Massachusetts, either."
Hearing helicopter engine noise, I looked up. No, it wasn't a black helicopter. Not this time. It was your plain old Army dark-green H60 Blackhawk, heading our way. I glanced back at the soldiers. One squad had formed a circular perimeter in the middle of the street, weapons facing outward. Into this came "Bible Woman" with her hands trussed behind her with plastic loops, escorted by four captors.
As the chopper hovered overhead, blasting us all with "rotor wash," one soldier shook out a plastic-looking set of coveralls, dark blue with iridescent green overtones. Another soldier cut the plastic loops, and the first one gave the "blue suit" to the woman. She put it on. The coveralls had extra-long sleeves, like those old Nineteenth Century straitjackets, plus reinforced webbing sewn right into the arms, shoulders and crotch. Once the sleeves were fastened behind her, "Bible Woman" was again securely trussed up. Two soldiers yanked on different parts of the suit, bringing out small straps with steel grommets.
Down came a cable from the helicopter, festooned with smaller cables with clip ends. These clips were fastened to each grommet on the blue suit. Then the squad leader hand-signaled the chopper. "Bible Woman" was hauled in like a rainbow trout. Two soldiers aboard the chopper swung the boom in, and she disappeared into the craft.
The observation platoon headed towards the M2 Bradley. Tackanash and I went in the opposite direction.
"With enough blue suits, you could fill that chopper with prisoners," I said, keeping my voice low.
"That's the idea, youngster. Then the chopper heads straight to the collection point with all them Jesus people."
I shuddered. "I don't think that's what Hal Lindsey had in mind, Nimishoo, when he wrote about the Rapture." I cast an apprehensive look around at all the uniforms, deuce-and-a-half trucks and Humvees. "Let's get out of here."
Behind me, I heard a burst of applause from the townspeople. Some of them were actually cheering. And why not? Bad-guy terrorists get hauled away. America wins again. Is this a great country or what?
People, if only you knew what you were applauding...I thought.
Just as I thought we were going to have to hoof it to
Greenfield, I spotted an old car parked further down the
street, in the shade of a big maple. I recognized the
model at once--a 1971 Chevrolet Nova. And it was
unlocked. Kind of rusty, too.
Tackanash handed me a key. "Try this."
I coaxed the engine to sputtering life. It had a knock like a persistent woodpecker. It ran a lot rougher than the Nova I once owned. But it ran, and that was the important thing. I wanted very much to get out of Shelburne.
"Where are you going?" Tackanash asked.
"North," I replied, "We keep heading that way, and we'll run into Route 2."
I turned twice, both times going right, pretty sure I'd gotten beyond the training zone. Too late. Fluttering yellow tape crossed the road ahead of me. I stepped down gently on the brake. But before I could back up, an M.P. appeared and bellowed, "Hey!"
Suddenly, I realized that I was alone in the front seat. Tackanash was gone. As I glanced in the rearview mirror, I got a second shock. I was wearing a Woodland Camo uniform.
The M.P. rapped on the side window. I rolled it down.
"Goddammit! This is a restricted area!"
"Sorry." I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head. "I'm late for formation. Where's the parking?"
"That way! Second right!" He bellowed, thrusting out his fist. "Get that rolling piece of shit out of here!"
Well, the M.P. didn't have to repeat himself. I did a bucking backup, angled the wheels sharp right and hit the gas pedal, heading down a narrow side street running parallel with those yellow tapes. I went by the second street on the right and floored it, heedless of Tackanash's disappearance and the magickal transformation of my casual clothes. All I wanted was to get away from there as fast as possible.
Up ahead, I saw the truck traffic on Route 2.
And I woke up.
The digital clock read 6:03 a.m. I was breathing hard, sweating all over. My God, what a dream!
I have no idea when this future event is to take place. When I "land" in these dreams, I'm like the guy who walked into the middle of a movie. I don't really know what's going on. I have to pick it all up as I go.
Judging from the military vehicles and the uniforms,
I'm guessing that "Shelburne" takes place in the near
future. It could be next year, the year after that or
even ten years from now. What is hardest to convey is the
palpable sense of urgency I felt within the context of
this dream--the sense that "something big" had happened in
the USA, necessitating the nationwide call-up of the
Unlike the "Great Lakes Disaster" dreams, this one didn't have a "Last Days" feel to it. It was more like that "Attleboro in 2060" dream I had three years ago.
Will it happen? I sure hope not! But, as always, let's wait and see...
Well, that's it for this week. Join us in seven days for more UFO, Fortean and paranormal news from around the planet Earth...and occasionally, Saturn...brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you then!
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2004 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup on their Web sites or in news groups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.