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Saturday, October 30, 2004

Hoax Photo Gallery

Hoax Photo Gallery

When Daguerre's discovery of the art of photography was announced to the world in 1839, many scientists, such as Dr. Bird of Philadelphia, found the concept so extraordinary that they insisted the announcement had to be a hoax. Photography was, of course, quite real, but it has proven to be a favorite tool of hoaxers since its invention. What follows are some notorious photographic fakes arranged in chronological order from the Civil War to the present.

Worth a click

John's Crazy World: What did I tell you?


John Repinski may be crazy, or maybe it's his world that's crazy, or at least the world as painted in his blog. The problem for me is that I seem to live in the same world as he does and happen to understand and agree with some of his observations.

It was only a matter of time, I guess, before this type of technology appeared. Only a matter of time, too, before it becomes compulsory because of 'drugs', 'crime', 'terrorism', or whatever the current propaganda machines are pumping out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Volunteers Buzzing

Bees 'hold key to alcohol misuse'

Scientists believe the honey bee may hold the key to understanding how alcohol addiction affects humans.

Researchers at Ohio State University in the US have found that bees react to alcohol in the same way as people do.

During the experiments, bees were given ethanol - the intoxicating ingredient of alcohol. The team found it affected their flying, walking and grooming.

It took a scientist to work this out? If you fill a creature up with alcohol it will get pissed, lose co-ordination and fall over? Awesome discovery. I always thought it was the mixers!

Glowing insect bug 'harms humans'

BBC - Glowing insect bug 'harms humans'

A new disease has been identified caused by a luminous bug that has evolved in insects, scientists say.

The team believe the sores caused Photorhabdus asymbiotica may also glow but this has not been proved so far as victims have been treated before tests could be done.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Blog Pet for Blogger

Blog Pet for Blogger - Create your own virtual pet on your weblog!

I was reading Anything But Ordinary where this was mentioned:
... ooohh, how cute! A new gizmo to play with!

From the creators:
"Guppy is AI nuts - the first time I met him he was teaching a toaster how to insult a cardboard box, and he's done a lot of work with natural language parsing with various other projects."

How can anyone resist?! Come to think of it, I really would like to see the cardboard box insult the toaster.

On the subject of gizmos, how about tv-b-gone, from Cornfield Electronics? It has all the shutdown codes for just about every tv on the planet built into its little keyring sized body and all it takes is one press of its solitary button to turn off every tv in sight. Heh!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Google's New PC Search Tool Poses Risks

Google's New PC Search Tool Poses Risks

BizRepor - People who use public or workplace computers for e-mail, instant messaging and Web searching have a new privacy risk to worry about: Google's free new tool that indexes a PC's contents for quickly locating data.

If it's installed on computers at libraries and Internet cafes, users could unwittingly allow people who follow them on the PCs, for example, to see sensitive information in e-mails they've exchanged. That could mean revealed passwords, conversations with doctors, or viewed Web pages detailing online purchases.

"It's clearly a very powerful tool for locating information on the computer," said Richard M. Smith, a privacy and security consultant in Cambridge, Mass. "On the flip side of things, it's a perfect spy program."

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Google Desktop : Security Warning

Google Desktop : Security Warning
Nice catch by Eric Baillargeon:
If you install by defaut the Google Desktop and you go check your bank account via the Web, you will have good chances to see all your account informations indexed by the Desktop application.

Neurontin (gabapentin)

Drug Maker to Pay $430 Million in Fines, Civil Damages
FDA - Pharmaceutical manufacturer Warner-Lambert has agreed to plead guilty and paymore than $430 million to resolve criminal charges and civil liabilities in connection with its Parke-Davis division's illegal and fraudulent promotion of unapproved uses for the drug Neurontin (gabapentin).

The drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in December 1993 solely for use with other drugs to control seizures in people with epilepsy.

The company promoted Neurontin for the treatment of:

* bipolar mental disorder
* various pain disorders
* amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease
* attention-deficit disorder
* migraine
* drug and alcohol withdrawal seizures
* restless leg syndrome.

with Neurontin even when scientific studies had shown it was not effective. For example, the pharmaceutical company falsely promoted Neurontin as effective for treating bipolar disorder, even when a scientific study demonstrated that a placebo worked as well or better than the drug.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Epilepsy drug 'lowers baby IQs'

Epilepsy drug 'lowers baby IQs'
A drug given to pregnant women to combat epilepsy can significantly lower their child's IQ, researchers say.

They found children of mothers who took sodium valproate were more likely to have lower IQs and more likely to have anatomical abnormalities.

Nexopia - what us girl want from you guys

Nexopia - what us girl want from you guys

An hilarious list from an idealist:

1. when you say your gonna call you better call
2.never say something just to make a girl happy because you think that is what they want to here “like I love you”
3.always tell the truth about everything
4.always be there when they want to talk
5.when they need you the most make sure your there for her
6.never let a girl walk home by herself(never know what other kind of guy she may find)
7.never pressure things on her
8.if you have a problem with something make sure you talk to her about it
9.don’t only call when you want to do something girls like it when you just call to talk
10.don’t lie and say you have been with more girls then you really have been because it may be the wrong number to some girls
11.don’t just let a girl beet you it may hurt her more thinking she has to be lied to to win
12.we love to play fight but not to rough
13.girls like it when you not so shy and you can do any thing in front of her
14.girls love it when you joke around with her but make sure your nice about it
15.keep your personal hygiene good (no one likes to kiss someone who is dirty)
16.if you do drugs or smoke or something and we ask tell them(some girls just don’t care if you smoke) we like you for who you are
17.don’t leave your girl friend alone for you friends for a long time
18.if you ask if we’re mad and we say no but we look like it just say we half to talk and then say tell me the truth what is wrong(don’t ask in front of your buddies and her friends because they just might not have the guts to tell you in front of everyone
19.if we look mad at you try and make things better if you actually care because it makes things worse when you don’t pay attention
20.if something happens during something make sure you let them know because they would like to know these things to see if they can fix it
21.make sure the girls don’t change for you because we tend to do that sometime but its not on purpose we just want to make you happy
22.look into her eyes when you say I love you but only if you mean it
23.never lead a girl on and then break there hearts
24.never cheat on a girl…you could be making the wrong choice because us girls aren’t dumb we know when things are going on we’re just to afraid to admit it

Nexopia is one of the fastest growing sites on the net. Check it out.

Bushisms - George W. Bushspeak

Bushisms - Adventures in George W. Bushspeak
Keep up to date on all the latest adventures in Bushspeak. A hilarious collection of the dumbest things George W. Bush ever said ...

And the site that coined the phrase and began the internet phenomenon that is

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Twat of the Week

Boy's eBay Con Scheme
Police have issued a warning to users of internet auction sites after a teenage fraudster conned eBay customers to fund a luxury lifestyle.

The 17-year-old from Pontypool, south Wales, built up £45,000 in various bank accounts by offering goods for sale that did not exist.

Prosecutor Peter Moore said: "He set up three bank accounts to handle cash, which he obtained via bank transfer. But he was not content with taking people's money - he later taunted them by e-mailing them with details of how he'd spent it."

Monday, October 11, 2004

Antibiotic can 'turn off cancer'

Antibiotic can 'turn off cancer'
Scientists have shown that a common antibiotic can turn off cancer cells in mice, offering hope of new treatments for cancer patients.

The antibiotic worked by turning off a gene called Myc, which is known to trigger cancer.

Exciting news on the cancer frontlines!

Quote of the Week

My Neighbours Are Hoors!
The Brothel has been suspiciously free of bitch-fights in the street, agonised screams and accompanying whipping noises, and the comedy springs of passion...

Must be a contender for 'quote of the week' somewhere, surely?

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Smoking Gun: Mugshots

The Smoking Gun: Arresting Images

Suitably refreshed from the cathartic conspiracy post, it is time to link to something a little lighter ... well, so long as it isn't you're own mug pictured in the archives of the Smoking Gun.


It seems no matter which way I turn these days, I inevitably stumble upon a conspiracy theory.

It used to be the case that 'Conspiracy Theory' = 'Wild Speculation' = 'Nutjob'.

Certainly, in the case of one David Icke, I believe this to be the case and any truth he may inadvertantly utter or write is lost in the sea of BS he floats his ethereal being in.

So, back to my stumblings and the conspiracies ... they seem to be everywhere I look. Some of them are damned persuasive too. I am under no illusions that the Iraq war was fought to establish a Middle Eastern presence and access to oil. The pretext for war was sketchy at best and the world is not a better place without Saddam. It's just the same and life is still shit in Iraq.

What is better, is that the Western powers, most notably the US and the UK, have established a long-term foothold in Iraq and the Middle East. I for one, would be most pissed off if OIL suddenly ran out and I had no internet; heating, water, or food. Probably in that order too.

As for the rest of the conspiracy stuff? Read for yourself. There is a post below about the Microbiologists dying like fruit flies. I published it here as things tend to disappear on the internet never to be found again. Rather like the microbiologists. Not just your average food-factory-supervisor-type either, but the cream of the crop. The leaders in their field.

Instead of me trying to explain what someone else has written, peruse at your leisure via the links. Interesting reading.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Feds seize Indymedia servers

Feds seize Indymedia servers
Register - The FBI yesterday seized a pair of UK servers used by Indymedia, the independent newsgathering collective, after serving a subpoena in the US on Indymedia's hosting firm, Rackspace. Why or how remains unclear.

Where was it I read about suppressing dissent because the truth is the enemy?

"It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." -- Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propoganda Minister (WWII)

Scientists' deaths are under the microscope

Scientists' deaths are under the microscope

Alanna Mitchell, Simon Cooper And Carolyn Abraham COMPILED BY ALANNA MITCHELL
Saturday, May 4, 2002

It's a tale only the best conspiracy theorist could dream up.

Eleven microbiologists mysteriously dead over the span of just five months. Some of them world leaders in developing weapons-grade biological plagues. Others the best in figuring out how to stop millions from dying because of biological weapons. Still others, experts in the theory of bioterrorism.

Throw in a few Russian defectors, a few nervy U.S. biotech companies, a deranged assassin or two, a bit of Elvis, a couple of Satanists, a subtle hint of espionage, a big whack of imagination, and the plot is complete, if a bit reminiscent of James Bond.

The first three died in the space of just over a week in November. Benito Que, 52, was an expert in infectious diseases and cellular biology at the Miami Medical School. Police originally suspected that he had been beaten on Nov. 12 in a carjacking in the medical school's parking lot. Strangely enough, though, his body showed no signs of a beating. Doctors then began to suspect a stroke.

Just four days after Dr. Que fell unconscious came the mysterious disappearance of Don Wiley, 57, one of the foremost microbiologists in the United States. Dr. Wiley, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Harvard University, was an expert on how the immune system responds to viral attacks such as the classic doomsday plagues of HIV, ebola and influenza.

He had just bought tickets to take his son to Graceland the following day. Police found his rental car on a bridge outside Memphis, Tenn. His body was later found in the Mississippi River. Forensic experts said he may have had a dizzy spell and have fallen off the bridge.

Just five days after that, the world-class microbiologist and high-profile Russian defector Valdimir Pasechnik, 64, fell dead. The pathologist who did the autopsy, and who also happened to be associated with Britain's spy agency, concluded he died of a stroke.

Dr. Pasechnik, who defected to the United Kingdom in 1989, played a huge role in Russian biowarfare and helped to figure out how to modify cruise missiles to deliver the agents of mass biological destruction.

The next two deaths came four days apart in December. Robert Schwartz, 57, was stabbed and slashed with what police believe was a sword in his farmhouse in Leesberg, Va. His daughter, who identifies herself as a pagan high priestess, and several of her fellow pagans have been charged.

Dr. Schwartz was an expert in DNA sequencing and pathogenic micro-organisms, who worked at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, Va.

Four days later, Nguyen Van Set, 44, died at work in Geelong, Australia, in a laboratory accident. He entered an airlocked storage lab and died from exposure to nitrogen. Other scientists at the animal diseases facility of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization had just come to fame for discovering a virulent strain of mousepox, which could be modified to affect smallpox.

Then in February, the Russian microbiologist Victor Korshunov, 56, an expert in intestinal bacteria of children around the world, was bashed over the head near his home in Moscow. Five days later the British microbiologist Ian Langford, 40, was found dead in his home near Norwich, England, naked from the waist down and wedged under a chair. He was an expert in environmental risks and disease.

Two weeks later, two prominent microbiologists died in San Francisco. Tanya Holzmayer, 46, a Russian who moved to the U.S. in 1989, focused on the part of the human molecular structure that could be affected best by medicine.

She was killed by fellow microbiologist Guyang (Matthew) Huang, 38, who shot her seven times when she opened the door to a pizza delivery. Then he shot himself.

The final two deaths came one day after the other in March. David Wynn-Williams, 55, a respected astrobiologist with the British Antarctic Survey, who studied the habits of microbes that might survive in outer space, died in a freak road accident near his home in Cambridge, England. He was hit by a car while he was jogging.

The following day, Steven Mostow, 63, known as Dr. Flu for his expertise in treating influenza, and a noted expert in bioterrorism, died when the airplane he was piloting crashed near Denver.

So what does any of it mean?

"Statistically, what are the chances?" wondered a prominent North American microbiologist reached last night at an international meeting of infectious-disease specialists in Chicago.

Janet Shoemaker, director of public and scientific affairs of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington, D.C., pointed out yesterday that there are about 20,000 academic researchers in microbiology in the U.S. Still, not all of these are of the elevated calibre of those recently deceased.

She had a chilling, final thought. When microbiologists die in a lab, there's a way of taking note of the deaths and adding them up. When they die in freakish accidents outside the lab, nobody keeps track.

Suspicious deaths

The sudden and suspicious deaths of 11 of the world's leading microbiologists.

Who they were:

1. Nov. 12, 2001:

Benito Que was said to have been beaten in a Miami parking lot and died later.

2. Nov. 16, 2001:

Don C. Wiley went missing. Was found Dec. 20. Investigators said he got dizzy on a Memphis bridge and fell to his death in a river.

3. Nov. 21, 2001:

Vladimir Pasechnik, former high-level Russian microbiologist who defected in 1989 to the U.K. apparently died from a stroke.

4. Dec. 10, 2001:

Robert M. Schwartz was stabbed to death in Leesberg, Va. Three Satanists have been arrested.

5. Dec. 14, 2001:

Nguyen Van Set died in an airlock filled with nitrogen in his lab in Geelong, Australia.

6. Feb. 9, 2002:

Victor Korshunov had his head bashed in near his home in Moscow.

7. Feb. 14, 2002:

Ian Langford was found partially naked and wedged under a chair in Norwich, England.

8. 9. Feb. 28, 2002:

San Francisco resident Tanya Holzmayer was killed by a microbiologist colleague, Guyang Huang, who shot her as she took delivery of a pizza and then apparently shot himself.

10. March 24, 2002:

David Wynn-Williams died in a road accident near his home in Cambridge, England.

11. March 25, 2002:

Steven Mostow of the Colorado Health Sciences Centre, killed in a plane he was flying near Denver.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Embarrassment puts teenage girls off exercise

Embarrassment puts teenage girls off exercise
Many teenage girls want to be fitter and lose weight but fewer than half do any exercise once a week because they are too embarrassed, according to new research.

A new study to be published later this month by the Nestle Social Research Foundation found that although teenage girls want to exercise they are often put off because they do not like the way that they look while exercising.

I for one, would like to offer these wise words for any embarrassed teenage girls: public places are good and less is more as far as clothing goes.

Environment Agency - Floodline

Environment Agency - Floodline
Check out the new UK Environment Agency Flood maps! Watch your property price go down the drain. Just type in your postcode. You will need to be patient as you wait for the site to load: the servers are being swamped by the flood of traffic.

Sod's Law (Murphy's Law)

Times Online - Britain
A psychologist, a mathematician and an economist, commissioned by British Gas, have come up with this formula:

((U+C+I) x (10-S))/20 x A x 1/(1-sin(F/10)).

The keys are: urgency (U), complexity (C), importance (I), skill (S) and frequency (F). Each is given a score between one and nine. A sixth, aggravation (A), was set at 0.7 by the experts after a poll of the experiences of 1,000 respondents.

The project psychologist, Dr David Lewis, said: “To cut the seemingly unbeatable sod’s law gremlins down to size, you need to change one of the elements in the equation. So, if you haven’t got the skill to do something important, leave it alone.”

The sure fire way to calculate the chances of something going wrong. Nothing whatsoever to do with the new British Gas advertising campaign. Ho ho.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Reminder: Worldwide Withdrawal of Vioxx

Merck News Item

Sept. 30, 2004 - Merck &. Co., Inc. today announced a voluntary worldwide withdrawal of VIOXX® (rofecoxib), its arthritis and acute pain medication. The company's decision, which is effective immediately ... due to an increased risk of cardiovascular event and stroke.

Monday, October 04, 2004

First Trojan Virus located in JPEG

EasyNews has reported finding the first wild examples of a trojan exploiting the JPEG vulnerability in Micro$oft products. The code and a downloadable version of the infected JPEG are also available for network administrators to pull apart.

Interestingly, it is also pointed out that images do not need the JPEG extension to be rendered by Windows. If a JPEG image is renamed .BMP or .TIF or whatever, Windows will still execute the code as a JPEG and therefore any malicious code it may contain.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

SeArcHiNg gOoGLe

Want to search google in your preferred interface?
How about searching using the Elmer Fudd interface?
Or the Hacker one? And there's even Bork, bork, bork!

Full list of Google Language Tools

Norwegian Sunglasses

Shady Dealings
The word, "Google", in Norwegian, means sunglasses according to the Google Blog. Try trade marking that.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

From Baghdad

(A Wall Street Journal Reporter's E-Mail to Friends)

by Farnaz Fassihi

10/02/04 "ICH" -- Being a foreign correspondent in Baghdad these days is like being under virtual house arrest. Forget about the reasons that lured me to this job: a chance to see the world, explore the exotic, meet new people in far away lands, discover their ways and tell stories that could make a difference.

Little by little, day-by-day, being based in Iraq has defied all those reasons. I am house bound. I leave when I have a very good reason to and a scheduled interview. I avoid going to people's homes and never walk in the streets. I can't go grocery shopping any more, can't eat in restaurants, can't strike a conversation with strangers, can't look for stories, can't drive in any thing but a full armored car, can't go to scenes of breaking news stories, can't be stuck in traffic, can't speak English outside, can't take a road trip, can't say I'm an American, can't linger at checkpoints, can't be curious about what people are saying, doing, feeling. And can't and can't. There has been one too many close calls, including a car bomb so near our house that it blew out all the windows. So now my most pressing concern every day is not to write a kick-ass story but to stay alive and make sure our Iraqi employees stay alive. In Baghdad I am a security personnel first, a reporter second.

It's hard to pinpoint when the 'turning point' exactly began. Was it April when the Fallujah fell out of the grasp of the Americans? Was it when Moqtada and Jish Mahdi declared war on the U.S. military? Was it when Sadr City, home to ten percent of Iraq's population, became a nightly battlefield for the Americans? Or was it when the insurgency began spreading from isolated pockets in the Sunni triangle to include most of Iraq? Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq remains a disaster. If under Saddam it was a 'potential' threat, under the Americans it has been transformed to 'imminent and active threat,' a foreign policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come.

Iraqis like to call this mess 'the situation.' When asked 'how are thing?' they reply: 'the situation is very bad."

What they mean by situation is this: the Iraqi government doesn't control most Iraqi cities, there are several car bombs going off each day around the country killing and injuring scores of innocent people, the country's roads are becoming impassable and littered by hundreds of landmines and explosive devices aimed to kill American soldiers, there are assassinations, kidnappings and beheadings. The situation, basically, means a raging barbaric guerilla war. In four days, 110 people died and over 300 got injured in Baghdad alone. The numbers are so shocking that the ministry of health -- which was attempting an exercise of public transparency by releasing the numbers -- has now stopped disclosing them.

Insurgents now attack Americans 87 times a day.

A friend drove thru the Shiite slum of Sadr City yesterday. He said young men were openly placing improvised explosive devices into the ground. They melt a shallow hole into the asphalt, dig the explosive, cover it with dirt and put an old tire or plastic can over it to signal to the locals this is booby-trapped. He said on the main roads of Sadr City, there were a dozen landmines per every ten yards. His car snaked and swirled to avoid driving over them. Behind the walls sits an angry Iraqi ready to detonate them as soon as an American convoy gets near. This is in Shiite land, the population that was supposed to love America for liberating Iraq.

For journalists the significant turning point came with the wave of abduction and kidnappings. Only two weeks ago we felt safe around Baghdad because foreigners were being abducted on the roads and highways between towns. Then came a frantic phone call from a journalist female friend at 11 p.m. telling me two Italian women had been abducted from their homes in broad daylight. Then the two Americans, who got beheaded this week and the Brit, were abducted from their homes in a residential neighborhood. They were supplying the entire block with round the clock electricity from their generator to win friends. The abductors grabbed one of them at 6 a.m. when he came out to switch on the generator; his beheaded body was thrown back near the neighborhoods.

The insurgency, we are told, is rampant with no signs of calming down. If any thing, it is growing stronger, organized and more sophisticated every day. The various elements within it-baathists, criminals, nationalists and Al Qaeda-are cooperating and coordinating.

I went to an emergency meeting for foreign correspondents with the military and embassy to discuss the kidnappings. We were somberly told our fate would largely depend on where we were in the kidnapping chain once it was determined we were missing. Here is how it goes: criminal gangs grab you and sell you up to Baathists in Fallujah, who will in turn sell you to Al Qaeda. In turn, cash and weapons flow the other way from Al Qaeda to the Baathisst to the criminals. My friend Georges, the French journalist snatched on the road to Najaf, has been missing for a month with no word on release or whether he is still alive.

America's last hope for a quick exit? The Iraqi police and National Guard units we are spending billions of dollars to train. The cops are being murdered by the dozens every day-over 700 to date -- and the insurgents are infiltrating their ranks. The problem is so serious that the U.S. military has allocated $6 million dollars to buy out 30,000 cops they just trained to get rid of them quietly.

As for reconstruction: firstly it's so unsafe for foreigners to operate that almost all projects have come to a halt. After two years, of the $18 billion Congress appropriated for Iraq reconstruction only about $1 billion or so has been spent and a chuck has now been reallocated for improving security, a sign of just how bad things are going here.

Oil dreams? Insurgents disrupt oil flow routinely as a result of sabotage and oil prices have hit record high of $49 a barrel. Who did this war exactly benefit? Was it worth it? Are we safer because Saddam is holed up and Al Qaeda is running around in Iraq?

Iraqis say that thanks to America they got freedom in exchange for insecurity. Guess what? They say they'd take security over freedom any day, even if it means having a dictator ruler.

I heard an educated Iraqi say today that if Saddam Hussein were allowed to run for elections he would get the majority of the vote. This is truly sad.

Then I went to see an Iraqi scholar this week to talk to him about elections here. He has been trying to educate the public on the importance of voting. He said, "President Bush wanted to turn Iraq into a democracy that would be an example for the Middle East. Forget about democracy, forget about being a model for the region, we have to salvage Iraq before all is lost."

One could argue that Iraq is already lost beyond salvation. For those of us on the ground it's hard to imagine what if any thing could salvage it from its violent downward spiral. The genie of terrorism, chaos and mayhem has been unleashed onto this country as a result of American mistakes and it can't be put back into a bottle.

The Iraqi government is talking about having elections in three months while half of the country remains a 'no go zone'-out of the hands of the government and the Americans and out of reach of journalists. In the other half, the disenchanted population is too terrified to show up at polling stations. The Sunnis have already said they'd boycott elections, leaving the stage open for polarized government of Kurds and Shiites that will not be deemed as legitimate and will most certainly lead to civil war.

I asked a 28-year-old engineer if he and his family would participate in the Iraqi elections since it was the first time Iraqis could to some degree elect a leadership. His response summed it all: "Go and vote and risk being blown into pieces or followed by the insurgents and murdered for cooperating with the Americans? For what? To practice democracy? Are you joking?"

Farnaz Fassihi, a Wall Street Journal reporter sent this report as an e-mail to friends.