Date: Sun, 30 Jun 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for June 30, 1996 (Part Tw
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 1996 12:25:24 -0700
Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for June 30, 1996 (Part Two)
Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org, AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net
nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn
# 82 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 6/30/96 (Part Two)
The Fringe Watch...
UFO CLUB MEMBERS TIED TO RADIUM DEATH PLOT?
Now, here's a story that SHOULD be on one of those "unsolved mystery"
style programs which deals with the strange, bizarre and paranormal. On Long
Island, N.Y., authorities have arrested three men they suspect are linked to
a death plot involving the use of radium. Police say that the men wanted to
poison their victims with radium by planting it in food and in the
air-conditioning ducts of their vehicles. All three are members of the Long
Island UFO Network, a group which according to the New York Times and other
sources has accused the government of covering up sightings of flying
saucers. Research by AANEWS also indicates that the Long Island group
believes that aliens may have started brush fires that burned thousands of
acres last year in the area. Two years ago, the organization put together a
slide and video presentation for display at a science fiction convention in
Ohio which purported to show debris from the "mothership and six escape pods
over Southhaven Park in Yaphandk, Long Island N.Y." according to one UFO
"The video will show close-ups of the crash sites and efforts by 'men in
black' to clear the sites. Included is onsite footage of the retrieval of
discernable dead extraterrestrial bodies, debris from crashed escape pods &
structural wreckage near Brookhaven National Laboratories."
As strange as that may sounds, the story behind the arrests and suspected
radium plot is perhaps equally bizarre.
On Thursday, June 13, John Ford and Joseph Mazzachelli were arrested and
charged with planning to use radioactive materials to poison certain Suffolk
County officials and political leaders. According to the New York Times, the
intended targets included the Chairman of the local County Republican
Committee; a legislator; and an investigator from Brookhaven. The two were
denied bail, and held on charges of second-degree conspiracy. The Suffolk
County District Attorney said that a search of the men's homes uncovered five
canisters with radium, rifles, ammo, hand grenades, a mine detector, gas
masks and "militia literature."
The following day, Edward Zabo, an electrical inspector at Northrop
Grumman (a major military contractor) was arrested and charged with criminal
possession of a wepon and illegal possession of explosives. A search of his
home found a container of radioactive material, weapons, detonators and
"items apparently stolen from Grumman" according to the Times. It was also
revealed that the Suffolk County DA, James Catterson, was also possibly a
target of the alleged plot. One investigator told reporters that "Zabo may
have been selling radium to pay" a back debt to the IRS.
According to the Long Island paper NEWSDAY, "Ford is head of the Long
Island UFO Network and has set about trying to prove the existence of space
aliens. His whole thing was that UFO's were invading, said Joel Martin, who
until 1994 hosted a radio and cable TV show on paranormal occurences and had
Ford on the show as a guest several times. Martin said Ford claimed the
military was covering up UFO crashses on East End."
By June 16, more details in the case were being fleshed-in. Among the
identified targets, Anthony Gazzola, the investigator at Brookhaven, was also
identified as a vice president of the state Conservative Party. Ford had
been active in local Conservative Party politics. According to Newday, "He's
(Ford) part of the lunatic fringe that comes out every few years that tries
to control the Conservative Party...He said Ford's goal for years was to be
chairman of the Conservative Party, a goal that Gazzola said he
squelched...Everything was a conspiracy involving the CIA and the FBI."
Last week, during a bail hearing for Ford, the DA's office in Suffolk said
that the defendant had been secretly taped and wanted to burn down the
Suffolk Republican headquarters, then proceed to take over the Conservative
Party and get "his own candidates elected."
THEISTWATCH SHORT SHOTS
Harold, one of our Salt Lake City correspondents, insists that it's
foolish for so many people to be ridiculing first lady Hillary Clinton for
her association with a new age-style guru. Especially guilty, he notes,
would be Utah's own Senator Orrin Hatch, who as a practicing mormon believes
that "when he dies he will go to the planet Kolob" -- an artifact, it seems,
of Mormon church doctrine found in the bizarre fantasy writings of LDS
founder Joseph Smith. And that was BEFORE LSD.
The Amityville Horror still lives. Remember the 80's horror film complete
with a house supposedly haunted by the dead spirits of a family which had
been murdered there? That story ("based on true facts" according to
promotional sound-bites and new age urban legend) was really the concoction
of a real estate hustler who ended up selling the idea to Hollywood. But who
cares about that diminishing, hazy line separating fiction and fact these
days? Anyway, there is now another story involving the town of Amityville; a
father is seeking legal custody of his young boy, claiming that the estranged
wife (who happens to come from Amityville) is a practising witch. Walt Kern
insists that his wife, Rana, slaughters animals and performs all sorts of
mystical mumbo-jumbo in front of an altar in the bedroom. There are other
accusations as well, but Mrs. Kern says she isn't a witch, although she has
some female friends who are. Well, either witchcraft DOESN'T work -- after
all, couldn't she "spell" away these tedious legal proceedings? -- or she is
innocent, Amityville not withstanding.
Expect more trouble on the culture-wars abortion front, this time from
revelations about "morning after" contraception. Many women have known that
high doses of birth control pills can cut pregnancy risks up to 72 hours
after intercourse. Now, birth control advocates are pressuring the Food and
Drug Administration to hold hearings, arguing that the use of "morning after"
contraception could cut rates of unwanted pregnancy and abortion. While
Wyeth-Ayerst Labs, one of the biggest manufacturers of birth control pills,
has not attempted to have its product advertised as a post-intercourse pill,
the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is already working on
guidelines that will urge wider use of this method.
Standing in the way will be groups such as the American Life League and
other anti-choice religious groups. To them, the "morning after pill" is
just another word for a-b-o-r-t-i-o-n. ALL told media this past week that
they oppose any method which interferes with birth after the sperm and egg
have joined. "Every time this method is used, the intent is to kill a baby
whose life has already begun," said a League representative.
Coverage about a threatened boycott of the Disney Co. is uncovering some
interesting gripes, and religious history. Recall that two weeks ago, the
giant Southern Baptist Convention rattled its santimonious sabers at the
even-bigger entertainment conglomerate, venting a long list of objections
including Disney's policy of extending health benefits to unmarried, same-sex
couples. Of course all that "gay promiscuity" that religious bible- bangers
warn about is bad, but the concept of "gay marriage" and social acceptance of
a steady alternative lifestyle, is even worse!
Media coverage of the Baptist campaign against Disney has revealed a few
fascinating gems, though. USA TODAY quoted one Baptist who objected to the
Disney movie "Pocahontas," insisting that "they changed the story line...they
did not bring out at all the fact that she was Christian." Another said "I
remember Fess Parker quoted one of the Ten Commandments to an Indian tribe.
That was great stuff." Still another suggested that "If...the values of the
leaders of Disney trickle down through the products and the films...it's
eventually going to have the hearts" of children, and pointed to "homosexual
marriages and all those things" as part of the subtle message. Yeah, I guess
Mickey will dump Minnie for a boyfriend, right?
In Australia, religious groups have launched an effort to overturn that
country's new law which permits assisted suicide. The legislation goes into
effect tomorrow, July 1; but last week, Rev. Djiniyinni Gondarra of the
Uniting Church filed a court challenge and wants the law set aside until its
validity is proven.
Well, we've told you how Native Americans want religious sites in national
monuments like Devil's Tower, Wyoming protected. Or how the Catholic Church
in Los Angeles wants a cultural monument (like an old cathedral) torn down so
they can build a new one. But this... but this... this tops them all.
Last week in England, the Odinic Rite -- a group which claims to worship
the ancient Norse god Odin -- urged the House of Lords to change the route of
a railroad line which links Britain to France via the recently-completed
"Chunnel". It seems that the rail line emerges about 100 yards from
something called the White Horse Stone, believed by some to be "sacred," as
it marks the site of the Battle of Aylesfordk, 445 c.e. The founder of the
Rite is a fellow named John Yeowell, who told a committee of Lords that "it
would be intolerable for any kind of ceremony or meditation to take place by
the stone if the rail link was built, because trains could be seen and
heard," (London Times.) Mr. Yeowell -- who prefers to be addressed as Ingvar
-- says that the Odinists conduct a ceremony known as "blots", in which a
horn of mead (a fermented drink) is "consecrated" and then consumed."
Department of Transport representatives pointed out that while the
department was not trying to belittle the beliefs of the Odinists, "it had
never been proven that the battle took place on that site."
Besides, you'd think that a tough guy like Odin could do PLENTY to stop a
Hmmmm... is food part of a political strategy? The Christian Science
Monitor newspaper recently carried an article on relief efforts to assist the
people in southern Sudan, where famine and civil war have been the rule for
the past 13 years. The paper notes that "For the first time," pigs are being
introduce as part of an effort by international aid agencies to overcome
"war-caused food shortages among isolated communities in this region."
Leading the charge in this seemingly humanitarian effort is the Catholic
Relief Service, which is bringing in pigs from as far away as the Central
African Republic, some 300 miles.
But isn't pig farming a strange way to deal with famine? Not until you
consider the politics of the region. The civil war in the sudan is cutting
heavilly across religious lines, with the Muslim north fighting a mostly
Roman Catholic and "animist" South. A spokeswoman for a U.N. relief agency
said that "The idea of introducing pigs is certainly unusual and innovative,"
noting that other groups such as Operation Lifeline Sudan are concentrating
on projects like fish-farming and rabbit-rearing. So far, the Catholics seem
to be pushing the pigs. But the pig may be less of a food sources and more
of a food weapon, considering the cultural bias which Muslims have concerning
cloven animals like the pig. Large pig operations are already undergoing
scrutinty in the U.S., and in places like North Carolina have created an
epidemic of problems. The Church may have something more in mind considering
the Muslim opposition in selecting pigs as a way of feeding people. This
battle is about more than just pork chops!
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