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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

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New Article: Jupiter, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and the Return of the Mongols - Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12

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Picture of the Day

Fortified Farm near St-Puy
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

In last week's address to the nation, George Bush, nutcase in chief of the USA, said the following words:

“…So long as I'm the President, I will press for freedom. I believe so strongly in the power of freedom.

…You know why I do? Because I've seen freedom work right here in our own country. I also have this belief, strong belief, that freedom is not this country's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom.”

Take your time to absorb the above comments, perhaps reread the words slowly, get a feel for the sentiment behind them. "Freedom" is such a great word, isn't it? It has so many applications; there is freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom to own as much property as you like and invest money in any economy you choose, regardless of the effects on the economic welfare of other people. Then there is the freedom to do as you like, freedom to disregard the opinions of anyone else, freedom to ignore the suffering of others, freedom to tell lies to people about anything - freedom itself, for example. There is also the freedom to believe the lies and propaganda of those in authority. Perhaps in the above, Bush means that the US is bestowing the type of freedom on Iraqis which allows them the freedom to take up arms against their oppressors and the freedom to die in the attempt. At the same time, as a way to show the Iraqi people how free they are, US soldiers are free to shoot as many unarmed Iraqi women and children as they like. "Freedom" - ya gotta admit, it really is a great word.

But perhaps the most useful freedoms of all are the freedoms to first of all decide for everyone else what freedom actually means and then to force others to accept that idea of freedom.

It is obvious then that the word "freedom" can be extremely useful to those involved in the game of deceiving the masses. There is no requirement for those that use the word to qualify it in any way, and because "freedom" conjures up a generally positive idea in the mind of the average citizen, our leaders can simply allow us to think that our understanding of freedom is the same as theirs. The problem of course, is that this has rarely, if ever, been the case.

By touting the idea of "freedom" and that America has the responsibility to bestow "freedom" on others, we are lead to believe that Americans or westerners in general are already free. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. Far from being free, for many years we have all been held captive while being told that we are free. True freedom, as always, is the freedom to seek and know the truth of just what it is that those holding the reins of power are planning for us.

In the above excerpt from Bush's speech we should understand that, as with most of Bush's speeches, he was not the author of those words, although he may identify with them in the same simplistic way that much of the population does. Any public address that Bush makes should be understood for what it is - a veiled exposé of the fanatical ideological beliefs of the Pro Israel and fundamental Christian Neocons in Washington that are clearly directing US foreign policy. Bush's comments above and US General Boykin's comments on the "war on terror" along with the clearly religious motivations of Zionists like Perle and Wolfowitz in attempting to force the creation of a "greater Israel", are cases in point.

When this cabal of Neocon warhawks use Bush to speak of "freedom", they are not speaking of human rights, freedom of speech, freedom to determine one's own destiny or any other mere material freedoms. The freedom they speak of is biblical in nature, be it the Christian goal of creating the right environment for the "second coming" of Jesus or the Zionist goal of Jewish domination of a physical earth. Frighteningly, these people seem determined to impose their view of a "New World Order" on the global population and all are "free" to accept it or die resisting it.

From a strictly Christian perspective, the details of this "New World Order" seem to involve the provoking of "Armageddon". While the term Armageddon is commonly associated with a final biblical conflict between "good and evil", the term actually comes from the Hebrew meaning "the hills of Megiddo", which are located in northern Israel. According to the new testament, Jesus will return only when the state of "greater Israel" is a reality. This "new Jerusalem" will involve a series of major conflagrations which, while global in scope, will ultimately be centered around the Middle East and Israel. At this point in time, the current war in Iraq still serves both the Christian and Zionist fundamentalist agendas. At some point however, both agendas will stand in opposition to each other. Will it be Jesus returning to convert all humanity, including the Jews, to Christianity and then rapture them, or will it be the establishment of Israel with its chosen people leading the world into an age of "peace and prosperity"?

We would sincerely like to dismiss all of the above as the crazed ramblings of group of deluded religious fundamentalists, but what seems to be true is that there are certain people in positions of power in the US and elsewhere who seem to fervently believe that the "end times" are upon us, and they are not inclined to shrink from what they see as their responsibility to play their part in the drama they believe to be approaching in order to secure their place in "heaven".

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US Christian fundamentalists are driving Bush's Middle East policy

In the United States, several million people have succumbed to an extraordinary delusion. In the 19th century, two immigrant preachers cobbled together a series of unrelated passages from the Bible to create what appears to be a consistent narrative: Jesus will return to Earth when certain preconditions have been met. The first of these was the establishment of a state of Israel. The next involves Israel's occupation of the rest of its "biblical lands" (most of the Middle East), and the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques. The legions of the antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth.

What makes the story so appealing to Christian fundamentalists is that before the big battle begins, all "true believers" (ie those who believe what they believe) will be lifted out of their clothes and wafted up to heaven during an event called the Rapture. Not only do the worthy get to sit at the right hand of God, but they will be able to watch, from the best seats, their political and religious opponents being devoured by boils, sores, locusts and frogs, during the seven years of Tribulation which follow.

The true believers are now seeking to bring all this about. This means staging confrontations at the old temple site (in 2000, three US Christians were deported for trying to blow up the mosques there), sponsoring Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, demanding ever more US support for Israel, and seeking to provoke a final battle with the Muslim world/Axis of Evil/United Nations/ European Union/France or whoever the legions of the antichrist turn out to be. [...]

We can laugh at these people, but we should not dismiss them. That their beliefs are bonkers does not mean they are marginal. American pollsters believe that 15-18% of US voters belong to churches or movements which subscribe to these teachings. A survey in 1999 suggested that this figure included 33% of Republicans. The best-selling contemporary books in the US are the 12 volumes of the Left Behind series, which provide what is usually described as a "fictionalised" account of the Rapture (this, apparently, distinguishes it from the other one), with plenty of dripping details about what will happen to the rest of us. The people who believe all this don't believe it just a little; for them it is a matter of life eternal and death.

And among them are some of the most powerful men in America. John Ashcroft, the attorney general, is a true believer, so are several prominent senators and the House majority leader, Tom DeLay. Mr DeLay (who is also the co-author of the marvellously named DeLay-Doolittle Amendment, postponing campaign finance reforms) travelled to Israel last year to tell the Knesset that "there is no middle ground, no moderate position worth taking".

So here we have a major political constituency - representing much of the current president's core vote - in the most powerful nation on Earth, which is actively seeking to provoke a new world war. Its members see the invasion of Iraq as a warm-up act, as Revelation (9:14-15) maintains that four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates" will be released "to slay the third part of men". They batter down the doors of the White House as soon as its support for Israel wavers: when Bush asked Ariel Sharon to pull his tanks out of Jenin in 2002, he received 100,000 angry emails from Christian fundamentalists, and never mentioned the matter again.

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In the below article we get an insight into the perversion that dominates the thinking of those that literally hold the power of life and death over us.

"Creative Destruction" and "Total war" - the Neocons twisted world view

Writing in National Review Online, Michael Ledeen, one of the US's leading rightwing ideologues, explained: "We should have no misgivings about our ability to destroy tyrannies. It is what we do best.

"It comes naturally to us, for we are the one truly revolutionary country in the world, as we have been for more than 200 years. Creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically, and that is precisely why the tyrants hate us and are driven to attack us."

The concept of total war, which is also espoused by Mr Ledeen, was elaborated upon in the same publication by Adam Mersereau, a former Marine Corps officer.

He contrasted total war with "limited" war, in which military force is used to achieve a particular foreign policy objective "without mobilising the entire nation, and while minimising casualties".

"By total war," he wrote, "I mean the kind of warfare that not only destroys the enemy's military forces, but also brings the enemy society to an extremely personal point of decision, so that they are willing to accept a reversal of the cultural trends that spawned the war in the first place.

"A total war strategy does not have to include the intentional targeting of civilians, but the sparing of civilian lives cannot be its first priority ... The purpose of total war is to permanently force your will onto another people group.

"Limited war pits combatants against combatants, while total war pits nation against nation, and even culture against culture."

While most wars have been manipulated by "the powers that be" in order that they can profit economically from them, this is in no way the only, or even the main agenda behind war. It appears that the various wars that have been waged in recent history were designed to be accumulative in their effects of slowly transforming the world and imposing a single global culture by which control and influence can be more easily exerted. As Richard Perle has stated:

No stages. This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq, then we take a look around and see how things stand. This is entirely the wrong way to go about it ... If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war ... our children will sing great songs about us years from now.

This from one of the men that is shaping US foreign policy and was one of the major backers of the entire "war on terrorism". But of course, on the road to the New World Order, there is nothing wrong with profiting from the deaths of innocent men, women and children. After all, we all realise that one of the benefits of "freedom" is that it can make you rich too!

Richard Perle is managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme Partners L.P., which was registered in November, 2001, in Delaware. Trireme's main business, according to a two-page letter that one of its representatives sent to Khashoggi last November, is to invest in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defence. The letter argued that the fear of terrorism would increase the demand for such products in Europe and in countries like Saudi Arabia and Singapore. Trireme is a direct beneficiary of war with Iraq.

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These "Christians" are a perverse lot. They are more "Jewish" than many Jews, going on their holidays to Israel to help kill Palestinians. Of course, they don't see it that way, but read the next piece. It amounts to that.

Israel's international volunteers

By Rob Winder
BBC News Online

It doesn't sound like much of a holiday. Refurbishing gas masks and packing medical supplies at army bases across Israel might not appeal to many.

But, for most of the volunteers who sign up to Sar-El - a programme that encourages people from around the world to support the state of Israel - it is an enriching and exciting experience.

They pay a subscription fee to carry out what would normally be the work of Israeli army reservists, as well as to work in hospitals and attend lectures in Jewish history.

Some are themselves Jewish, but a large number are fundamentalist Christians who believe strongly in the religious foundations of the state of Israel.

Volunteers

Sar-El, a Hebrew acronym of Service for Israel, was set up in 1982 by retired army general Dr Aharon Davidi.

The first volunteers were Americans who worked on farms in the Golan Heights, replacing settlers who had been called up to fight during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

Since then, Sar-El volunteers have begun working on army bases themselves, although they are given no weapons or combat training.

Sar-El now attracts over 8,000 volunteers a year from 30 countries, mainly the US, France and Russia.

Reservists

Pamela Lazarus is a co-ordinator for the programme who is based in Tel Aviv.

She says most Jewish volunteers regard Israel as their own country and want to support it in a way that involves more than just giving money.

She argues that the programme saves army reservists' time (Israeli men under 45 must spend one month a year in the reserves) and helps the Israeli economy by saving the government money.

Ms Lazarus steers clear of talking about the political situation relating to Israel and the Palestinians, but says: "Serving in the army as opposed to doing other voluntary work is necessary for Sar-El volunteers as the security situation is such a big part of Israel."

'Spiritual Warfare'

Other Sar-El volunteers have an uncompromising view of conflict in the Middle East.

Ruth Rennie is an American who has been organising Christian support for Israel for 14 years.

She backs Israel's position in the current conflict, believing that "the Arabs are the aggressors".

She also rejects any idea of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

"The Palestinian people are a myth - they have no separate history and are a creation of the media."

She can see no solution to the conflict, describing the current situation as "spiritual and ideological warfare", but is quick to deny that by serving in Sar-El she is a soldier in that war.

She says her role is to provide physical and moral support to Israel and Jewish people in general.

"Israel is the land God created. Anti-Semitism is on the rise and, after all, Jesus himself was Jewish."

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We thought that God was supposed to have created the entire planet, but, like the pigs into Orwell's Animal Farm, some animals (and some land) are more equal than others. In this case it is God's chosen animals, regardless of their religious affiliation, that are annihilating the Palestinians. We're certain that Jesus will be very pleased with the red carpet being laid out for him. Just don't tell him what was used to give it that deep and rich colour....

But what is going to happen when the two "chosen people" start nuking it out for top spot. It is no secret that Jewish laws see the goyim as "less than human." The fundies for Jesus are promoting Israel in order to bring on Armageddon, giving the Jews are second chance. But those who don't accept Jesus as their saviour this time around will be "left behind." So the two groups are using each other. We are reminded of Elvis Costello's song: "Two little Hitlers will fight it out until/ one little Hitler does the other one's will."

It ain't gonna be pretty.

An Iraqi youth cries near the grave stone of Falluja resident Abu Abdullah, at a makeshift cemetery in the besieged town. The script in Arabic reads, 'Abu Abdullah the martyr, mutilated by Americans.'
Mubarak: Arabs Hate U.S. More Than Ever

April 20, 2004

PARIS (Reuters) - Arabs in the Middle East hate the United States more than ever following the invasion of Iraq and Israel's assassination of two Hamas leaders, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in comments published Tuesday.

Mubarak, who visited the United States last week, told French newspaper Le Monde that Washington's actions had caused despair, frustration and a sense of injustice in the Arab world.

"Today there is hatred of the Americans like never before in the region," he said in an interview given during a stay in France, where he met President Jacques Chirac Monday.

He blamed the hostility partly on U.S. support for Israel, which assassinated Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi in a missile strike in the Gaza Strip Saturday weeks after killing his predecessor, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

"At the start some considered the Americans were helping them. There was no hatred of the Americans. After what has happened in Iraq, there is unprecedented hatred and the Americans know it," Mubarak said. [...]

"The despair and feeling of injustice are not going to be limited to our region alone. American and Israeli interests will not be safe, not only in our region but anywhere in the world," he said. [...]

Comment: Mubarak has reason to be angry. He got royally stiffed by George last week. He was visiting Bush at the ranch a few days before Sharon rode into town. Bush said nothing to Mubark about his change of policy, and, according to reports, led Mubarak to believe that he still supported the Road Map and a Palestinian state. Come to think of it, Dubya told Tony Blair the same thing. Now only the British PM and the brain dead American public believe it. Sharon certainly doesn't.

Now that America has slaughtered enough Arab men, women, and children, there are plenty of terrorists for Americans to be worried about. Most of these people certainly do not have the resources or capabilities to carry out an attack on the scale of 9/11. Most Iraqis, for example, simply want real freedom - they want their own government, and they certainly don't want to be occupied by US forces. Only an intelligence organization like Mossad would normally be capable of such a complex operation. Speaking of Mossad:

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Suspected Mossad spy flees, police believe

smh.com.au
April 20, 2004


A suspected Mossad spy, thought to have falsely applied for a passport, has eluded New Zealand police who believe he may have left the country. [...]

The photo of Barkan used on the program was the one he allegedly submitted for an urgent passport last month in the name of a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy sufferer, "Mr A", whose name is suppressed.

But the police now believe Barkan has left the country and admit they do not know where to find him. [...]

Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Jim Sutton raised speculation that that was the case when quoted yesterday as saying it appeared the men were "representatives of the Israeli Government".

Barkan had been in and out of the country since November on a United States passport and court documents reveal that he lived at various addresses and told people he was in the country to go on a sailing course. [...]

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Honduras Considering Troop Pullout from Iraq

By Gustavo Palencia
Mon Apr 19, 2004 06:06 PM ET

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (Reuters) - Honduras is considering withdrawing its 370 troops from Iraq, worried by spiraling violence and pressured by Spain's decision to pull its forces out, the government said on Monday.

"The government has ordered an urgent and detailed evaluation of the situation with the goal of taking appropriate measures in the short term," Foreign Minister Leonidas Rosa Bautista told reporters. [...]

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UN peace police shoot each other

19th April 2004

Three police officers serving with the United Nations force in Kosovo were killed yesterday when a row broke out over the war in Iraq and officers began shooting at each other.

Two of the dead, including a woman, were American; the third was Jordanian.

Several other officers were badly wounded in the shooting, at the UN compound in the city of Kosovska Mitrovica.

The lethal firefight between fellow members of the UN force was unprecedented in five years of peacekeeping in Kosovo, where police of some 30 nations make up the international force of about 3500.

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Brainwashing. Indoctrination. Socialisation.

The US is so good at it. TV, the newspapers, school.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is the federal agency responsible for organising the response to disasters: earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, etc. However, since the US attacked itself on 9/11, it has a new role: to respond to any future US government attacks against its citizens.

Well, you would be better to respond to these attacks than the people who organise them? After all, they'll have the inside scoop.

The FEMA Web Site For Kids

Until the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, FEMA responded mostly to natural disasters such as floods or tornadoes. But on September 11th, when terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and the countryside of Pennsylvania, the nation's focus changed. So did FEMA's focus.

Now, FEMA is one of the federal agencies devoting its energies toward homeland security. Since September 11th, often just called 9/11, parents and children need to know more about terrorism and how to prepare and protect themselves. [Why? Are Islanic terrorists really a threat to the US population? Oops, we forgot for a minute. It wasn't Islamic terrorists, it was the US and Mossad! Yikes, we guess there is a lot to worry about!]

So what is terrorism? Terrorism is the use of force or violence against people or property to create fear and to get publicity for political causes. Terrorists are criminals and when they are caught they are put on trial. [Unless, of course, they are enemies of the United States of America, in which case they are sent to Guantanamo Bay where they have no rights whatsoever, where they are subjected to methods of psychological and physical torture and humiliation, and where they are completely at the "mercy" of the US soldiers guarding them...To read Fox News on Guantanamo Bay, see below. They think it is "bucolic"!] Acts of terrorism include: threats of violence, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, bomb scares and bombings, and the use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. [Unless you are the State of Israel or the US, in which case you can chase down people you don't like with Apache helicopters and missiles, bulldoze houses and olive groves, dump tons of depleted uranium, without a worry of international courts or accusations of war crimes.]

Targets for terrorism include government buildings, large airports, big cities and national landmarks. Terrorists might also target large public gatherings, water and food supplies, and utilities such as electric plants. Terrorists might also spread fear by sending explosives or chemical and biological agents through the mail. [In fact, they'll strike anywhere, anytime. Look at the way our boys in Iraq break into people's homes in the middle of the night and round them up, just like they did in Hitler's Germany... Having learned from the Israelis how to destroy complete neighborhoods with ruthless and mechanical precision, they'll be rounding up dissidents before long. At the moment, it is harrassment. Tomorrow, arrest.]

Terrorism is a scary thing. Before you go any further on this page, you need to have permission of an adult. Check with your parent or teacher (if you are at school) or another adult to make sure you have the OK to learn more. [!!! Whoa, this really is scary. Whew! And if the adult isn't interested, interested, that is, in your security, then be sure to report him or her to yor local officials or school principal.]

Do you have the OK to continue? Yes. No.

See the way kids are being encouraged to bow to authority figures? And the whole topic of "terrorism" is turned into something that will crawl out of their bedroom closets at night when they are trying to sleep.

Before reading the continuation, please find the nearest adult and ask for a Signs Logo Sick Bag...

Things To Know

Just as with a natural disaster, you should have a family disaster supply kit at home. Since you may need to evacuate due to a terrorist attack, it's a good idea to have some supplies that you can take with you quickly, perhaps stored in a backpack. [Signs Logo Sick Bags are available in many sizes. Use it to store your supplies! Then you'll be prepared for any eventuality!]

You should also talk about a disaster communication plan with your family and what to do if an event happens when you are separated and away from home, such as at school or playing at a friend's house.

Stay Alert! You don't have to be afraid, [but it helps us control you better if you are...] but it's always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings. That means, notice if something around you doesn't seem quite right. Know where exits are in a building. Don't accept packages from strangers and don't touch any suspicious packages. [Remember kids, any stranger is a potential terrorist. Also, do you know anyone who doesn't support our leader? Who doesn't go to church? Who doesn't watch TV? They may be terrporists, too!] If you are old enough, take an American Red Cross first aid class. It's good to know what you should do if someone around you is injured. If you are asked to evacuate a building, even in a drill, take it seriously. Get far away from windows or glass doors and get under another kind of shelter if possible. Follow the directions of the officials on the scene - and stay out of the way of the emergency officials who may be responding to the area!

The poor child is then giving a list of choices, what to do in case of chemical attack, explosions, radiological attack, along with Bush Youth Mind Control documents on the "heros" of 9/11. No wonder they need adult supervision. And later, should they survive, they're going to need a psychologist.

As one delves more deeper into this cesspool of faux "patriotism", you find many references to "school." During a disaster, parents are suppose to reassure kids that they will be able to return to school after the disaster passes. Under questions that it is OK for kids to ask their parents, we find:

Look to your parents or other adults for help when you feel scared or confused. They will help you understand what is happening. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like:

  • How long will we be in the shelter?
  • When will I go back to school?

Right. Our experience of kids and school would have them asking how much longer they would be able to stay away... But then, we have never been interested in raising little robokids who uncritically believe the things that authority figures are apt to tell them. Knowledge protects, even when you're a child.

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Speaking of brainwashing and Guantanamo Bay, we found this piece from Fox News.

Brief History of Guantanamo Bay

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

WASHINGTON — Detaining prisoners of the U.S. war on terrorism is only the latest challenge for the few good men and women at Guantanamo Bay.

The oldest U.S. overseas outpost has repelled enemies and welcomed refugees since 1898, when U.S. Marines fighting the Spanish-American War established camp at the natural harbor on Cuba's southeast coast.

Before the United States began to hold Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters at the facility following the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, Guantanamo already had detention facilities for about 100 people, dating from the mid-1990s, when it housed thousands of Cuban and Haitian refugees.

Besides its impressive security, the base offers advantages should it ever host military tribunals for the detainees.

The base is close enough to the United States – two-hour flights leave regularly for Guantanamo from Jacksonville, Fla. – to ferry legal teams in and out quickly, and yet its offshore status makes any verdict virtually immune from appeal. A landmark 1950 Supreme Court decision established, in unusually direct language, that nonresident enemy aliens have "no access to our courts in wartime."

Most of the time, life for the 2,700 people on the 45-square-mile base is bucolic. During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, a senior Naval officer described the base in a memo as "a community with overtones of suburbia."

Not much has changed: Three quarters of the residents are civilians – family to the sailors and Marines posted there, and maintenance staff imported from Jamaica and the Philippines.

At Christmas, residents – whose affectionate term for the base is "Gitmo" – organized a boat parade and a tour of some of the homes on base. They enjoy a view from John Paul Jones Hill that takes in the bay and the surrounding mountains.

Kids attend the airy W.T. Sampson school, run recycling drives and take tae kwan do. There's yoga and fishing expeditions for the adults.

One issue of the Guantanamo Bay Gazette frets about a couple of "invasions" of the decidedly unarmed kind: "Weight Control During the Holidays" is one headline; "Screwworm: a Threat to You and your Pets" is another. [...]

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"Bucolic"? You can count on Fox News. No mention of the torture and humiliation of the prisoners at "Gitmo". Guess the "few good men and women" need to put it out of their minds when they get home to their Cuban "suburbia." Gotta help their kids with the homework and the recycling drive! Gotta rest up to be our best in the morning when we interrogate those ragheads!

A different picture is presented here:

Lawyer: Guantanamo Is a 'Lawless Enclave'

By ANNE GEARAN, Associated Press Writer
April 20, 2004

WASHINGTON - The United States has created a "lawless enclave" at a military base in Cuba where more than 600 men from 44 countries are being held without access to American courts, a lawyer for the men told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Attorney John Gibbons said "it's been plain for 215 years" that people in federal detention may file petitions in U.S. courts.

The prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were mostly picked up in the fighting in Pakistan and in Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban government in the months following the Sept. 11 attacks. The government has labeled them "enemy combatants."

Their appeal, the first major challenge arising from the U.S. war on terror to reach the high court, asks a basic legal question: Can foreign-born prisoners picked up overseas and held outside U.S. borders use American courts to try win their freedom?

How can the prisoners win their freedom when they haven't even been charged with a crime? Furthermore, shouldn't the burden of proof be placed upon America, rather than the prisoners? This charade is no different than the Inquisitions. Prisoners are assumed to be guilty and tortured if they don't confess. If they do confess, they're probably tortured anyway. No matter what happens, the "detainees" lose. Any day now, we wouldn't be surprised to see some good old fashioned burning at the stake...

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist noted that the detainees are not on American soil, and asked how a judge in Washington is to deal with a case from Cuba.

Gibbons said the men should have some way to get their complaints before a judge. The United States holds the only real control over the Guantanamo Base, and U.S. law governs what happens there, Gibbons replied.

"No other law applies there. Cuban law doesn't apply there," he said.

Without that oversight by U.S. judges, there would be no checks and balances on the president's power at Guantanamo, Justice Stephen Breyer observed later.

"The executive would be free to do whatever they want," Breyer told the Bush administration's lawyer, Solicitor General Theodore Olson.

The government routinely asserts control over foreign territory such as military bases, Olson said. [...]

The most important theme in all the cases is the power of the president to conduct a new kind of war as he sees fit. [...]

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It is rather curious that any legal action in favor of the "enemy combatants" held in Guantanamo seems to be proceeding so slowly. Of course, we would never suggest that the Supreme Court that installed Bush into office is dragging its feet until after the election - or perhaps another impending "attack" or other catastrophe. No, that would sound too much like a conspiracy theory, now wouldn't it?

If there is a man in the Bush administration who knows something about terror, it is John Negroponte. How fitting it is, then, that he be named new president of Iraq by Dubya.

Bush names John Negroponte, United States' UN ambassador, as envoy to Iraq

07:38 AM EDT Apr 20
PETE YOST

WASHINGTON (AP) - President George W. Bush named John Negroponte, the United States' top diplomat at the United Nations, as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq on Monday and asserted that Iraq "will be free and democratic and peaceful."

Bush announced the nomination in an Oval Office ceremony. At the United Nations, Negroponte, 64, was instrumental in winning unanimous approval of a Security Council resolution that demanded Iraqi president Saddam Hussein comply with UN mandates to disarm.

While the resolution helped the Bush administration make its case for invading Iraq, the Security Council eventually refused to endorse the overthrow of Saddam, opting instead to extend UN weapons searches.

"John Negroponte is a man of enormous experience and skill" and "has done a really good job of speaking for the United States to the world about our intentions to spread freedom and peace," said Bush.

Regarding Negroponte's new post, the president said there is "no doubt in my mind he can handle it, no doubt in my mind he will do a very good job and there's no doubt in my mind that Iraq will be free and democratic and peaceful."

[...] If confirmed by the Senate, Negroponte would head a U.S. embassy in Baghdad that will be temporarily housed in a palace that belonged to Saddam. When up and running, the embassy will be the largest in the world.

[...] Negroponte's nomination for the UN post was confirmed by the Senate in September 2001, but that confirmation didn't come easy.

It was delayed a half-year mostly because of criticism of his record as the U.S. ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. In Honduras, Negroponte played a prominent role in assisting the Contras in Nicaragua in their war with the left-wing Sandinista government, which was aligned with Cuba and the Soviet Union.

For weeks before his Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Negroponte was questioned by staff members on whether he had acquiesced to human-rights abuses by a Honduran death squad funded and partly trained by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Negroponte testified that he did not believe the abuses were part of a deliberate Honduran government policy. "To this day," he said, "I do not believe that death squads were operating in Honduras."

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He can certainly lie with a straight face. Of course, from his twisted, corrupt, and typically American way of thinking, killing women by throwing them out of helicopters doesn't amount to death squads. It's just a normal day's work. Look at the behaviour of US troops in Vietnam and now in Iraqi cities like Falluja. We recently had a report from a British officer who said the Yanks see the Iraqis as being "sub-human". Well, you treat "sub-humans" differently, right? So what's the problem?

Check out the Wikipedia entry on Negroponte. While he was US ambassador to Honduras from 1981-85, US military aid to the country increased from $4 million a year to over $77 million! This money went for the war against the democratically elected government in Nicaragua and Honduran death squads that got their jollies from torturing women:

Records also show that a special intelligence unit (i.e. a fascist death squad) of the Honduran armed forces, Battalion 3-16, trained by the CIA and Argentine military, kidnaped, tortured and killed hundreds of people, including US missionaries. Critics charge that Negroponte knew about these human rights violations and yet continued to collaborate with the Honduran military while lying to Congress.

In May 1982, a nun, Sister Laetitia Bordes, who had worked for ten years in El Salvador, went on a fact-finding delegation to Honduras to investigate the whereabouts of thirty Salvadoran nuns and women of faith who fled to Honduras in 1981 after Archbishop Oscar Romero's assassination. Negroponte claimed the embassy knew nothing. But in a 1996 interview with the Baltimore Sun, Negroponte's predecessor, Jack Binns, said that a group of Salvadorans, among whom were the women Bordes had been looking for, were captured on April 22, 1981, and savagely tortured by the DNI, the Honduran Secret Police, and then later thrown out of helicopters alive.

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A job well done dealing with "sub-humans" in Latin America, Negroponte went into the "private sector" to make a few bucks before he was made US ambassador to the UN in 2001, just in time to ram through the war on Afghanistan and the destruction of Iraq. Now he is being rewarded with the palace of the man he worked so hard to overthrow, setting a shining example of freedom and democracy.

"John Negroponte is a man of enormous experience and skill" and "has done a really good job of speaking for the United States to the world about our intentions to spread freedom and peace," said Bush.

Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

Spain has started to remove their troops from Iraq, as promised by new PM Zapatero. In response, the new Face of Evil in the US, Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, has told his followers to lay off the Spanish.

Al-Sadr: Leave the Spanish alone

Monday 19 April 2004, 21:42 Makka Time, 18:42 GMT

Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr has urged his followers to stop attacking Spanish troops after Madrid announced their upcoming withdrawal from Iraq.

In the holy city of Najaf, Qais al-Khazali, a spokesman for al-Sadr, said on Monday: "We call [on al-Sadr's followers] to ensure the security of Spanish troops until their departure as long as these forces do not perpetrate aggressions against the Iraqi people.

"Other countries which assign troops to the coalition in Iraq are urged to follow the example of Spain and to withdraw their forces to save the lives of their soldiers," he added.

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No doubt Bush considers Zapatero a "terrorist in training" for this action.

As for al-Sadr...

Al-Sadr's fighters tout Humvee as trophy of battle

BY SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON
Knight Ridder Newspapers

KUFA, Iraq - (KRT) - Gunmen loyal to rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr towed a battered 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment Humvee into Kufa police headquarters Monday and said it was a trophy from a firefight that left 16 Americans dead or wounded.

The Iraqis said the firefight took place earlier Monday a half-mile outside Najaf. About 2,500 U.S. troops are camped out outside Najaf and nearby Kufa on a mission to kill or capture al-Sadr, the founder of the Mahdi Army militia. The two cities are holy places for Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority and Shiites around the world.

The only information about the reported attack came from the gunmen and an Iraqi witness. The U.S. military in Iraq had no reports of any deaths or injuries of Americans or of any damaged vehicles in the Kufa area Monday, a military spokeswoman said.

One Mahdi fighter, his face masked in a black scarf and a Kalashnikov rifle cradled in his arms, claimed that he and other guerrillas captured the Humvee and burned two others in a six-vehicle convoy that rolled toward Kufa around noon. Pilgrims came on foot Monday to Najaf to pray at the Grand Imam Ali Shrine, to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad's death more than 1,300 years ago.

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When confronted with news of US military defeats in Iraq, most US and western citizens will believe that they constitute a defeat for the pen pushers in Washington that were behind the push for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. For every lost Humvee, every downed Apache Helicopter, there is another one waiting on the production line to be shipped. For every bullet and shell that is used to blow apart the body of a defenseless Iraqi child, there is another on its way to continue the slaughter. Every Humvee, Apache, bullet and shell that is shipped, means another fat cheque's worth of US taxpayers dollars credited to the bank accounts of people like Richard Perle and Dick Cheney who sit on the boards of the companies that make up the industrial part of the military-industrial complex.

Bodies of Three Halliburton Workers ID'd

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Luckily for Bush, in spite of losing Spain to terrorism, and a Humvee to al-Sadr,, the war on terror is succeeding beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Five years ago bombings were confined to those dark corners of the world inhabited by the lesser peoples: the Mid East, Africa, France. But Bush and the neocons knew that the terrorists were hiding in the other countries in their sleeper cells, waiting and plotting.

Now the great work of Dubya and Co has forced the terrorists out of their hiding places the world over.

Four terror suspects arrested in Sweden

www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-20 18:56:59

STOCKHOLM, April 20 (Xinhuanet) -- Swedish police have arrested four people suspected of having links to Islamic terror groups, the Sapo security police said Tuesday.

"We can confirm that four people have been arrested. They are suspected of having connections to terrorist activities involving Islamic extremism," said Sapo's spokesman Robert Dahlberg.

The four were apprehended Monday night in separate operations, three in the capital of Stockholm and one in Malmo, a southwestern city.

The spokesman did not give details about the activities they were involved in, but Swedish daily Aftonbladet said the arrests were made "based on information that US authorities sent to Sweden."

The four, who are not identified, were suspected of helping Iraqi insurgents plan attacks against the US troops there, the newspaper said.

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Manchester United under threat of terrorism, reports say

www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-20 15:23:42

LONDON, April 20 (Xinhuanet) -- A suicide bomb plot to kill soccerfans at Saturday's English Premier League match between champions Manchester United and Liverpool was foiled by police, the Sun newspaper reported Tuesday.

Intelligence chiefs believe al-Qaeda fanatics planned to blow themselves up in the 67,000-capacity Old Trafford. The suicide bombers planned to sit all around the Theatre of Dreams stadium, police said.

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So, well done, we say. Don't you feel safer? It is so reassuring to know that hard-working people like Tom Ridge are willing to do whatever is necessary, including ignoring human rights and the fruits of democracy, in order to save that democracy. What matters the rule of law when there are so many opportunities out there?

US sees terror threats, aims to boost security

www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-20 10:43:53

BEIJING, April.20 (Xinhuanet) -- The U.S. government believes it is vulnerable to a terror attack during this year's presidential election, party conventions and national holidays, and has launched a plan to beef up security, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said.

While there is no intelligence of specific threats, the number of high-profile political events this year are considered potential targets of a terrorist attack, and in a speech in Las Vegas on Monday Ridge vowed to increase vigilance and improve security.

"We soon enter a season that is rich with symbolic opportunities for the terrorists to try to shake our will," said Ridge, whose department is charged with trying to prevent another day like Sept. 11, 2001, when hijacked airline attacks left about 3,000 people dead.

Events viewed by the government as potential targets include national holidays like Memorial Day and Fourth of July, the G-8 summit in June, the Republican and Democratic party conventions this summer and the November presidential election.

"We know we're the number one target; we know we've got quite a few high-visibility, high-profile events which are potentially targets of opportunity for terrorists," Ridge said in a joint interview on Sunday with Reuters and the Associated Press.

"These targets of opportunity for the terrorists are opportunities that can't be missed to tighten our security," he said on Monday in remarks prepared for his Las Vegas speech.

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Geesh, there are opportunities galore for everyone. Opportunities for the terrorists, opportunities for tightening security, and all of this means opportunities for investing in guns, alarm systems, and all the trapping of the police state. Need a video camera? How about the rifle that shoots GPS darts into your target so that you can track them. None of them injuns will have anything on you as you hunt down your prey in your SUV.

See, you thought terrorism meant fear. No! You got it all wrong. Terrorism is a money-making opportunity. George Bush Sr. does it! Henry Kissinger does it! You can do it too!

Israel poses danger to region, whole world: report

www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-20 03:50:26

DAMASCUS, April 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Israel's policy of "terrorism and aggression" poses grave danger not only to the region but also the whole world as a result of the "unlimited backing" from the United States, the Syrian official Damascus Radio said Monday in its daily political commentary.

Israel will not stop what it is doing on the occupied Arab lands, but will seek to blow up the region, the radio said.

It added that Israel has been publicly practising state terrorism under the American umbrella, while preventing the establishment of peace and stability in the region.

The radio questioned the continued US support to Israel, saying the United States, the only superpower in the world, uses its weight and might to defend Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's state terrorism.

It also criticized the inability of the international community to put an end to Israel's war machine and violation of the international resolutions.

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Killing of Hamas leader self-defense for Israelis: Ambassador

www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-20 06:03:26

UNITED NATIONS, April 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Defending the recent killing of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantissi over the weekend, Israeli UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman said the action was taken as a self-defensive measure to fight against terrorism.

Addressing an open debate of the UN Security Council, the Israeli ambassador said it was with regret that the council had been "compelled" to convene such a meeting.

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Same line as the "liberal" John Kerry. Some choice in November.

Folks, we're in deep doodoo....

Poll: Bush increasing lead on Kerry

www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-20 10:47:08

BEIJING, April.20 (Xinhuanet) -- U.S. President Bush increased his lead over Sen. John Kerry in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll released Monday, but fewer than half of the respondents said they approved of the way Bush is handling of the war in Iraq.

Bush led Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, 51 percent to 46 percent in the survey of likely voters, which was conducted Friday through Sunday.

[...] Neither the intensified fighting in Iraq nor the public hearings held by the independent commission investigating the September 11, 2001, attacks appear to have hurt Bush's overall standing -- in part, the current poll suggests, because Kerry has not convinced Americans of his ability to handle those issues.

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Kerry has been moving so far right in his statements on forgeign policy that there is no perceptible difference between them.

John Laughland: If it's war you want, then go Democrats

The Australian
April 20, 2004

AS the Bush administration comes under increasing fire for its decision to attack Iraq, Democratic contender John Kerry is profiting from his perceived status as a critic of George W. Bush's foreign policy.

A patrician grandee with a pleasing mix of liberal and patriotic views might seem to many Americans a welcome relief from the bellicose Texan with his faux swagger and his team of men who seem to have military-industrial complex written across their menacing foreheads. But if anti-war Americans do elect Kerry for that reason, they will have duped themselves. Warmongering will be worse under Kerry than under Bush and real peaceniks should therefore vote for Dubya. Bush and Kerry agree on almost everything in foreign policy but, where they disagree, Kerry is more hawkish.

Kerry's statements on foreign policy and homeland security, for example, have attacked Bush as a wet. Kerry said in February: "I do not fault George Bush for doing too much in the war on terror. I believe he's done too little." [...]

On December 17, Kerry lent credence to the loony theory that Iraq was the author of the September 11 attacks, something Bush has done at least twice. Yet in February Kerry attacked Bush for planning to hand back power to the Iraqis too quickly -- what he called "a cut and run" strategy -- even though Bush intends the US embassy in Iraq to be the biggest US embassy in the world and even though 110,000 US troops are to remain stationed there indefinitely.

Above all, Kerry is, like Bush, committed to the world military supremacy of the US. "We must never retreat from having the strongest military in the world," says the possible future president. Kerry claims that Bush has weakened the military and so he has promised 40,000 more active-duty army troops.

Kerry is more hawkish than Bush about the threat from Islam in general and about Saudi Arabia in particular. Both of these are favourite neo-conservative themes. While Bush has often emphasised that the US has no quarrel with Islam, Kerry happily speaks about the specific danger to the US from the Islamic world, using language that is not substantially different from that in the latest neo-con manifesto, An End to Evil by Richard Perle and David Frum.

Kerry explicitly lists certain populations as representing a special danger to the US - Saudi Arabians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Palestinians, Indonesians and Pakistanis - and he reproaches Bush's grandiose plan to democratise the entire Middle East not for its overweening ambition but for its timidity.

Kerry has attacked the Bush administration for adopting a kid gloves approach to the Saudi kingdom, which he has repeatedly accused of complicity in the funding of Islamic extremism and terror, and he has said the Saudi interior minister is guilty of "hate speech" and of promoting "wild anti-Semitic conspiracy theories". This recalls Frum and Perle's surprising classification of Saudi Arabia as "an unfriendly power". Serious neo-cons, indeed, might be calculating that the bungling Bush is more of a liability than an asset for their desire to remodel the Middle East and to consolidate the US's unchallenged military power.

Kerry might be just what they need to draw the sting of that left-wing anti-Americanism around the world and in the US that inspires so much anti-war feeling. The Kosovo war showed that a war for human rights and against oppression, fought by a slick Democrat, plays far better with world public opinion than all that red-neck bull about dangers to national security. It will be far easier for president Kerry to fight new wars than for the mistrusted and discredited Bush. So to those who think that the election of a Democratic president will put an end to US militarism, I say: You ain't seen nothin' yet.

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Could this have something to do with the polls? Or now that Bush has joined the Likud party, maybe the US media, so supportive and helpful to Israel (why is that, we wonder?) is going to take the dogs of him. Do you notice how the attacks on Bush and his handling of 9/11 came right before he was to meet with Sharon?

Of course, that was just a coincidence. Just like it was a coincidence that Monicagate broke the day Clinton was to meet with Netanyahu...

The connection between the neocons, the Bush administration, and Israel is, of course, taboo. Look at this piece from September 2002:

The president's real goal in Iraq

By JAY BOOKMAN
29 September 2002.

The official story on Iraq has never made sense. The connection that the Bush administration has tried to draw between Iraq and al-Qaida has always seemed contrived and artificial. In fact, it was hard to believe that smart people in the Bush administration would start a major war based on such flimsy evidence.

The pieces just didn't fit. Something else had to be going on; something was missing.

In recent days, those missing pieces have finally begun to fall into place. As it turns out, this is not really about Iraq. It is not about weapons of mass destruction, or terrorism, or Saddam, or U.N. resolutions.

This war, should it come, is intended to mark the official emergence of the United States as a full-fledged global empire, seizing sole responsibility and authority as planetary policeman. It would be the culmination of a plan 10 years or more in the making, carried out by those who believe the United States must seize the opportunity for global domination, even if it means becoming the "American imperialists" that our enemies always claimed we were.

Once that is understood, other mysteries solve themselves. For example, why does the administration seem unconcerned about an exit strategy from Iraq once Saddam is toppled?

Because we won't be leaving. Having conquered Iraq, the United States will create permanent military bases in that country from which to dominate the Middle East, including neighboring Iran.

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What Brookman doesn't mention, not once in this piece, is the link of these advisors to Israel, to Likud, and to Sharon. Some little oversight, no? If the US is focusing on the Middle East, it is in large part to carry out a Likudist foreign policy of regime change in the Arab world. How convenient for Israel to have a client army doing its dirty work in Iraq, one they don't have to pay for. They set the goals and don't worry about the rest.

Mordechai Vanunu gets out of prison tomorrow. To freedom? Not quite. Seems Israeli justice doesn't quite work that way.

Israel confirms Vanunu restraints

Israel has set out the range of restrictions on former nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu when he is released from jail on Wednesday.

Vanunu has spent nearly 18 years in prison for revealing details of Israel's nuclear arms programme.

He had hoped to move abroad, but has been told he must not go near airports or ports or talk to foreigners without permission after his release.

Israel insists he still poses a threat to national security.

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Vanunu has been in jail for 18 years. He spilled the beans on Israel's nuclear programme in the mid-80s, then was lured to Italy by a pretty face and kidnapped by Mossad and smuggled back to Israel where he has spent much of the last two decades in solitary confinement. Doesn't sound like he really would know much about today's nuclear projects in Israel.

The Israeli reaction sounds like a case of spite. They'll hound the man until he is dead. It is also an interesting example of Israeli justice. Vanunu was convicted, did his time, and now he is being sentenced again, this time for something the Israelis are worried he might do! Sounds like Dubya's theory of preemptive war applied to the law. Or a future society envisaged by Philip K. Dick. And if it is happening in Israel today, you can bet it's going to be coming to a small American town near you in the near future after further field tests in Iraq.

Next, we have this from the land of Oz. News Corp has just put on some new directors. Professor Viet Dinh drafted the Patriot Act. Why would NEWS corp put on a guy with no business experience?

Kraehe quits News Corp

By Blair Speedy
April 19, 2004

GRAHAM Kraehe has quit as a director of media giant The News Corporation Ltd as his chairmanship of National Australia Bank remains under siege.

The resignation has paved the way for News, owner of The Australian and NEWS.com.au, to increase its board seats to 14 with the appointment of two new directors before carrying out a plan to shift its primary listing to the US market.

News has appointed Philip Barnes, former president of Philip Morris Asia, and Georgetown University law professor Viet Dinh.

[...] "His work as a key adviser to the Bush administration in the war on terror has been invaluable to the security of the American people," News chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch said.

Viet D. Dinh

Professor of Law; Deputy Director, Asian Law & Policy Studies Program
A.B., J.D., Harvard
Expertise: constitutional law; corporate law; Southeast Asian comparative
law.

After law school, where he was a Class Marshal and an Olin Research Fellow in Law and Economics, Professor Dinh served as a law clerk to Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. He was Associate Special Counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee for the Whitewater investigation and Special Counsel to U.S. Senator Pete V. Domenici for the impeachment trial of President Clinton. He also serves as counsel to the Special Master mediating a number of lawsuits by Holocaust victims against German and Austrian financial institutions. Most recently, Professor Dinh served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Policy, U.S. Department of Justice. His representative writings include "Codetermination and Corporate Governance in a Multinational Business Enterprise" in the Journal of Corporation Law, "What is the Law in Law and Development?" in The Green Bag, and "Financial Sector Reform and Economic Development in Vietnam" in Law and Policy in International Business.

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King Abd Allah cancels talks with Bush

Tuesday 20 April 2004, 20:04 Makka Time, 17:04 GMT

King Abd Allah of Jordan has postponed talks with US President George Bush in a diplomatic snub at America's support for Israeli policy.

Amman announced that it needed "time to clarify the US position" on the Middle East peace process on Tuesday.

The snub comes just after Bush broke with long-standing American policy and acknowledged Israel would keep many of its illegal settlements in the West Bank.

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Shell name dragged through mud after explosive report

LONDON : The closely guarded reputation of Royal Dutch/Shell was left in tatters as British newspapers accused the oil giant of lies and a cover-up after an explosive internal report admitted executives knew of problems with reserves over two years ago.

Shell was left reeling by a rash of damning front-page headlines a day after the Anglo-Dutch group cut its estimated proven energy reserves yet again and ousted a third top executive, chief financial officer Judy Boynton.

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LA Airport Hit With Second Power Outage

Tue Apr 20, 5:30 AM ET

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles International Airport suffered its second power outage in eight days, although flights were not disrupted thanks to backup batteries.

A malfunctioning transformer was blamed for leaving some airport buildings without regular electricity for nearly two hours Monday. The cause of the electricity problems wasn't known.

"It's a little disturbing," said Bob Marks, regional vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. "This sure seems like a fragile power infrastructure."

The airport's April 12 power failure lasted less than a second, but caused radar and communications systems at the control tower to malfunction and forced dozens of planes to be delayed. Officials suspect a bird landing on a wire was the cause.

Monday's blackout began at 11:31 a.m., causing lights to flicker in the airport. Although power returned immediately to some buildings, others remained on emergency lights until 1:19 p.m.

Comment: We're not sure which is more disturbing: that there have been two unexplained power outages at the LA airport, or that people who normally see birds sitting on power lines all the time would actually believe the official story about a bird grounding a high voltage line - and then flying away. Then again, these are the same people who would believe that Iraq had WMD's if they were shown an aerial photo of the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile driving across the US.

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One third of email now spam

By John Leyden
Published Tuesday 20th April 2004 12:48 GMT

The volume of spam received by business has doubled over the last two years and it's going to get worse.

Analysts IDC reckons that spam represented 32 per cent of all email sent on an average day in North America in 2003, doubling from 2001. That figure is less than the 50 per cent or more junk mail statistic commonly cited by email-filtering firms like MessageLabs and Brightmail but it still represents a serious problem.

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Quake shakes southeast Iran

From correspondents in Tehran
20 apr 04

AN earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale Tuesday shook Bam, in southeastern Iran, where a powerful quake killed thousands of people and practically destroyed on December 26, the official news agency IRNA said.

The tremor struck at 7:11 am (11.41am AEDT), knocking down some walls already damaged in previous quakes.

There were no reports of casualties.

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Earthquake Hits Near Santa Catalina Island

UPDATED: 6:50 am PDT April 20, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- A minor earthquake was recorded off the coast of Santa Catalina Island early Tuesday, but caused no injuries or damage, authorities said.

The magnitude-3.1 temblor struck at 5:41 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Capture of a whale, showing a
boat carrying whalers (left of the whale)
and a float (on the right)

Rock art hints at whaling origins

Stone Age people may have started hunting whales as early as 6,000 BC, new evidence from South Korea suggests.

Analysis of rock carvings at Bangu-Dae archaeological site in Ulsan in the southeast of the country revealed more than 46 depictions of large whales.

They also show evidence that humans used harpoons, floats and lines to catch their prey, which included sperm whales, right whales and humpbacks.

Details of the research are published in the journal L'Anthropologie.

[...] The rock engravings, or petroglyphs, seem to have been made at a range of different times between 6,000 and 1,000 BC.

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Second Lives: Could a Little Boy Be Proof of Reincarnation?

April 15 — Nearly six decades ago, a 21-year-old Navy fighter pilot on a mission over the Pacific was shot down by Japanese artillery. His name might have been forgotten, were it not for 6-year-old James Leininger.

Quite a few people — including those who knew the fighter pilot — think James is the pilot, reincarnated.

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