Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
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Anyone who wants to understand the hyperdimensional reality which is the "home" of alleged aliens, should pick up Laura Knight-Jadczyk's latest book, The High Strangeness of Dimensions, Densities and the Process of Alien Abduction.
With diligent research and a relentless drive for the facts, Laura strips away the facade of alien abductions masquerading as mind control and mind control masquerading as alien abductions. She then goes on to show how the Evil Elite rulers of the planet have merged, at the highest levels, with the Overlords of the Matrix Control System that underlies the structure of our reality.
Now, after 9-11, the fusion of the two worlds is almost complete. We have little time left, and the Controllers know it, and they have made plans…
Those who prefer the nourishment of truth over the poison of New Age myths, those who want a real peek at what is behind the Stargate Conspiracy, should get this book. Today. Read it - and weep.
Available at the end of August. Pre-order your copy now!
Picture of the Day
Fortifications at Larresingle
By PAUL KRUGMAN
In the original version of "The Manchurian Candidate," Senator John Iselin, whom Chinese agents are plotting to put in the White House, is a right-wing demagogue modeled on Senator Joseph McCarthy. As Roger Ebert wrote, the plan is to "use anticommunist hysteria as a cover for a communist takeover."
The movie doesn't say what Iselin would have done if the plot had succeeded. Presumably, however, he wouldn't have openly turned traitor. Instead, he would have used his position to undermine national security, while posing as America's staunchest defender against communist evil.
So let's imagine an update - not the remake with Denzel Washington, which I haven't seen, but my own version. This time the enemies would be Islamic fanatics, who install as their puppet president a demagogue who poses as the nation's defender against terrorist evildoers.
The Arabian candidate wouldn't openly help terrorists. Instead, he would serve their cause while pretending to be their enemy.
After an attack, he would strike back at the terrorist base, a necessary action to preserve his image of toughness, but botch the follow-up, allowing the terrorist leaders to escape. Once the public's attention shifted, he would systematically squander the military victory: committing too few soldiers, reneging on promises of economic aid. Soon, warlords would once again rule most of the country, the heroin trade would be booming, and terrorist allies would make a comeback.
Meanwhile, he would lead America into a war against a country that posed no imminent threat. He would insinuate, without saying anything literally false, that it was somehow responsible for the terrorist attack. This unnecessary war would alienate our allies and tie down a large part of our military. At the same time, the Arabian candidate would neglect the pursuit of those who attacked us, and do nothing about regimes that really shelter anti-American terrorists and really are building nuclear weapons.
Again, he would take care to squander a military victory. The Arabian candidate and his co-conspirators would block all planning for the war's aftermath; they would arrange for our army to allow looters to destroy much of the country's infrastructure. Then they would disband the defeated regime's army, turning hundreds of thousands of trained soldiers into disgruntled potential insurgents.
After this it would be easy to sabotage the occupied country's reconstruction, simply by failing to spend aid funds or rein in cronyism and corruption. Power outages, overflowing sewage and unemployment would swell the ranks of our enemies.
Who knows? The Arabian candidate might even be able to deprive America of the moral high ground, no mean trick when our enemies are mass murderers, by creating a climate in which U.S. guards torture, humiliate and starve prisoners, most of them innocent or guilty of only petty crimes.
At home, the Arabian candidate would leave the nation vulnerable, doing almost nothing to secure ports, chemical plants and other potential targets. He would stonewall investigations into why the initial terrorist attack succeeded. And by repeatedly issuing vague terror warnings obviously timed to drown out unfavorable political news, his officials would ensure public indifference if and when a real threat is announced.
Last but not least, by blatantly exploiting the terrorist threat for personal political gain, he would undermine the nation's unity in the face of its enemies, sowing suspicion about the government's motives.
O.K., end of conceit. President Bush isn't actually an Al Qaeda mole, with Dick Cheney his controller. Mr. Bush's "war on terror" has, however, played with eerie perfection into Osama bin Laden's hands - while Mr. Bush's supporters, impressed by his tough talk, see him as America's champion against the evildoers.
Last week, Republican officials in Kentucky applauded bumper stickers distributed at G.O.P. offices that read, "Kerry is bin Laden's man/Bush is mine." Administration officials haven't gone that far, but when Tom Ridge offered a specifics-free warning about a terrorist attack timed to "disrupt our democratic process," many people thought he was implying that Al Qaeda wants George Bush to lose. In reality, all infidels probably look alike to the terrorists, but if they do have a preference, nothing in Mr. Bush's record would make them unhappy at the prospect of four more years.
Comment: Substitute Zionist for Arabian and this text might have something relevant to tell us. Unfortunately, political commentary in the US is so stupid, corrupt, and infested with uncritical support for Zionism and Israel that unadulterated garbage such as this passes for both critical commentary and humour. Who has benefited from 9/11, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the invasion of Iraq? Certainly not the Arabs. They are the focal point of hatred and suspicion in the US, their countries are the playground of Bush's deliriums, and they are being pushed to the wall by the US/Israeli alliance. The one country to have benefited from the "war on terror" is that country that has been waging a terrorist war against people for decades, upon people whose land they are stealing, whose homes they are razing, whose crops they are destroying, and whose children they are murdering, all in the name of "self-defense".
That country is Israel, the Zionist stronghold in the Middle East with its colony thousands of miles across the Atlantic, the United States of Amerdica. They are behind this insipid, dangerous, and completely false idea, taken up by Michael Moore and now enshrined as the "acceptable" dissident discourse on 9/11, that the Saudis were behind 9/11.
Right. Sure. The Saudis. Well known for fomenting trouble outside the borders of the Kingdom. Islamic "terrorism" has its origins in the CIA and Mossad. Sure, after decades of abuse, of being the victims of Western Zionist violence, there are Moslems that are upset enough to take arms. But they aren't the ones pulling the strings. They are being manipulated by the US and Israel. And now we are being given the "gift" of an international court in Israel to try people for anti-Semitism for stating the obvious, the truth that Israel considers itself above international law.
Holocaust denial committed overseas would be an offense under Israeli legal jurisdiction and serve as grounds for extradition under legislation that is expected to pass a first reading in the Knesset this week.
The government is backing the bill, drafted by MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union). Eldad originally proposed the measure as a move against then Palestinian Authority prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) for his doctoral dissertation 20 years ago in which he estimated that the Nazis killed less than a million Jews.
But the bill is unlikely to be anything more than declarative in nature. Countries that do not have laws against Holocaust denial are unlikely to extradite citizens to be tried in Israel for the crime, although Israel's protective measure would not require such a law to be on their books, according to Justice Ministry officials. Another problem is the fact that Holocaust denial is a crime of expression, and most countries treat such crimes liberally.
A more practical implication of the law is that it would deter Holocaust deniers from visiting Israel.
In 1994, Israel extended its legal protection abroad for the state and its citizens to Jews and Jewish institutions, which enables it to obtain justice for them as it does for Israelis. At the time, the idea of including Holocaust denial in Israel's exterritorial laws was considered, but eventually dropped.
Eldad said the amendment to the law in Israel, where Holocaust denial is a crime, is necessary because "almost all" of those crimes are committed abroad.
He said he believes the law is going to be "very practical," since violations would give Israel the right to demand prosecution even if it does not request extradition.
He said it would also enable Israel to file counter suits if Jews are sued for libel for labeling Holocaust deniers.
The law would also "send a signal to a Holocaust denier like Abu Mazen," that if he enters Israel he is a "criminal," Eldad said.
Moreover, he said the passage of the law would send a message that for the Jewish people there is "no statue of limitations" on the Holocaust. "The generation of survivors is dwindling," he noted, emphasizing the need to keep Nazism from rearing again.
Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, said the passage of the law would provide an "added tool" to fight against the phenomenon of Holocaust denial.
"It sends the message that Israel is against Holocaust denial everywhere and anyone who engages in it is not welcome in Israel," Shalev said. The bill has the support of Knesset factions on the Left and Right.
MK Eliezer Cohen says court must be established in Israel to fill gap created by ICJ, which does not deal with anti-Semitism. Arik Bender Advertisement National Union MK Eliezer Cohen tabled a proposed bill this (Tuesday) afternoon by which an international court of anti-Semitic crimes would be established in Israel.
According to Cohen, "The International Court of Justice in the Hague (ICJ) deals with all world needs but does not deal with the growing problem of anti-Semitism and crimes against Jews. Therefore such a court must be established in Israel to fill the gap".
Cohen said that when the International War Crimes Court had been established, dealing with anti-Semites was not included in its objectives. "The hatred of Jews today, which is being promoted by wicked incitement, is no less than during past generations", he said.
The bill states that from now on any extradition agreement Israel signs with another country would include an article of extraditing those who commit anti-Semitic crimes. The court would be authorized to try foreigners, organizations, companies and even foreign media bodies. Cohen suggests that the court would be able to fine or sentence convicted criminals to prison, and even to hand out death sentences to those who would be convicted of murdering Jews.
Comment: The kidnapping of Mordecai Vanunu, his imprisonment for 18 years, and now his effective house arrest in Jerusalem is an example of Israeli "justice". You can imagine Mossad agents working non-stop to kidnap and deliver "anti-Semites" to Israel if this passes. Sure, they'll have a few cooperative countries, such as the US, handing over trouble-makers with no questions asked. But what will they do for those who are in countries that don't sign the new extradition agreements?
It has always been dangerous to tell the truth, contrary to the well-known American fable of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree. Now it will be made crime. Israel, which considers itself above the fray when it comes to such unimportant things as international law, will take the law into its own hands. It is truly a rogue state, using a phrase so dear to Mr. Bush Jr.
Neo-con/Zionist twisted logic, pre-emptive war and worldwide disaster
The Neo-con/Zionist empirical agenda has brought the world to the precipice of disaster by way of their twisted and self-serving pre-emptive war logic. According to their logic, when a country has information, or as in the case of the Bush administration manufactures information, of an impending attack by another country, this allows the first country to order a pre-emptive strike in order to eliminate the threat. On the surface this appears to be a logical tactic, however, conversely it also would give countries that actually have no such threatening plans the right to strike first knowing that it is going to be attacked under false pretenses. Twisted logic, indeed. However, it is also a logic that bodes well for the perpetual war plan agenda of the Neo-con/Zionist ideology.
The well of excuses, both true and false, used to wage war using this technique will never run dry. The Neo-con/Zionists have absolutely no desire for using diplomacy as a means to avoid armed conflict because of their overconfidence in America’s, and potentially joint U.S./Israeli, technological military superiority. What they don’t seem to factor into their equation of madness is the will of those they wish to impose their agenda upon. The quagmire in Iraq will attest to the defiance of those who refuse to be forced to accept foreign rule and rules. The current Iraq War has all the earmarks of the Vietnam War fiasco essentially for many of the same reasons. Even though America supplied the South Vietnamese government with massive amounts of military equipment, expertise and American manpower, the will of its population to want, and embrace, democracy was not a strong enough common desire to repel the will of those with a similarly shared ethnic heritage and historical background. In fact, the U.S. installed a bogus puppet regime in Saigon disguised as democratic, not unlike the current Iraqi marionettes in Baghdad today.
The political differences became secondary for the South Vietnamese populace, especially from the point of view of the many years in which they suffered from the ravages of war and the atrocities committed by both sides of that brutal war. In the end, they became weary of the instability and havoc that war wreaks and they basically just wanted to return to some semblance of normal life.
For democracy to be installed as a political system, it needs the desire of the people to wholeheartedly want it. The population must therefore be the ones to make the main sacrifices necessary to change their current political system. Any attempt by outside forces, without the majority of the populations’ consent and willful sacrifices, to impose democracy will undoubtedly be met with considerable resistance. Honest democracy cannot be imposed by tyranny or without the will of the people, and especially so in countries that are essentially ethnically and religiously homogenous. The common background of the indigenous population will always take precedence over that which is political. In some cases, the religious aspect of a population is a natural partner with the political aspect as is seen in many of the middle-eastern Muslim countries. The governing of one’s spiritual life crosses over to the way one is governed by their political system and its leaders. The intertwined theological and cultural values are therefore transferred over to those who govern politically as well. While some of these leaders may not have the populations’ best interests in mind, or even misuse the religious component, it is up to the people of those countries to decide whether or not to accept or reject those leaders and/or their theocratic systems of governing.
True democratic change can only be successful if it is born and carried out by those who desire it internally. Consequently, because the Neo-con/Zionists and the Bush administration have embarked on the folly of attempting to export American style democracy, it becomes clearer that some other sinister agenda is most likely the true nature for their actions. Their business connections to the military-industrial complex and the overt profiteering of war are one part of the agenda that cannot be ignored because it is so blatant. However, when looking at the bigger picture it also becomes apparent that there are other reasons fueling the mindset of these war machine profiteers.
The Israeli government has also benefited by having attention diverted away from their brutal tactics against innocent Palestinian men, women and children. Bulldozing homes and snipers killing civilians would cause a certain uproar of indignance if Palestinians were perpetrating these crimes against Israelis, but since it is the converse, there appears to be no overwhelming public outrage. Palestinians should fear that the worst is yet to come.
By looking back into history and knowing the track record of vicious governments from the past, such as Nazi Germany, when no international outrage is vocalized towards brutal tactics, the brutality will only escalate into a worsening condition.
Israel also has much to gain by the de-stabilization of the mid-east region, as long as a friendly military power such as the U.S. is physically entrenched in their regional part of the world. Both nations have nuclear weapons capabilities, which can only enhance Israel’s intimidation factor towards its Muslim neighbors, and its further quest to dominate the region. However, this destabilization has much deeper global ramifications.
China and Russia also cannot be forgotten in this scenario due to their nuclear expertise relationships with Iran. India and Pakistan would also likely be affected due to their ongoing mutual territorial disputes, Pakistan’s predominantly Muslim populations’ loyalties, and also their respective nations close proximity to the mid-east region. A North/South Korean theater of war could also erupt considering the Iranian and Chinese connections to the present North Korean government.
When all of these factors are added together, one thing becomes quite clear, we as a world, are getting closer and closer to a conflagration that would overshadow the horrors of all the wars of the past, combined. The pre-emptive first strike logic, if it applies to the U.S., then will most certainly embolden other countries to adopt its usage also. This then becomes the foundation for anarchy amongst nations, and as a result, becomes the driving force that will amount to the inception of yet another world war.
Needless to say, that has dire and total devastation consequences for all of humanity once it begins. Unfortunately, for all, except those who will conduct this war from safe havens, the world we once knew will be transformed into a Hell on earth. Slowly but surely this scenario has been building in recent years and we have allowed it to coalesce by giving manipulative minds carte blanche to shape events from which only they will eventually benefit. The twisted logic of the Neo-con/Zionists, if it’s an oversight on their part, will lead to nothing short of calamitous disaster. But the suspicion is that it is not an oversight and their agenda is serving an even larger and more sinisterly designed plan. Globalization. The smaller worldwide population will be easier to control, eager to accept the end of world war devastation, and ultimately, be willing to submit to the powers that end the miseries of such a catastrophic war.
This is the deadly direction into which the world is headed, and it appears that only a miraculous intervention, of some sort, can intercede to halt that hellish direction. But, don’t count on it; the pre-emptive war doctrine has already been falsely used in Iraq. And it appears Iran is the next target for its usage, since Bush has openly proclaimed his desire to affect regime change in Tehran. Sound familiar? It should. The propaganda machine is fired up and ready to go…once again.
Heaven help us all.
Up For Peace - The Murder Of Judge Adi Azar
There is nothing complicated about the July 19 murder of Israeli judge Adi Azar. The murderers have already confessed but the Israeli government is rejecting the confession. Accepting it could ruin the "peace" process. So, the Israeli media is spreading salacious gossip about the judge's personal life, including "a love triangle."
The key to the cover-up is convincing the public that Yasir Arafat never tells the truth. Let's have a look at the events leading up to the murder:
July 10 -
World Court In Hague orders Israel to remove its security fence.
July 12 - Arafat: Israel Staged Tel Aviv Bombing by Abu Khaled Toameh, Jerusalem Post:
"Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat condemned Sunday's Tel Aviv bomb explosion that was claimed by his Aksa Martyrs Brigade, accusing Israel of masterminding the attack...This is not the first time Arafat has accused Israel of carrying out attacks against Israelis. In the past, he accused the Israeli security services of assassinating tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi."
Aviv bombing was out of character. It was not a suicide attack, rather
a bomb hidden in bushes near a bus stop. It was designed to do the least
possible damage while appearing to be a major incident. As for Zeevi,
my research has Arafat dead-on right about Zeevi. (Please read Save Israel!
July 13 - US Court, PA Must Pay Terror Victims Family
"In what may be a landmark blow to global terrorist financing, a federal judge in the US ordered the Palestinian Liberation Organization to pay $116 million to the family of a US citizen murdered in Israel eight years ago."
There are thousands of terror victims, dead or mutilated, and at $116 million a pop, the PLO and its murder state would be bankrupted if this ruling sets a precedent. Now, on to Judge Azar. He was adjudicating terror compensation cases in Tel Aviv and the PLO could not have liked his rulings. Nor could their supporters in the Israeli "peace" camp.
Let us look at how Judge Azar handled the issue of the suit against the Egged bus company against Arafat and his "Authority."
Arutz Sheva IsraelNationalNews.com
"Arafat Goes To Court A bill for 52 million shekels did what nothing else was able to do: get PLO chieftain Yasser Arafat to recognize Israelis courts. He turned yesterday to the Tel Aviv District Court, asking it to overturn a decision of seven weeks ago obligating him personally to pay that sum. The court, ruling on a suit by Egged, Israel's main bus company, stated that Arafat must compensate the company for terrorism-related damages caused during the first year of the ongoing Oslo War.
"Egged had claimed in the suit that Arafat himself, as the one who drafted and sent terrorists to carry out terrorist attacks, must be made to know that the costs will come out of his own pocket. "This is just another way to wage the war against terrorism," Egged claimed. In the first year of the Oslo War, Egged suffered more than 50 attacks, in which 113 people were killed, including a bus driver, and 594 were wounded, including 19 drivers. Financial damage added up to over 164 million shekels.
"The court ruled in early February, after Arafat did not even bother to respond to the papers served against him, that he must pay the sum - plus court costs of 100,000 shekels.
"Atty. Yosef Arnon, representing Arafat, claimed in court yesterday that the lawyers representing the PA/PLO in the case were not his client's, and that Arafat therefore cannot be judged to have received the court papers. Arafat's lawyer also asked that the judge, Hon. Adi Azar, be disqualified from the case."
For more details of the Egged case, see here
As for Judge Azar's treatment of the PLO lawyer Yosef Arnon:
Harretz ran this story
"Attorney Jamal Abu Toameh, an Arab citizen of Israel, has been replaced by Yossi Arnon, a Jewish lawyer. "We realized that in an Israeli court you have to be a Jew to accomplish anything," says Farih Abu Madin. Last week, Arnon made his debut as the PA's lawyer in the Tel Aviv District Court, in a hearing on the Egged suit.
is not a terrorist case, but a civil case involving a damage suit,' he
said. Cross-examining the director of the bus company's financial division,
Arnon focused on the question of whether Egged's profits had shrunk not
because of the terrorist attacks but because it lost its monopoly status
as an intercity carrier.
"In a decision of January 2003 to place a lien on NIS 4 million in favor of Yosef Azouz, who was wounded in the March 2002 terrorist attack at the Sea Food Market restaurant, the registrar of the Tel Aviv District Court, Adi Azar, wrote, 'Immunity accrues to those who follow accepted and civilized modes of behavior, and not to those who take hold of an instrument of war and embark on a path of indiscriminate murders.'"
Judge Azar's precedents threatened the PLO with more than an endless payout to its victims. He also forced the Palestinian Authority to reveal its assets in court.
Cause of losses
"A different reality is revealed in the courts. In an attempt to annul the temporary liens, the PA stated that it possessed considerable assets and would not have a problem meeting the payments required by the courts if the courts ruled that the PA had to compensate the plaintiffs. In an affidavit to the Tel Aviv District Court in the Egged suit, Muhand Aljaouni, an aide to Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, stated that the PA owns assets 'whose value is dozens of times greater than the amount of the suit ... The Palestinian Authority has investments worth about $600 million in various companies.'
"A document attached to the affidavit provides details of the PA's investments. The PA is said to have $74 million in cash and to be a partner in 64 companies, including communications firms in Jordan, Algeria and Tunisia, a Palestinian cement company, a gas and aviation project, real estate transactions worth $15 million, hotels, a flour mill, a convention center in Bethlehem and the companies that market Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola in the territories."
Judge Azar was forcing the PA to prove it could not pay the compensation his court was demanding. Does anyone believe that the PA only has $74 million in cash? Arafat has more than that in his piggy bank. Nonetheless, the revelation of the PA's corrupt business interests was bound to scare the recipients of Arafat's largesse.
So he had to go to save the "peace." The murderer dressed as a security officer and cased the judge's home for three days before making his move. He placed a silencer on his pistol, shot the judge five times and managed to escape on a motorcycle. This was no mean trick in late afternoon Tel Aviv traffic. Odds are he drove to a nearby safe house. Which means, the killer was getting help inside Israel. Which means, the "peace process" hit squad of the Shabak was helping out Arafat.
Arafat's Al Aksa Brigade took responsibility for the hit and the Israeli government took enormous pains to scoff at the claim. Most likely they were just accessories to the crime, but their boss derived all the benefits from the removal of Judge Azar. The next judge adjudicating compensation cases against the PLO, whether in Israel or abroad, will think twice before ruling in favor of the plaintiffs.
Watch out for a patsy to take the blame because if the Israeli public were to discover that Arafat ordered the hit, and turned to his allies in the Israeli "peace" camp to carry it out, the whole Oslo process would likely collapse. Which is why the lurid gossip about Judge Azar's private life is being spread like the fertilizer it is.
French President Jacques Chirac informed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon he is not welcome in Paris after he urged all French Jews to leave the country immediately, Israeli television reported.
Chirac had written that "after some weeks of contacts concerning such a visit it turns out that it is impossible ... and you are not welcome following your comments," according to Channel 2 television.
An Israeli foreign ministry government spokesman refused to comment on "confidential messages."
Sharon sparked anger in Paris with a speech on Sunday in which he urged all French Jews to move immediately to Israel in order to escape what he called the "spread of the wildest anti-Semitism".
The French foreign office has described Sharon's comments as "unacceptable."
Comment: Wow. Someone has finally stood up to Sharon's BS and ridiculous bullying tactics. Perhaps this day should be declared an international holiday to commemorate the occasion...Click here to comment on this article
Tunis, Tunisia, Jul. 20 (UPI) -- French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier lashed out at Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for calling on French Jews to immigrate to Israel.
"These words are inadmissible and unacceptable," Barnier told a press conference at the end of his visit to Tunisia late Monday night.
Earlier Monday, enraged French President Jacques Chirac informed Israel that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would not be welcome in Paris.
Sunday, Sharon said France's Jews should move to Israel to escape a tide of anti-Semitism.
Sharon's comments, which touched off a wave of anger in Paris, "touch on the mere principles of the French republic, its strength and honor, notably that freedom and protection are guaranteed under the constitution to all those living in France regardless of their religious or political affiliations," Barnier said. [...]Click here to comment on this article
can't go it alone against Iran: politicians, analysts
Israeli politicians routinely say an Iranian atomic weapons capability would be a threat to Israel's very existence, but almost all admit that this time, the problem concerns the entire region, if not the world.
In 1981, Israeli warplanes destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear facility after intelligence confirmed Baghdad's intention of producing weapons there.
"This is not an Israeli problem. This time it is a world problem," said Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Israeli parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee. "Iran is seeking to become a world power."
Under pressure from the United States, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is investigating Iran's nuclear activities.
The Islamic republic denies US charges that it has a clandestine weapons program, saying it wants nuclear power only for generating electricity.
Unlike Israel, which is widely thought to possess up to 200 nuclear warheads, Iran has signed up to the IAEA's nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
Steinitz, a member of hawkish Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party, described Iran as "more ambitious than India, Pakistan or North Korea" -- three other new nuclear powers -- because it is seeking regional domination. [...]
Comment: Did you get that? Iran has signed up for the International nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and is inspected regularly for nuclear weapons - Israel has not signed up for the treaty and possesses at least 200 nuclear weapons, not to mention chemical and biological WMDs also. Yet this little detail is ignored and the US is pushing ahead with plans to invade Iran, at the behest of Israel, naturally.
Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) -– Tehran on Sunday responded to a report that some al Qaeda members involved in the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States may have passed shortly beforehand through Iran.
The foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told a regular news briefing that since Washington has failed to establish security and create a sense of affinity with the Iraqi people it is resorting to propaganda to cover up their abysmal failure in Iraq.
U.S. government sources have said a bipartisan commission report this week on the Sept. 11 attacks will reveal that some of the hijackers transited through Iran on their way to the United States. Pointing out Iran has long borders and it is not possible to fully monitor them Asefi explained, "It is reasonable that five or six people crossing the border illegally over a period of five or six months may evade our attention. The same happens on the border between Mexico and the United States." "It happened before Sept. 11 and who knew that Sept. 11 was going to happen?"
"Iran has shown it is against terrorists and extremism and is serious about confronting terrorists," Asefi added.
By perpetrating propaganda the U.S. cannot deflect global attention from the fact that it is the U.S. who is responsible for the creation of al Qaeda and the Taliban, the Iranian foreign ministry official noted.
Tehran has arrested and deported hundreds of al Qaeda suspects in the past two years and says it is holding some senior members of Osama bin Laden's network.
On Saturday Iran announced it had smashed a ring of Iranian al Qaeda supporters.
On a recent statement by secretary of state Colin Powell who had threatened imposing oil embargo against Iran Asefi said the U.S. sanctions against Iran have been in force since the Islamic Revolution and that such measures have proved their ineffectiveness.
Asefi also added that the international community will not approve of the U.S. policies.
Head of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Borujerdi also said Sunday that Washington's unilateralism always turns out against its own interests.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of Majlis open session in response to Powel's economic sanctions he added that the U.S. has not a say in this respect.
"Our relations and cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog are in line with the international laws.
"The U.S. call for the assistance of the UN Security Council on Iraq issue shows that it has no other option but to attract the cooperation of other countries," he added.
Turning to Iran's wide exchanges with allies including European states, he pointed to a number of mutually-signed multi-billion-dollar oil contracts.
The lawmaker from Borujerdi said that Iran's relations with the world countries is based on `mutual respect and interests' and rejected the possibility of unilateral ties.
By Beth R.
Washington, DC, Jul. 19 (UPI) -- The ingredients for a confrontation between China and Taiwan are growing and the United States' mediation is a precarious lid on the pressure pot of rising East Asian tensions.
With Beijing's growing belligerence towards an uncooperative separatist entity, we may be heading for a "violent collision within a decade," warned Ted Galen Carpenter of the Cato Institute, at a Capitol Hill briefing, Friday. [...]
Comment: We wonder where the US is going to get all the soldiers to fight all these wars they are planning...
WASHINGTON - Michigan's sons and daughters could soon be plucked without warning from their college dorms or their first full-time jobs to serve in Iraq. Or not.
Rumors about a possible draft have been circulating for months, fueled in part by Web sites such as StopTheDraft.com, which claims the draft is just "five minutes" away.
Lawmakers say it is unlikely Congress would call for compulsory service in an election year, and that the Bush administration has taken steps in the short term to shore up gaps in troop strength.
"I don't think we're going to need to reinstate the draft," said U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan's senior senator and the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. "The combination of recruitment and retention is doing fairly well. Some of the measures that have been taken will give us temporary respite from the draft possibility."
How temporary is a question that keeps coming up on Capitol Hill.
A series of recent moves by the Pentagon - talk of shifting forces out of Germany and South Korea into Iraq and Afghanistan and a plan to recall 5,600 U.S. soldiers whose tours of duty recently ended - have left many wondering if a more permanent solution is needed.
Democratic U.S. Reps. Charles Rangel of New York and John Conyers of Michigan think they have the solution: Mandatory service, which they consider a mainstay of good citizenship. [...]
Mon Jul 19,
7:19 PM ET
The Army hasn't told Wicks what his exact assignment in Iraq is, or where in the country it will send him.
"I believe that the morale in general is not that good since the scandal at that prison," he said, referring to the allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. "When morale is high, you have fewer of these kinds of problems. And when morale is low you have more."
Wicks, who is beginning a week of training in Texas, will have the rank of colonel. His previous military experience includes two years active duty with the Marines and 18 years in the Alabama National Guard.
Wicks is a veteran of the U.S. war with Iraq in 1991, but his wife said things are different this time.
"In Desert Storm, he was in the 109th Evacuation Hospital and they had drilled together for years," said Jan Wicks. "He felt good about going with this team that he knew. He doesn't have that support this time."
Wicks figures he will be among the oldest U.S. soldiers in the Iraq war. Martha Rudd, a spokeswoman for the Army at the Pentagon, said she has no way of knowing if Wicks would be the oldest. She said she had heard of one other doctor who was 68 and went to Iraq.
Wicks' latest assignment started with a postcard the Army sent last fall that explained the need for specialists and asked if he felt he was fit to serve.
"I stuck the thing in my pocket and carried it around for several weeks agonizing on how I should respond," he told The Decatur Daily in a story Sunday. "The truth is I consider myself fit to serve, so that's how I marked it and sent it back."
"My wife said 'You'll never hear from them.' Well, it was no time at all till I heard from them," Wicks said.
Wicks said recruiters initially hinted he could go to Europe or a stateside base to relieve a younger psychiatrist who would go to Iraq. The Army even gave him three choices should that scenario play out, and Dr. Wicks chose Italy, Germany and England.
"Well, I now wonder if this was just to get me hooked. Because there's no way I'm going to Italy or any of these places," he said. "I'm going to Iraq."
Comment: A 68-year-old specialist is called out of retirement to go to Iraq, and Americans think that the draft will never be reinstated??Click here to comment on this article
The Bush administration has cast itself in a new role in the Iraq fiasco: innocent victim. With Iraq expected to be key to President George Bush's re- election chances this fall, the rewriting of history has begun in earnest; events leading up to the war have been given an extensive nip and tuck, leaving them barely recognizable.
Perhaps you recall how eager the Bush administration was to invade Iraq last year?
If so, you're mistaken. Senior administration officials weren't determined to invade Iraq, they were simply the victims of faulty intelligence. There they were, just minding their own business, when incompetent underlings kept hounding them with false information showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and close links to Al Qaeda.
What choice did they have but to invade?
This notion of Bush officials as passive victims of faulty intelligence is being cultivated with the help of a recently-released U.S. Senate committee report, which documents how U.S. intelligence agencies erroneously exaggerated Iraq's weapons arsenal.
The report's value is limited, however, since the committee's Democrats and Republicans agreed in advance to restrict their investigation to the role played by the intelligence agencies, deferring until after the election the more pertinent question about the role played by the White House in distorting information about Iraq.
Needless to say, this is convenient for a president anxious to disassociate himself from the colossal misinformation used to justify a war that has already killed almost 900 Americans and thousands of Iraqis, as well as generating anti- American feeling around the world.
The theory of the Bush team's victimhood is going largely unchallenged by media commentators, who seem content to suggest we were all caught up in "groupthink" about Iraq.
That seemed to be the position taken by CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview last week on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which, although on the comedy network, is one of the most informative U.S. news programs.
"We should have been more skeptical," said Blitzer, suggesting a kind of collective responsibility for buying into theories about Iraq's WMD.
What do you mean "we," white man?
In fact, beyond the elite circle of political and media insiders that Blitzer inhabits, skepticism was rampant.
Among the skeptics was chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, who clarified for the world — weeks before the U.S. invasion began — that there weren't any WMD in Iraq, at least not any that he or his team of experts could find after several months of intensive searching.
Blix made this point emphatically to the U.N. on Feb. 14, 2003, when he contradicted key aspects of the U.S. case. The U.N.'s top nuclear inspector, Mohammed ElBaradei, also reported that day that he'd failed to find evid ence of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq.
So, regardless of the flawed information the Bush team had been receiving from its own intelligence agencies — the CIA didn't have any undercover agents actually inside Iraq — the Blix and ElBaradei reports clearly alerte d the administration to the possibility of serious problems with the information.
In fact, even some U.S. intelligence officials had expressed concerns to the administration about the reliability of information coming from the Iraqi exile community, which was the Bush team's favourite source of informa tion on WMD. Furthermore, U.S. intelligence officials had warned that reports of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda were not credible.
But the administration — particularly Vice-President Dick Cheney — refused to hear such talk, constantly pushing intelligence officials to accentuate the Iraqi threat. All this is recounted in a detailed report by four investigative journalists on the run-up to war, published in the May issue of Vanity Fair magazine.
So, given the warning signals from both U.S. intelligence officials and the U.N. inspectors, Bush officials clearly had grounds for doubting the case against Iraq.
The solution seemed obvious — hold the bombs, give inspections more time. But the administration clearly wanted to get on with the war. When it refused to back down after Blix's powerful presentation to the U.N., the world practically choked in disbelief.
The next day, Feb. 15, more than 10 million people took part in protests worldwide. Without access to intelligence data, with nothing more than their own questioning minds, millions of ordinary people had figured out what journalists had been unable or unwilling to see — that there were glaring flaws in the U.S. case for war.
The Bush administration would have us believe that its reckless rush to war can be blamed on an intelligence failure, and on "groupthink."
Another possibility is that the Bush team willfully chose to blind itself to what millions of people around the world had no trouble spotting.Click here to comment on this article
foreign affairs editor
Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered.
The claims by Blair in November and December of last year, were given widespread credence, quoted by MPs and widely published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet on Iraq's mass graves.
In that publication - Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves produced by USAID, the US government aid distribution agency, Blair is quoted from 20 November last year: 'We've already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.'
On 14 December Blair repeated the claim in a statement issued by Downing Street in response to the arrest of Saddam Hussein and posted on the Labour party website that: 'The remains of 400,000 human beings [have] already [been] found in mass graves.'
The admission that the figure has been hugely inflated follows a week in which Blair accepted responsibility for charges in the Butler report over the way in which Downing Street pushed intelligence reports 'to the outer limits' in the case for the threat posed by Iraq.
Downing Street's admission comes amid growing questions over precisely how many perished under Saddam's three decades of terror, and the location of the bodies of the dead.
The Baathist regime was responsible for massive human rights abuses and murder on a large scale - not least in well-documented campaigns including the gassing of Halabja, the al-Anfal campaign against Kurdish villages and the brutal repression of the Shia uprising - but serious questions are now emerging about the scale of Saddam Hussein's murders.
It comes amid inflation from an estimate by Human Rights Watch in May 2003 of 290,000 'missing' to the latest claims by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, that one million are missing.
At the heart of the questions are the numbers so far identified in Iraq's graves. Of 270 suspected grave sites identified in the last year, 55 have now been examined, revealing, according to the best estimates that The Ob server has been able to obtain, around 5,000 bodies. Forensic examination of grave sites has been hampered by lack of security in Iraq, amid widespread complaints by human rights organisations that until recently the grav es have not been secured and protected.
While some sites have contained hundreds of bodies - including a series around the town of Hilla and another near the Saudi border - others have contained no more than a dozen.
And while few have any doubts that Saddam's regime was responsible for serious crimes against humanity, the exact scale of those crimes has become increasingly politicised in both Washington and London as it has become cl earer that the case against Iraq for retention of weapons of mass destruction has faded.
The USAID website, which quotes Blair's 400,000 assertion, states: 'If these numbers prove accurate, they represent a crime against humanity surpassed only by the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Pol Pot's Cambodian killing fields in the 1970s, and the Nazi Holocaust of World War II.'
It is an issue that Human Rights Watch was acutely aware of when it compiled its own pre-invasion research - admitting that it had to reduce estimates for the al-Anfal campaign produced by Kurds by over a third, as they believed the numbers they had been given were inflated.
Hania Mufti, one of the researchers that produced that estimate, said: 'Our estimates were based on estimates. The eventual figure was based in part on circumstantial information gathered over the years.'
A further difficulty, according to Inforce, a group of British forensic experts in mass grave sites based at Bournemouth University who visited Iraq last year, was in the constant over-estimation of site sizes by Iraqis they met. 'Witnesses were often likely to have unrealistic ideas of the numbers of people in grave areas that they knew about,' said Jonathan Forrest.
'Local people would tell us of 10,000s of people buried at single grave sites and when we would get there they would be in multiple hundreds.'
A Downing Street spokesman said: 'While experts may disagree on the exact figures, human rights groups, governments and politicians across the world have no doubt that Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of his own people and their remains are buried in sites throughout Iraq.'
Comment: You mean they lied?! Say it ain't so! Unfortunately, admissions of guilt such as this are generally completely disregarded by the slumbering masses.Click here to comment on this article
The press must also be held to account for falsehoods we reproduced before the invasion
So Andrew Gilligan, the BBC reporter who claimed that the government had sexed up the intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, was mostly right. Much of the rest of the media, which took the doctored intelligence at face value, was wrong. The reward for getting it right was public immolation and the sack. The punishment for getting it wrong was the usual annual bonus. No government commissions inquiries to discover why reporters reproduce the government's lies.
All journalists make mistakes. When deadlines are short and subjects are complicated, we are bound to get some things wrong. But the falsehoods reproduced by the media before the invasion of Iraq were massive and consequential: it is hard to see how Britain could have gone to war if the press had done its job. If the newspapers have any interest in putting the record straight, they should surely each be commissioning an inquiry of their own. Unlike the government's, it should be independent, consisting perhaps of a lawyer, a media analyst and an intelligence analyst. Its task would be to assess the paper's coverage of Iraq, decide what it got right and what it got wrong, discover why the mistakes were made and what should be done to prevent their repetition. Its report should be published in full by the paper.
No British newspaper is likely to emerge unharmed from such an inquiry. The Independent, the Independent on Sunday and the Guardian, which were the most sceptical about the claims made by the government and intelligence agencies, still got some important things wrong. Much of the problem here is that certain falsehoods have slipped into the political language. The Guardian, for example, has claimed on nine occasions that the weapons inspectors were expelled from Iraq in 1998. Embarrassingly, one of these claims was contained in an article called Iraq: the myth and the reality. Even John Pilger, who could scarcely be accused of dancing to the government's tune, made this mistake when writing for the paper in 2000. It's not that the Guardian believes this to be the case: it has published plenty of reports showing that the inspectors were withdrawn by the UN, after the US insisted that they should leave Iraq for their own safety. But the lie is repeated so often by the government that it seems almost impossible to kill.
The Observer, I think, would do less well. It commissioned some brilliant investigative reporting, which exposed many of the falsehoods reproduced elsewhere in the media. But it also carried several reports that were simply wrong. It published five articles claiming that there were "direct Iraqi links with the US hijackers" who destroyed the World Trade Centre in 2001. One suggested that "Iraqi training, intelligence and logistics were hidden behind an Islamist facade". Iraq, it claimed, "ran a terrorist camp for foreign Islamists, where it taught them how to hijack planes with boxcutters".
Three reports suggested that the anthrax attacks in the United States in October 2001 had "an ultimate Iraqi origin". Other articles maintained that "Iraq is developing a long-range ballistic missile system that could carry weapons of mass destruction up to 700 miles"; that it had developed "mobile factories of mass destruction"; and that it "has tried to buy thousands of ... aluminium tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium". All these stories turn out to have been based on false information supplied by the Iraqi National Congress and US or British intelligence agencies.
Its editorials also appear to have been too willing to give George Bush and Tony Blair the benefit of the doubt. In November 2002, for example, the paper maintained that Saddam Hussein "expelled UN weapons inspectors in 1998; he subsequently built up an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction ... the real responsibility [for averting war] lies with Saddam himself". The paper consistently argued that we should not go to war without an international mandate, but supported the invasion when that mandate didn't materialise. [...]
But the Observer's sins are minor compared with those of the Times, the Sunday Times and the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs. They all appear to have been willing accomplices in the Pentagon's campaign of disinformation. By far the worst of these offenders is the Sunday Telegraph. In September 2001, it claimed that "the Iraqi leader had been providing al-Qaida ... with funding, logistical back-up and advanced weapons training. His operations reached a 'frantic pace' in the past few months". In October 2001, it reported that "Saddam Hussein has relocated his chemical weapons factories after the first case of anthrax poisoning in America ... A senior western intelligence official said that ... 'The entire contents of their chemical weapons factories around Baghdad have been moving through the nights to specially built bunkers'."
In September 2002, it reported that "Saddam Hussein is developing frightening new ways to deliver his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, including smallpox and the deadly VX nerve agent". Another report on the same day claimed that "Saddam is on the verge of possessing crude nuclear devices that could be 'delivered' using 'unorthodox' means such as on lorries or ships ... Saddam has the capability to assemble all the components required to make nuclear weapons." In February 2003, it claimed that "Iraq's air force has advanced poison bombs".
All of these stories - and many others - appear to be false. But far from retracting them, it keeps publishing new allegations which look as dodgy as its pre-war claims. Like the Observer, it appears to have been used by black propagandists in the intelligence services and Iraqi defectors seeking to boost their credentials. Unlike the Observer, it seems happy to be duped.
So who will hold the newspapers to account? It seems that the only possible answer is you. You, the readers, must take us to task if we mislead you. Pressure groups should be bombarding us with calls and emails - you'd be amazed by the difference it makes. And if we don't respond with openness and honesty, you should cancel your subscriptions and look elsewhere for your news.
Comment: We suggest Signs of the Times
MICHAEL, Associated Press Writer
CAIRO, Egypt - The Islamic militant group blamed for deadly attacks on foreign and local interests in Iraq (news - web sites) threatened Japan on Tuesday that car bombs would strike its troops if they were not withdrawn.
"To the government of Japan: do what the Philippines has done. By God, nobody will protect you and we are not going to tolerate anybody," said an online statement signed by the Khalid bin al-Waleed Brigade, the military wing of the Tawhid and Jihad group.
"Lines of cars laden with explosives are awaiting you; we will not stop, God willing," said the statement, carried by an Islamic forum, known as a clearinghouse for statements by extremist groups.
"You didn't come to support the people of Iraq but to protect the Americans. Your destiny will be the same of Americans," the statement said.
Japan has dispatched about 500 troops to southern Iraq for non-combat duty to rebuild local schools, provide medical supplies and supply clean water. The military mission, begun earlier this year, is controversial in Japan as its first to a combat zone since World War II.
In April, Japan refused to withdraw its troops after three Japanese were kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents. The three were later released. [...]Click here to comment on this article
Lawmakers: No Election Postponements
The move comes after the chairman of a federal election commission suggested to congressional leaders last week that there should be a process for canceling or rescheduling an election interrupted by terrorism. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice said the administration is considering no such plan.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge recently warned that intelligence indicates that the al-Qaida terrorist network wants to disrupt the upcoming elections.
A congressional resolution by Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Administration Committee, says "the actions of terrorists will never cause the date of any presidential election to be postponed" and "no single individual or agency should be given the authority to postpone the date of a presidential election."
The resolution is supported by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and more than 60 other lawmakers. Ney said he would introduce it on Tuesday.
No national election has ever been postponed, the resolution says, noting that federal elections took place as scheduled during the Civil War, World War I and World War II.
"Postponing an election in the aftermath of a terrorist attack would demonstrate weakness, not strength, and would be interpreted as a victory for the terrorists," the resolution says. [...]
By JOHN SOLOMON
WASHINGTON - President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, is the focus of a criminal investigation after admitting he removed highly classified terrorism documents from a secure reading room during preparations for the Sept. 11 commission hearings, The Associated Press has learned.
Berger's home and office were searched earlier this year by FBI agents armed with warrants. Some drafts of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration's handling of al-Qaida terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration are still missing.
Berger and his lawyer said Monday night he knowingly removed handwritten notes he had taken from classified anti-terror documents he reviewed at the National Archives by sticking them in his jacket and pants. He also inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio, they said.
"I deeply regret the sloppiness involved, but I had no intention of withholding documents from the commission, and to the contrary, to my knowledge, every document requested by the commission from the Clinton administration was produced," Berger said in a statement to the AP.
Berger served as Clinton's national security adviser for all of the president's second term and most recently has been informally advising Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Clinton asked Berger last year to review and select the administration documents that would be turned over to the commission.
The FBI searched Berger's home and office with warrants earlier this year after employees of the National Archives told agents they believed they witnessed Berger put documents into his clothing while reviewing sensitive Clinton administration papers, officials said.
When asked, Berger said he returned some of the classified documents, which he found in his office, and all of the handwritten notes he had taken from the secure room, but said he could not locate two or three copies of the highly classified millennium terror report.
"In the course of reviewing over several days thousands of pages of documents on behalf of the Clinton administration in connection with requests by the Sept. 11 commission, I inadvertently took a few documents from the Archives," Berger said.
"When I was informed by the Archives that there were documents missing, I immediately returned everything I had except for a few document that I apparently had accidentally discarded," he said.
Lanny Breuer, one of Berger's attorneys, said his client has offered to cooperate fully with the investigation but has not been interviewed by the FBI or prosecutors. Berger has been told he is the subject of the investigation, Breuer said.
Government and congressional officials familiar with the investigation, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because the probe involves classified materials, said the investigation remains active and that no decision has been made on whether Berger should face criminal charges.
The officials said the missing documents were highly classified, and included critical assessments about the Clinton administration's handling of the millennium terror threats as well as identification of America's terror vulnerabilities at airports to sea ports.
Comment: Berger accidentally stuffs his pockets with classified documents, and then accidentally throws away a few of them. And now this guy is working for Kerry? This touching story just goes to show that Democrats have as little interest in the truth of 9/11 as the Republicans.Click here to comment on this article
Jul 19, 2:57 PM (ET)
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Law enforcement officials said on Monday they are looking for a man seen taking pictures of two refineries in Texas City, Texas.
Texas City, located on the Texas Gulf coast about 30 miles south of Houston, has three refineries including the largest U.S. plant operated by BP Plc., which is the third-largest U.S. refinery, processing 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
The man, described as white with dark hair, was seen taking pictures outside the refineries, all located on the same highway, at about 5 p.m. CDT on Saturday, said Bruce Clawson, emergency management and homeland security director for Texas City.
While it is not illegal to take pictures of a refinery from a highway or street, officials would like to talk to the man to find out his reason for taking the photographs.
"This is based on the idea that al Qaeda does its homework," Clawson said. "That's not to say we don't have enough home-grown idiots already who might want to do something."
The man was seen driving a white van.
Valero Energy Corp. operates a 243,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Texas City. Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, a joint venture between Marathon Oil Corp., and Ashland Inc., operates a 76,000 bpd refinery in Texas City.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has repeatedly warned refiners that they are possible targets for would-be terrorists. U.S. refinery security officials say their security guards regularly report people observing or taking pictures of refineries.
During the Independence Day holiday, ExxonMobil Corp. tightened security at the largest U.S. refinery, the 538,000 bpd plant in Baytown, Texas, 30 miles east of Houston, because of general warnings about possible terrorist activity.
BEAUMONT, Texas (Reuters) - A decade-long fight over a quiet country lane called "Jap Road" ended on Monday when local officials voted to change the racially charged name.
After hours of often bitter testimony, the Jefferson County Commissioners voted 4-3 to do away with the name that once honored a Japanese family, but now is considered a racial slur.
Residents of the road, located on the outskirts of the southeast Texas town of Fannett, 55 miles east of Houston, were given until next week to propose a new name.
The four-mile road has been around about 100 years and was said to be named in honor of Yoshio Mayumi and his family, who introduced the region to rice farming.
Some have suggested the name be changed to Mayumi Road.
The name change was first suggested 10 years ago, but rejected. The idea picked up steam when civil rights groups filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. government last year asking that federal funds to the county be cut off. [...]Click here to comment on this article
More than 100 officers from Homeland security, the Treasury Department, Customs, Immigration and Border Patrol were on hand at the Hidalgo/Reynosa border crossing this morning, to "welcome" the Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan, which is challenging the travel ban against Cuba.
After three hours of meticulous searching through each item in every caravanistas luggage, the federal officers confiscated about a dozen items such as a book of Cuban poetry, a paper flag on a stick, a bag made in China that had the name Cuba on it, maracas, and a tambourine made in Mexico.
The aid the caravan was bringing back as a gift from the people of Cuba – sixty-five one-pound bags of Cuban coffee and ninety-one plastic teddy bears jars of Cuban honey were also seized.
"We were astonished by the number of agents made available this morning, " said Lucius Walker, Executive Director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace. "At a time when our nation is in economic crisis and supposedly fighting a war on terrorism, it is immoral that our government wasted a days salary of more than 100 officers to monitor a group of peaceful US citizens who are exercising their constitutional right to travel."
As elderly women were forced to answer questions about where they bought each individual item of clothing in their suitcase, young girls were brought to tears by insistent questioning. An underage minor was separated from her guardian and coerced into signing a form.
Despite threats from the Bush Administration, Pastors for Peace delivered over 100 tons of humanitarian aid and visited schools and hospitals in Cuba. This year marked the 15th Anniversary of the caravans to Cuba.
Comment: Yeah, Castro is so dangerous. The US is willing to have relations with dictators around the world, including those, such as Pinochet, that it put into power through military coups, overthrowing violently the will of the people, yet Castro and Cuba are demonised. Now the US is harassing a group of pastors who defied Bush and went to Cuba anyway. Petty shrubs love to make an example of people who thumb their noses at authority. Look at the people who have been arrested in the US since 9/11 for wearing "unpatriotic" t-shirts.
Castro is condemned for the prisoners in his jails. We reported a few days ago that the US has 25% of the world's prison population, and 500,000 more prisoners in its prisons than the People's Republic of China, also continually vilified for its "human right's violations". The US has no business telling any other country what it should do inside its borders given its own wretched history of deceit, disinformation, and manipulation of its own citizens.
Selva in Nairobi
Women in Sudan are being systematically raped by Arab militiamen who use sexual abuse to torture and humiliate their victims. The government says that such attacks are inevitable during war.
The human rights group Amnesty International said yesterday that it had interviewed hundreds of women raped in their villages or abducted and used as sex slaves.
The militia, known as the Janjaweed, rape, loot, torture and kill families as part of their strategy to ethnically cleanse vast areas of Darfur in western Sudan. Girls as young as eight have been taken as sex slaves, and had arms and legs broken to stop them escaping.
"The rapes are not mistakes made by undisciplined militias," said Pollyanna Truscott, the Darfur crisis co-ordinator for Amnesty International. "It is a systematic policy designed to humiliate a group of people and tear apart their social fabric."
One refugee from western Darfur told them: "I was sleeping when the attack on Disa started. I was taken away by the attackers: they were all in uniform. They took dozens of other girls and made us walk for three hours. During the day we were beaten and they were telling us, 'You, the black women, we will exterminate you; you have no god'. At night we were raped several times."
Amnesty International said Sudanese armed forces have also helped in these attacks. Yesterday, a court in Darfur's capital Nyala sentenced 10 Arab militiamen to amputation and six years in jail in the first conviction of Janjaweed fighters for looting and killing. Other Janjaweed militiamen accused of burning Holouf village north of Nyala in the remote region are also to be tried. [...]Click here to comment on this article
Two people have been killed and around 1,500 evacuated from their homes in New Zealand after floods and dozens of small earthquakes hit the country.
Civil defence authorities have declared a state of emergency in the Bay of Plenty region on the north-east coast of the North Island.
Officials say the emergency could remain in place for some days.
Bad weather has also hit Australia, where winter storms brought heavy snowfall to the east coast.
In New Zealand, the towns of Whakatane, Opotiki and Edgecumbe were worst affected by the rainfall, where 250mm fell in 48 hours.
One woman was killed when a huge mudslide hit her home near Whakatane, and another died after a large tree fell on her car near the town of Tauranga.
"There are a large number [of people] who won't be going home for a while," said Whakatane District Council spokeswoman Diane Turner.
"This area still looks like a large swimming pool," she said.
Farmers are desperately trying to herd their cattle onto higher ground.
Prime Minister Helen Clark and Civil Defence Minister George Hawkins are to visit the Bay of Plenty on Monday.
In the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales, an intense winter storm has whipped up gales and huge waves and left a thick blanket of snow.
"We seldom have snow to this extent and depth," an emergency services spokeswoman told reporters.Click here to comment on this article
Mon Jul 19
CAIRO (Reuters) - A series of fires in the southern Egyptian province of Sohag has destroyed some 160 houses, giving rise to rumors that spirits are at work or mysterious balls of fire are falling from the sky, a local official said Sunday.
But the causes are mundane -- kerosene stoves, cigarette butts and electrical short circuits, Brigadier Ezzat Aboul Kassem told Reuters. Flaming pigeons, their feathers set alight in the blazes, may explain talk of balls of fire, he added.
Two children have died in the fires, which started last month, and about 30 people have been injured, either from burns or from smoke inhalation, security officials said.
Aboul Kassem, who is director of police investigations in Sohag, said the number of fires was higher than usual this year, at 25 for the first half of July against 15 in the same period last year, possibly because the weather has been hotter.
"Investigations have shown that there are burned pigeons on top of some of the burned houses and it's probable that they fell there after catching fire at other houses," he said. "Maybe that explains the rumors of balls of fire falling from the sky."
Comment: "Burned Pigeons"??
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Another earthquake has been recorded off the west coast of Vancouver Island.
The U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Centre at Denver recorded the 4.5-magnitude tremor just after 7 p.m. Monday night.
The light quake was located in the same general area as two other moderate shakers in the last five days.
The other, bigger quakes off Nootka Sound were registered earlier Monday, at magnitude 6.1; and last Thursday, at 5.8.
Comment: Paul Martin said he would shake things up if he were reelected, but this is ridiculous...
Tue Jul 20,12:08
The policeman in the western city of Pilsen first fired a warning shot in the air. But when the man refused to return to the pavement, the officer shot at him twice but missed, the online edition of the Czech daily Pravo said.
No one was injured. The police officer faces a criminal investigation.
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