the 9/11 Truth Movement
Canary in The Mine
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
Sylvia Rafael, a legendary
Mossad hit woman convicted of mistakenly assassinating a Moroccan
waiter in Norway 31 years ago, is to be buried secretly in Israel
according to her last wishes.
Rafael, 67, died over the weekend in her native South Africa, reportedly
"It is a pity there are not more like her," said Shmuel
Goren, a former deputy head of the Mossad.
"I don't usually speak about the Mossad to the media, but
I will say that I'm really sorry she passed away," he told
The Jerusalem Post.
Little was known of her exploits beyond her part
in one of the Mossad's greatest fiascos. In July 1973, Rafael joined
a hastily assembled team of agents to track down a man they believed
to be Ali Hassan Salameh, the Black September's operation chief
It was a time of wholesale vengeance for the Mossad, ordered by
then prime minister Golda Meir, against the Palestinians responsible
for the massacre of Israel's 11 Olympians at Munich in 1972.
In the lonely Norwegian village of Lillehammer,
the team gunned down a Moroccan waiter called Ahmed Bouchiki in
front of his pregnant wife instead of Salameh.
Rafael and five other Mossad operatives were captured and tried
in what turned out to be the most damaging exposure for the spy
Rafael, who was using a forged Canadian passport, eventually married
her Norwegian lawyer. She was sentenced to five years for second-degree
murder. But under heavy Israeli diplomatic pressure, the Norwegians
released her after just 11 months from her "deluxe" two-room
prison cell for supposed health reasons and she was deported back
She was eventually allowed to return to Norway in 1978 to live
with her husband, but she was kept under heavy protection from Palestinian
terrorists who vowed to kill her.
Rafael eventually quit Norway a decade later after attempts on
her life and moved with her husband to Pretoria, South Africa.
In September 1985, PLO's Force 17 killed three innocent Israeli
tourists in cold blood on a yacht moored at Larnaca, Cyprus. The
Palestinians claimed they were Mossad agents including Rafael.
According to media reports, Rafael had come to Israel in the mid1960's
as a volunteer on kibbutz Ramat Hakovesh. She was recruited into
the Mossad and revealed later she had participated in many pursuits
"One day, when true peace comes, they will
write books about her, make movies of her life and name streets
after her," Eitan Haber, a veteran defense correspondent of
that era wrote in Yediot Ahronot.
Witnesses say the 13 year-old-boy
was killed in cold blood
Israeli occupation soldiers have shot and killed a Palestinian
boy in downtown Hebron, alleging that he
tried to attack soldiers with a sharp object.
However, Palestinian witnesses dispute the claim,
testifying that soldiers stationed outside al-Ibrahimi Mosque in
Hebron's Old Quarter murdered 13-year-old Muhammad Ayyad Daana in
"The soldiers were shouting at the boy, and
then shot him in the leg, however as he fell down and was shivering
with pain, another soldier shot him in the chest, finishing him
"It was cold-blooded murder," said Hilmi Jaabari, a witness.
He dismissed earlier media reports and Israeli accounts of the
incident that Daana tried to attack soldiers with a knife as
The Israeli army Arabic correspondent Eitan Arusi said the
"I saw no knife, in fact, the boy never got
that close to the soldiers. So how could he ever pose a real threat
Through the years, Israeli occupation soldiers
have killed numerous Palestinian civilians, claiming the victims
had tried to stab soldiers.
However, most of these claims were never independently
verified and no investigations were undertaken.
Al-Ibrahimi Mosque massacre
The latest killing comes ten days before the 11th
anniversary of al-Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in Hebron (al-Khalil).
On 25 February, 1994, an American Jewish immigrant,
Baruch Goldstein, attacked prayer halls at al-Ibrahimi Mosque in
the compound, using a machine gun, killing at least 29 worshippers
as they prostrated during the early morning prayers.
Dozens of other worshippers were also wounded in the massacre which
observers of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict agree precipitated
the phenomenon of human bombings.
Goldstein was killed by the survivors.
The bulk of the Israeli right, including the Talmudic messianic
settler movement known as Gush Emunim, embraced Goldstein, arguing
that he did the right thing in light of the Torah and Talmud.
One rabbi, Dov Lior, in fact elevated Goldstein to the rank of
Goldstein was buried in Kiryat Arba'a and his
tomb eventually became a pilgrimage site serving as an attraction
for Jewish extremists from around the world.
Hebron is home to more than 170,000 Palestinians and nearly 400
Jewish extremists who have been heavily armed with automatic weapons
and who advocate the extermination, enslavement or expulsion of
non-Jews in Israel and the occupied territories.
An Israeli has been recommended
for administrative detention - a first for a citizen of Israel -
after death threats against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
his cabinet ministers and their families.
Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra said he would recommend administrative
detention for Itamar Ben-Gvir, an extremist Jew who has been referred
to as a "pro-Kach movement leader", according to an Israeli
The "pro-Kach" leader had announced on Israel radio that
right or hardline groups will hound Sharon and his ministers to
let them know they are engaged in acts of "betrayal",
a word used in the past by extremist Jews as a code for treason
punishable by death, the Haaretz daily said.
The minister was quoted as saying: "In this matter, after
examining all the material, I intend to recommend administrative
detention for this man."
"There are dangerous people out there who need to be arrested
today," Ezra told the Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Kach - in Hebrew meaning "Only Thus", better known as
the Jewish Defence League (JDL) - was founded by an American-born
Jew, Rabbi Meir Kahane.
The stated goal of the group and its off-shoot Kahane Chai, meaning
Kahane lives, is to restore what they call the biblical state of
Both organisations were declared terrorist organisations by the
Israeli cabinet in March 1994.
This followed the group's statements in support
of Baruch Goldstein, another American Jewish immigrant, who was
responsible for the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre.
Goldstein, who mowed down 29 worshippers while in prostration during
the morning prayers in the mosque, was a member of the Kach movement.
The JDL or Kach movement was banned for incitement against Arabs
and has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Palestinians,
both Muslim and Christian.
Referring to the pro-Kach leader Ben-Gvir, Ezra reportedly said:
"This person has simply lost all understanding for what is
permissible under the law, and what may perhaps be within the limits
of the law, but which certainly causes other people to decide to
do things against the law."
"We do not have the time [to investigate] and the people whom
we have material against which is classified and cannot be brought
to court should be placed in administrative detention," the
Israeli minister added.
However, public prosecutor Shai Nitzan responded to the recommendation
on Monday by saying Israeli justice ministry officials would deal
with the death threats through the criminal justice system, rather
than through administrative detention.
Detention without trial
Hundreds of Palestinians have been detained and imprisoned for
years without trial but the public prosecutor is quoted as saying:
"It is a very extreme step" in this case.
Nitzan also said this is the first time an Israeli
had been recommended for administrative detention.
However, "we always prefer the criminal route, where the person
is brought to trial and can defend themselves, something which is
more difficult under administrative detention", he added.
Administrative detention was introduced by the British during the
It means detention without trial where the order is usually renewed
every six months and people can be imprisoned for an unspecified
Israel has used this form of indefinite imprisonment only against
Transport Minister Meir Sheetrit and Infrastructure Minister
Benjamin Ben-Eliezer both revealed over the weekend that they had
been on the receiving end of death threats.
According to the Yediot Ahronoth daily, Mofaz had also received
an anonymous letter sent to his home.
"You are a criminal. You and your family will pay for your
"We are going to have our revenge by attacking your wife and
your children and organise a pulsa denura against you," the
A pulsa denura is a rabbinic curse intended to lead to the death
of the recipient.
JERUSALEM - Israel's Internal Security Minister
Gideon Ezra called for right-wing extremists to be detained after
more threats were issued by radical opponents of the planned pullout
of the Gaza Strip.
"There are dangerous people out there
who need to be arrested today," Ezra told the Jerusalem
"The situation we find ourselves in now, in which we invest
lots of resources and time in investigating, is not working.
"We do not have the time (to investigate)
and the people whom we have material against which is classified
and cannot be brought to court should be placed in administrative
Adminstrative detention orders, which allow for
suspects to be kept in custody without trial, have previously been
used almost exclusively for Palestinian militants.
However a spate of death threats against ministers, including Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, have led to growing calls for a rethink
of how to prevent a repeat of the 1995 assassination of the then
premier Yitzhak Rabin.
Lawyers representing various right-wing groups warned in a press
conference on Sunday against any attempt to issue detention orders.
"Freedom of speech is being trampled,
and all the law-enforcement authorities are employing draconian
measures," said the lawyer Naftali Werzberger. [...]
Sharon himself was quoted as telling Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting
that the current atmosphere of incitement could not be tolerated.
"This cannot continue!" said the
premier during a discussion on the threats to his ministers.
Many Israeli commentators however believe that it is only a matter
of time before an attempt on the life of Sharon or one of his ministers
"The next assassin moves stealthily among us day after day,
anonymous, silent and dangerous," said Amnon Danker, editor
of the Maariv daily.
"He knows that no one will catch him. He waits for the proper
moment. Soon. Soon."
On December 9th, Israeli troops
invaded the Palestinian town of Anabata and shot dead four Palestinians.
Anabata's mayor called the killing a cold blooded murder. Phil Reeves
of the Independent wrote another of his excellent articles that
debunks the official Israeli line that the Palestinians were killed
in an exchange of fire. Before reading the Reeves account, I watched
eight half-hour segments of CNN in which the only version was the
one in which "Israel says they were killed after firing on
Israeli troops." I gave Ted Turner's bastard children eight
chances and they lied eight times. Their daddy must be so proud.
Now, if this was a criminal case, which it ought to be, those who
cover-up murder would be considered accomplices after the fact.
A news organization that sanitizes this kind of thuggish brutality
should be held accountable. It is easy enough to prove that CNN
has a severely compromised news operation in Atlanta; an organization
run by too many of those Yiddish jingoist types who glorify the
war crimes of Ariel Sharon.
When the history of the Palestinian people is written, it will
have a very extraordinary chapter. Unlike all the other people who
have struggled against foreign repression in the last century, the
story of the Palestinians has an odd assortment of villains. Every
Palestinian child seems to be fully aware that there is a constituency
for repression in the United States, dominated by Israel Firsters
in smart suits who own and operate mass media outlets, including
Imagine if you are a Palestinian living under Israeli siege, seeing
your people daily pulverized and humiliated by the armed forces
of the last remaining belligerent foreign occupation army on the
planet. As a Palestinian, you have watched Israeli troops murder
and mutilate hundreds of your young. You have watched your people's
land being stolen to build exclusive Jewish settlements. Like many
of the native people of the Holy Land, for 34 years, you have endured
the racist laws that allow for collective punishment, imprisonment
without cause, torture, murder and the assassination of your political
leaders. You watch the Israelis steal land and lie. Kill innocents
and lie. Israel elects a serial war criminal to the highest office
and the New York Times actively works to market him to the American
people as a 'peacemaker without a partner'. Hail Sulzberger, chief
of the Yiddish propagandists.
If you happen to be a Palestinian from Anabata, you ask yourself
why the Independent of London had a reporter who can tell the story
of the murder of four Palestinians. Yet CNN, a major 'international'
network deliberately and repeatedly airs an IDF press release as
fact. 'Israel says this...and Israel says that ...'. That is CNN
for you. Just a bunch of cheerleaders for repression in the Holy
What would it cost CNN to tell the truth to the American public
about the despicable practices of the Israeli occupation army? How
come an English paper like the Independent consistently has accounts
that prove CNN anchors deliberately feed their audience Israeli
propaganda. Even my local paper, The Seattle Times, reported that
the Mayor of Anabta said the four were killed "in cold blood".
Both the Independent and the Seattle Times also gave the Israeli
account. But, unlike CNN, they did not cover up the fact that the
people of Anabata say it was murder.
Isaccson and the other Yiddish supremacists who operate the CNN
news division for Levine know exactly what to do for their war-criminal
blood brothers in Israel. This news outfit brazenly misleads the
American public on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. More than likely,
they are prone to be deceptive in reporting other stories. If you
cover-up murder, what kind of 'other journalism' could you possibly
do? Well, CNN will tell you its 'Real Fast' news. Seriously, that
is their new slogan. I have a suggestion for the deviants at CNN.
How about "FIRST AND FAST WITH IDF NEWS"? or maybe "Real
Fast. Real Fake."? Or "Israel First and FAST. 24/7"?
CNN has been struggling with an image problem and losing ground
to Murdoch's line-up of bigots. That is how rotten this outfit has
become. They can't even compete with the daily KKK rally operated
by Rupert Murdoch.
What can you do about it? Well, help us spread the real news about
CNN trash and make it real fast. If you see a company advertising
on CNN, boycott its products. Don't bother writing CNN, it only
encourages the bastards. They don't just make mistakes, they have
racist agendas. Let your relatives, your co-workers, your neighbors
join the boycott. If you get Time Magazine, cancel the subscription.
If it is a Time/Warner product, avoid buying it. And curse Ted Turner
for creating this instrument of repression.
Finally, to our readers in the Middle East, a little useful intelligence
on CNN. Note how they sometimes have a little balanced news very
very late in the evening, when America is asleep. The idea is to
appear 'legitimate' to international audiences who know better and
then do the propaganda during American prime time, when Europe and
Asia are asleep. This technique allows them to claim 'balanced coverage'.
By my estimate, there is only one single news organization in the
world that has taken such a belligerent attitude against Palestinian
aspirations for freedom. FOX, home of the United Bigots of America.
CNN is, for all practical purposes, a belligerent in the Middle
East. The number of anti-Arab bigots they hire as 'experts' clearly
demonstrates that they have a nasty agenda. It is not an American
agenda, does not represent American views or American values. Indeed,
part of the task of the Yiddish supremacists at CNN is to incite
anti-Americanism in the Middle East by giving the illusion that
Americans hate Arabs. On the flip side, they actively try to convince
Americans that Arabs have mindless hatred for Americans. All for
Israel's sake. That is CNN for you. Just another Yiddish supremacist
organization actively assisting Sharon to spill the blood of innocent
This week's summit between Israel's prime minister,
Ariel Sharon, and the new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, evoked
the usual hyperbolic outpourings about peace. Caution is advised.
U.S. President George W. Bush's administration, warned by its
allies that Palestine's agony is the primary generator of anti-American
violence known as terrorism, now believes it can impose a Mideast
peace settlement that is favourable to Israel and the U.S.
Late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat always refused to accept
any deal that left Israel with 100% of Jerusalem and large swaths
of the West Bank. He insisted on some limited right of return for
Palestinian refugees and creation of a viable, independent state
on the West Bank and Gaza. Abbas remains mute about these issues.
When Israel and the U.S. rejected Arafat's terms, and Israel kept
gobbling up the West Bank's best land and water resources, Arafat
winked at attacks against Israeli civilians and Jewish settlers
by Palestinian militants.
He believed Israel would only compromise when forced by violence.
Arafat's convenient death removed a major obstacle to U.S.-Israeli
plans. This writer continues to suspect Arafat
was murdered by an untraceable nerve or blood toxin. He was
being held prisoner by Israel in his Ramallah compound.
Palestinians loved Arafat. So far they are
only tolerating Abbas and his allies, who have uncomfortably close
links to the U.S. and Israel.
Abbas long urged Palestinians to end violence against Israel.
He is right when he says Palestinians cannot oust Israel from the
West Bank by armed resistance and must rely on negotiations.
Though guerrilla attacks may force Israel to withdraw from Gaza's
packed slums, Israel's hold on the West Bank and Golan Heights is
unshakeable. The Israeli-occupied West Bank won't become a second
Sharon demands Abbas crush Palestinian militant groups and end
political chaos before Israel will stop settlement building or cease
its attacks, and release many of its 8,000 Palestinian prisoners.
New U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
chimed in, urging Palestinians to end "violence" while
only calling on Israel to cease "operations." She sounded
as if Palestinians had occupied Israel and not the other way around.
The occupation remains a violation of international and U.S. laws.
The West Bank and Gaza are like a giant, open-air
prison camp seething with despair and violence, ringed by Israeli
security forces. Israeli bulldozers have razed much of the infrastructure
of Palestinian society -- government offices, schools, workshops,
olive groves, homes.
While Sharon and Abbas talk peace, Israel continues to expand
settlements and expropriate Arab land. There are now 450,000 Jewish
settlers on the West Bank, 200,000 of them in the illegally enlarged
boundaries of Jerusalem.
Sharon's vision of a Palestinian "entity" is three of
four separate cantons, or apartheid-style Bantustans, isolated by
Jewish-only security roads and checkpoints, all surrounded by a
high "security wall."
Jewish settlements may occupy up to 58% of the
West Bank. Palestine's air, land, sea and telecommunications contacts
with the outside world will be entirely controlled by Israel. This
is not peace. It's a penitentiary.
Palestinian militants may give Abbas a brief chance to make peace.
Israel ought to rush to help him. Even so, it's very hard to see
how Palestinians will give up armed resistance, however futile,
in exchange for a wretched mini-state, really a garbage dump for
The basic problem is this: Israel already
has what it wants, the most fertile or militarily important parts
of the West Bank and Golan, which it continues to colonize at a
furious pace. So it's stalling.
Only two things will motivate Israel to relent -- intolerable
Palestinian violence or enormous U.S. pressure. So far, neither
seems likely. Nor does a genuine, lasting peace, if Palestinians
see that nothing will change and Abbas is
merely the latest U.S.-imposed overseer in the Arab world.
Then the Palestinian suicide bombers and Israeli death squads
will soon resume their deadly cycle of violence.
If only the Bush administration had exerted one-tenth the energy
and money it wasted on Iraq toward making a fair, enduring peace
between Palestinians and Israelis.
Israeli media sources have reported that weapons
experts specialised in upgrading the Israeli army's weaponry have
recently advanced the plastic tank shells used against Palestinians
taking part in anti-Israeli demonstrations.
The 105 and 120 mm caliber shells were developed by Israel Military
Industries in response to a deadly incident last May in the southern
Gaza Strip when a tank fired a shell at a
crowd of demonstrators, killing 10 Palestinians - most of whom were
Other weaponry which the Israeli army would use against Palestinians
includes the "Acosti" rifles and 'stink-bombs'.
The weapons are dubbed 'the cry' as they emit an extremely loud
sound upon being fired at targets even at a 100-meter distance.
The weapons do not cause any long-term harm to targets.
The 'stink bomb' would be fired at Palestinian homes where the
odour would not 'clear' for some five years.
Meanwhile, scores of armed Israeli settlers attacked on Friday
evening a number of Palestinian civilians at the Almatahen military
checkpoint, north of the city of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip.
Witnesses said that tens of armed Israeli settlers from the illegal
settlement of Gush Qatif built on Palestinian-owned lands in Khan
Younis, threw stones and empty bottles on Palestinians, passing
through the checkpoint under heavy rains.
Raising their guns at the Palestinian vehicles drivers, a number
of the armed settlers attempted to force the Palestinian travelers
out of the vehicles, while others blocked the road back to northern
Gaza Strip for some time in the presence of the Israeli occupation
The Almatahen checkpoint along with the notorious Abu Holi checkpoint,
are the main linkages between the southern and northern parts of
the Gaza Strip.
JERUSALEM -- The Israeli military plans to
put an electronic fence in the northern
West Bank after this summer's planned evacuation of four settlements
there, an army publication reported.
The electronic fence is to extend across a section of the West
Bank between the northern towns of Jenin and Nablus, according to
the current edition of the soldiers' weekly, "Bamahane."
Israel plans to dismantle all 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and
the four in the northern West Bank as part of its "disengagement"
The four West Bank settlements to be evacuated - Sa-Nur, Homesh,
Ganim and Kadim - are near Jenin, north of the projected path of
the fence, and no settlements would remain there.
A string of settlements extends south of the path, around the
city of Nablus, and the object of the electronic measures would
be to give warnings of infiltrations toward those settlements.
The electronic fence is separate from the
barrier Israel is building along the entire West Bank. The
barrier dips into the Arab territory at some points, because Israel
says it's necessary to keep Palestinian suicide bombers and other
attackers out of the country.
Palestinians demand that the work be halted, complaining that
it cuts many farmers off from their land and causes other hardships.
A DIPLOMAT who was due to replace an alleged
Mossad spy in Canberra was reportedly photographed nude with under-age
girls when on a posting to Brazil five years ago.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the country's foreign ministry
is now holding off sending the new consul to Australia.
Haaretz said Aryeh Sar was investigated after being photographed
naked with Brazilian girls, some of whom were minors.
Sar reportedly returned to Israel to face trial.
He was found not guilty of any wrongdoing but was reprimanded
for "inappropriate behaviour".
The criminal case in Brazil remains open. News of Sar's alleged
misconduct comes a week after Israeli diplomat Amir Lati was apparently
ejected from Australia by ASIO for espionage.
It has been speculated Lati was chasing women in sensitive positions
in an attempt to gather intelligence for his bosses back in Israel,
an accusation he denies.
MANILA - Seven people were killed and at least
100 injured in Valentine's Day bombings by suspected Al-Qaeda-linked
Muslim militants that hit Manila and two southern Philippine cities,
Late Monday night the government placed the country's security
forces on full alert fearing further attacks.
Three people were killed on the spot and about
60 injured when a powerful bomb ripped through a bus in the Makati
financial district of Manila during the early evening rush hour,
Metropolitan Manila police chief Avelino Razon said.
The blast set two nearby buses on fire.
One person was killed and nine were injured
when a blast hit a bus depot in the southern city of Davao on Mindanao
island at dusk. Earlier Social Welfare Secretary Corazon
Soliman said five people had been killed, but Davao officials insisted
Three people were killed and 33 injured when a
bomb hit a shopping mall in the southern city of General Santos
on Mindanao at about the same time as the Davao bombing, Soliman
said over DZBB radio.
The three bombings, which appeared to have been
coordinated, were claimed by the Abu Sayyaf, a militant Muslim group
operating in the southern Philippines that is listed by the US State
Department as a "foreign terrorist organization."
Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Solaiman told DZBB radio in an interview
that the three bombings were "our Valentine's gift to her (President
Gloria Arroyo)". [...]
It's become a routine. Every
day I do a search for news of the CIA's agent provocateur, Davao
City bomber Michael Meiring. An FBI team whisked Meiring out of
a Philippine hospital and back to the US, two legs lighter, after
an explosive device prematurely detonated in his hotel room, and
- significantly - before he could face awkward questions and pesky
charges. (If the name sounds unfamiliar, search this site for earlier
I'd thought that now the Philippines has formally asked the United
States for assistance in returning Meiring, the story might finally
break in the US media. But no. Nothing. And to be perfectly honest,
I really didn't expect anything else. The Meiring case is a difficult
story to tell in America, as it makes no sense within the official
paradigm of the "War on Terror."
The most recent American coverage - the only coverage I see - is
Houston's KHOU-TV's Dec 2
investigative reports by "Channel 11's News Defenders,"
which uncovered Meiring's Houston connection.
(Let's note something here: meaningful investigative work in the
US mainstream media, such as it exists today, is likely to be relentlessly
local. When journalists, working away from the principal media hubs
and outlets, incidentally strike a matter of interest to the National
Security State, their work is more likely to proceed under the radar,
uninterrupted by superiors who also double as assets of the alphabet
agencies, and may even find an audience.)
The KHOU-TV report is fascinating, in part for what it doesn't
say. For instance, there is no mention of Meiring's links to US
intelligence, nor of the FBI team which flew to Mindanao just days
after his maiming to spirit him out of the country. Rather, it plays
up his connection to the Moro National Liberation Front, a "sometime
Muslim rebel army."
This calls to mind how Chief Counsel Robert Blakey steered the
House Select Committee on Assassinations towards the Mafia-killed-Kennedy
finding, failing to see - and not wanting to see - that organized
crime was just one component of the supra-legal association of military-intelligence,
criminal and business interests that had worked together for years,
and conspired together to murder the President. For instance, Blakey
played up Jack Ruby's criminal ties, while Ruby's deep links to
the Dallas police, the FBI and the government's protected drug trade
were roundly ignored. So to with Meiring: he is regarded in the
American report as an associate of Islamic terrorists, while his
relationship to US intelligence is unmentionable.
Also fascinating is the telephone encounter with Meiring, who obviously
knew "Channel 11's News Defenders" had no idea what they'd
gotten themselves into: "If this harms me in any way, you will
find my power then, and you'll find out who I am. But I will come
for you. You harm me I will not let you off the hook."
By the way, 9/11 activists, here's an
example that demands to be vigorously copied: last March, "the
citizen-led Mindanao Truth Commission, after almost nine months
of conducting investigations, has claimed that the government itself
could be the possible leading perpetrator in the bombings all over
the island that have led to the death of 95 people and the wounding
of 490 others."
“From the data that we have gathered, the State leads the
probable suspects … taking account of the statements and
affidavits that were issued by government insiders themselves,”
said Dr. Robinson Montalba, member of the MTC.
The MTC apparently put weight on the testimonies of junior officers
of the Armed Forces involved in the ill-fated mutiny at the Oakwood
Hotel in Makati City, wherein they claimed that they were ordered
by their superiors to lob grenades at mosques in Davao City. The
MTC said they found substantial evidence that the AFP indeed ordered
a special operation to bomb mosques.
The group led by LTSG Antonio Trillanes IV claimed that the Armed
Forces is involved in the selling of firearms and ammunitions
to the New Peoples Army, the Abu Sayyaf and the MILF.
They said, too, that former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes and
Intelligence Service of the AFP chief Brig. Gen. Victor Corpus
were responsible for the March 4 airport and the April 2 Sasa
Wharf bombings with the intention of putting the blame on the
MILF, thus effectively tagging it as a terrorist group and pave
the way for military financial and logistical aid from the US.
The MTC also named the CIA, citing reports that is used Michael
Terrence Meiring to fake terror bombings in the Philippines. Meiring,
supposedly a treasure hunter, figured in a bombing at a budget
hotel here. He suddenly disappeared from the country, aided by
agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The MTC said Meiring’s sudden flight could be taken as
an indication of guilt. It further noted that the American could
be among persons or groups in possession of bombs of such intensity
that can rip concrete buildings and cause massive destruction.
I guess you could say it's like Agatha Christie's Mousetrap. The
murderer is the last person you'd expect. But after such a long
run, does it really still surprise?
DAVAO CITY -- The citizen-led
Mindanao Truth Commission, after almost nine months of conducting
investigations, has claimed that the government itself could be
the possible leading perpetrator in the bombings all over the island
that have led to the death of 95 people and the wounding of 490
The announcement of MTC’s initial conclusion on Wednesday
came on the eve of the anniversary of the March 4 Davao International
Airport bombing. Yet another bombing at Davao’s Sasa Wharf
happened about a month later.
The MTC, composed of peace advocates, was formed to investigate
the twin Davao bombings and those in other parts of Mindanao.
The MTC has identified four other probable suspects in the Mindanao
bombings -- the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Abu Sayyaf, a
so-called “Third Force” and even the United States’
Central Intelligence Agency through a mysterious American in Davao
who figured in a hotel bombing incident -- but concluded that the
state is the more likely culprit.
“From the data that we have gathered, the State leads the
probable suspects … taking account of the statements and affidavits
that were issued by government insiders themselves,” said
Dr. Robinson Montalba, member of the MTC.
The MTC apparently put weight on the testimonies of junior officers
of the Armed Forces involved in the ill-fated mutiny at the Oakwood
Hotel in Makati City, wherein they claimed that they were ordered
by their superiors to lob grenades at mosques in Davao City. The
MTC said they found substantial evidence that the AFP indeed ordered
a special operation to bomb mosques.
The group led by LTSG Antonio Trillanes IV claimed that the Armed
Forces is involved in the selling of firearms and ammunitions to
the New Peoples Army, the Abu Sayyaf and the MILF.
They said, too, that former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes and
Intelligence Service of the AFP chief Brig. Gen. Victor Corpus were
responsible for the March 4 airport and the April 2 Sasa Wharf bombings
with the intention of putting the blame on the MILF, thus effectively
tagging it as a terrorist group and pave the way for military financial
and logistical aid from the US.
The MTC also noted that the state could not fully account for the
hasty and rushed cleanup of the crime scene early morning of March
5, 2003 in the case of the airport bombing. The group noted that
it was a clear violation of investigation procedures that could
have led to the identity of the perpetrators.
The MTC said they included the MILF as a suspect because of the
authorities’ pronouncements that the secessionist group was
responsible for the airport bombing. But the MTC’s “Executive
Summary Progress Report” noted that that tagging MILF as a
suspect in the Davao bombings was not based on or supported by solid
legal evidence. It cited the dismissal of the case against Terso
and Undongan Sudang, suspects in the airport bombing, for lack of
The MTC also found that the claim that a Special Urban Terrorist
Action Group (SUTAG), a supposed arm of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network,
of the MILF was behind the Davao bombings is yet to be proven or
substantiated with tangible legal evidence.
The Abu Sayyaf, on the other hand, was cited as probably suspect
because it admitted responsibility on the airport bombing. But the
MTC noted the charge remains “hazy” as the government
itself has sweepingly rejected Abu Sayyaf’s admission that
it was responsible for the airport bombing.
The so-called “Third Force” was cited on account of
the affidavit of Abdullah “Lacs” Dalidig, chair of the
Muslim Multisectoral Movement for Peace and Development, who admitted
quoting President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expressing her fears of
the said Third Force.
The MTC also named the CIA, citing reports that
is used Michael Terrence Meiring to fake terror bombings in the
Philippines. Meiring, supposedly a treasure hunter, figured in a
bombing at a budget hotel here. He suddenly disappeared from the
country, aided by agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The MTC said Meiring’s sudden flight could
be taken as an indication of guilt. It further noted that the American
could be among persons or groups in possession of bombs of such
intensity that can rip concrete buildings and cause massive destruction.
“As long as no further investigation is
conducted with Kumander Robot (of the Abu Sayyaf) and Michael Meiring,
the State is the perpetrator of crimes against the people,”
said Montalba. He added that following up on the investigation could
probably lead into something, but that it is up to the government
to pursue it as it is the state who has the capacity.
BEIRUT - Lebanon's former prime minister Rafiq
Hariri, a political veteran who resigned four months ago after falling
out with Syria, was killed in a massive bomb blast in central Beirut.
Another nine people were killed and about 100 wounded when the
explosion ripped through Hariri's motorcade, leaving a trail of
carnage and devastation in a busy seafront area in scenes reminiscent
of the Lebanese civil war.
More than 350 kilograms (770 pounds)
of explosives were used, according to an estimate on state-run Tele
Media reports said the blast was caused by a car bomb and that
the dead included bodyguards of the 60-year-old Hariri, a self-made
billionaire and key figure on the Lebanese political scene who was
five times prime minister.
No-one has yet claimed responsibility for
the blast, which plunged Lebanon into grief and despair and raised
fears of a resurgence of sectarian strife 15 years after the end
of the civil war. [...]
The explosion brought down concrete walls and gouged a crater several
metres into the road, leaving a dozen flaming vehicles and debris
scattered over a wide area.
"Hariri is dead, Lebanon will not survive. It's going to break
apart into sectarian enclaves. He alone could guarantee national
unity," wailed one distraught elderly man.
The attack was condemned from the White House to the Gaza Strip,
while Lebanon's former colonial power France called for an international
Lebanon is due to hold elections in the spring,
and the explosion took place as the country and Syria are under
intense pressure, particularly from the United States, over the
dominant role of Damascus.
UN Security Council Resolution 1559 adopted last September calls
for a halt to foreign interference in Lebanon and a withdrawal of
foreign troops -- a direct message to Syria which has about 14,000
troops on Lebanese soil. [...]
DHAKA - Three bombs exploded outside a social
centre in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka where students were celebrating
Valentine's day, police said.
Around five people suffered minor injuries and three further bombs
had to be defused by police, officer-in-charge Mahbubul Rahman of
Dhaka Police told AFP.
"Three bombs exploded but they were very small bombs and although
they made a lot of noise and caused quite a bit of chaos there were
no serious injuries," Rahman said.
The explosions took place outside the Teacher Students Centre in
the University area where a cultural evening to mark Valentine's
day was taking place, he added.
Earlier, thousands of police and paramilitary forces were mobilized
across the country as opposition parties protested a deadly grenade
attack last month and the coalition government rallied supporters.
The opposition Awami League enforced the first day of a 36-hour
shutdown strike to protest the attack on a party rally which killed
five people, including a former finance minister.
The strike coincided with a previously arranged programme of rallies
by the four parties of the Islamist-allied coalition government
led by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
The rallies called by the coalition government
were being held to protest the opposition's strikes and a series
of unexplained attacks and bomb blasts in the country over the past
year, officials said.
Targets have included religious shrines, cinema halls, and opposition
political rallies. [...]
PARIS : A powerful explosion of unknown origin
wrecked a large theatre off the Champs Elysees avenue in central
Paris on Sunday, injuring seven people, police said.
The force of the blast completely destroyed the first two floors
of the Empire theatre, scattering debris into the street and blowing
out the windows of adjacent buildings.
The seven casualties were mostly hurt by flying glass.
Around 100 firefighters and 32 fire-engines were at the scene,
which a policeman described as "a very spectacular sight."
A witness who was staying in the building across from the theatre
said there were two explosions at 6:35 am. "The first explosion
was very strong, followed two or three minutes later by a second
blast, much less strong," said Francois Girard. "It's
scary. You immediately think of a gas explosion or a bomb."
The blast did not start a fire but firefighters with sniffer dogs
were searching the rubble of the theatre and buildings in the immediate
vicinity to verify whether there were any victims, a spokesman for
the fire services said.
Investigators have no idea yet what caused
the explosion, police said.
On Saturday night the 1,200-seat theatre had hosted a private
sale of clothes which finished around 1.00 am, police said.
In recent years, it has also regularly been used as a venue for
filming popular television programmes as well as fashion shows.
MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Firefighters struggled
for nearly 24 hours before finally controlling Madrid's worst blaze
in recent memory, which reduced one of the city's tallest office
buildings to a blackened hulk of twisted wreckage.
Thick smoke and temperatures that soared as high as 1,472 degrees
Fahrenheit prevented firefighters from entering the 32-story Windsor
building until late Sunday. The fire, which left seven people slightly
injured, broke out Saturday just before midnight.
The office tower was heavily damaged but did not collapse, as had
been feared. However, officials said it was unstable and closed
the area around the building.
"What worries us now is its structural state because of the high
temperatures it was subjected to,'' said Merardo Tudelo, director
of the Madrid Municipal Firefighters.
Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said "the situation is still critical.''
Emergency officials planned to keep the area in the Spanish capital's
banking and business district cordoned off at least through Monday.
Gallardon ordered nearby businesses to remain closed for the next
few days. Service on three subway lines running under or near the
building would also be curtailed, he said.
"This is the biggest fire ... this city has ever had,'' Gallardon
BEIJING - At least 25 miners were killed and
194 others trapped underground after a coalmine gas explosion Monday
in northeast China, state media reported.
Nineteen miners were also injured in the blast in Fuxin city, Liaoning
province, the Xinhua news agency said, citing the Liaoning Coalmine
Safety Supervision Bureau.
Mining accidents and fatalities are an almost daily occurrence
China's coal industry, the most dangerous in the world, saw more
than 6,000 workers die in mining accidents in 2004, state media
reported last month.
The annual death toll decreased by a little over six percent to
6,027 compared to 2003, Xinhua had reported.
China recorded a total of 3,639 fatal coal mining accidents last
year, a decrease of 16 percent year-on-year. [...]
Romance is in the air today across the land.
But in Washington, the buzz continues about "The Kiss."
No, not Gustav Klimt's famous painting. It's the big fat one an
exuberant President Bush planted on Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's right
cheek as he waded through the Capitol crowd after the State of the
Union a couple of weeks ago.
The Connecticut Democrat said he didn't mind it and thought Bush
was thanking him for his support of the administration's foreign
policy. Or maybe it was for Lieberman's not dismissing outright
Bush's Social Security proposal.
Or maybe it was something else. There's
been K Street chatter, our colleague Jeffrey H. Birnbaum tells us,
that Lieberman could be on an administration list to replace Defense
Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in the next year or so.
That would be convenient for Lieberman, whose term is up in 2006,
and could give Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell (R) an opportunity
to appoint a Republican to the seat for at least a few months before
the election, inching the GOP closer to a filibuster-proof Senate.
Or maybe it's just love?
BAGHDAD (AP) - Gunmen assassinated an Iraqi
general and two companions in a Shiite neighbourhood of Baghdad
on Sunday. On the military front, three U.S. soldiers were killed
when their vehicle rolled into a canal, the military said. The men
from Task Force Danger were on a combat patrol near the town of
Balad, 80 kilometres north of Baghdad, the U.S. command said in
In violence in the north, insurgents attacked a U.S. convoy and
a government building near the city of Mosul, leaving at least four
people dead, hospital workers said. Two Iraqi National Guard troops
were also killed while trying to defuse a roadside bomb.
U.S. hopes for a larger NATO role in Iraq suffered a setback when
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Sunday rejected calls
for the alliance to protect UN operations there. UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan also ruled out a UN security role.
The United Iraqi Alliance, a Shiite dominated list of candidates
backed by Muslim clergy, won the most votes in the Jan. 30 balloting
for a 275-member National Assembly, officials said Sunday. A Kurdish
alliance was second; U.S.-backed interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's
list was third.
The vote was the first free election in Iraq in over 50 years
and the first since Saddam Hussein was ousted from power after the
Sunni Arab extremists, fearing a loss of their privileged position,
have accused the Americans of manipulating the election to install
Shiites and Kurds in power. Sunni Arabs, an estimated 20 per cent
of the population, form the heart of the insurgency, and many of
them boycotted the election.
In the Baghdad assassination on Sunday, the gunmen struck as Brig.-Gen.
Jadaan Farhan and his companions were travelling through Baghdad's
Kazimiyah district, an Iraqi police officer said on condition of
A claim of responsibility for the attack in the name of al-Qaida
quickly surfaced on a website that often posts statements by Islamic
militants. The claim described the officer as a senior commander
in the Iraqi National Guard and the guard commander at Taji camp,
an American facility about 25 kilometres north of Baghdad.
There was no way to verify the claim's authenticity.
In the battle just north of Mosul, insurgents fired on the convoy
in Al-Qahira district, leaving at least four people dead and two
wounded, doctors at the Al-Jumhuri Teaching Hospital said.
Insurgents also fired a rocket at the governor's building in Mosul,
killing one woman and one man, as well as injuring four others,
officials at the hospital said. Two Iraqi National Guard troops
were killed on Mosul's airport road while trying to diffuse a roadside
bomb, police said.
NATO's role in Iraq has been limited to a small training mission
in Baghdad and logistics support to a Polish-led force serving with
the U.S. coalition. Iraq war opponents led by France and Germany
have prevented the alliance developing a wider role, and have refused
to send their own troops, even on the training mission.
Fischer, Germany's foreign minister, said his country would not
veto a NATO decision to do more if it was backed by the other 25
allies. But he insisted "we will not be sending soldiers to
Fischer emphasized German efforts to help Iraq in other ways -
through military and police training outside the country, economic
aid and debt relief.
ARBIL, Iraq, - The main victors in the Iraq
elections appear to be a slate of Shia politicians inspired by Grand
Ayatollah Ali Sistani, and led by Sayyed Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, head
of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. That
makes Hakim a key man, whatever shape the government takes.
The former head of his organisation's military wing, the Badr
Brigades, al-Hakim lived almost two decades in exile in Iran before
returning to Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. For
many years his organisation received the bulk of its funding from
the Iranian government, and as the election neared he spoke
often of resuming Iraq's relations with its eastern neighbour.
"Iran has helped the whole Iraqi nation for two decades," Hakim
told United Press International Jan. 27. "We believe that with regard
to the historical, cultural, religious and political commonalities
that exist between the two nations, the relations between Iran and
Iraq will be based on friendship, mutual respect and non-interference
in each other's affairs."
The Supreme Council for Revolution in Iraq rejects clerical rule
as practised in Iran, but Hakim has often called Islam the "source
"We will have neither a totally Islamic state nor a completely
secular one, but something in between," he said.
The final election results announced late Sunday denied the Shia
ticket a clear majority. About 48 percent of votes went to the Shia
slate, meaning that al-Hakim would have to make a coalition with
either the Kurds -- placed second with 26 percent -- or U..S.-imposed
interim prime minister Iyyad Allawi placed third with 14 percent.
Al-Hakim has indicated a preference for a coalition
with the Kurds, who demand autonomy in the North, with oil-rich
Kirkuk as their capital.
Shaun Da'oud, a Kurdish newspaper editor in Kirkuk, believes that
Shia disgust at Allawi's reversal of de-Ba'athification programmes
undertaken early in the occupation have pushed the Shia towards
acceptance of federalism and Kurdish autonomy. Allawi is himself
a former Ba'athist.
"A coalition between the Shia and Kurd is good," he argues, "because
we don't bump up against each other. The Shia are in the south and
the Kurds in the north. The Sunni are between us, so we will never
But some are looking at other alternatives. Earlier this week,
Allawi traveled to Northern Iraq to meet Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani.
The two held a joint press conference where they denounced the formation
of any government ruled by a single sect.
Some observers see this an attempt at a coalition that would keep
Allawi in power in Baghdad with the support of Kurds and Sunni parties
that boycotted the election.
"The main goal of the Sunni is to avoid
a government supported by Iran," says Majid al-Samarai, columnist
for Baghdad's ez-Zamman newspaper and a television personality under
Saddam's regime. He believes that keeping
Allawi in power will be the most stable solution for Iraq -- even
if it is not the most popular.
"There is some kind of agreement inside the current government
that there should be a moderate solution," he said. "There will
be a secular government. It will try to be respected by all Iraqis
and to avoid conflict with America."
Majid al-Samarai, like most Sunnis in Iraq, sees the main purpose
of the next Iraqi government as getting the 150,000 U.S. troops
out of the country.
"The resistance will stay in Iraq," he predicts. "The resistance
to occupation is alive, but if the government puts a plan for the
U.S. to leave Iraq -- and this is one of the future government projects
-- by this, the curve of violence will go down. Sunni people in
general do not accept that the occupier is here. There must a work
plan for their leaving."
In this, al-Samarai and others close to the Sunni resistance have
something in common with the Shia slate of Abdel Aziz al-Hakim,
who also made a phased withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Iraq a key
part of his group's platform.
"No dignified person is willing to see foreign troops in their
country," al-Hakim said, "and the Iraqi people are no exception.
We hope, upon the formation, at the earliest, of strong and efficient
military, police and security organisations (forces), that foreign
troops leave the country."
MUNICH, Germany: Like warriors throughout
the ages, Donald Rumsfeld says he wants the highest technologies
available, the lowest costs to life and treasure possible and the
surest means conceivable of ensuring the acquiescence of adversaries.
But at the annual Munich security conference this weekend, the
controversial US defense secretary mounted a passionate argument
for his conviction that the Internet and other modern means of communication
have magnified the value of the most powerful weapon of all: information.
"Bloggers and hackers and chat rooms!" Rumsfeld exclaimed
Saturday during a question-and-answer session with defense and security
officials and experts from around the world. "E-mails and cell
phones with global reach!"
"It alters how you have to behave... it adds
a level of complexity" to warfare in the 21st century.
Discussion at the gathering focused on the future of transatlantic
security institutions -- with NATO chief among them -- and was saturated
with academic notions about how, and whether, the United States
and Europe still needed to be close security partners in a post-Cold
Rumsfeld delivered a set-piece speech calling on both sides of
the Atlantic to put their divisions over the Iraq war behind them
-- he even joked that it was the "old Rumsfeld" who had
made the contentious remark about "old Europe" here two
But it was only at the end of his impromptu responses to questions
about US views on the fate of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) and the nature and purpose of global security in general
that Rumsfeld launched with obvious enthusiasm
into his pet theme: military transformation for warfare in a high-tech
"We have to recognize that this global war on terror is the
first war in history that's being conducted in a world dominated
by a particular set of new realities," Rumsfeld said, also
listing 24-hour cable television news networks and a US Congress
"that's nearly always in session" as factors that fundamentally
alter global security concerns.
"It's more a matter of culture and attitude than it is of
technologies and platforms," Rumsfeld said.
The United States has "an executive branch of government
that really is still organized for the industrial age, not the information
age. We have an enemy, these terrorists,
that don't have democracies ... and are able to turn on a dime.
"They also lie. They're able to lie
-- and a lie travels across the globe in seconds, and of course
the truth is still putting on its shoes," he said, loosely
quoting the wartime British prime minister, Winston Churchill.
"So there's two or three news cycles where the lie lives,
and dominates... it's the world we're in."
Rumsfeld's critics -- and they are many, even
within his Republican Party in the United States -- charge that
he is arrogant, needlessly provocative, secretive, excessively bellicose,
ignorant and fundamentally wrong in his approach to upholding the
security of the United States.
Rumsfeld made clear in Munich however that whether he was revered
or reviled he would stick to his guns.
"It is a heck of a lot easier to sit outside and critique...
than it is to do it," he said, adding that popular use of modern
communication technologies made it imperative to change the way
military forces approached the entire security equation.
Western military forces have for centuries been, and remain, configured
for fighting massive conventional armies.
"And that is not what we're doing" any more, he said.
The main security challenge of the modern era was "to take
these large institutions and turn them to fit this new century."
Washington, DC, Feb. 8 (UPI) — If the serial decapitator
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi did not exist, then the Bush administration,
the Atlantic Alliance and the rest of the civilized world might
have to invent him.
World: Why Rice should thank Zarqawi’ By Martin Walker
I have written about the mythological Abu Musab al-Zarqawi several
times before as have other writers. The question we need to ask
is why does the state and hence its servant, the corporate media
have need of such a ‘person’? Walker’s article
opened with the quote above, a very revealing statement but one
that I made here some time last year but for very different reasons.
Walker goes on:
This poisonous Jordanian terrorist has done the world a service.
Almost at a stroke he has eased away the accumulated grievances
between Washington and Paris, between America and Europe, by couching
the struggle in Iraq in terms that force even the French onto
the side of President Bush.
Walker bases his assertion on the following quote by the alleged
“We are at war with democracy,” Zarqawi declared,
in an announcement that coincided with the Iraqi elections on
Jan. 30. “Democracy is an evil principle.”
How convenient of ‘Zarqawi’
who, in common with ‘Osama bin Laden’ manages to say
just the ‘right’ thing at just the ‘right’
time. Walker goes on to say:
Zarqawi’s timing was perfect.
His fighting words came just in time to guarantee
Condi Rice a splendid hearing in Paris; just in time to help Tony
Blair explain to the House of Commons why Britain and the United
States could now start to think in terms of reducing their troop
numbers; just in time to help sweeten the double cease-fire announcement
from Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Odd coming from a ‘news’-paper owned by the Reverend
Sun Myung Moon of Unification Church fame. The good reverend, convicted
tax fraudster (18 months in a federal slammer), friend of the former
dictator of South Korea, Park and buddy of Richard Nixon, Jerry
Falwell, Tim LaHaye and George W. Bush. The Unification Church also
owns a major news syndication network UPI and has been a long time
backer of the World Anti-Communist League that has ties to former
Latin American death squads, WWII Nazis still wanted for war crimes.
WACL also supported the Nicaraguan contras and the Apartheid created
and supported Mozambique RENAMO terrorist organisation. (see here)
Walker’s (UPI) piece ends with the following:
So once again, thanks to Zarqawi, who now takes
a humble place at the feet of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin as
other ogres who helped unite the West, and remind the quarrelsome
European and American democrats just what it is that unites them.
And in fact, ‘Zarwawi’s press release’ formed
a substantial basis for Condi Rice’s propaganda offensive
when she visited Europe after being crowned US secretary of state
and how convenient it was too that Zarqawi should have made his
statement when he did, just before the Iraq ‘elections’.
The unquestioning acceptance by the Western
media of Zarqawi’s existence is all the more amazing when
you consider that before Colin Powell’s embarrassing speech
at the UN that sought to justify the invasion of Iraq with an
outrageous litany of lies and fabrications, nobody had heard of
the man, who is now, we are told “Osama’s right-hand
man” or sometimes as his “disciple”.
A man who was widely reported as having
been killed when the US bombed his ‘poison factory’
in Northern Iraq in 2003. The ‘factory’, yet
another fabrication of Western propaganda, most likely the CIA,
figured highly in Powell’s UN speech.
The BBC: ‘Ace’? propagandist for the Imperium
One would think that with such an obvious coincidence eyebrows
would be raised, or at the very least, questions asked about the
timing and the content. A search of the BBC’s Website revealed
299 articles that mentioned Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Searching through
them we find not a single article that raises any questions about
his existence or the timing of statements allegedly made by him.
Every article accepts without question the utterances of the US
One article dated 24 January 2005 tells us:
Zarqawi – who tops Iraq’s most wanted list –
has apparently declared war on Iraq’s election.
In another ‘news’ piece dated 23 January 2005 the BBC
Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for many bombings and beheadings
Correspondents say the voice on the latest recording sounded
similar to that on other messages attributed to the fugitive,
whose group is linked to al-Qaeda.
But we are not told who the attribution belongs to, and who, exactly
linked ‘Zarqawi’s group to al-Qaeda’? The only
source is not surprisingly the CIA but the BBC neglects to mention
this fact, nor the wealth of background material on the role of
the CIA in fabricating evidence about Zarqawi. We are asked to take
these statements as fact.
Every single article by the BBC on ‘Zarqawi’ has in
fact only one source, the US (or its puppet, the Allawi regime).
Typically, the BBC, along with other corporate/state-run media outlets
always frame their stories in the following manner:
Yet despite offering a $25m reward for information leading to
his capture or death, he remains at large and is thought to have
stepped up attacks ahead of elections scheduled to take place
in three weeks time. - ‘US hails arrest of Iraq militant’,
BBC 8 January 2005 [my emph.]
Thought by whom? We are not told. In its coverage of the destruction
of Fallujah, the BBC uncritically relays US propaganda via ‘embedded?’
journalist Nick Childs when he tells us
Insurgent casualties he [US general Metz] described as significant
but acknowledged that many of the leaders – including Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi – had probably fled.
Who is Metz acknowledging? A question by Childs? The BBC’s
reportage is relentless and consistent in the tried and trusted
propaganda method of repeating a statement over and over again until
it becomes accepted as a statement of fact. Hence we read in a story
dated 8 November 2004
The message, signed “al-Qaeda in Iraq”, was posted
on a website known for publishing messages from Islamic militant
No attempt is made to ascertain whether the Website is a genuine
source, again we are asked to take it on faith. And in fact, in
another piece the BBC accepts that there is no way of substantiating
who actually releases these statements. But in the overall scheme
of things, this is a piddling detail. What counts is the impression
created of a global conspiracy led by a former small-time crook
from Jordan who became a paid
asset of the CIA in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
In story after story, the existence of ‘Zarqawi’ is
not questioned, nor his alleged role in Iraq. Instead the BBC, faithful
puppet that it is of the US/UK propaganda machine regurgitates the
Zarqawi aide ‘dies in air strike’
A close associate of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
has been killed in a US air strike on the Iraqi city of Falluja,
the US military has said.
Planes attacked what was believed to be safe house used by Zarqawi
in a “precision strike” at 0300 (midnight GMT) on
Tuesday, the statement said. BBC, 26 October 2004 [my emph. WB]
The repetitious use of the words ‘believed’ and the
unquestioning use of US disinformation as its sole source for the
almost three hundred stories that mention Zarqawi, should surely
test the credulity of the BBC and at the very least, the reader
should demand to know why there is not a single story that raises
the issue of whether these stories should be presented as news and
why is there no alternative presented given that every last BBC
story is based on hearsay or US government sources.
A story dated 18 October 2004, and revealingly entitled “Zarqawi
and Bin Laden: Brothers in arms?” is the closest we get to
any kind of question concerning Zarqawi and his alleged relationship
to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden
It [referring to another of the alleged Zarqawi Website statements]
begins with a personal pledge of allegiance from Zarqawi and his
fighters to Osama Bin Laden. But what is the evidence for his relationship
with al-Qaeda – and for his status as the mastermind of the
The statement has not been authenticated and verifying the author
of web postings is almost impossible.
As I have reported here before, ascertaining who owns the Website
takes only a few minutes, so at the very least, the BBC could tell
is where the story originates from, if not who the actual author
The same article goes on to say
But even the suggestion of some kind of alliance marks another
twist in the much disputed tale of the relationship between Zarqawi
and Bin Laden.
What relationship and who asserts that the two actually have a
relationship? Read on…
Few have doubted that there have
been contacts, but the generally accepted
view so far has been that Zarqawi had constructed his own
parallel network which may have in some ways been in competition
with that of Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. [my emph. WB]
“Few have doubted”? “Generally accepted view”?
By whom? We are not told. It’s all grist for the BBC’s
propaganda mill and even though the same article is forced to accept
that there is not a single shred of evidence to support either a
relationship between Zarqawi and al-Qaeda or even of the existence
of a “global jihadist movement”, this doesn’t
stop the BBC from telling us
Some had even begun to suggest that with Osama Bin Laden now
strangely absent from the scene for a prolonged period, Zarqawi
could become the new figurehead of the global jihadist movement.
[my emph. WB]
Since the start of the Iraq insurgency, Zarqawi has steadily
risen to prominence as the symbol of the Iraq insurgency in the
same way Osama Bin Laden has been the symbol of the global Islamist
insurgency. [my emph. WB]
Failing to add ‘with the able assistance of the BBC’
and other corporate/state media outlets. Note also the use of
the phrase “global Islamist insurgency”, yet another
fallacy, for there is not a single shred of evidence to support
the existence of a “global Islamist insurgency”.
And in a bizarre reversal of roles, the same BBC article says
It is not just a question of others perhaps exaggerating his
role. Zarqawi himself has proved adept at playing the media. [my
Again assuming that the man exists, just who is playing whom here?
Zarqawi only ‘plays the media’ because the media plays
the role of propagandist for the US/UK. Take the following, also
from the same article
Recent evidence also points to the possibility that the Baathist
former regime loyalists may still be playing a more active role
than has recently been assumed even if that is in co-operation
with Zarqawi. [my emph. WB]
What evidence? You’ll search the BBC in vain for a single
corroborating article that contains a single piece of evidence that
proves a connection between Zarqawi and former Ba’athists
or even that ‘former Ba’athists‘ are involved.
Once more we are forced to accept the BBC’s utterances on
faith. The BBC’s real mission is revealed by the following
The US and Iraqi interim government will be hoping that recent
signs in Falluja that residents have become increasingly angry
at the way the presence of foreign fighters has made them a target
may be just the beginning of a falling away of support for Zarqawi
and others. [my emph. WB]
For contained in this statement are two crucial pieces of propaganda:
one, that Fallujah was occupied by “foreign fighters”,
and two, that their alleged presence made the residents “angry”.
And where is the evidence of the ‘recent signs’ that
the BBC refers to? Not in the article or anywhere else on the BBC
Website either. It’s yet another ‘throwaway’ line
that makes the mosaic of propaganda.
Perhaps the most outrageous piece of BBC propaganda is to be found
in article entitled “Who’s who in al-Qaeda” where
we find a ‘profile’ of Zarqawi that informs us in part,
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian also known as Ahmed al-Khalayleh,
has been accused of spearheading al-Qaeda’s campaign against
the US occupation in Iraq.
In February 2004, the US military released a letter it claimed
to have intercepted in which Zarqawi apparently asks al-Qaeda
to help ignite a sectarian conflict in Iraq.
His name has been linked to the deadly suicide bombings targeting
Iraqi Shias and security services. He is also suspected of direct
involvement in the kidnappings and execution of foreign workers
A $25m bounty has been placed on his head – although some
experts believe that much terrorist activity in Iraq – while
inspired by him – may now take place independently of him.
His capture, they therefore argue, is unlikely to stop the violence.
The head of Germany’s international counter-terrorism unit,
Hans-Josef Beth, has warned that Zarqawi is trained in the use
of toxins and could be planning an attack on Europe.
He is believed to have travelled extensively since the 11 September
attacks, including in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon and
In February 2003, during an address to the United Nations Security
Council, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Mr Zarqawi had
been given safe haven in Iraq, although Mr Powell has subsequently
said that some of that testimony was based on information that
appeared not to be “solid”. [my emph. WB]
As solid as air. So whilst all 299 BBC stories (over 300,000 words
in total) that mention Zarqawi hold not a single piece of evidence
as to his real as opposed to alleged role in Iraq (or anywhere else
for that matter), the overall impression created by the BBC’s
coverage forms an integral part of an intensive state-led propaganda
offensive that obscures the real reasons for resistance to the occupation
of Iraq and of the larger propaganda campaign that legitimates the
phony ‘war on terror’.
|SYDNEY : A former Australian spy contradicted
government claims that no Australian was involved in interrogating
Iraqi prisoners, saying he himself witnessed and reported the alleged
abuse of Iraqis by their US captors.
Rod Barton, a former senior analyst for the Defense Intelligence
Organisation (DIO) and a long-time Iraq weapons inspector, said
he personally interrogated an Iraqi detainee at Camp Cropper, a
US center which held so-called "high value" prisoners.
"Someone was brought to me in an orange jumpsuit with a guard
with a gun standing behind him," Barton told Four Corners,
a news program to be broadcast later Monday on Australian Broadcasting
"Of course I didn't pull any fingernails out but I think
it's misleading to say no Australians were involved, I was involved,"
Last year after revelations that US soldiers were abusing Iraqis
in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, the Australian
government steadfastly denied that any Australians were involved
in the interrogation of Iraqi detainees.
Defense Minister Robert Hill testified in Parliament that "Australia
did not interrogate prisoners".
Barton said he raised concerns with an Australian
defense official about the abuse of inmates at Camp Cropper before
the mistreatment at Abu Ghraib became public, but no action was
He said he had seen prisoners with hessian bags over their heads
in solitary confinement in tiny cells, some with abrasions to their
faces which US officials said were the result of suspects resisting
Barton said in one case he suspected a prisoner
was beaten to death.
Barton's claims came a day after an Australian who was recently
released after three years detention by the US military as a terrorist
suspect said an Australia diplomat watched him being tortured by
Mamdouh Habib said in a television interview Sunday that an
Australian consular official, who he named, stood by while 15 US
and Pakistan soldiers mistreated him at an airport after his arrest
in Pakistan in October 2001.
Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock denied this Monday.
During Monday's program, Barton also said that the United States
censored intelligence reports about Iraq's possession of weapons
of mass destruction (WMD).
Barton was seconded by the DIO to UNSCOM, the UN organisation
sent to Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War to verify the destruction of
Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and then served
last year with the US Iraq Survey Group tasked with finding WMD
after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
"I knew that there would be some indicators if they really
had a program and there were no indicators whatsoever," Barton
said. "So I knew there were no weapons."
Barton said the head of the survey group, Charles
Duelfer, told him to make his report more vague.
"Both Washington and London wanted other things put in and
to make it -- I can only use these words -- to make it sexier,"
Barton said in one instance he inspected two trailers that the
CIA believed had been involved in WMD production and concluded they
had nothing to do with biological arms.
Barton said he resigned after the final version of the Survey
Group report left the impression there were still weapons to be
"We left the impression that maybe there ... was WMD out
there -- I thought it was dishonest," he said.
"I wanted to make it clear to them that I had left because
I thought the process was dishonest. I wasn't the popular person
when I got back," he said.
SYDNEY, Australia, Feb. 12 - Mamdouh Habib
still has a bruise on his lower back. He says it is a sign of the
beatings he endured in a prison in Egypt. Interrogators
there put out cigarettes on his chest, he says, and he lifts
his shirt to show the marks. He says he got the dark spot on his
forehead when Americans hit his head against the floor at the prison
at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
After being arrested in Pakistan in the weeks after Sept. 11,
2001, he was held as a terror suspect by the Americans for 40 months.
Back home now, Mr. Habib alleges that at every step of his detention
- from Pakistan, to Egypt, to Afghanistan, to Guantánamo
- he endured physical and psychological abuse.
The physical abuse, he said, ranged from a kick
"that nearly killed me" to electric shocks administered
through a wired helmet that he said interrogators told him could
detect whether he was lying.
Speaking publicly for the first time since he was freed two weeks
ago, Mr. Habib, a 49-year-old Australian citizen born in Egypt,
also described psychological abuse that seemed intended to undermine
his identity - as a husband, a father and a Muslim man. At
Guantánamo, he said, he was sexually humiliated by a female
interrogator who reached under her skirt and threw what appeared
to be blood in his face. He also said he was forced to look at photographs
of his wife's face superimposed on images of naked women next to
Osama bin Laden.
Mr. Habib's claims of mistreatment and torture cannot be confirmed,
yet many are in line with accounts from other former detainees,
as well as from human rights reports and from some government agents
involved in the detention system. In addition, Australian officials
confirm Mr. Habib's movements during his confinement, including
his imprisonment in Egypt, where his lawyers say the United States
sent him for harsh interrogation through a process known as rendition.
There is a part of his experience that Mr. Habib will not address,
the months before the Sept. 11 attacks when Australian intelligence
officials say Mr. Habib trained at two camps for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
The officials also said Mr. Habib told his wife in a phone call
just days before Sept. 11 that something big was going to happen
in the United States. Mr. Habib said he planned to sue the Australian
government for not protecting him, and then, "I will answer
every single question in a court."
American officials said he admitted to training some of the Sept.
11 hijackers and to having prior knowledge of the attack, but they
never charged him. Mr. Habib said any confessions
he made were a result of torture and were not genuine.
"Whatever they wanted me to sign,"
he said, "I signed to survive."
Despite his activities in Afghanistan, Australian officials said
there was no evidence that he trained any of the hijackers. One
official said, "I have absolutely no sympathy for him,"
but added that whatever he did, it did not justify the torture he
said he had endured.
A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Alvin Plexico, declined to address
Mr. Habib's specific claims, saying in a statement that there was
no evidence that any Australian in Defense Department custody "was
tortured or abused." The C.I.A. declined comment and the embassies
of Egypt and Pakistan in Australia did not responded to questions.
Mr. Habib recounted his story, previously outlined in legal papers,
during interviews with The New York Times, with his Australian lawyer,
Stephen Hopper, present much of the time. Mr. Habib also spoke with
the Australian television news program "60 Minutes," which
paid him an undisclosed amount for the interview, people involved
in the arrangements said.
He said that during months and months of detention: "I don't
feel anything anymore. I want to die." This week, standing
at the water's edge north of Sydney, looking out at an expanse of
sailboats and the green woods beyond, he said, "Until now,
I believe I'm dreaming." [...]
A report in the Washington Post states that
the U.S. is using spy technology in order to learn more about Iran's
alleged nuclear weapons program.
According to an Iranian official and three U.S. officials the
surveillance drones flying over Iran are seeking evidence of nuclear-weapons
programs and attempting to detect any weaknesses in the country's
The small, pilotless planes, penetrating
Iranian airspace from U.S. military facilities in Iraq, use radar,
video, still photography and air filters designed to pick up traces
of nuclear activity to gather information that is not accessible
to satellites, the officials said.
The aerial espionage is standard in military
preparations for an eventual air attack and is employed as a tool
As there is no diplomatic relations with the U.S., the Iranian government
is using Swiss channels to formally protest the incursions, according
to Iranian, European and U.S. officials.
The latest military exercises and the tone of the Bush administration's
anti-Iran rhetoric comes at a time when the U.S. intelligence community
searches for information to try and support President Bush's claim
that Tehran is trying to build nuclear weapons.
Bush's senior advisers, including Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, said last week that
a U.S. attack on Iran is not imminent but that the option remains
According to U.S. officials, the drones are one of several tools
being used to gather information on Iran's nuclear programs and
its military capabilities.
Though the United States thinks Iran is
using its nuclear-energy program to conceal an effort to manufacture
nuclear weapons, so far no evidence
has been found that substantiates that claim.
Iran, a nation rich in oil and natural gas, says its program is
for energy purposes only.
A former U.S. official with direct knowledge of earlier phases of
the operation said Iraq was used as a spy base on Iran shortly after
the occupation of Baghdad in April 2003. Drones have been flown
over Iran since then, the former official said, but the missions
became more frequent last year.
U.S. officials confirmed that the drones were deployed along Iran's
northern and western borders, first in April 2004 and again in December
One U.S. intelligence official said different types of drones with
varying capabilities have been deployed over Iran. Some fly several
hundred feet above the earth, getting a closer view of ground activities
than satellites, and are equipped with technology that captures
particles and delivers them back to base for analysis.
Any presence of plutonium, uranium or tritium could indicate nuclear
work in the area where the samples were collected.
The last drone sightings were in mid-January, about the same time
Iran's National Security Council met in Tehran to discuss them,
an Iranian official said.
"It was clear to our air force that the entire intention here
was to get us to turn on our radar," the official said.
That tactic, designed to contribute information to what the military
calls an "enemy order of battle," was used by the U.S.
military in the Korean and Vietnam wars, against the Soviets, the
Chinese and in both Iraq wars.
But the tactic failed.
"The United States must have forgotten
that they trained half our guys," the Iranian official
Three weeks ago, Iran's national-security officials ordered their
forces not to turn on the radar or come into contact with the drones.
Leaving the radar off deprives U.S. forces of vital information
about Iran's air defenses.
WASHINGTON : The number of FBI investigations
into Chinese espionage in California's technology corridor has soared,
as Beijing allegedly recruits civilians to steal US know-how, Time
magazine reported Sunday.
Suspected espionage cases have been reported from New Jersey on
the east coast to California in the west, the weekly magazine reported.
The FBI is watching more than 3,000 companies in the United States
suspected of collecting information for China, it said.
"A hotbed of activity is Silicon Valley (California), where
the number of Chinese espionage cases handled by the bureau increases
20 percent to 30 percent annually," Time said, referring to
the state's corridor of high-tech companies.
"China is trying to develop a military
that can compete with the US, and they are willing to steal to get
(it)," a senior Federal Bureau of Investigation official
was quoted as saying.
A US intelligence official said: "The Chinese are very good
at putting a lot of people on just a little piece and getting a
massive amount of stuff home."
Time called the number of Chinese spies "staggering,
if only because average civilians are enlisted in the effort."
Chinese nationals are debriefed by state security agents in China
before and after their trips to the United States. They are asked
what they saw and sometimes told what to get, the magazine said.
A couple of Chinese origin was arrested
last year in Wisconsin for allegedly sending to China 500,000 dollars
worth of computer parts that could enhance missile systems,
Time said. The couple, who are naturalized Americans, are awaiting
The FBI has added hundreds of counter-intelligence agents and
put at least one in every US Energy Department research facility,
It has also begun cooperation initiatives with corporations and
considers universities as a soft spot, since there are some 150,000
Chinese studying in the United States, according to the magazine.
The FBI relies heavily on Chinese informants to sort spies from
the thousands of Chinese who travel to the United States for work,
A man has been charged with conspiring to cause
an explosion with intent to endanger life after being arrested at
Salahuddin Amin, 29, had arrived on a British Airways flight from
Pakistan last Tuesday and was arrested at Terminal 4 by police under
Mr Amin will appear at Bow Street magistrates' court tomorrow
charged with "wilfully and maliciously" conspiring to
cause an explosion, under the 1883 Explosives Act.
He is being held and questioned at Paddington Green high-security
police station in central London under the Terrorism Act after an
operation involving MI5 and police anti-terrorism units.
He is accused of unlawfully and maliciously conspiring with others
to cause, by means of an explosive substance, an explosion of a
nature likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property,
between 1 October 2003 and 31 March 2004.
(CNN) -- A gunman is in custody after opening
fire Sunday afternoon and injuring at least two people at Hudson
Valley Mall in upstate New York, police said.
Police said one person suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and
another appeared to suffer a shrapnel or glass wound to the hand.
Beth Engeler, a spokeswoman at Albany Medical Center, said one
person was being treated there and that, as of 6 p.m., authorities
told her another person was on the way.
Police said the shooting appeared to be the work of a lone, male
gunman who was apprehended by witnesses after running out of ammunition
for his "assault-type rifle."
Authorities were interviewing witnesses to determine if anyone
else was involved, said James Sottile, mayor of the nearby town
The large suburban mall is one of the most popular shopping centers
in the area, and was crowded at the time of the shooting, Sottile
All the entrances were closed, said freelance reporter Jeanne
Lenzer, who was at the mall.
"Police are everywhere," she said. "They're trying
to make sure there are not other shooters." [...]
| Signs Economic Commentary
| Donald Hunt
February 13, 2005
The dollar closed at .777 euros
on Friday, essentially unchanged from last week with a euro buying
1.287 dollars. The Dow closed at 10,796.01, up 0.7% from last week.
The NASDAQ closed at 2076.66 up 2% from 2035.83 last week. The interest
rate on the ten-year US Treasury bond closed at 4.09% compared to
4.08% last Friday. Oil closed at $47.16 (36.64 euros) or up 1.5%
from last week's close of $46.48 (36.11 euros). Gold went for $422.00
(327.89 euros) an ounce at Friday's close, up 1.5% from last week's
$415.90 (323.15 euros). An ounce of gold, then, would buy 8.95 barrels
of oil, unchanged from last week.
This week was touted as a strong week for the dollar and for the
US stock market, as many investors pretended that Bush was going
to do something about the US budget deficit. Before we look at
the budget, let's take one more look at the jobs figures from January.
While many analysts pointed to a small gain in jobs during Bush's
first term, Paul
Craig Roberts pointed out in Counterpunch last week that there
was still a significant drop in private sector jobs in those four
years. War-related government jobs accounted for the increase,
which is not surprising, since the United States now resembles Sparta
far more than it does Athens:
The January jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics continues
the bad news of the past four years. During President Bush's first
term, the US economy had a net loss of three-quarters of a million
private sector jobs. Despite three years of economic recovery,
fewer Americans are employed in the private sector today than
when Bush was first inaugurated four years ago.
The slight decline in the unemployment rate reported for January
is not the result of new jobs; it is the result of large numbers
of discouraged people, many with university degrees, dropping
out of the work force. They cannot find employment and have given
During Bush's first term, the once fabled US economy has been
unable to create jobs in export sectors or in import-competitive
sectors. January's 134,000 new private sector jobs are in domestic
services that cannot be outsourced: couriers and messengers, food
services and drinking places, health care and social assistance,
educational services, temporary help, retail, and credit intermediation.
...America's growing dependence on imports reflects the outsourcing
of manufacturing jobs and knowledge services. Every time a US
firm outsources goods or services, it turns domestic production
into imports. Half of the US trade deficit with China represents
US offshore production for US markets.
Interest groups that benefit from outsourcing and their spokespersons
who cloak themselves in free-trade rhetoric maintain that there
is nothing to worry about. Outsourcing, they claim, strengthens
the US economy and creates jobs. If that were true, wouldn't economic
strength translate into dollar strength? If outsourcing creates
US jobs, wouldn't some of those jobs be in the export sector?
Average weekly pay in the US is declining in real terms. Obviously,
if outsourcing is creating jobs, they are less good jobs than
the ones being outsourced. Trading better jobs for worse ones
is the road to poverty, not the road to wealth.
The dismal US performance in job and pay growth is despite the
most stimulative monetary and fiscal policy in my lifetime. If
the lowest US interest rates in memory, tax cuts and the biggest
budget deficits in US history cannot create jobs and boost pay,
How can this be spun as a positive? Al
Martin claims that there is a strategy that combines distorting
data in the positive direction to boost the markets and then correcting
them some time later back downward. The Bush administration is also
one of the best at putting their shills in positions of maximum
Now on Feb 4, we're having yet another pro-Bush net media
spin Friday, as the release of the January employment report. Market
guesstimates were for the unemployment rate to hold steady at 5.4%;
it actually dropped to 5.2%. Yet non-farm payroll gains, estimated
to be up 200,000, came in up only 146,000, with December's job data
revise 24,000 lower. Imagine their desperation! We saw CNBC with,
of course, Larry "The Dow's Going to 50,000 under Bushonomics" Kudlow
leading the charge in a desperate bid to spin this number.
They immediately brought on chief Bushonian economic calendar spinmeister
Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. Despite the fact the numbers were horrendous,
including the sub-component, wages up 2/10ths of 1% versus the expectation
of up 3/10ths of 1%; average hourly work week, which was anticipated
to rise to 33.9 hours, actually fell to 33.7 hours. There was nothing
positive about the report. Yet every effort was made to concentrate
investors' attention on the fact that the 5.2% headline number,
or unemployment rate number, was actually down 2/10ths of 1%.
Then they showed e-mails that were sent in, and someone tried to
remind Larry Kudlow that the reason the unemployment rate was lower,
which has been the reason the unemployment rate has fallen for the
last 18 months, is that the number of citizens being counted in
the employment survey is diminishing. And, yes, in fact, in January,
the Bureau of Labor Statistics dropped another million citizens
from the payroll survey. That's the reason the unemployment rate
is actually declining; while the number of unemployed citizens is
actually increasing, as can be seen in the weekly continuing claims
rates, which continues to hover around 3 million, hasn't moved in
the last 12 months. Continuing claims means those citizens without
jobs for more than 18 months.
...The net result of this well-coordinated spin, of an entire spinning
machine that starts at the White House and ends up on CNBC, is that
the markets were actually called 50 lower. The Dow is called 50
lower and is now trading 50 higher. And, as retail sucker– they
even used the expression on MSNBC, as: "‘Retail sucker money,' emboldened
by the news that the employment rate dropped 2/3rds of 1%, are flooding
into the markets, as they should be."
But they don't even care. So now, 3 hours after the market opens,
the disaster that the numbers are has been completely forgotten.
It's completely out of the news, it's out of the headlines. And
now, even on Dow Jones broad-tape news services, numbers officially
construed as bullish when, at 8:30 this morning Eastern Standard
Time when they came out, they were officially construed as bearish.
In conclusion, Joe Sixpack 300-share retail sucker money, which
is supporting and propelling the market higher despite deteriorating
economic fundamentals, should beware. Do not be taken in by this
constant pro-Bush net spin that you hear on CNBC and increasingly,
and unfortunately, on Bloomberg News as well.
Remember what Larry Kudlow said only a few years ago on CNBC, when
Enron was at $70 a share; and he said, "Oh, you got to buy that
Enron at 70; it's a good buy.
At the very same time, a partnership he was involved with had George
Bush, Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Baker, Donald Rumsfeld–an
offshore smart Republican money investment partnership–selling the
But Kudlow always hits the 300-share sucker buyers when he says
"You gotta buy 300 shares of that, you gotta buy 300 shares of this,"
because he knows the audience he's trying to reach. It's the sucker
What Kudlow's specific role has become, as you see him on CNBC,
is to consistently spin bearish Bushonian economic fundamentals
into something bullish and specifically address his remarks to the
Joe Sixpack investor. That's why they have him on at lunchtime,
and then at the 6-to-7 hour -- the time that the Joe Sixpack 300-share
buyers most watch CNBC.
It's a deliberate strategy. "Oh, you know, stocks have always gone
up in the last 50 years, and you don't have to worry about it. Just
buy 300 shares of this and 300 shares of that. You'll be alright."
...We've had propagandists before, but not until the Bush-Cheney
regime has such a mechanism been established between the White House,
the Republican National Committee, George Bush dot-com, CNBC, MSNBC,
and Bloomberg News.
Never has such a well-defined, coordinated mechanism been put together
to constantly lie. That's what they're doing, lying. They're not
misstating the numbers like happened with the gross domestic product
last week; they're outright lying.
...It would probably be useful to remind our readers of who is Larry
Kudlow? He was actually in the Treasury Department and held a variety
of sub-cabinet level positions in the Reagan-Bush regime. But, more
importantly, people forget how many of the great Republican stock
frauds that Kudlow's name came up in during the 1980s.
There was Harken Energy [George W. Bush's company] of course. He
was a big short in Harken Energy when we busted that. He was a big
short at MCorp and Allied Band Shares. Texas American Bank of Commerce.
He was a long in the Harcourt Brace takeover, which was an inside
Larry was an investor in the Houston Energy Partnership Trust, which
included, of course, George Bush Senior, included all of the sons
of Bush's, included Prescott Junior, included Prescott's son Wally,
James Baker, George Schultz, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, and
If you simply look at all of the stocks that they were in from,
let's say, 1984 to 1988, they were all the great Republican frauds.
Larry Kudlow made his bones in Republican fraud deals. How do you
make your bones under a Bushonian regime? By shorting Enron at $70
when you're telling everyone else to buy it. Then you too can become
an economic pundit for CNBC – and the chief economic shill for the
Last week Bush proposed his budget and continued to push for partial
privatization of Social Security. The frauds in both instances are
so vast, it's hard to know where to begin, but let's look first
at the Social Security plan. They have lied and distorted the truth
for so long now about Social Security that they have convinced two
whole generations that the system is in such danger that it will
not be there for them when they retire. That is false.
They have also led people to think of Social Security as a retirement
savings program. It was never that, it was a retirement insurance
program. But the constant drumbeat of self-centered thinking promoted
in the media and encouraged in the people have led to people to
think in terms of getting back when they retire what they have paid
into the system, plus a return on the investment. In fact, the
program is one where today's workers pay today's retirees. Those
who are working today will be paid in their retirement by the people
The so-called crisis of a bankrupt Social Security system is only
a temporary, easy to solve problem. It arises from the demographic
bulge of the post WWII baby-boom generation. When they retire, they
will have proportionally fewer workers paying into the system at
that time. But in that very fact lies the salvation of the system,
because when Generation X (those born in the seventies and early
eighties when the birthrate was lower) retires they will have proportionally
many more people working at that time, the newer baby boom of people
born in the late eighties through the nineties.
Therefore we need only get past a fifteen-year period of relative
shortfall, which would have been easy if the so-called trust fund
had not been raided to make the general budget deficits look lower.
In fact, the budget deficits themselves, have made the situation
worse, because if the government had not cut taxes on the super-rich
and started unnecessary wars, we could have been piling up surpluses
which would have made it easier to borrow money to get over the
retiring baby-boomer hump for Social Security (and Medicare and
It is amazing how many people think Social Security is "bankrupt"
without really understanding what that means. The reason for this,
obviously, is to transfer large amounts of money to the financial
industry in the form of fees for the private Social Security investment
accounts and to pump up the stock markets with hundreds of billions
of extra dollars. They have sold this to the public, especially
younger workers, by contrasting a mythical "rate of return" on the
money you pay into Social Security, with historic rates of return
of stocks. It is worth keeping in mind the Anthropic
Suppose you're a young investor pondering whether to
invest your retirement savings in bonds or equity. You are vaguely
aware of some studies showing that over sufficiently lengthy periods
of time, stocks have, in the past, substantially outperformed bonds
(an observation which is often referred to as the "equity premium
puzzle"). So you are tempted to put your money into equity. You
might want to consider, though, that a selection effect might be
at least partly responsible for the apparent superiority of stocks.
While it is true that most of the readily available data does favor
stocks, this data is mainly from the American and British stock
exchanges, which both have continuous records of trading dating
back over a century. But is it an accident that the best data comes
from these exchanges? Both America and Britain have benefited during
this period from stable political systems and steady economic growth.
Other countries have not been so lucky. Wars, revolutions, and currency
collapses have at times obliterated entire stock exchanges, which
is precisely why continuous trading records are not available elsewhere.
By looking at only the two greatest success stories, one would risk
overestimating the historical performance of stocks. A careful investor
would be wise to factor in this consideration when designing her
Not only that, but, according to reliable sources like Paul
Krugman, long-term returns on stocks can only be equal to the
general rate of growth in the economy, which will probably average
long-term about 3%, exactly the rate of return on the bonds issues
on Social Security trust fund money. For Bush's plan to work, stocks
would have to average a 6 or 7% return over 75 years, something
that is not really possible without much higher than expected overall
growth. The amazing thing about the Bush gang's argument is that
the only way Social Security will go bankrupt by 2045 is if growth
is slow, in which case privatization will be a disaster. If privatization
is to work, growth will have to be high enough to actually make
the present Social Security system financially healthy in the long
Of course the intent
of the Bush people is not to provide us with comfortable retirements,
it is to dismantle a popular Roosevelt-era government program while
making their friends rich. Krugman
President Bush isn't trying to reform Social Security. He isn't
even trying to "partially privatize" it. His plan is,
in essence, to dismantle the program, replacing it with a system
that may be social but doesn't provide security. And the goal,
as with his tax cuts, is to undermine the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt.
Why do I say that the Bush plan would dismantle Social Security?
Because for Americans who entered the work force after the plan
went into effect and who chose to open private accounts, guaranteed
benefits - income you receive after retirement even if everything
else goes wrong - would be nearly eliminated. Here's how it would
work. First, workers with private accounts would be subject to
a "clawback": in effect, they would have to mortgage
their future benefits in order to put money into their accounts.
Second, since private accounts would do nothing to improve Social
Security's finances - something the administration has finally
admitted - there would be large benefit cuts in addition to the
Jason Furman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates
that the guaranteed benefits left to an average worker born in
1990, after the clawback and the additional cuts, would be only
8 percent of that worker's prior earnings, compared with 35 percent
today. This means that under Mr. Bush's plan, workers with private
accounts that fared poorly would find themselves destitute. Why
expose workers to that much risk? Ideology. "Social Security
is the soft underbelly of the welfare state," declares Stephen
Moore of the Club for Growth and the Cato Institute. "If
you can jab your spear through that, you can undermine the whole
By the welfare state, Mr. Moore means Social Security, Medicare
and Medicaid - social insurance programs whose purpose, above
all, is to protect Americans against the extreme economic insecurity
that prevailed before the New Deal. The hard right has never forgiven
F.D.R. (and later L.B.J.) for his efforts to reduce that insecurity,
and now that the right is running Washington, it's trying to turn
the clock back to 1932.
Medicaid is also in the cross hairs. And if Mr. Bush can take
down Social Security, Medicare will be next.
The attempt to "jab a spear" through Social Security
complements the strategy of "starve the beast," long
advocated by right-wing intellectuals: cut taxes, then use the
resulting deficits as an excuse for cuts in social spending. The
spearing doesn't seem to be going too well at the moment, but
the starving was on full display in the budget released yesterday.
Looking at the Social Security plan in the context of the budget
proposed by Bush makes the whole enterprise even more obscene.
To put that budget into perspective, let's look at the causes
of the federal budget deficit. In spite of the expense of the
Iraq war, federal spending as a share of G.D.P. isn't high by
historical standards - in fact, it's slightly below its average
over the past 20 years. But federal revenue as a share of G.D.P.
has plunged to levels not seen since the 1950's.
Almost all of this plunge came from a sharp decline in receipts
from the personal income tax and the corporate profits tax. These
are the taxes that fall primarily on people with high incomes
- and in 2003 and 2004, their combined take as a share of G.D.P.
was at its lowest level since 1942. On the other hand, the payroll
tax, which is the main federal tax paid by middle-class and working-class
Americans, remains at near-record levels.
You might think, given these facts, that a plan to reduce the
deficit would include major efforts to increase revenue, starting
with a rollback of recent huge tax cuts for the wealthy. In fact,
the budget contains new upper-income tax breaks. Any deficit reduction
will come from spending cuts. Many of those cuts won't make it
through Congress, but Mr. Bush may well succeed in imposing cuts
in child care assistance and food stamps for low-income workers.
He may also succeed in severely squeezing Medicaid - the only
one of the three great social insurance programs specifically
intended for the poor and near-poor, and therefore the most politically
All of this explains why it's foolish to imagine some sort of
widely acceptable compromise with Mr. Bush about Social Security.
Moderates and liberals want to preserve the America F.D.R. built.
Mr. Bush and the ideological movement he leads, although they
may use F.D.R.'s image in ads, want to destroy it.
One of the most breathtaking frauds in the new budget is that THERE
IS NO MONEY BUDGETED FOR THE IRAQ AND AFGHAN WARS. This is despite
a defense budget approaching a half trillion dollars (compared to
a third of a trillion under Clinton). The Bush mouthpieces say
this is because they don't know exactly how much these losing wars
are going to cost. Why not just put a placeholder of about $100
billion for goodness sakes. The money for these wars next year,
just like this year, will come from "supplemental appropriations."
But if Bush put those numbers into his budget, he couldn't pretend
that he is doing something about the deficit.
As far as Bush is concerned, there is no reason to worry about
borrowing dollars, since they will be worthless soon. Why not borrow
them to secure oil and military bases? But he can't come out and
say this, so instead we get these kinds of games, according to Patrick
Martin in an article entitled, "US
budget slashes social spending to pay for war and repression":
The most important feature of the new budget released by the
Bush administration on Monday is that it is not, in any serious
sense of the word, a budget at all. It is a monumental fraud,
aimed at concealing fiscal reality and usurping decisions on spending
that, under longstanding US constitutional procedures, are reserved
to Congress rather than the executive branch.
Many of the most expensive and politically contentious initiatives
of the Bush administration are simply left out of the budget.
By one estimate, the omitted costs come to $4 trillion over 10
years, an amount equal to about one-and-a-half year's spending
at the current rate of $2.5 trillion a year.
There is no funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although
the costs are estimated at $5 billion a month even if the US troop
presence in Iraq is reduced to 120,000 next year.
White House budget director Joshua Bolten admitted that the war
would involve major costs, but added, "It wouldn't be responsible
for us to take a guess at what those costs are." (This argument
apparently does not apply to the campaign for Social Security
privatization, which Bush has sought to motivate through implausible
and tendentious projections about the state of the system's finances
75 years from now).
The Bush administration has consistently refused to incorporate
spending for its war policies into the regular budget, instead
making use of supplemental appropriations bills rammed through
Congress with demagogy about the need to "support our troops."
The purpose has been to distance the social cuts imposed by the
administration from the cost of its wars, and thus conceal their
essential connection: millions are being cut off food stamps,
student loans or health insurance to finance American military
There is no funding for Bush's Social Security privatization
plan, although the cost of establishing new private accounts is
projected at $754 billion over the first decade and trillions
more thereafter. At a press conference Monday, Bolten gave the
following explanation for why the Social Security costs had not
been included: "The budget went to bed," he said, "before the
president's proposals were announced."
The argument is preposterous, since Bush had made no secret of
his plans during the election campaign. Moreover, the budget includes
many other White House proposals which have yet to be fleshed
out, let alone submitted to Congress. Bolten denied that the White
House was concealing the enormous costs of Social Security privatization.
In any case, he told reporters, the White House position was that
"transition financing does not represent new debt."
The White House has also played fast and loose with its tax revenue
projections. Most of the sweeping tax cuts for the rich enacted
in 2001 and 2003 are scheduled to expire after 2009. The Bush
administration is seeking to extend the cuts indefinitely, at
a cost estimated at $1.1 trillion through 2015. (Repeal of Bush's
tax cuts would provide more than enough money to resolve the projected
budget gaps in Social Security and Medicare).
In order to avoid recording the cost of these tax breaks, the
Bush administration has scrapped the traditional ten-year scoring
of the cost of programs and tax cuts, in favor of a five-year
projection that ends in 2010—just when the huge bonanza for the
rich would be renewed.
And what is this aggression and repression that we will be paying
for going to bring? Large scale death and destruction, most likely
- especially if the United States or Israel attacks Iran. An anonymous
person with some knowledge of military technology posted a
piece speculating on the way an attack on Iran would play out:
How the attack plays out
After watching destruction of Iraq the Iranians will be forced
to respond. Because Iran is already at total war footing the attacks
escalate out of control in a matter of days.
- Israel hits Iran's nuclear facilities
- Iran goes to Alert One
- Israel hits a US Carrier and blames Iran
- US hits Iran's
navy in northern Persian Gulf
- Iran attacks with all it's missiles
Iran has already calculated their response and they realize
their only option is a massive attack. Iran is sitting on a stockpile
of Exorcet, Sunburn 22 and SS-NX-26 Yakhonts missiles. The
Fifth Fleet sits at Qatar and it is within range of the Sunburn-22
and Yakhonts. Iran is said to have commercial freighters equipped
with Exocets that will be in port at the time. Once Israel hits
the US carrier (similar to USS
Liberty ) then Iran will have no choice but to defend itself.
The 5th Fleet sits in a lake surrounded by Iran's rugged mountains
and will be decimated by the missiles. The US fleet will arrive
in the Indian Ocean but will be helpless because the straits of
Hormuz will be a Phalanx of hundreds of Exocets.
At the same time Iraqi insurgents begin a counteroffensive. A
major attack on the Green Zone would take out most of Iraq's foreign
administrators. It's very possible that the Iraq occupation could
turn deadly and costly.
Add to this, offensives on Iraq's isolated towns and the occupiers
would be in a multiple quagmire – the occupiers are now surrounded.
As supplies and ammunition begin to run out, the status of the
US forces in the region will become precarious.
Straits of Hormuz
The occupiers will become the besieged... The US is cornered
- if they try to escape they will be slaughtered in the Straits
of Hormuz. With Iran's enormous missile capability the US will
have two choices - either go to the UN for peace or an all out
nuclear attack on Iran.
Flow of oil stops
With enough anti-ship missiles, the Iranians can halt tanker traffic
through Hormuz for weeks, even months. With the flow of oil from
the Gulf curtailed, the price of a barrel of crude will skyrocket
on the world market. Within days the global economy will begin to
grind to a halt
Why does the only group that has the power to stop this, the Bush
administration, want this to happen?
| WASHINGTON - President Bush was sending Congress
on Monday an $82 billion package to fund U.S. military operations
in Iraq and Afghanistan, pushing the total for both conflicts to nearly
The supplemental budget request, previously set at $81 billion,
includes $600 million in new aid for Asian nations hit by the Dec.
26 tsunami, pushing the total U.S. contribution to $950 million.
Aides said Bush planned to send the $82 billion request to Capitol
Hill later in the day.
The request will push funding for military operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan to nearly $300 billion, a record
$105 billion for fiscal year 2005 alone.
The Bush administration plans to use the extra money, most of which
is allotted for Iraq where a violent insurgency continues, to accelerate
the training of Iraqi forces so they can assume greater responsibility
for security and provide an exit strategy for U.S. troops.
The request is expected to be approved by lawmakers, despite their
concerns about record federal budget deficits. No
funds for the Iraq and Afghanistan operations were included in the
$2.57 trillion budget Bush submitted to Congress a week ago.
NEW YORK - The dollar slid broadly on Monday
after Japanese data highlighted the imbalance between Asian trade
surpluses and U.S. deficits, and investors unwound bets on further
gains in the greenback.
On Friday, International Monetary Market futures data indicated
speculators in the Chicago futures market
were net buyers of dollars last week for the first time in eight
months, and that shift of market positioning left the dollar
vulnerable to downside surprises, traders said.
"The market is long dollar for the
first time in a long time and anything that is dollar negative
is going to prompt those long the dollar to react," said Thomas
Molloy, a trader at Bank Leumi in New York. "The Japan data
is part of it."
By midmorning in New York, the dollar was trading at 104.97 yen
, down 0.7 percent from late Friday in New York, and the euro was
trading at $1.2967 , up about 0.8 percent.
Japan's current account surplus -- the broadest measure of trade
in goods and services -- rose 35.1 percent in December from a year
earlier to a record 1.616 trillion yen, far higher the forecast
4.5 percent rise.
This underlined the argument for a weaker dollar,
particularly after news last week that the U.S. trade deficit hit
a record $617.7 billion in 2004, swelling 25 percent from the prior
Dollar investors are hoping the decline in
the dollar will ultimately help correct the United States' huge
trade deficit. [...]
OLYMPIA -- Balloon bouquets for Valentine's
Day are just too hot for the state Capitol.
Officials warned yesterday that stray helium balloons could trigger
the newly renovated Capitol's laser-powered fire alarm.
As part of a $118 million renovation, the building that houses
the House, Senate and governor's office got a new fire detection
system. Invisible laser beams create a smoke detection net in the
upper reaches of the grand old Capitol.
"I know, it sounds like something out of 'Ghostbusters,'
" said House Chief Clerk Rich Nafziger. A wayward helium balloon
could trip the alarm on the way up or the way down, forcing a full
Nafziger said Capitol officials haven't tested the balloon-fire
alarm theory, but they decided to play it safe. Balloons delivered
on Valentine's Day will be quarantined in an office, rather than
delivered to legislators at their desks. After that, balloons will
likely be banned.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia : Two strong aftershocks
less than an hour apart hit Indonesia's tsunami-devastated Aceh
early Sunday, prompting some panic in the provincial capital, witnesses
Seismologists in Jakarta said the first quake measuring 5.7 on
the Richter scale struck at 8.22 am (0022 GMT), followed by another
tremor 40 minutes later at a slightly lower magnitude of 5.4.
Both the aftershocks were centered some 30 kilometers (19 miles)
under the ocean floor around 88 kilometers (55 miles) southwest
of the ravaged provincial capital Banda Aceh, they said.
Residents said the first tremor lasted almost twice as long as
the second one, causing people to flee their homes and rush out
But they said the two quakes were less powerful than the magnitude-6.0
aftershock on February 9 that sparked widespread panic in the city.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The impact
on other towns and areas in Aceh is unclear.
More than 232,000 people were killed or went missing in the province
after a December 26 magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami lashed
Aceh has been hit by more than 200 aftershocks in the seven weeks
since the tsunami disaster, although most have registered under
five on the Richter scale.
Indonesia is regularly subjected to earthquakes, caused by massive
friction between tectonic plates shifting deep below the archipelago.
A magnitude 7.0 temblor is due along Wasatch Fault
| By Kelly Martinez and Tad Walch
Deseret Morning News
OREM — Utah shook with 20 minor earthquakes
last week, underscoring the alarm sounded again by Utah seismologists
and geologists in the wake of December's tsunami that a major quake
is due along the Wasatch Fault.
Those small tremors went unnoticed, just as 98 percent of the
hundreds of Utah seismic events do each year.
But each Earth-shimmy is a reminder that much of Utah is at the
mercy of faults that move slightly each day, drawing the region
closer and closer to a major episode.
The state is due for a magnitude 7.0 quake in the next 50 to 100
years, say experts such as Brigham Young University professor Ron
Harris, who chronicled the buildup of pressure finally released
as a 9.0 earthquake that caused a tsunami and killed more than 200,000
people along the rim of the Indian Ocean.
The largest earthquakes in the state's documented history occurred
in 1934 just north of the Great Salt Lake and in 1901 near Richfield.
Those tremors measured 6.6 and 6.5, respectively.
Utahns are not ready for quakes even of that magnitude, Harris
says. Buildings could collapse; water pipes could burst; freeway
overpasses could crumble — and thousands could die. [...]
GRENOBLE, France - Mountain areas have long
been recognised as being vulnerable to global warming, with rising
temperatures damaging a fragile habitat for wildlife and threatening
the future of low-altitude ski resorts.
Now, though, a further threat is starting to emerge: tsunamis.
The idea may sound bizarre. After all, killer waves are perceived
as a threat to coastal communities, vulnerable to walls of water
unleashed by giant earthquakes.
That was the case in the December 26 tsunami that scoured shorelines
around the Indian Ocean, killing 284,000 people.
But European specialists say there is also a risk in the mountains,
from huge lakes of meltwater that build up behind glaciers. If the
icy barrier is breached, communities downhill are at risk of being
"In the Himalayas, some glaciers are up to 70 kilometers
(43 miles) long," said Martin Beniston, a climate scientist
at Freiburg University in Switzerland.
"In Bhutan alone, there are at least 50 lakes in this category,
and a similar number in Nepal as well. Towns and villages in their
path could be hit by a tsunami," he told AFP.
The unusual phenomenon came to light last October in France's
Savoie region, says Christian Vincent, a research engineer at the
Glaciology Laboratory in Grenoble.
A huge lake, five hectares (12 acres) across and 25 metres (81
feet) deep, formed at the back of the Rochemelon glacier at an altitude
of 3,218 metres (10,450 feet), due to summer heat that had melted
part of the glacier.
The discovery prompted the intervention of engineers, who decided
to drain the lake to avoid the risk that the glacier wall could
erode and then crack open.
A series of studies over the past five years has accumulated evidence
that glaciers are in retreat in the Andes, the Alps in western Europe
and the Himalayas, thanks not only to warmer temperatures but also
shorter or less prolific seasons for snowfall. [...]
QUETTA, Pakistan : Severe flooding and avalanches
have killed around 350 people in Pakistan, officials said after
a week of torrential rain and heavy snow, while 2,000 others were
missing and tens of thousands left homeless.
At least 250 people were killed in heavy flooding in the southwest.
About another 40 were meanwhile feared dead in a new series of avalanches
in the north of the country, where more than 50 people had already
been confirmed killed by the snow in the past week.
The dead in the southwestern province of Baluchistan included
80 people whose bodies were recovered after a dam burst late Thursday.
The remainder came from six other districts inundated by around
10 days of heavy rain.
"We have confirmed reports that 250 people have died in Baluchistan
due to floods," the provincial chief minister's media consultant,
Raziq Bugti, told AFP.
More than 2,000 people were missing, while 40,000 had lost their
homes in Lasbella, Gwadar, Khuzdar, Awaran, Ketch and Panjgoor districts,
Bugti said. [...]
PHOENIX, Arizona (AP) -- A threat of flooding
forced residents to evacuate part of one southeastern Arizona community
Sunday following the latest in a series of winter storms that have
pushed streams out of their banks in the midst of a drought.
The Gila River was headed toward a crest Sunday near the New Mexico
state line and authorities were concerned about homes in the town
About 50 people were evacuated from the area as a precaution,
said Steve Rutherford, emergency management coordinator for Greenlee
Heavy rain fell across wide areas of Arizona on Friday and Saturday
as the storm arrived from California, where three deaths were blamed
on the high wind and drenching rain.
Rainfall around Arizona during the weekend included 1.28 inches
in Phoenix, 2.36 at Apache Junction, and 2.01 at Cave Creek, authorities
Flooding on the Verde River north of Phoenix damaged about 16
homes in a rural area between Cottonwood and Clarkdale. No injuries
or deaths were reported, said Yavapai County emergency management
coordinator Nick Angiolillo.
Near the headwaters of the Verde, water spread a quarter-mile
across in the normally dry Big Chino Wash, isolating some residents
of Paulden, north of Prescott, said Susan Quayle, a spokeswoman
for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Department.
Two homes and a car were swept away by high water in Wickenburg,
northwest of Phoenix, but no injuries were reported.
Mayor Ron Badowski said damage to sewers, power lines and water
mains could be repaired this week.
It was the third round of storms to strike central and northern
Arizona since late December, but officials have said the storms
aren't enough to pull Arizona out of its nine-year drought.
People living in parts of Norfolk, Essex and
Suffolk have been warned to be prepared for possible floods with
some homes being evacuated.
On Sunday, the Environment Agency (EA) issued flood warnings for
large parts of the Norfolk coastline between the river Great Ouse
An EA spokeswoman said some homes were being evacuated in the
The EA also issued alerts of possible flooding along the coast
from Shingle Street, Suffolk, to Southend, Essex.
A spokeswoman said there was particular concern of flooding in
west Norfolk including the urban area of King's Lynn. [...]
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