Tuesday, March 15, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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(Source: Le Monde Diplomatique)

Sky News
14:27 UK, Tuesday March 15, 2005

The snow-capped summit of Mount Kilimanjaro has melted away to reveal the tip of the African peak for the first time in 11,000 years.

The glaciers and snow which kept the summit white have almost completely disappeared.

Although scientists had predicted the melt would happen, it is 15 years sooner than they had predicted.

The white peak of the 19,340ft mountain has long formed a stunning part of Tanzanian landscape, not least because it is only 200 miles south of the equator.

The photograph is part of the NorthSouthEastWest exhibition by The Climate Group, a book of which will be presented to ministers at the G8 energy and environment summit in London.

Steve Howard of The Climate Group said: "Climate change is real. So are the solutions, which are practical, affordable and in many cases, profitable. [...]

The G8 meeting comes a day after the WWF warned Himalayan glaciers are receding at among the fastest rates in the world because of global warming.

The environmental group warned that the melting could result in water shortages for millions of people who rely on rivers supplied by the glaciers in China, India and Nepal.

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Snow Festival Postponed After Heat Wave
15 March 2005

COPENHAGEN - While most of Europe has shivered through an unusually cold March, a snow festival in Arctic Greenland has been postponed indefinitely because of a "heat wave."

The 11th annual international Snow Sculpture Festival in Nuuk was scheduled for March 18-21, when the average temperature in Greenland's capital would usually be well below freezing.

"The snow has been melting because of the mild weather and last week we had several days of rain," Nuuk Tourism manager Flemming Nicolaisen said.

The festival is a popular attraction and more than 20 teams had been scheduled to take part. Nicolaisen said the artists needed plenty of fine new snow to sculpt.

Greenland's climate is usually harsh and about 80 percent of the semi-autonomous Danish province is covered by ice, but February brought record-high temperatures above 15 degrees centigrade.

The Danish Meteorological Institute blamed the weather on the Foehn, a warm, dry wind.

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Strong quake in eastern Turkey injures 18, causes damage
15 March 2005 0039 hrs

ANKARA : A second earthquake in three days jolted eastern Turkey, leaving 18 injured and causing material damage, local authorities said, quoted by the Anatolia news agency.

The tremor, which measured 5.9 on the open-ended Richter scale, struck at 3:55 a.m. (0155 GMT) in Karliova, in Bingol province, which was shaken Saturday by a quake measuring 5.7 that injured 16 people, the agency said.

Erkan Capar, a local official in Karliova, said the second quake cut off telephone lines in some isolated hamlets and farmers said they lost a number of animals.

More than 400 houses in 24 villages were damaged in Monday's temblor, Anatolia said. [...]

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Cyclone wreaks havoc on northern Australia
Last Updated Mon, 14 Mar 2005 22:18:31 EST
CBC News

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA - A cyclone tore through islands on Australia's sparsely populated northern coast, causing extensive damage to buildings, uprooting trees and stripping them bare, before blowing southwest into the Timor Sea.

Survivors said they were amazed no one was killed or injured by Cyclone Ingrid, which wreaked havoc on Croker Island on Sunday.

The weather system was recorded as a maximum-strength category 5 cyclone, with winds of up to 320 kilometres per hour, as it howled over Croker, 200 kilometres northeast of Darwin. It diminished to category 3, still pushed by 215 km/h winds, as it blew over the Tiwi Islands, north of Darwin, on Monday.

The 100,000 people of Darwin, the largest city on the northern coast, hid in cyclone shelters until the Bureau of Meteorology cancelled its cyclone warning for that area on Monday. [...]

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South Kamchatka struggling through cyclone
March 13 (Itar-Tass)

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, -- A cyclone hit south Kamchatka in the small hours of Sunday. The wind is strong, and snowfalls are heavy. Waves are high in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific. Vessels do not dare to leave the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. [...]

The wind reaches 30 meters per second on the shore, and waves are five to seven meters high. Fishing vessels are hiding from gale in bays.

The wind reaches 24-32 meters per second in the southeast and southwest of the Kamchatka region. Heavy snowfalls in the Ust-Bolsheretsk and Yelizovo districts and the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky have reduced visibility to 500 meters. Weathermen have given a storm warning. [...]

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Are you a man or a mouse?

Chimeric experimentation is producing animal-human hybrids. This time, science really has gone too far
Jeremy Rifkin
Tuesday March 15, 2005
The Guardian

What happens when you cross a human and a mouse? Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke but, in fact, it's a serious experiment recently carried out by a team headed by a distinguished molecular biologist, Irving Weissman, at Stanford University.

Scientists injected human brain cells into mouse foetuses, creating a strain of mice that were approximately 1% human. Weissman is considering a follow-up that would produce mice whose brains are 100% human.

What if the mice escaped the lab and began to proliferate? What might be the ecological consequences of mice who think like human beings, let loose in nature? Weissman says that he would keep a tight rein on the mice, and if they showed any signs of humanness he would kill them. Hardly reassuring.

Experiments like the one that produced a partially humanised mouse stretch the limits of human tinkering with nature to the realm of the pathological.

The new research field at the cutting edge of the biotech revolution is called chimeric experimentation. Researchers around the world are combining human and animal cells and creating chimeric creatures that are part-human, part-animal.

The first chimeric experiment occurred many years ago when scientists in Edinburgh fused a sheep and goat embryo - two unrelated animal species that are incapable of mating and producing a hybrid offspring. The resulting creature, called a geep, was born with the head of a goat and the body of a sheep.

Now, scientists have their sights trained on breaking the final taboo in the natural world - crossing humans and animals to create new human-animal hybrids. Already, aside from the humanised mouse, scientists have created pigs with human blood and sheep with livers and hearts that are mostly human.

The experiments are designed to advance medical research. Indeed, a growing number of genetic engineers argue that human-animal hybrids will usher in a golden era of medicine. Researchers say that the more humanised they can make research animals, the better able they will be to model the progression of human diseases, test new drugs, and harvest tissues and organs for transplantation. What they fail to mention is that there are equally promising and less invasive alternatives to these bizarre experiments, including computer modeling, in vitro tissue culture, nanotechnology, and prostheses to substitute for human tissue and organs.

Some researchers are speculating about human-chimpanzee chimeras - creating a humanzee. This would be the ideal laboratory research animal because chimpanzees are so closely related to us. Chimps share 98% of the human genome, and a fully mature chimp has the equivalent mental abilities and consciousness of a four-year-old human.

Fusing a human and chimpanzee embryo - which researchers say is feasible - could produce a creature so human that questions regarding its moral and legal status would throw 4,000 years of ethics into chaos. Would such a creature enjoy human rights? Would it have to pass some kind of "humanness" test to win its freedom? Would it be forced into doing menial labour or be used to perform dangerous activities?

The possibilities are mind-boggling. For example, what if human stem cells - the primordial cells that turn into the body's 200 or so cell types - were to be injected into an animal embryo and spread throughout the animal's body into every organ? Some human cells could migrate to the testes and ovaries where they could grow into human sperm and eggs. If two of the chimeric mice were to mate, they could potentially conceive a human embryo. If the human embryo were to be removed and implanted in a human womb, the resulting human baby's biological parents would have been mice.

Please understand that none of this is science fiction. The National Academy of Sciences, America's most august scientific body, is expected to issue guidelines for chimeric research some time next month, anticipating a flurry of new experiments in the burgeoning field of human-animal chimeric experimentation.

Bioethicists are already clearing the moral path for human-animal chimeric experiments, arguing that once society gets past the revulsion factor, the prospect of new, partially human creatures has much to offer the human race. And, of course, this is exactly the kind of reasoning that has been put forth to justify what is fast becoming a journey into a brave new world in which all of nature can be ruthlessly manipulated. But now, with human-animal chimeric experiments, we risk even undermining our own species' biological integrity in the name of human progress.

With chimeric technology, scientists have the power to rewrite the evolutionary saga - to sprinkle parts of our species into the rest of the animal kingdom as well as fuse parts of other species with our own genome and even to create new human sub-species and super-species. Are we on the cusp of a biological renaissance, or sowing the seeds of our destruction?

Comment: The symbolism of the Chimera elucidates one of the principal problems of modern man -- his underdeveloped emotional centre. Boris Mouravieff discuss this in Volume 2 of his work Gnosis:

To make the proposed psychological study easier we believe that it will be useful to introduce an idea that goes back to Greek Mythology, where it appears in the guise of a fabulous monster: the Chimera.

In mythology, it appears to have the head of a lion, the body of a goat, the tail of a dragon, and it spews out vortexes of flame and fire. It was said that the Chimera's father was Typhon, the principle of evil and sterility, and his mother was Echidna, half woman and half serpent who was fathered by Chrisaor, born from the blood of Medusa. From Greek Mythology, the image of the Chimera passed into Christianity. We find it as an ornamental motif on certain Gothic cathedrals. For example, the gargoyles of Notre Dame in Paris were sculptured in the form of Chimerae with stylized lion's heads and only the upper part of the body. In certain orthodox cathedrals chimerae form the ornament of the bishop's throne. Sculptured in wood, they are shown complete, crouching on each side of the seat, where they serve as armrests.

The original esoteric significance of this monster has been lost, although its symbolic meaning is known and its name has passed into current language: by chimera we mean a false idea or a vain imagining. A chimeric mind sustains itself on illusions, and a chimeric project collapses when tested against facts, being groundless or unrealizable.

Let us try to rediscover the esoteric significance of the Chimera, hidden in Myth by initiatory tradition. We know that all beings in Nature are divided into three categories depending on the number of centres in their psyche. The first category is of beings having a psyche of only one centre: obviously the motor centre. Beings belonging to the second category have two centres: motor and emotional. Lastly, as beings possessing three centres, humans alone have a motor centre, an emotional centre, and an intellectual centre.

The fabulous Chimera is in animal of a higher type; with its lion's head and the body of a goat, it incontestably ranks in the second category, that of beings possessing two centres in the psyche. If it was a living being, because of this fact it would have motor and emotional centres. It does actually have two centres in the psyche, but these are the motor and the intellectual. Thus it can only have an unreal existence, chimeric in the true meaning of that word, as no bi-centred beings exist in Nature other than those with motor and emotional centres.

For what reason was this monster introduced into the Mythology of remote Antiquity which goes back to the very sources of Initiation?

The symbolism of the Chimera must be studied in both its aspects, and this will help us to better understand the condition of exterior man, who is dominated by the provisional 'I' of the incomplete Personality as well as by the times in which he spends his life, that is to say, (in which we spend) our lives.

As a beast with developed motor and intellectual centres, the Chimera is an excellent symbol for modern science. The head, divorced from contact with the heart, undertakes its work without regard for the consequences of its actions. The glory of the mind and its need to solve the puzzles of existence is all that concerns it. That the application of this one-sided knowledge -- for what is intellectual knowledge when it is not married to empathy? -- results in the misery of millions is unimportant. Marrying the genetics of different species is too much of a challenge to a mind unencumbered by concern over the consequences of its actions.

In the individual with a sleeping emotional centre, only a great shock can bring it back to life. Our society has had any number of shocks over the last century, from world wars to on-going colonial wars, massacres of millions of people coupled with starvation brought on by famine and the general neglect of the former colonies when it is not a question of exploiting their resources. One would have thought that these shocks would have been enough to stir us from our lethargy.

Evidently not.

What shocks will it take, if it is even possible, to awaken our sleeping world?

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Task force urges joint security perimeter
Monday, March 14, 2005 Updated at 2:06 AM EST
From Monday's Globe and Mail

Washington - Canada, Mexico and the United States should collectively gird against terrorism with a common security perimeter, protecting an increasingly integrated continent where residents freely cross internal borders and the three countries share a common energy strategy.

That's the sweeping and undoubtedly controversial vision for North America that is to be unveiled in Washington today by a blue-ribbon tri-national task force chaired by former Canadian deputy prime minister John Manley, former Mexican finance minister Pedro Aspe and former Massachusetts governor William Weld.

Spurred by self-interest to prevent Washington from slamming shut the border in case of another major terrorist attack against the United States, "Canada and Mexico have an overriding commercial interest in increasing North American security, apart from any other considerations," according to a draft version of the co-chairs' statement, obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The document calls for a "North American economic and security community" by the end of the decade. The arrangement is envisioned to include:

Unified visa and refugee regulations, joint inspection of container traffic at ports and integrated terror "watch" lists;

Common biometric border passes that would allow seamless passage through customs, immigration and airports throughout North America;

Shared external tariffs "at the lowest rate consistent with multilateral obligations";

Joint energy and natural resource security strategies; and,
A development strategy to stimulate growth in Mexico.

The dream of an evermore integrated North America would be certain to make Canadian nationalists nervous, make Mexicans wary of a U.S. resources grab and prompt American fears about their neighbours' commitment to common security.

But "the reality of North American interdependence is that all three countries must work together to ensure the security of the continent," the draft says.

"..... The three governments should strive toward a situation in which a terrorist trying to penetrate our borders will have an equally hard time doing so, no matter which country he elects to enter first."

The task force was jointly sponsored by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations. The statement is to be delivered today, allowing it to precede next week's three-country summit at U.S. President George W. Bush's ranch in Texas.

However, the prospects for bold steps forward seem remote.

Mr. Bush's administration is still reeling over Prime Minister Paul Martin's blunt rejection of continental missile defence, and the Mexicans are smarting over long-delayed American promises to rectify the lot of millions of ill-paid, ill-treated and illegal Mexicans in the United States.

Even if the three leaders endorsed closer integration, grave difficulties would remain in hammering out the details.

For instance, the call for a common security perimeter, complete with harmonized visa, entry and refugee policies, requires "synchronized screening and tracking of people, goods and vessels, including integrated watch lists."

While that notion will be warmly received among U.S. intelligence and security agencies, the Canadian and Mexican governments could face popular and widespread opposition if they are perceived to be dealing in personal details about their citizens.

"The American price for doing things in the economic sphere often involved tradeoffs in the security sphere," acknowledged a member of one of the sponsoring groups that was familiar with the drafting process.

The real-time sharing of information with U.S. security agencies about a foreigner visiting Vancouver with no intention of entering the United States seems certain to cause a stir. But making a security perimeter work would require just that sort of immediacy and transparency.

Similarly, the co-chairs call for a loosely defined "border pass" allowing all North American residents to freely cross internal boundaries. Their plan conceives of multiple types of documents meeting the requirements of an acceptable border pass - as long as they include biometric identifiers, such as fingerprints or iris scans, and are tied into integrated multinational databases.

Although Ottawa's rejection of joint missile defence has at least temporarily soured Canada-U.S. defence talk, the trilateral task force calls for expanding the North American Aerospace Defence to "make it a multi-service Canadian-U.S. command" with a mandate to jointly patrol and defend maritime approaches.

The draft also urges Ottawa and Washington to "pave the way for more co-operation" with Mexico on common defence. That may rile nationalists south of the Rio Grande.

While the task force is boldly specific about some issues - a single inspection process for all freight containers arriving at all North American ports, for instance - it is deliberately vague about others, such as the notion of an investment fund to help dirt-poor southern Mexico.

"It's still at the conceptual stage," said another person familiar with the drafting of the document.

Comment: Even though it is "still at the conceptual stage", this latest announcement of a proposed integrated North American security perimeter is problematic for several reasons. Implementing a common North American passport, based on such biometric data as fingerprints and iris scans, gives U.S. authorities access to the whereabouts and personal data of all North American citizens - even those with no intention of ever traveling to the U.S. By allowing big business and other corporate interests to dictate Canadian government policy, at the expense of sovereignty, shows their true priorities lie with the bottom line above all else. Aligning themselves closer to the current U.S. administration in any respect does not bode well for either of America's neighbours as the world edges closer and closer to all out war.

With George Bush acting out the role of evil Hitlerian dictator and the United States as neo-Nazi Germany in this bloody sequel to the Final Solution, the way the pieces move during this end game of global chess are of strategic importance to the players who are counting on a certain outcome. It seems as if the United States is determined to have Canada and Mexico "on side" when the next big moves are played.

This is how policy becomes law. First it starts out as an idea proposed by a high level "think tank" that makes certain controversial recommendations that the public is certain to oppose. Then there is the obligatory debates in the upper houses of government where the concerns of the citizenry are weighed against economic strategy and the dire threat to National Security. The politicians will hum and haw in front of the microphone, wringing their hands in mock angst over having to enforce unpopular policies for the good of the people. Meanwhile, secret backroom meetings take place, far from the ears of the media, where deals are made to divvy up the spoils once the aromatic brown matter finally hits the circular rotating device.

And of course, it is the common people, those who wishfully believe that they live in a democracy and that their leaders would never lie to them, who will be left behind to clean up the mess.

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New vision for North America criticized
Mar. 14, 2005. 08:13 PM

WASHINGTON - A prominent task force's elaborate vision of a common economy and security perimeter in North America by 2010 drew fire today from some Canadians who see it as a dangerous surrender of sovereignty designed to benefit big business.

The panel, which includes former deputy prime minister John Manley and is backed by Canada's business elite, insists that leaders from Canada, the United States and Mexico have a crucial chance at their meeting next week in Texas to start building "the architecture of the future."

But Maude Barlow, head of the Council of Canadians, slammed contentious recommendations released Monday, saying they shouldn't gain traction when President George W. Bush sits down with Prime Minister Paul Martin and Mexico's Vicente Fox to talk about NAFTA and security issues.

"My worry is that because we said `No' to Iraq and missile defence, the prime minister has to offer something by way of apology," said Barlow.

"This is how these things happen. You don't start with the big dramatic bang; it's incremental."

Barlow said the plan, which calls for much closer collaboration between the three countries, including a common biometric border pass to speed travel and identical external tariffs on goods to ease regulatory differences that cost firms money, is a great idea for big transnational companies but few others.

"This is NAFTA plus, plus, plus. This is using the terrorist threat to promote a business agenda," said Barlow.

"It won't make us safer. In fact it aligns us closer with the prime target. This would be a George Bush North America, a kind of superpower against the rest of the world."

But Manley insisted the three countries, facing new competition from the China and India, are at a "crucial juncture" and leaders need to get beyond the immediate details of the big trade disputes like softwood lumber in order to guarantee prosperity.

Canadian business leaders fear China will overtake Canada one day as America's largest trading partner. They've long promoted the merits of closer security co-operation with the United States to avoid expensive trade disruptions in the event of another terrorist attack.

It's time, said Manley, to think about the next likely terrorist tactics beyond flying planes into buildings.

"I worry about other risks and if we don't have a common approach to the security of North America, I wager that one of those risks is going to be the next war," he said.

"It's the dirty bomb in the suitcase. It's the containers that we don't have the means or the will to inspect."

The threats require moving well beyond the so-called smart border accord between Canada and the United States, said Manley, especially when only up to three per cent of sea-going container traffic is inspected.

"Maybe we're prophets in the wilderness. I hope not. It will be up to governments to say whether they have the appetite to take on the challenge."

Former Massachusetts governor William Weld, who's co-chairing with Manley and Mexico's Pedro Aspe, said there will always be people with their "heads in the sand" who resist bold ideas.

"People of goodwill can be persuaded. It took five years to fight (the Second World War). We can harmonize a few government policies in that time," said Weld, who also asserted that Canada ``shouldn't lose any sleep" over rejecting Bush's missile defence plan.

The task force, sponsored by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations and the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations, will issue a final report this spring.
Among its recommendations:

- Expand the North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad) to include maritime security.

- Create a trilateral threat intelligence centre and jointly train officers from the three countries.

- Protect North American energy supplies and develop common conservation measures.

- Harmonize visa and refugee regulations.

- Establish a North American investment fund to help Mexico's economy.

- Expand scholarship and exchange programs and a network for North American studies.

- Make next week's three-country meeting an annual event.

The official agenda at the gathering in Waco, Texas, will include the New Partnership in North America plan.

Its goals have been broadly defined as increasing security, prosperity and quality of life for the people of Canada, the United States and Mexico.

But outgoing U.S. envoy Paul Cellucci said Monday the leaders will be talking about expanding NAFTA as well as anti-terror measures.

"It's security as well as integration of the North American markets," said Cellucci.

Last week, Martin said he intends to raise the troublesome issues of softwood lumber and beef with Bush.

Comment: What is most worrisome about these recommendations, is not so much the strengthening of the outer perimeter, but the way it seems to call for the integration of Canadian, US and Mexican security policies and a softening of the borders between the three countries. By making North America a sort of western version of the EU, the governments of Canada and Mexico seem to tacitly give support to it's illegal wars in the Middle East, and may eventually be called upon to do more than just protect common borders.

As Michel Chossudovsky accurately predicts in the following article, this idea of a North American fortress may be just the public face of a far more sinister plan that has been in the works for some time.

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Flashback: Is the Annexation of Canada part of Bush's Military Agenda?
by Michel Chossudovsky
23 November 2004

For nearly two years now, Ottawa has been quietly negotiating a far-reaching military cooperation agreement, which allows the US Military to cross the border and deploy troops anywhere in Canada, in our provinces, as well station American warships in Canadian territorial waters. This redesign of Canada's defense system is being discussed behind closed doors, not in Canada, but at the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado, at the headquarters of US Northern Command (NORTHCOM).

The creation of NORTHCOM announced in April 2002, constitutes a blatant violation of both Canadian and Mexican territorial sovereignty. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced unilaterally that US Northern Command would have jurisdiction over the entire North American region. Canada and Mexico were presented with a fait accompli. US Northern Command's jurisdiction as outlined by the US DoD includes, in addition to the continental US, all of Canada, Mexico, as well as portions of the Caribbean, contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the Mexican, US and Canadian coastlines as well as the Canadian Arctic.

NorthCom's stated mandate is to "provide a necessary focus for [continental] aerospace, land and sea defenses, and critical support for [the] nation's civil authorities in times of national need."
(Canada-US Relations - Defense Partnership - July 2003, Canadian American Strategic Review (CASR), http://www.sfu.ca/casr/ft-lagasse1.htm

Rumsfeld is said to have boasted that "the NORTHCOM - with all of North America as its geographic command - 'is part of the greatest transformation of the Unified Command Plan [UCP] since its inception in 1947.'" (Ibid)

Following Prime Minister Jean ChrČtien's refusal to join NORTHCOM, a high-level so-called "consultative" Binational Planning Group (BPG), operating out of the Peterson Air Force base, was set up in late 2002, with a mandate to "prepare contingency plans to respond to [land and sea] threats and attacks, and other major emergencies in Canada or the United States".

The BPG's mandate goes far beyond the jurisdiction of a consultative military body making "recommendations" to government. In practice, it is neither accountable to the US Congress nor to the Canadian House of Commons.

The BPG has a staff of fifty US and Canadian "military planners", who have been working diligently for the last two years in laying the groundwork for the integration of Canada-US military command structures. The BPG works in close coordination with the Canada-U.S. Military Cooperation Committee at the Pentagon, a so-called " panel responsible for detailed joint military planning".

Broadly speaking, its activities consist of two main building blocks: the Combined Defense Plan (CDP) and The Civil Assistance Plan (CAP).

The Militarisation of Civilian Institutions

As part of its Civil Assistance Plan (CAP), the BPG is involved in supporting the ongoing militarisation of civilian law enforcement and judicial functions in both the US and Canada. The BPG has established "military contingency plans" which would be activated "on both sides of the Canada-US border" in the case of a terror attack or "threat". Under the BPG's Civil Assistance Plan (CAP), these so-called "threat scenarios" would involve:

"coordinated response to national requests for military assistance [from civil authorities] in the event of a threat, attack, or civil emergency in the US or Canada."In December 2001, in response to the 9/11 attacks, the Canadian government reached an agreement with the Head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, entitled the "Canada-US Smart Border Declaration." Shrouded in secrecy, this agreement essentially hands over to the Homeland Security Department, confidential information on Canadian citizens and residents. It also provides US authorities with access to the tax records of Canadians.

What these developments suggest is that the process of "binational integration" is not only occurring in the military command structures but also in the areas of immigration, police and intelligence. The question is what will be left over within Canada's jurisdiction as a sovereign nation, once this ongoing process of binational integration, including the sharing and/or merger of data banks, is completed?

Canada and NORTHCOMCanada is slated to become a member of NORTHCOM at the end of the BPG's two years mandate.

No doubt, the issue will be presented in Parliament as being "in the national interest". It "will create jobs for Canadians" and "will make Canada more secure".

Meanwhile, the important debate on Canada's participation in the US Ballistic Missile Shield, when viewed out of the broader context,  may serve to divert public attention away from the more fundamental issue of North American military integration which implies Canada's acceptance not only of the Ballistic Missile Shield, but of the entire US war agenda, including significant hikes in defense spending which will be allocated to a North American defense program controlled by the Pentagon.

And ultimately what is at stake is that beneath the rhetoric, Canada will cease to function as a Nation:

• Its borders will be controlled by US officials and confidential information on Canadians will be shared with Homeland Security.

• US troops and Special Forces will be able to enter Canada as a result of a binational arrangement.

• Canadian citizens can be arrested by US officials, acting on behalf of their Canadian counterparts and vice versa.

But there is something perhaps even more fundamental in defining and understanding where Canada and Canadians stand as a Nation.

The World is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. It has formulated the contours of an imperial project of World domination. Canada is contiguous to "the center of the empire". Territorial control over Canada is part of the US geopolitical and military agenda.

The Liberals as well as the opposition Conservative party have endorsed embraced the US war agenda. By endorsing a Canada-US "integration" in the spheres of defense, homeland security, police and intelligence, Canada not only becomes a full fledged member of George W. Bush's "Coalition of the Willing", it will directly participate, through integrated military command structures, in the US war agenda in Central Asia and the Middle East, including the massacre of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the torture of POWs, the establishment of concentration camps, etc.

Under an integrated North American Command, a North American national security doctrine would be formulated. Canada would be obliged to embrace Washington's pre-emptive military doctrine, including the use of nuclear warheads as a means of self defense, which was ratified by the US Senate in December 2003. (See Michel Chossudovsky, The US Nuclear Option and the "War on Terrorism" http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO405A.html May 2004)

Moreover, binational integration in the areas of Homeland security, immigration, policing of the US-Canada border, not to mention the anti-terrorist legislation, would imply pari passu acceptance of the US sponsored police State, its racist policies, its "ethnic profiling" directed against Muslims, the arbitrary arrest of anti-war activists.

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Canada, U.S. to hold terror drill
Friday, March 11, 2005 Updated at 5:31 PM EST
Canadian Press

Ottawa - A major counter-terrorism exercise will be on the agenda when the newly minted U.S. security czar visits Canada next week.

Michael Chertoff, the recently appointed Homeland Security secretary, will discuss plans for this spring's drill with Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan in Ottawa on Thursday. [...]

Tom Ridge, Mr. Chertoff's predecessor, invited Canada to participate in counter-terror drill Topoff 3 - the name refers to top officials - along with the United States and Britain.

Ms. McLellan's department is in charge of planning the Canadian portion of the exercise, known as Triple Play. Twenty other federal departments and agencies are supporting the effort.

The drill, to take place April 4 to 8, will include more than 10,000 participants representing over 200 U.S. government, private sector, international and volunteer agencies, says the Department of Homeland Security.

The mock scenario is "a complex terrorist campaign" involving a biological attack in New Jersey and a chemical assault in Connecticut, prompting national and international response, the department says.

During the multi-day exercise, fire personnel will conduct search-and-rescue duties, hospitals will treat injured people played by actors, and experts will analyse the effects on public health.

Topoff 2, a May 2003 disaster exercise involving senior officials, tested the reaction of thousands of emergency personnel to a simulated outbreak of pneumonic plague in Chicago and explosion of a radioactive "dirty bomb" in Seattle, not far from the British Columbia border.

Internal Canadian memos later revealed the exercise was plagued by poor information sharing, the absence of key Canadian departments and troubling technical glitches.

A major problem was a lack of cross-border communication between some Canadian and U.S. officials because of the recent shift of many American personnel into the new Homeland Security agency.

Mr. Chertoff's visit comes amid continuing tensions between the two countries over Canada's decision to decline a formal role in the planned U.S. missile-defence shield as well as nagging border-security concerns.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week al-Qaeda terrorists might be trying to sneak into the United States through Canada and Mexico.

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Government Report on U.S. Aviation Warns of Security Holes
Published: March 14, 2005

WASHINGTON, March 13 - Despite a huge investment in security, the American aviation system remains vulnerable to attack by Al Qaeda and other jihadist terrorist groups, with noncommercial planes and helicopters offering terrorists particularly tempting targets, a confidential government report concludes.

Intelligence indicates that Al Qaeda may have discussed plans to hijack chartered planes, helicopters and other general aviation aircraft for attacks because they are less well-guarded than commercial airliners, according to a previously undisclosed 24-page special assessment on aviation security by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security two weeks ago.

But commercial airliners are also "likely to remain a target and a platform for terrorists," the report says, and members of Al Qaeda appear determined to study and test new American security measures to "uncover weaknesses."

The assessment comes as the Bush administration, with a new intelligence structure and many new counterterrorism leaders in place, is taking stock of terrorists' capabilities and of the country's ability to defend itself.

While Homeland Security and the F.B.I. routinely put out advisories on aviation issues, the special joint assessment is an effort to give a broader picture of the state of knowledge of all issues affecting aviation security, officials said.

The analysis appears to rely on intelligence gathered from sources overseas and elsewhere about Al Qaeda and other jihadist and Islamic-based terrorist groups.

A separate report issued last month by Homeland Security concluded that developing a clear framework for prioritizing possible targets - a task many Democrats say has lagged - is critical because "it is impossible to protect all of the infrastructure sectors equally across the entire United States."

The aviation sector has received the majority of domestic security investments since the Sept. 11 attacks, with more than $12 billion spent on upgrades like devices to detect explosives, armored cockpit doors, federalized air screeners and additional air marshals.

Indeed, some members of Congress and security experts now consider airplanes to be so well fortified that they say it is time to shift resources to other vulnerable sectors, like ports and power plants.

In the area of rail safety, for instance, Democrats are pushing a $1.1 billion plan to plug what they see as glaring vulnerabilities. "This is a disaster waiting to happen," Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, said last week at a Senate hearing marking the one-year anniversary of the deadly train bombings in Madrid.

Still, the new aviation assessment, examining dozens of airline incidents both before and after the Sept. 11 attacks, makes clear that counterterrorism officials still consider the aviation industry to be perhaps the prime target for another major attack because of the spectacular nature of such strikes.

The assessment, which showed that the F.B.I. handled more than 500 criminal investigations involving aircraft in 2003, will likely serve as a guide for considering further security restrictions in general aviation and other areas considered particularly vulnerable, the officials said.

The report, dated Feb. 25, was distributed internally to federal and state counterterrorism and aviation officials, and a copy was obtained by The Times. It warns that security upgrades since the Sept. 11 attacks have "reduced, but not eliminated" the prospect of similar attacks.

"Spectacular terrorist attacks can generate an outpouring of support for the perpetrators from sympathizers and terrorism sponsors with similar agendas," the report said. "The public fear resulting from a terrorist hijacking or aircraft bombing also serves as a powerful motivator for groups seeking to further their causes."

The report detailed particular vulnerabilities in what it called "the largely unregulated" area of general aviation, which includes corporate jets, private planes and other unscheduled aircraft.

"As security measures improve at large commercial airports, terrorists may choose to rent or steal general aviation aircraft housed at small airports with little or no security," the report said.

Comment: If there exists any possible way to launch an airborne terrorist attack against the United States, you can be sure that CIA-sponsored al-Qaeda has thought of it, and the government-friendly media will see to it that the threat is televised far and wide. Whether it be commercial aircraft, private charters, medical helicopters, suicide blimps, kamikaze ultralights, gliders packed with TNT, or dirty-bomb carrying paratroopers, according to the obedient scribes at the NYT's, al-Qaeda operatives pose an imminent danger from the sky.

Or maybe Osama has taken refuge with rock-throwing Space Brothers on Mars, and al-Qaeda operatives will be falling down upon us from space.

There have been many such "unconfirmed reports of non-specific threats" coming from the White House these days. It's almost as if the PTB know something we don't, and are priming the public for another 9/11 type event. By enlisting the help of their good friends in the Mossad in staging another false flag terrorist attack on American soil (which of course will be conveniently blamed on the Arabs), the American government can then proceed with further clampdown in their march towards a totalitarian police state.

So in a way, when our leaders tell us that we must be afraid of groups like al-Qaeda, and they are the ones who have created, help maintain, and benefit most from groups like al-Qaeda, then indeed, we should be very afraid, but not of al-Qaeda, but of the leaders themselves.

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Al-Qaida more dangerous now: CSIS official

TORONTO (CP) - The U.S.-led war on terrorism has made al-Qaida an even more dangerous organization, a senior Canadian intelligence official said Monday.

The blunt assessment of the group's increased "lethal effectiveness" came during a bail hearing for an Egyptian national detained as a threat to Canada's national security.

U.S. action in Afghanistan that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks "significantly degraded" al-Qaida's infrastructure and its ability to provide support for other extremist Islamic groups, said the official, identified only as J. P.

However, that merely prompted terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden to put out calls to like-minded groups "to take over the fight," said J. P., the deputy chief of counter-terrorism with the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service.

"That appeal has been effective," J. P. told Federal Court Justice Eleanor Dawson.

The effect has been a "net increase" in terrorist activities and the results can be seen in "broken bodies and blood in the streets," he said.

"We now have a more dangerous al-Qaida."

J. P. was testifying in the bail-release application of Mohammad Mahjoub, 44, an Egyptian who has been in a Toronto jail since being detained as a threat to national security since June 2000.

Canada's spy agency alleges Mahjoub was a leading member of the Egyptian terrorist group Vanguards of Conquest, which has close ties to bin Laden's al-Qaida.

Egyptian authorities tried Mahjoub along with 106 others in a trial condemned internationally for its unfair process and torture of witnesses. Mahjoub was sentenced in absentia to 15 years and maintains he would be tortured if returned to Egypt.

J. P. testified the intelligence service is sensitive to the possibility that information from foreign sources could be wrong or politically motivated.

He also said CSIS annually reviews the human-rights records of countries with whom it has a working relationship.

"We do not use information that appears to have been solicited from torture."

J. P. agreed with defence lawyer John Norris that increased scrutiny of Arabs by security forces has made non-Arabs, such as African-American converts to Islam, more valuable to al-Qaida as terrorist operatives because they attract less attention.

"(Al-Qaida has) always placed a premium on individuals who have the ability to be as stealthy as possible in the theatres of operation," J. P. said.

"It is now perhaps a greater premium. Their value has increased to the organization."

However, he was emphatic the people selecting targets and masterminding attacks has not changed.

"The old-guard al-Qaida is still involved in making those decisions."
Mahjoub is deemed a threat based in part on people he knew or associated with.

But Norris told the court that a man deemed a security threat in the United Kingdom because of his senior status in the Egyptian terrorist group was recently freed without conditions.

The last assessment of Mahjoub's security threat is two years old and therefore may no longer be valid, Norris said in an interview.
J. P. said Mahjoub, if released under strict conditions, could still go underground and carry out terrorist attacks in Canada.

Comment: Again, if al-Qaeda is more dangerous now then it is because the American and Israeli governments are more dangerous now. They are the ones who financed bin Laden and created al-Qaeda in the first place. They are the ones who have been caught trying to recruit jihadists and establish phony al-Qaeda cells in different countries. They are the ones who benefit the most from whenever any attack is blamed on this seemingly fictitious group.

The BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares is a must see if one is to understand how governments use the hypnotic power of a manufactured enemy to induce irrational fear and paranoia in an otherwise unsuspecting public. Also, see this Information Clearing House site for transcripts of the program.

Notice as well the characterisation of Osama as the "terrorist mastermind", something like the Professor Moriarty of our age.

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Musharraf says Pakistani forces got close to capture bin Laden 10 months ago
10:39 AM EST Mar 15
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistani security forces came close to capturing Osama bin Laden in an operation about eight to 10 months ago, but the terror mastermind eluded arrest and his trail has since gone cold, Pakistan's president said Tuesday.

Though President Gen. Pervez Musharraf did not say where the operation took place, the comment was the first official indication that bin Laden is still in Pakistan.

Intelligence officials have said they believe he is hiding in the rugged mountains that straddle the border with Afghanistan.

"There was a time when the dragnet had closed and we thought we knew roughly the area where he possibly could be," Musharraf said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. aired Tuesday. "That was, I think, some time back . . . maybe about eight to 10 months back," he said, adding: "But after that, this is such a game, this intelligence, that they escape. They can move and then you lose contact."

The comments confirm Pakistani intelligence officials' claims that the trail of the world's most wanted man has gone cold. Senior officials close to the hunt have told The Associated Press they have received no information on his whereabouts for months, and have no indication of any specific attack he is planning.

Musharraf and other Pakistani leaders say the silence is a sign they have destroyed al-Qaida's network here.

Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its war on terror. Its security forces have captured more than 700 terror suspects, including some key al-Qaida operative.

Musharraf's remarks came weeks after the U.S. government launched a series of television and radio ads in Pakistan trumpeting the $25 million US reward Washington is offering for any information leading to the capture of bin Laden.

Pakistani troops last year repeatedly attacked al-Qaida-linked militants in the country's northwestern tribal regions near Afghanistan.

Bin Laden was last scene in a video released just before the U.S. elections in November. The video was dropped off at the Islamabad office of the Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera, though there was no indication from the tape where Osama was when he recorded it.

In the 18-minute videotape, bin Laden threatened fresh attacks on the United States.

Comment: Gee, Osama is a "terror mastermind" once more. That must be why he is so clever and can "elude arrest" yet again.

Are these "journalists" getting their stories from Karl Rove, the criminal mastermind of the Bush Reich?

Once more the Pakistani's are portrayed as the great allies in the war on terror, which they are when you consider they were the channel by which Bush and company paid off Osama for his special guest appearance as the bad guy on CNN on September 11th.

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US Concerns On India-Iran Pipeline Due To Legal Impediment
Asia Pulse
Tuesday March 15, 11:18 AM

CHENNAI - The United States was opposed to a gas pipeline from Iran to India due to a law, which prohibits Teheran's economic expansion, unless it stops its support to terrorists, Teresita Schaffer, former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, said here.

The US "concerns" on the pipeline had no direct link with Iran's nuclear programme, she said, giving a talk on 'Security in India's neighbourhood: the view from Washington', organised by the Observer Research Foundation and The Department of Politics & Public Administration, University of Madras.

The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) disallows any move that would aid Iran's economic expansion as the country was a "safe haven for terrorists", Schaffer said, adding that she personally felt that US should not interfere in the pipeline through Pakistan, as it would be a tremendous boost for building the India-Pakistan peace process.

"Personally speaking, I don't think the US should oppose the pipeline from Iran, as the pipeline to India through Pakistan would be a constituency of peace between New Delhi and Islamabad," Schaffer, who is now director, South Asia Program, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, said.

India, which is scouting around the world for oil and gas to meet its growing energy needs, has tied-up imports of 7.5 million tonnes of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) per annum from Iran from 2010 and is negotiating imports of natural gas through an onland pipeline passing through Pakistan.

Comment: In fact, US concerns about the gas pipeline are directly linked with Iran's alleged nuclear program. The US has presented no evidence to back up its claims that Iran is a safe haven for terrorists or that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. If it wasn't for the enormous pressure the Bush administration and Israel are placing on the international community, Iran wouldn't even be on the radar screen today. Think about Iraq and how long Saddam ruled as a brutal dictator. Hussein even received US support for a time. The claims about Saddam's WMD's and his plans to use them on the US proved to be completely fabricated. The main reason we are given today for the invasion of Iraq is that Saddam was a brutal dictator. Since that argument is so flimsy, we are also told (again, with no evidence to back the claim) that al-Zarqawi is best buddies with Osama and that the "terrorist leader" in Iraq is planning attacks on the US. Do we see a pattern emerging here?

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Peace groups continue to miss the real issue

Day of demonstrations guaranteed to accomplish absolutely nothing
By John Kaminski

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again
and expecting different results.

- Albert Einstein

I received an e-mail notice the other day informing me of a worldwide day of protests March 19 to focus public attention on America's neverending massacre of innocent Iraqi civilians and the continuing lies that attempt to justify this needless and shameful carnage.

The e-mail focused on the agenda of the local social event in Sarasota, Florida, and listed speakers, sponsors, activities, locations, and times. Conspicuously absent from this list were reasons.

Nevertheless, I replied to the notice by inquiring if organizers had been adequately briefed on the latest revelations about 9/11, and if they hadn't, I offered to happily volunteer my services. After all, it doesn't take a genius to realize that if 9/11 hadn't happened, the bogus Iraq invasion wouldn't have happened.

And therefore understanding what really happened on 9/11 would significantly improve anyone's perception of the colossal crimes the United States is committing in Iraq (and in a list of beleaguered countries that is now practically endless) - after all, the USA is now waging war on the entire world, and our so-called leaders are not ashamed to admit it.

But I never received a response to my inquiry, because these peace demonstration organizers completely avoid talking about 9/11. They have accepted the government's fantasy explanation about Arab hijackers and the need to conquer Muslim countries, and yet they still insist they are against the Iraq war.

I regard this as a profound psychotic break in the American consciousness. You can't accept the first and advocate the second and still be regarded as either sane or honest.

So in order to properly understand what you are protesting, you must understand why it happened in the first place. But all these trendy yuppies who sport peace buttons only on socially acceptable occasions are in reality confessing their stupidity for all to see if they demonstrate against the Iraq war but don't want to hear anything about 9/11.

How does it come to be that people will admit the government lied about Iraq and Afghanistan, but not admit it lied about 9/11?

And that is exactly the situation with this group called International Answer (and even more perfectly pathological with the pathetic Democratic Party organization named moveon.org).

These groups, which have millions of members, are deliberately designed to be appear to be progressive and peace-loving, but really they are cleverly constructed to take the well-meaning concerns of average people and divert them into activities that are guaranteed to fail (because ultimately, the people who create these groups are actually working for the people who are committing the crimes they are protesting).

These are the same cynical clowns who got so many honest people worked up about the integrity of John Kerry, or the calm decisiveness of Howard Dean, and used up a zillion hours of brainpower only to take the fall last November and avoid contemplating the obviously tragic fact that with a little chutzpah that they could have overturned the election based on the crimes that were committed in Ohio and Florida. Only Kerry and Dean convinced them not to even try, further demonstrating why neither should ever have been supported in the first place.

Not that overturning the election would have mattered, because there is only one political party of any consequence in this country - the party of the banks.

You may have attended one of these peace demonstrations in the past. They are moving experiences. Ineffectual, but moving.

There is no doubting the sincerity or ardor of virtually all the participants. As motivated people, they have my admiration. They rail against the evil powers that be in all manner of creative ways, and when the day is done, they all (or, at least those who have not been pepper sprayed by the local Gestapo and thrown in jail) go home happy, delighted that they have expressed their freedom of speech and schmoozed with thousands of like-minded consciences.

Trouble is, as the unprecedented (in size) peace demos immediately prior to Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq so clearly proved, they accomplish exactly nothing.

The powers that be and their pimped media completely ignore them.

The true purpose of a peace demonstration is not to have a good time and go home happy. It is to kindle each other's anger and go home as pissed as possible, ready to follow through with every fiber of your being until the objective of your protest is achieved.

It is safe to say that, since Vietnam, the objective of no major protest in America has ever been achieved, especially since Bush the Dumber took office (and I do mean took). [...]

The real focus of all our protests, all our outrage at every public official we can lay our hands on, should be the greatest crime in American history, which has changed the way our country does business, which has changed, perhaps irrevocably, who we are as a people.

Americans are now known around the world as the torturers, as the sexual perverts who go out of their way to profane the sacredness of life by raping Muslim children and sexually traumatizing Muslim adults. Who are these troops we say we support as they mow down innocent families in Fallujah while they listen to heavy metal music and take drugs to dull their senses? Who are these alien neighbors of ours who refuse to hear this statement, and say "Support Our Troops!" as they close their eyes and drive off to Wal-mart to save a few pennies and destroy their own way of life.

Gee, I wonder in which chapter of Leviticus or Deuteronomy we learned to do that? [...]

Americans are the people who didn't protest when their government refused to investigate what happened on 9/11, despite the 3,000 of their countrymen who were crushed in the rubble of deliberately demolished skyscrapers.

Americans accepted the media-spun story that Arabs run by a madman in Afghanistan did it. These fantasy bad guys got the U.S. air defenses to stand down, they got on airplanes without any identification or any record of them getting on, they performed aerobatic maneuvers that could not have been performed by Top Guns, and they defied the laws of physics by knocking down buildings that could not have fallen in ten seconds without the help of considerable explosives. We know that from the building that fell the same way that was not hit by an airliner.

Gee, if we don't care about our own fellow citizens being suddenly buried in concrete by the pervs in Washington, why should we care about dark-skinned Arabs being turned into puddles of blood thousands of miles away?

Americans accepted the lies their leaders told them, first about 9/11, then about Afghanistan, then about Iraq. Most Americans to this day still don't know that the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq were planned before 9/11.

Most Americans don't know that the PNAC report, which yearned for "a new Pearl Harbor" to turn American citizens into enraged warmongers, was written by a high American official who was also an Israeli intelligence agent, Dov Zakheim.

Most Americans don't know that their new head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, is an Israeli intelligence agent.

Most Americans don't know that their new intelligence czar, John Negroponte - he of the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran death squad fiascos - is also Jewish.

Most Americans don't know that all the TV networks are owned by Zionist Jews. Most Americans don't realize that all the major newspapers, like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, are owned by Zionist Jews.

Do you understand that Iraq was no threat to the United States? Do you understand that Iraq was a threat to Israel? Do you understand that American children are killing innocent people and being killed themselves to protect Israel, not the United States?

Or are you one of those lily-livered Yankee dogs so terrified of losing your income or some friends who don't really care about you anyway that you feel compelled to say, "People aren't ready to hear this yet. You have to bring them on slowly to tell them about the problem with Israel."

We're looking at the end of civilization because of the silence of honest Americans over the most important issues of our day, and you're telling me that I have to wait til people get used to the idea we are being totally polluted by the demonic influence of Zionist warmongers, who take their authority from a holy book that says it's OK to kill non-Jews with no penalty because they're animals?

Take a wild guess as to what I have to say to cowards like that - which are the majority of the American people.

The real issue to protest March 19 is not the Iraq war, colossal crime though it is.

The real issue to protest is that George W. Bush and John Kerry are accomplices in the same series of crimes. The real issue is to realize that our country has been sold out from under us, and that Israel, thanks to the neocons, now owns us.

Have you observed how the Palestinians live? Scrambling in their rubble, constantly avoiding bombs and excuses to murder them on a whim. This is the future of America run by the Zionist monsters who control the White House, and most other aspects of your life, as well.

The real issue to protest is that the entire U.S. Congress is guilty of treason for destroying the Bill of Rights to our own Constitution by participating in this charade that there is some terror threat that justifies these police state measures.

The real issue to protest is that al-Qaeda was created by the CIA and the Mossad in a proxy war in Afghanistan and then later at a CIA training camp in the Philippines, and that 9/11 was planned, executed, and then covered up by levels of American society that are actually more powerful than the president, who is only a bobble-head doll fed lies, stimulants and quite possibly little boys (or at least big boys) as a reward for his mindless obedience to his masters with the big money.

But even more than that, the real issue to protest, in the silence of your own ravaged heart, is your own silent complicity in the savage system that kills innocent people every day so that rich Zionist Jew manipulators and their conscienceless Zionist Christian dupes can steal money from YOU.

Just to be clear, these people are Americans, British, and Israelis, and they have no real consciences, which makes them dangerous sociopaths - which is why we have a sociopathic culture that feels no guilt when we kill innocent people overseas. It is no coincidence that this attitude perfectly reflects what is written in the Talmud and the Old Testament. Now that would really be something to protest about.

A peace protest without a serious component investigating the lies about 9/11 and the predatory dominance of Israeli influence on a severely crippled America is like a body without a brain, which I suspect is what many of those protesters on March 19 will be like.

And as the world continues to burn, they'll go home happy that they did something for freedom, when in the reality of this new and ugly police-state world, they will have done nothing of consequence, because they still fail to realize what really happened on 9/11, or who is really controlling them.

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Former UK Guantanamo detainee accuses US of torture
www.chinaview.cn 2005-03-15 21:14:04
LONDON, March 15 (Xinhuanet) -- A former British Guantanamo Bay detainee said Tuesday that inmates in the US detention camp in Cuba had been tortured by US military personnel who tried to make them "go crazy."

Martin Mubanga, who had been held at Guantanamo for three years as a terror suspect, told the BBC: "The main object of the Americans in their torture ...is to make you go crazy."

"There are a number of other detainees who have gone insane. I have seen beatings, I have seen humiliating treatment," said Mubanga who was released in January after being detained without charge.

Mubanga, who was questioned by British police on his return to Britain and released without charge, has already claimed he was physically and verbally abused by US forces during interrogation sessions at Guantanamo Bay.

The 32-year-old man has lodged a petition with the British Home Office demanding that allegations of torture be investigated.

Other former British detainees have also accused US troops of torturing or mistreating them while in custody at Guantanamo Bay or in Afghanistan.

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France Jails Six Over Plot to Blow Up U.S. Embassy
By Gerard Bon, Reuters
March 15, 2005

PARIS - A French court sentenced a French-Algerian man to 10 years in prison on Tuesday for plotting a suicide attack on the U.S. embassy in Paris and jailed five accomplices for one to nine years.

Djamel Beghal, 39, received the toughest term possible under French law as the ringleader of the foiled plot in 2001. Kamel Daoudi, 30, a computer expert, received a 9-year sentence after being accused of running logistics and communications.

The six men, all of Algerian origin, are suspected of having links to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden but denied the charges of criminal conspiracy designed to commit an act of terrorism.

Two other members of the group were jailed for 6 years, another for 3 years and the last for 1 year. Investigators found that the proposed suicide bomber was a Tunisian man, now in jail in Belgium. [...]

Lawyers for Beghal and Daoudi said they would appeal against their clients' sentences.

"Djamel Beghal's confession was wrung out of him and was never confirmed by the facts," said Jean-Alain Michel, a lawyer representing Beghal.

Beghal was extradited to France from the United Arab Emirates in late September 2001 after he told police in the Gulf state that he had helped plan a foiled suicide attack on the U.S. embassy just off the Champs Elysees in central Paris.

He later retracted his statement, saying he had confessed under "methodical torture." [...]

Comment: The following excerpt is from an article from the French newspaper Le Monde:

In front of the correctional court, Mr. Beghal described with precision "atrocious tortures" which led him "to repeat the answers that they (the UAE investigators) gave to me".

He thus affirmed having received "blows" on the feet, "his fingers twisted" with a tool "resembling a bottle opener", his nails partially torn off, and to have felt the "most atrocious pains ever lived" when things "like knitting needles" were inserted "into the most intimate parts". "I even asked for death, but that did not stop them". At his sides in the dock, Kamel Daoudi had reddened eyes and a twisted face, as if he also felt the tortures.

According to Beghal, his torturers repeated to him that "all he had undergone was nothing in comparison with what he was going to live through if he did not accept the scenario suggested".

"What choice did I have at the time?" the suspect asked.

The president of the court, Philippe Vandingenen, then stressed that at the time of his first interrogation by Judge Bruguière, Beghal had certainly disputed certain declarations but had confirmed others, like the identity of Moslems met in the camps of Osama Bin Laden. "It would have been understood that you dispute everything", the magistrate insists.


Djamel Beghal then explained being pressured on behalf of Judge Bruguière, who made him understand that he knew "where his family is" and that there would be "no problem, if I maintained my confession".

He also affirmed that the "pressures" continued during his incarceration at the prison of Osny.

"In the file no element appears which corroborates" these declarations, Mr. Vandingenen underlined, "including the medical examination" carried out after the extradition of the accused.

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Signs of anthrax detected at 2 military mailrooms in Washington area
11:08 PM EST Mar 14

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sensors at two military mail facilities in the Washington area detected signs of anthrax on two pieces of mail Monday, but Pentagon officials said the mail had already been irradiated, rendering any anthrax inert.

Additional tests at the two facilities, one of them at the Pentagon and the other nearby, found no presence of the bacteria, which can be used as a biological weapon. There were no initial reports of illness.

The Pentagon's mail delivery site, which is separate from the main Pentagon building, was evacuated and shut down Monday after sensors triggered an alarm around 10:30 a.m. EST, spokesman Glenn Flood said. It was expected to remain closed until at least Tuesday while the investigation continued.

It was not clear when sensors at the second Defence Department mailroom were triggered Monday, and Pentagon officials only said a nearby satellite mail facility was closed. But firefighters in nearby Bailey's Crossroads, Va., reported that a military mailroom had been shut down after a hazardous material was detected, and no one was allowed to leave the building.

Pentagon spokeswoman Lt.-Cmdr. Jane Campbell said mail at both facilities would have been irradiated before arriving at either one. The radiation treatment would kill any anthrax bacteria, but sensors would still be able to detect it.

She had no information about the origin of the two pieces of mail. [...]

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Smokers At Higher Suicide Risk
Fri Mar 11, 5:01 PM ET

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- People who smoke every day may be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts, researchers report.

The exact links between smoking and suicidal tendencies remain unclear, however, and the researchers did not find any increased risk for suicide among former smokers who had kicked the habit.

Researchers at Michigan State University first interviewed the study participants, aged 21 to 30, in 1989. Follow-up interviews, involving nearly 900 people, were conducted in 1992, 1994 and 1999.

During the interviews, the participants were asked about their smoking history, whether they were current or former daily smokers, and any history of psychiatric disorders.

Over the 10-year follow-up period, 19 of the study participants attempted suicide and 130 reported having suicidal thoughts. Current daily smoking was linked to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts, the study found, even after adjusting for factors such as prior psychiatric problems or any history of substance abuse.

Rates of suicidal behavior were highest among study participants who experienced depression at the start of each follow-up period, the researchers noted.

They write that, although links between smoking and suicide have been noted since the 1970s, the exact nature of the association remains "unclear."

The findings appear in the March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Comment: Let's look at some hypotheses to explain the link between smoking and suicidal thoughts:

  1. Smokers, having their acetylcholine stimulated, see the world more clearly and are driven to suicide by despair.
  2. Smokers, attacked on all sides by intolerant former smokers, are driven to suicide by despair.
  3. Smokers, finding that they are confined to their homes if they wish to smoke, draw parallels with house arrest and the treatment of terrorists and are driven to suicide by despair.

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Church fights Da Vinci Code novel
The Roman Catholic Church in Italy has spoken out against what it says are "shameful and unfounded lies" in the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Archbishop of Genoa, broke the church's official silence on the controversial book.

Its story about the Church suppressing the "truth" that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene has convinced many fans.

But the cardinal's spokesman denied reports that the clergyman was asked by the Vatican to hit back at the book.

Carlo Arcolao told the BBC's News website that it had been the cardinal's own decision to make a public statement about the book.

Mr Arcolao confirmed that the cardinal told an Italian newspaper: "It astonishes and worries me that so many people believe these lies."

The archbishop told Il Giornale: "The book is everywhere. There is a very real risk that many people who read it will believe that the fables it contains are true." [...]

Its central claim is that the Holy Grail is really the bloodline descended from Jesus and Mary Magdalene - which the Church is supposed to have covered up, along with the female role in Christianity.

Brown has previously said: "All of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies, all of that is historical fact."

Comment: While we agree with the Catholic Church that The Da Vinci Code is chock full of lies, we probably disagree with the Good Princes of Christendom over the nature of the Truth. For more on this topic see Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article The True Identity of Fulcanelli and The Da Vinci Code.

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Journalists arrested over presidential ghost report
Blantyre, Malawi
15 March 2005 03:33
Two journalists in Malawi were arrested on Tuesday and charged with publishing false information for reporting that President Bingu wa Mutharika had moved out of a newly built palace because he believes it is haunted.

Raphael Tenthani, who works for the BBC, and Mabvuto Banda, a journalist for The Nation newspaper who also reports for the Reuters news agency, were arrested in Blantyre early on Tuesday and driven under police escort to Lilongwe, about 320km to the north, to face charges at police headquarters.

"We have been charged with publishing false information but I will stand by my story," Tenthani said.

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Japanese island holds secrets of long life
By Sophie Scott

The world's leading anti-ageing scientists, in Australia for a conference, say the Japanese island of Okinawa could reveal the secrets of a long, healthy life.

The scientists are studying life expectancy around the globe in an effort to help people live healthier and longer.

They have found that Okinawa is home to four times as many people aged over 100 as anywhere else in the world.

Scientists and twin brothers Craig and Bradley Willcox are in Australia to present their latest findings.

"You see amazing things - 80-year-olds taking care of 100-year-olds, and everyone has an aunt who is 95," Dr Bradley Willcox said.

Average life expectancy on the island is 86 for women and 80 for men.

Despite the ageing population, heart disease, osteoporosis and dementia are rare.

Scientists say it is not simply a matter of good genetics. It is a combination of diet, exercise and a strong sense of community which keeps them young.

"The calorie intake was around 1,800 a day whereas in similar populations in Australia and the US, it's around 2,500 calories, so it's about a third fewer calories," Dr Bradley Willcox said.

"You will often see in these villages a high level of social interaction, particularly among the women," Dr Craig Willcox said.

If Australians want to follow the Okinawans example, scientists say keeping active is crucial. There is no word for retirement in their dialect.

Comment: Are we sure that it isn't the strong US military presence in Okinawa making the population feel all warm and secure?

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Dusty insulator cuts state's power
By Paul Starick and Craig Bildstien
The Courier-Mail

ELECTRICITY authorities in South Australia are struggling to explain how a routine fault at Port Augusta yesterday triggered widespread blackouts – for the fourth time.

Almost all of Adelaide and large parts of eastern South Australia were blacked out after a chain reaction shut down 650 megawatts of power – about 40 per cent of the state's consumption.

The cascade of electricity failures started with a flashover, or violent short-circuit, at a switching station near Port Augusta. Authorities cannot guarantee it will not happen again.

The flashover is believed to have been caused by a dirty insulator which, ironically, was due for cleaning yesterday. Arcing then caused segments of the insulator to crack.

ETSA utilities contractors yesterday worked to replace the insulator - which is within ElectraNet SA's Playford substation near Port Augusta.

It is the fourth time in a decade – and the third since late 1999 – that a fault in the Port Augusta to Adelaide high-voltage line has resulted in major blackouts. [...]

In yesterday's incident, a 2.5 metre insulator failed at Playford, activating protective mechanisms at the nearby NRG Flinders power station, automatically reducing its output.

One theory is that the sudden loss of power generated from NRG overloaded the Victorian-South Australian interconnector, which went off-line – simultaneously causing the shutdown of generators at Pelican Point and Ladbroke Grove, in the South-East.

In other developments:

NEMMCO said weather conditions probably caused the flashover but admitted it should not have caused the interconnector to shut down.

ELECTRANET said flashovers were "fairly routine events" and the interconnector failure must have been triggered by something else.

INDEPENDENT electricity consultant Rob Booth said the blackout "should never have happened".

The State Government and NEMMCO are conducting separate inquiries, with the power companies expected to take several days to produce submissions.

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Answers Sought After Church Group Shooting
By RYAN NAKASHIMA and JULIET WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writers
Mon Mar 14,11:43 AM ET

BROOKFIELD, Wis. - It was just another weekend service for churchgoers in this Milwaukee suburb when, without warning, they began to be gunned down by one of their own.

Now victims' relatives are struggling to keep their faith and find answers.

"This is a totally senseless thing," said Jeff Miller, whose 44-year-old brother, Gerald, died shielding an elderly woman who survived. "He was a great guy. He didn't deserve to die."

Terry Ratzmann, a buttoned-down churchgoer known for sharing homegrown vegetables with his neighbors, walked into the room and police said he shot 22 bullets from a 9 mm handgun within a minute.

None of those who knew him expected Ratzmann to be violent, though some said he had grappled with depression. Neighbors said he was quiet and devout, that he liked to tinker about his house and garden. He would even release the chipmunks caught in traps he set in his yard.

But Saturday, the Sabbath for the Living Church of God, Ratzmann turned on worshippers. When it was over, seven people, including the church's minister and his teenage son, were killed, and four others, including the minister's wife, were wounded. Ratzmann, 44, then shot himself; he sat slumped against the back wall with four rounds left in his gun, police said.

"He wasn't a dark guy. He was average Joe," said Shane Colwell, a neighbor who knew Ratzmann for about a decade. "It's not like he ever pushed his beliefs on anyone else."

The 44-year-old computer technician lived with his mother and sister in a modest home about two miles from the suburban Milwaukee hotel where police say he opened fire during service.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based Living Church of God is a denomination that grew out of a schism in the Worldwide Church of God, formed in 1933, and focuses on "end-time" prophecies.

This year, the group's leader, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, wrote that events prophesied in the Bible are "beginning to occur with increasing frequency." The church has an estimated 6,300 members in 40 countries.

Ratzmann himself regularly attended the gatherings at the Sheraton hotel - the Milwaukee-area church group did not have a building of its own.

Member Chandra Frazier told "Good Morning America" that he had walked out of a recent sermon "sort of in a huff." The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday the Feb. 26 sermon that upset Ratzmann had made the point that people's problems are of their own making.

Charles Bryce, the national church's director of administration, said Monday he was told the sermon was about "basic Christian living" but was trying to get more information about what specifically upset Ratzmann.

"That's something we just don't know. I don't know whether we'll ever know," Bryce said.

Between 50 to 60 people were at the weekly meeting Saturday, and anyone in Ratzmann's path appeared to be a target. He allegedly dropped a magazine and reloaded another.

It was so unbelievable, someone shouted out, "This is for real!"

Dorothy Hodzinski hit the floor and Gerald Miller, a delivery truck driver, threw his arm over her as they lay together, she told WISN-TV in Milwaukee.

"He tried to protect me," she said. "I said, 'Gerry, I think you better start to pray.'"

"He said 'Yeah, I think we better,' and he went 'uh' ... Maybe that's when he was shot."

Although he left no suicide note and gave no explanation for the killings, investigators said Ratzmann was on the verge of losing his job. Agents who searched Ratzmann's home found three computers containing many encrypted files. They also found a rifle and ammunition.

Ratzmann went to church every Saturday, Colwell said, and had lived in the same house his entire life. But another neighbor called Ratzmann a drinker, and church members said he struggled with depression.

"When he was really depressed he didn't talk to people. Sometimes it was worse than others," said Kathleen Wollin, 66, who was sitting at the front of the room during Saturday's service.

A former member of the church told the Journal Sentinel Ratzmann was a smart but "angry" figure.

"He was always kind of weird and standoffish. He never did anything physically violent, but he could say things very sharply," said David Patrick of Versailles, Ky. "I always saw the potential there for him to explode. I was intimidated and scared of him at times."

In addition to Miller and Ratzmann, the dead were Randy L. Gregory, 51, and his son, James Gregory, 16; Harold Diekmeier, 74; Richard Reeves, 58; Bart Oliver, 15; and Gloria Critari, 55.

Gregory's wife, Marjean, 52, remained hospitalized in critical condition Monday. Matthew P. Kaulbach, 21, and Angel M. Varichak, 19, were in satisfactory condition. A 10-year-old girl police identified as Lindsay was released from the hospital.

A crowd gathered for a candlelight vigil Sunday night at a makeshift memorial of flowers, crosses and stuffed animals in a snowbank in front of the hotel.

Ratzmann was not known to have threatened anyone and had no criminal record, police said. Waukesha County supervisor Andrew Kallin, who led the vigil, could only offer a prayer.

"The Lord works in mysterious ways."

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Teen charged in strangling of brother, 3
By Carlos Sadovi
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 14, 2005, 1:44 PM CST

UPDATE: Bond was set at $650,000 today for Yesenia Diaz, 17, charged with murder in the strangulation death of her 3-year-old brother.

A Chicago girl is expected in Bond Court on Monday, charged with strangling her 3-year-old brother in her parents' home, wrapping his body in plastic bags and stuffing him in a trash bin last week.

Yesenia Diaz, 17, appeared briefly in Cook County Criminal Court on Sunday via short-circuit television. She was dressed in a pink shirt and jeans with her long, black hair covering her downcast face. [...]

In court documents, Diaz allegedly confessed to killing her brother by placing both her hands on his mouth, nose and throat. Their parents were working at the time. [...]

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Boy Injured When Gun Goes Off at School
Mar 14, 8:01 PM EST

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A gun in a bookbag discharged in an elementary school classroom Monday and the second-grader who brought it was shot in the hand, police said.

The injury to the 7-year-old was not believed to be life-threatening. Police were uncertain why the gun went off.

"It happened in the classroom, just as they were taking their coats off," police Sgt. David Sicilian said.

Columbus schools did not cancel classes, but some parents took their children from Leawood Elementary School. There were 15 children in class when the .45-caliber pistol gun went off, Sicilian said.

The boy's mother "indicated she had no idea where the weapon came from," Sicilian said. [...]

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Dallas Gunman Kills 3 From Car Sunroof
By LISA FALKENBERG, Associated Press Writer
March 15, 2005

DALLAS - A gunman armed with an assault rifle stood through the sunroof of a Jaguar and opened fire on another moving vehicle early Tuesday, killing three men and critically wounding a fourth, police said.

Authorities were searching for the suspect, who was a passenger in a car described as a white or silver Jaguar with fancy wheels, said Cpl. Max Geron, a Dallas police spokesman. The gunman had at least one accomplice - the driver, Geron said.

The shootings happened about 2 a.m. on a highway frontage road near the Southern Methodist University campus. [...]

No motive has been determined, but the shooting happened soon after a fight was reported at a nearby bar. [...]

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Man cooked friend's brains
By Paul Cheston, Courts Correspondent
Evening Standard
15 March 2005

Today the Old Bailey was told of repeated failings by key professionals after Peter Bryan pleaded guilty to two killings.

A major row erupted over how he was ever considered to be safe enough to be discharged. Bryan, now 36, was convicted of killing a 20-year-old girl with a hammer in 1993 and sent to Rampton. In 2002 he was freed.

In February 2004, within hours of his release by the East London and City Mental Health Trust, he had killed and dismembered a friend at a Walthamstow flat. He cooked his brain in a frying pan with butter before eating it. The trust today promised a full independent inquiry. Following the Walthamstow killing Bryan was sent to Broadmoor mental hospital where he killed a fellow inmate in a "medium risk room" nine weeks later.

Today at the Old Bailey he pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was being sentenced this afternoon. Lawyers are pressing for Bryan to be added to the small number of psychotic killers considered to be too dangerous ever to be released again. [...]

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We Need a Gumshoe to Catch These Crooks
15 March 2005

BERLIN - Thieves with a fondness for chewing gum broke into an isolated storage hall in the western German town of Steinfurt and made off with 200 fully loaded gum machines, police said Tuesday.

The machines and their contents were worth more than 10,000 euros ($13,400), police said.

"We don't have a clue," said one police spokesman. "We can only assume they used a large truck to get away with so many machines."

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