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My Lai Road 37 Years Ago Today

A History of False Terror

Given that most Americans and Westerners in general have been denied access to truth about the role played by successive US governments in shaping the current global geopolitical climate, and the fact that the "official story" would have us believe that "Muslim terrorists" carried out the WTC attacks, they can be forgiven for thinking that the blame for the present stand off lies squarely at the door of those same "Muslim terrorists". The reality however is that, like so many other regimes throughout the ages, the US government has long recognised the usefulness of religion as a way to manipulate other countries and their populations. Take the Philippines for but one example.

In 1898 the islands, along with Cuba Guam and Puerto Rico were part of the aging Spanish empire, and coveted by the American financial and business elite of the day who recognised that control of the Philippines would put them in a position to stake their claim to the rich emerging markets of China and southeast Asia. Confronted with this situation and realising that they lacked any popular support for an attack, American big business in league with the US government decided that he would simply create it. In 1897 a "fortuitous" outbreak of popular rebellions in Cuba and Philippines against Spanish rule provided the opportunity. In typical fashion that remains their MO to this day, the American media grossly exaggerated the "atrocities" carried out by Spanish soldiers in Cuba and the Philippines

In one incident "New York Journal" publisher William Randolph Hearst sent the noted artist Frederic Remington to Cuba to provide sketches for American newspaper readers of the revolution. When the disillusioned Remington wired Hearst "Everything quiet. No trouble here. There will be no war. I wish to return." Hearst shot back the notorious reply, "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I will furnish the war."

As one biographer of Hearst noted ironically about his paper's coverage of the Cuban conflict, "The majority of the public found it more exciting to read about the murder of Cuban babies and the rape of Cuban women by the Spaniards than to read conscientious accounts of complicated political problems and injustices on both sides. The hero/villain concept of the war was simple, easy to grasp and satisfying."

Does this sound familiar??

In October 1897 Theodore Roosevelt, at that time Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the administration of President William McKinley, sent a wire to American Admiral George Dewey in the far east advising him to prepare for an attack on the Spanish fleet in the Philippines pending developments in Cuba.

On the pretext of protecting American citizens, in fact there was no such threat, the President ordered the Battleship Maine to Key West, Florida, where it could sail to Cuba at a moments notice. When a group of conservative Spaniards attacked a Havana newspaper office on January 12 McKinley provocatively sent the Maine to Havana.

The Spanish, bending over backwards to avert war, accepted US explanations that the visit of the powerful warship was a "courtesy call." The ship's officers were treated with all due respect.

Then, on February 15, just as the Maine prepared to leave Havana, a huge explosion tore apart the ship. Two officers and 266 enlisted men out of the 354-man crew died. The Spanish helped rescue the survivors and expressed shock at the tragedy.

To this day no one knows for sure what caused the explosion. The Spanish certainly had no motive for provoking a war given the huge military and industrial preponderance of the United States.

Without one shred of evidence the American press assumed the Spanish were to blame. When Hearst heard the news of the explosion he declared, "This means war." The New York Journal carried a headline reading, "The War Ship Maine Was Split In Two By An Enemy's Secret Infernal Machine." The front page carried a drawing of the ship riding atop mines and showed wires leading to a Spanish fort guarding the harbor.

The slogan "Remember the Maine" became the battle cry of US militarists. The United States issued a series of ultimatums, demanding that Spain virtually cede sovereignty over Cuba. Despite the fact that Spain capitulated to most American demands, McKinley asked for and received authorization for the use of military force from Congress. On April 23 Congress adopted a resolution declaring that a state of war existed with Spain.

Within months the Spanish were defeated. The United States obtained virtually all of Spain's remaining colonies, including Cuba and the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico

The British historian Hugh Thomas in his history of Cuba published in 1971 cites William Astor Chanler, a member of the US House of Representatives, who had connections to Roosevelt, as a suspect in the bombing of the Maine. Chanler along with his brothers were involved in smuggling arms to the Cuba insurrectionists. He reportedly claimed responsibility for the explosion on the Maine in a conversation with the US ambassador William C. Bullitt in the early 1930's. Chanler died shortly afterwards in Paris.

Having used the plight of the Muslim Philippine insurgents to fabricate the conditions for a takeover of their country, the US then stayed on and occupied the country and embarked on a brutal crackdown on the same insurgents labeling them "terrorists" as a way to consolidate its power.

Again, does this sound familiar?

Once they realized they’d been had, the Philippine people rose in revolt against American rule in February 1899. America unleashed it’s rabid military dogs on them, and 70,000 professional baby-killers (known euphemistically as American soldiers, marines and sailors), spent three years brutally crushing the rebellion. The death toll of Philippine people was enormous, both from battle casualties and disease. An estimated 200,000 Philippine men, women and children died horribly at the hands of racist American monsters.

Mark Twain was deeply disturbed by the sadistic war crimes committed by the evil U.S. military in a Vietnam-like genocide which lasted from 1899 to 1902. He was also disgusted with the virtually universal racism in which White Americans shamelessly wallowed throughout those benighted turn-of-the-century years. (The very years which moral Neanderthals in America even now call “The Good Old Days.”)

Twain cynically “saluted” America’s first international genocide “by suggesting that we replace the stars and stripes in our flag with the skull and crossbones.”

In "A People’s History of the United States" Howard Zinn writes of American sadism during the Philippine-American war:

In November 1901, the Manila correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger reported:

“The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog...

The Americans also developed a 'water torture'. If a captured Filipino refused to divulge military information, four or five gallons of water were forced down his throat until his body became an 'object frightful to contemplate.' Then the water was forced out by kneeling on his stomach. The treatment was repeated until the prisoner talked or died.

In Manila, a U.S. Marine named Littletown Waller, a major, was accused of shooting eleven defenseless Filipinos, without trial, on the island of Samar. Other marine officers described his testimony:

The major said that General Smith instructed him to kill and burn, and said that the more he killed and burned the better pleased he would be; that it was no time to take prisoners, and that he was to make Samar a howling wilderness. Major Waller asked General Smith to define the age limit for killing, and he replied “Everything over ten.”

In the province of Batangas, the secretary of the province estimated that of the population of 300,000, one third had been killed by combat, famine, or disease.

American firepower was overwhelmingly superior to anything the Filipino rebels could put together. In the very first battle, Admiral Dewey steamed up the Pasig River and fired 500-pound shells into the Filipino trenches. Dead Filipinos were piled so high that the Americans used their bodies for breastworks.

A British witness said:

"This is not war; it is simply massacre and murderous butchery."

After formal independence in 1946 the Philippines served as a major base for US imperialism in the Far East, most notably in the war in Vietnam. (Note: Today is the anniversary of the US massacre of Vietnamese in the village of My Lai). Despite the changing global political climate, it seems that the Philippines are as strategically important to the US today as 100 years ago. Not desirous therefore to forego such a resource in the mere interests of democracy and freedom successive US governments opted for a policy of backing a series of brutal dictators in the Philippines on whom they knew they could rely to remain loyal to US interests. An integral part of this policy was and remains the fomenting of internecine conflict between the Christian and Muslim populations of the Islands. There is no better way to keep a country under control that to keep it bathed in blood it seems.

Under US-backed President Ferdinand Marcos, Christians were encouraged to migrate to the Muslim dominated southern Philippine islands where they were given land that previously belonged to Muslims. As expected, various Muslim "terrorist" groups rose up as a result of such policies, including the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leading to innumerous "terrorists" attacks followed by reprisals from the Philippine army.

As with many other stage-managed conflicts around the world, as the years roll on and the political climate changes, the warring factions often grow weary and/or seek other ways to achieve their aims, and unless it can be continually 'fueled', the chances are that peace will eventually 'break out'. It is at these perilous junctures that the US government and its secret agencies step up to the plate and assume their responsibility.

The 9/11 attacks provided the US government with a carte blanche to consolidate the various "terrorist" groups that it had spawned around the world into one overarching (Muslim) "terrorist threat". For example, the Abu Sayyaf Group (remember this name it will crop up again later) a splinter group of the MILF, was formed in 1991 by Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, who conveniently espoused an ethnic cleansing of the Philippines of Christians. The group was condemned for attacking churches and villages and killing hundreds of civilians and was even alleged to be involved in a plot to kill the Pope. Since 9/11, it has also been alleged that they received training in Afghanistan terror camps and they are linked to Al Qaeda and that arch villain and CIA asset Osama bin Laden. In February 2003, 1,300 U.S. soldiers were sent into Mindanao to find and destroy Abu Sayyaf, without any luck, sadly.

To some extent, all that we have alleged thus far about the workings of US covert intelligence agencies in fomenting war and bloodshed would remain in the domain of speculation, if it were not for a story that first appeared in the mainstream Philippine press in August 2002, and since then has refused to go away.

The protagonist is a US national who was seriously injured on May 16, 2002 in an explosion in his Davao City hotel room on the Philippine island of Mindanao. For two consecutive days, on May 14 and May 15, bomb threats forced the early adjournment of the regular session of the Davao City legislature and sent employees of around nine government agencies in the Council building scampering for safety.

No bomb was found on both days.

No bomb threat was phoned in on May 16 but a bomb exploded, followed by fire at Room 305 of the Evergreen Hotel. The blast nearly killed the owner of the explosives, a naturalized American citizen named Michael Terence Meiring, a frequent guest over the last 10 years in the hotel and whose latest check-in after nearly a year of absence, was on December 14, 2001.

The badly injured Meiring, his legs mangled by the explosion, had claimed to hotel staff that he was into gold and treasure hunting, and was a resident of 381 Snidee Ridge Trail, Calimino, Los Angeles, California (other documents list the address as 381 Smoke Ridge Trail, Calimesa, California)

Just three days later, an FBI team arrived at his hospital room and spirited him back to the US before the matter could be investigated, despite arrest warrants, an order that he not leave the country, and "without the knowledge of any police, military or government official in the city or region." As the Mindanao News stated at the time:

Who was Michael Terence Meiring and why did the FBI get him out? How did he manage to leave the county despite warrants of arrest and hold departure orders? Why hasn't he been returned to this city to face charges of illegal possession of explosives and reckless imprudence despite promises last year by the police and the National Bureau of Investigation? Why doesn’t the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit want to say exactly what kind of explosives went off in Meiring’s hotel room?

That explosion on May 16 last year in Meiring’s hotel room initially triggered panic among residents who thought bombers elsewhere in Mindanao had, indeed, arrived in the city.

Less than a month earlier, on April 21 in General Santos City, a bomb explosion killed 15 persons and injured 55 others. Several other bomb explosions had occurred in Cotabato, General Santos and even Manila, a number of them claimed by the shadowy Indigenous peoples Federal Army which started making its presence felt in late December 2001, the Christian Lumad Nationalist Army which claimed responsibility for a bomb scare in Cotabato City on March 21, the Abu Muslim and Al Gzahi episodes in GenSan.

The circumstances behind Meiring’s sudden departure from the hospital, inspite of his serious condition, raised questions about his real identity. A number of officials in ‘for background only’ interviews, speculated Meiring may have been an agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

According to affidavits of hotel employees, Zander Bautista, Gerry Kay Magdadaro and Emmanuel Ticson, Meiring would repeatedly tell them that in cleaning his room, they can touch anything but the two padlocked metal boxes which allegedly contained assorted documents.

Magdadaro also recalled that Meiring told him that in cleaning his room he should use only a “clean rag without any chemical materials.”

What the metal boxes contained no one knew, until May 16, 2002, when Meiring nearly lost his life during an explosion inside his hotel room. In their affidavits, Police Senior Inspector Sabino Vengco and PO3 German Labandero, Explosives Ordnance Disposal team leader and post-blast investigator, respectively, of the Special Anti Terrorist Unit (SATU), said the explosion originated inside one of the metal boxes in Meiring’s room.

The investigators also recovered “used improvised electric blasting cap with burned leg wires, cut-off tiny pieces of leg wires and bits of pieces of metallic fragments as cap shell.”

Initial reports said the explosion was caused by dynamites but on May 23, SPO3 Miguel Vicente, Jr. of the Southern Mindanao police’s EOD team said the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device which was described as "powerful" and "high-tech."

It was also reported that one of the boxes in Meiring's rooms contained:

an "officer" identification card of the Moro National Liberation Front’s Bangsamoro Armed Forces, bearing Meiring’s name, photograph and September 17, 1935 as date of birth.

Furthermore, the ID card was:

"used to identify himself as a bonafide member who shares their objectives and shares their perspective in this war on terrorism."

A CIA agent in the Philippines with a fake "terrorist" ID and a bomb?? Are we talking about phony US government-sponsored terror attacks here??

Later we learn that:

Meiring had visitors from various sectors, rich and poor, congressmen, councilors, a governor, military and once, the source said, Meiring complained he was duped by a police general.

The source said Meiring’s predictions "always came true" such as the peso-dollar rate reaching this and that level. But what the source cannot forget was when Meiring said in January last year that with the Americans coming for Balikatan, sporadic bombings were to be expected and there would be a "big one." When the source asked Meiring if the General Santos City bombing on April 21 last year was the ‘big one,” Meiring reportedly said no. Fifteen persons were killed and 55 others were injured in that blast.

A Manila Times report last year noted that “charred US federal bank notes were found in his exploded hotel room, with a three-week old fax from Derek S. Fawell, of 3 Glenhurst Avenue, Yorkshire, England that read: ‘With regard to your ordnance disposal problem, I have talked with our experts. They will be at your location upon the time frame that you instruct. The device that you have described is highly volatile and must be dealt with quite delicately.’

Meiring used in his communications his company name, Parousia International Trading Co. Inc. using the Evergreen hotel phone and fax numbers. [...]

A check with the Mindanao Business Council showed there is no Parousia or Meiring in its directory. The firm, however, is listed under “metals” in, a Davao City-based business portal site.

Mines and Geo-sciences regional chief Ma Luisa Jacinto said Parousia had no permit and no accreditation as mineral trader. Jacinto said that if Meiring had secured a permit and accreditation in the national office, they would have been sent copies.

Parousia is a Greek word that literally means "being present." In Christian theology, it is another term for "second coming."

While Meiring was "spirited" out of his Philippine hospital bed by the FBI, minus two legs, it appears that he is still alive and well and living in Houston as Houston-based KHOU informed us back in December 2004:

11 News tracked him to the United States and believe it or not, eventually to Houston.

How do we know? The Defenders discovered a document from the Harris County family courts where in March of this year the same Michael Meiring was having his last name changed to Van De Meer for what he said was the purpose of remarrying.

And he even listed a Houston address of residence where he lived with a woman for several months.

"How is he able to do this?" asks Ron Hatchett, a world famous counter-terrorism expert formerly with the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency. "How is he able to walk around freely within our society using the name that is on the arrest warrant for him."

"It's not somebody I'd like to have even in my state or my country," says Hatchett.

And why? Hatchett says there are too many questions, too many red flags.

First the explosion itself. "What we do know for sure is that he had a bomb in his hotel room that exploded," says Hatchett.

Then there's that I.D. card listing him as an officer in a Muslim rebel group "that is used to identify himself as a bonafide member who shares their objectives and shares their perspective in this war on terrorism," says Hatchett.

And Hatchett says that Meiring's group works with other more militant Muslim splinter groups like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and Abu Sayyaf.

"They share information, they share money, they share training," says Hatchett. And Hatchett says all of these groups, "use explosives against the Philippines government and against the U.S."

So what is a CIA agent doing working with an Islamic terrorist group that espouses an ethnic cleansing of the Philippines of Christians attacks churches and villages and kills hundreds of civilians, involved in a plot to kill the Pope and has also been alleged to have received training in Afghanistan terror camps linked to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden"!?

So where is Meiring now?

KHOU tracked him to a phone number with a California area code. He denied the charges, refused an on-camera interview and would not comment on the record.

Except for this: "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," said Meiring.

Other than that comment, Meiring would not comment on the record. But the Defenders did speak to a man who said he is a longtime friend of Meiring, Stephen Hughes.

"The man that I know is a generous man, one of the most brilliant minds that I have met. The man that I know does not fit the descriptions that I am reading and that I am hearing," said Hughes.

Hughes, a high school teacher at North Surry High School in Mount Airy, N.C., also said in his opinion, Meiring is innocent and that someone else must have put a bomb in his room. He said he was in Meiring's hotel room about an hour an a half before the blast and only saw documents, not explosives inside that box that eventually exploded.

"I was standing there beside him, he went through all of the documents and there were only documents in that footlocker that I could see. And I saw it from top to bottom," said Hughes.

The Defenders spoke with top justice officials in the Philippines and they say they've asked the U.S. government for help in locating Meiring, but have not received a response. A spokesman for the FBI in Houston, Bob Dogum, says they aren't aware of any Philippines request but that they are aware of the explosion at the Evergreen Hotel. They did not know Meiring was in Houston until now.

Of course they didn't.

Today, it was reported that the Philippine government has made yet another appeal to the US government to hand over Meiring to stand trial for his terrorist activities in the Philippines. While we would like to think that justice will prevail, perhaps it is a little ambitious to think that the US government would allow a member of their own intelligence service to stand trial for terrorist activities sanctioned by the US government itself.

The sad truth is that this story is but the tip of the iceberg in terms of the reality of modern-day "terrorism". Given the evidence, there can be little doubt that the "Islamic terrorism", as it is presented by the Bush administration, is little more than a fantastic and grotesque product of the imagination of a small group of people driven by the conviction that fear is the best way to control the masses.

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"I was there. I did this. It's like a trophy"
By Louise Roug, Times Staff Writer

BAQUBAH, Iraq — When Pfc. Chase McCollough was sent home on leave in November, he brought a movie made by fellow soldiers in Iraq. On his first night back at his parents' house in Texas, he showed the video to his fiancee, family and friends.

This is what they saw: a handful of American soldiers filmed through the green haze of night-vision goggles. Radio communication between two soldiers crackles in the background before it's drowned out by a heavy-metal soundtrack.

"Don't need your forgiveness," the song by the band Dope begins as images unfurl: armed soldiers posing in front of Bradley fighting vehicles, two women covered in black abayas walking along a dusty road, a blue-domed mosque, a poster of radical cleric Muqtada Sadr. Then, to the fast, hard beat of the music — "Die, don't need your resistance. Die, don't need your prayers" — charred, decapitated and bloody corpses fill the screen.

"It's like a trophy, something to keep," McCullough, 20, said back at his cramped living quarters at Camp Warhorse near Baqubah. "I was there. I did this." [...]

"I have a lot of pictures of dead Iraqis — everybody does," said Spc. Jack Benson, 22, also stationed near Baqubah. He has collected five videos by other soldiers and is working on his own.

By adding music, soldiers create their own cinema verite of the conflict. Although many are humorous or patriotic, others are gory, like McCollough's favorite.

"It gets the point across," he said. "This isn't some jolly freakin' peacekeeping mission." [...]

"It doesn't bother you so much taking pictures of the guy who was just shooting at you," McCullough said. He added that he hadn't seen any pictures of dead U.S. soldiers. "It's just a little too morbid, a little too close to home."

On the bases where Benson and McCullough live, the Army regularly searches soldiers' quarters for drugs, alcohol and pornography as part of what it calls health and safety inspections. But searching personal laptops would infringe on soldiers' privacy, said Capt. Douglas Moore, a judge advocate general officer with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Warhorse. Besides, if this brand of filmmaking breaks rules, they're of a different kind.

"It's in poor taste," Moore said, "kind of sick."

McCullough was surprised that his favorite video was disturbing to his loved ones back in Texas.

"You find out just how weird it is when you take it home," said McCullough, whose screensaver is far more benign, showing him on his wedding day.

Brandi McCullough, then his fiancee and now his wife, said she had walked in as he was showing the videos to friends who were "whooping and hollering."

The 18-year-old was shocked by images of "body parts missing, bombs going off and people getting shot."

"They're terrifying," she said by phone from Texas. "Chase never talked about anything over there, and I watch the news, but not all the time. I didn't realize there was that much" violence.

She also wondered why anyone would record it.

"I thought it was odd — a home video," she said. "People getting shot and someone sitting there with a camera." [...]

Thomas Doherty, chairman of the film studies program at Brandeis University and author of "Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture and World War II," called the videos an authentic diary of the war.

"There's always the disconnect between the front-line soldier and the sheltered home front," he said. "It's a World War II ethos: You don't bring it home."

After watching the video, Doherty said, "Of course you're struck by the gruesomeness of the carnage, but it's a wide range of images."

He went on to praise "the contra-punctual editing — the beat of the tune and the flash of the images," calling it "a very slick piece of work."

"The MTV generation goes to war," he said. "They should enter it at Sundance."

In another video, made by members of the Florida National Guard, soldiers are shown kicking a wounded prisoner in the face and making the arm of a corpse appear to wave. The DVD, which is called "Ramadi Madness," includes sections with titles such as "Those Crafty Little Bastards" and "Another Day, Another Mission, Another Scumbag," came to light in early March after the American Civil Liberties Union obtained Army documents using the Freedom of Information Act.

James Ross, senior legal advisor for Human Rights Watch, called it "disturbing that soldiers are making videos like that." But he added, "It doesn't mean that it's necessarily a violation of the Geneva Convention."

The Geneva Convention instructs that remains of deceased shall be respected and not "exposed to public curiosity," Ross said. "It's not putting heads on spikes and things like that. To argue you can't photograph [a body] would be a bit of a stretch."

Several websites sell footage from the war.

"Militants fight in the streets of Baghdad, looting, lawlessness," is how clips are advertised on A Las Vegas-based company,, offers $50 and $100 clips that include older footage of Saddam Hussein, Jessica Lynch, aerial bombardment and "sooooo many bombs." The site also advertises video showing an Iraqi fuel truck being destroyed by U.S. bombs during the invasion in March 2003.

Another website advertises, " is the place to find those pump-you-up-to-kill-the-bad-guys videos everyone has been talking about."

Spc. Scott Schroder, a gunner with Task Force 2-63, wouldn't show what he described as the "evil, nasty kill-videos," to his family.

"That's cool with the guys," he said. "I don't think my mom would care to see any of these videos."

Another specialist, who wouldn't give his name, said the bloody videos disgusted him.

"I wouldn't watch them, and the people I work with wouldn't watch them," said the specialist, stationed at a base near Mosul in northern Iraq. "I don't think it's proper."

He compared the violent videos to those made by insurgents showing beheadings.

"You bring yourself down to their level," he said. "Why would you do that?"

A poster for the video game "Grand Theft Auto" is pinned to the door of McCullough's room at Camp Warhorse.

Watching the home videos gives him a different perspective on combat, he said. Details are missed in the heat of battle, and the military "could use it as a tool, kind of like how they do it with high school football."

His roommate, 30-year-old Sgt. Benjamin Bronkema from Lafayette, Ind., said he was surprised no one had tried to sell the movies yet.

"If I had a copy of it, and MTV called, I'd sell it," he said. The videos are no different than what's on screen at the cinema, showing glorified violence, he added.

"It's no more graphic than 'Saving Private Ryan,' " he said. "To us, it's no different than watching a movie."

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2004 was deadliest year in a decade for world's journalists, with 56 killed
Associated Press
March 14, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) - Fifty-six journalists around the world were killed in 2004 because of their jobs, the deadliest 12 months for reporters in a decade, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported Monday.

Of the 56, the committee said, 36 were targeted for murder, continuing a long-term trend in annual surveys of the safety of journalists.

The profession became more hazardous in other ways as well, as government intrusions on a free press increased in Russia and all the other former Soviet republics except the three Baltic states, and 122 journalists - 42 of them in China - were imprisoned for their reporting. A reporter was jailed for job-related reasons in the United States for the first time in three years.

In releasing the report, "Attacks on the Press in 2004," the advocacy group said:

"Nowhere are new, harsh realities more evident than in Russia, where a purge of independent voices on national television and an alarming suppression of news coverage during the Beslan (school) hostage crisis marked a year in which President Vladimir Putin increasingly exerted Soviet-style control over the media."

Only in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, tiny Baltic states subsumed into the Soviet Union in 1940, have traditions of strong press freedom been established, the report said.

In the other 12 former Soviet republics, it said, controls on the press are more stringent than at any time since the closing years of Soviet communism. The rise of a pro-Western government in Ukraine following street demonstrators gives hope for change there, however, the report said.

The 56 dead journalists were the most since 66 died in 1994. Many of those were victims of fighting in Algeria's civil war in which a military-backed government prevailed over Muslim extremists.

Iraq remained by far the most dangerous country for journalists, and 2004 featured a dramatic shift of the risk of death in combat to native Iraqi journalists. Most of the 23 reporters killed were Iraqis, and the committee said nine of the 23 were murdered.

"The toll made the war in Iraq one of the deadliest conflicts for journalists in recent history," the report said.

Most of the reporters jailed were locked up on vague "anti-state" charges, such as sedition, subversion and working against the interests of the state.

Besides China, Cuba with 23, Eritrea with 17 and Myanmar with 11 accounted for more than three-quarters of the 122 imprisoned. The only American sentenced is Jim Taricani of WJAR-TV in Providence, R.I., serving six months' home confinement for refusing to reveal a source.

Comment: It is not surprising to hear that Iraq remains by far the most dangerous country for journalists. Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of the blogging community, CNN's Eason Jordan was forced to resign from his job as news chief for allegedly stating that the U.S. military was deliberately targeting journalists in Iraq. With the recent attempted assassination of Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena by U.S. troops, it seems quite certain that his remarks were accurate and made with a knowledge of inside information of secret American goverment policy.

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Targeting Guiliana
Former US Air Force Intelligence officer

Former Intel Officer: The US Considered Her a Military Target

The top U.S. general in Iraq, Army gen. George Casey, has stated that the US had no indication that Italian officials gave advance notice of the route of the vehicle in which Giuliana Sgrena and slain officer Nicola Calipari were riding. As a former Air Force intelligence officer, I would argue that this statement is absolutely ludicrous. Based upon intelligence collection capabilities of even 3 decades ago, it is reasonable to assume that the US intercepted all phone communication between Italian agents in Iraq and Rome, monitored such traffic in real time and knew precisely where Sgrena's vehicle was at all times, without advanced notice being provided by Italian officials.

During the early 1970s, it was my job to monitor intelligence collected on the Korean peninsula. It was my responsibility to report serious anomalies to the White House by means of a secure phone.

At that time, satellite photographic collection capability was in its infancy; however, the joke, often told at briefings, was that while "we can identify a golf ball anywhere on planet earth, we cannot tell you the brand." In addition to satellite photography, I would assume, as in Korea, that there would be numerous other sources of photography from "manned" and "unmanned" aircraft that are regularly positioned over key areas, such as the airport in Baghdad, which are capable of providing real time imagery of vehicle traffic.

Work was also being conducted to monitor voice conversation, in real time, by detecting the vibrations that the human voice creates in window panes in a particular room or more easily, in an automobile. But most important, the US, by 1974, had the capability to intercept any and all ground to air phone conversations. It is inconceivable to me that the US would not be monitoring all conversations between Italian agents and Rome, particularly cell phone conversations in a hostile environment where cell phone communications are used to trigger explosives. Are we to believe that in an area near the airport, an area that is intensely hostile according to the US, that they would not be monitoring cell phone signals? Even if such conversations were electronically "scrambled," the position of such signals would be of enormous intelligence value.

One can only assume that the intelligence capability of the US during the past 28 years has improved significantly. Thus, the wrong questions are being asked. It is reasonable to assume that 1) satellite and aircraft intelligence (photographic and electronic) intelligence was being collected in real time and 2) that my contemporary counterpart in Iraq was monitoring this intelligence and vehicular traffic (and possibly the conversations within such vehicles) within a radius of several kilometers around the airport if not the entire city. Anomalies would be reported immediately to those in command. The question, then, becomes what communication occurred between those in command and those who fired upon Sgrena's vehicle.

I also believe that a clear motivation for preventing Sgrena from telling her story is quite evident. Let us recall that the first target in the second attack upon the city of Fallujah was al-Fallujah General Hospital. Why? It was the reporting of enormous civilian casualties from this hospital that compelled the US to halt its attack. In other words, the control of information from Fallujah as to consequences of the US assault, particularly with regard to civilians, became a critical element in the military operation.

Now, in a report by Iraq's health ministry we are learning that the US used mustard, nerve gas and napalm - in the manner of Saddam - against the civilian population of Fallujah. Sgrena, herself, has provided photographic evidence of the use of cluster bombs and the wounding of children there. I have searched in vain to find these reports in any major corporate media. The American population, for the most part, is ignorant of what its military is doing in their name and must remain so in order for the US to wage its war against the Iraqi people.

Information, based upon intelligence or the reporting of brave journalists, may be the most important weapon in the war in Iraq. From this point of view, the vehicle in which Nicola and Giuliana were riding wasn't simply a vehicle carrying a hostage to freedom. It is quite reasonable to assume, given the immorality of war and of this war in particular, that it was considered a military target.

Jerry Fresia is a former US Air Force intelligence officer. He now lives in Italy.

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Two journalists with Kurdish TV station killed four days apart
March 14 /CNW Telbec/

MONTREAL, - The killings of two journalists with Kurdistan-TV, the satellite television station of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), in the space of four days were condemned today by Reporters Without Borders as "targeted murders aimed at intimidating a Kurdish news media in Iraq."

Cameraman Hussam Hilal Sarsam, who was kidnapped yesterday in Mosul, 380 km north of Baghdad, was gunned down when he tried to escape his abductors today, four days after the fatal shooting of Laik Ibrahim, Kurdistan-TV's bureau chief in Kirkuk, 250 km north of the capital.

"We reiterate that journalists are neutral observers and that it is
imperative to protect and respect their work in order to ensure complete and independent news coverage," Reporters Without Borders said.

"A total of 51 journalists and media assistants have lost their lives
trying to report the news since the start of the war in Iraq in March 2003, seven of them in Mosul," the press freedom organization added.

After Sarsam, 27, was kidnapped yesterday in a busy section of Mosul, he was forced by his abductors to call one of his colleagues to arrange a meeting. Sarsam reportedly said: "Come and join me, I have something important to tell you." The colleague immediately contacted his superiors who advised him not to go. While being moved by his kidnappers in a car this morning, Sarsam tried to take advantage of a traffic jam to escape, but they shot four
times as he ran away.
His body was found in the neighbourhood where he was kidnapped.

Kurdistan-TV's Mosul bureau has 14 employees, including five reporters and four cameramen. Sarsam, who joined the bureau in January 2004, covered a number of sensitive subjects including the bombings that have taken place in Mosul, in which he filmed witnesses and survivors. His colleagues described him as a "model of courage."

Reached by telephone, Mosul bureau chief Akram Slimane told Reporters Without Borders that the station was the target of these killings because it "gives the truth and nothing but the truth." Other employees have also received threats. The Kirkuk bureau chief, Ibrahim, was shot dead as he drove to his bureau.

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Army Captain Faces Accusations of Abuse
Associated Press Writer

FORT CARSON, Colo. - The trial of an Army captain accused of assaulting Iraqi civilians began Monday with a witness testifying the officer saw himself as a "sheik" or a "king" of the Iraqi desert town under his supervision.

Capt. Shawn L. Martin faces eight counts of assault and one count each of obstruction of justice and conduct unbecoming of an officer. Army officials say Martin faces 44 years in prison if convicted.

Lt. Joseph Heyman testified that after an Army vehicle was damaged by a bomb, he saw Martin point a gun at the head of an Iraqi detainee and shout, "What do you know about this? If you don't tell me, I swear I'll kill you."

Prosecutors have also said Martin beat Iraqis with an aluminum baseball bat and once fired his pistol at the feet of an Iraqi suspect during an interrogation.

In another incident, witnesses said Martin took an Iraqi welder suspected of ties to insurgents into the desert and ordered him to dig his own grave.

Staff Sgt. Robert Cureton, who served as Martin's bodyguard, said his superior ordered him to shoot near the Iraqi and he refused. He said Martin then pointed his pistol at him and demanded: "Fire your (expletive) weapon!"

Asked what he did, Cureton told the court: "I turned around and fired a round."

The alleged assaults took place from May to July 2003 in Rutbah, a town of about 25,000 in Iraq's western desert. Prosecutors say Martin, of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, was the senior officer in Rutbah, also known as Ar Rutbah.

"He thought Ar Rutbah was his private domain," Lt. David Minor testified. Even before the unit arrived in Iraq, Martin thought he would be a "sheik" or a "king," Minor said.

Minor said Martin had told him that "all Iraqis were thieves and liars."

Martin's attorneys have said he used a level of force required to keep his troops alive and insurgents in check.

His trial attorney, John P. Galligan, challenged prosecutors to produce the name of a single Iraqi whom the defendant had harmed. He noted Martin already had received a reprimand and been relieved of command.

"There is no specific intent or general intent to commit a crime against any individual," Galligan said Monday after the first day of the court-martial.

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US reports 26 deaths among detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan since 2002
Wed Mar 16, 5:06 AM ET

WASHINGTON - At least 26 people arrested by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have been killed since 2002, in what military investigators suspect were acts of criminal homicide.

The number is far higher than the six prisoner deaths caused by abuse the Pentagon reported to the US Congress last week, prompting a Human Rights Watch adviser to describe it as "astounding" and indicative of the "overall failure to take seriously the abuses that have occurred."

The New York Times said the new figures, provided by the US Army and Navy after repeated inquiries, include 18 cases that have been concluded and recommended for prosecution, and eight cases under investigation as confirmed or suspected homicides.

The prisoner deaths, at least four of which involve Central Intelligence Agency personnel, took place in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002. Only one death occurred at Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

The killings took place both inside and outside detention areas, Army spokesman Joseph Curtin told Wednesday's edition of the newspaper, adding that the army was investigating each death. [...]

Comment: What about all the prisoners sent to other nations through the Bush administration's favorite process known as rendition? Many renditioned prisoners are surely dead, and many more are quite possibly still being tortured. Although the CIA has admitted using rendition even before 9-11, it was Don Rumsfeld who recently pushed for a reduction in the number of prisoners at Guantanamo. The reduction is to be carried out by sending "detainees" to their home countries - some of the same countries where the CIA sends prisoners to be tortured and killed. With the focus on criminal homicide, it seems everyone is now forgetting about the probably hundreds of prisoners who were tortured by the US and its "allies".

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Chile's Pinochet had over 100 secret US accounts: US Senate
Wed Mar 16, 1:41 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet had 125 secret bank accounts holding cash, stocks and bonds in the United States, allowing him to move at least 13 million dollars, the US Senate reported.

"New information shows that the web of Pinochet accounts in the US was far more extensive, went on far longer, and involved more banks than was previously disclosed," Senator Carl Levin said.

In June, the Senate revealed that Pinochet had accounts at Riggs Bank in Washington, which may have held as much as eight million dollars.

The Senate investigations subcommittee announced Tuesday that Pinochet had 28 accounts at Riggs and 97 elsewhere: Citigroup, Banco de Chile, Espiritu Santo in Florida, Banco Atlantico, Bank of America and at Coutts and Co., owned by Banco Santander since 2003.

Pinochet, 89, rose to power after a coup toppled elected Socialist president Salvador Allende in 1973 and ruled with an iron fist until 1990. [...]

Comment: Considering the US support and approval given to Pinochet and his brutal regime by Henry Kissinger and George H.W. Bush, why wouldn't the former Chilean dictator have used US banks??

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Say Hello to the New PC
By Sean Gonsalves
March 15, 2005

The phrase "support our troops" has become code for supporting the war. But it doesn't logically follow that such a sentiment means supporting the policies that unnecessarily put troops in harm's way.

The term "political correctness" was invented by sensitive "liberal" academics who wanted to raise awareness about the power of language to dehumanize, but has now become a cynical wise-crack in the mouths of "conservatives" who have made it politically correct to be politically incorrect- - "I know this isn't politically correct but ... (hee, hee)."

Mostly made up of "angry white males" who cry victim over the "victim mentality" of historically oppressed groups in America, the old PC back-lashers do make a good point. "Progressives" and other assorted leftists need to lighten up.

On the other hand, being politically incorrect is not the same thing as having the courage to "speak truth to power." There's nothing courageous or truthful in publicly proclaiming that Indians, for example, shouldn't be "so sensitive" about the racist imagery of sports team mascots. It's downright callous.

Say hello to the new PC, which turns Jesus' famous words on their head by condemning the splinter in other people's eyes while ignoring the lumber in their own. The new PC is about doling out scarlet letters through public moralistic scrutiny of individual private behavior with little or no concern for matters of public interest or institutional morality.

So the new PC, for example, considers President Clinton's sex sins and his lying about something that all unfaithful men lie about to be worthy of impeachment hearings.

But devotees of the new PC are apparently willing to accept, at face value, the word of war planners that the Iraq WMD hype was the result of "mistaken" intelligence, and the "war on terror" torture scandal is essentially a "liberal media" conspiracy to "aid and abet the terrorists" by sensationalizing the behavior of "a few bad apples," despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The inadequate funding of "No Child Left Behind Act" (doublespeak at its best)? So what, says the new PC. Cut my taxes! Teachers, who are arguably the most socially-valuable asset this country has, make too much money anyway, right?

Enticing desperate, poor teenagers to join the "all volunteer" military with promises of employment and education benefits while exposing them to the horrors of war? No big deal for the new PCs, just don't burn my flag. [...]

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No Arabs on Flight 77: Part II -The Passengers
Thomas R. Olmsted M.D.
The Sierra Times
March 16, 2005
A word from the Sierra Times Editor & Chief:

The Gentlemen who conducted the research and original report on Flight 77 is a Naval line officer and a psychiatrist in private practice in New Orleans, a Christian and homeschool dad (his words). This article went under heavy review and editing by the Sierra Times staff before publishing to provide as much documented events possible from other news reports and web sites.

As part I of "No Arabs of Flight 77" received wide review, we suspect Part II may do likewise. In these two articles, we try not to jump to conclusions, nor point the finger in any direction for the sake of our own integrity. Only to present evidence from issues that raised questions shortly after 09.11.01.

As the Sierra Times has done in the past, we welcome any government official of authority to give us their side of this story. In the form of a press release, we would print in full. A full accounting from the government, and American Airlines could clear this matter. Dr. Olmsted nor the Sierra Times has yet to obtain that proof.

This is a very serious matter in very serious times. The Sierra Times believes that as we Americans now receive daily reports about our loved ones making 'the ultimate sacrifice' in the middle east and elsewhere, we also have a right to know why.

The Sierra Times has not changed its course. We are Americans. We have always asked for a full accounting of what happened on September 11, 2001 and those responsible and all that support them brought to swift and mighty justice...

...who ever they are.

J.J. Johnson - Sierra

In part I of No Arabs on Flight 77, I presented evidence from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), that there were no Arabs on American Airlines Flight 77. This doesn't really jibe with the official story, so someone isn't telling the truth. This list itself is suspect because there is a special group of "bone guys" that are called in whenever the government needs an "adjustment" to their story.

About "bone guys": No, we're not talking folks that hang around secret Ivy League fraternaties. On May 31, 2002, the Washington Post had this to say about 'bone guys':

"...When remains of the Waco dead or 9/11 Pentagon victims or Desert Storm casualties -- or most recently Chandra Levy -- need to be studied, the bone guys at the Smithsonian are called in. The bone guys read skeletons like intricate topological maps. Sometimes they can make identification from a skull fragment the size of a quarter. They can read race in the teeth and gender in the brow. They can tell you who had an asymmetric nose. They can tell you who may have been a factory worker, because bones grow more pronounced to accommodate certain muscles, and who may have been a weaver or a tailor, based on grooves in the teeth where thread was held...."

In other words, these were the fellows who helped tidy up the government's story at Waco and are "studying" the Sept 11th remains as well.

By now you have probably heard that many of the "hijackers" named by the FBI are alive and well. The Information Times, an on-line publication, reported that Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal told the Arabic Press after meeting with President George W. Bush on Sept. 20: "It was proved that five of the names included in the FBI list had nothing to do with what happened."

According to The Orlando Sentinel, the Saudi Arabian embassy confirmed that four of the five mentioned by Al-Faisal -Saeed Alghamdi, Mohand Alshehri, Abdul aziz Alo mari and Salem Alhazmi-are not dead and had nothing to do with the heinous terror attacks in New York and Washington. (source: Christopher J. Petherick - American Free Press)

From photos of all of those that perished on that flight, it is clear that none are even "Arab looking". This seems to rule out Arabs sneaking aboard under assumed names.

If you are familiar with Operation Northwoods (see Body of Secrets by James Bamford or thumbnail description here) then you know that the National Security Agency (NSA) has both the will and ability to orchestrate an "operation" such as Sept 11th if they decided it was for the "greater good." Not saying that they chose to conduct the September 11 attack, but they clearly have the ability. According to Bamford, "Operation Northwoods" was not planned by any "rogue element" but proposed by General Lemnitzer, himself, and then thankfully spiked by President Kennedy. Think also of FDR's foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor as exposed by Robert Stinnett in his book Day of Deceit. Stinnett actually agrees with FDR's decision to allow it to happen.

Brush up on the Luisitania hoax, the USS Liberty cover-up, the Gulf of Tonkin fiction, and the Gulf War I falsified satellite photos, etc. if you are not convinced that government officials are capable of stretching the truth (for our own good, of course).

It is very hard to keep a secret of this gravity. One possible way to cut down chatter is to eliminate as many witnesses as possible, preferably during the crime itself.

Critics of "conspiracy theorists" have tried to nullify talk of remote controlled planes as being the talk of lunatics. Global Hawk (Raytheon) is a large military aircraft that has flown 7000 miles without a pilot as discussed in this Air Force public affairs article, and is being widely used in the current Iraq war.

They also make large commercial planes for FedEx that fly by remote control as reported by the Associated Press. The "success" of this operation depended on the planes reaching their destination. Would the planners (be they Arab or otherwise) trust poorly trained "pilots" when this technology was at their disposal?

Reported only in a Portuguese newspaper, The Portugal News Weekend Edition (May 8, 2002), a group of US pilots deliberated non-stop for 72 hours in an independent analysis of the 911 story. The inquiry stated, "The so-called terrorist attack was in fact a superbly executed military operation carried out against the USA, requiring the utmost professional military skill in command, communications, and control." Captain Kent Hill USAF Ret, a friend of Chuck Burlingame (the pilot of Flight 77), confirmed the ability of flying aircraft from the ground. An ex Vietnam fighter pilot said, "Those birds either had a crack fighter pilot in the left seat, or they were being maneuvered by remote control."

And now for the passengers:

The following information is gathered from many sources posted on the Internet.

Dong Lee, Ruben Ornedo, and Chad Keller all worked for Boeing. Lee also worked for the NSA. Stanley Hall, "the dean of electronic warfare," (along with Peter Gay, David Kolvacin, and Kenneth Waldie on other flights), worked for Raytheon.

William Caswell was a particle physicist who worked for the Navy. His job was so classified that his family had no clue as to what he did and did not know why he was flying to California.

Charles Droz, LCDR USN Ret, was a software developer for EM solutions (manufacturer of Wide Area Networks).

Robert Penniger worked for BAE Systems, ("an industry leader in flight control systems"), whose Board is comprised of many from the intelligence community. BAE has apparently removed their Board of Directors page, but it list a "who's who" of high level connections to the CIA, DARPA, and NSA. [...]

Robert Ploger and his wife were added "late" to the original CNN passenger list. He is the son of Major General Robert R Ploger USA, Ret, another "flag" link. The other "late" addition was Sandra Teague, a physical therapist at Georgetown University Hospital.

John Sammartino and Leonard Taylor worked at Xontech (missile defense), another company connected to the intelligence community, also with ties to Boeing.

Vicki Yancey worked for Vreedenberg Corp, yet another company connected to the intelligence community. Her father describes her death as a "planned murder." Her widower works for Northrup-Grumman.

Mary Jane Booth was in a position to know what was going on at Dulles Airport as secretary for American Airlines general manager.

John Yamnicky, 71, Capt USN Ret, was a defense contractor for Veridian who had done a number of "black ops," according to his son.

The physicians, lawyers, biotech representatives, and "human interest" victims who were aboard, could also provide important clues, but in the interest of space, we will save for future consideration.

Many readers recall a particular Fox Television TV show called "The Lone Gunman" which was aired on March 2, 2001. In the show, the bad guys control a passenger airplane by remote control with intentions of flying it into the World Trade Center. The villains were from the arms industry; the motive being to inflame the public and thereby increase arms sales to use against "terrorists." Life indeed imitates art. Here is the synopsis:

It has been reported that some people were warned not to fly that day. One was reported to be Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco. Another was Muslim author Salman Rushdie. The person on that flight MOST likely to be warned was Robert Speisman. He was an executive at Lazare Kaplan, a diamond merchant, and son in law of Maurice Templesman. Templesman was Jackie Kennedy's long time lover and is highly connected accoring to Time Magazine. Time also reported about about his "special access" to the National Security Council. He has also "stepped out" with Madeleine Albright.

I attempted on three occasions to obtain a final passenger list from American Airlines. They refuse to give a list and in fact won't even verify that they gave the first list to CNN. Since the list is in the public domain, I find it curious that they would not take ownership nor provide a current, "correct" list.

Would it even be necessary to "lure" all expendables onto the designated death flights? Why not just grab those you want to get rid of and then slip them into the pile later? Have you seen an interview with the check-in personnel for the flights who can tell us who actually got on any of these flights? Not a chance. In fairness, Washington, D.C. and its suburbs draw a great number of contractors for the military and intelligence communities in their normal course of business. It may be mere coincidence that these passengers were all on the same flight; however; the government refuses to release information which would relieve our concerns.

I am interested in corresponding with family members who know the truth.

Thomas R. Olmsted. M.D.

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Oil Prices Shoot to New Intraday High
By BRAD FOSS, AP Business Writer
March 16, 2005

Crude oil prices soared to a new intraday high above $56 a barrel Wednesday in spite of a decision by OPEC ministers to authorize the pumping of an extra half-million barrels of oil a day.

Crude futures shot up more than $1 a barrel after the latest petroleum supply report from the U.S. government showed domestic supplies of gasoline and heating oil fell sharply last week.

The market was unimpressed with OPEC's decision because members of the oil cartel supposedly bound by its production quota are already exceeding the previous ceiling by about 700,000 barrels a day, meaning no extra supply will actually be added. [...]

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Knesset resolution demands Pollard's release
Jerusalem Post
Mar. 15, 2005 18:45

The Knesset passed a resolution on Tuesday demanding that the government make the US release of Pollard a condition for Israel's freeing of Palestinian prisoners.

It also called on the government to demand that the US immediately release Pollard on humanitarian grounds because of his long prison service and his deteriorating health.

The resolution, drafted by the National Union, Shas and National Religious Party, noted that Israel has recognized Pollard as an Israeli agent who acted loyally for the security of its citizens.

Comment: Considering America's unquestioning support of Israel, and the fact that Israel admits that Pollard is in Israeli agent, the first question that should be asked is how many other Israeli agents and Zionists are in the US in sensitive positions? Given Israel's admission above, there is no way such a question can reasonably be viewed as anti-Semitism. Then again, when it comes to US dealings with Israel, it seems that reason is thrown straight out the window...

Yitzhak Levy (NRP) said Israel was being asked by the US to make gestures to the Palestinians. The PA's first demand is to release prisoners, he said. But he said there was "one Jewish prisoner rotting in jail," and the "friendly superpower that is asking us to give mercy to terrorists here is not willing to give us the same mercy."

Comment: Apparently, "friends" are supposed to routinely spy on each other and do the happy dance when the other is horribly attacked...

Levy called on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to "show the same kind of courage" he has displayed on his plan to evacuate "Jews and settlements," and to "not release a single prisoner until Pollard is in Israel."

MK Eliezer Cohen (National Union) said that Pollard had provided Israel with strategic information that it should have in any case received from the US within the framework of its alliance. "Why did Pollard have to send [the information]," Cohen said. According to Cohen, Israel transfers to the US similar information. "The Americans hands are not clean here," he said.

Comment: Israel spies on the US, and yet it is all America's fault?!

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said the US was spying on Israel "24 hours a day," and an Israeli maneuver planned in the Mediterranean sea had to be canceled last week because of the presence of US spy planes. He said Israel was keeping its commitment not to spy on the US. "It is true they are big and we are dependent on them, but there is a limit to how much we have to tolerate," he said.

Eldad said Pollard must be released immediately. "It is not too late. The man is alive, although rotting in jail," he said.

Comment: If it wasn't for the financial, military, and political support provided to Israel by the US, the Middle Eastern nation would have been a sitting duck a long time ago. Are we seeing the beginning of a fracture between the US and Israel, or will the US bend over backwards like it usually does to satisfy the Zionists' every whim? Given Zionist influence in the US power structure, we tend to believe that the latter possibility is more likely.

Meanwhile, the "anti-Semitism" assault continues in the US...

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The Witchhunts Continue: Columbia University and the New Anti-Semitism
by M. Junaid Alam

Rape, massacre, theft, torture, ethnic cleansing: these are not crimes which nations can defend with ease - especially when unearthed by their own historians. Israel recently faced this most troubling predicament. Combing through declassified state archives, Israeli scholars of the past twenty years have discovered their nation was founded upon the mass expulsion and deliberate destruction of the native Palestinian people. (1) Israel, it turned out, was far more Goliath than David. Since this presented somewhat of a public relations problem for a state still engaged in brutalizing Palestinians and stealing their land, a new self-justifying rationale needed to be authored.

Enter the "new anti-Semitism." This doctrine turns reality on its head, declaring criticism of Israel's racist behavior to be itself racist - "anti-Semitic." Empathy for Palestinians being beaten, bullied, and bulldozed out of existence, the doctrine goes, is nothing but some disguised expression of Jew-hatred. Goose-stepping Germans and uprooted Palestinians are portrayed as part of the same unbroken line of anti-Semitism, even though those inhabiting concentration camps today - "the largest ever to exist," says Israeli historian Baruch Kimmerling - are the Palestinians themselves. (2) But no matter. Abusing the memory of Holocaust victims to shut down criticism of Israeli crimes - crimes unearthed mostly by Jewish historians - may be obscene, but it is also effective.

Wielding this new ideological weapon, Israel's champions aim to cut down pro-Palestinian voices inside America with the same ruthlessness Israeli soldiers employ to shoot up Palestinian children outside their homes. (3) The latest targets in this well-organized hit are Arab-American professors at Columbia University who teach Middle Eastern studies. The targets have been judiciously selected. Since these particular professors are Arab in an age when bombing and torturing Arabs has virtually become a national sport, they make for easy prey; and since they have added to their original sin of being Arab the even graver sin of speaking the truth about Israel's past - no less in a country which subsidizes Israel's existence - they also make for necessary prey.

In full accordance with "new anti-Semitism" modus operandi, the attacks paint the professors themselves as the attackers. With Orwellian brushstrokes, they are rendered as demons bent on "intimidating" Jewish students at the university. This much is to be expected. Less expected, however, is the almost embarrassing shoddiness of the trumped-up production. The wild charges made against the professors are so poorly substantiated and the political motives of the accusers so painfully transparent, one almost forgets that America's well-financed pro-Israel network has extensive experience in smearing its opponents. (4)

Curiously, the charges of "silencing" and "intimidation" first made waves when it was learned that the accusing students made their case on camera. They appeared in a short film, titled "Columbia Unbecoming", produced by a Boston-based group called the David Project. At this point it is both necessary and prudent to ask: what is the "David Project"?

At its website, the organization describes itself as "a grassroots initiative that promotes a fair and honest understanding of the Middle East conflict." A noble enough endeavor, no doubt. But a few lines later, we come to this: "We train people to be pro-active in their Israel advocacy…" Another page offers - for a fee, of course - an intense three-hour ideological session titled "Making the Case for Israel." Searching for a "Making the Case for Palestine" program yields no results. Similarly, a look at the speaker's roster reveals many pro-Israeli speakers, but not a single pro-Palestinian. Perhaps most revealing is the text prefacing their speaker section: "For more information on how to bring our speakers to your synagogue, school, church, or community center, please call…" (5) Apparently churches and synagogues are welcome, but mosques need not apply. One wonders why.

The site then goes on to describe what it considers to be a "fair and honest position": "The essence of the Middle East conflict is about Jewish existence and self-determination in the face of a hostile Arab world and radical Islamists." (6) Israel's own recent historians take a rather different view. Commenting on the founding of Israel, Senior Lecturer of Military History in the IDF Aryeh Yitzhaki says, "…a generation has passed, and it is now possible to face the ocean of lies in which we were brought up. In almost every conquered village in the War of Independence, acts were committed, which are defined as war crimes, such as indiscriminate killings, massacres and rapes." (7) Describing Zionism - the founding ideology of Israel - another Israeli historian, Tom Segev, writes: "'Disappearing' the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition of its existence…. With few exceptions, none of the Zionists disputed the desirability of forced transfer - or its morality." (8)

Committing war crimes and disappearing people from their homes doesn't quite square well with pious rhetoric about "self-determination." But the folks at the David Project are free to cling to their pro-Israel political line. That they do so while pretending to be some kind of impartial educational group, however, speaks volumes. So much for "fairness" - and, even more so, "honesty."

Given the clear ideological orientation of the David Project, one is forced to ask the obvious: why would students claiming to be "intimidated" and "silenced" by their professors bypass all university channels, and rush headlong into the arms of a political front group? Looking at the film itself provides us some answers.

In this half-hour production featuring 14 students, only six present firsthand complaints; standing accused are professors Joseph Massad, George Saliba, and Hamid Dabashi. Complaints range from random flyering incidents having nothing to do with professors, to general ideological disagreements with what professors have written, to statements they allegedly made in person. No evidence is presented for any of the charges. Columbia student Adam Sacarny wrote in the school's newspaper upon seeing the film: "Much like the electoral campaigns, it uses talking points in place of pesky verifiable facts," adding, "The film's case is so shoddy that I fail to see how any critical viewer could leave the theater convinced that [the department] has violated academic integrity standards." (9) Even the generally sympathetic Israeli daily Haaretz admits, "The movie fuses few solid examples of intimidation - only some of which involved professors and the students they were teaching - with generalized complaints of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements and behavior on campus." (10) And despite these students' claims of being "silenced," "intimidated," and "denied"(their own words), not one of them say their grades were affected. (11)

Quite "coincidentally," the main target of the film is the untenured professor, Joseph Massad. He is accused of making outlandish comments and exhibiting an extreme intolerance toward pro-Israeli views in class. Yet only one of the students in the film has even taken a course with the professor. Moreover, precisely none of them even majored in the "offending" department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures. (12) But rest assured. The complaining students have other "qualifications." [...]

Posner also took it upon himself to gather some highly illuminating statements from other students who took Professor Massad's classes. Below are four:

"Several individuals who audited this class regularly attempted to disturb the progress of the class. During these disturbances, the auditors often attempted to dominate the class discussion with personal statements unrelated or extremely loosely related to the course material. They were regularly unprepared for the classroom discussion, not having completed the required reading, and for the most part were largely ignorant of the class' subject matter. It was fairly obvious that these individuals had registered for the course for the sole purpose of disrupting the progress of the class. To my amazement, [Massad] allowed each and every student in the class an opportunity to speak, regardless of their familiarity with the class subject matter and required course material."
-John Taplett

"I am Jewish. I am not a Zionist. Joseph Massad is a man who understands the distinction and does not attempt to conflate the two around a vague connection with Israel. Knowing that he is being accused of anti-Semitism is not only a slap in HIS face, it is a slap in the face of every Jew who understands a legacy of oppression and chooses not to become an oppressor."
-Maura Finkelstein

"On the question of religion, he was openly critical of all religions including Islam - his anti-Israeli opinions could not reasonably have been construed as anti-Semitic. Similarly, while being critical of Israeli policy, he did not hesitate to offer critical opinions of Yasser Arafat. In general, he maintained a tone of critical scholarly inquiry."
-Hitesh Manglani

"As for academic discrimination, I am a Jew who wrote a term paper criticizing Palestinian nationalism for its foundation in support for violence, and despite Massad's supposed bias, he gave me an A."
- Benjamin Wheeler (17)

By now the general picture is quite clear. An ideologically motivated clique of Zionist students, possessing no actual evidence of "intimidation" but infuriated upon hearing their fairy-tale version of Israeli history dismantled, teamed up with a pro-Israel political front group masquerading as educators to smear a few Arab professors as "anti-Semites" - conveniently excluding the opinion of those "Semites" who fully support their teachers and actually took classes with them. [...]

To resist this colonization of our compassion, to re-cultivate our resistance against those who believe in the "compassion" of colonization - these are the pressing demands of the hour. How vigorously we respond to these demands will determine whether those bruised, beaten children of Palestine will ultimately receive some respite from their inhumane condition, or instead find themselves further abused by the silent whip of indifference. In their eyes we will read either the redemption or indictment of the moral standing of our own country.

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NZ passport holder detained in Africa accused of assassination plans
Last Updated 14/03/2005, 22:58:30

A man holding a New Zealand passport has been detained in the west African state of Ivory Coast on suspicion of mercenary activity.

Brian Hamish Thomas has been arrested and accused of planning to assassinate the west Afican nation's political and military leaders.

New Zealand has no consulate in Ivory Coast and New Zealanders' interests are dealt with by the local British embassy.

The British Foreign Office has been asked to make enquiries concerning the man as well as media reports that rebels have threatened to execute him.

NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark says the government is relying on media reports for information.

Comment: Interesting how this report says the man arrested in the Ivory Coast was "holding a New Zealand passport" and not that he was a New Zealand citizen. Perhaps the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is well aware that certain Mossad agents are renowned for murdering tourists and stealing their passports in order to travel the world conducting covert operations, assassinations, and false flag operations.

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New Zealand blocks visit by Israeli officer amid diplomatic standoff
15 March 2005 1227 hrs - AFP

WELLINGTON : New Zealand has blocked a visit by a top Israeli military officer amid a diplomatic stand-off following the conviction of two Israelis, alleged to be spies, for fraudulently trying to obtain New Zealand passports.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said Israel's Deputy Chief of Staff Major-General Gabi Ashkenazi had been refused a visa for a one-day visit because of a freeze on high-level contacts between the two countries in the wake of the passport scandal.

"It was denied on the basis of the announced policy by the New Zealand government that there would not be high level contact," Goff said on National Radio.

The New Zealand Herald reported that Ashkenazi had wanted to visit New Zealand to speak at a meeting of the United Israel Appeal, a fundraising organisation.

But Goff said the visit could not be considered private because he was to have spoken at a public meeting.

Alleged Mossad agents, Uri Kelman and Eli Cara, were convicted last year of trying to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports. They were deported in September after serving two months of their six-month prison sentences.

New Zealand imposed a number of diplomatic sanctions against Israel, including delaying approval for the appointment of a new Israeli ambassador and freezing high-level military and political contacts.

Goff told journalists good progress was being made in diplomatic talks to negotiate an apology from Israel and an assurance such an incident would never happen again.

"We have had an approach from Israel. We are hopeful the matter can be resolved and normal relations resumed."

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Sharon rejects Palestinian truce offer
Tuesday 15 March 2005, 14:32 Makka Time, 11:32 GMT

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has rejected a ceasefire agreement with Palestinian factions, saying his government cannot accept a proposal that does not give up the terror option.

Sharon has also urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas to dismantle what he calls radical groups in the Palestinian camp.

"A ceasefire being discussed by the Palestinians will not advance the war on terrorism and is not the solution, and to this we cannot agree," Sharon was quoted as saying during a meeting in Jerusalem with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende on Monday.

"The more Abu Mazin (Abbas) delays the dismantling of the terrorist organisations, the more trouble he will have doing it in the future," he added.

Sharon's comment is said to put a damper on the expectations of Palestinian resistance groups who are set to meet in Cairo on Tuesday to work out a formal ceasefire with Israel, hoping that the agreement will persuade Tel Aviv to free more Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas, the largest Palestinian group, has respected an unofficial cooling down period after Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian Authority in January, following the death of Yasir Arafat.

But officials of Abbas' mainstream Fatah party, already gathered in the Egyptian capital, said they were pessimistic about the talks' outcome, citing a hardening of the position of Hamas.

Hamas pessimistic

Hamas has joined in the pessimism, ruling out a short-term calm with Israel unless "Zionists" stop their aggression against Palestinian people and release all Palestinian prisoners.

Ismail Hania, a Hamas senior official, said the proposed ceasefire with Israel was doomed to fail if Israel refused to release all Palestinian prisoners.

Speaking at a rally in Gaza staged by Palestinian prisoners' families on Monday, he said Hamas had stressed the significance of the prisoner issue when it announced its commitment to the truce.

Israel agreed to start withdrawing troops from three West Bank cities on Wednesday, and promised to study a Palestinian request for the release of Palestinians convicted of involvement in attacks on Israel.

Cairo talks

The Cairo talks, which include the Palestinian Authority, the mainstream Fatah movement and a dozen other factions, aims to bring the participants closer to Abbas' position.

The meeting is said to be an attempt to unify Palestinian ranks in order to test Israel's intentions and add to the international pressure on it to respond.

"We will work to reach a joint Palestinian programme that is based on the Palestinian national objectives like the right of return and establishing an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," Mahir al-Tahir, representative of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), told Aljazeera from Cairo.

"We will spare no efforts to reach a joint programme that is based on the Palestinian national objectives as there would not be a solution to the Palestinian issue without the right of return and establishing an independent Palestinian state," al-Tahir added.

When asked about Sharon's refusal to commit to a truce before holding Cairo's dialogue, he said: "This indicates Israel's unwillingness to achieve peace.

"Israel wants Palestinians to completely surrender; so the Palestinian Authority and the international community have to realise that Sharon does not seek peace.

"Israel wants to create an internal disturbance and a civil war via imposing demands such as disarming Palestinian resistance factions.

"And we say that as long as there is occupation, we will not hand over our arms under any circumstances to defend ourselves," al-Tahir concluded.

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Kosovo's president survives assassination attempt
Associated Press
Tuesday March 15, 2005

Kosovo's president, Ibrahim Rugova, survived an apparent assassination attempt today after a bomb exploded as his convoy passed through the centre of Pristina.

Mr Rugova, a pacifist and former literature professor, was said to be unhurt after the second attempt on his life within the last 12 months.

"Thank God I survived again ... unfortunately there are still elements which want to destabilise Kosovo," he said.

The president had been heading to a nearby government building for a meeting with the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, when the explosion occurred just after 8.20am (0720GMT).

Mr Rugova's car was damaged in the explosion, and at least one person was injured by flying glass.

Just over a year ago, a hand grenade was hurled from a passing vehicle at Mr Rugova's home. It exploded in the garden without causing any injuries, and no one was ever arrested in connection with the attack.

A police officer at the scene of today's explosion said on condition of anonymity that it appeared to have been detonated by remote control.

Nato peacekeepers used a robot to check for other devices. Last Friday, a small explosion possibly caused by a hand grenade occurred near the UN headquarters in Kosovo, injuring one person. [...]

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Bellflower students charged with conspiracy in alleged bomb plot
Posted on Tue, Mar. 15, 2005
Associated Press

BELLFLOWER, Calif. - Two teenage students were charged with conspiracy to murder teachers and students at St. John Bosco High School as part of what may have been a planned Columbine-style massacre at the Catholic school, authorities said.

The 15- and 17-year-old boys pleaded not guilty March 10, Deputy District Attorney Brenda Burns said Monday. They return March 24 for a Juvenile Court hearing.

The 11th graders, whose names weren't released because of their ages, allegedly prepared a map of the school with places to plant bombs and another for a shopping trip to look at shotguns, the prosecutor said.

Principal Patrick Lee said he couldn't comment on the case. Sheriff's Lt. Brent Becker said the investigation was continuing and he couldn't discuss a possible search for weapons.

Investigators believed the boys were serious because of the map and the shopping trip, Burns said.

The alleged plot has parallels to the April 20, 1999, Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in which students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and seriously injured 23 others before killing themselves. They also planted bombs at the school.

Burns said, however, that the students in the Bosco case didn't mention Columbine.

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Berwyn cop uses stun gun on teen
By Angela Rozas
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 15, 2005

A 17-year-old Morton West High School student was taken to the hospital after a Berwyn police officer used a stun gun on him after an altercation between the two, school and police officials said Monday.

The student was charged with aggravated assault among other charges, said Berwyn Director of Public Safety Frank Marzullo.

The incident started at about 7:55 a.m. in the school cafeteria when the student refused to go to class, said School District 201 Supt. James Cunneen.

The student was confronted by a school security guard, who then called for the police officer who patrols the campus at 2400 S. Home Ave. The two tried to get the student to go to the dean's office.

In a hallway, the student pushed the officer in the chest and struck him, said Marzullo. The student also had a homemade brass knuckle in his pocket, although Marzullo said it was unclear whether the student took it out during the confrontation.

The officer, a Berwyn police sergeant whom Marzullo would not name, then used the stun gun portion of a Taser stun gun to subdue the student, Marzullo said.

The student had a seizure and was taken by ambulance to a hospital, from which he was released shortly after, Marzullo said. [...]

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Bird flu could kill 2 million Brits
Disease/Infection News
Published: Monday, 14-Mar-2005

A UK expert is warning that the bird flu pandemic is imminent and inevitable and two million Britons could die.

The expert, Professor Hugh Pennington, the president of the Society for General Microbiology and professor emeritus of bacteriology at Aberdeen University accuses the British Government of being "very relaxed".

He is also critical of the Government's "optimistic" attitude to a potentially devastating pandemic, comparing it to the complacency over BSE a decade ago.

Professor Pennington, in the starkest warning yet over the potentially devastating impact of the pandemic, said that the number of deaths has been greatly underestimated. He expects the flu - like the 1918 pandemic which killed more people than the First World War - to cause the deaths of many people from pneumonia.

The governments attempt to play down the potential impact of bird flu saying only some 50,000 people would die in Britain, no more than the four times the normal annual flu death rate, is hardly re-assuring and they have already been contradicted by Scotland's chief medical officer, who says it would be 10 times worse. [...]

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Newly discovered pathway might help in design of cancer drugs
Public release date: 14-Mar-2005

Johns Hopkins chemists have discovered a new way to sabotage DNA's ability to reproduce, a finding that could eventually lead to the development of new anti-cancer drugs and therapies.

The method could enable future doctors to target treatment more precisely, rather than directing chemotherapeutic medication or radiation to tumors through a scattershot approach, said Marc Greenberg, a chemistry professor in the university's Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, who will present his team's findings on March 14 at the 229th American Chemical Society Meeting in San Diego.

"What we did was to identify a way to create a very damaged form of DNA that is often more deadly to the cell than other types of damage," said Greenberg. "That's how many anti-tumor medications -- medications such as mitomycin c -- work: They kill off tumors by linking up with the cancer cells' DNA and sticking its genetic code together so it dies. Our discovery takes that a step further, establishing that there is a way to efficiently create this type of damage by modifying the DNA itself."

In the lab, Greenberg and his team used organic chemistry to create a synthetic, double-stranded DNA with special chemical characteristics and exposed it to long wavelength light that selectively switches on the DNA damage process.

He said that the synthetic DNA is very similar to that which is produced when cells are exposed to radiation, with one exception: Greenberg's team's DNA was damaged at only one place on its chain, allowing the researchers to study it and learn about that particular chemical pathway in detail.

"Exposing DNA to radiation is like hitting a fine piece of crystal stemware with a hammer. It shatters, and looking for a particular chemical pathway is like looking for a needle in a haystack," the chemist explained. "What we did was more like carrying out a precision attack. It let us get a closer look."

Comment: In the Cassiopaean transcripts, there is a discussion of how the knot at the stop of our spines is the physical residue of a process by which humankind was supposedly altered to enhance our susceptibility to being controlled. The method by which this was allegedly accomplished is rather interesting in light of the above article:

Q: (L) Okay, J*** is going to move her hand up my back and you
tell her when to stop at the "knot".
A: Okay.
Q: (L) You mean the occipital ridge?
A: Yes.
Q: (L) What was the configuration of the spine and skull
prior to this addition?
A: Spine had no ridge there. Jealousy emanates from there,
you can even feel it. [...]
Q: (L) Okay, at the time this "Mark of Cain" came about, were
there other humans on the planet that did not have this
A: It was added to all simultaneously.
Q: (L) How did they physically go about performing this act?
What was the mechanism of this event, the nuts and bolts
of it?
A: Are you ready? DNA core is as yet undiscovered enzyme
relating to carbon. Light waves were used to cancel the
first ten factors of DNA by burning them off.
At that
point, a number of physical changes took place including
knot at top of spine. [...]
Q: (L) And light waves, actual light waves, affect DNA?
A: Yes.

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Unwanted guest Ingrid levels Australia's idyllic Faraway Bay resort
Wednesday March 16, 3:55 PM

A tourist resort built to showcase the beauty of northern Australia fell victim to nature when it was flattened by the death throes of Tropical Cyclone Ingrid.

The exclusive Faraway Bay resort, on Western Australia's remote northwestern coast, promotes itself an an eco-retreat which "feels like the edge of forever, where a few days can feel like a week".

Resort staff knew the feeling when Ingrid, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit Australia, moved in packing winds of 280 kilometres (174 miles) a hour.

Owner Bruce Allison said they hid in a metal shipping container while the cyclone raged around them, emerging "pretty shook up" Wednesday morning to find most of Faraway Bay consigned to oblivion.

"The main building, the actual frames -- they are massive logs -- they are still there but everything else is gone," Allison told ABC radio.

"All the workshop, all the staff quarters, all the cabins, they're all gone," he said.

No one was injured at the resort, which was temporarily closed as it prepared to greet guests for the busy Easter period. [...]

Ingrid, which peaked as a category five "super-cyclone", was downgraded to category two late Wednesday. [...]

The storm then headed back out to sea north of Australia. It caused severe damage on Monday to the Tiwi Islands just off the north coast, destroying buildings, uprooting trees and cutting power and communications to remote Aboriginal communities.

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Earthquake rocks Malang, Indonesia 2005-03-15 14:43:19

JAKARTA, March 15 (Xinhuanet)--An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.5 on the Richter scale rocked the city of Malang in East Java province in Monday night, a local official said on Tuesday.

The tremor which was centered 61 km south of Malang was also felt by residents in Lumajang district, east of Surabaya, the provincial capital city, local meteorological and geophysics agency head Hariyanto said.

There was no immediate report on casualties or damage.

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Mumbai trembles in 5.1 quake
The Asian Age India | Our Correspondent

Mumbai: People from several buildings in Mumbai's Nariman Point business district panicked on Monday when their tables and chairs started to shake at approximately 3.30 pm as the tremors of a moderate earthquake were felt in the city.

Several buildings in the area were evacuated as frightened employees and visitors to offices expected the worst. Mild tremors were felt in pockets like the General Post Office Area near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and up to pockets in the suburb of Andheri.

According to the Meterological Department in Colaba, an earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale with its epicentre in Koyna, in Satara district, was registered. But the city panicked with the tsunami disaster still fresh in their minds and the Arabian Sea lapping at its shores.

Several skyscrapers in South Mumbai and in the western suburbs were evacuated temporarily after the tremors. "After having lunch, I headed towards my office at Jolly Maker II at Nariman Point at around 3 pm and I actually felt a tremor in the lift. I stood still with my eyes closed," said Mr Paresh Patel, a businessman.

He said that as he came out of the lift he saw his counterparts rushing out of the building. In some time, the neighbouring buildings were also vacated. People ran helter-skelter and the panic lasted nearly an hour. [...]

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UU scientists issue Indonesia earthquake warning

Wednesday 16 March 2005

The stresses in the earth's crust which have resulted from the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake have significantly increased the risk of another large earthquake in the already-devastated Indonesian island of Sumatra, according to new research findings by scientists from the University of Ulster's School of Environmental Sciences.

According to their calculations, published in this week's edition of leading scientific journal Nature, the Christmas 2004 earthquake which generated the massive tsunami which hit Indonesia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka and killed 300,000 people, has significantly increased the stress on two other fault zones in the area - one of them running directly under the city of Banda Aceh which was so badly effected by the Boxing day event - the other under the sea off the west coast of Sumatra.

The latter could generate another tsunami. [...]

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Storm Dumps 3 Feet of Snow on N.M. Town
Wednesday March 16, 2005 2:01 AM

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) - A slow-moving storm dumped nearly 3 feet of snow on parts of northern and eastern New Mexico, closing major highways, schools and some government offices Tuesday.

``I've lived here for all my life, and this is one of the worst as far as how quick it (snow) accumulates,'' said Steve Lucero, owner of a tow truck service at Las Vegas, where 2 feet of snow had fallen since the storm developed Monday.

The National Weather Service reported that Cowles, northwest of Santa Fe, got the most snow from the storm - 38 inches. Gascon, a village in northern New Mexico, and Mineral Hill, near Las Vegas, each had received 34 inches as of Tuesday.

Gov. Bill Richardson declared a state of emergency in seven counties Tuesday. [...]

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Photos Show Climate Change As Ministers Meet In UK
March 15, 2005

LONDON - A photo of Mount Kilimanjaro stripped of its snowcap for the first time in 11,000 years will be used as dramatic testimony for action against global warming as ministers from the world's biggest polluters meet on Tuesday.

Gathering in London for a two-day brainstorming session on the environment agenda of Britain's presidency of the Group of Eight rich nations, the environment and energy ministers from 20 countries will be handed a book containing the stark image of Africa's tallest mountain, among others.

"This is a wake-up call and an unequivocal message that a low-carbon global economy is necessary, achievable and affordable," said Steve Howard of the Climate Group charity which organised the book and an associated exhibition.

"We are breaking climate change out of the environment box. This crisis affects all of us. This is a global challenge and we need real leadership to address these major problems -- and these ministers can give that leadership," he told Reuters [...]

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Asteroid 'to hit us on March 16, 2880'
By Lisa Murray and Richard Macey
March 16, 2005

The world will be bracing itself for a collision with a kilometre-wide asteroid exactly 875 years from today.

There is a 1-in-300 chance of a direct hit, better odds than having the same birthday as your best friend. And it is expected to come closer to Earth than any other object of its size. If it does hit, it will obliterate a land mass the size of Britain or Japan and kill about 60 million people.

Bill McGuire, an expert in natural catastrophes, uses the asteroid example to get people's attention. But as the head of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre at the University College London, he is more concerned about events that could take place within 70 years. Professor McGuire told a reinsurance conference in Sydney yesterday that there was a 35 per cent chance of an earthquake of similar size and impact of the great Tokyo earthquake that struck in 1923.

That earthquake cost today's equivalent of $US50 billion and killed or injured more than 150,000 people. If it occurred today, the damages bill would be more than $US3 trillion.

Professor McGuire is also concerned about the 35 to 70 per cent chance that another devastating tsunami will hit somewhere in the globe in the next 70 years.

Professor McGuire is a member of the Natural Hazard Working Group set up by the British Government in January after the Asian tsunami, which left just under 300,000 people dead or missing. The group is looking to form a multi-government panel to assess global threats and plan a response to them. "The Indian Ocean countries knew they had a tsunami threat, but because it only happens every 100 to 200 years they decided not to spend money on it. That was a ridiculous decision."

In terms of the asteroid that was expected to hit Earth on March 16, 2880, he said scientists would have devised a way to divert it by then.

But Professor McGuire is not alone in recognising the threat. Astronomers Gordon Garradd and Rob McNaught at Siding Springs Observatory, near Coonabarabran, have discovered "near-Earth asteroids" at the rate of about one a week.

In December Mr Garradd spotted a 320-metre wide asteroid, which had one in 6250 chance of hitting the Earth by 2055, putting it at the top of the asteroid risk for this century. If it struck Earth, the asteroid would create a blast equal to an 8.7-megatonne nuclear bomb.

Mr Garradd suspects the biggest threat may come from much smaller asteroids.

A meteorite or asteroid 50-metres wide fell over Siberia in 1908, flattening 2000 square kilometres of forest. "I am sure 50-metre objects pass closer than the moon many times a year. Most pass by unseen," Mr Garradd said.

Comment: If one was to take this news story at face value, it would appear that the human inhabitants of earth have nothing much to worry about. According to this "expert in natural catastrophes", even if this 1 in 300 chance massive asteroid were to hit the earth in approximately 900 years, scientists like himself "would have devised a way to divert it by then." Thank God for science!

Of course, his offhand mention that other scientists are discovering near earth asteroids at the rate of one per week seems to indicate that the few in the astronomical community who are actually looking for these space rocks don't really have a clue as to what may be headed our way in the very near future.

Add to this the mountain of geographical, historical and archeological evidence which strongly suggests that the earth regularly undergoes periodic bombardments of celestial debris resulting in massive extinction and climactic upheaval, and the situation becomes much more urgent. According to some researchers, we are long overdue for another cycle of cometary showers, and it may not just occur over the next 70 years, but quite possibly within the next decade.

Add to the pot the dramatic increase in asteroid and meteorite sightings over the last few years, and you have a literal recipe for disaster.

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