Wednesday, March 23, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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Nazi Justice - Poland 1943
US Justice - Fallujah 2004

"it's like the Nazi death camps, eventually the mass graves and the mass murder can't be hidden"
Editor Comment,
Posted March 19, 2005

194,000 men, women, and children in Iraq and Afghanistan have been murdered by the radical American republican 'right'. Although the corporate media has been fairly successful at damage control, in hiding this mass slaughter from the American people, it's like the Nazi death camps, eventually the mass graves and the mass murder can't be hidden or white washed or labeled as 'a war against terrorism', anymore. Eventually the true horror of the Bush regime's megalomania will be known to all including the dumbed down American masses. The radical right is aware of the stench of death that now surrounds them. They want to find any acceptable way they can to divert peoples ever growing attention from their actions. They are always on the lookout for any non-issue which usually affects only a tiny group of people. They use these non issues to frame themselves as compassionate and heroic without actually doing anything that would change their policies. They want to make themselves appear to actually care about things like human life, while they simultaneously mass murder the Muslim people. Don't be fooled by their crocodile tears and caring emotions shown over Terri Schiavo. Oh yes, Republicans appear to be working tirelessly on an extraordinary last-minute push on Capitol Hill to use the subpoena powers of Congress to keep the brain-damaged woman, Terri Schiavo alive. Of course the obedient corporate media is spreading the word about the great republican compassion, but the media and the republicans aren't saying anything about the hundreds of thousands of women and children that are wounded and dieing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Lethal US practice revealed in trial
Tuesday 22 March 2005, 11:11 Makka Time, 8:11 GMT  

A US soldier accused of beating an Afghan civilian to death in 2002 should not be held solely responsible because authority figures used the same tactics, his attorney says.

Private First Class Willie Brand of the 377th Military Police Company is charged with involuntary manslaughter, maiming, assault, maltreatment and false swearing. The Cincinnati man is accused of killing an Afghan civilian identified only as Dilawar at the main US detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan, by destroying his leg muscle tissue with repeated knee strikes. On Monday, the opening day of Brand's Article 32 hearing, attorney John Galligan said Brand's superiors either directly knew or should have known about the use of the knee-strike method of beating.

Knee-strikes common

He said records and testimony would show that others in positions of authority also used the practice.

"Unfortunately, we have many soldiers deployed to a war zone with inadequate training, equipment and resources to conduct very dangerous missions in a new type of war," Galligan said.

The hearing, which is being held at Fort Bliss because it is considered a neutral location, will determine whether the case is referred for a general court martial. It is expected to last two to three days. "I thought it went reasonably well, like a dental appointment," Brand told the El Paso Times after Monday's hearing ended.

Beaten to death

Brand is accused of beating Dilawar to death over a five-day period at Bagram Control Point just north of Kabul.

An autopsy showed that Dilawar's legs were so damaged by blows that amputation would have been necessary if he had survived. Dilawar died from "blunt force trauma to the lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease", according to a US Army report dated 6 July 2004.

Galligan said the knee-strike technique is a "non-lethal mechanism utilised to ensure compliance with a combative detainee". "We would argue that [the knee strikes] had been legitimately done in the course of restraining an individual," he said.

Assault and maltreatment

The charges against Brand include assault and maltreatment of another prisoner, Mullah Habib Allah.

Habib Allah also died, but Brand is not charged in connection with his death. Another member of the Cincinnati-based 377th Company, Sergeant James Boland, has been charged with assault, maltreatment and dereliction of duty in Dilawar's death, and dereliction of duty in Habib Allah's death.

The army on Monday said in a statement that it is investigating whether other soldiers also were involved.

Comment: One can only wonder at the great chasm of emptiness that must exist inside the heart of someone like Private First Class Willie Brand, who after repeatedly pounding another human being with his knee over a period of five days causing his death, then goes on to describe the inconvenience of his hearing on charges for the murder as being like a dental appointment.

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'One huge US jail'

Saturday March 19, 2005
The Guardian

Kabul was a grim, monastic place in the days of the Taliban; today it's a chaotic gathering point for every kind of prospector and carpetbagger. Foreign bidders vying for billions of dollars of telecoms, irrigation and construction contracts have sparked a property boom that has forced up rental prices in the Afghan capital to match those in London, Tokyo and Manhattan. Four years ago, the Ministry of Vice and Virtue in Kabul was a tool of the Taliban inquisition, a drab office building where heretics were locked up for such crimes as humming a popular love song. Now it's owned by an American entrepreneur who hopes its bitter associations won't scare away his new friends.

Outside Kabul, Afghanistan is bleaker, its provinces more inaccessible and lawless, than it was under the Taliban. If anyone leaves town, they do so in convoys. Afghanistan is a place where it is easy for people to disappear and perilous for anyone to investigate their fate. Even a seasoned aid agency such as Médécins Sans Frontières was forced to quit after five staff members were murdered last June. Only the 17,000-strong US forces, with their all-terrain Humvees and Apache attack helicopters, have the run of the land, and they have used the haze of fear and uncertainty that has engulfed the country to advance a draconian phase in the war against terror. Afghanistan has become the new Guantánamo Bay.

Washington likes to hold up Afghanistan as an exemplar of how a rogue regime can be replaced by democracy. Meanwhile, human-rights activists and Afghan politicians have accused the US military of placing Afghanistan at the hub of a global system of detention centres where prisoners are held incommunicado and allegedly subjected to torture. The secrecy surrounding them prevents any real independent investigation of the allegations. "The detention system in Afghanistan exists entirely outside international norms, but it is only part of a far larger and more sinister jail network that we are only now beginning to understand," Michael Posner, director of the US legal watchdog Human Rights First, told us.

When we landed in Kabul, Afghanistan was blue with a bruising cold. We were heading for the former al-Qaida strongholds in the south-east that were rumoured to be the focus of the new US network. How should we prepare, we asked local UN staff. "Don't go," they said. None the less, we were able to find a driver, a Pashtun translator and a boxful of clementines, and set off on a five-and-a-half-hour trip south through the snow to Gardez, a market town dominated by two rapidly expanding US military bases.

There we met Dr Rafiullah Bidar, regional director of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, established in 2003 with funding from the US Congress to investigate abuses committed by local warlords and to ensure that women's and children's rights were protected. He was delighted to see foreigners in town. At his office in central Gardez, Bidar showed us a wall of files. "All I do nowadays is chart complaints against the US military," he said. "Many thousands of people have been rounded up and detained by them. Those who have been freed say that they were held alongside foreign detainees who've been brought to this country to be processed. No one is charged. No one is identified. No international monitors are allowed into the US jails." He pulled out a handful of files: "People who have been arrested say they've been brutalised - the tactics used are beyond belief." The jails are closed to outside observers, making it impossible to test the truth of the claims.

Last November, a man from Gardez died of hypothermia in a US military jail. When his family were called to collect the body, they were given a $100 note for the taxi ride and no explanation. In scores more cases, people have simply disappeared. [...]

Anyone who has got in the way of the prison transports has been met with brutal force. Bidar directed us to a small Shia neighbourhood on the edge of town where a multiple killing was still under investigation. Inside a frozen courtyard, a former policeman, Said Sardar, 25, was sat beside his crutches. On May 1 2004, he was manning a checkpoint when a car careened through. "Inside were men dressed like Arabs, but they were western men," he said. "They had prisoners in the car." Sardar fired a warning shot for the car to stop. "The western men returned fire and within minutes two US attack helicopters hovered above us. They fired three rockets at the police station. One screamed past me. I saw its fiery tail and blacked out."

He was taken to Bagram, where US military doctors had to amputate his leg. Afterwards, he said, "an American woman appeared. She said the US was sorry. It was a mistake. The men in the car were Special Forces or CIA on a mission. She gave me $500." Sardar showed us into another room in his compound where a circle of children stared glumly at us; their fathers, all policemen, were killed in the same incident. "Five dead. Four in hospital. To protect covert US prisoner transports," he says. Later, US helicopters were deployed in two similar incidents that left nine dead.

In his builders' merchant's shop, Mohammed Timouri describes how he lost his son. "Ismail was a part-time taxi driver, waiting to go to college," he says, handing us a photograph of a beardless, short-haired 19-year-old held aloft in a coffin at his funeral last March. "A convoy delivering prisoners from a facility in Jalalabad to one in Kabul became snarled up in traffic. A US soldier jumped down and lifted a woman out of the way. She screamed. Ismail stepped forward to explain she was a conservative person, wearing a burka. The soldier dropped the woman and shot Ismail in front of a crowd of 20 people."

Mohammed received a letter from the Afghan police: "We apologise to you," the police chief wrote. "An innocent was killed by Americans." The US army declined to comment on Ismail's death or on a second fatal shooting by another prison transport at the same crossroads later that month. It also refused to comment on an incident outside Kabul when a prison patrol reportedly cleared a crowd of children by throwing a grenade into their midst. However, we have since heard that the CIA's inspector general is investigating at least eight serious incidents, including two deaths in custody, following complaints by agents about the activities of their military colleagues. [...]

US Camp Salerno, the largest base outside Kabul, dominates the area around Khost. Inside the city, Kamal Sadat, a local stringer for BBC World Service, told how he was detained last September and found himself locked up in a prison filled with suspects from many countries. "Even though I showed my press accreditation, I was hooded, driven to Salerno and then flown to another US base. I had no idea where I was or why I had been detained." He was held in a small wooden cell, and soldiers combed through his notebooks, copying down names and phone numbers. "Every time I was moved within the base, I was hooded again. Every prisoner has to maintain absolute silence. I could hear helicopters whirring above me. Prisoners were arriving and leaving all the time. There were also cells beneath me, under the ground." After three days, Sadat was flown back to Khost and freed without explanation. "It was only later I learned that I had been held in Bagram. If the BBC had not intervened, I fear I would not have got out." After his release, the US military said it had all been a misunderstanding, and apologised.

Camp Salerno, which houses the 1,200 troops of US Combined Taskforce Thunder, was being expanded when we arrived. Army tents were being replaced with concrete dormitories. The detention facility, concealed behind a perimeter of opaque green webbing, was being modernised and enlarged. Ensconced in a Soviet-era staff building was the camp's commanding officer, Colonel Gary Cheeks. He listened calmly as we asked about the allegations of torture, deaths and disappearances at US detention facilities including Salerno. We read to him from a complaint made by a UN official in Kabul that accused the US military of using "cowboy-like excessive force". He eased forward in his chair: "There have been some tragic accidents for which we have apologised. Some people have been paid compensation."

We put to him the specific case of Mohammed Khan, from a village near the Pakistan border, who died in custody at Camp Salerno: his relatives say his body showed signs of torture. "You could go on for ages with a 'he said, she said'. You have to take my word for it," said Cheeks. He remembered Khan's death: "He was bitten by a snake and died in his cell." He added, "We are building new holding cells here to make life better for detainees. We are systematising our prison programme across the country." [...]

The Afghan government privately shares Nadery's fears. One minister, who asked not to be named, said, "Washington holds Afghanistan up to the world as a nascent democracy and yet the US military has deliberately kept us down, using our country to host a prison system that seems to be administered arbitrarily, indiscriminately and without accountability."

What has been glimpsed in Afghanistan is a radical plan to replace Guantánamo Bay. When that detention centre was set up in January 2002, it was essentially an offshore gulag - beyond the reach of the US constitution and even the Geneva conventions. That all changed in July 2004. The US supreme court ruled that the federal court in Washington had jurisdiction to hear a case that would decide if the Cuban detentions were in violation of the US constitution, its laws or treaties. The military commissions, which had been intended to dispense justice to the prisoners, were in disarray, too. No prosecution cases had been prepared and no defence cases would be readily offered as the US National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers had described the commissions as unethical, a decision backed by a federal judge who ruled in January that they were "illegal". Guantánamo was suddenly bogged down in domestic lawsuits. It had lost its practicality. So a global prison network built up over the previous three years, beyond the reach of American and European judicial process, immediately began to pick up the slack. The process became explicit last week when the Pentagon announced that half of the 540 or so inmates at Guantánamo are to be transferred to prisons in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

Since September 11 2001, one of the US's chief strategies in its "war on terror" has been to imprison anyone considered a suspect on whatever grounds. To that end it commandeered foreign jails, built cellblocks at US military bases and established covert CIA facilities that can be located almost anywhere, from an apartment block to a shipping container. The network has no visible infrastructure - no prison rolls, visitor rosters, staff lists or complaints procedures. Terror suspects are being processed in Afghanistan and in dozens of facilities in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Egypt, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the British island of Diego Garcia in the southern Indian Ocean. Those detained are held incommunicado, without charge or trial, and frequently shuttled between jails in covert air transports, giving rise to the recently coined US military expression "ghost detainees".

Most of the countries hosting these invisible prisons are already partners in the US coalition. Others, notably Syria, are pragmatic associates, which work privately alongside the CIA and US Special Forces, despite bellicose public statements from President Bush (he has condemned Syria for harbouring terrorism, for aiding the remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime, and most recently has demanded that Syrian troops quit Lebanon).

All the host countries are renowned for their poor human rights records, enabling interrogators (US soldiers, contractors and their local partners) to operate. We have obtained prisoner letters, declassified FBI files, legal depositions, witness statements and testimony from US and UK officials, which document the alleged methods deployed in Afghanistan - shackles, hoods, electrocution, whips, mock executions, sexual humiliation and starvation - and suggest they are practised across the network. Sir Nigel Rodley, a former UN special rapporteur on torture, said, "The more hidden detention practices there are, the more likely that all legal and moral constraints on official behaviour will be removed." [...]

The floating population of "ghost detainees", according to US and UK military officials, now exceeds 10,000. [...]

On November 13 2001, George Bush signed an order to establish military commissions to try "enemy belligerents" who commit war crimes. At such a commission, a foreign war criminal would have no choice over his defence counsel, no right to know the evidence against him, no way of obtaining any evidence in his favour and no right of attorney-client confidentiality. Defending the commissions, Gonzales (now promoted to US attorney general) insisted, "The suggestion that [they] will afford only sham justice like that dispensed in dictatorial nations is an insult to our military justice system."

When the first prisoners arrived at Guantánamo Bay in January 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced that they were all Taliban or al-Qaida fighters, and as such were designated "unlawful combatants". The US administration argued that al-Qaida and the Taliban were not the official army of Afghanistan, but a criminal force that did not wear uniforms, could not be distinguished from civilians and practised war crimes; on this basis, the administration claimed, it was entitled to sidestep the Geneva conventions and normal legal constraints.

From there, it was only a small moral step for the Bush administration to overlook the use of torture by regimes previously condemned by the US state department, so long as they, too, signed up to the war against terror. "Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and even Syria were all asked to make their detention facilities and expert interrogators available to the US," one former counterterrorism agent told us.

In the UK, a similar process began unfolding. In December 2001, the then home secretary David Blunkett withdrew Britain from its obligation under the European human rights treaty not to detain anyone without trial; on December 18, the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act was passed, extending the government's powers of arrest and detention. Within 24 hours, 10 men were seized in dawn raids on their homes and taken to Belmarsh and Woodhill prisons (some of them will have been among those released in the past week).

Subsequently the Foreign Office subtly modified internal guidance to diplomats, enabling them to use intelligence obtained through torture. A letter from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office directorate sent to Sir Michael Jay, head of the diplomatic service, and Mathew Kidd of Whitehall liaison, a euphemism for MI6, suggested in March 2003 that although such intelligence was inadmissible as evidence in a UK court, it could still be received and acted upon by the British government. The government's attitude was spelt out to the Intelligence and Security Committee of MPs and peers by foreign secretary Jack Straw who, while acknowledging that torture was "completely unacceptable" and that information obtained under torture is more likely to be embellished, concluded, "you cannot ignore it if the price of ignoring it is 3,000 people dead" [a reference to the September 11 attacks].

One former ambassador told us, "This was new ground for the FCO. As long as we didn't do it, we're OK. But by taking advantage of this intelligence, we're encouraging the use of torture and, in my opinion, are in contravention of the UN Convention Against Torture. What worried me most was that information obtained under torture, given credence by some gung-ho Whitehall warrior, could be used to keep another poor soul locked up without trial or charge."

Although the true extent of the US extra-legal network is only now becoming apparent, people began to disappear as early as 2001 when the US asked its allies in Europe and the Middle East to examine their refugee communities in search of possible terror cells, such as that run by Mohammed Atta in Hamburg which had planned and executed the September 11 attacks. Among the first to vanish was Ahmed Agiza, an Egyptian asylum seeker who had been living in Sweden with his wife and children for three years. Hanan, Agiza's wife, told us how on December 18 2001 her husband failed to return home from his language class.

"The phone rang at 5pm. It was Ahmed. He said he'd been arrested and then the line went dead. The next day our lawyer told me that Ahmed was being sent back to Egypt. It would be better if he was dead." Agiza and his family had fled Egypt in 1991, after years of persecution, and in absentia he had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court. Hanan said, "I called my mother-in law in Egypt. Finally, in April, she was allowed to see Ahmed in Mazrah Torah prison, in Cairo, when he revealed what had happened."

On December 18 2001, Agiza and a second Egyptian refugee, Mohammed Al-Zery, had been arrested by Swedish intelligence acting upon a request from the US. They were driven, shackled and blindfolded, to Stockholm's Bromma airport, where they were cuffed and cut from their clothes. Suppositories were inserted into both men's anuses, they were wrapped in plastic nappies, dressed in jumpsuits and handed over to an American aircrew who flew them out of Sweden on a private executive jet.

Agiza and Al-Zery landed in Cairo at 3am the next morning and were taken to the state security investigation office, where they were held in solitary confinement in underground cells. Mohammed Zarai, former director of the Cairo-based Human Rights Centre for the Assistance of Prisoners, told us that Agiza was repeatedly electrocuted, hung upside down, whipped with an electrical flex and hospitalised after being made to lick his cell floor clean. Hanan, who was granted asylum in Sweden in 2004, said, "I can't sleep at night without expecting someone to knock on the door and send us away on a plane to a place that scares me more than anything else. What can Ahmed do?" Her husband is still incarcerated in Cairo, while Al-Zery is under house arrest there. There have been calls for an international independent investigation into the roles of the Swedish, US and Egyptian authorities.

We were able to chart the toing and froing of the private executive jet used at Bromma partly through the observations of plane-spotters posted on the web and partly through a senior source in the Pakistan Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI). It was a Gulfstream V Turbo, tailfin number N379P; its flight plans always began at an airstrip in Smithfield, North Carolina, and ended in some of the world's hot spots. It was owned by Premier Executive Transport Services, incorporated in Delaware, a brass plaque company with nonexistent directors, hired by American agents to revive an old CIA tactic from the 1970s, when agency men had kidnapped South American criminals and flown them back to their own countries to face trial so that justice could be rendered. Now "rendering" was being used by the Bush administration to evade justice.

Robert Baer, a CIA case officer in the Middle East until 1997, told us how it works. "We pick up a suspect or we arrange for one of our partner countries to do it. Then the suspect is placed on civilian transport to a third country where, let's make no bones about it, they use torture. If you want a good interrogation, you send someone to Jordan. If you want them to be killed, you send them to Egypt or Syria. Either way, the US cannot be blamed as it is not doing the heavy work."

The Agiza and Al-Zery cases were not the first in which the Gulfstream was used. On October 23 2001, at 2.40am at Karachi airport, it picked up Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed, a Yemeni microbiologist who had been arrested by Pakistan's ISI and was wanted in connection with the USS Cole attack. On January 10 2002, the jet was used again, taking off from Halim airport in Jakarta with a hooded and shackled Mohammed Saeed Iqbal Madni on board, an Egyptian accused of being an accomplice of British shoe bomber Richard Reid. Madni was flown to Cairo where, according to the Human Rights Centre for the Assistance of Prisoners, he died during interrogation.

Since then, the jet has been used at least 72 times, including a flight in June 2002 when it landed in Morocco to pick up German national Mohammed Zamar, who was "rendered" to Syria, his country of origin, before disappearing. [...]

Dawn broke on the festival of Eid and four US army vehicles gunned their engines in preparation for a "hearts and minds" operation in Khost city, Afghanistan. A roll call of marines, each with their blood group scrawled on their boots, was ticked off and we were added to the muster. The convoy hurtled towards the city. Men and boys began to run alongside. First a handful and then a dozen. The crowd was heading for a vast prayer ground, and soon there were thousands of devotees in brand newEid caps and starched shalwas marching out to pray. The US Humvees pulled over. The armoured personnel carriers, too. A dozen US marines stepped down, eyes obscured by goggles, faces by balaclavas.

They fell into formation and stomped into the crowd while a group of Afghan police looked on incredulously. "Keep tight. Keep tight. Keep looking all around us," a US marines captain shouted. More than 10,000 Pashtun men were now on their knees praying as a line of khaki pushed between them.

An egg flew. Then another. "One more, sir, and the guy who did it is going down," a young sergeant mumbled, as the disturbed crowd rose to its feet. Bearded men with Kalashnikovs emerged from behind a stone wall and edged towards us, cutting off our path. The line of khaki began to panic, and jostled the children. "Back away, back away now," shouted the sergeant. Suddenly an armoured personnel carrier roared to meet us. "Jump up, people," the captain shouted, and the convoy sped back to Camp Salerno.

And perhaps this event above all others - of a nervous phalanx of US marines forcing its way across a prayer ground on one of the holiest, most joyous days in the Islamic calendar, an itching trigger away from a Somalian-style dogfight of their own making - is the one that encapsulates everything that has gone wrong with the global war against terror. The US army came to Afghanistan as liberators and now are feared as governors, judges and jailers. How many US marines know what James Madison, an architect of the US constitution, wrote in 1788? Reflecting on the War of Independence in which Americans were arbitrarily arrested and detained without trial by British forces, Madison concluded that the "accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny"

Comment: Why is it that, in their analysis of the current situation, so many critics of American imperialism conclude that the war on terror has "gone wrong"? The simple fact is that, if Afghanistan is currently one big jail where innocent civilians from around the world are routinely tortured by US force, then it is 100% reasonable to suggest that this was always the plan for Afghanistan.

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Religious rights join list of US concerns with China
By Hamish McDonald, Herald Correspondent in Beijing
March 22, 2005

The US has signalled that along with deepening trade and investment links with China it expects an engagement on issues of democracy, freedom, and religious belief - something much less welcome to the communist leadership here.

The visiting US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said she had raised these issues with the Communist Party leader and Chinese President, Hu Jintao, and other leaders during talks in Beijing, which ended a six-nation Asian tour.

"I raised with my interlocutors the issues of human rights and religious freedom, talked about the possibilities for increased participation in the political process, and the extension of personal freedoms for Chinese citizens, and how essential that is to the success of countries in the 21st century," she said.

She added that she had raised several individual human rights cases, and several "structural issues" and had told Chinese leaders that while some progress had been seen recently, "we expect that progress to continue".

"We also talked a good deal about the need for China to think about a more open political system that will match its economic openness and allow for the full creativity of the Chinese people," Dr Rice said.
She did not reveal how the Chinese replied.

A new American interest in religious freedom, reflecting the conspicuous Christianity of President George Bush and many key aides, was also expressed.

Soon after arriving in Beijing on Sunday, Dr Rice attended a Palm Sunday service in Gangwashi Protestant church, founded by foreign missionaries in 1922, shut down during China's 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, but reopened with official sanction in 1980.

Applauded by worshippers as she arrived, Dr Rice sang hymns with local children and joined adults in the service. On her way out she wrote in the visitors' book: "May God bless you. Thank you for allowing me to share Palm Sunday with you. Yours in Christ. Condoleezza Rice."

Her church visit had been moving, Dr Rice said. "It underscored for me that people must have an opportunity to exercise their religious beliefs, to exercise their religious traditions, to do so in an atmosphere that is free of intimidation, that allows in fact for the expansion of religion and communities of believers."

In particular she had pressed for expanded religious freedom "with the Catholic Church, with the Dalai Lama's representatives so that Tibetans can freely pursue their cultural interests".

While China permits Catholics to worship in officially sanctioned churches, it insists on the right of its officials to approve the selection of priests and bars contact with Rome. Talks with the Dalai Lama remain deadlocked. Police continue to crack down on underground churches and sects such as Falun Gong.

Dr Rice said religious freedom was a "deeply held value" for the US and it would continue to be a big issue in relations with China.

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2 dead, 3 injured in Beirut explosion


Explosion comes days after overnight bomb blast late last Friday wounded 11 people, increasing public unease after February 14 assassination of former prime minister

Two people were killed and three injured in a blast which devastated a shopping centre north of Beirut, in what was suspected to be the second attack since last month's killing of ex-premier Rafik Hariri, Lebanese television reported.

"The two dead are an Indian and a Pakistani, and the three injured are two Sri-lankans and one Lebanese," private television station LBCI said, quoting a source from the security services.

It had earlier reported that three people had died in the explosion, which took place in a mainly Christian area near Lebanon's port of Jounie, 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Beirut.

Police said a "violent explosion" had taken place at 1:30 am Wednesday (23:30 GMT Tuesday), confirming only that one woman had died. The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined, it said.

The explosion comes days after an overnight bomb blast late last Friday wounded 11 people, increasing public unease after the February 14 assassination of former prime minister Hariri.

That incident was followed by several false bomb alerts.

Political unrest

The explosions come at a time of political friction in Lebanon between the pro-Syrian administration and the country's anti-Syrian opposition, which intensified after the assassination.

Comment: Now that Israel and the Washington Neocons have created the opening that was Hariri's murder, they are free to begin the process of setting Lebanese Christians against Lebanese Muslims and pro and anti-Syrian Lebanese against each other.

Israel did such a good job in fomenting Lebanon's civil war and ethnic conflict during the 70's and 80's, Sharon believes that it is time for a repeat performance, particularly since the Christian fundamentalists are impatiently waiting for Armageddon to get under way.

So what can we expect to see happen in Lebanon, a country whose diverse population have lived in peace for the past 15 years. Well, keep you eye out for more bombings in Christian areas that are not claimed by any recognised Lebanese, Palestinian or Syrian group. While both attacks were carried out in mainly Christian areas, they have to some degree been indiscriminate in terms of who they targetted. As the bombings continue, we can expect them to become more openly sectarian, leading to attacks on both Christian and Muslim places of worship which were so effective in kick-starting the first Lebanese civil war. As wikipedia notes:

On the morning of 13 April 1975, unidentified gunmen in a speeding car fired on a church in the Christian East Beirut suburb of Ain Rammanah, killing 4 people, including two Maronite Phalangists. Later that day Phalangists led by the Gemayels, killed 27 Palestinians travelling on a bus in Ein Al-Rumaneh. In December, 1975, four Christians were killed in east Beirut, and in growing reprisals, Phalangists and Muslim militias subsequently massacred at least 600 Muslims and Christians at checkpoints, igniting the 1975-1976 civil war.

But make no mistake about it, with a record of igniting civil strife that goes back decades, these bombings will, of course, be the work of Israel and/or US intelligence agencies.

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Lebanon's Hariri Killed To Make a 'Clean Break'

by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
Executive Intelligence Review

The assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, in Beirut on Feb. 14, was a carefully planned and executed act, geared to trigger a chain reaction of events in the region, that would conform with the long-standing policy of the neo-conservative junta running Washington.

To understand the why of the assassination—although the material perpetrator, the who, remains unclear—one must look back at the 1996 policy paper prepared under the supervision of now-Vice President Dick Cheney, and his neo-con task force of Richard Perle, Doug Feith, David and Meyrav Wurmser, et al. Entitled "Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," this paper outlined a scenario whereby the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would be torn to shreds, and, first Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Hezbollah, and Iran, would be targetted for military assault and political destabilization.

The document flatly stated that Israel should engage "Hisbollah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, including by ... establishing the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces [and] striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at select targets in Syria proper." Furthermore, it said, Israel should divert "Syria's attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon." The paper also called for focussing on "removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq...."

The outcome of the regional convulsions provoked by the "Clean Break" doctrine, was to be a new Middle East, with Israel hegemonic in the region, presiding over a series of newly balkanized states, run by puppet regimes. The Bush Administration has recently restated its intention to pick off these governments, dubbed "outposts of tyranny," one by one. The order in which they were to be hit was assumed to start with Iran. Instead, Syria was moved into first place.

The reason for this, one regional expert told EIR, is that if Iran were attacked militarily by the United States or Israel, the Islamic Republic would respond asymmetrically, unleashing allied and sympathetic Shi'ite forces in the Persian Gulf and in Lebanon: Hezbollah's capabilities to target Israel could be effectively deployed. Thus, the source said, the need to eliminate the Lebanese-based Shi'ite Hezbollah as a factor, and at the same time neutralize Syria, before moving against Tehran.

The stage for the immediate destabilization was set diplomatically by UN Resolution 1559, presented by the U.S. and France together, and at the forefront of recent discussions between Secretary of State Condolezza Rice and French President Jacques Chirac. UN Resolution 1559, adopted last September, demands the termination of the Syrian presence in Lebanon (estimated to be 15,000 troops) and the disarming of the Hezbollah. Instead of mounting an Israeli assault directly on Syria—which would have provoked an international outcry—a flanking operation was launched, with a terrorist act that would trigger mass forces on the ground to move against the Syrian presence.

Thus, the assassination of Hariri.

Hariri: 'Mr. Lebanon'

Rafiq Hariri, a building magnate, was Lebanese Prime Minister from 1992-1998 and again from 2000-2004, when he resigned, in protest over the re-election of President Lahoud, who was backed by Syria. He was known for his key international connections, both with the Saudi Royal family (he became their personal contractor after building a palace for a member of the Saudi Royal Family in Taef, Saudi Arabia in 1977), and with French President Jacques Chirac. Hariri invested massively in rebuilding Beirut after the civil war, and made an estimated $3.8 billion. Thus he was considered "Mr. Lebanon," and enjoyed broad popular support. After he resigned in protest against Syria, he became a symbol for the opposition. Any harm done to Hariri would automatically unleash factional strife and anti-Syria protests.

As soon as the news of the brutal car bomb explosion broke, crowds of Lebanese opposition forces, who saw Hariri as one of their own, took to the streets. At his funeral on Feb. 16, hundreds of thousands demonstrated, demanding the expulsion of the Syrians. At the same time, before any investigation had yielded any leads, a well-rehearsed chorus pinned the blame on Syria. Exiled Lebanese political figure Michel Aoun, for example, stated categorically from Paris: "They [the Syrians] are responsible. It's they who control the security and intelligence services" in Beirut. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, now with the opposition, echoed Aoun's words, as did Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.

After lodging an official diplomatic note of protest with the Syrian government, U.S. Secretary of State Condolezza Rice ordered the withdrawal of U.S. Ambassador Margaret Scobey from Damascus. "The proximate cause was Lebanon," Rice told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "but unfortunately we have an increasing list of problems with Syria." U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, who attended the funeral, said that Hariri's death "should give renewed impetus to achieving a free, independent, and sovereign Lebanon. What that means is the complete and immediate withdrawal by Syria."

In a press conference on Feb. 17, President Bush went further, saying "... [W]e've talked clearly to Syria about ... making sure that their territory is not used by former Iraqi Baathists to spread havoc and kill innocent lives. We expect them [Syria] to find and turn over former regime—Saddam regime supporters, send them back to Iraq...."

But why would Syria, already politically targetted, kill Hariri, when it would obviously be the first place at which accusing fingers would be pointed? "What exactly would the Syrians gain from this?" asked Rime Allaf, Middle East analyst at the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London. "It doesn't make any sense. The first people who will be hurt by this is Syria. Given the chaos in Lebanon and the rising anger between the factions, analytically Syria loses a lot by this," Allaf told

A Syrian analyst at the Middle East Institute in Washington, told Aljazeera, "The Syrians are not crazy and they are not going to be assassinating Lebanese officials." He pointed to the fact that the Syrians had been engaging in dialogue with the opposition. Others noted that Hezbollah, another prime suspect, had been lying low in the recent period, on the recommendation of Syria and Iran, both eager to avoid confrontation.
Chaos and Civil War

The easiest way for the "Clean Break" scenario to be implemented now, would be through a new civil war in Lebanon, which would lead to the balkanization of the country into ethnic/religious/sectarian entities. Tensions among factions in the country had been heating up prior to the Hariri assassination. Walid Jumblatt, for example, speaking to Christian Maronites at St. Joseph University, accused "elements" of the Syrian Baath Party of killing his father in 1975. The Baath party then demanded that Jumblatt be prosecuted in Lebanon for slander.

Meanwhile, members of the Lebanese government accused opposition figures of being tools of the United States and Israel. The Mufti of Lebanon, Mohammad Khabani, added fuel to the fire, when he stated that the Sunnis in Lebanon believed that they were being targetted through the murder of Hariri, who was a Sunni. As journalist Robert Fisk, who was on site when the bombing occurred, stressed in the British paper the Independent: "Anyone setting out to murder Hariri would know how this could reopen all the fissures of the civil war from 1975 to 1990."

Iran and Syria Close Ranks

In response to the propaganda barrage aimed against Syria, the government strengthened its strategic alliance with Iran, another neo-con target. Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji al-Otari visited Tehran, and after talks with Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref, stated: "This meeting, which takes place at this sensitive time, is important, especially because Syria and Iran face several challenges and it is necessary to build a common front." The two discussed increasing cooperation in transportation, oil, irrigation, energy, and trade, as part of their "common front," and Aref pledged Iran's support.

More significant, strategically, is the support which Moscow has lent to both Syria and Iran. Flying in the face of Israeli and U.S. protests, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, one day after Hariri's assassination, saying that Russia would fulfill its pledge to sell Syria vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft missiles. The next day, Feb. 16, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, former senior member of the Russian Defense Ministry, and currently president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, warned: "Should an aggression be launched against Iran, the war will come to Russian borders." Hassan Rowhani, head of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council (and a negotiator on nuclear issues), visited Moscow for talks with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. And on Feb. 26, the head of the Russian Federation Atomic Energy Agency, Alexander Rumyantsev, is expected in Iran, to sign the final agreements on the Bushehr nuclear reactor. According to regional sources, Russia has de facto established guarantees for Iran's security, and is beefing up its southern border, from the Black Sea into Central Asia, a signal that Moscow is taking the threats against Iran and Syria very seriously.

One Iranian official summed up his view of the situation by saying, "The Third World War has already begun." Unless the political opposition inside the U.S. takes over policy-making soon, that indeed is the danger.

Comment: Sadly, there is no political opposition in the US. The plan all along has been to create the necessary conditions to ignite WWIII, or "Armageddon" as the Christian right like to call it. Part of those plans was to place key personnel into power in the US, institute a fascist regime and close the doors to the possibility of any reform. We are now in the "home straight" in terms of the culmination of the plans to essentially bring on Armageddon in the "holy land".

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Israel's sex trade booming

By Miri Hasson

Human trafficking in Israel rakes in more than USD 1 billion a year, findings in annual parliamentary survey show

TEL AVIV - Thousands of women are being smuggled into Israel, creating a booming sex trade industry in Israel that rakes more than USD one billion a year, a parliamentary committee said on Wednesday.

The Parliamentary Inquiry Committee, headed by Knesset member Zehava Galon of the left-wing Yahad party, commissioned the report in an effort to combat the sex trade in Israel. Findings showed that some 3,000 and 5,000 women are smuggled to Israel annually and sold into the prostitution industry, where they are constantly subjected to violence and abuse.

The report, issued annually, said some 10,000 such women currently reside in about 300 to 400 brothels throughout the country. They are traded for about USD 8,000 – USD 10,000, the committee said.

The U.S. State Department ranks Israel in the second tier of human trafficking around the world, saying the Jewish State does not maintain minimal conditions regarding the issue but is working to improve.

Israel passed a law in 2003 that would allow the state to confiscate the profits of traffickers, but watchdog groups say it is rarely enforced.

Most foreign prostitutes in Israel come from Ukraine, Moldova, Uzbekistan and Russia and many are smuggled in across the Egyptian border.

The committee found that the women work seven days a week for up to 18 hours every day and that out of the NIS 120 paid by customers, they are left with just NIS 20, while the rest of the money is passed on to their traders.

Comment: Ah yes! The "holy land" the land of god's "chosen" and "special" people, their specialness apparently being that they lack the capacity to understand the concept of hypocrisy. If anyone wanted proof that the old and new testaments as read by Pro-Israel fundamentalist Christians and extreme and orthodox Rabbis and Israeli politicians, simply look at the state of modern day Israel and the brutality meted out and condoned by its government and religious leaders. Could there be a nation that is LESS "holy"?

One of the major sources of support for Israel and its inhuman treatment of the Arab people comes from fundamentalist Christians, specifically their leaders, in the US. The support is founded in the "dispensationalist" belief in the "end times" and Armageddon. While the idea that Christ would return 2000 years after his first appearance forms a part of Christian belief, "Dispensationalist" Christians believe that Christ's return and his rapture of the faithful must be created by his servants on earth. This doctrine arose relatively recently through the teachings of preachers like Gerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, both of whom command large sections of the Christian right and are die-hard supporters of Israel. Falwell and Robertson believe that Armageddon must be preceded by a rebuilding of the third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem where the Muslim temple of the "dome of the rock" now stands. This will be followed by the "Gog Magog" wars which will then lead to the ultimate destruction of "Armageddon."

It is not hard to see therefore how Christian fundamentalists' fervor for the return of Christ, when they will all be raptured up to heaven, converges with Israeli and US Neocons designs on a Middle East-centered "war on terror." Ultimately, the only problem with this cosy relationship is the fact that Falwell and Robertson (and their millions of followers) are convinced that most Jews must either accept Jesus as their lord and savior or perish in the wars of "Armageddon." Orthodox Jews however believe that, as the special and chosen people" Jews will be spared and emerge to lead the world into a new age of peace etc. But that little detail need not be considered just yet, particularly when, at this point in time, both groups share a common goal - the igniting of a major war in the Middle East.

It is difficult to say just how much fundamentalist preachers like Falwell and Robertson actually believe their own words and how much they are doing the bidding of their political allies in Washington in manipulating the American population to support the "war on terror". What is obvious however is that Christianity of the fundamentalist sort, is a very useful tool for the Bush regime in quieting the outrage that the American people might otherwise be expressing about the war crimes being committed by their government and its Israeli client regime.

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Bush Meets with Lebanese Maronite Patriarch In Oval Office


PRESIDENT BUSH: Your Eminence, welcome. It is my honor to welcome you and your distinguished delegation to the Oval Office. We're -- thank you for your conversation.

His Eminence and I discussed, of course, Lebanon, and our deep desire for Lebanon to be a truly free country -- free where people can worship the way they choose to, free where people can speak their mind, free where political parties can flourish, a country based upon free elections. And I assured His Eminence that United States policy is to work with friends and allies to insist that Syria completely leave Lebanon, Syria take all her troops out of Lebanon, Syria take her intelligence services out of Lebanon, so that the election process will be free and fair.

His Eminence is a man of God. He brings great prestige of the Church to the Oval Office. And I'm proud you're here, Your Eminence, and thank you for your time.

Now His Eminence would like to say a few words.

CARDINAL SFEIR: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I come to the White House in response to the invitation of His Excellency, President George W. Bush, and to thank him for his courteous and warm reception. I would also like to express my deep gratitude for his sincere interest in Lebanon, the freedom of its people, and in peace in Lebanon and the world.

Comment: So if, as Bush claims, a country cannot be free and enjoy free elections while the army and intelligence services of a foreign nation are present, what does this say about Iraq and the recent elections there which were overshadowed by the massive US military and intelligence apparatus? Again we note that double standards and double-speak rule the day in the White House. Cardinal Sfeir did, however, get one thing right: he correctly identified narcissistic Bush as the king of America.

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Amnesty International: Report on foreign agents in Kenya

sourceWed, 23 Mar 2005

Kenya: foreign agents conducting secret 'war on terror' interrogations in kenya's 'crackdown' on terrorism

Former 'terrorism detainees' of the Kenyan authorities have alleged in interviews with Amnesty International that they were also secretly interrogated and threatened by foreign security agents whom they believe were from Mossad and the FBI.

The allegations are made in a new report published by Amnesty International today (23 March), which looks at human rights violations committed as part of Kenya's 'crackdown' on terrorism since the bombing of a hotel near Mombassa in 2002 which killed 15 people. The human rights organisation is calling on the Kenyan authorities to take immediate action to halt human rights violations during "anti-terrorism" operations.

Almost all those interviewed by Amnesty International said they were interviewed by foreign agents, and the Kenyan media has also reported US, Israeli and British agents coming to Kenya to "help beef up security" during the investigations after the hotel bombings. The detainees reported to Amnesty that the foreign agents sometimes conducted the interviews with neither Kenyan officials nor lawyers present, violating international standards, and that they were regularly threatened by these agents.

One detainee said: "On the sixth day, foreigners joined the Kenyan interrogators. They were from three different countries… I refused to speak and I said I needed a lawyer. The foreigner told me no member of my family or lawyer would come to the place where I was and that it was in my interest to answer their questions. Another threatened me that if I did not speak, they would take me to Guantanamo Bay.

"On the next day, the foreigners came again. They continued interrogating me. They threatened me…. They did not allow me to sleep for two days. One of the foreigners told me he would bring my mother and my wife there. I had no lawyer, no contact with my family or with the outside world." [...]

"The Kenyan authorities have failed to comply with international human rights law and standards, as well as Kenyan law. Security and human rights go hand in hand, and are not alternative options."

Amnesty International is calling on the Kenyan authorities to ensure respect for the rights of anyone arrested or detained, according to international law and standards. In particular, detainees must be given prompt access to legal counsel, relatives and medical care if needed, and any allegations of torture or other ill-treatment must be fully and independently investigated.

Comment: The Amnesty report makes clear that the abuses occured, not only under the auspicies of the US' "war on terror" but were even conducted by agents of Israel Britain and the US, yet they condemn the Kenyan government, which is clearly 100% beholden to Israel and the US, for the abuses! Clearly any condemnation should be directed at those countriues that oversee the abuses, yet Amnesty subtly diverts responsibility.

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A charming killer
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/19/05

He is a charmer. Bright, articulate and handsome.

But authorities say he's also a deadly predator with a penchant for slender brunettes.

His girlfriend, Vicki Freeman, 45, says police have falsely tagged Jeremy Bryan Jones a serial killer and that authorities are piling on, trying to clear their books of unsolved murders "for brownie points."

"He's a wonderful man," she said. "He's caring, considerate, loving. He's gentle."

She recalls the first time she saw him, almost two years ago at Gipson's Restaurant and Lounge in Douglasville. She said she noticed his good looks as soon as she and her friend walked in.

After they sat down, he approached their table and told them they were beautiful and that he was just going to admire them from afar. But in a few minutes he came back. Freeman said she didn't remember the conversation.

"I was just lost in him," she said.

Police say Jones' smooth talk often hides the evil within.

Jones, 31, sits in an Alabama jail cell without bond, charged with three brutal killings, including that of a Douglas County teenager who was stabbed and had a broken neck, another woman who was stabbed, and a third who was shot to death.

Forsyth County officials are focusing on Jones in the disappearance of hairdresser Patrice Endres, 38, last April.

Authorities from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and California are questioning Jones in up to 20 unsolved murder cases going back to 1999.

Even the relationship with his new love has a dark side.

Freeman reportedly told authorities Jones was physically abusive but that they always made up. In a newspaper interview, she denied he ever struck her. "What happened between us is our business," she said.

Jones only admits to lying to Freeman about using a false name.

"Every night I made love to her, I knew that I needed to tell her, because she was falling in love with this guy John," Jones said tearfully in a published interview.

Freeman forgives him for lying, saying she "fell in love with the man, not the name."

Police are certain, however, that her affections are misplaced.

"He could be a low-rent Ted Bundy," said John Furman, assistant district attorney in Mobile, referring to the serial killer executed in Florida in 1989. "Otherwise reasonably smart women somehow find him interesting. He doesn't look like a monster. Obviously, Vicki Freeman is playing with fire."

Jones blames meth

Jones grew up in middle-class circumstances in Miami, Okla., where his stepfather was a builder and his mother a housewife. Jones was a senior at Quapaw High School when he dropped out in 1991.

Jones told the Daily Oklahoman, based in Oklahoma City, that a decade-long problem with methamphetamine derailed his life.

"I was messed up with dope," he said. "People thought I was going to grow up to be president."

Unlike many people tagged as serial killers, Jones is suspected of homicides that aren't gratification killings, Furman said. One case of four deaths in Oklahoma may have been a revenge killing for an unpaid debt, said Ottawa County Assistant District Attorney Ben Loring. "He hated people who owed him money," Loring said.

By the time he was 23, he was showing a violent streak. In 1996 he was charged with raping two girlfriends. Those charges were reduced when the victims said they were afraid to testify, Loring said. Jones received a suspended sentence and five years on probation.

On Dec. 30, 1999, Danny and Kathy Freeman of Welch, Okla., were shot to death, possibly to settle a drug debt, Loring said. The killer set fire to their mobile home. That same night, their 16-year-old daughter, Ashley Freeman, and her friend Lauria Bible, 16, disappeared. Bible was spending the night at the Freemans' to celebrate her birthday.

Jones has not been charged in the Oklahoma slayings. He told authorities he discarded the girls' bodies in a Kansas mine shaft, but he has told the media he didn't do it. The bodies have yet to be recovered.

In 2000 he was accused of raping an ex-girlfriend. He fled and was charged with jumping bail.

He went to Mobile for about a year, working as a carpenter under the name John Paul Chapman. He then settled in Douglas County. Jones and Freeman met May 1, 2003, and soon began living together in a mobile home where they paid $125 a month.

On Feb. 14, 2004, Katherine Collins, 45, was found stabbed to death in New Orleans. Jones is charged with capital murder in that case, but authorities have declined to divulge why they believe he was involved. They also suspect him in two other New Orleans murders.

Last March, 16-year-old Amanda Greenwell, who lived in the same Douglas County trailer park as Jones, disappeared. Her remains were found a month later. She had been stabbed and her neck broken. In December he was charged in her death.

On Oct. 31, 2002, Tina Mayberry, 38, went to Gipson's for a costume party and was fatally stabbed in the parking lot. She staggered back into the nightclub and died after being rushed to a hospital.

Then last week, Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton said Jones was suspected in the April 15 disappearance of Patrice Endres, 38, from her remote beauty salon north of Cumming. Paxton declined to say why Jones is a suspect.

Freeman said Jones was with her in Douglas County the night Collins was found and was working near Douglasville the day Endres disappeared.

Jones returned to Alabama just before Hurricane Ivan hit Sept. 16, hoping for work as a carpenter. On Sept. 18, Lisa Nichols, 45, a neighbor of his employer's, was found slain in her burning mobile home. She had been raped and shot in the head. Jones was arrested Sept. 21 and charged with capital murder in her death.

'He's eager to talk'

Since Jones' arrest in September on the murder charge, investigators from Oklahoma, Georgia, Louisiana and California have traveled to Mobile, hoping to talk to him. And he happily accommodates them.

"He's eager to talk," Furman said.

Furman speculated that Jones may be making false claims about other homicides to discredit any incriminating statements he made about the Mobile murder case.

Jones' attorney, Habib Yazdi, dismisses anything his client says to authorities.

"He will talk to anyone and confess to anything if they'll let him talk to his mother and his girlfriend for hours," Yazdi said. "He's getting fancy lunches with crab claws, and dinners and drinks. Then he'll come back later and say it's all [false]. It doesn't matter."

Furman said Jones appeared to enjoy the nationwide media attention, including segments on the "Today" show, CNN and Fox News. Fox's "Current Affair" will dedicate an hourlong show to his case on an upcoming Saturday.

Yazdi, appointed by the court to represent Jones, said his client is intelligent and could have been successful at just about anything.

"He is a super-smart man," Yazdi said, "If he was trying to be good, he could be a lawyer, or a doctor, or a businessman."

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Police kill 'gentle Christian' in road drama


ARMED police yesterday shot dead a sword-wielding man who had been driving a van the wrong way down a busy road.

The dead man, a charity worker, was described by his family as a "gentle Christian".

Officers had been called to the A63 west of Welton, near Hull, at 6:20am following reports that the vehicle was driving down the eastbound carriageway in the wrong direction.

Armed response officers were deployed to the scene where the man, identified as Simon Murden, 26, got out of the van and began to approach the marksmen with a sword, according to Humberside Police.

Mr Murden was then shot with baton rounds but got up and continued to make his way towards the officers, who shot him dead at 7:30am.

It was the first time that Humberside Police had ever discharged a firearm during an operation. A spokesman for the force was unable to confirm reports that the sword the 26-year-old had brandished was of the Samurai variety.

It had also been suggested that Mr Murden may have been attempting to hijack a tanker on the road.

His father, David, is the director of And Albert, a local charity. The blue Transit van at the centre of the shooting had the organisation’s logo and words emblazoned across it.

The charity operates a number of fair trade shops across the UK and promotes ethical trade with the developing world, selling its own goods through its Trading Roots label.

The And Albert shop in Beverley, near Hull, was closed. A note placed in the window said: "Closed due to bereavement." The family live in a farmhouse in Sparkmill Lane in the town.

In a statement, Mr Murden’s parents said their son was brought up a committed Christian and had recently returned from a trip to Africa.

"The family is devastated by what has happened today. Simon lived at home and was a gentle family man," it said. "He worked for his father who ran a Fair Trade charity and had only recently returned from a charity trip to Ghana.

"He was planning further trips to Africa to carry out charity work. He was a young man brought up in a committed Christian family and was exploring the Christian faith himself.

"He was a compassionate young man who cared about others, particularly those from poorer countries and backgrounds. He loved life and wanted to make it a better place. He will be sadly missed by family and friends.

Comment: Less than two weeks ago another "gentle Christian" in the US killed 7 people at a church gathering in Wisconsin. Yesterday a youth in Minnesota killed 10 of his classmates and teachers. Yesterday also, an Australian mother shot her husband and two young children dead before turning the gun on herself. It seems more than a little coincidental that a spate of such inexplicable killings would happen within a very short timeframe. Given that it is public knowledge that various governments around the world, most notably the US, have been conducting research into the use of "waves" to control human behavior, it is not unreasonable to suggest that these killings are not the result of pure chance.

In the aftermath of WWII and project paperclip that US intelligence agencies began to build on the research done by their Nazi conterparts.

One of the main areas to be investigated by the CIA was mind control. The CIA’s human behavior control program was chiefly motivated by perceived Soviet, Chinese, and North Korean use of mind control techniques. Under the protection of ‘national security,’ many other branches of the government also took part in the study of this area. The CIA originated its first program in 1950 under the name BLUEBIRD, which in 1951, after Canada and Britain had been included, was changed to ARTICHOKE. MKULTRA officially began in 1953. Technically it was closed in 1964, but some of its programs remained active under MKSEARCH well into the 1970s. In 1973, tipped off about forthcoming investigations, CIA Director Richard Helms ordered the destruction of any MKULTRA records.

Project BLUEBIRD was approved by the director of the CIA on April 20, 1950. In a 1951 memo, Bluebird states that practical research was to be conducted to include these specific problems:

  • Can we create by post-H control an action contrary to an individual’s basic moral principles?
  • Can we in a matter of an hour, two hours, one day, etc., induce an H [hypnotic] condition in an unwilling subject to such an extent that he will perform an act for our benefit?
  • Could we seize a subject and in the space of an hour or two by post-H control have him crash an airplane, wreck a train, etc.?
  • Can we by H and SI techniques force a subject to travel long distances, commit specified acts and return to us or bring documents or materials?
  • Can we guarantee total amnesia under any and all conditions?
  • Can we "alter" a person’s personality?
  • Can we devise a system for making unwilling subjects into willing agents and then transfer that control to untrained agency agents in the field by use of codes or identifying signs?
  • How can sodium A or P or any other sleep inducing agent be best concealed in a normal or commonplace item, such as candy, cigarettes, coffee, tea, beer, medicines?

In May 1998, Kip Kinkel, a 17 year old high school student, having first killed his parents, went on the rampage in his Oregon school killing 2 of his classmates and wounding several others. When defense attorneys argued that Kinkel should not spend the rest of his life in prison, it was because Kinkel reportedly "heard voices" telling him to commit murders. In an interview with detectives the 17 year old repeated over and over the words: "I had no choice."

During sentencing hearings Dr. Richard J. Konkol pointed out that "holes" in what is normally a smooth surface of Kinkel's brain reveal conditions consistent with schizophrenia. When defense attorney Mark Sabitt asked if this would make a person "more susceptible to a psychotic episode," Konkol responded, "I think it would."

See Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article "The Canary in the Mine" for more on this most interesting and troubling of subjects.

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Police kill man who took baby hostage
Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Seattle police officer shot and killed a man who was holding an infant hostage at knife point last night, police said.

Two officers responded to a third-floor apartment in the 6500 block of Rainier Avenue South shortly after 5 p.m.

A woman answered the door but didn't come out. Police said they could tell she was troubled and could see a child about 4 years old hiding inside the apartment behind her, Chief Gil Kerlikowske said.

Police were able to get the woman, the 4-year-old and a second child out of the apartment, but the man remained inside with an infant and an open pocketknife, Kerlikowske said.

Officers went into the apartment and tried to negotiate with the man for about 30 minutes, and the SWAT team and other police negotiators were called out.

The man grew more agitated, holding the knife against the baby's throat and stomach.

"It was clear that he was violent," Kerlikowske said.

At some point, police commanders authorized the use of deadly force, the chief said.

When the man stood up with the infant, "one officer fired a single shot" with an AR-15 rifle, striking the suspect and leaving the baby unhurt, Kerlikowske said. No information was provided on the officer who fired the shot. [...]

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Autistic Teenager Is Beaten by Deputies After Being Mistaken for a Prowler

Mar 22, 2005
The Associated Press

MOUNTAIN GATE, Calif. (AP) - An autistic teenager suffered a head injury and a broken elbow in a beating by three sheriff's deputies who mistook him for a prowler, authorities say.

Pierre Cowell, a 17-year-old who does not speak, had wandered from his home early Friday.

A neighbor, who did not recognize him, called 911 after seeing him outside her home about 2 a.m., Capt. Tom Bosenko said Monday. The woman became alarmed when she heard the doorknob jiggling, he said.

As three deputies approached the house, Cowell ran toward them and bumped one of them, Bosenko said. When Cowell didn't respond to the officers' commands, they used a baton, stun gun and pepper spray to subdue him.

"The officers were very much concerned for their safety," Bosenko said, adding that the deputies thought Cowell was under the influence of drugs. He said that the officers did not know that an autistic teenager was missing at the time.

Cynthia Cowell said she was unaware her son had left their home Friday until deputies came to her door.

"He doesn't understand anything to do with danger. He has to have someone constantly with him," she said.

She said she was surprised the deputies did not know he was autistic until she told them. "Being totally nonverbal would be a clue," she said.

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Photographer for White House child sex ring arrested after Thompson suicide


Photographer for White House child sex ring arrested after Thompson suicide

WASHINGTON -- March 13, 2005 -- -- Photographer Russell E. "Rusty" Nelson was recently arrested two days after journalist Hunter Thompson reportedly committed suicide four weeks ago on February 10, according to two phone interviews with attorney John DeCamp last week.

Nelson was allegedly employed by a former Republican Party activist to take pictures of current or retired U.S. House-Senate members and other prominent government officials engaging in sexual criminality by receiving or committing sodomy and other sex acts on children during the Reagan-Bush 41 administrations.

Hunter Thompson’s death and the news blackout of Rusty Nelson’s simultaneous arrest raise questions that someone may be attempting to limit Nelson’s freedom or threaten him, since according to testimony, both men had allegedly witnessed homosexual prostitution and pedophile criminal acts in a suppressed but far-reaching child sex-ring probe closely linked to Senate and House members--but also former President George H. W. Bush. [In U.S. District Court testimony, Rusty Nelson told Judge Warren Urbom he took 20,000 to 30,000 pictures, 2-5-1999, p.52]

Pedophile victim Paul Bonacci--kidnapped and forced into sex slavery between the ages of 6 and 17--told U.S. District Court Judge Warren Urbom in sworn testimony [pp.105, 124-126] on February 5, 1999: "Where were the parties?...down in Washington, DC...and that was for sex...There was sex between adult men and other adult men but most of it had to do with young boys and young girls with the older folks...specifically for sex with minors...Also in Washington, DC, there were parties after a party...there were a lot of parties where there would be senators and congressmen who had nothing to do with the sexual stuff. But there were some senators and congressmen who stayed for the [pedophile sex] parties afterwards...on a lot of the trips he took us on he had us, I mean, I met some people that I don't feel comfortable telling their name because I don't want to --- ...Q: Are you scared?...Yes..."

DeCamp, a former Nebraska state senator and decorated Vietnam War vet, told "there are tons of pictures still left; law enforcement is currently looking for them," adding, "you can also assume there are senators and congressmen implicated; otherwise this would not be such a big issue." But no federal official has stepped forward to protect Rusty Nelson's life, as Congress would be reluctant to hold hearings or force a federal prosecutor to probe its own members for sex acts with children--still punishable by law.

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30,000 Scots 'have new superbug'

Camillo Fracassini

UP TO 30,000 Scots are infected with a virulent new strain of the superbug MRSA that is resistant to antibiotics.

Until now, MRSA infections have been confined to hospitals, where the bug, which requires a major wound to cause blood poisoning, strikes elderly and seriously ill patients.

However, the new strain — CA-MRSA — thrives in the community, can attack through a graze or a small cut and poses the greatest risk to children.

It produces a poison which neutralises the body’s natural defences and, in extreme cases, can kill by causing blood poisoning or pneumonia.

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Tons of experimental biotech corn inadvertently shipped to consumers
March 22, 2005 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Swiss biotechnology company Syngenta AG said Tuesday it mistakenly sold to farmers an experimental corn seed genetically engineered to resist bugs that was never approved by U.S. regulators.

Hundreds of tons of the resulting corn crop were shipped to consumers and overseas between 2001 and 2004, but three U.S. government agencies investigating said there was no health or environmental risk because of the seed's similarity to another Syngenta product approved for sale and consumption by federal regulators.

"While there are no safety concerns, the regulatory agencies are conducting investigations to determine the circumstances surrounding and extent of any violations of relevant laws and regulations," said Cynthia Bergman, an Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman.

"The U.S. government is also communicating with our major trading partners to ensure they understand there are no food safety or environmental concerns that could affect trade."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration are also investigating.

Biotechnology critics say the incident confirms their fears that the industry can't ensure genetically engineered seeds won't mix with conventionally grown crops and contaminate the food supply. [...]

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Fraser River salmon almost wiped out
Last Updated Tue, 22 Mar 2005 20:50:38 EST
CBC News

OTTAWA - A new report says spawning levels are so low that the commercial, recreational and aboriginal sockeye salmon fisheries on British Columbia's Fraser River will be gone in three years.

The report from the Commons fisheries committee blames the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for failing to ensure conservation of sockeye, as well as failing to implement previous recommendations to save the stock. [...]

The committee says the fear of confrontation with First Nations groups led in part to the poor enforcement of regulations. The report also cites record high temperatures in the river as a cause for the drop in numbers.

The committee says sockeye runs are unlikely to build back up to last year's levels before 2020.

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Flood sweeps away 8 of a family
Tuesday March 22, 2005 (1550 PST)

LOWRALAI, Pakistan: The flood caused by rains swept away eight members of a family at Kohla on Tuesday.

As per details, the intermittent rain caused flood at Kohla, in which eight members of a family drowned.

The dead bodies of the deceased were recovered after the struggle of many hours. [...]

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Tornado touches down near Protection, other storms reported
Posted on Tue, Mar. 22, 2005
Associated Press

PROTECTION, Kansas - Severe storms spilled over from Oklahoma into parts of south central Kansas on Monday, with school children taking shelter after a tornado was seen near Protection.

"I got a call that someone had spotted a possible tornado," said Brian Harris, branch manager of the Protection Co-op and assistant fire chief in the Comanche County community. "We saw it touch down about three miles south of town."

Harris said the tornado, following Kiowa Creek, was on the ground about 20 minutes before rising back into the sky about a mile-and-a-half from Protection.

Prior to the tornado spotting at about 1:30 p.m., the Protection Co-op recorded an inch of rain and pea-sized hail. [...]

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Tornado makes pass over Paris (Texas)
By Phillip Hamilton
The Paris News
Published March 22, 2005

Tornado sirens wailed Monday night as a few twisters danced across Lamar and Delta counties, but little damage was reported.

Many Lamar County residents sought cover at 6:35 p.m., when a tornado warning was issued and the cityís warning sirens were sounded. However, many other residents stood on porches looking toward the heavens and talking on cell phones about what they were seeing. So many people were talking about the storm that some cell phone callers received ìall circuits are busyî messages.

Emergency radio frequencies were noisy, too, as spotters kept watch on the sky, spotting wall clouds, funnels and tornadoes on the ground. [...]

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3.4 Earthquake In Los Angeles

Free internet Press
March 22 2005

A minor earthquake occurred at 4:07:06 PM (PST) on Tuesday, March 22, 2005. The magnitude 3.4 event occurred 4 km (3 miles) W of Manhattan Beach, CA.

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Trip to Acropolis ends in ruins

B.C. girl, 16, jailed for picking up rock at Parthenon
Teen used stone as prop for photo, mother insists

One significant difference between Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin, and 16-year-old Madelaine Gierc of Duncan, B.C., is that Lord Elgin never went to prison.

But last night, the Grade 11 student from Frances Kelsey Secondary School in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island spent her second consecutive night behind bars, all alone in an Athens jail cell.

Her alleged crime?

It seems she picked up a piece of marble.

The Greeks are touchy about that kind of thing.

"Oh my gosh, it's awful," Madelaine's mother said yesterday.
A very concerned Lael Gierc spoke to the Toronto Star by phone from her home in Duncan, B.C., one day after her eldest child was clamped behind bars in a detention facility some 10,000 kilometres from home.

"She was having her picture taken, she picked up a rock and, within 20 seconds, they grabbed her."

They were security guards patrolling the Parthenon, the ancient marble temple perched atop the Acropolis in central Athens, the first stop on a long-planned, nine-day tour of Greece for 12 high school students from British Columbia, who were accompanied by three adult chaperones.

But only Madelaine Gierc has wound up in jail. [...]

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Sound sleeper, 87, gets moved to morgue

VANCOUVER—It was a sleep so deep he thought she belonged six feet under.

An 87-year-old woman is back resting comfortably in her nursing home bed in suburban Surrey after a driver who transports the dead mistakenly took her to the morgue.

The incident began when staff at the extended-care pavilion of Surrey Memorial Hospital found one of the residents dead on Saturday.

An employee for the company that moves bodies from the facility to the morgue across the street arrived and was taken into the room of two women by a nurse. The deceased was pointed out to the employee and the nurse returned to her station to complete paperwork on the death.

"My understanding is that he took the wrong individual because the other resident was asleep and he didn't check her identity," said Helen Carkner, a spokesperson for the Fraser Health Authority, which runs the hospital, about 40 kilometres east of Vancouver.

The woman, whom officials refuse to identify, didn't wake up as she was lifted from her bed and driven to the morgue. Soon afterward, a porter "noticed some movement," from the body on the gurney, Carkner said.

The woman "was sent back across the street by ambulance and she's fine," Carkner said.

It's believed the woman was never aware of her transfer to the morgue, she said.

Vancouver First Call Service, the company that has a long history of work for the health authority, fired the driver, who was new to the job, Carkner said.

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Sleepwalk in skies brings jet down for emergency landing
Published March 22, 2005

CHICAGO -- A 15-year-old boy on a flight from Chicago to New Orleans bumped into a cockpit door Sunday while sleepwalking, forcing an emergency precautionary landing, officials said Monday.

The teenager, who was returning from a European vacation with his family, made his stroll on American Airlines Flight 1185, which had taken off at about 7:30 p.m. from O'Hare International Airport, American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said.

After the boy slammed into the cockpit door, he fell into an adjacent closet, Fagan said. Flight attendants got the boy back to his seat, and the plane landed in Memphis at about 8:45 p.m., Fagan said.

By 10:55 p.m., the flight with more than 100 passengers touched down safely in New Orleans.

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