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"My sovereignty says you don't send missiles up over my airspace unless I'm there." - Canadian PM Martin arguing for Canada's participation in the US Missile Defence Plan


Good Fences make Good Neighbors

This well known idiom was first written by Robert Frost in his famous poem "Mending Walls" from 1954. The story concerns two neighbors, one young and the other old, who try to come to terms with their relationship over the mending of a fence that separates their two properties. According to some interpretations, the younger man rails against the walls, seeing them as an intrusion against nature, whereas the older, wiser neighbor sees the fence as a necessary dividing line between their lives, or the expanse across generations. In mending the wall, the two come to a better understanding of the perspectives of the other.

A more literal interpretation of the phrase might include seeing the fence as a well established border that acts to separate and identify the sovereign territory of each neighbor. The "wall" that divides them also exists as a metaphor highlighting the uniqueness and separate identity of each party, resulting in a respect for each other's land and personal space. In this way, one can see that the fence, while indeed a man-made creation that seems to go against nature, can also serve as the link between them as they work together to mend the wall. In this light, it seems, good fences do indeed make good neighbors.

As was reported last week by many North American mainstream newspapers, a high level think tank composed of representatives from Canada, the U.S., and Mexico emerged from their meeting with a document declaring that their three countries should work towards "a joint security perimeter" that would include a common biometric passport and integrated terror lists, among other Orwellian agendas. It is not surprising that these initiatives were lauded by the corporate business community who, if they had their way, would have the countries share one common currency.

The scenario of Canada becoming the 51st state is nothing new, and appears to have been part of the Global Elite's plan for some time. Considering that the United States seems destined to play the role of military superpower and fascist aggressor during these "end times", just like Nazi Germany in WWII, the closeness with which America's northern and southern neighbors align to the Bush government's murderous policies may in a large way affect how the end result is realized. The geographical proximity of Canada and Mexico to the U.S. does not bode well for either country, for the States have enough resources and firepower to preemptively invade and occupy both countries without expecting much resistance. So, it seems logical that this scenario must be kept in mind should plans for a legal integration and assimilation of North America be resisted by the governments or the people of either country.

As the U.S. continues to pursue its hegemonic agenda in the Middle East and to work to provoke war in the region with the help of Israel, there is every possibility of another major terrorist attack on American soil designed specifically to inflame the masses in anger against the next Muslim country on the chopping block. It also seems likely that it could be "engineered" that the attacker snuck in across the border from either Canada or Mexico in order to involve those countries in the war on terror as well. Such a large-scale attack would likely have the effect of the U.S. declaring temporary martial law, suspending Congress and the Constitution, and installing Bush as supreme leader for life. The mechanisms are already in place for such a police state scenario, and all it would take is for some kind of nuclear or bio-terror attack against a soft target to make it happen.

If Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Mexican President Vincente Fox were visionary leaders who could see beyond purely economic interests, both would be wise to start siding with France, Germany and the European Union in all matters pertaining to security and economics. Despite sharing "the longest undefended border in the world", Canada might consider following Asian countries like China, India and Japan, as they gradually unhitch themselves from the U.S. dollar and switch over to the Euro. They would also be wise to strongly resist American pressure to join any future coalition against terrorism in the Middle East, no matter how the inevitable false-flag operation implicates their country in the process. Lastly, they might well benefit from opening their borders to American citizens who will start waking up in greater numbers to Bush's Apocalyptic plans and begin flocking to their nearest neighbor for safe haven.

As the reader will no doubt see from the articles that follow, these ideas we present are by no means easy to accomplish. In fact, steps have already been taken to ensure that many such proposals are never allowed to become a reality. With a joint "terrorism and defense" policy, for example, it will be extraordinarily easy for the US to have the Canadian government ship any US deserters or "terrorists" who seek asylum in Canada back to the US. There will be nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide.

On the other hand, one never knows what effect even a few flapping butterfly wings may have on the course of history. Perhaps the real question is: How long will the people in various countries around the world put up with governments who quite obviously do not have their best interests at heart? More importantly, will there be any other options left to the masses when they realize what is happening and finally decide to act?

If we are to heed the words of Robert Frost, that "good fences make good neighbors", then in regards to the United State's relationship to Canada and Mexico, the bigger and stronger the fence, the better.

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Canada joins U.S., Mexico in security, trade deal
Last Updated Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:54:59 EST
CBC News

WACO, TEXAS - Prime Minister Paul Martin has signed a pact with the presidents of the United States and Mexico to boost co-operation on security, trade and public-health issues.

The agreement, forged as Martin met with U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox in Texas on Wednesday morning, will see the three countries increase their border security, and integrate their approaches to cargo inspection and maritime and aviation safety.

The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America agreement also aims to make their markets more competitive with the European Union and China by:

• Standardizing some business regulations.

• Making it easier for business people to cross borders.

The deal, meant to complement pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, calls for a continental strategy to block "threats to public health and the food and agriculture system."

"We face new opportunities but we also face new challenges, and this requires a renewed partnership – [a] stronger, more dynamic one that is focused on the future," Martin said at a news conference after the so-called "Three Amigos Summit" at a university in Waco, Tex.

"We are determined to forge the next generation of our continent's success. That's our destination. The security and prosperity partnership that we are launching today is the road map to getting there."

Leaders play down recent disputes

Relations between the United States and the other two countries have been strained in recent years. Irritants have included the U.S. decision to close its border to Canadian cattle in 2003; the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq the same year, which neither Canada nor Mexico backed; and Canada's recent decision not to participate in the U.S. missile-defence shield, which reportedly left Bush furious.

However, all three leaders appeared friendly at Wednesday's news conference and dismissed any talk of tensions among them.
"I'm amazed that we don't have more, whatever you call, 'sharp' disagreements" because the three countries are so interconnected, said Bush.

He referred to Martin as "Paul" after the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since the missile-defence decision, hinting at a friendlier bond than he had with former prime minister Jean Chrétien.

"I think the relationship is very strong and very positive," Bush said. "Just because somebody doesn't agree with our policies doesn't mean we can't have very positive relationships."

Martin said "the file is closed" on ballistic missile defence, but took pains to highlight that Canada was co-operating with the United States on other military efforts.

"The defence of North America is not only going to take place in North America. Canada is playing an increasing role – as an example, in Afghanistan – and that's also part of the defence of North America." [...]

Comment: While all three leaders appear cordial in front of the cameras, it's difficult to tell what is going on behind the scenes. It is possible that Bush is just pretending to be friendly to put a positive spin on things for the media, yet inside he may still reeling with the rage of a psychopath who feels snubbed at every turn. On the other hand, the three leaders could be making secret future deals that promise to intertwine their countries to a much greater extent than is known by their citizens, who would likely vehemently oppose such a plan. Time will tell as the policies discussed now are slowly revealed to the populace back home.

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Canada's Left Angry With PM's 'Hidden' U.S. Agenda
Tuesday, March 22, 2005 5:06:33 PM ET

OTTAWA - An opposition party that is helping to keep Canada's minority Liberal government in power angrily accused Prime Minister Paul Martin on Tuesday of planning to push an agenda of closer integration with the United States. [...]

But the idea of any deeper integration with the United States is particularly unpopular with Canada's left-leaning New Democrats, who have been backing Martin since last June's election stripped the Liberals of their majority.

"Can the prime minister tell us why he will be pursuing an agenda of deeper integration with the U.S., sacrificing Canadian sovereignty? Why is he pursuing this hidden agenda without telling Canadians about it?" the party's leader, Jack Layton, asked in Parliament.

Martin dismissed Layton's questions, saying that, at the Texas meeting, he would be pressing for greater security and economic prosperity for the three nations.

Last week, a task force of former U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials recommended building a North American economic and security community by 2010, and proposed a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter.

Canadian officials played down the report, saying the ideas put forward would not be on the agenda in Texas.

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Leaders sign co-operation deal

WACO, Texas (CP) - Prime Minister Paul Martin signed a deal Wednesday that provides for sweeping co-operation with the United States and Mexico on security, economic and health issues, but there was no sign of progress on touchy trade disputes. [...]

While Martin thanked Bush for supporting Canada on resuming the cattle trade, now held up in the courts by a protectionist U.S. ranchers' group, he took pains to mention the softwood dispute at a joint news conference.

Bush appeared somewhat frustrated by it, saying he knew all about the issue.

"I've heard about it since I became president."

But formally, there was a positive spin on Canada-U.S. relations after Ottawa upset Bush by staying out of the U.S. missile defence program. [...]

The less formal get-together at the ranch, Martin's first visit, was seen by observers as a tonic for hard feelings from policy and trade disagreements.

Bush, who mentioned U.S. interest in oil from the Alberta tar sands, marked the summit by giving the prime minister a pair of black cowboy boots embossed with the initials PM and the flags of the three countries.

The beginnings of the comprehensive agreement signed by the leaders were hatched in 2001 at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City.

It calls for a tri-national energy strategy, more intelligence-sharing and common plans for responding to disasters and emergencies, drug smuggling, illegal migrants and organized crime.

It also seeks a continental strategy to deal with air and water quality, infectious diseases and threats to the food and agriculture system.

Called the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the accord lets any two countries move on an issue while allowing the third to join later. Cabinet ministers will work on the details and report back within 90 days, and then twice a year.

The leaders are also committed to meeting regularly, said Martin.
The plan has ignited passionate response from nationalists who worry it will eat away at Canada's sovereignty.

Martin disputed concerns from critics that the plan would lead to a European Union-style integration with a common currency and customs union.

"The answer is No," he said. "What we are talking about here is not a big bang; we're talking about big progress."

His comments were echoed by Fox and Bush.

"We've got a lot of trade with each other and we intend to keep it that way," the U.S. president said. "We've got a lot of crossings of the borders and intend to make our borders more secure and facilitate legal traffic."

Said Fox: "We are talking about a partnership; that is the key word. All of us have a sense of urgency. We want to make North America the most competitive area in the world."

The Council of Canadians called it a "big step in the wrong direction."

"This is just a big-business grocery list," said president Maude Barlow. "There is no concrete action to improve the lives of citizens as every single measure is geared to please the corporate sector.

"This initiative will lead to the erosion of Canadians' civil rights, the destruction of regulatory standards and practices designed to protect Canadians from unsafe food and drugs and the eventual surrender of precious resources," she predicted. [...]

Comment: Notice how in this story, the media drops several hints that relate directly to the new North American security perimeter idea that was revealed earlier this month. The fact that this new plan was written to include "more intelligence-sharing and common plans for responding to disasters and emergencies" would seem to suggest that the three leaders are preparing themselves for just such an eventuality.

Also included is a vague reference to critics who are worried that this new deal "would lead to a European Union-style integration with a common currency and customs union", which the Prime Minister dismisses with carefully prepared rhetoric. The result is that this kind of media story plants subtle messages in the reader's mind, slowly acclimatizing them to the eventual implementation of such a plan. Again, it seems as if they've known it all along.

Other pundits in the mainstream Canadian media, such as the following three columnists for Macleans Magazine, are more vocally overt in their unconditional support for tighter integration between Canadian and American policies.

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Bed the elephant
March 23, 2005

We need much closer integration with the United States -- before it's too late

Comment: Nothing like starting off an editorial using manipulative scare tactics to get the reader's attention...

For more than 70 years, Canadians have profited from a close and mutually beneficial economic and security relationship with the United States, to the point that we assume it will never end. To make such an assumption is a grave mistake. In present global circumstances, nothing can be taken for granted.

Canada has much to learn from the European experience. The now 25 members of the European Union have worked assiduously to create the kind of beneficial interdependence that serves as a model of statecraft. They have done this by writing rules and building institutions to underwrite their great project and provide their citizens with the confidence that it will continue. Co-operation, shared experience and acceptance of common rules have become the basis of both European sovereignty and unity.

Comment: To compare this burgeoning North American alliance to the EU is most misleading. Outside of lapdog Tony Blair and his minions in the British government, most members of the European Union are opposed to Bush's illegal wars in the Middle East. Major European countries like France, Germany, and now Spain, who still remember the horrors of WWII, act as a reasonable and semi-effective counterweight to ongoing American and Israeli aggression.

[...] Rightly or wrongly, the U.S. no longer regards its northern border benignly. In a nation grown anxious about when and where terrorists may strike next, the border now looms as a point of vulnerability rather than a source of strength, a perception increased by the Martin government's decision not to participate in the ballistic missile defence initiative. Such a perception cannot be allowed to continue. It undermines the very basis of Canada's security and prosperity: cross-border trade and investment drive our economy; U.S. innovation and entrepreneurship propel our own; the U.S. military provides a blanket of security; U.S. intelligence is critical to our own; U.S. popular culture dominates because Canadians choose it; and U.S. warm weather cossets millions of Canadians each winter. The U.S. presence pervades every aspect of Canadian life because we welcome it, we benefit from it, and we want it to continue. Canadians can justly take pride in their distinctiveness, but there is no other country with which we are as closely aligned in our core values: respect for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

Comment: First of all, to suggest that American core values are based upon the "respect for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law" would be laughable if it wasn't so scary. Are these writers so hopelessly naive that they've already forgotten about Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and the practice of rendition? Perhaps they are pushing an agenda in order to frighten readers into blind submission and acceptance of their master's plans for a New World Order?

[...] The point comes home quickly if we devote just a few minutes to thinking about the next possible terrorist outrage. As the 9/11 commission in the United States has pointed out, it is not a question of whether, but when. It could be a dirty bomb in a sports stadium. It could be a truck bomb destroying the CN Tower in Toronto. Or it could be ricin in the water supplying Los Angeles. Wherever the terrorists strike next in North America, our vulnerability will be made clear within minutes. The border will close. This time, it may not be reopened as quickly as it was after 9/11. The next outrage will bring fear and determination to new levels. And the first instinct will be to circle the wagons.

Such scenarios tend to be dismissed by many Canadians as scare tactics. That too is a mistake. We must coolly assess the risks as well as the benefits of our unchangeable geographic proximity. The choice is as stark as it is clear. When the wagons circle, do Canadians want to be on the outside looking in or the other way around? To ask the question is to answer it. The implications for our economic security will far exceed those for the U.S.

Comment: Here our intrepid columnists use the age old tactic of manipulate, dismiss, and divert. First they use the well worn scare tactic of a threat of the next terrorist attack, giving a distinctly Canadian example, then ridicule those who would call such manipulations for what they are: scare tactics. They then divert attention away from their manipulation with the specious logic of an all or nothing scenario, where somehow Canada would be worse off being "on the outside", if such an event were to transpire.

The first task that faces us is to restore the belief in American hearts and minds that Canada is a reliable partner. That is how most Canadians want to be seen, and it is how most Americans used to feel. Drift and neglect in our relationship have diminished the trust and confidence we used to take for granted on both sides of the border. The government's decision to opt out of missile defence has not helped. We know that the U.S. remains ready to work with us. The President has made that clear. We should respond quickly and forcefully and undo the damage of the past decade of wilful neglect.

We must restore trust by addressing our common security needs and by strengthening our common North American security perimeter, as the tri-national task force co-chaired by former deputy prime minister John Manley recommended last week. Within that perimeter, people should be able to move freely, but on both sides of the 49th parallel there is work to be done, and it is best done jointly and co-operatively rather than singly and at possible cross purposes. A long history of working together, from NORAD and NATO to the Smart Border accord, has created a strong foundation, but far more needs to be done to confront the growing obstacles we now face, some of our own making, and some the result of a changing strategic context. The February budget made a start at modernizing and revitalizing the Canadian Forces, but to regain our ability to participate fully in the defence and security of Canada and North America, much more is required. [...]

George W. Bush is not the issue. Canadians need to get on with life and recognize the absolute necessity, in our own self-interest, of building a modern security relationship and of securing access to the market that drives our prosperity. To do otherwise is foolish and reckless.

Comment: George W. Bush is precisely the issue. This megalomaniacal, twice-unelected, psychopathic leader of the not-so-free world is hell bent on ushering in World War III. If these so-called columnists would have their way, they would see Canadian sovereignty flushed down the toilet of human history as their beloved country joined ranks with the Hitler of our time.

Over the past three years, there has been a vibrant debate in Canada on the details of what we need to do. There is no shortage of good ideas, but adopting a bold, realistic and holistic approach to relations with our giant neighbour to the south requires a government prepared to exercise leadership. Nor can the agenda be adopted piecemeal. Thanks to the role of special interests in Washington, nothing will be accomplished by attempting incremental bites. The U.S. political system has never worked that way, and never will.
Mr. Bush's invitation to Paul Martin and Mexican President Vicente Fox to meet with him to discuss the future of North America provides a golden opportunity to make clear that Canada wants to work with the United States to build a zone of mutual confidence and a community of law. We must articulate and pursue our broad political goals. We call on our political leaders to commit Canada to a course that will secure our future. If they allow the relationship to continue to drift, Canadians could judge them harshly. History certainly will.

Comment: Indeed, history will judge Canadians harshly should they allow their "democratically elected" government continue its increasingly cozy relationship with the beast and his empire.

Allan Gotlieb was Canada's ambassador to the U.S. from 1981 to 1988; Wendy Dobson is a professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management; and Michael Hart is the Simon Reisman chair in trade policy at Carleton University.

Comment: Despite the dire warnings and subtle manipulations of the authors of this article, a recent poll finds that ordinary Canadians want nothing to do with closer integration with the United States, and were overwhelmingly supportive of the government's recent decision to opt out of the proposed ballistic missile defense shield.

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PM given thumbs up on BMD stand

OTTAWA (CP) - Canadians are giving Prime Minister Paul Martin an overwhelming thumbs up for his refusal to join the U.S. missile defence project, a new poll suggests.

The numbers offer some vindication for Martin as he heads into a meeting Wednesday with U.S. President George W. Bush armed with Canadian public sentiment on his side. The prime minister angered the White House and drew scorn from critics at home, but two-thirds of poll respondents - 57 per cent compared to 26 per cent - supported him, according to the survey by Decima Inc.

A Canada-U.S.-Mexico summit in Texas will be the first meeting between Martin and Bush since last month, when the prime minister tried informing the president of his decision and waited days before having his phone call returned.

U.S. officials said Bush was angered by Martin's failure to convey Canada's decision face-to-face when the two men met in Brussels late last month.

The Decima poll indicates Martin would have flown into a public opinion hurricane had he decided to take part in Bush's missile program.

Virtually every constituency in the country approved of Canada's stand - from teenagers to senior citizens, men and women, urban and rural dwellers, and a majority of respondents in every single province.

Just one group fell outside the statistical norm: Conservative party supporters sided 49 per cent to 35 per cent in favour of joining the missile project.

Pollster Bruce Anderson says opposition to the plan has little to do with missile defence and a lot to do with opposition to Bush's foreign policy, particularly his prosecution of the war in Iraq as well as White House trade policies. [...]

Here are some other findings of the survey of 1,023 Canadians, conducted March 10-14 and considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20:

-Lack of confidence in Bush (34 per cent) was the main reason given by the those asked to explain their support for Martin's decision.

The second-most common reason given was frustration over U.S. handling of the softwood lumber and mad-cow disputes, as 21 per cent agreed "Canada shouldn't co-operate with the U.S. until the U.S. treats Canada more fairly." [...]

Comment: Anti-American government sentiment and mistrust of the Bush administration runs deep within the Canadian populace, much more so than the pundits of the mainstream media would have us believe.

Whether this will make a difference to Canadian government policy is difficult to tell, as politicians often make deliberate decisions that run counter to the wishes of the people, even though they pretend to agonize over the choice.

Those in power who have difficulty swaying the voters to their unpopular agendas can always depend on their lackeys in the media to tip the balance in favour of the PTB by repeating more terrorist scare tactics ad nauseam.

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Danger Up North

Canada's welcome mat for terrorists.
March 21, 2005, 8:30 a.m.
By Deroy Murdock

Let's hope Honduras is awash in American agents. Al Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi reportedly has dispatched Islamo-fascist murderers to penetrate the U.S. via Tegucigalpa, where bribe-hungry authorities allegedly sell passports to smooth passage through Mexico to the human highway known as the U.S.-Mexican border.

But American officials better eye the northern frontier, too. Canadians seem rather relaxed about some who inhabit the land nestled between Alaska and the Lower 48. While most Canadians are as friendly as Labrador retrievers, that attitude is not universal.

"I'm not afraid of dying, and killing doesn't frighten me," Algerian-born Canadian Fateh Kamel said on an Italian counterterrorism intercept. "If I have to press the remote control, vive the jihad!"

Kamel, who jet-setted among Afghanistan, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, was arrested in Jordan on December 15, 1999, and extradited to France. He was convicted of distributing bogus passports and conspiring to blow up Paris Metro stations. He was sentenced April 6, 2001, to eight years in prison.

But after fewer than four years, France sprang Kamel for "good behavior." (What is it about iron bars and German shepherds that mellows people so?) Kamel flew home to Canada January 29.

"When Kamel arrived in Montreal, the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] was not even at the airport to greet him," Canada's National Post reported last month. "As far as they're concerned, he is an ex-convict who has done his time and has committed no crimes in Canada."

Kamel now freely strolls Canada's streets. That's just fine, so long as he limits his violence to moose hunting and such. But what if he has humans - Americans, even - in his crosshairs?

"We should be looking at him and possibly sending him back to Algeria," Conservative-party deputy leader Peter MacKay said in the February 27 Toronto Star. "There is a strong circumstantial case right now to suggest this guy isn't deserving of Canadian citizenship." MacKay sees Kamel as emblematic of Ottawa's peaceful, easy feeling toward terrorist killers. "What crossed my mind was that the French authorities wanted him out of the country, and we were all too willing to take him in."

Kamel is not alone. Canada crawls with terrorists, suspected violent extremists, and folks worthy of 24-hour surveillance.

"There have been a number of instances where Canadians or individuals based here have been implicated in terrorist attacks or plans in other countries, at least a half dozen or more in the last several years," Canadian Security and Intelligence Director Jim Judd told a Canadian Senate panel in Ottawa March 7. "There are several graduates of terrorist training camps, many of whom are battle-hardened veterans of campaigns in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and elsewhere who reside here...Often these individuals remain in contact with one another while in Canada or with colleagues outside of the country, and continue to show signs of ongoing clandestine activities, including the use of counter-surveillance techniques, secretive meetings, and encrypted communications." Among other things, Canadian-based terrorists have aspired to whack a visiting Israeli official, bomb a Jewish district in Montreal, and sabotage an El Al jet over Canada. [...]

Algerian-born Ressam, a failed Montreal refugee applicant and suspected Fateh Kamel protégé, was caught by U.S. Border Patrol on December 14, 1999, at Port Angeles, Washington after crossing the Canadian frontier in an explosive-laden car. He dreamed of ringing in the millennium by blowing up Los Angeles International Airport.

"CSIS was aware of him since 1995 and was surveilling him, but they never put him out of business," the National Post's Stewart Bell, author of last year's Cold Terror: How Canada Nurtures and Exports Terrorism to the World, told journalist Bill Gladstone. "On the other hand, the second he entered the United States, he was stopped, arrested, and turned into a very good government informant." In his book, Bell writes: "Canada has tried to smother terrorism with kindness...Its most valuable contribution to the war on terrorism may well be its terrorists."

Canadian Zaynab Khadr flew from Islamabad, Pakistan to Toronto February 17 with her daughter, age 4 1/2, and teenage sister. She joined her mother and brother, Karim, who returned to Canada last April. Karim was wounded when Pakistani forces raided a suspected al-Qaeda hideaway. Her Egyptian-born father, who was killed in that attack, previously had been arrested in Islamabad after a 1995 Egyptian embassy truck bombing. Another brother, Abdurahman, returned to Canada in December 2003. He told Canadian Broadcasting that he grew up in an "al-Qaeda family." (To be fair, he briefly worked for the CIA.) [...]

Harvey Kushner, author of the hair-raising counterterrorism best-seller Holy War on the Home Front, is less sanguine. "It's quite disturbing that Canada's immigration policies have let this situation fester and grow," he says. "We do not have an electrified fence. When you have a neighbor who is not on the same page, it's indeed troublesome."

What can America do about all this? Pressing the Canadians to tighten up may require constant engagement. Amplifying the calls of Canada's Tories for stricter immigration and easier deportation would help. For starters, President Bush should broach border security when he meets his North American counterparts in Mexico on March 23.

The warm U.S.-Canadian relationship, illustrated by our 3,145-mile unprotected boundary, cooled somewhat when Ottawa recently refused to help Washington develop defenses against incoming nuclear-tipped missiles. But that modest dispute will pale beside the northward-flowing rancor that will erupt if a terrorist attack kills innocent Americans, and U.S. officials discover that the butchers slipped past complacent Canadians.

- Deroy Murdock is a New York-based columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Fairfax, Va.

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More terror cash in Canada

OTTAWA (CP) - Terrorists and other suspected security threats tried to move twice as much money through Canada last year as they did the year before, says a federal watchdog.

But the dramatic annual jump probably reflects better detection rather than a spiralling terrorist threat, says Horst Intscher, director of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre, better known as Fintrac.

When final figures are in for fiscal 2004-05, which ends March 31, terror-related cash washing through Canada will likely be twice the previous year's total of $70 million, Intscher told the Commons finance committee. [...]

That primarily reflects a growing maturity in the agency, he said.
Authorities in the United States have also complained that Canadian privacy laws have hamstrung efforts to track large sums of money that terrorists or other criminals might be moving across the border.

A recent U.S. State Department report said American officials have concerns that privacy laws and the high standard of proof required by Canadian courts "inhibit the full sharing of timely and meaningful intelligence" on suspicious financial transactions. [...]

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Border guards call for armed patrol
Tuesday, March 22, 2005 Updated at 1:10 AM EST
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

Ottawa - The union representing Canada's border guards is urging the federal government to establish an armed border patrol to fill what it says are egregious security gaps at hundreds of unguarded Canada-U.S. border crossings.

In a speech to be delivered before the Commons justice committee Tuesday, Ron Moran, head of the 10,500-member Customs Excise Union, chastises Public Security Minister Anne McLellan for understating the frequency with which vehicles drive through border crossings without first passing through customs. [...]

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Religion And 9-11
UQ Wire: Steven Hass

Somebody, somewhere, deserves the highest award given for brilliant planning and manipulation. The award should be given to whomever planned the events of 9-11 and then so brilliantly manipulated Americans into believing that nineteen "Arab terrorists" pulled the whole thing off. This notion of nineteen "Arab terrorists" is absurd, of course, to anyone with any critical thinking skills. Unfortunately, and apparently, that doesn't apply to very many Americans. Most of these same Americans also happen to be religious. It's not a coincidence.

Those who adhere to religious doctrine agree to a mandatory forfeiture of all critical thinking skills the moment they climb aboard the Holy Wagon. It's not an option with religion, because you cannot accept religion as truth and still retain the courage to question it. If you disagree with that, you're a perfect example.

How does religion have anything to do with 9-11? Religion itself isn't the point - it's the mindset of religious people, who have allowed themselves to believe a doctrine which their subconscious mind tells them is ludicrous. The official version of 9-11 says that nineteen "Arab terrorists" planned, financed, and executed the most improbable event in American history, all by themselves. This is beyond ludicrous. Who are perhaps the most ardent believers in Bush's official story of 9-11? Religious people, because they have been conditioned to believe the impossible, so long as an authority figure tells them it's true.

Nobody with critical thinking skills can possibly believe the official story of 9-11, especially with the mountain of contradictory evidence readily available to everyone. The same is true of religion. That's the whole problem with so many Americans. They have been raised to believe whatever comes out of the mouth of the guy up front in the church. He wears a fancy robe, sometimes with a pretty sash or a big hat, and he is obviously in charge of the church - from childhood, they are conditioned to tremble at his voice. In such an environment, it doesn't take long to eventually erase any inclination to question the authority figure. Toss in a few even bigger authority figures, such as a Jesus, a God, and some disciples, and how dare you question authority?

It's actually quite brilliant, to be honest about it. My own opinion is that the Roman leader Constantine recognized the enormous potential for crowd control which is inherent in religion, and he utilized it to perfection. When he proclaimed Christianity to be the official religion of Rome, he effectively sentenced the minds of his people to death. This is no trivial matter, at a time when Rome was the most dominant nation in the known world. Most of the population was uneducated beyond knowing not to defy the emporer. How many generations would it take before everyone was gone from the pre-Constantine "Christianity" days? Not very many, and then you'd be left with fresh generations to program from birth. It's brilliant, and it worked.

The problem is not religion as a whole. The problem, again, is the conditioning program that is religion. With religion, minds are closed to a genuine search for truth. Minds are caged like simple animals, to be fed by their handlers. Having the courage to question religion means eternity in some burning dungeon of torture and punishment. Being raised from childhood with this mentality being forced upon them, religious people simply no longer have the ability to question. It almost warrants pity, if the consequences weren't so devastating in today's world.

Flashback to 9-11: four passenger planes are hijacked simultaneously, with no response from an air defense system that is known for its jumpy preparedness. In the past, a single hijacking anywhere in America would have resulted instantly in at least some semblence of response. On this day, however, four airplanes are hijacked and left to do as they please, untouched and unchallenged. Three of these planes are allowed to proceed through the most heavily-guarded airspace in the world. Two of them are left free to continue their course into the World Trade Center towers, being flown with a skill far above even the most experienced fighter pilots. The towers subsequently crumble exactly as a building does in a controlled demolition, even when burning jet fuel gets nowhere near hot enough to melt the steel of the towers. A third hijacked airplane supposedly crashes into the Pentagon, but leaves no sign of something as large as a passenger jet having done the damage.

Does any of this raise even a single question? Apparently not, as most Americans simply believe that nineteen "Arab terrorists" did it. No questions, no investigation, no doubts. It's just so much easier to blame people who we don't understand at all. Different religion, different culture, different everything, and they live on the other side of the world, so we don't even have to blame them to their faces. Besides, our president said they did it, so there you go.

America's response? Go to Afghanistan, bomb it into submission, and install a powerless puppet regime. The poppy fields, which the Taliban had all but eradicated, are replanted with vigour and encouragement, ensuring a healthy supply of heroin on the market. Next, go to Iraq, completely destroy its infrastructure, drop uranium bombs everywhere so future generations can die, too, kill multitudes of young Americans, maim the rest, teach them how to torture prisoners and enjoy it, and take control of Iraq's oil as we sit by and watch looters pillage and destroy irreplaceable ancient historical artifacts. But that oil supply is safe.

Bush blamed, ummm....well, he blamed somebody, generally categorized as "the terrorists". Since then, Americans have given it no more thought. Bush said "the terrorists" did it, so that's all there is to it. If you disagree, you are accused of aiding "the terrorists" (a concept that defies all logic). Americans are more than happy to say they support the troops, but they don't even understand why the troops are in Iraq. Neither do the troops. The accepted slogan is "to defend our freedom". Defend our freedom from whom? Iraqis? Defend our freedom from the Iraqi military that had no weapons of mass destruction? Defend our freedom from the Iraqis in general, who had been starved for a decade with sanctions? Protecting our freedom from whom? People who don't even understand the who/what/why of 9-11 are suddenly afraid for their precious freedoms. That's insane, but insanely typical. And they protest the war in Iraq, but they don't protest the whitewashing of 9-11 by this administration. Screw the war in Iraq - your country was attacked in cold blood, and somebody very nearby had a hand in it.

When a vast majority of a population has already been dutifully programmed by religion, and thereby stripped of its ability to question and use critical thought, an event such as 9-11 is a godsend (no pun intended) to any powerful group that would use such an event to further its agenda. Who profits from the war in Afghanistan? Who profits from the war in Iraq? Who profits more than Israel if we topple Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, etc? And the question that preceeds them all: who profits from 9-11 itself? These are questions that demand answers and accountability, but they are questions not being asked.

Religion set the stage for using 9-11 to further an agenda, and whomever organized 9-11 recognized that fact. Brilliant in its depravity, this group of planners realized how easy it is to manipulate religious people who already willingly adhere to irrational and disproven dogma. The brilliance was in using their own religious trinkets and icons in the charade. There should be an award given to whoever concocted the idea of wrapping Bush around a Bible to further the agenda.

Is religion to blame for 9-11? Absolutely not. Are the people who refuse to question 9-11 to blame for it? Absolutely, because people who refuse to question something, regardless of its glaring irrationality, encourage it to continue.

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Lawsuit Filed to Obtain Flight 77 Videos

On the morning of september 11th, 2001 the FBI visited at least two private businesses near the pentagon and confiscated several security camera video tapes.

Business #1 is the cigto gas station with several security cameras aimed in the direction of the pentagon. Flight 77 flew directly over the gas station at an altitude of roughly 50 feet, less than 3 seconds from impact.

Business #2 is the sheraton national hotel. It is known, based upon a prior FOIA report filed by CNN which requested the tapes - that the sheraton's security cameras DID capture the plane - however because of national security, the FBI won't release the video.

No one can say for sure why the FBI is reluctant to release the videos. It could just be a matter of policy, or it could have to do - as many suspect - with the notion that keeping the videos from the public is helping to fuel wild conspiracy theories. These theories - that no 757 hit the pentagon - helps discredit the 9/11 truth movement in general, and keeps people's focus away from such topics as WTC building 7. [...]

3/9/5 Yesterday the lawsuit was filed, and today the FBI was served.

Also, today we got a response to the FOIA appeal. i haven't seen it yet, but i'm told it says that the FBI does have the tapes, however won't release them because the release would interfere with an ongoing investigation. [...]

I can't imagine how any one can make such a justification - i mean, we know what we're going to see, which is something not unlike what we saw with the WTC towers attacks. How can viewing the the final moments of flight 77 interfere with some investigation? It was in the air low, it flew past the sheraton, over the citgo gas station, clipped some light poles and then crashed. I can't imagine what the problem would be with seeing that.

UPDATE 3/12/5 I just got the lawsuit and the DOJ appeal response from my attorney and i have yet to copy it for this site. but will do so early next week.

The appeal response has a nice tone, stating that it's really out of their control that they can't release the videos. Perhaps it's the case that they would really like us to have them, but need something like a judge's permission to bend their policy. or it could be some other reason. [...]

I think what's great about this lawsuit is that already it's bringing both sides of the 757/no-757 issue together. even if you believe with all your heart that no 757 hit the pentagon, you still have to agree with this effort to obtain the videos. finally, both sides of this crazy story can agree on something.

It even bridges those who believe the official version VS those who don't - because getting the videos is getting a step closer to the truth. It turns the static down for all sides equally.

Comment: We tend to disagree with the above theory that the FBI are withholding the videotapes in an attempt to inspire conspiracy theories about the Pentagon attack and thereby discredit 9/11 conspiracy researchers, and we do so for one simple reason:

Allegations that no plane hit the Pentagon are NOT dependent on the fact that the FBI is withholding video tapes of the event. There is a wealth of other data which leads us to the conclusion that something other than Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. Given this, it is much more likely that the FBI is withholding the tapes because they would prove what all of the other evidence hints at - Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon.

In any case, the FBI does not need to bother themselves in attempting to divert attention away from the "no plane at the Pentagon" theory, they already have Mike Ruppert, Jim Hoffman and Daniel Hopsicker to do the job for them.

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The Lie Factory
By Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest

This special Mother Jones investigation late last year detailed how, only weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration set up a secret Pentagon unit to create the case for invading Iraq. Here is the inside story of how they pushed disinformation and bogus intelligence and led the nation to war.

[...] Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski is perched on a plastic chair, wearing shorts, a purple sweatshirt, and muddy sneakers. Two scrawny dogs and a lone cat are on the prowl, and the air is filled with swarms of ladybugs.

So far, she says, no investigators have come knocking. Not from the Central Intelligence Agency, which conducted an internal inquiry into intelligence on Iraq, not from the congressional intelligence committees, not from the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

All of those bodies are ostensibly looking into the Bush administration's prewar Iraq intelligence, amid charges that the White House and the Pentagon exaggerated, distorted, or just plain lied about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda terrorists and its possession of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. In her hands, Kwiatkowski holds several pieces of the puzzle. Yet she, along with a score of other career officers recently retired or shuffled off to other jobs, has not been approached by anyone.

Kwiatkowski, 43, a now-retired Air Force officer who served in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia (NESA) unit in the year before the invasion of Iraq, observed how the Pentagon's Iraq war-planning unit manufactured scare stories about Iraq's weapons and ties to terrorists.

"It wasn't intelligence -- it was propaganda," she says. "They'd take a little bit of intelligence, cherry-pick it, make it sound much more exciting, usually by taking it out of context, often by juxtaposition of two pieces of information that don't belong together."

It was by turning such bogus intelligence into talking points for U.S. officials -- including ominous lines in speeches by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell's testimony at the U.N. Security Council last February -- that the administration pushed American public opinion into supporting an unnecessary war.

Until now, the story of how the Bush administration produced its wildly exaggerated estimates of the threat posed by Iraq has never been revealed in full. But, for the first time, a detailed investigation by Mother Jones, based on dozens of interviews -- some on the record, some with officials who insisted on anonymity -- exposes the workings of a secret Pentagon intelligence unit and of the Defense Department's war-planning task force, the Office of Special Plans. It's the story of a close-knit team of ideologues who spent a decade or more hammering out plans for an attack on Iraq and who used the events of September 11, 2001, to set it into motion. [...]

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Iraqis claim 85 rebels dead in capture of training camp
By Kim Sengupta
24 March 2005

American and Iraqi authorities say they have killed 85 insurgents and captured what they called a major rebel training and command centre. US forces provided air and ground support for the 90-minute operation in a remote area between Tikrit and Samarra.

US and Iraqi military spokespeople said the camp was the base for waves of car bombings in cities in northern Iraq. Among the insurgents killed, they said, were Sudanese, Algerians, Syrians and Saudis. Seven Iraqi police commandos were also killed. But a rebel group, the Islamic Army in Tikrit, claimed they were in charge of the camp and although 11 "freedom fighters" were killed, "many more" soldiers were among the dead.

Major Richard Goldenberg, of the US 42nd Infantry Division, said: "Documentation at the facility [camp showed] that some of the anti-Iraqi forces [rebels] were foreign fighters. There were no US casualties."

The Iraqi government has introduced strict residency rules to detain and expel foreign Arabs, which has led to widespread protests. The crackdown is purportedly aimed at people suspected of aiding the insurgency. But many among those arrested - more than 200 in one day in Baghdad alone - have been long domiciled in Iraq and face the prospect of being uprooted.

The Palestinian community feels particularly under threat. Large numbers have lived in Iraq for generations but find themselves in the firing line because of the supposed Palestinian support for the Saddam regime. The Palestinians say they have nowhere to go. Many of their original homes are under Israeli control and there is little chance of Israel allowing them to return.

Others, such as Sudanese Arabs, also say they are victimised by the new rules. Differentiated by their darker complexions and African features, they also claim to be intimidated by Iraqi police and soldiers at roadblocks. Chechens and Iranians have also been arrested in the raids. The border with Iran is particularly porous and many extended families, Iraqis as well as Iranians, have relations in both countries.

Most of the foreign residents originally possessed valid documents from a time when Iraq's oil wealth offered relatively well-paid work. But the documents are now deemed to be invalid if they have not returned to their home countries to renew their passports and entry visas, a difficult task in a land racked by years of conflict and shackled by United Nations sanctions. And even if a foreigner has a work contract, the Ministry of Work and Social Security has the power to cancel it if the job can be done by an Iraqi.

Iraqi officials seem unwilling to drop their new hard line. Brigadier-General Taif Tariq Hussein, the head of the interior ministry's residency office, said: "Some Arabs and foreigners have destroyed the reputation of Arab and foreign countries in Iraq. They have either helped in executing sabotage operations or they have carried out sabotage." Parts of the Iraqi media have been vocal in supporting the tough measures. One of the main Baghdad newspapers, Al Taakhi, carried a front-page story headlined "Life sentence for the illegal Arab residents". Inflammatory graffiti has also begun to appear on the walls of Baghdad saying, "Arabs out of Iraq" and "We back the government - Arabs go home".

Comment: This "big victory" in the "war on terror" is being proclaimed in most American mainstream news sources. What is NOT being reported however is that an AFP correspondent who visited the site where the 85 anti-Iraqi forces (as they are now called) were allegedly killed tells a very different story:

UP to 40 fighters were seen today at a Iraq lakeside training camp attacked by US and Iraqi forces a day before and said they had never left, an AFP correspondent who visited the site said.

The correspondent, who went with other journalists to the camp at Lake Tharthar, 200km north of Baghdad, said he saw 30 to 40 fighters there.

The remains of three burnt vehicles were seen on a dusty road leading to the camp in the village of Ain al-Hilwa. A few mud huts were partly destroyed and a few big craters gouged the ground.

One of the fighters, who called himself Mohammed Amer and claimed to belong to the Secret Islamic Army, said they had never left the base.

He also said only 11 of his comrades were killed in airstrikes on the site.

Remember, this is not about choosing which propaganda to believe. This is yet another case where the claims of the US military differ radically from those of impartial witnesses. Note also that, while in most US media reports it is claimed that the operation was lead by Iraqi forces with US air support, yet the on site AFP correspondent claims only to have seen a few big craters in the road. Now lets consider this rationally. The US air force carries out an air strike on an Iraqi village, killing 11 people. Once the dust has settled, the US military command sends in a few Iraqi soldiers who arrest no one and the entire show is declared an "Iraqi operation"? Does anyone feel like they are being lied to?

Note also the mention of "foreign fighters" including Sudanese, Algerians, Syrians and Saudis. How coincidental that Syrians are included in the line up of the usual suspects. It appears that the true nature of the US occupation of Iraq is finally being revealed for all to see (well, at least those who read the alternative news). From the above story:

One of the main Baghdad newspapers, Al Taakhi, carried a front-page story headlined "Life sentence for the illegal Arab residents". Inflammatory graffiti has also begun to appear on the walls of Baghdad saying, "Arabs out of Iraq" and "We back the government - Arabs go home".

Correct us if we are wrong here, but wasn't the whole purpose of the Iraq invasion to provide "freedom and democracy" for the Iraqi people who ARE Arabs? Isn't it rather strange that one of the "main Baghdad newspapers" would be promoting the expulsion of Arabs from Iraq?? Yet, we must not forget that it is not just any old democracy that Bush is exporting to Iraq, it is "AMERICAN Democracy", which naturally includes a completely US-controlled Iraqi press.

It is not surprising therefore that we learn that "Al Taakhi" is affiliated with the Kurdish Democratic Party and that the Kurdish Democratic Party is, and has been since the first Gulf war, wholly aligned with the CIA and Israel, despite the fact that the Northern Iraqi Kurds and their leaders have been repeatedly manipulated and betrayed by both the US and Israel for several decades.

Seymour Hersh writing the in New Yorker last summer tells us:

In a series of interviews in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, officials told me that by the end of last year Israel had concluded that the Bush Administration would not be able to bring stability or democracy to Iraq, and that Israel needed other options. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government decided, I was told, to minimize the damage that the war was causing to Israel's strategic position by expanding its long-standing relationship with Iraq's Kurds and establishing a significant presence on the ground in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. Several officials depicted Sharon's decision, which involves a heavy financial commitment, as a potentially reckless move that could create even more chaos and violence as the insurgency in Iraq continues to grow.

Israeli intelligence and military operatives are now quietly at work in Kurdistan, providing training for Kurdish commando units and, most important in Israel's view, running covert operations inside Kurdish areas of Iran and Syria. Israel feels particularly threatened by Iran, whose position in the region has been strengthened by the war. The Israeli operatives include members of the Mossad, Israel's clandestine foreign-intelligence service, who work undercover in Kurdistan as businessmen and, in some cases, do not carry Israeli passports.

A senior C.I.A. official acknowledged in an interview last week that the Israelis were indeed operating in Kurdistan. He told me that the Israelis felt that they had little choice: "They think they have to be there." Asked whether the Israelis had sought approval from Washington, the official laughed and said, "Do you know anybody who can tell the Israelis what to do? They're always going to do what is in their best interest." The C.I.A. official added that the Israeli presence was widely known in the American intelligence community.

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At least 30 killed in Iraq violence
March 22/05
United Press International

BAGHDAD, : At least 30 people, including a U.S. soldier and Iraqi army officer, died in separate incidents around Iraq Tuesday, security sources said.

In the northern city of Mosul, Iraqi police killed 17 insurgents and captured 11 others in gunfights following an aborted assassination attempt on a police officer.

In Baghdad, an officer was killed and two others were injured in the explosion of a road side bomb, while the explosion of ammunitions that belonged to the old Iraqi army in Biji, 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Baghdad, killed three Iraqis, including two women, and injured 6 others, among them two children.

Also Tuesday, four women and three children were killed in Aziziya in the explosion of a bomb believed to be leftover from the 2003 U.S. invasion.

In the oil center of Kirkuk in north Iraq, Brig. Mohsen Hazzaa died Tuesday from wounds he suffered in an assassination attempt two days earlier.

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Army Likely Won't Meet Recruiting Goals
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
Wed Mar 23, 8:25 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The Army expects to miss its recruiting goals this month and next and is working on a revised sales pitch appealing to the patriotism of parents, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey said Wednesday.

Whether that boosts enlistment numbers or not, Harvey said he sees no chance of a military draft.

"The 'D' word is the farthest thing from my mind," the former defense company executive told a Pentagon news conference, his first since becoming the Army's top civilian official last November.

Because of the military manpower strains caused by simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some in Congress have raised the possibility of re-instituting the draft, although there is a strong consensus against it among Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the military chiefs.

This is the first time the United States has been in a sustained period of combat since the all-volunteer force was introduced in 1973. The Air Force and Navy, which have relatively smaller roles in Iraq and Afghanistan, have no recruiting problems, but the Army and Marines are hard pressed.

The Army missed its recruiting goal for February by 27 percent, and that was the first time it had missed a monthly goal since May 2000. The last time it missed its full-year goal was 1999. [...]

The Army is forecasting that all three elements - active, Guard and Reserve - will fall short of their targets for March and April. That means they will have to make up the lost ground this summer - traditionally the best recruiting season - in order to meet their full-year goals.

"I'm clearly not going to give up," Harvey said. "At this stage we still have six months to go" before the recruiting year ends Sept. 30. "I've challenged our human resource people to get as innovative as they can. And even as we speak we've got a number of new ideas."

One of those new approaches is designed to persuade more parents to steer their children to the Army.

"We're going to appeal to patriotism," he said. [...]

In a related matter, the Army said more people in the Individual Ready Reserve - those no longer in uniform and not obligated to train - are going to be hearing from the Army in the weeks ahead. The Army has revised upward the number of IRR soldiers it plans to put on active duty, from the 4,402 announced last summer to 4,653. Of those given mobilization orders so far, 370 have failed to report for duty, according to Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman. An additional 2,229 have asked for delays in their reporting dates or for exemptions. [...]

Harvey also disclosed that the Army is "looking at" changing its policy on having more than one sibling in a combat zone at the same time. He did not say how the policy might be altered, and he declined to say more about the subject, other than to indicate that it came up when he visited the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where wounded U.S. troops are treated. [...]

Comment: US leaders seem be quite certain that there is "no chance" of a new military draft. Either they are lying, or they know that they won't need one. If the impending fall of the US economy doesn't do the trick, a draft could easily be averted by another "terrorist attack" to inspire blind patriotism. The powers that be have probably learned a thing or two in the past several decades. They know that it is far better to manipulate the masses into servitude and self-sacrifice than to force them into such situations.

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U.S. warplanes kill 5 suspected militants in clash near Pakistani border

KABUL (AP) - American warplanes killed five suspected Taliban militants in repelling nighttime attacks near the Pakistani border, the military said, while U.S.-led troops fatally shot an Afghan boy during a search for a bomb-maker Wednesday.

Gen. James Jones, NATO's supreme operational commander who was ending a visit, described such attacks as "random acts of violence" typical of the war-wrecked country, but insisted Taliban and al-Qaida holdouts are not a serious threat.

"I don't think we're facing anything that remotely resembles an organized insurgency," Jones told reporters at Kabul airport after meeting with President Hamid Karzai to discuss plans for NATO's 8,500-member contingent to relieve U.S.-led forces in western Afghanistan.

Taliban-led militants are still operating along the mountainous eastern border with Pakistan despite the presence of 17,000 American soldiers more than three years after toppling the religious militia for harbouring Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorist operation.

There has been a string of recent incidents, including two bombings in southern Kandahar last week that killed five civilians and damaged three UN vehicles. But U.S. commanders insist the militants are a fading force.

In Tuesday night's battle, planes scrambled after insurgents shot at least eight rockets at a U.S. base near Khost, a city 145 kilometres south of Kabul, and rained rockets and gunfire on three Afghan border posts, officials said.

"Coalition aircraft killed five insurgents," a U.S. statement said, adding that American troops also responded with artillery fire. No U.S. or allied forces were hurt, it said. [...]

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Israeli Settlers Poison Palestinian Land and Sheep
Thursday, 24 March 2005, 10:51 am

Sheep are ill and dying on the day following the discovery of poison pellets on the land outside the Palestinian town of At -Tuwani adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Havot Ma'on. Two sheep are dead and others are ill. The amount of sheep affected remains unknown.

Palestinians have also found two dead gazelles in the area. Villagers fear that a well has been contaminated. The poisoning is yet another incident in a pattern of attacks in this area.

Early Tuesday morning March 22, a Palestinian shepherd from At-Tuwani discovered poison pellets spread over the hillside outside the town in the South Hebron hills. The turquoise blue pellets appear to be barley soaked with rodent poison. At least 30 dunam of land has been affected and the villagers fear that the poison may be in other areas as well.

Israeli police were called upon discovery of the poison. The villagers were informed by the police that an investigator from the settlement of Ma'on has been assigned to the case.

The village is also concerned about a communal well in the area where the pellets were found. In the past an At-Tuwani well was poisoned with carcasses of dead chickens.

This malicious act not only affects the economic livelihood of the local farmers, it could have grave impact on the wildlife in the area.
The local Palestinian people along with internationals in the village are currently attempting to clean up the contaminated site.

This is yet another incident in a series of attacks and harassment in the South Hebron hills. On Saturday March 19 twelve settlers attacked Palestinian farmers. On the same day approximately 100 settlers paraded onto Palestinian land dancing and singing while trampling crops. Over the last six months internationals living in the area have been beaten on three separate occasions by settlers from the Havot Ma'on outpost.

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French goalie refuses to play in Israel
By Ynetnews

Fabien Barthez says he will not travel with teammates to Israel next week for game because of IDF's activity in the occupied territories

France's national soccer team top goalie slammed Israel on Thursday, saying he refused to travel with his teammates to a planned match with Israel's national team next week because of the the Israeli army's actions against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

"When I see all the suffering in the world, I don't understand why they would want to play in Israel," Fabien Barthez told a news conference in Paris.

The French goalie also slammed Israel's operations in the Palestinian territories, saying: "I don't like it at all. I am speaking as a father and not as a soccer player."

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Soccer game takes political twist
By Ynetnews

Human rights groups in Ireland are calling on Irish national soccer team supporters to boycott a World Cup qualifying match against the Israeli national team.

The organizations asked fans to refrain from making the trip to Israel for the May 26 match, and have also asked the Irish Football Association to boycott the game entirely due to the political situation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Irish national team fan club Chairman Alan Hunter said the Irish soccer association was never apprehensive about fighting for justice, but added that he welcomes the latest developments regarding the Arab-Israeli peace initiative.

"There is no reason to evoke fear, as long as the fans themselves are not afraid," he said.

'Israel is not Yugoslavia'

Hunter mentioned that in 1999 Irish fans demanded the cancellation of a scheduled home game against Yugoslavia during that country's invasion of Kosovo.

"It's not a good idea to bring politics into the football pitch, and, in any case, I don't believe the fans will heed the call for a boycott," he said. "One cannot compare Israel to Yugoslavia. The proportions are completely different."

As of now, some 500 Irish fans are expected to arrive in Israel on board charter flights for the match. Some of the travel deals even include tours of Irish pubs in Israel .

Comment: Indeed Israel is not Yugoslavia, it is more like Germany during WWII with Palestine playing the part of Poland. All the more reason not to "play ball" with the Israelis.

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Talmud teacher convicted of sodomy
By Tal Rosner

Teacher abuses mentally ill children, family members; judges criticize local authorities

JERUSALEM - The Jerusalem District Court sentenced a 37-year-old Talmud (Oral Law) teacher of mentally challenged students to a 12 year prison term Wednesday for acts of sodomy and sexual misconduct involving teens and children.

The teacher, who is currently divorced without children, mainly molested family members, including his nephew, who was 10-years-old at the time.

Investigators found dozens of naked photos of children on his personal computer.

The teacher, who grew up in New York, arrived in Israel to study in a Yeshiva; he later returned to the U.S. to complete his degree in Computer Science, but came back to Israel to teach children with learning disabilities and serve as a boarding school counselor.

The teacher told welfare services that a summer camp instructor had sexually assaulted him when he was 11 years-old.

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France Puts U.S. in Tight Spot on Sudan
By NICK WADHAMS, Associated Press Writer
Wed Mar 23, 5:37 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS - France on Wednesday presented a U.N. resolution allowing for the prosecution of Sudanese war crimes suspects at the International Criminal Court, forcing the United States to choose between accepting a body it opposes or casting a politically damaging veto.

The Security Council has been deadlocked for weeks on the issue of holding people accountable in Sudan, drawing criticism that it has become mired in haggling while conflict continues to rage in the country's western Darfur region.

The United States circulated three Sudan resolutions Tuesday - one authorizing a peacekeeping force, another imposing sanctions, and a third tackling the issue of where to punish those responsible for atrocities. It said a vote on the final issue would have to be put off because of the divisions in the council over the court.

But France, Britain and others were determined to handle the issues at once.

At a closed council meeting Wednesday, the United States first introduced the resolution to deploy peacekeepers on which there is broad council agreement.

France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere then introduced a draft resolution that would refer Darfur cases since July 1, 2002 to the International Criminal Court. That was the recommendation of a U.N. panel that had found crimes against humanity - but not genocide - occurred in Darfur.

"We've gone to great lengths to make sure that the text on the table is one that was most likely to be acceptable or at least not objectionable to any colleagues," Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said.

In a clear concession to the United States, the resolution said citizens of countries that have not ratified the treaty establishing the ICC who take part in operations in Sudan wouldn't be subject to prosecution by the court.

The United States is not party to the court, and objects to the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal in part because it fears its citizens could face politically motivated prosecutions.

"The United States position on the International Criminal Court is well-known and unchanged," said Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. Mission, refusing to elaborate. The United States has in the past said it opposes any variant that would refer Sudan cases to the court, even if there was an exception made.

If the vote on the resolution goes ahead, the United States will have to decide whether to exercise its veto or abstain.

A veto could be politically damaging because it would give the appearance that the United States opposed the punishment of those responsible for atrocities in Darfur, where the number of dead from a conflict between government-backed militias and rebels is now estimated at 180,000. The United States itself has declared genocide has occurred in Darfur and demanded swift action.

Meanwhile, council members expressed widespread support for the American draft resolution to send a 10,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force to Sudan. They would monitor a peace accord that ended a 21-year civil war between the government and southern rebels that is unrelated to Darfur. [...]

Comment: If the US vetoes the resolution, it will be viewed as opposed to trials for those accused of crimes against humanity. If America abstains, it will not be objecting to the use of the ICC that the Bush gang so dislikes. Perhaps relations between the US and EU aren't so "warm" after all...

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Economists: Federal deficit a bigger risk than terrorism

WASHINGTON - The budget deficit has overtaken terrorism as the greatest short-term risk to the U.S. economy, and concern about the current gap is rising, a survey of U.S. businesses shows.

In a survey of 172 members of the National Association for Business Economics, 27% said the deficit or government spending is the largest short-term threat to the economy, up from 23% who thought so in August.

Terrorism dropped to second on the list, with 24% saying it is the biggest threat, down from 40%. Those most concerned about the deficit in the current account - the largest measure of U.S. trade with other nations - tripled, to 15% from 5% in August.

"Longer term, the costs related to the aging of the population dominate the challenges to sustaining economic growth. However, the panel is doubtful that this Congress will pass needed Social Security reforms," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's, who conducted the analysis for the report.

Concerns about energy costs rose to 11% from 6%, while just 6% saw inflation as the biggest short-term threat, down from 9% in August. [...]

The survey, taken between Feb. 28 and March 8, found U.S. businesses had three nearly equal concerns about longer-term risks: health care, the aging population and the federal deficit. [...]

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N.J. Man Indicted in Laser Beam Case
By JEFFREY GOLD, Associated Press Writer
Wed Mar 23, 8:32 PM ET

NEWARK, N.J. - A man accused of pointing a green laser beam at a small passenger jet, temporarily blinding the pilot and co-pilot, was indicted Wednesday under the federal anti-terror Patriot Act.

David W. Banach, who claimed he was looking at stars with his daughter, also was accused of lying to the FBI about the Dec. 29 incident in which the jet's windshield and cabin were hit three times with a beam as the plane approached Teterboro Airport.

The charges in the federal indictment were similar to those filed against Banach in an FBI complaint in January; the indictment replaces the complaint.

Attorney Gina Mendola-Longarzo said Banach was using the laser for stargazing when the plane was hit by the beam.

"I think it's an absolute abuse of prosecutorial discretion to charge my client under the Patriot Act for non-purposeful conduct," she said.

U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said in a statement officials took the actions "very seriously, and we will not condone lying to federal agents."

Banach, 38, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of interference with pilots of an aircraft "with reckless disregard for the safety of human life," a provision of the USA Patriot Act passed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. [...]

Comment: Banach's prosecution under the Patriot Act will most likely be just the first raindrop in an impending thunderstorm.

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Scientists Killed For Weapons Programs
By: Kenneth Wayne Yarbrough
Wed Mar 23rd, 2005 7:21 PM ET

MACON,GA.- Although advances in science and technology improve prospects for developing innovative medical treatments, scientific advancements also lay the groundwork for the development, and use, of dangerous weapons of mass destruction.

Somewhere between 10 and 17 countries now possess biological weapons (BW) programs. Furthermore, a bizarre string of suspicious deaths of prominent, world-class microbiologists, who engaged in DNA sequencing-research, has triggered suspicion of cover-up of the development of ethnic-specific BW programs.

The theory is that weapons can be biologically manipulated through DNA sequencing to target certain ethnic groups with slight genetic features not prevalent in other groups at the same percentages.

Harvard University microbiologist, Don C. Wiley, disappeared in 2001. His body was found in the Mississippi River, 300 miles from where his abandoned rental car was parked. He had been exploring DNA sequencing, which is key to the development of ethnic-specific BW.

Three days before Wiley's disappearance, University of Miami Medical School Microbiologist Benito Que, was beaten to death in a parking lot. He was also a DNA-sequencing specialist.

Russian defector and renowned Microbiologist Vladimir Pasechnik, 64, was found dead at his home in the UK, one week after meeting with Wiley in Boston to talk over DNA sequencing.

North Korean Microbiologist, Dr. Ri Chae Woo, was working on a whites-only ethnic-specific BW when he defected from his underground laboratory at Chubari Chemical Corporation in Anbyon, North Korea. It is theorized that either the Chinese government or some Western intelligence agency intercepted him.

Some have suggested that DNA-sequencing research must be carefully monitored so that it won't be used to produce genetic weapons aimed at racial or ethnic groups, as well as at plants or animals. Perhaps the scientists who died under suspicious circumstances agreed.

In its report, Emerging Technologies: Genetic Engineering and Biological Weapons, The Sunshine Project urges governments to ensure maximum transparency in their bio-defense programs, and to immediately abandon any project that violates the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions Act. These steps would help to prevent the hostile exploitation of biology, the report says.

The most incriminating evidence of the existence of BW programs, particularly in Israel and the United States proves to be the relationships and odd connections between scientific academia and intelligence agencies.

At the same time that some nations are moving forward with BW research and development, some nations' attempts to participate with BW research are being thwarted by the elimination of scientific community.

For instance, more than 300 Iraqi scientists, particularly those with knowledge of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, have been assassinated, since the U.S invaded the country. One source reported that more than a 1000 leading Iraqi professionals and intellectuals were assassinated within a 12-month period.

In a Washington Post article last year, Congressman Steve Buyer blamed Iraqi insurgents for the assassinations, but top Iraqi scientists and engineers last year told the Christian Science Monitor they believe Israel and the U.S. were responsible for the assassinations.

Usama al-Ani, director of the research and development department in the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Iraq, said in an Aljazeera article, that he believes top Iraqi scientists are being targeted by foreign powers, most probably Israel. Al-Ani said Iraqi universities have lost 1315 scientists, or eight percent of the 15,500 Iraqi academics, holding MA and Ph.D. degrees.

If correct, some scientists are targeted for opposing the creation of biological weapons while others are targeted to exclude their participation in any weapons program. If globally, we commit to developing defensive biological products such as medicines and vaccines instead of weapons of mass destruction, the deaths of scientists would be unnecessary and with all the brilliant minds, our world would have less illness.

Kenneth Wayne Yarbrough is a legislative writer in the City of Boston, a certified emergency medical technician for the State of Massachusetts and a certified COBRA with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Comment: See our Signs of the Times Ethnic Specific Weapons supplement for more on this topic.

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Texas refinery explosion kills 14, injures 100
Last Updated Wed, 23 Mar 2005 21:42:46 EST
CBC News

TEXAS CITY, TEXAS - An explosion at a Texas oil refinery has killed at least 14 people and injured more than 100.

It isn't known what caused the blast, which ripped through the British Petroleum refinery in the middle of the afternoon.

The explosion was felt more than eight kilometres away and caused significant damage to nearby offices, and cars and trucks in the parking lot.

BP's Texas City plant stretches across 480 hectares and is made up of 30 refinery units. The plant processes about 435,000 barrels of crude oil per day and employs about 2,000 people.

The company claims its plant produces three per cent of all the gasoline consumed in the United States.

News of the accident pushed gasoline futures higher in after-hours trading.

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Explosive devices target Milan McDonalds and Blockbuster

Three small explosive devices went off today near a McDonald's, a Blockbuster video store and an Italian bank in Milan, police said. They caused minor damage, but no injuries.

The explosions cracked the windows at McDonald's and Blockbuster and slightly damaged an ATM of Banca Intesa, Italy's largest bank by assets, according to police in the northern Italian city.

There has been no claim of responsibility and it was not immediately clear if the explosions were linked, police said.

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Cambodian man confirmed dead from bird flu
24 March 2005 0936 hrs - AFP

PHNOM PENH : A 28-year-old man from Cambodia has died of bird flu at a hospital in the capital, the second victim of the deadly virus in the kingdom, the health minister said Thursday.

The victim, Meas Ran, came from Kampot province which borders Vietnam and was from Pram Sasor village, 20 kilometres away from the home of the first victim, who died in January after travelling for treatment to Vietnam.

"The tests show that the man had H5(N1 virus). It is in the bird flu group. We sent a sample on Wednesday to France for further confirmation," health minister Nuth Sokhom told AFP as he travelled to Kampot province.

The victim died on Tuesday, he said.

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Earthquake Shakes Damaged Turkish Town
Wed Mar 23, 6:52 PM ET

ANKARA, Turkey - A strong earthquake shook southeastern Turkey on Wednesday, causing panic in a remote town already damaged by a recent quake. No injuries or damage were immediately reported.

The magnitude 5.5 quake struck shortly before midnight and was centered near the town of Karliova in rural Bingol province, the Istanbul-based Kandilli observatory said.

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Moderate earthquake shakes northeast Taiwan
Associated Press
March 23, 2005|12:31 IST

Taipei (Taiwan) - A moderate earthquake shook northeastern Taiwan on Wednesday, the Central Weather Bureau said. No damage or injuries were immediately reported.

The 4.8-magnitude quake was centred 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) southwest of Nanao, the weather bureau said.

Nanao is 90 kilometres (55 miles) southeast of the capital, Taipei.

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Flash floods in Pakistan
March 23, 2005

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) - Flash floods triggered by heavy rains hit remote areas of southwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing 21 people and forcing thousands to flee their flooded homes, officials said.

The deaths were reported from villages near Kolhu, a town about 300 kilometres east of Quetta after floodwaters destroyed many homes there, said Razaq Bugti, a spokesman for the Baluchistan government. [...]

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Drought likely to cause Brazil crop loss
Associated Press Writer

MAR. 23 12:56 P.M. ET A three-month drought in Brazil's southern breadbasket has destroyed an estimated 13 million tons of grain, believed to be the worst crop loss in the country's history, officials said Wednesday.

According to Jonas Cavalcante, spokesman for the government's National Supply Company, this year's harvest will be 9 percent below initial predictions made in December, costing farmers an estimated 6 billion reals ($2.2 billion) in lost revenue.

"If these numbers are confirmed, it will be the biggest crop loss in the history of Brazilian agriculture. The climate has been very violent this year and nobody was able to predict that," said Cavalcante. [...]

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Shrouded in Mystery No More?

March 23, 2005 — The Shroud of Turn has mystified scientists for years. Now a literature professor from Idaho says he can prove it's a fake.

For centuries, faithful have flocked to the Shroud of Turin, which is – believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus with the imprint of his body. The image is a photographic negative. When reversed, IT PRODUCES a clear picture of a bearded man.

But when the church let scientists do carbon dating on it, they reported the cloth was only about 650 years old, not 2,000.

Still, no one could explain how medieval artists could make such an image. Now a professor from the Midwest says he's figured out one way it could have been done.

Nathan Wilson/New St. Andrews College: "I assumed that if a medieval forger could do it, all the tools he'd have available to him to solve it would also be available to me. I should be able to do the same." [...]

Nathan Wilson/New St. Andrews College: "I painted a picture of Christ or a Christ-like face on the glass, and placed it over a dark linen... and left it in the sun for ten days."

The sun bleached the dark cloth except for where the paint blocked the sunlight. The result: a negative image, that – when reversed – showed what appeared to be a bearded man.

Nathan Wilson/New St. Andrews College: "The beautiful thing about this theory is that a medieval would not need to understand photo-negative imaging at all."

Experts have yet to examine Wilson's solution. But the old question, how medieval forgers could have faked this image now has a plausible answer.

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