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Friday, March 19, 2004

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New Article: Jupiter, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and the Return of the Mongols - Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10

Picture of the Day

Loch Ness monster spotted in Gasconny
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Extinction is a term that most of us associate with the animal and plant kingdom. We hear often of the various animals that became extinct in the past, or that are now threatened with extinction, yet this term is seldom ever considered in relation to the human species. Until now that is. Recently the Pentagon and other sources have released documents declaring that we are in for a rough ride, that the future of humanity and the planet, at least in its present form, is facing a clear and present danger. Surprisingly (or not) the public response to this revelation has been lukewarm at best, and we understand why.

Most humans couldn't really care that humanity might well be facing extinction. The unaware and egocentric nature of most humans means that, even if it were to happen tomorrow, the mass dying of humanity would be somewhat irrelevant for the individual. What should you or I care that everyone else dies along with us? For the individual, there is no such thing as the "end of the world", there is only the end of each individual's world which occurs when we die. We are all going to die someday anyway, right?

Standard history teaches us that time is linear, that it began with the big bang or Adam and Eve and has continued to this day in a linear fashion. When an intelligent yet obviously self-serving species such as ours inhabits a planet for thousands of years, the ultimate destruction of both is perhaps inevitable. The fact that our planet and species might be on the brink of destruction is, then, not so surprising.

But what if this is not the case?

What if there were evidence that our planet had gone though cyclical destructions, the last being only a few thousand years ago? The idea that planetary cataclysms and extinctions are a recurring cyclical event, and have occurred perhaps countless times before, would suggest that the human experience is also cyclical. This concept, if opened to the public, might give rise to the idea that, without awareness of this reality, we are essentially caught in a loop, condemned to play our part in a endlessly repeating plot, where the details may change but the ending does not.

You can find out more about the cyclic character of time in Laura Knight-Jadczyk's book, Ancient Science. For a look at cyclic catastrophes and the possibility of one in our future, see her articles Independence Day and Is the World Going to End?

Earth faces sixth mass extinction

18 March 04
NewScientist.com news service

The Earth may be on the brink of a sixth mass extinction on a par with the five others that have punctuated its history, suggests the strongest evidence yet.

Butterflies in Britain are going extinct at an even greater rate than birds, according to the most comprehensive study ever of butterflies, birds, and plants.

There is growing concern over the rate at which species of plants and animals are disappearing around the world. But until now the evidence for such extinctions has mainly come from studies of birds. "The doubters could always turn around and say that there's something peculiar about birds that makes them susceptible to the impact of man on the environment," says Jeremy Greenwood of the British Trust for Ornithology in Norfolk, and one of the research team.

Now there is concrete evidence that insects - which account for more than half the described species on Earth, are disappearing faster than birds.

"If we can extrapolate that pattern of the British butterflies to other British insects, and indeed to invertebrates across the planet, we are obviously looking at a very serious bio-diversity crisis," says team member Mark Telfer of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Bedfordshire, UK.

Major ecosystems

Six large sets of data collected over the past 20 to 40 years in England, Wales, and Scotland were analysed by Jeremy Thomas of the Natural Environment Research Council Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Dorchester, UK and colleagues. More than 20,000 volunteers submitted over 15 million records of species.

The researchers found that populations of 71 percent of the butterfly species have decreased over the last 20 years, compared to 56 percent for birds and 28 percent for plants. Two butterfly species (3.4 percent of total) became extinct, compared to six (0.4 percent) of the plant species surveyed. None of the native breeding birds went extinct in the last 20 years.

Crucially, the decline in populations happened in all the major ecosystems and was distributed evenly across Britain, rather than in just a few heavily degraded regions.

The crisis could be foreshadowing a sixth mass extinction, warn the researchers. Life on Earth has already seen five mass extinctions in its four billion year old history. The last one, which wiped out the dinosaurs, happened 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period and was possibly caused by a giant meteor collision.

The current extinction is being precipitated by the widespread loss of habitats because of human activity, according to Tefler. The remaining habitats are small and fragmented, and their quality has been degraded because of pollution.

Nitrogen pollution

This claim is strongly supported, at least for plants, by a second study published alongside Thomas' paper in Science. Carly Stevens of the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK, and her colleagues studied the diversity of plants in 68 grassland sites in the UK. The number of species in each site varied greatly, from a mean of 7.2 to 27.6 species per site. Nitrogen pollution was found to blame for this variability.

"We found strong evidence that the decline in the species richness of grasslands within the UK was linked to nitrogen pollution," says Stevens. "In areas of high nitrogen pollution the species richness was much lower than in areas of low pollution, such as the Scottish highlands."

Atmospheric nitrogen pollution is caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels and from intensive agriculture, especially from the volatilisation of animal waste. This nitrogen is deposited on the soil, favouring the growth of some species to the cost of others.

"Evidence of a global extinction crisis has come into stark focus with these important results," comments Mark Collins of the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, UK.

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Climate Change Differences May Play Role in Swing States, Observers Say

By Darren Samuelsohn Greenwire
Thursday 11 March 2004


The sharp contrast between President Bush and his presumptive Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) over climate change policy and regulation of carbon dioxide could significantly raise the stakes for the candidates in key coal-producing states expected to swing the outcome of the November election.

In interviews yesterday, political observers and participants in the climate change debate offered varying perspectives on how Kerry's commitment to tight federal controls on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and other industries could affect voter preferences in swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Edward Krenik, an industry lobbyist and former director of the EPA congressional affairs office under former Administrator Christie Whitman, said he expected the Bush campaign to translate Kerry's support for "four-pollutant" legislation into a blunt message that Kerry would undercut economic recovery and simultaneously kill domestic jobs, two critical issues in the election.

Kerry's climate change platform, which according to his campaign Web site also includes a renewed U.S. commitment to international negotiations and domestic caps on all greenhouse gas-producing industries, will be a "tough sell" for coal-producing states, Krenik said.

The Bush administration's climate change position, perhaps best reflected by his decision in 2001 to pull the United States out of Kyoto Protocol negotiations, has allowed Kerry to chart an alternative course as a presidential candidate.

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The bombing in Madrid appears to have opened a new period in world politics. There has been a shift of the forces on the international scene. It looks more and more that the Madrid bombing backfired on the perpetrators, resulting in the end of rule by the Popular Party. We think that this was not the intention.

Without Spain in the Anglo-American axis of evil, the dynamic in Europe has shifted. This can be seen in yesterday's comments by Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski.

Polish president assails prewar Iraq intelligence in major shift of tone

06:28 AM EST Mar 19
MONIKA SCISLOWSKA

WARSAW, Poland (AP) - President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a key U.S. ally, said Thursday that Poland was "misled" about whether Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction and was considering withdrawing troops from Iraq several months early.

The remarks came as polls show about half of Poles are opposed to involvement in Iraq and after deadly bombings in Madrid - possibly by al-Qaida in retaliation for Spain's alliance with the United States - triggered fears of an attack on Polish soil.

Kwasniewski's comments were the first by a Polish leader to raise doubts about the intelligence behind the decision for going to war and the latest signs of a weakening of support for the war among coalition members. He tempered them by stressing that Poland is not about to abandon its mission in Iraq, and said Iraq was a better place without Saddam.

"But naturally I also feel uncomfortable due to the fact that we were misled with the information on weapons of mass destruction," Kwasniewski told French reporters, according to a transcript released by his press office.

"This is the problem of the United States, of Britain and also of many other nations," he told a separate news conference.

[...] Despite his comments, U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said she did not think Poland was withdrawing its support for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

"I talked to the Poles, and they think they were a bit misinterpreted here, because there's been no stronger ally in this than the Poles," Rice said in a CNN interview. She said President George W. Bush and Kwasniewski had discussed the issue of Saddam's alleged arsenal "and they went to war for the right reasons."

U.S. Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, speaking on PBS' News Hour With Jim Lehrer, questioned Kwasniewski's comments.

"I use the word 'misled' when somebody knows a fact and tries to persuade you of a different fact. When somebody tells you their best estimate of a situation and it turns out to be wrong, that's life. That happens often," he said.

Poland contributed 2,400 combat troops to the Iraq invasion and now commands a 9,500-strong multinational force, making it one of Washington's staunchest allies. But while many Poles feel historically close to the United States, public support for the mission in Iraq has been tepid.

[...] Kwasniewski's criticism of the prewar intelligence also puts him in line with widespread public sentiment in Western Europe, just before Poland joins the European Union on May 1.

"Poland so far lacked a necessary balance before the EU entry. It was too pro-American," said Janina Paradowska, a commentator for the Polityka weekly. "Now is the time to have better European co-operation."

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Poland 'Misled' on Iraq, President Says

WARSAW, Poland - President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a key Washington ally, said Thursday he may withdraw troops early from Iraq (news - web sites) and that Poland was "misled" about the threat of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s weapons of mass destruction.

President Bush, in the chow line with troops at Fort Campbell, Ky., after delivering a speech, was asked about Kwasniewski's remarks but shook his head and said, "I'm here to eat."[...]

Comment: Ah, the great dance of diplomacy...

"Must you dance every dance
With the same fortunate man?
You have danced with him since the music began.
Won't you change partners and dance with me?"
[ Change Partners (and Dance With Me)
music and words by Irving Berlin]

Poland is joining Europe on May 1. Their main ally, Spain, has just undergone a change of government that is splitting the pro-Atlantic alliance and the common front against France and Germany's desires to change the European Constitution. The music is changing, and Poland has heard the new melody. Unfortunately, at the masquerade ball, one can never be certain whether your partner has really revealed the face beneath the mask or whether they are presenting you with but another mask. We saw France try to paper over their differences with the Bush administration and Israel as the Alain Juppé trial played out. Since the Spanish election, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has turned up the rhetoric a bit, talking about the fight against terrorism "of all sorts," curious qualification that we have not heard from the Yanks and the Brits. So, to what other "sorts" of terrorism could de Villepin, and Zapatero who used a similar formulation, be referring? State terrorism, perhaps?

If Europe appears to be closing ranks against the Bush gang, the US ambassador to Canada has stepped up the rhetoric.

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More cracks in US-led coalition as al-Qaeda takes credit for hotel bombing

Thu Mar 18, 9:57 PM ET


BAGHDAD, (AFP) - A spokesman for al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for a hotel bombing here, which killed seven people, as South Korea joins Spain and Poland in rethinking troop commitments to Iraq.

"Al-Qaeda's lions, who are experienced in destroying the seats of Russian leaders and are in Iraq to encounter their enemies, planned and carried out this operation," said Abu Mohammad al-Ablaj, in charge of al-Qaeda training.

The claim, in an e-mail to the Saudi-owned, London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, referred to the bombing of Baghdad's Mount Lebanon Hotel Wednesday night. [...]

South Korea said it had cancelled plans to send troops to northern Iraq because of security concerns and was considering deploying them to other areas in the war-torn country. [...]

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Flashback: U.S. Army Officers Say: 'Mossad May Blame Arabs'

Sometimes "the most likely suspect" in an act of terrorism is actually a "false flag" working for-or otherwise "framed" by- those who are responsible.

American Free Press
By Michael Collins Piper

Top U.S. Army analysts believe Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, is "ruthless and cunning," "a wildcard" that "has [the] capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act."

This eye-opening assertion about America's supposed closest ally was reported in a front page story in The Washington Times on September 10-just one day before the terrorist attacks in America that are being blamed on "Arabs."

The Times reported that this serious charge by U.S. Army officers against the Israelis appeared in a 68-page paper prepared by 60 officers at the U.S. Army's School for Advanced Military Studies, a training ground for up-and-coming Army officers.

Then, just hours after the terrorist tra gedies, a well-known pro-Israel analyst, George Friedman, proclaimed Israel as the primary beneficiary.

"The big winner today, intended or not, is the state of Israel," wrote Fried man, who said on his Internet website at stratfor.com that "There is no question that the Israeli leadership is feeling relief" in the wake of the terrorist attack on America as a result of the benefits that Israel will glean.

Considering the U.S. Army's questions about possible provocations by Israel, coupled with this noted intelligence analyst's suggestion that Israel was indeed "the big winner" on Sept. 11, a previous report in the Aug. 3, 1993 issue of The Village Voice that Israel's Mossad was perhaps involved in (or had foreknowledge of) the previous "Arab terrorist" attack on the World Trade Center, takes on new dimensions.

The events of Sept. 11 do require careful attention in light of the fact that Israel has had a long and proven record in planting "false flags"-orchestrated assassinations and acts of terrorism for its own purposes and pinning those atrocities on innocent parties.

Perhaps the best-known instance in which Israel used a "false flag" to cover its own trail was in the infamous Lavon Affair. It was in 1954 that several Israeli-orchestrated acts of terrorism against British targets in Egypt were carried out. Blame for the attacks was placed on the Muslim Brotherhood, which opposed the regime of Egyptian President Gamul Abdul-Nasser. However, the truth about the wave of terror is found in a once-secret cable from Col. Benjamin Givli, the head of Israel's military intelligence, who outlined the intended purpose behind the wave of terror:

[Our goal] is to break the West's confidence in the existing [Egyptian] regime. The actions should cause arrests, demonstrations, and expressions of revenge. The Israeli origin should be totally covered while attention should be shifted to any other possible factor. The purpose is to prevent economic and military aid from the West to Egypt.

Ultimately the truth about Israel's involvement became public and Israel was rocked internally in the wake of the scandal. Competing political elements within Israel used the scandal as a bludgeon against their opponents. But the truth about Israel's use of a "false flag" had come to international attention and demonstrated how Israel was willing to endanger innocent lives as part of its grand political strategy to expand its influence in the Middle East.

BLAMING 'RIGHT WING' EXTREMISTS

A shadowy "right wing" group known as "Direct Action" was accused of the attack on Goldenberg's Deli in Paris on Aug. 9, 1982. Six people died and 22 were injured. The leader of "Direct Action" was Jean-Marc Rouillan who had been operating in the Mediterranean under the cover name of "Sebas" and had been repeatedly linked to the Mossad. All references to Rouillan's Mossad links were deleted from the official reports issued at the time.

However, the Algerian national news service, which has ties to French intelligence, blamed the Mossad for Rouillan's activities. Angry French intelligence officers were believed to have leaked this information. Several top French security officials quit in protest over the cover-up of Mossad complicity in Rouillan's crimes. However, other Mossad false flag operations also took place on French soil.

FALSE CLUES

On Oct. 3, 1980, a synagogue on Co pernicus Street was bombed in Paris. Four bystanders were killed. Nine were injured. The media frenzy which followed the incident was worldwide. Reports held that "right wing extremists" were responsible. Yet, of all the "right wing extremists" held for questioning, none was arrested. In fact, all were released. In the upper echelons of French intelligence, however, the finger of suspicion was pointed at the Mossad.

According to one report: "On April 6, 1979, the same Mossad terror unit now suspected of the Copernicus carnage blew up the heavily guarded plant of CNIM industries at La Seyne-sur-Mer, near Toulon, in southeast France, where a consortium of French firms was building a nuclear reactor for Iraq.

"The Mossad salted the site of the CNIM bomb blast with 'clues' followed up with anonymous phone calls to police-suggesting that the sabotage was the work of a 'conservative' environmentalist group-'the most pacific and harmless people on earth' as one source put it."

MORE OF THE SAME

On June 28, 1978, Israeli agents exploded a bomb under a small passenger car in the Rue Saint Anne in Paris, killing Mohammed Boudia, an organizer for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Immediately afterward, Paris police received anonymous phone calls accusing Boudia of involvement in narcotics deals and attributing his murder to the Corsican Mafia. A thorough investigation subsequently established that Mossad special-action agents were responsible for the terrorist killing.

In October 1976 the same Mossad unit kidnapped two West German students named Brigette Schulz and Thomas Reuter from their Paris hotel. Planted "clues" and anonymous phone calls made it appear that a Bavarian "neo-nazi" formation had executed the abduction. French intelligence established that the two German youths had been secretly flown to Israel, drugged, tortured, coerced into a false "confession of complicity" in PLO activities, and then anonymously incarcerated in one of the Israeli government's notorious political prisons.

In February 1977 a German-born, naturalized U.S. citizen named William Jahnke arrived in Paris for some secretive business meetings. He soon vanished, leaving no trace. Paris police were anonymously informed that Jahnke had been involved in a high-level South Korean bribery affair and "eliminated" when the deal went sour. A special team of investigators from SDECE, the leading French intelligence agency, eventually determined that Jahnke had been "terminated" by the Mossad, which suspected him of selling secret information to the Libyans. Along with other details of this sordid case, the SDECE learned that Jahnke had been "fingered" to the Mossad by his own former employer, the CIA.

BLAMING THE LIBYANS

One of Israel's most outrageous "false flag" operations involved a wild propaganda story aimed at discrediting Libyan leader Muamar Qaddafi. In the early months of the administration of President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. media began promoting a story that a "Libyan hit squad" was in the United States to assassinate the president. This inflamed public sentiment against Libya.

Suddenly, however, the "hit squad" stories vanished. Ultimately it was discovered that the source of the story was Manucher Ghorbanifar, a former Iranian SAVAK (secret police) agent with close ties to the Mossad. Even the liberal Washington Post acknowledged that the CIA itself believed that Ghorbanifar was a liar who "had made up the hit-squad story in order to cause problems for one of Is rael's enemies."

The Los Angeles Times had already blown the whistle on Israel's scare stories. "Israeli intelligence, not the Reagan administration," reported the Times, "was a major source of some of the most dramatic published reports about a Libyan assassination team allegedly sent to kill President Reagan and other top U.S. officials . . . Israel, which informed sources said has 'wanted an excuse to go in and bash Libya for a longtime,' may be trying to build American public support for a strike against [Qaddafi]."

In other words, Israel had been promoting the former SAVAK agent, Ghorbanifar, to official Washing ton as a reliable source. In fact, he was a Mossad disinformation operative waving a "false flag"-yet another Israeli scheme to blame Libya for its own misdeeds, using one "false flag" (Iran's SAVAK) to lay blame on another "false flag" (Libya).

The Mossad was almost certainly responsible for the bombing of the La Belle discotheque in West Berlin on April 5, 1986. However, claims were made that there was "irrefutable" evidence that the Libyans were responsible. A U.S. serviceman was killed. President Ronald Reagan responded with an attack on Libya.

However, intelligence insiders believed that Israel's Mossad had concocted the phony "evidence" to "prove" Libyan responsibility. West Berlin police director Manfred Ganschow, who took charge of the investigation, cleared the Libyans, saying, "This is a highly political case. Some of the evidence cited in Washington may not be evidence at all, merely assumptions supplied for political reasons."

BLAMING THE SYRIANS

On April 18, 1986, Nezar Hindawi, a 32-year-old Jordanian man was arrested in London after security guards found that one of the passengers boarding an Israeli plane bound for Jerusalem, Ann Murphy, 22, was carrying a square, flat sheet of plastic explosive in the double bottom of her carry-on bag.

Miss Murphy told security men that the detonator (disguised as a calculator) had been given to her by her fiancee, Hindawi. He was charged with attempted sabotage and attempted murder.

Word was leaked that Hindawi had confessed and claimed that he had been hired by Gen. Mohammed Al-Khouli, the intelligence director of the Syrian air force. Also implicated were others including the Syrian ambassador in London. The French authorities warned the British prime minister that there was more to the case than met the eye-that is, Israeli involvement. This was later confirmed in reports in the Western press.

BLAMING THE PLO

In 1970, King Hussein of Jordan was provided incriminating intelligence that suggested the Palestine Liberation Organization was plotting to murder him and seize power. Infuriated, Hussein mobilized his forces for what has become known as the "Black September" purge of the PLO. Thousands of Palestinians living in Jordan were rounded up, some of the leaders were tortured, and in the end, masses of refugees were driven from Jordan to Lebanon.

New data, coming to light after the murder of two leading Mossad operatives in Larnaka, Cyprus, suggested that the entire operation had been a Mossad covert action, led by one of its key operatives, Sylvia Roxburgh. She contrived an affair with King Hussein and served as the linchpin for a major Mossad coup designed to destabilize the Arabs.

In 1982, just when the PLO had abandoned the use of terrorism, the Mossad spread disinformation about "terror attacks" on Israeli settlements along the northern border in order to justify a full-scale military invasion of Lebanon. Years later, even leading Israeli spokesmen, such as former Foreign Minister Abba Eban, admitted that the reports of "PLO terrorism" had been contrived by the Mossad.

It is also worth noting that the attempted assassination in London of Israeli ambassador Shlomo Argov was initially blamed on the PLO. The attempted assassination was cited by Israel as one excuse for its 1982 incursion into Lebanon. In fact, the diplomat was one of Israel's "doves" and inclined toward a friendly disposition of Israel's conflict with the PLO and an unlikely target of PLO wrath.

It appears that the assassination attempt was carried out by the Mossad-under yet another "false flag"-for two purposes: (a) elimination of a domestic "peacenik" friendly toward the Palestinians; and (b) pinning yet another crime on the PLO.

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Basque Country politics was subject of detailed investigation by CIA and FBI

Salegi and Egaña have selected a number of documents declassified by the United States and produced them in book form

Eider Goenaga – DONOSTIA (San Sebastian)

The United States secret services, the FBI and the CIA, have thoroughly investigated aspects of political activity in the Basque Country. This is clear in the book “Expediente Vasco. CIA y FBI en Euskal Herria” (The Basque Files. The CIA and FBI in the Basque Country) brought out by the Txalaparta publishing house. Mario Salegi and Iñaki Egaña are responsible for compiling and classifying the documents for the book and it was they who presented the book yesterday.

The book describes the work conducted by the secret services in the Basque Country starting from the relations the EAJ (Basque Nationalist Party) and the Basque Government in exile [after the end of the Spanish Civil War] had with the United States; the book includes documents made by the United States intelligence services on Basque political activity up until 1980. Manuel de Dios, the American journalist of Basque origin, began the work which remained unfinished when he was killed in 1992, and Salegi wanted to continue the work with Egaña’s help. It can be seen from the 50 or so documents the two of them have selected that the FBI and CIA knew exactly what was going on in the Basque Country.

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Canadian cities face terrorist threat: Cellucci

Last Updated Thu, 18 Mar 2004 11:25:24

LONDON, ONT. - Montreal, Toronto or Windsor could be the target of terrorist attacks, U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci warned.

The train bombs in Madrid that killed 201 people are a reminder that "no one is immune from these attacks and everyone should be vigilant and stand on guard," Cellucci said in a speech to the University of Western Ontario on Wednesday.

Cellucci said attacks against American cities could have fatal consequences on Canadian cities near the border. Cellucci said the U.S needs a strong Canadian military to help defend North America.

"We are doing everything in our power to prevent the next attack. We cannot defend ourselves without Canada's help."

Cellucci said he's encouraged by Prime Minister Paul Martin's request for a review of the country's defence policy. He also praised Canada for its troop commitment to Afghanistan and its financial contributions to Iraq.

Cellucci said although the RCMP, the Canadians Security Intelligence Service and the military understand the seriousness of the terrorist threat, Canadian citizens do not express enough concern.

Comment: In other words, Canadian citizens are not scared enough and have a few more neurons firing than their American counterparts who have so successfully been cowed into submission. When Cellucci warns that attacks on US cities could have fatal consequences on Canadian cities near the border, we wonder whether he has some inside information.

Although Canadians reacted with horror at the events of 9/11, opening their homes to stranded US travelers who were forced to land in Canada after the skies over the US were closed down, the subsequent militarism of Bush and Co. has not gone down well. The former Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, refused to participate in the Iraq invasion, drawing Cellucci's ire. The new PM, Paul Martin, is much cozier with the Yanks.

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EU ministers debate terror response

European Union ministers are holding emergency talks to agree a practical response to the bombings in Madrid that killed over 200 people.

[...] This time, there will be a proposal to create some kind of "counter-terrorism tsar" - a single official to bring together the work of various agencies and ministries.

It is likely that the counter-terrorism coordinator will work under the EU's security chief, Javier Solana, pulling together all the measures being taken in the security field by ministers of transport, justice, foreign affairs and finance.

The need for deeper intelligence co-operation will also be discussed - though several governments will resist the idea of creating a CIA-style EU intelligence agency.

A third plan is to make it easier to cut off terrorists' finances by freezing their assets across borders.

Another is to improve co-operation over tracking e-mails and mobile phone records, to enable investigators to trace calls made by terrorist suspects.

Resistance to change

But justice and home affairs are areas of EU politics that are notoriously hard to co-ordinate, our correspondent says.

Intelligence agencies in particular are by their nature secretive and unhappy about sharing information.

Germany was incensed by Spain's initial refusal to divulge information about the kind of explosives used in last week's attacks.

The EU's interior ministers tend to be reluctant to give up their national powers.

For years they have been trying to move towards common asylum and immigration policies, but it has not happened: the member states continue to make up their own rules.

The question is whether the growing danger posed by terrorism in Europe today, highlighted by the awful events in Madrid, will break down resistance and finally allow more meaningful co-operation, our correspondent says.

Comment: The European Union might be a counter-balance to American imperial power. It might also be a way to prevent the Franco-Germanic alliance from becoming a counter-weight to the US. However it works globally, we can be certain that the rights of individuals in European countries are being reigned in as they are in the US. It may not be so obvious, but the changes are happening.

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France backs EU anti-terrorism supremo

PARIS, March 18 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin on Thursday backed a European Union proposal to appoint an anti-terrorism expert who would coordinate EU security measures in the wake of the Madrid attacks.

"I think it's a good idea," de Villepin told Radio France Internationale when asked about the idea of appointing a "Mr Terrorism" for the bloc, who would report to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. [...]

EU officials have said the proposed "Mr Terrorism" would be a coordinator -- an expert who knows the subject well -- rather than a politician. The officials rejected any comparison with Tom Ridge, the US Homeland Security director. [...]

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Chechens deny threat to France

MOSCOW, March 18 (AFP) - Chechen rebels denied Thursday that they had any link to an unknown group that threatened to attack France unless it repealed a law banning Islamic headscarves in its state schools.

The threat was delivered in a letter addressed on Tuesday to Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin from a previously unknown group called "Servants of Allah, the Powerful and Wise One" and signed by the "Mosvar Barayev commando".

The signature, despite a spelling error, referred to Movsar Barayev, leader of a Chechen commando that took hundreds of people hostage in a Moscow theater in October 2002. Barayev was killed when Russian troops stormed the venue.

"There is no such thing as a Movsar Barayev brigade," Abu Sayaf, a Chechen rebel commander, said in an interview with the separatists' website, kavakazcenter.com.

"It is a lie," he said. "We are not waging war with France. France did not attack us. We are waging war against the Russian empire. I call on the French government to stop its anti-Chechen propaganda... and to stop assenting to Moscow's lies."

French authorities received the letter from the group five days after the devastating train bombings in Madrid that left 201 people dead.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said that although the letter, written in French, did not bear the hallmarks of the usual written messages from Islamic extremists, it was still being treated seriously. [...]

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Lawyers, Bankers And Accountants Are The New Spies In The UK

David Freeman Al-Hayat 2004/03/18

As the UK is embarrassed by allegations of espionage at the UN during the lead up to war in Iraq and as the Government continues to detain people from abroad without trial the Government have introduced a law requiring the professions to spy on their clients. The people of the UK are monitored in the streets, in the shops and in their lawyers and accountants and bankers offices. David Freeman, a lawyer in London, comments on the new rules, which came into effect on 1 March and the ending of the concept of client confidentiality.

[...] On Monday 1 March, the new Proceeds of Crime law (called "POCA") came into effect in the UK. The rules are designed to attack money laundering and most people would be happy to help to stop the proceeds of crime from being laundered if they could. They are also designed to stop the flow of money that can be used to fund terrorism and other illegal activity. Again, most people would have no problem with a law that achieves this.

[...] The new law imposes a duty on all lawyers, accountants, bankers, real estate agents and others in businesses that handle money, to report transactions where they have suspicion that the funds involved may come from a criminal activity. At first, this does not sound too onerous an obligation. If a professional business thinks it is being used as part of a crime (and spending the proceeds of a crime is part of a crime) it is only right it should report the matter.

The problem is that almost everyone in the UK is a criminal under the UK definition of crime.

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Britain's 'eternal flame' of peace snuffed out in row over gas bill

LONDON (AFP) - A so-called "eternal flame" erected in Birmingham to promote world peace has been extinguished after little more than three years in a row over who pays the gas bill.

Comment: Coincidence? We think not.

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India tests short-range nuclear-capable missile

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Addressing the Unthinkable, U.S. Revives Study of Fallout

By WILLIAM J. BROAD
New York Times

To cope with the possibility that terrorists might someday detonate a nuclear bomb on American soil, the federal government is reviving a scientific art that was lost after the cold war: fallout analysis. [...]

In a secretive effort that began five years ago but whose outlines are just now becoming known, the government's network of weapons laboratories is hiring new experts, calling in old-timers, dusting off data and holding drills to sharpen its ability to do what is euphemistically known as nuclear attribution or post-event forensics.

It is also building robots that would go into an affected area and take radioactive samples, as well as field stations that would dilute dangerous material for safe shipment to national laboratories. [...]

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Contempt of the World

Hastert, Bush and Cheney on Spain

By SAM HAMOD and ALFREDO REYES
Counterpunch.org
March 18, 2004

It is no wonder that the Europeans wonder about the "leadership" in America, from the provincial, uneducated president, GW Bush, now to the leader of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert of rural Illinois. Unfortunately, Hastert doesn't know as much as some of his fellow farmers from mid-Illinois. He showed this yesterday, when he said, that Spain was "showing cowardice in the face of terrorism" by voting Aznar out of office and that Zapatero was running away from a battle against terrorism by criticizing the American occupation of Iraq (Zapatero has called the American occupation of Iraq, "a fiasco.")

Unfortunately, Mr. Hastert has made the same wrong assumption that Bush has made, neither of them differentiates between a war against terrorists, and this foolish invasion and occupation of Iraq (which had nothing to do with terrorism, and nothing to do with 9/11 no matter how many lies Bush, Blair and Powell put out into the world). Furthermore, Mr. Hastert has shown the same arrogance that many in the administration have shown toward other nations in the past when they disagreed with American policy in Iraq, that these administrations were cowardly, not interested in fighting terrorism and that the people were wrong to vote the way they did.

It's amazing to us that American "leaders" know what is best for other countries--in this case, Spain. Remember, they also knew what was best for Chile when they overthrew Allende, Bishop in Grenada, attempts at present to overthrow Chavez with American funds and training, and the decades of activities against Castro and Qaddafi. There is no end to the chutzpah of American politicians; unless you agree with this administration, there must be something wrong with you and your "democracy."

It is time for the American public to put better people into office than such men as Hastert, Cheney and Bush. Their ignorance is scandalous-- at a time when the world is getting smaller, their world view is smaller and so unsophisticated as to make America both feared and a laughing stock to most scholars, politicians and thinkers in the world. [...]

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American Gun Group Takes Its Mission Overseas

(CNSNews.com) - The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is opening an office in London - "joining with embattled British citizens in their fight to restore their firearms rights," the group said in a press release.

"This is the first time an American firearm civil rights organization has opened an office on foreign soil," said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb.

"With the attack on gun rights becoming global, it is important to fight these battles on every continent before we find ourselves isolated from an important human civil right," he said.

"Extremist gun control measures have disarmed the British people, leaving them vulnerable to criminal assault," he added. "Incredibly, if they do defend themselves, they can be prosecuted and imprisoned."

The United Kingdom banned privately owned handguns in 1997, but CCRKBA noted that since then, gun crime has nearly doubled.

"What more appropriate place for the Citizens Committee to be than in the middle of this battleground, offering whatever help we can to British citizens in their efforts to take back their neighborhoods and make their communities safe once again?"[...]

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'Hoax alert' hits French trains

A suspicious object on a railway line north of Paris hit rail services, including the Eurostar, but it turned out to be an oxygen canister.

The bomb disposal experts who examined the object marked "AZF, do not touch" dismissed the threat as a bad joke.

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Harsh Lessons From Madrid

Patrick Seale Al-Hayat 2004/03/19

[...] It is often said that the violence of Islamic militants is purely gratuitous, without reason or objective. To my surprise, Jean-Marie Colombani, editor of the French daily, Le Monde, expressed just such a view when he wrote on 16 March that the terrorists who bombed the Spanish trains had no programme except hate and no political objective save to prevent the spread of democracy in Muslim societies! In my view, this analysis is totally wrong.

It echoes the bankrupt claim of American neo-conservatives that the terrorists do not object to what America does but to what it is. Such Washington hawks allege that it is not the policies of Bush, Blair and Aznar that have triggered a violent response, but rather the terrorists' fanatical ambition to destroy 'freedom-loving' Western societies.

The message of the terrorists

How is it possible to hold such mistaken views when all the evidence points in a different direction?

Comment: Seale has written an excellent article and maps out a way to put the war on terrorism behind us. Unfortunately it is just about impossible that this plan could ever be realised. We are deeper and deeper in trouble with every headline. One senses that something important, and horrible, is going to happen. After Madrid, the other shoe will drop. Will the forces responsible for the Madrid bombings go at it again in order to try and reverse their mistake? Who might the next victim be?

The events of 9/11 came off without a hitch. The American people were bamboozled into beginning a war on Islam, into accepting to live in a pre-tribulation military state, into making enemies of the rest of the world. Air travel has been undermined. Notice that in Europe, where trains play such an important role, it was the train system that was attacked in Madrid and also through the group AZF. Someone wants to discourage people from moving from place to place. You are meant to become afraid to travel.

The Internet is also under attack. Spam is clogging the servers. Worms and viruses, all with the Microsoft seal of approval, spread and mutate with great regularity. The legal battle against file sharing is being used to prepare to control communications on the net.

But, as Seale says, Bush prances around declaring that "they hate us for who we are," and brainwashed populations from coast to coast nod their heads in agreement because they do not know the real history of the US since WWII, they do not know that the CIA has overthrown elected governments the world over, they do not know that there were no Iraqis on the planes that took down the WTC, they do not know that their entire reality is a lie.

"All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie," sang Bob Dylan.

But the bombing in Madrid did not have the effect the "terrorists" wanted. Aznar was not reelected. The axis of evil can make mistakes.

Unfortunately, whether they "win" or "lose" an individual engagement, innocent people die.

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Israel's Prime Minister Sharon holds secret talks with Jordan's King Abdullah

06:27 AM EST Mar 19
MARK LAVIE

JERUSALEM (AP) - Jordan's King Abdullah and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held a secret meeting at the Israeli leader's ranch to discuss Sharon's plan to unilaterally disengage from Palestinian areas, Israeli media reported Friday. [...]

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Blast flips Israeli tank in Gaza raid

Friday March 19, 08:53 AM

GAZA (Reuters) - A bomb detonated by Palestinian militants has overturned an Israeli tank, wounding two soldiers, during a military raid near a Jewish settlement in the central Gaza Strip, the army says.

The Islamic group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, which came during the latest in a series of army operations after Israel's cabinet approved an offensive in Gaza in response to a double suicide bombing at an Israeli port.

Palestinian witnesses said troops wounded seven people, including both militants and civilians, during the raid on Friday in the village of Mughraqa in which youths hurled pipe bombs at several invading tanks while helicopter gunships fired from overhead.

Israeli troops demolished the family home of a dead Hamas militant, and the army said it arrested two Hamas members. [...]

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Belgian pedophile in new escape outrage

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — Vice Premier Louis Michel on Thursday criticized security surrounding convicted pedophile Marc Dutroux, calling it "incredible" Belgium's public enemy No. 1 almost got hold of a handcuff key. [...]

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U.S. Troops Kill Iraqi Arabiya Employee-Colleagues

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. troops shot dead an Iraqi working for Dubai-based Arab satellite television channel Al Arabiya Thursday and critically wounded another in central Baghdad, colleagues said.

Al Arabiya employees said the Iraqis were driving in central Baghdad when another car drove through a U.S. checkpoint. They said U.S. troops then opened fire on both cars.

Doctors initially said both Al Arabiya employees had been killed but later said one of them was critically wounded with a gunshot wound to the head.

A U.S. military spokeswoman said she had no immediate information on the incident.[...]

Comment: This is the usual response from the US military: "Nothing. I see nothing!"

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Iraq war pushes up journalist deaths

By Niala Boodhoo11.03.2004 - 20:45

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of journalists killed while doing their jobs nearly doubled in 2003 to 36, due mainly to coverage of the war in Iraq, says the Committee to Protect Journalists.

"Of the 36 journalists killed worldwide because of their work last year, 13 died in Iraq," Ann Cooper, the committee's executive director, said at a Washington news conference to release its annual "Attacks on the Press" report.

The worldwide media death toll in 2002 was 19.

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Evangelicals Flock Into Iraq on a Mission of Faith

BAGHDAD — An American missionary proudly watches as a sea of Iraqi arms rise in witness to Jesus Christ and choruses of "Amen" compete with distant rattles of gunfire. The faithful sing familiar Christian hymns in Arabic, their voices bouncing off the shipping containers that protect the church from car bombs.

Every Sunday, more than 400 Iraqis travel to this well-to-do neighborhood far from the protection of an American base to worship in the National Biblical Christian Federation Church. Converted from Islam and from other branches of Christianity, they are the first ripple of a tidal wave that evangelical leaders pray will inundate the Middle East.

"I learned about Jesus and eternal life from a friend, and came to this church to see," said Rana Atass, who has attended weekly services at another church for the last month. Her mother, bearing facial tattoos as some Iraqi women do, stood in a line of congregants to ask church leaders for help in buying food.

"The music is very enthusiastic here," Atass said. "They promise Jesus will solve many problems."[...]

Comment: So, 400 people "flocking" to an evangelical church in Baghdad is worthy of news coverage. What about the deaths of Iraqi civilians? What about the effects of depleted uranium? What would Buddy Jesus do?

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'THE PASSION' UNLEASHED

Gibson convinced 'evil all around us'
Film director says Bible 'R-rated book,' people susceptible to unseen influences

As Mel Gibson considers creating more stories depicting biblical times, " The Passion of The Christ" director says evil is "all around us."

During an interview with radio talk-show host Sean Hannity, Gibson agreed with Hannity's statement that evil does exist.

"Absolutely," Gibson said, "I mean you just have to look at a newspaper and read about this guy that knocked his family off," referring to Marcus Wesson of Fresno, Calif., who is accused of murdering nine members of his own family amid reports of incest and polygamy.

"It's all around us," Gibson explained, "and people are susceptible to the influences of either good or evil, and all that it requires for you to sort of fall into the abyss is not to maintain the good aspects of duty." [...]

Comment: "The good aspects of duty." We wonder what those might be: subservience? Obedience? No asking of questions?

What about thinking for oneself? A critical spirit?

A look at the world tells us that there are "unseen" forces at work. George W. Bush doesn't get elected without help from unseen forces. One can furnish a material explanation for these forces and speak of money and influence, or one can look beyond and furnish an esoteric explanation: the constant interplay of creation and entropy. We do not think that it is maintenance of "duty" that prevents one from falling into the abyss of entropy; rather, it is the application of knowledge. Knowledge and understanding permit us to better discern the differences between creation and entropy as the dynamic of the two forces plays out.

Gibson is promoting belief.

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Couple arrested after 'Passion' fight

STATESBORO, Georgia (AP) -- A couple who got into a dispute over a theological point after watching "The Passion of the Christ" were arrested after the argument turned violent.

The two left the movie theater debating whether God the Father in the Holy Trinity was human or symbolic, and the argument heated up when they got home, Melissa Davidson said. [...]

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Nato bids to calm Kosovo crisis

Reinforcements for Nato peacekeepers have started arriving in Kosovo where clashes between ethnic Albanians and Serbs left more than 30 people dead.

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Taiwan president Chen shot while campaigning

Chen Shui-bian, the Taiwan president, and vice president Annette Lu were both shot and injured on Friday during campaigning for Saturday's presidential election, according to the president's office.

Mr Chen, who was campaigning with Ms Lu in the southern city of Tainan, was hurt in the stomach. Ms Lu was hit in the knee. Both were taken to hospital but their injuries were not life-threatening, officials said.

"They are both conscious and their lives are not in danger," Chiou I-jen, Mr Chen's chief of staff, told a news conference. The shooting occurred at 1:45pm as Mr Chen and Ms Lu toured Tainan in an open vehicle waving to supporters.

Initial reports said they were hit by a stray firework, but the hospital where Mr Chen was taken was reported to have found the bullet that injured him. Supporters travelling with Mr Chen said there was so much noise that no one realised any shots had been fired.[...]

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Guns down as Haiti gets a new government

Port-au-Prince - Haiti's new government was sworn in as gangs loyal to exiled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide handed in their weapons, raising hopes the Caribbean nation was recovering from its deep-seated political crisis.

Prime Minister Gerard Latortue said the government he had formed was non-partisan and would be judged on its achievements.

"The time has come to turn our backs on dictatorship," said Latortue, 69, said at Wednesday's ceremony at the national palace in which iterim President Boniface Alexandre swore in the 13 new ministers.

Latortue said at the ceremony that Dominique de Villepin would visit Haiti this month, the first visit by a French foreign minister since Haiti gained independence from France 200 years ago[...]

Comment: So Aristide's backers were "gangs" and those who carried out the coup d'état were rebels. The democratically elected Aristide was a dictator while the government installed through the US-backed coup is going to "turn its back" on dictatorship. And now that the coup was successful, the first French foreign minister ever to visit Haiti since its "independence" 200 years ago will occur later this month. Isn't it amazing how the imperial powers can move mountains when it is being done for friends.

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Mugabe is no puppet, says Mbeki

Pietermaritzburg - South African President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday defended his so-called policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe, saying the crisis there would take time to resolve and that President Robert Mugabe did not take instructions from him.[...]

Mugabe has ruled out dialogue with Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) until the opposition withdraws its election litigation and recognises him as the legitimate head of state.

Mugabe slammed the door on proposed fresh negotiations with the MDC last month, dealing a new blow to the "quiet diplomacy" tack taken by South Africa to try to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis.

Mbeki was critical of some South Africans insisting on an immediate solution.

Mbeki said Palestine and Northern Ireland had been riddled with conflict for decades, but, according to the South African leader, there were no complaints from anyone.

"Palestine has had problems since the 1940s but nobody complains," he said.

"And what about Northern Ireland? Nobody complains that Tony Blair's diplomacy is not working. They speak about my quiet diplomacy (towards Zimbabwe), but no diplomacy is loud."

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Angolans don't want to go home

More than 200 Angolan refugees gathered outside their country's consulate on Thibault Square on Thursday to protest against Angola's agreement with the United Nations and South Africa to repatriate more than 9 000 of them living in Cape Town.

Eight were later arrested when they allegedly refused to leave the square when the time allotted for the demonstration expired.

The protesters vowed not to return to Angola while it was "still ruled by bloodthirsty tyrants" and "greedy leaders".

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SA scientist wins R10m prize

A University of Cape Town scientist has won the world's largest annual monetary award for an individual.

George Ellis, a professor in applied mathematics at UCT, has won the R10-million 2004 Templeton Prize in science.

Ellis specialises in general relativity theory, an area first investigated by Albert Einstein. He is one of the world's leading relativistic cosmologists, who include Stephen Hawking and Malcolm MacCallum.

Ellis, 64, said he would give most of the prize money away. He would give R5-million to several non-profit organisations in South Africa and the remaining R5-million would go into a trust fund "which will support me in retirement and in my work".

Ellis is a Quaker, and has been involved in social activism for many years.

His most recent investigations question whether there was a start to the universe and if there is only one universe.

"I believe the science and religion dialogue is one of the most important issues we can engage in at the present time. It fundamentally shapes the way we see the universe and how we understand our own existence," Ellis said.

Humanity was at a stage when it could appreciate the incredible progress of science, but could also clearly see some of its limits. "For example, science cannot handle issues of aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics or meaning," he added.

The award was founded by philanthropist Sir John Templeton, a financier who pioneered global investment strategies. Since selling the Templeton Group in 1992, Templeton has focused on fostering a broader understanding between theology and science.

When he created the prize in 1972, he stipulated that its monetary value must always exceed that of the Nobel prizes - to underscore his belief that spiritual discoveries could be more significant than those honoured by the Nobels.

Ellis's social writings were condemned by the apartheid government.

"There were many times in the past when it was rational to give up all hope for (South Africa's) future," he said. But "marvellous leaders like Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela" had confounded the calculus of rationality.

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Attempted coup: they tried it before

Some members of the group of alleged South African mercenaries now being held in Zimbabwe tried to enter Zambia two weeks ago, it has been claimed.

However, their aircraft was turned back to South Africa after they reached the town Ndola. The men had been trying to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from the nearby Ndola airport.

This was confirmed on Thursday night by a source in the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), who declined to detail the reasons for the aircraft being turned back.

But former 32 Battalion member Rui Pedro, who served with the men being detained in Harare, said his colleagues were recruited for "mercenary work" in the DRC. He confirmed that the plane had been turned back from Ndola.

"They were not employed to work on mines, oil installations or to guard anything else. They were recruited to protect the interests of their employer, violently if necessary," he said.[...]

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Howard Stern has been asking 9/11 questions on the air

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Ralph Nader's Skeleton Closet

Comment: Once again we see there is no real hope in changing this world. Those who set themselves up as alternatives are just as corrupt. It is just another niche for ill-gotten power.

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Woman to head Pan African Parliament

Addis Ababa - A great deal of progress is being achieved in returning peace to Africa, but much more remains to be done, says Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano.

He spoke here on Thursday in his capacity as African Union chair shortly before the historic election of Tanzanian women's rights campaigner Gertrude Mongella as the inaugural president of the Pan African Parliament (PAP).

Speaking of what he called the "hard truth of Africa", Chissano said the conflicts affecting the continent were a true threat to development efforts. "Without peace, all our (development) plans will be but a utopia," Chissano told the first sitting of the PAP here.

"Conflicts are largely the direct cause of the economic and social backwardness of our continent," he said.[...]

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Washington, DC Schools Get Internet Bomb Threat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Police searched all schools in Washington, D.C., on Friday after receiving a threat via the Internet that bombs had been placed in five schools.

"There was a general call that five schools have explosive devices in them," police spokesman Officer Quentin Peterson said by telephone. "The threat was received through an Internet relay service."

He said police were searching all schools in the U.S. capital, including private schools.

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Teen found with 20 bombs, note threatening school

MALCOLM, Neb. (AP) — School officials say they "got lucky" when authorities arrested a teenager with 20 homemade bombs and a rifle in the parking lot of his high school.

Josh Magee, 17, was also found with a note saying he wanted to injure everyone at the school except for three friends.

Magee was arrested Tuesday in the parking lot of Malcolm High School after a staff member saw him swigging liquor from a flask and putting on a black overcoat. He was charged Wednesday with attempted murder.

Police who searched Magee's car found a bolt-action rifle, several rounds of ammunition, small bottles of propane and rigged containers of a petroleum-based propellent. [...]

The arrest came in the same week that authorities in another rural town in the heartland averted a potentially violent school encounter.

Two second-grade boys and an 11-year-old schoolmate were arrested Wednesday in Forsyth, Mont., on charges that they buried a loaded handgun in a playground sandbox and plotted to shoot and stab a third-grade girl during recess. Authorities said the boys intended to harm the young girl because she had teased two of them. [...]

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3 Forsyth children arrested in plot to shoot third-grade classmate

By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press
March 18, 2004

FORSYTH - Two 8-year-old boys and an 11-year-old schoolmate were arrested after they buried a loaded handgun in a playground sandbox and plotted to shoot and stab a third-grade girl during recess, authorities said Thursday.

Sheriff Tim Fulton said the boys told investigators they intended to harm the young girl because she had teased two of them.

The plot was uncovered late Wednesday morning, about a half-hour before recess, when another student alerted school officials, said Michael Hayworth, the Rosebud County attorney.

The gun, a .22-caliber revolver, had two bullets in it, Hayworth said. School Superintendent Dave Shreeve said a box of bullets also was found nearby. [...]

"From the interviews (with investigators) I don't believe that they fully comprehended the full significance of their actions," Hayworth said. "But they understood that this was going to bring harm to her … and they intended that." [...]

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Twenty-four die as truck hits bus carrying teenagers in Finland

March 19, 2004

HELSINKI (AFP) - Twenty-four people, most of them teenagers, died when a heavily laden truck skidded on a dark icy road in central Finland in the small hours and smashed into and crushed their bus, rescue workers said.

The government declared a national day of mourning for it said was Finland's worst ever traffic accident and ordered flags to be flown at half-mast throughout the country. [...]

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Death Of A Patriot: No More 'Blind Faith Voting'

Comment: More people are examining the mysterious death of Athan Gibbs, that was rather convenient for the Bush Regime and Diebold. We posted this story on the March 16 Signs page.

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Video clips of secret meetings

What we saw may shock you. Here's a two minute clip, in Windows and Quicktime format. The clips show how the state of Texas examines voting machines for certification. [...]

The examiners found out, apparently by accident, that using Diebold’s provisional voting system, it was possible for two voters to vote using the same ID number -- or for one voter to vote multiple times. [...]

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Shell cuts oil reserve figures for second time

By Carola Hoyos and Clay Harris in London and Ian Bickerton in Amsterdam
Financial Times
March 18 2004 20:21

Royal Dutch/Shell on Thursday said "disappointing and embarrassing" mistakes would force it to cut its reserves for the second time since January and delay its annual report and shareholder meetings by two months.

The surprise announcement came only a day before Shell had been due to file details of its 2003 reserves with the US Securities and Exchange Commission - one of five authorities in the US and Europe investigating the group. [...]

Following allegations that it had been aware long before January of doubts over its reserves, Shell on Thursday provided its most detailed account yet of its reserves review, the investigations it faces from authorities in the US and Europe, and the actions it was taking to improve corporate governance. [...]

Thursday's announcement cuts Shell's proved oil and natural gas reserves for 2002 by a further 250m barrels of oil equivalent, bringing the total reserves that had been erroneously booked with the SEC to 4.15bn, or more than 20 per cent of the originally reported figure.

It also reduces Shell's planned 2003 bookings by 220m barrels. This means the company - which has struggled compared with its peers to find new reserves - will now have replaced only 82 per cent of its depleted stocks in 2003 rather than the 98 per cent it announced in February. [...]

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Oil prices surge to 13 year high

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Nevada Power Lawsuit Controversy

(Mar. 17) -- Nevada Power Company filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday alleging that the Colorado River Commission, which is a Nevada state agency, conspired with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which is also a public entity, along with the Enron Corporation, to manipulate the energy market. The lawsuit seeks tens of millions of dollars in compensation and is based, in large part, on once-secret audiotapes whose existence was first reported by the Eyewitness News I-Team. [...]

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The Great Flu Scam of 2003

How flu vaccine makers' profits were boosted by exaggerated government claims

BY TARA SERVATIUS

The national near-panic in the fall of 2003 over the supposed spread of a deadly flu epidemic and a shortage of flu vaccine was little more than a joint government/ industry PR campaign -- an operation that greatly increased flu vaccine makers' profits while scaring the bejesus out of millions of Americans.

The U.S. media let itself be led down the garden path without checking into the stories they were being told about the extent of the flu. Perhaps if the health reporters at the big news outlets had talked to the business reporters last fall, someone might have put it all together before 82 million Americans took a needle in the arm. [...]

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Conservationists work to save giant heads of Easter Island

A team of conservationists is working to save the giant heads of Easter Island from crumbling away. Experts from Germany will investigate the use of a chemical to stabilise the stone monoliths.

They are a main source of income for the island, drawing more than 20,000 tourists a year.

The heads were carved out of rock that was originally volcanic ash, which contains large amounts of clay that expands and contracts with the weather causing it to crumble. The damage is caused mainly by erosion, but the rate of decay is increasing.

Easter Island lies between the west coast of South America and Pitcairn Island.

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Romania Reports River Pollution with Cyanide

ROMANIA: March 19, 2004 BUCHAREST - Romania's Environment Ministry said yesterday that toxic waste containing cyanide had spilled into a river in the northeast of the country and could pose health hazards and kill fish. [...]

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Ancient Indians made 'rock music'

Archaeologists have rediscovered a huge rock art site in southern India where ancient people used boulders to make musical sounds in rituals.

The Kupgal Hill site includes rocks with unusual depressions that were designed to be struck with the purpose of making loud, musical ringing tones.

[...) Researchers think shamen or young males came to the site to carry out rituals and to "tap into" the power of the site. However, some of it is now at threat from quarrying activities.

Granite percussion

The boulders which have small, groove-like impressions are called "musical stones" by locals. When struck with small granite rocks, these impressions emit deep, "gong-like notes".

Some inscribed pictures date to Neolithic times
These boulders may have been an important part of formalised rituals by the people who came there.

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Crazy Comet: 'Wild' Surface Seen Up Close

By Tariq Malik
Space.com

19 March 2004 Astronomers can't yet make heads or tails out of all the crazy things they've seen in close-up pictures of comet Wild-2.

Its surface is littered with odd, well-like depressions, as well as hills, cliffs and active vents that belch gas into space. Some surface features are so large they take up half the size of the entire comet.

Comet's Features Look a Lot Like Some on Earth "Other than the Sun, this is the most active planetary surface in our solar system," said Donald Brownlee, principle investigator of the comet study. [...]

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Small Earthquake Rattles Central Utah

LAST UPDATE: 3/18/2004 11:32:05 AM

Central Utah was rattled by a small earthquake Thursday.

The magnitude 3.3 earthquake occurred at 7:58 a.m. MST, and was centered about 100 miles south of Salt Lake City, said Kris Pankow with the University of Utah Seismographic Stations.

The earthquake was felt in the communities of Nephi and Levan, each less than 10 miles from the epicenter.

Some residents reported items falling off shelves, but no injuries were reported, Pankow said.

There were no reports of damage, but residents said they felt the rumble from the quake, said Juab County Sheriff Alden Orme.

Two 3.7 magnitude earthquakes were recorded in the area in December, and smaller earthquakes have been felt since, Pankow said.

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More Mystery Smoke Rings

Nasa has a department called the Microgravity Science Division at the Glenn Research Center. According to the web site it has responsibility for:

"planning, advocating, directing, and implementing space experiments in technology and microgravity science.

This Division both conducts and sponsors ground-based scientific and technology studies that may lead to experiments in space. The focus of these efforts is to enhance the understanding of the role of gravity in a wide range of physical processes (ie. materials science, power, propulsion, combustion, fluid physics, plasma physics, etc.) This work is carried out by scientists in the external community and by scientists in this Division as well as in other Center organizations. The technology experiments for which the Division is responsible provide enabling technology for future space missions including the Space Station and the planned programs in Human Exploration and Development of Space Enterprise. A very significant and substantial part of the Division's effort is the design, buildup, testing, and integration of hardware for experiment packages to be launched aboard the Space Shuttle."

This NASA division had a booth at the 2001 Cleveland air show. The NASA team took pictures of the air show and published them on the "outreach" section of their website. Among the collection of images, two very strange"smoke ring" formations appear. Even more strange is the fact that the NASA Microgravity Science Division, offers no explanation of what these strange formations are, other than to state that one is a "special effect, that hoovers above the NASA tent" and the other as having been "left by an airship". We assume that the term "hoovers" is a typo for "hovers", although, in British English the verb "to hoover", taken from the brand of vacuum cleaners "Hoover", means to "suck up with a vacuum cleaner".

Note in the above image that another much less defined ring is visible to the upper right of the first ring.

The above image is the one that NASA simply calls a "special effect" as it "hoovers above the NASA tent" at the airshow

Can we ignore the fact that the NASA team that attended the Airshow and took the above pictures are involved in "microgravity" research?

Whatever the origin of these "mobile smoke rings", it appears that they are a fairly rare, but not unprecedented, phenomena. Similar "smoke rings" were observed in San Antonio in September of 2003 during a thunderstorm. At the time, the US National Weather Service claimed that the phenomena is caused by an exploding "thunderbolt", yet, as can been seen from the pictures of the Cleveland Airshow, there was hardly a cloud in the sky that day. Perhaps we are talking about two different phenomena, despite the striking similarities, or perhaps the US National Weather Service had no idea what caused the smoke rings in San Antonio and simply offered the public the first plausible explanation they could think of. Almost 50 years ago, very similar smoke rings were observed over a US military base. See our article " Mysterious Smoke Rings in the Sky" for more details.

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Call the Ghostbusters! The mysterious phenomena of spontaneous combustion in Caronia continue

Comment: So far, no new updates regarding the mysterious Fortean Fire in Sicily. The above links goes to a Google translation of an Italian news article. Very little new to say; everyone is still befuddled. Other articles in Italian, say they have lugged out high tech equipment in an endeavor to examine a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Some appear to be irate that a few have accused villagers of illegally connecting to the electric grid, "All lies! All slander!" or so Google translates it. (Computer translators do a poor job from Italian to English) This does not account for water pipes, disconnected electric cables, or mobile phones bursting into flames.

In Yesterday's Signs, when we posted the one article in English, there were also five earthquakes, two volcanoes and a sonic boom, not to mention an asteroid fly-by and decent sunspot activity. More than likely this is electromagnetic energy from the earth acting up, and perhaps we can expect similar phenomena in other locals in the near future.

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Baldwin County UFO

3/18/2004
Devin Walker

(BALDWIN CO., Ala.) March 18 - A strange light has been appearing in the sky along our stretch of the Gulf Coast raising a lot of questions with folks close to home.

Gary Armstrong and Clyde Maddox have noticed something strange hovering in the skies of Baldwin county the past two nights. Others have also witnessed a bright light moving slowly across the night sky. Air traffic controllers in Downtown Mobile say no such traffic has been reported in the area, but Gary and Clyde say seeing is believing, and they captured it on video tape.

Loxley resident Freddie Bettner told NBC 15's Leon Petite, "Well I saw it the other night about in the same spot. It's just a strange thing. It went from a high distance to a low distance behind the trees."

Armstrong said, "There's a star up there at the end of the tale of a Big Dipper that seems to have some reflection, some reds, greens and blues and I don't know what it is."

Both men say the object moves much to slow to be an aircraft or at least any aircraft known to mankind.
Is there an reasonable explanation for the appearance of this light in the sky, or is this proof there may be life on another planet?

Clyde Maddox with the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary group of the United States Air Force says he has seen plenty of these lights. Maddox says there's more than 100 of them orbiting our planet.

"The satellite is probably up there 300 miles, and it's getting a reflection off the sun which is half way around the world, and it's not unusual to see them change colors when they pass over different areas," he explained.

That explanation doesn't offer proof there is not intelligent life on other planets, but at least we can all sleep safely at night knowing we'll not be invaded by this light in the sky.

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TENNESSEE TO HAVE "EARTHQUAKE DRILL"

There will be a major "earthquake" along the New Madrid fault tomorrow - at least on paper. It will be one of the largest emergency-preparedness exercises ever held in the region.

Tennessee officials will join the U.S. Army and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in "Operation Heartland '04."

The New Madrid fault stretches from the boot heel of Missouri south into Arkansas. It's considered the most likely site of a future major earthquake east of the Rocky Mountains.

Scientists believe such a quake could be felt in 20 states and might cause billions of dollars in damage to property. In Tennessee, foundations could crack in older homes as far east as Nashville.

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