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Saturday , March 20, 2004

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The material presented in the linked articles does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editors. Research on your own and if you can validate any of the articles, or if you discover deception and/or an obvious agenda, we will appreciate if you drop us a line! We often post such comments along with the article synopses for the benefit of other readers. As always, Caveat Lector!

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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

Dune du Pyla
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Every rational person must know that the journey is based upon toil and the hardships of life, on afflictions and tests and the acceptance of dangers and very great terrors. It is not possible for the traveler to find in this journey unimpaired comfort, security, or bliss. [Ibn 'Arabi, Journey to the Lord of Power, p. 27]

We think that any spiritual work is the result of effort. You will get back only what you put into it. If what you are seeking is is valuable beyond words, then you will be asked to pay as much.

Therefore the Tradition speaks of having to pay in full in advance, with no guarantee of a return. This is where Faith comes in. Having read the Signs, having seen that the only way off of the treadmill of small talk, success, and material comfort is through the fusing of one's small 'I's into a Real 'I', one makes a choice. This choice is not based upon rewards, it is made because one cannot turn back and return to the life of the body alone. But it is not easy because then it would not be a choice. One is still bound by a thousand filaments to the world: family, marriage, work, friendships, etc.

When one chooses to act in favour of one's destiny, one is upsetting the habits and patterns of all those who are attached by these filaments. By acting in favour of one's destiny, those around you will be tugged and pulled in ways they are unaccustomed to. They will pull back. They will not understand why you are disturbing them. They will feel you are manipulating them by pulling on their strings, that you are "not yourself," that you have changed.

And you have changed. You are disrupting the lives of those around you. But this is not a manipulation. In fact, if done correctly, you are putting an end to the manipulations, stated and unstated, that are the norm in our world. You are learning to end your own manipulations of others at the same time as you are learning to spot the manipulations of others.

This is bound to lead to a radical change in one's life. No longer bound to others by the old attachments, you will soon learn who is willing to allow you to go your own way, who are moving in that direction naturally, and who will do anything and everything to throw a stronger rope around you to pull you back.

Yet this profound reordering of one's life happens by a simple choice: the choice to think for oneself, to be who and what one truly is, honouring one's free will and the free will of others. Having such a guiding idea, the idea of becoming master of oneself, will distinguish you from those around you because they have no such aim in their lives. They remain buffeted by fads and fashion.

A man whose psyche is not oriented by a ruling idea is generally stationary, until the moment comes where, often by fortuitous impulse, he takes decisions which will direct his life for scores of years. [B. Mouravieff, Gnosis, Vol I:177]

We all know people who are driven towards a goal. For most people, this goal is material. Those who race after money or sex may be treated by others as having an addictive form of personality, but on some level they understand because these are drives that we all feel to one extent or another. A mother who devotes her life to her children or a wife who is devoted to her husband is also understood and may well be held up as a model.

Choose to pursue the invisible and intangible goal of caring for your soul, and you will be seen as crazy. Most people cannot imagine giving one's live over to a goal that cannot be held, tasted, smelled, or deposited into a bank account.

Most people have as intangible goals something like "being happy." This happiness is projected on one or another material object: a car, a computer, a family, a house, a job. Of course, because they are still mechanical beings reacting without will to external shocks, the concrete manifestation of that happiness changes from moment to moment. When a concrete goal is achieved, it must be replaced by another.

The person who is committed to the Way looks at things differently, and those who are still attached to material pursuits have no way of crossing the gulf of understanding.

For one who begins to search for the Way, all this changes. This search constitutes a permanent goal. Even without leaving relativity, such a man is now able in practice to define his notions of positive and negative: whatever guides him towards his proposed goal, helps him to attain it, or contributes to this attainment, is for him a Good; whatever turns him away, retards him, stops him, takes him backwards, and in general anything that creates material or psychological obstacles on the path that leads him towards the goal he seeks, is for him an Evil. [B. Mouravieff, Ibid., Vol I:177-78]

We are far from the concept of Good and Evil promulgated by Church's and Mr. Bush.

Returning to the image of the filaments tying us to others, we must guard against the danger of cutting them to break free. If we view them as impediments to our free movement, we might be tempted to use radical measures to free ourselves from their hold. On the contrary, as these ties are the result of our own past actions, even if these actions were mechanical, we are responsible for them. But more than that, they are useful for the Work. Every time someone tugs on the thread to put us back into our place, we will receive a shock. This shock will bring us quickly back to awareness of our present situation. We can use these shocks in our work to increase our awareness and as a method of self-observation. We can use these shocks to make us aware of our environment and therefore as aids in developing our external considering. We can use these shocks to develop our will power to struggle against any mechanical reactions we might have in response to being pushed and pulled.

During this work, we will understand very clearly the words of Ibn 'Arabi: "It is not possible for the traveler to find in this journey unimpaired comfort, security, or bliss."

Debka.com (Debka is the name of a Middle Eastern dance) is a Jerusalem based "intelligence and security affairs" news site run by a Jewish couple. Both are allegedly veteran reporters from "The Economist" magazine, where the main editor. There is little other information on their histories. Since its appearance in July 2000, Debka.com has become popular due to its alleged "insider" reporting on mainly security issues and the war on terror. The editors admit an Israeli bias, and the veracity of some of their reports has at times been questioned. Despite this, the couple do appear to have access to "inside information", with a few notable breaking news reports under their belt.

The Israeli daily Haaretz, today runs a report on "Debka" that provides some revealing information about the owners, their backgrounds and the possible provenance of their "inside information".

The S-Files

By Sara Leibovich-Dar
Haaretz Daily
20/03/2004

From their apartment in Jerusalem, Giora and Diana Shamis run a news site on the Web called Debka.com, that is devoted to security affairs and features plenty of hair-raising stories. After a lengthy career in journalism, Shamis feels that his material, which is based on information from mysterious sources, reflects reality as it is

The Middle East peace plan of U.S. President George W. Bush caught Giora Shamis unprepared. Last December, Shamis, the owner and chief writer of the Internet site Debka.com, which deals with security and intelligence affairs, predicted that the United States would toughen its posture toward Arafat and make him return to his "natural place and size." But now, out of the blue, Bush suddenly announces that he supports the establishment of a Palestinian state. Something had gone wrong. Shamis immediately called the National Security Council and the White House.

"There are people there whom I can talk to," he says.

He spoke to one of them. "Hi Jack, what's doing, how's it going this morning? What do you say about all this bullshit?"

Shamis' mysterious source told him that it was all a lot of nonsense. As a veteran intelligence reporter who understands a thing or two about espionage and counter-espionage, Shamis got the hint: "In the wake of that conversation, Debka didn't comment on Bush's statement. We only wrote that there was no point paying attention to all that stuff." [...]

Shamis was interviewed by Time magazine, was videotaped in Israel for the late-night Washington-based program "Hill," and in September, Debka was selected by USA Today as one of its "hot sites." Wired News likened Debka to the Drudge Report run by the journalist Matt Drudge, who exposed the Monica Lewinsky affair. The New York Observer called Debka a "page of tips from the desert."

How can people find out what's really going on in America's war against Osama bin Laden, especially now, when the White House has made it clear that it will be the source of the news? asked Media Life, another Internet site, and replied that the best place to look was where many journalists turn to: Debka.com. Shamis is now waiting for a promised write-up in the Boston Globe.

Israeli correspondents are somewhat less enthusiastic. A correspondent who writes on security affairs tried to check out one of the reports on Debka.

"They had a story on Iraqi forces that entered Jordan," the correspondent recalls. "I checked the story with my sources, I spoke with officers in the Jordanian army, and it turned out that the story was totally groundless. And it wasn't reported anywhere else, either. The entry of forces, if it really happened, couldn't have occurred without attracting attention.I reached the conclusion that they are being fed by Israeli intelligence."

Shamis is not impressed by journalists who aren't capable of coping with his reports: "That report is correct. I stand behind it."

Diana Shamis, though, is ready to be a bit more cautious and say that only 80 percent of their reports are correct, "because of time pressures."

One major report that turned out to be mistaken dealt with the three kidnapped Israeli soldiers, Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Suwayed. A few days after the October 2000 kidnapping, Shamis claimed that, contrary to the prevailing opinion, the perpetrator was not Sheikh Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, but Imad Mugniyeh, the organization's operations officer.

A few weeks after the kidnapping, Shamis reported that the three soldiers had been moved to Iran and from there to bin Laden's forces in Afghanistan. The report drew a great deal of attention. "On second thought," he admits now, "I would not publish that report because I am not 100 percent sure that it is really correct. We only know one thing, that the three are not being held by Nasrallah. It pains me to see how he is tormenting the families."

If you're not sure that bin Laden has them, why did you publish the report?

Shamis: "I thought, and I still think, that that option exists. That's an example of a situation analysis. Why did Imad Mugniyeh abduct them? He doesn't do things for no reason. Everything he does has a reason and is done with very thorough, long-term planning. He kidnapped the soldiers in a period of closer cooperation with bin Laden. I have proof of that cooperation. It can be assumed that he carried out the kidnapping for bin Laden." [...]

A report about the Saudi royal family also turned out to be inaccurate. Two weeks ago, Shamis reported, for several consecutive days, that there had been a "quiet palace revolt" in Riyadh, during which King Fahd and his family had been forced to move to Geneva. Shamis doesn't think he was wrong.

"We got the story from an excellent source in Geneva. We even had the flight number of the king and his entourage. We spoke with neighbors of his, a family of Jewish bankers, and they told us he had left. We thought that there was a possibility that he would leave." [...]

`Wheat from the chaff' [...]

Another Shamis report that attracted much attention stated that bin Laden has 200,000 soldiers available to him in a variety of countries, including the option to mobilize 20,000 troops in Kosovo and Macedonia.

Ganor: "I would seriously question that figure. Bin Laden has an organization of a few hundred soldiers and an umbrella of organizations that can collaborate with him, but their number is not that high."

According to Shamis, bin Laden's organization is omnipotent in many spheres. Two weeks after the attacks in New York and Washington, Shamis reported that U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney was baffled in his efforts to determine whether terrorist moles had been planted in the American secret service agencies, but that this was more than a possibility. Ganor responds that there is no way for Shamis to check the credibility of the report.

"It's like trying to prove that you don't have a sister," Ganor says. "People like me have no possibility of verifying that. If he has reliable sources at that level, I take my hat off to him. Even Israeli intelligence doesn't have sources like that. The only people who have information like that are Pentagon officials." [...]

According to this journalist, Shamis belongs to the genre of the mystery-shrouded Israeli intelligence press, which has an aura of being "plugged in" that can't be verified.

David Kimche, a former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, who also held a senior position in the Mossad, knew Shamis at the time.

"He knew a lot about Middle East issues and he succeeded in getting some exclusive stories," says Kimche, "though I'm convinced that he made mistakes. When a person produces that much, he will make mistakes, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it lack of credibility." [...]

An Israel commentator on security affairs says that his feeling, as a reader of Debka, is that its sources are not from the top level of the intelligence world: "Shamis has the basic knowledge and he knows the terminology, he knows the difference between an agent and a handler, but it's obvious that the information comes from people who once took part in some sort of operation and from the heads of the organizations."

Shamis rejects this criticism: "I will not reveal the identity of anonymous sources," he asserts. "Everyone in the world who is involved in the spheres of security and terrorism, and with whom I can make contact, is my source. The community of security and intelligence people, and even of terrorists, is a small community. Everyone knows everyone else and they all exchange information.

"I meet with senior officials of the CIA, we call members of Congress and speak with them directly. In Israel there are barriers, you can't get through to the senior people, you have to go through secretaries and aides. In the United States, the aides really aid you and don't constitute barriers." [...]

Asked how it comes about that a major international story that proves to be credible and accurate reaches him and not The New York Times, Shamis says: "Maybe the same stories reach them, but the papers make a selection. Each paper has its own policy. We don't have a policy. If the report is suitable for publication and doesn't harm a country's security interests, we will publish it."

Comment: Why are we discussing the above web site? Firstly, it appears to us that Debka.com is being used by elements within Israeli intelligence to funnel distorted information to further the Israeli agenda in promoting the phony "war on terror". Debka's source, we believe, is the type of source that can be starkly accurate when they want to be, but, in general, subvert the truth by releasing "plausible lies". These plausible lies are designed to vector public awareness to a specific source, which they believe to be reliable, and from which they are then fed continued disinformation. Lies wrapped in truth, so to speak.

An example of this is the mention in the above Haaretz report that Debka predicted, in part, the new outbreak of fighting in Serbia which we are only now becoming aware of. The subtle twist of the truth in the information that was feed to Debka is seen in the attempt to ascribe the violence in Serbia to al-Qaeda. We are well aware of the fact that Al-Qaeda is a Mossad asset and their main scapegoat in the phony war on terror. In fact, as far back as 2001 Debka were reporting on the story that "Al-qaeda" were planning to open up a second front in the Balkans in their fight against the US military machine.

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Israeli analysts believe extremists tied to bin Laden pose threat in Balkans

By Ward Sanderson, Stars and Stripes
September 30, 2001

An intelligence analysis service reports that extremists loyal to Osama bin Laden plan to spark new fighting in the Balkans to counter any U.S. or allied strikes on Afghanistan.

The report by an Israeli intelligence wire says about 6,000 fighters in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia are ready to do bin Laden’s bidding if America strikes his camps elsewhere.

"We are looking very carefully at what’s going on [in the Balkans]. … It can be used as a second front," said Giora Shamis, the DEBKAfile editor in Jerusalem.

Shamis said that since U.S. strikes on Afghanistan appear imminent, the Balkans could well become the place for attempts at vengeance against Western forces.

"If it’s going to hit bad [in Afghanistan], it’s probably also going to hit in the Balkans more than any other place," he said in a telephone interview.

The DEBKAfile analysis comes on the heels of Croat nationalists’ claims that bin Laden runs jihad training bases in Bosnia. Bosnia’s government has vowed to investigate, though international officials are skeptical such camps exist.[...]

The DEBKAfile report projects that a nucleus of bin Laden followers in the Balkans could balloon into an army of about 40,000 men — a number that seems huge considering the help Muslims in the Balkans have received from the West. [...]

It stated that on Sept. 22, wire services like The Associated Press moved reports on how helpful Saudi Arabia was being in the U.S. war on terror.

DEBKA, however, scooped the West by reporting the country’s refusal to let America use an air operations command center at Prince Sultan Air Base.

Two days later, the New York Times ran a similar story.

"At its best, Debka.com reads like a tip sheet from the desert, from people who seem to know a lot more than [CNN’s] Jeff Greenfield," the Observer concluded.

Before his intelligence-wire days, Shamis wrote on Middle Eastern affairs for daily newspapers and The Economist newsmagazine.

If Shamis is right this time, U.S. and allied forces around Afganistan could meet resistance from more than just the Taliban.

DEBKAfile’s report also warned that about 3,000 Islamic rebels from Chechnya may have begun crossing into nearby Georgia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to prepare for counterstrikes.

Comment: So we see that over two years ago, Debka had access to information about future events that are only now occurring and being reported. We await to see if it is soon revealed that Al-Qaeda is in some way behind the current clashes in the former Yugoslavia. Also in the above report we see the mention of Chechnya, and note that Chechen rebels were recently accused of being behind the threats to bomb France.

The other story that Debka seemed to have inside information on was the recent reports of problems in the "House of Saud". In the above Haaretz story Debka is cited as having claimed that a "quiet palace revolt" had occurred in Saudi Arabia. Today we see the following story appearing on Reuters:

Powell Tells Saudis U.S. Troubled by Arrests

Fri Mar 19, 2004
By Arshad Mohammed


RIYADH (Reuters) - Secretary of State Colin Powell had a "candid" exchange with Saudi Arabia's rulers on Friday over their arrest of reformists and said Washington was troubled by restrictions on free speech in the kingdom.

"We have concerns when people who are trying to express their views, and do it in an open and democratic way, are not able to do so," Powell said after talks with Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah.

"We had a good, candid, open debate about this issue."

The United States is eager to promote reform in the Middle East and has been quietly prompting its long-standing ally, the world's biggest oil producer, to speed up change.

In rare public criticism of Saudi Arabia on Thursday, it expressed disappointment at the detention of at least 10 reformist figures, including former university professors, as a step backward for political progress.

Saudi Arabia said the arrests were an internal affair.

"What happened was something which concerned our country," Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a joint news conference with Powell after the talks.

Comment: We come now to the main point of our little look at Debka.com. Taken in light of all of the above, the below report, published on the Debka site just last week, in the aftermath of the Madrid bombings, is very interesting. We urge our readers to read the below and suggest that it be read inserting the word "Mossad" where ever the words "Al-Qaeda" or "Bin Laden" appear.

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Who’s Next after Madrid?

DEBKAfile Special Analysis
March 13, 2004


Officially, Spain’s political parties cut short their election campaign three days before polling in deference to the agony and shock of the most brutal terrorist attack since the 9/11 assaults on New York and Washington. Thursday, March 11, three crowded commuter trains were blown up in Madrid, killing 199, injuring 1,400, and changing Spain overnight. In reality the campaign never stopped. By harping on the Basque terrorist movement ETA as the culprit of the outrage, the Aznar government hoped to drum up votes for the ruling PP – Popular Party’s bid for reelection on Sunday, March 14.

It also left the investigators at sea in a probe of vital importance to the global war on terror. [...]

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror experts emphasize that Osama bin Laden’s terrorist movement makes no secret of its plans, priorities or motives. They are all laid out - in English too – in a plethora of print and internet publications. (Signs editor: like Debka for example??)

While difficult reading for Westerners, who find it hard to take the florid phrasing and outrageous aspirations seriously, such publications are the daily fare of tens of millions of Muslims around the world, almost in the same way a daily newspaper may be part of an ordinary Westerner’s routine.

According to data gathered by our experts, from December 2002, three months before the US invasion of Iraq, al Qaeda began issuing a stream of fatwas designating its main operating theatres in Europe. Spain was on the list, but not the first.

1. Turkey was first. Islamic fundamentalists were constrained to recover the honor and glory of the Ottoman caliphates which were trampled by Christian forces in 1917 in the last days of World War I.

2. Spain followed. There, al Qaeda set Muslims the goal of recovering their lost kingdom in Andalusia.

3. Italy and its capital were third. Muslim fundamentalists view Rome as a world center of heresy because of the Vatican and the Pope.

4. Vienna came next because the advancing Muslim armies were defeated there in 1683 before they could engulf the heart of Europe.

These aspirations are far from being restricted to a lunatic fringe of radical Islam. The Arab world’s most popular television preacher, Yusouf Kardawi, whom DEBKAfile has mentioned before, subscribes to the same agenda in his sermons over al Jazeera - with one difference. Whereas al Qaeda aims to “liberate” Turkey, Spain, Italy and Israel by force of arms, Kardawi who addresses the masses from a studio in Qatar just a few hundred yards from American Central Command HQ, advocates persuasion.

However strangely these decrees and teachings may fall on the ears of their targets, there is no option but to try and make sense of them in order to understand the force driving an inhumanly ruthless enemy. The logic behind this philosophy is capable of attaining a perfect match between its injunctions and the actions of its faithful in practice.

November 2003 saw two terrorist outbreaks in Istanbul that claimed 63 lives and injured more than 600. Tuesday, March 10, the day of the attacks in Madrid, al Qaeda continued its deadly cycle in Istanbul by sending two suicide killers to a building on the Asian side of the city housing a Masonic lodge. Armed with a bomb belt and gas canisters they planned to go up to the conference chamber and set it alight during a meeting. The members would have burned to death. It so happened that the lodge meeting was postponed at the last minute. The bombers blew themselves up at the door of an empty restaurant, killing a waiter.

Since last year, Al Qaeda has been able to spread its operational wings through many countries by linking up with local affiliates or sympathizers - either as accomplices or surrogates. In Turkey, they rely on the Muslim radical IBDA/C.

A similar pattern of operation repeated itself on March 2 in the massacre of 271 Shiites in the Iraqi cities of Karbala and Baghdad. Another thousand or more were injured. A dozen suicide bombers whose identity eludes investigation to this day were used, but the logistical structure that made an offensive on this scale possible must have numbered hundreds of locals.

The offensive against Shiite Muslims is set to a timetable that is separate from al Qaeda’s European planning. It belongs to the history of Muslim internecine warfare and is governed by a different set of fatwas.

In Madrid, as in Istanbul, al Qaeda most probably operated through or with the help of local terrorist organizations, possibly even young radical members of ETA, members of the half million Muslim population of Spain or terrorists from its former North African colonies. (Signs editor: Remember: "sources that can be starkly accurate when they want to be")

This expanded infrastructure, straddling many target countries, also enables al Qaeda to multiply the number of deaths it is capable of inflicting in each individual attack. In the last four months, bin Laden’s organization has managed to take 533 lives and maimed more than 3,000. The organization has pushed out the limits of the scale and diversity of its operations substantially since the 9/11 catastrophe in America.

On the same day as the Madrid trains were blown up, the Americans launched Operation Mountain Storm against “high value” al Qaeda and Taliban targets in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It does not escape observers that while al Qaeda is capable of assaults on five fronts at least – Iraq, Turkey, Spain Kashmir and Saudi Arabia, the US global offensive against terror is limited to a single front, which too is far from the fundamentalists’ most active current arena.

Where do the United States and Britain stand on al Qaeda’s time table?

Its religious edicts dictate the “liberation” (by terrorism) of lands once under Muslim rule. Turkey and Spain were therefore placed ahead of London, Paris and Berlin. Israel is doubly anathemized as a Jewish state established in a country once governed by Muslims. Rome ought to come next, although the fatwas allow some flexibility to meet changing circumstances and enable al Qaeda to strike where least expected.

Bin Laden and the leadership group of his organization have been arguing over their next directions. Their debate is conceptual between those who advocate building up Islamic fundamentalist gains in Europe before turning to America and those who see Europe as a springboard to the United States. Bin Laden has issued a fatwa deciding the issue: the organization is instructed to strike simultaneously on both continents.

Comment: If, as we believe, Debka releases such as the above are provided by genuine Israeli (and even US) intelligence sources, it is likely that they contain elements of truth, subtly wrapped in lies. As such, sites like Debka can be a good source in our quest to uncover the truth, providing that all of the above is understood and that the seeker is able to sort the truth from lies. If the reader is astute enough, Debka may provide valuable information in attempting to understand the next phase in this phony war on terror. The task, of course, is to discern which aspects are truth and which are lies. Nonetheless, the fact that Debka's gas released the above report along with it's track record of possessing "predictive abilities" is very worrying. As always, knowledge protect, but prudence and background research is highly advised.

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Six "Mossad" agents killed in Kirkuke

Six colleagues of the Israeli reconnaissance "Mossad" were killed in Kirkuke city in the north of Iraq on Saturday (20 March 2004). According to Egyptian news agency MENA. The members of the secret Israeli reconnaissance group were acting under the cover of the export company "Are -Rafideln", agency reports, referring to its sources in Kirkuke.

Sources do not exclude, that the Mossad agents were killed by fighters of the underground group "Ansar al- Islam" ("the adherents of Islam"). As witnesses testified, the attackers spoke Kurdiosh. The building of the company was literally riddled by automatic and machine gun bursts. Those located in the building attempted to return fire, but were shot, reports RIA news. The Israeli government did not confirm the story. The Mossad leadership repeatedly declared that Iraq is located out of the sphere of the basic interests of this organization.

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European troops go to Nato's aid in Kosovo

By Ben Rooney, Foreign Staff
20/03/2004

Thousands of European troops yesterday began to pour into Kosovo to shore up Nato's over-stretched peacekeeping force.

Nato has vowed to stamp out the worst violence Kosovo has seen since the military alliance and the United Nations took control of the province from Serbia in 1999.

Its forces have already seen action, shooting dead a gunman in Kosovo's northern flashpoint town of Mitrovica on Thursday, a spokesman said yesterday. Adm Gregory Johnson, the US commander of Nato forces for Southern Europe, said the riots and torchings were not far from "ethnic cleansing".

Troops of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment landed yesterday and were immediately out on patrol. The remainder of the 750-strong batallion continued to fly in over night.

Germany's defence minister, Peter Struck, ordered 600 soldiers to be dispatched immediately. Troops were expected to arrive early today, bringing to 3,800 Germany's contribution to the 17,000-strong Nato force.

France is reinforcing its contingent, with 200 troops arriving yesterday and another 200 due today. Italy and Denmark have also sent more soldiers.

Comment: The Nato attacks on the former Yugoslavia during the 90's and the story that was fed to the public about the reason for those attacks, constituted one of grandest whitewashing of the truth in recent years. The real reason for the atrocity that set neighbor against neighbor and lead to the deaths of thousands of civilians, is essentially the same reason that the US is now in Iraq; divide and conquer. At the time, in relation to the "War in Bosnia" the Pentagon published the below statement in the New York Times on March 8, 1992:

“The first aim [of the United States] is to block the appearance of a new adversary. First, the U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. … Finally, we must also maintain the necessary means to overthrow potential adversaries, ambitious to attain a broader local or global role.” In Europe, specifically, this plan foresees that: “It is of fundamental importance to preserve NATO as the primary instrument of Western defense and security as well as a channel of exercising American influence and its participation in issues of European security. … We must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO.”

See here for more on the truth of the Nato plan for eastern Europe.

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Journalists find many ways to kill truth in Iraq

Truth dies, just as people die, every day in Iraq. Sometimes the people are killed by Americans paid with our tax dollars. But we rarely hear about it, thanks to other Americans, the ones who kill truth: the journalists. There are different ways to send truth to its grave, as two current examples prove.
On March 13 the Iranian news agency Mehr reported a story that, if true, is surely the biggest news of this election year: "U.S. forces have unloaded a large cargo of parts for constructing long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the southern ports of Iraq [...]

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World now more dangerous: France

19/03/2004

The world is a more dangerous place because of the US-led war in Iraq, which may have toppled Saddam Hussein but also unleashed postwar violence and an increase in terrorism, the French foreign minister said today.

“This is a belief that I have never stopped expressing,” Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told Le Monde newspaper.

“We have to look reality in the face: we have entered into a more dangerous and unstable world, which requires the mobilisation of the entire international community,” de Villepin said.

Assertions by the administration of US President George Bush that ousting Saddam would make the world a safer place proved not to be true, de Villepin said.

“Terrorism didn’t exist in Iraq before,” de Villepin said. “Today, it is one of the world’s principal sources of world terrorism.”

De Villepin called again on the United States to respect a June 30 deadline for the Americans to hand over power to the Iraqis.

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Bush: No neutral ground in war on terror

19/03/2004

A year after ordering military strikes against Iraq, President George Bush marked the anniversary today by urging resolve in the war against terrorism.

He said it is “the duty of every government to fight and destroy this threat to our people.”

Bush said terrorists have killed innocent people around the world, most recently last week in Madrid where bombings claimed the lives of more than 200 people.

He said there is “no neutral ground in the fight between civilisation and terror.”

“There can be no separate peace with the terrorist enemy,” Bush said. “Any sign of weakness or retreat simply validates terrorist violence and invites more violence for all nations.”

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Powell asks Zapatero not to withdraw troops

19 March 2004

BAGHDAD - US Secretary of State Colin Powell asked new Spanish premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero Friday not to remove troops from Iraq.

On a surprise visit to the Iraqi capital, Powell said: "Now is not the moment."

Powell said the coalition's planned transfer of sovereignty to Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council is "on track".

The move came after Zapatero promised to withdraw Spain's 1,300 military contingent if the US does not hand over control of the country to a United Nations administration by 30 June.

Powell spoke to reporters and also met soldiers in Baghdad.

At a news conference, Powell conceded there had been "a spike in violence" but stressed that the coalition forces were working hard to reduce it.

He also said the US-led coalition was "still strong", despite recent concerns voiced by Spain, Poland and South Korea.

Powell's visit comes amid a fresh wave of violence in the country.

On Thursday, a car bomb killed at least five people in Basra. A day earlier, at least seven people were killed in a blast at a Baghdad hotel used mostly by foreigners.

Speaking to US soldiers and coalition staff at coalition headquarters earlier in the day, Powell said militants trying to destabilise Iraq would be defeated.

"There are those who are determined to stop us... They are striking back in every way they can."

A year after the start of the war in Iraq, the US military says the main threat in the country now comes from foreign extremists, rather than from former Saddam Hussein loyalists.

The US secretary of state praised the work of US soldiers and coalition staff.

"You and your buddies have removed a horrible dictatorial regime that was a threat to its own citizens, a threat to the region and a threat to the world."

Comment: Powell continues to lie to the troops and the world, even when it has been categorically proven that Saddam as no threat.

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Rodríguez Zapatero will present a "strategy change" in the war on terrorism to the EU and the US

The new socialist government of Spain is to propose a "new strategy initiative" to confront the war on terror, given that the present strategy has "failed" according to Miguel Ángel Moratinos, the most likely choice for Foreign Affairs Minister in Zapateros new cabinet.

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A year after war Iraqis lament 'liberation'

Saturday 20 March 2004

US army tanks rolled in tight formations through the streets of Baghdad and military helicopters buzzed low over the Tigris river on the first anniversary of the American-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Those were visible signs of heightened security in the Iraqi capital as the past week has seen a surge in the number of bombings, shootings and mortar attacks on the occupation forces, police and civilians in Iraq.

It was unclear whether the attacks were timed to overshadow the anniversary of the start of the war.

One of the aims of anti-US occupation forces appears to be to discredit American claims of progress in its nation-building effort.

Iraqis in Baghdad were not sure if much had improved in their lives in the last year despite the fall of Saddam Hussein. [...]

"I haven't had a new car or anything, I am still a tea maker. Electricity hasn't improved at all, what has changed? The Americans should leave, it would be better for all of us."

US President George Bush marked the anniversary in a speech at the White House, declaring the fall of Saddam had removed a source of aggression and instability in the Middle East.

Bush's 'lies'

"There are still violent thugs and murderers in Iraq, and we're dealing with them," Bush said. "But no one can argue that the Iraqi people would be better off with the thugs and murderers back in the palaces."

Bush's statements, however, fly in the face of reality on the ground, Iraqis say.

"The security situation is worse that one year ago. I cannot take my family outside at night. When I walk in the street, I do not know when a bomb is going to explode and kill me. We were better secured during Saddam's time," said Ammar Samir, 26, an employee of a private trading company.

"The Americans have failed to provide security and prosperity to the Iraqi people."

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Bush says Iraq differences are in the past

By Steve Holland and Arshad Mohammed
Friday March 19, 09:54 PM

WASHINGTON/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush says Saddam Hussein's fall has removed a source of Middle East violence and instability, calling on other countries to show more resolve against terrorism.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, blasts echoed across Baghdad from a suspected mortar or rocket attack on the headquarters of the U.S.-led administration. The U.S. military said there were no casualties.

"Any sign of weakness or retreat simply validates terrorist violence and invites more violence for all nations," Bush told representatives from 83 countries at the White House on Friday. [...]

He acknowledged global divisions over the decision to invade Iraq but said the war had removed a dangerous tyrant.

"There have been disagreements in this matter among old and valued friends," said Bush.

"Those differences belong to the past. All of us can now agree that the fall of the Iraqi dictator has removed a source of violence, aggression and instability in the Middle East." [...]

Comment: We have heard this argument rather frequently: "Well, Saddam Hussein was a cruel and violent dictator. The world is better off without him." That is certainly one way of looking at the current situation. Here is another: Any benefit of Saddam's removal from power is completely nullified by the imperialist actions of the US. The CPA is a puppet of the US government. The Iraqi people have neither freedom nor democracy. They certainly don't want to be occupied by any country, especially America. Freedom would mean being able to choose something other than occupation by US forces. Given that it seems America itself really has little idea just what democracy is, how can we expect that the country would have any clue how to bring true democracy to other lands? Furthermore, one might argue that true democracy is a fantasy in this reality. What better way to enslave people than by convincing them that they are free?

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The crime committed in our name

The coalition of the willing perpetrated an act of terrorism on the Iraqi people

John Pilger

March 20, 2004 (The Age) -- The invasion of Iraq, which began one year ago today, was "organised with lies", says the new Spanish Prime Minister. Does anyone doubt this any more?

And yet these proven lies are still dominant in Australia. Day after day, their perpetrators seek to obfuscate and justify an unprovoked, illegal attack that killed up to 55,000 people, including at least 10,000 civilians; that every month causes the death and injury of 1000 children from exploding cluster bombs; that has so saturated Iraqi towns and cities with uranium that American and British soldiers are warned not to go where Iraqi children play, for fear of contamination.

Set that carnage against the Madrid atrocity. Terrible though that act of terrorism was, it was small compared with the terrorism of the American-led "coalition". Yes, terrorism. How strange it reads when it describes the actions of "our" governments. So saturated are we in the West in the devilry of Third World tyrants (most of them the products of Western imperialism) that we have lost all sense of the enormous crime committed in our name.

This is not rhetoric. In 1946, the judges who tried the German leadership at Nuremberg called the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country "the supreme international war crime". That principle guided more than half a century of international law, until Bush and Blair and Howard tore it up, covering their actions with a litany of lies.

On February 4 last year, in a speech lasting less than an hour, John Howard referred more than 30 times to the "threat" posed by Saddam Hussein. He offered authoritative detail: that Iraq's "arsenal of chemical and biological weapons (was) intact" and was a "massive program". All of this was false.

Ray McGovern, one of the CIA's most senior analysts and a personal friend of George Bush snr, told me: "It was 95 per cent charade. And they all knew it: Bush, Blair, Howard."

Set that truth against the present carnage in Iraq, and set it against the wilful destruction that preceded it, which was barely reported in Australia.

The UN's two senior officials in Iraq in the 1990s, Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck, both assistant secretaries-general of the UN, have described in detail a "genocidal embargo" imposed by America under a UN flag of convenience, aided and abetted by Australia.

"Almost a million Iraqis died as a direct result," Halliday told me, "including at least half a million children. The UNICEF studies are on the record. It was US policy to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq, such as the water supply, which killed thousands of infants. By the time Bush invaded, a once prosperous country was a stricken nation."

In fact, UN records show that up to July 2002, more than $US5 billion worth of humanitarian aid, approved by the UN Security Council and paid for by Iraq, was blocked by the US.

How many Australians are aware of this and Australia's complicity? Howard sent RAN ships to police what in reality was a medieval-style siege? Who dared listen to Halliday and other distinguished witnesses that it was this terrible siege that reinforced Saddam's rule and prevented the Iraqi people from getting rid of him?

All this has been suppressed in Australia while the latest lies are channelled and amplified by journalists. I am not referring to the usual far-right windbags but those broadcasters who believe sincerely they are being objective; by constantly framing the national debate in the terms and cliches of mendacious power, they collude with it, censoring by omission.

Do they ever consider that the very notion of a "war on terror" is absurd when the power in Washington claiming to combat terror has run an empire of terror: Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua and now Haiti, again? By comparison al-Qaeda is a lethal flea. The true danger is where a rampant superpower will strike next: watch out Korea, Syria, Iran, even China.

As the prisoners begin to struggle home from the American concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, the scale of the crime is emerging. We now know that the British military command virtually refused to send troops to Iraq until Blair gave them a guarantee they would not be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court. Blair's guarantee was worthless. And that frightens the British establishment, and the Australian establishment, too.

Unlike the US, Britain and Australia are signatories to the ICC. The times are changing; Washington-manipulated show trials of Third World dictators are giving way to the promise of universal justice, however tenuous it may seem.

The dock awaits those Westerners who bring terrorism to faraway countries, then watch it blow back in our faces. Like al-Qaeda, they should not be allowed to get away with it.

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Bush 'gunning' for Iraq after 911

Saturday 20 March 2004, 12:13 Makka Time, 9:13 GMT

A former White House anti-terrorism adviser has said the Bush administration considered bombing Iraq in retaliation after 11 September 2001.

Richard Clarke, who headed a cybersecurity board that gleaned intelligence from the internet, told CBS 60 Minutes in an interview to be aired on Sunday he was surprised administration officials turned immediately towards Iraq instead of al-Qaida and Usama bin Ladin.

"They were talking about Iraq on 9/11. They were talking about it on 9/12," said Clarke.

Clarke said he was briefing President Bush and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld among other top officials in the aftermath of the devastating attacks.

"Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq. ... We all said, 'but no, no. Al-Qaida is in Afghanistan," recounted Clarke, "and Rumsfeld said, 'There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.'"

[...] Clarke's comments are the latest to raise the question of the Bush administration's focus on overthrowing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, one year after the US-led occupation of Iraq.

The administration has struggled to put up any credible evidence to link al-Qaida, blamed for the 911 attacks, with Saddam Hussein's regime.

No evidence

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, fired in a shake-up of Bush's economic team in December 2002, told 60 Minutes in an interview aired in January he never saw any evidence Iraq had weapons of mass destruction - Bush's main justification for going to war.

O'Neill also charged that Bush entered office intent on invading Iraq and ousting its leader, Saddam Hussein.

"I think they wanted to believe that there was a connection" between Iraq and al-Qaida, Clarke told 60 Minutes.

"But the CIA was sitting there, the FBI was sitting there, I was sitting there, saying, 'We've looked at this issue for years. For years we've looked and there's just no connection,'" said Clarke.

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Iraq suicide bombs have killed 660 civilians so far

Thousands of people in Iraq have suffered from suicide bombings -a phenomenon unknown in Iraq before the US-led invasion nearly a year ago. The cycle began nine days after fighting erupted, and has claimed at least 660 lives -far more than in 3 1/2 years of Israel-Palestinian suicide attacks.

The majority of victims are Iraqis. Iraqi officials and police put the death toll higher by at least 100. In the past year, there have been at least 24 suicide bombings, including four where more than one attacker struck at the same target.

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Reservist Commits Suicide Over City Job

By KATE ROBERTS
Associated Press Writer
March 19, 2004, 7:33 PM EST

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Army reservist who unsuccessfully fought city officials for an expected promotion after he returned from service in Afghanistan has committed suicide, police said.

Lt. Brandon Ratliff was upset that he could not afford to pay for an attorney to fight the city to get the job, according to an e-mail sent from Ratliff's account to The Columbus Dispatch on Thursday.

The newspaper said Ratliff was found dead in his home with a bullet wound to the head about three hours after the e-mail was sent. Police spokeswoman Sherry Mercurio said Ratliff's death was ruled a suicide.

Ratliff said he was promised a promotion and a raise in September 2002 before he left to serve in a medical unit in Afghanistan. When he returned, the higher-level job had been filled and he was forced to resume his old job, which pays $4,000 less per year.

"I didn't think that I'd have to fight over there and come back and fight these guys," he said last week.

By law, employers must take back reservists returning from military service, with few exceptions.

According to the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, employers must reinstate reservists returning from military service to the job they would have attained had they not been absent. Health department spokeswoman Liane Egle said Ratliff did not formally accept the promotion before his deployment and the city believed it did not have to hold the higher job for him. [...]

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The human toll of looking for a CIA asset who has already been caught is almost unimaginable.

ID of Cornered al-Qaida Target Unclear

By MATTHEW PENNINGTON
Associated Press Writer

[...] Meanwhile, a senior Pakistani army officer told The Associated Press that an American helicopter fired rockets at a car in the Alawarai Mandi district of North Waziristan, just one mile from the Afghan border. Three people inside were injured, the officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He said it was not clear if the Americans were after a specific target or knew they had crossed into Pakistani territory. The area is about 25 miles north of the fighting in South Waziristan.

Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, the main spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, disputed the claim. "There are no American or combined forces over there," he said.

The issue is politically sensitive. Musharraf is a staunch U.S. ally but has steadfastly insisted that no American troops be allowed on Pakistani soil. If confirmed, an attack by the Americans would likely enflame deep hostility in Pakistan. [...]

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Pitched battles rage in Pakistan tribal belt

Saturday 20 March 2004, 14:15 Makka Time, 11:15 GMT

Pakistan's military has arrested more than 100 suspects in their five-day assault on al-Qaida fighters holed up in mud fortresses along the border.

Those detained included foreigners and the local Pashtun tribesmen who have been sheltering them, said Lieutenant General Safdar Hussain, the military commander who is in charge of the sweep.

Hussain said 400 to 500 fighters are believed to still be fighting from within heavily fortified compounds, using mortars, AK-47s, rockets and hand-grenades in a face-off with troops.

"These people have been here for a long, long time. They are extremely professional fighters," he said. "They have tremendous patience before they open fire."

The military showed journalists 40 prisoners, all blindfolded and with their hands tied, who were sitting under heavy guard in the back of a military truck in Wana, the main town in the tribal South Waziristan region, where the battle was raging.

The army also displayed the body of one suspected fighter wrapped in a white blanket.

Hussain said troops were convinced the compounds held a "high-value" target, but he said they had no confirmation the man was al-Zawahiri.

[...] Nearly 30,000 civilians, some wounded and others carrying their meagre possessions – clothes, carpets, pots and pans, fled the battle zone. Many said they knew nothing about al-Qaida fighters in their midst, and expressed outrage at the military assault.

In Karikot, a town a few miles from a few miles from the heaviest fighting, elders convened an emergency jirga - or tribal council - and accused the army of breaking long-standing agreements for conduct in the region.

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Muslim chaplain sees spy charges dropped

Saturday 20 March 2004, 11:26 Makka Time, 8:26 GMT

The US military has dropped all criminal charges against a Muslim Army chaplain who ministered to Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

The Pentagon on Friday said the US Army had agreed to abandon charges of mishandling classified information while Capt James Yee worked at the US Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"They collapsed. Chaplain Yee has won his case," Yee's civilian lawyer, Eugene Fidell said.

Vindicated

"This represents a long overdue vindication. In our view, he's entitled to an apology and we will be looking forward to receiving one," the lawyer said.

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A war story I wish I'd written

By HARVEY RICE
Houston Chronicle


The realization that the first anniversary of the U.S. invasion Iraq invasion was drawing near awakened memories I had buried since covering the war. They summoned a measure of resentment, frustration and even guilt.

Those feelings were sharpened by recent revelations raising the possibility that the rationale for the war was cynically manufactured by the Bush administration from selected, wildly inaccurate intelligence.

I was a witness to, and in a sense a participant in, the most concerted, successful attempt by our government to control war coverage in our history.

And it went off with barely a whimper from the men and women of the media. [...]

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Annan Calls for Independent Probe Into UN in Iraq

By Evelyn Leopold
Fri Mar 19, 1:34 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on Friday for a broad independent probe into the U.N.-administered Iraq oil-for-food program, saying it was "highly possible" there had been a lot of wrongdoing.

Annan, in his first comments on the burgeoning allegations, has been under pressure to conduct an investigation into corruption from Iraqi leaders as well as the U.S. officials searching for former President Saddam Hussein's hidden assets.

The United Nations has begun an in-house probe of its own staff but Annan stressed a wider, independent investigation was needed to cover outside firms and individuals.

This would involve approval from the 15-nation Security Council, which supervised the program. [...]

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Iraq War Protesters Arrested in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Police arrested 18 protesters in San Francisco marking the first anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq on Friday, a spokeswoman said. [...]

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Demonstrators Clash With Police In Many Cities

Global anti-war protest is part of the observance of the one-year anniversary of the Iraq war.

Thousands of demonstrators marched in Australia and Korea Saturday, demanding an end to the U.S. military occupation. About a hundred protesters marched on the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong demanding "just peace, not war."

About 30,000 people turned out for an anti-war protest in Japan, and demonstrators in the Philippines clashed with riot police.

Organizers in New York City say they're are hoping for 50,000 marchers today and police say they'll do what's necessary to keep order and prevent a repeat of the chaos at protests a year ago. [...]

Comment: A Yahoo! News slideshow of protests around the world can be found here.

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Anti-War Protesters Climb London's Big Ben

By Peter Griffiths
March 20, 2004

LONDON (Reuters) - Two anti-war protesters evaded tight security to climb London's landmark Big Ben clock tower at the Houses of Parliament as thousands marched on the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq on Saturday. The pair unfurled a banner which read "Time for Truth" before rappelling down from the clockface 328 feet above the capital six hours later. They were arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

"We want to send a clear message to (Prime Minister) Tony Blair that we and the British people are fed up with the half-truths and evasions on Iraq," said Stephen Tindale, executive director of environmental group Greenpeace, which organized the stunt. [...]

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The U.S. Global Empire

by Laurence M. Vance
lewrockwell.com

Nothing, however, compares to the U.S. global empire. What makes U.S. hegemony unique is that it consists, not of control over great land masses or population centers, but of a global presence unlike that of any other country in history.

The extent of the U.S. global empire is almost incalculable. The latest " Base Structure Report " of the Department of Defense states that the Department’s physical assets consist of "more than 600,000 individual buildings and structures, at more than 6,000 locations, on more than 30 million acres." The exact number of locations is then given as 6,702 – divided into large installations (115), medium installations (115), and small installations/locations (6,472). This classification can be deceiving, however, because installations are only classified as small if they have a Plant Replacement Value (PRV) of less than $800 million.

Although most of these locations are in the continental United States, 96 of them are in U.S. territories around the globe, and 702 of them are in foreign countries. But as Chalmers Johnson has documented , the figure of 702 foreign military installations is too low, for it does not include installations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan. Johnson estimates that an honest count would be closer to 1,000.

The number of countries that the United States has a presence in is staggering. According the U.S. Department of State’s list of " Independent States in the World ," there are 192 countries in the world, all of which, except Bhutan, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, have diplomatic relations with the United States. All of these countries except one (Vatican City) are members of the United Nations . According to the Department of Defense publication, " Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and by Country ," the United States has troops in 135 countries. Here is the list:

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Divide between U.S. tech firms, China--a great wall?

By Michael Kanellos
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
March 19, 2004, 4:00 AM PST


The honeymoon between China and the U.S. tech industry is over, and the warm feelings may be gone for a while.

In the past several months, China has adopted a series of regulations that seem calculated, at least according to Westerners, to help Chinese manufacturers as well as force multinationals to expand their local operations.

The Chinese-developed Wi-Fi security protocol called Wired Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI) is one example. Starting June 1, all Wi-Fi equipment sold in China will have to comply with the proprietary protocol, and Western chipmakers are now required to pay select Chinese companies a per-chip royalty for WAPI and/or partner with them on development. And because WAPI technology can't leave the country, Western companies will have to staff local facilities if they want to participate in the market.

"There are literally thousands of test hours in every driver," said Jeff Thermond, vice president of Home and Wireless Networking at Broadcom, which has decided to pull out of the Chinese Wi-Fi market after the June WAPI law takes effect. "All the work must be done by employees in China."

The country also continues to maintain a value added tax (VAT) on imported semiconductors that is prompting foreign chipmakers to build facilities in the country or sign up with local foundries. Imported products get saddled with a 17 percent VAT, while the VAT on locally made products can be as low as 3 percent. On Thursday, the Bush administration filed suit with the World Trade Organization over the VAT.

"It is an artificial way of forcing U.S. companies to invest in China," said Daryl Hatano, vice president of public policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association.

U.S. Trade representative Robert Zoellick has issued a statement calling for China to change its tax policy and repeal the WAPI law, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans and Secretary of State Colin Powell also sent a letter to Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and others urging them to reconsider the law.

"China must live up to its WTO obligations. It cannot impose measures that discriminate against U.S. products," Zoellick said in a statement. [...]

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FLASHBACK: "How to make America get it"

By Gabriel Ash
YellowTimes.org Columnist
Monday, December 08, 2003

(YellowTimes.org) – This week the world learned a much needed lesson. The topic of the lesson was, "How to make the U.S. change its unacceptable policies." The teacher was the European Union, and the technique taught was bullying.

As expected, Bush finally rescinded the tariffs on steel imports, imposed two years ago and declared illegal by the WTO. He didn't do it because steel tariffs were the perfect symbol of the U.S. allowing itself what it denies to others. He didn't do it because steel tariffs were a symbol of U.S. hypocrisy with regards to "free trade" (the U.S. is free to protect its industry and other countries are free to have their industry destroyed). Nor did Bush abolish the tariffs because ignoring the WTO ruling against the tariffs would have made a mockery of the U.S. signature on an international treaty. The obligation to honor treaties, international law, and fairness were of little importance. What made Bush give in was that Europe was dead serious about imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

Yet there is more. The E.U. was smart and brazen. The retaliatory tariffs were tailored to harm a select groups of products manufactured in states like Florida, states that are crucial to Bush's plans for being elected president in 2004. Thus, Europe went beyond the WTO ruling allowing retaliation against the U.S. The threatened tariffs were an openly announced intervention in the internal electoral politics of the U.S. What chutzpah! Using threats of economic damage to either overthrow a government or change its policies is, by some definitions favored by the current Justice Department, nothing less than international terrorism!

The U.S. routinely intervenes in the electoral politics of other countries. For example, the Brazilian government of Cardoso was twice saved from electoral defeat by calibrated, financial interventions by the U.S. It is common practice for U.S. ambassadors to threaten Latin American voters with retaliation if they elect the "wrong" candidate. But Washington isn't used to being on the receiving end of these techniques for winning hearts and minds. "Old Europe" may not be wearing Stetsons, but it still has some cojones! [...]

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State History Tests Require the U.S. to appear as the Hero of Every Tale

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US reporter faked major stories

A leading American newspaper, USA Today, has said one of its star foreign correspondents made up substantial elements of a number of major stories.

Jack Kelley had been nominated five times for the most prestigious award in journalism, the Pulitzer Prize.

USA Today said it had found strong evidence contradicting some of Mr Kelley's supposed eye-witness accounts, including that of a suicide bombing.

Mr Kelley resigned in January after admitting to misleading editors.

[...] The investigation found strong evidence that he had made up substantial portions of at least eight major stories and lifted quotes and material from other competing publications.

One example was an eyewitness account that Mr Kelley gave of a suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2001.

[...] It also found evidence contradicting his account of a meeting with a Jewish vigilante settler in 2001 and a high-speed hunt he said he went on for Osama Bin Laden in 2003.

Comment: Jack Kelley lies and is forced to resign. Bush and his entire administration lie and...

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U.S. Hopes U.N. Resolution Will Keep Spain in Iraq

With the new Spanish government threatening to withdraw its troops from Iraq, a Bush administration spokesman has said Washington may draft a new resolution that would cede more power to the U.N.

With one short speech on Monday, Spanish prime-minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero made official that his country, long one of Washington's staunchest supporters in the war, is considering withdrawing its forces from Iraq.

The prospect of losing a close ally is disquieting for the Bush administration, and on Monday, U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the United States would consider drafting a new United Nations resolution aimed at providing the international body with a mandate to send troops to Iraq and assuage fears of the incoming Spanish government.

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Ayoon wa Azan (Bush And Blair's Turn)

Jihad Al Khazen Al-Hayat 2004/03/19

On March 17 2003, President George W. Bush abandoned attempts to work within the framework of international consensus, and gave Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq. On March 20, the war started, and the Iraqi president and his two sons paid the price for their crimes. Now, it is George W. Bush and Tony Blair's turn.

U.S. public opinion polls of the recent weeks seemed very clear. Fifty-seven percent of Americans said in last week's polls of the Washington Post and ABC that they wanted the new president to stay clear from Bush's political course. A similar Gallup poll undertaken two days ago showed that 60% of Americans wanted a change in the political course, and statistics showed that Democrat candidate John Kerry was four points ahead of Bush, in a presidential race that also included independent candidate Ralph Nader.

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The Brutal Game

Walid Choucair Al-Hayat 2004/03/19

It is enough for the individual to hear the Americans say that the countries in the region should recognize the change after the American forces toppled Saddam Hussein's regime, and should react to America's request of change and adaptation, to deduce that Washington is preparing to bring changes to the Arab World. These changes would not come through "recommending" the democratic reforms or through the Greater Middle East (GME) plan only, but also by mobilizing the forces that can disturb the regimes and annoy them - even if it leads to violent bloody events…

This conclusion does not fall under the "conspiracy theory." The Americans themselves are not hiding their intentions when they consider the time suitable for those who are asking for democracy and reform to act, and to capitalize on what happened in Iraq. The U.S. would then support them.

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We don't live there: It's time Israel dropped down the list of political priorities for American Jewry, and for good reason: it's not our country.

by Bradford R. Pilcher March 19, 2004

A Chicago Jewish woman asked Slate magazine last month, "What am I supposed to do in November? Bush has been so good for Israel, and that's so important to me, [but] I'm a lifelong Democrat. How can I vote for Bush?"

The answer is simple: Don't.

This Chicagoan, a resident citizen of the United States, "disagrees with just about every plank" of Bush's platform. His policies impact her immensely more than those of Ariel Sharon. Nevertheless, she's torn on whether to vote for Bush, and for no other reason than he's considered cozy with Israel.

Forgive the harshness, but this woman is crazy -- as in preoccupied or infatuated to a foolish or impractical degree. Sadly, she's not alone. It seems ever growing numbers of American Jews are willing to drop everything for the Jewish state.

Why won't anyone say they are Jewish?

Adbusters
Kalle Lasn

Friends help each other out. That’s why the US sends billions of dollars every year to Israel. In return, Israel advances US strategic interests in the Middle East. But despite this mutual back scratching, Israeli-American relations are enduring a rough patch. Last December, a senior State Department official blasted Israel for having “done too little for far too long” to resolve the conflict with its Palestinian neighbors. Indeed, President Bush himself had scolded Israel a month earlier with his demand that “Israel should freeze settlement construction, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people and not prejudice final negotiations with the building of walls and fences.”

Harsh words, but is it all just window-dressing? This was not the first time Bush criticized Israel and he has made numerous calls for a “viable” Palestinian state during his presidency. Nevertheless, he has never concretely punished Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for ignoring US directives and shrugging off his commitment to the peace process. It’s also worth noting that diplomatic admonitions are the responsibility of the State Department which has been on the losing end of the policy wars in Bush’s White House. One wonders what Israeli-American relations, and indeed what American relations with the rest of the world would look like if the neocon hawks who control Rumsfeld’s Defense Department were also in charge at State.

A lot of ink has been spilled chronicling the pro-Israel leanings of American neocons and fact that a the disproportionate percentage of them are Jewish. Some commentators are worried that these individuals – labeled ‘Likudniks’ for their links to Israel’s right wing Likud party – do not distinguish enough between American and Israeli interests. For example, whose interests were they protecting in pushing for war in Iraq?

Drawing attention to the Jewishness of the neocons is a tricky game. Anyone who does so can count on automatically being smeared as an anti-Semite. But the point is not that Jews (who make up less than 2 percent of the American population) have a monolithic perspective. Indeed, American Jews overwhelmingly vote Democrat and many of them disagree strongly with Ariel Sharon’s policies and Bush’s aggression in Iraq. The point is simply that the neocons seem to have a special affinity for Israel that influences their political thinking and consequently American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Here at Adbusters, we decided to tackle the issue head on and came up with a carefully researched list of who appear to be the 50 most influential neocons in the US (see above). Deciding exactly who is a neocon is difficult since some neocons reject the term while others embrace it. Some shape policy from within the White House, while others are more peripheral, exacting influence indirectly as journalists, academics and think tank policy wonks. What they all share is the view that the US is a benevolent hyper power that must protect itself by reshaping the rest of the world into its morally superior image. And half of the them are Jewish.

Comment: And if you are not offended by strong language, you can read the response this article received here. The author of the article also defends herself:

[The neocons] have the power to start wars and to stop them. They are the prime architects of America’s foreign policy since 9/11 – a policy that is heavily weighed in favor of Israel and a key source of anti-Americanism around the world. So I think it is not only appropriate, but necessary to put them under a microscope. And if we see maleness, whiteness, Jewishness, Zionism or intellectual thuggery there, then let us not look the other way.

On the ethnic question: Is it not just as valid to comment on the Jewishness of the neocons as it is to point out that the majority of them are male or white or wealthy or from the Western world or have studied at a particular university? If half the neocons were Palestinians, would the US have invaded Iraq?

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Brooklyn Jew suspected of links to arms-smuggling into Israel

By Yossi Melman
Haaretz Correspondent

A court in Bridgeport, Connecticut on Friday charged a 70-year-old Jewish resident of Brooklyn with alleged involvement in smuggling weapons into Israel. [...]

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Mysterious No. 11 continues to hound the world, mankind

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EU ministers reject creating European CIA

An emergency summit of European ministers has rejected the idea of a European version of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to improve counter-terrorism cooperation in the wake of last week's bombings in Madrid. [...]

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Taiwan's leaders urge calm

By GEOFFREY YORK
From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Taiwan was swirling with conspiracy theories this morning after a mysterious assassination attempt by unknown gunmen sent shock waves through a crucial election campaign that could decide the fate of the island's independence movement.

[...] Western governments are watching the election closely because it could trigger a military conflict with mainland China if the pro-independence forces win the election and proceed with plans to approve a new constitution by 2008. Beijing has made it clear it will use military force if Taiwan takes constitutional steps to move toward independence. This, in turn, would almost certainly drag the United States into the conflict on Taiwan's side.

[...] Within hours, Taiwanese were debating a host of competing theories to explain the shooting. Some suspected a plot by mainland China. Some blamed extremist supporters of Lien Chan, the main opposition candidate who was slightly favoured over Mr. Chen. Some alleged a conspiracy by Mr. Chen's campaign to stage the attack to seek sympathy votes. Some pointed the finger at corrupt financiers who fear an anti-corruption campaign by the President. Some said the attack was organized by Taiwan's powerful underground gambling rings, which have lots of money riding on the outcome of the election.

Both campaigns were quick to seek political advantage from the shootings, amid a democratic scene that ranges from vibrant to chaotic. It seemed likely that the attack would benefit Mr. Chen, but it wasn't clear whether it would be enough to beat Mr. Lien.

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Taiwan poll ends in dispute drama

Taiwan's close-fought election has ended in high drama, a day after President Chen Shui-bian survived an apparent assassination attempt. The Election Commission has declared that he has been re-elected to a second term by fewer than 30,000 votes.

But as Chen supporters celebrated, challenger Lien Chan demanded that the results be declared null and void. He said there were unanswered questions about how Mr Chen had been shot, and the election had been unfair.

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Aristide's former security chief extradited to U.S.

Last Updated Fri, 19 Mar 2004 18:21:36

TORONTO - Oriel Jean, the former security chief for Haiti's ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has been deported to the U.S. from Toronto.

Jean, who has been accused by U.S. authorities of conspiring to traffic in cocaine, waived his right to an extradition hearing, a Canadian justice department spokesman said Friday.

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2 mad cow cases traced to Canadian mills

Last Updated Fri, 19 Mar 2004 22:41:58

WASHINGTON - Animal feed that probably caused two cases of mad cow disease in Canada and the U.S. has been traced to two mills in Canada, say Canadian officials.

The feed could have contained protein from infected British cattle, said Dr. George Luterbach of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

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New primate virus infects humans

Last Updated Fri, 19 Mar 2004 19:58:33

LONDON - People who hunt monkeys and apes can be infected with the same class of viruses as HIV, researchers have warned.

Scientists from the U.S. and Cameroon found a simian foamy virus (SFV) spread to hunters who were exposed to blood or bodily fluids of primates.

"Researchers have documented animal to human transmission of SFV in the laboratory, but our study is the first to demonstrate that these retroviruses are actively crossing into people," said epidemiology Prof. Nathan Wolfe of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Wolfe was the lead author of the study, which appears in Friday's issue of the medical journal The Lancet.

The study said hunters infected with simian foamy virus showed no symptoms of disease, and more research is needed to tell if it can pass between people and if there is a long incubation period.

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U.S. issues new guidelines on eating fish

Last Updated Fri, 19 Mar 2004 12:34:25

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued new guidelines on eating fish aimed at balancing the risk of mercury exposure with the cardiovascular benefits of seafood.

Under the guidelines, women who are pregnant, nursing or may become pregnant, and young children should not eat certain kinds of fish that tend to be high in mercury. Those fish include shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.

The guidelines suggest eating up to two meals a week - a total of 12 ounces - of fish known to be low in mercury, such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.

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Vietnam confirms 16th death from avian flu, raising Asia toll to 24

06:46 AM EST Mar 20

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - Vietnamese health officials said Saturday a 12-year-old boy who died earlier this week tested positive for avian flu, bringing Vietnam's death toll from the disease to 16.

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Releasing diluted poison into river to be discussed

An Army proposal would dispose of neutralized nerve gas in the Delaware.

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FDA’s Failure to Act on Serzone is Illegal

Deaths and Injuries from Liver Toxicity Mount as Agency Tarries, Public Citizen Says in Lawsuit

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FLASHBACK: MEDICAL CARTEL DEATH STATS

Comment: We will include just a few statistics from Jon Rappoport's essay on No More Fake News, which cites references. These statistics are for the US. Strangely enough, the pharmaceutical and medical industries are not considered terrorists, but you may be once CAPS II goes into effect. Far more US citizens are likely to die at the hands of their doctor or the activities of the US government than a terrorist.

100,000 Americans die each year from medications that they took CORRECTLY
90,000 people die every year from hospital infections
15 million unnecessary surgeries
60,000 people die from those unnecessary surgeries
36 million adverse drug events per year 

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TSA plans to order airlines to hand over passenger data

Howard Dicus

The Transportation Security Administration says it will soon require airlines to hand over passenger data to test a controversial new computer screening program called CAPPSII.[...]

CAPPSII is the second version of the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-screening System, the first version of which was tested with a handful of airlines without the knowledge of their customers. Northwest Airlines is defending itself against a class action suit for cooperating. Delta Air Lines withdrew its cooperation when it became public. [...]

Passengers worry about false positives that delay people who are neither terrorists nor criminals, something which has already happened to enough people for most Americans to have read accounts of such incidents in their local newspapers. [...]

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Private Eye

[...] ChoicePoint's business is the gathering and selling of information about people. Huge electronic files the firm compiles contain far more data about Americans than is available at any government office. In fact, it's illegal for a government agency to collect most of the data ChoicePoint maintains on private citizens. Thus an unusual alliance has grown between government, whose appetite for information about potential security risks has risen, and a company whose acumen in assembling personal information has made it the supplier of choice for many federal agencies. [...]

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About That Close Election . . .

New York Times

Mexicans are eagerly reading the new autobiography of former President Miguel de la Madrid for its authoritative confirmation of one of the most flagrant electoral frauds of modern times — the stealing of Mexico's 1988 presidential election by the ruling-party candidate, Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Mr. de la Madrid had a unique vantage point: he presided over the theft.

It is a historical tale with important lessons not just for Mexico but for the United States. Throughout much of the Institutional Revolutionary Party's seven-decade authoritarian rule, Washington mistakenly subordinated democracy to its desire for a narrowly defined form of stability south of the border. [...]

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New hacking tool hijacks file-sharing networks

19 March 04  
NewScientist.com

Computer hackers have started using peer-to-peer networks to remotely take over hoards of "zombie" computers, adding yet more malicious capability to the hackers' tool-kit. [...]

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Caribbean briefs - Montserrat's volcano

BRADES, Montserrat - Scientists are closely watching Montserrat's volcano after a week of increased activity that brought strong tremors and sent ash clouds into the sky, a researcher said Friday.

During the week scientists recorded several earthquakes and one rock fall from the Soufriere Hills Volcano. On Monday, an ash cloud blew from the volcano and rose an estimated 15,000 feet according to the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. The ash ejected on Monday was carried over uninhabited areas.

On March 3, an eruption sent a massive cloud of ash into the sky, but there were no injuries or damage.

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Another Small Earthquake Rumbles Near Nephi

Mar. 19, 2004

(Nephi-AP) -- Another small earthquake rumbled near the town of Nephi this morning, where two others were reported yesterday.

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations report a magnitude three-point-zero earthquake shook central Utah at 7:23 am.

The epicenter was located five miles southwest of Nephi and in the same area as a three-point-three magnitude earthquake that was reported yesterday morning.

Seismologists say another magnitude three-point-zero earthquake occurred in the same area last night and that it's part of a series of small earthquakes that began March 10. [...]

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NASA Explains 'Dust Bowl' Drought

[...] The study found cooler than normal tropical Pacific Ocean surface temperatures combined with warmer tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures to create conditions in the atmosphere that turned America's breadbasket into a dust bowl from 1931 to 1939. The team's data is in this week's Science magazine.

These changes in sea surface temperatures created shifts in the large-scale weather patterns and low level winds that reduced the normal supply of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and inhibited rainfall throughout the Great Plains. [...]

By discovering the causes behind U.S. droughts, especially severe episodes like the Plains' dry spell, scientists may recognize and possibly foresee future patterns that could create similar conditions. [...]

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West Faces Drought, Wildfires - NOAA

By Christopher Doering
Fri Mar 19,12:41 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Drought conditions blanketing much of the Western United States are not expected to improve this spring, leading to more potential for "large, destructive" fires in some areas, U.S. government weather forecasters said on Friday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned in its spring weather outlook, which covers the April-June period, that above average precipitation during the winter has done little to improve multi-year drought conditions in Western states such as Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho and Montana. [...]

Some Western areas are entering their sixth year of drought, which has shriveled crops, drained water reservoirs and sparked fires in bone-dry forests. NOAA estimated drought had affected more than 50 percent of the West. [...]

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Water crisis in drought-hit Beijing; plans to cut back consumption

Duan said Beijing has suffered five straight years of drought...

She said rehabilitation of the Guanting Reservoir, the second largest in Beijing, would be finished next year, and by then the reservoir's water should be fit for drinking again.

Due to severe pollution in Beijing and neighbouring areas, the Guanting Reservoir has not supplied drinking water since 1997.

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Brampton Ontario - 2 Circular Objects Sighted

Date: March 19, 2004 Time: 5:30 a.m.

[...] What I saw next was amazing.The object I seen quickly started to accelerate north where it met with another similar object which seemed to appear out of nowhere and they both banked hard and fast to the west accelerating and decelerating like they were playing with one another and while this was going on they seemed to wobble and shimmer.I thought I may be imagining things but I wasn't.They were flying at approximately 7 to 10,000 feet and accelerated more than the speed of a visible satellite seen on a clear night. [...]

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The Book That Inspired Mel Gibson's Movie

Comment: At the time we checked, this link making the above claim was down. Amazon.com tells us a bit about the author:

Born of poor parents in northern Germany, Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) joined a convent at the age of 28, after years of working as a seamstress and servant. As a nun of the Order of St. Augustine, she eventually was confined to her bed due to failing health. She spontaneously displayed the stigmata (the wounds of Jesus on her hands and side), and was subject to extended visions of the life of Jesus. Her visions were recorded by the poet Klemens Maria Brentano, and published after her death in three books: The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1833), The Life of The Blessed Virgin Mary (1852), and The Life of Our Lord (1858-80). She has been pronounced "Venerable" by the Catholic church, an advanced step on the path to sainthood.

This is not the 21st Century we imagined as kids.

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Your guide to a double-feature comet show

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Mysterious megaliths of Sulawesi

You will find stone statues all over Sulawesi, Indonesia. Although none are as big as the famous megaliths of Easter Island, the Sulawesi stone figures are just as intriguing. Fourteen of them have been discovered in the grassy plains of Bada Valley, central Sulawesi. [...]

Remnants of an ancient culture, the megaliths vary in height from 1m to over 4m. They represent the human form but have oversized heads and are legless. Resembling abstract art, the carvings are minimalistic and highly stylised – curved lines are all that define the facial features.  

Some megaliths have arms curving towards the abdomen, others have oversized genitalia.  [...]

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N.J. Man's Soup Sparks Cannibalism Probe

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Austrian minister in jail search gaffe

By Michael Leidig in Vienna
18/03/2004

Austria's far-Right justice minister, Dieter Böhmdorfer, is being urged to resign after he authorised a training exercise in which 70 armed police, most of them men, stormed a women's prison and strip-searched the inmates in the chapel.

Heinz Patzelt, head of Amnesty International Austria, called the incident at the Schwarzau Correction Facility in Lower Austria, a "violation of human dignity".

The masked officers carried batons, shields and guns as they forced the female prisoners to stand facing the wall with their arms up while they pulled the cells apart, trampling on clothes and underwear and smashing personal possessions. The women were then marched to the prison's chapel, forced to strip naked and body searched.

One inmate, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I was forced to take all my clothes off and then bend over next to a fellow prisoner while the officers examined me intimately to see if I had hidden drugs on me. As far as I know there was no reason for them to even suspect this."

Petra Bayr, a Social Democrat MP, said the mission was morally "questionable" and has tabled a motion for a parliamentary inquiry into Justice Minister Dieter Böhmdorfer, saying: "He should step down".

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Pet spider kills its owner

From ALLAN HALL
in Berlin

A MAN who lived in his own “zoo” of lizards and insects was fatally bitten by a pet black widow spider — then eaten by the other creepy-crawlies.
Police broke in to Mark Voegel’s apartment to find spider Bettina along with 200 others, several snakes, a gecko lizard called Helmut and several thousand termites had gorged on his body.

Neighbours alerted police after becoming alarmed by the stink. And horrified officers were met by a nightmare scene. A police spokesman said: “It was like a horror movie. His corpse was over the sofa.

“Giant webs draped him, spiders were all over him. They were coming out of his nose and his mouth.

“There was everything there one could imagine in the world of reptiles. “Larger pieces of flesh torn off by the lizards were scooped up and taken back to the webs of tarantulas and other bird-eating spiders.”

Loner Voegel, 30, never invited people back to his “jungle” home, a small apartment in the German city of Dortmund.

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