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Sunday , March 21, 2004

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

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

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©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

'UK unprepared for terror attacks'

A vital part of Britain's network for handling disasters would be unable to cope with a major terrorist attack, like the Madrid bombings, the country's leading emergency planner has said.

Patrick Cunningham, chairman of the Emergency Planning Society, said that local authority planners would be able to offer little more than "a token gesture of support" in the aftermath of a major disaster.

His comments came as two Greenpeace protesters were able to breach security barriers and climb up St Stephen's tower at the Houses of Parliament in a stunt against the Iraq war. Their actions have led to a call for an inquiry.

[...] He said he was not criticising the police, fire and ambulance services, all of which have received extra funds and equipment over the last two years to help them prepare for terrorist attacks.

But he said that local authority planners, who are supposed to play a vital role in the aftermath of a disaster, could cope with a "traditional IRA bomb" but not with anything on the scale of the Madrid train bombings. [...]

A report earlier this year stated the Britain has more CCTV cameras pointed at its citizens than any other country in the world. In the wake of the Madrid bombings there have been calls for even more cameras, and a constant stressing of how "unprepared" the nation is in the event of a "terrorist attack". An attack is expected, so if it occurs, it becomes justification for more draconian controls on civil liberties. Fait accompli. The Old/ New World order still rules.

An interesting aspect of the so-called War on Terror is the extent to which the people of various countries demand security from their government. While America is perhaps the best example of this phenomenon, the above article demonstrates that America is certainly not alone in this respect. Of course, the people themselves may not initially demand the sacrifice of their civil liberties in the name of security, but we are all easily swayed by articles in the mainstream press. Note, also, the curious mention of the Greenpeace caper, as if climbing St Stephen's tower were in some way associated with the type of disaster emergency being discussed in this piece. This is the way dissent becomes associated in the reader's minds with terrorism. One might say that the reaction of the masses is not surprising. In our slumbering state, we are incapable of doing anything, and we are easily swayed by the winds of change.

One may also observe that the idea of being prepared for a terrorist strike is logically ridiculous. There is only one way to prevent anyone from harming anyone else: total control. We have written before of the absurdity of even unwittingly sacrificing liberty to prevent terrorism perpetrated by those who supposedly want to destroy those same liberties. Using the logic of men like Bush, doing nothing will result in defeat at the hands of terrorists. On the other hand, locking down the country will also result in a victory for the bad guys. Either way, the terrorists win. Viewed in this light, the recent US accusations that Spain is becoming soft on terrorism and "siding with Al-Qaeda" are ridiculous.

Terrorism is defined by Webster's 1913 dictionary as, "The act of terrorizing, or state of being terrorized; a mode of government by terror or intimidation." Although psychopaths like George Bush would have us believe otherwise, terrorism does not equate with war. We are told that terrorism knows no national or political boundaries. War is historically fought between countries or empires, yet terrorism cannot necessarily be identified as having any ties to a specific country. Terrorism is ethereal, and terrorists are shadowy, elusive figures that one might think don't even exist at all. It seems a certain degree of faith in our governments is required when it comes to the terrorist threat. In America, this faith in government seems to go hand in hand with a push from Christian fundamentalists. Even Bush appears to get his orders directly from God.

Perhaps we should reconsider our idea of what constitutes terrorism. The second definition presented above is, "a mode of government by terror or intimidation". It seems that the worldwide terrorist threat has little to do with "evil" Arabs and much to do with the US/Israel push for control of the world via intimidation and terror. We certainly don't believe that any country in the world will be immune from this new crusade. The puppet masters' quest for total domination truly does not appear to respect any boundaries. From this perspective, it may appear that humanity is without hope.

We would like to suggest that the hope for our individual and collective futures lies within each of us. We do not want to change this world, nor could we even if we tried our hardest. The only world we have a prayer of improving is the one inside. Perhaps if enough people were to learn to see the world as it truly is, rather than as what they wish it to be, we would be able to do something that could change our collective path in some way. Then again, maybe not. Maybe we are all doomed to a dark and horrific future. But at least we can try to change our inner worlds.

If we give in to the likes of Bush and Sharon, we are essentially ensuring our own destruction. With work on the self, and learning to see alternatives for ourselves and those with whom we are colinear, we may have a fighting chance to save at least our souls. And on that note, the Signs team wishes all our readers a very happy First Day of Spring.

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Spain's "Terrorists" Not Devout Muslims

Xympohora - March 18-19, 2004

You can see how absurdly easy it is to create a fake 'al-Qaeda' terrorist attack. Take one petty criminal from Madrid of plausible ethnicity and pay him some money to hang out with some people who the authorities can associate with al-Qaeda. After the bomb attack, either plant a bag of unexploded bombs or find a real dud bag and, while it is in the police station, put a phone and a phone card from the shop of the petty criminal in the bag. The criminal is instantly turned into Lee Harvey Oswald, and the bombing attack is instantly turned into an act of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism.

1. The main suspect, Jamal Zougam appears to have been a petty scammer and fence who dealt in stolen telephones and credit cards brought to him by a ring of pickpockets in Madrid. One business associate who had visited him just before the attack said

(1): "I know what he is accused of, but this is not the Jamal we know." Mahabur al-Farhon, who owns a boutique close to Zougam's shop, said:

"When we had a beer together he never talked about religion. He was more interested in making money."

Zougam is tied into the bombings by a phonecard said to have come from his shop which was found in the one bag of bombs which did not explode. The reason it did not explode is supposedly because the trigger for the explosion, a phone call to a disposable cell phone in the bag, was not made. The reason the call was not made? Because the terrorists forgot (or because they set the clock on one detonator for 19:40 rather than 7:40)! The famous bag itself was found (2) in a police station, where it supposedly had been taken by the police along with other luggage found at the scene of the bombing. The Spanish authorities don't seem comfortable with witness statements that Zougam was on the train, so the fact one of his phones and phonecards were used really doesn't prove anything except that someone involved may have bought them from him.

2. A group of radical Muslims had moved into Zougam's neighborhood recently, but Zougam was never seen in their company. He liked to go to nightclubs, was interested in sporting the latest fashions, and had boasted about his many girlfriends. In other words, he was just like Mohamed Atta, another 'Islamic fundamentalist' with decidedly un-fundamentalist choices in lifestyle!

3. Moroccan authorities have identified (3) the three arrested Moroccans as Jamal Zugam, 30, an office worker, Muhammad Bekkali, 31, a mechanic and Muhammad Chaui, 34, a factory worker. They are not known to be connected to terrorism (and the Moroccans appear to be on top of such things). This is eerily reminiscent of the stolen identities used in the 9-11 attack.

4. The Abu Hafs al Masri Brigade, which took credit for the bombings, may not actually exist (4).

5. Of the five arrested men, three are said to be Moroccans and two are supposed to be from India. Although it may be a translation problem, they were described as being of ‘Hindu’ (5) origin, odd members for al-Qaeda! It is interesting that initially the men of 'Hindu' origin were simply being questioned and were not expected (6) to be arrested.

6. There were no suicide bombers.

If 'Jamal Zougam' (if that is his real name) was involved, and that is certainly not proven, it seems likely he did it for money rather than for religious ideals. If so, anyone could have hired him. The complete absence of any timely claim to have done the act from any known terrorist group makes it highly unlikely that it was a terrorist act in the traditional sense (I don't see any of the late claims of responsibility as being credible). The weavers of stories have already started their work of tying 'Jamal Zougam' into the web of international Islamic terrorism. Don't believe the hype!

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Carl F. Worden

Ladies & gentlemen:

Following the coordinated attacks orchestrated on 9/11/2001, in which passenger aircraft were hijacked by a small group of Muslim extremists to destroy the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, and to damage the Pentagon, there have been no significant terrorist attacks that have occurred in the entire United States since that time.

There have been no bombings of American nightclubs, movie theaters, grocery stores or shopping malls. There have been no assaults by gunmen on those attending NFL football games or any other sports events. There have been no significant attacks on any American citizens in any public or private sector since 9/11/2001.

In the meantime, both the northern and southern borders of the United States have remained largely undermanned and unguarded by the United States Government, allowing anyone to enter, smuggling anything from drugs to Russian-made SA-7 portable anti-aircraft missiles, to any other munitions domestic terrorists might want to obtain and use.

In point of fact, no terrorist threat exists, nor has it ever existed, in the mainland of the United States. If that were untrue, terrorists would have committed violent acts since 9/11/2001. They haven‘t happened. Not one.

I want to disabuse my readers from believing the incessant cacophony of internal terrorist threats issued by this amoral government: It is all a big, fat lie. If terrorists could inflict their harm upon us, they would have by now.

The pundits and the government tell America that the terrorists want to inflict another catastrophic attack similar to 9/11/2001, somehow dispensing with the obvious and massive opportunities terrorists have to inflict suffering all over America in surgical strikes.

Have you ever toured America like I have? I have lived in every niche of this massive nation. I know it by heart. We are a nation of soft targets for terrorists. Unlike Israel, we have no armed guards at checkpoints. We have no suicide bombers. There are no metal detectors at movie theaters or nightclubs. Unlike Israel, we have no heavily armed guards with machine guns on the street looking for suspected bombers or gunmen.

Why? There is no internal American terrorist threat. There never has been. If such a threat existed, it would be played out upon our city streets.

In truth, we had a small, coordinated band of Muslim misfits who hijacked passenger aircraft and did some damage to both buildings and killed citizens, with no back-up plan. There was no back-up plan to invade the United States, and incredibly, there was no back-up plan to continue further terrorist attacks. It was all over in one shot.

Think about that, and consider what has transpired in the aftermath to the basic liberties of every American. The terrorists won, and only because our own government led by George W. Bush, let them wag us.

We citizens are fools. (Ed: And our governments know it only too well, that's why they are "leaders" and we are "sheep")

Comment: The author of the above makes some astute observations, and, for the most part, we agree with his conclusions. One thing is missing however, and it is something that, with each passing day, we find more and more depressing. There is certainly no shortage of commentators who are able to see the lies of the Bush administration, yet, as is the case with the above author, so few are willing or able to take the logical next step, that Bush and Co. were complicit in the 9/11 attacks. With a little extra application of the abilities of the frontal cortex, it also becomes very clear that Israel had a lot to gain from the events of September 11th too.

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Mutant Al-Qaeda cells, the random new faces of terror

Killers share Osama's hate but operate on their own

RABAT - The Al-Qaeda terrorist network, its command structure hit hard by Washington's war on terrorism, is mutating into a hard-to-define web of Islamic militants.

All of them share Osama Bin Laden's ideology and goals even if they do operate under other names. [...]

Their members may not be controlled by a mother organisation but they are well aware of what is expected of them. Some have even been recruited by Osama's trainees.

At this point, experts say, there is no practical difference.

'If you believe in their ideas, then you are one of them. You are Al-Qaeda,' said Mr Abdel Rahim Ali, an Egyptian expert on radical Islamic groups and author of Alliance of Terror, Al-Qaeda Organisation.

Al-Qaeda, he said, now comprised 'separate and loose groups bound only by an ideology, but working independently'. They knew the general guidelines and they knew what was required of them. [...]

Comment: So many "experts", so little truth. How easy it is for these so called "experts" to come up with variations on the "Al-qaeda is everywhere" theme. The irony is that, "Al-Qaeda" ARE everywhere. The only problem is that few people know who "Al-qaeda" really are.

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Flashback: Mossad Exposed in Phony `Palestinian Al-Qaeda' Caper

by Michele Steinberg and Hussein Askary
20 Dec 2002

The United States government has been provided with concrete evidence that the Israeli Mossad and other Israeli intelligence services have been involved in a 13-month effort to "recruit" an Israeli-run, phony "al-Qaeda cell" among Palestinians, so that Israel could achieve a frontline position in the U.S. war against terrorism and get a green light for a worldwide "revenge without borders" policy. The question: Does the United States have the moral fiber to investigate?

Evidence of the Israeli dirty tricks burst onto the public scene on Dec. 6, when Col. Rashid Abu Shbak, head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Services in the Gaza Strip, held a press conference revealing the details of the alleged plot, as his agency had put the pieces together. The revelations undermine the "big lie" that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has used to justify new brutal attacks on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and other occupied areas. Sharon claimed on Dec. 4 that Israeli intelligence had "hard evidence" of al-Qaeda operations in the Gaza Strip. Now, the top Palestinian leadership has shown the United States and other nations how Israeli intelligence entities were creating that al-Qaeda link! [...]

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Flashback: Mossad And 911

United Press International September 26, 2001

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan -- The retired Pakistani general who is closest to the Taliban and Osama bin Laden contends the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington were the work of renegade U.S. Air Force elements working with the Israelis. Gen. Hameed Gul led Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence during the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Gul serves as an adviser to Pakistan's extremist religious political parties, which oppose their government's decision to support the United States in any action against Afghanistan's Taliban regime. Gul contends bin Laden had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, saying instead that they were the work of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service -- a version of events that has been endorsed by Islamic fundamentalist clerics and is widely accepted by Muslims throughout the Arab world.

Here is the transcript of the exclusive interview Gul gave to Arnaud de Borchgrave, United Press International editor at large:

De Borchgrave: So who did Black Sept. 11?

Gul: Mossad and its accomplices. The U.S. spends $40 billion a year on its 11 intelligence agencies. That's $400 billion in 10 years. Yet the Bush Administration says it was taken by surprise. I don't believe it. Within 10 minutes of the second twin tower being hit in the World Trade Center CNN said Osama bin Laden had done it. That was a planned piece of disinformation by the real perpetrators. It created an instant mindset and put public opinion into a trance, which prevented even intelligent people from thinking for themselves.

Q: So you're already convinced bin Laden didn't do it?

A: I know bin Laden and his associates. I've been with them here, in Europe and the Middle East. They are graduates of the best universities and are highly intelligent with impressive degrees and speak impeccable English. These are people who have rediscovered fundamental Islamic values. Many come from the Gulf countries where ruling royal families have generated hatred by the way they flout divine law, wasting billions on gratifying their whims, jetting around in large private jets by themselves, and sailing the Mediterranean in big private boats for weeks on end. Osama's best recruits come from feudal areas that are U.S. protectorates and where millions of poor people are seeking human dignity. I have even visited a Christian convent school in Murree, 60 miles from here, where my 13-year-old daughter is studying. The young girls there have told me Osama is their hero. Osama's followers identify with Mujahideen freedom fighters wherever they are defending Islam and its values.

Q: So what makes you think Osama wasn't behind Sept. 11?

A: From a cave inside a mountain or a peasant's hovel? Let's be serious. Osama inspires countless millions by standing up for Islam against American and Israeli imperialism. He doesn't have the means for such a sophisticated operation.

Q: Why Mossad?

A: Mossad and its American associates are the obvious culprits. Who benefits from the crime? The attacks against the twin towers started at 8:45 a.m. and four flights are diverted from their assigned air space and no air traffic controller sounds the alarm. And no Air Force jets scramble until 10 a.m. That also smacks of a small scale Air Force rebellion, a coup against the Pentagon perhaps? Radars are jammed, transponders fail. No IFF -- friend or foe identification -- challenge. In Pakistan, if there is no response to IFF, jets are instantly scrambled and the aircraft is shot down with no further questions asked. This was clearly an inside job. Bush was afraid and rushed to the shelter of a nuclear bunker. He clearly feared a nuclear situation. Who could that have been? Will that also be hushed up in the investigation, like the Warren report after the Kennedy assassination?

Q: At this point, someone might be asking what you've been smoking. What is Israel's interest in such a monstrous plot, which, of course, no one believes except Islamist extremists who concocted this piece of disinformation in the first place, presumably to detract from the real culprits?

A: Jews never agreed to Bush 41 (George H.W. Bush, the 41st president) or 43 (his son George W. Bush, the 43rd president). They made sure Bush senior didn't get a second term. His land-for-peace pressure in Palestine didn't suit Israel. They were also against the young Bush because he was considered too close to oil interests and the Gulf countries. Bush senior and Jim Baker had raised $150 million for Bush junior, much of it from Mideast sources or their American go-betweens. Bush 41 and Baker, as private citizens, had also facilitated the new strategic relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran. I have this from sources in both countries. So clearly the prospect of a Bush 43 was a potential danger to Israel.

Jews were stunned by the way Bush stole the election in Florida. They had put big money on Al Gore. Israel has given its imperialist guardian parent opportunities to turn disaster into a pretext for imposing an all-encompassing military, political and economic agenda to further the cause of global capitalism. While Colin Powell is cautious and others are reckless and want to make up for their failure to defeat Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War 10 years ago, the global agenda is the same.

Israel knows it has a short shelf-life before it is overwhelmed by demographics. It is a state that was born in terrorism that terrorized Palestinians into the exile of refugee camps, where they have now subsisted in squalid refugee camps, and is now very much afraid of Pakistan's nuclear capability.

Israel has now handed the Bush family the opportunity it has been waiting for to consolidate America's imperial grip on the Gulf and acquire control of the Caspian basin by extending its military presence in Central Asia. Bush conveniently overlooks -- or is not told -- the fact that Islamic fundamentalists got their big boost in the modern age as CIA assets in the covert campaign I was also involved with to force the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Bush senior was vice president during that entire campaign. And no sooner did he become president on Jan. 20, 1989, than he summoned an inter-agency intelligence meeting and issued an order, among several others, to clip the wings of ISI (Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence) that had been coordinating the entire operation in Afghanistan. I know this firsthand as I was DGISI at the time (director general, ISI). [...]

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UPDATE: Sources: Two Israelis suspected of smuggling weapons to Iran

By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
21/03/2004 12:05

Two Israelis are currently under suspicion - for the third time in the last decade - of smuggling arms to Iran, police and Defense Ministry sources told Haaretz over the weekend.

Eli Cohen and Avihai Weinstein are suspected of smuggling components for Hawk missiles and radar systems used in Phantom fighter jets. The components were purchased in the United States, and allegedly were to be sold to Iran via additional middlemen.

Police questioned the two men about the affair a few weeks ago, and raided the warehouses of a company owned by Cohen and Weinstein, seizing the suspected shipment. The sources said the shipment was small and not worth a lot of money, but "what we are trying to clarify is the trend - whether they were involved in previous shipments or planned future shipments."

The two men denied that the equipment was destined for Iran. [...]

On Friday, a 70-year-old American Jew named Leib Kohn was indicted in Bridgeport, Connecticut for allegedly buying components for Hawk missiles and Phantom radars on behalf of partners in Israel. According to the indictment, Israel was merely going to be a way station, with the components ultimately destined for another state, whose name was not mentioned. The American prosecutor, Kevin O'Connor, praised the Israel Police in court for its help with this investigation. [...]

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LBJ wanted USS Liberty to sink

Mar 21, 2004

On two separate occasions, the White House recalled aircraft rescue missions for the Liberty. On the last attempt, LBJ told Rear-Admiral Lawrence Geis of the Sixth Fleet, “I WILL NOT EMBARRASS OUR ALLY.” The Liberty was then left “dead in the water,” without any assistance for over 16 hours."

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USS Liberty - Israeli Pilot Speaks Up

Mar 21, 2004

Fifteen years after the attack, an Israeli pilot approached Liberty survivors and then held extensive interviews with former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey about his role. According to this senior Israeli lead pilot, he recognized the Liberty as American immediately, so informed his headquarters, and was told to ignore the American flag and continue his attack. He refused to do so and returned to base, where he was arrested. Later, a dual-citizen Israeli major told survivors that he was in an Israeli war room where he heard that pilot's radio report. The attacking pilots and everyone in the Israeli war room knew that they were attacking an American ship, the major said. He recanted the statement only after he received threatening phone calls from Israel.

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New Bill in Congress Targets Teachers Who Dare to Question US Support for Israel

By Michael Collins Piper

The Israeli lobby has launched an all-out drive to ensure congressional passage of a bill, approved by the House and now before a Senate committee that would set up a federal tribunal to investigate and monitor criticism of Israel on American college campuses.

Ten months ago the New York-based Jewish Week newspaper claimed that the report by American Free Press that Republican members of the Senate were planning to crack down on college and university professors who were critical of Israel was “a dangerous urban legend at best, deliberate disinformation at worst.” They were claiming that AFP lied.

However, on Sept. 17, 2003, the House Subcommittee on Select Education unanimously approved H.R. 3077, the International Studies in Higher Education Act, which was then passed by the full House on Oct. 21. The chief sponsor of the legislation was Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a conservative Republican from Michigan. [...]

Republicans in Congress have joined this chorus, preferring to allow their constituents to think that this is an “America First” measure.

Juan Cole of the History News Network responds to this extraordinary twist on reality saying that the claim of “anti-Americanism” is intellectually dishonest.

“What they mean . . . if you pin them down is ambivalence about the Iraq war, or dislike of Israeli colonization of the West Bank, or recognition that the U.S. government has sometimes in the past been in bed with present enemies like al Qaeda or Saddam. None of these positions is ‘anti-American,’ and any attempt by a congressionally appointed body to tell university professors they cannot say these things—or that if they say them they must hire someone else who will say the opposite—is a contravention of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

The promoters are also suggesting that this legislation would, according to the American Jewish Committee, “enhance intellectual freedom on campus by enabling diverse viewpoints to be heard.” Of course, the legislation would do precisely the opposite, say critics.

Lisa Anderson of the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs said in response that “this plan . . . is not about diversity, or even about the truth.”

Ms. Anderson does not cite the role of the Israeli lobby, but instead targets conservative Republicans who are acting as the Israeli lobby’s surrogates and says that this plan is “about the conviction of conservative political activists that the American university community is insufficiently patriotic, or perhaps simply insufficiently conservative.”

What she should be saying is that these Republicans who are carrying water for Israel are concerned that universities are “insufficiently pro-Israel.”

The Republican House members who originally joined Hoekstra in co-sponsoring this legislation should be named for the record. They are: John A. Boehner (Ohio), John R. Carter (Texas), Tom Cole (Oklahoma), James Greenwood (Penn.), Howard (Buck) McKeon (Calif.), Patrick J. Tiberi (Ohio) and Joe Wilson (South Carolina).

Americans will not be able to find out how their representatives voted on the bill. Hoekstra asked for a suspension of the House rules, which was approved, making it possible for the controversial measure to be passed with an unrecorded “voice vote.” There is no record of how individual House members voted or if they even voted at all. [...]

Comment: How is it that the Israeli lobby groups, and Israel itself, can get away with this kind of censorship of American free speech? Isn't Israel a little country of about 5 million Jews in the Middle east, about 6 thousand miles from Washington? How has it come to exert such an influence on policies of the most powerful nation on earth? There are many other ethnic and religious groups in the US that are much larger and therefore much better placed to influence the political and social policies of their adopted country. Yet we see that it is the comparatively tiny Jewish lobby that holds the reins. Perhaps this disproportionate influence merely proves that, when Jewish religious leaders claim that Jews are "Gods chosen" people, and "special", they are in fact, in some way, telling the truth?

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More than 25 hurt during anti-fence protest near Dir Kadis

By Haaretz Service

More than 25 people were wounded, one of them an Israeli protester hit in the eye, when IDF troops fired rubber bullets at Israelis and Palestinians demonstrating on Sunday against the West Bank separation fence near the village of Dir Kadis close to Modi'in, Israel Radio reported.

Many of the injured were wounded in the upper body and face, it said. Regulations require security forces firing rubber bullets to aim only at the legs of demonstrators. [...]

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Palestinian teen and girl, 7, killed by IDF in refugee camps

By Haaretz Service and Reuters

Israel Defense Forces troops killed a 17-year-old Palestinian during a raid in the West Bank city of Nablus on Saturday, Palestinian medics said. [...]

Earlier Saturday, a seven-year-old Palestinian girl died Saturday of wounds sustained after being shot by Israel Defense Forces troops in the Gaza Strip refugee camp of Khan Yunis a day earlier, Palestinian sources said. [...]

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Interview: Sharon is a liar and he always stalls peace process - Israeli writer

By Rene Gralla and Peter Orzechowski
Special to Gulf News

He is an Israeli but speaks up for peace in Palestine. He has founded a couple of peace organisations and has warned of the escalating militancy in the Middle East.

Recently, he criticised the building of the wall and the policies of the Sharon government. He has received a German peace award (Aachener Friedenspreis 2003). Following are the excerpts of an interview with Israeli author Dr. Reuven Moskovitz.

Gulf News: All of a sudden there seems to be a push in the Middle East peace process. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced the removal of all Israeli colonies in the Gaza strip. Has the wolf turned into a sheep?

Reuven Moskovitz: No. Sharon is Israel's king of lies. He is convinced that he can fool the whole world.
You think, Sharon is a liar?

I say it again: Sharon is lying. It's his speciality to start seemingly sensational initiatives and to run a new duck through the village, like we say in Israel. But in reality, he has always stalled peace proposals coming from the US, Europe or from Saudi Arabia.

Sharon promised in an interview with the newspaper Haaretz to give up 17 colonies with 7,500 Israelis in the Gaza Strip within two years.

It will not happen. Even if Sharon starts removing some colonies and relocate them on the West Bank, how could little Gaza be big enough to be the only homeland of the Palestinians?

So you are saying that Sharon is not willing to give up one squaremetre of Palestinian land?

The world has to know: The only chance for peace is, Israeli troops have to withdraw from the entire West Bank and international troops have to be stationed there instead.

Israeli author Uri Avnery believes that Sharon's promise could be the first step to the so called 'Hitnatkut' - the complete separation of Palestinian territory from Israel. Meaning: The Palestinians would keep Gaza and some isolated territories on the West Bank - a total of not more than ten per cent of their original territory. Do you share this opinion?

Okay, let it be 15 per cent of their territory. The whole thing is a joke. There is a straight policy of Israel and that is to shatter all hope for a self rule of the Palestinian people.

And even if Israel starts to withdraw soon, militancy will only come to a halt when Israel leaves the Palestinians at least the territory they are now living in - Gaza plus at least 20 per cent of the West Bank. Otherwise, militancy will never stop, even if they try to root out all militants.

The Sharon government is aiming at a different solution. It is building a wall to separate Israelis and Palestinians.

I am afraid the building of the wall will end up the same way as the building of the Berlin Wall. It is only done to distract people from the real problem which is the Israeli occupation and the humiliation of the Palestinians.

But isn't the building of the wall an act of self-defence? There is hardly a day when there is no attack and no Israeli operation of revenge.

I am no sympathiser of Hamas. But any Israeli mission against Hamas or Islamic Jihad is followed by an attack by their fighters who commit innocent Israelis to death. [...]

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25,000 march in London on first anniversary of Iraq war

LONDON (AFP) Mar 20, 2004

Some 25,000 protesters marched through central London on the first anniversary of the US and British invasion of Iraq, converging on Trafalgar Square to demand a swift end to its occupation. [...]

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Thousands protest Iraq war in Cuba

HAVANA (AFP) Mar 20, 2004

More than 10,000 Cubans decried the war in Iraq Saturday in a protest organized by groups associated with the ruling Communist Party, officials said. [...]

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Chilean demonstrators take anti-war protests to the streets

SANTIAGO (AFP) Mar 20, 2004

Chileans joined protesters around the world Saturday marching against the US-led occupation of Iraq on the first anniversary of the war, with two separate rallies held in the capital.

Some 2,000 anti-globalization activists, human rights activists and members of leftist political parties marched to the downtown presidential palace, where activists set a US flag ablaze.

"We are against the war and terrorism, because one cannot answer terrorism by invading a country," said Victor de la Fuente, one of the protest organizers. [...]

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Hundreds of Hondurans protest Iraq war

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The French go to the polls today to vote for their regional governments so we thought we would look at the French political system.

There are several levels of government in France, the four most important of which are the national government, known as the V Republic, in Paris; the regional governments; the départements; and the local municipal governments known as communes.

France has a president as chief of state and a prime minister as head of government. Presidential elections have been held every 7 years, but, after a referendum in 2000, this was changed after the 2002 elections to a five-year term. The next presidential elections are therefore in 2007.

The president selects the prime minister and appoints the government ministers. The prime minister is usually the leader of the party holding the largest number of seats in the national assembly, although this is not mandatory as the current PM, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, is not the leader of the Chiracian party the UMP. The president chairs meetings of the government. Since the founding of the Fifth Republic by de Gaulle in 1958, the president has traditionally looked after foreign policy and national defense, leaving domestic policy to the prime minister. He is also the head of the armed forces.

The parliament has two houses, the national assembly and the senate.

Until the changes brought about in the 70s and 80s, the départements were the next level of government. Founded after the French revolution, there are 100 of them, including 4 overseas departments. The department heads, the préfect, were appointed by the government. Since the creation of the regions, the role and power of the préfect has diminished.

The regional governments were created as a means of decentralising some of the power that had historically been held in Paris, creating another level of elected officials and passing down certain economic and social powers to them. First created in 1970, the regions were further developed under Mitterrand after 1982. France has 22 of these regional governments and another 4 overseas regions, each comprising several départements.

On the local level, the division is the commune, headed by the Mayor. The Mayor has two hats, since he or she is both the commune's elected authority and the state's representative in it. There are over 36,000 communes. The mayors have a great deal of power in France. They are the representatives of the national government on the local level in many areas. It is not unusual for the mayors of the larger cities to also be members of the national assembly. Alain Juppé, the recently convicted right arm of Jacques Chirac, was also the Mayor of Bordeaux.

Poll test for French government

By Caroline Wyatt
BBC correspondent in Paris

The French have begun voting in regional polls, which are seen as a mid-term test of public opinion on the centre-right government.

Around 70% of voters warn they may use it as an opportunity to show discontent with high unemployment, crime and reforms to healthcare and pensions.

But opinion polls also show growing voter apathy with up to 50% of people saying they may not vote at all.

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French far right expects poll boost

By Caroline Wyatt
BBC correspondent in Paris

[...] There are fears in France that voter apathy could help the far right, which has at least 16% support in opinion polls, and boost a new, younger Le Pen candidacy in France's biggest region, Ile de France - the run-down suburbs which surround Paris.

Marine Le Pen stands out as a glamorous blonde figure amid the drab greys of a rainy Ile de France marketplace.

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Stern office in Brussels raided by Belgian police

19.03.2004 - 12:44 CET

The Brussels editor of German magazine Stern was released from police custody on Friday.

His release came after ten hours of questioning, said Stern's editor Norbert Höfler.

Mr Tillack was taken into police custody on Friday morning (19 March) after the police raided his office.

The investigation was to do with an allegation of bribery in connection with a case the German journalist wrote about in 2002.

His articles covered alleged irregularities that had been raised by an EU official, Paul van Buitenen, and the related inquiries carried out by the Commission’s anti-fraud office OLAF – and were based on confidential documents.

"Stern requests the Belgian authorities to immediately deliver Hans-Martin Tillack’s materials", said Mr Höfler to this news-site.

According to Mr Höfler, Mr Tillack’s home was searched by the police, who confiscated material on paper, computers and cell-phones.

Mr Tillack was interrogated without being in touch with his lawyer.

Under Belgian law, a lawyer is not allowed to be present during questioning on the first day of police custody, said Mr Tillack’s lawyer.

Mr Tillack is well-known in Brussels media circles. He was the first journalist to report the investigations into the irregularities of the EU statistical arm, Eurostat, which led to the removal of the responsible officials.

He has lately run stories on MEPs allegedly falsifying signatures qualifying for daily allowances and MEPs employing their wives and family members.

Renate Schröder, Director of the International Federation of Journalists in Brussels, said that Belgian law does not secure journalists' right to protect their sources.

In 1996, a number of Belgian media had their offices and private homes raided by police.

This case was brought to the Court of Human Rights, who recommended that Belgium introduce proper legislation and secure the protection of sources.

"The right of journalists to protect their sources is a cornerstone of press freedom", Ms Schröder told the EUobserver.

The European Commission said that they were not aware of the incident but they would look into it.

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Europe too slow on terror, says Sir John

Britain's most senior police officer has called for much greater co-operation across Europe in the fight against terrorism.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said the suspected al Qaida train bombings in Spain that killed more than 200 people should serve as a wake-up call.

Just days after he warned that an attack by extremists on the UK was "inevitable", Sir John said the European response to the terrorist threat had been too slow.

In an interview with BBC's Breakfast With Frost programme, he called for a "pan-European" structure for analysing information along the lines of Europol, the Hague-based centre for handling criminal intelligence.

"When we deal with organised crime, we have the Europol structure," he said. "In relation to terrorism there needs to be a similar structure.

"There needs to be a structure which is useful, which analyses on a pan-European way some of the information we get, and the forensics."

At a crucial summit on Friday, European Union justice and home affairs ministers agreed a plan to appoint a new supremo to mastermind the war against terrorism.[...]

Comment: The word "inevitable" seems to be the trigger that stops all rational discussion of the "threat of terrorism". First Mr Blair said it, then London's Mayor Ken Livingstone, followed now by the Chief of Police. Don't be surprised if the Queen has that word in her next script.

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Lord Owen condemns Iraq 'disaster'

Serious mistakes over the conflict in Iraq could have been avoided if the Prime Minister had consulted more widely in advance, a former Labour Foreign Secretary said.

Lord Owen criticised "highly personalised" decision-making by Tony Blair and said substantial changes were needed in how foreign policy is run.

"Iraq is far from being a success. In fact it's been disastrously handled," he told GMTV's Sunday Programme.

"It's been one of the worst aftermath of a military intervention we have ever seen. Mistakes have been made by the Americans but also by the British and serious mistakes. Our intelligence was obviously grossly faulty."

He added: "The Prime Minister has got to stop this highly personalised No 10 decision-making.

"I heard the other day that there was no meeting of the defence and overseas policy committee for six months before Iraq.

"That's inconceivable to any of us that have been involved in the past, that you don't have round-the-table, informal, minuted discussions, a dialogue on intelligence with the chiefs of staff and the Foreign Secretary and the Defence Secretary being able to put their view."

That the Prime Minister had not known the 45-minute dossier claim only applied to battlefield weapons was "an appalling situation", he told the programme.

Comment: Lord Owen can criticise all he likes, but it makes no political impact because the House of Lords has no political clout in the UK. Tony Blair will ensure that remains the case. The other point is that Blair had decided to go to war regardless of the facts on the ground. He had said yes to Georgie-boy and was not going to change his mind. In other words, this was a conscious choice on the part of Blair, not some oversight or mistake.

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On this day in 2003

Ari Fleisher stated:

"Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes."

10,000 civilians and several hundred American soldiers dead, untold thousands injured, and 4.5 million years worth of uranium radiation later, just where the hell are those WMD?! Well, those could be made to turn up at any time. Who could dispute it? But, for right now there are still Iranian, Syrian and Korean children to blow up. None of whom had the slightest connection to 9/11.

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Iraq: Blair and Bush seek new UN backing

Kamal Ahmed, political editor
Sunday March 21, 2004
The Observer

The United Nations is to be given a lead role in post-occupation Iraq under British and American plans to shore up crumbling international support for the continuing military presence in the country.

UK officials told The Observer there will be a sustained push for a fresh UN resolution 'mandating' the continued military presence in Iraq after the handover to the transitional government in June.

Comment: The US has been seeking ways to bail out the US military, now forced to maintain the "peace" in an unstable Iraq. For six months, it has been trying to woo other countries into committing money and forces for Iraq "reconstruction," never, of course, being willing to give up its "leadership" role in the process. In other words, it wants to continue running the show while convincing other countries to do the dirty work. The leaders in the other countries are not agreeing.

We came across an interview with George Soros from the Nouvel Observateur in which Soros denounces Bush. He also emphasized that he had no problem with the idea that countries should be able to overthrow governments such as Saddam Hussein's, he was simply of the opinion that it should be done by the international community and not by the US alone. Soros is getting a lot pf press for his "Anyone but Bush" campaign, but reading the interview shows that he no longer believes in international law, no matter what he might claim.

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Reporter following trail of corruption in EU arrested

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Brussels

Police arrested a leading investigative journalist yesterday on the orders of the European Union, seizing his computers, address books and archive of files in a move that stunned Euro-MPs.

Hans-Martin Tillack, the Brussels correspondent for Germany's Stern magazine, said he was held for 10 hours without access to a lawyer by the Belgian police after his office and home were raided by six officers.

"They asked me to tell them who my sources were. I replied that was something I would never do. Now they have all my sensitive files, so I suppose they'll find out anyway," he said last night.

"The police said I was lucky I wasn't in Burma or central Africa, where journalists get the real treatment," he added.

Mr Tillack said the raid was triggered by a complaint from the EU's anti-fraud office, OLAF. He was accused of paying money to obtain a leaked OLAF dossier two years ago, which he denies.

The European Ombudsman has already come to his defence, issuing a harsh criticism of OLAF's campaign to silence him.

Mr Tillack, who describes himself as a "pro-European federalist", has been OLAF's most vocal critic, accusing it of covering up abuses within the EU system.

As the author of a recent book on EU corruption, he has the greatest archive of investigative files of any journalist working in Brussels.

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Blair bans Labour Party delegation from flying to John Kerry's coronation

By Julian Coman in Washington and Colin Brown

Tony Blair has ordered Labour ministers and officials not to become embroiled in the US presidential race in an apparent attempt to avoid offending George W Bush.

The Prime Minister's veto on visits to the US means that only one minister, Douglas Alexander, will attend the formal crowning of John Kerry, the Democrats' candidate, in Boston in late July.

Tony Blair is said to back George Bush's re-election bid
Mr Blair's intervention, which will prevent his Labour colleagues from offering their traditional support to the Democrats, has astonished ministers who remember the close links Labour had with Bill Clinton during previous presidential campaigns.

In the past, up to 10 Labour officials and a few MPs have attended the Democrat convention informally, including close friends of the Chancellor and Downing Street aides.

One minister said last night. "It won't work because the Labour Party won't break off its contacts, but obviously it will be more difficult."

Mr Blair's intervention has prompted speculation that he is privately hoping for a Bush victory to avoid being isolated internationally on the war on Iraq.

Comment: We doubt that it is "hope" when it comes to Blair's assessment of this year's US presidential election. If Blair, a supposedly left wing leader, is maintaining support for Bush and his right wing administration, perhaps it is because he knows something that the public does not. Bush hijacked the elections in 2000, why not again in 2004? This time however, perhaps it will be an overt coup d'etat in the form of a faked terror attack and martial law.

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16-year-olds set to vote in next year's UK election

SIXTEEN-year-olds are set to get the vote in time for next year’s widely-anticipated general election under Labour plans to increase the number of people who go to the polls.

Labour policy-makers have decided to rush through legislation reducing the voting age by two years if the Electoral Commission decides - as expected - that the move would boost the turnout in future elections.

Extending the franchise is seen as an essential step to combating the electorate’s increasing apathy, which saw the turnout at the last UK-wide poll drop to just 59%.

But the move would give the UK the lowest voting age in western Europe and last night concern was raised over whether it would have any effect. Voters in their late teens and early 20s are the least inclined to turn out on polling day. It was also suggested that Labour had found sudden enthusiasm for extending voting rights - with just a year expected until the next general election - after it emerged most young people would vote for the party.

Comment: We can probably expect to see a propaganda campaign from the state run media outlets, targeting 16 year olds, attempting to brainwash them into supporting Blair's psychopathic policies.

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Bush, Kerry to Spend Almost Half-Billion

President Bush, John Kerry on Track to Spend Nearly a Half-Billion Dollars in White House Bid

President Bush and Democratic nominee-to-be John Kerry are on track to spend nearly a half-billion dollars vying for the White House this year, making it the most expensive presidential race in history. Bush has already reached his goal of raising a record $170 million, with more fund raising to come. His supporters believe he could easily reach $200 million or more and that's before he gets a government grant of about $75 million in September for his general-election campaign.

Comment: An example of the entropic self serving dynamic taken to its illogical extremes. God bless America.

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Blasts heard in U.S. Baghdad HQ

Sunday March 21, 07:16 AM

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Two loud blasts have rung out around Baghdad's "Green Zone", the compound where the U.S.-led administration in Iraq is based, and a senior U.S. officer says they were probably rocket impacts.

Reporter Fiona O'Brien, inside the zone, said the blasts were heard shortly before 10 a.m. (7 a.m. British time). There was no immediate information on damage or casualties.

Police said they believed three mortar rounds had been fired from the south of the city towards the Green Zone, one of Saddam Hussein's former palace complexes on the west bank of the Tigris river in central Baghdad.

Guerrillas have repeatedly fired rockets and mortars at the compound, but daylight attacks are rare.

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U.S. Charges 6 Officers in Iraqi Abuse

By JIM KRANE, Associated Press Writer
MArch 21, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military charged six soldiers Saturday with abusing inmates at Abu Ghraib prison on the western outskirts of Baghdad.

The soldiers, members of a military police unit, were charged with a range of crimes, including conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty and maltreatment, assault and indecent acts with another person. The military said about 20 detainees were involved. [...]

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US tried to plant WMDs, failed: whistleblower

Daily Times Monitor
March 21, 2004

According to a stunning report posted by a retired Navy Lt Commander and 28-year veteran of the Defense Department (DoD), the Bush administration’s assurance about finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was based on a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plan to “plant” WMDs inside the country. Nelda Rogers, the Pentagon whistleblower, claims the plan failed when the secret mission was mistakenly taken out by “friendly fire”, the Environmentalists Against War report.

Nelda Rogers is a 28-year veteran debriefer for the DoD. She has become so concerned for her safety that she decided to tell the story about this latest CIA-military fiasco in Iraq. According to Al Martin, “Ms Rogers is number two in the chain of command within this DoD special intelligence office. This is a ten-person debriefing unit within the central debriefing office for the Department of Defense.”

The information that is being leaked out is information “obtained while she was in Germany heading up the debriefing of returning service personnel, involved in intelligence work in Iraq for the DoD and/or the CIA. “According to Ms Rogers, there was a covert military operation that took place both preceding and during the hostilities in Iraq,” reports Al Martin, an online subscriber-based news/analysis service which provides “Political, Economic and Financial Intelligence”.

Al Martin is a retired Lt Commander (US Navy), the author of a memoir called “The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider,” and is considered one of America’s foremost experts on corporate and government fraud. Ms Rogers reports that this particular covert operation team was manned by former military personnel and “the unit was paid through the Department of Agriculture in order to hide it, which is also very commonplace”. [...]

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Tanzania's street economy is a blessing and a curse

[...] For three decades after the country's creation in 1964, under founding father Julius Nyerere, Tanzania pursued a version of socialism known as "ujamaa," a Swahili word connoting close familial relations. Nyerere nationalized industries, collectivized agriculture, and promoted free Swahili-language education for all.

Ujamaa generally is credited with welding together a nation of 130 tribes, avoiding the ethnic conflicts that killed untold numbers in neighboring Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. But the policy was an economic failure that helped drive Tanzania's per capita income steadily downward, to about $280 in 2002, according to the World Bank

Now, Mkapa is pursuing free-market reforms in this nation of 36 million, abandoning the economic legacy of Nyerere, who died in 1999, even as he speaks the former leader's name in reverent tones. Mkapa has made peace with the International Monetary Fund to secure more international aid. Inflation is down from over 30 percent a decade ago to 4.5 percent in 2002, while annual economic growth has been boosted to 6.2 percent. Mkapa also has overseen privatization of hotels, paper mills, and sugar factories.[...]

A 2000 crime survey by the United Nations suggested a that quarter of all residents in Dar es Salaam might be engaged in machinga-like commerce.

Eighty percent of them are in their 20s, with almost all having a primary school education. They do business in Tanzania's largest city because they think the opportunities are greater than in rural areas, the report found.[...]

Comment: Via the machinations of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the US and her satelite allies continue to hold the world to economic ransom. Its daylight robbery and it seems there is nothing to stop it, as the IMF and the World Bank are supposedly independent of political or corporate affiliation.

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In Chad, oil's riches tend not to trickle down

KOME, Chad -- Oil executives who roam the red dirt roads around here have started to call Chad the new Persian Gulf. But the citizens of this town of mud huts have nicknamed their community "I'm Waiting." They're waiting for jobs, waiting for wealth, waiting for schools to be built, waiting for AIDS drugs.

Groups of men lounge for hours in front of their huts. They have come to Kome, 320 miles south of the capital, N'Djamena, from all over the region, hoping to get a job at the new plant where oil is being pumped from the earth. The town of 1,004 people has swelled to more than 4,000. Yet there are few jobs.

Robberies have more than tripled since illegal immigrants and jobless men started flooding into the town. And food and rent prices have risen.

Shoeless and wearing a torn shirt, Colette Asnodji, 38, demonstrated a need to padlock the door of her hut of sticks and mud, given the town's new wildness after oil began to flow in October.

A consortium led by Exxon Mobil Corp. and including ChevronTexaco Corp. and Petronas of Malaysia has landed its oil derricks and warehouses smack into the middle of the rural African bush. The undertaking is part of a $3.7 billion underground oil pipeline project that would stretch 650 miles from oil fields in landlocked Chad through neighboring Cameroon and out into the Atlantic.

Pipeline construction began in October 2000. The first oil tankers, with 950,000 barrels of crude, left Cameroon in October, bound for refineries abroad.

With the United States looking to decrease its dependence on Middle East petroleum, Africa is becoming a key supplier. The United States imports 17 percent of its petroleum from sub-Saharan Africa. Within a decade, nearly a quarter will come from the lush oil fields of the continent, with Nigeria, Angola, Gabon, Congo, Cameroon, and Chad. Oil now represents 70 percent of African exports to the United States.

But for many African citizens who live above the oil, oil has not improved the quality of life.

"Inserting massive oil revenues into countries with weak institutions, poor track records on democracy and governance, and few countervailing forces in society is generally a recipe for disaster," said Ian Gary, an adviser to Catholic Relief Services.[...]

Comment: This "recipe for disaster" is a repeating pattern. The article goes on to say that in return for assistance from the World Bank to finance the extraction of the oil, Chad has entered into partnership with the bank. Under this agreement, most of the Chad government's share of the profit from this oil revenue - about $100 million dollars - will be kept in a London account.

Essentially a corrupt government is being bankrolled to ensure that most of the profits leave the country. As the article says, oil now represents about 70% of African exports to the USA. The formula is always one of supporting a corrupt oligarchy to facilitate the draining of a given country's economic wealth. Chad's current President is a typical case in point. He is trying to change the constitution so he can run for a third term, and his brother in law has recently been appointed head of the central Bank. Meanwhile the people of a country they have nicknamed "I am Waiting", still wait for the promised schools and hospitals to materialise.

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Exercise in anger management

Thousands of anti-war protesters and hundreds of Chicago police watching them clogged two miles of downtown streets Saturday in a peaceful march marking the first anniversary of the war in Iraq.

[...] "We have got to continue speaking out to oppose this unjust war. Our kids in the military are dying every day in Iraq," said Pearlie Stuckey, mother of a U.S. Army serviceman who recently returned from Iraq and may have to go back.

Many of the protesters carried photos and tributes to loved ones serving in Iraq.

"I no longer trust you. Bring my brother home,'' read a sign carried by Dan Hernandez of St. Louis, addressed to President Bush, about his brother, a Marine fighter pilot beginning a second tour of duty in the Middle East.

Peace activists held similar demonstrations in other cities worldwide, including New York, Seattle, London and Cairo.

Chicago's march included such political figures as U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

"We are a great nation. We came here because our nation is off course,'' Jackson said. "It's time for a regime change in America, my friends. It's time to fight back: Remember in November."[...]

Comment: People can "Remember in November", but, as shown by the "election " of Bush, the people's vote is an irrelevance. The "world's greatest democracy" was hi-jacked from the get go, and most of its citizens don't know it, and they don't want to know it. As for protest, the above article shows how it is easy to "manage" the anger of the people. Whether tempers flair or not, there is always the threat of being abused in the name of public order. Indeed psychologically people do remember November -last November's beatings of any one protesting about anything, as reported in an article featured in the Signs of Nov 23rd 2003 - Top cop on the front line:

Civil liberties groups and unions complained of unlawful arrests and violations of their constitutional rights. But almost as soon as the pepper spray settled over downtown this week, local leaders declared a major law-enforcement victory.

They claimed that Miami authorities set a standard for how to deal with the kind of volatile protests that have scarred cities such as Seattle, Washington, Philadelphia and Cancún.

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US President defends Iraq war

There may have been global protests against the war, but in Florida it was all smiles.

US President George W Bush has been defending his policy of pre-emptive action in this key election state: "If America shows weakness and uncertainty in this decade the world will drift towards tragedy. This will not happen on my watch."[...]

Comment: Bush has reason to smile; he is confident that yesterday's world-wide protests against the war are no danger to the game plan. His own nation is compliant. Economically, there is a lessening of dependence on the Middle East for oil revenues and a continued plundering of African oil to make up the shortfall. And thanks to a US funded and compliant Pakistan, it looks like Operation Terror is about to bring home the goods in time for the US elections.

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Uzbeks, Chechens said among Qaeda: Pakistani unsure if Egyptian target is in their midst

WANA, Pakistan - As helicopters circled overhead and gunfire crackled in the distance, a Pakistani general said yesterday that many of the Al Qaeda fighters surrounded near the Afghan border were Chechen or Uzbek, and he was uncertain if they included Osama bin Laden's Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.

Although Lieutenant General Safdar Hussain hedged on the identity of the senior figure, he said he still believed a "high-value'' terrorist target remained in the trap and had not escaped across the border into Afghanistan.

The operation in the arid, rugged terrain of South Waziristan raged into its fifth day with no sign of surrender from 400 to 500 foreign fighters and local tribesmen facing a thunderous barrage of artillery by night and Cobra helicopter gunship fire by day.

Hussain said 5,000 to 6,000 Pakistani troops were deployed in Pakistan's largest antiterror campaign, conducted across a 25-square-mile swath of territory within 10 miles of the Afghan frontier.

About 2,500 soldiers were fighting the militants and the rest conducting searches, he said. Pakistani officials said a dozen American personnel are helping with technical intelligence and surveillance.[...]

Security officials said prisoners under interrogation included Pakistanis, Arabs, Chechens, Uzbeks, and ethnic Uighurs from China's predominantly Muslim Xinjiang province, where a separatist movement is simmering.

There have been reports that at least 80 ethnic Uzbek Islamic militants, led by Qari Tahir Yaldash - a Taliban ally and deputy of slain Uzbek leader Juma Namangani - are in the Waziristan region. Namangani was killed during the US-led coalition's assault on Afghanistan that began in late 2001.

``Our people are interrogating them to determine who these terrorists are,'' said Brigadier Mahmood Shah, the chief of security for tribal areas in northwestern Pakistan. ``Some of them are foreigners.''

The military also showed journalists in Wana belongings and equipment seized from a Chechen fighter who was killed, including grenades, detonators, a traditional pakor hat and prayer beads. Also displayed were four locally made rifles, a dozen grenades, AK-47s and boxes of Soviet-era ammunition seized from tribesmen.

The Pakistani Army has intercepted some radio conversations of militants inside the encampment - mostly in the Chechen and Uzbek languages and some in Arabic.[...]

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U.S. Forces Bomb Compound in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan - U.S. warplanes and ground forces killed five suspected Taliban fighters at a compound in central Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Sunday.

The U.S. attack occurred Friday in Uruzgan province, an isolated mountain area with a heavy presence of Taliban fighters.

"We were going into their stronghold, the heart of the Taliban, disrupting them," U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said in Kabul, the capital.

A Taliban attack in the area Thursday killed two U.S. soldiers and one Afghan army soldier.

On Friday, U.S. and Afghan forces returned to the area and took fire from a Taliban compound. U.S. forces returned fire, and called in A-10 attack planes and B-1 bombers before sending in ground forces, Hilferty said.

No U.S. casualties were reported during the operation and one woman was wounded inside the compound, he said. [...]

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US Afghan allies committed massacre: American experts find that Northern Alliance warlords slaughtered prisoners of war

David Rose
Sunday March 21, 2004
The Observer

Dramatic corroboration of the massacre of Afghan prisoners by the US-backed Northern Alliance at the start of the war in 2001 was last night provided by American pathologists commissioned to investigate the claims by the UN.

A vivid account of the slaughter was provided to The Observer last week by three Britons who were released from the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba more than two years after they were first seized in Afghanistan. They told how they narrowly escaped the massacre before being handed over to American forces and flown to Guantanamo Bay.

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Afghan Minister and 'Up to 100 dead' in Afghan fighting

Comment: Again we see the wonderful bounty of "freedom and democracy" that the US military machine has so benevolently bestowed on the Afghan people. How grateful they must be!

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Pakistan attack kills 13 civilians near border

WANA, Pakistan, March 20 (Reuters) - Up to 13 civilians died in western Pakistan on Saturday when their vehicles were fired upon, a senior security official said. [...]

Comment: In Yesterdays Signs, it was noted in an AP article that there may have been American helicopers firing at least one vehicle, which may cause all kinds of trouble in Pakistan if true.

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India Plays Down Warning to U.S. on Pakistan Alliance

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's defense minister played down on Sunday a terse warning by New Delhi to Washington over its decision to make rival Pakistan a special military ally.

"Strategic partnership and friendship does not depend only on one thing," George Fernandes told reporters while campaigning in India's south for April-May national elections expected to return his coalition government.

"It also does not get diluted by one action alone. Therefore, it is not necessary to hype up things."

Fernandes was commenting after a strongly worded statement issued by Indian's foreign ministry on Saturday which said that Washington's decision to make Pakistan a major non-NATO ally had "significant implications for India-U.S. relations."

India said Secretary of State Colin Powell, who announced the decision in Islamabad last week, did not speak of the move when he visited New Delhi before going on to Pakistan.

"While he was in India, there was much emphasis on (the) India-United States strategic partnership. It is disappointing that he did not share with us this decision of the United States government," a ministry spokesman said.

Washington's decision to elevate Islamabad to major non-NATO ally status puts it on the same footing as countries such as Israel, Japan and Australia and makes it easier for Pakistan to buy U.S. weapons and receive U.S. military training.[...]

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'Hundreds killed' in Nepal battle

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Experts fear terrorists are seeking fuel-air bombs

21 March 04
New Scientist

Some experts fear that terrorists are trying to develop thermobaric and fuel-air bombs which can be even more devastating than conventional devices. [...]

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FLASHBACK: First test for US monster bomb

12 March 03

In a show of military might seemingly aimed at intimidating Iraq's armed forces, the US has tested one of the most powerful non-nuclear weapons ever developed.

The bomb detonated on Tuesday at a test site at Eglin Air Force Base in northwest Florida, generating a shock wave felt several kilometres away. Officials said the bomb could be used in Iraq. [...]

But Rogers told New Scientist the weapon is also designed to have a psychological impact: "The blast of Tuesday's test was heard over a very wide distance." Furthermore, the Department of Defense also released a videotape of the blast. [...]

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New Bill Calls for G.I. Jane Draft

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have introduced new legislation to bring back the military draft in order to include women. The new draft states that any man or woman between the ages of 18 and 26 can be drafted into military service.

With legislation requesting the reinstatement of the draft to include women, equal rights may enter a new war zone come next year.

For years women have fought to have the same rights as men, and in 2005, they may have equal rights when it comes to being drafted into the military.

Comment: Of course, Americans will never consider the logical reason for and implications of the above. They will be too busy awaiting Fox TV's macabre new reality TV show, which proves that the last spark of anything that could be called "human" has apparently been extinguished from most of the human race.

FOX's 'The Swan' makeover series to premiere March 29

By Steve Rogers, 02/03/2004

FOX has announced that The Swan, the previously reported unscripted series that seeks to mirror the classic fairy tale and aim to transform "ugly duckling" women into "beautiful swans," will premiere on Monday, March 29 at 9 PM ET/PT.

Combining the physical makeover aspect of ABC's Extreme Makeover, the lifestyle makeover concept of Bunim-Murray's syndicated Starting Over, and (dare we say it) the "beauty pageant" aspect of ABC's embarrassing Are You Hot?, The Swan takes women who are stuck in a rut and revitalizes them by restoring their beauty and confidence via incredible physical, mental and emotional transformations. Then, the series culminates in a pageant in which one woman will be crowned "the Ultimate Swan."

During the program, each of its eighteen contestants will be assigned a team of specialists -- a coach, therapist, trainer, cosmetic surgeon, dentist and stylist -- who will work together to design the perfect individually-tailored program.

Similar to Extreme Makeover, each of the first nine episodes of the ten episode series will follow two of the contestants as they undergo cosmetic surgery and work through a three-month intensive "boot camp" of exercise, diet, therapy and inspiration to achieve their goal.

At the conclusion of each episode, the contestants will participant in a "final reveal" in which, for the first time since entering the program, they will be permitted to see themselves in a mirror.

Then, after the reveal, one contestant will be selected to advance to the grand finale's two-hour "1st Annual Swan Pageant," airing May 24.

Comment: As the world goes to hell in a handbasket, it is so easy to vector the attention of the docile masses towards sensationalist psychopathic media presentations.

The ‘Thrill’ of the Kill

Why Are Some People Driven to Murder – For Kicks?

In "thrill" slayings, killers are not so much driven by the thrill of victory over their victims, but rather the agony of their past defeats. Gary Hirte, 18, did not look like a potential thrill killer. An Eagle Scout and honors student and member of the track, wrestling and football teams at Weyauwega-Fremont High School near Oshkosh, Wis., he seemed to have a promising future ahead of him. But today he sits in Winnebego County jail, charged with first-degree intentional homicide. [...]

Comment: We have the answer - Psychopathy

Army Kicks Out Whistleblower

Mar 14 2004
By Mike Hamilton

AN ARMY chef is being forced to leave his regiment after his wife lifted the lid on the curse of Britain's Gulf War babies.

Lance Corporal Andy Saupe - devastated by the death of his son at five weeks - was carpeted by Army bosses after wife Alex voiced concerns about the controversial anthrax vaccine.

MOD bosses have ordered Gulf War 2 veteran Andy, 23, to leave his unit because his wife's revelations "damaged morale". Last night his family slammed the MoD action as "outrageous bully tactics" as MPs and campaigners backed his case.

Grief-stricken Alex, 25, spoke out to the Sunday Mirror after son, Kye, was born 10 weeks premature and died after five weeks of desperate illness.

She said she thought the tragedy was linked to the anthrax jabs her husband had before serving in the war.

We revealed how the tragedy was part of a cluster that has hit 33 Field Hospital in Gosport, Hants, since the Iraq War ended last May. In every case at least one of the child's parents was given the anthrax vaccine before being sent to the Gulf. [...]

Shaun Rusling, vice chairman of The National Gulf Veterans and Families Association, said: "This is outrageous, and nothing more than an MOD witch-hunt.

"They have singled out this one poor lad. His wife has said something truthful and the MOD don't like it. They are trying to silence people. It is extraordinary they can accuse her of damaging morale, when they are giving troops a vaccine that poisons them and damages their babies."

El Salvador to Begin Presidential Vote

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador - El Salvador 's voters face a sharp choice in Sunday's presidential election: the candidate of one of the hemisphere's most pro-U.S. governments or a former Communist Party guerrilla leader.

A conservative broadcast media businessman, 39-year-old Tony Saca, was the clear favorite of the Bush administration, whose officials suggested an opposition victory could affect El Salvador's remarkably warm relations with the United States.

Opposing Saca was 73-year-old Schafik Handal, who led the Communist faction in the five-party rebel coalition that fought military and military-influenced governments for 12 years before signing a peace treaty in 1992.

Despite their differences, they were born within two blocks of one another, both to Palestinian immigrant families from Bethlehem.

Most polls had Saca's Nationalist Republican Alliance, or ARENA, well ahead of Handal's Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which became a political party after the peace treaty.[...]

U.S. officials so clearly favored Saca that Otto Reich, the White House special envoy for the Western Hemisphere, gave a group telephone interview last week to local reporters gathered at Saca's party headquarters.

Local newspapers quoted him as saying a Handal victory would be "a radical change."

"We could not have the same confidence in an El Salvador led by a person who is obviously an admirer of Fidel Castro and of Hugo Chavez," Reich was quoted as saying, referring to the leaders of Cuba and Venezuela.[...]

Comment: So the message is clear to the voters in El Salvador; pick our man Saca, or you'll be in dire straits. Don't you think that it is interesting that the White House Special envoy for the Western hemisphere happens to be called Reich?

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Universities spy for MI5 on foreign students

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Protests, Even Buttons, Verboten in Crawford

If you're ever thinking about going down to Crawford, Texas, to protest against Bush, beware.

The police do not take kindly to demonstrators there--or legal observers, for that matter.

And even if you're just wearing an anti-Bush button, you could get arrested.

That's the message a local jury sent last month. [...]

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Pubs in withdrawal, even before Irish smoking ban begins


SALES of nicotine gum are at an all time high, pubs are throwing away their ashtrays en masse and hypnotherapists are doing a roaring trade.

After years of political and legal wrangling, Ireland’s blanket smoking ban, the first of its kind in Europe, will be in place in eight days’ time, leaving prisons and mental hospitals as the only public places in the Republic where smoking will be allowed.

The ban, starting on March 29, will touch almost all aspects of Irish life, applying to pubs, restaurants, shopping malls, airports and taxi cabs. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s government also confirmed last week that the ban will apply to company cars and lorries, prompting another outcry from the smokers’ lobby.

However, even the most fervent opponents admit that the battle is now lost.

Publicans were also told to seek the assistance of the police in all cases where physical violence is threatened or encountered. Unsurprisingly, the guidelines were met with derision.

"They mean nothing," said one rural publican. "Under these rules, smokers do not have any responsibility for their actions. We’ll get the hell beat out of us by some drunk who insists on smoking. The whole thing is ill thought out."

Even the Gardai privately admit that the ban could pre-empt the mushrooming of illegal drinking houses or ‘shebeens’ in towns and villages across the country.

"We expect to see a situation where people will open their homes as private drinking houses where of course people can smoke. But we also expect this type of behaviour to die out quite quickly," said a spokesman

In the meantime, the Cigarette Vendors Association of Ireland has ordered millions of herbal cigarettes to place in its machines on March 29.

Although the association does not expect them to sell very well, it contends they are better than nothing at all. In a nose-thumbing gesture to the government, the group has also announced that it will relocate its annual conference to Northern Ireland in a signal of its disgust at the imposition of the ban.

The Cigar Club of Ireland has also hit upon a novel form of protest. The Cuban embassy in Dublin has agreed to host the club’s monthly meetings, thereby ensuring diplomatic immunity from observing the smoking ban.

"The Cuban chargé d’affaires’ residence is viewed as being on Cuban soil, so any cigar meetings that are held there will not be in breach of the smoking laws," said Belinda Gildea, a member of the club.

"We haven’t seen the last of these sneaky schemes," admitted a Gardai spokesman.

Carbon Dioxide Reported at Record Levels


MAUNA LOA OBSERVATORY, Hawaii (AP) -- Carbon dioxide, the gas largely blamed for global warming, has reached record-high levels in the atmosphere after growing at an accelerated pace in the past year, say scientists monitoring the sky from this 2-mile-high station atop a Hawaiian volcano.

The reason for the faster buildup of the most important "greenhouse gas" will require further analysis, the U.S. government experts say.

"But the big picture is that CO2 is continuing to go up," said Russell Schnell, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's climate monitoring laboratory in Boulder, Colo., which operates the Mauna Loa Observatory on the island of Hawaii.

Carbon dioxide, mostly from burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels, traps heat that otherwise would radiate into space. Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) during the 20th century, and international panels of scientists sponsored by world governments have concluded that most of the warming probably was due to greenhouse gases.

The climatologists forecast continued temperature rises that will disrupt the climate, cause seas to rise and lead to other unpredictable consequences - unpredictable in part because of uncertainties in computer modeling of future climate. [...]

Comment: Perhaps this current crusade with its machines for endless war is partly responsible for the spike of CO2. Meanwhile the article goes on to blame Asia.

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What happens should a larger asteroid come calling?

[...] Keeping an eye out for potentially catastrophic asteroids is money well-spent. The question that must be answered is: "What happens if they detect a really big asteroid coming straight at Earth?" So far there is no answer.

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Ignoring Space Threat


Scientists have claimed that the UK government is not serious in its study of potentially threatening rocks from space. They accuse government officials of not implementing necessary measures and instead using the subject as media opportunites.

Dr Benny Peiser, of Liverpool John Moores University, accused ministers of being "all spin and no delivery". He specifically criticized the government of not implementing recommendations made by a task force in 2000, which was set up explicitly to assess the risk posed by Near Earth Objects (NEOs). [...]

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Glacial Records Depict Ice Age Climate In Synch Worldwide

[...] Using a new technique to gauge the effects of cosmic rays on minerals found in boulders carried by South American glaciers thousands of years ago, a group of scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has demonstrated that the Earth's most recent ice ages were global events, likely driven by change in the atmosphere. [...]

"The results are significant because they indicate that the whole Earth experiences major ice age cold periods at the same time, and thus, some climate forcing mechanism must homogenize the Earth's climate system during ice ages and, by inference, other periods," says Michael R. Kaplan, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh who conducted the work in a postdoctoral position at UW-Madison. [...]

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Sheveluch Volcano (Russia)

Sunday 21st March, 2004

Sheveluch volcano continues its eruption, and is now emitting large quantities of ash from the crater. The most powerful emission in the latest 24 hours sent ash to the height of 4,500 meters. The emissions were accompanied by continual surface earthquakes and debris avalanches. [...]

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Ready to rumble: 'We fully expect to have an earthquake' (Montana)

By William L. Spence
The Daily Inter Lake

At various times throughout the year, emergency responders in Flathead County train for the worst disaster imaginable.

It isn't a terrorist attack. It isn't a raging wildfire or a freezing blizzard. It isn't even the collapse of Hungry Horse Dam.
Around here, they train for the big one. Realistically, "the big one" will probably be a destructive earthquake located

somewhere near the Mission Mountain or Swan Range fronts, with a magnitude around 5.5 to 6.5. However, the worst-case scenario calls for a 7.5 quake — the kind of monster shake-up that hasn't happened here in almost 10,000 years. [...]

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Minor earthquake rumbles Helena, Alabama no injuries reported

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Rains bring hope but only limited relief

Heavy rainfall over much of the country might not have been enough to break the drought, a senior government official has warned.

Mike Muller, the director-general of water affairs and forestry, said water saving measures could be imposed to ensure dams did not run dry during winter.

He said although South Africa was not in immediate danger of water shortages, the government would decide next month whether to impose restrictions on water usage in parts of the country.

"The good recent rainfalls have not resulted in dams filling up. Many dams throughout parts of the country are still at low levels," he said. [...]

Cornelius Pietersen, an Eastern Cape farmer, said although there had been some improvement, it would take a while for the situation to return to normal.

"If we don't get follow-up rains, crops for grazing may not recover well enough for grazing."

Pietersen said up to 2 000 cattle had died during the drought because there had not been sufficient grass for grazing.[...]

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More gales set to strike Britain

Britain is bracing itself for more strong winds after three people were killed in gales that caused damage across the country.
Gales gusting up to 65mph are expected in southern and western areas while northern Britain will see hailstorms, thunder and snow.

BBC weatherperson Elizabeth Saary said motorists could still experience some hazardous road conditions.

A man was killed by flying debris and two others were crushed on Saturday.[...]

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Money can't erase ordeal at hands of sex pest

If Sonja Grobler could give the devil a name it would be Gasant Samuels. He put her through hell. But winning her case against Media24, her employer that failed to stop the man found to be a serial sex pest, brought her only one comfort: "Now I know that they believe me. I am deeply grateful," she said.

But, she said, looking back it, no amount of money was worth suffering months of humiliation.[...]

She could not tell her husband what happened because she was scared that he might do something that might lead to her losing her job. A few days later Samuels took her face in his hands and pushed his finger into her mouth. She bit his finger. Samuels then told her that he was sorry about what had happened and gave her a set of earrings.

Some time after that he gave her a letter. It said: "I, Gasant Samuels, swear I will never harass Sonja or treat her in a bad manner again."

He also gave her a Bible, said that he had converted to the Christian faith and would leave her alone.

For three weeks he kept his promise.

Until the day that he found out that she had a flat for sale. He asked her if he could see it. She said yes.

At 6.30pm that night she went to show it to him. He started again with suggestive comments. Grobler got into her car to leave. He asked if she was scared that he might rape her. She said yes. He took out his revolver.

"Why don't you shoot yourself now?" he asked her.

She cried hysterically and then he told her that he would stop harassing her if she would sleep with him. She said she could not do it that night. He asked her to write down a promise that she would sleep with him. The next day he gave her a note with a hotel reservation on it.

She took the note to Samuels's boss and said that she now had proof of what he was doing to her. Nobody helped her. She eventually saw an independent labour consultant who came to her rescue.

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FBI nabs 2 in Internet child porn ring

Comment: Including a priest with child porn in the rectory. Perhaps Malachi Martin did have something to tell us about the Catholic Church.

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UPDATE: New inexplicable fires in Caronia

The service car of a night-surveillance worker (Metronotte) stops.

Yesterday evening the Fiat Fiorino of a pensioner was set afire inexplicably. And from today's dawn the Fiat Punto of a Metronotte's worker (a Surveillance Company), one that it guarantees the vigilance in the rooms of Via ‘Del Mare’, is blocked inside the off-limits zone.

Its engine doesn’t start, but the engine's battery is perfectly functional. The night has passed away between doubts, uncertainties and a new mysterious episode in Canneto of Caronia, in the Messinese, where the citizens have once again fallen in anguish after the nth inexplicable fire that yesterday evening has completely destroyed a car, the Fiat 'Fiorino’ owned by Mr. Basilio Siracusano.

The pensioner was making return from a small town near Canneto, Marina di Caronia, when the car began to burn without warning. From the dawn of today, the Fiat Punto owned by Metronotte’s Company, one that guarantees the vigilance in the rooms of Via Del Mare, is blocked.

Today the Vigilante, at the moment to drive back home, realized that the car wouldn’t start, in spite of the fact that the battery was in perfect conditions. The car is going to be impounded by the local authorities by now. In the meanwhile, waiting for the arrival of other surveillance machines, the National Fire Departments carry out measurements with a Geiger counter. Near the surrounding fences, numerous citizens are waiting for more news, and a civil employee of the Navy, is waiting to arrange the work to be done soon […]

Comment: The above has been translated from the Italian by a reader. One of the strangest stories recently, and it has received very little press. Many more details are needed to build a really decent hypothesis. So far, it appears that it is primarily metal bursting into flame, with very little effect (Except for shock, of course!) on the inhabitants of this little village. Not even rings have not burst into flames. It may very well be weapons testing of some sort. Someone who is carefully selecting targets. In case you missed it, you can catch our coverage in our Signs supplement: Fortean Fire.

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Airline halts plan for smooching urinals

New York - Virgin Atlantic Airways on Friday scrapped plans to install bright-red urinals shaped like women's open lips at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport, saying it had received complaints they were offensive.

"Virgin Atlantic was very sorry to hear of people's concerns about the design of the 'Kisses' urinals to be fitted into our clubhouse at JFK Airport. We can assure everyone who complained to us that no offense was ever intended," Virgin spokesperson John Riordan said in a statement.

[...] "I don't know many men who think it's cool to pee in a woman's mouth, even a porcelain one," said NOW President Kim Gandy on the group's website.

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Bottled water withdrawn from shops in Britain

London - The Coca-Cola Company said on Friday that it is withdrawing its Dasani bottled water from sale in Britain after finding that samples contained higher than permitted levels of the chemical bromate.

[...] Dasani suffered a rash of bad publicity earlier this month when British newspapers discovered that the product was purified tap water - something Coca-Cola had always acknowledged. Following the newspaper stories, the Food Standards Agency said it was inquiring whether Coke was entitled to use the term "pure" in describing Dasani.

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Cellphone wars go global

[...] Nokia is the biggest cellphone provider in the world, Motorola is the biggest in the United States and China the planet's top market.

More people in China named John Wong have cellphones than all the cellphones in Germany. One provider has 200 million subscribers in China. Numbers everywhere grow exponentially, and the devices keep getting upgraded.

Comment: We guess that would mean a lot of Wong numbers.

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China plans to launch lunar rover in 2012

Beijing - Fledgling space power China plans to land its first lunar rover on the moon in 2012, state media reported on Sunday, citing a leading researcher.

[...] The vehicle will collect data for use in efforts to set up a base on the moon, the Beijing Youth Daily reported, citing Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist in China's lunar exploration programme.

China has already detailed plans to launch a lunar satellite in 2007 and land an unmanned craft on the moon in 2010, while another unmanned craft will collect lunar dust in 2020.

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Quake Happened Early Saturday Morning

POSTED: 5:11 pm CST March 20, 2004

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The U.S Geological Survey confirmed that a minor earthquake of magnitude 2.7 originated just north of Helena at 4:40 a.m. Saturday.

Several neighbors at the nearby Oak Park subdivision felt the rumble but the Shelby County Sheriff's Department had no reports of damage or injuries.

And on a convenience store surveillance tape, just two miles from the micro-quake's epicenter, no one even noticed.

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Le Canada devrait-il surveiller ses volcans? (Should Canada watch its volcanos?)

Mise à jour le samedi 20 mars 2004, 15 h 45 .

A Canadian volcanologist from Simon Fraser University is suggesting the the federal government should spend more to track the volvanos along the country's Pacific coast. Although the volcanos are not presently active, there are several active volcanos in the same ring that extends from Washington state to the north of Russia.

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Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over'

Comment: When satire gets too close for comfort. This piece was orignally from The Onion, it has been updated with links to real events.

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