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Mon, 11 Dec 2023
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Canada: Harper on defensive over ethics in key debate

© Reuters
Conservative Party leader and PM Harper, NDP leader Layton, and Liberal leader Ignatieff take part in the English leaders' debate in Ottawa
Canada's three opposition leaders accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of incompetence and deceit during an election debate on Tuesday as they sought to cut into the ruling Conservative Party's big poll lead.

Public opinion surveys strongly suggest the right-of-center Conservatives, who have been in power since early 2006, will win a third consecutive term in the May 2 election -- the fourth in less than seven years.

The opposition brought down the minority government in late March, saying it had hidden its spending plans from Parliament, was tainted with sleaze and had botched the job of helping the economy recover from the global crisis.

Harper, who was on the defensive for most of the debate but did not appear to suffer serious damage, said the opposition had provoked what he called an unnecessary election at a time when Canadians should be focusing on the economy.

The televised two-hour English-language exchange had been seen a crucial chance for Michael Ignatieff, leader of the main opposition Liberal Party, to improve his image. The Conservatives have run a series of attack ads portraying the former broadcaster and academic as an elitist.


Egypt: Mubarak sons detained amid corruption probe

© The Associated Press
Egyptians widely believed that Gamal Mubarak was being groomed to replace his father
The sons of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak have been detained amid investigations into corruption and state violence, police and media say.

The two sons, Alaa and Gamal, who had earlier been taken for questioning, are to be held for 15 days.

Gamal, the younger son, was once widely seen as a possible successor to his father as president.

Hosni Mubarak has also been questioned, but he was taken to hospital after reportedly suffering heart problems.

The former leader, 82, stood down on 11 February following an 18-day popular uprising against his rule.

State television said on Tuesday that he had suffered a heart attack, though other reports indicated that he was well enough to undergo further questioning.

Star of David

Truce to be followed by wide-scale confrontation, says Israeli military

© Reuters
IDF forces near Gaza
Military sources believe relative truce in south will be followed by wide-scale confrontation. 'Hamas has been busy rebuilding its forces for the past two years, and this can only mean we're facing an all-out clash,' says senior officer

One round of escalation may be over, but the IDF is already preparing for the next one - despite sporadic rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Sunday, military officials estimate that the relative lull will be followed by a large confrontation at the Strip.

Last month, after terror organizations fired Grad rockets at Beersheba and Ashdod for the first time since Operation Cast Lead, voices within the military echelons claimed Israel's reaction was too restrained. This time, however, the voices are different.

Comment: So Israeli military officials "estimate" there will be an "all-out confrontation" after the truce. To translate: Israeli military officials know for a fact that after the truce there will be an all-out military confrontation, because that was the plan all along. The truce was just for purposes of propaganda and preparation.

Interestingly, the original article carried the very misleading headline: "IDF estimates round of violence over". With news reporting like this, is it any wonder that the public is so ignorant about the truth of the matter?


Warmongering: France, Britain say NATO must step up Libya bombing

© Reuters/Youssef Boudlal
Rebel fighters fire a rocket at the frontline in Ajdabiyah April 11, 2011.
Tripoli - France and Britain, who first launched air attacks on Libya in coalition with the United States, Tuesday criticized NATO'S bombing campaign, saying it must do more to stop Muammar Gaddafi bombarding civilians.

NATO took over air operations from the three nations on March 31 but heavy government bombardment of the besieged western city of Misrata has continued unabated with hundreds of civilians reported killed.

The criticism by London and Paris followed new shelling of Misrata Monday and the collapse of an African Union peace initiative.

Echoing rebel complaints, Alain Juppe told France Info radio, "It's not enough."

He said NATO must stop Gaddafi shelling civilians and take out heavy weapons bombarding Misrata. In a barbed reference to the alliance command of the operation, Juppe added: "NATO must play its role fully. It wanted to take the lead in operations, we accepted that."


How Nuclear Apologists Mislead the World over Radiation

smiley nukes
© n/a
George Monbiot and others at best misinform and at worst distort evidence of the dangers of atomic energy

Soon after the Fukushima accident last month, I stated publicly that a nuclear event of this size and catastrophic potential could present a medical problem of very large dimensions. Events have proven this observation to be true despite the nuclear industry's campaign about the "minimal" health effects of so-called low-level radiation. That billions of its dollars are at stake if the Fukushima event causes the "nuclear renaissance" to slow down appears to be evident from the industry's attacks on its critics, even in the face of an unresolved and escalating disaster at the reactor complex at Fukushima.

Proponents of nuclear power - including George Monbiot, who has had a mysterious road-to-Damascus conversion to its supposedly benign effects - accuse me and others who call attention to the potential serious medical consequences of the accident of "cherry-picking" data and overstating the health effects of radiation from the radioactive fuel in the destroyed reactors and their cooling pools. Yet by reassuring the public that things aren't too bad, Monbiot and others at best misinform, and at worst misrepresent or distort, the scientific evidence of the harmful effects of radiation exposure - and they play a predictable shoot-the-messenger game in the process.


Canada: Tories manipulated G8 fund: auditor

Stephen Harper
© Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is shown responding to a question during the family photo opportunity at the G8 G20 Summit in Huntsville, Ont., on Friday June 25, 2010.
Sheila Fraser's draft report says government failed to act 'transparently' in spending $50 million

The Harper government did not act "clearly" and "transparently" when it sought permission from Parliament to spend $50 million on a G8 fund that delivered projects last year in a Conservative riding, according to a draft report by the auditor-general.

Further, according to the document obtained Monday by Postmedia News, the Conservative government failed to adequately keep records to explain how the 32 projects were chosen for Parry Sound-Muskoka, the southern Ontario riding represented by Tony Clement, the industry minister.

The federal campaign was hit with a bombshell in media reports that said Sheila Fraser concluded in a draft audit prepared in mid-January that the government had misinformed MPs and perhaps had even broken the law through the way it sought funds in late 2009.

Senior Conservatives responded by saying that initial audit was not valid because it was overtaken by another draft written the following month by the auditor-general's office which wasn't as critical.

That second report-obtained by Postmedia News and dated Feb. 1 -does not flatly state that the Tories misinformed Parliament. But it is critical of the Conservative government -which first came to office in 2006, promising greater transparency -for failing to be adequately transparent in this instance.


Civilians Massacred by Western-Backed 'Rebel' Forces in Ivory Coast


Shock and Awe, EU-style. European neo-colonialists relive their forefathers' adventures in Africa by blowing up yet another tiny African nation.
Up to 1,000 civilians have reportedly been massacred in the town of Duékoué in the West African country of Ivory Coast. This is the biggest loss of life in the former French colony since the disputed presidential election in November 2010.

There has been a standoff between the two rival presidential candidates since the election. The stalemate has now descended into civil war, as Alassane Ouattara, who is backed by France, the United States and international bodies, tries to oust the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.

Ouattara's forces have seized most of the country, including the political capital, Yamassoukro, and the main port, San Pedro. They are now fighting to gain control of the commercial capital, Abidjan. Gbagbo retains the support of his 2,500-strong presidential guard, an unknown number of mercenaries and the Patriotic Youth movement. Many elements in the army have shifted their allegiance to Ouattara, following a United Nations Security Council resolution on March 30.

France and Nigeria sponsored the resolution that called on all state officials to recognise Ouattara. This was the signal for the beginning of Ouattara's military assault on Gbagbo's forces.


Sarko's invasion of West Africa successful: Laurent Gbagbo detained by Ivory Coast opposition forces

© Luc Gnago/Reuters
French forces advance on the residence of Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo, who has been captured by opposition forces.
Detention by fighters loyal to Ouattara comes after more than 30 French armoured vehicles join advance on Abidjan residence

Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to step down as president of Ivory Coast plunged the country into violence, has been captured in Abidjan and is in the custody of opposition forces.

News of his detention came after a column of more than 30 French armoured vehicles closed in on his residence in the city and amid initial reports that he had been seized by French special forces.

But both the French government and military insist that Gbagbo was taken by troops loyal to Alasanne Ouattara, who won last year's presidential election.


Evidence against alleged 9/11 plotters finally revealed 10 years on

© Unknown
US prosecutors compiled lots of evidence against the five men accused of having organized the September 11 attacks on the United States, but not until this week have details been fully revealed.

The indictment charging self-professed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others was unsealed when US Attorney General Eric Holder referred the case to the Defense Department for military trials instead of trials at a US federal court in New York.

Holder said Sheikh Mohammed, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and Mustapha Ahmed al-Hawsawi could have been prosecuted in federal court and blamed Congress for imposing measures blocking civilian trials of Guantanamo Bay inmates.

They will be tried in military courts in the US naval base in southeastern Cuba.

The now-public details show that the United States, nearly 10 years after hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, reconstructed step by step the logistics of the five accused men.

They compiled bank transactions, flight records, visa applications, and dozens of telephone conversations to create the most comprehensive account of the chain of events before the attacks.

Implementation of the plan began in 1999, when Sheikh Mohammed (referred to as "KSM" by US officials) proposed to Osama bin Laden to use commercial airliners as missiles against US targets.

Comment: For a much closer study of what really happened on 9/11, the reader may be interested in 9/11: The Ultimate Truth, by Laura Knight-Jadczyk and Joe Quinn.

"In the years since the 9/11 attacks, dozens of books have sought to explore the truth behind the official version of events that day - yet to date, none of these publications has provided a satisfactory answer as to WHY the attacks occurred and who was ultimately responsible for carrying them out.

Taking a broad, millennia-long perspective, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's 9/11: The Ultimate Truth uncovers the true nature of the ruling elite on our planet and presents new and ground-breaking insights into just how the 9/11 attacks played out.

9/11: The Ultimate Truth makes a strong case for the idea that September 11, 2001 marked the moment when our planet entered the final phase of a diabolical plan that has been many, many years in the making. It is a plan developed and nurtured by successive generations of ruthless individuals who relentlessly exploit the negative aspects of basic human nature to entrap humanity as a whole in endless wars and suffering in order to keep us confused and distracted to the reality of the man behind the curtain."


Bill Maher: America Needs "A Class War"

Bill Maher: America Needs "A Class War":