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Sat, 30 Sep 2023
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Catholic policeman murdered in bomb blast in Northern Ireland

A young police officer has been killed by a booby-trap car bomb in Northern Ireland.

The device exploded under the vehicle outside his home in Highfield Close, off the Gortin Road in Omagh, Co Tyrone, just before 4pm today.

It is understood the 25-year-old was a new recruit to the Police Service of Northern Ireland and was a Catholic.

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward said: "This evil and cowardly attack will sicken everyone across Northern Ireland.


Northern Ireland bomb attempt 'threatened mass murder'

© Peter Morrison/AP
A forensics team examines the scene where significant arms were found in Coalisland, east Tyrone, during the investigation into the murder of Ronan Kerr.
Police say bomb found in van on main Belfast to Dublin road could have resulted in huge devastation and loss of life

Dissident republicans who prepared a 500lb (227kg) van bomb risked causing an Omagh-style massacre, politicians in Northern Ireland have said.

Detectives believe the bomb, found at an underpass near the border on the main Belfast to Dublin road, may have been destined for a town centre attack.

29 people were killed and 220 were injured in a bomb attack in the centre of Omagh in August 1998.

While it is believed the presence of a police checkpoint forced the latest bombers to abandon the vehicle, hundreds of motorists drove past the device unaware of the danger after traffic cones and warning signs had been removed, and even driven over, by others on the road.

The blue Ford transit van, stolen in Maynooth outside Dublin in January and carrying false Donegal registration plates, was found near Newry and contained a wheelie bin packed with 500lbs of homemade explosives.

Comment: The question to ask is qui bono?

British intelligence is notorious for creating terror scares, real and imaginary, in Ireland:

Patsies Framed For Omagh Bombing Appeal, Evidence Suggests British Intelligence False Flag Operation


Perception Management: How 'acceptable levels' of radiation are adjusted to make us think everything is A-OK

© Sott.net
I've been amazed by the actions of official agencies to the unfolding radiation crisis at Fukushima. Watching the news reports from official channels in the aftermath of the disaster, I started asking myself several questions: Why has there been such a poor reaction from the World Health Organization? Why is the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) playing down the radiation threat? Why are some news pundits around the world actually trying to claim that radiation is 'not that bad' for human health? So I made an effort to answer these questions for myself. What I discovered was that there is no point in relying on data and reports provided by the various institutional exponents of nuclear energy "safety" and here's why:

The main goal for the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) is to propagate atomic energy. This is stated clearly in paragraph 2 of the IAEA statute:
"The Agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world."
Moreover, many UN agencies are subordinate to the IAEA. This particularly applies to the World Health Organization (WHO). On the strength of an agreement signed on 28 May 1959 (WHA 12-40), the IAEA can veto any research carried by WHO which would be in opposition to implementation of paragraph 2 of the IAEA statute. One statement in this agreement reads:
"It is recognized by the World Health Organization that the International Atomic Energy Agency has the primary responsibility for encouraging, assisting and coordinating research on, and development and practical application of, atomic energy for peaceful uses throughout the world without prejudice to the right of the World Health Organization to concern itself with promoting, developing, assisting, and coordinating international health work, including research, in all its aspects."
So it's easy to assess the relative value of reports about the effects of nuclear disasters published by the pro-nuclear institutions, including the famous 2005 report on Chernobyl (a favorite reference for pro-atomic lobbyists). In short, in the interest of "encouraging, assisting and coordinating research on, and development and practical application of, atomic energy" such reports are very probably biased and tend to downplay the extent of the radiation danger to people.

Bad Guys

Yemen resolution unlikely as president dismisses Gulf plan to end rule

Ali Abdullah Saleh accuses Gulf states who have been meeting to discuss his fate of trying to mastermind 'coup'
Yemeni anti-government protester
© AFP/Getty Images
A Yemeni anti-government protester takes part in a demonstration in the commercial capital Taiz.
Hopes for a peaceful resolution to political turmoil were fading on Friday as President Ali Abdullah Saleh backed away from a plan being drawn up by Gulf states to broker an end to his 33-year rule.

Speaking at a rally of his supporters, Saleh lashed out at the Gulf states who have been meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to discuss his fate. He accused them of trying to mastermind a "coup" against his country's democracy and of "blatant interference in Yemeni affairs".

Violent demonstrations continued, with three protesters killed in the city of Taiz, the commercial capital. Protesters carrying the bodies of five people killed earlier in the week to a graveyard came under fire from soldiers from the Republican Guard, an elite force headed by the president's son.

Plain-clothed men were seen crouching on nearby rooftops firing rifles and lobbing tear-gas canisters down on the protesters.

Bad Guys

US: Government shutdown avoided, White House and Republicans reach deal

© The Associated Press
John Boehner, left, and Barack Obama each announced a shutdown had been avoided.
Racing the clock, in a long day of trading offers, the White House and Speaker John Boehner reached agreement Friday night on a budget framework that would cap 2011 appropriations just under $1.050 trillion while cutting domestic and foreign aid by more than $40 billion from the rate of spending at the beginning of this Congress.

The deal - which was only sealed after Boehner presented the outline to a closed door Republican Conference - averts what would have been an unprecedented wartime shutdown of the government that had become a growing embarrassment for himself and President Barack Obama.

Down to the end, Boehner was still pressing for a lower top line when Obama called him in the early evening. Both men later cast the agreement as the best available, but the grueling, often distrustful process testified to how tough this legislative year will be and the immense pressure on the speaker from the right.

The administration largely succeeded in blocking the most controversial policy riders impacting the environment and abortion-rights. But the cut is one of the single largest in history, and a preview of what lies ahead when Republicans move their 2012 budget plan next week and fight with Obama over raising the debt ceiling in May and June.

"Like any worthwhile compromise, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them," Obama said. "And I certainly did that."


Gates: U.S. troops could stay in Iraq for years

Robert Gates

Robert Gates
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said U.S. troops could remain in Iraq for years to come.

It would depend, he said, on what the Iraqis want and what Washington is willing to give.

Gates met soldiers of the 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, in Mosul, where - like the troops Gates met one day earlier in Baghdad - they asked if they would actually be staying beyond 2011, and if so, for how long.

"Well, I think that would be part of any negotiation," Gates answered, "... whether it would be for a finite period of time, whether it would be negotiated that there be a further ramp down over a period of two or three years, or whether we would have a continuing advise-and-assist role that we have in a number of countries that just becomes part of a regular military-to-military relationship."

Any extension, however, would be smaller than the current 47,000-member force in Iraq.

During his travels, Gates nearly always meets small groups of deployed troops. Each time, he gives a short speech and answers questions on topics ranging from global policy decisions to getting washing machines and Internet connections fixed. The secretary shakes each hand, takes a picture and hands out hundreds of his personalized commemorative "challenge" coins - a military tradition.

Control Panel

Nuclear Awakenings


Dr. Helen Caldicott
Dr. Helen Caldicott is the mother of the anti-nuclear revolution and a devoted anti-nuclear activist. She has spent the last 38 years on a mission to educate the public about the medical and environmental hazards of the nuclear age. Join us as Dr. Helen Caldicott helps us to understand nuclear material and the sciences that surround it. We will explore the risks inherent in nuclear technology and nuclear power, including the danger of using outdated technology in nuclear reactors. Most importantly, we will discuss whether humankind is capable of safely managing nuclear material, technology, and waste. Do the risks outweigh the benefits? Listen and learn.

War Whore

Ivory Coast: French helicopters launch rockets at Gbagbo's palace


Peacemongers seem to have invaded Africa again
French helicopter gunships launched rocket attacks on President Laurent Gbagbo's palace in Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan on Friday night, according to witnesses.

The strikes came hours after mortar rounds and a rocket were fired at the residence of the French ambassador in Abidjan by pro-Gbagbo forces.

A spokesman for Mr Gbagbo denied that the French ambassador's residence had been attacked.

"The Ivory Coast government believes France is looking for a pretext to resume bombings on the presidential palace," Toussaint Alain, a representative for Mr Gbagbo, said in Paris. "If there are attacks on the embassy, it's not Gbagbo's forces. Nobody has been attacked."

The UN peacekeeping head said Mr Gbagbo's forces had regained ground in Abidjan and fully control the Plateau and Cocody areas.

Alain Le Roy said the Gbagbo camp had used a lull on Tuesday for peace talks as a "trick" to reinforce their positions and that they still had heavy weapons.


EU tells Portugal: 'no aid without harsher cuts'

© Unknown
Strikes have been taking place across Portugal
European Union finance ministers told Portugal it would have to implement tougher austerity measure than those proposed by its outgoing government if it hoped to secure a bailout.

The minister were meeting in Budapest on Friday to discuss the sovereign debt crisis that has haunted the bloc for over a year, with Portugal the main focus of their talks.

Debt-laden Portugal on Thursday became the third eurozone nation after Greece and Ireland to request financial help from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund after a spike in borrowing costs.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the Eurogroup, said the finance ministers had instructed the EU, the IMF and Portugal's politicians to negotiate the country's bailout by mid-May for implementation after June 5 elections.

"The package must be really strict because otherwise it does not make any sense to guarantee anybody's loan," Finland's Finance Minister Hyrki Katainen said.


Bahrain: Western Complicity in Saudi-Backed War Crimes

© Unknown
Claims of Civilian Killings, Disappearances, Torture, Chemical Warfare Agents and Organ Theft From Victims of State Violence

When Saudi-led military forces intervened in Bahrain on March 14, it was declared by the Bahraini government and its allies among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates that the unprecedented move was a matter of urgency, needed to "restore order and stability" to the tiny Persian Gulf island kingdom. An arcane GCC defence pact was invoked - the Arabian Peninsula Shield - even though legal experts pointed out that such a provision was only applicable in the event of one of the six Gulf states coming under attack from an external enemy.

Three weeks later, the real nature of the Saudi-led intervention is becoming brutally clear. It can now be seen as an invasion that has led to foreign occupation, lawlessness and several categories of crimes against humanity committed by the very forces purported to bring order. In one sense, the rhetorical justification for invoking the Peninsula Shield force, "to restore order and stability", is literally correct. The aim was to restore the order and stability of the US-backed Al Khalifa Sunni dictatorship that had sat perilously on top of an oppressed Shia majority for decades. On February 14, the Shia majority (60-70 per cent of the indigenous population) along with disenfranchised Sunni and non-religionists from working class communities rose up in numbers that had never been seen before. Inspired by revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab region, Bahrain's surging pro-democracy movement rocked the royal rulers.