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The Crime Behind the Criminal Wars! If your first guess is the attacks of September 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, guess again.
It is a different crime, just as hideous by any legal standard and in any jurisdiction, but this crime, due to its very serious implications, is preferred by many to remain a secret.
It is a crime whose victims are not just the innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also every unsuspecting military personnel who put his or her life on the line in this synthetic war on terror, and you, the reader.
All preventable wars are illegal and criminal. According to the UN charter, “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”
Bush and Blair had the evidence that Bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks as early as September 26, 2001, but that evidence was only shared with those who were important for the execution of their war, such as NATO and Pakistan (Bush, Blair, and the Terrorism Shell Game), and kept away from those sane entities who were looking for a just and peaceful outcome. (MyDemocracy.net)
Children 'bad for planet' HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags, says a report to be published today by a green think tank.
The paper by the Optimum Population Trust will say that if couples had two children instead of three they could cut their family's carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York. (The Australian)
Report: Saudis, US sponsoring covert action against Iran The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United States are working with other states in the Middle East to sponsor covert action against Iran, according to a report in this month's edition of The Atlantic. The report also suggests that covert attacks may occur against Iran's oil sector.
David Samuels, in a lengthy article on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East, reports that the US is promoting a campaign against Iran that includes covert action.
Last fall, he writes, "Rice and her colleagues in the administration decided to embark on a daring and risky third course: a coordinated campaign, directed with the help of the intelligence services of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates....The bill for the covert part of this activity, which has involved funding sectarian political movements and paramilitary groups in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories, is said to amount to more than $300 million. It is being paid by Saudi Arabia and other concerned Gulf states, for whom the combination of a hasty American withdrawal from Iraq and a nuclear-armed Iran means trouble." (The Raw Story)
Network refuses to name clients of 'DC madam' There was an almost audible sigh of relief in parts of America's capital this weekend after a TV network said it would not reveal the identities of scores of clients of the alleged "DC madam" because they were not well enough known to be "newsworthy".
ABC News said that, having ploughed through 46lbs of phone records, it had discovered that among the clients of Deborah Palfrey's alleged prostitution ring were senior business executives, Nasa officials and at least five military officers. And among the women working for Ms Palfrey - who ran the network in Washington DC from her home in California - were an instructor at the US Naval Academy and a legal secretary at a prominent law firm
. The secretary was suspended after telling her bosses she worked for Ms Palfrey "for spa money".
Ms Palfrey, 51, faces federal charges of racketeering and money-laundering associated with prostitution. She claims she offered only "fantasy sex" and she was not breaking the law. (The Independent)
Gore sees 'spiritual crisis' in warming Playing equal parts visionary, cheerleader and comedian, Al Gore brought his message of how to fight global warming to a capacity crowd of receptive architects Saturday in San Antonio.
The former vice president referred continually to a "new way of thinking" that is emerging in the country and offered hope in the battle to control the effects global warming will have on the planet.
"It's in part a spiritual crisis," Gore told the crowd in the Convention Center at the American Institute of Architects national convention. "It's a crisis of our own self-definition — who we are. Are we creatures destined to destroy our own species? Clearly not."
Global warming is the heating of the Earth caused in large part by man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Most scientists agree such warming and the changing climate that comes with it will likely cause a number of problems and crises this century, particularly in developing countries that have few resources to combat the effects. (San Antonio Express-News)
Blair rejects 7/7 inquiry calls: Tony Blair has again rejected calls for a fresh inquiry into the 7/7 attacks, saying it would undermine the security services. The prime minister repeatedly dismissed Tory leader David Cameron's demands for a "proper independent inquiry".
He also told MPs at Commons question time that it would divert resources from the fight against terrorism.
Survivors of the 2005 attack renewed their calls for an inquiry on Monday after the fertiliser bomb plot trial.
It emerged at the end of the year-long court case that MI5 had watched and followed two of the 7 July bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, a year before the attacks as part of their surveillance of the fertiliser bomb plotters.
Calls for a fresh inquiry into the 7/7 attacks grew after it emerged that MPs and peers on the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) were not shown photographs linking Khan to known militants.
Security sources say MI5 said it did not reveal the images to the parliamentary committee because they were taken by police officers not MI5 operatives. (BBC)
Carbon credits market triples The market in carbon credits grew faster than expected last year, tripling to $30bn from $10bn in 2005, the World Bank said on Wednesday.
But the fledgling carbon credit industry is struggling to keep up with demand, the Financial Times has found, as there is now a shortage of skilled technicians to monitor carbon reduction projects and verify the claimed emissions cuts are taking place. (Financial Times)
National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 51 This directive establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development of Federal continuity policies. This policy establishes "National Essential Functions," prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency. (Wikipedia)
Fertiliser bomb trial: Bugged talk The trial of seven men accused of planning to build a homemade fertiliser bomb to use against targets in the UK relied partly on hours of surveillance evidence and recordings of bugged conversations.
Omar Khyam, the ringleader, was followed by MI5 and counter-terrorism officers who had been on the trail of al-Qaeda sympathisers in the UK.
In February 2004, counter-terrorism officers began round-the-clock surveillance of the key suspects, including recording bugged conversations.
The complete operation included:
* 24,000 hours of video
* 3,000 hours of audio
* 33,000 man hours of surveillance
* 80 computers examined after arrest
Two of the accused, Nabeel Hussain and Shujah Mahmood, were found not guilty. (BBC)
In Depth: Air India; Evidence Part 1: Plotted in plain sight? - In 1987, Canada's solicitor-general James Kelleher declared: "I should point out to the House that there was no indication that there was a specific threat to Flight 182."
Sixteen years later, then federal solicitor-general Wayne Easter repeated the assertion: "They were not in a position to know that there would be a terrorist attack on an Air India aircraft."
Were they right? Was there really no warning — or was the Air India bombing plotted in plain sight?
In 1982, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi complained to prime minister Pierre Trudeau that Sikh extremists in Canada were financing and organizing terrorist attacks against Indian targets.
Three years later, on June 22, 1985, two bombs placed by Sikh militants in Vancouver killed 331 people. Air India Flight 182 blew up as it approached the coast of Ireland, killing 329 people. Two baggage handlers died earlier during a blast at a Tokyo airport.
Ever since, successive Canadian governments have insisted that Canada's security agencies could not have prevented the bombing because there was no warning. (CBC)
'I Abhor Injustice,' Alleged Madam Says "Miz Julia" doled out a steady stream of advice, both practical and philosophical.
From her California home, she e-mailed tips to the 132 women who worked across the Washington area for the firm Pamela Martin & Associates. Her newsletters, now excerpted in court records, were a virtual how-to manual for avoiding all kinds of trouble in a business said to specialize in erotic fantasies.
"One never quite knows where evil, i.e., the vice squad is lurking in this business," read one arch entry from 1995. "The misogynists get a real kick out of surprising (shocking) you girls, when you give them the opportunity!!! . . . Therefore, you are to lock, double lock, triple lock all doors!!! . . . Figure it out, before they 'get cha'!!!"
Miz Julia was the pseudonym for Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the woman at the center of a sex scandal that has caused a deputy secretary of state to resign and has lawyers calling around town trying to keep their clients' names out of public view. A one-time law student, Palfrey ran for 13 years what she insists was a legal escort service. Federal prosecutors allege she was providing $300-an-hour prostitutes, and a grand jury indicted her in February on federal racketeering charges. (Washington Post)
Climate change hits Mars Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period. (London Times)
Heroin is "Good for Your Health": Occupation Forces support Afghan Narcotics Trade Multibillion dollar earnings for organized crime and Western financial Institutions - The UN estimates that for 2006, the contribution of the drug trade to the Afghan economy is of the order of 2.7 billion. What it fails to mention is the fact that more than 95 percent of the revenues generated by this lucrative contraband accrues to business syndicates, organized crime and banking and financial institutions. A very small percentage accrues to farmers and traders in the producing country. (New York Times)
British military sanctions Afghan poppy cultivation Angry Afghan officials have reprimanded British diplomats over a campaign by UK troops in Helmand telling farmers that growing poppy was understandable and acceptable. A radio message broadcast across the province assured local farmers that the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) would not interfere with poppy fields currently being harvested. - "It's ridiculous. The British embassy is sponsoring a 'don't grow poppy campaign' while the military pays for one that tells people they should," said a western official in Kabul. "Insecurity and poppy are the same issue - one creates the conditions for the other. This won't be over until the poppy is gone." (London Guardian)
NDP: stop bulk water exports -- SPP integration deal risks Canadian sovereignty and vital fresh water resources Canada stands to lose millions of litres of fresh water as a result of bulk water exports if the Conservatives enact proposals being discussed later this week in a closed-door meeting in Calgary. Today NDP MPs stood on the steps of Parliament Hill and called for a full parliamentary debate on the issue of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) - before the government implements this deep integration with the U.S. any further.
“We are calling on the Canadian government to pull out of these talks. It is beyond all reason that our government would be looking for ways to ship our fresh water resources in bulk to the United States,” said NDP International Trade Critic Peter Julian.
Last week, the Council of Canadians revealed a leaked memo that showed high level secret-talks would begin this week in Calgary between government and business leaders to discuss “water consumption, water transfers and artificial diversions of bulk water” with the aim of achieving “joint optimum utilization of the available water.” (New Democratic Party of Canada)
‘Ardent Sentry’ Tests U.S., Canadian Crisis Response Capabilities Thousands of active-duty and National Guard servicemembers will take part in a two-week, Defense Department-sponsored nationwide emergency preparedness and response exercise that kicks off April 30, a senior department official said here yesterday.
A major focus of Operation Ardent Sentry - Northern Edge 2007 will be to test crisis-response coordination between federally controlled military forces and National Guard units that come under the command of state governors, Peter F. Verga, acting assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense, told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service at the Pentagon.
The exercise, directed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is slated to end May 18. It is co-sponsored by U.S. Northern Command and also includes participation by the U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command, the Department of Homeland Security and the Canadian armed forces, according to NORTHCOM documents. (US Department of Defense)
Nudity has become an option Air travellers everywhere may soon be able to choose between the traditional pat-down and a new X-ray machine that leaves little to the imagination - the ACLU has taken no legal action against the use of backscatter technology while X-ray screening remains voluntary. (The Globe And Mail)
Securing the Promise of the Western Hemisphere [Rush Transcript; Federal News Service] ANN M. FUDGE: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us on a Monday morning. I would again just like to welcome you to today's Council on Foreign Relations meeting. It's part of the C. Peter McColough Series on International Economics and is cosponsored with the council's corporate program and the Maurice Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies.
Before we begin, please remember to turn off your cell phones and other wireless devices.
I would like to remind the audience today that this meeting is on the record. And what I would like to do is very briefly introduce our speaker this morning, Secretary Gutierrez. He will be talking about Latin America, which has been a topic that has been of interest to many of the council members. So without any further delay, I will bring Carlos up and begin the program, so we will have much time for question and answers. (Council on Foreign Relations)
Vanishing honeybees mystify scientists Go to work, come home. Go to work, come home. Go to work -- and vanish without a trace.
Billions of bees have done just that, leaving the crop fields they are supposed to pollinate, and scientists are mystified about why.
The phenomenon was first noticed late last year in the United States, where honeybees are used to pollinate $15 billion worth of fruits, nuts and other crops annually. Disappearing bees also have been reported in Europe and Brazil.
Commercial beekeepers would set their bees near a crop field as usual and come back in two or three weeks to find the hives bereft of foraging worker bees, with only the queen and the immature insects remaining. Whatever worker bees survived were often too weak to perform their tasks. (Reuters)
Economic nationalism -- rest in peace It's hard to take seriously Stéphane Dion's belated championing of Canadian economic nationalism. The Liberal leader caused consternation in the financial press when he showed up at the corner of King and Bay this week to decry federal government policies that he said were eating away at the country's economic sovereignty. The financial press need not worry.
True, Dion did use a smattering of nationalist rhetoric. "Canada is not for sale," he said, in a speech that accused the Stephen Harper Conservatives of making it easier for foreigners to take over this country's companies. "I believe domestic ownership does matter ... I promise to ... protect our economic sovereignty."
All of this got The Globe and Mail in quite a lather. One editorial warned that the ghost of Walter Gordon – the one-time federal finance minister who, until his death, symbolized the nationalist wing within the Liberal party – was stalking the land. (Toronto Star)
Millions in Iraq to get MMR jab -- A major immunisation campaign is to take place in Iraq in a bid to prevent an outbreak of measles. The World Health Organization and Unicef are overseeing the work of 8,000 volunteers who aim to give up to 3.9 million children the MMR vaccine.
The children, aged one to five, have missed out on their routine jabs because of the instability in Iraq.
Health experts warn measles could kill up to 10% of infected children if an epidemic took hold.
While measles in countries like the UK is often perceived as a relatively harmless childhood illness, it kills more worldwide each year than any other disease which can be prevented by vaccination.
Iraq's Ministry of Health is organising the two-week MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) immunisation campaign, which is also being funded by the European Commission. (BBC)
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