Tuesday, February 28, 2006

the flag of the country!

Troops lower flag at Cdn camps
February 28, 2006

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CP) - The Maple Leaf is coming down at Canadian military installations in Afghanistan.

Commanders of Operation Enduring Freedom have asked coalition troops to lower their national flags and fly only the black-red-green of Afghanistan in an effort to put Afghan colours on forces bolstering the national government.

Canada has decided to comply with the request, citing "cultural sensitivity."

"This is not Canada, this is the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan," said Brig.-Gen. David Fraser, head of the Canadian contingent and the multinational brigade in southern Afghanistan.

"We've got to respect their cultures and traditions and be respectful that they invited us here. I think it's only fitting we fly their flag."

Fraser, officially made head of the multinational brigade for southern Afghanistan on Tuesday in a ceremony at the main air base outside Kandahar, said there is one team behind international efforts to pacify Afghanistan and that it should unite under one flag.

As Fraser was installed, soldiers at the small camp housing the Canadian provincial reconstruction team in downtown Kandahar a few kilometres away lowered the Maple Leaf in a dignified ceremony.

"It goes back to the cultural sensitivity training we did back in Canada," Fraser said. "We're in support of the Afghans. They're leading this mission."

Fraser said small Canadian flags on the side of vehicles and the tiny ones on soldiers' shoulders can remain.

For years, coalition and NATO military leaders have tried to polish the image of the Afghan government by insisting local authorities regularly lead operations with only the backup of international troops.

Despite improvements in training and equipment, the reality on the ground is often far different. International soldiers often pick up the slack for under-paid and poorly trained Afghan police and troops, although Afghans take the bulk of the casualties from insurgent attacks.

U.S. Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Freakley, the coalition operational commander who asked contributing countries to lower their flags, said the international community needs to build institutions like the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police. Raising the Afghan flag as frequently as possible can only help the effort.

"We're trying to make subtle transitional moves to help the people of Afghanistan fend for themselves," he said.

Freakley said some U.S.-run compounds hosting international troops fly a dozen flags from various coalition countries.

He said the U.S. has a tradition of flying only one flag at military installations.

Contributing nations will understand, according to Freakley. "In no way is it intended to suppress any nationalistic pride, commitment or investment in the nation of Afghanistan," he said.

The Current Flag of Afghanistan

The flag of Afghanistan is composed of three equal vertical bars of black, red, and green, with the yellow coat of arms of Afghanistan in the center; this flag is known as the "King's flag." Each bar is twice as long as it is wide. The coat of arms depicts part of a mosque, sheaves of wheat, two banners, the date 1371 (A.D. 1992), which is the date of the Mujahideen victory, and an Arabic inscription that reads, "There is no God but Allah and Muhammed is his messenger."

This black, red, and green flag was flown in Afghanistan from 1930 until 1973. It was again flown over the presidential palace in Kabul on February 5, 2002, in a ceremony led by interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai. This flag replaced the flag of the overthrown Taliban.

The Old Flag of Afghanistan

Afghanistan's old flag was adopted on December 2, 1992, after the Mujahideen (fundamentalist Muslim fighters) won a civil war against the government that formed after the Soviet Union had pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989.

The old flag of Afghanistan is composed of three equal horizontal bars of green, white, and black. Green symbolizes Islam. In the center is the coat of arms of Afghanistan, pictured in yellow. The arms depict two curved swords, part of a mosque, wheat, two banners, the date 1371 (A.D. 1992), which is the date of the mujahideen victory, and an Arabic inscription that reads, "There is no God but Allah and Muhammed is his messenger."





interesting press release

Attention Business Editors:

Heritage Oil signs second agreement for Kurdistan, Iraq field studies

CALGARY, Feb. 28 /CNW/ - Heritage Oil Corporation (TSX: HOC) today announced that the Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Establishment (OGE) of the Government of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, Iraq has entered into a second exclusive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with K Petroleum Company (KPC) to undertake integrated reservoir field studies over several fields located south of the Erbil Mosul main road.

KPC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Heritage Erbil Oil Limited, which is a joint venture company co-owned with a major economic and industrial entity within the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, Iraq.

Micael Gulbenkian, Chairman and CEO of Heritage, said: "This second MOU demonstrates KPC is well-positioned in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, Iraq. We are delighted that KPC has been selected to undertake these studies.

KPC's two MOUs cover an area of approximately 1,300 km(2). Preliminary negotiations to convert both MOUs into Production Sharing Agreements (PSA) have begun and we anticipate they will be completed within the next three months."

Fieldwork in the first MOU area commenced in January. The planned 120-day field program includes undertaking magnetic and gravity studies as well as geological fieldwork. This work is being undertaken without any prevailing operational issues.

KPC plans to commence studies in the second MOU shortly. The scope of work includes regional studies, geological field mapping, magnetic and gravity surveys and satellite data interpretation. Additionally, the scope of work shall include the determination of hydrocarbon in place volumes and reserves from interpretation of all available data, utilising the latest reservoir characterisation and modelling technology.

Iraq's new constitution, entered into in 2005, gives the Kurdistan Regional Government the exclusive authority to enter into oil and gas licences over exploration areas and non-producing fields within its territory. KPC and Heritage have kept the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad fully informed of all developments.

Heritage is an international oil and gas corporation with producing properties in the Republic of Congo and Sultanate of Oman, a development property in Russia and exploration projects in the Republic of Uganda. Heritage Middle East, which is focusing on Iraq, has established an office in Amman, Jordan, which it intends to re-locate to Baghdad when the security situation permits.

The Company's Common Shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol HOC.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: Except for statements of historical fact, all statements in this news release - including, without limitation, statements regarding production estimates and future plans and objectives of Heritage - are forward-looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainties.

There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate; actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from anticipated results include risks and uncertainties such as: risks relating to estimates of reserves and recoveries; production and operating cost assumptions; development risks and costs; the risk of commodity price fluctuations: political and regulatory risks; and other risks and uncertainties as disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in Heritage documents filed from time-to-time with the Toronto Stock Exchange and other regulatory authorities. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. %SEDAR: 00010129E

For further information: please contact: Investors Relations Contacts:
CHF Investor Relations - Cathy Hume, Tel (416) 868-1079 x231, Email:
cathy@chfir.com; Heather Colpitts, Tel (416) 868-1079 x223, Email: heather@chfir.com; Heritage Oil Corporation - Swiss, European Contact Details: Micael Gulbenkian or Paul Atherton, Tel +41 91 973 1800 or
+44 870 011 5555, Fax +41 91 973 1808 or +44 20 7629 3863, Email:
info@heritageoilcorp.com; Canadian Contact Details: John McLeod, Tel (403) 234-9974, Fax (403) 261-1941; If you would prefer to receive press releases via email contact Heather Colpitts (heather@chfir.com) and specify "Heritage press releases" in the subject line.
CNW Group

Heritage Oil Corporation is a Canadian-based independent, international oil and gas exploration, development and production company.

The Company’s principal producing properties are in the Republic of Congo and Oman. Heritage acquired a 95% interest in a development project in Russia in December 2005, which has proven and probable reserves of 69 million barrels net to Heritage, before deduction of royalty and income tax. Heritage has an exploration project in Uganda.

K Petroleum Company, a subsidiary of Heritage, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Establishment of the Government of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, Iraq to undertake field studies over an area exceeding 300 square kilometers. This area is adjacent to an existing oil field.

Heritage Middle East Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Heritage, continues to enter into negotiations with the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad to obtain MOUs to undertake exclusive detailed field studies and to prepare development plans over a number of oil fields.

Heritage is looking to expand its recently-acquired operations in Russia through the acquisition of a number of similar-sized development licences in Russia and Kazakhstan.

The Company’s producing, development and exploration projects, together with potential opportunities, provide a combination of early cash flow and longer term value creation opportunities.

The Company’s shares trade on The Toronto Stock Exchange, or TSX, under the symbol HOC.


surprising, not ...

U.S. Opposes U.N.'s Planned Rights Panel, Exclusion of Abusive Nations Sought

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 27 -- The Bush administration will oppose a U.N.-backed resolution calling for the creation of a council to expose the world's worst human rights abusers, John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Monday.

Bolton said that a draft charter presented Thursday by the U.N. General Assembly president, Jan Eliasson, was not tough enough to ensure that nations that abuse human rights would be barred from joining the council. He said he was under instructions from Washington to reopen negotiations on the text or postpone deliberations on a new rights body for several months.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and other supporters of the compromise warned that there is no better deal to be struck and that the U.S. strategy could undermine their efforts to create an improved, though imperfect, human rights body. "I think we should not let the better be the enemy of the good," Annan told reporters Monday in Geneva.

The United States and the United Nations have been pressing for nearly a year to create a strengthened human rights council to replace the 53-member Human Rights Commission. The reputation of the Geneva-based panel, which helped draft the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has recently been tainted by the frequent election of members with dismal human rights records, such as Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Senior U.S. and U.N. officials had sought to prevent countries with poor rights records from joining the new organization by raising the membership standards and requiring a two-thirds vote of the 191-member General Assembly for any nation's admittance. But the proposal met stiff resistance, and the current draft resolution would require members to be elected by an absolute majority -- at least 96 countries.

"I say this really more in sorrow than in anger, but we're very disappointed with the draft that was produced last Thursday. We don't think it's acceptable," Bolton told reporters. "My understanding is that the president of the General Assembly intends to bring this matter to the General Assembly within a day or two for a vote. If he continues on that course, we will call for a vote and vote no."

Annan, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour and two leading human rights organizations (Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International) say the compromise proposal is still worth supporting. They have been joined by former president Jimmy Carter and several other Nobel Prize winners, who issued a joint letter calling on the United States and other governments to back the deal.

Annan, who discussed the human rights council Sunday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, appealed Monday for the United States to "join the vast majority of governments who seem ready to accept" Eliasson's proposal. He and other supporters said the proposal constituted a serious improvement on the existing Human Rights Commission.

They noted that provisions to subject all council members to scrutiny of their human rights record would discourage countries with poor records from joining. They also said that council members suspected of abusive behavior can be suspended by a vote of two-thirds of the U.N. membership present.

"We are a country that puts high value on human rights. We wouldn't vote in favor if we weren't sure it was going to be an improvement," said Chile's U.N. ambassador, Heraldo Muñoz, a former dissident who was jailed under former Chilean ruler Augusto Pinochet.

The new council would consist of 47 members selected by secret ballot on the basis of "geographical distribution" and committed to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights." Members would be elected for as many as two three-year terms at a time and would meet for at least 10 weeks throughout the year.


far too many iraq casualties

click on for military casualties:

estimates of iraq casualties between 28535 and 32153 as of feb 20, 2006

Iraq attack kills two UK soldiers

Two British soldiers have been killed and another injured by a roadside bomb in Amara, southern Iraq, the Ministry of Defence has said. ... which take the number of UK troops killed in Iraq to 103. ...

and 54 U.S. so far in febuary 2006


can this avoid a bush war?

IAEA: Iran Not Seeking to Produce Nukes, Iran Says U.N. Agency's Report Shows Tehran Not Seeking to Produce Nuclear Weapons

TOKYO Feb 28, 2006 (AP)—
A report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency shows there is no proof Iran's nuclear program is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, Iran's foreign minister said Tuesday in Japan.

"They could not find evidence which shows that Iran has diverted from its peaceful purposes of nuclear activities in Iran," said Manouchehr Mottaki, who was in Tokyo to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

A confidential International Atomic Energy Agency report made available to The Associated Press Monday said that a more than three-year probe has not revealed "any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."

But it also said that because of lack of sufficient cooperation from the Iranian side, the agency remains unable "to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran." The report suggested that unless Iran drastically increases its cooperation, the IAEA would not be able to establish whether past clandestine activities were focused on making nuclear arms.

The report, prepared by IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei for a March 6 meeting of the agency's 35-nation board of governors, could help determine what action the U.N. Security Council will take against Iran, which says its nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes.

The IAEA decided at a Feb. 4 meeting to report Tehran to the council over concerns it might be seeking nuclear arms. But further action was deferred until the end of next week's meeting at the insistence of veto-wielding council members Russia and China, which have close economic and political ties with Iran.

Mottaki said Iran had a right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and is committed not to build nuclear weapons.

"Iran also, like Japan, enjoys its right to have nuclear technology for peaceful purposes," Mottaki told reporters after talks with Koizumi. "We are against nuclear weapons."

However, the IAEA report said Iran plans to start setting up thousands of uranium enriching centrifuges this year even as it negotiates with Russia on scrapping such domestic activity a possible pathway to nuclear arms.

Russia dampened hopes of a deal with Iran on Monday, saying Tehran must first freeze its domestic uranium enrichment, something Iran has refused to do. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin told the Interfax news agency he expected talks with Iran to resume in the coming days.

The Russian offer to host Iran's uranium enrichment program has been backed by the United States and the European Union as a way to provide more guarantees that Tehran's atomic program cannot be diverted to build weapons.

But the IAEA report showed Iran pressing ahead with enrichment at home by going from testing a lone centrifuge a machine that spins uranium gas into enriched uranium to introducing the gas into 10 centrifuges and beginning enrichment between Feb. 11 and Feb 15.

Furthermore, said the report, Iran began final maintenance of an additional 20 centrifuges a week ago, reflecting determination to further expand enrichment.

That would leave Iran still far short of the thousands of centrifuges it needs to enrich substantial amounts of uranium. Still, it reflected the country's plans to forge ahead with domestic enrichment even as it talks with Moscow.

And just a few months down the road, "commencement of the installation of the first 3,000 … (centrifuges) is planned for the fourth quarter of 2006," said the report.

Experts estimate that Iran already has enough black-market components in storage to build the 1,500 operating centrifuges it would need to make the 45 pounds of highly enriched uranium needed for one crude weapon.


no accident

A bomb badly damaged the tomb of Saddam Hussein's father
Saddam trial resumes amid sectarian violence
Tue Feb 28, 2006

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -
A bomb badly damaged the tomb of Saddam Hussein's father at dawn on Tuesday, hours before the ousted leader was due back in court for the first time since a week of sectarian violence pitched Iraq toward civil war.

A Sunni mosque in Baghdad was also damaged by a bomb, police said, and police discovered nine bodies near the religiously mixed city of Baquba, scene of several sectarian attacks since a suspected al Qaeda bomb destroyed a Shi'ite shine on Wednesday. ...

The dome of the shrine Saddam had erected over his father's originally modest grave in the cemetery of his Sunni home town of Tikrit was damaged, local residents said, and windows and doors blown out. Police and local government officials said explosives planted at the tomb had gone off around 6 a.m. (0300 GMT). ...


blogger reveals ...

Blogger bares Rumsfeld's post-9/11 orders
24 February 2006

Hours after a commercial plane struck the Pentagon on September 11 2001 the United States Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, was issuing rapid orders to his aides to look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, according to notes taken by one of them.

"Hard to get good case. Need to move swiftly," the notes say. "Near term target needs -- go massive -- sweep it all up, things related and not."

The handwritten notes, with some parts blanked out, were declassified this month in response to a request by a law student and blogger, Thad Anderson, under the US Freedom of Information Act. Anderson has posted them on his blog at outragedmoderates.org.

The Pentagon confirmed the notes had been taken by Stephen Cambone, now undersecretary of defence for intelligence and then a senior policy official. "His notes were fulfilling his role as a plans guy," said a spokesperson, Greg Hicks.

"He was responsible for crisis planning, and he was with the secretary in that role that afternoon."

The report said: "On the afternoon of 9/11, according to contemporaneous notes, Secretary Rumsfeld instructed General Myers [the chairperson of the joint chiefs of staff] to obtain quickly as much information as possible. The notes indicate that he also told Myers that he was not simply interested in striking empty training sites. He thought the US response should consider a wide range of options.

"The secretary said his instinct was to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time, not only Bin Laden. Secretary Rumsfeld later explained that at the time he had been considering either one of them, or perhaps someone else, as the responsible party."

The actual notes suggest a focus on Saddam. "Best info fast. Judge whether good enough [to] hit SH at same time -- not only UBL [Pentagon shorthand for Usama/Osama bin Laden]," the notes say. "Tasks. Jim Haynes [Pentagon lawyer] to talk with PW [probably Paul Wolfowitz, then Mr Rumsfeld's deputy] for additional support ... connection with UBL."

Wolfowitz, now the head of the World Bank, advocated regime change in Iraq before 2001. But, according to an account of the days after September 11 in Bob Woodward's book Plan of Attack, a decision was taken to put off consideration of an attack on Iraq until after the Taliban had been toppled in Afghanistan.

But these notes confirm that Baghdad was in the Pentagon's sights almost as soon as the hijackers struck. - Guardian Unlimited


trial or farce?

Soldier acquitted in Afghan prisoner abuse
(AP), 2006-02-24

A military jury deliberated for only 15 minutes Thursday before acquitting the last of 11 Army reservists from an Ohio unit who had been charged with abusing prisoners at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Alan J. Driver kissed a photo album with pictures of his children after the verdict was read. He was the fifth of 11 soldiers from the Cincinnati-based 377th MP Company to be cleared of abusing detainees.

Driver was accused of being one of several soldiers who beat a detainee known as Habibullah, who the Army says died of his injuries. Driver was also accused of throwing a shackled and handcuffed prisoner, Omar al-Farouq, against a wall.

"I just did my job," Driver said after hugging his wife and parents. "We were put in a difficult situation with minimal training and did the best with what we had."

Driver's attorney, Capt. Michael Waddington, had argued that prosecution witnesses had no credibility.

He showed jurors a receipt indicating that al-Farouq, a former al-Qaida operative, was released from the jail in good condition on Sept. 20, before the time prosecutors alleged Driver threw him against a wall.

"All we have is clouded memories, completely differing accounts of what happened," Waddington told the jury.

Capt. John B. Parker, the prosecutor, stressed that the case was about abuse of authority.

"It's not a question of confusion. It's not a question of fog of war. It's two specific incidents where a soldier went over the line," Parker said.

Prosecutors struggled with wobbly witnesses and little evidence. During the only day of testimony, one member of the 377th MP Company said it was not uncommon for MPs to forcefully wake sleeping detainees, and another testified he never saw Driver mistreat anyone.

***The investigation was launched shortly after Habibullah and another man known as Dilawar died within days of each other in Bagram in December 2002. No one has been prosecuted for the detainees' deaths, though both cases were ruled homicides and the Army claims the men were beaten to death at the jail. ***

Only one soldier from Driver's unit was convicted by an Army jury, and he was spared jail time. Two pleaded guilty to assault and went to prison before being kicked out of the Army. Charges against three others were dropped in part because investigators in some pretrial hearings found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Driver's mother, Lori Marsh, was relieved by Thursday's verdict but still astonished that her son was prosecuted.

"You just never expect to have to fight for your son against your government," Marsh said with tears in her eyes.

Parker and other prosecutors declined to comment after the verdict.


Monday, February 27, 2006

x cnd olympian, sports to jail?

Olympian found guilty of smuggling
Feb. 27, 2006.

A former Canadian Olympian has been convicted on two counts of heroin smuggling.

Kofi Yevakpor, a sprinter and member of the Canadian Olympic team in the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, was convicted by a federal jury in Albany, N.Y., U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a news release.

Yevakpor was caught in October 2005 trying to bring nearly three kilograms of heroin into the U.S. at Champlain, N.Y.

Yevakpor was suspended in June 2001 following an international track event in British Columbia after he tested positive for a banned substance. He appealed the suspension but it was upheld.

Yevakpor claimed at trial that he did not know the heroin was hidden in his luggage.

The jury found him guilty of one count of attempting to import heroin in the U.S. and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin.

Yevakpor, 35, faces a mandatory 10-year minimum at sentencing.


global poll on terror threat

Majority believe terror threat rose after Iraq war:
global poll 02/27/2006

LONDON - Most people in 33 out of 35 countries worldwide believe that the US-led war in Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism, a survey for BBC World Service radio suggested Tuesday.

An average of 60 percent in the 33 nations agreed that the March 2003 invasion had increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks, with just 12 percent believing the opposite. A further 15 percent thought it had no effect.

The survey of 41,856 people by Canadian pollsters GlobeScan and the US Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) also claimed there was overall support in 20 countries for US forces to withdraw in the next few months.

But 21 of the 34 countries asked appeared in favour of troops staying in the region until stability is achieved, if the new Iraqi government requested it.

PIPA director Steven Kull said that despite the administration of US President George W. Bush framing the intervention in Iraq as a means of fighting terrorism, "all around the world most people view it as having increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks.

"The near unanimity of this assessment among countries is remarkable in public opinion polling."

Other responses suggested that 21 countries thought the removal of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was a mistake; overall, 45 percent were against removing him from power while 36 percent supported the action.

Greatest criticism of the move came from Argentina (74 percent), with strong opposition from Spain (65 percent) and Germany (61 percent).

In Britain, whose government backed the US-led campaign and still has about 8,000 troops in southern Iraq, 40 percent thought removing Saddam was a mistake; in the United States, the figure was 32 percent and in Iraq, 23 percent.

Strongest support for toppling Saddam came from Iraqi respondents (74 percent), Brazil and Poland (65 percent), the United States (60 percent) and Britain (49 percent).

In Britain, 77 percent of those questioned thought the terrorist threat had risen since the war, with 55 percent in the United States saying likewise and 75 percent in Iraq.

China topped the list at 85 percent, followed by South Korea (84 percent) and Egypt (83 percent).

Support for troops to stay appeared more constant: Iraq (49 percent), Britain (56 percent) while American and Afghani respondents were most in favour on 58 percent.

-- The countries polled were: Afghanistan; Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Britain; Canada; Chile; China; Democratic Republic of Congo; Egypt; Finland; France; Germany; Ghana; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Italy; Kenya; Mexico; Nigeria; Philippines; Poland; Russia; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; South Africa; South Korea; Spain; Sri Lanka; Tanzania; Turkey; the United States; and Zimbabwe.

BBC News
click on the images


what makes the news

Horses given Viagra to make them go faster at illegal races
Tuesday February 28, 2006
The Guardian

Two vets and a pharmacist were among 24 people arrested by police in Naples yesterday over claims that they fed Viagra to horses running in illegal races to make them go faster.
The arrests were part of a wider investigation into clandestine racing and betting in southern Italy. Police said horseowners and jockeys had also been arrested during the latest raids.

Prosecutors in Naples have been trying to stamp out illegal horse racing, which takes place on public racecourses after hours and attracts hundreds of gamblers. Stolen horses are often used. Some are fed powdered Viagra or other stimulants to improve their performances.

Colonel Mario Pantano, of the paramilitary carabinieri, said all of those rounded up yesterday were suspected of being in an organisation that runs secret races all over the Campania region and which had offshoots in Sicily and Emilia Romagna.

The criminal gang, not linked to the local Camorra mafia, was described as highly professional.

"They set up grandstands and betting parlours," said Col Pantano. "A great number of people turned out at weekends for the races, probably knowing it was illegal." The wide-ranging investigation, which started in 2004, has also discovered that horses have been doped with Viagra before legal races.

Police have so far seized property worth more than £3m during the raids. Last year, officers confiscated 80 horses and closed a racetrack that had been built without planning permission.

C22 H30 N6 O4 S


harper's vanishing act

Reporters strike war-footing with PMO, but Harper won't be dictated by national media
Steely-eyed Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn't seem to care that the honeymoon is so over with the media.

The Hill Times, February 27th, 2006, Bea Vongdouangchanh

Members of the national media may already be on a war-footing with Stephen Harper and his staff over regular access to the centre of Canadian political power, but the new Prime Minister doesn't care.

Some newspaper columnists and reporters are flummoxed by the steely-eyed Prime Minister Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) who is holding imperial pressers in the Commons foyer, who fired his director of communications in a snap last week and who won't be dictated to by the national media. ...

But in a column headlined, "A Conservative Pierre Trudeau is taking charge," Globe columnist Lawrence Martin said Mr. Harper would not likely be intimidated by the press gallery.

"Like a Pierre Trudeau, he suffers from few internal doubts and will be inclined to take orders only from above--the space between his eyes and hair."

Toronto Star political affairs columnist Chantal Hébert declared in one column last week, "In the week that followed their swearing-in, Harper's controversial Cabinet recruits were left to twist in the bitter wind of a national backlash while the Prime Minister perfected his media vanishing act." ...

This led to a formal complaint from the Parliamentary Press Gallery's President Emmanuelle Latraverse. "When Charest came, they refused to do a photo opportunity because they said it was a private meeting, which we fundamentally disagreed with," said Ms. Latraverse, a Radio Canada political reporter. "They weren't having lunch and discussing their kids' hockey games. They were meeting to discuss affairs of state." ... serious questions about your definition of a healthy and transparent relationship between the government in power and the national press." ... major announcements have been in the House of Commons foyer where political staffers get to decide which reporter gets to ask questions. ...

Mr. Harper doesn't like the media, and he doesn't think he needs them either, the columnist said. "Martin's government very much cared about what was going on in the media, they were called flinchers because they'd flinch every time they saw something they didn't like," the columnist said. "Harper thinks he's very capable and doesn't need the media to carry out his agenda." ...


liberal $ caps, leadership race

Liberals urged to cap leadership spending
Potential candidates seek reform.

Lowering entry fee for race from $75,000 could also help level campaign playing field
JULIET O'NEILL, February 27, 2006

Some potential Liberal leadership candidates are urging party executives to set the stage for a less expensive and fairer contest, saying a distasteful era of corporate influence and "instant Liberals" must be relegated to history.

Lawyer Martha Hall Findlay wants a lower entry fee for the Liberal leadership race than the $75,000 charged last time.

MP Carolyn Bennett wants leadership campaign spending capped at $1 million.

That's one-quarter the limit of $4 million set in 2003 - when Paul Martin won after raising about $12 million, mostly from corporations and wealthy individuals, leaving four other candidates in the dust.

Hall and Bennett are also pushing for Liberal membership rules, or a voluntary code of conduct, that prevents any leadership candidate or their backers from buying party memberships en masse - creating large pools of "instant Liberals" - to vote in the 2006 leadership contest.

Hall, the one declared candidate, and Bennett, one of several MPs considering a run, are calling for campaign rules that prevent any candidate from dwarfing others and that help all candidates take advantage of a new law banning the corporate donations on which Liberals have relied in the past for the majority of financing.

Individual contributions now are limited to a maximum of $5,200 per leadership race.

Mike Eizenga, the Liberal Party's president, said it is working with Elections Canada to enable individuals to channel contributions to candidates through the party, making them eligible for tax credits.

"It's not like you can cut anybody a $100,000 cheque any more, so that will affect every aspect of the campaign, starting with the registration fee," Findlay said in an interview.

"Crisp bills with matching paper clips have got to be history in our party," Bennett said in an interview. "A lot of us feel that some of the leadership costs that weren't even talked about were the costs of buying memberships for other people. There are those of us in the Liberal caucus who have fought against this for a long time."

Bennett said the party can fundraise and keep costs down by launching an Internet aspect to the race modelled on that waged by Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor who created a sensation in his 2004 campaign for the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination by raising nearly $50 million online, with average donations of $80.

"I think that would be part and parcel of renewal of the Liberal Party," Bennett said.

"You want people who believe in the Liberal Party but want to see it renewed to be able to give small amounts to individual candidates in a secure way."

She said some Liberals envy the Conservative Party, which raises the lion's share of funds from donations under $200.

Hall said fellow potential candidates John Godfrey and Ken Dryden, who were not available for comment, have also weighed in on these issues.

"There are a number of us who feel quite strongly that we should have rules established that encourage a level playing field, that it is an opportunity now for the party to have a system that is transparent," she said.

"That hasn't always been the case and that's part of the distaste people have had over some time, and if we do it well this time, it could actually reflect well on the Liberal Party."

While decisions on the rules are up to the executive and its committees, such key players as Ontario Liberal president Mike Crawley are recommending an entry fee that is not much higher than $75,000, nowhere near the $500,000 rumoured on some Liberal blog sites. And a cap on campaign spending in the $2-million range has been proposed by several insiders.

Crawley said a committee of "neutral party elders" will be appointed to oversee management of the leadership contest.

"They will make sure all candidates are being treated fairly, and that the process is fair and that the rules and procedures are being followed," he said.

The party executive expects to announce a leadership vote date and the entry fee at a March 19-20 meeting. A spending cap will be announced after deliberations by a committee.
Ottawa Citizen


top cia fired

The CIA's 'Black Sites'
What are we going to do with the secret prisoners who cannot be tried in our courts?
Nat Hentoff, February 24th, 2006

The CIA's top counterterrorism official [Robert Grenier] was fired last week because he opposed detaining Al Qaeda suspects in secret prisons abroad, sending them to other countries for interrogation, and using forms of torture such as "waterboarding," [making a prisoner believe he is about to be drowned] intelligence sources have claimed. The Sunday Times, London, February 12

For more than three years, I've been reporting on what has been increasingly, but fragmentarily, revealed about secret CIA prisons around the world. On September 17, 2001, the president, in a classified order, gave the CIA these "special powers" (as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales agreed during his confirmation hearings).

These "black sites"—as they are called in CIA, White House, and Justice Department files— escaped attempted congressional oversight until December 2005. But in the National Defense Authorization Act, the Senate finally called for regular reports on where those prisons are, what plans there are for the ultimate release of their prisoners, and "a description of the interrogation procedures used." Ted Kennedy and John Kerry introduced the resolution.

A similar December requirement was passed by the House (226 to 187) in a nonbinding resolution to urge the House and Senate negotiators to shine a shaft of sunlight on these "dark sites" in the final National Defense Authorization Act for 2006. But secretly, both the Senate and House resolutions were killed by the conference committee.

This February, Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, Human Rights First, and Amnesty International urged the House International Relations Committee to support three new resolutions of inquiry into American use of torture, citing the fact that "there is still a strong perception in many parts of the world that the United States continues to facilitate or willfully ignore torture by rendering individuals to countries where they are likely to be tortured, and by holding detainees in secret locations closed to the International Committee of the Red Cross." (Emphasis added.)

But on February 10, in a party line vote, the House International Relations Committee defeated all three resolutions.

There has been hardly any notice in the press or anywhere else about these congressional setbacks as part of the Bush administration's continued success in suppressing news of what actually goes on in those "black sites" in the name of the United States and its citizens.

As I have noted in previous columns, there has been a debate for more than two years inside the CIA about the legality of these secret prisons and how to eventually dispose of the prisoners. They cannot be tried in American courts because they have been wholly denied due process under our constitution and so are wrongfully held.

Two years ago, FBI veteran Jack Cloonan, who had been the senior agent on the FBI's bin Laden squad in New York and later was in charge of investigating Al Qaeda master planner Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (now in some CIA "black site"), asked on ABC's Nightline: "What are we going to do with these people [in the CIA secret cells]? . . . Are they going to disappear? Are they stateless? . . . What are we going to explain to people when they start asking questions about where they are? Are they dead? Are they alive? What oversight does Congress have?"

The present answer to Jack Cloonan's last question is this: There is no congressional oversight. Congress has been blocked—by its Republican leadership, the president, Donald Rumsfeld, and CIA chief Porter Goss—from having any oversight at all. The constitutional separation of powers has also fallen into a black hole.

There is, however, a quick look into one of those secret prisons in a December 19, 2005, Human Rights Watch report, "U.S. Operated Secret 'Dark Prison' in Kabul."

Eight "detainees" now being held at Guantánamo, another extralegal U.S. prison, have told their attorneys what it was like when they were individually held, at various times between 2002 and 2004, in a secret U.S. facility for more than six weeks before being transferred to Guantánamo. That secret prison was apparently closed after the transfer. This is their story, as told in the HRW report:

"The detainees, who called the facility the 'dark prison' or 'prison of darkness,' said they were. . . shackled to rings bolted into the walls of their cells, deprived of food and drinking water. . . for days at a time . . . and kept in total darkness with load rap, heavy-metal music, or other sounds blaring for weeks at a time. . . . Some detainees said they were shackled in a manner that made it impossible for them to lie down or sleep."

One of the prisoners added that he was put in "an underground place," and "during the interrogations, he says, an interrogator threatened him with rape."

Ethiopia-born Benyam Mohammed, who grew up in Britain, told his attorney, in English, "[At one point] I was chained to the rails [of my cell] for a fortnight. . . . The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night. . . . Plenty lost their minds. I could hear people knocking their heads against the walls and the doors, screaming their heads off."

Bush, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, et al. regularly intone, in chorus, that the U.S. does not torture and always acts within the law. But if the fearful facts in the darkness in those CIA prisons are ever documented by an independent prosecutor in a future administration, it will finally be proved that, as Human Rights Watch emphasizes, the CIA is responsible—along with the president who gave it "special powers"—for "serious violations of U.S. criminal law, such as the War Crimes Act and the Anti-Torture Statute. . . . The mistreatment of detainees also violates the [International] Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which the United States has ratified, and the laws of war."

There is a rising focus around the country on this year's midterm elections. During the campaigning, will there be any mention of the screams in the CIA's underground prisons of darkness? And if there is, how many Americans will care enough to be repelled by their own silent, passive complicity in the growing moral darkness of this nation's leadership?


who's victory?

Defeat is victory. Death is life
Robert Fisk

02/26/06 "The Independent" -- -- Everyone in the Middle East rewrites history, but never before have we had a US administration so wilfully, dishonestly and ruthlessly reinterpreting tragedy as success, defeat as victory, death as life - helped, I have to add, by the compliant American press. I'm reminded not so much of Vietnam as of the British and French commanders of the First World War who repeatedly lied about military victory over the Kaiser as they pushed hundreds of thousands of their men through the butchers' shops of the Somme, Verdun and Gallipoli. The only difference now is that we are pushing hundreds of thousands of Arabs though the butchers' shops - and don't even care.

Last week's visit to Beirut by one of the blindest of George Bush's bats - his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice - was indicative of the cruelty that now pervades Washington. She brazenly talked about the burgeoning "democracies" of the Middle East while utterly ignoring the bloodbaths in Iraq and the growing sectarian tensions of Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Perhaps the key to her indifference can be found in her evidence to the Senate Committee on International Affairs where she denounced Iran as "the greatest strategic challenge" facing the US in the region, because Iran uses policies that "contradict the nature of the kind of Middle East sought by the United States".

As Bouthaina Shaaban, one of the brightest of Syria's not always very bright team of government ministers, noted: "What is the nature of the kind of Middle East sought by the United States? Should Middle East states adapt themselves to that nature, designed oceans away?" As Maureen Dowd, the best and only really worthwhile columnist on the boring New York Times, observed this month, Bush "believes in self-determination only if he's doing the determining ... The Bushies are more obsessed with snooping on Americans than fathoming how other cultures think and react." And conniving with rogue regimes, too, Dowd might have added.

Take Donald Rumsfeld, the reprehensible man who helped to kick off the "shock and awe" mess that has now trapped more than 100,000 Americans in the wastes of Iraq. He's been taking a leisurely trip around North Africa to consult some of America's nastiest dictators, among them President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, the man with the largest secret service in the Arab world and whose policemen have perfected the best method of gleaning information from suspected "terrorists": to hold them down and stuff bleach-soaked rags into their mouths until they have almost drowned.

The Tunisians learned this from the somewhat cruder methods of the Algerians next door whose government death squads slaughtered quite a few of the 150,000 victims of the recent war against the Islamists. The Algerian lads - and I've interviewed a few of them after their nightmares persuaded them to seek asylum in London - would strap their naked victims to a ladder and, if the "chiffon" torture didn't work, they'd push a tube down the victim's throat and turn on a water tap until the prisoner swelled up like a balloon. There was a special department (at the Chateauneuf police station, in case Donald Rumsfeld wants to know) for torturing women, who were inevitably raped before being dispatched by an execution squad.

All this I mention because Rumsfeld's also been cosying up to the Algerians. On a visit to Algiers this month, he announced that "the United States and Algeria have a multifaceted relationship. It involves political and economic as well as military-to-military co-operation. And we very much value the co-operation we are receiving in counter-terrorism..." Yes, I imagine the "chiffon" technique is easy to learn, the abuse of prisoners, too - just like Abu Ghraib, for example, which now seems to have been the fault of journalists rather than America's thugs.

Rumsfeld's latest pronouncements have included a defence of the Pentagon's system of buying favourable news stories in Iraq with bribes - "non-traditional means to provide accurate information" was his fantasy description of this latest attempt to obscure the collapse of the American regime in Baghdad - and an attack on our reporting of the Abu Ghraib tortures. "Consider for a moment the vast quantity of column inches and hours of television devoted to the detainee abuse [sic] at Abu Ghraib. Compare that to the volume of coverage and condemnation associated with, say, the discovery of Saddam Hussein's mass graves, which were filled with hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis."

Let's expose this whopping lie. We were exposing Saddam's vile regime, especially his use of gas, as long ago as 1983. I was refused a visa to Iraq by Saddam's satraps for exposing their vile tortures at - Abu Ghraib. And what was Donald Rumsfeld doing? Visiting Baghdad, grovelling before Saddam, to whom he did not mention the murders and mass graves, which he knew about, and pleading with the Beast of Baghdad to reopen the US embassy in Iraq.

With the usual press courtiers in tow, Rumsfeld has no problems, witness George Melloan's recent interview with the Beast of Washington in his Boeing 737: "He generously spares me time for a chat about defence strategy. Bright sunlight streams in and lights his face ... Sitting across from him at a desk high above the clouds, one wonders if the ability of this modern Jove to call down lightning on transgressors will be equal to the tasks ahead."

And so myth-making and tragedy go hand in hand. Iraq's monumental catastrophe has become routine, shapeless, an incipient "civil war". Note how the American framework of disaster is now being portrayed as an Iraqi vs Iraqi war, as if the huge and brutal US occupation has nothing to do with the appalling violence in Iraq. They blow up each other's mosques? They just don't want to get on. We told them to have a non-sectarian government and they refused. That, I suspect, will be the get-out line when the next deluge overwhelms the Americans in Iraq.

Winston Churchill, when the Iraqis staged their insurgency against British rule in 1920, called Iraq "an ungrateful volcano". But let's just sit back and enjoy the view. Democracy is coming to the Middle East. People are enjoying more liberties. History doesn't matter, only the future. And the future for the people of the Middle East is becoming darker and bloodier by the day. I guess it just depends whether "Jove" is up to his job when all that bright sunlight streams in and lights his face.


and the people of iraq?

Iraq War: Depleted Uranium Contaminates Europe
LEUREN MORET, February 27, 2006

"Did the use of Uranium weapons in Gulf War II result in contamination of Europe? Evidence from the measurements of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), Aldermaston, Berkshire, UK," reported the Sunday Times Online (February 19, 2006) in a shocking scientific study authored by British scientists Dr. Chris Busby and Saoirse Morgan.

The highest levels of depleted uranium ever measured in the atmosphere in Britain, were transported on air currents from the Middle East and Central Asia; of special significance were those from the Tora Bora bombing in Afghanistan in 2001, and the "Shock & Awe" bombing during Gulf War II in Iraq in 2003.

Out of concern for the public, the official British government air monitoring facility, known as the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), at Aldermaston, was established years ago to measure radioactive emissions from British nuclear power plants and atomic weapons facilities.

The British government facility (AWE) was taken over 3 years ago by Halliburton, which refused at first to release air monitoring data to Dr.

Busby, as required by law.

An international expert on low level radiation, Busby serves as an official advisor on several British government committees, and co-authored an independent report on low level radiation with 45 scientists, the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR), for the European Parliament. He was able to get Aldermaston air monitoring data from Halliburton /AWE by filing a Freedom of Information request using a new British law which became effective January 1, 2005; but the data for 2003 was missing. He obtained the 2003 data from the Defence Procurement Agency.

The fact that the air monitoring data was circulated by Halliburton/ AWE to the Defence Procurement Agency, implies that it was considered to be relevant, and that Dr. Busby was stonewalled because Halliburton/ AWE clearly recognized that it was a serious enough matter to justify a government interpretation of the results, and official decisions had to be made about what the data would show and its political implications for the military.

In a similar circumstance, in 1992, Major Doug Rokke, the Director of the U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Cleanup Project after Gulf War I, was ordered by a U.S. Army General officer to write a no-bid contract "Depleted Uranium, Contaminated Equipment, and Facilities Recovery Plan Outline" for the procedures for cleaning up Kuwait, including depleted uranium, for Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton.

The contract/proposal was passed through Madeleine Albright, the Secretary of State, to the Emirate of Kuwait, who considered the terms and then hired KBR for the cleanup.

Aldermaston is one of many nuclear facilities throughout Europe that regularly monitor atmospheric radiation levels, transported by atmospheric sand and dust storms, or air currents, from radiation sources in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

After the "Shock and Awe" campaign in Iraq in 2003, very fine particles of depleted uranium were captured with larger sand and dust particles in filters in Britain.

These particles traveled in 7-9 days from Iraqi battlefields as far as 2400 miles away.

The radiation measured in the atmosphere quadrupled within a few weeks after the beginning of the 2003 campaign, and at one of the 5 monitoring locations, the levels twice required an official alert to the British Environment Agency.

In addition to depleted uranium data gathered in previous studies on Kosovo and Bosnia by Dr. Busby, the Aldermaston air monitoring data provided a continuous record of depleted uranium levels in Britain from the other recent wars.

Extensive video news footage of the 2003 Iraq war, including Fallujah in 2004, provided irrefutable documented evidence that the US has unethically and illegally used depleted uranium munitions on cities and other civilian populations.

These military actions are in direct violation of not only the international conventions, but also violate US military law because the US is a signatory to The Hague and Geneva Conventions and the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol.

Depleted uranium weaponry meets the definition of a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) in two out of three categories under US Code TITLE 50, CHAPTER 40 Sec. 2302.

After action mandates have also been violated such as US Army Regulation AR 700-48 and TB 9-1300-278 which requires treatment of radiation poisoning for all casualties, including enemy soldiers and civilians, and remediation.

Dr. Busby's request for this data through Halliburton from AWE, and subsequently provided by the Defence Procurement Agency, was necessary to establish verification of Iraq's 2003 depleted uranium levels in the atmosphere.

These facts demonstrate why Halliburton (AWE) refused to release the 2003 data to him, and it obviously establishes that weaponized depleted uranium is an indiscriminate weapon being distributed all over the world in a very short period of time, immediately after its use.

The recent documentary film BEYOND TREASON details the horrific effects of depleted uranium exposure on American troops and Iraqi civilians in the Gulf region in 1991; not to speak of those civilians continuing to live in permanently contaminated and thus uninhabitable regions.

Global increases since 1991 of melanoma, infant mortality, and frog die-offs can only be explained by an environmental contaminant. Alarming global increases in diabetes, with high correlation to depleted uranium wars in Iraq, Bosnia/Kosovo, and Afghanistan, demonstrate that diabetes is a sensitive indicator and a rapid response to internal depleted uranium exposure.

Americans in 2003 reported visiting Iraqi relatives in Baghdad who were suffering from an epidemic of diabetes.

After returning to the US following 2-3 weeks in Iraq, they discovered within a few months that they too had diabetes.

Japanese human shields and journalists who worked in Iraq during the 2003 war are sick and now have symptoms typical of depleted uranium exposure.

Likewise, after the US Navy, several years ago, moved depleted uranium bombing and gunnery ranges from Vieques Island in Puerto Rico to Australia, health effects there are already being reported.

The documentary film BLOWIN' IN THE WIND, has an interview with a family with two normal teenage daughters, living near the bombing range where depleted uranium weaponry is now being used.

The parents showed photos of their baby born recently with severe birth defects. The baby looked like Iraqi deformed babies, and like many of the Iraqi babies, died 5 days after birth.

Other than anonymous British government officials denying that Iraq was the source of the depleted uranium measured at Aldermaston by AWE, and some unnamed 'establishment scientists' blaming it on local sources or natural uranium in the Iraq environment, there is no one, as of this writing, willing to lend their name or office to refuting this damning evidence reported by Dr. Busby.

All of the anonymous statements used by the media thus far are contradicted by the factual evidence found in the filters, which was all transported from the same region.

The natural abundance of uranium in the crust of the earth is 2.4 parts per million, which would not become concentrated to the high levels measured in Britain during a long journey from the Middle East. These particles traveling over thousands of miles would dilute the concentration rather than increase it.

There are no known natural uranium deposits in Iraq which make it impossible for these anonymous claims to have scientific credibility.

Unnamed government sources blamed local sources in Britain such as nuclear power plants; however that would also leave evidence of fission products in the filters which were not in evidence.

The lowest levels measured at monitoring stations around Aldermaston were at the facility, which means it could not be a possible source. Atomic weapons facilities would be more likely to produce plutonium contamination, also not reported as a co-contaminant at Aldermaston.

In other words, all factual evidence considered, the question must be asked, what were the media's anonymous experts and government officials basing their claims on?

Dr. Keith Baverstock exposed a World Health Organization (WHO) cover-up on depleted uranium in an Aljazeera article, "Washington's Secret Nuclear War" posted on September 14, 2004. It was the most popular article ever posted on the Aljazeera English language website.

Baverstock leaked an official WHO report that he wrote, to the media several years ago after the WHO refused to publish it. He warned in the report about the mobility of, and environmental contamination from, tiny depleted uranium particles formed from US munitions.

Busby's ECRR report challenged the International Committee on Radiation Protection (ICRP) standards for radiation risk, and reported that the mutagenic effects of radiation determined by Chernobyl studies are actually 1000 times higher than the ICRP risk model predicts.

The ECRR report also establishes that the ICRP risk model, based on external exposure of Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims, and the ECRR risk model, based on internal exposure, are mutually exclusive models. In other words, the ICRP risk model based on external exposure cannot be used to estimate internal exposure risk.

The report also states that a separate study is needed for depleted uranium exposure risks, because it may be far more toxic than nuclear weapons or nuclear power plant exposures. In July of 2005, the National Academy of Sciences reported in their new BEIR VII report on low level radiation, that there is "no safe level of exposure".

The report also finally admitted that very low levels are more harmful per unit of radiation than higher levels of exposure, also known as the "supralinear" effect.

This is extremely alarming information on low level radiation risk, since the AWE data from Aldermaston confirms that rapid global transport of depleted uranium dust is occurring.

Dr. Katsuma Yagasaki, a Japanese physicist at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, has estimated that the atomicity equivalent of at least 400,000 Nagasaki bombs has been released into the global atmosphere since 1991, from the use of depleted uranium munitions.

It is completely mixed in the atmosphere in one year. The "smog of war" from Gulf War I was found in glaciers and ice sheets globally a year later.

Even more alarming is the non-specific catalytic or enzyme effect from internal exposures to nanoparticles of depleted uranium. Soldiers on depleted uranium battlefields have reported that, after noticing a metallic taste in their mouths, within 24-48 hours of exposure they became sick with Gulf War syndrome symptoms.

Who is profiting from this global uranium nightmare? Dr. Jay Gould revealed in his book THE ENEMY WITHIN, that the British Royal family privately owns investments in uranium holdings worth over $6 billion through Rio Tinto Mines.

The mining company was formed for the British Royal family in the late 1950's by Roland Walter "Tiny" Rowland, the Queen's buccaneer.

Born in 1917 through illegitimate German parentage, and before changing his name, Roland Walter Fuhrhop was a passionate member of the Nazi youth movement by 1933, and a classmate described him as "...an ardent supporter of Hitler and an arrogant, nasty piece of work to boot."

His meteoric rise and protection by intel agencies and the British Crown are an indication of what an asset he has been for decades to the Queen, as Africa's most powerful Western businessman.

Africa and Australia are two of the main sources of uranium in the world. The Rothschilds control uranium supplies and prices globally, and one serves as the Queen's business manager.

Filmmaker David Bradbury made BLOWIN' IN THE WIND to expose depleted uranium bombing and gunnery range activities contaminating pristine areas of eastern Australia, and to expose plans to extract over $36 billion in uranium from mines in the interior over the next 6 years. Halliburton has finished construction of a 1000 mile railway from the mining area to a port on the north coast of Australia to transport the ore.

The Queen's favorite American buccaneers, Cheney, Halliburton, and the Bush family, are tied to her through uranium mining and the shared use of illegal depleted uranium munitions in the Middle East, Central Asia and Kosovo/Bosnia.

The major roles that such diverse individuals and groups as the Carlyle Group, George Herbert Walker Bush, former Carlyle CEO Frank Calucci, the University of California managed nuclear weapons labs at Los Alamos and Livermore, and US and international pension fund investments have played in proliferating depleted uranium weapons is not well known or in most instances even recognized, inside or outside the country.

God Save The Queen from the guilt of her complicity in turning Planet Earth into a "Death Star."


Sunday, February 26, 2006

inspired by 'get smart' ?


At first sight it looks like a regular cell phone — same size, same shape, same overall appearance.

But beneath the digital face lies a .22-caliber pistol, a phone gun capable of firing four rounds in quick succession with a touch of the otherwise standard keypad.

The US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are aware of the device and have instructed baggage screeners to be on the lookout for suspicious mobile phones. This is especially after 9/11.

European law enforcement officials — stunned by the discovery of these deadly decoys — say phone guns are changing the rules of engagement in Europe. ...



u.s. patent - gas hair drier

Gas Combustion Type Hair Drier
patent#: US 6959707, patent issued on 11/1/2005

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Bush spoke of the need for the United States to eliminate its dependence on foreign oil. I agree whole-heartedly and I propose that the first step in this direction be the elimination of all petroleum-powered hair dryers and accessories. It is bad enough that our economy is reliant on Middle Eastern countries that despise us. What would we tell our children if World War III erupted over our insatiable desire for dry hair?


political unrest and the eclipse

NASA: On Wednesday, 2006 March 29, a total eclipse of the Sun will be visible from within a narrow corridor which traverses half the Earth. The path of the Moon's umbral shadow begins in Brazil and extends across the Atlantic, northern Africa, and central Asia where it ends at sunset in western Mongolia. A partial eclipse will be seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes the northern two thirds of Africa, Europe, and central Asia.

Iran, oil and the March solar eclipse
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. - George Santayana:
Dave Muller, A South News commentary February 23 2006

The month of March is shaping up as real crunch time in the history of the Middle East. Iran is to be taken to the UN Security Council by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on its nuclear program with the possibility of punitive sanctions. Iran plans on its New Year on March 20 to begin an oil bourse trading in Euros which poses a direct threat to the monopoly of oil pricing enjoyed by the New York and London exchanges and hence to the status of the U.S. dollar itself as the principal world reserve currency. Israel has a general election scheduled for March 28 which could determine the course of the Palestinian peace process for years to come.

The U.S. and Israel has plans afoot for a military strike possibly using mini nukes with military planners paying as much attention to the waxing and waning of the moon as mythical werewolves. A dark sky with little or no visible crescent is a premium time to launch an aerial attack continuing a long military tradition of surprising the enemy in the dead of night.

On Wednesday 29th March not only will no moon be visible but the Sun will temporarily vanish in the sky by a total solar eclipse. The 1991 Gulf War was launched Jan 17 a day after the central solar eclipse the day before.

The shadow of the Moon will sweep a band starting from Brazil, through Atlantic Ocean, Gold Coast of Africa, Saharan Desert, Mediterranean Sea, Turkey, Black Sea, Georgia, Russian Federation, northern shores of Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan; ending in Mongolia. The duration of totality will be less than 2 minutes near the sunrise and sunset limits, but will be as long as 4 minutes and 7 seconds in Libya, at the moment of greatest eclipse. The 1991 Gulf War annular eclipse lasted 7 minutes 53 seconds.

Is history about to repeat itself?

We are all familiar with the recurrence of natural phenomena such as the daily sunrise and sunset, the annual cycle of seasons and the monthly waxing and waning of the moon. Such recurrence in nature gives us a sense of time and calendars in charting cultural festivals and birthdays and invoking a sense of history.

While solar and lunar eclipses regularly occur every 6 months they do so asymmetrically in time and place and do with different physical characteristics and geometry. But there is a longer eclipse period of time of natural recurrence. There is the Meton cycle of 19 years, where eclipses occur of the same day of year within hours. Despite this synchronicity the eclipses have neither the same physical geometry nor occur in the same region of the Earth. Then there is the Exeligmos or a triple Saros (54 years and 34 days) when the shadow of the moon returns the same place and time on the globe with the same geometry and characteristics. - 1898, 1952 and 2006, etc.

Thus it useful to examine the total solar eclipse of February 25 1952 and the political events at that time to see if human history has learnt anything since then.

1952 Total solar eclipse

The total eclipse of February 25 1952 is the 26th eclipse of 71 members that belong to Saros (223 new moons) series 139. The path of totality passes over some of the world largest oil fields - Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and the former Soviet Union’s oil fields, now Turmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan. The eclipse directly passing over Tehran and Baku as key oil capitals.

1952 was also a crunch year for Iran when President Mohammed Mossadaq nationalised the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in order to ensure that oil profits remain in Iran instead of flowing into British and American oil corporation coffers. British oil professionals left Iran and Britain ordered a boycott of Iranian oil, effectively shutting down the oil industry in Iran for the time being. The Iranian economy headed towards bottom as foreign exchange withered away and oil revenues went to nil Mossadaq realises that Britain will attempt to overthrow his government, so he closes the British Embassy and sends all British civilians, including its intelligence operatives, out of the country.

On the day of this 1952 eclipse, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces that his nation has an atomic bomb as perhaps a veiled threat to Tehran but it was only later in the year to 1957 that Britain actually conducted 12 major nuclear tests in Australia and Monte Bello islands.

Britain challenged the legality of Iran’s oil nationalisation. However the International Court of Justice in The Hague finally ruled in favor of Iran on July 22nd. (1) Despite appeals Britain finds itself with no way to stage the coup it desires, so it approaches the American intelligence community for help. Their first approach results in abject failure when Harry Truman throws the British representatives out of his office, stating that "We don’t overthrow governments; the United States has never done this before, and we’re not going to start now." After Eisenhower is elected in November 1952, the British have a much more receptive audience, and plans for overthrowing Mossadaq are produced (2).

(1) International Court of Justice, Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. case (United Kingdom v. Iran). Judgment of July 22nd, 1952.(2)

On June 16, 2000, the New York Times published on its Web site PDF files of a secret CIA report: "
CLANDESTINE SERVICE HISTORY, OVERTHROW OF PREMIER MOSSADEQ OF IRAN, November 1952-August 1953," an operation planned and executed by the CIA and British

Most recent Saros 139 eclipse

The most recent eclipse in Saros 139 occurred 1988 March 18, also as a total eclipse. Successive eclipses in a Saros (18 years 11 days 8 hours) series are very similar in character but each eclipse the time of maximum totality is shifted by 8 hours so that successive eclipses are about 120º apart in longitude. This eclipse path runs from the Indonesian oil fields through the Philippines northwards through the pacific to end off the coast of Alaska. But it is more than interesting that in the Persian Gulf, during the Iran-Iraq war, at this time with Iran blocking the Straits of Hormuz to oil tankers leaving Arab ports.

Oil Tanker wars of 1988

On April 14, 1988, the frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts was badly damaged by an Iranian mine. U.S. forces responded with Operation Praying Mantis on April 18, the United States Navy's largest engagement of surface warships since World War II. Two Iranian ships were destroyed, and an American helicopter was shot down, killing the two pilots.

In the course of these escorts by the U.S. Navy, the cruiser USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 with the loss of all 290 passengers and crew on July 3, 1988. The American government claimed that the airliner had been mistaken for an Iranian F-14 Tomcat, and that the Vincennes was operating in international waters at the time and feared that it was under attack. It has since emerged, however, that the Vincennes was in fact in Iranian territorial waters, and that the Iranian passenger jet was turning away and increasing altitude after take-off. The U.S. paid compensation but never apologised.

Through all of this, members of the Reagan Administration had at the same time, also been secretly selling weapons to Iran - first indirectly ( through Israel) and then directly. It claimed that the administration hoped Iran would, in exchange, persuade several radical groups to release Western hostages. (for details see the Iran-Contra Affair). The money from the sales was channeled to equip the Nicaraguan Contras, right-wing rebels. Oliver North and Vice-Admiral John Poindexter are indicted on charges of conspiracy on March 16- a day before this eclipse.

Gassing of Kurds in Halabja

According to several accounts, on the evening of March 16/17 Iraq uses US-supplied Bell helicopters to deploy chemical weapons during its campaign to recapture lost territories in its war with Iran. One of the towns that is within the conflict zone is the Kurdish village of Halabja, with a population of about 70,000. Between 3,200 and 5,000 Halabja civilians are reportedly killed by poison gas. But the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas.

The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja. The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent — that is, a cyanide-based gas — which Iran was known to use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time

[New York Times, 1/31/03; Johnson and Pelletiere, 12/10/1990; International Herald Tribune 1/17/03; Weinstein and Rempel, 2/13/1991 cited in Hurd and Rangwala, 12/21/2001; Washington Post, 3/11/1991]

2006 eclipse path of totality

While the 1991 Gulf War eclipse of midnight (GMT) Jan 15/16 belonged to Saros series 131 the total eclipse of 2006 March 29 is the 29th eclipse of 71 members that belong to Saros series 139.

The eclipse track begins in eastern Brazil, where the Moon's shadow first touches down on Earth at 08:36 GMT. Traveling over 9 km/s, the umbra quickly leaves Brazil and races across the Atlantic Ocean for the next half hour. Sweeping in from the Gulf of Guinea totality encounters the coast of Ghana at 09:08 GMT. Located about 50 kilometres south of the central line, the 1.7 million inhabitants of Ghana's capital city Accra can expect a total eclipse lasting 2 minute 58 seconds

Moving inland totality enters Togo at 09:14 GMT. Continuing northeast, the shadow's axis enters Nigeria at 09:21 GMT. Nigeria is the United States' fifth-largest supplier of foreign oil . The eclipse takes about sixteen minutes to cross western Nigeria before entering Niger.

During the next hour, the shadow traverses some of the most remote and desolate deserts on the planet. Niger, an impoverished nation on the western edge of the Sahara desert, is the world's third largest producer of uranium.

One of the chief arguments used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was that Iraq was "reconstituting its nuclear weapons programs." Central to this argument was the claim that Iraq attempted to obtain processed uranium from Niger.When it reaches northern Niger, it briefly enters extreme northwestern Chad before crossing into oil rich Libya. Maximum duration of totality lasts for about 4m07s in southern Libya where the shadow width is about 184 km wide and travels at about 0.7 km/sec .Here totality will occur at 10:10 GMT

Totality over the eastern Mediterranean will occur about 40 minutes later with only a slightly shorter duration .Passing directly between Crete and Cyprus, the track reaches the southern coast of Turkey at 10:54 GMT.

With a population of nearly 3/4 million people, Antalya lies 50 kilometres northwest of the central line. The coastal city's inhabitants are positioned for a total eclipse lasting 3 minutes 11 seconds while observers on the central line receive an additional 35 seconds of totality. Konya is 25 kilometres from path center and experiences a 3 minute 36 second total phase beginning at 10:58 GMT.

Crossing mountainous regions of central Turkey, the Moon's shadow intersects the path of the 1999 Aug 11 total eclipse.

At 11:10 GMT, the shadow axis reaches the Black Sea along the northern coast of Turkey. Six minutes later, the umbra encounters the western shore of Georgia, entering once again a sensitive oil region Moving inland, the track crosses the Caucasus Mountains, which form the highest mountain chain of Europe. As the shadow proceeds into Russia, it engulfs the northern end of the Caspian Sea and crosses into Kazakhstan.

In the remaining seventeen minutes, the shadow rapidly accelerates across central Asia while the duration dwindles. It traverses northern Kazakhstan and briefly re-enters Russia before lifting off Earth's surface at sunset along Mongolia's northern border.

Lessons of history

The inception of U.S. imperialism is generally traced to 1898, and the acquisition of an overseas empire (Puerto Rico, the Philippines) as spoils of the Spanish-American War. This accompanied the rise of the Rockefeller oil dynastry and its later grab in the Middle East.

Today the U.S. is really bogged down in Iraq and its imperial star in the Pleiades is fading worldwide. Geo-politically, the 7 sisters no longer control the world oil as Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is demonstrating with his subsidising of heating oil to the U.S. poor

But given the US and its media propaganda are set on surgical strikes on Iran all we can say that the geography is not on its side. The Iranians need only retaliate against two or three major oil installations, besides sinking enough tonnage to make the Straits of Hormuz perilous to navigation and world oil markets.

So - called 'surgical' strikes will transform a nuclear program that is ambiguous into an unambiguously military program designed to obtain nuclear weapons at any cost, and will accelerate rather than prevent, Iran developing nuclear weapons. Even talk of military action inevitably pushes the Iranian government toward the nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, the message is still not sinking in that George W Bush is not Theodore Roosevelt. It is 2006 not 1898.

What experience and history teach is this -- that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles. G. W. Hegel