30 Apr 2008
The questions surrounding Wikipedia lead to a bigger discussion of Web 2.0, a phenomenon in which the user determines the content. Examples include YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and Wikipedia. These sites would appear to provide new freedom and opportunities for undiscovered talent and unheard voices, but just where does the boundary lie between expert and amateur? Who will survive according to the laws of this new "digital Darwinism"? Are equality and truth really reconcilable ideals? And most importantly, has the Internet brought us wisdom and truth, or is it high time for a cultural counterrevolution?
Former Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini has been elected the new speaker of Italy's lower house of parliament.
The former neo-fascist head of the right-wing National Alliance won 335 of the 611 votes cast in the fourth round of polling Wednesday.
Fini is a longtime ally of Silvio Berlusconi, whose coalition won a clear majority in both houses of parliament in national elections. International Herald Tribune
29 Apr 2008
A court in Tibet has jailed 17 people for taking part in riots in the capital, Lhasa, last month, Chinese state media has said.
The prison terms are reported to range from three years to life.
Anti-China protests led by Buddhist monks began in Lhasa on 10 March and gradually escalated into rioting.
China says at least 19 people were killed by the rioters - but Tibetan exiles say that nearly 100 were killed by the Chinese security forces.
A court in Lhasa handed down the verdicts at a trial attended by more than 200 people, including Buddhist monks, medical workers and "masses from all walks of life", state television reported.
Chinese authorities have blamed the Dalai Lama for orchestrating the unrest in an attempt to sabotage this summer's Beijing Olympics and promote Tibetan independence. He strongly denies this. Tibet and the surrounding provinces where the protests took place have been closed to foreigners since the unrest. BBC NEWS
28 Apr 2008
Ft. David Icke and Paul Hardcastle
Rioting in Haiti. Rationing in America. Queues in Egypt. Protests in Afghanistan. As the price of food continues to soar, the impact is being felt by people around the globe
The roaring economy and an ever expanding middle class have had a particularly profound effect on food prices, particularly rice and wheat. Because of industrialisation, rice planting fell from 33 million hectares in 1983 to 29 million by 2006 and China now imports more than ever, placing a major strain on international supplies. Despite freezing prices, rampant inflation means the cost of food has risen by 21 per cent this year.
In a land where supposedly the rich are thin and the poor are overweight, one of the largest cash and carry stores, Sam's Club, announced this week it would limit customers to take home a maximum of four bags of rice. The move came a day after Costco Wholesale Corp, the biggest US warehouse-club operator, limited bulk rice purchases in some stores and warned that customers had begun stockpiling certain goods.
More about NORTH KOREA, EGYPT, VENEZUELA, BRAZIL, IVORY COAST, AFGHANISTAN, THAILAND, EAST AFRICA, INDIA, HAITI, THE PHILIPPINES and EUROPE on The Independent website
More about the Food Crisis
"Soaring prices are causing hunger around the world."
27 Apr 2008
26 Apr 2008
Peter Finch as Howard Beale, in an excerpt from "Network" 1976. Finch won an Academy Award for Best Actor, making him the only performer ever to receive a posthumous award at the Oscars.
We're In A Lot Of Trouble, written and performed by DJ Chris Geo, in conjunction with MACBEATZ, Video Edited by DJ Chris Geo. Music can be downloaded at myspace.com/djchrisgeomusic
The city's new police commissioner, William Fitchet, says members of the department's Street Crime Unit will again don black, military-style uniforms as part of his strategy to deal with youth violence.
Fitchet's predecessor, Edward Flynn, had ditched the black attire as part of an effort to soften the image of the unit. Flynn left Springfield in January to become the police chief in Milwaukee.
Sgt. John Delaney told a city council hearing Wednesday that the stark uniforms send a message to criminals that officers are serious about making arrests.
Delaney said a sense of "fear" has been missing for the past few years. FOXNews.com
But see this site:
American police have killed more with bullets than have been killed in all the wars and terrorist attacks since Vietnam. American police have killed more people with bullets since 2000 than were killed in the terrorist attacks of 911. Few of these killings have been resolved by a jury trial. Link
"As a police brutality victim's widow, I am seeking all the possible help to regain justice for my husband's wrongful death by the Kalamazoo County Portage City police in an execution manner with no due processing at all." more
25 Apr 2008
This documentary reveals Canada's darkest secret - the deliberate extermination of indigenous (Native American) peoples and the theft of their land under the guise of religion. This never before told history as seen through the eyes of this former minister (Kevin Annett) who blew the whistle on his own church, after he learned of thousands of murders in its Indian Residential Schools..." WATCH IT!!
A U.S.-contracted cargo ship fired warning shots in the Persian Gulf at two small patrol boats believed to be from Iran, U.S. Navy officials said Friday.
The crew of the "Westward Venture," which was under contract to the U.S. government, reported it radioed a warning and fired flares before resorting to warning shots Thursday, the officials said.
The cargo vessel was en route to Kuwait and about 50 miles from the Iranian coast, according the reports.
Tensions in the Persian Gulf have been high this year. The United States and Iran, which have no diplomatic relations and blame each other for problems in Iraq, have had at least two other tense incidents in the gulf since January.
Earlier this month, the U.S. military reported that three small Iranian boats approached a U.S. patrol craft in a "taunting manner." Two of the boats turned away, but one came within 200 yards of the USS Typhoon, prompting a crew member to fire a warning flare.
23 Apr 2008
Exposes the truth about the Watchtower Bible and and Tract Society also known as Jehovah's Witnesses.
Come November, it will not matter who “wins” the White House, the lot of the average American will be the same no matter if Obama, Clinton, or McCain sit in the White House. And that lot will be one of increasing misery as the late, great United States is converted into a slave labor gulag, little different than China.
McCain told the commoners of Youngstown, Ohio, as much yesterday. “Republican John McCain made a risky argument in a hard-hit Ohio steel town yesterday, telling residents that free trade can help solve their problems,” reports the Boston Globe. “That is a tough sell in communities that have hemorrhaged jobs as manufacturing moved overseas and cheap imports flooded the market. But McCain insisted that free trade is the solution and not the cause.”
See, the problem is the little people resist “free trade,” as in a free hand for multinational corporations to loot the third world and now the first world, soon to be a third world nation. “The biggest problem is not so much what’s happened with free trade, but our inability to adjust to a new world economy,” McCain said during a town hall-style meeting at Youngstown State University. “So we want people to be part of that revolution, and we’ve got to be part of that new economy, rather than try to cling to an old economy.” Infowars
22 Apr 2008
Greek and Turkish Cypriots have teamed up on their divided island to save endangered wild donkeys.
The initiative was launched on the social networking website Facebook after 10 of the donkeys were found shot dead at the end of March.
"Let's stop the massacre of Karpas donkeys!" says a message from the group, which has attracted more than 2,000 members.
The Karpas Peninsula in northern Cyprus is home to several hundred donkeys.
The Facebook group says the Karpas donkeys "are the symbol of Cyprus and it is our responsibility to protect them".
Follow the hooded executioner in the red circle as he homes in with clear and definite intent, raised baton brought down with force and precision on the neck of the surrounded and immobilised victim on the ground. After the bloody deed is done (above) he looks bewildered at the UN soldier who seems to have spoilt his fun. Try mastering the dignity required to admit that such incidents do not belong to the world order that humanity is striving for at the close of the twentieth century, at least not from an ally of the west and definitely not from an imminent member of the European Union. See whole story here
On March 11 a new documentary was aired on French television (ARTE – French-German cultural tv channel) by French journalist and film maker Marie-Monique Robin, The World According to Monsanto. The gigantic biotech corporation Monsanto is threatening to destroy the agricultural biodiversity which has served mankind for thousands of years
A South Carolina pastor says he was not trying to be political when he posted a sign in front of his church linking Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden.
Pastor Roger Byrd said he just wanted to make people think when he put up a sign reading “Obama, Osama — humm, are they brothers” in front of the Jonesville Church of God on Thursday.
Obama, a Christian, attends Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Fifteen percent of respondents to a recent Associated Press-Yahoo News poll said they thought the Illinois senator was a Muslim.
So unfortunately McCain will be president..
21 Apr 2008
There is an Elite faction guiding most every Political, Economic, Social, Corporate, some Non-Governmental or even Anti-Establishment Organizations. This film uses the hard work and research of professionals in every field helping to expose this agenda put the future of this planet back into the hands of the people.
These shock pictures will make every decent parent in Britain fighting mad—a GIRL OF FIVE sobbing her heart out as Dad forces her into a KICK-BOXING ring for a public punch-up.
And her shameful father Darren Flanagan has the nerve to call the dangerous, sickening spectacle SPORT.
But he's just one of hundreds pushing youngsters barely of school age into the frightening new craze for Thai boxing now sweeping the country.
- “No real progress” since Athens games, say PF08 campaigners
- China: workers glueing sports shoes for less than $2 per day, stitching footballs for $0.50 each
Brussels - As the clock ticks down to the Beijing Olympics, workers producing for the international sportswear companies that spend millions on Olympic and athletic sponsorship deals are still working excessive hours and paid poverty wages, according to a damning new report, "Clearing the Hurdles , Steps to improving working conditions in the global sportswear industry ", from Play Fair 2008 (PF08).
The murder of two radio activists in Oaxaca has brought the repression suffered by indigenous Mexicans into sharp focus. Oaxaca has the biggest percentage of indigenous people who speak many different languages and suffering serious discrimination including the theft of their natural resources.
One such example is the village of San Isidro Aloapam who have been fighting the destruction of their local forest by commercial loggers who are bending the law to justify their activity. Attempts by the villagers to protect the forest have been met with extreme violence leaving many villagers injured and imprisoned. The village is represented politically by indigenous action group CIPO-RFM who have organized a series of media and international solidarity events to highlight the struggle. CIPO-RFM activists Miguel Cruz Moreno and Pedro Bautista Rojas were recently interviewed by IMC UK about the struggle.
20 Apr 2008
In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded “the gulag of our times” by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure.
The administration’s communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo.
To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.
19 Apr 2008
Finally! After submitting a half-dozen papers to established peer-reviewed technical journals over a period of nearly a year, we have two papers which have passed peer-review and have been accepted for publication. One of these was published TODAY! In science, we say that we have “published in the literature,” a major step in a nascent line of scientific inquiry. (911blogger.com)
Here it is:
The Open Civil Engineering Journal
Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction
pp.35-40 (6) Authors: Steven E. Jones, Frank M. Legge, Kevin R. Ryan, Anthony F. Szamboti, James R. Gourley
The 14 points are:
1. WTC 7 Collapse Issue - Apparently it is difficult to fully explain the complete and rapid collapse of WTC 7 with a fire-based hypothesis alone.
2. Withstanding Jet Impact
3. Pancake Theory Not Supported
4. Massive Core Columns - The hat-truss tied the core to the perimeter walls of the towers, and thus allowed the building to withstand the effects of the aircraft impact and subsequent fires for a much longer time—enabling large numbers of building occupants to evacuate safely
5. Essentially in Free Fall
6. Fire Endurance Tests, No Failure
7. Fires of Short Duration
8. WTC Fires Did Not Melt Steel
9. Destruction of WTC Steel Evidence
10. Unusual Bright Flame and Glowing Liquid (WTC 2)
11. High-Temperature Steel Attack, Sulfidation
12. Computer Modeling and Visualizations - We agree that NIST resorted to complex computer simulations and no doubt “adjusted the input” to account for the Towers’ destruction, after the fire-endurance physical tests did not support their preordained collapse theory.
13. Total Collapse Explanation Lacking
14. Search for Explosive or Thermite Residues
Link to the BSP site
The online behavior of a small but growing number of computer users in the United States is monitored by their Internet service providers, who have access to every click and keystroke that comes down the line.
The companies harvest the stream of data for clues to a person's interests, making money from advertisers who use the information to target their online pitches.
The practice represents a significant expansion in the ability to track a household's Web use because it taps into Internet connections, and critics liken it to a phone company listening in on conversations. But the companies involved say customers' privacy is protected because no personally identifying details are released.
The extent of the practice is difficult to gauge because some service providers involved have declined to discuss their practices. Many Web surfers, moreover, probably have little idea they are being monitored.
18 Apr 2008
When two police officers came to interview Jamie Bauld, a polite, friendly Down’s syndrome boy with a mental age of about 5, he welcomed them with a big smile and a handshake. As the officers read him his rights and charged him with assault and racial abuse, he agreed with everything they said, then thanked them for coming to see him.
Yesterday Jamie’s parents told The Times that they had been through a seven-month ordeal with the Scottish legal system over what they described as a minor fracas between two youngsters with learning difficulties.
They believe that he was a victim of the zero-tolerance policy on racism under which police have to respond to any complaint, however minor.
Experts in Down’s syndrome say that the case shows insensitivity and is an example of bureaucracy gone mad.
The Crown Office in Scotland offered a rare apology yesterday to the family of Jamie Bauld, the Down’s syndrome teenager with a mental age of about 5 who was accused of a racist assault. More on Times Online
17 Apr 2008
Captain Alex Cornelissen and 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt were freed from solitary confinement in Sydney, Nova Scotia in the late afternoon of April 14th, after Captain Paul Watson delivered $10,000 in doubloons to the Nova Scotia courts.
“We do not view the arrests as lawful,” said Captain Watson. “These men were seized from their Dutch flagged ship on the high seas in international waters by armed men who then commandeered the ship and the personal property of the crew. This was an act of piracy and we do not recognize this as bail. It’s a ransom that we have been forced to pay and since it’s a ransom being paid to pirates, it’s appropriate that it has been paid in doubloons.”
The Canadian dollar coin is called a “loonie” and although the two dollar coin is called a “toonie,” it really is a double loon and thus a doubloon.
Upon his release from detention, Captain Alex Cornelissen responded to reporters who said that Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn claims the Farley Mowat was in Canadian waters at the time it was boarded.
“Hearn is an absolute liar. We were 35 miles from land when we were attacked and not once did we ever come close to the 12 mile limit. My ship was taken by armed pirates under the direction of the Federal Minister of Fisheries. I suppose he needed to do something dramatic to distract from the fact that he was responsible for the deaths of four sealers last month,” Cornelissen said.
The GPS unit on the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat has a record of the movements of the ship and is evidence that the ship never entered Canadian territorial waters.
As the credit crunch bites and a global economic crisis threatens, Robert Peston reveals how the super-rich have made their fortunes, and the rest of us are picking up the bill..
"We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," Ma'ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events "swung American public opinion in our favor."
Netanyahu reportedly made the comments during a conference at Bar-Ilan University on the division of Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cast doubt over the veracity of the September 11 attacks Thursday, calling it a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Four or five years ago, a suspicious event occurred in New York. A building collapsed and they said that 3,000 people had been killed but never published their names," Ahmadinejad told Iranians in the holy city of Qom.
"Under this pretext, they [the U.S.] attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and since then, a million people have been killed only in Iraq."
Speaking Wednesday at a news conference on the Iran threat, Netanyahu compared Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler and likened Tehran's nuclear program to the threat the Nazis posed to Europe in the late 1930s.
16 Apr 2008
14 Apr 2008
An 80-year-old church deacon was removed from the Smith Haven Mall yesterday in a wheelchair and arrested by police for refusing to remove a T-shirt protesting the Iraq War.
Police said that Don Zirkel, of Bethpage, was disturbing shoppers at the Lake Grove mall with his T-shirt, which had what they described as "graphic anti-war images." Zirkel, a deacon at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Wyandanch, said his shirt had the death tolls of American military personnel and Iraqis - 4,000 and 1 million - and the words "Dead" and "Enough." The shirt also has three blotches resembling blood splatters.
Police said in a release last night that Zirkel was handing out anti-war pamphlets to mallgoers and that mall security told him to stop and turn his shirt inside out. Zirkel refused to turn his shirt inside out and wouldn't leave, police said. Security placed him on "civilian arrest" and called police. When police arrived, Zirkel passively resisted attempts to bring him to a police car, the release said.
Mexico 1968. President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, was determined to stop the demonstrations and, in September, he ordered the army to occupy the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the country's largest university. Students were beaten and arrested indiscriminately. Rector Javier Barros Sierra resigned in protest on September 23.
Student demonstrators were not deterred, however. The demonstrations grew in size, until, on October 2, after student strikes lasting nine weeks, 15,000 students from various universities marched through the streets of Mexico City, carrying red carnations to protest the army's occupation of the university campus. By nightfall, 5,000 students and workers, many of them with spouses and children, had congregated outside an apartment complex in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco for what was supposed to be a peaceful rally. Among their chants were ¡No queremos olimpiadas, queremos revolución! ("We don't want Olympic games, we want revolution!"). Rally organizers did not attempt to call off the protest when they noticed an increased military presence in the area.
The massacre began at sunset when police and military forces — equipped with armored cars and tanks — surrounded the square and began firing live rounds into the crowd, hitting not only the protestors, but also other people who were present for reasons unrelated to the demonstration. Demonstrators and passersby alike, including children, were hit by bullets, and mounds of bodies soon lay on the ground. The killing continued through the night, with soldiers operating on a house-to-house basis in the apartment buildings adjacent to the square. Witnesses to the event claim that the bodies were later removed in garbage trucks.
The Mexico Olympics of 1968 saw African-American protests reach a world-wide audience when two black athletes used a medal ceremony for the 200 meters to protest about the lack of real civil rights in America.
One of the greatest sprinters in the world in 1968 was Tommy Smith. By the end of his athletics career, Smith had equaled or broken thirteen world records. Close behind him in the rankings was John Carlos. Both were team mates at San Jose State College. In the build up to the games, all African-American athletes were urged to boycott the games by the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). A member of OPHR was Harry Edwards who was a friend of both sprinters and had influenced Smith and Carlos even before the Mexico games. Though a boycott never materialised, both Smith and Carlos agreed on a protest at the medal ceremony for the 200 meters which both were expected to be at. More
SCIENCE is useful but that is not all it is. Science can be uplifting, thrilling, life-enhancing. Originally broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 in 1996, Break the Science Barrier follows the Oxford Biologist Richard Dawkins as he meets with people who have experienced the wonders of science first-hand.
Wear your "Scarlet Letter of Atheism" proudly. 100% cotton, pre-washed, no shrinkage. Sweatshop-free.
This shirt DOES have 'richarddawkins.net' on it. Please note this when placing your order.
All proceeds go to The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
Best-selling burgers and drinks popular with children at McDonald's restaurants are loaded with controversial chemicals, including some known to cause behavioural problems.
Analysis by The Independent reveals that Britain's biggest burger company pumps a total of 78 different artificial additives into its food on 578 separate occasions, an average of seven E-numbers per product. Although McDonald's emphasises its burgers are 100 per cent beef, the buns, cheese and sauces that go with them are high in E-numbers.
The Big Mac has 18 separate additives and a cheeseburger 17 separate additives, while a chocolate milkshake has eight different chemicals.
Additives are present in almost everything on the menu, including the grilled chicken and salads.
Health campaigners claim that certain E-numbers can cause side effects such as headaches and wheezing among some consumers.
What is wrong with McDonalds? read it on the Anti McDonalds Website
This leaflet is asking you to think for a moment about what lies behind McDonald's clean, bright image. It's got a lot to hide. Read it here
The coach of India's famous six-year-old marathon runner Budhia Singh has been shot dead in the eastern state of Orissa, police say.
Biranchi Das was killed after being approached by three attackers at his judo club in the city of Bhubaneswar.
Police ruled out any link to his involvement with Budhia Singh.
Under Mr Das, Budhia began running at three and once ran 65km (40 miles) without rest. Mr Das later faced charges of torture.
12 Apr 2008
Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London Olympic Committee, has described the Chinese officials guarding the Olympic torch as "thugs", piling more embarrassment onto the Games' organisers.
Lord Coe was overheard talking about the attendants, who formed part of a huge security presence around the flame, during a private telephone conversation with a member of his press team.
The Chinese guards, more than a dozen of whom surrounded Olympic flame during its chaotic journey through London on Sunday, are officially employed to ensure the safe handover of the torch between runners and to ensure it remains lit throughout the relay.
But the attendants, thought to have been recruited from the security services, have been criticised for allegedly using aggressive tactics against protestors demonstrating against China's human rights abuses and the occupation of Tibet. Telegraph
The guards appear to be members of the Beijing Olympic Games Sacred Flame Protection unit, a detachment of personnel from China's People's Armed Police. This paramilitary force has wide-ranging duties, from protecting diplomatic missions to maintaining internal security. Units of the People's Armed Police were deployed to forcibly quell violent unrest last month in Tibet.
In Tibet and other heavily Tibetan parts of China, Chinese authorities have arrested hundreds of people who they say were either involved in the initial outbreak of violence in Lhasa March 14 or in the unrest that has continued since then. Despite a decisive show of force in China's vast Tibetan region, authorities have struggled to bring the unrest under control. Wall Street Journal
Japan will not allow the squad of Chinese flame guards to intervene with the Beijing Olympic torch's progress when it arrives in a Japanese city this month, the national police head was quoted as saying on Friday.
"We should not violate the principle that the Japanese police will firmly maintain security," Kyodo news agency quoted Shinya Izumi, head of the National Public Safety Commission, as saying.
"We do not know what position the people who escorted the relay are in," Izumi was quoted as saying. "If they are for the consideration of security, it is our role." Reuters
11 Apr 2008
Every single Metropolitan police officer will be 'microchipped' so top brass can monitor their movements on a Big Brother style tracking scheme, it can be revealed today.
According to respected industry magazine Police Review, the plan - which affects all 31,000 serving officers in the Met, including Sir Ian Blair - is set to replace the unreliable Airwave radio system currently used to help monitor officer's movements.
The new electronic tracking device - called the Automated Personal Location System (APLS) - means that officers will never be out of range of supervising officers.
Falsafat has made a reaction to Fitna (the Geert Wilders Hate Movie), watch it.
A Comment: "Thank you for that. I was upset at the start. Then I saw what you were doing I'm western Christian by name. I know you were not doing what the other guy was doing to Islam you were trying to teach as opposed to create more hatred and I think your very clever for doing it. Well done and thank you."
9 Apr 2008
EARTHLINGS is a feature length documentary about humanity's absolute dependence on animals (for pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research) but also illustrates our complete disrespect for these so-called "non-human providers." The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix (GLADIATOR) and features music by the critically acclaimed platinum artist Moby.More info on http://www.isawearthlings.com
Also check out this audio showing that the masons are running the Mayan Rituals (25 minutes into the audio).
This mayor revelation brought to you by: Mayan Calendar by 13 Akbal - Did you believe the Mayans were not part of the New World Order ?
He didn’t have to go to Iraq. But Ted Westhusing was such a believer that he volunteered for what he thought was a noble cause. At West Point, Westhusing sought out people who opposed the war in an effort to change their minds. “He absolutely believed that this was a just war,” said one officer who was close to him. “He was wholly enthusiastic about this mission.” His tour of duty in Iraq was to last six months.
About a month before he was to return to his family—on June 5, 2005—Westhusing was found dead in his trailer at Camp Dublin in Baghdad. At the time, he was the highest-ranking American soldier to die in Iraq. The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command report on Westhusing’s death explained it as a “perforating gunshot wound of the head and Manner of Death was suicide.” The Texas Observer
"Thanks for telling me it was a good day until I briefed you. [Redacted name]--You are only interested in your career and provide no support to your staff--no msn [mission] support and you don't care. I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human right abuses and liars. I am sullied--no more. I didn't volunteer to support corrupt, money grubbing contractors, nor work for commanders only interested in themselves. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. I trust no Iraqi. I cannot live this way. All my love to my family, my wife and my precious children. I love you and trust you only. Death before being dishonored any more. Trust is essential--I don't know who trust anymore. [sic] Why serve when you cannot accomplish the mission, when you no longer believe in the cause, when your every effort and breath to succeed meets with lies, lack of support, and selfishness? No more. Reevaluate yourselves, cdrs [commanders]. You are not what you think you are and I know it.
COL Ted Westhusing
Life needs trust. Trust is no more for me here in Iraq."
Until May 10th, the Dommuseum in Vienna, located next to the cathedral and belonging to the archdiocese of Vienna, shows an exhibition with works of Vienna sculptor and painter Alfred Hrdlicka.
The Church hastily removed the main picture, "a homosexual orgy" of the Apostles as Hrdlicka describes it.
But the protest has continued, much to the surprise of the small Cathedral Museum which is nestled down a narrow street in Vienna’s historic Gothic quarter.
The museum’s director defends both Hrdlicka’s work and his decision to host the artist’s controversial versions of biblical imagery in a museum tied to the Catholic Church.
"We think Hrdlicka is entitled to represent people in this carnal, drastic way," Bernhard Boehler said in his small museum office, across the street from Vienna’s imposing St. Stephan’s Cathedral. More on The Two Malcontents
A major U.S. Jewish organization on Tuesday stepped up opposition to a multibillion-dollar Swiss-Iranian natural gas deal by claiming it makes Switzerland "the world's newest financier of terrorism."
"When you finance a terrorist state, you finance terrorism," said the New York-based Anti-Defamation League in full-page advertisements in major Swiss newspapers and in similar ads in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune and The Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. government and the World Jewish Congress have criticized Switzerland for the deal, saying it gives encouragement to Tehran's hard-liners.
The Anti-Defamation League said it "is concerned that Iran's profits from the energy deal could help the regime to accelerate and complete its nuclear weapons program and provide tens of thousands of additional missiles to Hezbollah and Hamas, two terrorist groups and sworn enemies of Israel who routinely benefit from Tehran's largess," said a statement on the league's Web site.
The Swiss Foreign Ministry rejected the criticism.
8 Apr 2008
A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country.
The draft strategic framework agreement between the US and Iraqi governments, dated March 7 and marked "secret" and "sensitive", is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security" without time limit.
The authorisation is described as "temporary" and the agreement says the US "does not desire permanent bases or a permanent military presence in Iraq". But the absence of a time limit or restrictions on the US and other coalition forces - including the British - in the country means it is likely to be strongly opposed in Iraq and the US.
Iraqi critics point out that the agreement contains no limits on numbers of US forces, the weapons they are able to deploy, their legal status or powers over Iraqi citizens, going far beyond long-term US security agreements with other countries. The agreement is intended to govern the status of the US military and other members of the multinational force.
7 Apr 2008
The Olympic torch relay was disrupted Monday by protesters in Paris demonstrating against the Chinese government, causing authorities to twice extinguish the flame and put the torch on a bus, according to The Associated Press.
Before the Olympic torch relay in Paris began Monday, French police detained several protesters.
The torch was being carried by a wheelchair athlete when it was halted and extinguished for a second time due to demonstrators shouting, according to AP. Backup flames, also lit from the birthplace of the ancient games in Olympia, Greece, are on call with the relay at all times to relight the torch.
The incidents came one day after human-rights activist demonstrators made the torch's journey through London more like running the gauntlet than a journey of celebration, with UK police making more than two dozen arrests.
The torch departed the Eiffel Tower, carried by 400-meter athlete Stephane Diagana, at around 1030 GMT (0630 ET) to crisscross a city thronged with thousands of police and demonstrators, shouting and waving flags. It was then due to be carried through the boulevards of the French capital, passing landmarks including l'Arc d'Triomphe, the Place de la Concord, The Louvre and Notre Dame
6 Apr 2008
Police were forced to bring in reinforcements to marshal the Olympic torch relay through London after a series of protests along the 31-mile route by demonstrators angered at China's human rights record. More than 35 people have been arrested, all for public order offences.
Throughout the day there were incidents and flashpoints, the most serious occurring in Ladbroke Grove when a Free Tibet protester slipped through a 50-strong pack of British police and Chinese security guards before attempting to wrestle the Olympic flame from Blue Peter TV presenter Konnie Huq. The episode was brought to an end when the protester was bundled to the ground.
Two others were also taken away after trying to put out the flame with a fire extinguisher in Holland Park, and the procession was later forced into a temporary halt as the torch made an unscheduled switch to a bus while police pondered how to safely negotiate a crowd of protesters at Fleet Street. The move briefly prevented further disruption but negated the spectacle, with the torch bearer completely hidden from the throngs lining the route from Wembley Stadium to Greenwich.
At several times during the day protesters threw themselves in front of the runners and there were also scuffles between police and demonstrators. At one point, the torch procession even went the wrong way down a one-way street and was forced to turn round.
When the bus travelled along Oxford Street, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell stopped it in its tracks by jumping into the road holding a sign saying "Free Tibet, free Hu Jia". "The arrest last week of human rights activist Hu Jia shows that China is not fulfilling its human rights commitments which were part of the deal for them to get the Olympics," Mr Tatchell said. "At the very least, world leaders should boycott the opening ceremony and athletes should wear Tibetan flags when they go on the podium to receive their medals." Mr Tatchell said he was detained by police but released with a warning.
Outside Downing Street, several demonstrators attempted to run towards the torch - with some trying to jump the barriers lining the pavement - as former Olympic pentathlon champion Denise Lewis took the flame. Many were bundled to the floor by police, who were out on foot, on bicycles, and mounted on horseback. The crowd reacted noisily, booing and whistling and shouting protests.
Thousands of peaceful protesters, many of them wearing Tibetan flags, also waved banners proclaiming "Torch of shame", "Stop the killing in Tibet", "No Olympic torch in Tibet" and "China talk to Dalai Lama". Helping to lead the chants was Buddhist monk Ngawang Khyentse, who said: "We can't just remain silent. We have no other choice than to protest because there is no other voice for Tibetans inside Tibet, so we have to speak out for human rights. We are not asking for a boycott of the games, although there are many different views. We are asking for pressure to be put on the Chinese government to help the situation in Tibet."
Controversial plans for pupils in comprehensive schools to sign up for military drills and weapons training are being backed by Gordon Brown in an attempt to improve the relationship between the public and the armed forces.
A major review of the military's role in British society says that encouraging more state secondary school pupils to join the cadet corps would improve discipline among teenagers while helping to improve the public perception of the army, navy and air force.
However, anti-gun campaigners say that teaching teenagers to shoot would exacerbate the growing problem of gun crime among youngsters.
5 Apr 2008
This is a full length 1976 documentary portraying the ancient astronaut theories of Swiss-born researcher Erich von Däniken, who wrote "Chariots of the Gods". The film is hosted and narrated by William Shatner.
Everything from the Peruvian Crystal Skull to the megalith structures in the jungles of Southeast Asia is accepted as evidence for the Ancient Astronauts theory.
The Olympic torch is being welcomed this weekend in the UK as a symbol of the sporting spirit, uniting people around the world in peaceful competition.
But the idea of lighting the torch at the ancient Olympian site in Greece and then running it through different countries has much darker origins.
It was invented in its modern form by the organisers of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
And it was planned with immense care by the Nazi leadership to project the image of the Third Reich as a modern, economically dynamic state with growing international influence.
The idea chimed perfectly with the Nazi belief that classical Greece was an Aryan forerunner of the modern German Reich.
And the event blended perfectly the perversion of history with publicity for contemporary German power.
The Third Reich also brought us Television...
There have been further protests in the past few days in Tibet as the crackdown on the plateau deepens, with mass detentions in different areas and some monasteries encircled by troops. In some areas, including Kardze in Sichuan province (Kham) and Lhasa in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), there are signs that the authorities are provoking further unrest and frustration by requiring local people to sign denunciations of the Dalai Lama. According to reliable reports received by ICT, in some rural areas of eastern Tibet many Tibetans have fled villages or nomad encampments and are hiding out elsewhere to avoid arrest.
In some areas, such as around Pashoe county in Chamdo in the TAR, and around Wara monastery in Jomda county in Kardze, local lamas and monks have intervened in an attempt to prevent the escalation of unrest. The authorities are continuing to attempt to block news reaching the outside world by targeting Tibetans with cell phones, with one source reporting the detention of a Tibetan for receiving text messages from family.
Tibetan protests have been reported in at least 42 county-level locations, as well as in Chengdu (the capital of Sichuan province), Lanzhou (the capital of Gansu province), and Beijing. Protests have occurred in many different monasteries, towns or villages within several individual counties. About three quarters of the county-level locations are in Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Sichuan, or Gansu provinces, outside the TAR (see map of Tibetan protests at www.savetibet.org). Laogai Research Foundation (laogai.org)
Activist Hu Jia was on Thursday jailed for three years and six months for subversion, his lawyer said, amid what rights groups charge is a campaign by China to silence dissent before the Olympics.
Stressing that era for the US Government to consider itself the owner of the entire world is over, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here, "Resorting to countless capabilities, world nations would establish an independent new world order, if hegemonic powers would keep on exerting pressure over them." President Ahmadinejad made the comment in an interview with Japan's Kyodo news agency, adding, "Today is beginning of an era for the domineering of the world nations who will soon impose their will, like many governments that are fed up with the status quo of the unjust international relations and willing to alter them, and this is an event that would definitely take place."
4 Apr 2008
A church minister says his father - not James Earl Ray - assassinated the Rev Martin Luther King jnr at a Memphis motel in 1968.
"My father was the main guy," Mr Wilson, 61, of Keystone Heights, north of Gainesville, Florida, said on Thursday.
"It wasn't a racist thing; he thought Martin Luther King was connected with communism, and he wanted to get him out of the way."
Mr Wilson said his father belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and took part in the beatings of black people. His father had also fired gunshots at houses in St Augustine, Florida, during King's visit there in 1963. "My dad told me James Earl Ray had nothing to do with the shooting other than to buy a rifle for them," the newspaper quoted Mr Wilson as saying. "My dad was the one who shot Dr King." (The Sydney Morning Herald)
Obama be warned... Scary stuff.
With President Bush headed for what is likely to be his final summit conference with President Vladimir Putin, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Thursday provided the show of support Bush sought for the missile defense plan the Russian leader has vehemently opposed.
The 26-nation organization also renewed its political and military support for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan; formally invited two new members, Croatia and Albania; and opened the door to eventual membership for Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
When Albania and Croatia are admitted next year, it will bring to 12 the number of members added in the nearly two decades since the end of the Cold War. Considering also the other two Balkan states on the path toward membership, NATO continues to demonstrate a dramatic evolution eastward
3 Apr 2008
The attempt to harass international protest.
We arrived on March the 20th at about 8 o'clock in the evening at the Romanian border in Calafat. The border police ordered us to park our two cars beside and started to search them completely for four hours, looking after drugs, weapons and explosives as they said. We had none of that with us but they took all our info material, including books, pamphlets, posters and even patches, buttons and t-shirts away to copy, photograph and document them. Furthermore they took away our laptops for about ten hours, one of them got obviously opened, some screws were missing. Two women got body searched for injection marks. It was obvious that they were looking for a reason to send us back.
At three o'clock in the morning they started to interrogate us one by one. The interrogations where made by two guys (one leading interrogator probably named Mr. Zagrabu) from the secret service (SRI) and a translator for English. They where lying about certain laws (not connected to the anti-NATO summit, or political activism), we might have broken, to have a reason for the start of the interrogation and by this as well trying to spread some panic. But soon coming to the point of political activism and the upcoming NATO summit in Bucharest. They where pretty obvious in their aim all along. Our refusals to answer questions, making return questions and claiming for legal support, wasn't really expected by them. After trying it over and over again, playing the nice cop and the bad one, or trying to split us up, by offering some of us that they could leave without the others immediately (without any cooperation from our side), they gave up after three interrogations.