Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bundle of News

CNN Produces Balanced Piece On Sheen 9/11 Comments

911 Blogger | March 23 2006

Comment: We are amazed and flabbergasted by how fair this piece is and it should help encourage other high profile figures in the public eye like Charlie Sheen to come forward.

Tonight marks the first instance where those that question 9/11 were given a fair shake at voicing their opinions. While little can be said in just 10 minutes of coverage, it was at the very least a reasonable discussion and an important milestone for the 9/11 truth community.'s media coordinator Mike Berger did a great job with the short time he was allotted while the host A.J. Hammer allowed for a good live discussion and avoided the all-to-familiar Bill O'Reilly style of 'news'.

Despite the numerous questions surrounding 9/11 which have gone unmentioned by the mainstream media for the last 4+ years, and the growing number of respectable scholars, government officials, and family members demanding answers - this is the first time a major news station has covered 9/11 questions in any reasonable format, even if it was on a Hollywood celebrity show. If the mainstream media were to truly desire to cover 9/11 further I would hope in the future they might consider a longer format so that all of the news and facts they haven't bothered reporting over the last 4+ years might have a chance to finally be seen and heard. (Hey Showtime and HBO, are you listening?)

I urge all of those who support 9/11 being further discussed by CNN and their affiliates to contact them via their feedback form here. Be sure to reference the host A.J. Hammer, and the show 'Showbiz Tonight'.

MSM Attacks Charlie Sheen Over 9/11 Comments

Finally covers story, Neo-Cons start frothing at the mouth

Paul Joseph Watson/Prison | March 23 2006

The mainstream media has finally seen fit to cover Charlie Sheen's comments on 9/11with both the New York Post and the Boston Herald penning hit pieces that seek to smear Sheen as an unstable crackpot. Several smaller Neo-Con websites are also frothing at the mouth at the latest example of what they see as a Hollywood led 'vast left-wing conspiracy'.

On Monday Charlie Sheen appeared on the Alex Jones Show to go public on his serious doubts about the official story behind 9/11. Despite an early link on the Drudge Report which was quickly pulled, only the Defamer, a LA gossip rag picked up the story. Until today.

New York Post

The New York Post's popular and influential celebrity gossip 'Page Six' section ran with the story today and immediately castigated Sheen as a member of the tin foil hat wearing crowd.

"CHARLIE Sheen has joined the 9/11 gone-bonkers brigade," wrote the Post before quoting some of his statements from the interview.

If that's the case then the Post has just insulted half of its entire readership. A Zogby poll showed that half of New Yorkers believed the government were complicit in the attacks, a stretch that was not even made by Sheen in the interview, who was keen to stress that he didn't know who carried out the attacks, and 66% called for a new investigation. So in effect the Post has demonized two-third of its audience as demented nutcases, something they should perhaps consider in light of falling newspaper sales figures.

Boston Herald

The Herald immediately went for the yellow journalism tactic of attacking the messenger rather than the message, going for the throat of Sheen's personal life.

The Herald finished by quoting Sheen's call for an independent investigation and then stating, "Excuse us if we don’t exactly feel that Charlie’s the man for that job!"

If the Herald has bothered listening to the entire interview then they would have heard Sheen clearly state who he thought should carry out the investigation, retired political foreign nationals with no connections to the Bush administration. Not once did Sheen suggest he should be part of the investigative team, he was merely stating his informed opinion as a taxpaying American citizen, as again did 66% of New Yorkers who said the same thing.

It is quite obvious that the Herald did not listen to the interview and just copied and pasted the quotes over from the original Prison Planet article. This is proven by the fact that the Herald state, "Sheen pointed out that eyewitnesses recounted hearing what sounded like bombs and explosions coming from the basement levels of the buildings and discounted the theory that the damage to the towers’ lobbies was the result of fireballs traveling 110 feet down elevator shafts."

The 110 feet figure was a transcript error that we quickly fixed to the correct number of 1100 shortly after posting the article. The Herald obviously didn't hear the interview and just copied over the 110 feet figure from our original release.

Human Events

On the whole the Human Events piece was the most balanced, the bulk of it consisting of a elongated transcript of the interview. At least these guys, unlike those bastions of professionalism the Boston Herald, had bothered to listen to the interview.

"In an interview with Alex Jones this week, a liberal radio talk show host for GCN Radio Network, Sheen relived his thoughts and shared his theories on what happened that historic day four-and-a-half years ago," states the article.

Alex Jones a liberal? That one's going to keep us laughing all through until next winter! Alex Jones cut his teeth bashing Bill Clinton and in his youth even campaigned for Republicans before waking up to the false left-right paradigm. Within 10 seconds of meeting Alex Jones anyone would know that he is not a liberal. But in the upside down world of neo-cons and neo-libs, where the drumbeat of state worship has flipped them over so many times that they aren't even sure of their own phony political labels, Alex Jones is a liberal.

If George W. Bush, an assault weapons ban supporting, amnesty loving, abortion supporting, biggest spender on federal government ever, faux cowboy from Kennebunkport Maine is a conservative then I guess we're all Hollywood liberals. In truth both Alex Jones and Charlie Sheen are real conservatives, adhering to the legacy of the founding fathers who advocated constant vigilance of government.

In addition, the headline, Hollywood Actor Charlie Sheen Calls 9/11 'Conspiracy Theory', is blatantly misleading. Sheen never said words to that effect throughout the entire interview.

Other Festering Neo-Cons

A smattering of smaller neo-con websites (compared to which Prison gets four times as much traffic or more) gnashed their teeth at Sheen's comments, including one poster at, an individual who said he lived in his own world called 'Matworld' - a place where Sheen's comments were not appreciated. Well we're in the real world, he can stay in 'Matworld', worshipping Bush for an hour a day and spending the rest of his time throwing his toys out of the pram eating expensive biscuits his mom bought.

In summary, pressure was brought to bear on the MSM government apologists and in the end they had to respond. The fatal flaw in their argument is that they are preaching to a disappearing choir. At least half of Americans are suspicious about 9/11 and want to see a new independent inquiry. Charlie Sheen is just one of those Americans.

Lords back down on glorification

BBC | March 23 2006

Comment: This is how Blair's authoritarian government works now, never mind that this terror legislation has been rejected SIX times, they just keep pushing it until it goes through. The ID card bill has currently been "defeated" FOUR times, how much longer before that goes through too?

The government has finally won its battle of wills with the House of Lords over proposals to outlaw the "glorification" of terrorism.

In the sixth round of parliamentary "ping pong", peers accepted the government plans by a majority of 112.

Charles Clarke warned peers that Labour had made a manifesto commitment to outlaw the glorification of terrorist attacks and intended "to honour it".

Many peers felt the new law was too vague and would curb freedom of speech.

'Easily understood'

It was also opposed by Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs.

Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland of Asthal urged peers to back the government, saying the glorification offence was easily understood by "the ordinary man in the street".

Conservative spokesman Lord Kingsland asked Tory backbenchers to abstain this time because otherwise the government would use the Parliament Act to push through the Terrorism Bill, which would cause a nine month delay.

He said Mr Clarke had given an undertaking to "reconsider all the measures on terrorism" that were already on the statute book and to replace them.

This would give peers the chance to look at a range of issues "that have given us deep discomfort in the course of this bill".

Will become law

Lib Dem Lord Goodhart said including the word "glorification" would inhibit genuine debate and cause "significant trouble" in the future.

But peers voted against a Lib Dem amendment to the bill omitting any reference to glorification by 172 votes to 60, majority 112. The bill will now become law.

The prime minister had said the measure would allow action to be taken against people with placards glorifying the 7 July bombers - which were seen in London during protests against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

He said the last Commons vote in favour of the new offence had sent a "signal of strength" on fighting terror and he made it clear he expected peers to respect that message.

Rocky ride

Critics say existing laws - and plans for a new offence to prevent indirect encouragement of terrorism - mean the glorification offence is not needed.

The Terrorism Bill was introduced after July's bomb attacks in London.

It has suffered a rocky ride in Parliament, with MPs voting down plans to allow police to hold suspects for up to 90 days without charge.

Former Iraqi minister refutes NBC report he told CIA about WMD

AFX | March 23 2006

Naji Sabri Hadithi, Iraq's foreign minister under Saddam Hussein, denied a report on US TV channel NBC that he provided the CIA with information about the deposed regime's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

'The information carried by the American channel NBC are lies, totally fabricated and unfounded,' Sabri Hadithi told Agence France-Presse in a telephone interview, in his first public remarks since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

'After the lies about the weapons of mass destruction which do not exist and the alleged links with Al-Qaeda, it seems that this new lie is aimed at giving a new fake pretext to justify the crime of the century: the invasion of Iraq.'

NBC reported on Monday that Sabri Hadithi spied for the CIA and traded information on Saddam's alleged weapons programme in return for a 100,000 usd payment, in a French-sponsored New York City hotel room meeting.

But Sabri Hadith described the report as a 'desperate attempt to undermine the reputation of nationalistic Iraqi leaders who opposed, with honour and courage, the Anglo-American-Zionist scheme to invade Iraq.'

He said the NBC report follows 'the failure of attempts (by the US administration) over the years to convince (Iraqi) civilian or military officials ... to betray their country.'

Sabri Hadithi accused NBC of having 'published the lies of the American administration to deceive the American people in a bid to promote the colonialist occupation of Iraq.'

'A few weeks ago, the American channel asked me, in a way that resembled blackmail, for an interview. I apologised, said I couldn't and refused to receive their correspondent,' Sabri Hadithi said.

He said he would be in touch with his lawyers in order to sue NBC.

According to the NBC report, Sabri Hadithi told a CIA middleman that Saddam possessed chemical weapons and wanted a nuclear bomb but needed much more time to build one than the CIA estimate of several months to a year.

He also denied Saddam had any biological weapons.

Straw to demand release of 'MI5 man' in Guantanamo after U-turn

Robert Verkaik / London Independent | March 23 2006

In a foreign policy U-turn, Jack Straw has agreed to intervene in the case of a British resident who has been held in Guantanamo Bay for the past three years.

The concession emerged during a court hearing yesterday after lawyers had alleged that the Iraqi-born businessman, who has lived in Britain since 1985, was an MI5 informer.

Until yesterday Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, had said that the British government would not make any representations on behalf of American prisoners who were not British citizens.

The Government maintains that - as foreign nationals - Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil el-Banna and Omar Deghayes have no legal right to the assistance they seek.

But the judges heard yesterday that the Foreign Office had conceded that representations would be made to the US authorities for the release of Mr al-Rawi because of the particular circumstances of his case.

His lawyers said afterwards that the decision to intervene was only an expedient way of avoiding the publication of sensitive information about MI5's relationship with Mr al-Rawi.

Bisher al-Rawi, 37, and his Jordanian business partner Mr el-Banna, who was granted refugee status in 2000, were detained three years ago in Gambia.

According to statements before the court, they were alleged to have been associated with al-Qa'ida through a connection with the radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada.

Mr al-Rawi, who has a wife and five children living in the UK, has always maintained he had contact with Abu Qatada that was "expressly approved and encouraged by British intelligence", to whom he supplied information about the cleric.

He said representatives of security services had assured him that, should he run into trouble, they would intervene and assist him.
Yesterday, Timothy Otty, appearing for the detainees, told the High Court he would not be alleging that the British Government was "knowingly complicit" in the arrest and the detention of the two men. But, he said, documents attached to a statement made by a security service official, referred to as "witness A", established there had been "communications" between the British and US security services, relating to the two men prior to their arrest .

Mr Otty said: "Viewed objectively, and given the nature of these communications, it was foreseeable detention would occur. We will certainly be contending there has been real injustice and there is a causal link on the part of those acting for the UK in that injustice."

Reprieve, the human rights group that has acted for Mr al-Rawi and Mr el-Banna in the US courts, believes the implication of yesterday's decision is clear.

Zachary Katznelson, senior counsel at Reprieve, said: "It's high time that the British government recognised their responsibilities to Bisher al-Rawi. He's always maintained, and the Government has never denied, that he was helping MI5 by acting as a go-between with Abu Qatada.

"That's his only connection and that is why he was detained - because he chose to help British intelligence."

The judges were told yesterday that there is now "compelling evidence" that the three British residents have been "severely tortured and suffered inhuman and degrading treatment."

The men also remained exposed to a "real risk" of further ill treatment at the detention facility in Cuba.

Now that Mr al-Rawi was likely to have a release request made on his behalf, it did not seem too much to ask, against that background, that all three British residents at Guantanamo Bay should receive assistance from the Foreign Office, argued Mr Otty yesterday.

The hearing continues.

Home Office has details of 35,000 Ulster people's DNA

Michael McHugh / Belfast Telegraph | March 23 2006

Fears over Big Brother-style government resurfaced today after it emerged that DNA samples from thousands of people in Northern Ireland are held on a central database.

Concerns were expressed by political representatives and civil liberties groups following revelations that details of approximately 35,500 people in Northern Ireland are held on a UK-wide DNA database.

The figure was disclosed following a Freedom of Information request by the Belfast Telegraph but officials from the Home Office, who administer the database, said they could not provide any breakdown of how many of those people had been convicted of an offence.

The news that one in every 50 people in Northern Ireland have entries on the system has split those concerned about use of the information from those who focus on the crime-solving benefits of DNA.

Sinn Fein Newry and Armagh Assemblyman Davy Hyland said questions had to be asked about which official agencies had access to the data.

"This seems to be a very large number of people to be on the files and I would have concerns from a civil liberties point of view that people who have not been convicted of anything are on this database," he said.

"People will say that if they have nothing to hide then why be worried about it but it is a different matter when people who have not been convicted of anything have their DNA recorded.

"It smacks a bit of Big Brother and if it could be utilised in some way in the future for a political reason then I would be concerned."

Mr Hyland's warning follow an early day motion in Westminster which noted with concern that 40% of the black population had details entered on the database as opposed to 9% of white people.

DUP Policing Board representative Sammy Wilson said: "I have some sympathy with the police having an extensive database to work from. I just think that as criminals become more sophisticated then the police need to have the means to combat them," he said.

"I can understand why identity cards would be a bit sensitive because of the amount of personal information which they hold but DNA is unique to yourself and I would not be as worried about the abuse of it."

Maggie Beirne, director of the Committee for the Administration of Justice, said she wanted to know who had access to the database and whose details were kept on the file.

"I think that if some of these people have never been arrested for anything, then their details should not be held," she said.

Sheen: What 9/11 Hijackers?

New York Post | March 23 2006

CHARLIE Sheen has joined the 9/11 gone-bonkers brigade. The "Two and a Half Men" star gave a bizarre interview on GGN Radio Network's conspiracy-minded "The Alex Jones Show," in which he suggested that the federal government was covering up what "really" happened.

"It seems to me like 19 amateurs with boxcutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions," Sheen said.

"A couple of years ago, it was severely unpopular to talk about any of this. It feels like from the people I talk to, and the research I've done and around my circles, it feels like the worm is turning." Sheen said the collapse of the Twin Towers looked like a "controlled demolition."

The out-there actor also expressed his disbelief over how one of the planes hit the Pentagon. "Just show us how this particular plane pulled off these maneuvers . . . It is up to us to reveal the truth. It is up to us because we owe it to the families, we owe it to the victims, we owe it to everyone's life who was drastically altered, horrifically, that day and forever. We owe it to them to uncover what happened."

Charlie Sheen doesn’t buy 9/11 spin

Boston Herald | March 23 2006

Charlie Sheen, following in the footsteps of his politically outspoken father, Martin Sheen, has joined the chorus of conspiracy theorists who don’t believe the official version of events surrounding 9/11.

The estranged husband of Denise Richards, who is better known for his affinity for prostitutes and gambling than his Homeland Security credentials, told the GCN Radio Network he doesn’t buy the government’s explanation that “19 amateurs with box cutters (took) over four commercial airliners and (hit) 75 percent of their targets.”

The “Two and a Half Men” star, who was shooting his former sitcom “Spin City” the morning the World Trade Center towers fell, said he was immediately suspicious about the official reason given for the buildings’ collapse. After watching in horror as the South Tower was hit, he said to his brother, “call me insane, but did it sorta look like those buildings came down in a controlled demolition?”

Sheen pointed out that eyewitnesses recounted hearing what sounded like bombs and explosions coming from the basement levels of the buildings and discounted the theory that the damage to the towers’ lobbies was the result of fireballs traveling 110 feet down elevator shafts.

The father of two also questioned whether a plane actually hit the Pentagon and how President George Bush was able to see the first plane hit the north tower, when no live footage of that incident was carried.

“I guess one of the perks of being president is that you get access to TV channels that don’t exist in the known universe,” the actor-turned-pseudo-intellect quipped.

“It is up to us to reveal the truth,” Sheen asserted. “We owe it to everybody’s life who was drastically altered, horrifically that day and forever. We owe it to them to uncover what happened.”

Excuse us if we don’t exactly feel that Charlie’s the man for that job!

What’s Become of Americans?

Paul Craig Roberts | March 23 2006

Imagine knocking on America’s door and being told, "Americans don’t live here any longer. They have gone away."

But isn’t that what we are hearing, that Americans have gone away? Alan Shore told us so on ABC’s Boston Legal on March 14:

When the weapons of mass destruction thing turned out not to be true, I expected the American people to rise up. They didn't.

Then, when the Abu Ghraib torture thing surfaced and it was revealed that our government participated in rendition, a practice where we kidnap people and turn them over to régimes who specialize in torture, I was sure then the American people would be heard from. We stood mute.

Then came the news that we jailed thousands of so-called terrorist suspects, locked them up without the right to a trial or even the right to confront their accusers. Certainly, we would never stand for that. We did.

And now, it's been discovered the executive branch has been conducting massive, illegal, domestic surveillance on its own citizens. You and me. And I at least consoled myself that finally, finally the American people will have had enough. Evidently, we haven't.

In fact, if the people of this country have spoken, the message is we're okay with it all. Torture, warrantless search and seizure, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial or any trial, war on false pretenses. We, as a citizenry, are apparently not offended.

There are no demonstrations on college campuses. In fact, there's no clear indication that young people even seem to notice. . . .

The Secret Service can now declare free speech zones to contain, control and, in effect, criminalize protest. Stop for a second and try to fathom that. At a presidential rally, parade or appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt, you can be there. If you’re wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed.

This! In the United States of America.

Readers tell me that Americans don’t live here any more. They ask what responsible American citizenry would put up with the trashing of the Bill of Rights and the separation of powers, with wars based on deception, and with pathological liars in control of their government? One reader recently wrote that he believes that "no element of the U.S. government has been left untainted" by the lies and manipulations that have driven away accountability. So-called leaders, he wrote, "talk a great story of American pride and patriotism," but in their hands patriotism is merely a device for "cynical manipulation and fraud."

The Bush regime acknowledges that 30,000 Iraqi civilians, largely women and children, have been killed as a result of Bush’s invasion. Others who have looked at civilian casualties with greater attention have come up with numbers three to six times as large. The Johns Hopkins study accounted for 98,000 civilian deaths. Andrew Cockburn, using more sophisticated statistical analysis, concluded that 180,000 Iraqis died as a result of Bush’s invasion. The former prime minister Iyad Allawi says that Iraqi sectarian violence alone is claiming 50–60 deaths per day, or 18,000–22,000 annually, a figure that could quickly worsen.

Some were killed by “smart bombs” that weren’t very smart and dropped on hospitals, schools, and weddings. Others were mistaken for resistance fighters and killed. Still others were killed by spooked, trigger-happy U.S. troops. And many died due to the breakdown of the Iraqi health system.

Now comes a report in the online edition of Time magazine that U.S. Marines went on a rampage in the village of Haditha and deliberately slaughtered 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes. The Iraqis were still in their bed clothes, and 10 of the 15 were women and children.

The Marines turned in a false report that the civilians were killed by an insurgent bomb. But the evidence of wanton carnage was too powerful. Pressed by Time’s collection of evidence, U.S. military officials in Baghdad opened an investigation. Time reports that "according to military officials, the inquiry acknowledged that, contrary to the military’s initial report, the 15 civilians killed on Nov. 19 died at the hands of the Marines, not the insurgents. The military announced last week that the matter has been handed over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which will conduct a criminal investigation."

If this story is true, under Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush’s leadership, proud and honorable U.S. Marines have degenerated into the Waffen SS. Those of us raised on John Wayne war movies find this very hard to take.

A fish rots from the head. Clearly, deception in the Oval Office is corrupting the U.S. military. One reader reported that on March 19 his local PBS station aired a program which discussed the deaths of two young American soldiers in friendly fire incidents similar to Pat Tillman’s death. In each case, he reports, "elements within the military falsified reports and attempted to shift blame to either enemy combatants or allied (Polish) forces."

The neocons have yet to tell us the real reason for their assault on Iraq, which has so far produced 20,000 dead, maimed, and wounded U.S. soldiers, between 30,000 and 180,000 (and rising) dead Iraqis, and demoralized U.S. Marines to the point that they commit atrocities on women and children.

Would real Americans accept these blows for the sake of an undeclared agenda? Perhaps it is true that Americans don’t live here any longer.


Pulled Over In Kansas Get Ready to Show Your License, Registration and Fingerprints

BENITA Y. WILLIAMS / The Kansas City Star | March 23 2006

If you are stopped by police in Kansas, don’t be surprised if the officer pulls out a little black box and takes your fingerprints.

The gadget allows officers to identify people by fingerprints without hauling them to the police station.

Over the next year the Kansas Bureau of Investigation will test 60 of the devices with law enforcement agencies around the state. State officials said similar tests are being planned for New York, Milwaukee and Hawaii.

“This is definitely new,” said Gary Page, Overland Park Police Department crime lab. “It’s been talked about, but as far as I know they are not in use anywhere in the metro.”

The tests in Kansas are part of a bigger $3.6 million upgrade to the KBI’s statewide fingerprint database, unveiled Tuesday by the KBI and Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline.

¦ The system:

Called the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System, it is a statewide database of more than 10 million fingerprints taken from people arrested in Kansas. The Missouri Highway Patrol maintains a similar database. Both systems link to the FBI fingerprint database.

¦ How it works:

In Kansas, 54 law enforcement agencies have traded the ink-and-paper fingerprinting method for biometric imaging, which electronically scans a digital image of the print. Sixty Missouri agencies use biometric scanning. Police also can scan the fingers of corpses and people they arrest to match them against prints in the system. Results are obtained in seconds instead of hours. The inked cards still used by some smaller departments are also scanned into the statewide systems.

¦ Why upgrade?

Kansas could no longer locate replacement parts or anyone to service the old system, which was launched in 1990 and upgraded in 1998. The first phase was funded with a $752,000 homeland security grant. The KBI is applying for similar grants to pay the balance. All upgrades should be completed by January 2007.

¦ The portable devices:

Police place a person’s two index fingers on a screen. Wireless technology sends the image to the database for comparison. Prints scanned in the field will not be stored.

¦ What else is new:

The system will analyze palm prints, which were stored but could not be read before. The system also will store mug shots and pictures of scars, tattoos and other identifying marks.


North Korean Defector Says Disabled Newborns Are Killed

Jack Kim / Reuters | March 22 2006

North Korea has no people with physical disabilities because they are killed almost as soon as they are born, a physician who defected from the communist state said on Wednesday.

Ri Kwang-chol, who fled to the South last year, told a forum of rights activists that the practice of killing newborns was widespread but denied he himself took part in it.

"There are no people with physical defects in North Korea," Ri told members of the New Right Union, which groups local activists and North Korean refugees.

He said babies born with physical disabilities were killed in infancy in hospitals or in homes and were quickly buried.

The practice is encouraged by the state, Ri said, as a way of purifying the masses and eliminating people who might be considered "different."

The group urged the South Korean government to change course away from "silent diplomacy" and immediately begin taking action to pressure the North to improve its human rights record.

The South Korean government has refused to join international condemnation of human rights abuses in the North out of concern that such a move could rattle ties with Pyongyang, which considers any criticism of its human rights as deeply offensive.

"The government should stop trying to avoid upsetting Kim Jong-il," said another defector, Kim Young-sun, 67, referring to the North Korean leader. "It should try to upset Kim Jong-il," she said, adding it would be the best way to change the North.

Kim Young-sun is a survivor of the North's Yodok prison camp, notorious for its forced labor and life-sentences for people charged with conspiring against the Kim Jong-il leadership.

Mun Hyon-ok said women from her hometown in the northern region of North Korea bordering China were taken by a ring of human traffickers and probably ended up in China.

"And there are women who are selling themselves for a handful of rice," she told the forum.

North Korea has called itself a people's paradise and said criticism of its human rights was motivated by a goal of toppling the leadership of Kim Jong-il.

South Korea has come under fire from human rights groups and some countries for abstaining in votes on U.N. measures to condemn the North's human rights record.

Seoul has also avoided the subject in bilateral talks with the North. South Korean officials have said the best way to improve the situation is through quiet diplomacy and encouraging the North to improve its food situation and open up to the international community.


Bush Didn't Bungle Iraq

Bush Didn't Bungle Iraq, You Fools
The Mission Was Indeed Accomplished

Greg Palast / London Guardian | March 22 2006

Get off it. All the carping, belly-aching and complaining about George Bush's incompetence in Iraq, from both the Left and now the Right, is just dead wrong.

On the third anniversary of the tanks rolling over Iraq's border, most of the 59 million Homer Simpsons who voted for Bush are beginning to doubt if his mission was accomplished.

But don't kid yourself -- Bush and his co-conspirator, Dick Cheney, accomplished exactly what they set out to do. In case you've forgotten what their real mission was, let me remind you of White House spokesman Ari Fleisher's original announcement, three years ago, launching of what he called,


O.I.L. How droll of them, how cute. Then, Karl Rove made the giggling boys in the White House change it to "OIF" -- Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the 101st Airborne wasn't sent to Basra to get its hands on Iraq's OIF.

"It's about oil," Robert Ebel told me. Who is Ebel? Formerly the CIA's top oil analyst, he was sent by the Pentagon, about a month before the invasion, to a secret confab in London with Saddam's former oil minister to finalize the plans for "liberating" Iraq's oil industry. In London, Bush's emissary Ebel also instructed Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, the man the Pentagon would choose as post-OIF oil minister for Iraq, on the correct method of disposing Iraq's crude.

And what did the USA want Iraq to do with Iraq's oil? The answer will surprise many of you: and it is uglier, more twisted, devilish and devious than anything imagined by the most conspiracy-addicted blogger. The answer can be found in a 323-page plan for Iraq's oil secretly drafted by the State Department. Our team got a hold of a copy; how, doesn't matter. The key thing is what's inside this thick Bush diktat: a directive to Iraqis to maintain a state oil company that will "enhance its relationship with OPEC."

Enhance its relationship with OPEC??? How strange: the government of the United States ordering Iraq to support the very OPEC oil cartel which is strangling our nation with outrageously high prices for crude.

Specifically, the system ordered up by the Bush cabal would keep a lid on Iraq's oil production -- limiting Iraq's oil pumping to the tight quota set by Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel.

There you have it. Yes, Bush went in for the oil -- not to get MORE of Iraq's oil, but to prevent Iraq producing TOO MUCH of it.
You must keep in mind who paid for George's ranch and Dick's bunker: Big Oil. And Big Oil -- and their buck-buddies, the Saudis -- don't make money from pumping more oil, but from pumping LESS of it. The lower the supply, the higher the price.

It's Economics 101. The oil industry is run by a cartel, OPEC, and what economists call an "oligopoly" -- a tiny handful of operators who make more money when there's less oil, not more of it. So, every time the "insurgents" blow up a pipeline in Basra, every time Mad Mahmoud in Tehran threatens to cut supply, the price of oil leaps. And Dick and George just LOVE it.

Dick and George didn't want more oil from Iraq, they wanted less. I know some of you, no matter what I write, insist that our President and his Veep are on the hunt for more crude so you can cheaply fill your family Hummer; that somehow, these two oil-patch babies are concerned that the price of gas in the USA is bumping up to $3 a gallon.

No so, gentle souls. Three bucks a gallon in the States (and a quid a litre in Britain) means colossal profits for Big Oil, and that makes Dick's ticker go pitty-pat with joy. The top oily-gopolists, the five largest oil companies, pulled in $113 billion in profit in 2005 -- compared to a piddly $34 billion in 2002 before Operation Iraqi Liberation. In other words, it's been a good war for Big Oil.

As per Plan Bush, Bahr Al-Ulum became Iraq's occupation oil minister; the conquered nation "enhanced its relationship with OPEC;" and the price of oil, from Clinton peace-time to Bush war-time, shot up 317%.

In other words, on the third anniversary of invasion, we can say the attack and occupation is, indeed, a Mission Accomplished. However, it wasn't America's mission, nor the Iraqis'. It was a Mission Accomplished for OPEC and Big Oil.


NYC Crime Fight To Get More Eyes

DAILY NEWS | March 21st, 2006

New Yorkers, get ready for your closeup.

The NYPD is installing 505 surveillance cameras around the city - and pushing to safeguard lower Manhattan with a "ring of steel" that could track hundreds of thousands of people and cars a day, authorities revealed yesterday.

The police cameras will constantly keep watch over neighborhoods plagued by crime and monitor potential terror targets as the city moves to put another 1,200 cops on the street, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

The exact locations of the cameras were not revealed, but the electronic eyes will be set up in 253 spots, including many Operation Impact zones - high-crime areas already targeted by teams of cops.

"They'll serve to reinforce safety already stabilized by Operation Impact, and serve as a high-visibility deterrent and investigative tool in other outdoor, public places," Kelly said.

Recording high-quality images, the electronic sentinels will help the city's Finest track down criminals and terrorists as well as provide valuable evidence to convict them.

Most of the cameras will be clearly marked so crooks know that their every move is being recorded by the cops.

The NYPD is also testing audio sensors that would allow the cameras to point in the direction of gunshots, sources said. The cameras will be put up in Brooklyn first before spreading to other boroughs.

City Hall is paying for the cameras using $9.1million in homeland security funds.

The NYPD also has applied for $81.5 million in federal aid to install surveillance cameras, computerized license plate readers and vehicle barriers around lower Manhattan, Kelly said.

The security measures would be similar to London's "ring of steel," which gained worldwide recognition after that city's terror attacks of last July, when police cameras provided images of the suspected bombers.

The NYPD has no comprehensive system to monitor the Financial District - considered the nation's No. 1 terror target - and a team of five NYPD experts visited London in September to get a look at the "ring of steel."

Aboveground, London has cameras posted at 16 entry points and 12 exits from the City of London, an enclave that includes that city's financial district and landmarks such as St. Paul's Cathedral.

The cameras capture images of license plates and drivers' faces. Officials then run the license plates through a database of stolen cars and terrorism suspects. Last year, the system read 37 million cars and got 91,000 hits, leading to 550 arrests.

The NYPD will find out by the end of May whether it will receive the federal money. New York officials have also discussed the possibility of creating a similar surveillance system for midtown Manhattan.

Law enforcement and transportation agencies already have about 1,000 cameras in the subways, with 2,100 scheduled to be in place by 2008. An additional 3,100 cameras are monitoring city housing projects.

Thousands of other cameras at private buildings and apartment towers also train lenses on New Yorkers and often provide valuable clues to cops.

But don't expect the NYPD to install its cameras without battling the New York Civil Liberties Union. The watchdog group's associate legal director, Chris Dunn, questioned the plan.

"Commissioner Kelly may be ready to launch us all into a surveillance society, but we believe cameras are not a cure-all for crime and terrorism," Dunn said. "It is far from clear that cameras deter crime."


A whole load of News

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Bush makes false claim about Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda

Olbermann: "Who does the President think he's F'n kidding?"

Crooks and Liars | March 21 2006

I know it's hard to believe Mr. President, but they have these things know that actually record what you say and are able to play back what they record. Even after a long period of time. Keith Olbermann and Countdown supply the evidence.

Today in his speech in Cleveland:

Bush: "First-just if I might correct a misperception, I don't think we ever said, at least I know I didn't say that there was a direct connection between September 11th and Saddam Hussein."

In days gone by-SOTU-three years ago:

Bush: "Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda."

Now-anyone listening and watching his speech back then would make that connection easily enough since al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11-don't you think? Keith analyzes it very nicely.

Olbermann: "Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda in the same sentence separated by seven words. Sept. 11th and Saddam Hussein -two sentences later, separated by six words. In a moment Craig Crawford joins me to discuss the fundamental remaining question. Who does the President think he's F'n kidding?

VeriChip Corporation Expands Infrastructure Rollout of VeriMed Patient Identification System - 172 New Physicians Elect to Offer VeriMed ID System to Patients

VeriChip Corporation, a subsidiary of Applied Digital, announced that 172 new physicians registered to provide the VeriMed Patient Identification System to select patients at the recently completed American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) 2006 Annual Symposium held March 16-19 in Dallas. Overall, since the FDA granted clearance of VeriChip for medical applications, 232 doctors have elected to provide the System. 80 hospitals and medical facilities nationwide previously agreed to adopt the VeriMed Patient Identification System for patient identification.

"We believe the strong acceptance that the VeriMed Patient Identification System achieved at this key industry conference represents a significant step in developing widespread acceptance of VeriChip," said VeriChip Corporation Chief Executive Officer Kevin McLaughlin. "It is essential for physicians, who will be implementing the implantation process, to recognize the important role that the VeriChip can play in providing immediate access to medical records in critical care situations. Moreover, while some early adopters learn of VeriMed on their own, we expect many patients to first learn of VeriMed from their physicians. Last year, we signed up many new hospitals at the American College of Emergency Physicians' Scientific Assembly. We will continue to target leading healthcare industry events as a cost-effective way to rapidly expand adoption of the VeriMed Patient Identification System."

VeriMed is the first and only FDA-cleared patient identification system using implantable RFID technology, consisting of a handheld reader, a microchip approximately the size of a grain of rice (containing a unique 16-digit ID number), and a secure, patient database. Using the handheld reader, healthcare professionals are able to securely obtain a patient's unique ID contained in the microchip in their right arm. They then look up the ID in a patient-designated, secure healthcare information database - either through the facility's electronic medical record system or through VeriChip's secure Web site. For the thousands of patients presenting in emergency departments each day either unconscious or unable to communicate for themselves due to medical conditions, VeriMed offers a secure, rapid and accurate solution to accessing their medical information.

About VeriChip Corporation

VeriChip Corporation, headquartered in Delray Beach, Florida, develops, markets and sells radio frequency identification, or RFID, systems used to identify, locate and protect people and assets. VeriChip's goal is to become the leading provider of RFID systems for people in the healthcare industry. VeriChip sells passive RFID systems for identification purposes and active RFID system for local-area location and identification purposes. VeriChip recently began to market its VeriMed patient identification system which is used to rapidly and accurately identify people who arrive in an emergency room and are unable to communicate. VeriChip's VeriMed patient identification system uses the first human-implantable passive RFID microchip, the implantable VeriChip, cleared for medical use in October 2004 by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

About Applied Digital - "The Power of Identification Technology"

Applied Digital develops innovative identification and security products for consumer, commercial, and government sectors worldwide. The Company's unique and often proprietary products provide identification and security systems for people, animals, the food supply, government/military arena, and commercial assets. Included in this diversified product line are RFID applications, end-to-end food safety systems, GPS/Satellite communications, and telecomm and security infrastructure, positioning Applied Digital as the leader in identification technology. Applied Digital is the owner of a majority position in Digital Angel Corporation.

Actor Charlie Sheen Questions Official 9/11 Story

Calls for truly independent investigation, joins growing ranks of prominent credible whistleblowers

Alex Jones & Paul Joseph Watson/Prison | March 20 2006

Actor Charlie Sheen has joined a growing army of other highly credible public figures in questioning the official story of 9/11 and calling for a new independent investigation of the attack and the circumstances surrounding it.

Over the past two years, scores of highly regarded individuals have gone public to express their serious doubts about 9/11. These include former presidential advisor and CIA analyst Ray McGovern, the father of Reaganomics and former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury Paul Craig Roberts, BYU physics Professor Steven Jones, former German defense minister Andreas von Buelow, former MI5 officer David Shayler, former Blair cabinet member Michael Meacher, former Chief Economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds and many more.

Speaking to The Alex Jones Show on the GCN Radio Network, the star of current hit comedy show Two and a Half Men and dozens of movies including Platoon and Young Guns, Sheen elaborated on why he had problems believing the government's version of events.

Sheen agreed that the biggest conspiracy theory was put out by the government itself and prefaced his argument by quoting Theodore Roosevelt in stating, "That we are to stand by the President right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

"We're not the conspiracy theorists on this particular issue," said Sheen.

"It seems to me like 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75% of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions."

Sheen described the climate of acceptance for serious discussion about 9/11 as being far more fertile than it was a couple of years ago.

"It feels like from the people I talk to in and around my circles, it seems like the worm is turning."

Suspicious collapse of buildings

Sheen described his immediate skepticism regarding the official reason for the collapse of the twin towers and building 7 on the day of 9/11.

"I was up early and we were gonna do a pre-shoot on Spin City, the show I used to do, I was watching the news and the north tower was burning. I saw the south tower hit live, that famous wide shot where it disappears behind the building and then we see the tremendous fireball."

"There was a feeling, it just didn't look any commercial jetliner I've flown on any time in my life and then when the buildings came down later on that day I said to my brother 'call me insane, but did it sorta look like those buildings came down in a controlled demolition'?"

Sheen said that most people's gut instinct, that the buildings had been deliberately imploded, was washed away by the incessant flood of the official version of events from day one.

Sheen questioned the plausibility of a fireballs traveling 110 feet down an elevator shaft and causing damage to the lobbies of the towers as seen in video footage, especially when contrasted with eyewitness accounts of bombs and explosions in the basement levels of the buildings.

Regarding building 7, which wasn't hit by a plane, Sheen highlighted the use of the term "pull," a demolition industry term for pulling the outer walls of the building towards the center in an implosion, as was used by Larry Silverstein in a September 2002 PBS documentary when he said that the decision to "pull" building 7 was made before its collapse. This technique ensures the building collapses in its own footprint and can clearly be seen during the collapse of building 7 with the classic 'crimp' being visible.

The highly suspicious collapse of building 7 and the twin towers has previously been put under the spotlight by physics Professor Steven Jones and Kevin Ryan of Underwriters Laboratories, the company that certified the steel components used in the construction of the World Trade Center towers.

"The term 'pull' is as common to the demolition world as 'action and 'cut' are to the movie world," said Sheen.

Sheen referenced firefighters in the buildings who were eyewitnesses to demolition style implosions and bombs.

"This is not you or I watching the videos and speculating on what we saw, these are gentlemen inside the buildings at the very point of collapse."

"If there's a problem with building 7 then there's a problem with the whole thing," said Sheen.

Bush's behavior on 9/11

Sheen then questioned President Bush's actions on 9/11 and his location at the Booker Elementary School in Florida. Once Andy Card had whispered to Bush that America was under attack why didn't the secret service immediately whisk Bush away to a secret location?

By remaining at a location where it was publicly known the President would be before 9/11, he was not only putting his own life in danger, but the lives of hundreds of schoolchildren. That is unless the government knew for sure what the targets were beforehand and that President Bush wasn't one of them.

"It seems to me that upon the revelation of that news that the secret service would grab the President as if he was on fire and remove him from that room," said Sheen.

The question of how Bush saw the first plane hit the north tower, when no live footage of that incident was carried, an assertion that Bush repeated twice, was also put under the spotlight.

"I guess one of the perks of being President is that you get access to TV channels that don't exist in the known universe," said Sheen.

"It might lead you to believe that he'd seen similar images in some type of rehearsal as it were, I don't know."

The Pentagon incident

Sheen outlined his disbelief that the official story of what happened at the Pentagon matched the physical evidence.

"Show us this incredible maneuvering, just show it to us. Just show us how this particular plane pulled off these maneuvers. 270 degree turn at 500 miles and hour descending 7,000 feet in two and a half minutes, skimming across treetops the last 500 meters."

We have not been able to confirm that a large commercial airliner hit the Pentagon because the government has seized and refused to release any footage that would show the impact.

"I understand in the interest of national security that maybe not release the Pentagon cameras but what about the Sheraton, what about the gas station, what about the Department of Transportation freeway cam? What about all these shots that had this thing perfectly documented? Instead they put out five frames that they claim not to have authorized, it's really suspicious," said Sheen.

Sheen also questioned how the plane basically disappeared into the Pentagon with next to no wreckage and no indication of what happened to the wing sections.

Concerning how the Bush administration had finalized Afghanistan war plans two days before 9/11 with the massing of 44,000 US troops and 18,000 British troops in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and in addition the call for "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor," as outlined in the PNAC documents, Sheen stated, "you don't really put those strategies together overnight do you for a major invasion? Those are really well calculated and really well planned."

"Coincidence? We think not," said Sheen and he called the PNAC quotes "emblematic of the arrogance of this administration."

A real investigation

Sheen joined others in calling for a revised and truly independent investigation of 9/11.

Sheen said that "September 11 wasn't the Zapruder film, it was the Zapruder film festival," and that the inquiry had to be, "headed, if this is possible, by some neutral investigative committee. What if we used retired political foreign nationals? What if we used experts that don't have any ties whatsoever to this administration?"

"It is up to us to reveal the truth. It is up to us because we owe it to the families, we owe it to the victims. We owe it to everybody's life who was drastically altered, horrifically that day and forever. We owe it to them to uncover what happened."

Charlie Sheen joins the rest of his great family and notably his father Martin Sheen, who has lambasted for opposing the Iraq war before it had begun yet has now been proven right in triplicate, in using his prominent public platform to stand for truth and justice and we applaud and salute his brave efforts, remembering Mark Twain's quote.

"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."


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Listen to the entire Charlie Sheen interview right now for free by clicking here.

Huge Reaction To Sheen 9/11 Story

Linked on Drudge, later removed

Paul Joseph Watson/Prison | March 21 2006

Yesterday's Charlie Sheen story, in which the actor went public with his grave suspicions about the official story of 9/11, received widespread interest across the Internet and was even linked on the Drudge Report for a time, a news website that gets more traffic than the New York Times.

Our observations will now center around the question of if any mainstream outlets will pick up the story or seek to interview Mr. Sheen regarding his comments. The story is obviously big enough to be of interest to a wide readership but its context may cause establishment controlled media to shy away in journalistic cowardice.

Prominent alternative website carried the story as did many others but who will be the first aside from Drudge to give the issue mainstream spotlight?

The story appeared on Drudge shortly after 6pm CST and our servers began receiving hits from millions of readers. A link from Drudge regularly overloads even medium sized mainstream websites and they go offline for hours. Despite a little slowdown, we managed to ride the wave fairly comfortably until Drudge mysteriously killed the link after 10pm CST.

We had even replaced our usual format page with a bare bones printer-friendly style version to ensure maximum speed and delivery of the page, so it is unlikely Drudge (pictured below) removed the link because of bottlenecked traffic. We speculated that another webmaster had posted the link and Drudge personally removed it upon seeing it.

Whatever the reason for the removal, the story still received huge traction and we expect it to again garner interest across the Internet today.

The mainstream media pour over stories about Mr. Sheen's personal life whether real or manufactured yet will they remain silent when Sheen actually discusses something serious?

Carlos Santana is all over the news today for criticizing George Bush and the Iraq war yet Charlie Sheen has gone much further, if the media ignores this story it is proof positive of a cover-up.

In many ways a Hollywood celebrity stepping forward and making these comments receives more attention than a former government official or physics professor because the information is wrapped in a package that is instantly recognizable to a wide audience.

The danger is that some are dangerously ill-informed, such as Madonna, who dismissed 9/11 as "ambiguous" yet focused all the attention on Hurricane Katrina and kept the argument firmly within a left-right paradigm prison.

Charlie Sheen on the other hand took the time to educate himself thoroughly on the real issues of 9/11 before going public with his doubts about the official story.

There are several very high profile actors and film producers who are well aware of the entire New World Order agenda and have directed their artistic talents into exposing that agenda through the guidance of popular culture.

This is a real movement and it is growing, unlike the Madonna's and their ilk, who are simply riding a wave which will wash away as rapidly as their mock ego-driven political opinions when a Democrat gets back in the White House.

Our hope is that Sheen's stance, which is by no means a rarity for him or his family who have been politically engaged for decades, will encourage other high profile celebrities to use their platform to educate America and the world on the serious issues that face us and the real perpetrators of global terrorism.

Please feel free to contact us about this story at

Kissinger: ''America's global strategy benefits from the Indian participation in building a new world order."

Zee News | March 21 2006

The civilian nuclear agreement reached by the United States and India ''promises to make a seminal contribution to international peace and prosperity, '' according to former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

He has welcomed the agreement as ''an unprecedented level of cooperation and interdependence between the two powers''.

''In a period preoccupied with concerns over terrorism and the potential clash of civilisations, the emerging cooperation between the two great democracies, India and the us, introduces a positive and hopeful perspective,'' said Kissinger who served as Secretary of state to then President Richard Nixon, between 1973 and 1977.

''Too often America's India policy is justified as a way to contain China. But the reality has been that so far, India and America have found it in their interest to maintain a constructive relationshiop with China,'' Kissinger wrote in the Washington Post yesterday.

''America's global strategy benefits from the Indian participation in building a new world order. But India will not serve as America's foil with China, and will resent any attempts to use it in that role,'' he added.

Kissinger suggested that the scope of the nuclear cooperation should avoid the rhetoric and the reality of a nuclear arms race in which China could be tempted to support nuclear programmes in Iran and Pakistan as a counter-weight.

The goal should be an Asia that navigates between an unacceptable hegemony by any power and an arms race that replicates in Asia the tragedies of Europe, only with fiercer weapons and even vaster consequences, he added.

The US-Indo nuclear deal, reached by US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gives energy-starved India access to long-denied civilian nuclear technology in return for placing a majority of its nuclear reactors under international safeguards.

Identity cards a 'present' to terrorists and criminals, spy heroine says

JAMES KIRKUP / Scotsman | March 21 2006

A NATIONAL identity card scheme will be a "present" to terrorists, criminal gangs and foreign spies, one of Britain's most respected former intelligence agents has told ministers.

The warning from Daphne Park, who served for 30 years as a senior controller for MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, came as the parliamentary power struggle over the identity cards bill dragged on.

The House of Lords once again defeated the government last night. Peers backed a joint Conservative and Liberal Democrat amendment that would prevent ministers making identity cards compulsory until at least 2011.

It is the fourth time the Lords have sent the bill back to the Commons in a parliamentary ping-pong game that could go on for months.

At issue is the "voluntary" nature of the proposed card. Labour ministers insist that the cards will be optional, but also want to create a rule meaning that anyone renewing a passport after 2008 must also buy an identity card.

Opponents argue that is "compulsion by stealth" and question Labour's mandate for the scheme. The Labour manifesto at last year's election promised the cards would be "voluntary at first".

Baroness Scotland, speaking for the government in the Lords, insisted that MPs have already voted for the document link and that should stand.

"The Commons did discuss this issue," she said. "This is not compulsion by stealth as has been suggested."

While ministers have hinted at using the Parliament Act to force the ID cards bill through the Lords, peers insist they will continue to resist.

The former MI6 agent will be a key part of that resistance.

Baroness Park, who was made a peer by Margaret Thatcher, passed a withering verdict on the proposed cards, ridiculing ministers' suggestions that the system will make people safer. In fact, she said, the complete opposite is true.

"The very creation of such an enormous national identity register will be a present to terrorists; it will be a splendid thing for them to disrupt and blow up," she said.

"It will also provide valuable information to organised crime and to the intelligence services of unfriendly countries. It will be accessible to all of these," she said.

The warning about the risk of foreign spying comes at a time when MI5, the domestic security service, has cut its counter-espionage budget, prompting concerns among MPs who oversee the UK intelligence services.

Baroness Park concluded: "I find it extraordinarily difficult to believe why anyone would voluntarily and enthusiastically come forward and say: 'Do let me join this dangerous club'."

Baroness Park is not the first former intelligence officer to question the value of a national ID card. Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, last year said she did not believe the cards would make Britain any safer from terrorist attack; they would quickly be copied, she said.

Whereas Dame Stella's background was in combating internal threats, especially the IRA, Baroness Park has extensive experience of foreign intelligence operations.

Now in her eighties, her career began during the Second World War, when she volunteered for service and was assigned to train Resistance fighters who were being parachuted into France in the run-up to D-Day.

When the war ended, she was posted to Berlin where she was ordered to locate and secure German military scientists before they fell into the hands of advancing Russian forces.

That work brought her to the attention of MI6, who made extensive use of her services using the Cold War.

Although she has repeatedly refused invitations to publish her memoirs, many of Baroness Park's exploits as a spy are in the public domain - she is something of a living legend in the British intelligence community.

Among her Cold War postings were extensive service in Moscow, running agents inside the Soviet regime. During the Vietnam war, she was a covert operative in Hanoi.

She is also known to have been in Congo during the turbulent 1960s, at one point smuggling a defecting official out of the country in the boot of her car.

BBC: Concerns over Military and Police merging

BBC / Matthew Davis | March 21 2006

The recent killing of an unarmed Virginia doctor has raised concerns about what some say is an explosion in the use of military-style police Swat teams in the United States.

Armed with assault rifles, stun grenades - even armoured personnel carriers - units once used only in highly volatile situations are increasingly being deployed on more routine police missions.

Dr Salvatore Culosi Jr had come out of his townhouse to meet an undercover policeman when he was shot through the chest by a Special Weapons and Tactics force.

It was about 2135 on a chilly January evening. The 37-year-old optometrist was unarmed, he had no history of violence and displayed no threatening behaviour.

But he had been under investigation for illegal gambling and in line with a local police policy on "organised crime" raids, the heavily armed team was there to serve a search warrant.

As officers approached with their weapons drawn, tragedy struck. A handgun was accidentally discharged, fatally wounding Dr Culosi.

Two months on, investigations into the incident are still continuing, a delay which Dr Culosi's family says is compounding the "horror and burden of it all".

Salvatore Culosi Sr, the dead man's father, told the BBC: "I never knew him to carry so much as a pocket knife so it bewilders me how a detective could spend three months investigating my son and not know he is a pussy cat.

"If anything comes out of this it must be that another family does not experience this pain and anguish for absolutely no reason.

"Policy needs to change so these kinds of accidents never occur again."

'Excessive force'

Peter Kraska, an expert on police militarisation from Eastern Kentucky University, says that in the 1980s there were about 3,000 Swat team deployments annually across the US, but says now there are at least 40,000 per year.

"I have no problem with using these paramilitary style squads to go after known violent, armed criminals, but it is an extreme tactic to use against other sorts of suspects," he said.

Mr Kraska believes there has been an explosion of units in smaller towns and cities, where training and operational standards may not be as high as large cities - a growth he attributes to "the hysteria" of the country's war on drugs.

"I get several calls a month from people asking about local incidents - wrong address raids, excessive use of force, wrongful shootings - this stuff is happening all the time," he adds.

Every wrongful death of a civilian, or criminal killing of a police officer, fuels the complex and emotive argument over the way the United States is policed.

Those who reject criticism of the use of Swat teams argue that the presence of the units actually prevents violence through the credible threat of overwhelming force.

John Gnagey, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association, told the BBC: "What we find is that when Swat teams go out, shootings go down.

"We don't see it as escalating anything. We see it as reducing violence."

The NTOA rejects Mr Kraska's figures and says the actual number of deployments is far lower, but says there is a need for national training standards.

An NTOA study of 759 Swat team deployments across the US, found half were for warrant service and a third for incidents where suspects had barricaded themselves in a building - 50 were for hostage situations.

When criminology professor David Klinger looked at 12 years of data on Swat teams in 1998, he also found the most common reason for calling out teams was serving warrants, but that the units used deadly force during warrant service only 0.4% of the time.

Recruitment video

Last year the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) commissioned music video director JC Barros to make them a 10-minute film - To Protect and Serve - that would "get young men and women excited" about a career with the force.

More action film than recruitment video, it follows two LAPD officers who - in one day - capture a robbery suspect, are first on the scene when a gun-toting man takes a woman hostage, mediate a fight, and help to find a young kidnap victim.

Along the way they are supported by colleagues from bike patrol, K-9 dog teams, air support and, of course, the Swat team.

But Mr Kraska sees such initiatives as reflecting a changing culture of police work.

"These elite units are highly culturally appealing to certain sections of the police community. They like it, they enjoy it," he says.

"The chance to strap on a vest, grab a semi-automatic weapon and go out on a mission is for some people an exciting reason to join - even if policing as a profession can - and should - be boring for much of the time.

"The problem is that when you talk about the war on this and the war on that, and police officers see themselves as soldiers, then the civilian becomes the enemy."

Death Squads on the Prowl; Iraq Convulsed by Fear

PATRICK COCKBURN | March 21 2006

Iraq is a country convulsed by fear. It is at its worst in Baghdad. Sectarian killings are commonplace. In the three days after the bombing of the Shia shrine in Samarra on February 22 , some 1,300 people, mostly Sunni, were picked up on the street or dragged from their cars and murdered. The dead bodies of four suspected suicide bombers were left dangling from a pylon in the Sadr City slum.

The scale of the violence is such that most of it is unreported. Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister, said yesterday that scores were dying every day. "It is unfortunate that we are in civil war. We are losing each day, as an average, 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more," he said. "If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is."

Unseen by the outside world, silent populations are on the move, frightened people fleeing neighborhoods where their community is in a minority for safer districts.

There is also a growing reliance on militias because of fears that police patrols or checkpoints are in reality death squads hunting for victims.

Districts where Sunni and Shia lived together for decades if not centuries are being torn apart in a few days. In the al-Amel neighbourhood in west Baghdad, for instance, the two communities lived side by side until a few days ago, though Shias were in the majority. Then the Sunni started receiving envelopes pushed under their doors with a Kalashnikov bullet inside and a letter telling them to leave immediately or be killed. It added that they must take all of their goods which they could carry immediately and only return later to sell their houses.

The reaction was immediate. The Sunni in al-Amel started barricading their streets. Several Shia families, believed to belong to the Shia party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), were murdered later the same day the threatening letters were delivered.

"The local Sunni suspected those Shias of being behind the letters," said an informant. "Probably they called in the local resistance and asked them to kill the Sciri people."

One effect of the escalating sectarian warfare is to strengthen the Sunni insurgency as their own community desperately looks to its defenses.

It is not as if life was not already hard enough before the latest escalation in communal violence. Three years ago, most Iraqis were glad to see the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, even if they did not like the US occupation, because they wanted normal lives. They had been living in a state of war since 1980 when the Iraqi leader invaded Iran. They then had eight years of bloody conflict followed by the invasion of Kuwait, defeat by the US-led coalition, the Shia and Kurdish uprisings of 1991 and then 12 years of UN sanctions.

Instead of improving, life in Baghdad has become far more dangerous than it was under Saddam Hussein. Every facet of daily living is affected.

In the last few days, temperatures have started to soar in Iraq and people would normally be buying summer clothes. But in the shopping district of al-Mansur last week few people were on the streets. Many shops were closed because their owners are too frightened to leave their homes.

But even staying in your own house carries problems. In the torrid heat of the Iraqi summer people are dependent on air conditioning to make life tolerable. But Baghdad gets only three or four hours of electricity a day. Almost everybody has a generator, large or small, depending on what they can afford. But the price of petrol, still heavily subsidised by the government, tripled before Christmas. One friend called Mohammed complained: "Either I wait seven or eight hours in a queue to buy the fuel or I get it on the black market. But black market fuel means that I would have to spend $7-8 a day to run my generator and I simply can't afford that." Mohammed added that he had just spent 10 hours, 5 am until 3pm, queuing to buy a bottle of gas which he, like most Iraqis, use for cooking.

Iraqis have been compelled to find ways of going on living even in the most testing conditions but even their resolution is beginning to weaken.

Mohammed's brother had a job in a company selling air-conditioning units. Since this is the beginning of the summer on the Mesopotamian plain - one of the hottest places on earth - it should be a good business, but the brother has just lost his job. The company he worked for was owned by a Kurd. His life was threatened and he shut down the company before moving to Jordan with his family.

Iraqi political parties have now spent three months since the election on 15 December trying to form a government. But ask an Iraqi on the street what he wants from a new government and many reply: "What government? It never does anything for us." Supply of electricity, clean water and sewage disposal are all down from 2003. The only improvement is in electricity supply outside Baghdad but even this is sporadic. In Kurdistan, the only peaceful part of Iraq, electrical supply is currently only a few hours a day. Everywhere there are men beside the road selling black-market petrol smuggled in from Iran. Turkey has cut off supplies of refined fuel because it has not been paid.

All Iraq is suffering, but Baghdad and the central provinces are turning into a slaughter house. Normal life has long been impossible. The symbol of post-Saddam Iraq is the blast wall, giant grey concrete blocks placed end to end to create fortifications of medieval appearance. They have come to dominate Baghdad and most other Iraqi cities. They protect US positions, police and Iraqi army posts and all government buildings. They also strangle streets leading to traffic gridlock at notorious choke points.

Some Iraqis are living better than before 2003. Teachers and government officials are earning $200 a month where they used to earn $10.

There are also Kurds and Shia inhabiting provinces north and south that they wholly dominate. But elsewhere, Iraqis live lives of chromic insecurity.

In al-Khadra, a Sunni neighbourhood in west Baghdad, for instance, the insurgents are waging two wars at the same time, one against the Americans and the other against Shia militiamen, some of whom work for the Ministry of the Interior.

Last week, Sunni guerrillas attacked a car which they claimed was carrying CIA agents in a road tunnel and killed those inside. Two days later, they ambushed a convoy of vehicles of the Badr Group, the Shia militia. Four of the militiamen were killed and petrol was poured over their bodies and set alight. Soon afterwards, a bus was spotted abandoned by a highway. At first it was thought it might contain a bomb. Instead it had a more grisly cargo, the bodies of 18 Sunni tortured and killed. In districts such as al-Khadra, the civil war has already begun.

Former judge attacks anti-terror laws

AAP | March 21 2006

Australia's new counter-terrorism laws are a Pandora's box that could lead to the creation of a police state, says former Federal Court judge Marcus Einfeld.

Sweeping counter-terrorism powers became law in early December, allowing terrorist suspects to be detained without charge for up to 14 days, along with controls on their movement and communication for up to 12 months.

They also update sedition laws, giving police tougher search and seizure powers and allowing greater use of security cameras.

Speaking at a symposium at the University of Western Sydney, Justice Einfeld QC questioned how many fundamental human rights Australians were expected to give up in the interests of protection.

"Despite protests from groups as diverse as extreme left activists to members of the Liberal Party itself, and critical debate at the highest academic levels, the government has seen fit to expand on legislation that many have decried as archaic," he told the gathering.

"They are a Pandora's Box of possible abuses if used incorrectly.

"How far do we allow ourselves to be led away from fundamental liberal and democratic tenets in the name of fighting terrorism?"

Justice Einfeld said that last week a section of a website belonging to a social commentator was reportedly shut down at the behest of the Australian government.

The site had run a mock version of the prime minister's own website, with a fake speech in which John Howard apologised for violating human rights and international law, Justice Einfeld said.

"Incredulous though it may seem to us, living in a democracy as we are, our government alleged that the site was `too similar' to their own," he said.

"How this constitutes a threat to our national security, or falls within sedition laws or even might `incite other to terrorism' is not only beyond me, but a serious question for us all to consider."

Justice Einfeld said the laws would "result in increasing levels of state control over our lives".

"Binding our own country in webs of anti-terrorist measures that leave our own citizens at risk of state-sanctioned punishment for no cause, is not a way forward," he said.

Alluding to the Cole inquiry investigating $300 million worth of kickbacks paid to Saddam Hussein's regime, Justice Einfeld also questioned the morality of a government that may have knowingly funded terrorists.

"Many of these (terrorist) countries have been backed and financed by the US and other western powers, including Australia whose own very personal contribution to terrorist regimes via the Australian Wheat Board is now believed by every taxi driver in the country," he said.

"Apparently political transparency is a democratic ideal to which we only pay lip service these days."

Justice Einfeld said Australians had "turned a blind eye to `security measures' that border on autocratic".

Carlos Santana Speaks Out Against Bush

Carlos Santana quoted his old friend Jimi Hendrix in an anti-war message here Monday and said his philosophy is the antithesis of President George W. Bush's.

"I have wisdom. I feel love. I live in the present and I try to present a dimension that brings harmony and healing," the 58-year-old rock icon said. "My concept is the opposite of George W. Bush."

Santana, speaking to Peruvian journalists ahead of a Tuesday concert, said young people's opposition to the war in Iraq is reaching the dimensions of the anti-Vietnam war sentiment in the 1970s.

"There is more value in placing a flower in a rifle barrel than making war," he said. "As Jimi Hendrix used to say, musical notes have more importance than bullets."

In 1971, Santana was prevented from performing in Peru by the military dictatorship, which deemed his music an "alienating" force. Santana returned to perform in 1995.

© 2006 Associated Press.

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