discarded lies: monday, june 26, 2017 10:07 pm zst
a little down in the mouth
daily archive: 10/11/2005
evariste in Discarded Lies:
Gmar Hatima Tova
It's Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, one of the holiest Jewish holidays. The solemn occasion starts Wednesday night and ends Thursday night. Jews in the diaspora and the Holy Land are abstaining from work, food, drink, washing for pleasure, wearing perfume, wearing leather and using cosmetics.

In other words, the Good Lord has seen fit, with His ineffable wisdom, to make his Chosen People imitate ugly, smelly, starving hippies for 25 hours. I'm not sure what the joke is, but His punchline is hilarious.

Jewish people also recite a prayer known as the Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur, which antisemites have exploited for centuries as proof of the untrustworthiness of the Jew's word. The prayer absolves the supplicant of any vows he has made to the Lord that he is unable to keep; Jews take promises to God very seriously, so it's important to be forgiven for lapses. It assuredly does not absolve one of sins against others or broken vows, oaths, contracts and promises to them, as antisemites allege. Read all about the Kol Nidre prayer at Wikipedia. You can read all about Yom Kippur at the Jewish Virtual Library, too.

Gut Yontif, friends!
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Aid is On Its Way to Pakistan
There are over 40,000 people dead in SE Asia now and I don't even know what to say anymore, this last year feels like we've gone from one catastrophe to another. As the numbness from this latest disaster fades and the death toll rises, all we can do is offer a prayer and whatever relief possible. Some help is reaching the victims but in many areas, help is not getting there fast enough.

If you want to help, please visit AmeriCares. Here's more information about how your donation will be spent.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Milap
Milap is a Catholic NGO helping the disabled in Pakistan. Kudos to them. The fate of the disabled and the Church’s commitment
People living with disabilities have a tough time in Pakistan. The wider society and often their families are unable or unwilling to provide the care they need. This is where Milap, a Catholic non governmental organisation, comes in to offer assistance to the disabled, orphans and widows. Its director, Margaret Piara, stresses that her group’s main efforts are dedicated to the disabled because with “what he have here we have to do everything".

“Children born with physical or mental handicaps are at the bottom," she said. “Our NGO tries to help them in the home, whenever parents are absent for work and siblings are unable or unwilling to help them."

When social workers make house calls, “family members sometimes cry; at other times they are stone silent; but in some cases they pray to God that He may take them after sending them in this world. The situation is very painful."

In the past few years Milap has provided medical check-ups, medicines, wheelchairs, walkers and crutches. But its main task is to help coordinate rehabilitation activities and find ways to aid those who were born with or affected by debilitating conditions to become more independent.
Milap's work is important in itself but what makes it even more precious is that they're helping the most needy of Pakistani society while Pakistani Christians are faced with increasing hostility, violence and intolerance on a daily basis: Christian minorities in Pakistan: little freedom and rising Islamic pressure
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Stasi spied on Ratzinger
East German secret police spied on future pope - news from ekklesia
East Germany's former secret police, known as the Stasi, spied on the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger three decades before he became Pope Benedict XVI. The activities took place prior to the reunification of Germany, when the old GDR was under communist control.

"Long before his nomination as prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, State Security Ministry agents kept watch on him," the Bild am Sonntag weekly newspaper reports, referring to Ratzinger as the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog.

"One of them later wrote with concern that, as Congregation prefect, he would have an influence on the growth of anti-communist attitudes in the Catholic Church, especially in Latin America," the newspaper continued.

It said the Stasi had begun regular surveillance of the future pontiff in April 1974 when he was a theology professor and visited then East Germany to lecture at a Catholic seminary in Erfurt. The secret police later said that he was seen by the Vatican as "one of the fiercest opponents of communism".

One Stasi report noted that the future pope appeared "initially shy in conversation", but also possessed "a winning charm".

The Pope had been notified by Germany's Centre for Stasi Archives of the newspaper's plans to publish the material and had given his consent in a letter to its director, Marianne Birthler, the newspaper reported.

The Stasi employed 97 000 full-time agents and used 173 000 informers from its headquarters in East Berlin and 14 regional offices, equivalent to one agent for every 63 East German citizens, or one in six when part-time informers were included. It was swept away by East Germany's peaceful revolution in 1989 which paved the way for German unification the following year.

In its article, Bild am Sonntag said East German agents had shown "particular interest" in the future pope's contacts with the then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow, who became Pope John Paul II in 1978, and who was himself closely monitored by agents for Poland's communist rulers.

One Stasi report noted that the German cardinal had later "strongly supported" Wojtyla's election as pope, the newspaper reported. Stasi agents recorded how John Paul II later asked Cardinal Ratzinger to organize help for "counter-revolutionary activities in Poland" after the rise of the Solidarity movement in 1980.
I hope Ratzinger becomes the Church's lion against Communist China, the way Wojtyla was against the Soviet Union.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Hamas' first female bomb maker
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The French Part of the Scam
France's former ambassador to the U.N. has been taken into custody as part of the investigation into the Iraq oil-for-food program. Jean-Bernard Merimee (who was Kofi Annan's special adviser from 1999 to 2002), along with ten other French officials and business leaders, is suspected of having received kickbacks from Saddam Hussein.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
MI5 names the WMD-wannabe club's roster
The determination of countries across the Middle East and Asia to develop nuclear arsenals and other weapons of mass destruction is laid bare by a secret British intelligence document which has been seen by the Guardian.

More than 360 private companies, university departments and government organisations in eight countries, including the Pakistan high commission in London, are identified as having procured goods or technology for use in weapons programmes.

The length of the list, compiled by MI5, suggests that the arms trade supermarket is bigger than has so far been publicly realised. MI5 warns against exports to organisations in Iran, Pakistan, India, Israel, Syria and Egypt and to beware of front companies in the United Arab Emirates, which appears to be a hub for the trade.
Israel? Whatever, MI5.
Despite the large number of bodies identified, the document says the list is not exhaustive.

(...)

The 17-page document identifies 95 Pakistani organisations and government bodies, including the Pakistan high commission in London, as having assisted in the country's nuclear programme. The list was compiled two years ago, shortly after the security service mounted a surveillance operation at the high commission which is the only diplomatic institution on the list. Abdul Basit, the deputy high commissioner, said: "It is absolute rubbish for Pakistan to be included. We take exception to these links."

Some 114 Iranian organisations, including chemical and pharmaceutical companies and university medical schools, are identified as having acquired nuclear, chemical, biological or missile technology. The document also attempts to shed some light on the nuclear ambitions of Egypt and Syria: a private chemical company in Egypt is identified as having procured technology for use in a nuclear weapons programme, while the Syrian atomic energy commission faces a similar charge. Eleven Israeli organisations appear on the list, along with 73 Indian bodies, which are said to have been involved in WMD programmes.

The document also highlights concerns that companies in Malta and Cyprus could have been used as fronts for WMD programmes. The United Arab Emirates is named as "the most important" of the countries where front companies may have been used, and 24 private firms there are identified as having acquired WMD technology for Iran, Pakistan and India.

A spokesman for the UAE government said it had always worked "very closely" with the British authorities to counter the proliferation of WMD.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | MI5 unmasks covert arms programmes
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guest author: papijoe in Discarded Lies:
Part VII: Towers of London
"Is that him?"

Joop looked at the fuzzy video capture next to the artist's rendition on the Interpol All Points Bulletin.

"Yah, he shaved the beard the second time I followed them, but it's him"

"Thank you Joop. See my secretary on the way out and she will take care of the bonus we agreed upon."

Soon the police would be squeezing him for leads. They would never admit it, but part of his cozy relationship with Dutch law enforcement was based on keeping troublemakers in check, whether they were foreign cartels or odd cases like this. And of course this character was much more of a threat than he first suspected. Jewels, antique books and who knows what else.

He needed to put together a team quickly. They had to be able to operate independently in the UK without being conspicuous. Pieter spoke English passably well and had contacts in the East End for the muscle and hardware he would need. But without knowing what kind of support these two had there, he needed better intelligence. Katia was good at that in her own way, but he hated dealing with her. She was hard to control and tempermental. There was something about her that was just...not right. But if planned properly this could be settled in a matter of days.
***

They decided to risk the flight to Heathrow.

They hurried out of the airport and survived the ordeal of carrying luggage through the Monday morning commute on the trains to London and the Tube to Piccadilly Circus.

The tall man had contacted Tim Cornwall, who he had worked for years before. Tim was the founder and CEO of an internet security start up. He had located the headquarters in a quaint village north of London called Beaconsfield where he lived. The town was also the location of a military language school, and a training center for the British intelligence service MI6, which was Tim's previous employer. He had been an instructor for new recruits in cryptography for twenty years before retiring and striking off on his own venture with the blessing of Her Majesty's Secret Service.

As a man of some means and influence, Tim would have liked to send a car for them, but their schedule didn't allow him time to make the arrangements. He had been briefed by the tall man, who until recently had run his US sales operation. They used a secure internet connection based on the companies technology. He was concerned that they may have already be in danger, Interpol was looking for a suspect in the theft of an old text in Hebrew.

Tim arranged to meet them at the Starbucks off of Piccadilly Circus, since it was the ultimate tourist magnet and they could blend right in. He arrived early and made sure he had a view of the entrance. He had had traing in basic tradecraft, but he was an instructor, not a field agent. And although he still had some conveniently placed friends, he was getting involved in something potentially risky with limited resources to fall back on.

After the two arrived, Tim got right down to business. A young aquaintance who he would refer to as "Mustang" had contacts at the British Museum of Jewish History. There was a fair amount of Carvajal's letters and writing that had been donated, as well as some other effects. "Mustang's" family had been generous benefactors to the museum, so a reasonable amount of cooperation was expected. They would meet at nearby Waterstone's that evening. He handed them a card with the aliases that would be on the guest list for a function on the top floor. He told them to leave together and he would stay to see if anyone was following them out. No one went out after them, but a woman waiting in line took out her cell phone and made a call.
***

Matt was of course looking forward to his birthday party, but this matter that Tim had gotten him involved with was all he could think about. His parents had given a vague blessing to what Tim had proposed, but Matt didn't really think they understood the import of this situation. And Matt wasn't inclined to enlighten them.

Matt of course got on well with his parents, but the independence of having your own flat was offset by working in the family business. Even when you insist on starting from the ground floor. Everyone he worked with knew who he was, and considering he was the owner's son he was remarkably well liked, so much so that inviting the whole company to the party didn't present any problems. Tim decided it would be good cover for the meeting, they could duck into one of the small conference rooms for fifteen minutes and make the arrangements. The details that Tim had already shared were mind-boggling, but he was really a sucker for the whole coak and dagger aspect. It reminded him of his Uncle Allen's stories.

Matt made a point of doing as much mixing as possible early before Tim and his friends arrived so his absence wouldn't be missed later. He restricted himself to just a couple of pints. When they arrived, Tim was his affable self, the tall man was friendly and poised, if a bit quiet. He was clearly someone accustomed to playing his social role while having weightier things on his mind. Only the one Tim referred to as the Persian seemed somewhat tense and overly alert. He had picked a small office past the kitchen and freight elevator. Tim had suggested they slip out individually about 5 minutes apart. He knew the layout, he had run seminars and meetings there before, so he would go first.

It had only been about 3 minutes since he saw the tall man leave, as if heading towards the loo. He found the wait excruciating and decided to start heading toward the back of the building where they were all waiting. As he got past the lavatories he was startled to see Tim heading toward him.

"Where are they?"

"The Persian left about 10 minutes ago, and then the other one!"

Tim swore, then looked around and seemed to be straining to hear as well. There was some clatter of cleaning coming from the kitchen and the moaning of the freight elevator.

"Is this utility room supposed to be open?"

"No, it should have been locked"

A faint cry rose up the elevator shaft and they ran for the stairwell.
***

Dave was talking to his fiancee out back while she took a cigarette break. She was working extra hours at the pub to help pay for the wedding, and they didn't get as much time together as they would like. He had noticed some blokes coming out of the dock across the alley, two were holding up another between them who seemed to be pissed out of his head. They briefly glanced his way and after a quick discussion eased the drunk into the front seat carefully.

"Dave Ray, did you hear a thing I said about the centerpieces?"

"Uh, sure love, it's just something doesn't look right over there."

"They're having a party upstairs for Matt, his the one who comes round with the bookstore crowd, d'yer remember I told you I knew him from BZA camp?"

"Uh, yeah, nice chap..." Dave murmured absently.

After a few more minutes discussion of flowers and bride's maid's dresses, the door swung open again.

"Dave! Don't get involved!"

The second man was conscious but struggling and was shoved roughly in the back of the van. One of the pair gotin back with him and closed the doors. The other walked calmly up to Dave displaying open palms and a sheepish grin.

"Sorry to disturb you folks," he had a faint accent, "Our friends behaved badly at the party and we want to get them out before they really get into trouble..."

"Is that so?" Dave sneered, "Is that why you taped his mouth?" He tried to shove past him, but the man neatly sidestepped and swung a cosh at the back of Dave's head. He wasn't able to duck fast enough and it glanced off the top of his skull, setting off a Guy Fawkes celebration inside his head. He felt intolerably heavy and his knees buckled.

The door slammed open again, and two more figures appeared. The driver started to step out of the van but Dave's assailant barked an order and made a break for the passenger door. When he opened it a foot shot out and caught him in the chest. The Persian stumbled out, leaning against the van for support. Tim had the back of the van open and was soon rolling on the pavements with the thug who had been in back. Matt reached the Persian when he felt a rough hand grab the back of his collar. His torso then did a strange thing, executing a kind of twist that brought arm down on that of the driver's. As it pulled the driver's weight forward Matt continued a turn that brought his elbow into the man's temple. He collapsed and Matt grabbed the Persian. Dave's fiancee meanwhile had brought a dustbin lid down on the head of Tim's opponent, after twice battering Tim. After another garbled cry, the three thugs retreated into the van and it tore off after careening off a number of objects. Tim ralled his group and got them back into the building.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Iran appoints top terrorist assholes to head nuke program
They are so hurting for a bruising.
Iran's new hardline president has placed his country's nuclear programme under the control of militant commanders of the Revolutionary Guards, the military's most committed wing.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has launched a purge of moderates in national and provincial government since his election two months ago, has drafted in fellow radical revolutionaries to top administrative posts - a move that will heighten Western fears over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Many of the new power-brokers are veterans of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds (Jerusalem) Force, in which Mr Ahmadinejad held the rank of brigadier general. The unit is linked to a series of international terrorist attacks and the main backer of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), a leading opposition group that has previously exposed clandestine nuclear sites, gave details of the appointment of high-ranking Quds Force officers to senior positions to The Sunday Telegraph. Other Iranian exiles with contacts inside the country are also tracking the purges.

Most significantly, the country's nuclear programme, which Iran claims is for civilian purposes, is in the hands of hardliners who, like Mr Ahmadinejad, were young radicals at the time of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

American and British intelligence are certain that Teheran is trying to develop atomic weapons. "This is not like the pre-war debate about whether Iraq was working on weapons of mass destruction," an American intelligence official said. "Iran has a nuclear weapons programme. There are no doubts."

The disclosures come days after Tony Blair said that explosives used by insurgents to kill British soldiers in Iraq "lead us either to Iranian elements or to Hezbollah", effectively ending a long-running diplomatic effort to woo Iran.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Border Fence: an idea whose time has come?
I think the time has come to consider it. I like lots of immigrants, but I don't like illegal immigration at all. Not only is it dangerous for the immigrants dealing with predatory human-smuggling gangs, it's creating an infrastructure for human smuggling of the non-economic opportunity-related variety. Individuals from terrorist-rife countries are already streaming over the border. We can't afford not to build a fence.

Border fence campaign another sign of frustration
AUSTIN, Texas — A 2,000-mile tableau from the Pacific to the Gulf, the nation's southern border spans six Mexican and four U.S. states, snaking through arid deserts, rugged mountains, urban areas and remote, dangerous terrain.

Despite an unprecedented build-up in border enforcement during the past decade, much of the battle against illegal immigration is still being lost there.

Now, a conservative group wants to fence off the border, all 2,000 miles of it, calling the idea a logical solution to an immigration problem that's out of control and threatens national security and the economy.

"I think it's an issue whose time has come," said Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring, a Pennsylvania-based group that gained national prominence in 2004 by urging pastors to more actively promote conservative causes during the presidential campaign, and for distributing a video touting President Bush's religious convictions.

Last week, the group launched an Internet and national television ad campaign to build support for a border fence.

A "state-of-the-art" border fence could be built for $4 billion to $8 billion, Hanna says, with a multilayered design similiar to what Israel is building in the West Bank.

Let Freedom Ring's vision includes 200 crossings for commerce, commuters, tourism and legal immigration. It would actually be two fences of unspecified height, topped with barbed wire, with a space in between for patrols. There would also be closed circuit cameras, sensors and other obstacles.

Building the fence would require taking some private land, Hanna said, but mostly in areas that are relatively open or barren.

"I don't think there are too many environmental concerns," Hanna said.

Both critics and proponents say that building a 2,000-mile-long fence is theoretically possible, but that is where their agreement ends.

While not commenting directly on the fence proposal, one immigration policy expert said a massive investment in manpower, hardware and technology to seal the border still wouldn't shut off illegal immigration from Mexico.

"Smugglers would run migrants up the Pacific and Gulf coasts, and maritime enforcement would become the new battleground," Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California at San Diego, said in a statement.
Leaving aside the fact that Wayne Cornelius has a vested professional interest in continuing illegal immigration for his center to "study", if human smuggling went mostly maritime it would decline drastically in scale, because once you introduce boats into the equation it gets a lot harder. What's the success rate for Cuban seaborne crossings? I would bet money that it's far lower than the success rate for overland crossings.
Hanna said he has begun lobbying lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, seeking to convince them that public support for a fence is more prevalent than they might think. "They seem concerned about the problem and intrigued about the solution," he said.
Stop being intrigued and start working on it.
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