cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16


southeast asia unrest

1. army takes a hard line with rebels - Thailand

PATTANI : The army has shot down a call to negotiate with insurgents to end conflicts in the restive South.

Army chief Anupong Paojinda said no talks would be held with separatist groups during his tenure, which ends in September next year.

...Since violence resurfaced in the region six years ago, it has claimed almost 4,000 lives.

The Internal Security Operations Command believes 8,000-10,000 insurgents are active in the deep South. The insurgents took shelter in more than 200 villages in the so-called red zone and used pondok schools as a base to carry out attacks against civilians and state officials, it said.

"The insurgents want to separate our land and set up an autonomous area," the army chief said.

...No other countries, including fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, had offered themselves as brokers in talks between the government and the separatist groups.

...He had told border officials to keep a close watch on people with dual Thai-Malaysian nationality as he believed many were involved in attacks in the deep South. Security experts believe militants with dual nationality carry out attacks there, then flee to neighbouring Malaysia to avoid being caught.

read more @ bangkok post

2. tensions in and on Thailand's borders - by Frank G. Anderson

Abhisit may have something there. It was during the administration of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra that the now infamous dispute over the Phrea Vihear temple on the two countries’ border first boiled over into a tit-for-tat diplomat expulsion and a one-on-one word-for-word accusation contest began.

It is rumored, given no small amount of circumstantial evidence, that Thaksin had traded Thai sovereignty by, in part, obtaining oil concessions that benefitted himself while surrendering part of Thailand’s territory to Cambodia in a less-than-transparent Phreah Vihear quid pro quo. Both Cambodia and Thaksin deny any such oil deal was made, but experts are sifting through trails to establish conclusive connections. It won’t be an easy task.

Meanwhile the Thai government, responding to deep concerns in both countries about a possible border war, has stated that it has no plans to close the border – as it did recently with Malaysia in one area because of terrorism and drug threats.

...For ASEAN leaders, the game is officially to seek solidarity, independence and closer cooperation among the players. For the people living in ASEAN countries, however, the game means being further exposed to a well-organized and well-armed authoritarian style of rule that obfuscates the line between human rights and national security, always sacrificing one in favor of the other. That is, constantly sacrificing human and civil rights in favor of the interests of the state.

That kind of game can have only one eventual outcome: a police state. That in itself brings on another eventual outcome, revolution and bloodshed caused by a frustrated public and amalgam of intellectuals and activists who have had enough of state control.

read more @ upi asia

3. dozens killed in Philippines province of Maguindanao

TACURONG CITY, Sultan Kudarat, Philippines – (UPDATE 3) At around 10 a.m. on Monday, vice mayor Ishmael Mangudadatu of Buluan town in Maguindanao received a call from his wife that at least 100 armed men were holding her and 50 others, including 34 journalists.

Mangudadatu’s wife Genalyn even complained that one of the armed men, whom she identified as “Ampatuan’s men," slapped her.

That was the last time the vice mayor heard his wife’s voice. Late Monday afternoon, Genalyn’s body was among those found in the village of Masalay in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao.

...“I saw around 20 bodies scattered on the ground. The cadavers were riddled with bullets. Some women were obviously raped. The vehicles used were ransacked and all valuables were taken away,” the mayor, who went to Masalay on a helicopter, said.

...At least 34 journalists were with the group taken hostage by the armed men Monday morning.

The journalists were there to cover the filing of certificate of candidacy for gubernatorial position of Buluan Vice Mayor Ishmael "Toto" Mangudadatu.

The 34 journalists, aboard three vehicles, were part of the convoy led by vice mayor Eden Mangudadatu of Mangudadatu town in Maguindanao, who was tasked by his brother to file his COC with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office in Shariff Aguak town, Maguindanao.

Also taken hostage were the vice mayor’s youngest sister Bai Farina Mangudadatu, his two legal counsels Cynthia Joquindo and Connie Brizuela and about 30 other women supporters.

read more @

4. information on the Province of Maguindanao

The Province of Maguindanao, a member of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao or ARMM, bordered by Lanao del Sur, Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat and literally means ” people of the flood plains” that occupies the Pulangi River. ...The Province of Maguindanao, its capital of Sharif Aguak, has 22 municipalities in its second district and Cotabato City as an individual component. Since most of the population are predominantly muslim, Maguindanao citizens follow Islamic beliefs and practices. ...Farming, fishing, mining are amongst the local way of living for Maguindanaons.


5. Philippine police search for US murder suspect

Philippine police searched for an American who escaped after allegedly killing a government official's son in a road-rage shooting _ the second homicide case against him, officials said Monday.

Jason Ivler, 28, from Hawaii, was identified by witnesses as a driver involved in a traffic accident in Manila on Wednesday. It led to a heated argument during which Ivler allegedly chased and shot to death another driver, Renato Victor Ebarle Jr., said police Chief Superintendent Elmo G. San Diego.

Ebarle's father, an official at the Office of President Gloria Mapacagal Arroyo, filed a murder complaint against Ivler. The prosecutor will review the complaint before filing formal charges.

At the time, Ivler was driving a car with diplomatic plates owned by his stepfather, Stephen Pollard, an executive at the Asian Development Bank, San Diego said.

Pollard's diplomatic immunity did not extend to his son, said national police chief Jesus Verzosa, adding Ivler's photograph and details were distributed to all ports and airports to prevent him from escaping. He was described as "armed and dangerous."

Even before the latest incident, police were looking for Ivler on a separate charge of "reckless imprudence resulting in homicide" in connection with a 2004 car crash that killed a senior official in the president's office, Verzosa said.

Ivler was arrested in 2004 while trying to flee to Malaysia but later jumped bail, Verzosa said.

Ivler's mother, Marlene Aguilar, sister of popular singer Freddy Aguilar, made a tearful TV appeal for her son to surrender to police.

source: taiwan news

6. opposing the Mindoro nickel project - opinion

WITH the Arroyo administration in an “ala berde” mode, many public officials and opportunistic businessmen are scrambling to get juicy contracts from the government and provide for their future in the last two minutes before it bows out of office. (“Ala berde” refers to the old practice of opening the doors of the movie house to the public for free in the last half-hour or so before the theater closes.) In the last few months left to the Arroyo administration, many government contracts get approved under mysterious circumstances.

There is usually a price for every approval secured from the government, and government agencies approve as many applications as possible before the new administration takes over and, in so doing, provide for a future when they would be jobless. Then they say that if there is something wrong with the permit, it is up to the next administration to implement it or not. The outgoing officials have collected their part of the loot anyway.

...The raging controversy now is the issuance of environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to foreign mining companies, in partnership with Filipino firms, to put up mining operations on the island of Mindoro. The DENR gave the ECC to a Norwegian mining company, Intex Resources, to extract nickel from 11,600 hectares of forested area in a watershed lying in parts of the two Mindoro provinces. An ever bigger area, six times bigger, was granted for another mining operation on 60,000 hectares in Abra de Ilog, in Mindoro Occidental.

read more @

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