Daily Archives: January 7, 2007

Troops take guns, so Tijuana cops won’t patrol

CNN | Jan 5, 2007  

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Tijuana police carry a box of their weapons to hand over to Mexican federal troops on Thursday.

Local police in Tijuana weren’t patrolling the violent border city Friday after soldiers sent by President Felipe Calderon to crack down on drug gangs and corruption seized most of their guns.

Tijuana Public Safety Secretary Luis Javier Algorri said that without arms it was too dangerous for the force of 2,000 police to patrol the streets of the city where 13 officers were shot dead last year.

“This is an unfortunate situation because it leaves agents defenseless and does not allow them to serve the community,” Algorri said in a news conference.

On Tuesday, Calderon sent 3,300 soldiers and federal police to Tijuana to hunt down drug gangs. The soldiers swept police stations and took officers’ guns for inspection on Thursday amid allegations by federal investigators that a corrupt network of officers supports smugglers who traffic drugs into the United States.

On Friday, soldiers monitored those leaving and entering Tijuana, while federal and state police manned checkpoints within the city limits.

Dubbed “Operation Tijuana,” the mobilization is the second major military offensive against drug gangs by Calderon, who took office on December 1 promising to crack down on organized crime.

Last month, Calderon sent 7,000 troops to his native state of Michoacan in western Mexico, plagued by execution-style killings and beheadings as rival gangs fight over marijuana plantations and smuggling routes.

Drug gangs are blamed for more than 2,000 murders nationwide in 2006 and have left a particularly bloody trail in Michoacan and Tijuana, where more than 300 people were slain last year.

Reopening 9/11 investigation to go on Burlington VT ballot

Burlington Free Press | Jan 7, 2007 

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BALLOT TEXT

The wording of the advisory ballot question for Burlington on Town Meeting Day: “Shall Vermont’s Congressional Delegation be advised to demand a new, thorough, and truly independent forensic investigation that fully addresses the many questions surrounding the tragic events of September 11, 2001?”

Burlington would be the first city in the country to formally make such a demand.

The “free-fall” collapse of the three buildings, Estrin said, is “both technically and architecturally problematic” and wasn’t adequately investigated by the commission.

Estrin said the group also would like an explanation of why routine air-defense protocols weren’t followed Sept. 11 in scrambling fighter interceptors.

A Burlington group has gathered nearly enough signatures on a petition to put a ballot question before voters on Town Meeting Day urging a new investigation of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Spokesman Marc Estrin, a Burlington writer and musician, said the group has been meeting for several months and has more than 1,200 of the roughly 1,350 signatures needed to place the matter on the ballot. The question would advise the Vermont congressional delegation to demand a new 9/11 investigation.

Estrin said Burlington would be the first city in the country to formally make such a demand.

The group includes Burlington attorney Frank Haddleton, University of Vermont physics professor Joanna Rankin, Charles Simpson, chairman of the department of sociology and criminal justice at SUNY Plattsburgh, a chemist, an engineer, a video producer and former city councilor Doug Dunbebin.

Dunbebin, a graphic designer, has created a Web site for the group that explains the weaknesses it sees in the 9/11 Commission Report of July 2004.

The city’s director of elections, Jo Lamarche, said that because the City Council in September unanimously passed a resolution promising to honor advisory ballot questions when the required number of signatures has been gathered, the question would likely be on the ballot in March. She said the council might adjust the wording.

The deadline for gathering the signatures is Jan. 29, but Estrin said the petition drive will be completed in a few days. Lamarche said the issue would be on the council’s agenda for its Jan. 8 meeting.

Estrin said that because the 9/11 attacks led directly to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American people deserve an objective investigation of what happened.

In a news release, the group said the ballot question “does not advance any particular alternative theory” about what happened on 9/11, but “focuses on the need to get answers to hundreds of questions” raised by families of victims and others, including “members of the intelligence community.”

Estrin said the group believes the 9/11 Commission, in part because its work was directed by administration insider Philip Zelikow, ignored obvious questions about why the World Trade Center towers fell as they did and why nearby Building 7, a part of the World Trade Center complex, fell in what appeared to be a “controlled demolition.” The “free-fall” collapse of the three buildings, Estrin said, is “both technically and architecturally problematic” and wasn’t adequately investigated by the commission.

He said independent researchers also have raised questions about the thoroughness of the commission’s investigation of the damage at the Pentagon and of the absence of plane wreckage there and at the crash site of the plane in Pennsylvania.

Estrin said the group also would like an explanation of why routine air-defense protocols weren’t followed Sept. 11 in scrambling fighter interceptors.

A new “objective and nonpartisan” investigation, he said, “seems a reasonable thing to do about such a crucial event.”

Estrin said the ballot question is a logical way to move such an investigation forward, particularly given the city’s history of engagement with national and international issues.

“The events of 9/11 have affected Burlington residents,” he said, and added, “Democracy resides not just at the center, but at the periphery. Citizens are supposed to have a voice in national issues.”
Contact John Briggs at 660-1863 or jbriggs@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com

BALLOT TEXT

The wording of the advisory ballot question for Burlington on Town Meeting Day: “Shall Vermont’s Congressional Delegation be advised to demand a new, thorough, and truly independent forensic investigation that fully addresses the many questions surrounding the tragic events of September 11, 2001?”

More information is available at the local group’s Web site, www.vt911.org. The site provides an overview of what the group sees as the inadequacies of the official 9/11 Commission report and pro-
vides links to related sites.

Asean summit aims to establish a borderless community

Zee News | Jan 7, 2007  

The foreign affairs assistant secretary, Luis T Cruz, wants the once-postponed 12th association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit finally pushing through in Cebu city next week, to be remembered as the one contributed for establishment of a borderless community in the region.

“On the regional level, I would want it to be remembered as one wherein we made efforts for accomplishing our goals of community building and addressing socio-cultural issues,” said Cruz at a press conference at the department of foreign affairs (DFA) yesterday.

Cruz, who heads the DFA Asean secretariat, said that among the possible issues to be taken up in the convention on counter-terrorism is the extradition of terrorists and criminals among member countries.

“The need for expanding cooperation and networking among the Asean members is nowhere more important than now in the wake of efforts to counter terrorism in the region.”

The Asean convention on counter-terrorism is but one of six documents endorsed by senior officials to the Asean foreign ministers meeting, which will precede the summit proper. These were among the results of the December 2006 preparatory meetings.

The others are the Cebu declarations on the blueprint for the Asean charter, towards one caring and sharing community, on the acceleration of the establishment of an Asean community by 2015, on the East Asian energy security and on the protection and promotion of rights of migrant workers.

The summit, originally scheduled December 11-14 in Cebu city last year, has been reset to January 10-15 this year.