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In the Other Press

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News :: Military

The next Pat Tillman-style cover-up?

Once upon a time lived a young woman from a St. Louis suburb. She was an honor roll student, she played the violin, she donated blood and volunteered for American Heart Association walks. She elected to put off college for a while and joined the Army once out of school. At Fort Campbell, KY, she was assigned as a weapons supply manager to the 129th Corps Support Battalion.

She was LaVena Johnson, private first class, and she died near Balad, Iraq, on July 19, 2005, just eight days shy of her twentieth birthday. She was the first woman soldier from Missouri to die while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The tragedy of her story begins there.

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Commentary :: Media

Torturers Get It From Fox TV

Does '24' encourage US interrogators to 'torture' detainees?

Some top military and civilian experts say yes, but others call accusation 'ludicrous.'
By Tom Regan | csmonitor.com

The Fox Broadcasting Company television show "24," which for the past five years has detailed "a single, panic-laced day" in which Jack Bauer – a heroic counter-terrorism agent, played by Kiefer Sutherland – must stop "a conspiracy that imperils the nation," is one of the US's most popular shows. But it may also be encouraging real-life interrogators to "go too far" when they question terrorist suspects.

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Commentary :: Civil and Human Rights : Right-wing politics

keith harmon snow: Oil in Darfur? Special Ops in Somalia?: The New Old "Humanitarian" Warfare in Africa

it's long (27 pages) but chock full o' goodies

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Commentary :: Right-wing politics

Rafik Hariri and the Salvador Option in Beirut

Counterpunch.com Feb 8, 2007

The Salvador Option in Beirut by Trish Schuh

"The only prospect that holds hope for us is the carving up of Syria… It is our task to prepare for that prospect. All else is a purposeless waste of time." Zionist militant Zeév Jabotinsky, From "We and Turkey" in Di Tribune, November 30, 1915

"We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Muslim regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan, and Syria will fall to us." -David Ben-Gurion, From "Ben-Gurion, A Biography" by Michael Ben-Zohar, May 1948

"It is obvious that the above military assumptions, and the whole plan too, depend also on the Arabs continuing to be even more divided than they are now, and on the lack of any truly mass movement among them… Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking Iraq up into denominations as in Syria and Lebanon… Syria will fall apart." -Oded Yinon, 1982. From "The Zionist Plan for the Middle East"

"Regime change is, of course, our goal both in Lebanon and Syria. We wrote long ago that there are three ways to achieve it- the dictator chooses to change; he falls before his own unhappy people; or if he poses a threat to the outside, the outside takes him out…" -Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), From strategy paper #474 "Priorities in Lebanon & Syria", March 2, 2005

From mission statement to mission accomplished, the slam dunk cakewalks continue. But from Baghdad to Beirut, the forgery looks the same.

Unlike Iraq, there is no 'weapons of mass destruction threat' to facilitate toppling the Syrian regime. This time a United Nations Tribunal could provide the means, deploying Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri's murder as the weapon. But like the US show trial to convict Saddam Hussein, the show trial to convict Syria for Hariri's murder, built by the United Nation's International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC), has a history of problems.

Several of the UNIIIC's prime witnesses have admitted to perjury, accusing the US-Israeli backed Lebanese government of bribery and foul play. Witness Hussam Taher Hussam claimed Future Movement MP Saad Hariri (son of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri) offered him $1.3m USD to incriminate top Syrian officials. Witness Ibrahim Michel Jarjoura said he was assaulted and forced to lie by Lebanese Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamade. Star witness Zuhir Ibn Mohamed Said Saddik, who had accused Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Syrian President Bashar Assad of ordering Hariri's murder, bragged of earning millions by falsely testifying to the UN Commission. Though much of their discredited testimony is still included as evidence, both UNIIIC prosecutors Brammertz and Mehlis said that the use of lie detector tests was not an option.

In his country, Mehlis has been rebuked for unethical and unprofessional practices. According to Germany's Junge Welt magazine, former UN investigator Detlev Mehlis received a $10m USD slush fund to rig the UNIIIC outcome against Syria. An inquiry by German public TV Zweites Deutsche Fernsehen found that Mehlis had relied on CIA, MI6 and Mossad intelligence in prior investigations, namely the Berlin Disco bombing of the 1980s where Mehlis knowingly used testimony supplied by Arab Mossad agent Mohammad Al Amayra in his case against Libya. Mehlis also relied on NSA intercepts of fake telephone calls that former Mossad officer Victor Ostrovsky revealed were made by Mossad agents, posing as Arab terrorists. The phone calls proved Libyan guilt and justified America's bombing of Libya.

In the Hariri case, German critics claimed "the choice of Mehlis was done because of his links to the German, American, French and Israeli intelligence agencies." Lebanese news source libnen.com, and Le Figaro confirmed that the British MI6 and Mossad have been supplying much of the UN Commission's intelligence.

When Mehlis resigned in disgrace, the UN hired Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz at Mehlis' recommendation. But Brammertz could also be vulnerable to US pressure if he assembles a verdict not to America's liking. Under Belgium's Universal Competence Law, Belgian legislators charged US Centcom General Tommy Franks, President George W Bush, VP Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell with war crimes in Iraq. In 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld threatened to pull NATO headquarters out of Belgium if the prosecutions commenced. Shortly after, the Universal Competence Law was dropped.

At the UN, Brammertz told me questions about similar US retaliation against his country regarding an unapproved Hariri outcome were not relevant and were "unhelpful."

But much of the questionable case built by Mehlis has been retained by Brammertz. Though Brammertz's secretive style preempts most outside debunking of questionable evidence, it is clear that fundamental issues remain unresolved. Brammertz's latest UN report estimates that TNT and RDX explosives were used. But military experts and vehicle manufacturers claimed that blast damage to Hariri's heavily armored Mercedes had the distinctive 'melting signature' incurred by high density DU munitions. Israel's recent attack on Lebanon destroyed that evidence, by contaminating the crime scene with American DU-tipped GBU-28 bunker buster bomb residue.

It is also not certain where the explosion that killed Hariri was detonated. French experts assessed it was underground because the blast had cracked the foundations of adjacent buildings, manhole covers on the street had blown off, and asphalt was propelled onto nearby rooftops. After it was found that an underground explosion would not implicate Syria- but rather the pro-US/Israeli Lebanese government who had supervised road work in the days before Hariri died- the focus shifted to an above-ground blast via suicide bomber.

Then in a psyops setup reminiscent of the Pentagon's Al Qaeda cutout Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, (who terrorized the length and breadth of Iraq with a wooden leg), several UN reports feature a 'Zarqawi-inspired' suicide car bomber, Ahmed Abu Adass as the killer. 'Martyr' Adass's video confession debuted on Al Jazeera Bin Laden-style, with all the requisite hoopla. But according to Reuters and ABC News, the "Syrian-coerced" car bomber had never learned how to drive. (3/4/05)

America's United Nations Ambassador at the time, John Bolton, who usually criticized the United Nations as "irrelevent," praised Mehlis, Brammertz and the UNIIIC investigation's "great work" saying "the substantial evidence speaks for itself."

But the irrelevant evidence Brammertz refuses to speak of could prove far more substantial. Last June, the Lebanese Army discovered several networks of Arab mercenaries sponsored by Israel's Mossad conducting terrorist attacks and car bombings connected to the Hariri assassination.

Israel National News "Arutz Sheva" reported that Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh was ignored when he protested to the UN about the discoveries. (6/25/06) The US Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman, who helped manufacture the Cedar Revolution through the American Embassy in Beirut, then threatened Lebanon with very "grave consequences" and a boycott of foreign aid if Salloukh filed a formal UN complaint about the findings.

Despite Feltman's ultimatums, Lebanese Military Investigating Magistrate Adnan Bolbol was to begin questioning witnesses over the Mossad assassinations in mid-July. On July 11, the Lebanese opposition publicized its demand for a United Nations Security Council Resolution against Israel, as well as a full inquiry into the Mossad's Arab-camouflaged spy killings.
Responding within hours on July 12, Israel hastily retaliated with a full scale attack on Lebanon using the Hezbollah border kidnapping as pretext.

Did the war on Lebanon cover up exposure of a "Salvador-style" slaying of Rafiq Hariri and and the other assassinations blamed on Syria?

Using the Salvador Option against Syria had first been raised by Newsweek and the London Times in January, 2005. After Hariri's death on February 14, Hariri's long-time personal advisor Mustafa Al Naser said: "the assassination of Hariri is the Israeli Mossad's job, aimed at creating political tension in Lebanon." (Asia Times 2/17/05) The Sunday Herald of Scotland hinted at a US role. "With controversial diplomat John Negroponte installed as the all-powerful Director of National Intelligence, is the US about to switch from invasions to covert operations and dirty tricks? The assassination of the former Lebanese PM has aroused suspicions." (Sunday Herald 2/20/05)

Fred Burton, Vice President of counter-terrorism at Stratfor, was also suspicious. Burton, who spent over 20 years as a counter-terrorism expert at the US State Department and the Secret Service, has investigated most terror attacks against US Embassies abroad, as well as the first World Trade Center bombing, and the murder of Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin. Stratfor's Burton also specialized in Syrian terror operations and methods. He rejected both Syria and Hezbollah as the perpetrators behind the Hariri killing. "Syria lacks the finesse," and the "complex nature" of the remote-control technology needed to implement "the surgical nature of the charge" are beyond their capacity, he insisted. "This is not their style… and Hezbollah would not have this capability." (UPI 6/27/05)

According to United Press International, Stratfor's report on the Hariri crime concluded that the Lebanese assassinations were "so sophisticated that few in the world could have done it." Burton told UPI that only five nations had such advanced resources- Israel, US, Britain, France and Russia. "This type of technology is only available to government agencies." Burton then asked: "Suppose that these bombings were 'merely collateral'? That the true target in the plot is the Syrian regime itself? If Damascus were being framed, who then would be the likely suspect?"

"Israeli intelligence is standing behind this crime," claimed German criminologist Juergen Cain Kuelbel. In his book "Hariri's Assassination: Hiding Evidence in Lebanon" he wrote: "Syria is innocent and has nothing to do with that crime or the other assassinations." Kuelbel discovered that the jamming system used to disable the Hariri convoy's electronic shield was manufactured by Netline Technologies Ltd of Tel Aviv, an Israeli company co-developed with the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli law enforcement agencies, and sold through European outlets. The UNIIIC dismissed Kuelbel's findings as "ridiculous" and irrelevant.

But two months after the Hariri convoy was destroyed, Israeli-manufactured weapons began to appear near the homes and neighborhoods of politicians in Lebanon. On April 14, 2005 UPI reported that Lebanese security forces had discovered six Hebrew-inscribed mortar shells manufactured by Israel on a deserted beach near the the southern Lebanese village of Ghaziyeh.

Similar missiles and dynamite were also found along a road frequented by Hezbollah officials, and on December 10, 2005 four anti-tank rockets attached to wires ready for detonation were found planted on the road leading to MP Walid Jumblatt's Muktara Palace.

In February, 2006 Lebanon's Daily Star and An Nahar reported that Hebrew-marked 55mm, 60mm and 81mm rockets were discovered close to MP Saad Hariri's Qoreitem estate. Similar rockets had also been uncovered near the Majdelyoun home of Saad's aunt, legislator Bahia Hariri near Sidon.

While the pro-US/Israeli 'March 14' government automatically blamed Syria for the findings, one of several Israeli spy rings were captured trying to assassinate Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. AFP sited nine "well-trained, professional" paramilitaries who were intercepted with an arsenal of B-7 rocket launchers, anti-tank missiles, pump action shotguns, hand grenades, AK 47 rifles, revolvers, silencers, computers and CDs.

Then in June 2006, Mahmoud Rafea a mercenary from the South Lebanon Army, (created by Israel during the civil war with $10,000 bonuses), was caught on camera after car bombing two members of Islamic Jihad, the Majzoub brothers. Israel's ynet.com reported that Rafea confessed to committing the Majzoub slayings for Israel's Mossad, as well as to a number of other high level assassinations.

Israeli website DEBKAfiles said that Rafea had assisted "two Israeli agents [who] flew into Beirut International Airport aboard a commercial flight on false passports three days before the Majzoub brothers were assassinated." They "replaced a door of the brothers' car with a booby-trapped facsimile" and left the country after an Israeli airplane "detonated the planted explosives with an electronic beam." (Daily Star, 6/20/06)

Mahmoud Rafea, who was trained in Israel, also confessed to distributing bombs and ordnance to various locations around Lebanon to destabilize the country. A raid of Rafea's home yielded high tech Israeli surveillance gear, fake passports, IDs, and appliances and baggage with secret compartments, and detailed maps of Lebanon.

But Rafea's network was only one among several. Lebanese Internal Security Forces are still searching for a different spy ring led by another Arab Mossad agent, Hussein Khattab. The Times of London wrote: "In a bizarre twist, Hussein Khattab, a Palestinian member of the spy ring, who is still at large, is the brother of Sheikh Jamal Khattab, an Islamic cleric who allegedly recruited Arab fighters for Al Qaeda in Iraq". (6/15/06)

Equally strange, Hussein Khattab's brother Jamal and his colleague Sheikh Obeida (mentioned in the UNIIIC report as head of Al Qaeda's Jund Al Sham) frequently met with the Zarqawi-inspired Hariri suicide car bomber Ahmed Abu Adass in the Ein Hilweh refugee camp of Lebanon. (Like Israel and the US, Zarqawi had demanded that Hezbollah be disarmed.) Israel National News "Arutz Sheva" (12/10/06) later wrote that "the US has been talking with Al Qaeda-sponsored terrorist groups in Syria in an all-out effort to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad".

In early January 2007, AP and the UK Telegraph reported that the CIA had begun covert operations in Lebanon using Arab proxies. During the riots in Beirut on January 20-22, a US proxy, the Progressive Socialist Party, distributed US weapons to fighters dressed as opposition Hezbollah/Amal supporters. The riots were then blamed on the opposition.

Comparing the Hariri car bombing to the mysterious car bombings in Iraq, Asia Times said: "What remains is the evidence of Baghdad in Beirut… The iron-clad certainty, on both sides [Sunni and Shia resistance in Iraq], is that these have been perpetrated not by "terrorists" as the US claims, but rather by Israeli black ops or CIA-connected American mercenaries, with the intent of fueling tensions and advancing the prospect of civil war. Now if only someone would come up with a Beirut smoking gun."

"The Gun" -as Meir Dagan is nicknamed- could be it.

Israeli website DEBKAfiles wrote that the above-named South Lebanon Army mercenary Mahmoud Rafea, had been assassinating/spying in Lebanon for Israel since 1989 when he was recruited by current Mossad director Meir Dagan.

In 2002, Meir Dagan was reappointed by Ariel Sharon to reprise the Mossad's covert operations in Lebanon, notably targeted killings abroad. Coinciding with Dagan's appointment, official Israeli policy was expanded to allow assassinations in friendly ally nations (including the US) using Kidon death squads from the Metsada Division. It was a job for which Dagan had ample experience. (The Australian 9/24/04 & UPI 1/15/03)

Under Ariel Sharon in 1970, Dagan commanded a secret assassination unit of the Israeli Security Agency called Sayaret Rimon that eliminated over 750 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In 1982, he helped command Israel's invasion of Lebanon. His main assignment was to manage undercover infiltrators, and to train Lebanese collaborators for the pro-Israel South Lebanon Army.

Dagan commanded the Lebanon Liasion Unit (Yakal or Yaagal Border Unit) which was notorious for its cross-border raids into Lebanon to kidnap opponents, as well as its secret prison Camp 1391, where detainees were tortured and disappeared. Haaretz alleged Camp 1391 was the prototype for America's Guantanamo facility.

Dagan also operated the IDF Military Intelligence Unit 504, whose expertise was assassination, sabotage and spy running in Lebanon. The Israel Defence Forces call such spy saboteurs "Mista'aravim"- "soldiers disguised as Arabs". Used for clandestine reconnaissance and to frame enemies in false flag operations, these IDF soldiers impersonating Arabs and their proxies are "trained to act and think like Arabs", and to blend in to the target population with appropriate manners and language. (In 2002, this writer encountered at least one such Israeli 'student' who claimed to be in Beirut "learning to think like 'the enemy'".)

One Mista'aravim specialty is the donning of Arab garb. In 1973, Israel's "Spring of Youth Operation" conducted by the IDF Sayaret Matkal in Beirut included future Prime Minister Ehud Barak dressed as an Arab woman while conducting death squad hits. Mista'aravim provocateurs camouflaged as Palestinians are still used in the West Bank and Iraq. Jane's Foreign Report said Mossad's Dagan had advised US officials in September 2002 on how Israeli special ops could help the US war effort in Iraq. Mista'aravim methods were exemplified in Basra where British SAS troops dressed as Arabs in a vehicle loaded with explosives were seized before detonating a car bomb. According to Israeli intelligence expert Ephraim Kahana, Sayaret Matkal is modeled on Britain's SAS.

Mista'aravim also specialize in close quarter urban combat using micro-Uzis, short-barreled M-16s and sniper rifles. Due to fluid street and residential changes, these teams rely on satellite photos and real-time drone imaging- like the complex technique used in the killing of the Majzoub brothers, where overhead drones monitored ground activity via cameras mounted on nearby objects- a level of capability not possessed by Syria.

Concerning the 2006 Lebanon War, DEBKAfiles boasted of other Israeli Mista'aravim successes: "two spy rings of Lebanese agents which the Israeli Mossad" operated had "planted bugs and surveillance equipment at Hizballah command posts before and during the war. They also sprinkled special phosphorus powder outside buildings housing Hizballah's war commands and rocket launchers as markers for air strikes. Well before the war, the Beirut ring had penetrated the inner circles of Hizballah and was reporting on their activities and movements to Israeli controllers… Run by veterans of the South Lebanese Army (the force Israel created during its occupation), its job was to "paint" targets for the Israeli Air Force and artillery.." DEBKAfiles claimed that Lebanon was "heavily penetrated by agents working for Israel intelligence."

One Lebanese in particular, General Adnan Daoud, even appeared on Israeli televsion smiling and drinking tea with IDF soldiers while taking them on a four hour tour of his military base in Marjayoun. An hour after the Israeli soldiers' departure, IDF bombed the Marjayoun site. (AP/Jerusalem Post, 8/7/06)

Regarding yet other Mossad agents DEBKAfiles wrote: "Hizballah's security officials detained two non-Lebanese Arabs wandering around the ruined Dahya district, taking photos and drawing maps. Several forged passports were in their possession…"

All factions concerned with the Hariri killing- the UNIIIC, Stratfor, Hezbollah, Syria, the US, Israel and the Lebanese 'March 14' movement, agree on one thing- the Hariri perpetrator also carried out the other 22 assassinations, and possibly more. Lebanon's Daily Star quoted the FBI: "the same explosive was used in Hawi, Kassir and Hamade crimes" as that used against Hariri. On May 27, 2006 the Daily Star revealed that the killers of Hariri and the Majzoub brothers could be the same: "Internal Security Forces, forensics experts, judiciary police and members of Hizbullah's security apparatus inspected the blast site shortly after the bomb detonated. The shrapnel and iron balls found extensively around the explosion indicate the bomb was a specialized mine to assassinate individuals, and it is similiar to Hawi and Kassir's explosives."

Sources in Lebanon and at the UNIIIC in New York concluded that the same party responsible for Hariri's death and the other Lebanese assassinations also committed the Majzoub killings. In June, Mossad agent Mahmoud Rafea admitted killing the Majzoub brothers for Israel.

But such irrelevant evidence has been deliberately ignored by the UN International Independent Investigation Commission. At the United Nations, this writer questioned various officials over a period of months about a possible US-Israeli role in Hariri's murder, and if it was being investigated by the UNIIIC. Prosecutor Serge Brammertz stated that because the issue wasn't raised by the US/Israeli-backed Lebanese government, that line of enquiry would not be pursued. It seems only facts supporting a guilty verdict against Syria will be considered.

"As far as Israel is concerned, it would be difficult to imagine a more convenient scenario. Its stubborn enemies, Iran and Syria, are now being accused by the international community, one for its nuclear program, the other for its behavior in Lebanon… Israel has hoped for this outcome since the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States in 2001. Immediately after the collapse of the Twin Towers, Israeli officials began to speak about the anticipated change, and expressed a hope that the United States would bring order to the region, and would deal with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and not only Iraq." -Aluf Benn, Haaretz, October 25, 2005

From Baghdad to Beirut, the democracy dominoes keep falling. After Syria, an Iranian "Shah and Awe" forgery is the next imminent threat…

Trish Schuh was a co-founder of the Military Families Support Network and is a member of Military Reporters and Editors. She has lived and studied in Lebanon and Syria. This the third piece in a three part series on the attempted overthrow of Syria. See also "Faking the Case Against Syria" and "Operation Change of Location."

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Commentary :: Local politics

Cherokee Street: Big Controversy Over Tiny Place

You’ve all heard the story by now, Ald. Craig Schmid has a moritorium on liquor licenses for the 20th Ward. You want to sell beer, then you need to have 50% of your revenues from food. In other words, restaurants are OK, bars are not. Enter Steve Smith, owner of The Royale on Kingshighway near Arsenal. Smith wants to open a bar along Cherokee street and and serve no food in the space located at 3227 Cherokee known as “Radio Cherokee.”

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News :: Health issues

Clinical Trial of Intravenous Vitamin C for Cancer Treatment Underway

Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) is now moving forward with unique research on the use of novel agents in the battle against cancer. Taking the daring work of Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling to the next level, researchers are eyeing the impact of high doses of intravenous, or in the vein, Vitamin C on cancer.

The study is being led by Dr. Christopher M. Stephenson, an internal medicine specialist at CTCA Midwestern, Dr. Robert D. Levin, Chief of Medical Oncology at CTCA Midwestern, and Mr. Christopher G. Lis, MPH, Vice President, Research and Development, CTCA.

"This is the first investigational new drug application (IND) approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the history of CTCA," said Lis. "The first few patients have successfully completed the trial, thanks in large part to our clinical staff, particularly our laboratory, pharmacy, and nursing teams." By Gene Koprowski

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Commentary :: Civil and Human Rights

On Coming to Terms with Society

Every human being is required to make a choice; to be controlled by society or else to rebel against it.to allow one's self to have become a slave of the powers that be or to strike back. Ultimately, each of us must figure out how to best cope with society; to become an obedient slave or to challenge the status quo…

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Commentary :: Media : Surveillance/censorship

The Amounts You Have To Pay For A Bomb Scare

Following the recent bomb scare Turner Broadcasting System and a New York marketing firm caused with their advertising campaign around Boston, the two firms agreed to pay $2 million as a compensation to several state and local agencies.

According to Attorney General Martha Coakley, the deal resolves any potential civil or criminal claims against the two companies.

"Last week's events caused a major disruption in the greater Boston area on many levels — crippling public transportation, causing serious traffic problems, negatively affecting local businesses and perhaps most significantly, costing Boston and surrounding communities thousands of dollars," Coakley said.

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Quote-of-the-Moment

An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)
 

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