I don't know if any of you have noticed, but the phrase "Sunni Triangle"
seems to have been summarily replaced by the phrase "triangle of death"
across the board in the media. I wondered how in the heck this
happened, how journalism could go from an even keeled phrase to a
jingoistic one. So I traced the history of the phrase "triangle of
death" in lexis/nexis, and here are the results:

1st reference:
Copyright 1982 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press

These materials may not be republished without the express written
of The Associated Press

August 17, 1982, Tuesday, PM cycle

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 81 words


Interior Minister Virginio Rognoni announced that police reinforcements
will be sent to the island of Sicily to fight the growing number of
attacks by the Mafia.

The government has ordered an anti-Mafia campaign following a string of
murders _ including 14 in one week _ carried out by rival gangs in the
so-called Triangle of Death, the towns of Bagheria, Villabbate and
Casteldaccia southeast of Palermo. There have been 92 Mafia murders in
the Palermo area so far this year.

Then, in 1984, the "triangle of death" moves to Guatemala, out of crime
Into the realm of armed insurrection/terrorism:

Copyright 1984 U.P.I.

United Press International

July 21, 1984, Saturday, BC cycle

ADVANCED-DATE: July 19, 1984, Thursday, BC cycle

SECTION: International

LENGTH: 718 words

Report from Guatemala;
Mayas, once ignored, moved to''model villages'' by army



The Guatemalan army, acting to consolidate a near total victory over
leftist guerrillas, is moving many Indian peasants to ''model villages''
in what could lead to the final conquest of the proud Mayas.

In the mist-shrouded mountains of Quiche province 78 miles northwest of
Guatemala City sits Acul, the first of the new towns built with Indian
labor under army supervision.

Acul lies between the Quiche towns of Nebaj, Chajul and Cotzal, which
form the points of a region that was dubbed the ''Triangle of Death'' during
a bloody counterinsurgency three years ago. Other model towns have been
built along the Mexican border.

Then, in 1986, the fatal polygon moves from terrorism to natural
disasters, and takes residence in China

Copyright 1986 U.P.I.

United Press International

July 27, 1986, Sunday, BC cycle

ADVANCED-DATE: July 21, 1986, Monday, BC cycle

SECTION: International

LENGTH: 1050 words

HEADLINE: Tangshan quake: Nature, man combine in disaster



Tears welled up in an old woman's eyes as she recalled the hot July
night 10 years ago when the sky filled with thunder, the earth convulsed and
242,000 people were left dead or dying in 23 terrifying seconds.

''Everyone here has a story to tell,'' whispered a young municipal
official as he watched the old woman fight back tears. ''No one who
lived through that earthquake has forgotten.''

Nevertheless, a decade after one of the worst earthquakes in history
demolished the city of Tangshan, the full story of what happened has yet
to emerge.

Tangshan residents tell of an eerie light in the northwest sky and a
sound ''just like 100 steam engines whistling'' that pierced the pre-dawn
stillness just before the temblor struck at 3:42 a.m.

Most of the city's 1 million residents were sound asleep, which
accounted for the huge death toll. About 148,000 people died in Tangshan itself.
The other 94,000 casualites occurred in a densely populated ''triangle of
death'' bordered by Tangshan and the cities of Tianjin and Peking, 162
miles to the west.

After getting homesick, the triangle of death moves from China back to
its homeland in Italy and invests itself again in the business of
terrorism, but rather than returning to Sicily it takes residence in

Copyright 1987 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press

These materials may not be republished without the express written
consent of The Associated Press

June 9, 1987, Tuesday, AM cycle

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 366 words

HEADLINE: U.S. Embassy Sits in Target Area of Terrorists


The U.S. Embassy, the target on Tuesday of car bomb and rocket attacks,
sits at the heart of what is known as "the triangle of death," an area
of Rome whose embassies, airline offices and popular tourist cafes made it
a favorite terrorist target.

The area is a prime piece of Rome real estate shaped like an ice cream
cone, with the two straight sides of the cone being Via Bissolati and
Via Barberini and the top of the ice cream being curving, hilly Via Veneto.

Back to Sicily

Copyright 1988 U.P.I.

United Press International

January 12, 1988, Tuesday, AM cycle

SECTION: International

LENGTH: 484 words

HEADLINE: Police raid Mafia strongholds in Sicily


More than 600 paramilitary police backed by helicopters and dogs Tuesday
conducted dawn raids on Mafia strongholds in an area known as the
''Triangle of Death,'' officials said.

In 1988 it is revealed that the deadly shape had actually been
lurking in a Cuban jail for years

Copyright 1988 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press

These materials may not be republished without the express written
consent of The Associated Press

August 10, 1988, Wednesday, AM cycle

SECTION: Washington Dateline

LENGTH: 450 words

HEADLINE: Human Rights Ambassador Accuses Castro Of Cover-Up

BYLINE: By DAVID BRISCOE, Associated Press Writer


Cuban jails where political prisoners have been kept naked in windowless
rooms are being altered to make them appear more humane to outside
investigators, a U.S. human rights official said Wednesday.

Ambassador Armando Valladares, U.S. representative to the U.N. Human
Rights Commission, made the accusation and released photographs of
prisoners and their cells he said were smuggled out of one prison by
Cuban dissidents.

Valladares, who himself was a prisoner of Cuban leader Fidel Castro for
22 years before he was released in 1982 and allowed to emigrate to the
United States, said some of the worst jail cells have been dismantled in a
prison near Havana but others remain in more than 200 jails throughout the

"Real changes are not possible, because that would mean the end of the
dictatorship," said Valladares, speaking in Spanish through a
translator. He was appointed to the Geneva-based human rights commission by
President Reagan earlier this year. Castro expressed outrage at the appointment,
labeling Valladares a terrorist.

The photos showed a wall of windowless metal doors and the interior of
dank cells with hole-in-the-floor toilets. Valladares said the cells,
including one dubbed "the triangle of death," were all torn down shortly
after the pictures were taken.

suddenly, the phrase shifts from terrorism to substance abuse:

Copyright 1989 PR Newswire Association, Inc.
PR Newswire

June 7, 1989, Wednesday


LENGTH: 576 words


Dick Gregory and Father George Clements announced today that they would
begin a 40-day fast to highlight America's drug crisis.

"We're appealing to America," said Gregory, "to join with us in a major
effort to mobilize this nation to new heights of concern and
consciousness in the war against drugs."

At a news conference held at the Security National Bank in Shrevesport,
Gregory was joined by Chicagoan Clements, founder of One Church, One
Child, a nationally acclaimed child adoption organization, and Wesley
Godfrey, president of Security National Bank.

"The drug crisis deserves serious attention from all Americans who wish
to reach out and touch the victims of drugs," said Clements. "Only our
caring and our love can alleviate the pain and suffering drugs have afflicted
on all of us.

"Who among us," said Clements, "what family, what neighborhood, has not
been touched by the ugly presence of drugs, the nicotine habit or
alcohol addiction."

Gregory called drugs, nicotine and alcohol "a triangle of death." "Its
destruction respects no boundary," he said. "It transcends ideological
differences, it strikes the extremely gifted, the rich and famous, the
poverty stricken: It is a cause of broken families and obliges wayward

clearly the triangle of death is becoming a sort of catch-all foreboding
phrase, clearly based on the Bermuda triangle. It's in two places in
Italy, not only in terrorism but also in natural disasters, substance
abuse, and inevitably, by 1989, love triangles. Then it makes its move
to the Islamic world, particularly in relation to "Fundamentalists" in
Algeria, in the post-Soviet looking-for the-new-official-enemy 1992:

Copyright 1992 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press

These materials may not be republished without the express written
consent of The Associated Press

February 24, 1992, Monday, PM cycle

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 291 words

HEADLINE: Fundamentalists Claim 30,000 Arrested in Crackdown


Muslim fundamentalists today claimed 30,000 people have been arrested in
the crackdown on their movement by the military-backed government.
The fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front said 150 people have been
killed and 700 injured in violence since the government seized power
last month.

The Friday Tribune, a Salvation Front newsletter, published the figures
covering the last 30 days. Among those reported held were 200
fundamentalist mayors, 28 regional assembly leaders and 109
parliamentary deputies.

Fundamentalists previously said 14,000 people were arrested Feb. 7-14
during confrontations between party faithful and security forces.
According to the government, 50 people were killed, 200 injured and
5,000 arrested in that period. The government has issued no overall figures on
detentions and casualties.

The Salvation Front newsletter said 43 women were arrested. It said some
former soldiers were detained, but provided no details.

The fundamentalists said the dead included seven babies smothered by
tear gas and an infant who was shot.

Military leaders declared a state of emergency Feb. 9, about a month
after forcing the president to resign and canceling elections that seemed
certain to give fundamentalists control of Parliament.

The ruling High State Committee has begun proceedings to ban the Islamic
Salvation Front while arresting most of its leaders and many supporters.

Officials have established detention camps throughout the country,
including at least three in the Sahara Desert.

The Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights on Sunday urged that
the detainees be freed before April, when desert temperatures can reach
122 degrees. The league said the desert camps are in the "triangle of

Sudan, 1993, but for famine (which kicks off some rather nasty stuff)

Copyright 1993 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press

View Related Topics

These materials may not be republished without the express written
of The Associated Press

April 6, 1993, Tuesday, AM cycle

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 500 words

HEADLINE: Second Town in a Week Left Without Relief Flights

BYLINE: Associated Press Writer


Factional fighting forced relief workers to abandon another town in a
famine-stricken region of southern Sudan that aid agencies call "the
triangle of death."

Still in Algeria, it appears the killer form is beginning to take
on a meaning attached to terrorism rather than any fixed geographic

Copyright 1994 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse -- English

October 10, 1994 07:43 Eastern Time

SECTION: International news

LENGTH: 734 words

HEADLINE: Suspected Islamists kill more Algerian security officials


Suspected Islamic fundamentalists at the weekend murdered a Algerian
justice ministry official in the prison service and a chief inspector of
police in the capital Algiers, press reports said Monday.

The official, Nourredine Chenoun, 28, was gunned down in the suburb of
Hussein Dey on Saturday and the police officer, Redouane Kermal, 55, was
killed on Sunday, the latest reported victims of a new wave of attacks
on security agents in the Algiers region.

No official toll was available Monday of the number of security
officials and police slain in recent days, according to witnesses and press
reports, in attacks blamed on armed Moslem extremists fighting the secular

Meanwhile Monday, the daily En-Nahar reported that leaders of the most
radical of the factions, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) recently met to
appoint Abou Khalil Mahfoud, the former guerrilla chief in the so-called
"Triangle of Death" in the Algiers region, new head of the GIA.

Finally, a well-defined region of terrorism, in Algeria, of course:
Copyright 1995 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Deutsche Presse-Agentur

January 19, 1995, Thursday, BC Cycle
19:30 Central European Time

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 159 words

HEADLINE: 2 killed, 6 wounded in Algerian bomb blasts


Two civilians were killed and a member of the Algerian security forces
badly wounded in a bomb blast south of Algiers, reports said Thursday.
Five others were injured in a separate explosion.

The first blast happened at Bougara, near Blida, about 40 kilometres
south of the capital. The bomb was planted on a corpse and exploded when it
was turned over, the official APS news agency said. It did not say when the
incident happened.

Bougara is situated in what has become known as Algeria's "triangle of
death" formed by the cities of Algiers, Blida and Larbaa. The region has
been the scene of some brutal attacks over the last few months. Two
young men were recently beheaded in front of a mosque in the area.

Now it's spreading throughout central asia, moving to the
part of our world (note the "some people say" element)

Copyright 1996 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Deutsche Presse-Agentur

March 4, 1996, Monday, BC Cycle
13:08 Central European Time

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 196 words

HEADLINE: Iran rejects U.S. claims on drugs production


U.S. claims linking Iran to drug production are without foundation, the
head of Teheran's anti-narcotics campaign was quoted Monday as saying.

Qodratollah Assadi told the Teheran Times the allegations were
politically motivated and in line with Washington's "hostile policies" towards the
Islamic Republic.

The U.S. assistant secretary of state, Robert Gelbard, has accused Iran
and some other countries of failing to make adequate efforts in fighting
drug trafficking. In a report by the State Department, Iran was also
listed as a major drug producing and transit country.

Assadi said Iranian activities against drug trafficking had been
acknowledged by international organizations, such as the United Nations
Drug Control Programme.

He said Iran had set up 170 control posts along the 1,700-kilometre
border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is called the "Triangle of Death"
in Iran because it is where most of the region's druck trafficking occurs.

for 1996 through 1999 the triangle is firmly planted in Algeria, albiet
with a brief appearance as a polluter in N Vietnam and a love triangle
murder in New Brunswick NJ; but the new millenium brings with it a new location,
this time in Bolivia:
Copyright 2000 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Deutsche Presse-Agentur

January 26, 2000, Wednesday BC Cycle
02:45 Central European Time

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 116 words

HEADLINE: At least 18 dead, 7 injured in fighting between Indians


Fighting over land rights between Indians in Bolivia has killed at least
18 people, including five children, and injured seven more, media
reports said Tuesday.

Clashes broke out Sunday, when about 1,000 Indians from the village of
Sora Sora in Oruro surrounded the neighbouring area of Potosi, shooting
as they forced their way in. Since then, 25 houses have been destroyed and
70 livestock animals, including llamas and lambs, have been stolen.

Potosi's Indians have sworn to avenge the deaths of their villagers and
are demanding the return of their livestock. The region, nicknamed the
"triangle of death" is the scene of frequent such disputes, as property
borders are unclear. dpa mr

There's a brief appearance in Sao Paolo Brazil in 2000, and Rome once
again becomes a home for it; interestingly another news feed refers to a
WWII usage of the phrase, applied to the Nazis bu our GIs, of course:
Copyright 2001 Newhouse News Service
All Rights Reserved
Newhouse News Service

February 8, 2001 Thursday


LENGTH: 1113 words

HEADLINE: African-American Hero Earned Not Only Medal, But Apology

BYLINE: By ELIZABETH MULLENER; Elizabeth Mullener is a staff writer for
The Times-Picayune of New Orleans

Vernon Baker woke up long before dawn on April 5, 1945, in a stone
farmhouse near Pisa, Italy. He thought it might be his last day on

So he gathered two bandoliers of ammunition and four grenades, mustered
up some coffee, and put on his dress green Army uniform.

"If I wasn't going to make it," Baker says, "I wanted to go out sharp."

His sense of doom that morning derived from the mission that lay ahead:
to take the Castle Aghinolfi, a German stronghold atop a nearby hill.

For four months, the Americans had been hammering away at the castle,
but the Germans had repulsed every onslaught. They were sitting pretty, just
as they were on two nearby hilltops that together impeded the Allies'
march north toward Germany. The Army had named them Hills X, Y and Z.
But the soldiers called them the Triangle of Death.

New-found enthusiasm for the phrase, in Liberia:

Copyright 2001 Financial Times Information
All rights reserved
Global News Wire
Copyright 2001 Panafrican News Agency
Panafrican News Agency (PANA) Daily Newswire

June 11, 2001

LENGTH: 437 words



Monrovia, Liberia (PANA)- The Mano River Women Peace Network (MARWOPNET)
is calling on leaders of the region to "urgently dialogue on the
deteriorating security" of the sub-region, a statement published here
Monday said.

The women renewed their appeal to the leaders of Guinea, Liberia and
Sierra Leone, which make up the Mano River Union (MRU), to implement the
15th protocol of 8 May 2000 on peace and security the three leaders

MARWOPNET, comprising women from the three states, said it wanted the
leadersto reactivate the Mano River Union (MRU) secretariat and
implement the MRU Declaration.

Over 40 women from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been here
attending a week-long workshop on peace-building and leadership

The women resolved to intensify their Society-Liberia-Women efforts to
bring peace and reconciliation, and to encourage and engage in dialogue
at all levels until peace is restored to the sub-region.

They appealed to the international community to "join in ensuring a
stable, healthy and peaceful environment for ourselves and our

MARWOPNET, the statement said, was formed in Abuja, Nigeria May 2000 for
the purpose of networking and collaborating in the quest for peace,
protection of human rights and development in the MRU basin.

It was officially launched at the weekend in Monrovia and its officers
elected and inducted into office.

Madam Kaba Hadja Daraba of Guinea was elected president, Theresa Sherman
of Liberia, first vice president and Agnes Taylor-Louise of Sierra
Leone, second vice president.

Sierra Leone will serve as the seat of the MARWOPNET secretariat.

Ruth Caesar of Liberia is chairman on resource mobilisation, former
ambassador to Liberia and Sierra Leone, Danke Daikhabi of Guinea, is
chairperson on advocacy.

Rosaline M'Carthy of Sierra Leone heads the programme committee,
Davidetta Lansanah of Liberia chairs the communication and media committee, while
Georgette Safo chairs resource management and finance.

Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have been entangled in a web of
accusations and counter-accusations about each other harbouring
dissidents to destabilise the other.

The other two MRU states have repeatedly charged Liberia's president
Charles Taylor was supporting rebel activities in their countries, but
Taylor, a former rebel, retorts by laying the same charge at their feet.

The MRU, which is an economic grouping, has as a result of rebel
activities been thrown into a triangle of death and destruction, spewing
out one of the largest refugee crisis in recent years, UNHCR officials

...in american prisons:
Copyright 2001 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
The Charlotte Observer

June 21, 2001, Thursday



LENGTH: 745 words

HEADLINE: Social activism is Wednesday's topic at Baptist national

BYLINE: By Tim Funk, Ken Garfield and Jay Parsons

CHARLOTTE, N.C._Baptists on Wednesday began heeding one pastor's call
for African American churches to return to their activist roots.

"You've got to hit the streets and raise hell just like you did with
civil rights," said pastor Tom Diamond of Jacksonville, Fla. "History has
shown that nothing happens in this country unless the church takes aggressive

Some 60,000 Baptists are in town this week to learn more about what the
Bible says. Organizers of the National Baptist Convention USA's Congress
of Christian Education have upped earlier crowd estimates by 10,000.
That's probably not surprising to uptown commuters caught in traffic
jams and long restaurant lines this week.

A powerful strain running through many of the 200 programs is that it's
not enough to learn about Scripture. At a workshop on HIV/AIDS
ministries, and at an outdoor service off South Tryon Street, the focus was on
putting the Scripture into practice.

After the AIDS workshop, Diamond said he's going home to Jacksonville to
start a hunger strike until city officials pay more attention to the
issue in the black community.

After a class on courage, the Rev. James Magee Jr. said he's headed back
to Moss Point, Miss., to promote an anti-smoking program for youth _
even if it raises rancor in his tobacco-rich state.

"We've got to stop being afraid," Magee said. "This is the Lord's work."

All over the packed Charlotte Convention Center, pastors and lay leaders
talked about congregations becoming more aggressive and creative.

The Rev. Clifford Jones of Charlotte's Friendship Missionary Baptist _
official host of the convention _ said his church is planning housing
for the elderly at its Beatties Ford Road campus.

At the HIV/AIDS workshop, Miami pastor George McRae said it's time
churches dealt with what he called the "triangle of death" _ AIDS,
substance abuse and so many black men in prison. The only way to do
that, he said, is to get past the fear of dealing with real issues.

...Rouvray, France, for a wine tasting and love triangle murder, and
then back to terrorism, in the West Bank in 2003:
Copyright 2003 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse -- English

July 10, 2003 Thursday

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 563 words

HEADLINE: In eye of storm, Palestinian summer camp offers kids reprieve
from war


DATELINE: RAMALLAH, West Bank, July 10

Some 300 Palestinian children have set up their summer camp halfway
between the Palestinian town of El-Bireh and the Jewish settlement of
Psagot, in an area of the West Bank once described as the "triangle of

And so, finally, at long last, our first appearance of the triangle in
Iraq, courtesy of ONASA, a Bosnian news source:
Copyright 2003 Financial Times Information
All rights reserved
Global News Wire
Copyright 2003 ONASA News Agency
ONASA News Agency

September 17, 2003

LENGTH: 568 words



FALLUJAH, Iraq, Sept 17 (ONASA - AFP) - On a pedestal still bearing the
outlines of a portrait of Saddam Hussein, flyers have sprouted that warn
drivers to stay away from US convoys. Watch out: you're nearing the
"triangle of death." It's a small intersection west of Baghdad linking
the towns of Fallujah, Khaldiyah and Ramadi, and the Habbaniyah Lake, an
area that has seen frequent attacks on US convoys as well as local score
settling. Here was where the police chief of Khaldiya met his death
Monday, cut down by three masked gunmen who riddled his car with bullets
as he was returning to Fallujah, a Sunni hotspot 50 kilometers (30
miles) west of Baghdad. Khaldiyah police sergeant Fuad Fadel, who was wounded
in the attack, knows the area well: "It's the spot the people call the
triangle of death."

Agence Presse France really picks up on it and sticks to it like melted
brie on a baguette immediately after the ONASA story; it is not until
October 23 that it is picked up by an American feed, Wasshington DC's
own UPI, on 27 October 2004, in an article on the Black Watch:
Copyright 2004 U.P.I.
United Press International

October 27, 2004 Wednesday

LENGTH: 899 words

HEADLINE: UPI NewsTrack TopNews

British troops on the move in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Some 850 of Britain's Black Watch troops set
out from the southern Iraqi city of Basra Wednesday to replace U.S. troops
south of Baghdad.

The group includes three companies of armored infantry with some 500 men
and 50 Warrior armored troop carriers. They will be supported by a
reconnaissance unit from the largely Welsh Queen's Dragoon Guards, with
around 100 men and 12 Scimitar armored fighting vehicles, and a
50-strong Royal Marine light infantry unit.

The area they are moving into is dubbed the "triangle of death," and
includes towns like Mahmoudia and Latifiya.

A lot of journalists in the UK must have picked up on that story,
because within 48 hours, because the UK-based Press Association picks it up the
same day. Between that UPI article in October and the current date, the
phrases is used in relation to Iraq twice as many times as that same
phrase was used in any other way over the last decade, and nearly as
many times at it had been used in years previous, as far back as Lexis/Nexis
news feed goes back.

But outside the news feeds, there's an appearance of the phrase in
reference to Iraq, back in 1991, in The Independent (UK):
Copyright 1991 Newspaper Publishing PLC
The Independent (London)

June 16, 1991, Sunday


LENGTH: 1193 words

HEADLINE: Trapped in Saddam's triangle of death; Thousands die in


''IT IS a triangle of death. First, they were dying of disease, then of
hunger. Now, the marshland triangle has become a killing zone.''


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