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Police say man shot woman as they had sex
An Epsom man who told police he accidentally shot his girlfriend in the head while they were bumping bellies having sex Thursday night was arraigned yesterday on second-degree assault charges. Keith Levesque, 25, told authorities he shot Sarah Pickard, 18, in his apartment, which she shares with him. She was listed in serious condition at Concord Hospital late yesterday afternoon. Pickard had asked Levesque to hold the loaded gun to her head while she went for a meat ride they had sex, Levesque told police.
"Hide the baloney with you? Maybe if you held a loaded gun to my head..."
During an interview at Concord Hospital, Pickard told New Hampshire State Police Detective Fred Lulka that she had asked Levesque to get a gun and put it to her head while they were wetting the doinker having sexual intercourse, Farrin said in an affidavit filed in district court. Levesque told police he pulled the hammer back on the pistol and it discharged, according to the affidavit. Levesque also told police it was the third time the two had used a firearm in this type of situation, Farrin said.
Kinky-y-y-y-y. But I think I'd switch to sucking toes, if I was him...
Pickard has been living with Levesque for the last several weeks, according to Jeff Strelzin, an assistant New Hampshire attorney general.
Important safety tip here: If you're making whoopee, leave the safety on...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 06:59 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [756 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Just a Monica flashback: But since when did holding a loaded gun to my head refer to a REAL firearm?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 19:24 Comments || Top||

#2  Damn! Talk about unsafe sex acts!
Posted by: BarCodeKing || 02/01/2003 20:28 Comments || Top||

#3  For Y'all who don't get HBO, this was the preferred method of making love for Richie Aprile and Janice Soprano. Ane he asked her to marry him. (See year three DVDs)
Posted by: Penguin || 02/01/2003 21:11 Comments || Top||


Afghanistan
Afghan Laws Will Blend Freedom With Islam?
Source: NNI
The Afghanistan minister of justice told a US panel on religious liberty that the Islam incorporated into a new Afghan constitution will allow for international standards of human rights and freedom of conscience. "It is very difficult in our society to say we are not going to reflect religion in our constitution," Abdul Rahim Karimi said during an all-day forum with the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Washington Post reported. While some Islamic principles "are rigid," other rules of religion "are changable," and so the drafters of new laws for Afghanistan hope to mirror "all the standards and norms of the international community," he said through an interpreter.
Like freedom of religion?
The forum, held by the congressionally established commission a year after US forces expelled the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, revealed the complexity of efforts to rebuild the war-torn state and allow Western-style rights in an Islamic culture. "There are questions about whether the United States will forget Afghanistan if we move forward on Iraq," said Zalmay Khalilzad, President Bush's envoy to Afghanistan. "I can unequivocally tell you that will not be the case."
If they concentrate on being "Islamic" rather than being a "Republic," we can write them off as a total loss with no insurance and save our money.
Mavis Leno of the Feminist Majority's Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls said [the Taliban's] approach to women still holds sway in many places. "The Taliban are not gone, and ... they will try to reassert themselves into power, and some of them have already succeeded," she said. Miss Leno, who noted that the 1964 Afghanistan constitution included equality for women even before women in Switzerland could vote, said new legal and political rules must allow women to go to court and to run for public office. "When a society is stable, it is much easier for women to apply their rights."
Isn't that Jay Leno's wife? I'm glad to hear they're calling in real experts on the subject...
Under Afghanistan's 1964 constitution, once called the envy of Muslim nations, minorities such as Sikhs, Hindus and Shi'ite Muslims were left in peace, though local customs tended to dominate more than the national rules.
So the Pashtuns killed them when they could get away with it...
While the new Afghan constitution will enforce Islamic law, or Sharia, some Afghan leaders and human rights observers hope it takes a modern approach.
There ain't no such animal.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 12:00 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [357 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yup. That is Mrs. Jay Leno. Mavis was put into an interesting bind as she and her colleagues were way ahead of the curve in demanding the international community "do something" about the Taliban.
After 9/11, when the US and allies did do something, many of Mavis' lefty buddies reverted to their default anti-American stance ("Do Something But Don't Do Something!!!")
To her credit, Mavis has stuck in there although she will criticize the Bush Administration (you wanna stay on your Hollywood pals' dinner party invite list, after all).
Still, most of her criticisms are principled and based on a knowledge of the topic and so it is useful dissent which is more than can be said of 99% of La-La land.
Posted by: JDB || 02/02/2003 0:05 Comments || Top||

#2  Mrs. Leno is a fine woman. Her desire is to improve the lives of women in a backwater country. This is a commendable position. She is not supporting the Women of Afghanistan because it will get her into better parties, but because its the right thing to do. She is not a celebrity or "movie star", she will not get better movies or parts in plays as a result of her actions, nor does she seek them. She does recognize that her name can bring attention to a subject, and she uses that to help other people. She was way ahead of the curve on her position on the situation of women in the third world and afganistan in particular. I dont expect (or want) everyone to be "Pro-bush" but I do wish that more people from both sides had her character.

She is to be commended. Mr. Leno did just fine when he married her.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/02/2003 0:45 Comments || Top||


Call To Remove Afghan Chief Justice To Restore Order
Source: NNI
An international think-tank has called for removal of Afghanistan's chief justice, as part of a push to reestablish the rule of law in post-Taliban Afghanistan. In a new report, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group urges Afghan president Hamid Karzai to retire Chief Justice Fazi Hadi Shinwari. The report says Shinwari, who was first appointed in December 2001, does not have formal training in secular law. His training, like that of dozens of other judges, is believed to be limited to religious law. The group says Shinwari has expanded the number of Afghan judges from nine to 137 by placing allies in key positions. The report said those appointments, plus the establishment of a government ministry to promote Islamic virtue, are fueling fears that the judicial system has been taken over by hard-liners who will not be responsive to the will of the Afghan people.
Naturally. The fundos in Afghanistan are determined to keep the "Islamic Republic" thing going. Nobody ever said that would be an easy hold to break...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 11:52 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [331 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It is not that simple. Shinwari announced the restoration of sharia on Jan. 12, 2002, or one week before the Saudis restored aid. Incidently, his Taleban predecessor was set free after Bush imposed armistice arrangements on the Northern Alliance. Shinwari is well aware that the current U.S. President has no moral agenda; he is in it for the money. He will be well compensated for his Iraqi service to his Saudi paymasters. Let this link penetrate your thick Republican skulls: www.arabview.com/article.asp?artID=55 The price of freedom is eternal vigilence.








Posted by: Anonymous || 02/02/2003 1:29 Comments || Top||


Europe
UK forces chief ’was terror target’
Italian police are investigating claims that terror suspects may have been targeting Britain's most senior military official.
A la Ahmed Shah Massood
A newspaper photograph of Britain's Chief of Defence staff, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, circled in red was reportedly discovered along with explosives during a raid in the southern city of Naples. It is understood Sir Michael is due to visit Nato's southern headquarters in the city later this month.

Italian police arrested 28 Pakistani terror suspects in a flat in Naples on Friday. The men were charged with association with international terrorism, illegal possession of explosive material and falsification of documents.

The men aged between 20 and 48 were found with enough explosives to blow up a three-storey building and with 100 mobile phones in a routine check for illegal immigrants, officials said.

A spokesman at Naples police headquarters said: "We are treating very seriously the discovery of a newspaper with a ringed photograph of Sir Michael Boyce."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman could not confirm the threat but said: "In his position, Sir Michael knows he must be a possible target for terrorists. "I am sure any relevant information would be assessed by his security advisers who would decide whether any changes in arrangements are necessary."
Posted by: Paul || 02/01/2003 10:08 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [257 views] Top|| File under:


Fifth Column
US Muslims seek UN help against govt bias
The American Muslim Council on Friday asked UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to conduct an inquiry into the "political repression of Muslim and Arab and Asian Americans by the United States government." In a letter sent to the UN Chief, the Executive Director of AMC, Eric Erfan Vickers cited six examples of political repression by the US government, including the new INS policy targeting Muslim countries. Vickers said: "Our hope is that if the UN can shine some world light on the 'un-American' practices of the US government, then perhaps this country can begin to right itself." Vickers told Annan that the AMC was seeking his intervention "because all our frequent calls on America's political leaders to cease the government's religious and ethnic profiling have fallen on deaf ears."
That indicates that the American gummint is not suicidal...
"Thus, regrettably, the American citizens victimized by this repression must look to the world outside for relief from these shameful and undemocratic practices by our government," he added. Mr Vickers said: "We have no illusions about the power of the UN to inquire into wrongs by the US. However, our hope is that if the UN can shine some world light on these 'un-American' practices by the US."
I don't think squalling to the UN is the way to make a case. If Kofi were to try and do anything with this, that would make matters even worse. I don't think the UN is well-beloved in many circles right now — maybe even less well-beloved than the AMC, in fact...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 12:51 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [329 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I love how the "American Muslim Council" feels qualified to represent all Asian Americans! I really don't believe Asian Americans feel repressed all. They sure haven't been complaining much, and they all seem pretty well-integrated into American society; excelling in both education and economic endeavors....
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 02/01/2003 14:08 Comments || Top||

#2  I think the AMC is referring to Muslims of Pakistani origin as opposed to the Middle Eastern Arabs and Persians. Brits often refer to Pakistanis and Indians as "Asians" whereas we call them simply "Pakistanis and Indians" and reserve "Asian" for "Orientals", e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, etc.
Posted by: JDB || 02/02/2003 0:44 Comments || Top||


Arundhati asks: 'What Can We Do?'
By Arundhati Roy, Outlook From India
I’ve been asked to speak about "How to confront Empire?" It’s a huge question, and I have no easy answers. When we speak of confronting "Empire," we need to identify what "Empire" means. Does it mean the U.S. Government (and its European satellites), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and multinational corporations? Or is it something more than that?
Or do you have any idea at all what you're talking about?
In many countries, Empire has sprouted other subsidiary heads, some dangerous byproducts — nationalism, religious bigotry, fascism and, of course terrorism. All these march arm in arm with the project of corporate globalization.
Horrors! Not globalization!
Let me illustrate what I mean. India — the world’s biggest democracy — is currently at the forefront of the corporate globalization project. Its "market" of one billion people is being prized open by the WTO. Corporatization and Privatization are being welcomed by the Government and the Indian elite...
And we don't have to worry about the "starving children in India" anymore. Funny, how that works.

So what do you think should be done, Arundhati?..

We can hone our memory, we can learn from our history. We can continue to build public opinion until it becomes a deafening roar.
A deafening roar of childish nattering...
We can turn the war on Iraq into a fishbowl of the U.S. government’s excesses. We can expose George Bush and Tony Blair — and their allies — for the cowardly baby killers, water poisoners, and pusillanimous long-distance bombers that they are.
Rather than the close up, personal, slicers of heads who're their opponents. Would you like some of this baby, by the way? It's really tasty...
We can re-invent civil disobedience in a million different ways. In other words, we can come up with a million ways of becoming a collective pain in the ass.
Ahah! Honesty! She wants to be a hemorrhoid! Strive for excellence, I always say...
When George Bush says "you’re either with us, or you are with the terrorists" we can say "No thank you." We can let him know that the people of the world do not need to choose between a Malevolent Mickey Mouse and the Mad Mullahs.
The Mad Mullahs want to kill witless wonders like Arundhati because they're infidels. It doesn't matter whether she wants to play or not. They didn't ask her if she wanted to play.
Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness — and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.
Our strategy, on the other hand, should be not only to confront Evil, to deprive it of its leadership as well as its cannon fodder. To kill it, doorknob dead. But also to mock it, and to mock the naysayers and fellow travellers, the holier-than-thou set, the cryptocommies, the backward, the ignorant, and the stupid — people like Arundhati Roy, in fact. ("Brilliance", my ass!)
The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few.They need us more than we need them. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.
"If we close our eyes really, really tight, the killers and torturers won't see us. And we should fight really, really hard against the West and its values, because the West won't cut our heads off."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 01:14 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [316 views] Top|| File under:

#1  How can we even begin to deal with someone like this self-important destructive fool on an adult basis? I don't live on the same planet as her
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 14:27 Comments || Top||

#2  We see here one face of humanity; Arundhati Roy, a smug, self-satisfied, self-serving pseudo-intellectual coward who would rather kneel in submission to the forces of reaction than bother her fat ass (and she's a porker!) to extend the most minor benefits of 21st Century to her impoverished countrymen.
On the other hand, we also see today an Indian woman named Kalpana Chawala, who was bright, beautiful, brave, and willing to sacrifice her life on the Columbia for the betterment of humanity.
Ms Chawala is dead and Ms Roy is sitting down to her third helping of dessert. I hope she chokes on it.
Posted by: JDB || 02/02/2003 1:04 Comments || Top||


Great White North
Canada turns away Pakistanis fleeing United States
Canada has begun sending back Pakistanis from the United States who arrive at border crossings seeking refuge. The crackdown began Thursday, one day after CNN and the Washington Post reported hundreds of Pakistanis, many carrying all their belongings and leading small children, were walking in subfreezing temperatures across the U.S. border to ask for amnesty in Canada. Men from Pakistan face a February 21 deadline to register with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service under a new program that tracks their whereabouts.
"Registration line's on the left. Please leave your weapons at the door..."
Many of the immigrants have visas or full residency in the United States, but they have been panicked by stories that Pakistanis who show up to comply with the new INS requirements have been detained for months on minor technical violations, then deported without their children. At some border crossings, Canada had been accepting the Pakistani immigrants' asylum applications and letting them enter the country within hours. As of Thursday, though, all border crossings began sending them back to U.S. immigration authorities, said Rene Mercier of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. They are given appointments to return to Canada, where they can be considered for asylum, but U.S. immigration authorities can choose to detain or deport them if they find cause to do so.
It's that liking for phoney documents. Gets 'em every time...
Mercier said Canada's policy calls for immigrants to be sent back with appointments to return when border crossings become overwhelmed by one group. The border crossing between Plattsburgh, New York, and Montreal, which had seen about 100 Pakistanis last year, has seen about 200 since January 1. Ronald Blanchet, who runs that border crossing and implemented the crackdown Thursday, said he sent back 39 Pakistanis that day and another 33 Friday afternoon.
Kinda makes you wonder how many have important things to hide, doesn't it? I sure hope the Kennedy crowd doesn't manage to kill his measure...
Salvation Army Capt. Dennis Cregan said his Plattsburgh office was packed with Pakistani families sleeping on the floor. He said he was asking agencies in nearby Vermont for help. He said many of the Pakistanis said family members were detained and deported by U.S. immigration officials after being sent back from Canada. Those who did not have a family member detained planned to return to Canada for their appointments to apply for asylum.
Sounds like an exodus of guilty consciences...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 06:35 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:


India-Pakistan
Rangers take it out on the Mazaris
MULTAN, Jan 31: According to sources in the area, rangers raided the house of Wadera Ghulam Husain Mazari on Friday noon and took into custody his young son Basheer who was carrying an AK-47 rifle. Basheer reportedly produced his arms licence but to no avail. The rangers sent his and his three companions - Ata, Ameer Jan and Pir Bakhsh - to Shahwali police station. They were, however, released in the evening but under the condition not to carry even their licenced arms in public.
Damn. Now they won't be able to get dates.
Basheer Mazari accused the government of making them scapegoat after failing to check Bugti tribesmen. "The government wants us to fall prey to the Bugtis attack without any resistance," infuriated Basheer said.
"Them damn' Bugti varmints gets t'keep their shootin' arns! Why cain't we?"
Meanwhile, the police have failed to recover the officials allegedly kidnapped by Bugti tribesmen six days ago from Indus highway in the Rojhan police station area. Police sources said Wadera Sardar Khan Khirzani had been approached to mediate between police and the outlaws to secure the release of the officials. It is learnt that the kidnappers belonged to Lal-Chimu gang which has its headquarters in the hills of Dera Bugti, close to the Punjab-Balochistan border. Sources said it seemed that the officials' released could be secured only by paying ransom to the kidnappers. They said even last time the police had to pay ransom to get back the official vehicle of the Rajanpur police chief some two years ago.
Ohfergawdsake.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 01:01 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [342 views] Top|| File under:

#1  What is this? The Rajanpur version of Barney Fife? Punjab-Balochistan is a happenin' place, huh?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 14:30 Comments || Top||

#2  The mess-a-rounds and the Bugtits still fighting?
Posted by: Chuck || 02/01/2003 14:39 Comments || Top||

#3  Yep. Still going at it. Time hasn't ended yet...
Posted by: Fred || 02/01/2003 18:27 Comments || Top||


No Qaeda supporters in Pak military or ISI, nope, nope...
Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri has said that there are no Al Qaida or Taliban supporters within the ranks of the Pakistani military and the country's intelligence agency, the ISI. "Such reports are absolutely wrong and being spread by the people who want to harm Pakistan's close and friendly relations with the United States," he added. Speaking to Christian Bourge of the UPI, Mr Kasuri said that it was impossible for such people to survive in the military or the ISI because "both follow a strict military code". He added that military personnel primarily staffed the ISI, and that President Pervez Musharraf and top military leaders kept them under strict control. "They dare not take any action which will be in conflict of the declared policies of Pakistan," he said.
"Nope. Nope. Never have, never will..."
This was actually a pretty dumb statement, on a par with the Pak ambassador in Italy denying that the 28 explosives jockeys arrested yesterday were terrorists. Stating categorically that there aren't any rogues in the military or ISI leaves the old pizzle hanging out when they're found — which is going to occur as the terror machine is dismantled.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 12:32 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [274 views] Top|| File under:


Middle East
Mofaz: Arafat (directly) gave ’green light’ to suicide attacks
Sunday, February 02, 2003
Mofaz: Arafat gave 'green light' to suicide
attacks

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

Information directly linking Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to terror organizations was presented Friday by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.

Addressing the Economic-Social Club in Nes Tziona, Mofaz charged that Arafat had instructed the heads of the organizations to kill more Israelis.

Referring to a never-before publicized conversation between Arafat and the leaders of the terror groups in February 2001, the defense minister charged that "the Palestinian plan was to cause a few thousand Israeli highly optimistic huh? deaths within a number of months, so that Israel would give in to them... It was tantamount to giving a green light to the suicide terror attacks against Israel."

Mofaz said Hamas and Islamic Jihad began the suicide attack campaign and were joined a year or so ago by Arafat's Fatah organization. He noted that Israel was in possession of additional intelligence indicating Arafat's involvement in the terror, adding that the United States and other countries were also privy to this information.

In the past, Israel presented information concerning cash payments from Arafat's office to
terror activists.

Significant information on the issue was published in June last year, when it was reported that shortly after the suicide attack at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem, that left seven Israelis dead, Arafat met with Fatah activist Mohammed Naifeh from Tul Karm, giving him $20,000 to be used for the operations of Fatah's military wing.

Israel passed on this information to U.S. President George W. Bush, who, in turn, adopted a tougher stance against the Palestinian leader in his speech on the Middle East in June last year.


Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 07:25 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [252 views] Top|| File under:


East/Subsaharan Africa
Fighting Nears Liberia's Capital
Fighting between government and rebel forces raged within 60 miles of Liberia's capital on Saturday. Fighting at the northern diamond town of Bopolu was "very serious," an official close to the presidency said, speaking on condition of anonymity. There was no word on casualties. Bopolu has frequently traded hands in a four-year civil war. Rebels opened the latest offensive on Bopolu on Friday. Insurgents took the town after what authorities described as hours of fierce fighting. Rebels made their most concerted push on Liberia's capital in 2002, at one point closing within miles of Monrovia. Rebels captured Bopolu and made it their stronghold until pushed out by government forces on Sept. 11. Rebels based in the north are fighting to oust warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor.
Even though I don't know anything about this group of rebels, dumping Chuck seems like a really good move — though defining a "good move" in Liberia is a relative thing, at best... Prince Johnson is still around.)
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 06:14 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [329 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Give Liberia Back To The Libertarians!!!"
Posted by: JDB || 02/02/2003 0:34 Comments || Top||


Axis of Evil
Saddam’s Bodyguard spills location of weapons
via Little Green Footballs:
SADDAM Hussein's senior bodyguard has fled with details of Iraq's secret arsenal. His revelations have supported US President George W. Bush's claim there is enough evidence from UN inspectors to justify going to war.

Abu Hamdi Mahmoud has provided Israeli intelligence with a list of sites that the inspectors have not visited. They include:
  • AN underground chemical weapons facility at the southern end of the Jadray Peninsula in Baghdad;
  • A SCUD assembly area near Ramadi. The missiles come from North Korea;
    No kidding...covered in cement dust were they?
  • TWO underground bunkers in Iraq's Western Desert. These contain biological weapons.
William Tierney, a former UN weapons inspector who has continued to gather information on Saddam's arsenal, said Mahmoud's information is "the smoking gun". "Once the inspectors go to where Mahmoud has pointed them, then it's all over for Saddam," Tierney said.
And we'll have TV cameras waiting on satellites should they move them - should look like a 3 stooges chase scene
Tierney, who has high-level contacts in Washington that go to the White House, said the information we publish today on Mahmoud's revelations "checks out, absolutely checks out".

Mahmoud was a member of the elite unit that protects Saddam. It is called the Murasiq Qun – the "Inner Circle". He was known as "The Gatekeeper".
Are you Gozer? I am the Gatekeeper.... sorry, sounded like a Ghostbusters' script
Mahmoud is a muscular Saddam lookalike often photographed standing behind Saddam when he is seated, or to his left when on the move. Last week, Mahmoud was being debriefed at a high-security base in Israel's Negev Desert. Ariel Sharon, the country's hard-line prime minister, has only allowed snippets of Mahmoud's sensational claims to be shared with the CIA and MI6. "Sharon intends to shatter the growing anti-war movement," a source close to Mr Sharon said.
heh heh - now the howls from the Arabs, and the left would be something to hear, huh? if Ariel produced the "smoking gun" - Lies, Lies, all Lies...sound familiar?
"He plans to call all those European leaders who are wavering to let them know how Saddam has continued to fool Hans Blix and his weapons inspectors."

Mahmoud's revelations include locations of five bunkers buried beneath man-made sand dunes. Stockpiled in the bunkers are warheads identical to the empty shell cases found two weeks ago by the UN inspectors. Mahmoud said those shells were on their way to be refilled and stored in the bunkers.

A transcript from his debriefing includes:
"Saddam's weapons of mass destruction are also concealed in a tunnel complex deep beneath the sewers of Baghdad and in an underground complex in Ouja, to the north of Tikrit.

"The complex was built five years ago with help from Chinese engineers.

"The entrance to the site is through a house in Tikrit. It is the home of one of Saddam's cousins and is more than half a mile from where the weapons are stored."
In another excerpt from his debriefing, Mahmoud boasts: "I was inside the innermost circle where Saddam eats and sleeps. I was among the handful of bodyguards closest to him. Very few people are allowed close to Saddam. Many of the TV images you see of him were taken years ago. Most people now only speak to him over the phone. He usually calls them. If they have to call him back with information he wants, it is passed through his sons (Uday and Qusay) or (Deputy Prime Minister) Tariq Aziz."

"All those close to him have codes, which they use to access the outer circle. But even they can only come so close to Saddam before there is a cut-off point – the Inner Circle. Even Tariq Aziz is checked to see if he is carrying weapons. Saddam knows fortunes are being offered to have him assassinated."

Saddam's paranoia increased after Uday, his eldest son, narrowly escaped assassination when gunmen riddled his car with bullets in 1996. Uday was partially paralysed and uses a wheelchair. To avoid falling victim to even his own bodyguards, Saddam is a walking arsenal. "He has concealed guns all over his body," Mahmoud said. "He also has panic buttons to press if he even suspects somebody is about to attack him."

Israeli intelligence sources have hinted that the deal with Mahmoud included smuggling his family out of Iraq. Mossad agents have done this before. At the start of Saddam's reign of terror, they persuaded an Iraqi pilot to fly his Russian fighter to Israel – after spiriting out his wife and children.
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 05:43 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [327 views] Top|| File under:

#1  You know, I've seen that guy before. As the story says, he's the one who's always standing behind Saddam at meetings, with his hands behind his back. I don't know how long he's been working for Saddam, but I think there was a different "Gatekeeper" at the time of Gulf War I, that one had a grey/silver mustache and was somewhat thinner and sparer in build. This is something to watch, and no mistake.
Posted by: Joe || 02/01/2003 18:08 Comments || Top||


Iraq makes Yasser look classy...
More followup to the space shuttle disaster...
Immediate popular reaction in Baghdad on Saturday to the loss of the U.S. space shuttle Columbia and its seven-member crew -- including the first Israeli in space -- was that it was God's retribution.
Ohferchrissake.
"We are happy that it broke up," government employee Abdul Jabbar al-Quraishi said. "God wants to show that his might is greater than the Americans. They have encroached on our country. God is avenging us," he said.
I'd tend to doubt that, with the tiny size of soul he's got showing in that comment...
"Israel launched an aggression on us when it raided our nuclear reactor without any reason, now time has come and God has retaliated to their aggression," Tamini said.
"It's all about us."
"President (Yasser) Arafat and the Palestinian Authority offer their condolences to the six American families and the Israeli family who lost their loved ones in the catastrophe," Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official and spokesman, told Reuters. Erekat said Arafat had sent President Bush a message of condolences over the loss of the NASA space agency's shuttle.
Amazing. The Iraqis have succeeded in making Yasser look classy by comparison.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 03:24 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [328 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Similar to what happened in 9/11,when the Iraqis gloated over the atrocity in New York and Arafat was busy showing how much he cared.Arafat is a lousy strategist but a great P.R. man.
Posted by: El Id || 02/01/2003 16:14 Comments || Top||

#2  Actually, after 9/11, didn't Arafat only start showing how much he cared after his people went out and celebrated wildly?

Of course, not like anyone really believed him anyway...
Posted by: Paul || 02/01/2003 22:46 Comments || Top||

#3  This came from Reuters, which has become a very strange place. What are they thinking?
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/01/2003 23:01 Comments || Top||


Axis of Evil
Iraq threatens suicide attacks...
Iraq will unleash thousands of suicide attackers against the United States if American troops invade, a senior Iraqi official was quoted Saturday as saying. Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said in a German magazine interview that Iraq's ability to withstand U.S. military might was "unlimited" and that American ground troops would face tough resistance. "We have no long-range missiles or bomber squadrons, but we will deploy thousands of suicide attackers," Ramadan told the weekly Der Spiegel. "These are our new weapons, and they will be used not only in Iraq."
Sounds like a threat. I guess we'll have to hold all the POWs naked, to make sure they don't explode. Not a pleasant sight at all...
Other Arab countries would help defend Iraq in case of war, inflaming the entire Middle East, he said. "This part of the world will become a sea of resistance and danger for the Americans."
What happens will help determine who's the next target.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 01:12 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [321 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This sounds to me like an attempt to discourage wholesale surrender by Iraqi troops. They'll tell them that the US troops will not accept any surrenders because the Americans will be afraid of suicide-bombers, thus the Iraqi soldiers have no option but to fight to the death. Sound plausible? Remmenber how many Iraqi soldiers surrendered to anyone who'd accept it in Gulf War I. I'm sure Saddam and his cronies do.
Posted by: Rifle308 || 02/01/2003 14:38 Comments || Top||

#2  Actually, the anticipated mass surrendering of Iraqi troops is something that requires substantial planning, pre positioning of POW infrstructure, etc. The POWs will have to be held and fed for a while until the post Saddam Iraqi justice system is ready to deal with them. The work getting ready of this may be one of the reasons we are not yet ready to invade.
Posted by: mhw || 02/01/2003 20:55 Comments || Top||

#3  If it is aimed at Iraqi troops, it won't work, for two reasons: (1) most Iraqis are probably deeply suspicious of any messages they get from 'authority.' (2) most people in Iraq probably know someone who was captured by Americans in GW I, and treated well by them. Soldiers, especially, are probably aware of this. They probably know that being captured by Americans is the best thing that could to them.
Posted by: Patrick || 02/01/2003 21:41 Comments || Top||


East/Subsaharan Africa
New fighting in Southern Sudan...
Sudan's regime and rebel forces have suspended negotiations amid renewed fighting in the southern part of the country. The fighting shatters a ceasefire arranged last year and which was to have been maintained until April. The hostilities were reported in the oil-rich region of the south near the Western Upper Nile. Western diplomatic sources said the heavy fighting was reported in Leer, which had been held by the Sudanese People's Liberation Army. After two days of fighting, which included aerial bombing, Sudan's military captured the town, the sources said. Both sides blamed the other for the renewed hostilities in the 20-year-old civil war. The SPLA said the Khartoum regime aims to retake rebel positions in the oil-producing region. The Sudanese military said the SPLA has launched a new advance.
If the SPLA was in Leer, and the gummint threw them out, then it would seem the gummint was the one to blame, wouldn't it?
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 12:24 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [252 views] Top|| File under:


International
Turkey sees Syria as PKK supporter...
Despite a rapproachment over the last three years, Turkey's military and intelligence community continues to regard Syria as a supporter of insurgency activities against Ankara. A report by Turkey's intelligence community submitted to the National Security Council asserts that Syria has not ended support for the Kurdish Workers Party. The report, submitted to the council last week, said Damascus, despite pledges from the regime of President Bashar Assad, continues to harbor and support the PKK.
Sounds kinda like Perv and the Pak jihadis, doesn't it?
It was the first time Turkey's intelligence community cited Syria as a supporter of Kurdish insurgency activities since Ankara and Damascus accelerated security and military cooperation over the last year. The cooperation was based on the exchange of intelligence, joint training and increased control of the Syrian-Turkish border.
I wonder if this is the start to the set-up for Round Two...
In 1998, Turkey massed troops along its border with Syria amid a demand that Damascus expel PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Weeks later, Ocalan quietly left Damascus and was captured by Turkish forces.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 12:21 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [246 views] Top|| File under:


Middle East
Paleo assisted from gene pool near Rafah...
Israeli occupation forces gunned down a Palestinian early Saturday, February 1, near Rafah, as the Palestinian leadership reaffirmed readiness to discuss a ceasefire with Israel and revive peace talks. Palestinian security sources identified the new martyr as Tamer Heder, 19, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP). Earlier, Israeli public radio quoted the army as claiming that a man armed with an assault rifle had been killed near the border with Egypt.
G'bye, Tamer. Hope the flat-chested 12-year-olds admire your gun.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 11:23 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:


Mubarak invites Sharon to Cairo...
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak invited Sharon to Cairo for talks aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process.
It's the peace processor again. It's set on "puree," but the Arabs can't get the button to work...
Such a meeting, which would be Sharon's first with an Arab leader since he took office nearly two years ago, was announced by Sharon's office on Wednesday, January 29, but was not confirmed in Egypt. Ibrahim Saada, editor in chief of the weekly Akhbar al-Yom, wrote of the telephone call Mubarak made to Sharon to congratulate him on his re-election and "his invitation to meet with him in Cairo to discuss (ways of) stopping the violence and re-launching the peace process."
"Pop on down here to Cairo, and we'll do some negotiating to see how much of what you've accomplished can be undone..."
Mubarak told Al-Ittihad newspaper in Dubai on Tuesday, January 28, that he felt Arab governments had to "deal with the Israeli prime minister in a new way" in order to re-launch the Middle East peace process. Speaking of Sharon's imminent re-election, the Egyptian leader said it would be "inopportune to stay quiet."
What the Paleos have been doing hasn't been working. They were hoping to get a dovish government to jerk around, and they ended up solidifying Sharon's position. It's percolated through some skulls that they've got to start doing something else, preferably something that makes sense. The same information doesn't percolate through the Islamist skulls, though, and they're the ones who're in the driver's seat...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 11:23 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [256 views] Top|| File under:

#1  How would you like to be in charge of security for a Sharon Cairo trip?
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/01/2003 12:33 Comments || Top||

#2  Nice point...no thank you
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 15:24 Comments || Top||


Palestinian Leadership Ready for Ceasefire
In a state broadcast Saturday by the official WAFA news agency, the Palestinian leadership said it was ready to discuss a general ceasefire with the Israelis and immediately restart peace talks under the guidance of the Mideast Quartet committee. "The Palestinian leadership said it was ready to conclude a general ceasefire agreement in all the regions and restart negotiations as soon as possible under the aegis of the quartet," the leadership said after its meeting late Friday, January 31, in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
Sharon was reelected. They're stuck with him, and they don't have many resources left — especially with Sammy on the way out...
The Quartet, which comprises the U.S., E.U., Russia, and the U.N., is due to propose a peace plan expected to call for a Palestinian state by 2005 and guarantees of Israeli security. The leadership also said it was "surprised at the negative response of the Israeli government which has rejected a call for a re-launching of dialogue and prefers the road of military escalation."
They're not negotiating with Yasser. He's trying to figure how to turn that around...
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, who has been a virtual prisoner in Ramallah for 14 months, has twice this week expressed his willingness to meet with re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, but has been rebuffed.
"Yasser who?"
The leadership gave its backing to a dialogue between Palestinian factions last month in Cairo aimed at coordinating stances. Another meeting is set for the Egyptian capital on Tuesday, February 4. "We support this national dialogue and call for national unity which will allow us to reach our objectives, an end to the Israeli occupation, establish an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as capital and solve the (Palestinian) refugee question," it said. It urged the factions to "put aside their ideological considerations and ideas and put first the national interest."
Hamas and Jihad won't adhere to any agreement, and al-Aqsa won't let them get more "credit" than they do, so it's pretty much a useless passage of gas, isn't it?
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/01/2003 11:23 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [265 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Be happy to meet w/you after the EU completes its audit.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/01/2003 14:41 Comments || Top||


Shuttle Columbia breaks up over Texas
Watching Fox News this AM just now and it appears the Space Shuttle Columbia broke up on reentry for landing, over central Texas. They are launching search and rescue, but there was debris trails visible over Texas. Crap! Our prayers are with the crew - seven astronauts.

FOLLOWUP:
The craft was over north central Texas, speed 12,500 mph, at 207,000 feet. Last communication was around 8 a.m. Central Time, with landing scheduled at 8.16. NASA has declared a "contingency." Crews families have been moved from the landing strip.

NASA asks anyone finding debris to stay away from it, due to possible toxic substances, but to inform their local law enforcement authorities. No debris found yet...

More, from the AP...

Residents in north Texas reported hearing "a big bang" at about 9 a.m., the same time all radio and data communication with the shuttle and its crew of seven was lost. In Washington, officials said President Bush had been informed and was awaiting more information from NASA. Officials said there was no indication of terrorism. Six Americans and Israel's first astronaut were on board Columbia. Inside Mission Control, flight controllers hovered in front of their computers, staring at the screens. The wives, husbands and children of the astronauts who had been waiting at the landing strip were gathered together by NASA and taken to secluded place.

From Novosti...
The Columbia shuttle has exploded during landing. All American TV companies interrupted their programs and showed parts of the space shuttle falling apart in mid-air during its descent. NASA instructed search and rescue groups to start searching along the trajectory of the shuttle's descent in Texas. The accident occurred at 17.16 Moscow time about 500 miles from the cosmodrome at Cape Canaveral in Florida. 7 astronauts were on board the shuttle (2 women, 5 men), including the first Israeli astronaut.

FOLLOWUP:
They've started finding debris in an around Nacogdoches... across the state line in Arkansas, too... Unconfirmed reports of human remains found...
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 03:23 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [995 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Goddammit.
Posted by: Fred || 02/01/2003 8:56 Comments || Top||

#2  Frank G:

That was one of my first thoughts, too, especially since the first eye-witness on CNN was from Palestine (pronounced -steen) Texas.

I also think it's stupid to pooh-pooh sabotage entirely. It obviously wasn't shot down at that altitude, but the descent is entirely software-controlled, and that could have been screwed around with. Not likely, but not impossible.
Posted by: Dr. Weevil || 02/01/2003 9:36 Comments || Top||

#3  This is beginning to look like a very baaaad day...
Posted by: Ptah || 02/01/2003 9:00 Comments || Top||

#4  wasn't this the one with the Israeli astronaut? They'll be handing out candy and ululating in the streets in Gaza....f*&king bastards
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 9:06 Comments || Top||

#5  If it was sabotage, the evidence is probably ionized...
Posted by: Ptah || 02/01/2003 9:12 Comments || Top||

#6  What a horrible, horrible day... I can just see the Islamo-fanatics dancing in the streets... All the more reason why they should be rewarded with some long-range treatment...
Posted by: Nik Karanikos || 02/01/2003 9:56 Comments || Top||

#7  My condolences to the family and friends of the lost astronauts... It's hard to find the words to describe this horror... I'm in a funk now,and I don't mean like James Brown.
Posted by: El Id || 02/01/2003 10:03 Comments || Top||

#8  My sincere condolences to the crew members' families. Space conquest is the most positive and uplifting thing you can picture when thinking about America. In addition to the loss of lives, that's a terrible blow to a powerful symbol. About the 'islamo fanatics dancing in the street', let them dance; tomorrow, there will be israeli astronauts and US space missions again, while they will still live in the same backwater ratholes.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/01/2003 12:56 Comments || Top||

#9  So, so sad. Sabotage would be hard on the launchpad, but the craft had undergone a massive overhaul/refitting some time back, an opportunity to insert inferior or rigged materials to disintegrate later. Curiously I noticed Canadian CBC was late reporting the tragedy, but it is so Canadian that their focus was how this may cause the U.S. to reconsider the space program, so costly etc and for what? Do they understand the word 'Defense'? Well no. I live near border but dont watch CBC too much anymore. Too depressing. Last night's CBC prime time comedy show was anti US as usual. Bush as Patton -excerpts: 'this crazed Hussein feller continues to provoke us, he wont stop breathing..granted the UN..have failed to find weapons..that leads to one conclusion..he has weapons..my daddy told me that..heyuk heyuk..". In the same show the comics yukked: "UN inspectors gave..Hussein a B on his report card..(Saddam)lost marks when he demonstrated this science project (video of a nuclear blast)..Hee Hee Hee". You never feel as alone as to have neighbors who are still laughing at the threat. And the hatred is palpable. (I mean emanating out of Canada).
Posted by: em wem || 02/01/2003 13:20 Comments || Top||

#10  em wem, don't forget that there are Canadians who stand firmly by their American cousins, and share in their tragedies and grief. They understand that the threats we face are common. Some don't, it's true, but there are a lot that do.
Posted by: Rw - Canadian || 02/01/2003 18:02 Comments || Top||

#11  RW and Em Wem: I think the "silent" majority among the Canadians DO support the U.S. and would hesitate to condemn the whole for the vocal idiocy of those with microphones. Just as with NPR, I would hesitate to take Public Radio for actual public radio ( sans bias)
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 18:36 Comments || Top||

#12  No sabotage needed. Reentry is a high-stress regime, all it takes is being a couple of degrees too steep on the entry path, or a cracked tile.
Posted by: mojo || 02/01/2003 20:05 Comments || Top||

#13  I read the bios of these 7 remarkable human beings. They were motivated, intelligent, enthusiastic, and well rounded human beings. They are true heros that young people should emulate. You know, strive for real excellence. Why do they die and those mindless Hollywood idiots live? I know that I should not think that way, but that is how I feel. I also feel great pride in the caliber of people who go for the space program, knowing full well its hazards. My heart goes out to the families of these fine people.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/01/2003 21:24 Comments || Top||

#14  I don't remember which network I was watching, but I saw a clip of what looked like a charred helmet on some lawn someplace. Whoever was working the video camera zoomed into the open face area and it looked like there was a small clump of hair inside. That video sequence was rather unnerving.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/01/2003 21:46 Comments || Top||


East/Subsaharan Africa
Ivory Coast Protests escalate
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) - Tens of thousands of people marched through Ivory Coast's main city Saturday calling for the death of the French president, in the biggest demonstration yet against the West African nation's French-brokered peace accord.
It's nice to be notorious popular.
"Chirac is dead! Ivory Coast is free!" marchers chanted, referring to French President Jacques Chirac. One protester dragged an iron tub filled with palm leaves that he said represented "all the baggage the French will take as they leave Ivory Coast."
I could think of a few other things that could have been put in the tub.
Some greeted a carload of Westerners with pro-American slogans. Others carried American flags and signs saying: "Please help us, Bush" and "France Bye Bye, In U.S.A. We Trust."
My sentiments exactly.
In the working-class suburb of Yopougon, marchers with faces painted white and wearing clothing in the orange, white and green colors of Ivory Coast's flag hefted mock coffins emblazoned with Chirac's name. The United States called again Friday for both sides to respect the agreement. It also asked Ivory Coast's neighbors to support the peace process.
Foggybottom blather. Not in my name.

I tried to get a CNN link, but they didn't have this priceless prose. Hope the link lasts long enough for y'all.
Posted by: Ptah || 02/01/2003 09:16 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [249 views] Top|| File under:

#1  try this one:
http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/News/0,6119,2-11-1447_1314596,00.html

via tim blair
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 11:11 Comments || Top||

#2  I had a thought or two:

HERE
Posted by: Chuck || 02/01/2003 12:17 Comments || Top||

#3  "No blood for chocolate!"

I like that...
Posted by: Fred || 02/01/2003 12:43 Comments || Top||


Axis of Evil
Weasels triumphant--Inspectors get 6 more weeks
Tony Blair and George Bush yesterday agreed to give the UN weapons inspectors and the intelligence agencies as long as six weeks to persuade a sceptical France and Arab countries to come on board for military action against Iraq.

I wonder how that's going to fit in with the impending "Colin Powell Moment"...

In talks at the White House, Mr Blair impressed on the Americans that European public opinion, including in Britain, will not back a war without an explicit second UN resolution. Mr Blair secured support for this longer coalition-building strategy from the US president in a phone call on Thursday. His call coincides with opinion in the US senate. They ended their council of war in Washington with the US president saying: "This is a matter of weeks, not months. Any attempt to delay the process for months would be resisted by the United States." Mr Bush added: "Saddam Hussein is not disarming. He is a danger to the world." He also rejected any suggestion that the UN weapons inspectors should renegotiate the terms of their work inside Iraq: "There are no negotiations. The idea of asking the arms inspectors to negotiate is a charade."

He's sticking to his guns, even though Tony's got domestic problems and the Dems are coming down with their trademark vapors. Those two factors are what Sammy's trying to exploit. It'll be interesting to see how the Bush team tries to counter that exploitation...

But Mr Bush did not reject the idea of going back to the UN security council for a second resolution, saying: "I was the guy that went to the UN in the first place."

He's already said that if he doesn't get what he wants, he's going to do it without the UN. If he has to do that, there's no more UN...

Mr Blair said he was confident that the UN would endorse a second resolution "because in the original resolution 1441 we made it clear that failure to disarm would lead to serious consequences. So this is a test for the international community". He again stressed that "the judgment has to be... that Saddam is not cooperating with the inspectors and therefore is in breach of the UN resolution. That's why time is running out". Mr Bush stressed: "This needs to be resolved quickly. Should the United Nations decide to pass a second resolution, it would be welcomed if it is another signal that we are intent on disarming Saddam Hussein. But 1441 gives us the authority to move without any second resolution. Saddam must understand, if he does not disarm for the sake of peace, we along with others will go along and disarm Saddam Hussein."

See what I mean?

He implied that the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, will next week produce evidence to the security council detailing links between Iraq and al-Qaida. Mr Bush and Mr Blair have a big public relations battle ahead, but they also have time to put the squeeze on the French to recognise that there is no chance of President Saddam fully cooperating with the UN weapons inspectors.

The Frenchies are more worried about Sammy and crew cooperating with them than they are about him cooperating with the inspectors...

Asked directly if he wanted a second UN resolution endorsing war, Mr Blair said: "Absolutely. I think it's right we go for a second resolution because that's a way of saying this is an issue the international community is not going to duck." The second resolution would give explicit UN support for a military strike on the basis that Iraq has failed to cooperate with the inspectors.

Somehow I can't see the UNSC actually saying something that definite...

US and British officials have embarked on a wide diplomatic offensive to win the backing of a majority of the 15 members of the UN security council for a resolution mandating military action. Over the last few days the US has agreed to blacklist three rebel Chechen groups, a long-standing request from Russia; approved $4.1m (£2.48m) for the resettlement of returnees to Angola; and approved an extra $2.1m for Liberian refugees hosted by Guinea, another council member. Only four of the 15 members currently favour a war, but a British source predicted an eventual majority of 13, with only Syria and Germany voting against. The US and UK need to win the backing of at least nine members for a resolution, which is expected to be tabled in a few weeks.

That's the sausage-making part of it. Don't loook...

Mr Blair, speaking before the talks with Mr Bush, which were rescheduled from Camp David because of fog, said he did not favour an arbitrary deadline. He did not believe President Saddam would ever cooperate, but the judgment lay with the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, not himself. In remarks that may reassure dissenting Labour MPs, he stressed: "I believe this is best dealt with through the United Nations. I think it's a huge challenge for the international community." Referring to the fissure in Europe over fears of a rushed military timetable, he said: "When people ask how long do you give it, I say you give it as long as it takes to a conclusive and final judgment they are not cooperating."

With some parties, that implies waiting until several weeks after Doomsday...

Hinting at his frustration with the French, he added: "A failure to cooperate is a material breach but in part because our other partners and the people who have worked with us want to be absolutely sure of this then I think it is sensible - with a fresh report from Dr Blix in a couple of weeks time - to give it some time." Mr Blair highlighted the Iraqi refusal to let scientists be interviewed free from Iraqi officials, the need for high aerial reconnaissance and the failure to detail the whereabouts of thousands of tonnes of chemical weapons unaccounted for since 1988. He has already been briefed on the intelligence expected to be released to the security council by Mr Powell. Britain is impressed by surveillance photographs showing systematic evasion of the inspectors, but is less convinced than the Americans that there is convincing proof that the Iraqi government has been harbouring al-Qaida agents.

If they can show that Zarqawi had surgery in Baghdad and then popped up north to join up with Ansar al-Islam, then had a hand in assassinating our diplomat in Jordan, that should lay that argument to rest — though the naysayers will continue saying "nay" under any circumstances.


The Bush-Blair delay will also give the US more time to gather its forces in the Gulf, and to win final agreement by Turkey for US troops to be based there.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/01/2003 09:39 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [243 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Net result is more Americans get killed when we finally do move in. Even after 6 weeks does anyone really see France/Germany and others signing onboard? Meanwhile Saddam gets to bolster his defenses. To better prepare his bio/chem attacks. To coordinate with Al Qaeda style terrorism in the USA when we attack.

This is getting messy
Posted by: dennisw || 02/01/2003 6:17 Comments || Top||

#2  The Bush-Blair delay will also give the US more time to gather its forces in the Gulf, and to win final agreement by Turkey for US troops to be based there.

That's the reason I'm not too upset about this. We've got the 3rd Infantry Division in place. On the way is the 4th Infantry Division and a small UK armored division. And, of course, there's another division worth of Marines in the region. That seems a bit light as an invasion force.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/01/2003 7:56 Comments || Top||

#3  I hate this . . . at some point the coalition is going to cease coming together and start coming apart . . . if it takes this much work to go after Iraq, how will Iran ever be convinced we might come after it?
Posted by: paj || 02/01/2003 9:48 Comments || Top||

#4  Damn, damn DAMN!
Posted by: Ptah || 02/01/2003 9:00 Comments || Top||

#5  It pisses me off too, but sounds like Blair needs some help at home. Note that the phrase was 'up to six weeks', which could include going to attack after Powell's dog and pony show, or after the 15th as some have suggested, or..... Bush will only secure a second vote if a) he's sure of winning it, or b) he knows there's going to be a veto and wants to officially kill off the UN. Those who say we should wait for more time for the inspections are either stupid, or willfully ignoring the purpose of the inspections and any effect they will actually have - either way, the dealy crowd will NEVER see a reason to go that satisfies them
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 10:04 Comments || Top||

#6  oops - delay crowd - preview doesn't help if you don't reread your typos clearly dammit
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 10:07 Comments || Top||

#7  Let's see... if I remember right the Hajj ends around the 16th (and figure a week for the bulk of the pilgrims to get out of the area), and the moon's last quarter starts the 23rd. You guys know more about deployment and logistic readiness than me, but the last week of Feb. seems likely to me and probably has been for some time.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/01/2003 11:14 Comments || Top||

#8  This article is from the Guardian, so you have been advised.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/01/2003 13:00 Comments || Top||


Hold on to your hats, sez NSA
The Bush administration is preparing to release supersensitive electronic intercepts obtained by the National Security Agency that officials say prove that Iraq has repeatedly lied to United Nations inspectors, plotted among themselves about how to conceal weapons material and even appeared to boast afterward at their success in doing so, NEWSWEEK has learned.

I hope to hell that they're going to move within hours of this kind of release. Doing otherwise will allow the Iraqis time to figure how to turn off the spigot...

THE DECISION TO allow Secretary of State Colin Powell to use the electronic intercepts in his speech next Wednesday to the U.N. was described by U.S. intelligence officials as extraordinary.

You might call it that. Under any other circumstances it'd be better to call it "stupid." The amount of damage that will result is going to be awful for our intelligence collection capability. Iraq's not the only country in that part of the world.

Electronic intercepts by the NSA are considered the most jealously guarded of all U.S. intelligence secrets and government officials are normally loath to even refer to their existence for fear of tipping off targets and drying up invaluable sources of information. But in this case, officials said, the intercepts are so damning and dramatic that officials say their release outweighs the potential harm—especially given the increased likelihood that the United States will shortly be launching an invasion of Iraq anyway. “Hold onto your hat. We’ve got it,” said one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the evidence gathered by the NSA.

It'll probably be very dramatic. The Iraqis will, of course, deny everything, and their fellow-travellers will hop on board that approach. The Frenchies and Fritzies won't be able to do that, though. Both have intel services who know the capabilities of the system...

For the past two months, ever since the U.N. inspectors re-entered Iraq and began searching for weapons of mass destruction, the NSA has been closely monitoring the conversations of Iraqi officials. The NSA intercepts establish conclusively that the Iraqis have been “hiding stuff” from the inspectors, the U.S. intelligence official said. “They’re saying things like, ‘Move that,’ ‘Don’t be reporting that’ and ‘Ha! Can you believe they missed that’,” the official said. “It’s that kind of stuff.”

Just like in bad novels, the Bad Guys can't control their impulses to gloat...
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/01/2003 09:05 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [330 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Six more damn weeks of the Iraquis making fools of the inspectors.
Posted by: Ptah || 02/01/2003 9:02 Comments || Top||

#2  Like all great battles, there is always a buildup. That buildup will be logistics, covert operations, propaganda, political manoevering, anything in the arena. That happens on both sides. We are starting the big move on Islamofascism; Afghanistan was a warmup. Our enemies in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi, Pak, NK know that this is the big one. The outcome of this Iraq battle will determine how the world will be in the future. It is the big banana. Everything will be done by our enemies to derail our effort, including use of wavering "allies". This is all part of the war. There is just a ton of info on the Net, of which some is the truth. Most is chaff. I will say that I believe that the President will stick this through and keep on his plan, and will be able to take the tremendous heat that is being heaped upon him by enemies without and within. I believe that this great country is being tested to the core, and I believe that it will prevail. Man, this is almost biblical in proportion! Maybe it is. Be strong everyone.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/01/2003 12:24 Comments || Top||

#3  Alaska Paul: what irks me is how many people all over the world refuse to stand up to evil. I wasn't around during WWII, but were there so many nay-saying dictator-appeasing apologists back then? I consider myself a pacifist, and would prefer to turn the other cheak, but not if I have to turn it 5 times. I believe in peace, but not peace at all costs.
Posted by: Rw || 02/01/2003 18:15 Comments || Top||

#4  "Turn the other cheek - once." That sounds pretty fair...
Posted by: Fred || 02/02/2003 9:00 Comments || Top||


Ukraine punished over Iraq claim
I had trouble deciding where to file this. But since Ukraine seems to be begging for minor-league 'Axis of Evil' status, I put it here.

Seems to fit pretty well...

Millions of dollars of aid earmarked for the Ukrainian Government will be diverted to private pro-democracy projects, United States authorities have said. The change in plans came after a review of US policy towards Ukraine.
In totally unrelated news, shares of Swiss banks dipped slightly in today's trading.
State Department officials said Washington remained unhappy with Kiev's response to accusations that it supplied an air defence system to Iraq.
Angry is right. Our guys have been dismantling it bomb by bomb these past few months, and it ain't exactly a milk run.
But the withdrawal of $50m in assistance will not affect funds used for the clean-up at the Chernobyl nuclear power station.
We're angry, not stupid.
Relations between Washington and Kiev became troubled when a former bodyguard to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma arrived in the US with a tape suggesting Mr Kuchma authorised the sale of the Kolchuga radar system to Iraq.
One of these days politicans are going to learn about taping themselves.
Ukraine has repeatedly denied that it sold the system, which detects enemy aircraft but does not emit a signal the aircraft can detect.
What is this, infra-red?

Likely some kind of laser system, like costs you money on I-95...

But it failed to convince a team of US and UK experts who investigated the alleged deal with Saddam Hussein's regime last year.
"It wasn't us! Honest! It was the French! I mean, look at us, we're a bass-ackwards struggling shithole country!"
State Department spokesman Louis Fintour said the US policy review still backed a "stable democratic market-oriented Ukraine". "At the same time, it acknowledges the recent difficulties in our bilateral relationship, including the matter of Kolchuga transfers to Iraq, where the Ukrainian Government has not satisfactorily answered our questions," he said.
Diplo-speak for "get yer shit together or face the consequences."
"We will be looking at adjustments in our ongoing assistance programme to bolster support for democratic reform in Ukraine." Because of the Kolchuga dispute, the US has already suspended $55m in aid to Ukraine - about 35% of the total funds pledged under the Freedom Support Act.
This shows you that Kuchma is a blinking idiot. My math makes that about $150 million a year, just in direct aid. He's throwing this away for an Iraqi contract worth what?
Posted by: Steve White || 02/01/2003 09:12 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [350 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It's not the total that counts, just the hip pocket money
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/01/2003 9:19 Comments || Top||

#2  The Kolchuga radar is a passive system that detects the disruption of radio waves (cell phone, radio, other radars) when a stealth aircraft flys thru them. It doesn't see the stealth itself, it see's the hole it makes in the sky. Very bad explanation of a very complex subject.
Posted by: Steve || 02/01/2003 23:04 Comments || Top||


US Pacific chief seeks more troops
The commander of United States forces in the Pacific has asked for additional troops, aircraft and ships in the event of a US-led war with Iraq, US defence officials said. Admiral Thomas Fargo asked the Pentagon to strengthen the US military presence in the region to deter North Korea from engaging in any "adventure" while a conflict was underway, they said. "The admiral wants to be sure that the North Koreans don't launch any adventure to take advantage of what they might see as preoccupation with Iraq," said one of the unnamed officials.
"We're feeling a little naked out here, and we don't like that."
Tensions between North Korea and the US have risen markedly in recent months after Washington reported the Stalinist state had announced its withdrawal from a 1994 pact on nuclear non-proliferation.
I think the BBC is learning. They actually describe North Korea as a Stalist state! Must be a cub reporter.
On Friday Washington again expressed concern that North Korea was engaged in a secret nuclear weapons programme after reports that US spy satellites had detected lorries taking on cargo at the Yongbyon nuclear power plant. Admiral Fargo, who is based in Hawaii, is said to have urged Washington to beef up his forces in response to possible plans to move the USS Kitty Hawk to the Persian Gulf in the event of an attack on Iraq. The aircraft carrier is currently based in Yokosuka, Japan.
Personally, I think we need to keep one carrier battle group somewhere close to Korea.
According to reports from Reuters news agency Admiral Fargo, who oversees all US military in Asia and the Pacific Rim, had asked for B-1 and B-52 bombers as well as extra troops.
Not a bad idea, if we can spare them. And have CNN run a few stories on our guys moving into position, just to make sure the NKors know we're not screwing around.
"He feels it would be a prudent step," one defence official said of Admiral Fargo's decision.
Yep.
So far Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is reported to have not yet made a decision on whether to supply the extra troops. The US already has 37,000 troops based in South Korea.
I'd feel better about all this if I knew the quality of the ROK forces. Anybody out there know?
Posted by: Steve White || 02/01/2003 02:10 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [244 views] Top|| File under:

#1  In 1974,they where tuff,well trained,and highly disiplined.In Vietnam they greatly feared by the enemy.
Posted by: Raptor || 02/01/2003 4:51 Comments || Top||

#2  Actually, NKor announced their departure from the NPT themselves: the BBC wording again tries to throw the blame on the US.

A lot can happen to a military in 29 years: See what Clinton did in 8, or Jimmy Carter in 4. However, the SKors began to hum Kumbaya to the NKors with real fervor in the last few years, so I don't think they went downhill too far, if they went downhill at all.

I've read someplace that the whole of South Korea is one massive series of fortifications. There are many stretches of highway convertable to airstrips. I don't think you need a carrier, whose main strength is being a floating airstrip. Just a lot of forward deployed aircraft.

Despite all the lovey-dovey talk, the SKors have proposed moving the capital further south: Being able to see the DMZ from a penthouse suite in Seoul means the DMZ is too damn close. (The DMZ, by the way, is the most heavily mined acreage in the world, so I, for one, am glad we didn't pay any attention to Lady Di and her whining about landmines.)

The whole problem in NKor is the fact that they have trouble feeding and heating their people. We've planned an invasion during the Iraqi winter so that our soldiers will be comfortable wearing their NBC gear. Iraq and NKor are both north of the Equator, so NKor's in winter too, which increases their invasion difficulties. By the time the shoutin's done in Iraq, we can fly our jets to NKor/Japan Jigtime to watch the fort when things start warming up and conditions are more favorable for an NKor invasion.
Posted by: Ptah || 02/01/2003 8:55 Comments || Top||

#3  Don't know much about training and weapons, but I do know character - the South Koreans are tough - a very aggressive people to begin with, they are quick to anger and don't give up grudges easily. The North Koreans would rather defect than fight. If North Korea doesn't use nuclear weapons, South Korea would whip them.
Posted by: paj || 02/01/2003 9:54 Comments || Top||

#4  Don't we have a few ships to spare based in Puerto Rico? It's getting time to reshuffle the deck.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/01/2003 14:32 Comments || Top||

#5  Asking those here who might know better, but wouldn't the Aegis platforms we've been doing our ABM intercepts with be a better answer, parked between NKor and Japan? Seoul seems to be a lost cause to NK artillery the minute it hits the fan... I thought the SKors even admitted that in their defense strategy planning?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 15:23 Comments || Top||


NKors step up war of words
The official media in North Korea has stepped up its anti-United States propaganda, calling on people to engage in what is described as a "sacred battle" against the US.
Another paranoid rant from the NKors, who've got win, place and show in paranoid ranting.
Tens of thousands of pawns peons starving destitute peons North Koreans took part in outdoor rallies throughout the country, and then attended exhibitions of anti-American propaganda.
Outdoor rallies! You know what this is in the land of paranoid raving? Group therapy, that's what. Wonder if they were allowed to look around for some millet seeds to eat?
Earlier Washington officials expressed concern that North Korea was engaged in a nuclear programme saying satellite images showed the apparent loading of covered trucks at the North Korean nuclear complex at Yongbyon. Yongbyon has a reactor and a store of spent fuel rods, which could be reprocessed to extract weapons-grade plutonium.
The NKors have to understand that now that we're focused on them, we're going to know pretty much everything they do with their "nuclear programme" right as they do it.
The American officials said there was no sign that such reprocessing had begun but White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, warned North Korea against what he called a "provocative action".
Guess Ari has to do it, but this is going to provoke another spittle fest diplomatic protest.
In the North Korean capital Pyongyang tens of thousands braved freezing weather conditions to take part in a mass protest, state media reported.
While they were looking for millet seeds.
There and in other cities across the country people were also able to view exhibitions of anti-US pictures and take part in educational seminars, the reports said.
While they were looking for millet seeds.
"The works encourage the people's army and slaves people of the DPRK (North Korea) in the confrontation with the US," Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
The works warn the peasants just what will happen to them if they falter. As if the peasants don't already know.
"Most of them call for a sacred struggle to smash the US imperialists' moves to isolate and stifle the DRPK and defend the dignity of the DPRK and the nation's right to existence," it added.

Tension between the two states escalated late last year after the US accused North Korea of abandoning a 1994 pact to further its nuclear ambitions.
We didn't just accuse them, Mr. BBC, they came out and admitted it.
North Korea's nuclear programme has come under intense international scrutiny since it expelled UN weapons inspectors in December.
That generally happens when you throw out inspectors. Ask Saddam.
On Friday the White House warned North Korea against moving to manufacture weapons-grade plutonium by reprocessing nuclear fuel rods. Such a step would be a "provocative action... intended to intimidate and blackmail the international community", said spokesman Mr Fleischer.
One warm bucket of spittle coming back at us tomorrow.
The warning came after reports that US spy satellites had detected lorries taking on cargo at the Yongbyon nuclear power plant. The plant, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Pyongyang, houses stockpiles of nuclear fuel rods. Experts say that if North Korea really has begun moving the 8,000 fuel rods stored at Yongbyon, it could either be attempting to hide them or moving them to a reprocessing plant to produce bomb-grade plutonium.
They say about six such weapons at 20 kT yield each. That's enough to worry me.
Other commentators have suggested that North Korea is well aware the plant is under surveillance and it is trying to improve its bargaining position with the leverage afforded by the nuclear threat.
Our bargaining position is the same as before, Dear Leader: we can wait. You can't.
North Korea pulled out of the global Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty on 10 January.
I just can't imagine why Barbara, Alec and Noam haven't commented on this yet. Why, the NKors are (gasp) defying the UN! Anyone check Babs' web site today? It's got to be there somewhere.
It insists it is the target of US "aggression" and that by halting oil shipments last year, the US has forced it to restart nuclear power stations.
The nuclear plant they're restarting turns out about as much electricity as a modern, large diesel locomotive engine. Somehow I don't think that's what the NKors have in mind.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/01/2003 09:13 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [306 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Ok, got the name in there but missed the location. Fred, can you move this to 'Axis of Evil'? Sorry.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/01/2003 2:09 Comments || Top||

#2  Corsair, the Rational Pirate (in Fred's blogroll above) has a great display of NKor propaganda posters with their fractured syntax gruntings...."Americans! Don't Indiscriminately Go Wild!"; "Merciless Chastisement to Punishment!"

go take a look and enjoy, just wipe the spittle off before you leave
Posted by: Frank G || 02/01/2003 11:02 Comments || Top||


Middle East
Israeli jets buzz Lebanon
Fighter jets from Israel's air force have been flying deep into Lebanese airspace for the second day running. Air patrols over the border region have been common since Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000 but these planes flew as far as the Bekaa valley, where Syrian troops and Hezbollah guerrillas are based in strength.
Ooooh, feeling a little fiesty, are they?
On Thursday night, planes sparked panic in Sidon when they carried out mock "dive-bombing" over the southern port city and flew over nearby refugee camps at low altitude, Lebanese police said.
"Jest a little practice, don't mean a thing."
The Lebanese Puppet Government has accused Israel of seeking to increase tension in the region with the flights. "Through this tension [Israel] is trying to play a role in the Iraqi crisis," Lebanese Defence Minister Khalil Hrawi said on state radio.
Golly gosh, Mr. Hrawi, how could Lebanon and Iraq be connected?
"It seeks to be present on the Middle East arena through its military power."
Snort. You could say that the Israelis have been present in the Middle East with their military power. In fact that's how they've remained alive long enough to have a presence.
There have been no reports of anti-aircraft fire in response to Friday's airspace violations, in which planes flew over the eastern city of Baalbek, 100 kilometres (60 miles) north-east of Beirut.
Discretion being the better part of valor, all the better to avoid a wild-weasel shot.
On Thursday, Lebanese anti-aircraft gunners in Sidon opened fire at the Israeli planes and were joined by Palestinian fighters with automatic weapons in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp on the city's outskirts.
Were they aiming at the aircraft or was it just group gun sex?
The planes spent about an hour in the area, also buzzing the Miyeh Miyeh refugee camp. Flights were also recorded over Tyre and Nabatiyeh.
That's a lot of flights. Wonder if they were just practicing how to bomb Hezbollah camps?
A spokesman for the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon, Timour Goksel, said the Israeli overflights created "unnecessary escalation and tension in the area".
Not near as much as all those Hezbollah camps directly below the overflying airplanes.
The UN has regularly criticised Israel for violating Lebanese airspace.
They have as much credibility on this issue as they do on 1441.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/01/2003 09:16 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Haven't heard from the Israeli Airforce in a while, since I believe the Apaches are assigned to the Army for combined arms support.

Heh, heh, heh. Just letting them know who's still around...
Posted by: Ptah || 02/01/2003 9:11 Comments || Top||



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