Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority on Wednesday condemned as a sin the deadly shooting rampage at a U.S. consulate, and local newspapers reported one of the slain assailants was a former employee of the nation's religious police. The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh reopened Wednesday, two days after militants stormed into the inner courtyard of a U.S. consulate in this port city firing their guns, grabbing human shields and killing five people. Four of the attackers were killed.
U.S. officials warned more attacks were possible, and the injured spoke of assailants opening fire and hunting for victims with shouts of "Where are the Americans?" Grand Mufti Abdul-Aziz al-Sheik said in a statement that anyone who enters the kingdom with the permission of its leaders has a promise of security and should not be attacked. "What happened on Monday regarding the storming of the U.S. consulate in Jiddah, using weapons and explosives, killing innocent souls, petrifying secure ones, and undermining security in the kingdom are all forbidden acts and grand sins," al-Sheik said. As Saudi Arabia's most senior cleric, the mufti's words carry significant weight among Saudis, though his views normally wouldn't diverge far from the official government line.
The total article is a beautiful work of making the MK look to be so shocked at who was responsible for attack.
Other comments of the past few days on the attack have pointed out that if the guy had been a muttawa (religious cop), then he had to have done something to a superior to get fired; thus "extremist views". Protocol of Zion extremist views are perfectly welcome, however.
Other pearls: He was released, then disappeared. Families weren't accepting condolences. Nice contrast to Paleo bombers families. Etc. Etc.
Last week while my car was being fixed, I was talking to the Palestinian family that owns the shop. A frank discussion. "Bargouti (one in prison) is stupid. He's in jail. Paleos can't vote for a killer./ Saudi has plenty of $50/barrel oil revenues to fix their security/religious problems once and for all./ You know, Mike, Arabs are crazy."
Slowly but surely, the tide is turning. Just keep up pressure, W, Rummy, and Condi.
Posted by: chicago mike ||
12/08/2004 13:19 Comments ||
Of course he condemns the attack, the attackers failed to kill any Americans.
Posted by: Scott R ||
12/08/2004 18:36 Comments ||
One of eight men who were used as human shields during the armed assault against the American Consulate here said Tuesday from his hospital bed that the most vivid moment came when the gunman who was holding him captive and firing across his shoulder ordered him to raise his hands and scream, "God is great!" The cry is one of the last things a good Muslim hopes to utter before dying, and Abdel Jabar Nirous, a 27-year-old supply clerk from Sri Lanka, was convinced that his life was at an end. He struggled to wrench himself away from the man before passing out. When he regained consciousness, he said, "I saw my two friends lying dead in front of me and blood everywhere."
The description of what happened inside the compound contradicts statements made Monday by officials in the State Department and the Saudi Embassy in Washington that no hostages were taken during the attack. The eight men were used as shields for one to two hours on Monday, survivors in King Fahd Hospital said. They were taken outside to a dirt area near the middle of the compound by the attackers, who had breached the security surrounding the heavily fortified consulate. There the attackers engaged in a gun battle with Saudi security forces and the United States Marines. Three of them were killed and one seriously wounded in the shooting. It is unclear if all of the five consulate employees who died were among those held hostage.
The most senior American officials in the country, Ambassador James C. Oberwetter and Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the consul general in Jidda, defended security at the compound during a news conference on Tuesday, saying the measures had largely worked. "It's not good to hear gunfire outside your office, but I did have complete faith in the security of the building," Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley said, referring to the main chancery building. The consulate's American employees were working in that building at the time of the attack and were taken to a secure area inside the building by marines. Security measures like magnetic doors, as well as gunfire from the marines, kept the gunmen from entering the building. No Americans died, and two suffered superficial wounds. At some point during the three-hour raid, the attackers pulled down and burned the consulate's American flag. Mr. Oberwetter sidestepped a question about who was to blame for the security breach that allowed four of the five gunmen - the fifth was shot down in the initial fight at the perimeter - to run into the compound through a gate that was slowly closing automatically behind a consular vehicle that had just entered. "I think using the word blame is the wrong way to go," he said. "Obviously the events of yesterday show a need for an improvement. We will be examining what additional steps need to be taken."
He said the immediate step asked for was additional security from the Saudi government, and he said he was sure it would be provided. The Saudi cabinet issued a formal condemnation of the attack, but other than that there was only a brief official statement listing the names of three of the dead attackers. It said the fourth had yet to be identified. Mr. Oberwetter said the way the attack had unfolded clearly indicated that the gunmen had studied at least the outer workings of the consulate, a sprawling walled compound of several acres near Jidda's waterfront. Reporters were not allowed onto the scene; the news conference was held in a hotel. Just as one barrier was being lowered and the hydraulically powered gate was being opened to let in a consular vehicle, the armed men in a car veered across several lanes of traffic and tried to speed into the compound. A heavy barrier raised out of the ground stopped them. "They clearly understood how our cars entered the compound, and in my view they had scoped it out," the ambassador said, noting that the barrier had worked the way it was supposed to. The gunmen shot at the vehicle that had passed inside, wounding two of the three passengers, and then stormed into the compound on foot before the gate closed. The attacker who survived was treated for bullet wounds and is in the intensive care unit at King Fahd Hospital, its director, Dr. Sami M. Badawood, said Tuesday.
"If anyone can break into the U.S. Consulate, which is the most heavily guarded compound in this city, then we are all vulnerable," said Georgene S. Wade, the director of the American International School. She said the school, with an enrollment of 600 this year, had already lost scores of students as private American companies followed the lead of the State Department and ordered spouses and dependents to leave the country. "Anyone willing to risk their lives for the cause, we have no defense against that," she said.
Mr. Nirous said he had been with three others in the general services office when he saw a bearded man in a track suit run by outside the window carrying a gun. At that moment the alarm system began emitting rapid squawks. The employees had been trained to lock all the doors and lie on the floor in case of such an attack, which they did, he said. About 20 minutes later the gunmen shot through both doors and started shouting at them, "Where are the Americans?" When they professed ignorance they were told to hand over their cellphones and their money and go outside, he said. Once outside, they were taken to the area near the middle of the compound where four other local employees joined them. Each gunman shielded himself with at least two employees. "They used us as a barricade," said Latif Aboulhosn, 62, a Lebanese electrician who was shot in the chest and leg. Breathing heavily in his hospital bed, with an intravenous line dripping into his neck, he said he could not be sure who had shot him as he tried to run away from the gunfire. He, too, was asked repeatedly where the Americans were, he said.
Salah Abdel Qawi, a bearded Yemeni dispatcher who also suffered a gunshot wound, said that for the most part the Saudi special forces shooting at the attackers seemed to be trying to pick them off. When the gunfire intensified, the attackers were all screaming, "God is great!" and the hostages took the opportunity to fling themselves to the ground. He said he remembered trying to press his face down into the dirt. The line between life and death proved a thin one. A Sudanese colleague lying next to him raised his head to try to figure out what was happening, Mr. Qawi said. "He got shot."
From what I've been reading, it looks like all the dead are ex-pat workers from third world countries.
Posted by: Dan Darling ||
12/08/2004 1:46:13 AM ||
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Interesting comment: From what I've been reading, it looks like all the dead are ex-pat workers from third world countries.
Jabar Nirous, Sri Lanka
Salah Abdel Qawi, Yemeni
A Sudanese colleague
Latif Aboulhosn, Lebanese
Damn right, Anon. You can be sure it's being investigated. However, my guess is Prince Naive already knows to what extent it was an inside job. W's job is to force the info out of the Royals.
Here is a good pretext to send a shot across the bow of the good ship Saud. Election here is over and now we want names. You don't cough them up and show us ALL your docs, good-bye Prince Bandar as Saudi ambassador to USA. THAT would be a shock and would really let House of Saud know we mean business. Fuel cell development is a bit too abstract for the tea sippers to grasp. The late energetic and Arabist Hume Horan was our ambassador to MK in '80's and the Saudis dissed us by telling our Repub admin to get him out of Dodge as he was actually doing one of the jobs ambassadors are supposed to do; namely find out what the atmosphere of a country is by going around and talking to folks. Too much for Royals.
Our disgrace was to submit to change.
Posted by: chicago mike ||
12/08/2004 13:37 Comments ||
Indeed, CM, tossing Bandar would be the wake-up call: not everyone in Washington is for sale and no longer are the suckups in charge.
I doubt this incident will be sufficient for that action, however... IMHO, the Paul Johnson killing was when this should've happened, but that was pre-election times and everything was uber-sensitive. Now is, indeed, the time to make a stand against the Saudi duplicity - and force CP Abdullah to confront Nayef... after all, they're rivals (Sudairi Seven vs Shammar - Abdullah is the only son) and until they have gotten the goods from their PakiWaki minions squared away, they need us - BS GCC Conference grandstanding and bluster notwithstanding.
I like it! Toss in the suggestion that our experience is that an ambassador who stays too long goes loses his perspective and goes native, and things could get a bit more interesting than usual in the princely compounds, no?
Official Iranian sources are claiming that they have information about Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signing an agreement in 2003 in which Pakistan promised to help Saudi Arabia develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. The Iranian reports emphasize that the nuclear cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is at an advanced stage and that for the first time the Saudis have access to nuclear technology. The international news agency United Press International (UPI) reported that Iranian Prof. Abu Mohammed Asgarkhani claimed in a lecture that Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear arms picked up after it learned about the Pakistani-Saudi deal and the possibility that Saudi Arabia would eventually acquire nuclear weapons. Israeli and Western sources are not attributing much significance to the Saudi ability to develop, even partially, nuclear weapons. Pakistan owes Saudi Arabia a great deal because Saudi Arabia essentially financed development of the Pakistani bomb.
Outsourced the program, why do you think they call it the "Islamic Bomb" and not the "Pakistani Bomb"?
A Saudi representative may have been the only foreigner invited to visit Pakistan's nuclear facilities. Pakistan was also the middleman between Saudi Arabia and China for the purchase of long-range Chinese missiles. Those missiles, based in Saudi Arabia, have meanwhile become obsolete, and the Saudis want to upgrade them. The Americans told the Chinese that would be a violation of an agreement in which the Chinese promised not to sell missiles. The Chinese say it would not be a missile sale, but an upgrade of an existing missile sold a long time ago, but Washington remains opposed to the deal.
Saudis have aprox 50 CSS-2 "East Wind" missiles with a CEP of 2.5Km. Details here.
The Iranian reports about nuclear dealings between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is apparently motivated by Iran's interest in pointing out that other countries in the region are involved in military nuclear development and that they are not coming under international criticism because they are friends of the U.S.
...Iranâs interest in pointing out that other countries in the region are involved in military nuclear development and that they are not coming under international criticism because they are friends of the U.S.
Iran, our olde friend. We know, we know. You both are on the radar screen. Just because the EU, the US and others are bitching about your nuke program does not mean that we are not paying attention to the Saudi's program. Don't worry. They will get equal attention in the end.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
12/08/2004 11:37 Comments ||
Debka (this time not salt to taste) reported this several months ago. Pakistan also houses Soddi madrassas as a breeding ground for jihadi's. I agree with Alaska P., we got our eyes on Paki and Soddy weapons deal.
RIYADH - The spectacular attack against the US consulate in Jeddah, claimed by the local branch of the Al Qaeda network, came to the backdrop of rising anti-American sentiment in Saudi Arabia, fueled by the ongoing conflict in Iraq.
US policy, chiefly the continued occupation of Iraq, has helped radicalize young Saudis, a number of whom have gone to the neighboring country to join the fight against US forces or have been caught attempting to cross the border, clueless pundits who are just trying to fill airtime and get their names in the newspapers say. But they argue that local support for Islamist militants of the type who stormed the US consulate in the Red Sea city Monday is negligible and on the decline.
Which is why the local population stoned the instigators ...
That, at least, is the official view, which holds that the militants are a "deviant" minority. "I don't think they still enjoy the support they had a year ago. Now they have no support," commented Sheikh Mohsen al-Awaji, a moderate Islamist. "Al Qaeda claims to be targeting US interests, but the victims of Monday's attack were not American," he said.
"Al Qaeda is just too sloppy," he continued as he expressed his true feelings.
"My impression is that this group does not have much support, although there are some who sympathize with it," said liberal academic Khaled al-Dakheel. The "cultural environment" in Saudi Arabia encourages radicalization, he said. "I am referring to the education system ... and a tendency to look at issues from a religious point of view, sometimes from a narrowly defined religious point of view," Dakheel said.
Fatwa against this guy in 5 ... 4 ... 3 ...
US President George W. Bush on Monday warmly thanked Saudi authorities for their quick response to the attack on the consulate, as Riyadh vowed to hunt down the terrorists until they were uprooted. But while Saudi Arabia remains a US ally despite post-September 11 strains, "the vast majority of Saudis object to American policies," Awaji said. Following Bush's reelection for a second term, "the Saudis look at the American people as supporters of this administration. This will create trouble for Americans everywhere," he said.
Of course the American people officially support our government. It's called "democracy". You might want to try it, your cousins in Iraq are about to ...
Dakheel concurred that the situation in Iraq was "fueling anti-American feelings here and in (other parts of) the region."
As if they need an excuse.
But Dakheel said he did not believe that growing anti-US feelings translated into increased support for Al Qaeda terrorism. "People are anti-American, but the majority don't think this (violence) is the right way to oppose US policy in the region," he said.
"No, no! Certainly not! Please keep your Marines at home!"
Posted by: Steve White ||
12/08/2004 12:22:02 AM ||
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If the attack would have been marginally successful (dead Americans), they would have had plenty of support.
Y'know, I can almost "see" the expats who work in the Dhahran Core Area coming out for a smoke - sticking closely together and slipping off to one side of the plaza area trying to be inconspicuous - and being eyeballed by the Saudis, who spend more time smoking than working. I'll bet the ongoing experience will give some of the expats the reason they've been looking for to quit. It sucked like an F5 the last year I was there (2003) - I'll bet it's 10x worse now. Everything comes to an end - time to leave, guys.
Oddly enough, there is a matching rise in anti-Saudi sentiment in the States. Not just here at Rantburg, but in the mainstream -- my evidence being an anti-Saudi quip Jay Leno included in a recent monologue. Apparently, Leno's audience is Red Staters, so he tailors his jokes to appeal to the majority (albeit slim) of Americans. The Saudis would be wise to be more circumspect about their feelings: our soldiers are actually effective, our President has the elephant's memor, and Iraqi oil production is steadily increasing.
reading today's rantburg, I do NOT understand why we simply don't make fuel cell technology available tomorrow. It would end this mess for once and for all. Nothing else will do it, except perhaps another form of fuel.
This is a mess. The leaders of these countries are evil and are more interested in assuring their own empires than they are interested in prosperity. And democracy threatens their power.
Our own countrymen on the left were raised in such a bubble that they are still scratching their heads and wondering why those peace birds did not work.
We need to get out of the middle east - and I don't mean troops - I mean oil. Let the Turks and Saudi's cut their deals with Russia and China only to find America kicking their behinds, once again, with superior technology.
Fuel cell and other technology IS currently available. The current oil companies could be kept busy in Alaska and the gulf. But what they already aren't supplying could be produced, here at home, within five years, if we really wanted. It would end this mess for once and for all.
I don't understand why Bush and our current elected officials do not embrace the idea of providing enough oil here at home to keep things moving AND also providing fuel cells and other forms of energy to make up the difference.
Jeesh...let's get a clue. These tyrants would nuke their own countries if they thought they could maintain their own power.
and constant war in the middle east is economically viable?
You are using the same logic that dims use to oppose the war on terror. The plan isn't perfect so we should do nothing. It's clear that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, even if we do drill Anwar. So let's get started now, instead of later.
2b, it ain't about the oil, it's about expansionist fascist islam. Sure, the Saudis and Iranians use the oil money to fund attacks, but even if the United States was 100% energy indepentant, some one would buy their oil. And they'd still be trying to kill us.
When have there not been anti-american feelings in the ME? I am so sick of those people repeating the same bullshit. Those feelings have always been there. They just hide them when it is convenient... like for example when the US save their asses from other tyrants.
Steve---you hit the nail on the head. The HUGE wealth transfers due to the sale of oil from a bunch of psychopaths is the issue. We in the industrialized are literally financing our own destruction. The US knows it. Australia knows it. Lots of countries know it. Lots of countries choose to ignore it. Countries like Communist China encourage it.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
12/08/2004 11:45 Comments ||
we'd be much better off if we didn't need their oil. Plus, if we make new fuel techonologies available and they become cost effective, it would certainly devalue the price of their oil. It's a win/win all the way around. There would be plenty of work and markets left for you oil people if we open ANWAR and drill in the Gulf.
Your sentiment is on mark, 2b, but as Steve says, even if we were energy independent, Islamofascists would still want the Caliphate, and would have plenty of money to terrorize. Certainly not as much, but think of countries that import oil. Off the top of my head, Japan, S. Korea, Italy, Spain, Germany, among others. They may not import all from the Kingdom, but as long as a large part of that oil comes from ME, there will be plenty of money available (How much did AQ need to commit 9/11?)from private parties to finance terrorism and countries (Syria, Iran) willing to aid and abet it.
Posted by: chicago mike ||
12/08/2004 14:01 Comments ||
Increae in anti-American feelings? Must mean we are winning.
Posted by: Capt America ||
12/08/2004 18:29 Comments ||
The US will not negotiate with extremists who carry out terrorist attacks, and the only language to deal with these elements is their own language, a senior US diplomat told the Khaleej Times yesterday. "There is no way that we can initiate dialogue with these elements who only believe in violence. There is no logic in talking to them in a language that they do not understand. We can initiate a dialogue with those who believe in dialogue," Dr Nabil Khouri, deputy head of the US diplomatic mission in Yemen told 'Khaleej Times'. "Dealing with those who blow up cars could only be through security means," he said. He was responding to a question regarding a solution to the escalating attacks against US targets in the region following Monday's attack on the US Consulate in Jeddah that killed nine people.
Dr Khouri said the attack was another indication of the dangerous security situation in the Middle East and other parts of the world. He said these attacks call for bolstering security cooperation with countries of the region in order to eradicate these organisations and curb the escalating violent acts committed by them. Dr Khouri is of the view that the ideology these groups adopt is of the Stone Age. "They demand the Americans to get out of the Arabian Peninsula. But even after the departure of the US forces from the kingdom, we still have to have American diplomats there. This is the age of globalisation, and you cannot be isolated from the rest of the world."
Well all right, we have a diplomat with a pair.
On what his first reaction was when following news about the attack as an Arab American, Dr Khouri diplomatically answered: "I fear for the lives of all the victims of those attacks."
Posted by: Steve White ||
12/08/2004 12:17:20 AM ||
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"I let my M-1 do all my talking."
-- WWII Poster
Gulf countries are making noises about new security arrangements that would reduce their traditional alliance with the United States, a move whose feasibility was quickly questioned by observers.
I think it's a stupid idea, do I count as an observer?
Did you keep your visitors' pass and souvenir parking ticket from the UN tour? Good. That makes you a certified international observer.
The ideas were floated during a weekend conference at the press hotel bar organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, under the theme "security and dialogue in the Gulf", and held in Bahrain, the base of the US Fifth Fleet.
Where they could sit in the balmy breezes, secure in the knowlege that the US Navy was surely on patrol.
Speaking at the meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal stressed the "urgency of global reforms in countries of the region." He also stressed "the need for a security (system) in the Gulf, based on four pillars: the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), plus Yemen, Iraq, and a country to be named later India."
As if the Master Race is going to depend on a bunch of heathen Hindoo for their security.
"The international dimension of security proposed for the Gulf requires the positive participation of Asiatic powers, which have shown themselves recently on the international scene, particularly China and India," the minister said, witnessing to a desire for change by the political heavyweight of the GCC. Besides Saudi Arabia, the GCC comprises Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Sterling security credentials, each and every one.
Prince Faisal, who had criticised US policy in Iraq, said "security in the Gulf needs international guarantees which cannot be ensured by a single party, even by the sole world superpower."
Fine. Go handle your allenist wackjobs by yourself.
His Iranian countpart, Kamal Kharazi, underlined Tehran's position. He favoured "the creation of a security system in the Gulf with all the countries in the region taking part, on the basis of independence ... and without proceeding to any agreement with foreign powers which may threaten, directly or indirectly, the security of all the countries" of the area. "Collective security is not something which can be exported to the region," Kharazi told the conference, which was attended by Stephen Hadley, the new national security advisor to US President George W. Bush, and by the head of US Central Command, General John Abizaid.
"Who needs to depend on a superpower for their security when you have us Iranians next door?"
Opening the conference, Bahrain's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Mubarak al-Khalifa called for the setting up in the Middle East of "new institutions ... susceptible to lay down the basis of a durable peace which would allow continued development in econnomic and political fields."
That sounds positively ... Y'urp-peon.
More specifically, his Omani counterpart, Yussef bin Alawi Abdullah, called for a regional group to be created taking in the GCC countries, Iraq, Yemen, non-Arab Iran and Pakistan. "The GCC countries could think of a new organisation with the involvement of Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Pakistan, which will be based on cooperation, especially economic cooperation," the minister said.
And all at the table stroked their long flowing beards and nodded piously in agreement.
But a Western diplomat in the Bahraini capital told AFP he believed a modification of the Gulf countries' traditional alliance with Washington would be impossible. The diplomat, who asked not to be named, stressed his belief that "the GCC countries with the exception of Oman still have no confidence in Iran." "In the short term, any regional security arrangement is not possible under the current regime in Tehran, while it needs time for Iraq to achieve internal stability," he said. "I doubt that the major powers can accept such a security approach," he said.
He later added a statement about allowing the fox to guard the henhouse, and then wandered off to the hotel bar to get a stiff drink.
Posted by: Steve White ||
12/08/2004 12:10:28 AM ||
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I expect China will eventually be the new protector. They both don't mind shooting their own citizens.
After reading Putin's comment about the invalid elections in Iraq, due to the occupation - it's becoming more clear what is going on here. These countries, threatened by the inevitable prospect of democracy in their region are under the delusion that they can join to crush it. No wonder we are sending more troops.
That they will inevitably begin to eat each other up doesn't bother them because each one has their own delusions of grandeur.
We don't even have the will to carry out the world's cleanest, most conscientious conventional campaign without spending more time on the few mistakes than on what we've accomplished.
The US will never use nukes. Saddam and bin Laden called our bluff.
Posted by: Robert Crawford ||
12/08/2004 8:11 Comments ||
RC, ...without spending more time on the few mistakes than on what we've accomplished.
Who's we? Don't bag 'we' with MSM. Did you expect from them something else?
Some fresh snippets...
Seems Syria is on the table:
Washington Post reports US troops in Fallujah discovered global positioning signal receiver containing âwaypoints originating in western Syriaâ to direct bomb charges.
Jordanâs Abdullah charged in Washington: Foreign fighters are coming across the Syrian border after training in Syria. Another White House visitor Iraqi president Yawar said Saddam remnants in Syria are trying to bring back âthe vicious Saddam dictatorship.â
Who's we? Don't bag 'we' with MSM. Did you expect from them something else?
"We" means the entire country. I know rantburgers are sane, but there aren't enough rantburgers to make a difference when the press gets its Crusade on.
Until we have a press that doesn't commit treason as easily as it breathes, we're screwed.
Posted by: Robert Crawford ||
12/08/2004 10:23 Comments ||
but there aren't enough rantburgers to make a difference when the press gets its Crusade on
Not currently, no, but this can and will change. All the more reason for rantburgers and bloggers to start sourcing and reporting news stories themselves.
We're really in a footrace here to develop democracy in the middle east before the mullahs get nukes and the other gulf-region thugocrats figure out how to play off the mullahocracy against us. Likewise, at home we're also in a footrace to develop alternative news sources before the MSM can pull another Cronkite a la Tet.
Look, it's nice to talk and discuss the future of the region. But the FM of Iran was in the same room as our NSA and Abizaid? Huh? Did they get up and walk out when the Irani spoke? Or did they exchange business cards? This can only prop up the Mullahs, which is not in our or Iranian's interest. Do we want the Mullahs in power or out of it, W?
Posted by: chicago mike ||
12/08/2004 14:12 Comments ||
THE re-election of British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be seen as an endorsement of the military action in Iraq, Prime Minister John Howard said today. Following his own re-election and that of US President George W. Bush, a win by Mr Blair at a British election in coming months would demonstrate widespread support for the three nations' joint Iraq campaign. "Certainly it would," Mr Howard told ABC Radio National. "I'm conflicted when it comes to the British election (but) I really wish Tony Blair well because he's been extremely courageous. "I think of the three of us he had the most difficult internal task in relation to Iraq because his party was deeply divided and a large section of his party was openly hostile to his decision."
Posted by: God Save The World ||
12/08/2004 5:43:42 PM ||
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The "unijust war and "immoral war" which has myriad UNO Resolutions behind it, the one which Great Bill Clinton made "regime change" official US policy, and which the dastardly USA is violating by obeying both the UNO Resols as well as Great Bill/Billary - you know, disobeying the world community and UNO by obeying it, AGAIN!?
Police did act lawfully when they prevented three coachloads of protesters attending an anti-war demonstration at an RAF base, the Court of Appeal has said. The judges dismissed an appeal brought by a group of the coach passengers who said they should not have been turned away from last year's demonstration against the war in Iraq at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. Instead Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, sitting with Lords Justices Clarke and Rix, upheld a previous ruling. They also upheld an earlier ruling that Gloucestershire Police had acted unlawfully and breached the protesters' human rights by detaining them in their coaches on their journey back to London.
Lord Woolf said police had lawfully turned the protesters away but their action afterwards was "disproportionate". He pointed out the passengers were "virtually prisoners" on the coaches for the two-and-a-half hour trip and were unable to leave even to relieve themselves. After today's ruling, demonstrator Jane Laporte, from Tottenham in north London, said: "I think we are just disappointed that the court hasn't upheld our right to protest, which we consider a fundamental right of democracy."
Fairford Coach Action - a group of more than 80 passengers who decided to pursue the case against police actions on March 22 last year - say they are prepared to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights. Afterwards, solicitor John Halford, who acted for Ms Laporte and many of the other protesters, said: "If the police really have this power, it begs the question whether there is a right to protest at all." Craig Mackey, assistant chief constable of Gloucestershire Police, defended the actions of his officers and insisted the force's response to the situation had been "proportionate".
I would have thought they'd be in those plush excursion busses that have a small water closet in the back, like the Greyhound busses here in the States, rather than a bare bones city bus. If so, then the only issue is not being able to walk around and stretch their legs.
It is also not clear from the article whether the police actually escorted the busses all the way back to London to ensure that nobody exited the bus along the way, even to relieve himself. For that matter, was anyone in such need that he begged to be allowed to relieve himself, but was denied? This whole case sounds a bit flimsy to me.
British and Irish leaders published a detailed plan Wednesday for reviving a Catholic-Protestant administration in Northern Ireland a peace-building project still on hold because of unsolved arguments about IRA disarmament. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern have spent the past year struggling to forge an unlikely agreement between the province's two biggest and most polarized parties: the British Protestants of the Democratic Unionists and the Irish Catholics of Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army-linked party. Standing together inside Belfast's riverfront concert hall, Blair and Ahern insisted that a deal between the two long-standing enemies was tantalizingly close. They conceded that a breakthrough had been thwarted in part because the IRA refuses to allow photographs of its disarmament to be published _ but they stressed that an eventual deal was inevitable.
David Blunkett has told MPs a new law targeting "incitement to religious hatred" will not curtail free speech. Mr Blunkett told MPs it was to protect people who "feel threatened ... and feel society is not embracing them". Awww, that's what they need! A big warm hug!
He said: "We are trying to stop groups of people who are prepared verbally, in writing and through the internet, to incite others to hate because of someone's faith not because of the argument about their faith." Ten pounds says they aren't going to find any imams guilty of this....
On Monday, Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson launched a comedians' campaign against the plan. The Mr Bean actor says it is "wholly inappropriate" and could stifle freedom of speech. Speaking at Westminster, Mr Atkinson was backed by a group of writers, MPs and the National Secular Society. They oppose part of the bill which will create a new offence of incitement to religious hatred to protect faith groups, particularly DruidsanimistsQuakersthat uppity Dalai Lama Muslims, from attack. But picking on Joooooos is ok!
There are already enough laws to deal with such extremists, they say. Mr Atkinson told a meeting at the House of Commons on Monday night there are "quite a few sketches" he has performed which would come into conflict with the proposed law. He added: "To criticise a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous but to criticise their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticise ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society. A law which attempts to say you can criticise and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed." He said he had sympathy with the law's backers, particular British Muslims, but added: "I appreciate this measure is an attempt to provide comfort and protection to them. But unfortunately it is wholly inappropriate response far more likely to promote tension between communities than tolerance."
Diplomats and peers have joined scientists and churchmen to urge Prime Minister Tony Blair to publish a death toll in the U.S.-led war in Iraq. In an unusual open letter to the premier made available to Reuters, the 44 signatories said Blair had rejected other death counts from the war -- figures span 14,000 to 100,000 -- without releasing one of his own. Any totalling of the Iraqi war dead could embarrass Blair ahead of a general election expected in months in a country that opposed the U.S.-led war.
The group urged Blair to commission an urgent probe into the number of dead and injured and keep counting so long as British soldiers remain in Iraq alongside their American allies. "Your government is obliged under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population during military operations in Iraq, and you have consistently promised to do so," they wrote in the letter to be published on Wednesday. "However, without counting the dead and injured, no one can know whether Britain and its coalition partners are meeting these obligations."
The inquiry, they added, should be independent of government, conducted according to accepted scientific methods and subjected to peer review. Signatories included Air Marshal Sir Timothy Garden, who spent 32 years in the military; Sir Stephen Egerton, a former British ambassador to Iraq; human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger and the Lord Bishop of Coventry, Colin Bennetts.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: God Save The World ||
12/08/2004 10:19:34 PM ||
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It would also be interesting to keep a tally of how many Iraqi civilians have been killed at the hands of insurgents and how many bodies are plucked from mass graves.
Posted by: Howard UK ||
12/08/2004 4:06 Comments ||
What a motley crew. They have too much time on their hands. I'm not sure why it's up to Blair to try to count Iraqi dead. Since when is it the job of one side to count the dead of their enemy? Surely the will and the means to get an accurate tally of Iraqi dead should come from the Iraqis themselves? Or am I missing something here?
It's not about dead Iraqis. Otherwise they would want an accounting of the 1 million missing during Saddam's rule. Well not entirely missing. More than 300,000 have been found so far and new mass graves are being discovered. Why didn't Sir Stephen Egerton and the others speak up when they were in positions to do something about it?
See this is the story, any Iraqi killed is the fault of Tony and George no matter who did it or why. That is all these people are any good at tearing stuff down. They haven't built up one thing good in their whole useless LLL life.
Since retiring from the RAF, he has been closely involved in developing foreign and security policy for the Liberal Democrats. He is now a member of both the Federal Executive and the Federal Policy Committee. He is deputy Chairman of the National Liberal Club. He became a Life Peer in June 2004. His wife, Sue, is the Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for Finchley & Golders Green, and they live in Hampstead.
I see the missus is up for something in the Liberal Democratic Party. Could that explain why Sir Timothy Garden is making such a fuss?
Goddam those facts! They get in the way of a perfectly decent agenda-pushing 'news' item. I guess what were once considered press releases are now 'stories.'
Bleeding hearts always want to count caskets instead of honor the fallen for the cause in which they died to advance. Disgusting.
Posted by: Capt America ||
12/08/2004 18:27 Comments ||
Come on, people. Since when is counting civilian deaths in this "war" a bad idea? Don't get distracted by the secondary issues. This is a war against no clearly determined enemy and innocent people are dying. We should know about it. The fact that Blair said no is clear indication he is hiding something and afraid of the truth. Sure we should have counted Saddam's atrocities and everyone else's for that matter, but just because we didn't, does this mean we shouldn't now?
From East-Asia-Intel.com, subscription req'd
Japanese military planners are increasing defenses along the coast of the Sea of Japan, known as the East Sea by both North and South Korea, to guard against infiltration attempts by North Korean spies and saboteurs.
The Japan Defense Agency has drafted a plan to position as many as 15,000 troops at 90 critical locations up and down the coastline, according to a report by Jiji Press. The troops will be equipped with the latest in radar and other equipment, on the alert for everything from North Korean trawlers to mini-submarines. Powered by Chicom oil or white slag
The plan reflects widespread fear among Japanese that North Korea, as it slowly builds up weapons of mass destruction, notably nuclear warheads, poses an immediate threat to Japan. Japanese are particularly alarmed by North Korea's ability to build missiles capable of delivering warheads to distant targets, including any point in Japan. NORK WMD blackmail. Hmmm...we have had the same thoughts on that issue concerning Iran, but the EU chooses to ignore it.
The defense agency has carefully selected locations for their proximity to previous points of North Korean infiltration as well as kidnapping incidents years ago, which victimized young Japanese, some of them still held in North Korea.
Defense planners hope that special Japanese troops will be able to capture North Korean infiltrators as they clamber ashore, and then question them to find out where they came from, who was issuing the orders and what were their precise targets. "Where did you come from. Who issued the orders, and what were your precise targets, you spy!"
"You'll never get me to squeal, Imperial Japanese Pig!
"Damn! That's my kneecap! I'll talk! I'll talk. It may be all lies, but I will talk!
Among other sensitive areas of greatest concern to the Japanese are points near nuclear power plants including Wakasa Bay in central Japan. Nice juicy Nork actual or blackmail target.
Jiji Press published its report at the same time that Asahi Shimbun reported a defense agency plan for research and development of surface-to-surface missiles that could be used against fairly close targets, such as North Korea. The Japanese aren't going to take NORK threats or blackmail lying down. Better pay attention to your little Nork dog, Chicoms.
The report is likely to create controversy since a surface-to-surface missile having more than capability could be perceived as being in violation of article nine of Japan's pacifist constitution, which forbids military threats against foreign powers. My gut tells me that Nork nuke threats will change Article 9 in jig time.
Japanese defense officials argue that they need better equipment, including airpower beyond the F4 phantoms now deployed, as well as sensory equipment in light of the potential threat from North Korea. I am sure all of that will come to pass. This is what happens when Kimmie and Co.'s existance is enabled.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
12/08/2004 4:45:11 PM ||
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U.S. Army deserter Charles Jenkins, settling in northern Japan after his release from a military prison and four decades in North Korea, has expressed hopes of becoming a Japanese citizen, a newspaper reported Wednesday. The Asahi newspaper said Jenkins, who abandoned his Army unit in 1965 and defected to North Korea, would soon apply for permanent residency in Japan on the remote island of Sado, where he arrived on Tuesday. Jenkins' wife, Hitomi Soga, is Japanese, and their two North Korean-born daughters, Mika, 21, and Brinda, 19, received Japanese citizenship soon after their arrival in Japan in July. The North Carolina-native, who served 25 days in a U.S. military jail after being convicted of desertion, said Tuesday that he would like to spend the rest of his life in Japan, but he did not publicly mention the possibility of Japanese citizenship. No skin off my fore. Just keep him out of the U.S.A.
Actually, you can become a naturalized Japanese citizen. It is most commonly done by Koreans (some but not all have been there for generations, anyway), Chinese, etc, but there are those from Western countries who do so: Konishiki and Akebono to name some prominent former Americans that I can recall.
Finally, there was a Finnish guy who not only naturalized, but got elected to local office (this was in the mid to late 90s; not sure if he is still in office)
Posted by: Carl in N.H. ||
12/08/2004 23:52 Comments ||
December 8, 2004: North Korea is facing growing unrest propelled by uncontrolled movement of news via new cell phone networks. North Korea has always tightly controlled information. Radios must be manufactured so that they only receive government stations. Anyone found with a radio that can receive foreign stations is tossed into a labor camp, or worse. Few North Koreans have telephones, and fewer still have computers or Internet access. But several years ago, Chinese telephone companies began bringing cell phone service to areas along the North Korean border. At first, coverage was spotty. But a year ago, new transmission equipment was installed along the border, making it possible to use the Chinese cell phones all along the North Korean border. There has been government owned cell phone service inside North Korea since 2003, but it is expensive for foreigners ($1200 to get the phone, plus about a dollar to make a one minute call, and 25 cents to receive a call.) The government tightly controls who can have a North Korean cell phone, and it's assumed that the phones are tapped. The North Korean system is limited in its coverage. The system covers the highways running between Pyeongyang and Hyangsan, Pyeongyang and Gaeseong and Wonsan and Hamheung, as well as those cities themselves. The North Korean system was soon linked to the Chinese system. This was bowing to economic demands. China is North Korea's largest trading partner, and the source of oil and food assistance. It was North Korean officials working along the Chinese border who forced the issue on connecting the two nations cell phone networks. But now more powerful transmitters allow Chinese cell phones to pick up signals throughout North Korea. This means that the countryside, long completely cut off from anything outside North Korea, was getting news within minutes. Before the cell phones, rural areas often didn't get news about events in North Korea for weeks. That has all changed, and it making North Koreans aware of what a mess their communist rulers have made. The government quickly picked up on this and made cell phones illegal (except in the hands of authorized officials) throughout much of the country. Hundreds of cell phones have been seized, but people have simply gotten much better at hiding them. Chinese cell phones are much cheaper to own and operate, and preferred over the government issue ones. The growing number of refugees from North Korea, and unrest inside the country, is due in part to the increased use of cell phones. Many government officials are in a panic over this, because they have always tightly controlled the flow of information. The current generation of North Korean officials have no experience in a society that has free flow of information. They can't force the Chinese to turn off their cell phone service along the border, and many officials have become addicted to the convenience of cell phone use. It would appear that the North Korean dictatorship will end, not with a bang, but with a ring tone.
king kim; the lefts continuing example of a long history of leadership under socialisms values. Here is to hoping all those in the American left get their tickets to this paradise....Our State Department should arrange a trade, for every American leftist they take, we'll take 50 out of Nk labor camps....to be so lucky....the left has a record....its on dsiplay everyday
Cool. I expect the authorities are in a panic. It's much harder to oppress an informed populace.
Great snark, Steve. :-D
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
12/08/2004 11:32 Comments ||
I REFUSE to use a Cell Phone personally. I hate the noise and privacy intrusion. However, I would gladly pay to help some North Koreans obtain information about the True horrors of Kim Jong IL, the Demon Master. It is too bad we cannot help those lost souls over there in such a simple way.
[bolding removed by ed.]
leaddog2--The key is to remember the phone is there for your convenience, not your callers'! If you don't want to be disturbed, turn it off or turn the ringer down and let calls go to VM. You're the one paying for it, so don't let it dictate your behavior!
Of course, you can't do much about the noise and privacy intrusion from others' cell phones in public places, but that's another problem altogether... *sigh*
If you refuse to own a cellphone fine,but don't let other peoples' bad manners deter you. If I may sugest a few things(I used to sell them for a living).Think of the cellphone as insurance,it's a pain paying every month,but if you need it...Other uses are calling local highway patrol if idiot is weaving all over freeway,automobile help in emergency and checking w/spouse if forgot what kind of fruit to get in grocery store(avoiding that argument when you get home-priceless!).As Dar wrote-it's YOUR phone,either keep phone turned off,or the ringer off.Don't give cell# to anyone-"I don't have one","its for company use only","I don't give it out." VoiceMail is feature of most plans-you don't want to be bothered w/it you can get it turned off when activating phone.
Get smallest reasonably priced phone. Give it the pocket test-put keys in one pocket,phone in other;walk around and sit down,it shouldn't be too noticeable. This is how you will normally carry phone,so make sure it "fits".
Get cheapest 1 yr.contract plan w/some minutes-usually $25-30. Don't go for 2 yrs. if you can help it-in the long run waiving the $25-35 activation fee isn't worth it.Because phones have at best 1 yr.warranty,it is better at end of 1 yr. to get new phone and new 1 yr.contract.(Most companies to keep customers from switching will send you a free phone if renew.You keep your first phone as spare in case second gets lost/destroyed.Replacement cellphones are costly.)
If you are buying phone in store and not crowded,ask salesperson to program your home phone# and autoclub/AAA into phones first 2 memory spots.(Also good idea to program your local power and phone co.s' emergency #s.,if you have them w/you get salesperson to program them also.Most cellphones have lighted keypad,making easier to call in the dark.)If the store is not crowded and the salesperson can't be bothered to program #s,fine,leave and go elsewhere.If the people in store can't be bothered to help you when you are giving them money,what are they going to do if you have a question/problem later?
The only accessory you need is car-charger.Plugs in cig lighter and should both power phone and recharge batt.Most places will include one for free,otherwise WalMarts,Office Depots,etc. have them for $10-20.
Try phone out along your normal travelling area for first week. To save minutes(cheap hint!)cell co.s have free# to call for customer support(611 often),call that and check reception. If you find too many dead spots,another phone from same co. ain't gonna help,return phone and cancel service. Make sure you keep box and ALL the material in box.Cell co.s give you between 14-30 days to cancel w/no penalty. After that,you are stuck!
Differ co.s have differ reception in differ cities. A few yrs. ago a company using an actress married to an elder actor as spokesperson and a company who's name rhymed w/splint had the most customer complaints. I don't know what is situation today.
I know this is long and has nothing to do w/WOT so if you delete,I understand.Stephen
Posted by: Stephen ||
12/08/2004 17:19 Comments ||
Delete? No! Good advice from someone who knows.
Tokyo has expressed "extreme regret" at North Korea, after DNA tests showed that remains provided by the North were not those of a missing Japanese woman. Pyongyang has admitted kidnapping Megumi Yokota in 1977, saying she committed suicide in 1994. But Japan remained sceptical, and had called for proof that she was dead. Japanese Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the issue was now a "major obstacle" to ties, and said food aid to the North should be re-evaluated.
Bad move, Kimmi, the Japanese take their respect for the dead very seriously.
The remains were brought back by a Japanese delegation last month after a fact-finding mission about kidnap victims who have gone missing in the North. Pyongyang admitted in 2002 to abducting 13 Japanese nationals, who were to be used as cultural trainers for North Korean spies. Five were allowed to return to Japan, while North Korea said the others had died. The DNA test results were made public on Wednesday. "The bones belonged to a number of other people," Mr Hosoda said. "It would be difficult under such circumstances to provide further assistance to North Korea," he said. Megumi Yokota's mother, Sakie, said the results showed North Korea was not telling the truth. "It's good that the results let everyone in this country know how Kim Jong-il's country is cruel, cold-blooded and inhumane," she said. Tsutomu Takebe, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, called North Korea's latest move "extremely insincere". The latest twist will fuel suspicions that Megumi Yokota is still alive and being held in the North. Some believe she is being detained because she knows too much about the secretive country.
More likely she died someway or another and the Norks don't know where the body is. So they tried to pass off a collection of bones as her. DNA exposed that ploy.
The confusion is also likely to be a major hindrance to Japan's normalising relations with North Korea, which is keen for economic aid. North Korea has handed over remains before which did not match the supposed deceased. In 2002, Japanese investigators were handed human remains which North Korea said belonged to Kaoru Matsuki, who supposedly died in a traffic accident in 1996. But a jaw fragment studied by a dental professor in fact resembled that of a woman in her 60s.
France's interior minister vowed punishment for police who slipped plastic explosives into a passenger's luggage to train airport bomb-sniffing dogs then lost the bag saying Monday that the training method was "scandalous." "Youse guyz are sooooo gonna get it!"
The practice was made public after the bag was lost Friday night at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport and likely ended up on one of up to 90 flights that departed at the time. The bag has still not turned up. Authorities have assured that there was little risk of detonation because special triggers are required to set off the plastic. "Just how little risk of detonation?"
"Under 100 percent. Well under 100 percent."
Police quickly ordered a halt to the practice, with spokesman Pierre Bouquin saying that sniffer dogs would stop using real luggage for practice. Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin said on Monday that an investigation would determine where sanctions could be applied. "First we have to decide who's gonna get it. Then they get it."
"I want to think that this was isolated and the product of an individual initiative," Villepin said.
France has proposed practical measures to ensure the country's Muslim prayer leaders speak French and understand France's way of life. In a newspaper interview, Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin said that from September, future imams must study law, civics and history. Three-quarters of France's 1,200 imams are not French, and a third do not speak French, he told Le Parisien. France has expelled several imams for preaching contrary to French law.
Mr de Villepin said it was unacceptable that so many Muslim prayer leaders in France do not speak the language of the country in which they live and preach. He said imams must learn French - and receive further education in other subjects at French universities. The interior minister said that would help ensure that they could integrate and further that process among the country's five million Muslims. France has expelled several imams this year, for preaching contrary to French law or for posing a security threat by supporting fundamentalist forms of Islam. Mr de Villepin was keen to stress that he remained committed to helping Islam find its place in French society, saying that most French Muslims practised a tolerant and peaceful form of their religion.
Dalil Boubakeur, president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith and head of Paris' main mosque, said he was confident that a new generation of imams being trained in France would be open to modernity and secularism. "All our staff and students are now graduates from French universities. They have acquired knowledge that has to be refined and deepened in the areas that will affect their work," he said. "So the future imams, the ones we are putting forward and training right now, will be imams who are open to secularism and modernity."
He said this was the best way to block "not only those ignorant imams, but also those who have ulterior motives and who would like to introduce into this country fundamentalism, archaism, or Islamic schools which are completely out-of-date, completely stuck in the past and totally alien to France". Preventing intolerance on all sides has become one of the biggest challenges faced by the current French government. Some in France fear that young Muslims - especially those in deprived suburbs - are becoming radicalised by the preaching of foreign imams.
Young girls born in Europe to immigrant families from Africa are being subjected to ritual genital mutilation, and authorities are doing little to discourage it, a leading women's rights activist warned.
I'm surprised she had the temerity to voice a complaint.
Somalia-born supermodel and best-selling author Waris Dirie, who has campaigned to end the disfiguring practice she suffered at age five in her homeland, said yesterday that she estimates one in every three African families living in Europe is secretly carrying out the ritual on their daughters. No official figures exist.
The procedure illegal in most European countries is especially prevalent in Germany and the Netherlands, as well as in Austria, where an estimated 8,000 girls born into immigrant families have been affected, Dirie said. "We don't know who's doing it and where," because there are few initiatives to prevent it or to encourage doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and others to report suspected cases, Dirie said. An exception is France, where there is strong awareness and education, she said.
"What good is a law if no one is paying attention?" Dirie told reporters in Austria, where she was being honoured yesterday by a Roman Catholic men's movement for her efforts to stop the practice.
Islamic religious leaders are telling Europe's Muslim Africans that the prophets recommend the ancient ritual, which involves the removal of the clitoris, often with a dull blade and no anaesthesia, Dirie said.
And they don't want to offend the prophets (PTUI), now do they?
"That is a catastrophe," she said. "Every imam who is not actively against genital mutilation is guilty. Mutilation is not a tradition it's a crime that must be abolished."
Although women generally perform the procedure, men are ultimately responsible because "untrimmed" young women "face great difficulties in African societies in finding a husband," Dirie said.
Between 100 million and 140 million women have undergone genital mutilation worldwide, and two million girls are at risk each year, according to the World Health Organisation, which says the practice can lead to infection, the spread of Aids and crippling physical, psychological and sexual problems. The practice has been on the rise not only among immigrants in Europe but also in Australia, Canada and the US, Who says.
Petra Bayr, an official with Austria's Socialist Party, said the bloc's women would press the government to consider genital mutilation an "act of violence" and legitimate grounds for women fleeing it to be granted asylum in Austria. "Women who are threatened with genital mutilation or have already suffered it should not have to wait for months for an open door," added Raimund Loeffelmann, a spokesman for the Catholic men's organisation honouring Dirie yesterday.
Posted by: Steve White ||
12/08/2004 12:40:31 AM ||
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Female castration is simply unbelievably depraved.
Dumb a** Africans...no wonder they will never be anything greater than coke bottle worshiping Neanderthals! I say help mass migrate any and all the females who want to leave and let the men rot on the damn vine in their beloved bush country!
After the Muzzies take over Europe, GM will be all the rage. All the fashionable social climbers will want it. The French will design little clitlabia scar tissue piercings and have runway burkha-clad (separate seating) fashion extravaganzas to show them off.
Controversial British parliamentarian George Galloway threw his weight behind Fatah firebrand Marwan Barghouti in next month's Palestinian elections and said he may visit Palestine to campaign on his behalf. Speaking at a conference organized by Lebanese supporters in Beirut, Galloway also called on the people of Lebanon to reject UN Security Council Resolution 1559, calling it an attack on Syria and Lebanon. The traitorous pig maverick MP also praised what he called "Iraqi resistance" against "U.S. imperialism." Galloway, who was expelled from the governing Labor Party last year, largely because of controversy surrounding his links with Iraq during Saddam Hussein's regime, was in Beirut following his successful court action against a U.K. newspaper over allegations that he was being paid off by Hussein's regime.
Anything to keep your name in the papers, eh, Georgie?
I'm sure he made the declaration of support after stopping by the deposit window of his bank.
Posted by: Laurence of the Rats ||
12/08/2004 17:49 Comments ||
TGA Mr. Gore has come out steadfastly for an equitable ME peace process than involves both peace and process and Cat 5 cables for all. It is an intense plan than the DNC fears will not work in dial-up country. We shall see.
i love the MSM euphemism of choice for the convicted murderer, Barghouti: "firebrand." Very convenient, as this word is never used in conversation, allowing its true meaning in this context to glide past the readers. It's as if the MSM decided to consistently refer to OJ Simpson as "excitable."
It matters little that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan might be completely innocent of any criminal wrongdoing in the United Nations' oil-for-food scandal. He is the man ultimately responsible for one of the biggest humanitarian aid efforts in history, which turned into one of the biggest financial rip-offs in history. As such, Annan has lost all credibility as leader of the world body. Its viability, in fact, may depend on his willingness to step down soon.
The United Nations' image already was reeling last month amid reports that it is investigating about 150 allegations of sexual abuse by U.N. civilian staff and peacekeeping soldiers in Congo. Then came Annan's acknowledgment last week that he was "surprised and disappointed" by revelations that his son had received $125,000 in vague "consulting" payments from a Swiss company that won a lucrative contract under the oil-for-food program. The secretary-general's professed shock upon discovering his son's involvement suggests gross inattention to duty, if not gross ineptitude. That's also true of Annan's unequivocal denials that he ever had any specific knowledge of any of the fraudulent deals being made while the mess of a program was operating under the guidance of his right-hand man. In other words, while he was failing to pay attention, as much as $10 billion in humanitarian aid -- money intended for food and medicine for Iraqi civilians -- slipped quietly as kickbacks and bribes into the pockets of corrupt opportunists all over the world.
Annan appointed an independent panel to investigate. The committee ended up toothless, however, when the U.N. Security Council balked at letting it take sworn testimony and gain access to the corrupt U.N. contracts. Now we have committees in the U.S. Senate and House conducting their own hearings on the scandal. The work is going slowly, thanks in part to Annan's lack of enthusiasm in giving congressional investigators access to documents and key U.N. officials. Last week, an exasperated Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., chairman of the Senate subcommittee that's been on the case for months, called for Annan's resignation. Coleman is right. Even though the investigation is far from over, it's already clear that the colossal corruption that occurred on Kofi Annan's watch has rendered him completely incapable of leading the United Nations back toward respectability.
Posted by: Mrs. Davis ||
12/08/2004 9:53:21 AM ||
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Canada's special operations military unit, Joint Task Force 2, has been awarded the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation for heroism in battle. It's just the second Canadian military unit to receive the honour. U.S. President George W. Bush made the presentation in California to the American commander of the multinational force in Afghanistan of which JTF-2 was a part from October 2001 to April 2002. The citation, first awarded after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on Dec. 7, 1941, is given to units of the United States and allied nations "for extraordinary heroism in actions against an armed enemy."
"The unit must display such gallantry, determination and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set it apart and above other units participating in the same campaign."
The only other Canadian unit to receive the citation is the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, for actions at the 1951 Battle of Kapyong during the Korean War. Military officials refused to release details of JTF-2's exploits in Afghanistan.
"We could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you."
While their operations went largely unnoticed by their countrymen, their U.S. counterparts took journalists into combat operations for days on end. Officials say that's because the U.S. special forces number in the tens of thousands, while Canada's contingent is believed to be fewer than 1,000, and members could be targeted by Canadian left-wing loonies terrorists. In a recruiting video released in May 2003, the deputy chief of defence staff, Vice-Admiral Greg Maddison, described in cryptic terms JTF-2's involvement in Afghan operations. "In numerous challenging missions against Taliban and al-Qaida targets, they captured enemy personnel, equipment, and material of significant intelligence value and hampered the enemy's ability to conduct operations against us and our coalition partners," said Maddison.
The unit became the centre of attention for a few days in 2002 after a photograph emerged showing JTF-2 soldiers bringing in enemy prisoners to a holding facility at Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. It was the first evidence that Canadians had taken prisoners during the conflict, coming at the peak of debate over the fate of al-Qaida and Taliban fighters captured by the Americans. In the fall 2001 budget, the federal government announced a five-year, $118.5-million special forces expansion project.
Though military officials won't release details of JTF-2's exploits in Afghanistan, the citation says the task force was "the driving force behind myriad combat missions."
Its "extremely high-risk missions" included:
-search and rescue, recovery dive operations, non-compliant boardings of vessels, reconnaissance.
-sensitive site exploitation, direct action missions, apprehension of military and political detainees.
-destruction of cave and tunnel complexes, identification and destruction of al-Qaida training camps, destruction of enemy ordnance, co-ordinating unconventional warfare operations.
The task force "set an unprecedented 100 per cent mission success rate ... while operating under extremely difficult and constantly dangerous conditions," the citation says.
"They established benchmark standards of professionalism, tenacity, courage, tactical brilliance and professional excellence while demonstrating superb esprit de corps and maintaining the highest measure of combat readiness."
The question is boxed into a dated paradigm. The border *cannot* be "secure" without an iron curtain that stretches its length, with three divisions to permanently police it. And to achieve what end? NOTHING OF VALUE. The "reform of immigration law" amounting to giving citizenship to illegals is the other half of the failed paradigm. Bush's idea of easy-to-obtain work visas is very reasonable, but is adamantly opposed by those stuck in the old paradigm: many of whom don't want "legal" workers who can unionize and demand better pay and working conditions, but who want vast numbers of "illegal" workers to exploit. And if we're talking about non-Mexican illegals, such as Arabs, the simple solution of paying Mexicans a bounty for information leading the capture of such illegals is a simple and inexpensive solution.
Ready to trade that Yo for an Eh? There are those who insist that smart American travelers should stow their Yankee identity and simply pretend they're Canadians to ensure safe passage overseas. Something like a Bull Mastiff pretending to be a kitty cat?
New Mexico-based T-Shirt King, in fact, is offering a "Going Canadian" kit for $25 that includes a T-shirt emblazoned with the Canadian flag and the phrase "O Canada," a matching maple leaf patch for luggage, a window sticker, lapel pin and a little guide called "How to Speak Canadian, Eh?" I have spent my adult life traveling around the world. And never once has such an impish idea crossed my mind. I am an American and take responsibility as such. If fact, I once had a bit of tussle with a Canadian in Ethiopia. When he learned I was an American he rolled his eyes. I charged right for him. He flinched, realizing I saw his little eye roll. I never thought I would do something like this, but it was instinctive. My translatorthankfullypulled me away.
Do not back down from being an American. Do not be ashamed. Stand up for our moral imperative. Most important take responsibility for the vote you cast at the ballot box. Let no one tread upon us.
I disagree. When you travel abroad, you should disguise yourself as a Canuck. That way you can start fistfights, get drunk and throw up on your host's carpet, grope female (or male, if that's your bag) MEPs, drive in the wrong lane, and no one will blame the rest of us.
Posted by: Dragon Fly ||
12/08/2004 10:10:26 AM ||
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Good for you! Of the most obnoxious people I have met when living over seas, Canadians top my list. Their self-righteous attitude combined with an inferiority complex (always get pay less than Americans) really makes them unbearable.
My husband would rather do tourism at home than pretend that he is a Canadian or any other nationality.
As a matter of fact, that is something that Americans should be emphasizing nowadays: tourism at home!
Anyone who has traveled abroad knows that American English is distinctive. You can pick an American out of a crowd a block away by sound. It is exceedingly difficult for an American to pretend to be anything other than an American. That said, I have have worked on more than one occasion with the Royal Canadian Air Force (or as the budgeteers in Ottawa now style them, Canadian Forces, Air), and found them to be good people, but cannot begin to imagine why an American would pretend to be a Canadian. Most people in the world would give their left testicle to be an American. For an American to want to pretend to be a Canadian is like asking to be sent to the minors, to single A ball at that. On the other hand, I have known a few unscrupulous Americans to pretend to be Australian to hustle impressionable young ladies.
Anti-americanism today in the two countries I know best, Russia and France, is less overt, widespread and virulent than it was during Clinton's two terms. The French were positively hysterical in the early 1990s because they were terrified of our new dominance. The Russians were enraged by the Kosovo air campaign in 1999.
Anti-americanism has been around for decades. Any American who would cower behind a badge of inferiority like the maple leaf should do himself and us a favor and swap his US citizenship for Canadian citizenship.
This is nothing new. A classmate of mine on an archeological dig in Turkey (near Izmir, I think) in the '80s pretended to be both Canadian and married. This saved her bacon, so to speak, when she and a friend, on their way into town, were accosted by a local gent inebriated on his own testosterone. He nearly cried when she showed him a photo of "her little son," and gallantly escorted them the rest of the way. She says he was very belligerent until the girls disclaimed American citizenship... the picture just tied a ribbon around it.
Discretion is sometimes the better part of valour. But I still prefer your solution, Dragon Fly ;-)
Interesting. I'm from the center of Michigan and whenever my wife and I traveled to Scotland the folks there thought we were Canadian. It was the accent. A gentleman in Cornwall nailed us once, however. He was hiking as we were. As we were coming from the direction he was heading he asked for some advice. When I told him to "head out that-way (pointing), he said, "ah you're American". When we asked how he knew he told us that it was the "head out".
Posted by: Frank G ||
12/08/2004 14:40 Comments ||
Somewhat tangential to this thread, there was a reality TV show a few years ago that I thought was terrific. They put groups of tourists from different countries (UK, Germany, Japan, USA and a couple of others) in various situations and see how they reacted. It was fascinating to watch different cultures at work. The Japanese trying to get group consensus before doing anything. The Brits getting drunk for pretty much any reason. And I recall the American's primary concern was what is the 'right' thing to do in this situation.
I was in India on business a couple of years ago and people (esp kids) would see us and shout "Hi Americans!" and come running over. I saw a fair number of European tourists while there (gave the evil eye to a couple of them in the hotel once), and at the time I wondered if they ever got that reaction. I kinda hope so, since it would probably bug the crap out of them. ;)
Everybody's explanation of the accent is probably on target as to why we got spotted so easily as Americans, especially since they speak the British style of English and all know what it sounds like, and of course we sounded nothing like that (our group being from Texas).
While there we also met a couple of Israeli's, who I mistook as German because that's what they were speaking to each other (of all things).
Posted by: Laurence of the Rats ||
12/08/2004 22:36 Comments ||
They should try paying for their vacations in Canadian Dollars rather than US$. Currently $1 = 1.224 CAD.
When I've travelled, people asked if I was a Yank. I would say, "Yes, I am from Alaska." Then they start yabbering all about igloos and grizzley bears, etc etc and we would get along great. Always worked that way. They think youre from the moon or something. Heh heh. I haven't tried passing out fatwas yet.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
12/08/2004 23:12 Comments ||
It's not just our sound, it's our dress, carriage, our package.
When I was in Greece I was asked if I was a Brit, but no one really wants to mess w/you when you say you're from Chicago.
"Critics charge the technology is neither ready nor affordable, and say it fails to address the greater threat of weapons of mass destruction brought into the country by terrorists or other means."
First, if they had listened to the critics, the Wright brothers would have remained two unknown bike mechanics in Ohio. As to "affordable," lets compare the cost with, say, the total destruction of Seattle, or LA, etc.
The biggest hurdle to any new system is to actually get fielded. Once you have something in place, even if initially imperfect, improvements and upgrades generally quickly follow.
Finally, saying we shouldn't address one threat because there's some other threat out there is just silly. The "critics" appear to be in need of a heavy duty Cluebat session.
The Left is out to protect Communism-centric Russia-China, Globalist Socialism, SWO and Mackinder's "World Island" Concept at any price, even iff the Western Lefts have to immolate themselves - notice I say "Western Lefts", eg FRANCE and US DEMSLEFT, while the CP's in Russia-China work to preserve themselves and modernize their economies and nuke arsenals. Under Dubya, the USA is de facto going full ahead with GMD - all one has to do is look up to the dark heavens. Iff the US successfully expands GMD unto the democracies in East Asia and Eastern Europe/CENASIA, RUSSIA, CHINA AND THEIR RESPECTIVE COMMUNIST PARTIES/BUREAUCRACIES ARE IMPLOSION MEAT - Chicom East Asian hegemony and Russian Eurasian hegemony, let alone GLOBAL HEGEMONY under anti-USA/WEstern OWG, IS HISTOIRE', NADA, FINIS', while their collusory mercs Radical Islam would had sacrificed all their fighting manpower and "credibility" for nothing!
"It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
A. Lincoln, 1863.
The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to approve the intelligence reorganization bill that had been held in committee for weeks. The bill is likely to reach the Senate on Wednesday. President Bush has said he will sign it. The legislation, drawn from recommendations made by a independent commission that reviewed intelligence failures that led up to the September 11, 2001, attacks, would overhaul the U.S. intelligence community. It would put most assets and budgets under the newly created post of national intelligence director. The bill stalled November 20 when House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter and House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner persuaded House Speaker Dennis Hastert not to bring it to the House floor for a vote. Many Democrats and Republicans were angered because they said they had the votes to pass the bill -- without the two congressmen and their supporters. Hastert, R-Illinois, held back, and House-Senate conferees went to work to find language that would ease Hunter's concerns.
A top House GOP leadership aide predicted Tuesday that 20 to 40 conservatives will vote against the bill. If the number tops 50, it will be "troubling," he said. Nevertheless, he said, GOP leaders will press ahead on the vote. "They're not going to turn back at this point," the aide said. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tennessee, said Hastert likely will win a "slim majority of the majority," referring to the speaker's stated goal of gaining the support of most Republicans. President Bush pushed for the bill in his radio address Saturday and in a letter to Congress on Monday, and Vice President Dick Cheney joined in the weekend talks.
Posted by: God Save The World ||
12/08/2004 8:17:26 PM ||
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With the exceptions of a few, they will sign it. It's political suicide not to.
Posted by: Frank G ||
12/08/2004 8:07 Comments ||
This is a mistake, the 9/11 commission was a joke and the President ought to know better. I can't figure out why he was so quick to jump on this. Another layer of bureaucracy won't solve anything and it doesn't even include any border securing measures which in my view is the most obvious problem.
The Democrats were fools on this just like the TSA. They push an issue simply to hurt Bush without regard to its benefit to the nation. Bush succumbs to the "public outcry" and the nation is worse off. He won the election. I hope he tells them to STFU when they come up with their next screw Bush idea.
Posted by: Mrs. Davis ||
12/08/2004 8:19 Comments ||
I don't understand why you all think this is such a bad idea. Duncan Hunter, who I respect, signed onto this once they fixed his concerns. Just because they didn't pass all of the immigration reforms we need doesn't mean that it's not a good bill. Personally, I think they rope-a-doped the Dems. The Dem leadership knew enough of their members would vote yes for it to pass and could not afford to appear to be opposed to it since it would confirm everyone's knowledge that they are weak on homeland security. I think the Dems made a strategic decision to make it look like they overwhelmingly supported this popular bill but the Republicans did not. Don't fall for it.
This bill was a result of the 9/11 commission's recommendations. The major problem that I have with this bill, is that it does not cover drivers licenses. The 9/11 commission clearly played policical games with the final report. The last time I checked, the 9/11 hijackers had in possession, 63 different drivers licences. For this intelligence bill NOT to cover the drivers license issue, is just plain irresponsible (mild picante sauce). The majority of the politicians are STILL in the pre 9/11 mentality. After GW's term is up, I am NOT going to feel safe.
2b - my point is that 75 is not "a few" - there are still legitimate concerns, yes, about immigration. Now, .com believes, and I hope, that W will address immigration reform in a meaningful way after the new year. I am looking for other than an amnesty discussion, the last of which caused a huge rush of illegals attempting to be incountry when the amnesty hits. Shut down the border, establish national ID card rules, and as long as my rep. Hunter is satisfied, then so am I
Posted by: Frank G ||
12/08/2004 15:08 Comments ||
This is beyond Dems vs Repubs. Our nation has a gaping window of vulnerability that's about 2,000 miles long, and no one in Washington is serious about closing that window.
The buck stops with the man in the Oval Office. Long past time that he put forth an immigration policy focused on our needs and not those of his amigo Vicente Fox.
Right with you, Frank-and lex. And if neither the Pubs or the Crats get it-watch that third party swell in 2008. Folks are sick of this immigration charade. We either live by rule of law or we don't.
The government has evolved a strategy to counter the MMA mass contact drive and protest in the House by "getting benefit from the apparent differences among the component parties and notably exploiting their divergent point of views on religious issues."
The ghost of Anna Comnena's giggling like a girl...
Since the inception of current legislatures the opposition parties have continued protesting against a president in uniform but the movement suffered a serious setback by the 17th Amendment in the constitution passed with the help of MMA. The government was constantly trying to woo the MMA and was sure that the religious alliance would not ultimately go to the extent of becoming a danger to the system as it is running government in the two provinces of the country. To save their face in the public, the MMA continues to harp on their stand of not compromising with the government on the issue of uniform.
But that rings kind of hollow, since they came on board for it, then tried to hop off again...
The govt has adopted the strategy to exploit the visible differences among the component parties. The government gave task to an old associate of Jamaat-I-Islami to prepare a report on the seeming differences among the parties as well as in the JI. The former associate of the JI, once very close to MMA chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad and now member of the upper House, has compiled a comprehensive report on the subject that would be presented to General Pervez Musharraf, on his return from his foreign visit.
I think Qazi's being weakened by degrees. At the first, they were infinitesimal degrees, and now they're becoming more noticeable. I'm hoping they'll eventually be massive, though Qazi is a wily old fellow and I'm sure he's got lots of tricks up his sleeve many of them probably including having people bumped off. So it's not over yet, by a long shot.
The senator has compiled a list of descending points among the component parties of the religious alliance. The government believes that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is an easy target and if he proves a hard nut to crack then Maulna Sami-ul Haq can be used to neutralise the Deobandi school of thought. Sami-ul Haq has showed differences several times with the MMA, and had not attended the meetings of the Supreme Council of the religious alliance. He has also not addressed any meeting of the MMA, held in connection with the recent protest drive launched against president in uniform.
The enormity of the concerned parties' egos does make a handy tool. Fazl has probably been bought, the only question being whether he'll stay bought. Whipping Sami up to the point where he does something self-destructive shouldn't be too terribly hard for Perv, unless Sami gets to him first.
The govt agencies are also working on Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUP-Noorani) that has expressed its dismay on the re-election of Qazi Hussain Ahmad as president of the MMA.
Noorani keeling over dead didn't help the JUP's chances. They haven't had anybody to throw into the breech.
The JUP thinks that the top slot of the religious alliance is their right as being the political heir to Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani, it should be given to them.
Won't happen, unless they're willing to take it. And they don't have the hard boyz to do that.
I've known Kojo and Koki for a long time, they are not now, nor have they ever been "crooks", I've talked to Checkers Checkers about this, although yes, he is just a little dawg, but my daughters love love him. Anyway, Kojo and Koki are not "crooks" they are socialist third borrowers and should be allowed to build their nest nest egg. Or I could have Henry Henrys people kill them.
Security Council members have expressed confidence in UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, dismissing calls by some US legislators for him to resign over the scandal-plagued oil-for-food program for Iraq. Even US ambassador John Danforth said he had "great confidence" in Mr Annan although he repeated the White House view that no one could make a definitive judgment until all the facts were in from investigations into allegations of corruption in the $64 billion program. During a working luncheon of the 15-nation council, Mr Annan expressed his determination to "carry out the investigation and to make the facts known to everybody," said Algerian ambassador Abdallah Baali, the council president for December. "There was certainly a unanimous view that this was the right thing to do," Mr Baali said.
"Nobody in the room called for Kofi Annan's resignation. On the contrary, we all expressed our confidence in the secretary-general," said German ambassador Gunter Pleuger. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, there have been widespread allegations of corruption and violations of the UN sanctions on Iraq, some connected to the UN program but others involving separate direct oil deals with governments. Mr Annan has also come under scrutiny because his son, Kojo, worked in West Africa for a Swiss firm, Cotecna, which inspected goods under the program and is under investigation. There is no evidence that the younger Annan dealt with the Iraq program, and no specific charges of wrongdoing on the part of the secretary-general in the December 1998 UN award to Cotecna to inspect goods under the oil-for-food program. But a handful of US Republican legislators have called on Mr Annan to step down. Council members, however, said they wanted him to stay on.
Posted by: God Save The World ||
12/08/2004 8:27:46 PM ||
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Mr Annan expressed his determination to "carry out the investigation and to make the facts known to everybody.
This statement and the product of a bull's rear end bear a suspicious resemblence.
Its too bad the UN won't be disbanded over this and that there aren't any felony charges hanging over this investigation.
Authorities on Tuesday arrested and charged the governor of the war-ravaged Aceh province in northern Sumatra in a high-profile corruption case that will test Indonesia's newly formed anti-graft court. The case against Gov. Abdullah Puteh is expected to complicate efforts to restore civilian rule to Aceh after martial law imposed there last year to help crush a long-running separatist insurgency was lifted in May. Puteh has denied any wrongdoing
"Nope. Nope. Wudn't me."
and refused to step down,
"Nope. Nope. Ain't gonna do it."
despite the charges that he illegally profited from a 2002 deal to buy a helicopter for his regional government. If tried as expected within 90 days, Puteh will be the first suspect to appear before the country's Special Corruption Court, established in 2003 to help fight the graft that is endemic in Indonesian society.
Malaysia will launch a nationwide operation in January to rid the country of more than one million illegal migrant workers, a junior minister said on Wednesday.
Tan Chai Ho, Deputy Home (interior) Minister, said once the amnesty ends on December 31 security forces would arrest the illegals along with their employers and charge them in court.
"There are still many illegals in the country. According to unofficial data, there are some one million illegals. So we need to carry out a major operation to make sure there are no illegals in the country," he was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.
Malaysia on Wednesday extended until the end of this month the deadline for illegals to return home.
It had earlier given them until the end of the Eid-al-Fitr Islamic holiday in mid-November to leave but the response had been poor.
"We hope that with the extension of the amnesty, more illegal (workers) in Malaysia will return to Indonesia," visiting Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said in Jakarta after talks with Vice President Yusuf Kalla.
Malaysia has announced that it will deploy more than half a million members of volunteer neighbourhood security groups to track down and detain the estimated 1.2 million illegal immigrants in the country, mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines.
Once the amnesty expires, illegal immigrants face jail sentences of up to five years and a whipping.
Tan said 18,607 people have already been caned, mainly from Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, for entering the country without valid documents.
As of December 6 a total of 101,668 Indonesian migrants had returned to Indonesia, according to a statement distributed in Jakarta by Najib's staff.
I'm going to have to send this to my brother. He was amazed at the way Indonesians were treated there. So much for "all Muslims are equal" crap.
BTW, while he was over there, his visa expired. He was hoping he would get deported, but they extended it for him instead. I've never seen so much swearing in an email before. ;)
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Asafi rejected Wednesday Egyptian accusations an Iranian diplomat is involved in conspiracies against Egypt. "These claims and accusations are mere lies," Asafi said, the Iranian News Agency, IRNA, reported.
"Lies, all lies!"
Egyptian Public Prosecutor Maher Abdel Wahed announced Tuesday police arrested an Egyptian agent for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards recruited by an Iranian diplomat in Cairo to carry out terrorist attacks against Egypt and Saudi Arabia and to assassinate important Egyptian officials.
Must be a mistake, that sounds more like a al-Qaeda operation than a Iranian one. And everyone knows there's no connection between the two, right? Here's a update on the story we posted yesterday.
Further stoking the allegations that Iran is behind much of the current unrest in the Middle East, Egypt's General Prosecutor Mahir Abdel Wahid revealed that Egyptian citizen Mohammed Eid Dabous was arrested and charged with spying for Iran's Revolutionary Guard, providing it with information to undertake terrorist attacks in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Wahid said Dabous gave the Iranians "the best locations to carry out assassinations and terrorist operations in Egypt." The information, he said, was given to Mahmoud Reda Hussain, a former official in Iran's diplomatic office in Cairo who is now a fugitive. Dabous was also charged with providing Iranians information on foreign residents in Saudi Arabia, who have been targets of terror attacks such as Monday's on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah. Dabous, a former director of a religious school in Saudi Arabia, received more than $50,000 for his work and was promised more than $670,000 to supervise terrorist attacks in Egypt.
A former Saudi religious school teacher, huh?
According to Wahid, in late 2001 Hussain invited Dabous to Iran and introduced him to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Relations between Iran and Egypt have warmed somewhat recently, but bilateral ties have been strained since 1979, when Egypt took in the deposed shah. The two broke off relations in 1980 over the Camp David accords. Two years later, Egypt accused Iran of supporting militants who killed President Anwar Sadat. Dabous was arrested in Egypt and will be tried by a security court. A trial date has not been set but he could get the death sentence if convicted.
TEHRAN: Iran's judiciary on Tuesday said it was investigating four people suspected of spying on the Islamic republic's nuclear programme, contradicting reports that their trial had already begun. "The trial of the nuclear spies will probably take place in secret after the end of the investigation," judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimi-Rad told the student news agency ISNA. His comments were confirmed on state television by Abbas Ali Alizadeh, the head of Tehran's justice department.
"We're writing the verdict first, then we'll figure out what to charge them with"
On November 18, Ali Mobacheri, the head of Tehran's revolutionary courts, told the government newspaper Iran that the trials had already begun. He said that the accused had "infiltrated nuclear facilities" and "were spying for foreign countries". The accused have not been identified, and officials have also not specified for which countries they were allegedly spying. But the paper said: "In the past these individuals also spied for Iraq." In August, Iran's Intelligence Minister Ali Yunessi announced the arrest of a number of "spies" who sent information on Iran's nuclear programme to foreigners.
U.S. military intelligence officials have concluded that the Iraqi insurgency is being directed to a greater degree than previously recognized from Syria, where they said former Saddam Hussein loyalists have found sanctuary and are channeling money and other support to those fighting the established government.
Based on information gathered during the recent fighting in Fallujah, Baghdad and elsewhere in the Sunni Triangle, the officials said that a handful of senior Iraqi Baathists operating in Syria are collecting money from private sources in Saudi Arabia and Europe and turning it over to the insurgency.
In some cases, evidence suggests that these Baathists are managing operations in Iraq from a distance, the officials said. A U.S. military summary of operations in Fallujah noted recently that troops discovered a global positioning signal receiver in a bomb factory in the western part of the city that "contained waypoints originating in western Syria."
Concerns about Syria's role in Iraq were also expressed in interviews The Washington Post conducted yesterday with Jordan's King Abdullah and Iraqi President Ghazi Yawar. "There are people in Syria who are bad guys, who are fugitives of the law and who are Saddam remnants who are trying to bring the vicious dictatorship of Saddam back," Yawar said. "They are not minding their business or living a private life. They are . . . disturbing or undermining our political process."
Abdullah noted that the governments of both the United States and Iraq believe that "foreign fighters are coming across the Syrian border that have been trained in Syria."
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials have previously complained about Syria's role in Iraq, but officials said the latest intelligence has given impetus to new efforts aimed at curbing the activities of the Hussein loyalists there. The U.S. government recently gave the government of Syria a list of those officials, with a request that they be arrested or expelled, a State Department official said yesterday.
"We're bringing quite a bit of pressure to bear on them, and I think some of it is working," said another official, who works in federal counterterrorism efforts. Like other officials interviewed for this article, he declined to be identified by name or position because of the sensitivity of his specialty.
One briefing slide in a classified summary of new intelligence data also says that new diplomatic initiatives are being used to encourage the Syrian government to detain or expel the Iraqi Baathists. "The Syrians appear to have done a little bit to stem extremist infiltration into Iraq at the border, but clearly have not helped with regards to Baathists infiltrating back and forth," said a senior U.S. military officer in the region. "We still have serious challenges there, and Syria needs to be doing a lot more."
The Syrian ambassador to the United States emphatically rejected the accusations as unfounded. "There is a sinister campaign to create an atmosphere of hostility against Syria," said Imad Moustapha, the envoy. He said his government "categorically" denies that Iraqi Baathists are taking refuge in his country. "We don't allow this to happen," he said. "Iraqi officials were never welcome."
As described by defense officials, new intelligence on the insurgency suggests some other emerging problems, such as how extensively U.S. operations in Iraq have been penetrated by members of the insurgency and by people sympathetic to it.
The Green Zone in central Baghdad, home of the U.S. Embassy and the offices of the interim Iraqi government, is especially "overrun with agents," said one Defense Department official who recently returned from Iraq. One activity that has been noticed is that when major convoys leave the zone, Iraqi cell phone calls from the zone seem to increase, he said. An additional concern is that the insurgency seems to be using some Iraqi companies to get into U.S. bases, he said.
Jeffrey White, a former Middle Eastern analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the Syrian role is part of what many intelligence officials believe are the increasingly organized attacks on U.S. forces. "In the last two months or so, this notion that this is a Baathist insurgency has gained dominance in the [intelligence] community," he said. Coupled with that, he said, "there is an increasing view that Syria is at the center of the problem."
Not everyone with first-hand knowledge of the intelligence is convinced that the United States really has a strong grasp of the nature of the insurgency, especially the idea that the insurgency is being directed from the top down. Some Special Forces officers contend that many of the small-scale roadside attacks with bombs or rocket-propelled grenades are mounted not on orders of a hierarchical organization, but rather by Iraqis working more or less alone who feel they have been humiliated by U.S. soldiers, or who simply dislike the occupation.
"I just don't have the sense that we're getting to where we need to be," said one Defense Department official. "We don't know where the enemy is."
The argument over the nature of the insurgency has also provoked some infighting over a classified briefing given late last month to Rumsfeld about steps U.S. forces could take in Iraq to put down the militants. One of the slides in the briefing, delivered by Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, deputy director for Middle Eastern affairs on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recommended actions that would "intimidate the intimidators."
Some U.S. officials in Baghdad resented the briefing, which they saw not only as a form of long-distance micromanagement but also as misguided in its recommendations. For example, some fear that it could lead to a resumption of the tough tactics used sometimes last year as the insurgency emerged, such as taking families hostage to compel an insurgent leader to turn himself in. Subsequent internal Army reviews have criticized such tactics as counterproductive.
One person familiar with the situation said that Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. general in the region, was sent a copy of the briefing and responded by sending a classified cable politely dismissing it and stating that he believes that U.S. commanders on the ground in Iraq have the situation in hand. A spokesman at Abizaid's headquarters, the U.S. Central Command, declined to comment on that exchange.
Posted by: Dan Darling ||
12/08/2004 2:03:35 AM ||
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He said his government "categorically" denies that Iraqi Baathists are taking refuge in his country. "We donât allow this to happen," he said. "Iraqi officials were never welcome."
"We welcome many other terrorists freedom fighters from Palestine and other hellholes. But Iraqi Baathists? No! We have standards!"
Posted by: Frank G ||
12/08/2004 9:39 Comments ||
I bet our red-moustache friend is right over in Syria.
Did we learn nothing? Why aren't we interdicting this Ho Chi Minh trail in the desert?
Good evening. Your primary mission tonight is a bombing run on this terrorist training camp across the border in Syria. Secondary mission is breaking the sound barrier at low altitude over Assad's house. That is all. Good luck and good hunting.
--PH, Now Three Days Without a Human Rights Violation!
Let's take a deep breath, make sure the info is right, make allusions to Syria about the danger Baby Ass is putting his country in, and attack quickly and without warning. No occupation necessary. Iran then might start to change its tune.
If we can't force Syria to see the light, we got no business there. W, please remember what you said about those with us and those against us.
Posted by: chicago mike ||
12/08/2004 14:36 Comments ||
As 150,000 U.S. troops battle to stabilize Iraq, some officials in the Bush administration are already planning to turn up the heat on another member of the president's axis of evil.
Officials in the White House and the Defense Department are developing plans to increase public criticism of Iran's human rights record, offer stronger backing to exiles and other opponents of Tehran's repressive theocratic government and collect better intelligence on Iran, according to U.S. officials, congressional aides and others.
Iran has embarked on a nuclear program that some specialists fear cannot be prevented from producing an atom bomb; is trying to extend its influence in Iraq and remains a prime sponsor of Hezbollah and other international terrorist groups. U.S. intelligence officials also believe some top lieutenants of Osama bin Laden have sought refuge in Iran.
However, with the U.S. military now stretched thin by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the new campaign may be intended not to build support for military action against Iran, but to pressure Iran to change its behavior so military action isn't necessary.
It's far from clear, however, whether a more aggressive U.S. campaign to condemn the Iranian regime and court pro-Western forces would have any effect. The major Iranian opposition group, the Iraq-based Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK), remains on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist groups, but it's provided much of the intelligence about Iran's weapons programs.
The new, more aggressive tack is said to have the backing of secretary of state-designate Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser.
Among the steps under consideration, the officials said, are stronger public condemnations of Iran's human rights practices and treatment of women; increased U.S. broadcasting into the country; and financial backing for pro-Western groups.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized spokesmen and, in some cases, because final decisions haven't been made.
Rice previewed some of the ideas during a White House meeting last week with leaders of major Jewish-American groups, according to one individual who was present and others who were briefed on the session.
"We have to do more to help the human rights community and the dissidents inside Iran," Rice told the group, according to one participant's notes of the meeting, which also focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
An administration official, asked about Rice's reported comments, said they reflected a "heightened attempt" to expose Iran's behavior. "We're trying to make plain for the international community the strategic challenge that Iran poses," he said.
At the same time, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which overseas U.S. international broadcasting, has proposed to the White House a major increase in broadcasting into Iran by Voice of America television, a U.S. official said.
The proposal, which is expected to win approval, would increase daily broadcasts from 30 minutes a day to about three hours, the official said.
"We expect that the White House will be as supportive of this plan as it was for increasing broadcasting to the Arab world," the official said. He couldn't provide cost estimates for the expansion.
The United States already operates a Persian-language radio service, Radio Farda, which broadcasts to Iran 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
More U.S. broadcasting to Muslim audiences was one of the recommendations of the bipartisan Sept. 11 Commission.
How to handle Iran is now shaping up as a major foreign policy issue for Bush's second term. But with the bulk of U.S. combat divisions tied down in neighboring Iraq, the president appears to have no good military options against Iran, which is almost four times larger than Iraq and has nearly three times its neighbor's population.
A limited U.S. air strike on Iran's far-flung nuclear facilities would cause worldwide outrage, could endanger U.S. troops in Iraq and would have no assurance of success. European allies favor diplomacy to curb Iran's nuclear program.
However, top Bush administration officials are now hinting that the White House is eager to start withdrawing troops from Iraq by the middle of next year. One rationale, a senior administration official said, is to give the president greater flexibility in dealing with Iran.
Calls for supporting Iranian dissidents have been fueled by an accelerating takeover of the country's institutions by conservative clerics, ending hopes for reforms backed by President Mohammad Khatami, whose term ends next year.
But while many Iranians, particularly the young, are fed up with their rulers and even pro-American, they're also deeply suspicious of foreign meddling in Iranian politics. Iranians who accept U.S. assistance for democratization are likely to be branded agents of the "Great Satan."
Former assistant secretary of state Lorne Craner said that when Congress made $2 million available in a fiscal 2004 appropriations bill for democratization activities in Iran, "We started looking around for what might be doable. ... It wasn't clear we'd be received warmly in Iran."
But Craner, who left government last year, said that could change if the U.S. government showed it was serious. "When you say you're willing, people start showing up," he said.
The omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last month includes a provision, sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., for $3 million to promote democracy in Iran.
Some of the funds could be used to stage a conference in the United States that would bring together Iranian dissidents, human rights advocates and nongovernmental organizations.
That approach echoes the actions of the U.S. government toward Iraq during the 1990s, when it helped forge fractious Iraqi dissidents into the Iraqi National Congress. The INC and its leader, Ahmad Chalabi, helped persuade the Bush administration to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein, but much of the intelligence the INC provided on Iraq's weapons programs and terrorist ties has proved to be wrong.
The Bush administration also is considering adding Iran to a broader U.S.-backed program to promote democracy in the region, known as the Middle East Partnership Initiative.
"We are exploring ways to begin working with groups inside (Iran)," J. Scott Carpenter, the State Department official who runs the program, told the New York Sun newspaper last month.
Carpenter did not return a phone call seeking comment. About damned time. Faster, please.
Posted by: Dan Darling ||
12/08/2004 2:10:35 AM ||
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Unfortunately, I think that this is just PR "mumble" for public consumption, and what has been, and is, being executed and planned has long been underway, and is not available for public scruitiny, thankfully.
A limited U.S. air strike on Iranâs far-flung nuclear facilities would cause worldwide outrage.
The wests worst nightmare, a nuclear middle east under sway of Islamists is coming to pass before our eyes - and worldwide outrage is a concern?
Guess who is on the Islamist target list after Tel Aviv gets smoked?
To parphrase JFK, we need to say that any nuke going off anywhere will be veiwed as an attack on the US by Iran and North Korea.
Back to the days of MAD.
I have 2 hopes, being an uninformed non-progressive civilian:
1) The Stae Dept has just now noticed Iran is a country somehwere in the M.E. and thinks that's quite lovely -- and hasn't had / won't have time to interfere or screw anything up.
2) Enough "someones" in the CIA involved with the Iran desk are on the job and we have some working relationships with the Persian people which are (or will be very soon) sufficient to allow us to help them topple / take over from the Mad Mullahs in conjunction with a full-scale decap / de-nuke / de-missile strike.
This situation, all by itself, is Tenet's legacy. No one will remember the "slam dunk" BS he fed Bush if Iran goes nuclear and hits Israel, as Rafsanjani has promised repeatedly.
Posted by: Capt America ||
12/08/2004 18:39 Comments ||
Dubya should work to promo the pro-democracy ideals of regional, historical leaders like ATATURK and others. Our target is the anti-democratic, anti-reform Mullahs and the Radicals, not the people of these societies. Dedicated ISLAMOPHILISTS, like FRANCOPHILISTS, have gotta know under OWG Communism-centric Russia-China will prefer to destroy them than tolerate anti-Communist, anti-MOscow/Beijing Islam - to help siborn and destroy America only means a quicker death for independent Islam, et al. CHIRAC mus be either very stupid or naive, or he's the Euro-equivalent of the anti-American American, Communism/Socialism = Capitalism, Leftism = Rightism, FASCIST = FASCISTA,...........etc. Billary Clinton, an anti-French Frenchman and closet but super-PC traitor and killer of France, the EU, and all democratic Europe!
However, with the U.S. military now stretched thin by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the new campaign may be intended not to build support for military action against Iran, but to pressure Iran to change its behavior so military action isnât necessary.
As long as the mullahs remain in control in Iran, the possibility of inducing the desired behavior change is slim to none. The logical course of action then, is to get the Persian public to do the job themselves, with help from us wherever needed, be it overt or not. GWB, Dr. Rice, and the rest of the administration should know this, and should all be making plans accordingly.
DAMASCUS - Syria freed 112 political prisoners under a presidential pardon on Tuesday, the official news agency reported. The agency did not give details about the prisoners that it said were released "in the framework of a presidential pardon." It said another 20 prisoners were released in November.
It was not immediately clear how many political prisoners were left in jail but estimates vary between none and hundreds, depending on the criteria of political prisoner, lawyers said.
Several hundred of the Arab country's Kurdish minority were arrested during riots by Syrian Kurds in northern cities that erupted after a soccer match brawl in March. "There are people who are sentenced to jail terms on charges that might not be seen as political by the authorities but there are hundreds of prisoners yet to be released," lawyer and human rights activist Anwar al-Bunni told Reuters. Bunni said activists were trying to identify who had been released in the latest move.
One source said the prisoners were from "all the colours of the political spectrum ... I am not certain but I think that there are no political prisoners left." Bunni said 160 others have been released so far this year.
Hundreds of political prisoners have been released since President Bashar al-Assad came to power. He introduced a measure of political freedom, but critics say authorities later cracked down again on political activists.Â Â
Posted by: Steve White ||
12/08/2004 12:30:21 AM ||
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many of those released requested that those who met them at the gates of the prison help them as they searched for their tongues and limbs along side the desert highway to allepo
Posted by: SON OF TOLUI ||
12/08/2004 3:05 Comments ||
I wonder who we will take care of first, Syria or Iran. If it is Iran, the Euro-weenie's will howl.
Syria, on the other hand, has the distinction of holding Sadamn's biological and chemical weapons. When we find them in Syria, that should PERMANENTLY ELIMINATE Dean, Gore, Kerry and the other anti-American Demoncrats from political viability in the future. It should also shut up the French and all other insane Leftists.
Leaddog2, thank you so much for moving to an all-italic format. Its so much easier on my old eyes, not to mention my blood pressure. Perhaps some day you'll be able to take the final step, and wean yourself off the italics, too. But this is a good interim step.
An Iraqi businessman was negotiating several months ago to sell a prime piece of commercial real estate in central Baghdad. He had tentatively agreed on a price with a Kuwaiti investor, who planned someday to build an electronics superstore on the 9,850-square-foot property. But after President Bush was reelected in November, the Iraqi jacked up the price 25 percent. The prospect that a reelected Bush administration would stay and fight -- and ultimately stabilize Iraq -- had instantly made his property more valuable. Snip
The war has become a classic test of wills. An example is the insurgents' campaign to close the capital's most important strategic artery, the road from the airport to central Baghdad and the Green Zone. When the insurgents added roving car bombs to their mix of ambushes and roadside explosives, the United States decided last week to ban official travel along the road. It was an insurgent victory, but probably a momentary one. The Americans have already decided on their response: They will take two lanes of the four-lane highway and create a dedicated road that will be open only to official traffic. Iraqis, car bombers and ordinary citizens alike, will be forced to use the other two lanes, safely across the median.
Posted by: Mrs. Davis ||
12/08/2004 7:37:08 PM ||
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Egypt reported Tuesday reaching an understanding with Israel, the Palestinians, the United States and Europe for a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that would include a truce and a peace conference in the American capital next summer. The report by Egypt's state-run news agency, MENA, came amid increased optimism over the peace process after the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat last month and the prospect of Palestinian elections in January. Egypt, the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, has taken an active role in mediating between the two sides, and there have been signs of increasingly warm ties between Israel and Egypt.
MENA said Egypt's plan, which was discussed with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other officials, included the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Gaza and a plan for Egyptian border troops to be responsible for security of the Egyptian-Palestinian border and the Palestinian side of the border with Israel. MENA said a dialogue among Palestinian factions on a cease-fire agreement would begin in March in Cairo. The report said Egypt would seek an international peace conference in Washington next July to discuss the plans, and predicted continued improvement in Israeli-Egyptian relations. In Jerusalem, an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, welcomed a possible truce.
Just as Egypt was talking of a new truce, however, Hamas militants broke three weeks of relative calm in Gaza, setting off a bomb that killed a soldier and triggering Israeli retaliation that killed four Palestinian gunmen. Hamas claimed its men dug a tunnel to booby-trap a chicken coop, then lured troops to the area with the help of a double agent and exploded the bomb, killing an Israeli handler and his bomb-sniffing dog. Israel TV reported that the dog set off the bomb, killing the soldier and two Palestinians guarding the entrance to the tunnel. The TV report said the tunnel was dug in the direction of the nearby Israeli border fence and was apparently designed to allow Palestinian attackers to cross under it into Israel. Interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been urging militant groups like Hamas to stop attacks against Israelis, to allow for a calm presidential election campaign, but the militants have made no promises.
Israel and the Palestinians have agreed on the logistics of the upcoming election to replace Yasser Arafat, a senior Palestinian official said Wednesday, but he denied reports that the two sides had worked out a broader deal to end their decades-old conflict. I doubt that'll happen for awhile, but with Yasser dancing with worms it becomes much more likely...
The Palestinians had demanded that Israel cease military operations and withdraw from Palestinian cities and towns to allow candidates to campaign for the Jan. 9 presidential elections to replace Arafat, who died last month. The Palestinians also insisted that residents of east Jerusalem be allowed to vote, a demand that Israel has resisted. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem, annexed by Israel after the 1967 Mideast war, to be their future capital. The two sides have agreed to hold the elections using the same procedures that were in place for the last Palestinian elections, Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said. "We received assurances that the elections of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip will take place as they did in 1996," Erekat said. "I am satisfied with that. I am happy." During those elections, residents of east Jerusalem were allowed to vote at five polling stations in the region, but their ballots were officially classified as absentee ballots.
SADDAM Hussein's first meeting with a defence lawyer was abruptly cancelled today, apparently because of pressure exerted by US authorities on the special Iraqi tribunal trying him, the chief of the former dictator's legal team said. Ziad al-Khasawneh said in an interview that the Iraqi Bar Association obtained court permission last week for defence team member Khalil al-Duleimi, an Iraqi, to meet with Saddam today. "But the syndicate called the lawyer earlier today to say the meeting has been indefinitely postponed," said al-Khasawneh, who heads the Jordan-based legal team appointed by Saddam's wife Sajida. "The abrupt cancellation indicates that there was a last-minute decision to ban the meeting," he said. "That decision appears to have come from the top, neither from the court nor from the Iraqi government because both have no say in front of Iraq's real ruler, the United States of America. There was obviously an American veto on the meeting."
Officials from the Iraqi Bar Association in Baghdad were not immediately available for comment. An Iraqi Interior Ministry official said he had no information on the purported meeting. US authorities have refused to let the legal team or other lawyers see the Iraqi dictator, who was arrested in December 2003 and is being held in a US-controlled jail. No lawyer was at Saddam's side when he was arraigned July 1 in Baghdad on broad charges that included killing rival politicians over 30 years, gassing Kurds, invading Kuwait in 1990 and suppressing Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991. Saddam's legal team consists of 20 lead lawyers and another 1500 volunteers. The lead lawyers are from countries including the United States, Britain, France, Jordan, Lebanon and Libya. Most of the volunteer lawyers are from Arab countries.
Posted by: tipper ||
12/08/2004 10:52:34 AM ||
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Tell 'em thay get to share their client's fate. That'll thin out the ranks toot suite...
The leaders of Iraq and Jordan warned yesterday that Iran is trying to influence the Iraqi elections scheduled for Jan. 30 to create an Islamic government that would dramatically shift the geopolitical balance between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in the Middle East.
Iraqi President Ghazi Yawar charged that Iran is coaching candidates and political parties sympathetic to Tehran and pouring "huge amounts of money" into the campaign to produce a Shiite-dominated government similar to Iran's.
Jordanian King Abdullah said that more than 1 million Iranians have crossed the 910-mile border into Iraq, many to vote in the election -- with the encouragement of the Iranian government. "I'm sure there's a lot of people, a lot of Iranians in there that will be used as part of the polls to influence the outcome," he said in an interview.
The king also charged that Iranians are paying salaries and providing welfare to unemployed Iraqis to build pro-Iranian public sentiment. Some Iranians, he added, have been trained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards and are members of militias that could fuel trouble in Iraq after the election.
"It is in Iran's vested interest to have an Islamic republic of Iraq . . . and therefore the involvement you're getting by the Iranians is to achieve a government that is very pro-Iran," Abdullah said.
If pro-Iran parties or politicians dominate the new Iraqi government, he said, a new "crescent" of dominant Shiite movements or governments stretching from Iran into Iraq, Syria and Lebanon could emerge, alter the traditional balance of power between the two main Islamic sects and pose new challenges to U.S. interests and allies.
"If Iraq goes Islamic republic, then, yes, we've opened ourselves to a whole set of new problems that will not be limited to the borders of Iraq. I'm looking at the glass half-full, and let's hope that's not the case. But strategic planners around the world have got to be aware that is a possibility," Abdullah added.
Abdullah, a prominent Sunni leader, said the creation of a new Shiite crescent would particularly destabilize Gulf countries with Shiite populations. "Even Saudi Arabia is not immune from this. It would be a major problem. And then that would propel the possibility of a Shiite-Sunni conflict even more, as you're taking it out of the borders of Iraq," the king said.
Iran has faced charges in the past of meddling in Iraq, but with the election approaching, Iraqi, U.S. and Arab officials have begun to make specific accusations and issue warnings about the potential impact.
"Unfortunately, time is proving, and the situation is proving, beyond any doubt that Iran has very obvious interference in our business -- a lot of money, a lot of intelligence activities and almost interfering daily in business and many [provincial] governates, especially in the southeast side of Iraq," Yawar said in an interview with Washington Post editors and reporters.
The interim Iraqi president, a Sunni leader from a tribe with Sunnis and Shiites, said Iraq's first democratic government must reject pressure to inject religion into politics. "We cannot have a sectarian or religious government," he said. "We really will not accept a religious state in Iraq. We haven't seen a model that succeeded."
The question of Iraq's political orientation -- secular or religious -- will come to a head when Iraq begins writing a new constitution next spring. Jordan's king said he had started to raise a "red flag" about the dangers of mixing church and state.
Abdullah said the United States had communicated its concern to Iran through third parties, although he predicted a showdown. "There's going to be some sort of clash at one point or another," he said. "We hope it's just a clash of words and politics and not a clash of civilizations or peoples on the ground. We will know a bit better how it will play out after the [Iraqi] election."
In Baghdad, interim Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih warned neighboring governments that Iraq is losing patience with them for not doing more to stop the insurgency, which undermines the prospects for peaceful elections.
"There is evidence indicating that some groups in some neighboring countries are playing a direct role in the killing of the Iraqi people, and such a thing is not acceptable to us," Salih said. "We have reached a stage in which, if we do not see a real response from those countries, then we are obliged to take a decisive stance."
But after meeting with President Bush on Monday, Yawar and Abdullah said they are committed to pressing fellow Sunnis to drop threats to boycott the elections and move quickly to register candidates.
The Jordanian monarch said sitting out the election would only hurt Sunnis. "My advice to the Sunnis in Iraq, and that I will make public, is to get engaged, get into the system and do the best that you can come January 30," he said. "If you don't and you lose out, then you only have yourselves to blame."
The Iraqi president said there is no point in delaying elections, as Sunni leaders have urged. "Extending the election date will just prolong our agony," he said. He predicted Sunnis will ultimately participate, adding that many of the same leaders agitating against the Jan. 30 date have begun preparing their own campaigns.
Yawar said he is putting together a balanced, "all-Iraqi list" of candidates that would cross sectarian lines, in apparent contrast to the Shiite-dominated candidate slate.
A civil engineer educated at George Washington University, he expressed hope that U.S. troops could begin withdrawing from Iraq by the end of 2005 if Iraqi authorities train enough of their own troops.
"When we have our security forces qualified and capable of taking the job, then we will start seeing the beginning of decreasing forces, and that's in hopefully a year's time," he said. But he would not indicate when he hoped the last U.S. soldiers would leave. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters this week he expected the U.S. military to withdraw within four years.
Posted by: Dan Darling ||
12/08/2004 2:07:02 AM ||
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Jordanian King Abdullah II said forces in Iraq are "getting close" to capturing terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "He's slipped through the net once or twice where we got closer to him than he would have liked," Abdullah told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. "The Iraqis, Jordanians and coalition forces are working very hard to track him down -- and we're getting close." The king said he based his assessment on "hard intelligence."
The king said the search is ongoing and al-Zarqawi is a difficult man to track "in very difficult circumstances." Abdullah described al-Zarqawi as constantly on the move. He also said al-Zarqawi is thought to be inside Iraq after fleeing Falluja ahead of the latest U.S.-led assault on the city. "He's under pressure," Abdullah said. Abdullah said there is a link between al-Zarqawi and al Qaeda, but described it as a "loose association."
Wouldn't that be a nice Christmas present? I think I'll go boil some eggnog...
Nothin' sez "Christmas" better'n a steaming hot mug of hard-boiled eggnog and Zarqawi's head on a pike outside Forward Operating Base Delta...
It would look better mounted on the hood of Bush's pickup truck.
Now kids, there's enough there for everyone ...
Posted by: Dan Darling ||
12/08/2004 1:42:02 AM ||
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"Heâs slipped through the net once or twice where we got closer to him than he would have liked," Abdullah told CNNâs Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. "The Iraqis, Jordanians and coalition forces are working very hard to track him down -- and weâre getting close."
yes frank . al-Zarqawi 's gimp brothers in arms will give him up soon enough . Am a firm beleiver that he'll be back stabbed as local folk prolly sick of his bully boy tactics . Whats ransom on him now ? $20mill ?
Russian President Vladimir Putin cast doubt on Tuesday over the viability of holding elections as planned next month in an Iraq under "total occupation". "I cannot imagine how elections can be organized in conditions of total occupation of the country by foreign troops," Putin said as he met Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi at the Kremlin.
Sort of like the Ukraine, eh?
Allawi was seeking in his talks with Putin to smooth diplomatic relations, following a similar mission to Germany on a European tour of powers that opposed last year's invasion. The premier said Moscow would be given a "leading role" in helping restore Iraq's shattered industries -- a clear signal Baghdad was ready to give Russia access to its lucrative oil industry.
Cheez, you'd think that would be enough to get Vlad to pipe down.
Officials in Moscow said Russia would try to win back oil contracts it signed under Saddam Hussein's regime in exchange for Moscow's promise to write off 90 percent of Iraq's eight billion dollar Soviet-era debt.
Posted by: Steve White ||
12/08/2004 12:35:44 AM ||
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Funny, I cast doubt on the Russkie elections, and the Ukranian elections, and any other democratic farce Tsar Putty has anything to do with. KGB slut.
Yo, Allawi, while you were over there, didya tell Putty the debts are null and void - and since he's trying to give your neighbor Iran nukes, there won't be any more biz for the rusty Russkies... ever? Making deals with scum like Saddam shouldn't pay off, anyway.
heh..I'm guessing that Allawi didn't give him everything he wants. The super cynical and pehaps paranoid side of me wonders what kind of deal Pukin and Er'dogman worked out last week. Afterall, after the debacle in the Ukraine, it's clear that democracy is as much a threat to Putin as it is to everyone else in that region. Yippy probably lays awake at night wondering how he can make those oil fields his own and crush the Kurds all in one move. I just hope they both don't have massive delusions that can write themselves a much better deal. Putin has to be aware that this is all going to come back to bite him really, really hard. Is it possible that he learned nothing from Stalin's deal with Hitler? A united Islamic Middle East would start eyeing Russia before the ink dried. Sleep with the Devil and you're gonna get burned.
In my book, over the last couple of months, Putin has gone from a run-of-the-mill ex-communist conman politician to a hysterically anti-US world leader just itching for a US upper cut. Is he on suicide watch?
Maybe Chirac's ill-timed quip to the eastern bloc EU candidates was really meant for Putin-
(paraphrase) they'd be better off if they'd just learn when to shut up?
Ukraine is turning into a real headache for Putin. He's losing out on his dream of a Greater Russia and... even more dangerous... he might in a not too distant day stare down his own people occupying Red Square to demand democracy. Putin's going down the authoritarian, dictatorial path and I wonder if Russians are willing to put up with it.
Ukraine is showing them they don't have to.
I think I frequently posted here that you can never trust Russia. I think that, despite those "sweet words" from Bush about Putin, he doesn't either. That's why Bush has been building that cordon of America friendly states at Russia's borders.
We might soon be very glad for it.
Ukrainians have had at least a partial eye towards the West for a long time & are rather different from Russians that way. However, under Stalin and Brezhnev, a lot of ethnic Ukrainians were moved elsewhere in the USSR and Russians were moved in. That's one reason there's a split in the populace there and in some other former Soviet states as well.
TGA: I think that, despite those "sweet words" from Bush about Putin, he doesn't either.
Bush is an operator. I don't think he has any qualms about doing what he has to do to ensure America's long term national interests, which do coincide to a large extent with Europe's interests - except where Europe gets to free-ride and play the good cop against America's bad cop.
CAIRO - Egypt raised the possibility Tuesday of returning an ambassador to Israel soon, according to the official Mena news agency, a move that would signal a revival of full diplomatic ties after a four-year break. "The new spirit in Israeli-Egyptian relations opens the way to a return of the Egyptian ambassador to Tel Aviv," the agency said, quoting "high-level sources".
Cairo recalled its ambassador in November 2000 after it accused Israel of defending itself using excessive force against the Palestinian intifada or uprising which erupted two months earlier.
Ties between Israel and its largest neighbour took a dramatic upswing on Sunday when Egypt released the Israeli Druze Azzam Azzam who had served seven years of a 15-year sentence for spying. Israel in exchange freed six Egyptian students who had been accused of plotting to kidnap and assassinate Israeli soldiers. The new atmosphere was further underlined Monday when officials said Israel, Egypt and the United States were to set up free-trade zones under an agreement to be signed on December 14.
Israel and Egypt have been liaising closely over next year's planned pullout of Israeli troops and settlers from Gaza, with both sides keen to ensure Islamic radicals do not step into any subsequent vacuum in the Palestinian territory. "The return of an Egyptian ambassador could be a precursor for diplomatic representation with countries from North Africa and the Gulf," Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said on Monday.
Posted by: Steve White ||
12/08/2004 12:33:18 AM ||
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wonder if he'll carry the arabic edition of "The Protocals of the Elders of Zion" under his arm when he steps off the plane at ben gurion airport
Posted by: SON OF TOLUI ||
12/08/2004 2:59 Comments ||
Regarding the last paragraph, one "North African" country is Morocco, I assume. Tunisia/Libya? Something the Egyptians, Israelis, and US know that we don't? Perhaps relations could be upgraded once Pal elections are concluded?
I love modals.
Posted by: chicago mike ||
12/08/2004 13:03 Comments ||
Members of a US special operations task force punched and abused prisoners in Iraq in front of Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) agents and then threatened the agents to keep them quiet, a official document has revealed. A letter from the head of the DIA to a senior Pentagon intelligence official, which detailed previously unknown incidents of abuse by US forces on prisoners in Iraq, said the agents also saw detainees with burn marks and bruises. It was written two months after photographs of US soldiers abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail near Baghdad became public, and five months after American commanders in Iraq first learned of the Abu Ghraib abuse.
The Abu Ghraib revelations prompted international outrage and undercut US credibility as it sought to stabilise Iraq amid a bloody insurgency after last year's invasion. The new revelations of abuses elsewhere were included in a June 25 letter from Navy Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director of the DIA, to Stephen Cambone, undersecretary of defence for intelligence. The letter was one of numerous US Government documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained them under the Freedom of Information Act. Other documents depict a split between the Defence Department and the FBI over Pentagon use of harsh interrogation methods on prisoners. Vice Admiral Jacoby wrote that two unidentified DIA agents, who worked as interrogators and debriefers at a detention facility in Baghdad, saw task force officers "punch a prisoner in the face to the point the individual needed medical attention". Vice Admiral Jacoby said that "the debriefer was ordered to leave the room". The date of the incident was not stated.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: God Save The World ||
12/08/2004 8:22:47 PM ||
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GSTW - Your nym sucks. You sure you aren't Mikey in dysguyse?
awww, poor you. Read something you didnt like ? awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
Get over yourself
Posted by: God Save The World ||
12/08/2004 3:19 Comments ||
If you had the option of matching my i.p address with Mikey, im sure you would discover im not the person your claiming me to be.
Posted by: God Save The World ||
12/08/2004 3:22 Comments ||
This article is a doozy. NY Times Agenda/reporting without all the fuzzy good feeling. Since it is in an Aussie newspaper, it could a plant given the source (ACLU)
Try this on for size:
Vice Admiral Jacoby wrote that two unidentified DIA agents, who worked as interrogators and debriefers at a detention facility in Baghdad, saw task force officers "punch a prisoner in the face to the point the individual needed medical attention". Vice Admiral Jacoby said that "the debriefer was ordered to leave the room". The date of the incident was not stated.
Now the article's premise is that 'abuses' of Iraqi prisoners took place after April 2003, after Abu Ghrab: So, the date of the incident is not known? Is the location unknown as well? Is the event even real?
Since this story is premised that government documents were released and information for this article are 'revelations' why is there no detail? Could it be there are no details (details that include facts ) becuase there are actually no documents?
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.