U.S. intelligence officials say clandestine interrogations of captured al Qaeda and other terrorists have taken place throughout both Eastern and Western Europe. But there are no permanent secret prisons there, contrary to widespread published reports.
The joint interrogations are at the bottom of accusations that several European states are running secret prisons for al Qaeda prisoners on behalf of the United States. So far, no secret prisons have been found or acknowledged by any European state, despite months of investigations.
Instead, what is going on, we are told, is that al Qaeda terrorists are sent temporarily to allied countries throughout the continent for questioning. The covert flights of intelligence aircraft carrying the prisoners triggered the false speculation about the prisons, the officials said.
The questioning is part of broad international intelligence cooperation that emerged after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
"We've let allied services take a crack at these guys," said one official familiar with the program. The European services often seek answers to more specific questions related to Islamic extremist groups and operations in their nation or region.
Additionally, allied European intelligence and security services have cooperated with the CIA and other U.S. agencies in setting up elaborate deception programs to support the interrogations.
The top-secret programs involve moving terrorists to Europe and then placing them in carefully constructed environments that are designed to make it appear that they are in a Middle Eastern nation, where interrogation methods are harsher.
The deception involves employing third-country nationals who are present and who speak the same language as the country being portrayed.
The terrorists then are told to cooperate and disclose what they know or face transfer to the control of a government such as those in Syria, Turkey or Israel, where they can expect to be tortured or killed.
The false-environment interrogation technique has produced valuable intelligence on al Qaeda and other Islamic plans and operations, the officials said.
The cooperative states were not identified individually but include nations that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld once called old Europe and new Europe, the officials said.
This screws our interrogation tactics. WTF now every terrorist will know or even if real believe the situation fake until the screws start turning. This is going to cost lives because I got $100 bucks that say to get one of these A-holes to a Muslim nation and or getting permit ion from brass to torture to turn these pukes are nill-0.
In the beginning it says intelligence officials is this leaked or released??
If this is leaked somebodys head better freekin role.
If this is released someone needs to be fired for been a dum f*ck.
This information will be detrimental to the breaking of future captured terrorist.
These leaks must be stopped and maximum punishment delivered immediately. If laws need to be changed do it this is unacceptable Treason. Just because the info was not delivered directly to the enemy but instead was published in a newspaper dont change the end resultAssistance to our EnemiesDead US soldiers and civilians who could have been avoided.
The February political footnotes included this little item: Sen. John Kerry in less than 24 hours last week raised $250,000 in an E-mail to his fans for three Democratic Iraq war vets running for Congress. But Kerry's effort wasn't a fire-and-forget for his comrades. Insiders say Kerry and his war pals Max Cleland, former Georgia senator, and fellow ex-Swift boat skipper Wade Sanders, have hatched plans to help some 70 Democratic Iraq war vets win office.
Over a Georgetown dinner this month, the trio reminisced about brace yourselves.... Vietnam and how, as young men, Kerry and Cleland returned to run for office. They recalled how the Nixon White House tried to divide vets between those who supported the president and those who didn't, and they vowed to stop that from happening to Iraq war vets. Then they took another hit off the bong, and reminisced about hippie chicks.
"Blood is thicker than water," we hear Kerry said. " Karl Rove's gonna come after these kids hard. It's Richard Nixon all over again. We're gonna make sure these vets have the ammunition to shoot back." Their plan: Raise $500,000 for a "Fight Back Fund," campaign for John Kerry in 2008 candidates, and even endorse vets in primary races--a rarity.
GOP spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt, however, warned vets away from Kerry, who in the 2004 election got tangled up in his conflicting positions on the Iraq war. She urged them to avoid "a senator who has a proven record of playing politics with national security."
$500,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to what Swift Boat Veterans for Truth raised against Kerry. My recommendation to vets running for Congress: refuse money from these proven liars and tell the truth about your service. You'll be glad you did.
Rather than running vets, why don't they come up with a platform supporting the US?
Oh, yeah, that's right -- it's not what their party believes in.
Posted by: Robert Crawford ||
HHHHHHHmmmmmmmm, at a time when Iran is now being referred to the UNSC, wid reports of the USA going ahead with a proposed 30-day ultimatum for Iran to agree to not to dev nukes, Gore, Hillary, Kerry and even Dean are on the march for 2008. BOLTON just said today that Iran may suffer
"painful consequences", whilst Iran itself has threatened to dev full-scale indigens unranium enrichment. BOTH SIDES ARE THROWING DOWN THEIR GAUNTLETS - FTLOG, STAY ARMED, PEOPLE. The Dems are out of ideas, and maybe time, and the only way for Gore, etal. to become POTUS is becuz they were meant to survive "American Hiroshima(s)".
Iraqi tribesmen have captured 1,700 alleged terrorists of different Arab nationalities in recent days as part of a drive to hunt down gunmen in Ramadi area, 110 km west of Baghdad.
In a report carried on Sunday by the daily al-Sabah, Sheikh Usama al-Jadaan, a Sunni Arab tribal leader, said that tribesmen had captured 1,700 terrorists of Syrian, Jordanian, Yemeni and Algerian nationalities.
Al-Jadaan said the captured men had entered the country to "carry out terrorist plots". "All detainees have been handed over to the intelligence services for interrogation."
Sunni-dominated Ramadi is the scene of regular armed attacks on US troops.
Not saying I fully buy into this article but to answer Anonymous question could have been why old Zark went AWOL to Diyalia province. Wouldnt be the first time he left the soldiers to go suicide while he slipped out the back door.
This also I would imagine is a number of total from their beginning its been some months so if a total would be very conceivable. My question would be how many are Syrian intelligence forces.
My, my....lack of communication between the Shrillster and the buck-raker
Hillary Clinton, a leading opponent of DP World's takeover of some US port operations, was this week forced to admit that she did not know her husband had advised Dubai leaders on how to handle the growing dispute.
But former President Bill Clinton's ties to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates should not have come as a surprise to his New York senator wife.
Mrs Clinton's own senatorial financial disclosure forms reveal that her husband earned $450,000 giving speeches in Dubai in 2002.
Officials from the UAE also donated between $500,000 and $1m to fund Mr Clinton's presidential library in Arkansas.
It was part of an effort by the emirates, said a person close to UAE officials, to forge a close relationship with a former US president who is influential and highly regarded in the region.
Mr Clinton's admiration for the UAE was last on display in November, when he made his fourth visit to the American University in Dubai and met students participating in the Clinton scholarship programme.
The UAE has also contributed $100m to Hurricane Katrina relief funds which Mr Clinton had a leading role in raising.
Mrs Clinton's tough stance that the deal represented an "unacceptable risk" to national security has caused UAE officials some consternation.
Regarded as the leading Democratic candidate for the 2008 presidential elections, she has used the deal which polls show is disliked by most Americans and the anti-Arab sentiment it sparked to attack the Bush administration on national security, an issue that has been seen as a weak point for Democrats.
Although Mrs Clinton has been careful not to criticise the UAE directly, her stance has put her in the same camp as legislators who openly accuse Dubai of helping to finance the September 11 terrorist attacks and deem the UAE untrustworthy.
Privately, some Democrats see the revelations about his ties to the UAE as a classic Clinton dilemma. Mrs Clinton told the New York Post on Thursday that she did not know her husband had been contacted by Dubai officials two weeks ago and offered them advice on the deal. Although both Hillary and Bill Clinton say he stands behind her on the issue and there is no direct conflict, his relationship to the UAE has complicated her political stance on the transaction.
Meanwhile, the UAE has sought to quell the backlash against the takeover by hiring some Clinton officials - and Republicans - to lobby on Dubai's behalf.
and Dianne Feinstein - whose husband had/has (who knows since he nor she will say) economic ties with the ChiComs making them both very wealthy
Posted by: Frank G ||
So the epitome of unreliable incompetent dishonest Male Brute Amerikanism once more misled his innocent Universal Perfectnik, Motherly Commie spouse, eh? Commie- and Socialist-beloved Universal Deficitism = COnservatism only proves the dastardly RINO GOP Brute shirking his manly duty taking care of care of any Motherly Commie female needs.
"Dubai Ports is lining up powerful supporters to persuade skeptical lawmakers the deal is a good idea. Even before the controversy erupted, the company had hired Bob Dole's law and lobbying firm, Alston & Bird LLC, to win approval for the deal. The Albright Group, led by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, also has been trying to speak with members of Congress."
I find this hard to believe, but who knows?
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl reportedly told Iranian businessmen in Germany that he agreed with statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust was a "myth", the semi-official Jomhouri Islami reported on Monday.
The government-owned daily wrote that at a dinner gala with Iranian hoteliers and entrepreneurs, Kohl said that he "heartily agreed" with Ahmadinejad's remarks about the Holocaust.
"What Ahmadinejad said about the Holocaust was in our bosoms", the former German chancellor was quoted as saying. "For years we wanted to say this, but we did not have the courage to speak out".
Ahmadinejad caused an international furore last year when he publicly declared that the Holocaust was a "myth" and threatened that Israel must be "wiped off the map".
His comments were supported by senior Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
The country's state-run media have systematically defended the position of the Iranian president and given extensive coverage to historians and "experts" who deny the Holocaust took place.
WHEN Major-General Axel Tättelmann, the head of Nato's Airborne Early Warning and Control Force, showed off an Awacs early warning surveillance plane in Israel a fortnight ago, he caused a flurry of concern back at headquarters in Brussels.
It was not his demonstration that raised eyebrows, but what he said about Nato's possible involvement in any future military strike against Iran. "We would be the first to be called up if the Nato council decided we should be," he said.
Nato would prefer the emphasis to remain on the "if", but Tättelmann's comments revealed that the military alliance could play a supporting role if America launches airstrikes against Iranian nuclear targets.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will tomorrow confirm Iran's referral to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.
Iran insists it is developing peaceful nuclear energy, a claim regarded as bogus by America and Britain, France and Germany, which believe it wants to develop nuclear weapons. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks about wiping Israel "off the map" have added to fears.
America and Israel have warned that they will not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran. If negotiations fail, both countries have plans of last resort for airstrikes against Iran's widely dispersed nuclear facilities.
Porter Goss, the head of the CIA, visited Recep Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey, a Nato country, late last year and asked for political, logistical and intelligence support in the event of airstrikes, according to western intelligence sources quoted in the German media.
The news magazine Der Spiegel noted: "Washington appears to be dispatching high-level officials to prepare its allies for a possible attack."
Nato would be likely to operate air defences in Turkey, according to Dan Goure, a Pentagon adviser and vice-president of the Lexington Institute, a military think tank.
A former senior Israeli defence official said he believed all Nato members had contingency plans.
John Pike, director of the US military studies group Globalsecurity.org, said America had little to gain from Nato military help. "I think we are attempting to bring the alliance along politically so that when all diplomatic initiatives have been exhausted and we blow up their sites, we can say, 'Look, we gave it our best shot'."
A senior British defence official said plans to attack Iran were pure speculation. "I don't think anybody has got that far yet," he said. "We're all too distracted by Iraq."
Israel's special forces are said to be operating inside Iran in an urgent attempt to locate the country's secret uranium enrichment sites. "We found several suspected sites last year but there must be more," an Israeli intelligence source said. They are operating from a base in northern Iraq, guarded by Israeli soldiers with the approval of the Americans, according to Israeli sources.
The commander of Israel's nuclear missile submarines warned Iran indirectly in a comment to an Israeli newspaper last week that "we are able to hit strategic targets in a foreign country".
The Israelis fear Iran may reach the "point of no return" at which it has the capacity to enrich uranium to bomb-grade purity in the next few months. The Americans are more interested in the point at which Iran is close to developing an actual bomb, thought to be at least three years away.
Two Iranian opposition groups claimed this weekend that Iran had increased its production of Shahab 3 missiles, which have a range of 1,200 miles, sufficient to reach Israel.
Diplomatic efforts to contain Iran are likely to proceed slowly, given Russian and Chinese opposition to punitive action. A Foreign Office official said although the IAEA would refer Iran to the security council, any sanctions would be a "strictly step-by-step process".
In an article published in the London Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Dr. Muhriz Al-Husseini, director of the Center for Dialogue and Research and editor of the U.S.-published newspaper Al-Minassa Al-'Arabiya, warns that religious extremism and ignorance are spreading among the young generation of Muslims in the U.S.
"It is worth mentioning the dilemma of the American security services that face this dangerous phenomenon... If the security services stay away from the mosques and do not meddle in their affairs, the Muslim community will complain that the security services take no interest in the fate of their children and that they are intentionally allowing religious propagandists to lead the youth astray, confuse their thinking, and ruin their futures... On the other hand, if the security services interfere, the Muslim community will again complain, and will express its opposition to the interference of the American security services in the mosques' affairs, in the work of the propagandists, and in the spreading of Islam, and will condemn the harming of freedom of religion and worship..."
In other words, the situation is as bad -- maybe worse -- as any of us have feared. The Muslim community is not only against outside policing, it is disinterested in policing itself.
An analogy would be the discovery that the youth minister at your church has been preaching Christian Identity crap to the kids; he'd be out on his ass as soon as it was discovered. Similarly, if the police came around asking about it, it wouldn't be met with hostility, but with cooperation and probably investigation by the church members themselves.
And I'll state again: the lack of interest the "moderates" show towards removing/rejecting the extremists makes me wonder how moderate they really are. Or whether they hold the extremists to be "more Muslim" than theirselves...
Posted by: Robert Crawford ||
better keep tabs on muslim "youts".
Posted by: Frank G ||
Welcome to the deluge folks. The NWFP are no longer invisible. They're front and centre.
By BASHIRULLAH KHAN, Associated Press Writer 25 minutes ago
MIRAN SHAH, Pakistan - Hundreds of Pakistanis lugging bags and bundles of clothes fled a northwestern town Sunday after pro-Taliban tribesmen and foreign militants battled security forces in clashes near the Afghan border that left at least 53 people dead.
The fighting, which started Saturday and largely died down early Sunday, was the worst in two years in the lawless North Waziristan region, where well-armed, fiercely independent tribes have long resisted government control.
Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan said sporadic gunfire broke out Sunday afternoon in Miran Shah, the main hotspot of the unrest. But the fighters retreated from government buildings they had occupied, and soldiers controlled the town again, he said.
Sultan said foreigners involved in the fighting had come from neighboring Afghanistan and would be "confronted and eliminated."
Sultan said at least 46 fighters and five soldiers were killed in the fighting.
Miran Shah's hospital said two civilians were killed a 25-year-old man who died when a shell hit his home and a 50-year-old homeless man.
The fighting came just days after the army attacked a suspected al-Qaida camp in the village of Saidgi near the Afghan border.
Waziristan is known as a hotbed of al-Qaida and Taliban militants who draw support from the local Pashtun tribal people. Many of the rebellious tribesmen involved in Saturday's unrest are believed to be Islamic students, referred to as "local Taliban," reflecting their sympathies with the hardline militia in Afghanistan.
Miran Shah's streets and bazaars were empty. Smoke billowed from a bank building hit by an artillery shell. Another shell tore a hole in the home of a doctor who lived on the premises of a state-run hospital. Shells also pocked the side of the hospital.
Both sides were using mortars and other heavy weapons, and it was not known who hit the buildings or whether they were targeted or hit by accident.
Security forces fortified themselves inside a heavily guarded base Sunday after the fighting died and troops fired into the air if anyone came within 300 yards.
Hundreds of villagers men, women and children were seen fleeing Miran Shah on foot Sunday, carrying suitcases and bundles of clothes. Vehicles weren't allowed in or out of the town, so they had to walk nine miles to a security checkpoint, where they could find transport.
Noor Nawaz, 25, who runs a shop selling auto parts, said he and his family spent a sleepless night because of the fighting. Mortar and artillery fire thundered overnight, and helicopters could be heard flying until dawn.
"People are extremely scared. Nobody has slept. Children were crying," he said as he fled from the town with his wife and three children. His veiled wife was carrying their 3-year-old son. The crap you believe comes back to haunt you. Harbour evil - reap the results. By the way, when did you stop beating your wife?
Intercepts of radio communications between militants Saturday in Miran Shah and nearby Mir li suggested 80 or more fighters had died, security and intelligence officials said.
A man who claimed to speak for the militants called The Associated Press by satellite phone from an undisclosed location That ever important sound bite. this is a media war, don't cha know? and said that fighters killed 55 soldiers and captured 14 others, but that could not be verified.
The purported spokesman, Maulvi Abdul Ghafoor, warned that fighting will spread to other areas of the region if troops do not withdraw. Come out. Come out, where ever you are....
Pakistan has deployed about 80,000 security forces along the Afghan frontier, but has failed to assert the government's control in these tribal regions which have resisted outside influence for centuries. Welcome to this century, folks. World's lookin' now.
Associated Press reporter Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Pakistan, contributed to this report.
Recently I wrote about a newly released study from the West Point Combating Terrorism Center. The CTC just released documents associated with a study on al-Qaeda. One of them was a letter described here.
As I read the letter, I couldnt help but remember the comments bemoaning President Bush and his war on terror from the likes of Richard Clarke,
I think hes done a terrible job on the war against terrorism.
Michael Scheuer wrote an entire book called Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror. Hillary Clinton derided the President at Berkeley last month, making a joke about missing the tallest guy in Afghanistan, and attacking his management of the war on terror.
To his credit, Paul Pillar gets it right:
Al Qaeda, although still a danger, has been badly damaged by the measures taken over the past two and a half years.
Although as Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard points out in his article Paul Pillar Speaks, Again, Mr. Pillar seems to be completely against the possibility of state sponsored terrorism.
So what was it about the letter that made me think of this esteemed crowd? Here is the description of the letter dated June 13th, 2002:
Synopsis: Abd-al-Halim Adl vigoroulsy challenges the leadership of Osama Bin Laden and accuses him of being close-minded and oblivious to the great harm suffered by Al-Qaida in recent months. He writes to Mukhtar both to confront him for his complicity in these ill-conceived plans and to change Mukhtars thinking.
Key Themes: Abd-al-Halim Adl writes a letter to his dear friend Mukhtar to challenge him for his role in the defeats that have befallen al-Qaida in the last six months, and to encourage him in his challenge to the management of Osama Bin Laden. The recent time period is one in which the movement has gone from misfortune to disaster with serious setbacks encountered in East Asia, Europe, America, the Horn of Africa, Yemen, the Gulf, and Morocco.
Excerpts from the letter:
consider all the fatal and successive disasters that have afflicted us during a period of no more than six months.
but today we are experiencing one setback after another and have gone from misfortune to disaster
My beloved brother, stop all foreign actions, stop sending people to captivity, stop devising new operations, regardless of whether orders come or do not come from Abu-Abdallah (translator notes this is Bin Laden). Our adherents have lost confidence in us
And my personal favorite:
we only lost what we built in years
No, this is not Michael Moore talking about the United States. It is apparently a senior member of al-Qaeda telling another that Bin Laden has ruined them.
Read it and thank the great Americans who are making this happen. Now to be clear, I dont think this means the threat has gone away, but to say that President Bushs war on terror has failed overlooks the facts at a fundamental level. The United States has had major successes in the disruption, destruction, and denial of al-Qaeda operations and this letter proves it. Clarke, Scheuer, and Senator Clinton are wrong.
STRATEGYPAGE.com and other Blog posters are arguing that AL QAEDA [AS AN ORGANZ] NO LONGER EXISTS, and that many of those orgs claiming to be part of AQ are actually unassociated or independ groups of young men-boys looking for their 15 minutes of fame/glory, at least for now.
The latter proclaim to attack US-Allied interests in the ME but typically end up killing mostly innocent Muslims and themselves without putting a dent in US efforts at local democracy- or nation-building. Most agree that Osama, Zawi, and Zarq-ey, and a few other notables, however, are still out there bent on inducing as much anarchy and mayhem as possible.
By ANTONIO CASTANEDA, Associated Press Writer 8 minutes ago
Consider yourselves surrounded..
RUTBAH, Iraq - U.S. Marines used to patrol the streets of this city near the volatile Syrian border. Now they've penned it in with a wall of sand, leaving only three ways in or out.
While causing discomfort to the townspeople, the military says it is an effective barrier to insurgents and frees up troops for use in other parts of restive Anbar province in western Iraq.
The Marines ringed Rutbah with a 10.5-mile-long berm, seven feet high and 20 feet wide, in mid-January and reduced their presence to checkpoints at the three entrances that also are manned by a few dozen Iraqi soldiers.
The move was forced by a major U.S. effort to make the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah a showplace of American-Iraqi cooperation. That leaves fewer Marines to patrol a region with close tribal and economic ties to neighboring Syria, which Washington has accused of letting militants slip over the border.
The sand wall is only "an intermediate solution," said Marine Lt. Col. Robert Kosid, whose 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion is responsible for Rutbah and several thousand square miles of desert around it.
"I think the long-term success of Rutbah involves a permanent presence in the city," said Kosid, who was also based here on his previous tour in Iraq.
But there aren't any Iraqi forces available now. Rutbah's corrupt police force was disbanded last year, and hundreds of Iraqi soldiers that had been in the area were moved north in November for a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation around Qaim.
Sitting 230 miles west of Baghdad, Rutbah joins Tal Afar, Mosul and Samarra as cities where the U.S. military has tried to block outsiders and impede insurgent mobility by erecting large sand walls with bulldozers.
So far, the berm has been a tactical success, helped by rainstorms that have turned the surrounding territory into impassable mud. Roadside bombings sharply dropped from 29 a month to just five since the wall was built, Marines say. Military supply trucks using a nearby highway have been relatively unmolested lately.
Rutbah's streets are lined with impressive villas even though the town is devoid of natural resources and arable farmland. Its 20,000 people have thrived by taking a cut from smugglers moving goods along ancient routes that snake through Iraq from Jordan and Syria. nobody works, everybody is rich. What do you think is up?.
Though attacks in the city have been relatively low by comparison to other parts of western Iraq, the Marines suspect some of its smuggling income is being used to finance insurgent operations throughout Anbar. ya dont say.
Some Marines say the checkpoints are effective at weeding out insurgents without resorting to force. "It's a more methodical way to use (checkpoints) to clear towns instead of going right in to sweep it," Sgt. Spencer Biegel of Albany, Ore., said as he helped inspect cars at a checkpoint.
More than a dozen wanted suspects have been caught at Rutbah's checkpoints, he said. Ill bet. See whos coming into town to pick up a cheque.
"In the long term it cuts down on Marine and civilian casualties," Biegel said.
But residents face big headaches getting in and out of town, routinely having to wait one to three hours because of bottlenecks at the checkpoints.
About 500 vehicles pass through the busiest checkpoint each day, and Marines cut traffic from two lanes to one whenever there is a roadside bombing.
"As insurgent activity rises, we have to put on stringent controls," said Capt. Phil Laing of Seligman, Ariz., who commands the Marines manning the checkpoints. "The intent is not to punish Rutbah." But it certainly is an attempt to crack down on them..
In response to civilian complaints, the Marines moved the berm to put a local gas station within the wall. They also regularly usher water trucks and medical vehicles to the front of inspection lines. A U.S.-funded hospital for the city is just weeks from completion.
Marines survey people entering town to find out about their needs, and to ask for tips on local insurgents.
As for the town's suspected role in financing insurgent operations, Kosid said there is little the Marines can do until Iraq's government establishes a security presence.
"If Rutbah is the financial center that we think it is, it's going to be hard to peel the onion on that one," he said. "To be really effective with the smuggling aspect, you need more of an investigatory capacity where you can peel the layers back." Meanwhile, youre under lockdown..
Unfortunately, there seems to be only one effective way of stopping smuggling in an area: trade. That is, smuggling routes have long adapted to trade, and trade is trade.
So unless you give them a better deal, something more valuable to trade, they will continue to smuggle. The early East Coast of America was like that, too. It only finally stopped when the commercial trade became so great that the smugglers were just in the way to bigger profits.
I think what happens is that you get enough law enforcement personnel that you can make them an offer they can't refuse. This seems like a good stopgap until they can get some Kurdish Revenuers in place.
trade, huh, Moose? Are you thinking Semis full of Walmart toys...jeebus... give it a rest or I'll call .com on ya
Posted by: Frank G ||
'moose does have a good point. There is no industry, little agriculture and few grazing lands in that part of Iraq. Unless you intend to implement Saddam-style selective welfare programs, there needs to be SOME way for these people to make a legitimate living.
Think ahead, Frank. Not just 5 years, but 25 years. Does anyone here think that Assad is still going to be around? What if instead of just another thug dictatorship, Syria gets turned into something reasonable?
If that happens, then this town will again become a trade gateway, from Syria into Iraq.
These people are not going to voluntarily give up what they have been doing for a millenium. So the best bet is to get them doing the legal version of what they do so well.
Sure, the Iraqi army can occupy them for a long time, but sooner or later, it's just not worth it to police people who don't want to be policed.
I mentioned the US East Coast, that was both a smuggler's dream, and had British law after law passed to try and stop it, with little effect because the people wanted to smuggle. What *did* kill it was when legal trade became such big money that it just nudged the smuggling out of the way.
true but "these people" haven't been doing legit trade for eons - they've been smuggling fighters, weapons, and cash to kill our troops and Iraq's fledgling try at democracy. They ned to pay and pay hard for this. Someday, their great grandchildren will say...."wow! they fucked up!"
trade is an easy profession to learn. Traitor is a hard label to lose
Posted by: Frank G ||
Well then Frank, the soulution is simple: Let's make the place another Las Vegas. Moose is dead on.
I'm trying. I've been trying all week. The other day, I drove another 30 miles or so on the streets and alleys of Baghdad. I'm looking for the civil war that The New York Times declared. And I just can't find it.
Maybe actually being on the ground in Iraq prevents me from seeing it. Perhaps the view's clearer from Manhattan. It could be that my background as an intelligence officer didn't give me the right skills.
And riding around with the U.S. Army, looking at things first-hand, is certainly a technique to which The New York Times wouldn't stoop in such an hour of crisis.
Let me tell you what I saw anyway. Rolling with the "instant Infantry" gunners of the 1st Platoon of Bravo Battery, 4-320 Field Artillery, I saw children and teenagers in a Shia slum jumping up and down and cheering our troops as they drove by. Cheering our troops.
All day - and it was a long day - we drove through Shia and Sunni neighborhoods. Everywhere, the reception was warm. No violence. None.
And no hostility toward our troops. Iraqis went out of their way to tell us we were welcome.
Instead of a civil war, something very different happened because of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. The fanatic attempt to stir up Sunni-vs.-Shia strife, and the subsequent spate of violent attacks, caused popular support for the U.S. presence to spike upward.
Think Abu Musab al-Zarqawi intended that?
In place of the civil war that elements in our media declared, I saw full streets, open shops, traffic jams, donkey carts, Muslim holiday flags - and children everywhere, waving as our Humvees passed. Even the clouds of dust we stirred up didn't deter them. And the presence of children in the streets is the best possible indicator of a low threat level.
Southeast Baghdad, at least, was happy to see our troops. . . .
A top Boston Redevelopment Authority official who previously downplayed his role in the Roxbury mosque project of the Islamic Society of Boston assisted in the city's reduction of the price the mosque backers paid for the site from $2 million to $175,000, according to BRA documents that have surfaced in lawsuits over the controversial project.
The official, Mohammad Ali-Salaam, the BRA's deputy director for planning, So the source of the 91.25% discount is made public. And here I though the Islamic Society of Boston bought the land at a Philene's basement sale. also raised funds for the project when he traveled to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as a representative of the city in 2000. The BRA board gave him permission to make the trip, which was paid for by the Islamic Society, but the BRA spokeswoman, Susan Elsbree, said yesterday that Ali-Salaam was not given permission to raise funds for the project while there. Rest at link.
LEEDS, Maine -- A wind-whipped fire destroyed a farmhouse in which Civil War general and Howard University founder Oliver Otis Howard once lived.
The house was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived Friday morning. Firefighters said it took about five hours to douse the flames that also destroyed a barn and started a 10-acre brush fire.
Howard, an abolitionist, was born and raised in the 18th-century house before he attended and taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He commanded Union troops during the Civil War and went on to found Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Owner David Fortin said the fire started while he was using a space heater in an adjoining woodshed. He and a handyman working on plumbing escaped without injury.
"It's a tragic loss. It's a real shame," said owner David Fortin. "It's a piece of history that can never be replaced." General O.O. Howard was known as "The Christian General", because he did not drink whiskey. Quite an illustrious career.
The Conyers report doesn't lack for further instances of the administration's misconduct, all of them noted in the press over the last three yearsâmisuse of government funds, violation of the Geneva Conventions, holding without trial and subjecting to torture individuals arbitrarily designated as âenemy combatants,â etc.âbut conspiracy to commit fraud would seem reason enough to warrant the President's impeachment. Before reading the report, I wouldn't have expected to find myself thinking that such a course of action was either likely or possible; after reading the report, I don't know why we would run the risk of not impeaching the man. Any intellect that easily convinced of anything by John Conyers is suspect. We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country's good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use ususlly you put the biggie first. Is this it or are they saving best for last?; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world's evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation's wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies OK, it must have been best for last. But when did being a wastrel become an impeachable offence? We'd have to have new elections after every roll call vote on that basis.. In a word, a criminalâknown to be armed and shown to be dangerous. Under the three-strike rule available to the courts in California, judges sentence people to life in jail for having stolen from Wal-Mart a set of golf clubs or a child's tricycle. Who then calls strikes on President Bush, and how many more does he get before being sent down on waivers to one of the Texas Prison Leagues?
This is going to become a louder and louder refrain of the left for the next three years, especially if they pick up seats in November.
WORLD IN FOCUS
Interview with Lewis Lapham
Interviewer: Jennifer Byrne
Lewis Lapham, long time editor and columnist with Harpers Magazine has each month chronicled the impact of September 11 2001 on American life, and claims that the greatest threat has come from within rather than without. Hes consequently been accused of being un-American and out of touch.
Byrne: Lewis Lapham, welcome to Foreign Correspondent. Youve expressed some extremely harsh judgements about America since the attack of 9/11, that its got too powerful, too arrogant, too out-of-touch with the world. Are you basically saying in a sense that America deserved what it got?
Lapham: No, I dont think Im saying that it deserved what it got, Im saying that it shouldnt be surprised. If you take into account the events of the last twenty-odd years, the various expressions of Arab or Muslim discontent that have shown up over the last twenty years, whether in the Persian Gulf, in Lebanon, in various terrorist incidents in the Sudan, and so forth as well as the attempted bombing of the World Trade Centre in 1993, that this kind of feeling should not have come as if out of nowhere. We might have been more aware of the opposition or the hostility or the resentment of American power that shows up in various other parts of the world.
Aside from the content, notice how he refers to the United States as an "it."
George Bush committed 3 crimes:
he defeated the Ann Richards,
he defeated Al Gore,
he defeated John F'ing Kerry.
For this he must be impeached.
Posted by: Frozen Al ||
Just another mal pensant fascist-loving filthbag. May he suffer the tortures of the damned for his vile anti-humanistic attacks on freedom and human dignity.
Posted by: Ernest Brown ||
This is a meme that's been simmering in the pot in the left-wing kitchen since the middle of last year. Garrison Keillor who has a column and some say a publicly-funded radio show (I never heard of it) has also been calling for impeachment of Bush. I guess the herd of independent thinkers has finally started their stampede.
John Conyer's report - the dirtbag who stole Turkeys from the poor, uses his tax-paid aides for babysitting, taxiing and tutoring his own chidren, Racist and inflammatory language pimp? That John Conyers? *spit*
an embarrassment to the civil rights movement - a true whore, and no patriot
Posted by: Frank G ||
Garrison Keillor who has a column and some say a publicly-funded radio show (I never heard of it)
"Prairie Home Companion" a humor radio show was on PBS many years ago from the mythical place "Lake Woebegone Minnesota"
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
I HAVE heard of the program. The humor, however, is mythical.
We'll know between March and early summer vv IRAN and NK/NK-TAIWAN, etal. - its already a given that Dubya, the GOP, and of course the USA in gen will be blamed for any new 9-11's and putting the world on the threshhold, i.e. "brink", of nuclear
conflict, be it regional or global. ITS ALSO A GIVEN THAT ANY US-LED MIL ACTION AGS IRAN, SYRIA, NORKORS, ETC, HOWEVER MERITORIOUS TO AMERICA, WILL BE USED BY THE US DEMS /MSM AS
"JUSTIFICATION" FOR ANY MUSLIM/RADICAL-BLAMED WMD ATTACK AGS DUBYA, HIS ADMIN., THE GOP- AND ANTI-CLINTON/OWG CONGRESS, and WASHINGTON. The Left has no qualms about resorting to geopol nuclear "brinkmanship" to PC force the USA under anti-Amer Amer Socialism and anti-sovereign OWG. Both Russia and China have publicly proclaimed that war ags the USA, and only the USA, is very possible and realistic, even desired, btwn circa 2015-2018 - this means that Commie Hillary has up to approx 2012 to begin any Bill-style two-term Presidency. Russia and CHIna's proclamations are akin to Hanoi and NVN taking over from the VC after the failure of the Tet Offensive. I will say again I do NOT believe Hillary will run for POTUS per se in 2008 iff the various Rogue crises remain unresolved. Will also say again that Dems Gore, Kerry, and Dean are there to fail for anti-US OWG as POTUSes, NOT to succeed regardless iff the MSM attempts to make them look good. THE QUESTION IS -IFF ANY MIL OR NUKE INCIDENTS OR ANTI-US MIL INTERVENTION OCCURS, WILL AMERICA'S ENEMIES ADHERE TO INDUCING ONLY "LIMITED" WAR DAMAGE TO THE USA, IN ORDER TO SUPP THE CLINTONS AND THE DOMESTIC ANTI-AMERICAN AMERICAN EFFORT; OR WILL THEY SUDDENLY DAMN THE CLINTONS AND "GO FOR BROKE". I.E. GO FOR TOTAL MIL AND GEOPOL VICTORY AGS THE USA-WEST. * Anti-FAIL-SAFE??? Iff one accepts that Dubya is the kind of Moralist whom will NOT be content to be a "lame duck" in the remainder of his second term, then the unlikelihood of Hillary or any Dem winning in
2008 becomes greater still vv the 2006-2008 "status quo". In the absence of any ideas, or any de facto Amer milfor defeat overseas, all the Dems have is for America to be attacked.
Some religious leaders on Friday blasted a proposed Missouri House resolution that supports prayer in schools and recognizes a "Christian God," saying legislators are pushing Christianity as a state religion.
"It's an atrocity," said the Rev. Timothy L. Carson, senior minister at Webster Groves Christian Church. "Thomas Jefferson would be rolling in his grave. It's indicative of a movement within one segment of activist Christianity that wants to dominate the rest with their views."
Some lawmakers blamed the backlash on a misunderstanding of the purpose of such resolutions.
The proposed resolution states that "voluntary prayer in public schools, religious displays on public property, and the recognition of a Christian God are not a coalition of church and state."
It was recently approved by the House Rules Committee along party lines - five Republicans backed it, three Democrats did not - and could come for a vote before the full House next week. It would also have to pass in the Senate.
The resolution, sponsored by Rep. David Sater, R-Cassville, and co-sponsored by Rep. Barney Joe Fisher, R-Richards, is not a bill and therefore cannot become a law.
Rep. John P. Burnett, D-Kansas City, a House Rules Committee member who voted against passing the resolution to the full House, dismissed it as "a political statement about Christianity."
Sater and Fisher could not be reached for comment. Rep. Shannon Cooper, R-Clinton, chairman of the House Rules Committee, also could not be reached.
The proposed resolution states that the country's forefathers "recognized a Christian God and used the principles afforded to us by Him as the founding principles of our nation. ... As elected officials we should protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs while showing respect for those who object."
Conservative evangelical leaders were upbeat about it.
"The foundations of this country started with Christianity, and this just goes back and acknowledges where we started," said the Rev. David Clippard, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention.
The Rev. Mark Friz, senior pastor at St. Paul's Evangelical Church in St. Louis, said he was "100 percent behind this resolution."
But other Christian leaders were furious.
The Rev. David M. Greenhaw, president of Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, said he found the resolution "offensive as a Christian. I don't want the state defining my Christianity."
Some non-Christians also reacted strongly. Batya Abramson-Goldstein, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said the fact that the resolution made it out of a committee was significant.
"It's not that this is one individual's opinion," she said. "Other legislators have voted on this already, so it takes on a legitimacy that makes it more than a resolution. It's painful for faith communities outside the Christian community."
House Speaker Pro Tem Carl Bearden, R-St. Charles, believes the backlash against the resolution is unmerited. He and other lawmakers say much of the uproar is due to a misunderstanding of resolutions. They are largely symbolic, typically having no force of law. They serve as a kind of opinion poll that lawmakers hope will be noted, but officials say privately that the measures are often ignored.
Bearden said that just because a resolution is filed, it doesn't necessarily represent the views of the entire Legislature. While the resolution on religion has cleared the House Rules Committee, there's no guarantee it will go further, he said.
In fact, dozens of resolutions filed in the past two years have died or been withdrawn. At least two of those were similar to this year's religious resolution. One would have supported the motto "In God We Trust" for use in public buildings. Mullahs, Priests and other Shaman just cannot resist trying to get into politics.
Summary: For four decades, relations among the major nuclear powers have been shaped by their common vulnerability, a condition known as mutual assured destruction. But with the U.S. arsenal growing rapidly while Russia's decays and China's stays small, the era of MAD is ending -- and the era of U.S. nuclear primacy has begun.
Yup. Buck Turgidson is at the controls of the US of A ready to coerce the rest of the world with its nuclear superiority. One section is even entitled "Stop Worrying and Love the Bonb?" The conclusion is:
The United States is now seeking to maintain its global preeminence, which the Bush administration defines as the ability to stave off the emergence of a peer competitor and prevent weaker countries from being able to challenge the United States in critical regions such as the Persian Gulf. If Washington continues to believe such preeminence is necessary for its security, then the benefits of nuclear primacy might exceed the risks. But if the United States adopts a more restrained foreign policy -- for example, one premised on greater skepticism of the wisdom of forcibly exporting democracy, launching military strikes to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and aggressively checking rising challengers -- then the benefits of nuclear primacy will be trumped by the dangers.
If any body takes this seriously I'd be happy to discuss. Otherwise it seems to be a waste of time to state the obvious.
I think that the era of MAD may indeed be ending, but for a very different reason: the era of the ballistic missile may be ending.
It's called the "wet blanket", in this case a term coined by a science fiction writer who postulated that there might be some method, some new technology, by which ballistic missiles would no longer work. His idea was simple: if such a thing is invented, then what do we do?
He continued by pointing out that we had become over-reliant on nuclear missiles. What if we had to go back to war the old-fashioned WWII way?
Or more likely, the Korean Conflict way?
Few people know that the American-led UN forces in Korea had been in extreme danger of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemy, and were saved *only* by an outbreak of hemorrhagic smallpox among the Chinese army, that decimated their ranks.
Even with today's advances in technology, we are sill vulnerable to attacks with vast, overwhelming numbers of enemy, even with very low technology. If nuclear weapons are not available, do we even have enough high explosive available to do the job?
What if we had to go back to war the old-fashioned WWII way? Or more likely, the Korean Conflict way?
There are other alternatives than those.
Even with today's advances in technology, we are sill vulnerable to attacks with vast, overwhelming numbers of enemy, even with very low technology. If nuclear weapons are not available, do we even have enough high explosive available to do the job?
First, if we are really in danger, nukes may not be off the table.
And second, it really only depends on public support for all-out slaughter.
More likely is a nibble-at-the-edges approach that tries to replicate Vietnam and Mogadishu, staying under the level of intensity that would provoke an all-out response. Depends a whole lot who is in office and what has come before, what our response would be.
"Sheer numbers of the enemy" - yes, iff you LOCAL danger as to unit integrity; no, iff you mean the UN forces were in danger of being kicked off the Korean Peninsula as in the early days of the NK offensive vv Pusan. The gist is, coupled wid non-combat casualties induced by operations in the normal NK climate, espec winter, the US-led UN Command were killing, wounding, and capturing so many Chicoms Mao and his generals were concerned over the ability of the Party vv the Party-controlled Army to both maintain the anti-US-UN effort in Korea plus Party-led Commie domestic control back in mainland China. We were destroying or rendering ineffective many the best mil formations the Chinese had, includ those they relied upon to protect mainland China.
same as Shep...perhaps we can be donors for each other?
Posted by: Frank G ||
I picked "charge the dog and rip his neck out with your bare teeth" and I'm wrong?? worked for me in real life, dammit
Posted by: Frank G ||
I call BS on this test. I "missed" the aggressive dog question (have both winged pebbles towards the mutt and stared it down and never got bitten. Works with a coyote, too, BTW).
Gouging a shark in the eye or staring it down? Has the guy who came up with this ever seen a shark in the wild, or just at Sea World? C'mon....you can get a good hit in the snout a hell of a lot easier and it's effective.
I agree, this is not realistic, you're bigger and meaner than almost all dogs, attack him, 99 out of 100 will run away. The other one you shoot with your gun (You do carry a gun, don't you)
I once started to rescue a lady menaced by a growling dog, before I could get there she had dropped what she was carrying (Mail) and crouched in a fighting stance facing the dog, he left, and shortly thereafter I saw her come out of her house going to work, wearing a cop uniform.
Sharks, I stay out of the ocean, no problem.
Tornados, I watch to see which way they're going (Seen Many) and none have come my way yet.
Air crashes, follow the stewardess instructions. Pray if you're so inclined, me I watch everything going on, might need to know later.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
"She's got that oceanfront property in Arizona..."
WHEN Haji Lalai Mama, a 60-year-old tribal elder, gamely tried to organise a village defence force against the Taliban recently, he had to do it with a handful of men and just three rifles. "We were patrolling and ready," he recalled.
But they were not ready enough. The Taliban surprised them under cover of darkness by using a side road. One villager was killed, and 10 others were wounded by a grenade. Two Taliban fighters were captured in the clash. The rest disappeared into the night.
The men at Loy Karez were exceptional in making a stand at all. Few in southern Afghanistan are ready to stand up to the Taliban, at least not without greater support or benefits from the Afghan government.
In fact, four years after the Taliban were ousted from power by the American military, their presence is bigger and more menacing than ever, say police and government officials, village elders, farmers and aid workers across southern Afghanistan.
American and Afghan officials have said for months that the Taliban are no longer capable of fighting large battles, and in their weakness have changed tactics to roadside bombings or attacking soft targets - harassing villagers, killing teachers and burning schools.
Yet the American-led alliance has not been able to root out the insurgency. And the Taliban's tactics have succeeded in sowing fear.
The militants have closed down about 200 schools through threats and burnings across the south of Afghanistan, and killed dozens of government officials, tribal elders and civilians in the past year. Commerce has sharply declined in Kandahar, largely because of the rash of suicide bombings in the past few months.
In the villages, Afghans are asking foreigners and non-governmental organisations not to come around anymore, not because they do not need the aid, but for fear of reprisals from the Taliban.
The local border police commander, Col Abdul Razziq, 30, says the situation is reaching a crisis point.
"People are fed up now with the Taliban," he said. "They don't let organisations come and build roads, dig bore wells and build schools. I think now people have to fight them. How long can they tolerate this?"
The American military reacts quickly with overwhelming airpower when it encounters a Taliban group of any size, as it did recently in Helmand Province when local officials claimed 200 Taliban fighters were at large.
But until now the Taliban, criminals and drug smugglers, who often work together, have had an easy time in Helmand because there has been virtually no security presence in the province, neither from the Afghan Army nor an international force of any strength, said Col Henry Worsley, the commander of British troops.
The British are starting to arrive in Helmand as part of the new Nato force taking over command of southern Afghanistan this year.
"They are clearly a threat," Worsley said of the Taliban and their allies. "But they do have a fairly easy time of it now, and that's going to change."
British troops are planning extensive patrolling with Afghan forces, including patrols on foot and at night to improve security in the villages, he said.
American forces have not spent much time and effort on Helmand, the commander of the United States-led alliance, Lt Gen Karl Eikenberry, has conceded. Yet the alliance has spent a lot of time and investment on the neighbouring province of Kandahar, where the Taliban have also expanded their influence.
General Eikenberry does not accept the suggestion of failure. "The challenge is not that the enemy is strong, but after 25 years of warfare, that the institutions of the state are weak," he told a gathering of elders in Kandahar.
When greeted with speech after speech calling on America to use its influence on Pakistan to crack down on the Taliban operating across the border, he urged the Afghans to look in the mirror, telling them they have a role to play too.
"The best strategy when we have a problem is to hold a mirror to yourself," he said. "It means building a government, getting a clean government that is not corrupt, stopping poppy cultivation, building the Afghan National Army and national police. That is the first step."
President Hamid Karzai also appealed to tribal elders at a recent gathering to help, acknowledging that the government cannot achieve anything without the cooperation of the people.
But in southern Afghanistan, the people seem to be waiting for cooperation from the government.
A police commander in Kandahar, Mullah Gul, who has been fighting the Taliban for four years, described them as the black sheep of the family. "They are a problem," he said, "but it is not something that we cannot handle among ourselves."
While villagers may not support the government, most are sitting on the fence, and only a few are actively helping the Taliban, police officials say. Villagers claim they are caught in the middle and receive little government support.
"We take them very seriously," said Jamal Khan, 24, a farmer from Nawa district in Helmand Province said of the Taliban. "They come in the night to our village. We are not armed, and they ask for food and a place to stay. We cannot say anything. Then the government comes in the morning and says you gave a place to the Taliban. But what should we do?"
But there is evidence that at least some elders and others in the area, distrustful of a government that they say is corrupt and exploitative, are sympathetic to the Taliban. The elders from the Sangin district of Helmand, which American planes bombed recently, said they had joined the small number of Taliban fighters because the government officials preyed on them and robbed them.
"The Taliban are in the villages, among the people," said Ali Seraj, a descendent of Afghanistan's royal family and native of Kandahar, who contends that the government is losing the hearts and minds of the ordinary members of the public.
With its corrupt and often brutal local officials, the government has pushed Afghans into the arms of the Taliban, said Abdul Qadar Noorzai, head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission in Kandahar.
"These are uneducated people. They do not trust the government, they see no help coming to them, so the local people start doing things like the Taliban do," he said.
In fact, four years after the Taliban were ousted from power by the American military, their presence is bigger and more menacing than ever, say police and government officials, village elders, farmers and aid workers across southern Afghanistan.
Is there a reason to spread the Scotsman's bullsknit propaganda?
The UN atomic watchdog will open a meeting expected to clear the way for the UN Security Council to consider acting against Iran over fears it seeks nuclear weapons. Little seems to stand in the way of the crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions being handed over to the Security Council, which can take punitive action.
The board of governors of the UN ineffective watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency meets Monday in Vienna to consider a report from IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei on Iran's nuclear program. The item is expected to come up Tuesday or Wednesday. "The report is presented to the board and then has to go to the Security Council," IAEA spokesman Peter Rickwood said Saturday.
The IAEA's 35-nation board had reported Iran on February 4 to the Security Council but left a month open for diplomacy before the Council receives ElBaradei's assessment report and decides what measures, if any, to take. "After the board report, I think the Security Council will have to have a serious discussion about what the next steps will be," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday on the sidelines of President George W. Bush's visit to Pakistan.
But Rice said there was no need to rush to sanctions.
The Security Council could adopt a "presidential declaration" calling on Tehran to heed IAEA calls for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and cooperate with IAEA inspections, diplomats in Washington and Vienna said. Key Iranian ally Russia, which has a veto on the Security Council, has said it opposes sanctions.
In last-ditch talks in Vienna last Friday, Iran and EU powers Britain, France and Germany failed to strike a deal that could have blocked possible Council action over Western fears that Tehran is secretly developing atomic weapons.
The IAEA has called on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment as a confidence-building measure and to cooperate with a now three-year-old agency investigation. But Iran last month started a 10-centrifuge research cascade at a facility in Natanz, signaling it was pushing ahead with enrichment it says is essential to make fuel for a civilian energy program but which could also be used to make atom bombs.
In his report, released earlier this week, ElBaradei said Iran had failed to answer crucial questions about its nuclear program but stopped short of saying it was making atomic weapons. Diplomats close to the IAEA said they did not expect there to be a resolution at next week's board meeting.
"No, no! Certainly not!"
In February the board voted 27 to three to report the matter to the Security Council.
A Western diplomat told AFP that the European troika had "decided against a resolution, after hearing from Russia, China and India that there was no support for one, even including some non-aligned members." However, the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany, which are all on the IAEA board, may issue a statement calling on Iran to honor the agency's call for it to suspend enrichment and cooperate with investigators, the diplomat said.
Iran meanwhile is lobbying strongly with both the Europeans and Russia for a last-minute compromise "in order to keep the issue within the IAEA," and avoid Security Council action, a diplomat said. The compromise would allow Iran to do very small-scale enrichment work for research while the Islamic Republic would pledge a two-year moratorium on full-scale enrichment that is more of a proliferation risk.
It would also allow them to complete their enrichmment work and build a bomb.
But the Europeans Friday said the bottom line was that Iran must first suspend all enrichment, including research, in order to negotiate on getting trade and security benefits in any deal.
Russia is trying to strike a compromise in which Iran would enrich on Russian soil, so that it would not get the technology that is considered the "break-out capacity" for making atomic weapons. This compromise may include a Russian promise to let the Iranians run a cascade of 20 centrifuges for enrichment research. But a Western diplomat said the United States and the Europeans reject such a concession.
IRAQ'S President Jalal Talabani said yesterday that the nomination of Shi'ite prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari for a second term was an obstacle to uniting the country.
As mortar fire and a car bomb killed nine people in two separate attacks in an area southeast of Baghdad torn by sectarian violence, Talabani also called for militias to join the US-backed political process and said he would issue a presidential decree to convene parliament.
"Opposing Al-Jaafari's nomination is not a personal issue," said Talabani, a Kurd. "It is in the interest of forming a government of national unity."
The ruling Shi'ite Alliance is facing mounting pressure from would-be partners to ditch Al-Jaafari whom, critics say, has failed to staunch sectarian violence that has pushed Iraq towards the brink of civil war.
The stalemate has complicated efforts to form a unity government of Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds that Washington sees as its best hope to stabilise Iraq and allow it to withdraw troops. "The United Alliance has the right to nominate the prime minister but the parliament has to approve it," said Talabani.
As the largest block in parliament, the Alliance has the right to choose the prime minister, who must be ratified by a two-thirds majority in parliament.
The president said he will call parliament to convene - probably around March 12 - but few expect the formation of a government. At best, a speaker will be elected to chair the assembly for four years.
After an ill-tempered meeting last week of Al-Jaafari's Alliance bloc, political sources said some rival Shi'ite factions were considering rerunning an internal ballot, which Al-Jaafari won last month by a single vote.
The minority Sunni bloc, which took part in the December elections for the first time, also want Al-Jaafari out. "We have reservations on Al-Jaafari as prime minister," Sunni Accordance Front spokesman Zafir al-Ani said, adding the Front had asked Alliance leaders to reconsider.
Al-Jaafari, leader of the Dawa party and premier for the past year, won the nomination to lead the new government in a narrow internal ballot of Alliance legislators. Critics say he has failed to stop violence and improve the economy.
US officials are closely involved in trying to form the government and have privately expressed reservations about Al-Jaafari's close ties to fellow Shi'ite Islamists in Iran.
Secular, Sunni and Kurdish political sources said the nomination of Al-Jaafari has made forming a government more than two months after the December polls a very difficult process.
Life in Baghdad returned to a relatively normal weekend after a daytime curfew that banned vehicle traffic on Friday was lifted. But outside the capital, violence raged.
A mortar round landed in a crowded market near a bus station and killed seven people and wounded 20 in the town of Gisr Diyala near Salman Pak, police said.
A car bomb near a police checkpoint in Salman Pak killed two civilians and wounded three police officers.
Urging militants to lay down weapons, Talabani said: "Fighting coalition forces is not in the interests of Iraq."
Gen John Abizaid, the Central Command chief who oversees military operations in the Middle East, also appealed for national unity in a visit to Baghdad. "The situation in Iraq is in the hands of the Iraqi people," said Abizaid, who met Al-Jaafari and Talabani. "The government of national unity must be formed to bring the country together."
The Bush administration, seeking to limit leaks of classified information, has launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources. The efforts include several FBI probes, a polygraph investigation inside the CIA and a warning from the Justice Department that reporters could be prosecuted under espionage laws.
In recent weeks, dozens of employees at the CIA, the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies have been interviewed by agents from the FBI's Washington field office, who are investigating possible leaks that led to reports about secret CIA prisons and the NSA's warrantless domestic surveillance program, according to law enforcement and intelligence officials familiar with the two cases.
Numerous employees at the CIA, FBI, Justice Department and other agencies also have received letters from Justice prohibiting them from discussing even unclassified issues related to the NSA program, according to sources familiar with the notices. Some GOP lawmakers are also considering whether to approve tougher penalties for leaking.
While the government may claim not to be pressuring journalists, the legal expenses in a time of falling circulation will. It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of liars and traitors. Let then look at Cunningham's sentence.
You break the law. You pay. I don't give a rat's pitoot, if you're a politician, a reporter, an editor, an alderman, a choirboy.
As the Constitution says "... nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." We're equal before the law. The profit making business of media/entertainment does not qualify for special privilege.
"Some media watchers, lawyers and editors say..."
In other words, professional propagandists (like the asshole author of this article) working for the Democratic Party...
"...that, taken together, the incidents represent perhaps the most extensive and overt campaign against leaks in a generation..."
Well, golly, I should fuckin' well HOPE SO. But whatever the Administration is doing, it doesn't even begin to approach anything that I, personally, would call a "crackdown on leaks." A "crackdown on leaks" is when you round up the leakers, try them for treason, convict them, sentence them, and then line them up and execute them by firing squad. THAT is a "crackdown on leaks."
"...and that they have worsened the already-tense relationship between mainstream news organizations and the White House."
You lying son of a bitch. Anti-Bush, anti-Republican employees of the NSA and CIA illegally sneak highly-classified information to their leftist buddies in the press who use it to concoct anti-Administration hit pieces whose purpose is to undermine our struggle against a mortal enemy-- and you have the chutzpah to gripe that the Administration, in trying to stop those leaks, has "worsened the already-tense relationship" you have with them????
Frankly, the way the MSM has been behaving since 9/11, I find it damn hard to criticize those who've started to make lists of Leftists who need to be "disappeared" just so we can have a fighting chance against Islamic imperialism.
No Leftists are going to disappear. In an open society such as we have, citizens have the opportunity to judge and, based on falling circulation figures and ad revenues, they are judging as wisely as we could wish. That's one reason the other side has become shriller and more blatant, hastening their fall.
On July 21, 2004, the FBI taped Weissman and Rosen telling WaPo reporter Glenn Kessler about an Iranian plot to kill Americans and Israelis in Iraq. They assured him that their "American intelligence source" was "100 percent credible". The next month Weissman was taped telling Laura Rozen, a correspondent for the American Prospect magazine about more classified information. The FBI has sworn testimony from Larry Franklin that during same period the that two AIPAC employees passed on similar information to Naor Gilon, the former political officer at the Israeli embassy in Washington and Rafi Barak, the former deputy chief of Mission. As it turns out the information was bogus and all part of a sting operation.
Consider for a moment had the information been valid and it was reported. One could assume that in light of the information made public there may be some high-level policy changes. Another job well done for the AIPAC boys. On the other hand, one could also assume that intelligence sources could be compromised or threatened. One could imagine that covert operations might also be compromised.
Now nearly two years later the defense theatrics want us to believe this is a First Amendment case. Some even suggest that if Rosen and Weissman are found guilty, not only reporters, but even readers, could be accused under the same Espionage Act. Oooohh chilling! . And of course everybody in DC passes this kind of information around right. Besides, we are allies were on the same side were buds! You know like if you catch your wife cheating on you its so much better when it turns out to be one of your friends.
I hope the lot of these Rat-Fucks get convicted and thrown in a cell right next to that waste of skin Pollard.
Powerline notes: One of the deepest secrets in the exposure of the National Security Agency surveillance of al Qaeda-related conversations by the New York Times is that the publication of the story is itself a crime. Publication of the story violates, for example, one highly specific provision (18 U.S.C. section 798) of the Espionage Act that prohibits the disclosure of communications intelligence. Violation of the statute is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to ten years.
they also note that the NYT and WaPo never metion that law nor the fact that the NYT is aparently guilty - along with their sources (who are not protected by the US Constitution) - of violating that law. Time to uncover these traitors and hard jail time - including the reporters. Bill Keller too, if possible
Posted by: Frank G ||
Israeli special forces are working in Iran to locate the precise sites at which Iran continues to enrich uranium, a British newspaper reported Sunday. According to the Sunday Times article, the Israeli team is based in northern Iraq and has the support of the United States.
Linked up with the Kurds, did they? That would make sense, the Israelis and the Kurds have always gotten along ...
The Israeli security establishment has taken steps to assure that Israel can defend itself against an Iranian attacks. On Thursday, a senior IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post Israel's Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile system is capable of intercepting and destroying any Iranian missiles, even were they to carry nuclear warheads.
While Iran is Israel's most serious strategic and existential threat, the country, he said confidently, was sufficiently protected by the Arrow, which plays a major role in maintaining Israel's protective envelope. "We will shoot all of [Iran's missiles] down," he told the Post. "The Arrow knows how to intercept the Shihab missile."
Just last year that wasn't the case. Appearing before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Brig.-Gen. Ilan Bitton - head of Israel's Air Defense Forces - said that, while the Arrow was highly effective against the Scud missiles that make up most of Syria's arsenal, it "needed improvement" to face the challenges posed by Iran's Shihab-3.
Improvements were recently made to the Arrow, the officer said, explaining the new confidence, and it was now able to detect even a missile carrying a split warhead and armed with decoys meant to fool the anti-missile system.
Asked about the danger of the Arrow taking out a non-conventional or nuclear missile over Israel, the officer said that the incoming missile would be destroyed at such a high altitude that it would disperse and destroy its payload without causing any casualties. "There is constant pressure to always stay a step ahead of our adversaries," the officer said. "They developed decoys on their missiles and we developed ways to detect the decoys and to be able to accurately strike the incoming threat."
The Mullahs barely govern Azeri and Kurd areas. In Teheran, there are many more anti-regime students and workers, than are there Basijis and compliant security forces. Deflate Ahmadork's arrogance and his regime will crumble. And there are no Shiite refugee states outside of Iran.
But...if Hizbollah targets Israel's nuclear and power plant apparatus, that means WW3. The containment policy is not written in stone.
I'm heartened by all the unprecedented cooperation on the WoT,with even the French pitching in lately. With IDF in Iran and American ultimatums, plus the new Zawahiri tape, must mean they are wounded beasts. Zarqawi may have even left Iraq, especially if IDF is in the north. This ought to really enrage them and force some movement toward Bin Laden's "Final Battle". Zawahiri's tape threatening multiple targets on the West and the Muslims cooperating with them made Rome, NY, Israel, and Dubai come to mind, besides the ports and energy supplies. I'm on the edge of my seat; if only it were all a game and not a deadly reality.
AN urgent anti-terror operation has been launched in Melbourne just 10 days before the Commonwealth Games begin. Senior intelligence sources said agents were watching known associates of suspects identified during the anti-terrorist sting, Operation Pendennis, which culminated in the arrest of 19 men in Melbourne and Sydney in December.
Security services are also monitoring Melbourne-based fundamentalist group Hizbut-Tahrir. At the same time suspected terror cells are being investigated in Canberra and Perth.
And it has emerged that the Games security blitz the biggest in Australia's history will cost around $200 million as 2600 Australian Defence Force troops are deployed across Melbourne. A contingent of SAS anti-terror troops and about 200 ASIO and Australian Federal Police agents have also deployed in Melbourne ahead of the Games. A massive operation aimed at vetting Games tourists and athletes is also under way.
Kirsch has a history of violent crime and was once a member of the right-wing National Action group before converting to Islam. ASIO has raided his North Melbourne hostel which looks after homeless people and released prisoners on at least one occasion, in 2003 after Kirsch visited Afghanistan.
Federal agents will work with police and intelligence agencies from around the world, combing the visas and details of the thousands of athletes and tourists coming to Melbourne. Overseas agencies have been passing on information about people and plans that may represent a threat to the Games. Security officials are especially interested in visitors from countries with links to al-Qaida and other terrorist organisations.
It is believed the fundamentalist group Hizbut-Tahrir, which is based around the Preston mosque, is also the target of a probe. In November, inflammatory leaflets calling on Muslims to oppose Western governments and bearing the group's name were distributed at a family carnival to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Other suspected cells are being watched in Perth and Canberra after tip-offs that Muslim extremists were recruiting, intelligence sources said.
The ASIO and AFP activity comes as the Games security effort steps up. Several of Australia's frontline fighter jets, the FA-18s, will arrive in Melbourne this week, with pilots authorised to shoot down any rogue aircraft. The jets are expected to be located at Point Cook.
Black Hawk helicopters which have been scouring Melbourne on training runs will also be at work, ready to drop teams of Special Forces soldiers at a moment's notice. Officials will also put in place a 75km no-fly zone before the Games begin.
Ships will be ready to sink vessels which might be planning to use the Yarra River as a staging post for an attack on the MCG and an Australian Navy warship will be on alert in Port Philip Bay.
Crucial sites such as the MCG, Parliament, Federation Square and the Sports and Aquatic Centre will be under 24-hour CCTV surveillance. As well, hundreds of closed-circuit security cameras have been installed around the city to monitor quiet areas.
According to Spanish official sources, Aberrada helped two people in 2005 to enter Iraq to participate there in terrorist acts. He is accused of having linked them to a training camp for volunteers for Jihad in Iraq. The same sources added that Aberrada planned to join the training GSPC camps in Algeria for military training.
Aberrada, 20, was arrested on Jan. 3 in Malaga following an international arrest warrant issued by the King's general prosecutor to the Appeal Court of Rabat. The Moroccan authorities accuse Aberrada of belonging to a criminal group and planning terrorist acts.
A REGIONAL leader of Jemaah Islamiah has rolled over and is helping police track and interrogate some of the terrorists he once trained.
Nasir bin Abbas is not a sworn police officer, but he might as well be. The former top JI leader, weapons trainer and Afghanistan veteran of six years is now a full-time consultant to Indonesia's crack anti-terror squad, Detachment 88.
In an exclusive interview, the softly spoken former terrorist revealed he had helped authorities arrest 12 JI suspects in the past year.
Malaysian-born Mr Abbas was arrested during a round-up of JI suspects in 2003 and spent 10 months in a Jakarta jail on immigration offences.
It is not clear how he came to roll over, but he reappeared in public as a consultant to authorities with duties including talking to arrested JI members, encouraging them to open up to interrogators and re-educating them about the error of their ways.
On the night of October 1 last year, when suicide bombers walked into three Bali restaurants and blew themselves up, Mr Abbas was on a plane to Bali with Detachment 88 chiefs.
"My duty is to re-educate the JI members who get arrested and to open their minds, to get them talking (to police), to give them Islamic advice. I know what's inside their mind," Mr Abbas said.
"Most of them are mistaken about jihad, about fighting, about who is their real enemy. I explain to them the true understanding about jihad. Most of them realise they are wrong. Then they open their mind and talk to the police," he said.
The 37-year-old is not afraid that he could be killed in his new role.
"I am worried but not afraid. As a human, of course, I do have a worry, but I am not afraid," he said.
Mr Abbas's sister is married to 2002 Bali bombing ringleader Mukhlas who is on death row for his role in the nightclub attacks.
Mr Abbas was in charge of JI's Mantiqi 3 division, which terrorised parts of the southern Philippines, the Indonesian provinces of Sulawesi and Kalimantan and Malaysian Sabah.
He said he was sworn into the role in late 2001 by JI's spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir and ran terrorist training camps in the southern Philippines. He is also an Afghanistan veteran, having spent six years fighting there.
This week, in an interview in Jakarta with Sydney's The Daily Telegraph, Mr Abbas revealed how he changed from terrorist to terrorist hunter and what was inside the mind of someone prepared to die for a cause.
His new role was not clearly defined, but he said it was similar to a consultant. Police accompany him most of the time, including at the interview.
He said jihad meant to strive for perfection and he debunked the idea that killing innocent people could be condoned by Islam, which only allowed killing in the face of war or attack.
Much of the best intelligence on JI and its campaign in Indonesia was gleaned after the second Bali bombing and the shooting of JI master bombmaker Azahari Husin during a raid on his East Java safehouse.
Police found a wealth of information there, including documents and computer programs about JI and its plans.
Mr Abbas has seen the information, including plans for the second Bali bombing, to help police analyse it and hunt senior JI figures still on the run.
He has been joined by another self-confessed JI member who was released from jail recently.
Mr Abbas earned the ire of fellow Muslims when he testified against Bashir in a chaotic session where he was ushered out of court by security amid shouts of liar.
Mr Abas's speciality is weapons. He says he knows how to make a bomb and could do it easily if asked.
He said JI's suicide bombers were motivated by the belief they were martyrs and will ascend to paradise.
"This is a deviant teaching of Islam. They truly believe what they have done is in the name of Jihad and they will be a martyr," Mr Abbas said.
When new JI suspects are arrested he is brought in to turn them around. He tells them their ideology is wrong and only God decides who becomes a martyr.
Mr Abbas said JI members were motivated by Osama bin Laden's calls for Muslims to fulfil their obligation to kill non-Muslims.
He said that when he was arrested he wanted police to shoot him dead; fulfilling the doctrine that it is better to die than be arrested. But he later decided it was God's will for him to stay alive and help change the views of his fellow militants.
It is not clear how he came to roll over, but he reappeared in public as a consultant to authorities with duties including talking to arrested JI members, encouraging them to open up to interrogators and re-educating them about the error of their ways
Did they offer him fruit juice in jail? All this time, the secret weapon is fruit juice?
Three troops from Russia's Interior Forces were killed in an armed shootout with militants in Chechnya's Kurchaloi district on Friday, a source in local law enforcement told Interfax on Saturday.
In the course of a reconnaissance operation in a wooded area near the community of Niki-Khita, the servicemen ran into a band of hard boyz an illegal armed unit numbering up to 20 people. Three servicemen were killed in the ensuing shootout. The gunmen fled retreated towards the village of Avtury in the Shali district.
The scene of the clash will be examined later on Saturday.
A Pakistani millionaire held at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay testified that he met Osama bin Laden twice, and the al-Qaida leader called himself "a prophet."
The testimony of Saifullah A. Paracha was included in thousands of pages of transcripts released Friday by the Pentagon because of a successful Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The Associated Press. The material was also released last year in a U.S. case against his son.
Paracha, a New York Institute of Technology graduate, testified in English. He said he owns seven businesses, including a news agency, a construction agency and a manufacturing company in Pakistan and travel agencies in New York, Chicago, Washington and San Francisco.
In 1999, Paracha said, he met bin Laden in Afghanistan. The following year, he returned to Afghanistan to interview bin Laden for his news agency, Universal Broadcast Ltd.
"He delivered (preached) the Quran, and said he was a prophet," Paracha said. "He said very nice things, very impressive."
But Paracha denied all the accusations raised in the January 2005 tribunal, conducted to determine whether he was properly classified as an "enemy combatant." Those accusations included money laundering for al-Qaida, plotting to smuggle explosives into the United States and recommending that nuclear weapons be used against U.S. soldiers.
Paracha's son, Uzair Paracha, facing up to 75 years in prison after his November conviction in New York for providing material support to terrorists, was arrested in May 2003.
...Nope, nope, nope...some goon will come out with a fatwa that it's hokay to call yerself a prophet as long as yer fighting the infidels. Trust me on this.
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski ||
As I recall, Bib Laden hasn't called himself much of anything since about 2003. As a matter of fact, I've seen nothing concrete since then to suggest that OBL is anything other than a now-dry stain on a cave wall somewhere
Praise be unto the US military for executing that little bit of artwork.
Iraq can expect more bombings like the one at a Shiite Muslim shrine that set off fighting between Shiites and Sunnis, the chief of the U.S. Central Command said Saturday.
Gen. John Abizaid blamed Al-Qaida terrorists for the blast and said it marked a clear and successful change in tactics by the group in its campaign to ignite civil war among Iraqis.
"They got more of a reaction from that than they had hoped for," Abizaid told The Associated Press in Qatar after a two-day trip to Iraq, where he discussed the Feb. 22 attack's implications with top U.S. and Iraqi leaders.
"I expect we'll see another attack in the near future on another symbol," he said. "They'll find some other place that's undefended, they'll strike it and they'll hope for more sectarian violence."
Iraqi security forces eventually blunted the killing with a daytime curfew in four flashpoint provinces, followed by driving bans in Baghdad and its outskirts. But as vehicle restrictions lifted Saturday, at least 14 people died from bombs and gunfire across the country.
Abizaid said he and Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, discussed the potential for a withdrawal of some U.S. troops this summer, but he declined to say what he would recommend to President Bush when they meet next week.
Pentagon officials have said they are sticking to plans to send additional units to Iraq to replace troops scheduled to depart, but are waiting to see whether the clashes between Shiites and Sunnis escalate or slacken.
After meeting with Abizaid in Baghdad, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he had been assured that U.S. troops will remain in Iraq as long as needed "no matter what the period."
Abizaid described the bombing of the gold-domed shrine in Samarra as a "wake up call" that demands the attention of Iraq's government, U.S. forces and the Iraqi public to be on guard for attempts on new symbolic targets.
"Al-Qaida clearly wants to cause civil war in Iraq," he said.
Stressing that the bombers failed to spark an all-out civil conflict, the general praised Iraqi troops for largely following orders from Iraq's civilian government by setting up security in the streets. He said he was "very, very pleased with the reaction of the Iraqi armed forces."
It was a more upbeat assessment than presented by Casey, who told reporters Thursday that Iraqi police and army units had performed "generally well, not uniformly well."
Casey said that in some instances, the mostly Shiite security forces gave armed Shiites free rein in Baghdad and Basra, where reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques and clerics took days to contain.
Others complained that Iraqi police and troops were slow to react and said much of the heat had gone out of the sectarian violence by the time security forces did take action.
Nevertheless, U.S. and Iraqi leaders were heartened that Iraq's fledgling military held together through a week of bitter clashes that killed hundreds, most of them civilians.
Tensions between Sunnis and Shiites are still too high, though, Abizaid said in an interview at a military airport terminal where he paused on his return from Iraq.
Abizaid and other U.S. military commanders also worry that the violence has hurt efforts to put together a new, broad-based government. The blast came as current Iraqi leaders are being viewed as lame ducks, whose authority to govern and control the security services is dwindling.
Some top American officers in Baghdad fear the blast's true damage could be a hardening of sectarian attitudes among Iraqi politicians negotiating the next prime minister and government. Any unwillingness to compromise could block Washington's hopes for a government that includes all three chief groups Shiites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds.
"The shrine bombing exposed a lot of sectarian fissures that have been apparent for a while, but it was the first time I've seen it move in a direction that was unhelpful to the political process," Abizaid said.
"It shows that we need a government of national unity to emerge in Iraq. Too many delays in the formation of a national unity government will negatively affect the security situation."
A top U.S. general said he was "very, very pleased" with the response of the Iraqi armed forces in containing the recent sectarian bloodshed, disputing critics who said too little was done to quell attacks that killed more than 500 people in the past two weeks. Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, spent two days in Baghdad meeting with top Iraqi leaders after the Feb. 22 bombing of a golden-domed Shiite shrine in Samarra triggered reprisal attacks against Sunnis that pushed the country to the brink of civil war.
Iraqi security forces blunted the sectarian killing with an extraordinary daytime curfew in four flashpoint provinces last weekend, followed by a driving ban in Baghdad on Friday.
Abizaid praised "the reaction of the Iraqi armed forces during the aftermath of the bombing in Samarra." He warned that more such attacks were likely but added, "We believe that the Iraqi armed forces, in conjunction with the multinational force, can deal with any security problem that may arise."
That was a more upbeat assessment than the one given Thursday by the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, who told reporters that Iraqi police and army units had performed "generally well, not uniformly well." Casey said the mostly Shiite security forces sometimes gave armed sectarian fighters free rein in Baghdad and Basra, where reprisal attacks against Sunni mosques and clerics took days to contain.
U.S. officials have expressed concern about the role of private militias in the violence. But Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said Saturday that the government was making progress integrating militiamen into its structures. Some are joining the security forces, but most will be given jobs in government departments, while those older than 50 will retire, he said at a news briefing. The questions remained whether the militiamen would comply and whether the government would get tougher on enforcing the integration policy.
Sunni Arab politicians accuse militiamen operating within the Interior Ministry ranks of kidnapping and killing their people under the cover of fighting the Sunni-dominated insurgency. Jabr denies the accusations.
American troops have avoided confrontations with Iraqi mobs and religious militias, but a top Air Force commander said the military has bolstered its surveillance and intelligence efforts to protect mosques from attack.
U.S. troops have largely stayed out of the fray in days of deadly sectarian violence fueled by the bombing of the Shiite Askariya Shrine in Samarra, leaving Iraqi troops to confront mobs and try to stanch their attacks. American military leaders say this strategy was aimed at avoiding an anti-American element to the sectarian violence.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force has sent more spy planes to check on Iraqi mosques, which have always been intelligence targets but have taken on increasing importance since the shrine bombing, said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Allen G. Peck, deputy commander of U.S. air operations in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters. "We're putting more emphasis on these places," Peck said on Thursday.
The U.S. has too few surveillance assets to watch all vulnerable mosques, but it has sent unmanned Predator spy planes and manned Joint STARS surveillance planes to check out intelligence tips pointing to imminent sectarian attacks on mosques and religious buildings. "It can't be random. It has to be intelligence-based," Peck said.
The information is quickly relayed to U.S. ground commanders, Peck said.
On Thursday, five RQ-4 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles droned over Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq, feeding live video to U.S. and allied air controllers watching the black-and-white aerial footage for signs of hostile crowds or militia attackers. "That has become a serious issue and we're using the Predators to try and prevent a repeat incident," said Royal Air Force Wing Cmdr. Russell Walters-Morgan, the British chief of combat operations at U.S. Central Command's giant air command post.
Al Qaida has released guidelines for its campaign against Saudi Arabia's energy sector.
The primer, released on the Islamic website, was written in 2004 and provided an insight into Al Qaida's strategy to damage the Saudi oil industry. The document, authored by Abdul Aziz Al Enezi, called for attacks on Saudi pipelines and refineries rather than oil wells.
"It is permissible to target oil interests held by infidels, including American and Western oil tankers," the 63-page document said. "Targeting oil pipelines is of huge benefit in spiting the enemies. Pipelines may well be the frontline in a long-term war of attrition on oil and its interests."
In May 2005, Al Enezi, regarded as the spiritual guide of Al Qaida, was captured by Saudi security forces. He was said to have sent hundreds of Saudi nationals to join the Sunni insurgency against the U.S.-led coalition in neighboring Iraq.
Taliban insurgents killed a French special forces officer in Afghanistan on Saturday and a Canadian officer was in critical condition after being attacked with an axe during a meeting with tribal elders.
Canadian Lieutenant Trevor Greene from British Columbia was with a civilian-military team meeting tribal elders in Kandahar provinces Shinkai district when he was attacked, Canadian military spokesman Lieutenant Mark MacIntyre said. Canadian soldiers opened fire and killed the assailant, whose identity was not known, the spokesman said, adding that a grenade was also thrown at the meeting but caused no casualties.
Greene was in critical condition and would be evacuated to a U.S. military hospital at Landstuhl in Germany, he said. "Lieutenant Greene was savagely attacked from behind," he said. "He was hit in the head with an axe."
U.S. spokesman Colonel Jim Yonts said two Taliban guerrillas were killed in the clash in which the French officer died elsewhere in Kandahar. The French defense ministry said he was a naval officer with special forces.
The Canadian casualty was the latest suffered by their 2,300-strong contingent in Kandahar this week. On Friday, five Canadian soldiers were hurt, one seriously, in a suspected suicide car bombing that followed a wave of such attacks in recent months that have killed dozens of people. At least 10 Canadians have died in the country since 2001.
Troops busted a jungle hideout in southeast Bangladesh and seized weapons which they believed were stored by rebels from neighbouring Myanmar and could also be used by Islamist militants fighting for sharia law in Bangladesh.
Different groups of Myanmar rebels are fighting against the authorities of Yangon in west Myanmar's Arakan region, bordering Bangladesh, while two outlawed Islamist groups are seeking to turn Bangladesh, a mainly Muslim democracy, into an Islamic state.
"Two anti-tank missiles, a heavy machine gun, three sub-machine guns, five AK-47 rifles and 7,000 (rounds of) ammunition along with battle accessories were seized on Saturday," a senior security official said on Sunday.
Officials said militants who were at the hideout fled before the troops came in.
Troops seized huge caches of weapons and explosives several times over the past year from the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, believed brought from across the Myanmar frontier, but gave no official statement on who they were meant for.
Myanmar rebels cross into Bangladesh territory when being pursued by Yangon troops, and are often arrested by Bangladesh police.
Bangladesh has intensified a countrywide hunt for Islamic militants since Thursday after the country's top Islamist radical, Shayek Abdur Rahman, was captured in the northeastern town of Sylhet and later brought to Dhaka for interrogation.
Shayek led Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, which along with another militant group Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, was banned in early 2005 for criminal activities.
The chief of the second group, Siddikul Islam Bangla Bhai, is still at large and may take over the operations leadership of the militants in Shayek's absence, intelligence officials said.
These two groups were blamed for a countrywide wave of bomb attacks, including suicide bombings, which killed at least 30 people and wounded 150 since August 17, 2005.
"We have intensified watch on the borders with Myanmar and India to try to keep Bangla Bhai and other militants within our territory and catch them as soon as possible," said an officer with the Bangladesh Rifles border guards.
Al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri called on Muslims to attack the West in an audio tape posted on the Internet on Saturday, urging similar strikes as those against New York, London and Madrid in recent years.
In a video of his remarks aired by Al Jazeera television, Zawahri also urged the Islamist militant group Hamas not to recognise peace deals signed by the Palestinian Authority with Israel.
He also called on Muslims to boycott countries where satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad had been published, including Denmark, Norway, France and Germany, and said that Muslims should prevent the West from "stealing Muslims' oil".
"(Muslims have to) inflict losses on the crusader West, especially to its economic infrastructure with strikes that would make it bleed for years," said Zawahri, an Egyptian.
"The strikes on New York, Washington, Madrid and London are the best examples," he said.
"We have to prevent the crusader West from stealing the Muslims' oil which is being drained in the biggest robbery in history," he added. It was not clear if the tape was made before the failed al Qaeda attack last month on a major Saudi oil facility.
"Reaching power is not a goal by itself ... and no Palestinian has the right to give away a grain of the soil," said Zawahri in comments directed at Hamas. "The secularists in the Palestinian Authority have sold out Palestine for crumbs... Giving them legitimacy is against Islam."
The U.S. State Department dismissed the threats.
"No taped video threats will weaken our commitment to work with out allies in the international community to combat international terrorism and violent extremism, or to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of innocent civilians," said Justin Higgins, a U.S. State Department spokesman.
Zawahri called on Muslims to give financial support to Islamic fighters, saying they were on the "front line" in defending Islam.
The audio track of the video aired partially by the satellite television channel was posted earlier on a Web site used by Islamist groups.
Commenting on Zawahri's remarks, Hamas official Osama Hamdan said the group had no intention of recognising the deals.
"The Hamas movement will not fail the Palestinian people and the (Islamic) nation," he told Al Jazeera. "There is nothing wrong with (offering) advice but what we want ... is support from the nation."
As well as physical attacks on the West, Zawahri, who is deputy to al Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden, called for an economic boycott against several countries.
"It is our duty to take part in a mass economic boycott of Denmark, Norway, France, Germany, and all countries that take part in this crusader attack against Islam," he said, referring to the cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper last year.
He described the cartoons as part of a U.S.-led "crusader" campaign. "An example of the hatred of the crusaders led by America ... are the repeated offences against the personality of the Prophet Mohammad, may peace be upon him," Zawahri said.
Saturday's tape came as U.S. President George W. Bush concluded a visit to Pakistan, where Zawahri and Osama bin Laden are believed to be hiding.
Zawahri, who wore a black turban and a white robe, sat in front of a curtain. He did not appear to have a customary assault rifle next to him, in the tape which carried the logo of al-Sahab, al Qaeda's media arm.
The Web posting said the tape was made in the Muslim month which approximately corresponded to February. Zawahri made reference to a ferry disaster on Feb. 2 in the Red Sea.
Full screen would reveal Ayman grabbing his jewels (aka Michael Jackson), Ouwww
Posted by: Captain America ||
Well, you did say, Karachi
Posted by: Captain America ||
Will say again that MadMoud and the Mullahs want IRANIAN EMPIRE - what do the Palestinians get for Iran's, etal help in finally? destroyng Israel!? Looks like yet more lowly InterMuslim subservience to yet another non-Palestinian, SHIA entity. IOW, IFF IRAN SUCCEEDS AT DOMIN HAMAS, ETAL PALS. ORGS, AND ALSO SUCCEEDS AT DEV IRAN-CENTRIC REGIONAL EMPIRE, THERE WILL BE NO INDEPENDENT, SOVEREIGN, "PALS STATE" PER SE. Be careful what you wish for, HAMAS, you just might get it, and you and the PA have nobody to blame except yourselves and your hatred.
Pakistani army helicopters pounded mountains near the Afghan border on Sunday after nearly 50 people were killed in clashes with pro-Taliban militants, a resident of the area said.
The violence in the remote, semi-autonomous tribal region awash with weapons underscores the problems President Pervez Musharraf faces on his front in the U.S.-led war on terrorism.
The violence erupted on Saturday as U.S. President George W. Bush met Musharraf in the capital, Islamabad, 300 km (200 miles) to the northeast of Miranshah. The presidents reaffirmed their commitment to the war on terrorism.
"Fighting continued throughout the night with both sides using heavy weapons," a resident of Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan region, said on Sunday.
A military spokesman said 46 militants and three government troops were killed in Saturday's clashes.
The overnight exchanges of fire eased off in the morning but helicopter gunships later fired rockets into mountains to the east of Miranshah, sending plumes of smoke and dust into the sky.
Virtually all of the town's shops were boarded up and streets and markets deserted. The ruins of a bank attacked and set on fire in Saturday's fighting smouldered, the resident said.
Ethnic Pashtuns inhabit Waziristan as well as Afghan areas on the other side of the border and many people support the Taliban, most of whose leaders and rank-and-file are Pashtun.
Many al Qaeda members fled to Waziristan after U.S. and Afghan opposition forces ousted the Taliban in late 2001, and they were given refuge by conservative Pakistani Pashtun clans.
The Pakistani government has been trying to clear foreign militants from the border and subdue their Pakistani allies and hundreds of people have been killed in clashes since late 2004.
The army said 45 militants suspected of links to al Qaeda, including Chechens, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Afghans, were killed in a security force raid on a hideout in the same area on Wednesday.
Thousands of people fled Miranshah after Wednesday's violence and many of those who stayed on were streaming out on foot on Sunday, the resident said.
Most of the Pakistani militants are young Pashtun men, many of them loyal to a powerful Islamist cleric, Maulana Abdul Khaliq Haqqani.
An intelligence official said on Saturday government forces had attacked Haqqani's headquarters, an Islamic school known as a madrasa, but his fate was not known.
The top government official in North Waziristan, Zaheer-ul-Islam, said authorities would not tolerate militant opposition.
"We have forcefully responded to their attack and any place which the militants used as a base to launch attacks will be wiped out," he told Reuters.
The toll in Saturday's fighting in Miranshah and the nearby town of Mir Ali might have been higher than about 50 as militants were believed to have taken away and buried their dead, he said.
Most of Miranshah's population of more than 300,000 people had fled, residents said. Many people had left after last week's fighting, with most families leaving only a man or two behind to look after their property.
In December, the pro-Taliban militants battled rivals in and around Miranshah, beheading and stringing up several bodies in a gruesome show of strength. The government played down the violence saying traditional tribal councils would sort it out.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a scathing attack on Guantanamo Bay, branding the US prison camp an "extraordinary legal anomaly". Dr Rowan Williams said keeping in custody people who had not been found guilty or allowed access to proper legal channels, set a dangerous precedent. He added: "Any message given, that any state can just over-ride some of the basic habeas corpus type provisions, is going to be very welcome to tyrants elsewhere in the world, now and in the future. "What, in 10 years' time, are people going to be able to say about a system that tolerates this."
THE head of the worldwide Anglican Church, the archbishop of Canterbury, will reportedly mark the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks by praising Islam in an address from the pulpit of an Egyptian mosque.
Rowan Williams had accepted an invitation to speak at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, considered by many to be the Muslim world's most important centre of learning, Britain's Sunday Times said today.
A Yemeni court sentenced two men to five years in jail on Sunday for trying to kill the former U.S. ambassador to the Arab country with a hand grenade in 2004. Houzam al-Maas and Khalid al-Halilah, who had faced a maximum jail term of 10 years for trying to throw a hand grenade at the envoy as he was entering a shop, can appeal their sentence, their lawyers said.
Maas had pleaded guilty to attempting to kill the ambassador, but told the state security court he was psychologically ill. Halilah, a taxi driver, had pleaded not guilty, saying he only drove Maas to a weapons market.
Anybets on how long before they are either: a) sprung via some sort of amnesty BS, or B) tunnel out and pop up right in the women's quarters of a nearby mosque???? ( Hey you gotta go with what works)
A word about the humble Kazakh apple seller - he was living in Afghanistan for several years with his whole family in a Taliban-provided house without ever paying a cent - something smells there.
New documents on the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay suggest the Bush administration has cast a wide net in its war on terrorism, but the U.S. has often come up empty, as American troops picked up suspects with descriptions as varied as a Kazakh apple seller and a Pakistani millionaire.
Evidence against the apple seller, for example, showed he had been captured by the Taliban and forced to work as a cook.
In fact, the man told his U.S. military tribunal that he was only a cook's helper and had never heard of al-Qaeda or the Taliban until he was kidnapped and conscripted by Afghanistan's former hard-line Islamic regime.
"I never had a weapon. I never carried a weapon with me, and I've never been in any kind of armed fight," he said in one of hundreds of military hearings held to determine whether detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba are being properly held without charges as "enemy combatants."
These and other details emerging from about 5,000 pages of transcripts released Friday suggest the Bush administration has picked up any number of low- level suspects along with admitted al-Qaeda and Taliban members and the rare high-value target, a Pakistani millionaire who twice met Osama bin Laden.
The Pentagon was forced to release the documents by a federal judge in response to an Associated Press lawsuit, but much of the administration's war on terror remains shrouded in overwhelming secrecy. The transcripts reveal only unclassified information, for example - the detainees and their representatives are not told what other evidence the military might have against them.
Some detainees say they attended training camps that U.S. authorities believe were run by al-Qaeda or militants linked to the terror group. A few admit to meeting bin Laden.
Some are prominent, such as the governor of Afghanistan's Herat province or the Taliban's minister of commerce or the Pakistani millionaire, a man with businesses in the U.S. and ties to Middle Eastern leaders.
Some were picked up after their names were found on lists at al-Qaeda safe houses in Pakistan or were taken from the battlefields of Afghanistan shortly after U.S. troops invaded and helped drive out the Taliban.
But other detainees seem to be small fry indeed, such as Hafizullah Shah, a farmer who said he had never left his village before being arrested because he wore an olive drab jacket.
It is impossible to gauge from the transcripts alone whether someone is improperly held at Guantanamo Bay, where the U.S. holds about 490 detainees.
In Afghanistan, men often carry a rifle. Unless they are caught firing on U.S. troops, it is hard to tell the terrorists from the farmers.
"They're all armed," said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a military policy think tank in Alexandria, Va.
"If they weren't, they'd be in trouble," he said. "There are clan rivalries there. Without a weapon, they'd feel naked."
The Bush administration scoffs at claims of innocence.
"They're bomb-makers," Vice President Dick Cheney said recently. "... If you let them out, they'll go back to trying to kill Americans."
There is a serious point to this, however. There are some low-level types at Gitmo that we probably don't need to be holding anymore. Judge them, release them, render them back to their home governments (who can jug them if they want). Cutting the Gitmo population gives us more wiggle room on the PR front, and it's more efficient from the standpoint of our interrogators, translators, etc.
Keep the high-value ones and dump the trash, I say.
Posted by: Steve White ||
The "spoons" can be deadly, when manning an M60 or 50 Cal.
Two of 17 Al-Qaeda suspects on trial for planning attacks in Yemen admitted last week to having trained foreign fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan and that their war was with Americans not Yemenis. The 14 Yemenis and three Saudis, who include veterans of the insurgency in Iraq, went on trial on February 22 on charges of planning attacks against US expatriates in Yemen and those who deal with them on the orders of Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "Our war is with the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, not in Yemen," Yemeni suspect Ali Abdullah Osyan, 28, told the judge during an appearance in a Sana'a court, AFP reported. He and the other suspects all wore blue prison jumpsuits and spoke from behind bars.
Yemen is not at war with the United States, nor vice versa.
Prosecutor Saed al-Aqil exhibited in court as evidence weapons, explosives and remote detonation devices allegedly seized by authorities when the suspects were arrested in early 2005 in Sana'a and the southern port city of Aden, Saba news said. "We used them for jihad (holy fight) in Iraq," said another Yemeni, Ammar Abdullah Fadel, 28, sporting a long thick beard. "I trained young fighters how to use them to resist Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan." The trial was adjourned until March 11.
Irans Interior Minister accused the United States of using its infiltrators in al-Qaeda to carry out terrorist attacks that would serve its interests, government-owned newspapers in Tehran reported on Saturday.
Radical Shiite cleric Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi said that Iran had specific intelligence proving that the U.S. had infiltrated al-Qaeda and ordered its cells to carry out terrorist attacks to convince other members of the group that they are genuine devotees.
We have specific intelligence ummm,
'intelligence' isn't quite the appropriate word here
that America has infiltrated al-Qaeda with certain individuals and has even given [its cells] the orders for terrorist strikes in order to strengthen their position, Pour-Mohammadi told a meeting of local officials in the southern city of Kerman.
He also blamed foreigners for being behind a spate of bombings in the south-western Iranian oil-city of Ahwaz in order to destabilise the country.
now that's quite possible, although the Iranian arabs have plenty of grievances of their own
The amount of explosives that security forces discovered in Khuzistan shows that there was an extensive plan to deal a blow to the Islamic Republic, and the details will soon be divulged, he said.
Pour-Mohammadi, whose career at the top of Irans secret police and intelligence agencies spanned over two decades before he moved on to the Interior Ministry, said Western governments did not expect the strength of reactions by the Muslim world over the issue of cartoons depicting Islams Prophet Mohammad.
"Specific intelligence" .... baaaah. Mohammadi has nothing! His wives and the fruits of their loins are most ugly and dispicable. His carpets have rotted and his tents are filled with the scent of steaming goat droppings. He is an insult to Alan.
Dam I knew it not only is Bin Ladens head in a freezer at Langley but they even replaced Bin Laden with an automatic Manchurian caned ate.
But really its just Iran trying to put the Samara Mosque on our head instead of theirs. I read somewhere one of the Iraqi Shia gov officials had stated they captured some guys and guards of the mosque and interrogations pointed Iran.
I would probably thou believe we got some Signet Cyops guys interfering and even giving false messages. Paranoia and the idea of not knowing who is good or bad in a shadow style war like we find ourselves in is a two way street.
To keep security one cell cant know to much about other cells and so on so with the right Intel you could reek havoc amongst the ranks by making mistrust. Imagine if you only got say 2contacts both are rolled up who do you go to get back in the loop?
I doubt we would use such to order a strike on an important site like that Mosque but to disorganize and cause paranoid internal strife ohhh yeah.
Al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman Zawahiri called on Muslims to attack the West in an audiotape posted on the Internet on Saturday, urging strikes similar to those against New York, London and Madrid in recent years.
In a video of his remarks aired by Al Jazeera television, Zawahiri urged the Islamic militant group Hamas not to recognize peace deals signed by the Palestinian Authority with Israel.
He also called on Muslims to boycott nations where satirical cartoons of the prophet Muhammad have been published, including Denmark, Norway, France and Germany, and said Muslims should prevent the West from "stealing Muslims' oil."
Muslims have to "inflict losses on the crusader West, especially to its economic infrastructure with strikes that would make it bleed for years," the Egyptian native said.
"The strikes on New York, Washington, Madrid and London are the best examples," he continued.
"We have to prevent the crusader West from stealing the Muslims' oil which is being drained in the biggest robbery in history," he said.
It was unclear whether the tape was made before the recent failed Al Qaeda attack on a Saudi oil facility.
"Reaching power is not a goal by itself and no Palestinian has the right to give away a grain of the soil," Zawahiri said in comments directed at Hamas. "The secularists in the Palestinian Authority have sold out Palestine for crumbs . Giving them legitimacy is against Islam."
Zawahiri also called on Muslims to financially support Islamic fighters, who he said were on the "front line" defending Islam.
The audio track of the video aired partially by the satellite television channel was posted earlier on a website used by Islamist groups.
Commenting on Zawahiri's remarks, Hamas official Osama Hamdan said the group had no intention of recognizing the deals.
"The Hamas movement will not fail the Palestinian people and the [Islamic] nation," he told Al Jazeera. "There is nothing wrong with [offering] advice, but what we want is support from the nation."
Saturday's tape came as President Bush concluded a visit to Pakistan, where Zawahiri and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden are believed to be hiding.
Zawahiri, who wore a black turban and a white robe, sat in front of a curtain. He did not appear to have the usual assault rifle next to him on the tape, which bore the logo of Al Sahab, Al Qaeda's media arm.
He called for the overthrow of pro-Western Muslim governments, singling out the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan and Tunisia. The Web posting said the tape was made around February; Zawahiri referred to a ferry disaster Feb. 2 in the Red Sea.
Bush talked from India, Pakastan, Afghanastan this week. These brave men, still talk in from of blank sheets. Bush had to take questions live. Once again, they don't have to answer questions live. The press needs to boycott them until they answer questions live.
When Iran defiantly cut the locks and seals on its nuclear enrichment plants in January and restarted its effort to manufacture atomic fuel, it forced the world to confront a momentous question: How long will it be before Tehran has the ability to produce a bomb that would alter the balance of power in the Middle East?
Iran's claims that it is racing forward with enrichment have created an air of crisis as the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency prepares to meet tomorrow in Vienna before the United Nations Security Council takes up the Iran file for possible penalties.
Yet behind the sense of immediate alarm lies a more complex picture of Iran's nuclear potential. Interviews with many of the world's leading nuclear analysts and a review of technical assessments show that Iran continues to wrestle with serious problems that have slowed its nuclear ambitions for more than two decades.
Obstacles, the experts say, remain at virtually every step on the atomic road. The most significant, they add, involve the two most technically challenging aspects of the process converting uranium ore to a toxic gas and, especially, spinning that gas into enriched atomic fuel.
According to the analysts, the Iranians need to do repairs and build new machines at a prototype plant before they can begin enriching even modest quantities of uranium. And then, for a decade, they would have to mass produce 100 centrifuges a week to fill the cavernous industrial enrichment halls at Natanz. What is more, the gas meant to feed those machines is plagued by impurities.
The perception gap was underscored in February when Tehran issued a stark warning. By late this year, Iranian officials said, they would begin installing nearly 3,000 centrifuges at the giant Natanz plant, buried deep underground to withstand attack. That many centrifuges, international inspectors knew, could make fuel for up to 10 nuclear warheads every year.
In Washington and Europe, the announcement was dismissed as an empty boast. "Maybe they can move that fast," said a senior American official who tracks Iran's program but who declined to be named because it is an intelligence matter. "But they would need lots of help, luck and prayer."
Tehran maintains that it has every right to master the atomic basics in pursuit of a peaceful program of nuclear power. But more and more countries have come to view that as a cover story.
Estimates of just when Iran might acquire a nuclear weapon range from alarmist views of only a few months to roughly 15 years. American intelligence agencies say it will take 5 to 10 years for Iran to manufacture the fuel for its first atomic bomb. Most forecasters acknowledge that secret Iranian advances or black market purchases could produce a technological surprise.
Conservative forecasts often take into account not only the technical difficulties but also a political judgment: that Tehran will run for the finish line making its first bomb only when it can rapidly produce a large arsenal.
A further uncertainty is defining the exact point at which Iran's nuclear program would become an unstoppable threat. While most analysts identify the greatest danger as when Iran can produce nuclear fuel the hardest part of the bomb venture, far more difficult than designing a warhead others, particularly the Israelis, say the tipping point may come earlier, when Tehran has accumulated a critical mass of atomic knowledge.
For all the bluster and anxiety of the moment, Iran's atomic history is a conundrum of delay: given its wealth of atomic scientists and oil revenues, why was Tehran unable to succeed years ago?
After all, it took only three years for the United States to build the world's first atom bomb. It took Pakistan and North Korea, poor by Western standards, roughly a decade to get enough material for their first nuclear devices. Iran, by most estimates, has been moving toward the same objective for at least two decades.
Some of Iran's nuclear troubles can be traced to wavering political commitment by mullahs more interested in creating a theocracy than unlocking the secrets of the atom. And many top scientists fled after the Islamic revolution of 1979.
But the United States created other obstacles. In the 1990's, it pressured Russia, China and other nations to end deals that would have given the Iranian program a jump-start. Some of those maneuvers were covert; some played out in the press.
"In retrospect, we impeded a lot more of their progress than we knew," said Robert J. Einhorn, a central player in nuclear diplomacy in the Clinton administration and the early days of the Bush administration.
In Washington and around the world, assessments of Iran's technological maturity have driven deliberations over what to do. American and Israeli planners have quietly debated the possibility and the risks of military strikes, including whether they would be more effective soon or only after Iran has built a much larger infrastructure.
At least publicly, though, the Bush administration has followed a different strategy than it did with Iraq. After the failure to discover weapons of mass destruction there, President Bush has never argued that Iran poses an imminent threat, and his aides have called for diplomacy.
"There are still certain techniques and pieces of know-how that we do not believe that they have," Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman, said in February.
Most experts focus on uranium and ignore Iran's work on plutonium, another bomb fuel, judging it as even further from fruition. Still, nuclear analysts warn against complacency.
"They do have serious problems," said Mohammad Sahimi, a chemical engineer at the University of Southern California who left Iran in 1978. "But we've made mistakes in underestimating the strength of science in Iran and the ingenuity they show in working with whatever crude design they get their hands on."
By all accounts, the oldest and most daunting problem involves centrifuges temperamental machines whose rotors can spin extraordinarily fast to enrich uranium. After two decades of effort, Iran seems barely out of the starting gate.
All uranium is not equal. One form, uranium 235, easily splits in two, or fissions, in bursts of atomic energy that power nuclear reactors and bombs. Its slightly heavier cousin, uranium 238, does not.
But since uranium 235 accounts for less than 1 percent of all uranium, engineers use centrifuges to separate the two and concentrate the rare form. Uranium enriched to about 4 percent uranium 235 can fuel most reactors; to 90 percent, atom bombs.
In 1987, the Iranians secretly began buying drawings and parts for centrifuges from Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear expert who operated the world's biggest nuclear black market. International inspectors say the deals eventually included parts for about 500 primitive used centrifuges.
Tehran, apparently unhappy with their quality, turned to Moscow. In early 1995, it made a secret deal to buy an entire plant of centrifuges typically tens of thousands of the spinning machines linked together to slowly increase the level of enrichment.
But after the Clinton administration persuaded Moscow to back out, Iran accelerated its secret drive to copy Dr. Khan's centrifuges. It also started building the huge enrichment plant near Natanz, in central Iran. The pilot factory there was to house 1,000 centrifuges; the main plant would shelter 50,000 machines underground.
In August 2002, Iranian dissidents revealed the existence of the Natanz site, beginning the current confrontation with the West. The next year, Iran agreed to suspend work while negotiating with Europe over the program's fate.
But when operators shut down an experimental cascade of 164 centrifuges at Natanz, about 50 of them broke or crashed, according to a January report by David Albright and Corey Hinderstein of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington.
Now, the report said, Iran must replace and repair the broken machines and prepare the cascade for operation. Then comes the really hard part: if all goes well, the Iranians must mass-produce thousands of centrifuges and learn to run them in concert, like a large orchestra.
Iran is also struggling to turn concentrated uranium ore, or yellowcake, into uranium hexafluoride, the toxic gas fed into the centrifuges for enrichment. Such conversion is done at a site on the outskirts of Isfahan.
Iran began the conversion effort in the early 1990's, asking China to help build the complex. But in 1997, the Clinton administration persuaded Beijing to stop the deal. The Iranians got blueprints but little else. So they started building on their own.
"From what I saw, everything looked like local manufacturing except for some gauges," said Gary S. Samore, who ran the National Security Council's nonproliferation office during the Clinton administration and who traveled to Isfahan in 2005.
Iran, which tried to hide most of its nuclear sites, voluntarily revealed Isfahan to international inspectors in 2000. But the plant encountered problems during its first runs in early 2004, its output laced with impurities, in particular molybdenum, a silvery element often found in uranium ore.
The contamination, experts say, can ruin delicate centrifuges, reducing their efficiency and cutting short their lifetimes.
The Iranians are working hard to solve the problem. Mark Hibbs of Nuclear Fuel, an industry publication, who broke the molybdenum story, said most experts believed that the Iranians would ultimately succeed. British intelligence, he said, put the time needed at a year and a half, Israeli analysts at two or three months.
Houston G. Wood III, a centrifuge expert at the University of Virginia, said the Iranians might simply learn to cope. "If you're smart enough," he said, "you could probably get by, maybe with decreased efficiency."
Western officials worry that the conversion has a secret side run by a military group seeking to integrate the nuclear program with the design of missiles that could deliver a weapon. In a Jan. 31 report, the I.A.E.A. revealed that it had documentary evidence of a shadowy operation, the Green Salt Project. Tehran dismissed the charge of a hidden military effort as baseless and later called the documents forgeries.
Atomic forecasts are driven largely by assessments of technological maturity, sometimes colored by judgments of the risks of guessing wrong.
That may explain the gulf between Israel's claim that the world has as little as six months before the "point of no return" and estimates that an Iranian warhead is many years away.
"We live within Iranian missile range," said a senior Israeli official who has worked on the country's estimates. "Our survival depends on understanding the worst-case scenario." Thus, in the Israeli view, it would be a huge mistake to let the Iranians figure out how to clean up and enrich their uranium.
Israel cites studies like one published in October by the Strategic Studies Institute of the Army War College, "Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran." Its timeline is short, one to four years. Iran, it asserted, "lacks for nothing technologically or materially to produce it, and seems dead set on securing an option to do so."
Henry Sokolski, an editor of the report, said neither he nor anyone else could actually produce a truly accurate forecast. "A lot of people are fraudulent, making it sound like a science," he said. "It's not."
He nonetheless defended the report's estimate as reasonable, pointing to Iran's long nuclear history.
Analysts like Mr. Albright and Ms. Hinderstein of the Institute for Science and International Security put the earliest date Iran might produce a weapon at 2009.
To date, the most comprehensive public estimate is by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, an arms analysis group in London. "If Iran threw caution to the wind," John Chipman, the institute's director, said, it might be able to make fuel for a single nuclear weapon by 2010.
Dr. Samore, who edited that report and is now at the MacArthur Foundation, said the Iranians might see political advantage in a more deliberate approach, doing nothing provocative until after 2015 or even 2020.
In his view, he said, Iran would complete the main Natanz plant, installing 50,000 centrifuges and learning to operate them. If successful, it could then enrich uranium to the low levels needed for a nuclear reactor and so comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Then it could rush ahead and produce enough highly enriched fuel for a nuclear arsenal in weeks or months. At full tilt, the report concluded, Natanz could annually churn out material for up to 180 warheads.
Such a "breakout" chain of events worries experts because it leaves the world little or no time to react.
The Bush administration has concluded that even if Iran stops short of assembling a weapon, its ability to produce one on short order would change the politics of the Middle East. So it has been trying, with mixed success, to devise a broader atomic blockade that would turn the unilateral, often clandestine efforts of the past into a far more global effort involving not only Europe but India, China and Russia. In theory, the meeting this week in Vienna is a step in that direction.
But administration officials are also trying to make headway on their own. They have persuaded several of Iran's neighbors they will not say which ones to block Iranian cargo flights that appear headed toward North Korea or other potential nuclear suppliers. Last year, that strategy appeared to succeed in at least one case, when China intervened.
In a little-noted speech in February, Robert Joseph, an under secretary of state and one of the administration's leading hawks on Iran, described the tools of denial he was employing, from cracking down on Tehran's finances to depriving Iran of crucial technologies.
But administration officials readily acknowledge that it is next to impossible to build a leak-proof wall. In his speech, Mr. Joseph warned of the "wild card" that Iran could obtain nuclear fuel for a bomb from an outside supplier.
As much as anything, officials worry about the unknown. They note that the United States missed signs that a country was about to go nuclear with the Soviets in the 1940's, the Chinese in the 1960's, India in the 1970's and Pakistan in the 1990's.
"People always surprise us," said a senior nuclear intelligence official who was not authorized to speak publicly. "They're always a little more cunning and capable than we give them credit for."
At least publicly, though, the Bush administration has followed a different strategy than it did with Iraq. After the failure to discover weapons of mass destruction there, President Bush has never argued that Iran poses an imminent threat, and his aides have called for diplomacy.
Ignoring the obvious lie here, why should he? The imminent threat isn't to the United States, it is to Europe and the Middle East. It is also to Russia, but they are too short-sighted to see that.
To date, the most comprehensive public estimate is by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, an arms analysis group in London. "If Iran threw caution to the wind," John Chipman, the institute's director, said, it might be able to make fuel for a single nuclear weapon by 2010.
lol! The New York Times. A group actively working towards their own demise.
What no one seems to address in these kinds of articles is how soon Iran would have the wherewithal to produces truly ugly dirty bombs. Surely that would be adequate for their purpose, if not generating quite the testosterone thrill of a true nuclear weapon?
President Bush made clear on Saturday that Pakistan should not expect a civilian nuclear agreement like the one with India soon, and he bluntly said the two rivals on the subcontinent could not be compared to each other.
Mr. Bush said he and Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, had discussed a civilian nuclear program for Pakistan during talks on Saturday morning.
"I explained that Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and different histories," Mr. Bush said at a joint outdoor news conference with Mr. Musharraf on the grounds of the presidential palace, Aiwan-e-Sadr. "So as we proceed forward, our strategy will take in effect those well-known differences."
Before Mr. Bush's remarks, administration officials said General Musharraf had no chance of making such a deal when proliferation and terrorism remained concerns in Pakistan. But it was striking that the president spoke so directly as his host stood at his side.
Mr. Bush showed strong support for Mr. Musharraf's efforts in combating militants, even though Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban leader, are believed to still be hiding in Pakistan. Without being specific, General Musharraf himself made reference to "slippages" in the past.
Mr. Bush said, "Part of my mission today was to determine whether or not the president is as committed as he has been in the past to bringing these terrorists to justice, and he is."
The Pakistani foreign minister, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, made clear that the two leaders had had a frank discussion, saying General Musharraf had made a "comprehensive and telling response" to American concerns about Pakistan's commitment to fighting terrorism.
"They had a level of discussion I had not seen before," he said, adding that General Musharraf shared intelligence and documentary evidence with Mr. Bush.
Pakistan had had to deal with 30,000 foreign fighters passing through from Afghanistan over the years, Mr. Kasuri said, had more troops in the border areas than foreign and Afghan forces together on the other side, and had lost 600 soldiers in fighting in Waziristan. That was more casualties than forces had taken across the border, he said.
Mr. Kasuri struggled to answer local journalists who asked if Pakistan had not been left empty-handed after the visit.
Speaking at a news briefing Saturday afternoon to release the joint statement issued by both presidents, he said General Musharraf had pressed the case for civil nuclear cooperation, since Pakistan had urgent energy needs, too. "These things take a long time," he said. Mr. Bush had hinted at something, he said, but he declined to explain further.
Critics of Mr. Bush's nuclear agreement with India say it will only encourage other nations to demand similar arrangements. Under the terms of the Indian pact, the United States will end a moratorium of decades on sales of nuclear fuel and reactor components and India will separate its civilian and military nuclear programs, and open the civilian facilities to international inspections.
General Musharraf is facing rising pressure from opposition parties, including Islamic ones, in large part over his support of American policies to root out militants in Pakistan.
While Mr. Bush offered support for Mr. Musharraf, the public remarks on both sides could not disguise evident tensions, particularly after the nuclear deal that Mr. Bush announced this week with India.
Mr. Bush was not expected to endorse a similar nuclear agreement with Pakistan the country of A. Q. Khan, the founder of Pakistan's nuclear program, who confessed to having run an illegal nuclear proliferation network.
But neither was it expected that Mr. Bush would so obviously place Pakistan on a separate footing from India, as Washington has long taken pains to balance American relations between the rivals.
Mr. Bush, who said only last week in Washington that Pakistan "still has some distance to travel on the road to democracy," made a gentle reference to the need for democratic advances in the country, saying that elections scheduled next year "need to be open and honest."
General Musharraf seized power in 1999 in a bloodless coup. He had since promised to give up his military uniform in 2004, but changed the Constitution so he could hold both his army post and the presidency until 2007.
His opponents in Pakistan charge that the Bush administration has given him wide latitude as it has enlisted Pakistan in the fight against terrorism, while at the same time saying it wants to promote democracy in the Muslim world.
Mr. Bush and Mr. Musharraf made their public remarks on the serene lawn of Aiwan-e-Sadr, with ducks splashing in a flower-filled pool in the background, as the capital around them remained in an effective 24-hour lockdown.
Security was intense for the first visit of an American president in six years, and the first by Mr. Bush, who was in essence traveling to Mr. bin Laden's backyard two days after a suicide bombing attack in Karachi left four people dead, including an American Embassy employee.
General Musharraf said he had expressed Pakistan's "deepest regrets" in his talks with Mr. Bush about the bombing, which he said was "very viciously timed" to spoil Mr. Bush's visit. Mr. Bush said he had sent his condolences to the family of David Foy, the embassy employee killed in the attack, as well as to the families of the Pakistanis who died.
"We're not going to back down in the face of these killers," Mr. Bush said. "We'll fight this war and we will win this war together."
Throughout the day, the streets of Islamabad were peaceful, with the main rally planned for the adjoining city of Rawalpindi curtailed after the political leader Imran Khan was placed under house arrest.
But people in Islamabad showed a lack of excitement over the visit and did not glance at the live coverage of the news conference by the two presidents on TV in a shopping mall.
"I do not think the visit will make much difference," said Naser Abbasy, 37, who runs a clothes store here.
His brother, Rashid Mehmud Abbasy, 35, was wearing a black armband on Saturday in protest of Mr. Bush's visit. "It is a protest, because of all the atrocities against Muslims in Iraq and elsewhere," he said. "It is not about the president, but his policies," he said. The Muslim leaders had called on supporters to wear black armbands, he said.
But Mr. Abbasy said the visit was good if it gave Mr. Bush a better understanding of the views of Pakistanis. "He gave a lot to India, despite knowing that we do not get on well," he said. "So he should support us equally."
Pakistan sent in helicopter gunships Saturday against militants who have virtually taken control of the town of Miramshah, in the North Waziristan tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, following a government raid on Wednesday on a suspected terrorist training camp in the area.
Mr. Bush said, "Part of my mission today was to determine whether or not the president is as committed as he has been in the past to bringing these terrorists to justice, and he is."
Actions speak louder than words.
How many (If any) has he actualy brought to justice?
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
Actions do speak louder than words. If Bush were convinced Musharref actually is an ally in the War on Terror, he would have discussed sharing nuclear power technology. So those Pakistanis who choose to see this as a slap in the face are quite right, although for all the wrong reasons.
Australia says it has won a contract to supply wheat to Iraq, despite claims that its state wheat board paid bribes to Saddam Hussein's regime. Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile told wheat farmers they could sell 350,000 tonnes to Iraq.
Only last month Iraq suspended grain deals with Australia amid allegations that its wheat board, the AWB, paid up to $222m in kickbacks to Iraq. Iraq has been Australia's second biggest wheat export market.
Mr Vaile, who visited Iraq last week to lobby against the ban, told a farmers' rally in New South Wales they would have continued access to the Iraqi market. "Overnight the Iraqi ministers have confirmed with us that they are prepared to buy 350,000 tonnes of your grain in the short term," he said. The deal is worth about A$70m (US$52m; £30m).
It is thought the trade will not be conducted through the AWB - normally the monopoly exporter - and that the board will waive its veto over other grain companies taking part in the deal.
The AWB is alleged to have paid kickbacks under the discredited UN-run oil-for-food programme for Iraq. It is under investigation examining whether AWB executives knowingly paid bogus transport fees to a phantom trucking firm. The money allegedly went directly to the Iraqi government in order to secure lucrative wheat deals. An Australian judge is expected to report later this month.
South Africa's governing African National Congress has won a comfortable victory in local government elections. The ANC received 66% of the vote and controls five of the six major urban centres, according to final results. The opposition Democratic Alliance secured almost 15% of the vote and the Inkatha Freedom Party 7%. Turnout in Wednesday's polls was 48%. The national result achieved by the ANC is slightly down on the 70% it reached in the 2004 general election.
A nation unbalanced with a single majority party passing a two-thirds majority is courting disaster, whether it be SA or the US. This speaks less of either the majority party, or the minority party, than it does to the wisdom of the people, comfortable with such an imbalance.
It does not matter if the great issue of the day is "creamy" or "crunchy", what matters is the disagreement. If the minority is utterly worthless, then people should create a new minority, founded on something more acceptable to the nation as a whole.
What is unseen is the fact that the minority in SA see it "unbalanced" and impossible as well, and have all but given up on the process and are leaving the country. A sort of "white flight" has been ongoing there for several years now. Another fact that is unseen are the rampant party cross-overs. As soon as an opposition party member (non-ANC) gains any momentum or popularity at all or becomes the slightest threat to the ANC, he is wooed (or threatened) over by ANC comrades and switches parties. The ANC continues to have great success as the champion of the majority poor. Farm and land buy-outs and transfers similar to the seizures in Zimbabwe are becoming major issues again as Black Economic Empowerment or BEE gains further momentum. Last month the ANC introduced legislation that would end foreign purchasing of second homes, land and property. Nice little "decomcracy" there I'd say. If nothing changes, I suspect we'll be reading similar ANC polling success stories in 2050.
Zimbabwe has only two weeks of wheat supply left, while citizens are faced with soaring bread prices, Zimbabwe's main milling organisation has said. The cost of bread has risen by 30%, pushing Zimbabwe's inflation rate to more than 600%.
The government is reported to have put its security forces on alert in case the discontent leads to protests. David Govere, deputy chairman of the Millers Association, told AFP news agency the scarcity of wheat has meant a reduction in supplies to bakeries. "Due to depleted stocks, GMB [state-run food distributor Grain Marketing Board] is now giving us 400 tons of wheat a week, down from 600 tons," he is quoted as saying.
Shortages of wheat could force bakers to import flour from South Africa, which could lead to more price rises. A loaf of bread in Zimbabwe currently costs $66,000 Zimbabwean (66 US cents), having risen 30% in just one week.
That's 100,000 Bob-Bucks for a US dollar. Yesterday.
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the situation is becoming unbearable. "It's terrible right now because of shortages," Arthur Mutambara, leader of one of two factions of the MDC. "Fuel is not available, commodities are unaffordable, unemployment 80%, inflation above 600%.
It's been that way for a couple years. How much longer are you going to bear the unbearable?
"It's a travesty of justice that the country has been so run down by Robert Mugabe's regime."
Zimbabwe's leading millers - National Foods, Blue Ribbon and Victoria Foods - have shut production at most of their mills because of the wheat shortage, according to AFP.
International aid agencies say about 4.3m out of Zimbabwe's 13m people will require food aid until the next harvest in May. Economists say the rate of inflation could reach 1,000% by April.
From the middle of 1922 until the middle of 1923, prices increased by over 100 times. Measured by the price of food, prices were 135 times higher at the end of the period than they were at the beginning. Measured by how many marks it took to buy a dollar, prices were 222 times higher. Yet even this horrid inflation was mild compared to what happened from July to November of 1923, when prices increased by somewhere between a million and a billion times their previous level.
Those quarterly rates for 3Q23 are somewhere between 125% and 410% per week. So Bob isn't #1 yet, but he's getting there.
It's not as Weimar yet. At one point $1 = 1 trillion marks (e.g. bread = 200 billion marks). People being paid hourly and wives rushing from the factory to stores with wheelbarrows of money was not a myth. From noon to 5pm, most of the value was lost and prices would be increased hourly.
BTW, German hyperinflation was kicked off by the illegal French and Belgian occupation of the Ruhr to force reparation payments.
KARACHI: An Anti-Terrorism court adjourned on Saturday the hearing of the trial against Mohammad Hashim alias Arif, one of the five proclaimed offenders who were arrested by the police in the kidnapping and killing conspiracy case of US journalist Daniel Pearl. The matter will be next taken up on March 18.
The accused was not produced before the court the Sindh Home Department has yet to decide whether the trial will be conducted inside the jail or in court. Besides, the R&P of the case was sent to the Sindh High Court where the appeals of the main accused Ahmed Omer Sheikh and other co-accused against the conviction were pending.
Daniel Pearl, a US national and South Asian region Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal was kidnapped on January 23, 2002 from Karachi and later beheaded by his captors upon failure to fulfill their demands. The main accused Ahmed Omer Sheikh was sentenced to death on charges of kidnapping and killing the US journalist, and his three accomplices Fahad Naseem, Syed Salman Saqib and Sheikh Muhammad Adil were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a fine of Rs 500,000 each by a Hyderabad ATC on July 15, 2002.
Omar Saeed Sheikh still hasn't had his sentence carried out. The guys who got life will likely have their sentences quietly commuted at some point in the future, like an Eid holiday. I think I'll go take a shower now.
LAHORE: Investigations have revealed that a group of about 12 young Afghan men incited protestors to ransack buildings and set vehicles ablaze. Some investigators told Daily Times that they believed Taliban were involved in the violence. Several police and intelligence agency teams have seen videos of the violence and questioned the arrested protestors to conclude that the instigators looked like Afghans.
Meaning they were Pashtuns...
However, it is yet to be found out who called them to Lahore. Investigation revealed that a 30-year-old bearded man clad in brown shalwar kameez led the group of foreigners that incited the angry mob and disappeared when they made Operations SSP Amir Zulfiqar Khan hostage and forced him to shout anti-government and anti-US slogans.
"Yes! They forced me! They made me do it!"
The Taliban leading the mob pointed towards targets running to them and shouting God is Great, and the mob followed, said a security official.
None of them members of the mob, of course, was capable of controlling himself...
Daily Times talked to a couple of protestors who confirmed these reports. Muhammad Azhar, a religious activist, said the violence began outside Islamia College, Civil Lines, where a group of students wearing college uniform tried to remove a banner with President Pervez Musharraf and Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahis pictures, but police baton-charged them. The men wearing shalwar kameez appeared suddenly. They threw stones at the police and incited the students to do the same, Azhar said.
"So y'see, they didn't think of it on their own, so they're not responsible, right?"
He said the men led the students to Lower Mall police station where they smashed cars and motorcycles, after which the religious and political parties procession arrived from Data Darbar and the situation worsened. Qaiser Iqbal, another eyewitness, said he saw religious and political leaders telling the mob to stay calm but the pathans continued to provoke them. Qaiser said when they provoked people to smash cars inside Lahore High Court, nobody listened to them. The people who attacked the Punjab Assembly were identified and one of them has been arrested. Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat said some tribal area residents were among the miscreants but it could not be confirmed if they were Afghans.
"We're sure they were, though. Paks would never do that sort of thing..."
He said he did not want to mention names of the religious and political parties whose supporters were involved in the violence, but said Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Jamaat-e-Islami activists had been identified by the footage and arrested. A Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal source told Daily Times that some religious groups had called students from madrassas of Balochistan and tribal areas to Lahore and Peshawar for violence and sabotage activity. He said they looked like Afghans but they were not, and they supported Taliban. They are the same people that were invited by MNA Maulana Hamidullah to attack a mixed marathon in Gujranwala last year.
A fireman was injured and a railway engine damaged on Saturday when unidentified people attacked a goods train in the Naushki area of Balochistan, district administration and railway officials said. The train was on its way to Quetta from Taftan, located near the Iranian border. Bahadur Mengal, the Naushki district nazim, said that unidentified people fired three rockets at the train and later opened fire with Klashinkovs. Police and paramilitary forces were making efforts to arrest the culprits.
Redneck Jim, I have the impression they don't want anything to come through from the outside. If they can discourage innocuous freight trains, the really bad stuff from the modern world won't even try. (And I use the word modern here advisedly.)
KARACHI: Investigators suspect the Islamic militant group Jundullah (Allahs Brigade) carried out the suicide car bombing that killed a US diplomat and three other people in Karachi, an official said on Saturday. No group claimed responsibility for the bombing Thursday that some officials believed was timed for the eve of US President George W Bushs visit to Pakistan. Investigators believe the bombings sophisticated planning seemed to point to Jundullah, also blamed for attacks on other US and Christian targets, said a police investigator.
Guards tried to stop the bombers car at a checkpoint, but the attacker sped off and rammed into the diplomats SUV, killing the envoy and his Pakistani driver. A guard and woman nearby also died, and 52 people were injured. The official said that the attacks planners were sophisticated enough to know that they couldnt use an old car, commonly used in such bombings, because it would arouse suspicion in the upscale neighborhood, the official said. The bomber was driving a 2004 Toyota Corolla, reported stolen in May 2005 in Lahore, about 1,300 kilometres northeast of Karachi, the official said.
Jundullah was accused in a 2004 attack on an army general, who survived, in Karachi, and 11 members of the group were sentenced to death last month in the assassination attempt.
There are 62 Pakistani names on the 450-strong list of men who were detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Most of them were captured in Afghanistan after the war in 2001. For four years, Washington Post researchers have been compiling the names and countries of origin of detainees from unofficial public sources such as news accounts, legal documents, interviews with attorneys and relatives and information from detainee support sites on the Web. Associated Press also obtained a list under the Freedom on Information. Of the 62 Pakistanis on the list, 21 have been released. The largest number of detainees (109) was from Saudi Arabia, with Pakistan coming in second place in terms of numbers and Afghanistan in the third with 60 detainees.
The footage in I, Muslim shows a reporter pretending to be someone interested in converting to Islam. He conducts several conversations with members of the mosque, located in Èerný Most, about Islam, Europe, terrorism and the role of women. Oveèka says he stands behind his choice to use the hidden camera footage. "I wanted to get real opinions of the local Muslim community on the issue find out what the differences are between Czech and foreign Islam," he says.
One Muslim in the documentary compares Islamic terrorists to Jan Palach, the Czech student who committed suicide by setting himself on fire in protest of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Another says Islamic law should be implemented in the Czech Republic, including the death penalty for adultery, Oveèka says. "I have to say with 100 percent certainty that by using hidden camera I have learned things that I would never have learned otherwise," he says. "The result was alarming, and if not for the hidden camera, I would have never had any of this footage."
The documentary's editing is drawing the most criticism. Marek Èanìk, a project coordinator with the Prague Multicultural Center, says the documentary was edited in such a way that it fed into pre-existing xenophobia.
Telling the truth, eh?
Opponents of the documentary cite its footage of the mosque, intercut with images of terrorist attacks, without any proven connection between the two. They also say the use of a hidden camera makes it seem as though such discussions in mosques are secretive, when in fact anyone can film inside a mosque with permission. "I consider it a scandal that it has been produced and broadcast by public television," Èanìk says. "It fits in the general frame of fear of Islam and Muslims coming to us from other parts of Europe. People are afraid without knowing what exactly they fear."
Oh, I don't know ... I think they have a pretty good idea what they fear.
Oh, fercrissakes - anything done by an "infidel" (especially breathing) angers the moslems.
I'm getting real damm tired of their whiny shit. And I'm hardly alone.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
I love it when the Muslims are caught on tape being true to themselves and their hateful ideology. American journalist Steve Emerson, producer of the American Jihad documentary (circa 1994), catches grief to this day for recording muslims on tape saying what they really believe and think as opposed to what they say when addressing a chritian audience. Muslims just hate it when the veil is pulled back. I'd love to see the Czech documentary.
Posted by: Mark Z ||
Commie/ULtra-Left/Radical Lefties = God-based Lefties > WANT AND NEED THEIR SECRETS TO STAY SECRET, THE UNKNOWN TO STAY UNKNOWN - you know, the reason why the Right and only the Right must reveal everything, NOT the Left. The Left's job is to verify or dis-verify for the whole whether what someone else says is true or false - the Left is never at fault becuz the Left is for everyone anyone and no one, for everything anything and nothing.
The Bush administration is developing plans to design and deploy refurbished or replacement warheads for the nuclear stockpile, and by 2030 to modernize the production complex so that, if required, it could produce new generations of weapons with different or modified capabilities. Referring to goals established two years ago, Ambassador Linton F. Brooks, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), told the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces Wednesday that "we will revitalize our weapons design community to meet the challenge of being able to adapt an existing weapon within 18 months, and design, develop and begin production of a new design within three to four years of a decision to enter engineering development."
National Nuclear Security Administrator Linton F. Brooks told a House Armed Services subcommittee that one goal is for the United States to demonstrate that "we can produce warheads on a time scale in which geopolitical threats could emerge." A study by NNSA for restructuring the aging weapons complex, which includes dealing with facilities that dismantle retired weapons, should be sent to Congress this spring, Brooks said. Although there is some updating and modernizing of the present complex, "full infrastructure changes . . . will take a couple of decades," Brooks said.
The first step in the long-range plan is focused around the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program that was approved last year. That program contemplates designing new components for previously tested nuclear packages that would make the resulting bombs and warheads safer and more reliable over the long term than older stockpiled weapons that are being refurbished. The RRW warheads would create, Brooks said, a "reduced chance we will ever need to resort to nuclear testing." In addition, he said, "Once we demonstrate we can produce warheads on a time scale in which geopolitical threats could emerge, we would no longer need to retain extra warheads to hedge against unexpected geopolitical changes."
Under current plans, the number of deployed U.S. warheads on submarines, missiles and bombers would be reduced to between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012. There would be an additional number, said to exceed 2,000, that would remain in a strategic reserve, and it would be the latter that could be further reduced under the RRW program. However, Brooks told the subcommittee that he believes more funds will be needed to prepare for a new multibillion-dollar facility to produce "pits," plutonium triggers for thermonuclear weapons. There is controversy over how reliable the plutonium pits are as they age because of radioactive decay. Brooks told the panel the current belief is they are reliable for 45 to 60 years, but uncertainties have developed.
A small facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory has been established to build pits, but its capacity will be 30 to 40 pits a year beginning in 2012, which Brooks described as "insufficient to meet our assessed long-term pit production needs" created by the RRW warheads.
Brooks's description of the U.S. plan for nuclear weapons production came one day before President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced their agreement for sharing nuclear technology, while permitting India to continue production of weapons-grade materials at one-third of their reactors. It also came one day after testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee by Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, described how India and other nations are moving forward with their own nuclear programs. "We believe that India and Pakistan . . . continue expanding and modernizing their nuclear weapon stockpiles," Maples said, adding, "Pakistan has also developed the capability to produce plutonium for potential weapons use."
He also reported that North Korea is continuing to produce plutonium for its nuclear program, and that China "is likely" to increase the number of its nuclear-armed theater and strategic weapons and "has sufficient fissile material to support this growth
A glaring weakness in GMD is its perennial focii on mostly above-water BMD capabilities - the USA needs to have underwater BMD as well. The Net right now like to report or comment on hyper-velocity, "super-cavitating" submarine torpedoes and submersible UV's. US GMD needs to defend against underwater or surface-skimming high-velocity, MIRV/MRV-capable, independ maneuver, "fire-and'forget", "brilliant/genius" land attack standoff weapons. EVEN THE RUSSIANS AND CHINESE THEMSELVES ADMIT TO PRIORITIZING UNDERWATER WARFARE AND HI-TECH UW PLATFORMS/
SYSTEMS AGS US GMD-BMD.
A Gulf War veteran undergoing medical treatment said he was given placebos -- or sugar pills -- instead of real medicine.
Like thousands of other soldiers, Army veteran Mike Woods said he developed bizarre symptoms after serving in the first Gulf War -- blackouts, chest pain and numbness in the extremities.
Woods looked to the Veterans Administration for help. He said his VA doctor prescribed him a drug called Obecalp. "She told me there was this new drug out that would really help me with all of my physical conditions, and my pain. She really wanted me to try it," said Woods.
Name of the doctor?
But when the pill provided no relief, Woods did some research and learned that Obecalp isn't a medicine at all, but a sugar pill. He was shocked to learn the word "obecalp" is placebo spelled backward.
How could he be shocked? It is exactly 'placebo' spelled backwards.
The American Medical Association said placebos should only be used as part of a clinical trial and doctors must be extremely thorough in obtaining informed consent from patients that they may not be getting a real drug.
"Nobody ever said, 'You might be part of a study? You might get a placebo?'" asked reporter Alison Burns. "No. Never. I never signed up for a study in my life, much less with the VA," said Woods.
Woods recently shared his ordeal with members of Congress investigating complaints about how the government is caring for patients with Gulf War Syndrome. "The first step to fixing any problem is to recognize the problem is real," said Woods. "It is absolutely ridiculous that they're giving Gulf War veterans a sugar pill to cure pain. It's like giving a cancer patient a sugar pill to cure cancer," said veterans' advocate Steve Robinson.
"To me, it's so wrong. It's immoral," said Dr. Damian Alagia, Medical Society of Washington, D.C.
Algia agrees that prescribing placebo to patients who haven't provided their consent is unethical. Although, he said research shows placebos are often effective in making a patient think he's getting better. "Thirty-five percent of the time placebo will work," he said.
But it did not work for Woods --who said getting Obecalp is one more way the government is letting him down after he served his country. "That's how they treat Gulf War illnesses -- give you a placebo and send you down the road and hope that your mind will cure itself," said Woods.
It might not just be a problem for veterans. Eyewitness News found a number of reports about doctors who admitted giving unwitting patients sugar pills to make patients think they're getting real treatment.
No one from the VA could explain why Woods got a placebo prescription. They said, as a rule, VA doctors are not supposed to use placebos as medical treatment.
No one could, eh? Name of the VA spokesman?
I call bullshit. First of all, we docs, and the hospitals we work in, don't stock placebos. Really. You can't get one outside of a clinical trial unless you've been bogarting them somehow. It's not like I can write an order: "Placebo, 1 really big one, red with a white stripe, qid and prn". It doesn't happen.
Second, the VA would never condone this. The fall-out, if such a thing were to be true, would be considerable. Most VA administrators I've encountered are very political and also very chicken when it comes to attracting the wrong kind of attention to themselves. When they get VA spokescritters on the record on this one, maybe I'll begin to believe it.
Oh by the way, Mr. Woods, got any of those pills left? I'd like to run an analysis ...
Nice to have a bit of clarity from a military perspective, thanks Anonymous.
To contribute - I've been working as a (civilian) psychiatric nurse for coming 20 years, often with PTSD sufferers (Vietnem Vets and Gulf 91), and in that time have never witnessed a single placebo prescribed or administered.
That's not to say that that placebo effects don't occur, just in a different context. That is, often patients respond to the medication before they've had the chance to be absorbed or to work. However this has hardly anything to do with orchestrated deception.
For those interested in PTSD and the current effects on US soldiers in Iraq (and the very responsible interventions undertaken by the US Military for PTSD and Battle Stress), check out "Scientific American Mind" Magazine, Feb/March 2006.
PS. No letter bombs please. Last time I contributed like this I got some surprize emails, but being legitimate, check out the links first.
Even if a doc could proscribe placebos, the word wouldn't appear on the presciption or the pills. It would defeat the purpose.
Add in the lack of names, and, yeah, this doesn't just smell like bullshit, it is bullshit.
Posted by: Robert Crawford ||
Special note for the editor, in re: VA administrators.
Right now, the left is beating the drum about the chief of a VA hospital human resources division in Albuquerque.
Some nurse at the hospital sent a letter to the editor of her local newspaper which called Bush a "poopy-pants", more or less. Big deal.
The chief of HR (Catbert) ordered the "information security" people at the hospital to confiscate her work computer to see if she had used it to write and send the letter. She hadn't.
Then, when she inquired as to why her computer had been snatched, he FOOLISHLY said that he HAD to investigate all suggestions of, and I quote, "sedition".
SEDITION?! What an idiot. Well, anyway, the left, especially the ACLU, is trying to make a 1st Amendment issue out of this deal, trying to imply that the hospital chief of human resources, some GS-13 NOBODY, was acting on orders from the administration.
Ergo, it is all Bush's fault, and he is having people investigated for criticizing him, etc., ad nauseum.
Now, this of course has little bearing on the use or misuse of placebos at some other VA hospital. However, it does point out that at least ONE VA administrator is an utter idiot.
(One last note: the nurse's union rep did everything in his power to exacerbate the situation, suggesting that Catbert had even called the FBI in to investigate the nurse, a charge Catbert denies.)
Well, anyway, the left, especially the ACLU, is trying to make a 1st Amendment issue out of this deal, trying to imply that the hospital chief of human resources, some GS-13 NOBODY, was acting on orders from the administration.
Don't you know? Not a sparrow falls that isn't the Bush administration's fault.
Posted by: Robert Crawford ||
Story stinks to high heaven. No placebo is labelled as obecalp. Total bull. Not even when prescribed to get rid of 'chondriacs. There is a common label. That ain't it.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
There may be a little clarity, here. Apparently, placebos are, or at least were given to two classes of ordinary patients. Known addicts, who have been trolling for narcotics; and the larger class of the grey area including demanding hypochodriacs, TEETH (Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy) patients, and DAJ (Dead Already, Jim) patients who are not in pain, but want a pill anyway.
Use of "Obecalp" at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center alleged.
George Clooneys new film about the oil business, Syriana, was released on Friday and is competing for two Oscars this evening best supporting actor for Clooney himself and best original screenplay. The film paints a dark picture of the global oil business through the overlapping arcs of several individuals.
Clooney is Bob Barnes, a CIA agent hunting terrorists in the Middle East. A black attorney, Jeffrey Wright, taking on his first private-sector job at a well-connected Washington law firm, investigates whether the questionable business practices of two large Texan oil companies will scupper their proposed merger.
Matt Damon plays an expatriate American financial adviser and confidant of the reforming heir- apparent of an oil-rich Gulf emirate. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the industry, an unemployed young Pakistani immigrant in the same country is drawn into Islamic radicalism and terrorism.
The film, and Clooneys character in particular, is based on See No Evil, the memoirs of a dedicated and daring CIA veteran, Bob Baer. His odyssey saw him hunt the terrorists who kidnapped Americas citizens in Lebanon, destroyed its Beirut embassy, killed its soldiers in bomb attacks and blew a Pan Am airliner out of the sky over Lockerbie.
He went on to work in both Turkmenistan and with the Iraqi exiles and the Kurds who sought to overthrow Saddam Hussein from northern Iraq. Yet the final chapters of See No Evil, which see a frustrated Baer return to Washington, describe how weak leadership, bureaucratic infighting and corruption left the terrorists to go unpunished and blinded America to the rising threat of Al-Qaeda.
The movies slogan, Everything is connected, belies the films main failing: that it is not at all reflective of the contents of Baers book, which describes how he saw the Clinton White House put out the welcome mat for the very dirtiest people in the oil business in return for campaign donations and fat payments to the presidents cronies.
Roger Tamraz, then a fugitive from an outstanding Interpol arrest warrant for fraud, got to pitch his plan for an oil pipeline face-to-face with Bill Clinton over coffee in the Oval Office. He began his career, Baer tells us, by working to channel millions of dollars in kickbacks from an oil pipeline deal to Kamal Adham, the long-time head of Saudi intelligence, and went on to partner everyone from the Sicilian mafia to Colonel Gadaffi of Libya.
Another notorious businessman benefiting from Clintons interventions was the commodity broker Marc Rich, who spent over a decade on the run from American justice before Clinton pardoned him just before leaving office.
Instead of depicting this history, we get a political fairytale pushing the anti-business agenda of Clooney and Stephen Gaghan, Syrianas writer and director ....
In a sense Gaghan and Clooney are correct everything is connected. The international energy markets, the war on terror, the spread of democracy and liberalism in the Middle East are all complex, interwoven issues, and no film can fully represent their interplay. But the films creators misconceive the true nature of corruption.
In the Middle East it is borne of dictatorship and it is political. With free markets in oil shut down in favour of grasping state monopolies, corruption is inevitable, facilitated by the secretive middlemen operating outside the regulations that govern American and European companies.
Neither, as the example of Osama Bin Laden and the well- educated middle-class pilots who led the 9/11 hijackings should show, does poverty directly drive terrorism. On the contrary, judging from Clooneys example, if you want to drive a man to become a radical opponent of his government, just give him millions of dollars and a house in the Hollywood hills.
Clooney, etc should know that a consensus is brewing on the issue of the authenticity of modern Muslim terrorism, as clones of original Islam. America didn't cause Islamoterrorism; Muhammad did. Academics who believe otherwise - Karen Armstrong/John Esposito and their kind - either work for Saudi funded entities, or make a lot of money from whore-conferencing.
Clooney could win because his Murrow (Hollywood) v McCarthy movie was well received. Personally, Senator McCarthy was guilty of rhetorical over-extension at best. His book, "America's Retreat From Victory" - based on an inspired 100,000 word speech that he gave, mostly off the cuff - is a incisive critique of the "Marshall Plan," that caused General M to retract much of his moronic red carpet subsidy.
PARIS, March 3, 2006 (AFP) - Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has approved the extradition to France of a gang leader wanted for the kidnap and murder of a young Jewish man, Foreign Minister Mamadou Kone said Friday. It clears the way for Youssouf Fofana, 25, to be flown back Saturday. The French defence ministry said a military plane was due to leave Friday for the Ivorian capital Abidjan with three police officers to escort him.
Gbagbo signed the extradition order for Fofana late Thursday after a court in Abidjan approved the request by French authorities. "We want him to leave as soon as possible," Kone told AFP.
"Git outta here and don't come back, ya varmint!"
Fofana is thought to have run away from fled France shortly after Jewish cellphone vendor Ilan Halimi was found dying outside Paris on February 13. The 23-year-old victim was found naked, bound and gagged in the southern suburb of Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois where he had managed to crawl after being dumped nearby. After being lured into a sex trap, he had been held captive for three weeks by a gang who sent ransom demands to his family, police said.
Fofana, who is originally from Ivory Coast but has French nationality, was arrested in Abidjan several days after Halimi was found.
Pakistani police on Saturday put opposition politician and former cricket star Imran Khan under house arrest and detained dozens of people protesting against the visit of US President George W Bush. "I have been placed under house arrest just to appease George Bush. You would think I was Osama bin Laden the way they have treated me," Mr Khan told AFP.
Mr Khan said he was leaving a friend's house after supper at around 1:00 am local time when police served him with a detention order to stop him leading a demonstration later on Saturday in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. "The police had been following me for two days and I was planning to spend the night away from home because I knew the animal I was dealing with," he said. "When I came out from my friend's house after dinner there were four or five police cars waiting for me."
The police, holding a detention order from a magistrate, then escorted him to his lakeside house near Islamabad where they were guarding him as Mr Bush met Pakistan's military ruler Pervez Musharraf for talks. "Bush obviously agrees with Musharraf's version of democracy, which is to clamp down on anyone who protests against you," Mr Khan said. "We wanted to hold a peaceful demonstration, it was our right."
Police later used batons to break up a small demonstration in Rawalpindi by workers from Mr Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaaf, or Movement for Justice party, who were shouting: "Killer Bush, Go Back" and "Friend of Bush is a traitor". They arrested some 35 people at the scene, witnesses said.
Mr Khan, who led Pakistan to its first and only cricket World Cup title in 1992, was detained for around three hours last Sunday following another protest. He is his party's only member of parliament and has been unable to transform his massive popularity as the former captain of the cricket-crazy country's team into political success.
CAIRO - Egypt has arrested a leader and seven members of Egypts main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, the outlawed but tolerated Islamist groups number two told AFP on Saturday. Rashad Bayyumi and seven others are still being detained after their arrest by Egyptian police on Friday, Mahmud Ezzat said.
Bayyumi sits on the Brotherhoods 13-member Guidance Bureau. He was arrested at his home in a Cairo suburb. The other arrested members belong to the student branch of the movement, which overall boasts two million members and the support of three million more people nationwide.
Bush is in town, y'see... More on yesterday's festivities...
Pakistani security forces say at least 70 tribal militants have been killed in fighting in North Waziristan, close to the border with Afghanistan.
"Yep. They're all dead now. Won't be bothering us anymore..."
A number of members of the Pakistani security forces were also killed.
The latest fighting started on Saturday morning when a group of more than 100 tribal militants attacked a military post in a small town. Two paramilitary troops were killed in the attack. The security forces retaliated in a big way killing more than 20 militants.
"Get 'em, boys!"
Soon the fighting spread to North Waziristan's main town of Miranshah where several hundred militants tried to storm the main headquarters of the paramilitary troops. The security forces repulsed the attack using heavy machine guns and artillery.
"That little dinky thing? That's a gun? Lookee here... This is a gun!"
The president of the area told local reporters that the place near the paramilitary headquarters was littered with bodies, but in the absence of any direct contact from the town it was difficult to corroborate such reports.
Online reported that a seminary belonging to notable tribal cleric Maulana Abdul Haq Haqqani was also destroyed in the conflict. However, it was not known if Haqqani was in his seminary at the time of the attack. Eyewitnesses said that the battle has destroyed all means of communication and electricity in the area.
Iqbal Khattak adds from Peshawar: The exchange started on Saturday afternoon after the main army base was attacked by militants from all sides, eyewitnesses and a military official said. Security forces are retaliating after coming under the miscreants fire at the main base in Miranshah from all sides, the military official said. The main military base was attacked from all sides and the security forces retaliated in self-defence, a government official said.
Cleric Abdul Khaliq was blamed for Saturdays provocation after he was declared the mastermind of Thursdays occupation of government buildings, including a telephone exchange, in Miranshah. This man is trying to provoke the security forces by instigating anti-state activities, but we are exercising maximum restraint to avoid collateral damage, the military official said.
Abdul Khaliq, recall, is the local version of Mullah Omar.
Miranshah lost telephone contact with the rest of the country after 4:00pm on Saturday. Tribal sources told Daily Times that the Taliban attack was in retaliation to the March 1 military operation in Dandi Saidgai, where more than 40 suspected militants were reported killed.
The head of a security force accused of human rights abuses has been appointed to lead the pro-Russian government in the war-ravaged province of Chechnya. The regional assembly in Chechyna has unanimously approved the appointment Ramzan Kadyrov, the son of the former president, who was assassinated by suspected Chechyn separatists in 2004.
Comes as a surprise, huh? I know. It floored me, too.
He says anyone not doing their job properly will be sacked from his administration. "I officially state that everyone will have to work 24 hours a day," he said. "Previously we were working eight or 12 hours a day, this schedule will have to change. If the people and the leadership of the country do not see significant changes for the better over the next three months I will write a letter of resignation."
We've heard promises like that before. I'm not sure we've ever seen it actually done, however...
The appointment is part of what the Russian authorities say is the normalisation of life in Chechnya after years of conflict. However, rebels are still believed to be active.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Abdul Hakim Bukhary was once ready to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But the former holy warrior has told his American captors he now loves democracy - and that hardline Taliban fighters prompted his conversion.
Bukhary traveled from his native Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan in 2001 after the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan using a strict interpretation of the Quran, called for a jihad against American soldiers. The U.S. troops were set to invade in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Bukhary told his tribunal at Guantanamo Bay that he had been in Afghanistan earlier - in the 1980s to fight Soviet troops. His tale appeared in transcripts of hearings at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in eastern Cuba, where Bukhary was detained along with hundreds of other prisoners.
Bukhary said that as he waited in a guest house in Afghanistan for the U.S. invasion to begin, he told his Taliban hosts that he admired Ahmed Shah Massood, a veteran of the war against the Soviet occupation and a rebel commander revered by many Afghans. But Massood was an enemy of the Taliban who was killed days before the Sept. 11 attacks by a Taliban assassination squad posing as journalists. The Taliban disapproved of Bukhary's idle comment.
Yup, big mistake.
"For saying that, they punished me. They bothered me. They beat me. They hit me very badly," Bukhary said at his hearing, according to the transcripts. The Taliban accused Bukhary of being a spy and threw him into prison in Kandahar, along with 1,600 other prisoners. "There was no food in prison," Bukhary said. "In the prison we would receive one piece of bread in 24 hours. ... if anyone talked too loud, they would kill him."
"It was a terrible time," he recalled. "Horrible."
Bukhary told the U.S. military tribunal that he was transferred from jail to jail before falling into custody of U.S. ground forces. He said Guantanamo was better than the prison in Kandahar. He could eat. He could talk. "Prisoners here are in paradise," he exclaimed. "American people are very good. Really. They give us three meals. Fruit juice and everything!"
Bukhary told the tribunal that, unlike the Taliban, the U.S. guards did not care if he talked.
"I like to talk because I found that nobody bothers me. Nobody beats me. Nobody hits me," he said, adding: "About democracy. It is really good."
The transcripts did not indicate whether Bukhary's testimony swayed the tribunal. It was unknown if he remained in custody.
Remain in custody? They won't be able to force him back.
A province in China has introduced the death penalty for purse-snatching. Economic good times in China have been followed by worsening crime. Southern Guangdong province, neighbouring Hong Kong, has been particularly affected, with tens of thousands of people convicted of robbery every year. Officials there have announced that purse-snatching is now punishable by death. Even those whose life is spared will still face a mandatory three years in jail.
Amnesty International says it is a knee-jerk response that will not reduce crime. China officially executes about 10,000 people every year, more than the rest of the world combined.
"The Pickpockets, Purse-cutters and Highwaymen workers' collective will do its fraternal Socialist duty! In accordance with the principles of Marxist-Leninist proletarianism, there will be a democratic centralist relignment of organs."
Something that is rarely highlighted in history is whether or not draconian legal systems worked. That is, the death penalty for all sorts of offenses, great and small.
It is not clear, one way or another, because usually when such penalties are enacted, the society has so many other problems that confuse the issue, that nobody knows for sure.
However, I suspect, as is the case with widespread abortion, that it does reduce the crime rate significantly. First of all, it eliminates recitivism and career criminals. Second, it is like a plague that targets the rest of the criminal class. However, like a lethal disease, this signals its own demise.
That is, normal, law-abiding people do not wish to live under such constant threat for punishment for petty offenses, unless their very lives are at an even worse constant threat from the criminals. So as soon as the one threat is diminished, they wish to reduce the other threat.
Then, if the law refuses to liberalize, which it usually doesn't, then the normal citizens try to subvert, corrupt and ignore it. Again, for their own protection.
Any Syrian attempt to destabilize Lebanon through assassinations or weapons shipments will trigger a response by the international community, French President Jacques Chirac warned Saturday.
He's funny when he's threatening, no?
In an interview with the pan-Arab Al Hayat newspaper, Chirac also reminded Damascus that it should fully cooperate with an international probe into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. "Syria must understand that any act that encroaches upon the stability of Lebanon, be it through the shipment of weapons or assassinations, is an act that contradicts with its standing in the international community and will trigger a response from the international community," he said.
Chirac made the comments ahead of a three-day visit, beginning Saturday, to Saudi Arabia, which has also pressured Syria to cooperate in the Hariri probe. Chirac, a close friend of Hariri, said in the interview that the former prime minister's assassination will not go unpunished. "The truth and justice are necessary for the sake of a new Lebanon," he said. "Those who are behind the assassinations (in Lebanon) must realize that those who are defending Lebanon's independence are not alone. The international community is with them and it is determined to succeed."
DAMASCUS - Syrian authorities have shut down an EU-funded centre for human rights barely a week after it opened, the head of the centre said on Saturday. A security force came and sealed the premises with red tape a few days ago. They have taken a decision not to tolerate anything, human rights lawyer Anwar al-Bunni told Reuters.
There was no immediate official comment from Syrian authorities.
European diplomats, including EU ambassador Frank Hesske, attended the opening of the centre on Feb. 21, part of an effort to train lawyers and activists across the region in the human rights field.
The man who for two years led Iran's nuclear negotiations has laid out in unprecedented detail how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic programme. In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear programme was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.
This isn't going to be any surprise to Rantburg readers, but the fact that he's boasting about it publicly is interesting -- suggests, to me at least, that the Iranians are just about ready to test a nuke. At the very least, there's now very little the IAEA or UN could do to stop them, even if they had a spine, which they don't.
He boasted that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant but at the same time convince European diplomats that nothing was afoot. "From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.' The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them'," he said.
Euros are kinda gullible.
Revelation of Mr Rowhani's remarks comes at an awkward moment for the Iranian government, ahead of a meeting tomorrow of the United Nations' atomic watchdog, which must make a fresh assessment of Iran's banned nuclear operations. The judgment of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the final step before Iran's case is passed to the UN Security Council, where sanctions may be considered.
And considered, and considered, and ...
In his address to the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, Mr Rowhani appears to have been seeking to rebut criticism from hardliners that he gave too much ground in talks with the European troika. The contents of the speech were published in a regime journal that circulates among the ruling elite. He told his audience: "When we were negotiating with the Europeans in Teheran we were still installing some of the equipment at the Isfahan site. There was plenty of work to be done to complete the site and finish the work there. In reality, by creating a tame situation, we could finish Isfahan."
In a way you have to admire this -- Iran bluffed with a pair of eights and won the hand.
Iran is trying to win support from Russia, which opposes any UN sanctions, having unsuccessfully tried to persuade European leaders to give them more time. Against this backdrop, Mr Rowhani's surprisingly candid comments on Iran's record of obfuscation and delay are illuminating. He described the regime's quandary in September 2003 when the IAEA had demanded a "complete picture" of its nuclear activities. "The dilemma was if we offered a complete picture, the picture itself could lead us to the UN Security Council," he said. "And not providing a complete picture would also be a violation of the resolution and we could have been referred to the Security Council for not implementing the resolution."
Mr Rowhani disclosed that on at least two occasions the IAEA obtained information on secret nuclear-related experiments from academic papers published by scientists involved in the work.
The Iranians' biggest setback came when Libya secretly negotiated with America and Britain to close down its nuclear operations. Mr Rowhani said that Iran had bought much of its nuclear-related equipment from "the same dealer" - a reference to the network of A Q Khan, the rogue Pakistani atomic scientist. From information supplied by Libya, it became clear that Iran had bought P2 advanced centrifuges.
And even with that the Euro-3 thought they could talk the Iranians into a deal.
In a separate development, the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has obtained a copy of a confidential parliamentary report making clear that Iranian MPs were also kept in the dark on the nuclear programme, which was funded secretly, outside the normal budgetary process.
Mohammad Mohaddessin, the NCRI's foreign affairs chief, told the Sunday Telegraph: "Rowhani's remarks show that the mullahs wanted to deceive the international community from the onset of negotiations with EU3 - and that the mullahs were fully aware that if they were transparent, the regime's nuclear file would be referred to the UN immediately."
They are not ready to "test" a nuke. they are ready to launch one. The shipment from North Korea must have arrived. The info dump is to make us,and the muslim world, believe they built it themselves. the islamic bomb. And we've got about 7 days before they launch, if that.
Meek surrender of JMB supremo Shaikh Abdur Rahman in Sylhet on Thursday without any resistance has raised eyebrows, according to agencies. The way he passed time and finally gave in to the law-enforcers was surprising. This was the talk of the country on Friday that how such a mastermind of countrywide bombing could live so peacefully in a posh residence in Sylhet city with all his family members. Many questioned the reality of the 35-hour drive saying that the militant leader even did not have a mobile phone with him.
Rapid Action Battalion cordoned off eight square kilometres of area around the Surja Dighal Bari he was staying in on Wednesday. But the chief of the banned militant outfit, who was behind all suicide bombings and murder of innocent and his fellows too, did nothing for his escape. Wife of Abdur Rahman also wondered as to how he was quite okay and very smoothly gave in to the law-enforcers.
When grassroots level activists of JMB killed themselves on various occasions such meek surrender by their supreme leader is not taken easily by the people.
Sylhet, Bangladesh (Rantburg News Service): The pussy cat surrender of JMB supremo Shaikh Abdur Rahman in Sylhet on Thursday has raised eyebrows among those who mistook his fierce demeanor for actual guts. Somehow they were surprised at the way he turned a mild shade of green at the thought of actually departing this vale of tears, then gave up without a fight.
Banglas were also scratching their heads over the fact that the bloody-handed mastermind of a countrywide booming campaign came to be living in plain sight in a posh residence in Sylhet, surrounded by family and retainers. While the Islamic mastermind was having tea and crumpets the cops were dashing madly about the country looking for him every place he wasn't.
Rapid Action Battalion cordoned off eight square kilometres around the Surja Dighal Bari he was staying in, surrounding the place and expecting a shootout. But the ferocious criminal mastermind, who was more than willing to send others to collect their 72 virgins, decided to hang it up rather than collect his reward himself. Even his wife says he's a putz. The JMB common folk were willing enough to kill themselves, but their Fearless Leader just couldn't bring himself to do it.
The axe assault that badly injured a Canadian soldier was part of a planned ambush as troops met with village elders in southern Afghanistan, the military says. Lieut. Trevor Greene, a journalist and former navy officer from Vancouver, suffered a serious head wound during the meeting near the small Canadian outpost at Gumbad, about 70 kilometres north of Kandahar. Capt. Kevin Schamuhn, the commander who was leading the expedition, told CBC News that the Canadian troops had already visited several villages during the day to attend shuras, or meetings with village elders. He said all of them had been peaceful events where they shared lunch or tea and introduced themselves. Schamuhn said the last shura of the day started off well as the troops sat down with about 30 villagers, including many children. The Canadians took off their helmets and put down their guns as they usually do to reassure villagers that they were friendly. Lessons learned, from now on guys...don't.
My unusually reliable source tells me that virtually all the Canadians are on their second tour in Afghanistan. Our guys do the same sort of thing, on occasion.
'There was no gut feeling that something was about to go down'. A few minutes before the attack, someone moved all the children about 20 metres away but none of the Canadian troops noticed anything unusual, Schamuhn said. "There was no weird feelings. There was no gut feeling that something was about to go down. Everything was very calm and similar to the previous meetings."
A minute later, a man who appeared to be less than 20 walked up behind Greene and pulled a half-metre-long axe out from underneath his clothes. "He pulled an axe out from underneath his clothing and lifted right above his head, standing right behind Trevor," said Schamuhn, who was sitting only about a metre away. As he lifted up the axe, the man shouted "Allahu Akbar," which means "God is great" in Arabic. Then, said Schamuhn, "he swung the axe into Trevor's head." The Canadian soldiers reacted instantly, the military says. Geez I would hope so.
"The Canadian soldiers who were by him, his security force, killed the assailant immediately following the attack," said Col. Tom Putt, the Canadian deputy commander of Task Force Afghanistan. Militants then started firing at the Canadian and Afghan soldiers from a nearby riverbank and they fired back. Another militant tossed a rocket-propelled grenade at the soldiers but no one was hurt. Schamuhn said it seems apparent that the attack was well-planned and not the spontaneous act of a madman. During the chaos, he said, all the young men and elders who were at the shura disappeared. "There's a lot of people who knew what was about to happen. I'm sure of it."
I'd suggest hunting them down and killing them all, but we're still too civilized to do that...
A U.S. Black Hawk helicopter flew Greene to the military hospital at the international brigades' headquarters at Kandahar airfield, where he underwent surgery. He was in critical but stable condition and would be transported on Sunday to the U.S. military hospital at Landstuhl, Germany, military officials said.
My source says he's dead.
Schamuhn said Greene was simply trying to help the same people who attacked him. "He was just really set on helping these people and doing it right. He's just really well-spoken and mature. ...He was just really looking forward to helping these people." Once again, lessons learned.
They're dealing with Pashtuns.
Greene was with the Seaforth Highlanders, a Vancouver-based reserve infantry unit, and was on a six-month deployment to Afghanistan. He was a navy officer for eight years in the Canadian Armed Forces, according to his website. He is also a published author and entrepreneur who worked for Bloomberg news service and wrote a book about prostitutes disappearing in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. I know I was supposed to leave, but the audacity and gruesomeness of this attack prompted me to post this, and also, just the other day I was looking at pictures on the CBC of Canadians providing security for one of these shura shindigs. Why on God's green earth did they lower their guard this time.
There is another Canadian soldier that died: Master Cpl. Timothy Wilson of Grande Prairie, Alta., died early Sunday morning, Canadian military officials told a news conference at the main Canadian base in Kandahar. ...also in Landstuhl Germany.
Thank you for this post, Rafael. And also for what I've learnt from you over the years here. And finally, thanks to your countrymen who do very well considering their government had been cutting the legs out from under them so long as Labour was in power.
Despite the site boss and owner's source, I still somehow hope he's alive (cf. HC), and will make it without heavy sequels.. anyway, this is treachery at its worst, and the "friendly" villagers are loathsome here. The muslim way of war. Lesson learned, I truly hope.
You cannot fight wars PC. You need to take the fight to the enemy and go on the offensive. That means denying him sanctuary in the NWFP. Al Q and what's left of the Taliban need some more of what the other Jihadis got a while ago at their meeting venue. Being jacked around by Pakistan is costing the US and loyal allies in Afghanistan like the Canadians good people.
I absolutely detest this PC crap. Drive the jihadis in the NWFP and other places across the border out of their sanctuaries or eliminate them. We have the air power to totally disrupt their operations. We need the will.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
Venezuela's once-thriving middle class is packing its bags and fleeing the country, afraid for the future as the socialist president, Hugo Chávez, calls on the slum-dwelling masses to rise up and seize wealth from those better off than themselves. Growing numbers of professionals, business owners and shopkeepers are fed up with the climate of hostility that the Left-wing president has encouraged in his effort to boost his populist credentials.
María Carolina García was blowing up helium balloons in her party-decorations shop in Caracas one day when two customers asked her how much they cost. "When I told them the price, which was just a few dollars, they started yelling at me that it was far too much," Mrs García recalled. "You're a thief! You're all thieves! You just came to this country to steal from the poor," the men shouted before marching out of the shop.
Mrs García, 46, a mother of two whose parents emigrated to Venezuela to escape the Spanish civil war and made a new life as jewellers, was upset. But it was nothing new. "Ever since Hugo Chávez was elected [in 1998] he has been fomenting hatred for those who have, among those who have not. 'Rich is bad.' That's his message. So the people who follow him have decided it's not just the world's superpower they hate, it's people like me too."
Continued on Page 49
..Wondering how long before Hugo starts 'redistributing'the middle class' assets..
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski ||
He's already started. Companies that his administration deems 'inactive' or 'under employed' are being seized and forced to provide jobs that are not profitable and/or that are given to unskilled workers.
THE war in Iraq is her fathers business but Elizabeth Cheney, the American vice-presidents daughter, has been given responsibility for bringing about a different type of regime change in Iran.
Cheney, a 39-year-old mother of four, is a senior official in the State Department, which has often been regarded as hostile territory by Dick Cheneys White House team. Nonetheless father and daughter agree it would be better for the mullahs regime to collapse from within than to be ousted by force.
The question is whether democratic reform can be achieved before Iran becomes a nuclear power. That is the younger Cheneys job. In the State Department she is referred to as the freedom agenda co-ordinator and the democracy czar for the broader Middle East. Shes fantastic and dynamic, said a colleague.
Her official title is deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs and she is in charge of spending the $85m (£48m) up from $10m last year recently allocated to promote democracy in Iran. Much of it will be spent on broadcasting the views of exiles, dissidents and reformers inside Iran.
Cheney is better known to Iranian listeners of Voice of Americas Persian service than she is to Americans, although she publicly backed her sister Marys right to privacy when Democrats made an issue of her lesbianism in the 2004 election.
She rarely gives interviews but set out her agenda in a speech to the Foreign Policy Associations annual dinner last June. Cheney said there was a direct parallel between reform movements in the Arab world and Polands Solidarity in the 1980s, which lit the spark of freedom in the Soviet bloc.
A strike by Tehran bus drivers that led to the jailing and torture of Mansour Osanloo, a union leader, and protests by textile workers in the northern province of Gilan have raised hopes that Iranians are fed up with the clerics repressive rule.
President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad was elected on the basis of a chicken in every pot and theres no sign that he is living up to that, said a senior State Department official. The patience of people who supported him is going to run out.
Iranian exiles are using the showdown with Tehran over nuclear weapons to build unity among notoriously fractured opposition groups. Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Shah of Iran, said in Washington last week that democratic regime change was a race against time.
Forget about endlessly negotiating with the mullahs, he said. They will only buy the regime more time and a military strike would be a gift to the clerics. Everybody knows you cannot come away from the precipice without democracy.
Mohsen Sazegara, a former Revolutionary Guard turned reformer who was recently jailed in Iran, said United Nations anti-nuclear sanctions should be linked to improvements in human rights. Iranians will see that the international community is standing up for the rights of the people of Iran, he said.
Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said Cheney was well qualified for the post. She has a lot of experience dealing with non-governmental organisations and knows what she is talking about. She is a different person from her father.
Another Washington-based expert on Iran suggested her relationship to Dick Cheney sometimes hampered her work. Her last name can make things difficult for her because people assume everything you tell her is going to go straight to the vice-president.
Father and daughter will be on the same side if Ahmadinejads regime sees off its internal opposition and acquires nuclear weapons. Theres no credibility gap over our willingness to use force, a State Department official said, but hopefully it wont come to that.
Frankly, the State Department could do little to advance regime change in Iran because the Mullahs need to be faced with an armed opposition. If an Anglo-American coalition executed a series of surgical strikes on Iran's nuke project site, that would give wings to the opposition. Present the Ayatollahs with a fait accompli that they can do nothing about, would paint a veneer of impotence over their rhetoric. Iran is not a tough nut to crack. May Day could be fun in Teheran, this year.
If things go as they ought, we won't need British troops in Iraq anymore. Like a good portion of U.S. troops, they'll have moved on to more urgent business, and their current responsibilities will be taken over by the Iraqis. Why the fuss?
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - Algeria freed a first group of Islamic militants Saturday after deciding to pardon or reduce sentences for more than 2,000 people detained during an insurgency in the 1990s. Cries of joy rose up among families outside the two prisons on the outskirts of the capital, Algiers, when the prisoners were released.
As part of reconciliation efforts, the Justice Ministry announced this week that it would pardon or end legal proceedings for 2,100 convicted or suspected Islamic militants. Some 100 militants, convicted of more serious crimes, will have their sentences reduced. The national reconciliation plan was overwhelmingly approved in a September referendum, an effort to turn the page on an insurgency that left 150,000 dead.
The exact numbers of prisoners freed Saturday was unclear, as was the nature of their crimes. About 20 prisoners could be seen leaving the two prisons outside Algiers, but prison guards estimated 200 were freed.
The plan foresees pardons for people convicted of crimes that did not involve massacres, rape or explosions in public places. But Algerian media reports said those released would include terrorists implicated in such crimes. Released Islamic militants or terrorists will not be eligible for political office, and some must pay compensation to the victims' relatives. According to the plan, relatives of militants who were killed may also be eligible for state compensation.
Critics say that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation seeks to whitewash years of agony and that releasing extremists and allowing them home from exile could plant the seeds for future violence.
The April issue of Discover magazine has an article re-addressing the company turning turkey offal into oil. Apparently they are starting to make a small amount of money, and are looking into expanding into Europe, where they will have guaranteed prices. The company is called Changing World Technologies. (I do not own stock in the company nor, as far as I know, benefit in any way from its success or failure.)
Nimble Spemble, please don't ever buy a financial instrument based on information from me. Mr. Wife despairs because I completely do not understand anything to do with money, other than, "Stop buying stuff before we go broke." (He even wrote out exactly what I'm to do the year after he dies, so that he can relax his first year in the Afterlife.) I should be highly distressed were you to do as you joked, and I truly wouldn't be able to sleep at night worrying that you would lose your children's college funds because you trusted me on such matters. I'm serious-as-a-heart-attack serious about this. You've got to promise me you'll won't buy stock just because I mentioned the company. Please?
I know some dairy farmers who tried very hard to make a go of extracting methane from cattle dung and using it to power heaters, generators, etc. Doing so on the scale of a large dairy farm required sufficient equipment and maintenance that the simple payback was in the 15 year range. The driving force for these operations is thus not usually economic -- it's a desire to keep the neighboring housing developments happy with the local aroma.
The ratio of gas produced to shit input is very low. Of course, there's plenty of bullshit to go around. Still, very interesting, and possibly efficiencies can be brought up. Vhanging World Technologies is privately held, mostly by Warren Buffet's son and other large investors. This too is very interesting. They can produce approxiamtely 20 wt.oil, similar to other synthetic hydrocarbon oil. These were recently shut down by the local county gov't and told they must control the stink. Can smell 5 miles away if wind is right.
See if we can get them to do the same with hot air - then deploy the production means in DC and every other world capital, as well as the state capitals here in the US. We certainly have a never-ending supply of that.
Ted "Schwimmer" Kennedy could power all his family's yachts, planes, cars, and limos all by himself.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
careful when branding!
Posted by: Frank G ||
...Folks, we're seeing the official recloseting of the Democrats in terms of gay visibility and outreach. If you had any illusions that the 2006 iteration of the Democratic party isn't ready to throw gays under the bus (but take homo cash), here's convincing evidence to chew on... That's one of the problems with not standing for anything. You end up selling out your allies and partners for minimal short term gain, until you have none left.
I don't see how this can possibly help the Dems.
It's obviously a bid to win back the support of labor union, lunch-pail Reagan Democrats. "See, we really ARE mainstream, so you can vote for us again (and get your $20.00 per week that your union boss promised)."
This is no different than the noises being made by Dems like Carville about how the party really DOESN"T want strict gun control any more. Pfeh.
The problem with this approach is threefold. First of all, thanks to the 'net, enough of what these people have said in the past is widely available and can be disseminated quickly and thoroughly. Those who have always supported the radical gay agenda will be outed (as it were) quickly. This isn't 1989, when the MSM has absolute control over the information stream.
Secondly, the Dems are already demographically in trouble and to diminish their core voters even by a small amount in an attempt to attract unsure support from another source will likely result in lower overall support at the ballot box.
Thirdly, from a PR standpoint, this can only hurt them. To gays, this will seem like betrayal; they may not vote Repub, but they may not vote at all. The Reagan Democrats aren't going to be snowed, either. Nobody with intelligence greater than that of a mosquito will actually believe that most Dems have changed their mind about the radical gay agenda, any more than gun owners actually believe that Dems have somehow miraculously discovered the joys of the Second Amendment.
While many gays will reason that no matter how bad the Dems are, the Repubs are worse, may will not. A policy change like this will likely end up hurting rather than helping the Dems.
Posted by: no mo uro ||
True Believers[tm] will always drink the koolaid.
See the Dems. See the Dems run. Run Dems run.
And just who voted for the reestablishment of the Patriot Act?
[I first voted against it, before I voted for it] Kerry, who days before was on Koskiddieland for donations.
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
which of course tells you who the full time fools are. I think the Reps have figures out the old concept that you don't have to be faster than the bear when he's chasing you. You just have to be faster than someone else [Dems] in the group.
Gays consider themselves regular people now. some of 'em even vote conservative.
is that to imply that to mock my comment as somehow homophobic? Yeah, that's profound and typical. This is just one more example of the left standing for absolutely nothing. At least the conservatives are honest - even if you don't agree with them. They basically state what they think - do what you want in the privacy of your homes, - but we aren't going to approve civil unions and we don't think that the military is ready for open homosexuality.
The left has dumped the homosexuals by the side of the road and said, hey thanks, but you guys weren't as popular as we thought you were. Hope you don't mind the walk, but we still love you.
I think it's rich. It has nothing to do with a stance on homosexuality, it has to do with watching Andrew Sullivan sell his soul for acceptance. Now he doesn't even get that from the dems. He just gets a promise of, "sure I cheat on ya, honey - but at least I'll pretend to love ya in private".
I didn't mean to imply that you're homophobic, 2b. I never got the sense that you were, although admittedly I tend not to notice the unsaid... and sometimes even not the slightly ambiguous.
I think there's something in the air -- lots of us (me included!) are a bit on edge lately. I hope whatever it is happens soon, or Dr. Steve is going to have to start administering calming teas wholesale, with me at the front of the line, ready to mainline the stuff. ;-)
I think quite a few more conservatives like me who have strong libertarian like inclinations and are for non-government mandated "social justice" feel that discrimination against anyone is evil.
We are for equal rights not superior rights. We are not for changes in the social structure that are too socailly disruptive to society. Gay marriges are socially disruptive. Race, gender are like each other when it comes to "human rights". Sexual orientation is not completely similar. Therfore society has a say about "gay' marriages."Gays" can be given legal rights to many of the things marriage grants couples with the "marriage" part.
Andy's tied up, all atwitter over the Oscars and how many Brokebutt Mtn will win....
Posted by: Frank G ||
If Bush wants to take any action without UN approval, he needs to put the Congresscritters' feet to the fire before the election. Otherwise nothing will get done before 2009. I wonder if we'd even respond if a plane crashed into the Sears Tower.
I knew two gay guys I have the utmost of respect for. I also think they would be welcomed guests here, except they are still OTR, and need to remain anonymous. I will give some hints, and see if you can guess what they do for a living?
Both are skinny and muscular. They do a lot of hiking in very mountainous terrain. They travel the world extensively, and to some rather atypical tourist destinations. Between them they speak seven languages. One is American, the other German, and they have work visas from Switzerland.
One is an expert photographer, the other an expert with electronics with considerable medical background. They don't seem to be troubled by local or regional instability, even in places regarded as dangeous or hostile.
Amazing how they afford all that travel, just working as day laborers in Switzerland a month or two during the winter, usually.
tw - I should have been more clear, I was referring to #4, not you. I know you better than that.
I'm so tired of the liberal lies and sell outs. This is just another one. I could go on about their lies - but this is just one more. They are basically pretending to be conservatives because that is what you need to be to get elected - suddenly they are hunting, Christians, for family values, tougher on the WOT, for border controls etc. But elected they will do exactly the opposite. They've been gloating about this tactic on some of the dem blogs.
Honestly, I think their lies will pay off this year. I suspest the Republicans will get their behinds kicked because they have gotten greedy with their success in the war on terror and are trying to push other parts of the conservative agenda that they would never try to push if they're heads weren't so swollen by the circus that has become the dem party.
But most of the people don't pay attention and the WOT is something that they just wish would go away. They will be distracted by the bread and circuses, and will believe the promises that the Dems will not only not deliver - but will cause the US to go down the same road of self-destruction that Europe is facing - for the very same reasons... corruption, selling out, blame, and a belief that oh, yes, you can have it all if you just say it should be so.
and one more comment - I don't care about people's sexual orientation. My original comment was specific towards Andrew Sullivan because I used to follow him way back before he came down with BDS. He sold his soul for the dem party and because the party refused to meet his timeline on political acceptance of gay issues. So he became Bush's most frantic critic. My comment was meant towards him - not towards gays in general.
I'm not so sanguine about Democratic Party prospects in the 2006 election ... I was listening to "Yes, yes, don't tell me," a current events quiz show on one of the local NPR stations, (I preened myself upon knowing all the answers! except about the Playboy Bunny who married that ancient Texas millionaire, and whose fight for the estate is going to the Supreme Court) and they had Peggy Noonan as their charming celebrity phone-in contestant. One of the hosts actually asked her how she would advise a party completely out of power, with no chance of returning because they don't have a message, what they should do. The host emphasized this point several times as he posed the question -- they have no message, so how can they seduce voters -- and he laughingly agreed with Ms. Noonan that they weren't likely to win any elections based on their own lack of positions.
lotp, if you're right about timing, I'm going to have to work extra hard at not being all over nerves in the meantime. And I might as well apologize upfront againgst the time when I fail -- I promise I won't mean it, so I hope I'll be forgiven.
Only 20% of Iraq has been surveyed for oil resources, and existing pools are the deepest in the world. Mismanagement of extraction/processing in Iran, Nigeria and Venezuela reduces output substantially in those basket cases. Enhanced terrorist eradication and regime change pressure are sharp tools that can cut through these annoyances. I would start by listening to Nigerian Christians: we might agree with what they would propose.
The Arab League will open offices in Iraq for the first time since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, part of its efforts to help reconcile the country's Sunni Arab, Shiite and Kurdish communities, the league's chief said Saturday.
The United States has been seeking greater Arab involvement in Iraq, hoping to give legitimacy to the current government. But Arab nations were long reluctant, fearing participation would be seen as condoning the U.S. invasion, which many of them opposed.
Iraq's new Shiite leadership was also suspicious of the Arab League, seeing it as biased toward Iraq's Sunni Arab minority.
But last year, the league made efforts to get involved. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa visited Iraq, then the league hosted a reconciliation conference in Cairo in November between Iraq's Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders.
Moussa said Saturday that the league would an open an office "in the near future, urgently."
"The situation in Iraq is tragic, Iraq is facing dangerous challenges," he said at a gathering of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.
The league is planning to sponsor a second reconciliation conference, this one in Baghdad, in June. The league representation office is expected to be opened by the time of the conference and will be headed by the Moroccan diplomat Mukhtar Lamani, Arab diplomats said.
Iraqi leaders are struggling to put together a government after December parliamentary violence amid a surge of violence -- much of it sectarian -- that has killed at least 500 people since last week.
The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive of the issue, also said Arab governments are discussing requests from the United States and Britain to send troops helping in peace keeping in Iraq. However, opposition to sending troops remains high among Arab governments.
An Arab League envoy, former Sudanese foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail, discussed with U.S. and British envoys in Iraq during a visit to Baghdad last month the idea of several Arab and Islamic countries sending some 1,200 soldiers each, the diplomats said.
No decision is expected by any Arab country before the June conference.
In a separate issue, Moussa underlined that the Arab League "will stand openly against any retreat in the peace process" with Israel -- an apparent attempt to pressure the radical movement Hamas, which is moving to form a new Palestinian government.
Moussa told the foreign ministers' gathering Saturday that a 2003 Arab League peace proposal -- based on a land-for-peace formula -- will remain the "fundamental base" for resolving the Middle East conflict.
A draft final statement by the ministers, obtained by The Associated Press, states a similar position, saying the Palestinian Authority "will remain a full partner in the peace process."
The ministers are also expected to repeat calls to declare the region a nuclear free zone in the face of increasing Western pressure on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment.
Six out of 10 Americans oppose efforts to make it easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens and an even larger majority oppose issuing them driver's licenses, according to a poll.
The Quinnipiac University poll, which comes at a time of heightened political debate over how to deal with an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, found that 88 percent of U.S. voters believe illegal immigration is a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem.
Among recent legal immigrants and their children, 83 percent said illegal immigration is either "very" or "somewhat" serious.
"This poll reflects local concerns about immigrants gathering on street corners, waiting for jobs, or packed into illegal housing and the like," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "If you're not here legally, you shouldn't get government benefits, Americans say overwhelmingly. They'd also deny driver's licenses to illegal immigrants."
Of all U.S. voters, 39 percent want current levels of legal immigration reduced, while 24 percent want it increased. A third of the voters want current levels to stay as they are.
The poll, released Friday, surveyed 1,892 registered voters nationwide between Feb. 21 and 28. The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.
Other poll findings for U.S. voters include:
-- 62 percent oppose making it easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens.
-- 72 percent oppose letting illegal immigrants get driver's licenses.
-- 84 percent want people to produce proof of legal residency to acquire government benefits.
-- 50 percent oppose eliminating automatic U.S. citizenship for the children born in the United States whose parents are illegal immigrants; 42 percent, however, would eliminate that benefit.
We can sum everything up in that Americans want the laws of America to be followed, and that Americans, i.e. US Citizens, want Americans and US Citizens-PResidents to have priority for jobs andor public benefits. We are at war, we and our Nation, Beliefs, Families and Society, etc are in a KILL-OR-BE-KILLED, FIGHT-OR-DIE, RULE-OR-BE-SLAVE situation, so why should Amer taxpayers foot the bills for illegals, espec those illegals whom want/prefer/choose to stay illegal forever? while receiving lawful public benefits forever???
Mar 4: Two unidentified dacoits were killed following mass beating at Lohagara area of the district last night.
Sources said, a gang of armed dacoits was heading to attack the residence of the one Faruk Ahmed, son of Jamal Sowadagar at around 2.30 am at village Pashchim Kala Uzan under Lohagara Thana. Sensing the presence of the dacoits the dwellers started shouting when the nearby people came forward and chased the dacoits. At one stage the villagers managed to catch two of them who died on the spot in mass beating. The local people also seized two country made LGs from the victims.
Police recovered two bodies in the morning. The bodies were sent to morgue for autopsy.
"Cheez, Sam, what happened to them?"
"I dunno, Dr. Quincy, you're the coroner, you figure it out!"
"Offhand, I'd say they were trampled by a herd of buffalo!"
China has launched a tough crackdown on political activity ahead of this month's session of the national parliament, with at least two dozen participants in a nationwide hunger strike against government abuses confirmed missing or detained in the past two weeks, according to friends and relatives.
Hundreds of petitioners who had traveled to Beijing with grievances against local officials have also been forced to leave the capital in recent days, several of them said in interviews, and others have been blocked from entering the city.
The Communist Party routinely tightens security before the annual meeting of the rubber-stamp National People's Congress, but it appears to be taking special precautions ahead of this year's session, which begins Sunday, in response to rising social unrest in the countryside and an increasingly assertive campaign by civil rights activists in several cities.
The crackdown began in mid-February after a prominent Beijing lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, staged a two-day hunger strike to draw attention to the beating of a fellow human rights activist, Yang Maodong, by thugs who appeared to have been hired by police. Gao said he stopped eating to protest the government's growing use of "Mafia tactics" to suppress efforts by citizens to protect their legal rights.
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A congressional committee will look into a secret program under which federal intelligence agencies have withdrawn thousands of historical documents from public access at the National Archives, even though the records had been declassified.
"We are spending literally millions and millions of dollars to keep secrets from ourselves," said Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), chairman of the Government Reform subcommittee on national security, emerging threats and international relations. "We've got a huge problem."
The panel plans to hold an oversight hearing March 14 on federal policies for the handling of sensitive information. Shays said the suppression of documents that pose no threat to national security is indicative of a larger problem in which government secrecy is on the rise.
About 9,500 records totaling more than 55,000 pages have been withdrawn from the public shelves and reclassified since 1999, according to the National Archives. The New York Times reported last month that outside historians discovered the practice and complained about it. Archivist Allen Weinstein announced a moratorium on the reclassification efforts Thursday.
While the archives will not name the agencies involved, historians with the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research library housed at George Washington University, say the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Department and the Justice Department have participated.
Many of the records date to the 1940s and 1950s and their continued disclosure would pose no conceivable security risk, said historians who obtained copies of the records before reclassification. Such documents include old Cold War intelligence analyses and studies of political affairs in Mexico in the 1960s. Other documents appear to be the sort that should not have been declassified, historians say.
Weinstein said he is suspending the agencies' efforts to withdraw documents until the archives' Information Security Oversight Office completes an audit of the removed material. Results of the audit, which will help determine which records should be secret, are expected by late April.
"I felt that it was important to give people time to cool off in this whole matter," Weinstein said in a telephone interview yesterday. "It's an effort to slow the trains down."
The program dates to the Clinton administration, when the CIA and other agencies began recalling documents they believed were improperly released under a 1995 executive order requiring declassification of many historical records 25 years old and older. The pace of the removal picked up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Some documents appear to have been withdrawn for no reason other than to spare official embarrassment, historians said. One document -- excerpts of an Oct. 12, 1950, memo from the CIA director to President Harry S. Truman -- says that while Chinese intervention in the Korea War was possible, "a consideration of all known factors leads to the conclusion that barring a Soviet decision for global war, such action is not probable in 1950." The Chinese invaded Korea on Nov. 26.
Independent historian Matthew M. Aid uncovered the reclassification program last summer when his requests for documents formerly available at the archives were delayed or denied.
"This isn't the first instance I've run into where intelligence agencies and the Pentagon and other government agencies have used classification to cover up faux pas," said Aid, author of a book on Cold War intelligence. "It just galled me."
so I picked up the phone and I called the NYT ..
Weinstein is scheduled to meet next week with national security agencies involved in the reclassification. The matter also is being studied by the Public Interest Declassification Board, a new, nine-member advisory panel that helps the executive branch sort out which classified documents should be made public.
Weinstein said the process has to be credible to the public. "Stuff has to be held back when it's important to hold it back, when you can make a legitimate legal case for not releasing it, not when you are going on impulse or gut reaction or just because you don't like something in some document," he said.
This isn't the first instance I've run into where intelligence agencies and the Pentagon and other government agencies have used classification to cover up faux pas," said Aid, author of a book on Cold War intelligence. "It just galled me."
The Interior Ministry denied on Friday that escaped Turkish militant Fehriye Erdal could not have been arrested prior to her conviction earlier this week. The ministry said she could neither be arrested based on police criminal law or immigration law, news agency Belga reported.
The denial comes after the opposition Christian Democrat CD&V claimed that Erdal could have been arrested during her trial. It said the arrest could have been based on immigration law.
Meanwhile, questions have also been raised about claims from Interior Minister Patrick Dewael on Thursday that the security service VS-SE did not anticipate that Erdal would flee. Flemish broadcaster VRT claims it has since obtained documents indicating that the possibility that Erdal would flee was discussed at a crisis government meeting. A decision was then taken to place Erdal under surveillance for 24-hours a day in the lead up to Tuesday's ruling, a ruling in which she was sentenced to four years jail for links to the Turkish militant group DHKP-C. However, Erdal had already disappeared on Monday night despite the Belgian security service's surveillance
Amid the controversy around the disappearance of Fehriye Erdal, it has been alleged that the federal security service VS-SE and police could not agree on the best manner to keep the Turkish militant under surveillance.
Jugging her would have worked.
An anonymous source from the VS-SE said Erdal had done everything possible in recent years to mislead government authorities, such as even using look-alikes. "When we [VS-SE] alerted police about this, they refused to intervene. No, this so-called escape is completely orchestrated. In the meantime, we are getting the blame," the source told newspaper 'Het Nieuwsblad'.
Erdal disappeared on Monday night prior to her conviction for links to a criminal group. She and six other members of the Turkish militant group DHKP-C were jailed for four to six years for possession of weapons and forged documents. The government's anti-terrorist unit has since been placed on alert for possible attacks by the DHKP-C.
The alert was sparked by a communiqué from the DHKP-C information bureau in Brussels which referred to Brugge Court president Freddy Troch as an inquisitor. The communiqué also said the court case was "a carnival of bad taste presided over by a one-sided, partisan and warlike judge".
Belgium was also sharply criticised and the anti-terror group said the language used in the communiqué was very aggressive against the judge. Consequently, the DHKP-C will be placed under intense surveillance over the next few days.
wow - a few DAYS??? Those Belgians sure are tough ...
However, Troch has not been placed under police protection.
too much hassle, overtime is bitch, union rules yada yada
Meanwhile, intelligence experts in Turkey have questioned whether the Turkish security service was possibly involved in the disappearance of Erdal, who is also accused of killing a businessman in the mainly Islamic country.
In light of the fact that Turkey's repeated requests for Erdal's extradition has in the past been refused, the security experts claim an abduction carried out by the Turkish security service MIT is possible. They also stress that an abduction was unlikely.
Hundreds of Hindu protesters rampaged through a town in the coastal state of Goa on Saturday, storming a police station, beating officers, looting Muslim shops and burning vehicles and buildings. Five people, including three police officers, were wounded as officers with batons tried to repel rioters. The protesters were demanding the release of 37 men arrested during three days of violent Hindu-Muslim clashes sparked when suspected Hindu extremists destroyed a mosque in Sanvodem.
The protesters beat officers and bombarded them with rocks, said police superintendent Satkhar Prabhubesai. Several men could be seen stealing a policeman's gun after beating him unconscious with stones and sticks. An overturned car lay in a pile of debris in front of the police station.
The protesters left the police station Saturday after Hindu politicians intervened to secure the release of the 37 men.
Relations between India's Hindus and minority Muslims are uneasy and often flare into violence: On Friday a Muslim protest in the northern city of Lucknow against a visit by President Bush turned into a Muslim-Hindu riot in which four people were shot dead. But religious clashes in Goa, a former Portuguese colony and one of India's premier tourist attractions, are rare.
The mosques on Temple Mount and the minarets beside the Saint Sophia Cathedral (cum "mosque") in Constantinople (Istanbullcrap) attest to Muslim appropriation of structures sacred to real faiths. Maybe we should take back all occupied Roman and Christian territories.
A significant part of the current wave of islamism in India has its roots in the demolition of an abandoned mosque in Ayodya, built on top of a destroyed Hindu temple.
The site was sacred to the Hindus, considered to be the birthplace of the god Rama.
Several BJP politicians used this issue to gain power but in the process they unleashed forces they struggle to control.
Naipaul has written about archeological excavations in Sindh (now in Pakistan) at the site of the first mosque in the Indian subcontinent.
It lies on a layer of human bones (probably the Buddhist and Hindus slaughtered by the Islamic invaders)
It is a truism within Big Media to say that the people of India want peace with Pakistan. My sense, however, was that while nobody wants another war, outside of Delhi and parts of the Punjab perhaps there was no great warmth towards Pakistan. Most of India is young, does not care about Partition and sees Pakistan as just another foreign country and a hostile one at that.
When peace with Pakistan came up, every single person I met was clear: there could only be peace on our terms. And this meant not giving up an inch of Kashmir. Nor was there any support for the idea of more autonomy for Kashmir.
So, let us treat all this liberal rhetoric about how Indians long for peace with scepticism. Our idea of peace is: Pakistan should shut up and behave itself or we will retaliate.
The general view in Delhi is that the BJP is floundering, that it is a party without an issue. Judging by my travels, this view could be seriously mistaken.
There is a massive Hindu backlash building up. The public mood reminded me of the late 1980s, when such issues as Shah Bano and The Satanic Verses so upset moderate Hindus that they turned against Congress-style secularism.
The provocation, this time around, is the attitude of the Muslim political leadership to foreign Islamic issues. No Hindu I met thought it was right for a Danish paper to carry cartoons of the Prophet. But why, they all asked, did Indians Muslims have to get so agitated? What did it have to do with us? Why should a minister in the UP government announce a bounty on the head of the Danish cartoonist? Why should Indian Muslims demand the recall of the Danish ambassador?
I have written about the shameful cop-out by liberal Muslims over these issues before so I will not labour the point. But the Hindu backlash is a perfect issue waiting for a BJP initiative. This time around, the BJP need not focus on how Indian secularism makes Hindus second-class citizens in their own country.
(Nobody buys that line any longer.) All it needs to do is to portray Indian Muslims as unreasonable fanatics obsessed with global Muslim issues and argue that they subscribe to some international pan-Islamic identity that could easily conflict with Indian nationalism.
My feeling is that if liberal Muslims continue to react as pathetically as they have over the last few months and if liberal Hindus do not make it clear that genuine secularism means that we fight all kinds of fanaticism both Hindu and Muslim a new generation of BJP leaders will ride this backlash to return to power. By ignoring the Hindu sentiment, Big Media is making a big mistake.
These Hindus are basically peaceful. Until they are subjected to so much Mooselimb shit they explode. When they are set off, they respond with vengeance. Ususally results in Mooselimb bodies stacked and incinerated. I suggest the rest of the world take a lesson from these people. This , then, produces a period of calm, until the deranged ones start their devilment again.
Shah Bano was a sixty two year old muslim woman who was triple-talaqed (divorced) by her husband and thrown out into the street.
She was not entitled to alimony under muslim personal law but went to the Indian supreme court who that she was entitled to maintenance under the Indian Penal code.
Well, that enraged the muslims, and the Rajiv Gandhi government passed a law that nullified the judgement (they had absolute majority in the Indian parliament and could amend the consitution).
The parliament of a country of one billion people passed a specific law to deny an old woman her court awarded alimony. An old muslim woman of that era is almost certainly illiterate (muslims did not favor education of girls) and would have been a housewife all her life, (probably married at 12 or 13).
And now young Indians are looking at their TV screens with shock. They see these bearded mullahs running around UP and wonder if they are watching some scene in Pakistan.
President Bush comes to assist India with her energy needs, something that will build the economy and lift tens if not hundreds of millions out of poverty. There is genuine goodwill among the Indian middle class towards George W Bush.
What do the muslims (and their marxist allies) do?
Carry on about cartoons, call Bush a dog.
Young Indians are watching these protests and asking questions about the loyalty of their muslim countrymen...
Perv had better reach a peace deal with the Indian government soon.
The old men who fondly remember life before partition are fading away. Indian PM Singh was born in what is now Pakistan, opposition leader LK Advani was born in Karachi.
Musharraf was born in Delhi.
The new generation has no memory of pakistan except as a terrorist sponsoring state. They have grown up under the jihadi threat.
They will not be so accomodating of the Pakistanis or of rampant mullahs.
Seven people, including a district chief and a senior police officer, were killed in three separate incidents of violence in southern Afghanistan on Saturday and late on Friday.
Provincial officials said on Sunday that two hooded Taliban, riding a motorcycle, opened fire at the chief of the Sangeen district of the insurgency-hit southern Helmand province, when he was roaming in the bazaar (market). The officials said the district chief Ameer Jan died instantly as the two terrorists fired two bursts of Kalashnikov rifles. They later brandishing their arms and firing in the air escaped from the scene on motorcycles. In the same district, a blast killed five government officials, including district police chief, another senior official and three policemen.
Provincial police chief Asadullah told journalists the slain district security chief Akbar was traveling in the Navee district of the province when his vehicle was blown up by a remote-controlled bomb. He said all the five people in the car died on the spot. Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood Movement, the largest opposition group in the kingdom, elected a new leader and legislative council, the group said Saturday. Salem al-Falahat was chosen as general supervisor for a four-year term, replacing replaced Abdul-Majid Thneibat, who held the post for 12 years and declined to stand for re-election. Al-Falahat, 52, a graduate of Islamic law studies, of Islamic theology, was a member of the Council for four consecutive terms. He is the director-general of the private Al-Rashad secondary schools for boys in Madaba, south of the capital Amman. Al-Rashad schools has several branches in the city.
A new seven-member Shura Council, or legislative council, was also formed, and Jamil Abu-Bakr, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood's ideologist and former secretary-general of the council, was named deputy general supervisor.
The Muslim Brotherhood's political activities are carried out through its political arm, the Islamic Action Front, the largest opposition group in the kingdom. Jordan's government and the Islamic group generally enjoy good relations, but tensions have risen in the past amid government attempts to keep a tight fist on extremist elements following several terrorist attacks and plots in this conservative kingdom.
The Brotherhood commands wide support through its management of various charities, schools, hospitals and religious centers. The Brotherhood has remained broadly loyal to the Hashemite dynasty, especially during the reign of late King Hussein, who died of cancer in 1999, despite its opposition to his pro-Western policies and his 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
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.