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Uttar Pradesh minister issues bounty for beheading cartoonists
Today's Headlines
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Kandahar holy man welcomes US, NATO role in Afghanistan
He is a friendly neighbourhood mullah who wants nothing more than to shake hands with a Canadian soldier. And Haji Kari Saeed Ahmed says most Afghans feel the same.

But even Ahmed, an Islamic scholar from Kandahar's Ghus-e-Saqlin Mosque, recognizes the handshake may not come anytime soon. Not until newly arriving Canadian troops get their heads around the rejectionist bombs blocking the way.

"There are two types of scholars in Kandahar. There are the ones like me, who understand the foreigners have come here to help us, to support us, to give us peace," Ahmed, 30, said yesterday. "The other type of scholar tries to poison the ears of people around them, calling the foreigners infidels and telling people to fight them."

The soft-spoken cleric said he expects the newcomers to be jumpy, given the hostility that awaits Canada's security presence in Kandahar province, part of a wider NATO deployment across volatile southern Afghanistan.

"The Americans, when they first came, were afraid. They didn't know anything about Kandahar," said Ahmed.

"The same thing is happening with the Canadians. Right now they look afraid. The Afghans of Kandahar are also afraid. Everyone has a family. Many of us are threatened. We all worry.

"But understand, not everyone is Taliban or Al Qaeda. Most people just want to meet the Canadians to shake their hands."

Ahmed, 30, has endured wars of one kind or another almost continuously since childhood. He sees this month's deployment of nearly 2,200 Canadians as reaffirmation that his native Kandahar may yet emerge as a peaceful city with something to offer its young.

Ahmed was blunt in assessing the size and shape of the growing insurgency and the complex circumstances feeding it. Though "enemies from the neighbouring countries" are actively backing a campaign of attacks on coalition forces and fledgling institutions, Ahmed said the violence would not be possible without substantial support and sympathy within.

The embittered remnants of the ousted Taliban who made Kandahar their capital have used mosques to sow holy war in the minds of locals, Ahmed said, exploiting the Pashtun pride of the largely uneducated and deeply tribal populace. Moderates such as Ahmed risk intimidation and violence when they speak out, urging Afghans to see their situation rationally.

Ahmed believes the struggle for Afghanistan ultimately will tilt against the insurgents because the memory of the regressive Taliban era is simply too fresh for a revival to take hold.

"Our young generation doesn't want the Taliban because they already spent six years in power and nothing happened," he said. "The education system, the economy, the way they made up their own laws — there was nothing. Now we have something. The Afghan people want to go forward, not backward."

What price Canadian and other NATO troops will pay in advancing the cause is now a subject of some debate in Afghan security circles. At least one senior government official suggested on the weekend that the recent surge in suicide attacks — at least 22 bombings since last September — could be aimed specifically at countries such as Canada, which may be seen as weak links in the efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.

"I think the rise of attacks in Afghanistan nowadays is aimed at the weak forces, such as Canada and others, and that is because these countries can easily be threatened," Akbar Ansari, a senior prosecutor in Afghanistan's anti-terrorism courts," told the Los Angeles Times.

"The terrorists want the Americans to be alone in Afghanistan, so that they can deal with them later. Al Qaeda doesn't want to leave its nest in Afghanistan," Ansari said.

Canadian troops traded their first fire in the field yesterday in a minor skirmish at a forward camp 60 kilometres northeast of Kandahar. There were no casualties, but the rocket-propelled grenade attack served as a stark reminder that Project Afghanistan is no longer a theory.

In a final piece of advice, Mullah Ahmed suggested that when the Canadians adjust to the initial shock of deployment, they would do well to take the time to say hello. And perhaps help him explain the NATO presence to other Afghans.

"The Canadians should sit down with the scholars and elders in every village" to explain why they are here, he said. "Some people will still reject it. But the Canadians are a gift to Afghanistan. At least if you explain it, people will realize why you are here."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 02/20/2006 03:16 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:

Africa North
A place suicide bombers call home
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/20/2006 19:08 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [250 views] Top|| File under:

#1  typical Islamic target - unemployed, embittered, no skills, minimal education
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 19:59 Comments || Top||

3 Muslim Brotherhood Members to Be Tried
Three members of Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood were ordered Saturday to stand trial on charges of possessing weapons and provoking violence during parliamentary elections late last year, court officials said. The three were arrested during the violent election season which saw at least 10 people killed in violence mainly blamed on security forces trying to block opposition voters from reaching the polls. Despite the police violence, the Brotherhood made astonishing gains, increasing its seats in parliament sevenfold but still well short of a majority. The group is officially banned but is tolerated to a degree by the government.

Mohammed Imam al-Hut and Abdulal Hasan al-Najjar, both farmers, and university professor Hasan Mahmoud al-Haywan face charges of possessing weapons and plotting to use them during the second phase of Egypt parliamentary elections. The charges emerged from telephone taps on the phones of al-Najjar and al-Haywan, who authorities claimed discussed assembling an arsenal of 400 automatic rifles and preparations to use them against the government.
Posted by: Fred || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [240 views] Top|| File under:

Africa Subsaharan
Nigerian Militants Threaten Oil Tankers
WARRI, Nigeria (AP) - Militants who kidnapped nine foreign oil workers in a flurry of attacks that forced a 20 percent cut in Nigerian crude exports vowed Sunday to escalate the violence, threatening for the first time to fire rockets at international oil tankers.

While the military said tankers in Nigerian waters were safe, the West African nation is reeling from militant attacks that blasted oil and gas pipelines Saturday, damaged a key oil loading terminal and halted the flow of more than 500,000 barrels a day. Nigeria is Africa's leading oil exporter and the United States' fifth-largest supplier, usually exporting 2.5 million barrels daily.

Efie Alari, who identified himself as commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, told The Associated Press by telephone Sunday his group was poised to attack foreign oil tankers offshore. We'll use our rockets on the ships to stop them from taking our oil," Alari said. His identity could not be independently verified, but the call came from a number used previously by the group based in the oil region of the Niger River delta.

The military said it would do whatever was necessary to ensure the safety of tankers. "I don't know their capabilities, but we're not leaving anything to chance," said Maj. Said Hammed, a spokesman for the military task force in the delta. "The assurance has been given at the highest level of government that oil tankers are safe in Nigerian waters. That assurance remains."
Since you don't know their capabilities, it's a little early to lay down a promissary note.
Violence and sabotage of the delta's oil operations have been common for 15 years amid demands by the region's impoverished communities for a greater share of oil revenue flowing from their land.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [260 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It's not about liberation or locals. It's all about allen. Just more "global jihad.
Posted by: Sock Puppet O' Doom || 02/20/2006 0:33 Comments || Top||

#2  I dunno. My understanding was the most of the Muslims were in the north, not the delta. This is a country that has seen a couple of civil wars in its time, so having a bunch of armed thugs running around under a polysyllable name isn't unusual.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 0:36 Comments || Top||

#3  Nigerian Civil War - Essentially Muslim versus Christian and the Muslims won due to support by Europe (primarily.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/20/2006 1:34 Comments || Top||

#4  The group responsible for most of these attacks is the Coalition for Militant Action in the Niger Delta (COMA), aka the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which appears to be the main group active in the region and is led by the now-imprisoned Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, which is almost certainly a pseudonym that was adopted either when he took up Armed Struggle(TM) or converted to Islam, whichever came first. Debka claims that they have contacts with Abu Musab Zarqawi, but God only knows if that's true.

The Ijaw (who call themselves the Izon) are a primarily Catholic ethnic group of about 14,000,000 people who live mostly in the Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states of Nigeria and were one of the first Nigerian ethnic groups to make contact with European missionaries from Spain and Portugal during the 1600s who converted them to Catholicism. Because of their location along the Niger Delta, most of them are fishermen and they are organized into a series of "boat clans" called Houses, members of which elect leaders called House Lords to represent the interests of the House to the Nigerian central government, protect the House's trade interests, and lead them in war.

After oil was discovered in Nigeria in 1958, English, Dutch, Italian, French, and US companies have set up agreements with successive Nigerian governments to operate oil facilities there. Because of the Nigerian government's domination by the country's Muslim minority, many Ijaw believe that they are not receiving a fair share of the oil money being made off resources in their regions and hence have taken to forming groups like the Egbesu Boys, the Ijaw National Congress (INC), the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Movement for Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality (MOSIEN), and the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), of which COMA is an evolutionary descendant of. A lot of these groups, despite their name, seem to be little more than bandit gangs who justify their activities using political rhetoric.

In December 1998, 4,000 members of the Egbesu Boys and the IYC issued a list of demands known as the Kaiama Declaration that called for the creation of "Ijawland" and warned foreign oil companies to cease operations by December 30 and not to do business with the Nigerian government. In response to the Declaration, the Nigeria government sent 2 warships and 10-15,000 to Bayelsa state, placing it under martial law until January 4 and killing at least 20 Ijaw (the government claims these were rebels, the Ijaw claim they were civilians). Helicopter gunships killed 35 additional Ijaw on January 6, 1999 leading to a reimposition of martial law in Bayelsa until January 11. It should be noted that whatever view one takes concerning the Ijaw rebels, their people have been rather badly oppressed by the Nigerian government. For instance, in May 2003 the Nigerian military killed 12 Ijaw House Lords after they announced that their Houses were boycotting the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Moujahid Dokubo-Asari is the leader of COMA and despite being a convert to Islam along with most of his group has the support of a number of powerful House Lords that enables him to operate among the Ijaw with relatively little interference. It seems that ethnicity trumps religion in this regard, since COMA is both the largest and most effective Ijaw group still in active with 10,000 and it protects the House Lords who support it from their traditional enemies, the neighboring Itsekiri, who control the oil facilities around Warri. They don't have any ties that I can determine to either the Nigeria Taliban that came into being in Yobe state back in December 2003 or former Liberian president Charles Taylor, who is alleged by the UN war crimes tribunal to have worked with al-Qaeda and is apparently still planning some kind of comeback in Liberia. Asari is on record as having praised bin Laden after 9/11 and was captured by Nigerian authorities in September 2005 and is now charged with treason.

Interestingly, London police told the Nigerian Independent newspaper that Depriye Alamieyeseigha, the former Bayelsa governor (now on trial for laundering millions of dollars to COMA) was involved with senior al-Qaeda leaders in London as part of an elaborate plot interdict world oil supply by using COMA to attack Nigeria's oil facilities. If true, it seems that Alamieyeseigha was Asari's superior within al-Qaeda and formalized the plan together with Abu Qatada, bin Laden's top representative in Europe.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 02/20/2006 3:10 Comments || Top||

Barbarian Hordes Amass In Trafalgar Sq Part II...
Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 02/20/2006 06:05 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [246 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Your very own Admiral was there - quite saddened to the dearth of fellow compatriots in attendance. You'll just have to take my word that I did a good job of
1) Decreasing the eye-rolling / devoted Profit eulogising quotient, and
2) Increasing the eyes glazed / silent seething sectors

Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 02/20/2006 7:02 Comments || Top||

#2  Dear Dr .com

I am worried that I might have a slight obsession with turning peaceful Islamic devotees into seething, fulminating, demon eyed moonbats, by criticizing their highly suspect Profit Mohammed (ham salami wa'gravy) / Holey books Am I a pervert?

Yours sincerely,
Admiral Allan Ackbar.
Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 02/20/2006 7:07 Comments || Top||

#3  Um, are you talking to me? [Insert DeNiro routine here...]

If so, well, I have to ask if you're doing this intentionally?

More to the point: Are you, like, breathing and stuff?

That'd do it, alrightee...

About the pervert / prevert thingy, well heh, you'd be better served by asking someone else, lol. I'm pretty sure that some prejudicial folks would put me in that pigeonhole -- *sniff* / *LOL* -- I'm thinking it's jealousy, but...
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 8:16 Comments || Top||

#4  turning peaceful Islamic devotees into seething, fulminating, demon eyed moonbats

I'd argue this doesn't pass the JND (Just Noticeable Difference) test of my psychology studying days.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/20/2006 8:34 Comments || Top||

#5  Intentionally? Too effing right.

I'm hoping that muzzy-baiting will catch on as a kind of high-brow / intellectuals adrenaline sport.

There's a whole raft of untapped talent out there with loads of spare neurons going round, looking for direction, now that self-flaggelation seems to be going out of fashion in the free world. (OK, maybe I'm being optimistic here...)

Whilst I tend to agree with your espousals of the good old fashioned rhetoric of "argumentum ad baculum" I have to say that even the most addled hafiz can be silenced or caused to chase their tails in increasingly ridiculous ever decreasing circular arguments using good old fashioned logic. Taqeya is a real challenge, but all you need to remember is:

1) Keep it real - often massive substantiation is required, references, etc - tedious, but necessary.

2) Make em laugh - often tricky, but glazed eyes / seething is usually a good indicator you are making your mark / reaching the limits. I find the Koran / Hadeeth / Sunnah quite hilarious in parts (sickening in others, but those bits are the deal closers...)

3) Never trust em. Even with your name. Ever.

I gather from your previous posts you used to work in Sow-di? Any good stories for us
Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 02/20/2006 8:47 Comments || Top||

#6  Phil B:

I have to disagree - and refer you to my first post. There is a marked visible difference between ones that are in a semi-trancendent adoration of their profit (beans, peas upon him) / eulogising the koran and the later, which seems to be accompanied by a kind of ecstatic cheek flushing and rolling of the eyes, as compared to the post AAA assault; evil / glazed eyes and seething.

Not only is it extremely satisfying, but the seething is far less attractive to any potential recruits.

Christians do it, cuz they're not afraid of death & believe in an afterlife, and also have some ahl al-Kitab covenant type fallback. I do it because theyre a bunch of pussies.
Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 02/20/2006 8:59 Comments || Top||

#7  A real treat is if you catch a newly converted one. The way they teach the seething thing is by telling them that good muslims must pray to god for self control when the profit (smelly lavhoo sp'spam) is being insulted. So they try to act out as if they are actually trying really hard to restrain their over-exaggerated anger.

My personal favourite is when they actually start to stamp their feet. Especially when in full garb / tea towel.

Playing it by their rules is a bit sickening, admittedly, but its worth it - this stuff really lifts my spirits...
Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 02/20/2006 9:12 Comments || Top||

#8  Hmmm, AAA.

Yes, lol, I worked in Saudi - and I've already bored everyone with my stories. I don't do it much, anymore as I sympathize with those who don't care for repetition, lol.

The "intentionally" was tongue in cheek, as the next sentence should have made clear. Did I fail there? ;-)

As for "argumentum ad baculum" - that is a logical fallacy you're accusing me of, lol. I protest! My advocacy of action, rather hardcore action, is based upon knowing the Saudis, in particular, and other Muzzies (Arab and Other) who worked at Aramco, in general, well enough to recognize that most of our carefully crafted Western logic, while laudable in a debating venue, isn't worth warm spit to either an Arab or a Muzzy. What they both recognize at face value and respect is ...[insert drum roll]... power. Unapologetic, unvarnished raw power. It is so now and has always been so. Fallujah I was a disaster - we allowed politicians into the mix and they promptly fucked the whole thing up. Fallujah II was a rousing success because we killed shitloads of the asshats and they learned that fucking with the Military was, literally, suicide. So, with typical Arab / Muzzy logic, they went after civilians, mainly, thereafter, being Lions of Islam™ and all that rot. So I protesteth the assertion that I am using a logical fallacy by advocating the use of power - I assert that I'm dead solid perfect right-the-fuck-on with it. Heh, of course if I didn't think that, I'd say something else, lol...

As for baiting them, lol, sounds like fun if you have the time and are in range. I don't see too many of 'em in my daily life anymore, living in Sin City. :-)

I did, while in Saudi, have the very pointless, yet eye-opening, experience of having one (who had spent several years in the US) try to convert me. It was nuance and subtlety all the way.

Note: you could, once upon a time when they didn't covet every position in Aramco, be utterly incompetent at your "job" and survive for decades as an expat contractor, especially if you would suck up to 'em -- but screw up socially, by talking to the ninjas or dissing Islam or dissing a powerful Saudi with beaucoup wasta (this last reason is very common within Aramco) and you are on a plane in 24 hrs. Full stop. Now, with their demographics turning to total shit, they're replacing every expat they think they can get away with without ruining their oil production, in addition to the reasons stated above which have since sharpened dramatically, so areas like IT are where non-Muzzies are often forfeit on a whim.

Anyway, since I didn't want to get thrown out of the country, I listened politely and simply played tit-for-tat. Don't recall all of the specifics of the main long conversation, but I do recall that he was extremely frustrated because each argument was parried without effort. I did "tease" him a bit about their treatment of females as "pets" - at the good end of the scale - as it was an area in which I could needle him without much danger of being shot out of the saddle. We didn't seem to ever get to female castration and honor killing at the other end of the scale... Funny thing is, after failing, and knowing he failed, he didn't speak to me again. Go figure, huh? Lol.

To be honest, there were many like him who had spent time in the West, some even born here, and while they were lonely for conversation with us infidels (I was often accosted, lol), they were completely unwilling to give up their role in SaoodiLand as "Master" - even if circumscribed to their household. They all, every one I ever met, reverted to the Saudi norm upon return and were never to be counted as friends. They'd drop you in the hot grease without a second thought, if it served them. The old saw is, "You can be their friend, but never ever forget that they will never be your friend."

Some say the Saudis aren't the norm and yadda³ about how I'm unfair to non-Saudi Arabs n' Muzzies. Funny thing is, it's the Saudi money which does the barking and holds sway. That is where the Muzzy in the West is, and will continue, to gravitate - until the funding is cut off, at least. When a jihadi taps a passive on the shoulder and demands support - in whatever form - they comply. This is what the evidence clearly demonstrates. I will happily eat these words when the 101st Moderate Muzzy Brigade starts hanging jihadis and imams from the lampposts. I hold zero hope of ever "reforming" any, or encountering any "self-reformed", Muzzies - with "reform" meaning tolerance so they can live alongside another ideology or religion without attempting to foment violence and conversion. Zero.

My take, kind sir...
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 11:42 Comments || Top||

#9  Prevert, .com??? You???

Could be LOL. But you're our favorite one ... heh.
Posted by: lotp || 02/20/2006 11:54 Comments || Top||

#10  Lol, lotp. :) I prefer prevert, though I can't explain why, heh...

This is a bona-fide sign in use in Japan, or so I am told, so perhaps I was born on the wrong side of the planet, lol...

I think it means avoid the train, heh...
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 12:00 Comments || Top||

#11  Prevert, .com? It's the fluorinated water, you know.
Posted by: Eric Jablow || 02/20/2006 13:00 Comments || Top||

#12  The American people welcome the exercise of freedom of conscience by adherents of the noble faith of Islam in the UK, and we again express regret at having supported polices that oppressed Islamists and inhibited their full participation in national life in the Middle East. We accept your blame, and express supreme guilt. Please accept both our apology and our copious aid to Islamist movements and governments.
Posted by: State Department || 02/20/2006 16:57 Comments || Top||

#13  .com, you bring up a very important point. Logical fallacies may be verboten in the debating world, but they happen all the time in the real world.
Slippery slopes do exist and the camel is forever poking his nose under the tent flap.
Posted by: 11A5S || 02/20/2006 17:32 Comments || Top||

#14  pervert.com is one of my favorite sites.

Mark me down as one who loves the .com stories.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 02/20/2006 17:41 Comments || Top||

Caribbean-Latin America
Fidel Castro supports Iran in nuclear dispute
HAVANA - President Fidel Castro has offered ”firm support” for Iran’s right to pursue a nuclear energy program, Cuba’s state-controlled media reported on Sunday.

Castro met with Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, the speaker of Iran’s parliament, in the Palace of the Revolution, as the Iranian official on Saturday wrapped a two day visit to the Communist island nation. Castro offered “Cuba’s firm support for Iran’s right to use nuclear issues for peaceful ends” according to a statement published in the Juventud Rebelde and other media.

The meeting underscored the “excellent bilateral ties and political dialogue” enjoyed by Havana and Teheran, and also allowed the two leaders to explore “the broad potential for economic relations,” according to the newspaper. Haddad-Adel, “reiterated Iran’s respect, friendship toward Cuba and solidiarity against the (US-led) embarago and acts of imperialist aggression,” La Juventud Rebelde wrote.
Birds of a feather.
The Iranian delegation arrived in Cuba from Venezuela, and was set to go on to Uruguay.
Send for the mighty Uruguayans!
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to come to Cuba in September to attend a summit of non-aligned countries.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [244 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Think maybe they'll get an oil deal out of this?
Posted by: Bobby || 02/20/2006 8:27 Comments || Top||

#2  Yep, that's what the olde Beard is after. He already gets more than 5000 bbl/day from I Hugo and is looking for more freebies.
Posted by: 6 || 02/20/2006 16:12 Comments || Top||

#3  Articles like this make me happy the U.S. embargo against Cuba is still in effect. Eat me Castro.
Posted by: bgrebel || 02/20/2006 21:49 Comments || Top||

#4  So Castro wants to cuddle up to the MM™?

Then maybe when we go after the mullahz, we can drop a few precisely targeted JDAMS his way so his won't feel left out.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/20/2006 22:12 Comments || Top||

#5  He wants to be a Hubcap of Evil.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 22:13 Comments || Top||

Down Under
John Howard's comments disturb Muslim leaders
ISLAMIC leaders are disturbed Prime Minister John Howard has singled out the Muslim community as extremist and unwilling to becoming part of mainstream Australia.

Mr Howard believes some Muslims migrating to Australia are bringing problems such as jihadist views and conservative attitudes to women not encountered with other immigrant groups.
The Prime Minister's views, contained in a book to be published later this month, have drawn fire from Islamic leaders, who say every community has its bad elements.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has stressed it is a tiny minority of the Islamic community that is a concern. "(Those) who have shown sympathy for, or enthusiasm for, the jihadism movement and obviously ... they have been a preoccupation and a concern for us," he said.

Mr Howard today stood by his comments, first made in December and before the Cronulla riot.
"There is a small section of the Islamic population in Australia that, because of its remarks about jihad, remarks which indicate an extremist view, that is a problem," he said. "It is not a problem that we have ever faced with other immigrant communities who become easily absorbed by Australia's mainstream."

Mr Howard said the community at large wanted newcomers to adopt Australian ways. "We don't ask them to forget the countries of their birth, we respect all religious points of views ... but there are certainly things that are not part of the Australian mainstream," he said.

The Prime Minister also expressed concern about Muslim attitudes to women. "There is within some sections of the Islamic community an attitude towards women which is out of line with mainstream Australian society," he said.

Islamic leaders are concerned by the Prime Minister's comments. Islamic Council of NSW spokesman Ali Roude questioned whether Mr Howard was changing Australia's policy of multiculturalism to one of assimilation. "If the PM has a personal preference for assimilation rather than the strategy of multiculturalism which has been the strong bipartisan position in Australia since the days of the Fraser government, that is his personal right and he is entitled to it," Mr Roude said.

"However, if the PM is suggesting a major revision or redirection of policy ... then this is a much more serious matter and one which the entire Australian community need to consider together."

Mr Roude was also concerned that Mr Howard was singling out Muslims as holding extremist views. "To suggest that Muslims alone are extremists in our society or that anyone except the smallest minority of Muslims in Australia act in this manner, or that Muslims as a group cannot adapt and embrace Australia's ways, is as invalid an argument as it is offensive and ignorant," he said.

Lebanese Muslims Association spokesman Keysar Trad said Mr Howard was pandering to the "Islamaphobia" in the community. "I'm extremely disappointed that the PM would again single out the Muslim community still reeling from the spin out of the Cronulla riots," Mr Trad said. Mr Trad also said Mr Howard had been wrong to criticise Islamic attitudes towards women, saying Mohammed had given women equal rights long before they became acceptable in 20th century western society.
And then ... his lips fell off.
The comments are contained in a new book to mark the 10th anniversary of Mr Howard's rise to power. Written by journalists and commentators from The Australian, The Howard Factor - A decade that changed the nation will be published on February 27 and launched by the Prime Minister on March 2.
Posted by: Oztralian || 02/20/2006 04:47 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [268 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Tis a vote winner though. The ALP (left of center opposition party) is already starting to self destruct on this issue.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/20/2006 8:10 Comments || Top||

#2  Anyway, they're already "disturbed."
Posted by: Jackal || 02/20/2006 8:51 Comments || Top||

#3  ISLAMIC leaders are disturbed Prime Minister John Howard has singled out the Muslim community as extremist and unwilling to becoming part of mainstream Australia.

Get out then. Simple as that.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/20/2006 10:00 Comments || Top||

#4  Assimilate or emigrate.
Posted by: BH || 02/20/2006 10:51 Comments || Top||

#5  Assimilate. No multi-culti for allenists. No "seperate" communities. Don't allow them to "getto" themselves up to become any kind of political force at all.

It's the religion. It's not compatable with the 21st century or western civilization.
Posted by: Sock Puppet O' Doom || 02/20/2006 13:07 Comments || Top||

Thomas let Binny pay for return flight, given secret al-Qaeda contact info
ACCUSED terrorist Joseph Terrence Thomas would not have been given a secret al-Qaeda phone number and email address unless he had agreed to be a sleeper agent for them in Australia, a court has been told.

The 32-year-old Werribee man has pleaded not guilty in the Victorian Supreme Court to intentionally receiving funds and providing resources to al-Qaeda, and possessing a false passport.

In his closing address today, Crown prosecutor Nicholas Robinson said the jury must decide whether Thomas received funds from al-Qaeda and provided himself as a resource to the organisation.

He said whether or not Thomas pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda, or was a member of the organisation, was irrelevant.

Mr Robinson urged the jury to reject Thomas' denial in an Australian Federal Police (AFP) interview in March 2003 that he intended to act as an al-Qaeda sleeper.

He said Thomas' claim that he was on a different "tram track" to al-Qaeda was inconsistent with his actions, such as spending two years as a fugitive in Pakistani safehouses frequented by al-Qaeda members.

"If in fact he thought they were on the wrong tram track, if in fact he didn't hold their views, why did he stay with them?" Mr Robinson said.

Thomas accepted $US3,500 ($A4,740) and a ticket back to Australia from an Osama bin Laden associate called Khaled bin Attash.

He told the AFP that bin Attash said bin Laden needed a "white boy" to work for him in Australia, but he never intended to work for al-Qaeda or use the money for terrorism.

He told police that bin Attash also gave him a secret email address and telephone number to contact upon his return home.

"We say that bin Attash obviously wouldn't have given that number until he knew or had an agreement that the accused would go back (to Australia)," Mr Robinson said.

"It is clear ... that the accused is saying to police that the ticket that was handed over by bin Attash was for the purpose of going back to Australia to carry out a task for al-Qaeda."

During his opening address, defence counsel Lex Lasry, QC, said his client may be "naive" and "stupid" but he definitely was not a terrorist.

Today, Mr Robinson said the evidence suggested Thomas was a trusted al-Qaeda confidant and had sophisticated dealings with senior members of the group.

He said Thomas was so trusted that he was privy to a conversation about a plot to bring down a jet carrying Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf with a rocket launcher.

Mr Robinson said Thomas offered to do work such as obtaining false passports for the group twice and asked one al-Qaeda member for a house.

He said when Thomas met American Yahya Goba, 29, at the al-Qaeda run Al Farooq camp in Afghanistan in 2001, he allowed himself to be introduced as an Irishman and used the pseudonym Abu Khair.

"He is not naive, he is not stupid and these acts were intentional," Mr Robinson said.

Mr Lasry said the defence would not call any evidence.

Mr Robinson will continue his closing address in the trial presided over by Justice Philip Cummins tomorrow.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 02/20/2006 03:15 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:

Howard: Parts of Muslim culture antagonistic to Australians
SYDNEY - Prime Minister John Howard on Monday defended remarks he made to a national newspaper describing some segments of the Islamic community as "utterly antagonistic" to Australian society.

In an interview with The Australian newspaper published Monday, Howard decried the "extreme attitudes" held by some segments of the Islamic community, and said some Muslim immigrants had not integrated into Australian society as well as previous waves of European and Asian migrants. The comments sparked criticism from at least one Muslim community group.

"I stand by those comments that there is a small section of the Islamic population in Australia that, because of its remarks about jihad, remarks which indicate an extremist view, that is a problem," Howard told reporters in Sydney. "It is not a problem that we have ever faced with other immigrant communities who become easily absorbed by Australia's mainstream," he added.
And why is that, anyway?
Howard also expressed concern about Muslim attitudes toward women. "There is within some sections of the Islamic community an attitude towards women which is out of line with mainstream Australian society," he said. "It needs to be dealt with by the broader community, including Islamic Australia."
How many American politicans would be willing to say that?
Ameer Ali, the head of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, acknowledged there are some pockets of islamofascism conservatism within Australia's Islamic community, but said he was confident those views would soften in time. "When you have 400,000 people in this country from a certain community there will always be people of different views and opinions and attitudes," he said in a telephone interview. "But those views will change in some time."
Change in which direction?
Ali said Australia should not close its borders to immigrants from Muslim countries, but should enact stricter screening to keep extremists out. "There are people who are coming with some islamofascist conservative ideas ... and they should be kept out of the country for the sake of harmony and peace in Australia," Ali said."We have to screen people much more closely," he added. "If they are troublemakers keep them out."
That's so sensible that it has no chance of being implemented.
The founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, Keysar Trad, said he was "quite disappointed" with Howard's remarks. "I think his comments will disappoint many mainstream Muslims because they come out of left field and they will not be seen just as criticism of a minority," Trad said.

Trad acknowledged the existence of islamofascist conservative segments within the Muslim community, but criticized Howard for failing to single out other extremist voices in Australia.
One speech, one group. He'll get to the left in his next speech.

Update: Dan Darling notes this article from The Australian, which is pretty much the same story with a couple different quotes.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [246 views] Top|| File under:

'Holocaust denier' Irving to plead guilty in Austria (updated!)
David Irving, the British historian, is expected to plead guilty to a charge of denying the Holocaust at his trial in Austria today.

Irving's lawyer said his client would admit the accusation when he goes on trial in Vienna. Irving was arrested in Austria on November 11 last year when he arrived to give a lecture to students, and has remained in custody. Austrian laws states that Holocaust denial is a crime.

The charges stemmed from speeches Irving delivered in 1989 in the Austrian capital Vienna and in the southern town of Leoben.

Irving has in the past faced allegations of spreading anti-Semitic and racist ideas. He is the author of nearly 30 books, including Hitler's War, which challenges the extent of the Holocaust.

He once insisted that Adolf Hitler knew nothing about the systematic slaughter of six million Jews, and reportedly said there was "not one shred of evidence" that the Nazis carried out their Final Solution on such a scale.

He has also questioned the use of large-scale gas chambers to exterminate the Jews, and has claimed that the numbers of those who perished are far lower than those generally accepted.

But the BBC reported that Irving wrote a letter from his prison cell claiming that some of his views on gas chambers had changed.
let's see if he uses the trial to grandstand and stir up trouble
Update noon CST: Irving gets three years in prison.
Posted by: lotp || 02/20/2006 07:56 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [440 views] Top|| File under:

#1  doesn't sound like there will be a trial. sounds like he's throwing himself on the mercy of the court. the real question is, what sort of punisment he will receive. supposedly, the crime carries as much as a 10-year sentence.

We'll see.
Posted by: PlanetDan || 02/20/2006 8:40 Comments || Top||

#2  Remember now… “Hate Crimes” are not “Thought Crimes”.
It’s just when you publicly state your opinions about certain issues in some places is when it can get tricky.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 02/20/2006 12:24 Comments || Top||

#3  Re: the update - So he was willing to "change" his views to get 7 years knocked off his possible sentence.

Have fun in jail, asshole. I'm sure you'll find a lot of kindred jerks there.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/20/2006 15:25 Comments || Top||

#4  This is insane. Denial of the obvious should carry it's own penalty, it shouldn't be imposed by the state.
Posted by: 6 || 02/20/2006 16:16 Comments || Top||

#5  Denial of the obvious should carry it's own penalty, it shouldn't be imposed by the state.

Not when there are implications of condoning genocide or favorable revisionism of historically well-established anti-Semetic politics.
Posted by: Zenster || 02/20/2006 17:19 Comments || Top||

#6  This put him away before the Iranian meeting to deny the holocaust, too.
Posted by: lotp || 02/20/2006 17:22 Comments || Top||

#7  Zenster, You just said a mouthful. A mouthful of what I’m not sure. But very eloquent non the less.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 02/20/2006 17:43 Comments || Top||

#8  Depot Guy, the Holocaust ranks as one of the most searing examples of man's inhumanity to man. Those who seek to downplay its enormity or palliate its historical existence exhibit a wish to reduce the vital lesson that we, as a people, must carry away from this ugly episode of our past. It is tantamount to a crime against humanity to willfully participate in minimizing or de-emphasizing any aspect of this brutal slaughter. Attempts to do so are essentially an act of condoning genocide. To condone effectively is to advocate and advocating genocide is a heinous act.
Posted by: Zenster || 02/20/2006 17:54 Comments || Top||

#9  Zenster:
Sincerely, your comment in #5 is the most concise and succinct viewpoints regarding this issue I’ve ever read. I just happen to respectfully disagree. Like it or not, ranking the importance of events is subjective. Therefore assigning motives based on an arbitrary degree of significance is presumptuous. Indifference doesn’t necessarily imply endorsement. And anyway you slice it; denial is not the same approval. I personally don’t believe some of the “facts” stated by the ‘9-11 Commission’. That doesn’t mean I condone mass-murder or that I’m anti-American. And I’m thankful that I live in a country that doesn’t consider it a crime for publicly stating my opinion.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 02/20/2006 19:31 Comments || Top||

#10  War is a bitch, world war is even more brutal. People get whacked, sometimes boatloads of em. Somewhere around 200 million Russians never made it through WWII. Not minimizing genocide, but I too am happy NOT to live in a country where one's opinion or belief lands you in jail.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/20/2006 19:36 Comments || Top||

#11  Reference for that figure on Soviet deaths during WWII, Besoeker?

IIRC the official casualties for the USSR are usually given as less then 26 million soldiers and civilians killed and approx. 14 million soldier wounded. If you add the 32 million or so who were starved by Stalin in the forced collectivization of farms in the runup to the war you still don't get anywhere near 200 million ....

I'd be interested in any citations for the higher figure, if you have one. My father's family is Ukrainian and we had family still there during that war.
Posted by: lotp || 02/20/2006 19:43 Comments || Top||

#12  What if holocust denial was made into a Cartoon Z? Maybe then? Or does than bring the fear of consistent hobgoblins?
Posted by: 6 || 02/20/2006 19:57 Comments || Top||

#13  This week has shown us that free speech is not served by restrictions based on offensiveness. Ensuring that the holocaust is remembered and never repeated is best served by allowing people to speak and proving the liars wrong. When ranting haters speak, they reveal and discredit themselves in the eyes of all except a handful of nutters. This is inevitable and just because it is sickening and offensive does not mean that it can be legislated away. Jailing crack-pots gives them more importance and status than they deserve.
The only exceptions to free speech should be slander and incitement to murder, such as preaching jihad in a time of war. I guess that Austria and Germany may have a case for extending such exceptions to cover outlawing denial but these exceptions create problems, such as we're seeing now. Irving is deliberately trying to paint himself as a free speech martyr instead of as demented pseudo-historian fantasist. Unfortunately he'll have some success. I think he should not be jailed and they should allow him to go to Tehran to participate in Holocaust Denial conventions Ahmadinejad. I am not so cynical as to believe that the majority of the world's people, even the Islamic ones, will be pesuaded to believe the lies of such a group of raving loonies. Give them the rope to hang themselves rhetorically and politically.
Posted by: Monsieur Moonbat || 02/20/2006 21:28 Comments || Top||

#14  What if holocust denial was made into a Cartoon Z? Maybe then? Or does than bring the fear of consistent hobgoblins?

If the cartoon is satirical of Holocaust denial, I'm all for it. I'll readily admit that I have strong feelings about the subject. My mother survived the Nazi occupation of Denmark and made d@mn sure we kids understood what the Nazis were about, to the tune of taking all three of her children to see a screening of "Night and Fog" when we were very young.

If you have never seen "Night and Fog", I suggest that you rent a copy and view it. Just not after a full meal.

Finally, I concur that we should all be glad to live in a country where we can agree to disagree, and that none of our arguments can be used to land us in jail.
Posted by: Zenster || 02/20/2006 23:28 Comments || Top||

Great White North
Canada rethinks policy of unarmed border guards
The 100-mph car chase ended in a blaze of gunfire at the Peace Arch, the graceful marble monument that straddles the U.S.-Canada border here and proclaims the two nations to be "Children of a Common Mother."

As two murder suspects from California blew past the U.S. Customs station and raced north for the border, a deputy sheriff managed to ram their vehicle with his squad car, spinning it down an embankment and across a broad lawn between the two border stations before it came to a stop. The suspects fled on foot, and in the ensuing gunbattle one was wounded; in the end, they were captured.

While the Jan. 24 episode was by far the most dramatic encounter between fugitives and law-enforcement officers at the border in recent months, the reaction on the Canadian side unfolded along a standard — if contentious — script: The Canadian border guards walked off their posts.

Roughly a dozen times in the past four months, Canadian border guards, who unlike their U.S. counterparts are unarmed, have left their posts in response to reports of dangerous suspects heading north.

The walk-offs, spanning the border at posts from here to New York, have closed the crossings for periods ranging from a few minutes to several hours. In the most recent incident Feb. 10, traffic heading from Blaine into British Columbia was backed up for three hours after Canadian guards left their posts in response to a report that a murder suspect from the Seattle area might be headed their way. The alleged killer never materialized.

The tie-ups have been a source of major aggravation for motorists and minor diplomatic headaches. They became an issue in Canada's recent national elections, with the victorious Conservative government promising it would support arming the border guards, an idea backed by the union that represents them.

"Primarily this has been an image thing. We're a peaceful nation, with Canadians being proud of the fact that we don't greet people at the border crossings with someone who's armed," said Ron Moran, the union's president.

"But the reality is that we don't live in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood anymore," added Moran, whose 10,500-member, Ottawa-based group is officially known by its English-French bilingual name, the Customs Excise Union — Douanes Accise. "The reality is that our officers should be armed."

Whether the border officers should carry guns has been debated for years.

Officials of the Liberal Party, which was in charge until recently, generally opposed the idea. As then-Revenue Minister Martin Cauchon put it a few years ago: "Side arms would not reflect our image."
"I mean, here we are perfecting our Dhimmi profile and you want to go and ruin it?"

But Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed during his campaign to give "our customs and border guards the training and equipment they need, including side arms." Harper also said he would address guards' concerns about the solo shifts that some of them work at remote border crossings. U.S. border stations have two or more guards.

On Jan. 31, a guard with the Canada Border Service Agency refused to man his post in remote Roosville, B.C., after hearing reports about an armed and dangerous suspect who had evaded Montana authorities near Lone Pine State Park, about 60 miles south of the border.

Authorities in Flathead County, Mont., issued a bulletin saying the suspect possibly was heading north and had warned authorities that he wouldn't be captured alive. He was apprehended two days later, hiding in the bushes at a park in Kalispell, Mont.

The Canadian border post was reopened after a few hours when a nonunion management official took over. The location was so remote that only four trucks and one car were lined up on the U.S. side.

Management has stepped in during walk-offs by guards but not always with enough manpower to prevent tie-ups, as was the case in Blaine earlier this month. At that busy crossing, traffic was proceeding smoothly the other day. Canadian border guards on duty politely referred questions about the walk-offs to Paula Shore, a spokeswoman for the border services agency.

Shore said there had been "a bit of a slowdown" because of the ongoing dispute over whether guards should be armed. She said the guards, who are issued bulletproof vests and pepper spray, were exercising a legal right under Canadian law to leave a workplace they considered unsafe.

While the U.S. and Canada differ when it comes to side arms at the border, she said, "We all want the same thing: safety and security for our countries and their citizens."
I want a pony too.
No Canadian guard has been killed or shot in recent years by a fugitive crossing the border, Moran said. But several have had guns or knives pointed at them, and have had to follow Canadian procedure: Let the suspected criminals go by without confrontation, then call the Canadian Royal Mounted Police to give chase.
Also, don't forget to roll over and show your belly. Avert your head and don't look at the big guy - it might provoke him. or her. or them.

In the incident involving the California murder suspects, at least two Canadian guards left their posts after learning the fugitives were headed their way.

After Whatcom County sheriff's Deputy Stuart Smith spotted the suspects' car at a rest stop about five miles south of Blaine and attempted to arrest them, the pair sped off. Smith followed them to the end of Interstate 5, witnesses said.

"It was like something out of a movie," said Miguel Ramos, the owner of Paso del Norte, a Mexican restaurant a block or so from the U.S. border station. "These cars came screeching through here, there was a big crash" — Smith ramming the suspects' vehicle — "and then they ran off toward the Canadian side."

The shots that stopped them were fired by U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors, said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo. Elfo, a former Blaine police chief, said the incident was the most sensational border apprehension he could recall.

"You know they're not armed at the station across the border," Elfo said. "That's always a consideration" for U.S. law-enforcement personnel when they are deciding on a course of action during a pursuit.

Moran said members of his union were responding appropriately to the risk by walking off their posts until danger had passed.

"It's normal human behavior," he said. "It is strictly a question of these men and women wanting to make sure they get back to their families at the end of their shift."

No 'duty, honor, country' kinds of considerations, I guess. Sigh. Who doesn't want to get home safely to the family? But it truly isn't Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood at the moment and if Canada isn't part of the solution she's going to become more and more a part of the problem.
Posted by: lotp || 02/20/2006 07:01 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [410 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Well, I suspect that if the guards were armed and one of them did shoot a crook, he'd find himself on trial for "excessive force" or some such. In that case, why bother?
Posted by: Jackal || 02/20/2006 8:54 Comments || Top||

"But the reality is that we don't live in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood anymore," added moron Moran
You never did, Delbert - you just liked to pretend while we did all the heavy lifting. As usual.

Nothing to see here - move along....
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/20/2006 15:37 Comments || Top||

#3  Kanuckistan is part of the problem.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 02/20/2006 15:39 Comments || Top||

#4  Its like other aspects of the English language employed by the various former colonies of the Mother tongue. We south of the border often refer to people who perform the job of 'guard' as someone usually armed. On the other hand we refer to someone not armed at a point of transit as an 'observer' or a 'ticker puncher'.
Posted by: Angaith Grerens9024 || 02/20/2006 16:37 Comments || Top||

#5  exercising a legal right under Canadian law to leave a workplace they considered unsafe

I don't understand why you had to put that in bold. Why is that law so strange? All it means is that if an employee finds his work conditions unsafe, then the employer can't fire the worker for refusing to work if indeed the work conditions turn out to be unsafe (by law, common sense, or whatever). Don't you have protections like this in the US? You mean that a power line worker in the US can be fired for refusing to climb a pole in a lightning storm??? Now that's weird.

And please don't mention firemen,policemen etc, because that's not what that law is about.
Posted by: Rafael || 02/20/2006 21:04 Comments || Top||

#6  well, I would say a "guard" who leaves his post when things get dangerous is actually an overdressed "receptionist"
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 21:16 Comments || Top||

#7  No 'duty, honor, country' kinds of considerations, I guess. Sigh. Who doesn't want to get home safely to the family? But it truly isn't Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood at the moment and if Canada isn't part of the solution she's going to become more and more a part of the problem.

Typical American overreaction. Misses the point completely. Armed guards won't do much for border security, or your security for that matter.

Sorry, I have to vent because that "No 'duty, honor, country' kinds of considerations" is kinda over the top. I guess by the same reasoning the London Bobbies don't have a sense of duty, honor, and country kinds of considerations. What bile.
Posted by: Rafael || 02/20/2006 21:18 Comments || Top||

#8  And you, Frank, would do what? Throw yourself in front of the car?
Posted by: Rafael || 02/20/2006 21:20 Comments || Top||

#9  "You know they're not armed at the station across the border," Elfo said. "That's always a consideration" for U.S. law-enforcement personnel when they are deciding on a course of action during a pursuit.

It's always refreshing to see someone's got more than an ounce of common sense.
Posted by: Rafael || 02/20/2006 21:23 Comments || Top||

#10  I wouldn't take a job that required me to throw myself in front of a car...but that's just me, I guess...If you want a professional job that requires policing actions, don't take it without the tools of teh job: handcuffs, spike strips, a gun, bullets, a badge that means something....

jeebus, we issue that and more to our highway patrol officers. Don't ask someone to be a guard when you equip them like a f&*king turnstile!
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 21:25 Comments || Top||

#11  "Canadians being proud of the fact that we don't greet people at the border crossings with someone who's armed"
Yep, overdressed receptionists. But it's not the "guards" fault -- it's their pathetic government.
Posted by: Darrell || 02/20/2006 21:28 Comments || Top||

#12  We south of the border often refer to people who perform the job of 'guard' as someone usually armed. On the other hand we refer to someone not armed at a point of transit as an 'observer' or a 'ticker puncher'.

That's because every Tom, Dick and Harry in your country can have a gun. I'm not knocking that but it'd be kind of stupid if a guard in your country didn't have a weapon of some sort with that kind of saturation of guns. Canada is still in the situation where we can get away with the average mall security guard not requiring a gun (though we are getting close to the breaking point).
Posted by: Rafael || 02/20/2006 21:34 Comments || Top||

#13  mall security here does not carry guns in almost ALL cases. Mace, yes, radio, yes. It's not the prevalence of guns...it's the authority attitude
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 21:36 Comments || Top||

#14  Okay, but what if they hold passports from 12 countries? The guards, I mean. I'm just askin...
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 21:40 Comments || Top||

#15  And please don't mention firemen,policemen etc, because that's not what that law is about.

Agreed - however I find it strange that you consider your border guards NOT to be in the same category as law enforcement and firemen.

I understand your sensitivity on this issue. I wonder if you understand the frustration many of us have with what sometimes appears to be rather ... casual ... concern for the border and who comes across it (in either direction).

Perhaps my comments in the article were unfair. But the image of (admittedly ill-equipped) guards leaving their posts rather than serving with courage is a better fit than I would like for what seems to be Canada's stance these last few years with regard to wider threats.
Posted by: lotp || 02/20/2006 21:43 Comments || Top||

#16  we issue that and more to our highway patrol officers.

You mean highway patrol officers in your country aren't regular cops? Wow.
Posted by: Rafael || 02/20/2006 21:50 Comments || Top||

#17  The Highway Patrol works for the State. "Cops" as most people use the term, work for cities. The Crips & Bloods work for, um, well, heh...
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 21:54 Comments || Top||

#18  above and beyond, Raphael (your ill-humor/sarcasm is beneath you). They are on extended patrols without backup nearby, and can count only on their own skills/equipment. Rather than be sarcastic, perhaps you should lobby your own to adopt that stance, which is safer for the guards, and likely safer to crossers
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 21:55 Comments || Top||

#19  Rafael - I can't speak for every state, but in most U.S. states, the highway patrol (state police) officers usually are considered more that just "regular" cops. They patrol isolated highways alone, with any backup quite a distance away in case of trouble. (Unlike local cops, who have backup a few streets away.) And if a local police department has a problem or possible conflict of interest, the highway patrol/state police investigates. In most cases, they are (at least considered) supercops.

Think Texas Rangers - "one riot, one ranger."

State cops in the U.S. are comparable to the RCMP as we perceive the Mounties - I don't pretend to really know how the Mounties operate.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/20/2006 22:05 Comments || Top||

#20  Agreed - however I find it strange that you consider your border guards NOT to be in the same category as law enforcement and firemen.

You would seriously put them in the same category? I'd say police officers and fire fighters have an nth degree more dangerous job than a guard at a border crossing, who generally doesn't need to worry about not coming home one day. I guess I find it equally perplexing that you seem to think that not having a gun means being completely devoid of authority, but that's the heart of our differences, I guess.

I understand your sensitivity on this issue. I wonder if you understand the frustration many of us have with what sometimes appears to be rather ... casual ... concern for the border and who comes across it (in either direction).

That's because there isn't a problem at our common border. I don't understand your concern. Who do you think comes across our common border? Illegal Mexicans? Chinese? Cubans? The vast majority are Canadian and US citizens. If it happens that someone has false identity papers, then that's not really a border guard issue is it? Your concerns are misplaced.

Perhaps my comments in the article were unfair. But the image of (admittedly ill-equipped) guards leaving their posts rather than serving with courage is a better fit than I would like for what seems to be Canada's stance these last few years with regard to wider threats.

First of all, that was done as a protest. Secondly, you can only claim bravado because your guards are armed. Thirdly, your image of a Canada without courage seems to contradict facts, given that our comparatively ill-equipped troops are at this very moment serving in Afghanistan alongside your top-of-the-line military.

I suspect what you were really after is just another excuse at good old fashioned Canada bashing. The least you could do is to be honest about it.
Posted by: Rafael || 02/20/2006 22:36 Comments || Top||

#21  State cops in the U.S. are comparable to the RCMP as we perceive the Mounties - I don't pretend to really know how the Mounties operate.

Canada also has the provincial police, which I think is more comparable to your state police than the RCMP. The RCMP is more like your FBI. In addition to the railway cops who do carry guns (CN Police). In other words, we're more alike than you seem to think.
Posted by: Rafael || 02/20/2006 22:49 Comments || Top||

#22  Rather than be sarcastic, perhaps you should lobby your own to adopt that stance, which is safer for the guards, and likely safer to crossers

I didn't vote Conservative on a whim. I hope they do get guns, for their sake, and particularly because they asked for them. But my contention has always been that this will not have any impact whatsoever on border security, perceived border security, expression of authority, or what have you.

BTW, it used to be, even before 9-11, that upon arrival at Toronto's international airport, on an overseas flight, that I always saw a Canadian soldier standing guard at the airport's border crossing. This shouldn't be, if American perceptions of Canadian border policies are correct.
Posted by: Rafael || 02/20/2006 23:10 Comments || Top||

#23  fair enough - remember, Raphael - we are not your enemies. Carping relatives, yes, but even they have constructive suggestions sometimes .....
I would prefer that there be no need for armed guards in either direction at the US Canada border, but that's another 120 count thread :-)
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 23:16 Comments || Top||

#24  That I haven't forgotten Frank. I've always been pro-American and I suspect I always will be. And so will my family. A somewhat funny story... my father, whom I look after, is disabled and has trouble communicating due to aphasia. The morning of 9-11 he had no trouble communicating his anger at those assholes flying the planes into the buildings. Took me a while to convince him that the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan were on our side.
Posted by: Rafael || 02/20/2006 23:54 Comments || Top||

Home Front: WoT
More on UAE firm's takeover of port operations
Terms for approving an Arab company's takeover of operations at six major American ports, including Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey, are insufficient to guard against terrorist infiltration, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said yesterday.

"I'm aware of the conditions and they relate entirely to how the company carries out its procedures, but it doesn't go to who they hire, or how they hire people," said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. "They're better than nothing, but to me they don't address the underlying conditions, which is how are they going to guard against things like infiltration by al Qaeda or someone else, how are they going to guard against corruption?" King said.

King spoke in response to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's comments yesterday about conditions of the sale. King said he learned about the government's terms for approving the sale from meetings with senior Bush administration officials.

Chertoff defended the security review of Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates, the company given permission to take over the port operations. Chertoff said the government typically builds in "certain conditions or requirements that the company has to agree to make sure we address the national security concerns." But Chertoff declined to discuss specifics saying that information is classified. "We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint," Chertoff said on ABC's "This Week."

London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., was bought last week by DP World, a state-owned business. Peninsular and Oriental runs major commercial operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

A Miami company, Continental Stevedoring & Terminals Inc., has filed suit in a Florida court challenging the deal. A subsidiary of Eller & Company Inc., the Miami company maintains in the suit disclosed Saturday evening that it will become an "involuntary partner" with Dubai's government under the sale.

"We are aware of the lawsuit, but cannot comment until our legal teams have a chance to review it," Michael Seymour, president of the North American arm of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation, said yesterday in the company's initial response to the lawsuit. He noted that his company "is itself a foreign-owned terminal operator that has long worked with U.S. government officials in charge of security at the ports to meet all U.S. government standards, as do other foreign companies that currently operate ports in the United States."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 02/20/2006 03:14 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [251 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Chertoff said the government typically builds in "certain conditions or requirements that the company has to agree to make sure we address the national security concerns." But Chertoff declined to discuss specifics saying that information is classified. 'We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint.'"

Boy that's a relief. Good to know they have negotiated safeguards. Hope no one shows any cartoons of Muhammad to the nite crew.
Posted by: Hank || 02/20/2006 15:49 Comments || Top||

#2  It seems there's now competition for resident RB dyspeptic honors.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 16:06 Comments || Top||

Chertoff says Dubai port deal includes safeguards
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The homeland security chief said on Sunday a deal for a Dubai-based company to manage major U.S. ports would include security safeguards, but a Republican senator urged a probe and called the Bush administration "tone deaf politically" for approving it.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the Bush administration had approved the sale of British firm P&O, which manages six U.S. ports including New York, to Dubai Ports World after a classified review and the deal would include safeguards to protect U.S. national security. "You can be assured that before a deal is approved we put safeguards in place, assurances in place, that make everybody comfortable that we are where we need to be from a national security viewpoint," Chertoff said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

But Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said it was a mistake for the administration to approve the sale and called on Congress to investigate it. "It's unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history, four years after 9/11, to entertain the idea of turning port security over to a company based in the UAE who avows to destroy Israel," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday."
No matter who owns or manages a port, they have to comply with American law. The DHS is going to watch them the same regardless.
Even so, it's good to see that the American public is paying attention, and their elected representatives are addressing some of the questions.
"I don't think now is the time to outsource major port security to a foreign-based company," he said.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat sniffing an opportunity to sound 'tough' on national security, said she would support legislation to block foreign companies from buying port facilities. "I'm going to support legislation to say 'No more, No way.' We have to have American companies running our own ports ... Our infrastructure is at risk," she said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Last week, Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Hillary Clinton of New York, both Democrats, said they would offer legislation to ban companies owned or controlled by foreign governments from acquiring U.S. port operations. "No matter what steps the administration claims it has secretly taken, it is an unacceptable risk to turn control of our ports over to a foreign government," Menendez said in a statement.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [239 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Why do I feel like "Network" is on and I'm Ned Beatty?

Sheesh. Sell 'em the port management rights already. We get to write off a shitload of UAE oil debt, and what are they gonna do - take the New York Harbor home with 'em? Same deal as the Japanese owning the concessions in Yosemite.

Besides - Anything nasty happens, who gets hit? They'll be careful.
Posted by: mojo || 02/20/2006 1:51 Comments || Top||

#2  But what about the Longshoremans Union? Do we get to keep the cushy jobs?
Posted by: 6 || 02/20/2006 5:18 Comments || Top||

#3  They'll be driving taxis.
Posted by: ed || 02/20/2006 7:51 Comments || Top||

#4  The DHS is going to watch them the same regardless.

Sure. With the same effectiveness that the FBI watched foreigners on overextended visas attending flight training.
Posted by: Sleter Fluns1455 || 02/20/2006 9:26 Comments || Top||

#5  This was a left-footed move by Chertoff and crew. Ultimately is renders a black eye on the Bush Administration, and I am a staunch supporter.

First off, there's that PR thingy. From a policial standpoint, the blow back from approving such an agreement gives sleeze ball Schumer a big grandstand.

Chertoff "may" be a good DHS secretary, but, at a minimum, he has a tin ear when it comes to politics.
Posted by: Captain America || 02/20/2006 13:19 Comments || Top||

Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy Brief Indian Navy on Hawkeye 2000
BETHPAGE, N.Y., Feb. 21, 2006 -- Representatives from Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and the U.S. Navy gave detailed technical briefings in December about the Hawkeye 2000 battle management and airborne early warning system to officials of the Indian Navy.

The Indian Navy is interested in the export configuration of the Northrop Grumman Hawkeye 2000 as a possible solution for its requirement for an airborne early warning aircraft with extensive surveillance and command-and-control capabilities. The aircraft would be used to patrol India's coastline and support deployments of the Indian fleet.

"The more we talk to India's military leadership, the more we understand the complexity of their airborne early warning requirement and the importance they place on a system that can meet those mission requirements on a continuous basis," said Tim Farrell, vice president and integrated product team leader for airborne early warning programs at Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "The more we learn about the Indian Navy's requirements, the more we feel confident that no system being offered worldwide can more consistently and reliably meet and exceed those mission parameters, than the E-2C Hawkeye 2000."

The Hawkeye 2000, now in production for the U.S. Navy, is the most advanced airborne early warning and command-and-control system in the world. According to Farrell, while all systems under consideration by the Indian military have sensor capability, only the Hawkeye has proven itself with the U.S. and six other nations as a command-and-control asset that is interoperable with the U.S. Navy. One third of the world's Hawkeye aircraft flying peacetime and wartime missions are operated by nations other than the United States.

"Hawkeye is more than a system that watches the skies," Farrell said. "It fuses data from onboard and off-board sensors from the air, sea surface and littorals to give decision-makers in the aircraft and around the network a single, comprehensive picture of what is occurring.

"Such capabilities enable Hawkeyes to take over management of air and surface rescue operations during a natural disaster, or be immediately able to serve as an airborne command post in threats to homeland security," said Farrell. "Our customers understand its power and are continually finding new ways to use the Hawkeye."

Northrop Grumman and U.S. Navy representatives expect to have additional meetings with the Indian Navy in the coming weeks and months. Northrop Grumman is also continuing discussions with several Indian defense companies about ways in which they can participate in the Hawkeye program, both for U.S. and international customers.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use on networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.
Posted by: john || 02/20/2006 21:27 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:

Pakistan Apologizes for Engineers' Deaths
BEIJING (AP) - Pakistan's president apologized Monday for the killing of three Chinese engineers by tribal militants in Pakistan, saying the attack brought "shame" on his country and promising the harshest punishment. "The man in the street (in Pakistan) loves the Chinese," President Gen. Pervez Musharraf told China's parliament chief Wu Bangguo during a meeting in Beijing.
"Duuuuh, the Chinese are the good infidels, right Ackmed?"
"That's right, Mahmoud, now shaddup and put the rifle down."
Musharraf, who arrived in neighboring China on Sunday for a five-day visit aimed at increasing business ties - and possibly working on a free trade deal - between the longtime close allies, also expressed Pakistan's "regret and condolences" over the killings. "It is a shame of the country," he said.
One among many, in fact.
He earlier promised the "strongest and harshest punishment" for the attackers, said China's official Xinhua News Agency.

A militant tribal group in southwestern Pakistan's Baluchistan province claimed responsibility for last week's drive-by shooting that killed the three Chinese engineers, who were working at a cement factory, and their Pakistani driver. Pakistan has since detained 50 suspects in the attack.
Betcha Amnesty International doesn't say a word about their confinement, either.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 02:19 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [241 views] Top|| File under:

Pakistan test fires surface to surface missile
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Sunday test fired a short range surface to surface nuclear-capable missile, the military said in a statement. “A successful test fire of the indigenously developed short range surface to surface ballistic missile Hatf-II Abdali was conducted today,” it said.

The Abdali missile can reach a target of 200 kilometers (120 miles) and can carry nuclear and other types of warheads, the statement said. It said India had been given prior notification of the launch, as agreed last year before all ballistic missile tests are conducted.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [241 views] Top|| File under:

US seeks safe nuclear coalition
The United States is seeking to build an international coalition of nuclear powers to provide safe fuel and stop sensitive technology reaching rogue states, officials said.

Robert Joseph, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, said the programme aims to “prevent future Iran” - a reference to the increasingly tense standoff over suspicions that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The United States wants to stop “countries which seek to acquire sensitive technology associated with enrichment and reprocessing with real purposes other than nuclear energy,” Joseph said late Thursday.

The United States will “work with other advanced nuclear nations to develop a fuel services programmeme that would provide nuclear fuel and recycling services to nations in return for their commitment to refrain from developing enrichment and recycling technologies.”

US officials have visited a number of world capitals and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna in recent weeks to press the case for action against Iran and for the safe energy coalition.

They went to London, Paris, Moscow, Beijing and Tokyo. “We found agreement with potential partners,” said Clay Sell, the deputy energy secretary.

“We want a large international partnership in terms of developing and sharing the fruit of this initiative, because in that way it will become truly a win-win for all of us in terms of energy security, environmental objectives, and of course in terms of non-proliferation,” said Joseph.

President George W Bush said on Saturday he hoped to promote greater use of nuclear power both at home and abroad, and said he saw promise in new technology aimed at reducing nuclear waste.

Bush has asked the US Congress for $250 million to fund research to restart a controversial programme that would reprocess spent nuclear fuel.

The initiative would also involve working with other countries like Russia, France, Japan and Britain to establish an infrastructure to supply nuclear fuel to other nations.

“Together, we will develop and deploy innovative, advanced reactors and new methods to recycle spent nuclear fuel,” Bush said in his weekly radio address.

“This will allow us to produce more energy, while dramatically reducing the amount of nuclear waste and eliminating the nuclear byproducts that unstable regimes or terrorists could use to make weapons,” he added.

Bush said the programme, known as the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, would eventually be expanded to help emerging economies develop nuclear fuel supplies.

“In exchange, these countries would agree to use nuclear power only for civilian purposes and forego uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities that can be used to develop nuclear weapons,” he said.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 02/20/2006 03:50 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [238 views] Top|| File under:

UK, French, and German ambassadors call for Gitmo closure
The British, French and German ambassadors to Washington said that the United States must close its Guantanamo "war on terror" detention camp which the French envoy called "an embarrassment."

The ambassadors stepped up international pressure on US authorities after a report by UN human rights experts called for the camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to be shut as soon as possible.

"Guantanamo is an embarrassment, and so it has to be solved one way or the other," French ambassador Jean-David Levitte during an appearance by the three envoys on CNN television.

The German ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger was equally outspoken.

"The sooner it is closed the better it will be for the image of the United States, not only as a military and political (power) but also as a moral leader in the world," Ischinger said.

British ambassador Sir David Manning reaffirmed Prime Tony Blair's comment this week that the US camp for detainees seized in the global offensive launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks was "an anomaly".

"We understand the context. You've lost a lot of people," said Manning.

"It's difficult to find the right line to draw between your duties as a government for security and safeguarding liberty, but it is clearly an anomaly and it needs to be dealt with".

Guantanamo, which has about 500 inmates most of whom have never been charged, has again been in an international spotlight this week.

After the report by UN human rights experts which said some practices at the camp were tantamount to torture, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that "sooner or later" Guantanamo will have to be closed.

The United States has has rejected calls for the camp to be shut and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Annan was "flat wrong" to call for its closure.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 02/20/2006 03:40 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [253 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Oh, we'll eventually shut it down, but on OUR schedule and after considering OUR interests and concerns. If there is any embarassment, its because our "allies" are telling us to do something, and we're not doing it. Whining and seething to follow.
Posted by: Ptah || 02/20/2006 8:23 Comments || Top||

#2  Still waiting for you all's note on the condition of those other prisons in Cuba. You know the ones with real political prisoners in them. Not the people taken from a battlefield.
Posted by: Sleter Fluns1455 || 02/20/2006 9:29 Comments || Top||

#3  We should announce a policy to summarily shoot illegal combatants in the field - and cite the specific articles in the GC which allows such actions.

After all we can't get any usefull intel out of them while waiting on them hand-and-foot in a UN approved summer resort prison....
Posted by: CrazyFool || 02/20/2006 10:33 Comments || Top||

#4  Of course we will close it. We'll deliver the inmates to Paris, London, and Berlin tomorrow.
Posted by: Perfesser || 02/20/2006 17:50 Comments || Top||

New Zealand expert stands by Gitmo criticism
A New Zealand expert on physical and mental health has stood by findings that US detention camp Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba, should be shut down.

Professor Paul Hunt, of both the University of Waikato and the University of Essex, was part of a five-member team appointed by the UN Human Rights Commission to investigate conditions at the "war on terror" detention camp.

The group also included Leila Zerrougui, an expert on arbitrary detention; Leandro Despouy, expert on judicial independence; Manfred Nowak, an expert on torture; and Asma Jahangir, an expert on freedom of religion.

The US is currently holding about 490 men at the camp who are accused of having links to Afghanistan's ousted Taleban regime or the al Qaeda terror group, though only a handful have been charged since January 2001.

The team investigating the detention camp concluded that the United States should bring all prisoners to an independent trial or release them.

The authors did not visit the camp because the US government refused them access to inmates, so their report was based on "credible" accounts of life at Guantanamo Bay.

The Americans agreed that three of the authors could visit the camp but could not speak, either privately or publicly, to detainees.

"That was unacceptable to us," Prof Hunt told National Radio today.

The government did, however, reply to a detailed questionnaire supplied by the report team.

The US government described the report as a "discredit" to the United Nations.

If the camp was not closed, the authors believed that detainees should have the opportunity to test the lawfulness of their incarceration.

Abusive treatment of prisoners should stop, and conditions generally should be improved and UN inspectors should be allowed in, Prof Hunt said.

"It would been a dereliction of duty if we'd closed our eyes to Guantanamo Bay."

The report will be presented to the United Nations in a few weeks' time where decisions will be made on what steps to take next.

The team was appointed by the commission to the three-year project. They worked independently, with expenses covered but receiving no payment from the UN.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 02/20/2006 03:19 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [259 views] Top|| File under:

#1  A New Zealand expert on physical and mental health..

Sorry, but we're not particularly concerned with the physical or mental health of the purveyors of terrorism. On the other hand, if the Kiwis are, I'm sure they wouldn't mind taking in Gitmo's "residents"....

..and UN inspectors should be allowed in, Prof Hunt said.

I don't see why. After all, Gitmo isn't a UN-sanctioned facility.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/20/2006 13:10 Comments || Top||

#2  They were invited in. They demanded to have no escorts or witnesses, which was refused. So they wrote their report based solely on hearsay.
Posted by: lotp || 02/20/2006 13:13 Comments || Top||

#3  Like the UN regularly inspects the non-combat prisoners in other confinement facilities in Cuba or N.Korea. Right. By the way, how are the confinement conditions for Specialist Matt Maupin?
Posted by: Angaith Grerens9024 || 02/20/2006 16:33 Comments || Top||

#4  an expert on arbitrary detention? How do you get to be an expert on that?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 17:05 Comments || Top||

#5  So they wrote their report based solely on hearsay.

A clear indication that there was no original intent to perform an objective analysis.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/20/2006 17:48 Comments || Top||

#6  an expert on arbitrary detention? How do you get to be an expert on that?

Screw off alot in high school. That's why I'm a nationally reknowned expert on arbitrary detention. I did over 1,000 hours.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 02/20/2006 17:52 Comments || Top||

#7  Lol, NS. Charter Breakfast Club member?
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 18:22 Comments || Top||

#8  Well before the Breakfast Club.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 02/20/2006 18:28 Comments || Top||

#9  I think we should release everyone in Gitmo.

But they have to go to New Zealand. And they get no travel papers, so they can't leave. AND we implant a gps chip (unbeknownst to them) in each one and zap him if he leaves NZ.

But what they do in NZ (as long as it doesn't involve Americans, Brits, or Aussies) is none of our concern.

Their choice.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/20/2006 21:53 Comments || Top||

#10  Pity the sheep, Barb, pity the sheep...

Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 21:55 Comments || Top||

#11  Damn, .com - I thought the little jihad buggers liked goats. ;-p
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/20/2006 22:07 Comments || Top||

#12  Well, I'd say that any defenseless... No, nevermind. Not going there... ;-)
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 22:11 Comments || Top||

The Religious Policeman: Emergency Meeting!
The motorcades screech to a halt, lights flashing; burly bodyguards jump out and usher their charges into the conference hall. They have been summoned here from their palaces, their holiday villas, awakened from their beds, rushed here in their private jets. This is THE big meeting of the OIC, the Organization of the Islamic Conference. So are they finally going to resolve the Darfur conflict, the Brown-Muslim-on-Black-Muslim genocide that has already claimed an estimated 300,000 lives?

Well, actually, no.

Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, is contacting member states for an emergency meeting of their foreign ministers shortly to discuss major issues including the repercussions of the sacrilegious Danish cartoons.

Silly me, I should have realized. Cartoons are far more important than a "few dead darkies". We already learnt that after the 2006 Makkah Stampede.

Ihsanoglu has already spoken to Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakar Al-Qurbi and Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar to fix a date for the meeting, press reports said yesterday quoting diplomatic sources....Professor Ihsanoglu has already informed Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief, that the 57-member OIC was seeking the EU’s cooperation to end the conflict as quickly as possible.

So the representatives of such enlightened and progressive governments as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Malaysia, are going to give advice to the Europeans on what laws they should pass in their own countries.
RTWT - TRP gets it on, heh. The Muzzy emoticons alone are worth the visit, lol. (((:~{>
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 02:23 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [244 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sheesh - Page 2... or 3, lol.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 2:43 Comments || Top||

#2  These weak and corrupt oligarchs are once again trying to ride the wave of zealotry and channel the hatred and violence toward the outsiders instead of standing against it. Strategically, I don't know if now is the right time for a full confrontation with these bastards, but it would be mighty satisfying if Rice or someone went there and told them to get a grip. What is it about a face culture that forces them to take actions that are guaranteed to make them lose face?
Posted by: Monsieur Moonbat || 02/20/2006 3:12 Comments || Top||

#3  That sites a keeper .com!

but it's certainly not slavery, it's just proactive Cash Flow Management

Jeebus is that guy legit? A real ex-pat Saudi?
Posted by: 6 || 02/20/2006 4:57 Comments || Top||

#4  Muhammad playing Little Orphan Annie (((8~{>

LOL! That guy reminds me a little of allah in his yut.
Posted by: 6 || 02/20/2006 5:04 Comments || Top||

#5  "Jeebus is that guy legit? A real ex-pat Saudi?"

Quite a bit of debate on that, 6. Two things are certain - he / she has a foot in both worlds, Western and Saudi, and his / her facility with English and Westernisms are almost pitch-perfect. It rings true enough for me.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 8:01 Comments || Top||

#6  So nice of the major Islamic powers to give our world a solid glimpse of exactly where their priorities are placed. Let's keep them scurrying trampling. More cartoons, please.
Posted by: Zenster || 02/20/2006 12:18 Comments || Top||

#7  Oh, BTW 6, he's not an expat Saudi, his claim is that he's a Saudi mutawa - literally one of the Religious Police. And in most cases they are rather easily identified - in most case the following apply:
they don't wear a fan belt
the thobe is "too short"
they always wear sandals
they have beards, usually with henna applied

They used to carry little sticks, sorta like riding crops, a Nazi affectation, perhaps, back in the '80s - to whack people who were misbehaving and yes, I saw it done in the al Shula Mall in al Khobar in '92-'93... you saw them in Afghanistan, I'll bet, but I didn't see them on this last tour in SA, so maybe that's gone out of fashion.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 12:35 Comments || Top||

#8  Muhammad (((:~{>
Muhammad playing Little Orphan Annie (((8~{>
Muhammad as a pirate (((P~{>
Muhammad on a bad turban day ))):~{>
Muhammad with sand in his eye(((;~{>
Muhammad wearing sunglasses (((B~{>
Muhammad giving the raspberry. (((:~{P>

Posted by: Darrell || 02/20/2006 12:53 Comments || Top||

#9  If TRP is who he says he is--I've no reason to doubt him--then God, or Allah if you prefer, watch over him. He gets busted for his blog, and it's head-chopping time.
Posted by: Mike || 02/20/2006 18:00 Comments || Top||

#10  He's not a Muttawa. he hates the Muttawa. Read the reason for the name at top of the page!

Then read the last month or two. An excellent site.
Posted by: Hupomoger Clans9827 || 02/20/2006 19:06 Comments || Top||

#11  HC - I've been reading him for well over a year - maybe 18 months - and was led to believe that was his claim by the person who clued me in to his blog. Your post made me curious, so I dug a little and found his FAQ from 4/26/2004... Learn something new everyday, lol.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 19:24 Comments || Top||

#12  From the FAQ: The ruling elite would not look kindly upon my efforts. If found out, I would certainly lose my job, as already happens to those who publish critical letters in the press. I might also become a guest of Prince Nayif, until I "got my mind right".

I stand by what I said before: God, or Allah if you prefer, watch over him.
Posted by: Mike || 02/20/2006 22:16 Comments || Top||

Sadr undermining Iraqi unity talks
Efforts to form a government of national unity in Iraq are floundering amid concerns from Kurds, Sunni Arabs and secularists at the "undue influence" within the ruling Shia alliance of the militant anti-western cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The 33-year old firebrand - whose support was crucial to last week's controversial re-nomination of the prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari - threw the nascent talks into disarray at the weekend, saying he opposed Iraq's new federal constitution and repeating calls for the swift withdrawal of US and other foreign forces.

"I reject this constitution which calls for sectarianism and there is nothing good in this constitution at all," he told al-Jazeera television in a rare interview, conducted in Jordan. He added that the withdrawal of foreign forces "should be the priority of the future Iraqi government."

The tortuous negotiations over policies and posts in the new government begin in earnest this week, but most say it will take weeks if not months until Iraqis see the first full-term administration since the fall of Saddam. Mr Sadr's supporters also ruled out the inclusion of the former prime minister Ayad Allawi in any future government.

"[Allawi's] participation in government is a red line for the Sadr stream," said Fatah al-Sheikh, a pro-Sadr member of the national assembly. Mr Sadr's followers say they cannot forgive Mr Allawi for the bloody assault during his term in office on the al Mahdi army in the sacred Shia city of Najaf.

The blunt statements by Mr Sadr are at odds with his partners and rivals in the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), as well as with the powerful Kurdish bloc - the UIA's junior coalition allies. Both Sciri and the Kurds back the constitution and rule out a firm date for troop withdrawal. The Kurds say they will not join any administration unless it includes Mr Allawi's list. "We believe there will be no political stability until all the Iraqi constituencies are included," said Mahmoud Othman, a member of the Kurdish negotiating committee. "That's why the Kurdish alliance are working on a government that includes the the Sunni Arabs as well as Allawi."

Iraq's leading non-Shia parties are also mounting a last-minute bid to block the reappointment of Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister, citing his previous ineffectiveness in office and his new "political debt" to Mr Sadr.

"The al-Sadr stream is now very powerful within the United Iraqi Alliance and is now flexing its muscles, trying to have things their way," said an aide to the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani. "They were the only ones apart from Dawa [Jaafari's party] who supported his candidature. And Jaafari owes them a lot."

After launching two failed uprisings against the Americans in Baghdad and cities across southern Iraq in 2004, Mr Sadr and his al-Mahdi militia, who are popular among the young urban Shia poor, have regrouped and joined the political process. That decision more than paid off in December's elections, which saw Sadrists emerge as the largest single party within the UIA. His followers won 32 of 128 seats gained by the UIA and as a reward for supporting a Jaafari premiership they are expected to get five cabinet posts in the next government.

But the young cleric's apparently inexorable rise within the Shia group has sent shockwaves through the country's non-Shia political establishment.

Although most agree it is better to have the unpredictable Mr Sadr within the political mainstream, his extreme religious views and nationalist rhetoric - designed in part to reach out to disaffected Sunnis - are likely to do little to heal the country's gaping ethnic and sectarian wounds.

Khaled Salih, an Iraq analyst at the University of Denmark, said: "It is fruitless to search for a unifying figure in Iraq. All you can hope for is that the various centres of power that are emerging - Kurds, Shia, Sunnis - can find a relatively peaceful way to share that power. Democracy will come later."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 02/20/2006 03:48 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [251 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Efforts to form a government of national unity in Iraq are floundering amid concerns from Kurds, Sunni Arabs and secularists at the "undue influence" within the ruling Shia alliance of the militant anti-western cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Please, someone drop a JDAM on Sadr's house in the middle of the night. Barring that, a Hellfire attack from a Predator drone would be the next best thing.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/20/2006 13:03 Comments || Top||

#2  Methinks Tater's been getting some recent "advice" from the MMs.
Posted by: xbalanke || 02/20/2006 20:29 Comments || Top||

U.S.-Funded Power Plant on Line in Iraq
Good news from Iraq, and put out there by the AP.
BASRA, Iraq (AP) - Glistening in Iraq's barren southern salt plains, a natural gas-driven power station has come on line, generating sorely needed electricity for war-weary Iraqis and demonstrating that much-maligned U.S.-led reconstruction efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

U.S. officials said Sunday that increasing Iraq's electricity generating capacity through facilities such as the 250 megawatt electricity plant near the southern city of Basra is crucial to American efforts to encourage Iraqis to turn their backs on the insurgency. Among the most infuriating problems for Iraqis nearly three years after the U.S.-led invasion remains the lack of regular electricity to run lights and home appliances, including air conditioners during Iraq's summer, when temperatures soar beyond 120 degrees.

Daniel Speckhard, who heads the U.S. reconstruction effort here, said Iraqis had expected instant results after the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime, which had allow the country's electricity-generating plants and national grid to deteriorate. "They were hoping instantly to have the same kind of things we have in the United States, where you have 24 hours of power," Speckhard said. "What we are looking for by this coming summer is to get so the whole nation has roughly 12 hours of power, which is significantly better than where we have been."

Of 425 electricity-related projects, only 300 are expected to be completed before the $18.6 billion approved by Congress in November 2003 for reconstruction in Iraq runs out, U.S. officials have said. Baghdad is among the country's worst off areas with most streets unlit at night and many of the capital's 7 million people relying on generators.

Iraqis living in Basra, the country's second-largest city, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, have an average of 12 hours a day of power already, up from much lower prewar levels, as a result of the new plant.

The United States spent $123 million to install two 125 megawatt gas-generated turbines that were bought before the war under the U.N. Oil for Food program. The turbines began operating in late December at the site of a rusting Saddam-era power plant in Khor Az Zubayr, 20 miles south of Basra. The plant is estimated to add electric power equivalent for what is needed for more than 220,000 households.

U.S. authorities have said maintenance of the plants was as important as installing new facilities so a major focus is on giving Iraqi employees proper training to keep them from feeding turbines with the wrong fuel, leading to breakdowns and lost generating capacity and other problems. "I feel confident that the plant will be maintained when we leave. It doesn't take many people to operate and maintenance won't be nearly as much as the old facility was," said Robert Lee Cipsey, a construction representative for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who oversaw the project, which took one year to complete - six months ahead of schedule.

Col. Larry McCallister, the U.S. military official in charge of reconstruction projects in southern Iraq, said giving Iraqis more electricity was crucial to winning local support and defeating the insurgency. McCallister acknowledged that insurgent attacks had reduced the number of projects he and other U.S. officials hoped to bring on line with the $18.4 billion of funds earmarked for reconstruction projects. "We came here with a plan two years ago that we were going to do a lot of projects, but the insecurity increased and our priorities had to shift," McCallister said during a tour of the Khor Az Zubayr site. "We had to suspend some big water projects, but we have continued to push electricity."

Audit reports released recently by Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found that guerrilla attacks have forced the cancellation of more than 60 percent of water and sanitation projects in Iraq, in part because American intelligence failed to predict the insurgency. Iraq's incessant insurgency absorbs as much as 22 percent of project costs, more than double the 9 percent originally budgeted.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 02:16 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [252 views] Top|| File under:

Bro-hood vows to fund Hamas
United States and Europe threatened to freeze funding for a Hamas-led government.

Brotherhood spokesperson Issam al-Aryan said: "Supporting Hamas is the responsibility of all the peoples of the free world and Arab world and not just the Muslim Brothers because it means supporting the democratic choice of the Palestinian people."

Aryan's comment came just a day after Israel decided to freeze the monthly transfer of millions of dollars in customs duties owed to the Palestinian authority, which amounted to a staggering one-third of the cash-strapped government's budget. He said that contributions were already being collected through "relief committees all over the world and through the Egyptian Red Crescent and the Arab League".

But popular support in itself, "is not enough and governments must shoulder their responsibilities," said Aryan, as Arab League ministers met in Algeria to discuss granting the Palestinian Authority monthly aid of $50m.
Here is a nifty link for Hamas contributions.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/20/2006 18:53 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [267 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I would imagine Aryan is a good name to have in the muslim brotherhood. Stoopid F*&ks don't even get the contempt their kind was held by the original 30's-40's namesakes
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 21:06 Comments || Top||

Jimmuh: Don't Punish the Palestinians
As the results of the recent Palestinian elections are implemented, it's important to understand how the transition process works and also how important to it are actions by Israel and the United States.

Although Hamas won 74 of the 132 parliamentary seats, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas retains the right to propose and veto legislation, with 88 votes required to override his veto. With nine of its elected members remaining in prison, Hamas has only 65 votes, plus whatever third-party support it can attract. Abbas also has the power to select and remove the prime minister, to issue decrees with the force of law when parliament is not in session, and to declare a state of emergency. As commander in chief, he also retains ultimate influence over the National Security Force and Palestinian intelligence.

After the first session of the new legislature, which was Saturday, the members will elect a speaker, two deputies and a secretary. These legislative officials are not permitted to hold any position in the executive branch, so top Hamas leaders may choose to concentrate their influence in the parliament and propose moderates or technocrats for prime minister and cabinet posts. Three weeks are allotted for the prime minister to form the cabinet, and a majority vote of the parliament is required for final approval.

The role of the prime minister was greatly strengthened while Abbas and Ahmed Qureia served in that position under Yasser Arafat, and Abbas has announced that he will not choose a prime minister who does not recognize Israel or adhere to the basic principles of the "road map." This could result in a stalemated process, but my conversations with representatives of both sides indicate that they wish to avoid such an imbroglio. The spokesman for Hamas claimed, "We want a peaceful unity government." If this is a truthful statement, it needs to be given a chance.

During this time of fluidity in the formation of the new government, it is important that Israel and the United States play positive roles. Any tacit or formal collusion between the two powers to disrupt the process by punishing the Palestinian people could be counterproductive and have devastating consequences.

Unfortunately, these steps are already underway and are well known throughout the Palestinian territories and the world. Israel moved yesterday to withhold funds (about $50 million per month) that the Palestinians earn from customs and tax revenue. Perhaps a greater aggravation by the Israelis is their decision to hinder movement of elected Hamas Palestinian Legislative Council members through any of more than a hundred Israeli checkpoints around and throughout the Palestinian territories. This will present significant obstacles to a government's functioning effectively. Abbas informed me after the election that the Palestinian Authority was $900 million in debt and that he would be unable to meet payrolls during February. Knowing that Hamas would inherit a bankrupt government, U.S. officials have announced that all funding for the new government will be withheld, including what is needed to pay salaries for schoolteachers, nurses, social workers, police and maintenance personnel. So far they have not agreed to bypass the Hamas-led government and let humanitarian funds be channeled to Palestinians through United Nations agencies responsible for refugees, health and other human services.

This common commitment to eviscerate the government of elected Hamas officials by punishing private citizens may accomplish this narrow purpose, but the likely results will be to alienate the already oppressed and innocent Palestinians, to incite violence, and to increase the domestic influence and international esteem of Hamas. It will certainly not be an inducement to Hamas or other militants to moderate their policies.

The election of Hamas candidates cannot adversely affect genuine peace talks, since such talks have been nonexistent for over five years. A negotiated agreement is the only path to a permanent two-state solution, providing peace for Israel and justice for the Palestinians. In fact, if Israel is willing to include the Palestinians in the process, Abbas can still play this unique negotiating role as the unchallenged leader of the PLO (not the government that includes Hamas).

It was under this umbrella and not the Palestinian Authority that Arafat negotiated with Israeli leaders to conclude the Oslo peace agreement. Abbas has sought peace talks with Israel since his election a year ago, and there is nothing to prevent direct talks with him, even if Hamas does not soon take the ultimately inevitable steps of renouncing violence and recognizing Israel's right to exist.

It would not violate any political principles to at least give the Palestinians their own money; let humanitarian assistance continue through U.N. and private agencies; encourage Russia, Egypt and other nations to exert maximum influence on Hamas to moderate its negative policies; and support President Abbas in his efforts to ease tension, avoid violence and explore steps toward a lasting peace.
Well, I guess you CAN make this shit up.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 00:56 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [276 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hey Jimminitude Carter, they VOTED for Hamas, they GET Hamas. Being a democracy means the people are RESPONSIBLE for their Government's actions, which YOUR fellow liberals are so eager to apply to americans, and yet are reluctant to apply to anyone else.

Why should I heed or follow the words of hypocrites?
Posted by: Ptah || 02/20/2006 8:27 Comments || Top||

#2  "With nine of its elected members remaining in prison, Hamas has only 65 votes, plus.."

This has got to be a joke in itself. The paleos elected nine imprisoned individuals?????


"..even if Hamas does not soon take the ultimately inevitable steps of renouncing violence and recognizing Israel's right to exist."

And this is going to come about because....this guy says so?

There's no guarantee this will come to pass, and there's no guarantee that even if Hamas were to do such a thing that violence would immediately cease. It hasn't so far, despite several "agreements", and it's not likely to.

C'mon Jimmy, pull your head out of your ass.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/20/2006 10:39 Comments || Top||

#3  The paleos elected nine imprisoned individuals?????

BAR - what do you expect from people who honor and worship murders, liars, thieves, and pedophiles? (and those are Mo's good points....)
Posted by: CrazyFool || 02/20/2006 10:45 Comments || Top||

#4  Dear Jimmah,

Ah'd purfur to punnish YOU, but I reckon the Pals will do instead.
Posted by: SR-71 || 02/20/2006 12:26 Comments || Top||

#5  Bomb-a-rama, at least one of the elected Hamas members is the Mother of two men who have been sucide bombers. She was interviewed and stated that, "Jihad is paramount. I am proud of my martyr sons and hope the other three will go in the ways of Jihad as well". These people are waaaaay past any hope. She's proud her two sons blew themselves up killing Jews.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 02/20/2006 13:13 Comments || Top||

#6  Darwin at work.
Posted by: too true || 02/20/2006 13:16 Comments || Top||

#7  #4 SR-71 - I'd prefer both.

If Jimmuh thinks the paleos are so wonderful, he should go live among them.


With NO Secret Service contingent. (After all, he thinks they're such nice people, right?)
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/20/2006 16:10 Comments || Top||

#8  The paleos elected nine imprisoned individuals?????

What's the big deal kids?

Posted by: Adam Clayton || 02/20/2006 16:45 Comments || Top||

#9  Beats me ...
Posted by: Marion Barry || 02/20/2006 16:47 Comments || Top||

#10  "During this time of fluidity..."
I just hate times of fluidity.
Posted by: Monica L. || 02/20/2006 20:26 Comments || Top||

#11  What's the big deal kids?

Uhhhh, because they're still IN prison???
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/20/2006 22:38 Comments || Top||

Iraq's Jordanian Jihadis
Very long background piece in the NYT by Nir Rosen on the terror problems in Jordan. Way too long to be quoted here, but worth the read.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [238 views] Top|| File under:

Arab League seeks to secure Paleo funding
CAIRO, Egypt - The head of the Arab League said Sunday that members would meet this week to hammer out a plan for sending millions of dollars a month to the Palestinian Authority, despite U.S. attempts to stop the flow of money to the new Hamas-led government.
Heh. Every euro that goes down the Paleo rat hole is one less Danish flag available to burn in Multan and Jakarta.
Secretary-General Amr Moussa said foreign ministers from several Arab countries were to meet Monday in Algiers to examine a plan to send about $50 million a month to the Palestinian Authority. A final decision is not expected until Arab leaders meet in a summit next month in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
It's ever so annoying when the jizya dries up. Might even have to feed some stupid widows and orphans with Junior Jihadi's ammo allowance...
The money is part of Palestinian funding the Arab League approved last year — before Hamas' election victory in January. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have already contributed to the financially strapped Palestinian Authority and more money is on its way, Moussa said. The $50 million monthly stipend, however, only represents what the Arab League initially pledged give the Palestinians during a summit nearly four years ago, and some Palestinians voiced skepticism that their fellow Arabs would come through.
"Since the Arab summit in Beirut in 2002, the Arab governments decided to give the Palestinians $600 million a year. That never materialized. The Arabs made promises, but never delivered," said Samir Ghattas, head of the Palestinian Al-Kuds Research Center. "It the Arabs did not pay Arafat, why should they now pay Hamas?" Ghattas asked. Noting that Hamas had its roots in the radical Muslim Brotherhood, Ghattas asked: "How can the Arabs give money to a Muslim Brotherhood which threatened them in each and every country. Do they have an interest in encouraging a Muslim Brotherhood movement to take over? The answer is no."

A senior Palestinian official, who refused to be identified because he did not wish to embarrass fellow Arabs, agreed with Ghattas' figures. "The maximum that Arab countries have paid is $100 million of the $600 million they agreed to give," he told The Associated Press. He noted what he felt was the irony of a situation in which the United States formerly pushed the Arabs to live up to their funding pledges, while now encouraging them not to send money to a Hamas-led government.
It's not irony, it's justice.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice cautioned Iran and other Middle East powers against giving money to a Hamas-led government. She also expressed doubt that the militant Islamic group could raise badly needed international financing unless it changes its policies. Mohammad Sobeih, Moussa's deputy, said the Arab League expects the Arab governments to brush aside the U.S warnings. "This is a summit resolution and no one is expected to ignore it," he said referring to Arab funding of the Palestinian Authority.
Posted by: Seafarious || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [242 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The 'rabs squeeze their money very tightly.
Posted by: Captain America || 02/20/2006 8:54 Comments || Top||

#2  love the graphic! Mmmmmm ...that goose tasted good.
Posted by: 2b || 02/20/2006 10:28 Comments || Top||

#3  arab countries are swallowing hard. they hate paleos as much as everyone else, except they're supposed to pretend they don't.
Posted by: PlanetDan || 02/20/2006 17:49 Comments || Top||

Jordan pledges help to Iraq
Maybe Tater's dentist has memorized the Koran, but I don't think he cracked the books very heavily in dental school.
Abdullah II bin al-Hussein, the king of Jordan, has said he wants to help Iraq to move past its current difficulties to a better future. The king spoke after meeting with Muqtada al-Sadr, an Iraqi Shia cleric who is on a regional tour to promote better relations with neighbouring countries. Abdullah said in a statement issued by the Royal Palace: "It's our duty to protect the future of Iraq and we are always ready to put our best efforts forward to make this a successful outcome."

He affirmed Jordan's desire for a unified Iraq and the guarantee of a better future so that the country could regain its vital role in the region, the statement said. Abdullah added that Iraq's success was as of much interest to Jordan as to Iraq. Al-Sadr said: "I came to Jordan to meet my family and my brothers here and to consolidate co-operation between us."

Al-Sadr also expressed appreciation for Abdullah's efforts in the Arab and international arenas in clarifying the true image of Islam and its prophet, especially during his trip to Washington earlier this month.
I think the true image of Islam and its prophet's become a lot clearer in the past month or so.
Posted by: Fred || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [246 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Is that "meth mouth"? It could explain a lot.
Posted by: whitecollar redneck || 02/20/2006 8:32 Comments || Top||

#2  Steroids, check the chubby cheeks, the hair growth, the resemblance to Barry Bonds, etc.
Posted by: Adam Clayton || 02/20/2006 16:46 Comments || Top||

#3  I dunno about any drugs. I think Tater's appearance can be explained easily enough by more common vices: sloth, gluttony, and poor hygiene.
Posted by: xbalanke || 02/20/2006 21:11 Comments || Top||

Hamas chief to visit Iran again
TEHERAN - Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is to visit close ally Iran in the coming days for more high level talks with its leaders, a member of the radical group was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Hamas representative in Iran Abu-Osama Abd-al Moti told the Iran News paper that his Syrian-based chief, who was last in Tehran in December, would also be meeting Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The discussions will cover “various political, regional and international issues,” he said.
"Money. We need money, boss. Those idiot Euros are showing a spine!"
“We strongly oppose any unjust pressure and threats against the Islamic republic. Hamas will convey this message to the Iranian government and stand by Iran in the face of any international pressures,” the representative was quoted as saying.

Iran and Hamas are close allies, sharing their refusal to recognise Israel and opposition to the peace process. In December, Meshaal also declared Iran and Hamas formed a “united front” against Israel. He also said his group would step up its military operations if the Jewish state takes military action against Iran over its disputed nuclear programme. “We are not prepared to give the Zionist regime another 15 years to play their old and usual games,” the Hamas representative told Iran News.
Thus giving the IDF the excuse needed to whack Hamas the day after they whack Iran.
“The previous bitter experience of the Palestinian nation and the Palestinian authority in negotiating with them has proven that there is nothing to be gained from the continuation of such discussions.”

He also vowed Hamas “will force Israel out of Gaza, the West Bank and Qods (Jerusalem)”.
“We shall remain the same Hamas as before the elections. Of course, our tactics, rhetoric and language might change and we might adopt a political language that is a bit different. However, we won’t be dictated to by the US or Israel or succumb to their pressures,” he asserted.
"But we sure don't want them to kill us."
Although Iran is a vocal supporter of Hamas and other Islamic militant organisations, the regime denies allegations it finances these groups.
No one other than the looney Left believes them, of course.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [273 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Too bad the U.S. won't be sending a 'high level' observer to those talks. A Predator tipped with Hellfire missiles would be sufficient to emphasize the finer points of state diplomacy.
Posted by: Spoter Unatle4689 || 02/20/2006 22:52 Comments || Top||

#2  flight plan filed? F22 "escort" to hell?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 22:56 Comments || Top||

Science & Technology
Master of the World
In December, Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors (Akron, OH) received a contract to build a prototype of the High Altitude Airship (HAA) that has been in the planning stages for several years. The $149.2-million award by the US Missile Defense Agency marks the beginning of the program's third phase, which is to culminate in the prototype’s delivery and flight in 2009.

The unmanned, near-space (planned operational altitude of 60,000-70,000 feet) HAA is intended to be part of the US’ domestic anti-missile and anti-air defense structure, filling the altitude “gap” between airplanes and satellites. Employing both advanced fuel cell and solar power array technology to produce power, it will also be able to provide enhanced weather and high-altitude imagery information to a variety of users. Its potential use in telecommunications – as sort of a very low altitude “satellite” – is almost unlimited.

At altitude, the HAA would command a view of an area nearly 600 miles in diameter. According to the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command, HAA is to have an endurance of one month at 65,000 feet, carry a payload of at least 500 pounds, provide at least 3 Kw of continuous power, have a cruise speed of 25 knots, and station-keeping accuracy of less than 2 kilometers 50% of the time and less than 150 kilometers 95% of the time.

In September, 2003, the Missile Defense Agency had awarded Lockheed Martin a $40-million design and risk- reduction contract at the beginning of Phase 2 of the HAA development. The prototype design concept at the time was larger than what is now being built, 500 feet long and with a volume of 5.2 million cubic feet vs. the current prototype size of 400 feet in length and a volume of 3.7 million cubic feet.

Lockheed Martin had previously received one of three $2 M contracts from the MDA for HAA Phase 1, which was to develop an airship that could stay aloft for 30 days while providing 10 KW of power to a 4,000-pound payload. Once built, it was to demonstrate launch and recovery, station-keeping, and flight-control capabilities with different mission payloads. Phase 2 was conducted by Lockheed Martin and concluded with the Critical Design review in late 2004. It included fabric and propulsion testing, hull design, and manufacturing procedures testing.

According to Katharine Dunlap, spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin Communications & Public Affairs, the final step in Phase 2 was the construction and successful testing of a 12,000 cubic foot volume aerostat. During Phase 2, over 40 fabrics were designed, produced, and tested to determine the airship’s best “skin.” An airship – being lighter than air and containing buoyant gas – must be both light enough and strong enough to fly in a variety of weather conditions.

In addition to fabrics, the propulsion, power, pressurization, and envelope components have been designed and tested, and are ready for prototype build. Subcontracting for the program is StratCom International LLC (Keedysville, MD).

Dunlap noted that the City of Akron, The Summit County Port Authority, and the State of Ohio are active supporters of the program to rebuild and update the Airdock, a historical building built in 1929 and measuring 1,175 feet long, 325 feet wide, and 211 feet high. Last used to assemble the US Navy’s ill-fated airships of the 1930s, it has been a long time since it was involved with any vehicle of this size.

Lockheed Martin is now acquiring subsystem elements which are being staged in the Airdock for assembly into the prototype. The hardware and the airship’s envelope are under construction, with first inflation set for mid-2007 and first testing in 2009. Under the current contract, said Dunlap, one HAA prototype will be built.

After Phase 3 testing has been completed, the Missile Defense Agency has the option to conduct an Extended User Evaluation Period Phase 4 for up to a year to continue its evaluation of the HAA as a military vehicle. The price tag for the HAA program has not yet been established.

While DOD has not yet indicated the total potential number of airships it will want, The North American Aerospace Defense Command has projected that 10-11 airships could provide surveillance coverage of the continental US coastlines and southern border. Lockheed Martin’s expectation is that a fleet of 10 to 15 would represent an initial production quantity, according to Dunlap.
Coastline I can understand, but southern border? You would think it would be more useful at forward deployed locations in SE Asia or the Middle East.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/20/2006 16:11 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [285 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I agree. Why use a bajillion-dollar aircraft to monitor a situation you have no intention of addressing?
Posted by: BH || 02/20/2006 16:35 Comments || Top||

#2  Give it time, HA. We know the border situation is bad, but it may well get worse. Think: shoulder-launched missiles, for instance.

I wish it weren't so, but I suspect we will see the North American Command doing a lot more than remote surveillance and BMD over the next decade.
Posted by: lotp || 02/20/2006 16:41 Comments || Top||

#3  Voice Over: Meanwhile for Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the year 1908 was a year of triumph.
Cut to interior of a zeppelin. A party. Expensively dressed guests. Champagne. A palm court orchestra playing. Some guests looking out of the windows in wonderment.
Von Bülow: (approaching Zeppelin) Herr Zeppelin - it's wonderful! It's put ballooning right back on the map.
Zeppelin goes instantly berserk with anger.
Zeppelin: It's not a balloon! D'you hear?... It's not a balloon ... It's an airship ... an airship ... d'you hear?
He hits him very hard on the top of the head with the underside of his fist.
Von Bülow Well, it's very nice anyway.
Tirpitz: (to Zeppelin) Tell me, what is the principle of these balloons?
Zeppelin: It's not a balloon! You stupid little thick-headed Saxon git! It's not a balloon! Balloons is for kiddy-winkies. If you want to play with balloons, get outside.
Drags Tirpitz over to the door, opens it and flings him out into the clouds.
Tirpitz: Aaaaaaaaaghhh!
Posted by: Zenster || 02/20/2006 17:05 Comments || Top||

#4  Luft!
Posted by: 6 || 02/20/2006 17:05 Comments || Top||

#5  Eventually CONUS will become CORSICA/CORSICANT lite. The airships in LR will ultimately be impervious to anything except a direct hit by suicide airliner/spaceplane or ICBM warhead(s).
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 02/20/2006 19:44 Comments || Top||

Iran aims to become top supplier of oil to China
Found via Drudge...

Iran and China have been discussing a major energy deal that would involve the swap of oil for technology.

Western diplomatic sources said the two countries have been examining an agreement that would make Iran the leading oil supplier to China. The sources said the long-term deal was valued at $100 billion.

Over the weekend, Iran and China discussed cooperation in oil, natural gas and petrochemicals. The official Iranian news agency Irna said the conference, held in Kish Island, was attended by officials and experts from both countries.
Gholam-Reza Manouchehri, managing director of Iran's Petropars, said China has been a major developer of Iran's energy reserves and called for the transfer of Chinese technology. Manouchehri also cited China's growing demand for oil.

"We intend to create new opportunities by making optimum use of the facilities of both countries in the mentioned fields," Manouchehri said.

Me thinks you intend to China to somehow shield Iran from the US via the Security Council...
Posted by: Laurence of the Rats || 02/20/2006 14:29 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The only technology Iran is interested in comes from Norinco.
Posted by: bigjim-ky || 02/20/2006 14:39 Comments || Top||

#2  I guess they figured out a way of pumping that crude out of the ground, after their oil infastructure is blown straight to hell! Even the US isn't stupid enough not to realize that if it can't reap the benefits of the black gold, China and others won't either!!
Posted by: smn || 02/20/2006 14:57 Comments || Top||

#3  They just bought themselves a security council vote.

China's going to make us negotiate until Iran has a nuclear weapon.
Posted by: Danking70 || 02/20/2006 16:37 Comments || Top||

#4  "China's going to make us negotiate until Iran has a nuclear weapon."

Or not. Who really gives a rat's ass about the UN or the UNSC? Sheesh.

Bush sez they will not be allowed to acquire them. Who do I believe? You few hereabouts -- or Bush? I'll go with Bush.

You can beat me bloody if he fails, K?

And I'll happily stomp you like a June Bug if he doesn't.

Fair 'nuff?
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 16:43 Comments || Top||

#5  Bush tends to do what he says he will do, on issues that he cares about.

Fasten your seatbelts, folks ... gonna be an interesting year. What with the midterm elections plus the mullahs plus our boy hugo.
Posted by: lotp || 02/20/2006 16:46 Comments || Top||

#6  You'll surely receive (at least) Honorary UK Citizenship for that understatement, lol...
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 16:48 Comments || Top||

#7  Iran aims to become top supplier of oil to China

Which is why from day one I've been saying that paralysing or crippling the Kargh Island pumping complex should be one of our primary targets.

China must be made to understand that their meddling and destabilization of global security comes with a price tag attached.
Posted by: Zenster || 02/20/2006 17:13 Comments || Top||

#8  OTOH, More Oil = More Chinese-specific
"modernization" = MORE LOCAL CHINESE + OFFICIALS WANTING PRIVATE WEALTH-INFLUENCE + LESS GOVT. INTERFERENCES = greater risk that the CCP will "implode" on its own.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 02/20/2006 20:07 Comments || Top||

Iran Calls for End to Cartoon Protests
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Monday called for an end to violent protests over cartoons of Prophet Muhammad which have swept the Muslim world after the images were published in several European newspapers. "We should try to cool down the situation. We do not support any violence," Mottaki said, But nuking the Jews and Christians is halal. adding that freedom of expression must be exercised with sensitivity and people's and nations' values and beliefs fully respected. As long as the kufr respects islam's authoritah, and don't you, kufr, dare expect any respect in return.
They finally realized the Motoon (hattip Tim Blair) riots have backfired and woke up the infidels. Time to shut up and allow the western PC and press elites to lull the kufr back to sleep.
Posted by: ed || 02/20/2006 07:10 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [243 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Worse than that, there great "Islamic conference to condemn the cartoons" was a complete and utter disaster and embarassment. So, now that the car has driven off the cliff and crashed on the rocks below, the Iranian driver is saying "I meant to do that!"
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/20/2006 9:46 Comments || Top||

#2  I think this is more of a call to end the way that Muslims are perishing in droves while not a single cartoonist has had a hair turned. More cartoons, please.
Posted by: Zenster || 02/20/2006 12:10 Comments || Top||

#3  The American people condemn in the strongest possible terms, the ridicule of the beloved Prophet of the noble faith of Islam, and we specifically condemn the heretic, Zenster for his serial insolence. As we are ending our 70 year strong-man policy in the Middle East, and delivering those lands to Islamist movements, we accept all blame for the brutalization of Islamists since the demise of Khalifa in 1924, and agree to pay compensation for our misguided policies, which are the result of Secular governments that have ruined America and promoted abortion.
Posted by: State Department || 02/20/2006 16:42 Comments || Top||

#4  More from our troll on the left coast of Canada.
Posted by: lotp || 02/20/2006 16:43 Comments || Top||

#5  It's a Droll Troll.

Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 16:46 Comments || Top||

#6  I think State has a pretty good schtick. But it doesn't wear well. Figure 2 posts a week.
Posted by: 6 || 02/20/2006 17:02 Comments || Top||

#7  Heh, 6 - you'd know about schticks. If you become monotonous and post such dense pointless tripe, I'll ask for your ass, too. S'only fair. ;-)

I suggest once per year, sorta like a memorial to Rex, Mikey, Aris, IToldYouSo, Mr Write, Cloon, and all of the other agenda wanks. Think it will ever hit Fred's tip jar any pay the freight? Me neither.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 17:13 Comments || Top||

#8  The American people condemn in the strongest possible terms, the ridicule of the beloved Prophet of the noble faith of Islam, and we specifically condemn the heretic, Zenster for his serial insolence.

The American people DO NOT condemn the ridicule of Islam's prophet or God. Many of us are still laughing at the cartoons today and will continue to do so tomorrow. Islam's inability to laugh at itself is a genuine symptom of its unworthiness as a religion.

As to me being a heretic, feh! I've been called worse by legitimate participants right here at this very web site. Bah and to he|| with your pro-terrorist scribbling, State Department.
Posted by: Zenster || 02/20/2006 17:38 Comments || Top||

#9  C'mon! You guys take State Department seriously? I can smell the sarcasm dripping off the words!

No? Am I missing something? I am familiar with the works of Aris and Common Sense - you suggesting this is another Common Sense?
Posted by: Bobby || 02/20/2006 17:48 Comments || Top||

#10  you suggesting this is another Common Sense?

Bobby, please watch my lips move:

Posted by: Zenster || 02/20/2006 18:01 Comments || Top||

#11  same stool tool
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 18:02 Comments || Top||

#12  Cloon? Don't recall that one. Maybe an arachic troll, right below the steveyR line.
Posted by: 6 || 02/20/2006 20:03 Comments || Top||

#13  Not Common Sense. CaziFarkus.
Posted by: Pappy || 02/20/2006 20:41 Comments || Top||

Diplomats say West may have to accept low-level Iranian nuclear work
The crisis over Iran's atomic agenda is deepening, but the world's nuclear watchdog chief has warned there may be no choice but to accept limited uranium enrichment by Tehran, diplomats say.

For a mistrustful West, the quid pro quo would be to give U.N. inspectors more intrusive powers via a Security Council resolution to prevent suspected atomic bomb projects.

Tehran in turn would have to pledge no industrial-scale enrichment of uranium.

Countries on the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have called for the Iranian controversy to be referred to the U.N. Security Council by March 6.

Iran hit back by breaking a moratorium on enrichment, the process of making fuel for atomic plants or, potentially, bombs.

The board vote has driven Iran into a corner under a banner of national pride and risks paralyzing the Council given that veto-holding Russia and China reject sanctions on Tehran mooted by Washington, IAEA veterans say.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei will make no recommendations in a broad report on three years of probes in Iran he is to give to board members on February 27, a week before they convene to weigh whether to urge a course of action by the Security Council.

But he has already suggested in diplomatic circles that a compromise may lie in accepting small-scale enrichment in Iran in exchange for guarantees of no full nuclear fuel production that could enable diversions into bomb-making, diplomats say.

IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said ElBaradei was still advocating publicly and privately that Iran take steps to earn international confidence by shelving enrichment-related work and cooperating fully with agency investigations.

"He has also told diplomats that Natanz (pilot enrichment plant) is Iran's bottom line, a sovereignty issue, a reality we may have to deal with," a diplomat close to the IAEA, who asked for anonymity due to the subject's sensitivity, said.

"Nothing of consequence will happen in the Security Council because the Russians and Chinese will block sanctions," the diplomat said of the two non-Western big powers determined to protect massive energy investments and trade with Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has welcomed ElBaradei's idea as a potential way to dispel Western suspicions Tehran seeks atomic bombs, while retaining its "irrefutable right to acquire nuclear technology" for electricity generation.

As an incentive for Iran to renounce its goal of industrial enrichment, Russia has offered to provide it purified uranium under a joint venture. This could prevent development of fissile fuel on Iranian soil that might be siphoned into warheads.

Iran agreed to negotiations on the idea in Moscow this week but its Atomic Energy Organization chief warned Iran would accept no deal excluding enrichment at home.

"We are a nuclear country. The (West) knows it has no other choice but to negotiate," Gholamreza Aghazadeh told state television, adding that Iran had invited Western countries to invest in Natanz and be present on site.

"There is no greater objective guarantee (against bomb-building) we can provide to the world," he said.

Last week Iran resumed test-feeding of uranium UF6 gas into a few centrifuges, which spin at supersonic speeds to yield fuel for nuclear plants or, if enriched to high levels, for warheads.

Analysts believe it may take Iran months to revive a cascade of 164 centrifuges corroded by disuse, and considerably longer to hurdle technological barriers to running the minimum 1,000 that would be needed to make fuel for a single crude bomb.

But U.S. and EU leaders, citing Tehran's past record of hiding nuclear work from the IAEA, object that to give Iran any leeway to ramp up UF6 production will hand it the know-how to "break out" with a nuclear arsenal whenever it so chooses.

Then it will be too late to prevent Iran endangering world peace, they say, pointing to the Islamic Republic's calls for
Israel's destruction and alleged support for Muslim militants.

"ElBaradei's suggestion seems naive ... If the Iranians get the compromise he's raised, they're likely to demand more concessions, especially operating more centrifuges," said David Albright, a former IAEA inspector in
Iraq and director of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.

Iran cites a right to develop civilian nuclear energy as a party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Toughening the NPT may be the only viable way out of the crisis given Security Council deadlock over sanctions and Iran's promise to enrich under IAEA monitoring, some analysts say.

"There's talk of the Council passing a resolution giving the IAEA much more intrusive powers applicable to all NPT states, so Iran can't claim discrimination as it does now. It's an imperfect compromise, but maybe the only one the West can get."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 02/20/2006 03:43 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I suppose ElBaradei Wormtongue still is trying to convince us that Iran just wants peace - dispite Iran's open calls to destroy Israel and the west.....

Posted by: CrazyFool || 02/20/2006 8:17 Comments || Top||

#2  Who says we have to?
Posted by: Ptah || 02/20/2006 8:29 Comments || Top||

#3  "West says Diplomats may have to accept low-paying jobs flipping burgers"
Posted by: mojo || 02/20/2006 15:05 Comments || Top||

#4  American Jacksonians say that diplomats may have to accept large fields of glowing green glass in the Middle East.
Posted by: Angaith Grerens9024 || 02/20/2006 16:34 Comments || Top||

#5  Background radiation as it were.
Posted by: 6 || 02/20/2006 17:03 Comments || Top||

Iranian foreign minister to meet with EU leaders
Iran’s foreign minister meets with European officials Monday amid new diplomatic efforts to end the standoff with the West over Iran’s nuclear program.

Manouchehr Mottaki’s talks in Brussels coincide with a visit to Moscow by Iranian negotiators to discuss Russia’s offer to host uranium enrichment for Iran in an effort to ensure that the Islamic republic’s nuclear program cannot be used to develop atomic weapons.

In an interview with a French radio station Thursday, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, floated the prospect of renewing contacts with European negotiators and reopening nuclear facilities to snap international inspections.

Mottaki meets with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who joined the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in a now stalled diplomatic drive to persuade Iran to accept international controls to prevent weapons development.

The Iranian minister will hold talks with Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, who is also chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He is expected to conclude the visit with an address to the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

A spokesman for the committee, Thomas Bickel, said the idea for the visit came from Iran and showed a readiness in Tehran to “return to a dialogue” with Europe.

The EU and the United States have supported the Russian initiative, but Iranian officials have given mixed signals about Moscow’s offer.

Iran’s official news agency Sunday quoted Mottaki as saying that Iran would consider a Russian proposal on uranium enrichment if certain provisions were met.

“If the Russian plan, with supplementary indicators, leads to a comprehensive proposal, then we could say it will have Iran’s interest,” IRNA quoted Mottaki as saying. “The partners in the plan, the duration of the project, location of enrichment and consensus of all related parties would be significant to Iran.”

The Russian plan is seen as a last chance for Iran to address international concerns before a March 6 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which could start a process leading to sanctions from the UN Security Council.

European relations with Iran have nose-dived in recent months over the stalled nuclear talks, outrage over remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for Israel’s destruction and questioning the Holocaust, and Tehran’s decision to suspend trade with Denmark over the cartoon’s representing the Prophet Muhammad.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 02/20/2006 03:39 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [251 views] Top|| File under:

Wally: Lahoud is defender of Syrian interests
Druze leader Walid Jumblatt stressed the need to elect a president who will "safeguard Lebanon's interests," asserting that President Emile Lahoud "safeguards the interests of the Syrian regime." Jumblatt went on to dispute that Lahoud was a "Lebanese President."
Since Damascus installed him, I wouldn't call him one, despite his sash.
Jumblatt's candid statements came in an interview on Friday with Voice of Lebanon radio, where he said: "Lebanon now has a duty to elect a new president who will safeguard the Constitution and Lebanon's independence and sovereignty." He said that MP Michel Aoun, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, is a "democratic figure and is one of the candidates for presidency." Jumblatt said he wished Aoun had participated in demonstrations on February 14 as "he is a basic part of March 14."
I'm still trying to figure Aoun. I liked him better when he was in exile. But my mind's not devious enough to understand the intricacies of Leb politix. I think you have to be born into the oligarchy to really comprehend them.
Commenting on statements made by Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah slamming the speeches of leaders of the March 14 Forces during the commemoration for slain former PM Rafik Hariri, Jumblatt said: "We tell Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah that his duty is over. There is no need for arms when it concerns the Shebaa Farms. UN Security Council Resolution 425 has been implemented and this is proved by the UN-demarcated Blue Line." The Chouf MP, a strong anti-Syrian figure, said that the solution to the disputed Shebaa Farms "is when the Syrian government acknowledges they are Lebanese territories - then we can resort to the international court that will decide this matter."
Posted by: Fred || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [260 views] Top|| File under:

Battle for Lebanon's presidency begins with Sfeir's tacit blessing
The battle between Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and the forces of March 14 was officially declared Friday, as Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir implied he would not oppose a legal step aimed at ousting the President.
Emile's toast. Probably what's holding things up is the question of who gets to succeed him. I'd guess it'll be a Christian — I think it's a requirement, in fact — but I'd guess it'll be Wally's Christian. But when the process reaches its full blossom there'll be a Nasrallah Christian to oppose him, and probably a Knobby Berri Christian, and possibly an Aoun and/or Geagea Christian. The ghost of Anna Comnena told me she's getting a headache...
And as the attack on Lahoud continued to gain momentum, Speaker Nabih Berri announced March 2 as a date for the long-awaited Parliamentary dialogue, intended to resolve the country's severe political differences.
Last time I looked, Damascus still owned Knobby. But his lease may have run out by now, given the way the wind's blowing...
Speaking to local daily An-Nahar, Sfeir said that despite the fact he opposed toppling Lahoud through "popular street protests," he did not mind resorting to legal procedures in ending Lahoud's mandate. "Those who want to oust Lahoud should use constitutional means. We are with the law. If the law allows a change [of president] so be it," he said.
Y'got a puppet imposed by Damascus, who occupied you for 30 years. Who's dumb enough to think he's going to finish his term in office. Whose henchmen are in jug for murdering Hariri. I guess you can take your time about it. How's the end of March sound?
Sfeir had initially resisted the March 14 Forces calls to topple Lahoud, but the patriarch has been recently softening his previous stances, and moving closer to accepting an early end to Lahoud's term.
I think he met with Emile and smelled the decomposition. And he's come to the conclusion that the Syrians aren't coming back...
But Sfeir asked politicians demanding that Lahoud be toppled through public consensus to resort to legal and constitutional procedures in their quest instead of resorting to massive public demonstrations. "Toppling the president should not happen this way," he said, adding that the Parliament majority should agree on a new president before ousting Lahoud, and warning that Lebanon was going through a delicate period.
That's what I said. They'll spend a month or so juggling Christians...
Sfeir, who was visited by Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun late Friday night as The Daily Star went to press, also regretted the fact that the post of the presidency has become the target of attacks, and said that disputes over the legitimacy of Lahoud are harming the country.
Emile could fix that easily enough. He can't do much of anything else, though...
After the meeting, Aoun did not give a statement, but sources close to the FPM said he had discussed the controversial issues of the presidency and the Baabda-Aley elections. "The current state of the presidency does not honor the Lebanese or the man still holding on to the post," Sfeir said.
That's a hint to Emile. Not very subtle, either...
"I am against the creation of political vacuum," he said. "There should be an agreement on the identity of the new president before agreeing on toppling of the present president."
"But he's gonna be toppled, isn't he?"
In a further effort to round up support from the Patriarch, who is seen as the religious mentor of the presidency, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea met Sfeir in Bkirki on Friday, saying after he emerged that he was "happy with the discussions" over the presidency. "I don't want to reveal what the patriarch said, but I was happy with the course of the discussion ... which mainly revolved over the most important issues right now: ousting Lahoud," Geagea said. He added that the political and public will was ripe right now to topple Lahoud, and called on any political party supporting the president's stay in power "to raise their finger."
Posted by: Fred || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [258 views] Top|| File under:

U.S.: Lebanese should have the right to free, fair presidential election
U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman said Friday the Lebanese should have the right to elect their president according to the Constitution and without any outside meddling. "Our position regarding the presidency is clear since we support UN Resolution 1559 which calls for fair and free presidential elections," Feltman said following a visit to Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Elias Murr. "I believe it is time for the Lebanese to have the right to have free and fair presidential elections according to their constitution and without any outcome forced from outside," he said.
Posted by: Fred || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [252 views] Top|| File under:

GCC does not oppose referring Iran to Security Council: chief
Chief of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which groups six Gulf Arab countries, said on Saturday that the bloc did not oppose referring Iran's nuclear file to the UN Security Council, which might lead to sanctions.

GCC Secretary General Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah was cited by the official Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) as saying that the GCC had no objection to the referral of Iran's nuclear program to the Security Council or any international resolutions regarding this issue.
"Sure, go ahead, just don't miss and hit us instead."
Speaking upon arrival in Kuwait, Al-Attiyah also reiterated the bloc's call for a Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Cheap talk since Israel won't give up its best guarantee of survival.
But the secretary general also said that Iran had the right to peaceful nuclear technology. "It is a legal right to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes for Iran and other countries in the region," he said, but stressed the importance of maintaining stability, security and peace.
And we all know that peaceful nuclear energy in Iran means peace and stability.
Al-Attiyah also asserted that the GCC hoped that the Iranian nuclear issue could be solved through dialogues and diplomatic means. Uneasy about Iran's nuclear program, the GCC- grouping Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain- has long called for a nuclear-free Mideast, but has cautiously avoided harsh words toward Iran.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [268 views] Top|| File under:

Rafsanjani has no say in Iran's nuclear policy - official
Tehran, Iran, Feb. 19 – Former Iranian President and current chairman of the State Expediency Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has no say in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear policy, a senior Iranian official said on Saturday.

Mohsen Rezai, the former Supreme Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), told reporters that the expediency council and its chairman had no involvement in Iran’s nuclear file. Rezai himself has the influential post of secretary general of State Expediency Council. “The Supreme National Security Council is the main organ in charge of the nuclear file, and the Expediency Council does not therefore involve itself in this file in any way, but the President and government officials brief it on the country’s nuclear file”, Rezai said.

As chair of the SEC, Rafsanjani is in charge of keeping the Mad Mullahs™ in charge arbitration in disputes between the Guardian Council and Iran’s Majlis, or parliament.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [382 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Guardian Council - Check.
State Expediency Council - Check.
Supreme National Secuiryt Council - Check.
Islamic Revolutionary Guards Council - Check.
Basij Regional HQs - Check.
Majlis - Check.
Qom - Check.
Tehran - Check.
Natanz - Check.

GPS Checklist Complete.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 22:42 Comments || Top||

#2  And their little dog Ahmadinejad, well who cares. He is just a mouthpiece for the M2IC.

And do not forget the M2's assets (businesses, property owned, etc) on your coordinate list, .com

Maybe they can be taken out first, and let the people string up your list by themselves.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/20/2006 22:48 Comments || Top||

#3  Now wait a sec there, buddy, do you know what an ellipsis means? Huh, do ya?

Any damned thing I want it to! Lol.

Yeah, I was indicating all those goodies I couldn't yank out of the article and grouping them in the sequence and lazily representing them with the ellipsis. Sue me, lol.

As for the folks, those Persians, I read an article somewhere today that really depressed me. It indicated that, independent of their opinion of the Mullahs, that something like 80% of Persians - across all age and other lines - support the nuke pgm. Muzzy Viagra. Fuck. So they might say "Thank ya!" if we offed the MMs for 'em, but they'd be extra pissed if we took away the new toys.

Sucks to be them, then. Life is, indeed, very very hard on stupid people and people with tiny dicks.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 22:57 Comments || Top||

#4  I will have to reluctantly agree with you, .com. If the people of Iran were less divided, they would have booted the MMs out by now. Hopefully we have some contacts in-country (rebel groups, some military folks) that can help tip things when we attack. It has to be overwhelming, quick, and deadly. We may not get a second chance on this one to be relatively clean.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/20/2006 23:04 Comments || Top||

#5  they do have a dissident middle class, but they really appear to be lazy, huh? I had a better feeling about the next gov't after a decap strike, but am getting (if possible) more cynical. I and AP are really of the opinion that not only do we have to attack those targets you mentioned, .com, but also the personal assets.wealth onf teh MM's. They are less a clerical theocracy than a beturbanned gang with weakass rhetoric. How does a pious man of Allah become a multi-millionaire, anyway?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 23:08 Comments || Top||

#6  onf teh ?

Jeebus! - almost bed time - short work week with full week's workload beckons?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 23:10 Comments || Top||

#7  Agreed. Gotta get it right the first go 'round... while most who directly benefit from the removal of the threat will sit on their hands and, later, criticize how we did it.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 23:11 Comments || Top||

Many Muslims ignore Iran’s incitement over cartoons
Hat tip Orrin Judd.
Tehran, Iran, Feb. 19 – An attempt by Iran’s radical theocratic government to organise an international conference of Islamist parties in Tehran to adopt a unanimous position on the publication of cartoons depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad may have to be put off due to lack of interest from political parties across the Muslim world.
As whupped up as many of the Muslim crazies are, they're Sunni crazies with no desire to go to Iran.
Iran invited a total of 149 various political parties in Muslim countries to take part in its “Global Conference of Parties from Islamic States”. The event was billed by Iran’s state-run media as a major international response to the “blasphemous, Islamophobic moves of Western governments”. A draft resolution prepared by the organisers included references to Iran’s nuclear stand-off with the West and declared support for the Islamic Republic.

Contrary to their expectation, the organisers have not heard from the vast majority of the invitees. Up until now, only three parties from Algeria have signed up for the conference, despite the extensive advertisement that has been carried out and the huge cost that comes with it.

The event has had to been postponed several times due to lack of interest.
Can't imagine why.
Twelve parties were invited to take part in the conference from Pakistan, eight from Bangladesh, seven from Turkey, five from Indonesia, five from Algeria, four from India, three from Albania, two from Tunisia, two from Kyrgyzstan, two from Sudan, one from Syria, one from Morocco, and 55 from Afghanistan.

“Iran has many surrogates among the Islamist political parties in the Muslim world”, Naji al-Tufaili, a Lebanese Shiite political commentator said in a telephone interview in Cairo. “But this time, the Iranian leaders felt the worldwide row over the cartoons provided an opportunity for them to appeal to Islamist parties that have not been in their sphere of influence. They failed, because these parties could clearly see that Iran was trying to make political capital for itself out of religious sentiments of the Muslims”.

Syrian and Turkish parties have said they would be willing to participate if the event was not called an “Islamic” conference.
There's a poll on how to handle Iran at the link. As we say in Chicago, vote early and often.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [257 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Boy, I'll bet they're really really embarrassed. And pissed. Yeah, pissed too. But mainly really really embarrassed. They prolly forgot to tell everyone that they didn't need to bring a gift.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 22:08 Comments || Top||

Fatah general signals impatience with contentious militia in South
The general supervisor of the Fatah Movement in Lebanon, Brigadier Munir Maqdah, said that he was "ready to put an end to the armed militants who are causing trouble in the Taamir area by resorting to military options or by peaceful means."
But... but... Don't you have to negotiate for seven or eight years and then get a UN resolution? What's Amnesia International have to say about all that?
Speaking on Sunday to The Daily Star, Maqdah, referring to the Jund al-Sham militia, said "we have many options including a military option provided that peaceful methods are not neglected."
"Being Paleostinians, we prefer the peaceful methods, of course... Mahmoud, that man is snickering. Kill him."
On Friday, the Lebanese Army was on a high state of alert when clashes almost broke out between the Jund al-Sham militia and the army over rumors that a supporter of the militia, Mohammed Shmandour, a Lebanese national, had been beaten to death by the Lebanese Army. Shmandour was arrested last week on rumors that he possessed weapons and ammunition. That caused some 50 Jund al-Sham militants who were armed and masked and members from Shmandour's family to protest by setting car tires on fire.
Most places, that would lead to further arrests. Maybe even in La Belle France.
A Lebanese-Palestinian Follow-Up Committee held an emergency meeting with Sheikh Abu Abeida, an official in Usbat al-Ansar, an outlawed Islamic fundamentalist group.
Where was the meeting held? The Hole in the Wall?
During the emergency meeting, Maqdah said that he needed "a written agreement from Sidon MPs Osama Saad and Bahia Hariri as well as approval from the Lebanese Army and Palestinian factions in order to take the steps. But still there is no answer."
Lemme see, here... An outlawed militant group meets with the gummint side and sez it needs written authorization to take the law into its own hands and wreak carnage on another outlawed militant group in a town that's within Lebanon but not controlled by the Lebs. I think I got that. My head spun around 360 degrees and now my neck hurts, but I got it.
An Ein el-Hilweh resident said "the Lebanese Army had blocked the roads again on Saturday night for more than six hours preventing cars from going inside the camp." Two hand grenades were thrown on Saturday inside the camp in Hay al-Manshiyye and in Khat al-Sikke areas but no casualties or damage were reported. Roads were later reopened on Sunday morning.
"Are they done throwing hand grenades, sergeant?"
"I think so, sir!"
"Very well. Reopen the road."
MP Bahia Hariri, after a meeting with a delegation from Taamir, described the situation as a "ticking time bomb." More than seven months ago there were attempts to instigate trouble with the Lebanese Army in Taamir.
Posted by: Fred || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [259 views] Top|| File under:

Iran insists on right to enrich uranium on eve of Russia talks
Iran said Sunday it was standing by its "right" to enrich uranium on its own soil, just a day before talks with Russia aimed at finding a compromise on the ultra-sensitive nuclear work. The negotiations on Moscow's offer to carry out ultra-sensitive uranium enrichment work on Russian soil are seen as a last chance for Tehran to avoid being hauled before the UN Security Council for possible punitive action. Having already been reported to the Security Council, Iran is also under pressure to provide greater access to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors and return to a full freeze of enrichment work - which can be extended to weapons making.

"The Islamic Republic is not being stubborn or adventurist, but it will not accept the suppression of its nuclear fuel activities," said Javad Vaidi, a member of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.
Posted by: Fred || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [234 views] Top|| File under:

Syria slams US 'meddling'
Slam and be damned!
Syria has lashed out at the United States over its plans to allocate $5 million to the Syrian opposition.
Yeah. They need more than that.
Walid Muallem, the Syrian Foreign Minister, told reporters on Sunday: "This is meddling in Syria's internal affairs and we reject it."
Oh, dear! We certainly wouldn't want to meddle in the internal affairs of a bloody-handed dictatorship.
The US State Department said on Friday that it would allocate $5 million to finance the Syrian opposition amidst worsening relations between the two countries. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, said on Thursday that the United States wanted to strengthen sanctions against Syria and was trying to convince other nations to follow suit. The Bush administration backs a United Nations probe into the murder a year ago of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, and 20 other people in a Beirut seafront bombing that has been linked to Syria.
They said something about Syria's habit of meddling in the affairs of other countries...
Washington also frequently accuses Syria of failing to stem the flow of foreign fighters across its border with Iraq.
Which'd be... ummm... meddling in Iraq's affairs.
Posted by: Fred || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [243 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Because you talk shit, we'll send ANOTHER 5 million to your opposition."
Posted by: Ptah || 02/20/2006 8:33 Comments || Top||

#2  Sounds like a little JDAM meddling is in order.

Unless they'd prefer a MOAB?
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/20/2006 22:08 Comments || Top||

#3  I'm always impressed with the fact that these little zits on the world's ass can respond to most anything with, "We reject it!" and figure it's case closed. Pretty nifty trick. Never worked for me, though...
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 22:12 Comments || Top||

US Mideast democracy plan backfiring: Iran president
Washington's push for Middle East democracy is resulting in across the board victories for militant Islamic movements, Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has boasted in an interview. Ahmadinejad also branded Western democracy as a "lie", said Islamic militants would not be disarmed and predicted the defeat of the "myth of an invincible and eternal Zionism" enshrined by the state of Israel.

The comments came as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice left for a Middle East tour to push efforts to spread democracy and counter what the United States views as an increasingly aggressive Iranian policy. "The American slogan of democracy has had the reverse effect in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and even Palestine. Everywhere in the Islamic world, when there are free and fair elections, the Islamists and groups favouring resistance are winning," the ultra-conservative president told the official news agency IRNA Sunday. "The myth of an invincible and eternal Zionism and its ideal (of a greater Israel) from the Nile to the Euphrates was been given a pounding by the 1979 Islamic revolution and has been in retreat ever since. The retreat of oppression from Iran, Lebanon and even Palestine are important victories. The Palestinian people voted for resistance to continue and the ideal of a Palestine free of occupation, and not politics in the shadow of Zionism," he added, referring to last month's legislative election win by Hamas. This is a first step and other successes will come."
Posted by: Fred || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [252 views] Top|| File under:

Syrian judges protest their firing
DAMASCUS - More than 40 sacked judges held a sit-in demonstration on Sunday near the Rawda presidential palace in the Syrian capital demanding their rehiring, a human rights activist said. “About 45 judges gathered this morning near the Rawda palace in order to demand the canceling of the decree” issued by President Bashar Al-Assad last October, the activist told AFP on condition of anonymity.

At the time, Assad fired 81 judges and increased wages for the judiciary as part of a programme of intended legal reforms.
'Reform' and 'Assad' just don't seem to go together, do they.
The dismissals were reported in the state-run Ath-Thawra newspaper, but no reason was given. Syria’s premier human rights activist and lawyer Anwar Bunni criticised the firing of judges as undermining the independence of the courts.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [244 views] Top|| File under:

Terror Networks
Stealing Al-Qa’-ida’s Playbook - CTC
Somewhat lengthy .pdf file
Posted by: DepotGuy || 02/20/2006 17:09 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This is what I get:

You were denied access because:
Access denied by access control list. "
Posted by: tipper || 02/20/2006 21:08 Comments || Top||

#2  you're fine then. We want the ones who have access. Go about your business..
Posted by: Don Rumsfeld || 02/20/2006 21:17 Comments || Top||

#3  tipper, that file should be available to you. I've accessed it from 3 different computers / user logins.
Posted by: lotp || 02/20/2006 21:33 Comments || Top||

#4  Still the same message, but then I can't access LGF either. May need to do some tweaking on my cache.
Posted by: tipper || 02/20/2006 21:36 Comments || Top||

#5  Too clever by half. These guys seem to think there is some non-military solution if only we were as clever as they. The problem is there isn't.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 02/20/2006 22:15 Comments || Top||

#6  The infamous "third way" we hear so much about?
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 22:17 Comments || Top||

Binny sez he'll never be taken alive in full audio tape
Osama bin Laden promised never to be captured alive and declared the U.S. had resorted to the same "repressive" tactics used by Saddam Hussein, according to an audiotape purportedly by the al-Qaeda leader that was posted Monday on a militant website.

The tape appeared to be a complete version of one that was first broadcast Jan. 19 on Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite channel, in which bin Laden offered the United States a long-term truce but also said his al-Qaeda terror network would soon launch a fresh attack on American soil.

"I have sworn to only live free. Even if I find bitter the taste of death, I don't want to die humiliated or deceived," Mr. bin Laden said.

In drawing the comparison to American military behaviour in Iraq to that of Mr. Hussein, the speaker said:

"The jihad is continuing with strength, for Allah be all the credit, despite all the barbarity, the repressive steps taken by the American army and its agents, to the extent that there is no longer any mentionable difference between this criminality and the criminality of Saddam."

With the implied criticism of Mr. Hussein, Mr. bin Laden appeared to be denying assertions by the United States that the former Iraqi leader had ties to al-Qaeda — ties that were given as one rationale for invading Iraq.

In the full tape that was posted Monday, bin Laden engaged in renewed propaganda, mocking President George W. Bush's aircraft carrier declaration in April 2003 that major conflict in Iraq had ended.

Speaking directly to the American people, the speaker said:

"You can rescue whatever you can from this hell. The solution is in your hands, if their (U.S. troops') situation matters to you at all."

The initial excerpts had been the first tape from the al-Qaida leader in more than a year — the longest period without a message since the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackings in the United States.

The CIA last month authenticated the voice on the initial recording as that of bin Laden, an agency official told The Associated Press at the time. The al-Qaida leader is believed to be hiding in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 02/20/2006 03:18 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [265 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "I have sworn to only live free. Even if I find bitter the taste of death, I don't want to die humiliated or deceived," Mr. bin Laden said.

This guy is as deluded as Mohammed Atta. Remember him? He wrote a will stipulating that he not be buried with contact with menstruating women. As if someone was going to see to it that his wishes were carried out!

No humiliation, indeed! Sorry Binny, you don't get to pick how you go off.
Posted by: Spoter Unatle4689 || 02/20/2006 8:53 Comments || Top||

#2  err...
Fine with me binny, whatever suits you dude..
just GO
Posted by: frenchfregoli || 02/20/2006 10:06 Comments || Top||

#3  and declared the U.S. had resorted to the same "repressive" tactics used by Saddam Hussein,

... to the extent that there is no longer any mentionable difference between this criminality and the criminality of Saddam.

Amazing.... Binny is channeling Ted Kennedy....

Has anyone ever seen the two of them in the same room?
Posted by: CrazyFool || 02/20/2006 10:39 Comments || Top||

#4  Ah yes, it is all a Rovian plot to have bin Laden (the real one, dontcha know) parrot Democrat talking points.

Each time he does it, I understand binny gets to watch his favorite Jessica Simpson video.
Posted by: eLarson || 02/20/2006 11:25 Comments || Top||

#5  (lest their be any confusion, that was me channeling Joshua Micah Marshall... except for the last line. I couldn't resist.)
Posted by: eLarson || 02/20/2006 11:27 Comments || Top||

#6  Works for me, binny. We don't wantcha alive, anyway.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/20/2006 15:51 Comments || Top||

#7  FNC reports that Osama had warned about new plans being made to attack America - will say again that Dubya, his Admin, and the bulk of the GOP Congress, including anti-Clinton Dems as PC "collateral/incidental casualties", are the Burqua Boyz's likely targets. The Clinton-led, OWG and anti-American American Socialist Dems will rule Washington and the NPE becuz they
"survived" any new 9-11's. Furthermore, iff Dubya decides to stop Iran from dev nukes vv mil action, ANY US "DEFEAT/STALEMATE" WILL BE INTERPRETED BY OSAMA AS THE DIVINE HAND OF GOD-ISLAM, THIS EMPOWERING HIS CAUSE. 9-11 and the GWOT > AMERICA EITHER PREVAILS, OR IT WILL BE DESTROYED.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 02/20/2006 19:38 Comments || Top||

#8  Well said Joe, makes wanna go clean my Browning HP.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/20/2006 19:41 Comments || Top||

#9  why doesn't this big-lipped ugly piece of shit show himself in a competent video? Half his face gone? Stroke?
Posted by: Frank G || 02/20/2006 19:43 Comments || Top||

#10  Osama bin Laden promised never to be captured alive

Works for me too, Barb!
Posted by: Secret Master || 02/20/2006 20:36 Comments || Top||

New Fatwa creates sixth Pillar of Islam
(2006-02-19) — As the global death toll from protests over editorial cartoons rose to 45 yesterday, an Islamic scholar, or Mufti, issued a new fatwa adding a “Sixth Pillar” to the traditional five requirements of the religion.

The following is the new revised standard version of the pillars of Islam…
1. Testifying to God’s one-ness: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet.”
2. Prayer: five times daily
3. Fasting: during daylight in the month of Ramadan
4. Giving charity: 2.5 percent of income to needy Muslims
5. Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca, for those who are able, or
6. Participation in a violent demonstration to protect Allah from insult

The sixth pillar is technically part of the fifth pillar, the fatwa explains, “and it provides a cheap, convenient alternative to the Mecca Hajj that can be performed at an embassy or fast-food establishment near you.”

According to a written statement to be read in mosques worldwide this week. “This new expression of devotion is simply an acknowledgement of the important place that sacramental rioting has come to hold in the lives of so many Muslims.”

The fatwa has been issued, the statement said, “to codify the official silence of major Muslim leaders over the bloodshed and property damage caused by our followers as they valiantly try to shelter Allah (the great and powerful) from devastating emotional harm caused by these vicious cartoons.”
Posted by: Korora || 02/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [279 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Lol. Ott, chronicler of our era, bears witness:
There is a reform movement within Islam.
Posted by: .com || 02/20/2006 0:13 Comments || Top||

#2  Actually, #6 may be a safer activity than #5, the Hadjj, given the number of people trampled to death there each year.
Posted by: GK || 02/20/2006 1:41 Comments || Top||

#3  I am sick and tired of all the radical Islamic bull shits. I am sure; most of the US citizens are feeling the same. Could it be just the matter of time for these Islamists to shape up or get screwed up really bad? I do not think so. The entire politicking of US and the western countries are to kiss the ass of the Islamists. Look at the China. China tolerates the Islamists for a while then China blasts a whole bunch of Islamists. The Islamists in China finally stay in control. The problem with US and the western polices are that they want to have the cake and eat it too. This does not work in societies where power is the God.

I always joked that India exists because no power in the world wants to conquer India even if the politicians there are eager to sell India for a few bucks. Not even China, wants to have a huge headache. In the modern world, you do not want to conquer a country or a population. All you want is to establish your control. Now, look at the world. India can do nothing against the wishes of Islamists when less than only 15% Of India's population is Muslims. Lebanon is no more a Christian country. And no free press in USA ever dared to publish the cartoons of Mohammad as was done in Denmark.
Friends, you will not believe that we already have lost to the Islamists. Now, be ready to protect your grand daughters from a certain rape by the Islamists in your own country in the future. Our own politicians and big business already havev sold you to the Islamists. Thousands of our young men and women in armed forces are being sacrificed for the stupidity of our politicians. Please have the compassion that those thousands of our young men and women killed and injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan are just like your child. Please, never think they are the children of some one else. I do not know about you friends, I simply wish, I will be around to have my double barrel shot gun blazing to any Islamist who ever dared to touch my grand daughter. Will you not? You do not believe me; look what happens in the Islamic world. Most of the non-Muslim daughters and grand daughters are raped by the Islamists in the Muslim countries.
Posted by: Annon || 02/20/2006 4:19 Comments || Top||

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Two weeks of WOT
Mon 2006-02-20
  Uttar Pradesh minister issues bounty for beheading cartoonists
Sun 2006-02-19
  Muslims Attack U.S. Embassy in Indonesia
Sat 2006-02-18
  Nigeria hard boyz threaten total war
Fri 2006-02-17
  Pak cleric rushdies cartoonist
Thu 2006-02-16
  Outbreaks along Tumen River between Nork guards and armed N Korean groups
Wed 2006-02-15
  Yemen offers reward for Al Qaeda jailbreakers
Tue 2006-02-14
  Cartoon protesters go berserk in Peshawar
Mon 2006-02-13
  Gore Bashes US In Saudi Arabia
Sun 2006-02-12
  IAEA cameras taken off Iran N-sites
Sat 2006-02-11
  Danish ambassador quits Syria
Fri 2006-02-10
  Nasrallah: Bush and Rice should 'shut up'
Thu 2006-02-09
  Taliban offer 100kg gold for killing cartoonist
Wed 2006-02-08
  Syrian Ex-VP and Muslim Brotherhood Put Past Behind Them
Tue 2006-02-07
  Captain Hook found guilty in London
Mon 2006-02-06
  Cartoon riots: Leb interior minister quits

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