US Ambassador John Bolton accused the United Nations and some Security Council members on Monday of moving too slowly towards setting up a UN peacekeeping force in Sudan's troubled Darfur region. Bolton expressed frustration with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and UN officials over the pace of preparation for the mission, which would replace 7,000 African Union troops. He also said African and Arab diplomats on the Security Council needed to move more quickly. "We're prepared, but the main thing, I think, is to get the internal UN operation to be moving more quickly, which we'd like to see," he said.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said United Nations officials were in talks with African leaders about the force and that planning for the mission "is moving full-steam ahead." The African Union's mandate in Darfur expires on March 31. Bolton's criticism came three days after US President George W. Bush backed a larger force for Darfur, where an estimated 180,000 people have died since early 2003 when decades of tribal clashes over land and water erupted into large-scale violence.
It was Bush's strongest statement of support yet for an expanded international role in Darfur. He said that a new mission in Darfur will require "probably double" the current number of international peacekeepers and a coordinating role for NATO. The Security Council on February 3 urged the United Nations to start planning to take over the mission. Annan has urged major powers to take part, saying an expanded force will need the kind of assets only a highly capable military can provide.
Mauritania is holding seven men without trial under U.S. pressure on suspicion they were recruited by an al Qaeda-linked group to fight in Iraq, their lawyers said on Monday, but the government denied bowing to Washington. The men, all young Mauritanians suspected of being trained in Algeria by an Islamic militant group, were tortured after their arrest and are still in prison despite a court order for their provisional release, their lawyers said.
"They are not being released under pressure from certain embassies, and particularly from the United States," said Mohameden Ould Icehidou, a lawyer representing three of the men. "It is about maintaining a permanent plot and showing that (Mauritania) is active in what is called the fight against terrorism," he told Reuters in the capital, Nouakchott.
Mauritania's military rulers denied any U.S. pressure. "There are suspected terrorists among this group. They are in the hands of the justice system," Colonel Mohamed Ould Abdel-Aziz, who led a bloodless coup last August and is a member of the country's ruling military council, told Reuters. "There can be an exchange between states in such cases but there is no pressure," he said in an interview, adding that they were being held awaiting trial while investigations continued.
U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment.
The men were arrested in April 2005 in the northern town of Nouadhibou and were tortured before Mauritania's state security service compiled a report saying they had been trained to fight in Iraq, Ould Icehidou said. He said the men were suspected of receiving training in the Sahara from the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), an Algerian militant movement, but no weapons had been found when they were arrested and no evidence had been provided to back up the claims.
"They have not been judged. There has been no evolution in this dossier," said Fatimata M'Baye, president of the Mauritanian Human Rights Association (AMDH).
"They were just simple shepherds. Well-armed, simple shepherds."
Mauritanian authorities have said in the past that Algerian-based Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), a movement allied to al Qaeda and on a U.S. list of terrorist organisations, was recruiting youths to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and the Palestinian territories.
But many Mauritanians say former President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, overthrown last August, exaggerated the militant threat to justify arresting scores of moderate Islamist opponents. "Taya hypnotised the United States in making it believe there was terrorism here," said Brahim Ould Ebetty, a Mauritanian human rights lawyer.
"It was just lies, all lies!"
Taya assiduously courted Washington in the later years of his rule, shifting support away from former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to the United States and Israel, to the dismay of many Arabs in the Islamic Republic.
The junta released many Islamist political prisoners in Mauritania immediately after it took power, to the alarm of some diplomats, but has repeatedly said it wants to have its cake and eat it too remain a U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism. Some 21 Islamist prisoners, including the seven men arrested in Nouadhibou, are still in prison.
Local human rights groups say foreign interest in the seven detained men has made it more difficult for Mauritania's interim leaders -- anxious to maintain international goodwill during the transition -- to resolve their case quickly. "The government is very troubled by this affair. There is American pressure which they cannot get away from," Ebetty said.
Mauritania has in the past received military training from the United States as part of Washington's Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI), designed to confront the threat of terrorism, banditry and smuggling in the vast Sahel region. The United States' top diplomat for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, said on Friday the country would remain cut off from many areas of U.S. cooperation and assistance until a democratically elected government was in place. "Certainly, we can't cooperate with them at the level that we would want to, given the terrorist threat in the Trans-Sahara," she said.
Egypt's foreign minister said Tuesday it would be premature to cut off international aid for a Palestinian government, even if Hamas is at its helm, dashing Bush administration hopes for a unified front as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stood stiffly at his side. "We should give Hamas time," Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said. "I'm sure that Hamas will develop, will evolve. We should not prejudge the issue."
"Yass, yass. Let's not be hasty here."
That was not the message Rice had hoped to hear from Egypt, an important US ally and Arab powerbroker. The US has praised Egypt for telling Hamas it must moderate its views now that the Islamic group has won elections for control of the Palestinian parliament. Rice, making her first trip to the region since last month's Hamas victory, stood alongside Gheit as he spoke. "If the new Palestinian government led by Hamas is going to be able to meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a peaceful life, for a better life, for a life in which there's economic development, it goes without saying that you cannot have one foot in the camp of terror and the other foot in the camp of politics," Rice said during a crowded and sometimes raucous press conference with Gheit.
Kuwaiti lawmakers Tuesday urged the new Cabinet to fight widespread corruption and to implement long-awaited reforms, a day after it took the oath. "Corruption here has become a big monster," Islamist MP Nasser al-Sane said during a parliamentary debate on the government's program. "We want a new methodology in fighting corruption ... The whole country appears to have been sold as everything has a price," Sane said.
Liberal MP Mohammad al-Sager charged that four reformist ministers in the previous government were ousted because of their efforts to fight corruption. Two leading liberal former ministers, Abdullah al-Taweel (commerce and industry) and Faisal al-Hajji (social affairs and labor), were excluded from the new formation. Former Justice Minister Ahmad Baqer, an Islamist, and Education Minister Rasheed al-Hamad, an independent liberal, were also dropped.
BRITISH officials investigating July's London suicide bombings have received no useful intelligence from detainees held at the United States military camp at Guantanamo Bay.
Whitehall officials yesterday disputed suggestions from the US military that interrogation of detainees at the Cuban camp showed some were in contact with the bombers before the attacks. The insistence fuelled suspicions the US authorities are over-playing the role of Camp Delta in the fight against terrorism, trying to assuage British unease about the Guantanamo base.
Major-General Jay Hood, the US Army officer in charge of the camp, has told visiting British reporters that he had passed to UK intelligence agencies "information [detainees] have provided about the London bombings".
But one well-placed UK source described that suggestion as "nonsense". Attributed quote to named US officer versus anonymous unattributed quote. I know who I am inclined to believe.
I was taking these 'reports" with huge chunks of salt in any case.
I discount anything comming out of the UK unless it's from one of the Rantburg regulars. The TRANZIs are in full control of the popular press and the civil service and are untrustworthy sources most of the time.
An attack on interior ministry troops in Ingushetia killed one and injured four, RIA Novosti reported on February 12. According to Ingushetia's Interior Ministry, the attack occurred on the evening of February 11 in the Suzhensky district village of Troitskaya when two unidentified persons fired automatic weapons at Interior Ministry troops who were returning to their base. One of the attackers was killed by return fire; a second gunman was wounded, but managed to escape.
The deputy head of the Kabardino-Balkaria Interior Ministry's anti-organized crime department, Albert Sizhazhev, claimed on February 14 that last October's attack in Nalchik was financed by foreign intelligence agencies. According to NTV.ru, Sizhazhev said the attack was organized by "ringleaders of the bandit underground of Kabardino-Balkaria" who "had the powerful financial support of foreign special services." In January, he said, three "gang leaders" were killed in Anzorei, a village in Kabardino-Balkariaone of them a Kabardino-Balkaria native, the other two from Chechnya and Turkey. According to Sizhazhev, among the items seized from the dead rebels were seven pistols taken during the rebel attack on the federal anti-narcotics branch office in Nalchik in December 2004 and "a system of satellite orientation." According to Itar-Tass, the head of the religious affairs department of Kabardino-Balkaria's Ministry of Culture, Dzhambulat Gergokov, claimed that the "bandit underground" in the republic was funded via non-governmental organizations working in Chechnya.
--KHASAVYURT ACTIVIST RELEASED FROM JAIL
The Khasavyurt City Court on February 13 released Khasavyurt human rights activist Osman Boliev, head of the "Romashka" organization, after he signed an agreement not to leave the Dagestani city, Prima-News reported. Boliev is on trial after being detained last November during a traffic stop and subsequently charged with illegally possessing weapons after a grenade was allegedly found on him. His lawyer claims police planted the grenade on him. Boliev's arrest took place after "Romashka"" filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg over the October 2004 abduction of another Khasavyurt resident (see Chechnya Weekly, January 26 and December 8, 2005).
--MILITANTS REPORTEDLY NABBED IN CHECHNYA AND DAGESTAN
Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov said on February 14 that a militant killed during a security sweep, Dzhabrail Abdurzakov, was Shamil Basaev's "right-hand man," Interfax reported. Abdurzakov was killed in Urus-Martan. Meanwhile, RosBusinessConsulting reported on February 14 that Dagestani security forces had captured a rebel "emir," identified as Isa Mazhidov, during an operation in the village of Osmanyurt.
A member of the Stavropol Krai administration's anti-terrorist commission, Aleksandr Bondarenko, told RIA Novosti on February 10 that the militants who were killed in fighting in Tukui-Mekteb, a village in Stavropol Krai's Neftekumsky district, were members of an ethnic Nogai battalion that has been operating in Chechnya. "All these people were Nogais," said Bondarenko, adding that during the fighting in Chechnya in the 1990s they were part of [Chechen rebel warlord] Shamil Basaev's group. "Later, when the counter-terrorist operation ended, they all dispersed into the 'jamaats,' closed extremist Muslim societies split into territories," Bondarenko said. Nezavisimaya gazeta reported in February of last year that there was a "Nogai Jamaat" operating in Stavropol Krai, which had been "formed on Shamil Basaev's instructions during the first Chechen war to control steppe settlements in Neftekumsky district of Stavropol and the neighboring Chechen district of Shelkovsky" (see Chechnya Weekly, February 9, 2005).
The Associated Press reported on February 10 that two days of fighting in Tukui-Mekteb, located about 40 kilometers north of the Chechen border, had killed 12 suspected rebels and seven policemen. According to the news agency, police and local interior ministry officials said they were acting on a tip when they hunted down the rebels in Tukui-Mekteb and that 700 police troops had surrounded two houses where the remaining rebels were holed up a day after special forces stormed another house nearby. A regional interior ministry source told Interfax that the militants had planned to seize a school in Stavropol Krai in an operation similar to the seizure of the school in Beslan, North Ossetia in September 2004.
Kavkazky Uzel on February 10 quoted Akhmet Yarlykapov of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology as saying: "Neftekumsky district has always been a headache for everyone. Apart from the Russians, there are two sets of peoples who have lived there for ages and earned the right to be called indigenousNogais and Turkmens. But the Nogais are living there as a people without any rights. They are not represented in the Neftekumsky district administration, although they make up about half the district's population. And this policy of accusing an ethnic group of Wahhabism has been carried out in relation to the Nogais for ages. And it seems that, finally, they have persuaded the Nogais that they are in fact Wahhabis."
Yarlykapov, however, said the idea that there is a rebel "Nogai battalion" is "a myth," as are reports of other ethnic battalions. "Nogais from Neftekumsky district did fight on the side of the militants in Chechnya," he said. "They have some guilt in this, but the Stavropol authorities themselves created [such an] intolerable situation that people went over to the separatists. The formations in Chechnya fighting against the federal forces are not organized along ethnic lines. This is alien to them; they are an 'internationale.' Therefore the existence of a Karachai or Nogai battalion is a myth. It benefits Basaev to promote this mythsaying, 'the [different] peoples support me.'" The Stavropol authorities, for their part, have used this myth to "oppress" the Nogais," said Yarlykapov. "And the one who comes out winning in this story is Basaev."
The separatist Chechenpress website on February 11 posted a video of separatist president Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev reading a statement in Chechen. In the statement, which was credited to the Daymohk information agency and accompanied by a written Russian-language translation, Sadulaev said he wanted to "clear up our goals and tasks, around which there has, of late, developed a discussion that is leading us away from our Jihad."
Sadulaev first addressed the issue of the separatist constitution. He noted that article one of the constitution, which was adopted in 1992, states that the "Chechen Republic is a sovereign and independent democratic legal state created as a result of self-determination of Chechen people." Later, as Chechen self-determination developed, Sadulaev said, "it became necessary to bring the state's basic law in full accordance with the norms of Islam. That work began during the first president of ChRI [Chechen Republic of Ichkeria] Djokhar Dudaev, with the declaration of Jihad in the fall of 1994 and the start of the work of the Sharia Courts in the autumn of 1995. Under Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, the judicial system completely switched over to Sharia law. Aslan Maskhadov in 1998 brought the work of the state structures in accordance with Islam, and on February 4 1999 proclaimed the complete switchover to an Islamic form of governance. A state commission was created for the development of an Islamic constitution with the participation of all branches of power, scholars and legal experts."
According to Sadulaev's account, work to bring the Chechen constitution into full conformance with the norms of Islam was completed at the ChRI Great Majlis Shura in the summer of 2002. Article one of the constitution was revised to read: "The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is a sovereign, independent Islamic legal state created as a result of self-determination of Chechen people. The source of all decisions made is the Quran and Sunna."
In his statement, Sadulaev next dealt with the ChRI Majlis Shura, which, he said, was created as the "future supreme organ of state power (parliamentary government). It is intended that the institution of the presidency will be abolished, [and] the head of state will be the Emir of the ChRI Majlis Shura." Elections for that body, he said, will be carried out according to an Islamic principle, "which approximately adheres to the U.S. system of elections (the system of electors)" [meaning the Electoral College]. The completion of work on this system is planned for "the end of the war," Sadulaev said.
The Chechen separatist leader's statement also dealt with, among other issues, freedom of speech. "Islam recognizes the impossibility of building a legal state without acknowledging freedom of speech and constructive criticism, but categorically forbids blasphemy or the propagandizing of debauchery, violence, [or] racial or religious intolerance," he said. "Public organizations and individuals are free to express their opinion on any issue concerning the vital functions of the state and society without resorting to ad hominem arguments or hurting the honor and dignity of an opponent."
Sadulaev also touched on the issue of a Majlis Shura of the Caucasus. "Today, in a century of globalization and with the acceleration of the processes of integration, it is above all those who have a commonality of interests and values who are uniting," he said. "The peoples of the Caucasus have common history, a common struggle for freedom and independence, a common religion, common ideals and values. It is international practice, and a striking example of that is the unification of Europe." In the future, he said, "there are plans for the creation of a Majlis Shura of the Caucasus [and] a Shura Alimov of the Caucasus, and for the creation of a confederative state of the type of the European Union." Attempts by the Kremlin "to portray the natural desire of the peoples of the Caucasus to unite in order to throw off the imperial yoke of Russia as a threat to the whole world are mendacious and futile," Sadulaev added.
Finally, Sadulaev made comments apparently connected to the ongoing dispute between the radical wing of the Chechen resistance, represented by Movladi Udugov, and the moderate wing, represented by Akhmed Zakaev (see Chechnya Weekly, February 9). "Enormous work has been carried out over 15 years in the matter of strengthening freedom and establishing an independent Chechen Islamic State," he said. "And this work is being carried out today. Thus today all mujahideen are joined in a single structure, together are waging war on the path of Allah, on the path of building a full-fledged Islamic state. And on that path, the mujahideen, by the grace of Allah, are trying in everything to adhere to Sharia, to adhere to the rules and norms of behavior of Islam and to strengthen our unity. And it would be very good if all of our brother and sister muhajirs [refugee, immigrant or emigrant] located outside Nokhchich'o [Chechnya-CW] adhered the same way. But even more important today is to make clear to all muhajirs, to everyone who is not taking active part in combat operations, who are not openly fighting in jihad, [that] the mujahideen have the advantage over the muhajirs. And all muhajirs should know that they are assistants and advisers to the mujahideen, and not their superiors. And if each observes their obligations and knows their place, then we will have mutual understanding, harmony and a speedy victory."
Sadulaev, it should be noted, interspersed his points with quotations from the Quran.
Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov Tuesday said $1 million was funneled to Chechen terrorists to assassinate President Akhmad Kadyrov in 2004. Kadyrov told U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour the money was directed to Akhmed Zakayev, who is living in Britain, the Russian information agency Novosti reported. Kadyrov accused Zakayev of financing the attack at Dynamo stadium in Grozny, which left Kadyrov dead.
Kadyrov said in the 1990s businessman Boris Berezovsky gave money to Chechen separatists. "Berezovsky repeatedly met with warlords and offered a financing scheme to them. Berezovsky said to the militant leaders, 'I can't give you money directly, and therefore I suggest that you kidnap Russian civilians and servicemen in Chechnya, then I will pay you millions of dollars under in ransoms for them'," Kadyrov said, Interfax reported. "The militants received millions of dollars under this scheme, with which they bought weapons and ammunition."
Nearly half of South Korean youths who will be old enough to vote in the country's next elections say Seoul should side with North Korea if the United States attacks the communist nation, according to a poll released Wednesday. At the same time, 40.7 percent of the 1,000 young people surveyed said Seoul should remain neutral in the event of hostilities between Washington and Pyongyang, according to the poll by The Korea Times and Hankook Ilbo dailies. Only 11.6 percent said the South should back its longtime U.S. ally.
The poll, conducted Feb. 16-19, surveyed youths between 17 and 23 years old who will be old enough to vote in next year's presidential election. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The youths named China as South Korea's most important partner for maintaining friendly relations, at 39.5 percent, followed by the United States and North Korea at 18.4 and 18 percent, respectively. A majority of those surveyed, 54.1 percent, said peaceful reunification was the preferred method for ending the division on the peninsula. But 35.5 percent said the status quo should be maintained if the North and South can peacefully coexist.
Nearly half of South Korean youths who will be old enough to vote in the country's next elections say Seoul should side with North Korea if the United States attacks the communist nation, according to a poll released Wednesday.
One of these things is not like the other! How can these youths back N. Korea (as in headline) when LESS than half support backing N. Korea? Tipper, I assume the headline is yours, but I gotta call ya on it, lol!
Nearly half of South Korean youths who will be old enough to vote in the country's next elections say Seoul should side with North Korea if the United States attacks the communist nation, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Give them what they want. Withdraw and let the North engage them in another brutal and bloody battle until South Korea understands the value and price of freedom. We've paid for it long enough. Ingrates!
Wonder what's going on here: anti-Americanism, or ethnicity trumping common sense? Or is it just that South Korea wants to pretend there's nothing to worry about on the other side of the DMZ, in the hopes it'll all go away?
If the American leftists that dominate the Colleges of "Edu-mah-cation" and our secondary schools have their way, you can expect a similar outcome from our kids in about 15 to 20 years. Give 'em another generation and the job will be complete.
A country that uses airhead Karen Hughes as its principal agent of public diplomacy, can expect disrespect. Muslims learn hate of non-Muslims from birth. If Hughes present credentials of "mother" and "friend" to America's wild eyed enemies, the country projects weakness. Frankly, Koreans should look at America as a country with 10,000 nukes and the will to mothball them forever.
This is actually interesting... theses "soupes au cochon" are part of an effort made by several orgs to challenge the PC-statu quo about islam; theses soups are backed by the identitaires, a small but very active right-wing mvt, and they are clearly aimed at provoking the opinion, with some success : in France, in 2006, the authorities come down on charities because THEY USE PORK in their meal... the same prefect who autorize an anti-cartoon demonstration in Starsbourg complete with shadada and allah u ackbar is doing all he can to suppress theses soups.
See http://www.association-sdf.com/ for the initial soup's website.By Kim Willsher in Paris
The temperature on the street had dropped to minus three and the homeless stood in knots of two or three, blowing on their hands to relieve the bitter cold, as plastic bowls of steaming soupe au cochon were prepared.
"Hot wine?" asked the elegant blonde woman behind the table. But before anything could be served, the police arrived flourishing an order from the local authorities in Strasbourg to shut down the mobile soup kitchen.
The scene has been repeated all over France in recent weeks after complaints that extreme Right-wing groups have been serving "racist" food.
As a result of the closures, hundreds of homeless people will go hungry. The groups giving out the soup say it is nothing more than traditional French cuisine.
Angry protesters retort, however, that they are deliberately offering ham sandwiches and soup made of pork to discriminate against Muslims and Jews who cannot eat the meat for religious reasons. The groups behind the soup kitchens are not formally linked, but they are associated with an ultra Right-wing organisation called Bloc Identitaire.
Officials say the groups are not breaking the law. In Strasbourg and Nice, however, food handouts have been banned on the grounds that they could lead to "public disorder".
In Paris, police have stopped the serving of pork soup at major stations on "administrative grounds" - because the soup kitchens have not got the correct papers - to avoid racial tensions. Fabienne Keller, the Mayor of Strasbourg, said: "Schemes with racial subtexts must be denounced."
Chantal Spieler, the blonde serving soup in Strasbourg as president of the charity Solidarité Alsacienne, was defiant.
"For as long as there are people who are hungry and cold I will disobey this unfair decision," she said.
Even Lhaj Thanmi Breze, president of the Union of Islamic Organisations in France, disagreed with closing the soup kitchens, although he regretted that they were serving pork.
There are already muslims-only soups serving the chorba dish, which were never deemed "discriminatory" by the authorities... and there also are religious charities reserved for the faithful, either islamic (each mosque has its own charity providing help for muslims only) or jewish (though I suspect they may be more oecumenical like the christian orgs who help everybody).
Agreed, theses soups are meant to provoke (though the intent to help clearly is there as well, I think), but the reaction by the authorities are VERY revealing about the political atmosphere in France.
Again, you've got to remember that pork is now missing from many, many, many school menus, that this meat is not sold anymore in some heavily islamized areas, than most big supermarket have hallal products wings, that the Charal meat producer's market survey for hallal meat found... 13 millions potential customers, etc, etc...
This forbidden pork soup may seem a bit futile, but actually it is an eyes-opener.
Amen, BH! If (and that's a big if) this was intentioned to push the status quo, they're doing a fine job, but good grief, beggars can't be choosers. I also wonder how many homeless muslims there truly are in france? Not many, I suspect, b/c they live on the public's dole anyways.
That ignores the fact that many of the violent Muslims in France are in fact from Africa and that *race* specifically has been an open issue in their attacks - c.f. the may 2005 attack on a demonstration by white students.
Posted by: too true ||
02/22/2006 11:02 Comments ||
Thank G-d there arent any poor Jewish areas left in the US (though there ARE still poor Jews) but there were many such 90 years ago. If someone had opened a soup kitchen in heavily jewish area with the intention of provoking, well I would certainly not have found that a very charitable act.
I mean really, this isnt about free speech, this is making a mockery of the JP's principled stand.
Want to bitch about the soup kitchens when your own people are hungry/homeless?
Then reach into your own pockets and help them out
This is another device of Islam to redefine Western culture and conquer it.
No one is forcing anyone to eat pork soup, LH, and if a Moslem or Jew is hungry they can avail themselves of charity offerings of a different sort.
The fact that the Moslems are able to pressure European government to interfere with indigenous (French) culture to this extent, is very alarming.
Does anyone here think Moslems would give a flip about helping Jews or Christians with soup kitchens, or anything else, much less make sure it's food Jews or Christians would find acceptable? Does anyone doubt that partakers would first be required to "honor" the Islamic god?
"No one is forcing anyone to eat pork soup, LH, "
Thats true, and whether this justifies state intervention against the soup kitchen is a legitimate area of debate.
"and if a Moslem or Jew is hungry they can avail themselves of charity offerings of a different sort."
You could have said the same if the soup kitchen had simply said "no muslims allowed" or "no jews allowed". Or "no blacks allowed". Acceptable from a liberatarian POV, but hardly charitable.
"The fact that the Moslems are able to pressure European government to interfere with indigenous (French) culture to this extent, is very alarming."
Its traditional in French culture to have soup kitchens that only offer one item, known to be objectionable to a particular group? Did French Protestants open soup kitchens offering meat on Fridays (pre Vatican 2)? What did traditional Frenchmen think of that?
"Does anyone here think Moslems would give a flip about helping Jews or Christians with soup kitchens, or anything else, much less make sure it's food Jews or Christians would find acceptable?"
Yes, a few would. Most wouldnt. Many muslims are bigots. So? does that mean I should cheer when non-muslims are bigots?
"Does anyone doubt that partakers would first be required to "honor" the Islamic god?"
Having been offered food at the house of a muslim, and not having been required to honor any god, id have to say, yes, i doubt that.
Want to bitch about the soup kitchens when your own people are hungry/homeless?
Then reach into your own pockets and help them out"
they do, IIUC. as historically jews have done.
"This is another device of Islam to redefine Western culture and conquer it. "
Theyre conquering western culture by not eating pork? Then Jews, vegetarians, 7 day adventists, etc are all in on the conspiracy. Or by being offended when someone deliberately sets out to provoke them (as JP did NOT do)?
"One strange fact; all of the food had bacon in it. The first thing in the morning every day the American boss chef would fry up crisp several pounds of bacon. This was crumbled and put into bowls in various spots in the kitchen. As soon as a can of something was opened, or something put on the stove, a handful of bacon was tossed into it. This included the mashed potatoes, ice cream, and canned peaches.
The idea was to discourage the Muslim cooks, waiters, and other workers from stealing the food. Saudis, in those days, didn't eat too well. Five or six of the cooks, however, were Chinese. They were great. They had been hired from Mainland China before it had gone Red. This introduced a problem when it came time for their vacations. If they went back to Communist China, they'd never get out, and they didn't want to go anywhere else. So for years they just stayed on the job during their vacations and worked for double time."
LH: Do you support the idea of government regulating charities?
And yes, the Moslems are attempting to redefine French culture by insisting that a charity conform to Islamic dietary issues. They do not, however, look after their own, which is ridiculous.
Here's a way to look at it. Should a Jewish charity be shut down because they offer lamb soup because vegans are complaining? Are we all to become vegans, then, because of vegan faith?
If people believe that the deity they serve requires that they abstain from certain things, then those people will have to trust their diety to provide from another direction.
I think the whole thing is to secure free food from non-Moslem sources that Moslems can eat.
Here's another stupid thing I heard, which is related. In New Zealand a Moslem family is suing a pizza restaurant for serving them a pizza that had pork (bacon) bits in it by mistake. They want the pizza restaurant to fund an all-expenses-paid trip to Mecca to be "cleansed" of their pork eating. Well, I have to ask them: If pork is such a big issue, then what the hell are you doing in a restaurant that serves it at all? Anyone been in a pizza kitchen? The containers of toppings are all in a row, the workers reach in, grab toppings and sprinkle--very difficult to keep things separate.
So, by your reasoning, the New Zealand government should shut down that restaurant and all others that serve pork, because it is offensive to Moslems and Jews.
What makes the French situation even worse than the above story, is that no one is even paying anything for the food. So if they don't want to eat it, DON'T EAT IT.
LH, I think you should go over there and open up a lamb soup van that serves koolaid instead of hot wine, so all the Moslems can partake of your good intentions. Just don't let them know you're Jewish, okay?
lol, .com! You're on a roll, so to speak! Man, as a Christian, I'm all for helping out the homeless, bettering others, etc., but LH, this IS trying to (literally, I might add) shove ISLAM down the throats of the French, by the French gov't no less. And, don't give me the Jewish no-pork excuse, either. Until the Jews are whining about being victim at these soup kitchens, I see this as just another knot in the "I'm a muslim victim" campaign marching through Europe. Methinks, divide and conquer. And, outside of religious views, as I lean more toward the strict interpretation of our Constitution (I know this is France, but ride with me), I've gotta wonder....what the heck does the gov't have ANY business telling a charitable organization what food to GIVE to homeless?????
"LH: Do you support the idea of government regulating charities?"
Now THATS a good question. If the OP had focused on that, rather than on Islam, Id have had little problem. Im NOT saying the govt should have closed the kitchen - I sympathize with the libertarian argument on this. I AM saying is that the action of serving pork soup only wasnt particularly charitable, and the people who did it were jerks. But folks have the liberty to be jerks. Usually.
"And yes, the Moslems are attempting to redefine French culture by insisting that a charity conform to Islamic dietary issues."
Are they insisting it not serve pork? or just that it serve somethine other than pork as well? In all places, or just in heavily muslim areas?
"They do not, however, look after their own, which is ridiculous."
There are no muslim charities in France?
"Here's a way to look at it. Should a Jewish charity be shut down because they offer lamb soup because vegans are complaining? Are we all to become vegans, then, because of vegan faith?"
These days at Jewish events there usually is a vegan offering, cause 1. there are jewish vegans and 2. Cause theres probably gonna be somebody who finds the kashrut of the meat not strict enough. But as to your q, i suppose if there were primarily vegan neighborhoods, and the Jews opened a soup kitchen there, and it served ONLY meat, that would be a pretty jerky thing to do. I dont know that the STATE should get involved, but I sure as hell would expect Jewish leaders to get involved and condemn the thing.
"If people believe that the deity they serve requires that they abstain from certain things, then those people will have to trust their diety to provide from another direction."
Yea - thats what Jews have historically done, as so many folk are jerks.
"I think the whole thing is to secure free food from non-Moslem sources that Moslems can eat."
Ive googled on this group. While my French isnt good enough for a complete picture, my sense is that most muslims would be happy if it simply went away.
"Here's another stupid thing I heard, which is related. In New Zealand a Moslem family is suing a pizza restaurant for serving them a pizza that had pork (bacon) bits in it by mistake. They want the pizza restaurant to fund an all-expenses-paid trip to Mecca to be "cleansed" of their pork eating. "
Somebody suing wants to get the biggest concievable payoff. Routine abuse of the tort system, not clash of civs.
"Well, I have to ask them: If pork is such a big issue, then what the hell are you doing in a restaurant that serves it at all? Anyone been in a pizza kitchen? The containers of toppings are all in a row, the workers reach in, grab toppings and sprinkle--very difficult to keep things separate."
My orthodox relatives would say the same. However I want to live more integrated in my society, and so i eat at treif restaurants, but try to avoid treif (by my standard) foods. I expect at least good faith from the restaurant, if not perfection.
"So, by your reasoning, the New Zealand government should shut down that restaurant and all others that serve pork, because it is offensive to Moslems and Jews."
1. I did not say i support state action. 2. In any case it appears the restaurant acted in good faith.
"What makes the French situation even worse than the above story, is that no one is even paying anything for the food. So if they don't want to eat it, DON'T EAT IT."
Yup, and if some Protestant group went around serving meat on Fridays in a Catholic area (in the old days) the choice to not eat it would be there. It would still be the action of a group of jerks.
"LH, I think you should go over there and open up a lamb soup van that serves koolaid instead of hot wine, so all the Moslems can partake of your good intentions. Just don't let them know you're Jewish, okay?"
Id rather focus on hunger in the US than in France. But wherever i opened a soup kitchen, id be sure to offer choices.
so ex-lib, what do you think of muslims deciding to boycott stuff made in Denmark? I mean the Danes can sell to someone else? The muslims have no obligation to buy stuff from denmark, do they? From a libertarian POV, they have every right to boycott whomever they want, right?
But theyre still jerks for boycotting an entire nation for the acts of one newspaper. and it still shows a misunderstanding of the relationship of a nation to a newspaper. In the same way the acts of these jerks shows a misunderstanding of what charity is about.
Compare what is happening across Europe to a hypothetical situation. You invite several guests for dinner one of whom is a vegetarian. You prepare a special meal to meet this one person's needs. When everyone is seated around the table, the vegetarian surveys the platters of meat offered to the other guests. He rises upturns the dinner table, and loudly demands that everyone be served vegetables only.
This is what is happening whereever the Muslims have been 'invited to dinner'. Any group that brings its own language and culture to a new country, and attempts to impose them on, or displace, the native population is not a guest. I'm beggining to believe that such 'guests' are not immigrants at all, but rather unarmed invaders bent on colonization.
In the name of diversity and political correctness these folks are being allowed to over turn the dinner table and take over the host's home.
LH: despite your inferences, I am NOT a libertarian.
Next, as a Jew, you should hurry up and realize what the Moslems are up to, rather than focusing on the "jerk" aspect of the soup/political speech "kitchen."
Being "nice" to Moslem demands serves their movement to colonize because they see any accomodation as a weakness to exploit. You can bet they are reveling in the shut-down as a victory for Islam.
True, if someone set up a pork soup kitchen to presumably serve homeless, starving Jews, it would be a jerky thing to do--but taking this special case into consideration (only), Moslems are burning neighborhoods, using up all the French social welfare dollars, out populating them, disparaging French women, defacing Jewish cemetaries, and bitching constantly. The soup kitchen was a humorous retaliation against the Moslem "take-over" of France, despite the issue of the nature of the people doing it.
Your defense of the Moslem boycott of Danish products, and your defense of the Moslem dietary DEMANDS on the soup kitchen, is completely disturbing.
The French soup kitchen, is of course, a harmless political reaction to Islamic facism, like the Danish cartoons were.
I'm still wondering when the CIA will start spreading the story that pork grease is an ingredient in modern semtex and most explosives in the hopes that the Jihadists will be reluctant to use the stuff.
I'm wondering when Western arms manufacturers will start to actually include pork grease in their products specifically to eliminate the use by psychos since I doubt a lot of the stuff is made in the middle east.
There are religious reasons to or not to eat specific foods and then there are those of us with PHYSICAL reasons like ALLERGIES.
As somebody in the later catagory I don't make a habit of going balistic when the rest of the morons on the planet don't get it and polute all the foods sold with stuff I can't take. I may seethe a bit but I don't make an issue of it when industry put cows milk (butter whey etc..) or chicken eggs in damn near anything sold. On top of that lima beans in every mix veggies or kidney beans in soups and chilies. All of which could KILL ME. I just quietly ask questions and avoid trouble. Why? Because some poor jerk might be allergic to the stuff I am not and we all need to survive.
Now Lamb and Turkey are mid-dangerous allergies for me so following your justification I could be very upset at free food joints serving lamb. Lamb the secret killer food. Of course the same would go for tuna, fresh water trout, cane sugar, anything with corn syrup (instead of a nice beet sugar or palm sugar or date sugar) Certain types of yeast you might use in wine, beer or bread, The sulfates the government demands to be in wine (mitigated by being allergic to grapes).
My world of tofu, soy oils, beef, pork, salmon, and catfish might be kind of hard for most to stomach. Oh and since most beers are out (excepting the cold filtered stuff) and wine is out that leaves booze... but wait...
I have minor allergies (ok for 1 meal a day) to wheat, corn, oats, rye - leaving rice, spelt and kamut so Saki uses some bad yeast so its out... that leaves distilled cactus juice (and nobody tests the worm...)
So, since I get along without complaining ....
EVERYBODY ELSE SHOULD SHUT THEIR MOUTHS UP ON THE ISSUE AND Let the folks be. If they want to give away pork soup ... LET THEM AND SHUT-UP about IT!
IF the French gov or muslims or jews or vegans can't shutup about it they can come talk to me and I will scream at them for trying to kill me with their foods!
"LH: despite your inferences, I am NOT a libertarian."
I didnt mean to infer you were a libertarian. I was only trying to say that from the point of view of someone who opposed all state regulation of NGO's, i could see why theyd be upset with what the French did here.
"Next, as a Jew, you should hurry up and realize what the Moslems are up to, rather than focusing on the "jerk" aspect of the soup/political speech "kitchen." "
Some Muslims are up to. Many. Not muslims in general. Just as not Christians in general, and not jews in general.
"Being "nice" to Moslem demands serves their movement to colonize because they see any accomodation as a weakness to exploit."
"They" isnt a they. theyre moving to europe for the same reason people from low wage countries always move to high wage countries. Some of the immigrants are radical muslims. Some are moderates. Some become ex-muslims, like Hirsin Ali. Some jihadi dreamer may think of this as colonization, but it isnt.
" You can bet they are reveling in the shut-down as a victory for Islam."
I doubt it very much.
"True, if someone set up a pork soup kitchen to presumably serve homeless, starving Jews, it would be a jerky thing to do--but taking this special case into consideration (only), Moslems are burning neighborhoods,"
Christian africans did too, and most french muslims didnt riot.
"using up all the French social welfare dollars, "
My understanding is that most want to work. most muslims here do.
"out populating them"
actually IIUC 2nd generation birthrates are lower than immigrant birthrates. As with every other immigrant group.
,"disparaging French women, defacing Jewish cemetaries, and bitching constantly."
acts of some, not of all - stop with the collective guilt shit. Thats all it is.
" The soup kitchen was a humorous retaliation against the Moslem "take-over" of France, despite the issue of the nature of the people doing it."
Not humorous, and the people doing it are jerks.
"Your defense of the Moslem boycott of Danish products,"
WTF? This weekend i had Danish Havarti on my bagels, and enjoyed some Carlsberg Malt Liquor. I encourage all to try them both (but not together - bagel with cheese goes better with coffee or OJ)
" and your defense of the Moslem dietary DEMANDS on the soup kitchen, is completely disturbing. "
actually the only muslim leader quoted opposed the shutdown.
The French soup kitchen, is of course, a harmless political reaction to Islamic facism, like the Danish cartoons were.
No soup for you!!!
Posted by: Soup Nazi|| 2006-02-22 09:27 ||Comments Top||
Posted by: Al-Aska Paul ||
02/22/2006 22:26 Comments ||
I suspect the Muslims don't have the same rule as the Jews, but many centuries ago the Rabbis ruled that anything is permitted in the saving of a life. That is, if one is starving, it is permitted to eat pork or anything else... even to the point of lifting a weapon on the Sabbath in self defence. Liberalhawk, your argument about food kitchen menus being exclusionary fails on the merits. Anyway, soup kitchens generally serve bread or crackers along with the soup -- the truly hungry Muslim can partake of that without issue... but only if the goal isn't to impose their dietary standards on the outside world.
.com, I saved the site. Mr. Wife should find it fascinating...
The French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, yesterday described the abduction, torture and killing of a young Jewish man as an anti-Semitic crime, amid growing anger at the brutal murder.
Mr Sarkozy told the French parliament that the gang sought for the murder of Ilan Halimi, 23, whose naked body was found by railway tracks eight days ago, three weeks after he had disappeared, had also tried to kidnap other Jews.
The police, who found literature linking some of the suspects to Palestinian and Muslim groups, have insisted the murder was motivated by greed - the gang had demanded a ransom - and not religious motives.
Mr Sarkozy told MPs: "The truth is that these crooks acted primarily for sordid and vile motives, to get money, but they were convinced that 'the Jews have money', and if those they kidnapped didn't have money, their family and their community would come up with it.
"That's called anti-Semitism by amalgam."
He added that four of the six other people the gang had approached and tried to kidnap "were of the Jewish faith" and described the criminals as "barbaric".
The judge overseeing the inquiry into the murder has instructed investigators to look into anti-Semitic motives in the cases of seven of the 13 suspects arrested.
Mr Sarkozy added: "We have a duty to the memory of Ilan Halimi, to his family, his parents, his friends and above all, all the Jews of France, to establish the truth."
Ilan Halimi was snatched on January 21. A young woman, suspected as acting as a lure, has since given herself up. His family received numerous ransom demands. He was found, with 80% of his body burned, naked and handcuffed on February 13. He died on the way to hospital.
Mr Sarkozy said he was releasing details of the inquiry but he hoped they would not arouse hate or fear. "What we don't need now, in addition to this barbarity, is misunderstanding, intolerance and racism," he said.
France's Jewish community numbers around 600,000, the Muslim community around five million, both the largest in Europe.
Two French police officers flew to Ivory Coast yesterday on the trail of Youssef Fofana, the suspected gang leader who had reportedly flown back to his native country after the murder. According to police, Mr Fofana had called himself the "brain of the barbarians".
Police had earlier insisted the murder was not anti-Semitic, but the victim's mother Ruth Halimi accused them of ignoring this motive for fear of upsetting Muslim opinion. She told the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that if her son "hadn't been Jewish, he wouldn't have been killed". "We told the police there were at least three attempted kidnappings of young Jews but they kept insisting that the motives were purely criminal."
Jean-Claude Marin, the Paris public prosecutor, told Le Monde yesterday: "When the legal case was opened the anti-Semitic nature of the crime did not come up at all.
"Then, during the weekend, certain people interviewed let it be known, in an indirect way, that the choice of a Jew guaranteed the payment of a ransom. The judge therefore considered that there was possibly an anti-Semitic motive."
According to Le Parisien the woman who had tried to lure two men into the gang's clutches admitted to police that she was instructed to target Jewish men. "In the heads of these youngsters the [Jewish] community had the solidarity to rapidly collect a ransom. The gang wanted money so they went out to get it where they thought they'd find it," a source close to the inquiry told the newspaper.
When the kidnapped man's family told the gang they could not find the 450,000 (£315,000) they had demanded they were told to "go and ask in the synagogues", the newspaper added.
Actually, Sarko said it was "antisemitism by amalgam" (IE the motive itself was not antisemitism, but there was a "cultural background" of antisemitism to this crime), there is a nuance, Sarko is very good at double-talk, so the denial is still there...
80% of kidnap/ransom attempts aimed at jews, links with terror-funding islamic charities (affiliated with the french MB, official major player in "french islam"), salafist literature, blind and deaf neighbours (Ilan was held captive and tortured for 3 weeks in the projects),... but the Powers-That-Be still want to keep it quiet.
ETA's political wing, Batasuna, said on Tuesday Basque terrorists would have to be released early from prison if a peace deal was agreed in the troubled Spanish region. Batasuna's leader Pernando Barrena condemned the decision on Monday by Judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska to ensure ETA's worst murderer, Henri Parot, serves a minimum of 30 years of his jail sentence. He called it an attack on the start of a peace process by "state machinery controlled by the Popular Party".
Parot, a jailed member of the Basque armed group ETA who has already spent 16 years in jail and could have been released in 2009, will have to stay in prison until 2020. Grande-Marlaske added Parot's sentences together to make a single 30-year jail term. Reacting to the decision, Barrena said: "No one believes there will be prisoners in 2010 or 2020 if there's a peace process."
He added that if a peace deal was agreed in the Basque country, "everyone knows" that prisoners "will go home within a reasonable time".
In recent months, pime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has been hinting that Spain could be "at the start of the end" of terrorism, however, rumours of an ETA ceasefire have failed to materialise.
Judge Grande-Marlaska's decision was widely praised in the Spanish press. There has been growing concern in recent days at the possibility that Parot and several other ETA members would enjoy early releases. Normally in Spain though ETA members are often sentenced to long jail terms for multiple murders, the sentences are cut to 20 years due to standard sentence reductions.
Parot has been in jail since 1990 after he was convicted of 26 murders and carrying out terrorist attacks. He was sentenced to an accumulative jail term of more than 3,000 years.
A notorious evil communist terrorist group on Tuesday admitted to a shooting in Zaragoza in which a woman was killed and her husband injured. The admission came in a letter sent to the TV station Antena 3, which purported to be from GRAPO, the October 1st Revolutionary Anti-fascist Group. The police are now verifying the authenticity of the letter.
Ana Isabel Herrero, the wife of entrepreneur Francisco Colell, was shot dead on 6 February in Calle de Cervantes. Herrero and her husband were collecting their car from the garage at number 11. According to Colell, three individuals who said they were members of GRAPO approached them with guns and attempted to take them hostage "for economic reasons".
However, the gang members became nervous when another car arrived, a struggle ensued and the gang shot Herrero and tried to kill Colell. Herrero was taken to hospital in an ambulance but died on the way. Colell survived the attack and was able to identify two of the attackers from police files.
GRAPO emerged in 1975 in the dying days of the Franco dictatorship as the armed wing of the radical Marxist-Leninist Reconstituted Communist Party of Spain. Over the years, the group has carried out dozens of bombings, killings and bank robberies, although following a series of crackdowns by the security forces, GRAPO has been largely inactive in recent years.
A Syrian with alleged links to Al-Qaeda who is suspected of plotting to attack Israeli cruise ships off the Turkish coast has said he was financed by the Taliban, a report said Tuesday. Louai Sakra told police he was given 50,000 dollars by the fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar to carry out attacks in his name against Israeli targets, NTV television news channel said. He also claimed to have the approval of Al-Qaeda frontman in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, it said.
Sakra's lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
"Go away. Leave me alone. I'm not paid enough to do this."
Sakra, 32, told reporters at a Turkish court after his arrest last August that he was plotting to attack Israeli cruise ships off Turkey's Mediterranean coast. Turkish authorities also suspect him of involvement in the twin suicide attacks that killed 63 people and wounded 750 others in Istanbul in November 2003.
Tuesday's NTV report said he had told interrogators that a fire had broken out on August 4 in the premises where he was preparing his explosives, setting some of them off. "If there had been no explosion, I would have carried out my action the next day," he was quoted as saying.
"I had planned, in the event that I was not able to act against a passenger ship, to target any NATO military ship that was nearby," he said, according to the news channel.
Media reports said Sakra planned to use an inflatable boat packed with explosives to hit an Israeli cruise ship in Antalya, home to some of Turkey's most popular resorts that attract millions of foreign tourists each year.
In an official statement on the case, police last August confirmed that two suspects were caught last week in an operation launched after a suspicious fire at a flat rented in Antalya by Middle Eastern tourists. The statement did not name the men and made no mention of a plot to attack Israeli ships.
Pointing to Sakra, it said a suspect detained at Diyarbakir airport "is understood to hold a prominent position in a terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda" and had undergone plastic surgery, apparently to disguise himself.
He was present at the flat in Antalya at the time of the fire, which raised suspicions because of an intense smell of chemicals, police said. The documents seized at the flat suggested a link with the 2003 Istanbul attacks, in which suicide bombers detonated explosive-laden trucks five days apart outside two synagogues, the British consulate and the British-based HSBC bank, killing 63 people and wounding hundreds.
The second suspect was detained Saturday while preparing to leave Turkey from a post on the Syrian vorder, police said.
OSLO: A Norwegian Muslim has reported a newspaper editor who published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to the police for violating a blasphemy law last used in 1933 against a poet who called Christians cannibals. I have been reported to the police for blasphemy. We will have to see what happens as this law has not been used since 1933, said Verbjoern Selbekk, editor of newspaper Magazinet.
Paragraph 142 of Norways criminal code states a person can be prosecuted if he or she in word or action publicly insults or in a demeaning or hurtful way displays scorn for any religious belief that is permitted in the country. In 1933 the state failed to convict poet Arnulf Overland for comparing Christians to cannibals for their ritual of eating bread and drinking wine to symbolise Christs body and blood. The 1902 law was last used successfully to fine the editor of the Free Thinker newssheet in 1912 after he wrote an article entitled The Great Humbug - the Christians Christmas. This is a case for the police, it cannot be solved by the masses, Khalid Mohammad, who made the charge, told Aftenposten newspaper.
OK, so when does Paragraph 142 get invoked against Muslims? I bet that in less than a day, Norwegian authorities could have a dozen counts against various imams.
Not that they'll bother. Easier to roll over and give easy access to their throats.
Posted by: Robert Crawford ||
02/22/2006 7:44 Comments ||
Norway, of all places. For some reason it just boggles me that Norway, and now Sweden, would be in belly-baring mode. And to something as base and transparently, uh, um, well evil as the ideology of Islam.
CBS CORRESPONDENT KILLED STORY AT PENTAGON'S REQUEST
CBS Pentagon correspondent David Martin acknowledged Monday that he killed a report about how the U.S. was dealing with Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq after a senior military officer complained that it contained information useful to the enemy. Martin, writing on the CBS blog Public Eye, said that the report had been scheduled to air as the lead story on the CBS Evening News on Thursday and that he pulled it just one hour before airtime. "Not a good career move," he wrote. Martin further acknowledged that he had set aside other stories at the request of the Pentagon "a number of times over the years, and each time it's turned out that going with the story wouldn't have caused any harm." In the latest case, he said, he concluded that his report "might conceivably be news the enemy could use to make their IEDs more effective. It wasn't clear cut, but it was close enough."
It may seem a rather trite observation considering the numbing frothiness of King's CNN talk show compared with the gravity of all that surrounds the world's most hunted terrorist.
But it may reveal much about the role al-Qa'ida's leader sees the Western media playing in his bloody war against the infidel.
In a new book by terrorism expert Peter Bergen, there is a passage in which Hamid Mir, bin Laden's Pakistani biographer, recalls seeing the September 11 mastermind, in his hideaway, glued to CNN.
"When I met him after 9/11, he said: 'I was watching you on the Larry King show a few days ago, and you told Larry King that when Osama bin Laden talks on religion, he is not convincing, but when he talks on politics, he is very much convincing. So today I will convince you on some religious issues'," Mir tells Bergen.
"So I said, 'OK, you watched the Larry King show?'.
"He said, 'Yes, I am fighting a big war, and I have to monitor the activities of my enemy through these TV channels'."
Remember, it was the CNN pictures of the corpses of US troops being brutally dragged through the streets of Mogadishu - and the subsequent retreat ordered by then president Bill Clinton - that gave bin Laden the belief that the US did not have the stomach for war.
And so when bin Laden speaks, like any media-savvy politician with an agenda, it is worth examining what might lie beyond his words.
Yesterday's news reports of the contents of a bin Laden tape were not news at all. The audiotape had been released last month and dutifully reported. But clearly someone felt it had not been sufficiently absorbed in the Western world, so an al-Qa'ida group reposted it yesterday, in its entirety - helpfully translated into English - probably knowing that news agencies would quickly pounce. They were right.
The gist of the previously unreported message was that bin Laden would rather die than be captured - neither is this news, as martyrdom is his ultimate goal - and, more importantly, a likening of the US in Iraq to the regime of Saddam Hussein.
"The jihad continues, thank God, despite all the oppressive measures adopted by the US army and its agents (which has reached) a point where there is no difference between this criminality and Saddam's criminality," bin Laden is heard saying.
It seems that bin Laden wants to remind the world that, contrary to the Bush administration's assertions, he and Saddam were never in league. It seems to be part of al-Qa'ida's general psychological operations strategy which offers, on the one hand, the prospect of a truce and reasonableness while warning of more attacks on the soil of the US and its allies, including Australia.
Of course, he has said it all before. But repeating slogans - staying "on message" - has never been President George W. Bush's weak point, either.
Bergen's book provides ample evidence that bin Laden had no love for Saddam and was hardly likely to be working with a regime he considered apostate from Islam - the gravest charge he could lay against a fellow Muslim.
Mir tells Bergen that bin Laden "gave me such kind of abuses that it was very difficult for me to write".
"(He called Saddam) a socialist motherf..ker," Mir says.
"(Bin Laden said) the land of the Arab world, the land is like a mother, and Saddam Hussein is f..king his mother."
Perhaps the more intriguing question is why bin Laden has suddenly become camera-shy? He has relied only on audiotapes for almost two years. Is it because of security fears or, considering the frailty in his voice in this latest tape - probably recorded in December - that he is too ill?
As a furor erupted yesterday over the prospective takeover by a United Arab Emirates company of terminal operations at six major U.S. ports, officials from the company and the Bush administration scrambled to assuage fears that the deal would undermine security and anti-terrorism efforts at some of America's biggest maritime facilities.
Stewart A. Baker, assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security, said at a news conference yesterday that Dubai Ports World, which won a takeover battle for a British firm that now operates terminals in the ports, promised during an internal administration review that it would continue participating in security programs previously entered into with the U.S. government.
And Michael Seymour, head of North American operations for Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., the British firm being bought by the UAE firm, said the workers handling security in U.S. ports are supplied by longshoremen's unions -- an arrangement he said would remain in effect. "So it doesn't make any difference whether we are their employers, or other terminal operators are their employers," he said.
Those pledges did not quell the uproar in Congress, statehouses and city halls over the approval by an administration interagency task force of the $6.8 billion takeover of P&O by Dubai Ports World. Lawmakers, governors and mayors from both parties decried the decision, which would put the state-owned UAE company in charge of handling operations at terminals in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New York, New Orleans and Philadelphia.
Although the deal has been approved by P&O shareholders, lawmakers threatened to pass legislation blocking it, and state and local officials suggested that they may refuse to allow their port facilities to be managed by the UAE firm.
But whatever happens, experts in port operations said they feared broader issues about security in the country's docks were being lost in the controversy over Dubai Ports World.
Stephen E. Flynn, a specialist in maritime security at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted that although the company is state-owned, several members of its top management are Americans -- including its general counsel, a senior vice president and its outgoing chief operating officer, Edward H. Bilkey, who is a former U.S. Navy officer. And since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the United States has increasingly depended on such foreign port operators to cooperate in inspecting cargo before it heads for U.S. shores.
"It's a global network at the end of the day that we're trying to secure here," Flynn said. "And that doesn't happen by the United States owning every bit of it. What we should be focusing on instead is the question, are the security standards adequate?"
Robert C. Bonner, who until November headed U.S. Customs and Border Protection, agreed. Although U.S. dock workers have occasionally been caught colluding with drug traffickers, the possibility that terrorists or their sympathizers would end up working in U.S. ports is remote because of the strong role of unions in hiring, he said.
"I think there's some specter that people from the Middle East are going to come over here and operate terminals," he said. "I don't think anything like that is going to happen."
Dubai Ports World is one of several foreign giants that operate terminals in ports around the globe; other big companies are from Denmark, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. Few U.S. terminals are managed by American-owned firms.
The pending deal would make Dubai Ports World, which manages maritime facilities in Asia, Europe and Latin America, one of the three largest port operators in the world. At the Port of Baltimore, for example, it would take over operation of one of six terminals, where about 4 million tons of cargo carried on 371 vessels passed through last year, according to Richard Scher, a spokesman for the Maryland Port Administration.
Dubai Ports World differs from most foreign operators because of its state ownership. But if its takeover of P&O goes through, it would have to comply with the same security procedures in its U.S. facilities that other operators do.
Terminal operators typically lease facilities from a local port authority and are responsible for attracting shipping lines to use their terminal, where their main task is to move the thousands of containers that come in and out onto the right vessels, rail cars or trucks. In the process, they must maintain security at the facility, with the government providing backup and oversight.
At the Port of Seattle, for example, SSA Marine, the biggest U.S.-owned terminal operator, uses an X-ray machine to screen all the containers that come in, said Bob Watters, the company's vice president. Customs agents, who are supposed to receive advance notice of the cargo on incoming ships, have the right to open any container and inspect the contents; such procedures are conducted on about 5 percent of all containers nationwide. "We also have overall security plans that we have to develop and have vetted by the U.S. Coast Guard," Watters said.
Critics voiced strong doubts about whether the existing procedures are commensurate with the threat. "There are not enough Customs and Border Protection inspectors at the nation's ports to handle the incoming traffic that we have now, and our guys at the ports are being told that they can't do any overtime," said Charles Showalter, president of the American Federation of Government Employees union, which represents officers who inspect ships. "That combination often results in uninspected ships being left unattended in port overnight."
Concerns over insufficient inspectors worry many security experts far more than the issue of who owns the companies managing the terminals.
Flynn cited a litany of unsettling practices, such as the lack of any screening for the thousands of truck drivers, many of whom are immigrants, hauling containers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., to railway lines.
"What I hope for out of this whole debate is that, as Americans suddenly realize most of our marine terminals are managed by foreign-owned companies, they ask, given that that's a reality, how do we secure it?" Flynn said. "I also hope this current situation doesn't lead to a feeding frenzy [against foreign operators], because if we want things to be secure over here, we're going to have to work with foreign counterparts."
Flynn said. "I also hope this current situation doesn't lead to a feeding frenzy [against foreign operators], because if we want things to be secure over here, we're going to have to work with foreign counterparts."
Well Flynn - Your nightmare is going to come true. With the outsourcing and the border issues and the illegal aliens and the Fortune 500 not paying taxes... this is going to be the straw breaking the camels back. I may be wrong but I don't think so.
I didn't (and don't) think this is a big deal, 'cuz the work will still be done by Joey and Guido, not Mahmoud and Abdulazziz, but I heard Jimmy Carter doesn't see anything wrong with it, and now ... the Post?
It is a BIG deal Bobby. It is just one more step in the blurring of the lines. One more step towards the erasing of sovergnty (sp?) and implementation of OWG!
The story says there are lots of Americans on the senior staff...I say BFD. American Ports need to be operated by American Companies staffed by Americans. What's next, we turn the Federal Reserve Bank over to the Chinese?
These people at the top are all traitors in my book.
"It's a global network at the end of the day that we're trying to secure here," Flynn said. "And that doesn't happen by the United States owning every bit of it.
These people at the top are all traitors in my book
Nope. They're trying to navigate through changing waters in a world that IS globalized.
You don't like some of the changes - I hear you on that. Neither do the Muslim cultures that no longer can keep out Beyonce and Barbie dolls and Muhammad cartoons. Neither do the European labor unions that are finding their cozy protectionist industries under seige.
We need to find ways to make it work for us because it will NOT go away - not unless the whole world economy collapses into a Dark Age.
And don't kid yourself - that's not an impossible scenario.
Posted by: too true ||
02/22/2006 7:26 Comments ||
BTW, check out the comments at Gateway Pundit on the proposed port contract. Here's one excerpt:
Former InstaPundit Afghanistan Correspondent John Tammes emailed Glenn Reynolds:
I managed some cooperative efforts with the UAE Special Forces troops stationed at Bagram. They did some patrols in the area I was responsible for, and more importantly, they did some humanitarian assistance missions. The Afghans absolutely loved the UAE troops. They were thrilled to have SOMEBODY from the Arab world (besides our excellent Egyptian hospital) come out and HELP, rather than hinder.
We had a lot of supplies come from UAE based concerns too - if they were good enough to serve along side us in the field, and good enough to supply bottled water, food and the like to our troops..well, that sure sounds like a friendly nation to me
NF, there's no such thing as "profits being kept here". We're part of a global economy.
Our Treasury Bills and Bonds are owned around the world and we own factories, companies, government bonds from other places as well. We buy and sell all sorts of things from all sorts of places all of the time.
That Chrysler you won't buy was ASSEMBLED here by UAW members. When you don't buy one, they don't get paid.
Security is definitely a serious concern with our ports today. But that is truly a separate issue from who owns the management company.
Posted by: too true ||
02/22/2006 8:59 Comments ||
The failure of vision is the assumption that the people have to buy into totally free (no rules) global trade. It easy to buy into when you have never been hurt by it.
As an engineer who has been laid off for 3 years, told in the exit interview I would be replaced by 5 Indian and 2 Singapore engineers, rated by the government as loosing my job to outsourcing, and basicly now screwed on age - I call foul!
Dubai Ports World is one of several foreign giants that operate terminals in ports around the globe; other big companies are from Denmark, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. Few U.S. terminals are managed by American-owned firms.
I say we go with the Danish company...ya know, just for moral support, lol! Seriously, the more I hear about this, the more I see it as a non-issue. Security still ran the same way (basically), the unions still manning the place, etc. However, THIS is NOT the issue that Bush should (finally) threaten veto on. He's gonna lose a lot of votes, just on principle for this one!
I started out thinking this was a non-issue. When queried on it by a regular RBer, I surmised that, on balance, it was probably a bad idea, just cuz they are Muzzies and eventually something bad would come of it. But, the more I read and think about it, well, it has dawned on me that it has precisely ZERO effect on the security of the ports in question. ZERO. As the man said in the article:
...the workers handling security in U.S. ports are supplied by longshoremen's unions -- an arrangement he said would remain in effect. "So it doesn't make any difference whether we are their employers, or other terminal operators are their employers,"
Why all the hubbub? Politics. Pure, 100%, partisan politics.
And here's the pain:
Those who are frothing about it are either:
1) assholes seeking political points
2) book-peddling shitheads like fuckwit over at JihadWatch who regularly squirts out litters of kittens over anything and everything that he thinks will make him seem more knowledgable... prolly looking for a job in the next admin... and to sell more books, of course
3) well, just embarrassing for not reading and comprehending what people who actually know what the fuck they're talking about say: it's irrelevant
Here we have the perfect article to change such attitudes, and still we see the frothy posts. Hey, it's no compliment to be a dupe or a tool or simply ignorant of the facts about how the world outside your bubble works and be unwilling to change - facts be damned - when they are right in front of you.
That's just embarrassing - or should be. Aw well, fuck it.
On the other hand, this is a royal cluster-fubar and it is primarily Bush's fault. If Rove were the evil genius he is purported to be, this would have been handled much better. Sometimes Bush is really tone deaf, and this is one of them. Harriet Miers II.
This little tempest might be used contructively...
Maybe we use it as a cudgel to demand equality across the board regards company ownership, land ownership, etc. I do not know the UAE laws, but I'll bet they're similar to the Saudis: no company can do biz in Saudi unless it's (at least) 51% Saudi owned. This, and land ownership (think Mexico), and other restrictions placed on non-citizens by other countries shouldn't be tolerated. Maybe we start implementing rules that correspond with what American firms and people face... It is imminently defensible and would be a boon to the US economy as well as to US individuals.
Yeah, it's just too bad, though, that an American company can't step up with the cash for the deal--just talking business-wise.
I think it's a funny thing, though, that the Dems first say, "there's no Moslem problem" and now with the port question/confusion, it's "we can't let them have control over the ports--those bastard Moslems."
I have a thought, though. If the ports are owned by UAE, can't UAE change management protocols in terms of who they hire/fire, and EVENTUALLY make some inroads (if motivated by the wrong entities) to weaken homeland security? Say, ten years down the road? No disrespect for the unions, but eveyone has a price, and the idea that safeguards could potentially be bought out is unnerving to me, and seems a tad bit more likely if the owner (of the port operations) is another country.
Ships come in, dock. Unload containers as fast as they can, load outboud containers as fast as they can. Sail away. Truckers and trains pick up arrived containers, deliver exports. What's hard?
The assumption is that as the Arabs buy the operating contract for the port and equipment, install Arabs as CFO, CIO, and treasurer they can now significantly improve the ability of al-Qaeda to deliver a nuke in a container.
The nuke in a container is a real threat. Why or how the CFO, CIO and treasurer will marginally improve al-Q's ability to deliver said nuke-in-a-box with the USCG and TSA looking over their shoulders at all times is never made clear to me. The threat exists and must be dealt with independent of who gets the profits from the port.
The port ops and management company will handle decisions like what equipment to place on what pier, hours of operation, berthing charges, etc. based on what is allowed by the Port itself.
The Port, not only sets limits on what the ops and management company can and can't do but also, as noted above, the TSA, CoEngineers, Coast Guard, etc. also have regulations and the like. In addition, the States themselves regulate certain things.
Yes it is true that two of the 9-11 terrorists were UAE citizens. Yes it is true that Ports are potential terrorism gateways.
But it is also true that, with their ownership of the Ops and Management company, the UAE has an increment of additional incentive to keep terrorism away from Ports because if they don't, the security regs increase and that hurts the bottom line.
and by the way, Johns Hopkins Med Center is getting a contract to manage a hospital in the UAE.
Additionally, little or no mention has been made regards the US's efforts under the Bush admin to go to the source ports and do legwork there. IINM, we have agreements at many of the major ports, Singapore being a huge example, where we are part of the security apparatus THERE that works to prevent suspicious cargo destined for a US port to escape examination.
Oh, I feel SO put down now, Nimble, and YOU are such a big, powerful guy. Just gives me shivers. Gee, I never thought about ports the way YOU described. It took me a really, really, really, really long time to even come close to understanding what you were saying--and you were SO right to chide me about it. I mean, what IS so hard to understand about ships coming in and being unloaded. Heh-heh. Silly me. I hope you can teach me all kinds of important stuff in the days ahead.
My apologies if you mistook my FU for an explitive mistakenly aimed at what someone else said was a flip attitude on your part (see why I shouln't listen to other people?) I only meant "Friends United." Ooops. I guess you probably did too. My mistake again.
thats the 64 million dollar question, aint it mhw? To me all Americans (other than a few raving loonies) are, and so are most Europs, Israelis, Aussies, Canadians, etc. And a large minority of muslims as well. And most govts in the muslim world (though some like UAE are not a real intense shade of blue, even if bluer than KSA) To others the blue team is the Republican Party of the United States. End, full stop.
A message delivered in a manner lh deems intemperate does not negate the message.
Were lh's people in charge from 2000 forward, the Taleban would still be killing uppity women in the soccer stadium, providing the cover available to a state to OBL's minions coming out of the far more numerous training camps, etc, not to mention that Saddam and his spawn would still be running the woodchipper and dreaming of gassing the Kurds again.
Your comment on who is blue and isn't, raises a very interesting question. Why are we so alarmed about a UAE company getting this? What about the prior British operator? Do we not jokingly refer to "Londonistan"? The Islamist operative can come at us from any direction. Yes, giving port operations over to a UAE firm doesn't pass the sniff test, but I'm not sure giving it back to a wholly U.S. firm would make a difference in this regards.
This is truly a complex web we are left to unweave. Or cut through.
Did any of you "No Foreign Ownership" guys note that the ports are now owned by the British?
Hardly a "Local" issue, it's not American owned now.
I say let whoever has the money, own the ports, I'm certain that NO overseas owners would ever let any dangerous contaband (Such as Nukes) in anywhere, there's just entirely too much to lose to allow it.(Everything you own, all your holdings everywhere, all your cash, then we hunt you down and kill you)
No, it's not a terrorism issue, just a Democrat scare-the-sheep-to-death issue.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
02/22/2006 14:14 Comments ||
"Were lh's people in charge from 2000 forward, the Taleban would still be killing uppity women in the soccer stadium, providing the cover available to a state to OBL's minions coming out of the far more numerous training camps, etc, not to mention that Saddam and his spawn would still be running the woodchipper and dreaming of gassing the Kurds again."
I dont think any conceivable US admin wouldnt have taken on the Taliban. Theyd be history with Gore in the WH. Though I'll freely admit it might not have been done as deftly. THAT campaign was masterful - and Rummy deserves credit for it.
I would have thought the pre-2000 Gore would have gone into Iraq too, based on the fact that almost everybody whom he was close to supported OIF, and his running mate is still the Dem who gets quoted by Bush on the situation in Iraq. But Gore changed dramatically afterward - how much was reaction to the 2000 election, and how much a reaction to his (paleoliberal) fathers death, and his renunciation of his mentor (hawkish Martin Peretz) I dont really know. If Gore were Prez Saddam probably would still be in power. But then with Gores change he ceased being one of "my people" (ie liberalhawks)
When someone (me) happens to ask an honest question regarding the operations of the ports, in order to understand the issue better, and is met with a nasty little flip answer such as Nimble's, then Nimble will be dealth with accordingly.
mhw and .com answered the question in a helpful way. The UAE would be a useful ally, and in terms of business, it's fine for them to purchase from the Brits, IMO. Besides, we already use them as a naval parking lot. Security is, and will continue to be, our responsibility--and as .com says, the sale allows us greater access to assess the security on the other side.
Limbaugh is reporting that the Longshoreman's Union people are worried that the modernization of the ports (as the UAE will do) would cost them jobs. Since the Dems get a lot of money from the unions . . .
#46 The assertion is not that muslims shouldnt own ports, but that a mideastern govt which, it is claimed, has supported terror in the past, cant own ports. Not saying I agree, but its not the same thing.
I guess change is very hard for me.
It just seems that american ports, need to be managed by our own.
The issues are should we grant the UAE access to sensitive information and management plans about our key U.S. ports, which are plenty insecure enough without adding new risks, and whether the decision process was thorough and free from conflicts of interest.
From the 1970s, the UAE has been a key source of financial support for Saudi-controlled organizations like the Islamic Solidarity Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, World Council of Mosques, and the Muslim World League as documented in The Muslim World League Journal, an English-language monthly. The IDB alone, for instance, spent $10 billion between 1977 and 1990 for Islamic activities and at least $1 billion more recently to support terrorist activities by the Palestinian Al Aqsa and Intifada Funds.
Follow the money
Well, after reading the posts and linked stories at LGF - and Malkin - and Lileks - sheesh! - it's all about PR and image. Sigh. Dunno what Bush should do now, but the original charges were not factual... absurd and emotional and [insert drum roll here] political BS. Wotta surprise.
Excuse the length -- but this is from fromerspook -- In from the Cold (great background info on the UAE region and our military)
So why not cancel the deal, and avoid giving the left some badly-needed, election year ammunition in the political battle of homeland security? Unless the deal is scrapped, the administration will find itself in the akward position of appearing weaker on port security than, say, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer. At this point, one would assume that GOP powerbrokers are leaning on the White House to cancel the agreement.
But it's not that simple. Cancelling the port deal could mean the end of U.S. basing rights in the UAE, strained relations with other regional partners, and the potential loss of a key defense contract, all viewed as critical in fighting the War on Terror. Collectively, those factors probably explain why the deal hasn't already been nixed, and why the Bush Administration may put up a fight--even with political allies.
Let's beging with the basing rights issue. U.S. military forces--particularly Air Force units--have been using airfields in the UAE since the start of Operation Desert Shield back in 1990. Bases in the UAE are viewed as particularly important for potential military operations against Iran, given their proximity to disputed islands the Persian Gulf, and the Strait of Hormuz. Flying from bases in the UAE, U.S. fighter-bombers would have only a short hop to targets in Iran, allowing them to maintain constant pressue on Tehran's military forces and political leadership. The presence of large numbers of tactical aircraft in the UAE would also make it easier to keep the strait open, and reduce Iran's ability to restrict the flow of oil to the global market. If the White House cancels the port deal, Dubai may end its basing agreement, and greatly complicate our military strategy in the region.
Overturning the port deal could also create other problems in the Persian Gulf. Cancellation of the contract would be viewed as an insult to the UAE and its leadership; regional critics would accuse the U.S. of hypocrisy--anxious to utilize UAE bases and sell its defense hardware to the Dubai, but unwilling to let a UAE company manage operations in U.S. ports. Such criticism, in turn, would cause other Gulf allies to question Washington's long-term committment to the region, and make it more difficult for the U.S. to sustain basing rights in such countries as Qatar and Bahrain. In fact, the loss of basing in the UAE would probably force the U.S. to approach Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain to take in more U.S. personnel, a potentially tough sell in the wake of a cancelled port deal between the Dubai and Washington. U.S. basing in Qatar is viewed as extremely critical, since the Gulf nation is home to a multi-billion dollar Air Operations Center, that is used to direct combat operations in the region.
Finally, striking down the port deal would mean likely curtailment of the sale of U.S. F-16s to the UAE. Back in the late 1990s, the Clinton Administration signed an agreement to sell 80 F-16s to the UAE, at a cost of roughly $8 billion. The UAE F-16s (Block 60 models) are most sophisticated version of that fighter ever produced, with capabilities beyond those of USAF F-16s. Sale of the F-16s was viewed as essential in continuing U.S. basing agreements in the UAE, and a major economic plum for the state of Texas, where Lockheed-Martin builds the F-16. The UAE deal came at a time when F-16 production was winding down; the U.S. and other countries had essentially completed their purchase of the F-16, and the assembly line was facing closure until the UAE deal came along. Lockheed hopes the UAE contract can stimulate other F-16 purchases, possibly by other Gulf States or possibly India. In economic terms, the UAE F-16 deal means literally billions of dollars and thousands of jobs in the President's home state.
Brit Hume of FNC has predicted that the White House will quietly cancel the UAE port deal a few weeks from now, after the initial furor has died down. But I'm not so sure. The military stakes are enormous, and the economic consequences (through the F-16 sale) are significant as well. Cancelling the port deal may solve political and security issues here at home, but it will also create significant problems in the gulf region, at a time the White House can ill afford them. It's a tough call, but one the President has to make--and soon.
Cancelling anything to make the Dems quiet is to be avoided. Let 'em stew. I'm waiting for the libs to start up with the "Muslims are a risk" talk so the ACLU can sue them. There's potential popcorn here, as hinted at in post #22.
Sherry, excellent ! Also, in the event of an attack on Iran, the UAE will be ground zero for an Iranian retaliation. That is a lot to ask a country in which one in eighty is a millionair.
These people are gambling here. They are gambling that the US and 21st century lifestyle are the winners in the big contest against the 8th century. Who among us would abandon them ?
Is there any proof what so ever to suggest that this deal would threaten national security? Because theyre an Arab company you say? Cmon folks throw me a frikken bone. This is grandstanding politics pure and simple. Seems to me its just another wrinkle in the same ole sphincter. Some Republicans have voiced their concern so as not to appear weak on national security. Others have a constituency that has ports in their backyard and make it politically mandatory for them to question this deal. As for Democrats, this is just an angle for some to exploit the Bush Administrations inadequate funding of port security. For most its the next scandal de jour. Just another issue to extrapolate into the ongoing culture of corruption narrative. Just look how this story is no longer about security and has morphed into Secret nature of the foreign acquisition process, Executive Branch didnt consult the Legislative Branch, and Bush in bed with the Arabs...
Is the problem the UAE or is the problem trusting our own government? With the revelation that an FBI field office had detected what would turn out to be the 9/11 threat with various members of the cell training at flight schools and the inaction and obstruction by the FBI bureaucracy, do we feel safe? When Pearl Harbor happened, Admiral Kimmel and General Short were publicly relieved of command and subjected to intense scrutiny for their actions and inactions leading to the disaster. Those responsible in the FBI establishment were not subjected to similar treatment. Rituals have values. Not necessarily in and of themselves, but in the message they convey to the participants and audience. The failure to engage in a ritualistic process of holding such officials publicly accountable for the event leaves many of us with serious misgivings that institutional behaviors are tolerated which resulted in the 9/11 disaster. That such institutions will again fail because the message is that failure isnt accompanied by serious consequences for those involved. I believe the president is about to pay for the failure to publicly clean house years ago
The story here is about Border/Port security. The Federal governmnet is responsible for that and has and is doing a crappy job. Running Ports operations is not security. Security is securing every border and searching every cargo container, box and suitcase that enters the US. Customs and the INS are not going to do that so please get distracted with this non issue. Port Opetrations are about where to berth vessles and unloading cargos. The Dems and Republicans are not going to do anything about the real government job of securing the border and checking cargos and collecting all the tarrifs that are due and impounding illegal cargos. This is a total distraction from reality.
#54. You bring up some really good points. Too bad! If the folks that floated this initially had been earning their money, they would have told the UAE:"Sorry! This isn't a political possibility right now, blah-blah-blah, Insh'Allah!".
This is also not a Repub/Demo thing. I'm conservative, so are most of the folks I know, but, even the libs I know think this is a bad idea.
interesting list on Polipundit (thx DJ Drummond!)of ports by tonnage:
There are 361 seaports in the United States. The Top 25 by freight weight (2003) are in the following locations (tonnage in short tons):
South Louisiana, LA (198.8 Million Tons)
Houston, TX (190.9 Million Tons)
New York, NY-NJ (145.9 Million Tons)
Beaumont, TX (87.5 Million Tons)
New Orleans, TX (83.8 Million Tons)
Huntington, WV (77.6 Million Tons)
Corpus Christi, TX (77.2 Million Tons)
Long Beach, CA (69.2 Million Tons)
Texas City, TX (61.3 Million Tons)
Baton Rouge, LA (61.3 Million Tons)
Plaquemines, LA (55.9 Million Tons)
Lake Charles, LA (53.4 Million Tons)
Los Angeles, CA (51.3 Million Tons)
Mobile, AL (50.2 Million Tons)
Valdez, AK (49.9 Million Tons)
Tampa, FL (48.3 Million Tons)
Pittsburgh, PA (41.7 Million Tons)
Baltimore, MD (40.2 Million Tons)
Duluth-Superior, MN-WI (38.3 Million Tons)
Philadelphia, PA (33.2 Million Tons)
St. Louis, MO-IL (32.4 Million Tons)
Pascagoula, MS (31.3 Million Tons)
Norfolk Harbor, VA (31.2 Million Tons)
Freeport, TX (30.5 Million Tons)
Portland, ME (29.2 Million Tons)
Of these, Peninsular & Oriental navigation (P&O Ports) has part or whole ownership of the operating leases in eleven of the top U.S. ports. P&O Ports is a British company based in London, which has part or whole ownership in 85 seaports worldwide. And P&O Ports has decided to divest itself of about half of its U.S. seaport investment. Why?
Because seaports are expensive and sometimes difficult to run. American seaports often have environmental and operational restrictions which annoy the lease owners and chase away capital investment. The whole reason for the leases, in actual fact, is that there are four classes of people working through the ports:
· Ship owners and operators, who want to move freight
· Property owners, who often build warehouses near the port facilities
· The Port Authority for each port; and
· Operations Management companies
At the risk of sounding trite, port operation is not all that different from running a very large grocery operation you have to move a lot of items, some fragile, some time-sensitive, some just plain difficult to move, in a very short frame of time. You have to keep ship traffic flowing and you have to keep all kinds of inspectors and officials happy. And no one pays any attention to you, unless and until something goes wrong.
I suspect this was how the deal was pitched to the President as a change only in operational management, with no change at all in the substance. The Department of Homeland Security still holds authority for security, with the Coast Guard and the Customs Service as the first responders to any concerns, regardless of who holds the operations lease. The individual ports each also stipulate conditions for ship traffic, cargo documentation and handling, and these are based on long experience and attention to practical feasibility.
I like DJ's logic
Posted by: Frank G ||
02/22/2006 18:55 Comments ||
The president may also have been reminded of the high value of our military basing rights in UAE.
The government must disclose whether it used any information from the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program in its case against a man convicted of joining Al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate the president, a federal judge has ruled.
Judge Gerald Bruce Lee postponed the man's sentencing at the request of defense lawyers who suspect that Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 24, of Falls Church, was illegally targeted by the eavesdropping program.
In a ruling made public Tuesday, the judge gave prosecutors until March 9 to submit a sworn declaration from a government official to say whether any information from the eavesdropping was used in Abu Ali's case.
Prosecutors had opposed any sentencing delay. They said they were not aware of any evidence obtained through the surveillance program, but conceded they may not know exactly how investigators obtained all the evidence. The judge said a sworn declaration was needed to determine whether any of Abu Ali's constitutional rights were violated. He said the government may file its response under seal if necessary.
He had a constitutional right not to be investigated? A constitutional right not to have his criminal conversations with overseas individuals tracked?
Defense lawyers have said they have no direct evidence their client was targeted by the program, but they suspect he was because of the eavesdropping program's apparent focus on Al Qaeda.
Raised in suburban Washington, D.C., Abu Ali confessed that he joined Al Qaeda in 2003 while attending college in Saudi Arabia and discussed assassinating Bush and establishing an Al Qaeda cell in the United States. He said he was tortured into a false confession, but a jury rejected that claim and convicted him on all counts. He faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison. Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence.
"Hey! Youse guys are me mouthpieces! You gotta find a way to keep me outta slammer!"
Several Bush-administration security officials expressed concerns yesterday that terrorists could infiltrate seaports through a United Arab Emirates company that is vying to manage six U.S. ports.
Intelligence and security officials opposed to the deal with Dubai Ports World said ports are vulnerable to the entry of terrorists or illicit weapons because of the large number of containers that enter U.S. territory, regardless of who manages them.
A Persian Gulf state such as the United Arab Emirates could provide an infrastructure for terrorists to penetrate U.S. security as part of a major terrorist operation, the officials said.
One long-term worry is that al Qaeda terrorists will attempt to smuggle a nuclear device into the United States through a port via a shipping container.
Allowing a Middle Eastern company to manage key ports "would be like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse," said one security official, who, like most other critics, spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Another official said the problem is not the company but its location in a region rife with Islamic terrorism.
"You have to be concerned about a firm from that part of the world managing the ports," this official said. "They are more vulnerable to compromise and penetration by terrorists, even if they are just managing the port."
Company officials would be briefed on security procedures and countermeasures that, if compromised, could allow foreign terrorists to get through various screening procedures, the official said.
The Coast Guard is responsible for port security, tracking ships, crews and cargo and search vessels based on intelligence. There is no cohesive hiring or screening process for port workers, however.
Critics said the port deal reflects the Bush administration's pro-business policy bias. The Treasury Department's point man on the issue, Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt, was described by officials as a liberal Republican who in the past clashed with conservative national-security officials during interagency policy disputes.
The United States has 95,000 miles of open shoreline with 361 ports. Annually, about 7,500 ships make about 51,000 port calls and unload more than 6 million shipping containers.
Other senior officials, however, reject politically charged claims that the Dubai Ports World purchase of contracts to run ports in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Newark, N.J., poses a national security risk.
At the White House, National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones said there are no national security concerns over the Dubai Ports World deal.
"This transaction has been incorrectly reported as being about port security or port ownership," Mr. Jones said. "No. It is about managing port operations. Port security remains the shared responsibility of local port authorities, the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Department, the Coast Guard and others."
The port deal was approved by the Treasury-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), in part based on the United Arab Emirates' support for U.S. government activities in the war on terrorism.
U.S. intelligence agencies raised "a couple" of national-security issues that were resolved after talks with Dubai Ports World officials, said Treasury spokesman Tony Fratto. The company, he said, provided "verifiable assurances" that the problems would be resolved, but did not elaborate.
The contract to manage the ports is not expected to involve large numbers of United Arab Emirates or foreign dock workers, but will involve some United Arab Emirates nationals who are Dubai Ports World managers to direct and oversee port operations.
The Department of Homeland Security was the lead agency in supporting the deal, based on past United Arab Emirates cooperation with a U.S.-led shipping container security initiative in Dubai.
The CIA operates a base in Dubai, and U.S. military unmanned aerial vehicles also fly out of the Persian Gulf state for intelligence-gathering missions.
"It's a country that's been involved in the global war on terror with us; it's a country that we have facilities that we use," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters yesterday.
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said the U.S. military has close ties to the United Arab Emirates.
"In everything that we have asked and work with them on, they have proven to be very, very solid partners," Gen. Pace said.
Mr. Rumsfeld said both he and Gen. Pace were unaware of the port-deal security issue until the weekend.
The defense secretary said he was reluctant to judge whether the management contracts posed national-security risks because he was not fully informed.
I know I have been missed--but in the spirit of free enterprise--so valued by the GOP--why don't we let the Country of Yemen take over the TSA? Maybe we can outsource security for Amtrak to Saudi Arabia? It all makes sense, since the private sector is the solution! I guess Kinda Sleezy Rice REALLY does want to see that mushroom cloud over Manhattan since only 20% of the populace there bought her bosses lies!
Posted by: Not MIKE Moore ||
02/22/2006 1:14 Comments ||
Sure. Why not, NMM? After all, the Democrats outsourced their domestic policy to the Social Democrats and their foreign policy to the Tranzis years ago.
The company owning the management and operations aspects of the port is essentially irrelevent to security.
The company will be making decisions about which piers to put what equipment on; the charges for berthing; the hours of operation, etc.
The inspections, surveillance, etc. are all regulated by the Coast Guard, TSA, Maritime Administration, COEngineers, etc. And all the actual loading, unloading, dispatching, etc. are done by the same dockworkers that would be there no matter who owned the port management company.
I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with Jimmy Carter, John McCain and the Washingtop Post (although for different reasons).
I call for official co-privatization of domestic security, as called for in the Second Amendment.
NMM appeals only to the Ignorant by blatantly lying about what Conservatives and Bush actually stand for. Can't demonize them if you stick to the truth. Must use wild-ass extrapolations based on fevered and blind faith in socialist-communist-marxist political, social, and economic analysis that has murdered more people than Hitler. Failed thinking that, when implemented in real-life, necessitates expanded and uncritical welfare to sustain the adherents thereto.
P&O, the British company that Dubai Port is buying, operates terminals in six American ports. Some of these terminals are alongside terminals operated by the Danish company Moller. In the Port of Los Angeles, one of the terminals is operated by a Chinese firm. Corpus Christi has had both a Spanish company and a Filipino company in its port.
The frieght comes from all over the world. The ships come from all over the world. The seamen come from all over the world. None of that would change.
Where were all these people when the American merchant marine was regulated out of business?
Or, for that matter, when we exported the oilfield to the Middle East in the mid-80's?
Oh, sure, they'll tell you all day long they support the replacement of the oilfield with Pixie Dust, which they'll have in just a few short years once the Nasty Conspiratorialists in the domestic oilfield get out the way...
...which is just another way of blaming the locals for the fact that you want to import from salafists instead.
Not only that, but if you subscribe to the belief that not all muzzies are bad, then somewhere, sometime you must include those considered good as partners in this WOT and treat them as such.
Which is it ? Some muzzies with us , or all muzzies bad ?
i lean towards y'all that this deal should be allowed. Of course deep in my heart i suspect that if President Clinton (you fill in the first name) had oked this, youd all be ranting and raving about treason, mythical moderate muslims, etc, etc.
"Not only that, but if you subscribe to the belief that not all muzzies are bad, then somewhere, sometime you must include those considered good as partners in this WOT and treat them as such.
Which is it ? Some muzzies with us , or all muzzies bad ?"
And doesnt the reverse apply as well? I mean the UAE was, along with Saudi and Pakiland one of only three countries that recognized the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Indonesia didnt. Jordan didnt. Albania didnt. etc, etc. Yet call those countries "moderate" and ive got a pack of rampaging loonies all over me. Yet now UAE, which is not more moderate than the govt of Pakistan, and hardly more moderate than the govt of Saudi Arabia, is now a valued ally. Well which is it? Are moderate muslim mythical, or not?
I have no idea if this is a good idea or a bad idea. But I am suspicious when the democrats support an idea and use it to bash republicans just because all of their ideas for the past half century have sucked so horribly bad.
LH - re: Clinton, probably so, because we suspect his reasons. There would be $ for Hillary's campaign, that trailer-trash library, a couple promised speaking engagements at huge $...
Posted by: Frank G ||
02/22/2006 10:00 Comments ||
hey liberalhawk...I'm trying to think of just one really good idea that liberals have bestowed us with since 1960. I can't think of any, can you?
When I think of liberals I think of reasons for this current war on terror, ie: the belief we are weak and will run. I think of the peace love generation whose great ideas of compassion were nothing more than vacant political promises that threw beads and whiskey at the down and out and destroyed the fabric of their society, leaving them in a worse state than if they had left them alone all together. I think of the Peace movement and Pol Pot. I think of health care in terms of how the libearls idolize Castro for his crappy (but free) health care system. I think of liberal newspapers as being anything but a free press. I could go on - but is there anything at all that liberals can be proud of - except perhaps legal abortion?
That is the problem LH all Americans see are bad muslims never any of the good things they do and American people are beginnings not to like muslims. That will be the start and the war will begin in earnest and hatred on both sides will probably kill millions of muslims. War of attrition we are only at the beginning it is going to get ugly.
After the Arbusto fiasco, Bush Jr joined a consortium that drilled several oil wells in the UAE, with no luck. Still he was able to pocket $1,500,000 from the failed venture. As President, he has never condemned terror financing from either the UAE or the Saud terrorist entity in face of the fact that said financing facilitated both the 9-11 massacres, and the current terror attacks against US troops in Iraq. Further, in the domestic front, his administration pays consultation fees to the Islamic Society of North America, notwithstanding their distribution of Wahabi hate tracts in the 80% of US mosques that have received Saudi financial support. Bush's see no evil aproach to America's mortal enemies - which runs counter to mainstream Evangelical beliefs - reveals that he puts his personal post-administration interests over those of his country.
I know Rantburg - especially lotp who cut over a dozen of the ever compliant Robert Crawford's posts last week - censors any criticism of Bush, even though the President is taking heat from all other conservative, evangelical and military hardline sources. The program appears to favor grassroots Republican pressure on the President. What is your program?
Google some of recent news reports on Karen Hughes' fellatial public diplomacy conducted in enemy States. Why would you want to be associated with that slavish dhimmism? Do you believe it covers some tactical genius? I will tell you Bush's grand strategy: trying to look and act resolute to the sheepish masses, in preparation for serving himself to the Saudi wolves, post Presidency. Bush Jr is a slave.
And it's not "End of story" - or haven't you the capacity to take in information as it develops, comprehend it, and then change (if necessary) your knee-jerk first-blush opinion?
You're much smarter than that - or some of your posts have led me to believe. Is this just a bubble of your quiescent BDS breaking through? I had, recently, begun to give you credit for shedding that mantle of irrationality. Sad, this.
What is your position on UAE control of US ports? Am I the only one here who believes that Bush Jr is an overachieving rich brat, who is under oil patch remote control? Who is "CaziFarkus"? Could be CrazyFool's alter ego.
What is your position on UAE control of US ports? Am I the only one here who believes that Bush Jr is an overachieving rich brat, who is under oil patch remote control? Who is "CaziFarkus"? Could be CrazyFools alter ego.
I sometimes wonder if everyone who bitches about the oil patch has really thought about the long-term effects of outsourcing the whole thing to other countries.
Simple question. What happens when an overseas shipping container comes into port with UAE diplomatic seals on it?
Yes, I fully intend this as a terrorist bomb importation scenario. While I do not seek to punish all Arab countries, ally and enemy alike, I still think careful consideration should be given to turning over any vital security functions or importation avenues at this point in time.
Any worthy ally of ours would understand a delay in handing over the reins. I have simply seen far too much collaboration and collusion between Islamic nations, a lot of it running counter to American interests, to be convinced that relenquishing even a small portion of port security to be a good thing, right now.
Yes, I might be over-reacting. Over-reacting is something that could prove to be extremely wise right now. Remember, one nuclear terrorist attack could set us back DECADES. The Dow Jones only recently recovered to where it was pre-9/11. That was subsequent to a mere airliners-into-skyscrapers attack (regardless of how insanely egregious it was). 9/11 cost our nation TRILLIONS in lost economic growth and security expenditures, not even counting the Iraq war. Now imagine the economic devastation of a nuclear terrorist attack. The number QUADRILLION comes to mind. That's a chance I'm not willing to take.
There's a good chance it would be scanned for radiation, bio and chem substances. We've got some pretty awesome sniffers in the major ports IIUC and that sort of thing could -- and I suspect definitely would -- be checked out without breaking any diplomatic protocols.
I doubt we have enough of these machines deployed to scan everything that comes into the country -- at this point, anyway. But, a whole lot of amazing R&D happened in the last few years. Expensive, but worth it for this kind of equipment.
From Drudge just now: Documents obtained by the AP show the Bush administration's conditions for approving a ports sale required a Dubai company to cooperate with future U.S. investigations and disclose internal operations records on demand... Developing...
I agree with that, as I said waay back when today.
Regards your posts today, if you had been on-topic all day - like this one - and kept your pecker in your pants (taking the high road and shaming the Mods) I'd be begging them and Fred for more tolerance.
re: #19 - nothing. Your dreams of what the liberal party woulda, coulda, shoulda, been but never was just caused me to wonder out loud, that's all. I noticed you didn't have an answer. That's ok, LH. Good intentions are good enough, eh?
It will take a network of international cooperation to defeat al Qaeda and its associate networks, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said here today.
"It takes a network to defeat a network," Kimmitt, U.S. Central Command's deputy director for plans and strategy, said at a State Department Foreign Press Center briefing. "To defeat this organization we must have a network that is more adept, more capable and more lithe."
Kimmitt also laid out three more principles CENTCOM envisions will help defeat terror networks in its region: "helping others help themselves," stopping terrorist safe havens from being established, and reposturing forces for the "Long War."
Because al Qaeda uses technology to its advantage, the Long War must be fought in both the geographical and virtual domain, he said.
"This is a group (al Qaeda) that advertises on the Internet, finances on the Internet, proselytizes on the Internet," he said. "It also uses international criminal networks in many ways - smuggling, in some cases drug money to finance its efforts."
He added that al Qaeda also has command and control elements online.
"If you put this all together, you see a fairly sophisticated network," he said. "Now I don't want to mislead you, this enemy is not 10 feet tall ... but he is networked in a way that we are not," he added.
Kimmitt said that many regional nations are tackling terrorism on their own, and the U.S must continue to help them do so. He cited Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia as a few examples.
"These are countries that have developed counterterrorism capabilities within their own ministries," he said. "They are taking the fight to al Qaeda itself."
On the safe haven issue, Kimmitt stressed the importance winning the heart and minds of local population, so that they have no wishes to offer sanctuary to terrorists.
Kimmitt also talked about reposturing forces in the Middle East.
"It is our belief that we will not keep -- and do not want to keep -- a huge presence of ground maneuver forces in the region," he said. "After Iraq and Afghanistan are stabilized, we fully understand we have the responsibility to provide a residual (element) ... but that will be a fraction of the number of forces that we have there now."
There are currently about 200,000 U.S. troops in region, he said.
Kimmitt made the point that even though great progress toward representative government has been made in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is a mistake to define the war against terrorism by the day-to-day activities in either country.
"It is not a long war that is not going to lend itself to a lot of metrics, so that one day we will be able to stand up and have ticker-tape parades and say we've been victorious," he said. "It is our view that is not the case."
The U.S. mainstream media is doing its absolute best to thwart our government's ability to win, intentional or unintentional I dont know. The increasingly negative articles I read about the WOT and Bush from the associated press get worse and worse and worse... I AM TIRED OF IT. WE ARE A NATION AT WAR. I dont see how any normal American could ever support the war reading the trash the media prints.
A four-day counter-terrorism conference, featuring intelligence professionals from over 30 countries, was headlined by the release of 12 hours of Saddam Hussein's audiotapes. But the non-governmental Intelligence Summit also focused on al Qaeda's use of falconry camps as support networks for al Qaeda; and the recent testing of security in U.S. government installations.
Former United Nations weapons inspector Bill Tierney said he had been hired by the FBI to translate the Saddam tapes that dated from 1992 to "post-2000." Initial media reports about the tapes indicated that they dated back only to 1995 and lacked the "smoking gun" evidence that the Intelligence Summit had billed in promoting the conference.
The presentation of translated excerpts was bogged down by its three-hour length; and by the inclusion of vague, cryptic and inconclusive sections. Tierney provided context for the conversations and his interpretation of their significance.
Excerpts from 1992, Tierney said, pointed to the rebuilding of Saddam's chemical weapons facilities. A mid-1996 tape had Saddam discussing decontamination at a biological weapons facility.
Some excerpts from 1992 also described the removal of warheads from missiles that Saddam had ordered destroyed. On the tape, an unidentified male said, "Sir, the group of missiles whose equipment was destroyed, the warheads were removed on cattle trucks that were at the military industrial facility and at the National Communications [indistinct.]"
The most recent excerpts were dated to "post-2000" and featured scientists briefing Saddam on plasma technology activity within various venues. Some of the excerpts provided to the press, including references to "tokomaks" (a chamber used in fusion research to heat plasma) and "breakeven" (a condition under which heated plasma results in a net yield of energy) seemed to indicate the scientists were briefing Saddam on the basics of nuclear fusion
Dr. Thamir Ma'aman Mawdud from the Theoretical Applications Center at the Iraqi Military Industrial Commission stated that "in 1981 we started to create sources of plasma, which were used in the Iraqi nuclear program." He later referenced "production we achieved in the advanced stages in the end of the 1990s." Thamir then appeared to reference the first Persian Gulf War when he remarked that "the 30-state aggression against" the Iraqis' plasma activity was "limited to ... tests and experimental and industrial measurements."
The most-publicized excerpt was one in which Saddam described a possible terrorist strike against America. "Terrorism is coming ... with the Americans. Two years ago, not a long while ago, with the English I believe, there was a campaign [unintelligible] with one of them, that in the future there would be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction ...." He later added, "This is coming, this story is coming, but not from Iraq."
Tierney contended that the Saddam was likely brainstorming about using proxies to attack the U.S. He disagreed with ABC Nightline's independent translation, aired last week, which suggested that Saddam had warned the U.S. of a potential attack.
Tierney told Cybercast News Service that he is currently working as a freelance translator and has signed a book deal. The book, tentatively titled "My High Tower," is about "the spiritual dimension of military intelligence," Tierney said, adding that "God's my intel system."
One of the most unusual presentations of the summit concentrated on "Al Qaeda Falconry" -- or the alleged use of month-long royal falcon hunting camps as cover for wealthy Arabs to provide vehicles, weapons, cash and medical care to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. The royal camps are being used as al Qaeda's 'boardroom,' warned Hari Har Singh Khalsa, one of the presenters.
Investigations of falcon smuggling undertaken by a group called Union for the Conservation of Raptors eventually led to evidence of terrorist and mafia involvement, Khalsa said. The evidence reportedly was turned over to the FBI.
Khalsa, who said he has 20 years of experience hunting with trained falcons in the company of prominent sheiks and princes from the Middle East, also named diplomats and government officials allegedly involved in the criminal activity.
"Without the falconry camps, al Qaeda will be knee-capped. We need to shut them down. We need to cancel the U.N. permission that licenses these camps," said Khalsa.
Also popular at the summit was famed SEAL team SIX founder Richard Marcinko, author of "Rogue Warrior." SEAL team SIX became the Navy's premier counter-terrorist unit and engaged in numerous classified actions around the world.
Marcinko said he has been testing and 'breaching' security of various venues including the Pentagon, airports, nuclear shipyards and subway systems. Marcinko told Cybercast News System that his most recent testing of a government installation occurred less than three weeks ago.
He also said there should be less debate over whether terrorists might use a nuclear or a 'dirty' bomb and more focus on the threat of simple attacks, such as the backing up of a propane truck to a ventilation system in a building, then setting it off with a "Radio Shack transmitter."
Cybercast News Service also asked Marcinko for his opinion on a pending deal that would make a company in Dubai the controller of six U.S. ports. "Dubai? That is brain dead," said Marcinko. "That's like invitin' the godd**n fox into the chicken coop."
Other topics presented at the summit included media warfare, telecommunications and network breaching, resource warfare, and recruitment of terrorists to serve as double agents.
But the non-governmental Intelligence Summit also focused on al Qaeda's use of falconry camps as support networks for al Qaeda
I posted a story a few weeks ago that the Soddies had to cull all of their falcons 'n' hawks (the reported number was 37) on account of bird flu. Now I have to wonder if the birds were actually killed, or just moved. Hmmm.
NEW DELHI: A day after its famous Gorkha soldiers began their deployment with a UN group in Sudan, India on Wednesday flagged off an air force contingent on its way to the peacekeeping mission in Congo.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent, comprising 285 personnel and five Mi-17 transport helicopters and four Mi-35 attack helicopters, will provide mobility to UN staff and forces and "act as deterrence for belligerent groups who may try to destabilise the peace process" in Congo, said spokesman Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani.
The IAF team will join some 3,500 Indian soldiers already serving with the 17,500-strong UN mission in Congo in west Africa.
Congo continues to witness violence by Ugandan rebels, and eight Guatemalan peacekeepers were killed in a firefight last month. In June 2005, an Indian soldier was killed after getting caught in a gun battle between government troops and rebels.
On Tuesday, two battalions or nearly 2,000 soldiers of the Indian Army's elite 1/5 Gorkha Rifles began their deployment with the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan in east Africa.
The force commander of the UN mission in Sudan is also an Indian - Lt. Gen. J.S. Lidder.
The deployment in Sudan marked the Gorkha Rifles' third foray into the African continent, the first two having been during World War I and World War II.
Referring to the IAF's role with the UN force in Congo, Upasani said: "The situation in Congo has undergone a sea change after the IAF arrived on the scene in 2003.
"Today Congo is at the threshold of its first-ever elections scheduled later this year. IAF helicopters spearheaded frantic efforts of the UN contingent in Congo for first stabilising the situation and then successfully holding a referendum last year."
Air Marshal Ajit Bhavnani, the IAF vice chief, flagged off the contingent to Congo at the Palam airbase here.
Speaking on the occasion, Bhavnani said: "You are the ambassadors of peace and the nation has high expectations from you in terms of discipline, integrity and professional standards. Your predecessors have set high standards and you should be setting higher standards."
Group Captain Rajan Kapur, a helicopter pilot with over 5,000 hours of flying experience, is heading the contingent that comprises logisticians, technical experts, medical and administrative support teams.
India has contributed over 65,000 troops to UN peacekeeping missions around the globe since the 1950s. Its troops are currently serving with missions in Lebanon, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
heh heh - insanity is when you keep repeating your errors and hoping for a different outcome. I, for one, welcome India's help. John documents the sanity and progress there vs Pakland - when need to build bridges with them
Posted by: Frank G ||
02/22/2006 21:24 Comments ||
Yeah, but... If they could only get past that communist shit they swallowed, and instituted as Govt, I'd be there.
Pakistan has apparently provided Afghanistan with proof of Indian Intelligence, RAWs involvement in affairs of Balochistan.
Officials said, Islamabad gave concrete evidence of RAWs involvement in Balochistan and the other tribal areas to Afghan President Hamid Karzai during his visit to Pakistan and demanded that RAWs anti-Pakistan activities through Indias consulates in Afghanistan be contained.
RAW, they said was carrying out anti-Pakistan activities through its consulates in Mazar-e- Sharif, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Herat.
The agency was helping Baloch Sardars in waging war against the federal government in places like Dera Bugti, Sui and Kohlu. Training camps established by Mari and Bugti warlords were being given large cache of weapons, which included Kalashnikovs, PRG-7s, land mines and hand grenades by RAW agents based in Afghanistan, they said.
The cache were loaded on mules and transported to Naushki and later shifted to training camps in double cabin. They said that while the situation gradually returned to normal in Waziristan in NWFP, Baloch sardars started mounting attacks on gas pipelines and other installations in Sui, reports Online News.
When the federal government started a crackdown on the insurgency, the Indian government expressed concern over the grave situation, they said. The secular Baloch sardars had started joining hands with the religious Taliban and al-Qaeda and RAW agents operating from consulates in Afghanistan, they said.
Pakistan's law enforcement agencies have mounted a hunt for those wanted to the Afghan government on charges of terrorism and other anti-state activities.
Quoting Pakistan's Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, a section of the Pakistani press confirmed President Hamid Karzai, during his three-day state visit to Islamabad, had handed over a list of wanted men to the Pakistani authorities.
Addressing a press conference in Kabul, Karzai said he had handed over a list of wanted men to the Pakistan government and now awaiting their response. However, a spokesperson of Pakistan's foreign office did not confirm the handing over of any such list when asked for comments during her weekly press briefing last week.
Quoting the minister, one of Pakistan's leading newspaper reported the government had received the list and the law enforcement agencies had mounted a search to pick up the alleged terrorists.
"Yes, we have received a list of about 150 terrorists who are believed to be hiding in Pakistan," the minister confirmed. Referring to the handing over of the list, the Pakistani minister called it a routine matter.
He said it was a routine matter because the two countries often exchanged lists of alleged terrorists believed to be hiding in either country. He said they had started work in light of the fresh list. Sherpao was evasive when asked about names of any prominent Taliban or al-Qaeda figure on the list.
Tension between the two countries mounted in the wake of rising insurgency and the recent suicide bombings in Kandahar and other southern parts of Afghanistan. Several anti-Pakistan protest demonstrations were held in provinces led by governors, ulema and other prominent figures and tribal elders pressing the neighbouring country to stop harbouring and supporting Taliban.
However, the Pakistani authorities, on the other hand, deny the charges, advocating their country itself was victim of terrorism. They say more than 70,000 troops had been deployed to guard the 2,300 kilometres porous border and stop infiltration.
Karzai's recent visit to Pakistan was viewed in that context to end the blame-game and boost cooperation between the two countries in fighting and rooting out terrorism from their respective lands and the region.
Following the protest schedule announced by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the Punjab government is preparing a list of MMA leaders and activists it will arrest in a couple of days, sources told Daily Times on Tuesday. The Punjab government had earlier detained about 76 political activists including three Lahore nazims and a naib nazim belonging to opposition parties under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) 3 to prevent them from participating in demonstrations. The men, who were detained for 30 days on Saturday and Sunday nights, were sent to Mianwali Central Jail.
The political activists mainly belonged to the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and MMA. However, its the MMAs turn now, sources added. Islampura Nazim Ilyas Khan (PML-N), Township Nazim Aslam Garha (PPPP), Santnagar Nazim Nazir Ahmed and Baghbanpura Naib Nazim Muhammad Younis were detained. Rasheed Ahmed Bhutta (PML-N) and Bodi Pehlwan (PML-N) were also among the detained men. Also, the Punjab government on Tuesday told the National Assembly that it had arrested three MNAs including Haneef Abbasi (PML-N) and Zamarud Khan (PPPP), both from Rawalpindi.
Rome, 20 Feb. (AKI) - A leading Italian bishop has slammed as "unacceptable" the silence of states and international organisations over the fate of Christian minorities in Muslim states in an interview published on Monday. Auxiliary bishop Rino Fisichella of Rome told Italy's best-selling daily Corriere della Sera that, "not only is the destiny of Christian minorities living in the Muslim world at stake, but everyone's freedom, the way they can exercise such freedom and the civility of international relations." Fisichella, who is also the dean of the Lateran Pontifical University, added that it was the duty of state governments and international organisation "to implement the principle of reciprocity."
Fisichella's interview followed violent anti-Christian protests over the weekend. On Saturday, violence against Christian targets in Nigeria left 16 people dead while on Friday, some 150 people staged a demonstration in front of the Danish embassy in Tehran and set a crucifix on fire.
The episodes came after weeks of Muslim protests against cartoons satirising the Prophet Mohammed published in European papers.
Commenting the demonstrations, Fisichella said that, "these episodes stress how difficult it is for Muslim socities to accept the principle of religious freedom which is for us a acquired right."
"It's hard to understand why these societies fear freedom and are afraid of Christians who preach fraternity and forgiveness," added the bishop.
In a reference to the murder on 5 February of an Italian priest, Andrea Santoro, in Turkey, allegedly killed by a Muslim radical, Fisichella also noted that, "it is impossible to put on the same level a cartoon and the murder of a priest."
Fisichella called in particular on the Arab League, the European Union and the United Nations to "remind the societies and governments of countries with a Muslim majority of their responsibilities."
Sixteen people were killed in northern Nigeria on Saturday during protests by Muslims over the cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad. The riots in Nigeria are the first violent protests in the country over the cartoons.
Most of the deaths occurred in clashes in Maiduguri, capital of north-eastern Borno state. One person died in similar riots in north-central Katsina state.
Witnesses said most of the dead were from Maiduguri's minority Christians.
Eleven churches were set on fire during the protests and Christian businesses targeted.
The country is nearly equally divided between Muslims in the north and Christians.
As the violence that erupted over Danish cartoon depictions of Prophet Muhammad continues, an obvious fatigue is developing around this issue. Commentators have had their say, and many believe that little more thought is possible on the issue. Consequently, the public's interest is also waning.
Thus, I thought it beneficial to make clear the cost of the riots to date:
* Deaths. At least 70 people have been killed and more than 280 injured in the worldwide protests. The numbers could be higher than this, as there is confusion about how many people were killed in some countries. The toll includes at least 49 people dead in Nigerian riots since this weekend -- but the number could be higher there. The Christian Association of Nigeria claims to have counted more bodies than the Red Cross did. Also, Reuters reports that 207 people injured in the riots are in critical condition, so the death toll could rise further. (It is worth noting that some Nigerian opposition politicians claim that the riots were not about the Danish cartoons, but rather were designed to protest a planned constitutional amendment to allow Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo to seek a third term in 2007.) In addition to the deaths in Nigeria, at least three people (including an eight-year-old boy) were killed in the chaos in Pakistan; at least ten people died in Libya after protesters tried to storm the Italian consulate; and police killed four people in Afghanistan when enraged Afghanis marched on a U.S. military base. There have also been significant instances of violence where, fortunately, nobody was killed. These include 300 Palestinians overpowering a police detail and attacking an international observer mission in Hebron; a confrontation between police and about 10,000 demonstrators marching on a Danish embassy in Bangladesh; and an incident where Kenyan police fired at hundreds of demonstrators, wounding at least one.
* Targeting of Christians. Sadly, Christians living in the Islamic world have become targets of this continuing violence. The L.A. Times has linked the recent burning of a church in the city of Sukkur in southern Pakistan to the climate of unrest caused by the cartoon riots. The day before that, Muslims protesting in the city of Maiduguri in Nigeria attacked Christians and burned 15 churches. And shortly after the cartoons were published, a 60-year-old Roman Catholic priest was shot to death in Turkey in an incident that observers believe to be linked to the cartoons.
* Death threats. The cartoonists have experienced death threats from many different quarters. A Pakistani Muslim cleric and his followers recently offered over $1 million to anyone who killed one of the Danish cartoonists who caricatured Muhammad. This is not the only bounty that has been placed on them.
* Attacks on embassies and consulates. A large number of Western embassies and consulates have been attacked. In Iran, protestors threw a Molotov cocktail at the British embassy while protesting both the cartoon and also the West's opposition to Iran's nuclear program. The Danish embassy was burned in Beirut. Protesters set fire to the Italian consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
* Property damage. A number of symbols of the West have been attacked by protesters. The attacks in Pakistan have garnered the most attention, mainly for the odd choice of targets. These have included a Pizza Hut, a Holiday Inn, some Western-owned gas stations, and -- most notably -- a statue of Ronald McDonald.
* Increased support for al-Qaeda. In Afghanistan, hundreds of students demonstrated against the cartoons yesterday, and Reuters reports that they "shouted support for Osama bin Laden and threatened to join his al Qaeda if Islam were insulted again."
The price paid due to these cartoons has been substantial -- and it is a price we must remember as the media loses interest in this story. Undoubtedly, some in the West will question whether our freedoms are worth the cost. But the reason these cartoons provoked so much violence is because there was a major problem in Europe even prior to their publication. As I have previously written, the speech rights of those who have been dubbed critics of Islam have been under assault in Europe for more than a decade and a half. To now sacrifice our rights of free expression would not buy us security. We would achieve nothing but a dangerous complacency.
Secretary General Kofi Annan is making an unexpected trip to Qatar this weekend to try to calm the violent reaction to cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad at a meeting to promote religious and cultural understanding. Annan decided to seize the opportunity of a long-planned meeting of the UN-sponsored Alliance of Civilisations to publicly address the issues raised by the caricatures and emphasise his opposition to the violent outbursts and the need for tolerance, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday. "He hopes ... to meet with a number of leaders from Europe and from the Islamic world and to discuss with them ways of calming the situation and allowing a constructive dialogue between people of different faiths and traditions based on mutual understanding and respect," Dujarric said.
Annan met the ambassadors of half a dozen countries in the Organisation of Islamic Conference on Monday evening to discuss the February 26-28 meeting in Qatar's capital, Doha. They also discussed a proposal by the 57-member group of Muslim nations' to include language against "the defamation of religions and prophets" in a draft resolution that would create a new Human Rights Council.
I wonder if that includes Ahmadis and Ba'hais?
Now you're talkin' crazy talk. Best leave the distictions to more, um.... discerning parties. Your glasses don't have the right prescription.
Yemen's UN Ambassador Abdullah Alsaidi said afterwards that in Doha, Annan plans to meet OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and the foreign ministers of Turkey, Spain and Austria. "They will issue a statement that I hope will lead to calming the situation," Alsaidi said.
Annan launched the Alliance of Civilisations initiative in response to a request from Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to mobilise national and international action to overcome prejudice, misperceptions and polarisation between cultures and civilisations especially Islam and the West.
I wasn't aware that Zappy was a "former" prime minister. Did I miss something? Did Christians boom the Madrid underground and cause the Spaniards to vote him and his party out?
More important than a single cranial methane vent is the fact that the cartoon fiasco takes the mask off Islam as a "tolerant" religion that's capable of coexisting with other religions. Sufism might maybe do it, and maybe even post-Qom Shiism, but not the Sunni flavor, and certainly not Salafism. The unrelenting series of riots, the attacks on embassies and businesses, culminating in multiple fatwahs calling for the deaths of the cartoonists, may have emphasis on the "may," since the US public seems peculiarly insulated against what's going on pushed the West past the tipping point. The demands to protect "religions and prophets" at the UN level is a call for world-wide imposition of blasphemy laws. We can't live with that. No civilization with a free press and freedom of religion can.
We've seen a lot of fiery tempers here in the past few days, and they're traceable right back to this fundamental split. Our patience is running out as we watch the events unfold. Eventually, if the Islamists have their way, this visceral reaction is going to spread to the world at large.
Probably this isn't the tipping point, though it will come. We're informed here, reading the Arab and Pak press every day. The general public isn't, not in the U.S. and not in Europe. They're still being spoon-fed their news by a press that's more concerned with domestic politix than with the survival of their nations.
I'd even posit that the upper echelons of The Press and Academia don't really *want* the current nation-state structure to survive. And may even be actively working to undermine and supplant it.
That's something that's abstract, still out there in the sweet by-and-by. So it's still going to take something more easily understandable to the man in the street and that can't be avoided or reinterpreted by the press. That means mass casualties. The West's leadership, including the Bush administration, doesn't want to pay the high price now, so we'll pay the higher price later.
Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Al Jaafari has angrily dismissed US warnings to shun sectarianism in the country's new government. Speaking after talks with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who echoed the US call for a government of national unity in Iraq, the normally calm and diplomatic Jaafari, a Shiite Islamist, said Iraq knew its own best interests. "When someone asks us whether we want a sectarian government the answer is 'no we do not want a sectarian government' not because the US ambassador says so or issues a warning," he told a news conference. "We do not need anybody to remind us, thank you."
US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Monday the United States was investing billions of dollars in Iraq and did not want to see that money go to support sectarian politics. His comments were echoed less bluntly on Tuesday by Straw, who said after a meeting with Iraq's Kurdish president, Jalal Talabani, that Iraq's parliamentary elections in December showed that no single group can dominate Iraq's new political landscape.
Sunni accusations that Jaafari's Shiite-led government has sanctioned death squads have tarnished the image of post-war Iraq, which US and British officials hoped would shine as an example of democracy in the region. Straw reiterated that Britain was working to push democracy forward in Iraq, where the Sunni insurgency of bombings and shootings has killed thousands of security forces and civilians. "The international community, particularly those of us who have played a part in liberating Iraq have an interest in... a prosperous, stable and democratic Iraq," Straw said.
I know our State Dept. won't go for cutting off all aid to any country dealing with Hamas, but perhaps they can say "We'll reduce any aid dollar-for-dollar for any aid or trade you do with the Paleos."
Lawmakers from Israel's newly merged ultra-nationalist party on Monday unveiled their election campaign, stressing they would never support the creation of a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank. Benny Elon, who was sacked from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Cabinet over his opposition to last year's pullout from the Gaza Strip, said the party would fiercely oppose any fresh withdrawals from the West Bank. "We won't allow the uprooting of any Jewish community and the creation of a Palestinian state between the (Mediterranean) sea and the Jordan river," said Elon who is the party's chief candidate.
Hamas' candidate for PA-PM is a moderate. Israelis who believe that we've a right to live on the land which is part of the League of Nations mandate for establishing the Jewish homeland --- land illegally occupied by Arabs in 1948---are ultranationalists.
Arab League foreign ministers have failed to agree on aid for the Palestinians as they come under Hamas' rule, while Turkey slammed Israel's decision to slap economic sanctions on the Palestinian Authority. Only three league members have contributed aid for the Palestinians, Algerian officials said after a meeting in Algiers that ran into late Monday night. The Arab League's Secretary General Amr Moussa and Algerian State Minister Abdel-Aziz Belkhadem appealed at the meeting for all other member states to contribute funds.
Speaking at a news conference after the meeting, they did not indicate which countries had not paid or give details of the dispute. The Palestinians' largest donors, the U.S. and the E.U., have threatened to cut off direct aid to the PA if Hamas takes over the government. Such a cutoff would "pose a serious political problem for the Palestinians," Moussa said. In urging more Arab donations, he said "the aid is destined for the Palestinian people and not for Hamas." It is unclear whether Arab states can fill the gap in foreign aid that makes up most of the Palestinians' $1.9 billion annual budget. A final decision on Palestinian funding was expected at a summit next month in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
Foreign ministers and other representatives from the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen and Algeria were taking part in the meeting.
This is too funny. See Bush was right all along. You allow them to democratically elect their leaders and then no one feels sorry for them when their leaders do exactly what they said they would. Too bad, so sad, Hamas. You can't eat hate.
The political leader of Hamas on Tuesday vowed the group would keep up the fight against Israel as he continued a visit to Iran aimed at reinforcing ties with one of its key allies. Khaled Meshaal, who is on his latest stage of a regional tour in the wake of Hamas' election victory, said he has sought Iran's "help and support" following an Israeli decision to impose economic sanctions on the Palestinians.
Meshaal, on the third day of a trip to Iran to meet Iran's clerical leadership, lectured students at Tehran University where he drew cheers, applause and the habitual chants of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." Some students carried pictures of anti-U.S. leaders like Cuba's Fidel Castro, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales as well as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"Now that we are in power, it does not mean that the resistance will be halted. No, since without resistance we would have not been able to free our lands," he said, referring to the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005. "We will not recognize Israel at any cost," Meshaal said, responding to a question on whether Hamas would recognize the Jewish state if it withdraws to the 1967 borders.
Technically speaking, with the Wall completed, funds to the PA cut off, and a nice little civil war of all against all keeping the hard boyz busy, life could indeed become very peaceful on the Israeli side.
Indonesia is working to uproot militant Islamic ideas but officials and moderate clerics say they face a long struggle, while also coping with setbacks such as anger over cartoons that lampooned the Prophet Mohammad.
In November, Indonesian police discovered videos showing three young suicide bombers using Islam to justify attacks on restaurants in Bali that killed 20 people the previous month.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the videos showed radical ideas had penetrated deep into Indonesia's Muslim community. He ordered Muslim clerics who had been reluctant to criticize militancy to speak up.
Three months later, a team of top Islamic clerics and scholars set up after Kalla's concerns has had some successes.
"We are trying to embrace all, the soft and the hardline, to keep them away from violent acts. Some have resisted, but we have been largely effective in cleansing the general understanding (of militancy)," said Ma'ruf Amin, who heads the team.
"But terrorists are still looking for recruits while we are deflecting their influence. If they succeed, they won't get 10 followers but thousands."
The team has been to Islamic boarding schools across the world's most populous Muslim nation, including some accused of fanning militancy, and convinced some hardline clerics to tone down their rhetoric, said Amin.
Such schools were seen as off limits until discovery of the videos and the intervention of Kalla, who has strong Muslim credentials and is unlikely to be accused of attacking Islam.
The team will also publish books for schools that set out why the use of violence in Indonesia cannot be justified under Islam.
Moderate cleric Ali Maschan Moesa said he had toiled to shield pupils of his Islamic school in East Java, the country's political heartland, from the temptation of radicals.
"There are groups that have twisted the meaning of jihad for their political gain. They are intensifying the agenda to create an Islamic state here," said Moesa, a senior member of the 40 million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest mainstream Muslim group.
Jihad means "struggle" in Arabic but Islamic militants and some non-Muslims link it to warfare.
Moesa felt his version of jihad and other moderate teachings had sometimes failed to find an audience among disenfranchised Muslim youth, politicians and the media.
"How can we stop the wave of radicalism if (moderates) are disregarded," he said.
He is not alone. The leader of Indonesia's second biggest Muslim organization, the 30 million-strong Muhammadiyah, has also chastised the media and some officials for giving radicals too much airtime and room to move.
Hardliners have been energized by publication of cartoons denigrating the Prophet Mohammad, first printed in Denmark last year and then by other European newspapers. The cartoons have angered Muslims across the world.
"Radicals are getting their second wind. The cartoon row has added a burden on the clerics who are trying to defuse radical ideas," Ansyaad Mbai, a top counter-terrorism official in Jakarta, told Reuters.
"The reason why the radical propaganda is effective is because they say the West is against Islam. These cartoons give them a kind of vindication and this is troubling our mainstream clerics who are advocating tolerance."
Protests against the cartoons sparked violence in Indonesia and prompted Danish embassy staff to leave.
Government officials, politicians and leaders of moderate Muslim groups in Indonesia have condemned the cartoons while urging that protests be peaceful.
However, they have been cautious in attacking those responsible for the violence, with some officials saying such acts were spontaneous.
"We need to avoid provocation ... Remember, we don't recognize (the labels of) radicals and moderates," parliament speaker Agung Laksono said when asked what should be done to the radical groups.
Analysts say many Indonesian public figures, especially those without strong Muslim credentials like Laksono, are reluctant to step into any debate that could give the impression they are trying to create a rift over Islam.
Hence, Mbai said the ideological war was far from over.
"We still have a long way to go and we need to work hard. One wrong move and the government will be seen as the enemy of the religion," the police general said.
While the protests over the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed have spread to Southeast Asia, they have been smaller and less lethal than in other parts of the world. Yet, especially in Indonesia, a number of small hard-line groups and militant organizations have been at the forefront of the demonstrations and are effectively mobilizing themselves over the furor. These groups have been probing society looking for ways to inject themselves into the mainstream.
Demonstrations in Southeast Asia began on February 3 in Indonesia, when the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) mobilized 300 people to demonstrate in front of the Danish Embassy, briefly entering the lobby of the office building which houses the embassy. The Danish ambassador defused the situation after meeting with several protestors and offered an apology. On February 5, the demonstrations spread to Indonesia's second largest city and commercial hub, Surabaya. At least 200 protesters stoned the Danish Consulate before descending on the U.S. Consulate, where police had to fire warning shots to disperse them. According to the February 14-20 edition of the Jakarta-based publication Tempo, on February 10 the "quietest" Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir led a protest of 2,000 in downtown Jakarta.
In Malaysia, the protests began in early February on a small scale, although by the second week they had grown to over 3,000 people. These were the largest demonstrations in Malaysia since the protests over the sacking of the popular deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, in 1999. Although the demonstrations were peaceful, they were also checked by a very robust security presence.
Protests have also spread to the Muslim minority states of Thailand and the Philippines, both of which are plagued by Islamic insurgencies in their restive southern regions. On February 6, 300-400 Muslims from the troubled south protested outside the Danish Embassy in Bangkok. Demonstrations were also organized in the southern Philippine city of Cotabato. Although a Muslim member of parliament organized the demonstration, placards menacingly threatened to "Behead those who insult Islam," according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 15. Hundreds of other protestors burnt Danish flags in front of Manila's main mosque.
In Malaysia, the demonstrations have been somewhat spontaneous, emanating from mosques after Friday prayers. In Malaysia, where the government has draconian laws at its disposal and is guarded against Islamic militancy, there is no evidence that militant organizations are behind the unrest. Indeed, even the Islamic opposition party, PAS, has been notably quiet. The PAS daily, Harakah, has carried stories on the cartoon furor, but for the most part has focused on the situation abroad for fear of the government accusing them of inciting sectarian conflict (http://www.harakahdaily.net). On February 17, Harakah carried stories about demonstrations against the U.S., in which an effigy of President Bush was burnt, but it was clear to disavow PAS' role in organizing the protest.
Likewise, in the Philippines and Thailand there is no evidence that any of the secessionist organizations have been behind demonstrations. Surprisingly, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has not even posted a story about the cartoon controversy on its websitelocated at http://www.luwaran.comout of fear of giving skeptics in the government any reason to view MILF as radicals and thus scuttling the peace talks. While the secessionists in Thailand and the Philippines do not appear to have a hand in the protests, it is clear that they are benefiting from public anger and perceptions that the West is truly Islamaphobic; this plays into the broader popular sentiment that the war on terrorism is patently anti-Muslim. The secessionist organizations have always presented themselves as the defenders of Islam and its honor.
The situation in Indonesia is more troubling. The hard-line FPI organized the first demonstrations. The FPI is the leading anti-American and Western movement in the country. It has organized large demonstrations condemning the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Its leader, Habib Rizieq, has repeatedly demanded that the government cut all ties and cooperation with the U.S. The FPI recruited several hundred mujahideen to fight the Americans in Iraq, but only a few actually made it there.
The FPI was also at the forefront of attacks against a Muslim sect, Jemaah Ahmadiyah, and in early July 2005 several hundred FPI members led a group of 1,000 vigilantes to attack the Ahmadiyah annual congress that was being held in Bogor (Jakarta Post, September 21, 2005; Straits Times, July 28, 2005). The FPI has also led attacks on the offices and threatened the physical safety of members of the secular organization Liberal Islam Network (Jakarta Post, September 7, 2005). The FPI has also supported the sectarian strife in the Malukus and in Central Sulawesi where Indonesia's primary terrorist organization, Jemaah Islamiyah, is fomenting strife in an attempt to regroup.
While the demonstrations themselves were not overly threatening, those behind the unrest in Indonesia suggest that the situation will become more violent. As stated in the Financial Times on February 12, there were allegedly telephone threats to the Danish Embassy in Jakarta threatening violence and reportedly terrorism. According to a February 13 article in Singapore's Today, Denmark ordered its diplomats to be evacuated and called on its citizens to leave Indonesia "because of a significant and imminent danger for Danes and Danish interests in Indonesia." Later, 175 students in a Surabaya madrassa signed a pact saying that they were "ready to die" for the Prophet Mohammed. On February 19, some 200 members of the FPI attacked the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta with stones. One organizer told the press, "This is not the last warning. This is only the beginning. There will be bigger actions against them." In short, this has the potential to become more violent and will target broader Western interests (Tempo, February 14-20).
In response to the cartoon controversy, authorities clamped down on the press. In Malaysia, the government suspended the publication and forced the resignation of the editor of a small daily, The Sarawak Tribune, for his "insensitive and irresponsible" publication of the cartoons (AP, February 9). On February 9, Malaysia "declared it an offense for anyone to publish, produce, import, circulate or possess the caricatures" (Human Rights Watch, February 15). Days later, a Chinese-language magazine, Guangming, was reportedly shut down for simply showing a picture of a reader of a newspaper overseas looking at the cartoons. In Indonesia, the editor of a Christian magazine, Gloria, was sacked for running three of the 12 cartoons. Additionally, a tabloid, Peta, was withdrawn from circulation and the editor charged with blasphemy (Reporters Without Borders, February 10).
The protests in Southeast Asia are gaining traction and allowing Islamists to forge both a greater sense of solidarity and identification with their co-religionists around the world. This reinforces the already high-degree of anti-Americanism prevalent in the region. More importantly, it gives radicals and Muslim moderates a common cause and deepens the potential pool of recruitment for the Islamists. The protests could also become a pretext for violence, especially by groups like the FPI.
Yet, Southeast Asia also provides a way forward. A spokesman for Indonesia's largest and decidedly moderate Muslim Organization, the Nadhlatul Ulama, called for calm and for Muslims not to be provoked by what he called "the stupid actions of those who belittle our Prophet" (Laksamana.net, February 10). Even Din Syamsuddin, the head of the second largest Muslim organization, who has hard-line Islamist tendencies, stated, "Do not go overboard and get trapped into a situation that can be used by elements bent on painting an image of Indonesia's Islam as intolerant, rigid and anarchic society [sic]."
On the other hand, while the Malaysian government is working to diffuse the situation, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has warned of a "huge chasm that has emerged between the West and Islam," as Westerners see Muslims as "congenital terrorist[s]." He further stated that the "demonization of Islam and the vilification of Muslims, there is no denying, is widespread within mainstream Western society" (BBC, February 10).
China believes it is still too early to discuss possible sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday after meeting Chinese leaders.
After his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, Steinmeier said that Li recommended that all parties should use the run up to next month's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) to discuss Iran.
Li said all parties should show "patience, restraint and flexibility", the German minister said.
China, one of the five veto-holding permanent members of the UN Security Council, has urged Iran to comply with international calls to halt its nuclear programme and has supported a proposal for Russia to enrich uranium for nuclear power plants in Iran. Li also reiterated China's desire for Iran to resume talks on its nuclear programme with the EU trio of Germany, Britain and France, Steinmeier said.
The two sides agreed that new German Chancellor Angela Merkel would visit China on May 22 to 23.
The German side proposed a dialogue about China's need to secure energy resources, after some German politicians expresses concerns about China's cooperation with Nigeria, Sudan, Iran and other countries.
Chinese state media said last week that China and Iran were close to finalizing a 100-billion-dollar agreement to develop Iran's Yadavaran oil and gas field.
An agreement could be signed as early as next month for China to buy 10 million tons of liquefied natural gas annually for 25 years beginning in 2009, the finance magazine Caijing reported.
Steinmeier, on the first visit to China by a member of Germany's new government, pressed China on civil liberties and "specific cases" of violations of intellectual property rights (IPR).
"For further development of economic relations we need a reliable [IPR] framework," he said, adding that this was in "both countries' interests."
Steinmeier said that a bilateral dialogue on judicial reform was the "right forum" for discussing civil liberties in China.
He said he reiterated Germany's "one China" policy of not giving diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, but said he told the Chinese leaders that Germany expects China to solve any dispute with Taiwan "in an absolutely peaceful way".
Wen told Steinmeier that relations with Germany were a "pillar of China's foreign policy" and said he looked forward to Merkel's visit.
Steinmeier was also scheduled to meet President Hu Jintao Thursday.
The German foreign minister arrived in China after talks in South Korea and Japan.
It's a queer society over there, women in positions of authority like these future policewomen on the one hand, and everything else on the other. How often d'you suppose those women's husbands will try to beat them?
They're engaging in some revisionist history while doing so. The Iranian Komala is regarded by the real Kurdish commies as a sell-out to the CIA and is an offshoot of the Iranian branch of the Iraqi PKK, while the claim that the Baluchistan hard boyz are linked to al-Qaeda is pure Iranian spin - they're drug dealers and thugs working for the Baluch drug lord of the month, nothing more.
Iranian leaders have dismissed the US administrations proposal to allocate $75m for promoting democracy in Iran. Manouchehr Mottaki, foreign minister, has suggested the money would be better spent on investigating why hatred of the US has increased throughout the world in recent years.
Such contempt derives both from the weakness of Iranian opposition groups and a sense democracy will not favour the US. Everywhere in free elections, the Islamists and resistance groups are winning, president Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad said on Sunday.
Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas, the militant Islamist group victorious in recent Palestinian elections, is using his current visit to Tehran to back Irans right to nuclear technology and to call for Muslim support for the Palestinians.
Last week the Bush administration asked Congress for $75m to promote democratic change but Irans reformists - regrouping after election defeats - are loath to accept US money and argue US pressure strengthens militarism in Iran, where Mr Ahmadi-Nejad rides a popularity wave after his landslide win last June. Willing recipients for funding including royalist exiles based mainly in Los Angeles lack a presence in the country.
The most determined opponents of the regime in Tehran may be in Irans ethnic minorities, who make up around half its 68m population, but even here the ground is unpromising for the US.
The past week has seen renewed violence in Irans Kurdish region. The governor of Maku, a town close to the Turkish border, told Associated Press two demonstrators were killed on Friday during protests marking the 7th anniversary of the imprisonment in Turkey of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran and Komaleh are soon to launch satellite television stations - probably broadcasting from Europe - that might attract US funding. But the rise of Pejak, a group linked to the PKK, may be less to Washingtons taste.
Likewise, in Sistan-Baluchestan, the restive province in Irans south-east, militant Sunni Muslim groups linked to al-Qaeda, one of which last year released a video of the beheading of an Iranian soldier, may not fit the US Congress model of ideal democrats. In the mainly Arab south-west province of Khuzestan, Iranian authorities have blamed a series of bombings, which have killed at least 20 people since last June, on Arab separatists.
TEHRAN: Iran's uranium enrichment facilities, built in underground bunkers, would survive any military strikes, Iran's nuclear programme director said on Tuesday. "The enrichment facilities, particularly Natanz, are located underground and no offensive could damage them," said Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, quoted by the student ISNA news agency. Aghazadeh also boasted about the fortress like nature of its Isfahan plant, which is located in a network of subterranean tunnels, and touted Iran's uranium supplies. "Our reserves are extremely developed. We can extract uranium from mines in Bandar Abbas, Saghand and Yazd," he said.
Possibly they will survive. But if we do it right, the people who run them won't.
¹Although the nuclear tipped bunker busters could do the trick, the object of the game would be to get it (them) to a depth of 400+ feet down before detonation, or a moon shaped crater will blow out the surface exposing all to radiation poisoning(assuming we cared at this point)! How do we get it to target? At 400 feet, a circumspectral-dome would result burying all the pulverized remnants (neat tidy wrapup)!
²The US could use multiple conventional bunker busters followed by a MOAB in the same track (assuming they have enough in the arsenals for multiple target locations,
³The Israeli option would be to employ the gopher hole smoking technique with iradiated gas to expose "highlight" the entrances and exits to terminally trap the sites with smart bombs and bunker busters.
As parliamentary blocs prepare for the upcoming national dialogue, Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt has yet to confirm that he will participate in the event, saying he must first consult with his allies on the issue. Jumblatt's closest ally, Future Movement leader Saad Hariri, and the rest of the March 14 Forces have already confirmed their participation.
Jumblatt continues to delay his decision, despite having received Tuesday a special committee formed of Amal parliamentary bloc members dispatched to extend an invitation to the national dialogue called for by Speaker Nabih Berri. "I have to finish my consultations with my March 14 allies over this dialogue issue. Of course no one can refuse to participate in a dialogue, but also no one can agree to take part in a dialogue just for the purpose of having one," Jumblatt said.
Jumblatt said the problem lies in the absence of a leader to head the national discussions. "We are a team and they are a team and when I say there is no leader this means that the president is part of one of the teams. For the dialogue to be complete the president has to stop implementing a non-Lebanese agenda. The main item to be discussed should be overthrowing the president."
The Druze leader compared the rockets found near the home of MP Bahia Hariri to those found in near his residence a few months ago, and which were followed by the assassination of anti-Syrian MP Gebran Tueni. "Are [Syrian President] Bashar [Assad] and his agents preparing for another assassination before the dialogue starts? There is a historical and technical resemblance between the two situations," Jumblatt said.
Jumblatt further dismissed allegations that overthrowing President Emile Lahoud would automatically lead to the disarmament of Hizbullah. "The resistance has finished its role. The Shebaa Farms issue can be solved without arms; the Taif Accord should be implemented; the army should be deployed to the South; and the armistice agreement reactivated," Jumblatt said.
The Amal committee, which included MPs Anwar Khalil, Michel Moussa, Samir Azar and Ayoub Humayyed, also visited former President Amin Gemayel, who said his parliamentary bloc will take part in the talks. Gemayel said Berri's initiative should pave the way to solve all pending issues and unite the Lebanese. He stressed that all debatable issues, including the Hizbullah's weapons, should be settled according to the Taif Accord. "The Taif Accord is clear concerning the arms of Hizbullah and it stipulates reactivating the armistice agreement with Israel," Gemayel said.
In an interview published by Ash-Sharq al-Awsat, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said the March 14 alliance is moving forward with its fight to topple President Emile Lahoud, "regardless of the price it may cost." Geagea also said his party would welcome Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun as the next president if the latter agrees to cooperate in overthrowing Lahoud through legal means.
This time last year Geagea was in jail and Aoun was in exile...
In an escalation of his attacks on the president, the LF leader said Lahoud "has become a burden to Lebanon that is paralyzing the government ... and sitting in Baabda doing nothing."
Since he can't do anything else...
Geagea also stressed that the March 14 Forces had never cut off their dialogue with Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri in a bid to reach an agreement on the presidency. He said the Forces will proceed with their "rescue plan," regardless of the consequences, but refused to provide any further details.
That sounds suspiciously like bloodshed...
However, Geagea did hint that there might be a deal in the works with one of the three main opposition parties, namely the FPM, Hizbullah and Amal.
My guess is it won't be Hezbollah, and probably won't be Amal. That leaves FPM.
Geagea also offered unspecified guarantees to Lahoud, should the latter resign and be proved innocent of involvement in former Premier Rafik Hariri's murder.
If he resigns, he'll probably be "proven" innocent. If he's chased out, he dunnit.
Speaking from the Cedars resort in which he has resided since his release from prison, Geagea said Lebanon's political climate is ready for toppling the president, considering it is "an overwhelmingly popular goal made clear during the February 14 rally."
"If the president is unable to run things it means that his position is almost vacant," he said. "When we see that international forces do not recognize him ... and people in general do not count on him to run the country's affairs, the outcome becomes clear."
But Sfeir reiterated that the ousting of Lahoud should be achieved in line with constitutional means and not through popular demonstrations. "The president's dignity should be preserved as an individual and as the representative of the presidential institution," he said. Sfeir said "the Lebanese people are divided between those who want Lahoud to resign and other who don't."
Not evenly divided, mind you...
He warned that if demonstrations were held, "there might be confrontations which would lead to a massacre."
I'll call Hezbollah the bad guys on that one, before the fact.
Expressing support for the parliamentary majority's proposed plan to oust Lahoud, Sfeir said: "If it were proven that the legislators were truly forced to extend Lahoud's term, then anything agreed under pressure is considered cancelled."
Under tight security, Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr, the leader of Iraq's Sadr Movement, arrived at the Lebanese-Syrian border Tuesday morning from Damascus in the hope of improving Lebanese-Syrian relations. He was asked by reporters at the border if he was playing the role of mediator between Lebanon and Syria. Sadr said he had suggested this to Damascus, which was responsive to the idea. He said he would put the same suggestion to the Lebanese authorities, hoping they would be equally responsive. "I am ready to help the Lebanese and Syrian governments to mend their ties and consequently to establish security in the region," he said.
Sadr's visit is part of a tour through Iraq's neighboring countries. "I represent the Iraqi people, or a section of the Iraqi people, but I hope we can help Lebanese and Syrians overcome their suffering so we, Muslims and Arabs, can live in fraternity," he said. "The visit is aimed at consolidating relations between Lebanese and Iraqis and to solve problems that Israel and the U.S. have created in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq so that we can build this region and make it safe."
There "will be a demonstration on March 14," possibly in Baabda, in an attempt to pressure Lebanese President Emile Lahoud to resign, March 14 Forces' MP Elias Atallah told The Daily Star Tuesday. Atallah said he "has no information about any counterdemonstration" in support of the president. Rumors have been circulating for the past week that if the March 14 Forces stage a demonstration to topple Lahoud, a counterdemonstration will be staged by pro-Syrian parties, namely Hizbullah, to defend Baabda Palace. However, according to Atallah, "if there is a counterdemonstration, we will not fight them because we believe that we should never cross a certain line that leads to a civil war. If the army decides to open fire on us, we will not reply, but will stand in our place."
Pro-Syrian former ministers Suleiman Franjieh and Talal Arslan met Tuesday and threatened to stage a counterdemonstration should the March 14 Forces take to the streets. "The street is not the property of anyone and the president will not be toppled," Arslan said.
The recent release of audio and videotapes from Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri call attention to al-Qaeda's couriers and how they transport tapes to major media outlets (al-Jazeera, January 21). Audiotapes, videotapes and the internet are the major mass media tools of al-Qaeda and are used to tilt and blur the realities of the locations of al-Qaeda leaders. They are an effective means to threaten the U.S. and the West. Al-Qaeda's videos are produced by the organization's in-house production team, al-Sahab, identified by the al-Sahab logo that appears in the videos. It appears that al-Sahab consists of multiple individuals and is not centrally located. While the videos have improved in quality, at its most basic level the videographers require computer images, e-mail transmission, and a production expert who uses a computer to compile it together in broadcast quality.
After the tapes are produced, they make their way to a major media outlet. The previous route of the videotapes was from southern and eastern Afghanistan to South Waziristan, and then to Peshawar. The final destination used to be the al-Jazeera office in Islamabad. It became easy, however, for various intelligence agencies to track this route. In at least two instancesin 2003 and in 2004the tape messenger was intercepted. In 2003, the carrier was of Central Asian origin and was captured by security agents while traveling through South Waziristan. The second incident occurred in late 2004 and the carrier was arrested near Dera Ismail Khan in southern Pakistan. Nevertheless, little information was gleaned from the messenger because the tape had already passed through more than a dozen different carriers. Through this method, the tapes are handed over in a manner so that the next carrier does not know the other carriers.
The amount of time that each carrier handles the tapes depends on the prevailing security conditions in that particular area. Carriers attempt to pass on the tapes as quickly as possible, which is usually in one or two days. If security is tight then it is passed on in quick succession in order to keep the tapes secure, otherwise each carrier may travel more than 100 kilometers. On a few occasions, the content of the tapes were electronically transmitted to their final destination through e-mail.
The carriers of the tapes are diehard local and Central Asian operatives. The carriers are always young, tough and experienced; the task of a carrier is a specialized job. Simple sympathizers are not usually carriers because if the carrier is arrested, he is tried under anti-terrorism laws, deterring those who are not completely committed to al-Qaeda's cause.
For the last year, the tape route has been modified due to repeated successful interventions by Pakistani authorities and continuous surveillance of known transfer locations. Currently, tapes are dispatched to Herat, in the western province of Afghanistan, to coastal areas of Iran and then to the final destination. The tapes are generally made inside Afghanistan. Additionally, the Taliban is now also involved in producing tapes in a new campaign of media warfare. Taliban guerrillas are often accompanied by a videographer who films their attacks against Afghan or international security forces. These tapes are later used within the Taliban ranks to boost the morale of Taliban fighters and the participating mujahideen.
On February 17, the al-Tajdeed forum posted an interesting analysis that, amid the customary claims of imminent victory, points the finger of accusation at al-qa'idun 'an al-jihad ("those who abstain from jihad"). Starting from the premise that the strategic initiative is turning in favor of the Islamic Nationa position that "all but the blind, hypocritical, collaborationist and treacherous would espouse"the author, Amir Abd al-Mun'im, cautions that this victory "requires effort and support from the Nation yet this support is yet to arrive. We are giving the enemy an opportunity to use his cunning and gain space to reorganize and overcome his successive reversals" (http://tajdeed.org.uk).
Now is the time to overwhelm the enemy, Abd al-Mun'im states, but he warns that time is working against the mujahideen and that the response so far has been disproportional to the scale of the battle. What is the cause of this mismatch? "The true crisis," he states, "does not reside solely in the anti-Islamic camp, nor only in the treachery of Arab regimes; it is also and perhaps more profoundly in the Islamic camp in the movements that call themselves Islamic that desire to profit from [the banner of] Islam yet do not wish to make sacrifices on Islam's behalf." In the context of the recent election successes of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in Palestine, the author takes issue with their programs. "Where is the support for jihad in the manifestos of Islamic [political] movements? Where is the Muslim funding for those who fight while these [individuals] spend thousands on elections, festivals and conferences, which contain naught but empty words? Where is the support for jihad in the media [statements] of these movements?"
The continuing public isolation of the mujahideen is Abd al-Mun'im's core complaint. This isolation is felt on the intellectual level, in the domestic political arena and also on the front-line itself. The failure to gain the intellectual high-ground is a particularly sensitive point. "Is it logical or reasonable for some who call themselves Islamists to come out against us," he asks, "attacking the mujahideen and heaping accusations upon them, accusing them of immaturity?" The author is here referring to a number of high-profile criticisms of al-Qaeda's strategy, particularly that of al-Zarqawi's group in Iraq, delivered by a number of sites normally supportive of the armed struggle, "such as Mufakkirat [al-Islam], al-Mukhtasar and al-Asr [and] people who sit in air conditioned offices complaining of indigestion and full stomachs, theorizing, philosophizing and attacking the mujahideen who are sacrificing their lives in the harshest of conditions." Mufakkirat al-Islam, in particular, has been conspicuous for its hosting of discussions criticizing al-Zarqawi, and which stirred a lively debate for some weeks after (http://www.islammemo.cc). These movements, he complains, "raise not a single word against America, while we continue to praise their intellectual distinction, doctrinal superiority, enlightenment, justice and moderation."
No less troublesome is what Abd al-Mun'im feels is the pointless exercise of Islamist groups "that have cut back Islam to a matter of a few seats in a corrupt parliament and divert their energy onto marginal matters, such as fatwas on the ownership of shares, or whether women may drive [or elect] municipal councils [all the time] walking along paths dictated by America to distract the Nation from supporting the jihad." Yet, it is the Islamists' attitude to front-line matters that upsets the author most. "We were shocked by individuals who call themselves Islamists taking aim at the mujahideen, mocking them and describing them as backward Some have even attacked Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and al-Zarqawi, calling them the cause of all that has happened!" As an example, the author takes issue with the "Intifada in defense of the Europeans" conducted by high profile Islamist leaders such as the head of the Algerian FIS Abbasi Madani, criticizing "those that shudder at the cutting off of heads of some [infidel] invaders, while they do not shudder at American rockets and fighter planes wiping out houses from the face of the earth on top of those inside them." It is hypocrisy on a grand scale, according to Abd al-Mun'im, which "exposes the trials the Nation is going though, not just the regimes of the Westernized elite, but also the large part of those raising the Islamic banner." Its solution, he concludes, is to "cleanse the Muslims from the defilement of hypocrisy" through the purifying action of jihad.
The issue of al-qa'idun 'an al-jihad occupies considerable space in jihadist writings and extensive use is made of the legitimizing influence of medieval treatises, such as the popular Mashari' al-Ashwaq by the 14th century scholar Ibn Nuhaas, who refuted point-for-point the objections of those who would abstain and aimed to establish jihad as the highest expression of Islamic faith. The tension over the abstainers goes to explain much behind the strenuous efforts of jihadist writers and organizers of the recent anti-Danish protests. The mujahideen are searching for momentum to generally mobilize the Muslim masses against the prevailing world order, which to date the Afghan and Iraqi arenas have failed to provide.
I suspect that the US has successfully culled the majority of that minority that are Islamist, willing to do something about it, and willing to travel to another country to do something about it.
This means that al-Q is in a real bind to get more travelling terrorists, and that subsequent efforts can be made against those who will make trouble in their home country, but don't have the chutzpah to go to another country to kill people.
You'll note that al-Q is recruiting further and further afield, in countries with smaller and smaller Moslem minorities. This suggests that most of the Moslem majority nations have been pretty well tapped out.
Optimally, except for the Moslems living in the US, this means the odds of some terrorist coming here to kill people is less and less.
Osama bin Laden's right-hand man is boasting that he has dodged being captured or killed four times, and confirms one of his close calls came in a 2004 firefight with the Pakistani army.
It had been speculated that Ayman al-Zawahiri was in the mud hut on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border targeted in March 2004.
The raid even prompted Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to stoke expectations of Zawahiri's demise.
But when the dust settled, the al-Qaeda chief was nowhere to be found, and US and Pakistani officials said he was probably never there.
In a new videotape that has surfaced, Zawahiri swears he was in the mud hut, and that he slipped out the back when the shooting started. He also tries to turn the tables on Musharraf, saying the Pakistani leader's days are numbered.
"Your American masters are fleeing from Iraq and Afghanistan," Zawahiri warns Musharraf. "So, await a day of accounting for the Muslim blood you have spilt."
Zawahiri details three other times he was almost nailed by US and Pakistani forces:
- He said a US cruise missile attack ordered by former president Bill Clinton in August 1998 nearly got him at an Afghanistan training camp.
- Missiles fired in retaliation for the September 11 terrorist attacks in December 2001 missed him in his Tora Bora mountain hideout in Afghanistan.
- His latest near-miss came on January 18 from an American missile attack in Pakistan that killed Zawahiri's son-in-law.
The Global Islamic Media Front, an al-Qaeda mouthpiece, issued a statement from its headquarters yesterday, February 20, 2006, responding to the speech Friday by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in which he spoke of the lagging response of the United States in the media war and advocated its improvement. Ahmad al-Watheq Billah, the author of the document, mocks this failing project of the American Army and lauds the jihad media, which is superior on the Internet network and other information sources for striking the enemy early and effectively.
The group then calls upon both the sons and daughters of Islam to join the ranks of information jihad, and capitalize on their current presence on the Internet. Those who have knowledge of capturing photographs with mobile phones, take videos and know where to distribute them, are urged to record any image that depicts the failure and disgrace of the enemy in Muslim lands such as Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Billah, the author, charges that the concentration of pictures that represent the truth will attack Americas weak point, and threatens: The comings days will carry what will paralyze you enemies of the religion. You are wandering around and you will be wondering around more, you who are attacking the Prophet, our master Muhammad.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.