Mr. Griffin sounds like a sad-sack and a moon-bat. I think the British Army is better off without him.
LONDON - An elite British soldier revealed on Sunday that he quit the army after refusing to fight in Iraq anymore on moral grounds because of the illegal tactics used by US troops on the ground. Ben Griffin, a member of the Special Air Service (SAS) described in an interview with the The Sunday Telegraph the experiences that led him to end his impressive army career after just three months in Baghdad.
The 28-year-old, who was discharged last June, is believed to be the first SAS soldier to refuse to go into combat and to quit the army on moral grounds. I saw a lot of things in Baghdad that were illegal or just wrong, Griffin told the weekly newspaper in his first interview since leaving the SAS. I knew, so others must have known, that this was not the way to conduct operations if you wanted to win the hearts and minds of the local population.
And if you cant win the hearts and minds of the people, you cant win the war.
That's working well in Basra, where the Brit strategy has been to turn the joint over to the Iranian inspired and encouraged local gangs. Though the gangs have power, they don't respect the Brits one iota.
Griffin, who worked in the SASs counter-terrorist team, recalled joint operations to tackle insurgents with his American counterparts. We would radio back to our headquarters that we were not going to detain certain people because, as far as we were concerned, they were not a threat because they were old men or obviously farmers, but the Americans would say: No, bring them back, Griffin said. The Americans had this catch-all approach to lifting suspects. The tactics were draconian and completely ineffective.
Except for the information.
The SAS soldier spoke of another operation, which netted a group of innocent civilians who were clearly nothing to do with the insurgency. I couldnt understand why we had done this, so I said to my troop commander: Would we have behaved in the same way in the Balkans or Northern Ireland? He shrugged his shoulders and said: This is Iraq, and I thought: And that makes it all right?
Griffin said he believed US soldiers had no respect for Iraqis, whom they regarded as sub-human. You could almost split the Americans into two groups: ones who were complete crusaders, intent on killing Iraqis, and the others who were in Iraq because the army was going to pay their college fees, he said. They had no understanding or interest in the Arab culture. The Americans would talk to the Iraqis as if they were stupid and these werent isolated cases, this was from the top down.
This is, of course, completely at odds with everything we've heard from active duty soldiers, returning soldiers, and milbloggers.
There might be one or two enlightened officers who understood the situation a bit better but on the whole that was their general attitude. Their attitude fuelled the insurgency. I think the Iraqis detested them.
Think they loved you?
Griffin said he had reservations about going to Iraq in the first place, but went because he was a soldier and had to obey orders. He soon found it impossible to separate his personal views from his work. It was at that stage that I knew I couldnt carry on. I was very angry, and still am, at the way the politicians in this country and America have lied to the British public about the war, Griffin said. But most importantly, I didnt join the British army to conduct American foreign policy.
That punched his ticket to a meeting with Cindy Sheehan, I'm sure.
In March 2005, Griffin told his commanding officer while on leave that he had no intention of returning to Iraq because he thought the war was morally wrong.
The Ministry of Defence, when contacted by The Sunday Telegraph, declined to comment.
I said to my troop commander: Would we have behaved in the same way in the Balkans or Northern Ireland? He shrugged his shoulders and said: This is Iraq, and I thought: And that makes it all right?
Considering what I've heard that the SAS did do... plus the operation in Gilbratar...
Posted by: Edward Yee ||
03/12/2006 23:50 Comments ||
ones who were complete crusaders
I was giving this article the benefit of the doubt, until I saw the word crusaders. Interesting choice of words. I'm sure the author wanted to slip it in there at all costs... somewhere, anywhere.
Posted by: Rafael ||
03/12/2006 23:52 Comments ||
It COULD have come from his mouth... I wouldn't say "up the requirements of SAS to get pukes like him" out, though.
Posted by: Edward Yee ||
03/12/2006 23:56 Comments ||
For the first time in perhaps a decade, the National People's Congress, the Communist Party-run legislature now convened in its annual two-week session, is consumed with an ideological debate over socialism and capitalism that many assumed had been buried by China's long streak of fast economic growth.
The controversy has forced the government to shelve a draft law to protect property rights that had been expected to win pro forma passage and highlighted the resurgent influence of a small but vocal group of socialist-leaning scholars and policy advisers. These old-style leftist thinkers have used China's rising income gap and increasing social unrest to raise doubts about what they see as the country's headlong pursuit of private wealth and market-driven economic development.
The roots of the current debate can be traced to a biting critique of the property rights law that circulated on the Internet last summer. The critique's author, Gong Xiantian, a professor at Beijing University Law School, accused the legal experts who wrote the draft of "copying capitalist civil law like slaves," and offering equal protection to "a rich man's car and a beggar man's stick." Most of all, he protested that the proposed law did not state that "socialist property is inviolable," a once sacred legal concept in China.
Those who dismissed his attack as a throwback to an earlier era underestimated the continued appeal of socialist ideas in a country where glaring disparities between rich and poor, rampant corruption, labor abuses and land seizures offer daily reminders of how far China has strayed from its official ideology.
Continued on Page 49
Article: The critique's author, Gong Xiantian, a professor at Beijing University Law School, accused the legal experts who wrote the draft of "copying capitalist civil law like slaves," and offering equal protection to "a rich man's car and a beggar man's stick."
The correct response would be to point to the Communist Party's copying of Soviet Marxist ideology like slaves. Except that this would delegitimize the Communist Party. I think the government can defang its leftist critics by handing real title to farmland over to the peasants who currently till it, with the proviso that it cannot be sold for a certain period of time. But that would deprive too many corrupt officials of the right to take land for free.
How about a trade. Chinese pro-capitalist party members for the Democratic party members of California. The Chinese couldn't do more harm to the California economy and the Dems certainly can help end the 'Chinese Miracle' economic growth and adhere to the tenants that all property belongs to [us] the state.
There is no (large) country in the world in which capitalist institutions thrive that does not spread the wealth around. As much as I'd like to dismantle the entire Federal government apart from the Department of War, redistribution is inevitable, and one can only try to limit the damage to incentives and efficiency.
What a nightmare that country is. Going through a hundred years of economic development in a fraction of that time (think of the US since the 1890s, compressed into two decades).
Following the US model, what needs to radically happen next is a major demographic shift from the countryside to metropolitan areas. Small farmers must be replaced with modern scale agribusiness.
Trouble is, China doesn't have enough inland metro areas to fill with these farmers. That is, its cities are already full, it needs new cities. Not ironically, the jobs in creating these new cities provide much of the employment to those going to live there.
They are making enormous environmental projects to combat their terrible problems, such as a gigantic dust bowl, floods in the South and droughts in the North. This is good, too.
But their #1 problem is demographics. They just have way too many damn peasants.
Anonymoose: But their #1 problem is demographics. They just have way too many damn peasants.
90% of the American population in 1790 was composed of farmers. The farms weren't huge as they are today either - this was way before the era of mechanized farming.
China's cities are huge. Shanghai is 15 times the size of NYC (that's all five boroughs, not just Manhattan), but only has twice the population. China doesn't have too many peasants - it has too many aristocratic officeholders micro-managing the lives of its citizens for personal fun and profit.
Peasants in China are not allowed to move to the cities. Those who do so are, technically-speaking, illegal immigrants. What the provincial officials in China's manufacturing hubs do is simply look the other way. But the reality is that most of the manufacturing workers in Chinese cities are illegal immigrants. This kind of central government interference in basic things like where its citizens are *allowed* to live and work is an example of the kind of micro-management I mentioned above. The central government has said that it will phase out the residency permit system. But it's not there yet.
China is diving head first into capitalism.
Wait till they realize that they are held captive by the regime. They will want to travel and spend their new wealth in the world's vacation spots. At first, the well connected will be allowed to leave, then more and more until the curtain is torn away.
Like the man said, communism doesn't work.
Trouble is, China doesn't have enough inland metro areas to fill with these farmers. That is, its cities are already full, it needs new cities. Not ironically, the jobs in creating these new cities provide much of the employment to those going to live there.
We built Chicago, Cincinatti, Cleveland, St Louis, and many others overnight from nothing in our agricultural heartland during our industrial revolution. If the Chicoms would institute property rights and the rule of law, they could do the same. Gong Xiantian is just another Socialist mass-murderer pretending to look out for the "people" while condemning them to poverty and suffering.
Zhang Fei: I don't disagree with you at all. But as you say, your cities are enormous. Where could you put a massive influx of people from the countryside?
China already has a demographic phenomenon the US never experienced: a massive transient population. This astounding situation has no precedent anywhere else, and while it appears stable in the short term, I suggest it is symptomatic of a national condition that no matter the cause could turn nightmarish.
In post-WWI America, the expression was "How can Johnny stay down on the farm, now that he has seen gay Paree?" It was a cathartic moment when many of America's farmers just gave up and migrated to the big cities, ready or not.
How could the cities of China take an overnight influx of 200 million people?
Ala the 2005 Chinese defense white paper, the CCP intends to everything it can to maintain the power and control of Communism and Socialism in China - the Chicoms admit in the paper that China's endowments, no matter how improved or modernized, will always be insufficient for her still-growing population. This is why they desire a minima of 1/2 of CONUS-NORAM, and desire to exterminate a minima of 200M of America's 300M population. As Rummy said, in paraphrase, the Chinese Communist penchant for Commie central/State planning and regulation is incompatible with their desire for national/
universal modernity. As long as the Chicoms do their best to preserve vestiges of Stalinism and Maoism, etal, the Chicoms should NOT expect to achieve normal parity or superiority ags the USA- West until close to, or at the Year 2100, not 2050 let alone 2030. This is why 9-11 happened -amongst other precepts, for the Ultra-Left and anti-Americanists 9-11 and the GWOT is meant to destabilize and slow down the still-expanding American hyper-power so that Russia-China have a better chance of catching up and modernizing without resort to mutually destructive, cost-prohibitive, self-defeating anti-USA war in the near/short-term. America is induced to create global empire while ultimately "volunteering" or being mil forced to give up its national sovereignty, national affairs-poicies, and endowments to a group of America-managing world states/OWG includ Russia-China. The Commies win by getting everything for nothing, or at minimum "collateral/incidental" losses. In Clintonian Washington, FASCISM > for 2008 DUbya is BUSHITLER whom needs to be wiped out; is a mere problem-prone LIMITED COMMUNIST-SOCIALIST with a heart of Gold and whom needs Motherly guidance to save his arrogant Male Brute molester soul and show him the path to Global MarxHeaven. AND IFF HER ARROGANT MALE BRUTE FASCIST BOY DOESN'T LIKE IT, MOTHER = MA BARKER AND HAVE HER BOY PC KILLED OFF, FOR THE GOOD OF THE WORLD = HERSELF.
Deep divisions have appeared among European Eunion governments over suggestions that they should alter their blasphemy laws to protect Islam, and not just Christianity.
Abdullah Gul, the Turkish foreign minister, sparked disagreement among his EU counterparts at a weekend meeting in Austria, when he called for European nations to review existing laws, to ensure they outlawed the "defamation" of all religions.
Mr Gul told a meeting of EU and Balkan foreign ministers in Salzburg that many Muslims believed that European laws amounted to a double-standard, protecting established Christian religions, and banning anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, while doing nothing to defend Muslims who felt offended.
He said several European nations already maintained laws against religious defamation. "However, these restraints sometimes only apply to the established religions of the concerned countries. I would like to call on you here to start a process of re-examination of your legislations to ensure that these restraints apply to all religions equally."
However, Bernard Bot, the Dutch foreign minister, told reporters: "We have freedom of speech. That means that Mr Gul can say what he wants and I can say what I want. And I think that this [Mr Gul's idea] is superfluous."
Posted by: Captain America ||
03/12/2006 20:31 ||
Top|| File under:
Tell ya' what, jerkface - we'll consider "outlawing defamation of religion" if all moslems and moslem countries quit defaming all other religions. Starting with Judaism.
What's that sound I hear? Sounds like....
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
03/12/2006 21:11 Comments ||
"Mr Gul told a meeting of EU and Balkan foreign ministers in Salzburg that many Muslims believed that European laws amounted to a double-standard, protecting established Christian religions, and banning anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, while doing nothing to defend Muslims who felt offended."
Mr Xyz told a meeting of Arab League and Middle Eastern foreign ministers in Mecca that many Jews believed that Arab laws amounted to a double-standard, protecting established Muslim religions, and banning Hanukkah and Mohammed cartoons, while doing nothing to defend Jews who felt offended.
Dominique de Villepin, France's prime minister, was fighting for his political survival last night after a week of protests over his flagship youth employment scheme, culminating in students occupying the Sorbonne for the first time since May 1968.
Facing his sternest test since taking up office last June, Mr de Villepin said on France's main television news programme last night that his Bill "will be applied" but intimated that it could be tweaked.
His words came a day after 1,200 riot police stormed the Sorbonne and evicted around 200 students who had been staging a sit-in in Paris's historic university - the centre of the student riots of May 1968.
The students were calling on Mr de Villepin to drop his First Employment Contract (CPE) - a youth job scheme aimed at cutting France's woeful youth unemployment rate by making it easier to hire and fire young recruits in their first two years in a company. They argue that the scheme - a personal initiative of the prime minister - simply increases job insecurity.
Last Tuesday, half a million secondary school pupils and university students took to the streets to protest against the CPE. Half of France's 84 universities are at least partially on strike. More demonstrations are expected this week in a move that student unions and the French Left hope will force Mr de Villepin into an embarrassing U-turn and resignation.
Last night Mr de Villepin stuck to his guns, but said he intended to introduce "new guarantees" for employees under the scheme and vowed to work with labour leaders to defuse tensions.
The protests are the clearest sign yet that Mr de Villepin's 10-month honeymoon period with the French is over, and are a blow to his presidential ambitions.
In the past three weeks his popularity ratings have plummeted after a series of setbacks: a face-losing fiasco involving the decommissioned Clemenceau aircraft carrier, his slow reaction to a mosquito-borne viral epidemic on Reunion island and a government U-turn on a Bill on internet file-sharing.
Posted by: Captain America ||
03/12/2006 20:25 ||
Top|| File under:
More indicia/evidencia, AGAIN, that not even Western Democratic Socialism is forever immune from the natural forces that felled and imploded the ultra-Left former USSR - WARPACT. In the end, it won't matter who holds the office of PM, or any other office.
SPAIN held a sombre remembrance of the Madrid terror bombings yesterday - the second anniversary of the attacks - as a delegation from Morocco, home to many of the 24 suspects, observed a few minutes' silence at a railway station targeted in the massacre.
The 70-member delegation, called the Moroccan Caravan for Peace and Solidarity, set out from Morocco in buses on March 5, stopping in several Spanish cities before arriving at Atocha train station on a cold, blustery morning.
"We want to express our solidarity and support for the Spanish people and show that the Moroccan people are one of peace and against terrorism," said delegation member Mohamed Boujida.
The delegation laid a wreath and wrote messages of condolence on a large-screen computer terminal at a memorial site.
TWO MEN kissing in a park and a topless woman bather are featured in a film that will be shown to would-be immigrants to the Netherlands. The reactions of applicants including Muslims will be examined to see whether they are able to accept the countrys liberal attitudes.
From this Wednesday, the DVD which also shows the often crime-ridden ghettos where poorer immigrants might end up living will form part of an entrance test, in Dutch, covering the language and culture of Holland. Those sitting the test will be expected to identify William of Orange and to know which country Crown Princess Maxima comes from (Argentina) and whether hitting women and female circumcision are permitted.
Muslim leaders in Holland say the film is offensive. It really is a provocation aimed to limit immigration. It has nothing to do with the rights of homosexuals. Even Dutch people dont want to see that, said Abdou Menebhi, the Moroccan-born director of Emcemo, an organisation that helps immigrants to settle.
They may not want to see it, but they tolerate it. There's a lesson there for you.
He added: They are trying to find every pretext to show that people should not come to the Netherlands because they are fundamentalist or not emancipated. They confront people with these things and then judge them afterwards.
Famile Arslan, 34, an immigration lawyer of Turkish origin, agreed. I have lived here for 30 years and have never been witness to two men kissing in the park. So why are they confronting people with that? she said.
Same reason they're confronting people with female circumcision.
She accused the government of preaching tolerance about civil rights while targeting non-westerners with harsh and discriminatory immigration curbs.
The new test the first of its kind in the world marks another step in the transformation of Holland from one of Europes most liberal countries to the one cracking down hardest on immigration. Rita Verdonk, the immigration minister known as Iron Rita, has introduced compulsory integration classes, higher age limits for marriage to people from abroad and the removal of residency permits if immigrants commit petty crimes. She has also talked of banning the burqa.
The measures were prompted in part by outrage over the 2004 murder of Theo Van Gogh, who had made a film about the oppression of women in Muslim communities.
Applicants will sit the exam at one of 138 embassies around the world. They will answer 15 minutes of questions and those who pass the first stage will have to complete two citizenship tests over five years and swear a pledge of allegiance to Holland and its constitution. The centre-right government of Jan Peter Balkenende, the prime minister, believes the tests will provide an objective way of assessing the suitability of applicants by gauging how well prepared they are to make the transition to Dutch life and their willingness to integrate.
Critics complain that people living in the mountains of Morocco or rural villages in Pakistan will not be able to make the long journey to cities for Dutch language lessons. According to Instituut Oranje, a Dutch language school, someone with a low level of education would require 250 hours of tuition, costing £1,200, to pass the tests. The total bill of £1,495 including £55 for a preparatory test pack and DVD and £240 for the exam makes the process unaffordable for many.
Dang, that's a shame.
Dirk Nieuwboer, a Dutch journalist based in Istanbul, said the multiple-choice cultural test included a question about how to behave in a cafe if two men at the next table started kissing. There was another question about which former Dutch colony a particular spice came from, said Nieuwboer. Most Dutch people dont know these things.
However, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, a socialist from the parliaments immigration committee, said the film had been created to help prepare people for open-minded attitudes on issues such as homosexuality. We have lots of homo-discrimination, especially by Muslim youngsters who harass gay men and women on the streets. It is an issue here.
A spokeswoman for Verdonk said an edited version of the DVD would be available for showing in Middle Eastern countries such as Iran where it would be illegal to possess images of homosexuality.
Perhaps they shouldn't be encouraging people from Iran to immigrate to the Netherlands, but that's just me.
"Two men kissing in a park and a topless woman bather are featured in a film that will be shown to would-be immigrants to the Netherlands. The reactions of applicants including Muslims will be examined to see whether they are able to accept the countrys liberal attitudes."
What do they do with prospective immigrants who are a bit *too* positive in their reactions.
Oh, that's right, they get a license to open a shop in Amsterdam....
Posted by: Carl in N.H. ||
03/12/2006 8:32 Comments ||
"She accused the government of preaching tolerance about civil rights while targeting non-westerners with harsh and discriminatory immigration curbs."
Since when is lax and non-discriminatory immigration a basic human right? And I suppose she'd advocate for a Muslim squatter to move into Crown Princess Maxima's quarters too.
There was another question about which former Dutch colony a particular spice came from, said Nieuwboer. Most Dutch people dont know these things.
Guess what, sunshine? Try for US Citizenship, and you'll have to learn a bunch of stuff Americans either didn't learn (because our school system sucks), or have forgotten. Life's tough all over.
Besides, I don't see where they are requiring Mahmood to be open in public with Abdul. All they are requiring is that a newcomer learns the proper way to behave according to Dutch mores when confronted with behavior they may not see at home. And that they be able to speak Dutch.
Yup, I see how that discriminates against "non-Westerners" in favor of, say, Argentines. Really. You bet.
The top ranks of government counterintelligence agencies are empty due to resignations and retirements amid a dispute over the role of counterspying, U.S. intelligence officials say.
The most senior U.S. government counterintelligence official -- presidential appointee Michelle Van Cleave -- resigned last month after the office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX), which she headed, was made part of the new Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
At the FBI, CIA and Pentagon, senior counterintelligence positions are held by acting officials. At the White House, the National Security Council (NSC) counterintelligence staff position has been downgraded. In the past, it was held by an FBI counterspy. Heidi Avery, the current NSC counterintelligence director, is not an FBI agent.
Intelligence officials said the failure to fill the top posts is a sign of bias against counterspying by senior intelligence officials under DNI John Negroponte and at other agencies.
It goes against the recommendations of a presidential commission that called improving efforts to counter foreign spying an urgent priority.
The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction stated last year that "while our enemies are executing what amounts to a global intelligence war against the United States, we have failed to meet the challenge."
It said counterspying efforts "have remained fractured, myopic, and only marginally effective."
Former FBI Counterintelligence Chief Dave Szady, who left Jan. 27 for a private-sector job, said in a recent interview that the threat from foreign spies "is worse now than it was in the Cold War." An FBI official said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has identified spying by China as the most serious foreign intelligence threat.
Mr. Szady has not been replaced. The acting counterspy chief is Tim Bereznay, a veteran special agent.
"At a time of maximum need for counterintelligence, the administration has put out good words, but is showing by deed that counterintelligence is not a priority," said a senior U.S. intelligence official.
The official said those within the intelligence bureaucracy have "resisted counterintelligence reform for a decade."
"The DNI is confident that counterintelligence operations are being very effectively conducted across the intelligence community," DNI spokesman Carl Kropf said. He added that the selection process is active and that "we anticipate that these vacancies will be filled expeditiously."
Miss Van Cleave left as NCIX director last month. She was instrumental in setting a new national counterintelligence strategy approved by President Bush that called for conducting offensive counterintelligence activities and using counterintelligence techniques to go after terrorists.
The leading candidate to replace Miss Van Cleave is Paul J. Redmond, a former CIA counterintelligence chief who helped uncover CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames, a KGB mole in the agency.
Intelligence officials said one problem with beefing up counterintelligence is that senior officials within Mr. Negroponte's office are opposed to giving counterintelligence more clout and independence.
In particular, the current DNI mission manager for collection, Mary Margaret Graham, who left as head of counterintelligence at the CIA last year, regards counterintelligence as a support function.
Counterintelligence "needs to remain a strategic mission rather than a support activity," a second intelligence official said. "We have to stay ahead of foreign intelligence services that are out there going after our secrets."
Counterspies must comprehend and take action against foreign spies who are attacking the government to steal secrets, not simply how they interfere with U.S. spying efforts.
At the Pentagon, Carol A. Haave, deputy undersecretary of defense for counterintelligence and security, left in November, and no replacement has been named, although an acting official is in place.
A CIA spokesman declined to say whether the National Counterintelligence Center director is acting or permanent.
When reached by telephone in California, Miss Van Cleave said she left her NCIX job because she had accomplished many initial reforms.
"I am confident that the contributions that the NCIX team has made will be a solid foundation for Director of National Intelligence to carry forward," she said.
The wonks in Congress, on commissions and the 9/11 farse always recommend moving boxes, without any consideration as to the impact on people in organizations. And they almost never ask for advise from the people with the most knoweledge, the folks who do the day-to-day work.
Posted by: Captain America ||
03/12/2006 17:42 Comments ||
The Senate intelligence committee, once a symbol of bipartisan oversight, is now so torn by partisan warfare that it can barely function in a time of sharp national debate over intelligence matters, according to several analysts, officials and past and current members.
Inter-party animosity has simmered since the 1990s, but it heated up when Republicans took steps to limit probes into President Bush's handling of the Iraq war and domestic spying. It reached a full boil Tuesday, when the committee voted along party lines to reject a proposed investigation of the administration's warrantless surveillance of Americans' international communications. It voted instead to create a White House-approved subcommittee to oversee the operation, infuriating Democrats and some civil libertarians.
Their anger has focused mainly on the committee's chairman, Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas. A staunch defender of Bush administration policies, he recently said some of the panel's Democrats "believe the gravest threat we face is not Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, but rather the president of the United States."
When Roberts adjourned a committee meeting last month rather than allow a vote on the proposed wiretap inquiry, Vice Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) declared the panel "basically under the control of the White House, through its chairman."
Continued on Page 49
It may be a different situation if there were one single case of administration wiretapping which voilated a single citizen in some way, but there is not. All the information has been used to intercept terrorist cells and their plans to terrorize.
I guess Rockefeller wants the administration out of the listening business before Hillary gets in the oval office. Remember the FBI files ?
But then, Hillary will fall short, by about 20 states.
Lapses by private port operators, shipping lines or truck drivers could allow terrorists to smuggle weapons of mass destruction into the United States, according to a government review of security at American seaports. The $75 million, three-year study by the Homeland Security Department included inspections at a New Jersey cargo terminal involved in the dispute over a Dubai company's now-abandoned bid to take over significant operations at six major U.S. ports. The previously undisclosed results from the study found that cargo containers can be opened secretly during shipment to add or remove items without alerting U.S. authorities, according to government documents marked "sensitive security information" and obtained by The Associated Press.
The study, expected to be completed this fall, used satellites and experimental monitors to trace roughly 20,000 cargo containers out of the millions arriving each year from Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Most containers are sealed with mechanical bolts that can be cut and replaced or have doors that can be removed by dismantling hinges. The risks from smuggled weapons are especially worrisome because U.S. authorities largely decide which cargo containers to inspect based on shipping records of what is thought to be inside.
Among the study's findings:
_Safety problems were not limited to overseas ports. A warehouse in Maine was graded less secure than any in Pakistan, Turkey or Brazil. "There is a perception that U.S. facilities benefit from superior security protection measures," the study said. "This mind set may contribute to a misplaced sense of confidence in American business practices."
_No records were kept of "cursory" inspections in Guatemala for containers filled with Starbucks Corp. coffee beans shipped to the West Coast. "Coffee beans were accessible to anyone entering the facility," the study said. It found significant mistakes on manifests and other paperwork. In a statement to the AP, Starbucks said it was reviewing its security procedures.
_Truck drivers in Brazil were permitted to take cargo containers home overnight and park along public streets. Trains in the U.S. stopped in rail yards that did not have fences and were in high-crime areas. A shipping industry adage reflects unease over such practices: "A container at rest is a container at risk."
_Practices at Turkey's Port of Izmir were "totally inadequate by U.S. standards." But, the study noted, "It has been done that way for decades in Turkey."
_Containers could be opened aboard some ships during weekslong voyages to America. "Due to the time involved in transit (and) the fact that most vessel crew members are foreigners with limited credentialing and vetting, the containers are vulnerable to intrusion during the ocean voyage," the study said. This, to me, is the most interesting bit in this article:
_Some governments will not help tighten security because they view terrorism as an American problem. The U.S. said "certain countries," which were not identified, would not cooperate in its security study "a tangible example of the lack of urgency with which these issues are regarded."
_Security was good at two terminals in Seattle and nearby Tacoma, Wash. The operator in Seattle, SSA Marine, uses cameras and software to track visitors and workers. "We consider ourselves playing an important role in security," said the company's vice president, Bob Waters.
Cherry-picked this little bit:
The study, called "Operation Safe Commerce," undercuts arguments that port security in America is an exclusive province of the Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection and is not managed by companies operating shipping terminals. The theme was an important element in the Bush administration's forceful defense of the deal it originally approved to allow Dubai-owned DP World to handle significant operations at ports in New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. And also this:
The lengthy study has been beset by problems. Japan refused to allow officials to attach tracking devices to containers destined for the United States. Other tracking devices sometimes failed. Many shipping companies refused to disclose information for competitive reasons. ...but, it is assumed, they will cooperate with everything else involving security. Except this study. For competitive reasons, you see.
"The risks from smuggled weapons are especially worrisome because U.S. authorities largely decide which cargo containers to inspect based on shipping records of what is thought to be inside."
We shouldn't be predetermining which cargo containers we inspect. It should always be random. Shouldn't it? I'm reminded of the practice at airport screening of our checking little old ladies rather than profiling.
"The study, expected to be completed this fall, used satellites and experimental monitors to trace roughly 20,000 cargo containers out of the millions arriving each year from Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Most containers are sealed with mechanical bolts that can be cut and replaced or have doors that can be removed by dismantling hinges." I'm curious as to why this information is available now if the study wasn't expected to be completed until this fall. Homeland Security did this study? The timing to release this information is a bit interesting. "The lengthy study has been beset by problems."
hmmm, $75 million, 3 year study. I thought we had the ability of knowing if these locks on cargo had been tampered with.
'Truck drivers in Brazil were permitted to take cargo containers home overnight and park along public streets. Trains in the U.S. stopped in rail yards that did not have fences and were in high-crime areas. A shipping industry adage reflects unease over such practices: "A container at rest is a container at risk."
Again, aren't there high end cargo locks that can be noted if tampered with?
Looks like we'll have to nationalize everything that crosses our borders and could possibly have a risk associated with it.
Wait... I'm getting a funny feeling...
Yes! Close the borders down cold. Design infiltration-proof barriers for both the Mexican and Canadian borders and magically install them - overnight!.
No more foot traffic or car traffic or truck traffic crossing our borders, nosireee! The ferry people will LOVE this...
We build big islands about 200 miles off both coasts, install shipping ports and airports, and have all sea/land/air cargo and passengers dock/land and unload there. Then hire about a bajillion more Customs & Immigration people with perfect backgrounds, ex LE and Military probably, to check everything, and I mean everything, the proctologists will swoon, then load it on a huge new fleet of Coast Guard barges and assign a detail of, say 50 agents, to ride shotgun on each barge into the old ports - accompanied by the new fleet of Coast Guard cutters bristling with weapons, of course..
To get an idea of the scope of the problem, I looked at some statistics (@ http://www.marad.dot.gov/MARAD_statistics/index.html) and I agree with Cloth Snatch4013, i.e., the only answer is the porcupine strategy. $75,000,000 well spent!
It would take a lot more than $75 million to isolate us - and that's not counting the overall economic hit in the short and long terms.
Nope. Just as the Muslim world has to come to grips with the presence of Western culture all around them, and China will have to deal with the currency imbalance, we're gonna have to find ways to manage illegal immigration and import security risks at a cost we can bear. And that means that we WILL choose to stay open to some risks. Or rather, we won't have the choice to eliminate them all.
And that means that we WILL choose to stay open to some risks.
Staying open to some risks is one thing, but to purposely expose yourself to more risk is another. You might feel the tradeoff is acceptable or worthwhile, but apparently many did not. Trust was the central issue here, and your side simply failed to convince. Not that it would have been easy.
As someone who is somewhere in the middle on this debate, it's apparent to me that both sides are ignoring each other's valid arguments.
Posted by: Rafael ||
03/12/2006 14:43 Comments ||
I make the drive from Colorado Springs to Spring, Texas, regularly, to visit my brother that lives there. If you drive Hwy 287 from Amarillo to Wichita Falls, you'll notice train after train of shipping containers - several hundred at a time. Yes, it's a problem to guarantee their security. it's also not going to be easy to do much about the problem except at two places - the point of entry, and the destination point. Anything else would be like hunting for a particular needle in Kansas at harvest time. Part of the problem at the point of entry is that there are too many containers and too few inspectors. We need to develop more automated inspection equipment, and keep the capabilities to ourselves. If the US government wasn't so assinine about the requirements of US-flag shipping (to placate the Merchant Marine), we could probably have more US cargo carried by US flag carriers. We've got to look at ALL the options, including those that might step on a few Union manager's toes.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
03/12/2006 15:17 Comments ||
The key is not so much to inspect every pallet of cargo that enters the U.S., but to develop sufficient intelligence on the various WMD programs around the world so that retaliation is feasible.
It's ultra costly to protect everyone from everything all the time, that's why we go on offense. The money would be better spent training hundreds of thousands of special ops and canvas the world with them for gathering intel as well as foiling some plans now and then.
SAN DIEGO (AP) - A former college teammate of Pat Tillman is following in his footsteps, leaving a career in professional football to join the military. Pfc. Jeremy Staat, a former defensive lineman who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the St. Louis Rams, graduated from the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Friday.
Enlisting "is probably one of the best decisions I've made in my life," Staat, 29, told The Associated Press after the ceremony.
Staat said he was felt compelled to join the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but Tillman, who was his roommate at Arizona State, advised him to stay with professional football until he qualified for retirement benefits. "He told me, 'You're a good player, you need to get good play.' Then four months later, at his wedding, I learn he's going to the Army," Staat said. "I joked to him, 'You stole my idea,' and he said it had been in the process for a while."
Tillman's death gave him "more motivation" to enlist, Staat said. "I should have been there for him."
Staat played for the Steelers from 1998 to 2000, and played two games with the Rams in 2003. He was playing for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League before being put on the league's suspended list. "I never felt right about making the money I was making," he said. "We pay millions of dollars to professional athletes and entertainers, yet we pay military service people pennies to a dollar, and they're the ones risking their lives."
To enlist, the 6-foot-5 player said he dropped from 310 to 260 pounds. He said three months of boot camp training gave him a deeper appreciation for team camaraderie. "It's about looking out for your fellow soldier, and being ready to take a bullet for someone," he said.
Good on ya Staat! Take your training to heart, it will keep you alive.
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
03/12/2006 13:05 Comments ||
My son enlisted in the Army yesterday - Mil Intel (anothr Fred Pruitt in the making - with more hair). 5 yrs in - still wished he'd gone to college first. :-(
Posted by: Frank G ||
03/12/2006 16:07 Comments ||
No worries Frank. I went to college after my first tour with the 82d. A little older, a lot more mature, and more willing to challenge the profs. I think I got more from school at 22 than I would have at 18. Oh ya, and the Army paid for it, not my parennts.
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
03/12/2006 16:45 Comments ||
thanks - that's my fallback position. I'll support him in whatever he does, of course. Hope he likes Ft Sill OK LOL
Posted by: Frank G ||
03/12/2006 16:49 Comments ||
There is a certain irony to it, Frank G.
Most kids going straight from HS to college could use a dose of reality first, so they appreciate the opportunity and don't just keep on doing what they've been doing - chasing skirts and playing games. It's just extended HS, only with far less supervision and (probably) more disposable income to get into far bigger trouble.
I had a rule with mine: you have to work and support yourself for a year before college - or sugar daddy won't be there. Unlike many fine plans, this one worked beautifully. LOL.
Your son is demonstrating that he's already mature enough to want to do something significant, challenging, something that tempers his youthful side and builds character. By making his choice he's demonstrated that he's already smart enough to see all that now - and doesn't need the tempering to take the opportunity seriously. That's irony, lol.
Good man ya got there, Frank - definitely someone to be proud of.
I am - believe me. I asked him when this desire hit him (he's kept it pretty well hidden) - he said on 9/11/01
Posted by: Frank G ||
03/12/2006 17:17 Comments ||
I've been pushin troops for the last 20 years, first as an NCO and as an officer. Your son is part of a generation of kids that have got their shit together better than any generation in the last 25 years. They are realists, logical, and exceptionally smart. They know there is more to being a soldier than killing and blowing things up, and they are learning how to build nations. If there was ever a generation of young Americans to plant our future hopes on these kids are it.
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
03/12/2006 20:12 Comments ||
These Pakistanis just don't understand Indian Kashmiri politicians. They routinely underestimate them. The Kashmiri politician Omar Abdullah was the junior Foreign Minister of India under Vajpayee. The last Kashmiri chief minister Mufti Sayeed was once an Indian Federal Home (Interior) Minister
ISLAMABAD, Mar 11: Doing some plain speaking, National Conference, chairman, Omar Abdullah has virtually blamed Pakistan for rendering UN resolutions on Kashmir irrelevant, saying that the map of parts seized by it has undergone a change since 1947. "Why the (UN) resolutions were not implemented? because the conditions that needed for implementation were never created right from the day one," he said when asked about his stand on the issue by journalists at a dinner here last night hosted by Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri for leaders from Jammu and Kashmir who are participating in a conference on resolution of the Kashmir issue.
The UN resolutions, he said, were meant to be implemented in the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir as it existed in 1947. "That State today ceases to exist and doubt very much whether we can be able to turn back the clock."
"Those resolutions are (applicable) for both sides of Kashmir which includes Aksai Chin (part ceded by Pakistan to China) and Northern Areas (parts governed directly by Islamabad)," he said, visibly causing discomfort to Kasuri who said Pakistans position on the issue was well known. Drawing a comparison between Jammu and Kashmir and the areas of the State under Pakistans control, the NC leader said "Jammu and Kashmir in India is exactly what it was in 1947. Not an inch of territory has been changed. Ask yourself the same question regarding the areas of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan. Does the map of J and K of Pakistan in 1947 resembles what it is now? If it doesnt, then that is the answer to your question why UN resolutions cannot be implemented."
Continued on Page 49
WASHINGTON - India circumvents other countries export controls and leaks sensitive technology in procuring materials for its nuclear programs, according to a report by former UN weapons inspector David Albright.
Remind me, isn't he the one who found Saddam's WMD?
The Indian Embassy dismissed the report as baseless.
"Lies! All lies!"
The report, released on Friday, challenges a central US argument in favour of a landmark US-India nuclear deal: that India has such an impeccable record of protecting technology it can be trusted with US and other foreign nuclear materiel.
Albright, a physicist who heads the Institute for Science and International Security, said he had uncovered a well-developed and secret Indian program to outfit its uranium enrichment program and circumvent other countries export control efforts. The report, co-authored by researcher Susan Basu, said when India seeks bids for nuclear-related equipment, it allows prospective suppliers to buy blueprints and manufacturing instructions for a particular item. Company officials could then sell the item or related technology to other customers.
Thats what we think is new, that you could go buy some centrifuge design information through the Indian procurement system, Albright told Reuters in an interview. This is not a normal way of doing business. Its a very irresponsible way to handle sensitive information, he added.
Except that now we have a tool with which to start leveraging the Indians. If they want our civilian nuke technology, they have to play ball with us on stuff like this. We didn't have that until GWB negotiated a deal with the Indians.
Indian Embassy spokesman Venu Rajamony told Reuters, This so-called report is ridiculous and filled with all kinds of baseless charges.
He noted that Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, welcomed the agreement as a milestone to consolidate the nonproliferation regime and that the White House praised India as having a strong nonproliferation record.
The Bush administration on Thursday asked the US Congress to begin implementing the deal by changing US laws to permit nuclear sales to India, ending a three-decades-old ban. The 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, who oversees nuclear transfers, also must change its rules.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei does not need any authority beyond the IAEA to deal with Irans nuclear dossier, IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said on Thursday.
Don't you just love the way ElBaradei and the IAEA insist they alone should set policy on countries' nuclear programs? Security Council? What Security Council? Everything is under control, move along please.
He did the same shit thing in Iraq.
Iran cannot be forced to do anything beyond the law, she told the Mehr News Agency correspondent in Vienna.
a patently false statement, but we know what she means
ElBaradei has never said that he needed more authority, what he needs is more transparency on the part of Iran, Fleming said. This transparency could include approving the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), she added.
There have been some failures in Irans nuclear activities over the past 18 years, she said. Its like a puzzle. When some pieces do not exist, we need further cooperation from Iran to get a complete picture of its activities. A country which is a member of the IAEA should cooperate with the agency, but the IAEA cannot expect forced cooperation, she observed.
Fleming stated that the IAEA intends to give the world a true and precise picture of Irans nuclear activities, and in order to do so, has asked Iran to help it a little more than is legally required.
ElBaradei says that there are still some ambiguities in regard to Irans nuclear activities and as long as these ambiguities are not cleared up, the world will be suspicious of Irans nuclear program, she added.
ElBaradei wants full transparency from Iran so that IAEA inspectors can resolve the remaining issues. We can only resolve the issue with the help of Iran and only when Iran announces readiness to cooperate with the agencys inspectors beyond the legal book, she said in response to a question on what ElBaradei meant by full transparency.
and in the meanwhile, all you other countries just go sit down until teacher calls on you. Ooops, bell rang - dismissed for the day little dears.
Asked why the IAEA has published links on its official website to Western sites which are opposed to Irans efforts to develop civilian nuclear technology, Fleming replied that the links were there because the IAEA believes in freedom of speech. She noted that the IAEA website has also provided three links to Irans official institutions in order to give a balanced image of the Iranian nuclear issue.
But since the Iranian delegation requested that the (anti-Iranian) links be removed, we took them off of the website, she explained. However, the links to the Western websites are still on the IAEAs official website.
Asked why an IAEA inspector had given a negative image of Iran in a recent interview with the BBC and whether the IAEA approved of the remarks, the IAEA spokeswoman said, I am not aware of any hostile remarks. The BBC produced a documentary with special permission (from the IAEA) to provide more information about the activities of IAEA inspectors.
Asked whether the IAEA would give Iranian TV permission to conduct interviews with the agencys inspectors in another country, Fleming replied, Yes, if that country allowed you to do that.
Obviously, the inspectors will not reveal confidential information, she explained, adding that the inspectors in the BBC documentary had not violated agency regulations and both ElBaradei and IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen had seen the documentary.
As American warplanes streaked overhead two weeks after the invasion began, Lt. Gen. Raad Majid al-Hamdani drove to Baghdad for a crucial meeting with Iraqi leaders. He pleaded for reinforcements to stiffen the capital's defenses and permission to blow up the Euphrates River bridge south of the city to block the American advance. But Saddam Hussein and his small circle of aides had their own ideas of how to fight the war. Convinced that the main danger to his government came from within, Mr. Hussein had sought to keep Iraq's bridges intact so he could rush troops south if the Shiites got out of line.
General Hamdani got little in the way of additional soldiers, and the grudging permission to blow up the bridge came too late. The Iraqis damaged only one of the two spans, and American soldiers soon began to stream across.
The episode was just one of many incidents, described in a classified United States military report, other documents and in interviews, that demonstrate how Mr. Hussein was so preoccupied about the threat from within his country that he crippled his military in fighting the threat from without. Only one of his defenses the Saddam Fedayeen proved potent against the invaders. They later joined the insurgency still roiling Iraq, but that was largely by default, not design.
Continued on Page 49
It is amazing how detached from reality people become when they live in an echo chamber. Even with the full war plan on display on CNN 24/7 these turkeys lied themselves into believing it was all the evil Joooos. The Persians will prove to have even greater cognitive dissonance. The problem is trying to figure out what wacko reality they are living in.
Saddam had WMDS - the only thing this article says is that even his own Army, Party, and or Loyalists were "expendable", "collateral casualties/sacrifices" to Saddam iff it meant only HE controlled the WMDS. The new SADDAM TAPES make it clear that pre-planned asymmetric warfare , as coupled with anti-American international diplomacy and politics even from within America itself, was always the primary or preferred method of resisting the USA and its Allies. DITTO FOR IRAN, SYRIA, NORKOR, NK-TAIWAN, etal.
TOKYO (AP) - Japan may extend its humanitarian mission in Iraq beyond a reported May deadline because of the deteriorating security and political crisis there, a news report said Saturday. The government has not announced when, or if, it will end its 600-strong humanitarian mission in the southern city of Samawah. But media reports have suggested Japanese troops may start to pull out as early as March and complete the process by late May.
Sankei newspaper said Saturday that Tokyo plans to drop the May withdrawal deadline, citing unnamed government sources. The report did not suggest an alternative date for it to complete the process. Defense Agency officials were not available to comment Saturday.
In a letter to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Japan's Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro urged the leaders to form a new government soon, taking into account the ethnic and religious diversity of the nation, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Friday. Koizumi said Japan will continue to provide support for Iraq, the ministry said.
Think about it. Wouldn't you like a military base near a key source of your energy resource?
Let's review. The Japanese attacked the US because Pres. Roosevelt cut oil exports to Japan. The Japanese sought the Dutch Indonesian oil fields. That meant going past the American Philippines. To protect their line of supply, that meant attacking the US territory and war with the US. They hoped they could negotiate the outcome to come away with the resources. They simply miscalculated on the response.
Note again, what is a key source of oil for the Japanese. Notice who've they've allied themselves with this time around.
UK foreign office minister Kim Howells has admitted the situation in Iraq is "a mess" but said Iraq's prospects were better than media reports suggested.
Mr Howells, who is visiting the country to examine the oil industry, played down fears of a civil war. He said Iraq was undergoing a "very, very painful process" and praised how ordinary Iraqis were adapting to the country's changes. He said Iraq was also no longer in a position to harm other countries.
Remind us why that is?
"People describe Iraq as a mess," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "But it is a mess that can't launch an attack now on Iran; a mess that won't be able to march into Kuwait; it's a mess that can't develop nuclear weapons. So yes it's a mess but it's starting to look like the sort of mess that most of us live in."
He said what was happening in the country was not reflected in media reports. "I have been hearing that civil war was going to break out that evening or the following morning for as long as I can remember now and it hasn't happened.
Reports did seem to be exaggerated, didn't they?
"We have got to have some trust in the Iraqi people to understand, as they certainly do, that those who are trying to promote civil war, through their suicide bombings and their kidnapping and the rest of the terrible tactics, are there for a particular purpose."
Mr Howells said that Britain had to take the good news from Iraq along with the bad news. He also dismissed recent complaints by conservative figures in the US. "I would never take my guidance from swivel-eyed right-wing Americans and I'm surprised that anybody ever did.
Hey! I resemble that remark!
"I do not look to them to continue the fight for democracy and to rebuild a nation in Iraq any more than I would look at some left-wing loony," he said. "This is a job that has to be done; these are the materials we have got to deal with; and they are great materials. We've just got to get on with it now."
Well if we're going to be catty about it, Britain et al gave us the Treaty of Versailles [because they knew better than them damn amateur Yanks] and as a consequence WWII. The stupid Yanks gave you the Marshal Plan, NATO and the longest period of peace in central Europe since the Romans. You all whined about cowboy Reagan and how he was going to start WWIII, but you got the fall of the 'Evil Empire' and democracy in eastern Europe [no thanks to the French]. So yeah, go yapping along the old line about I would never take my guidance from swivel-eyed right-wing Americans and I'm surprised that anybody ever did. You certainly know how to do it better than us stupid Yanks.
IDENTICAL twin sisters piloting Black Hawk helicopters in the danger zones of northern Iraq are on the front line of a revolution. Lieutenant Jennifer Robinson and Lieutenant Amanda Matthews, both 24 and both standing just 5ft 1in tall, are a startling example of how far women have come in the armed forces.
Last week Robinson, her ponytail tucked under her flying helmet, piloted helicopter missions out of Tikrit, Saddam Husseins birthplace, as she has done for seven months. Matthews flew her final Black Hawk mission from the army base at Taji two months ago before returning home with her husband, an Army Ranger, to Hunter Air Base in Georgia. I never got to see her over here, Robinson said. We did manage to talk when we both called home and my mom and dad put the phones together. Now Im just happy I got her beat on flight hours.
The pilot twins were black belt karate champions in Florida, where they grew up before going to different universities and joining the army. For their 16th birthday they jumped out of an aeroplane. Their father Dick Fortenberry, 67, who flew a helicopter gunship in Vietnam, said from his home in Tennessee that both girls had a fierce sense that they were doing a good job over there.
Robinson call sign Eagle Assault starts her day at about 3am when she has an intelligence briefing on her area, a hardline Sunni region where roadside bombs have killed scores of American soldiers. She has been trained to attack but insisted: I personally dont shoot people my gunners do.
Her love for her aircraft is clear. You can manoeuvre that thing anywhere, she said. You can hover on a pinpoint, which is amazing in itself. It becomes like a part of you.
She takes a lot of flak from Iraqi insurgents, whom she labels the bad guys, and from colleagues who tease her about her lack of height. Theyre always joking with me about how they have to adjust the seat, she said. However, she is respected for her skills. Flying is not the hard part, she said. You have four or five radios going, different areas of navigation, and at night you are flying under goggles and that is like flying with two toilet rolls on your eyes.
The life suits her: I always wanted to be part of something bigger than me. It didnt matter if it was a brotherhood or a sisterhood.
The European Union is providing short-term assistance but has threatened to cut off links with the Palestinian Authority unless Hamas, whose charter commits it to the destruction of Israel, changes its policy once in government. On another front, Hamas' political leader Khaled Meshaal slammed the Israeli government's plan to finalize the country's borders by 2010 as a "declaration of war."
EU foreign ministers meeting in the Austrian city of Salzburg held back from any immediate decisions on aid, but called on Hamas to give clear signs it was committed to change. "Without a statement on that we will not work with a Hamas-led government. It is absolutely clear this can't be hot air," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "We have to repeat over and over again that Hamas must recognize Israel, and that we cannot make progress with violence," said Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.
JERUSALEM In the last two weeks, the Palestinian Authority has been given about $70 million - more than $40 million released by the World Bank, nearly $21 million from the European Union and $10 million from Norway.
But even once all that cash arrives, the Palestinian Authority will have only 95 percent of the money needed to pay February's overdue salaries, said the Palestinian minister of national economy, Mazen Sinnoqrot. How the Palestinian Authority will cover salaries for March, Sinnoqrot said, "remains a mystery."
"Mahmoud, c'mon, we got orders to knock over a bank."
And that is even before the victorious Islamic group Hamas names a new Palestinian government, which will put a stop to significant amounts of international aid. "We're bankrupt," Sinnoqrot said bluntly in an interview Thursday in his Ramallah office. "The world can't abandon us. It's in no one's interest, not for Israel or anyone, to have the P.A. public sector collapse. To increase unemployment this way would be a message of violence, not of peace."
How is that different from the message the Paleos have been sending the last, oh, 40 years or so?
Sinnoqrot is philosophical, but anxious. He needs $115 million a month just to pay the salaries of about 145,000 public-sector employees, about half of whom, he says, shaking his head, are listed as security forces, most of whom have weapons.
Can't have a security force without lots of guns and ammo.
The Palestinians get about $35 million a month from internal taxes. But Israel is withholding about $55 million a month in customs and duties it collects for the Palestinians, arguing that a Hamas majority in Parliament means that Hamas, considered a terrorist group, controls the Palestinian Authority.
The major donors - the European Union, the World Bank, the United States and a few Arab nations - do not agree, because Hamas has not yet formed a government, a moment the West wants to postpone until after Israel's March 28 election. Even if Israel were handing over the taxes, Sinnoqrot and the Palestinian Authority would still be in a significant hole, since the monthly budget is about $165 million.
Sinnoqrot calls the Israeli decision to withhold money "neither legal nor acceptable," a "collective punishment" of Palestinians for voting in Hamas.
Yup, pretty much.
Sinnoqrot, a devout Muslim but not a Hamas member, is a potential finance minister for a Hamas government. But he says that no one from Hamas, including the prime minister-designate, Ismail Haniya, has talked to him since the election.
Sinnoqrot urges the world to see the Hamas victory "as a real window of opportunity" created by democracy.
Oh it was, it was -- the world got to see just exactly what Hamas is.
But Israel and the quartet - the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - have warned that a new Hamas government will face isolation and further cuts in funds unless it recognizes Israel, rejects violence and accepts the validity of previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Those are major hurdles that Hamas is unlikely to get over soon, if ever, but if Hamas does not, warned the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, David Welch, the United States intends "to make their ability to function as a government enormously difficult."
Must be one of Condi's people.
On Friday in Salzburg, European Union foreign ministers warned Hamas that "money will not flow to the new authority unless it seeks peace by peaceful means," in the words of the EU's external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner. "We want to remain a reliable partner for the Palestinian people, but we will not go soft on our principles," she said. At the same time, the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said Europe "must find ways to support the Palestinian people," and he added: "We want to maintain what has taken us so many years to build up: a Palestinian Authority that is the embryo of a state we must complete and which one day will exist."
He really is sampling his own product, isn't he?
Hamas is considered unlikely to make the world's choices easy, so Solana, Welch and the quartet's envoy, James Wolfensohn, are exploring how to create a new structure to funnel money to the Palestinians through President Mahmoud Abbas, of the Fatah party, somehow bypassing the authority.
Sinnoqrot thinks that is a bad idea. "We shouldn't have a shadow government here," he said. "It's not our way."
"Our way is no government at all!"
A senior Fatah official and a crucial figure in controlling the Palestinian security services, Jibril Rajoub, warned in a separate interview the world must help ensure "that we keep the security apparatus out of this situation," in part by ensuring that the armed men get paid.
Maybe the Israelis could helizap a few, and the rest would decide to become auto mechanics.
Here's an idea: Do what everyone else does when they need money - WORK FOR IT.
(They could be selling fruits and vegetables right now for some income if they hadn't trashed the greenhouses the Israelis left them....)
Tap-tap. Nope, my Sympathy Meter™ is still pegged at minus 10 where these clowns are concerned.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
03/12/2006 0:07 Comments ||
It's funny how Palestinian terrorism ratcheted up after a Palestinian government was put in place that suddenly was able to get a hold of hundreds of millions in foreign aid every year. Terrorism can't flourish without big subsidies. It's time we cut those subsidies off.
Hamas hasn't been getting much of the money; it is going to the Fatah controlled bureaucracy. And Israel says that Fatah has a 10 to 1 advantage in weapons over Hamas. That is why Israel released $70,000,000 in tax receipt entitlements to the PA last month. Ironically, Fatah could use the security agreements that they repeatedly violated, as a means to jail Hamas leaders. Fortunately, Arafat can't enjoy this circus.
In the last two weeks, the Palestinian Authority has been given about $70 million - more than $40 million released by the World Bank, nearly $21 million from the European Union and $10 million from Norway.
EG1772---Iran funds the fundo paramilitary units. It's their gig. why not leave the funding of civil government and infrastructure to the marks from the World Bank, EU, and Norway. That stuff is not sexy enough in the eyes of the M²s. Boring boring.
Posted by: Alaska Paul in Hooper Bay, AK ||
03/12/2006 13:30 Comments ||
$55 million a month could buy a pretty fair musical. Found a new industry, employ out of work singers and waiters, annoy the bomb-tops and do it with the poor pali peoples money. What more do you want?
GAZA CITY Hamas prime minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh yesterday submitted to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas a draft document outlining his proposals for the next governments programme, an official said.
Haniyehs letter was in response to one from Abbas on February 21 in which the moderate Palestinian Authority president formally tasked the radical Islamist faction Hamas with assembling the next cabinet. Abu Mazen (Abbas) received the letter of response from Haniyeh, a senior Palestinian source told AFP on condition of anonymity, as the two men held talks in Gaza City.
AMMAN A Jordanian newspaper yesterday called on the UN Security Council to force Israel to stop its bellicose attack on international law by threatening to act against Iran if the world community fails to take action against Teherans nuclear programme.
"Oh yaassss! The Zionists aren't allowed to defend themselves, especially if it means missiles flying over our heads!"
It is incumbent on the UN Security Council to call Israel to order and ask it to stop its bellicose attack on international norms. This should be the first order of business in dealing with the Iranian crisis, the English language newspaper Jordan Times said in an editorial. The paper contended that the Israeli threats did not only aim to pre-empt any UN action, it was also in violation of international law.
Their desire for the UNSC to, somehow, force Israel to toe the UN Charter is comical. Their search function craps out - otherwise I would have located their editorial position on Iran calling for wiping Israel off the map. A comparison would've been entertaining, I think.
The editorial writer of the Jordan Times has not thought this through. Nasty Iranian radioactive daughters of the god Plutonium could hitch a ride on the winds, if they are favorable, and wind up in Jordan after an attack on Israel.
Posted by: Alaska Paul in Hooper Bay, AK ||
03/12/2006 13:35 Comments ||
or the Incredibly Bright Iranian Scientists might have mislearned guidance, arcs, thrust, and headwind effects.....
"Oooooohhh!.... just short!"
Posted by: Frank G ||
03/12/2006 13:52 Comments ||
The leader of Hamas has reacted with fury to the plans outlined by Israel's acting prime minister to unilaterally redraw Israel's borders on the West Bank by 2010. Khaled Mashal described the ideas for an imposed solution in the occupied territories with no negotiation with the Palestinians as tantamount to a "declaration of war".
Isn't that what you guys said was going on anyways?
Mr Olmert says, in interviews published in several major Israeli newspapers today, that he wants to impose a border in the West Bank, build a wall and move many Jewish settlers to the Israeli side - all with backing from the international community.
While the plan would involve uprooting some Jewish settlements, it also would retain portions of the West Bank and strengthen the main settlements in those areas. Israel also would retain control over Jerusalem and link a large settlement to the city.
The plan falls well short of the Palestinians' claims - supported by the United Nations - to be restored to all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, from which they were driven after the 1967 Middle East war.
Remind me how that war started? And how the Jordanians and Paleos back then were provoking a fight? You guys wanted a war and you got one. Just not the one you hoped for.
"This is not a peace plan, but a war declaration, which will permit Israel to stay in the largest section of the West Bank, to maintain their wall and settlements, to refuse all concessions on Jerusalem and to reject the Palestinians right of return," said Mr Mashal.
That's a good summary, yup.
"It is a unilateral disengagement by Israel in the interest of its security needs and not the demands of peace," said Mashal.
Since what Olmert is charged with is protecting the people of Israel, I'd say he has his priorities right.
"Olmert is in the process of committing the same errors toward the Palestinians that (Ariel) Sharon did."
Always amusing to listen to a Paleo lecture others about political errors.
For his part, Mr Olmert says today that he still hopes to reach a settlement with the Palestinians, but the chances of a deal have dimmed with Hamass victory. Israel says that it will deal with the militant group only if it renounces violence and its calls for destruction of the Jewish state. Hamas has repeatedly rejected such demands.
Leaving them with no other choice but to build the wall. Clever, those Paleos, real clever.
Mr Olmert has also threatened to assassinate the incoming Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya, if he is involved in terrorism. "Anyone who is involved in planning terror attacks will be a legitimate target for liquidation," he told the Yediot Ahronot daily.
I'd be flying Apaches over Ismail's head every day just as a reminder.
If the Palestinians "prefer to be dragged into the axis of evil of Iran", then Israel will draw its own border in the West Bank based on its security needs, he added. "At the end of the process we will reach a complete separation from the vast majority of the Palestinian population," he told the Maariv daily.
"When Israel commits to pulling back to 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem, destroying the wall, dismantling the settlements, recognising refugees and displaced Palestinians right to return, and frees all the prisoners, then Hamas will take serious measures toward peace," Mashal told the AFP news agency.
In other words, the Israelis give up something, and Hamas gives up ... nothing. Classic Soviet negotiating ploy.
Mr Olmert said the new border would not follow the exact route of the separation barrier Israel is building in the West Bank. He told Yediot that he would try to work with Jewish settler leaders to try to get them to agree to the new line, moving settlers into settlements he plans to incorporate into Israel.
"We will definitely change the route either east or west in accordance to internal Israeli agreement," he told the paper. "The fence that will be built ... will be the border line that will separate Israel and the Palestinians. Israelis will not live beyond the fence."
Changing the route east ... good. Keeps the Paleos off balance.
In the absence of peace talks, Mr Olmerts unilateral approach is meant to solve Israels main security problems. It follows unilateral pullout from the Gaza Strip last summer under the premiership of Ariel Sharon.
Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian negotiator, urged Israel to return to the bargaining table. "Israel cannot determine my borders by dictating them to me. That only prolongs the conflict, rather than solving it," he said.
Reeeeeeeeally? Care to bet on that? Big wall. Security forces. Guns. Apaches. Counter-battery fire. I bet they can determine the borders.
President Bush has backed Israels claims to retaining some settlement blocs, but American officials have reacted coolly to Israeli claims on Ariel. Washington has also expressed displeasure over Israeli plans to link Maaleh Adumim to Jerusalem, despite Mr Olmerts assertion in Yediot that the US "has no doubt" that this will happen.
We'll get used to it. It'll become a fact on the ground.
I think Washington should send a signal to Hamas: give the Israelis 500-600 175mm howitzers and 2000 rounds each of HE, WP, and AP, for each weapon, plus a crew of five for each weapon to teach the Israelis how to use them. Israel can deploy them anywhere they wish (opposite Ramallah?). From the heights of Jerusalem, I believe even Amman would be within range - certainly Ein-al-Hellhole and all the Gaza strip. THAT might be a signal even HAMAS couldn't confuse.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
03/12/2006 15:57 Comments ||
Fine, then we'll settle the border issue after the war...
"We will definitely change the route either east or west in accordance to internal Israeli agreement," he told the paper. "The fence that will be built ... will be the border line that will separate Israel and the Palestinians. Israelis will not live beyond the fence."
*whistle* And THERE-in lies the hard part. How many settlers will admit that "defense in depth / fighting retreat don't work in this case" > "God gave us this land"? While I'm okay with such moves by the PM for Israeli security, look at that last sentence... is it me, or is PM Olmert saying in effect that he's going to draw the people in closer together (defense in mass) but in effect cede all of that territory to the Palestinians?
I wonder what the birth rates (read: non-Arab) in Israel are versus those of Israeli Arab/Muslims, accounting for all other factors that decide which side a person born there is on? Maybe that's got something to do with it... (do a solution before Israel at some point ends up with an Arab Muslim majority -- which'd go against the "Jewish state" raison d'etat.)
Posted by: Edward Yee ||
03/12/2006 23:46 Comments ||
Police have crippled four gangs of pirates preying on ships in the Melaka Strait in ongoing operations to maintain security in the waterway, said Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Musa Hassan. He said the enforcement efforts had reduced the incidence of piracy in the strait.
Marine police were also providing escorts to tug boats or ships using the strait upon their request, he told reporters on the sidelines of a post-disaster crime prevention meeting at the Karambunai resort near here Saturday.
"There is no doubt our enforcement has reduced piracy attacks in the Strait of Melaka and we have made quite a number of arrests," said Musa. He said some of the arrests were reported in the media but some were kept under wraps because of ongoing operations.
Iran says Moscow's compromise proposal on its nuclear programme is "off the agenda", after the Islamic Tyranny Republic was reported to the UN Security Council. A foreign ministry spokesman said "circumstances have changed".
Russia has sought to persuade Iran to move its enrichment programme to Russian territory, which would allow closer international monitoring.
On Wednesday, the UN nuclear lapdog watchdog referred Iran to the council, which has the power to impose sanctions.
"The Russian proposal is not on our agenda any more," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.
"Circumstances have changed. We have to wait and see which votes can be bought how developments unfold within the five veto-holding countries [on the council]," he said.
Iran has vowed to resist international pressure, insisting it has the right to "civilian" nuclear technology. It denies the obvious US and EU accusations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
The Russian proposal had been seen by many of the most naive as a last chance for Iran to compromise with the UN nuclear doormat watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Last month, Iran agreed in principle on a joint smokescreen venture with Russia to enrich uranium, but said further delaying tactics talks were needed.
Tehran then suggested a compromise deal last week, in which it would be allowed to enrich a small amount of uranium for the next holocaust research purposes, in return for accepting the Russian proposal. The US and Russia ruled out the idea.
Tehran's proposal came days before an IAEA report on Iran's nuclear programme was forwarded to the UN Security Council for specious consideration of unlikely possible punitive action.
It is expected to discuss the issue as early as this week.
The council has the power to impose sanctions, but it is not clear that all its key members would back them.
Diplomats suggest the Security Council could start the process by putting out a statement calling for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities and asking the IAEA to report on whether or not it complies. Both a statement and a report? Who says the UN can't get tough?
The IAEA report said the Iranians had begun feeding uranium gas into centrifuges, a first step in a process that can produce fuel for nuclear reactors or bomb material.
IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei said in the report that he was unable to confirm that Iran was not seeking nuclear weapons. Not being able to confirm things is an ElBaradei specialty.
Iran > "We will proceed wid Nukes and Empire unless decadent imperialist Male Brute Bush fails to satisfy our Motherly demand to be invaded. Our dedicated People's Islamist guerillas are now starving thanx to Dubya's and America's selfish arrogant malicious desire not to invade and save us for POTUS Hillary, D *** YOU".
Anti-Syrian politician and former MP Fares Soueid said Friday Syria "is using the Shebaa Farms issue to force Lebanon into the Arab-Israeli conflict." Soueid was speaking on Friday during a seminar before a crowd of university students who came to show their support for the Independence Intifada. The seminar was organized by the students of the Lebanese University in Deir al-Qamar entitled "The Independence Intifada Goes On."
Soueid added: "After we liberate the Shebaa Farms from the Israeli troops, we will liberate them from Syria's control." Soueid further added the country is in need of a new president to settle all accumulated pending issues, such as the "weapons of the resistance, the Shebaa Farms, and the Syrian-Lebanese relations." With ongoing disputes about the identity of the Shebaa Farms, Soueid said "Syria is not willing to give us any document to prove its real identity."
Soueid rejected the remarks made against MP Walid Jumblatt that accuse him of deliberately trying to sabotage the dialogue. He said: "These accusations and some of the positions taken will not discontinue the Independence Intifada, but it will move on. It has scored many achievements." Soueid called for "demarcating the borders with Syria and sealing
When it comes to dealing with Iran's nuclear program, Pentagon planners and outside experts say there are no attractive options, but there are options.
"There is a broad and widely dispersed program infrastructure that could be targeted," said National Defense University professor Richard Russell, a former CIA analyst. "It's not an easy target package to target but you could do it in a sustained aerial bombardment campaign."
With U.S. forces tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials are reluctant to even speculate about military action against Iran. The current U.S. strategy is to apply diplomatic pressure on Iran through the U.S. Security Council, which is expected to take up the Iranian issue next week. But the question is: What if diplomacy fails?
"I think there is a very real probability the first choice of diplomacy is going to be shown to be a dead end," said John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org. "And then everybody is going to have to confront what your second choice is is it atomic ayatollahs or is it the military option?"
There are significant obstacles to military action. For one, not all the targets are known. U.S. officials believe there are secret Iranian nuclear facilities that are not known by U.S. intelligence. And even the known sites are well-fortified and spread out across the country, making them difficult to destroy with air power alone. But privately, senior Pentagon planners believe U.S. airstrikes could significantly disrupt and delay the Iranian nuclear program, setting it back years. It's a view shared by many military analysts.
There are about a dozen known high-value targets, including uranium mines, research and development facilities and, most importantly, the Natanz uranium enrichment plant. Natanz is considered the crown jewel of the Iranian nuclear program. Experts believe it is big enough to produce enough weapons-grade uranium to fuel 20 nuclear bombs a year.But Natanz is also heavily fortified. It's buried at least 30 feet underground and perhaps much deeper. Natanz is also believed to be protected by concrete walls that are nearly 10 feet thick. It's unclear whether it can be penetrated by even the biggest "bunker-buster" bombs in the U.S. arsenal. If airstrikes can't destroy Natanz, however, they could severely damage it.
"You might not be able to get the deep bunker if it's sufficiently deep but you can certainly create a lot of rubble on top of it," said Russell. "And make it very difficult to dig out the material underneath it.
"You can delay, disrupt and kick the can down the road," he said. "You are not going to solve it. Ultimately, you need to have a political resolution in some shape or form, but the military instrument can help you achieve that diplomatic resolution and it can also buy you time."
That's a serious action plan, Lone Ranger - I'd like to see the regime and its henchmen extra-dead, stakes through the heart or vaporized dead, and the nuke facilities rubbleized or entombed forever - but I can certainly get behind your sentiments...
It all depends on the available resources, I guess. How many GPS munitions will we have by (insert your MM DoomsDay guess here)?
There have been reports that Iran moves their mobile missiles every couple of days. Probably untrue, but they hold enough to do serious damage to Persian Gulf oil fields, and can't all be neutralized. I have doubts that many missiles would be launched. Iran is leveraged in the sense that they have to import processed fuel, and have hostile populations - Kurds, Azerizis, etc - within their borders. Ahmadenejad was a squeak-in candidate, having dubious experience as a doltish Mayor of Teheran, and his national policies are unpopular even in the largest city. He has had to order mass arrests against women, students, striking drivers, and Sufis. In order to maintain Basiji (Mullah-version of the Muttawa Storm Troopers) support he has to blow off rhetorical steam, in annoying memory of the "Karbala" memory circus. The real concern is proliferation, in context of his mistaken impression of US weakness and lack of resolve. When the bombing begins, the public will turn against their little tyrant, and only a handful of fanatics would "martyr" for that weasel. I suspect that regime change would come quickly, followed by a secular revolution. Almost 3 decades of stagnation and massive population explosion - inherent to lowering the age of marriage of females, to 9 - have put Iran into near social collapse. Strategic bombing will do to the Mullah-dictatorship what the Bam earthquake did to that rural basketcase.
Regime change is the important issue here. The strikes must destroy their capability to produce Nukes, cripple their economic base, and set the grounds for regime change. It must also be rebuildable, at an affordable price. We and the rest of the world would have to go in and support the new regime and repair the infrastructure. Historically, the idea of just walking away is a bad idea. We just walked from Afghanistan when the Russians left and now "we" are fighting those who took over. When we plan for war we must also plan for actions after war, or our kids will end up fighting them again.
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
03/12/2006 12:55 Comments ||
yep. And while JDAMs and other smart munitions are powerful and accurate, I hope all those who advocate a massive bombing campaign ALSO remember that they are expensive. Okay by me, but don't carp about Bush's spending levels if we throw those at Iran.
By 'expensive' I mean 'lots and lots and lots of $$ per'. Don't know the current prices, but at the start of OIF JDAMs were estimated to run $20,000 per, for instance.
"there are no attractive options"
"not an easy target package to target"
"With U.S. forces tied down"
"U.S. officials are reluctant to even speculate"
"significant obstacles to military action"
"difficult to destroy with air power alone"
I don't think Iran HAS 50 port facilities in the entire country.
Posted by: Frozen Al ||
03/12/2006 15:35 Comments ||
When considering the cost of war, many things have to be entered into the equation. One of those tings is how much might it cost us NOT to go to war. While a total war against Iran may run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, the PERMANENT loss of Manhattan, Chicago, Baltimore, Savannah, Miami, New Orleans, San FranciscoLos Angeles, or San Diego to a dirty nuke could easily run into the TRILLIONS of dollars. We have a good example in New Orleans: not a nuke but a hurricane, a "natural disaster". The cost of rebuilding will be tens of billions of dollars, the lost commerce will run equally as high, and there's no radioactive waste to clean up, no long-term health hazards, or PERMANENT loss of a major US port.
One thing that is abundantly clear: the shortsightedness of scrapping almost half our military after the collapse of the Soviet Union is now coming back to haunt us. We need AT LEAST ten additional divisions to fight the "war on terror", and we needed them two years ago. We can make up part of the shortfall by calling up the retired reserves and former military that might want to return, but they still need equipment, logistics, and housing. Our economy needs to make at least a pretense of going on a war footing. If Congress acted immediately, we could POSSIBLY have everything we need within two or three years - but the Ayatollahs may have the bomb by then, inf not sooner.
Any way you look at it, we're going to have to do something serious, and it's going to cost - money, equipment, and lives. The sooner we get started, the lower the cost.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
03/12/2006 16:15 Comments ||
how about one Iranian bribed to sabotage a key nuclear facility the day a key Mullah is there
or how about 10 democracy advocates trained to plant time lapse igniters in the house of prayer leaders
America is a kill or be killed, fight or die, win or be slave, etc. situation - Americans should not be so concerned about any successful destruction of America cities becuz, to use the Chicom defense white paper as example, ALL AMERICANS, LEFT OR RIGHT OR CENTER, etc. WILL END UP BEING EXTERMINATED/GENOCIDED ANYWAYS, EVEN MANY IFF NOT ALL OF THE US LEFT AND ANTI-AMER AMERICANS. "Accept Socialism-OWG, or Die" > Commie and Socialist way of saying we die either quickly or by delayed slaughter. The Chicoms > Amer-specific holocaust is good for everyone, including those Milyuhns and Zilyuhns of Americans whom will be slaughtered. CLINTONISM > Americans demand to be slaughtered. As for Iran , many Conservative-Rightist Media are in favor of Bush going after Iran's specific mil capabilities/assets without necessarily inducing "regime change" - they, like the Mullahs and MadMoud, know the risk of mil intervention and geopol confrontation amongst the major nuclear states is high. In a world dominated by HYPER-POWER+ AMERICA, DEMOCAPITALISM, the ANGLOSPERE, PROSPEROUS OR WORLD-VITAL WESTERN DEMOCRACIES, and JUDEOCHRISTIANITY, the status quo is unacceptable to Radicals, Leftists-Socialists and Lefty Utopians, etc whose anti-democratic nations face premanent, ever-lasting regressions, geopol weakness and future, inevitable oblivion-irrelevancy like the USSR. FOR WEAK NATIONS > MANIFEST DESTINY, ETC. IS NOW OR NEVER, BY FORCE IF NECESSARY. AMERICA EITHER CONCEDES OR SURRENDERS, OR AMER'S ENEMIES WILL TAKE THE WHOLE WORLD WITH THEM TO HELL. Iran = North Korea > their state's bellicosities is as much ags Russia-China's ambition for hegemony as it is ags the USA-West and political democracy. Someone affirms that these failed minor Rogue States are "great powers", or these same will wilfully destroy themselves getting both and all sides destroyed.
#7 is right about regime change. It is the most important aspect. And targeting the people who make up the Islamofascist regime is as important as taking out the WMD. The leaders should be relentlessly hunted during the sustained air campaign and organizations like the Revolutionary guards and Basij militia should be hit hard. A regime hating population could be most useful in spotting and reporting the whereabouts of these forces.
Prominent Iranian journalists, economists and human rights actvists, including Nobel peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, are expressing growing concern over the country's plunging international reputation over the nuclear dispute. Together with many other Iranians, most dissenting voices from Iran's civil society support what they see as the country's right to nuclear technology, but they say that the Islamic Republic's autocratic government lacks credibility to argue the case.
"I'm convinced that the Iranian nuclear programme doesn't represent any threat to the world, and I urge the government to do everything possible to convince the international community that its intentions are peaceful, says Ebadi.
But she has no illusions about the tough task facing Tehran.
"If the world doesn't believe the words of Iran's representatives, the blame for this must go to the non-democratic nature of the regime that governs the country," she adds.
Her view is shared by opposition political activist Khosrow Seif. "Possessing nuclear technology is a right which has to be recognised to all the nations of the world, but it is not surprising that the international community does not trust an anti-democratic regime like the Iranian one," he says.
Seif also dismissed a possible compromise solution by which Russia would assist Iran with uranium enrichment the controversial process that Tehran's critics say is part of a covert nuclear weapons programme.
"If the only option given to us by the world at this moment in time is having our uranium enriched at Russian facilities, then it would be wiser for us to suspend the nuclear programme altogether," he says.
"The price that Iranians have to pay for their nuclear programme is way too high and it's just not worth it," says political analyst Mashaollah Shameslvaezin, whos is also the spokesman for the Free Press Association of Iran.
"With the [UN] Security Council yet to convene and sanctions still only a remote possibility, the government is already pressurising newspaper editors, sending them a 'manual' of what they may or may not publish," Shameslvaezin explains.
"We don't even want to think what will happen once the Security Council starts examing Iran's case. Then we'll lose even those small crumbs of freedom we still have."
According to economist and university professor Sadegh Zibakalam, the current "disastrous" situation may yet turn "tragic".
"The nuclear crisis has already claimed a vicitm: civil liberties in Iran. Sanctions would destroy the country's economy, bolstering the radicals, because during a state of emergency power lies in the hands of the military, the militias and the security forces," he warns
"If the world doesn't believe the words of Iran's representatives..."
BUT WE DO BELIEVE YOU. We believe you when you say that you will Nuke Israel, we believe you when you say that the US is the Great Satan, we believe you whey you say that you've been playing the EU for the suckers they are.......
Got to think that Ostriches would be really rich if they had patented the head in the sand approach.
London, Mar. 11 Russia has said that a deal with Iran over the Islamic Republics nuclear program is impossible unless Tehran suspended its uranium enrichment activities, a request that has been outright rejected by Iranian officials, the Russian News & Information Agency quoted a Russian negotiator as having said on Saturday.
Russia considers a joint uranium enrichment venture with Iran impossible if the Iranian side fails to comply with IAEA demands, RIA Novosti reported. The IAEA demands include Iran's resumption of moratorium on uranium enrichment and ratification of an additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it quoted the unnamed official as having said.
That's worked well so far ...
Since Iran has failed to reach agreement with the IAEA, Russia considers the creation of a joint venture impossible.
Moscows proposal involved Iran carrying out enrichment exclusively on Russian soil in return for it to receive nuclear assistance from the West and avoid facing punitive measures.
Everyone knows that neither Russia nor China will allow Iran or any other lessor Muslim nation to have nuke arsenals capable of challenging theirs, nor any par Iran-centric regional empire either. As long as Iran's focii is ags the USA-West, Russia-China can tolerate an Iran having a very small handful of likely low-yield nukes/WMDS. Radical Iran wants similar EMPIRE but knows deep down that, worse to worse, its people are better off under the control of the USA-West, or the US-led UNO, than under Russia or China. Possession of nukes = post-Cold War equiv of State-specific MANIFEST DESTINY even for the Rogues, as the only choices for nations whom refuse to democratize or reform is CONTINUED SLAVERY AND NATIONAL REGRESSION UNTO INEVITABLE IMPLOSION AND SELF-OBLIVION, OR NATIONAL STATE SUICIDE, e.g. NORTH KOREA. The hated Status Quo goes on, or they help defeat and destroy the USA and eventually the West so as to achieve prestige in the future Commie OWG.
London, Mar. 11 An Iranian opposition satellite channel aired on Saturday footage of a demonstration in Tehran by hundreds of women celebrating International Womens Day, and a brutal raid by Irans security forces to break up the rally.
The rally took place on Wednesday afternoon in Tehrans Laleh Park. Numerous women were beaten up by truncheon-wielding policemen and dozens were arrested as they resisted attempts by security agents to disperse the demonstrators.
The television, Simaye Azadi -- Vision of Freedom in Persian said the film was taken by women activists in Tehran.
The AP writer is pooh-poohing this, but I'm honestly not all that surprised given everything else we've seen over the last several years. Fred has compared the current crop of villains to bad thriller novels, but I suppose 1980s cartoons are at least as good a comparison. As I've said before, I think that a lot of the reason that the administration is so unwilling to disclose the true realities of the threat to the public is that the current crop of villains look not like Nazis or Communists but rather like refugees from a set of comic book villains, right down to the evil Fu Manchu-style leader.
The government painted an ominous portrait of Hamid Hayat and his father after arresting them nearly 10 months ago and charging them with lying about whether Hamid attended a terrorists' training camp in Pakistan.
The accusations depicted Hamid Hayat as so mesmerized by terrorist ideology that he sought to carry out a holy war against hospitals and even grocery stores.
But four weeks into their trial, the picture is far murkier.
While prosecutors have played portions of videotaped interrogations showing them confessing to FBI agents, their lawyers played the same tapes, arguing that the confessions in broken English were little more than parroted responses to leading questions.
The government says Hamid Hayat was a pawn in a network of al-Qaida-trained operatives awaiting orders to strike U.S. targets. His lawyer says Hamid was merely a directionless 23-year-old who last worked in a fruit-packing shed and was prodded into talk of jihad by a paid informant.
Part of his father's purported confession sounds oddly like an episode of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
This week, midway through the prosecution case, the Hayats' separate juries will be brought together for the first time to hear expert testimony that will attempt to put the trial into the context of global terrorism.
It's an important case despite the lack of hard evidence of a confirmed terrorist plot, said security consultant Howard Safir, a former New York City police commissioner.
"We can't minimize the fact that al-Qaida was trying to set up cells in the United States," said Safir, who also held posts with the U.S. Marshall's Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration. "I think al-Qaida is like the Statue of Liberty: 'Send me your hungry, your poor ' They'll take anybody and see if they're useful."
Prosecutors allege that Hamid Hayat attended an al-Qaida training camp in Pakistan in 2003 and returned last May to his home in Lodi, a wine-growing center 35 miles south of the state capital. According to trial transcripts, he was awaiting orders to attack targets that included hospitals, banks and grocery stores.
When an FBI agent asked him to explain why food stores were possibilities, Hayat responded "I think just to hurt people," according to a transcript of the interrogation.
Hayat's father, Umer, 48, is charged with lying when he denied knowing about the camps or his son's attendance. During his own interrogation, Umer Hayat said potential targets included federal buildings such as the White House and Pentagon.
Defense lawyers have sought to show that the confessions are useless, saying both men were tired and merely told agents what they thought they wanted to hear.
The Hayats' answers often were inconsistent and frequently show the men simply agreeing in broken English with incriminating statements made by FBI agents.
In one video played to jurors last week, Umer Hayat admitted visiting several terrorist training camps, including the one allegedly attended by his son. But his account sometimes bordered on the fantastic, with tales of a thousand terrorists wearing masks "like Ninja Turtle" as they practiced twirling curved swords, firing automatic weapons and pole-vaulting rivers in an immense underground compound a description that roughly tracks the Ninja Turtles television show.
"Confessions are powerful evidence. False confessions are unbelievably rare but they happen," said Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist at New York University School of Medicine and a frequent consultant to both prosecution and defense attorneys. "The most compelling aspect that helps the defense is the inconsistency and that these statements are all over the map."
Hamid Hayat is charged with three counts of making false statements to the FBI and with providing material support to terrorists. He faces up to 39 years in prison if convicted. His father is charged with two counts of making false statements and faces 16 years in prison. Both men pleaded not guilty.
Dr. Sultan said the world was not witnessing a clash of religions or cultures, but a battle between modernity and barbarism, a battle that the forces of violent, reactionary Islam are destined to lose.
In response, clerics throughout the Muslim world have condemned her, and her telephone answering machine has filled with dark threats.
Islam is a religion of peace, and we'll kill anyone who says otherwise!
Wotta buncha maroons.
The sad things is it doesn't have to be this way. I know Muslims who are NOTHING like these clowns. They're just regular Americans who go about their daily lives, want the same things we want, and follow their religion personally without wanting to force their beliefs on others. They don't care if we eat pork, drink alcohol, etc.; they just don't do it themselves.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
03/12/2006 10:05 Comments ||
I know Muslims who are NOTHING like these clowns. They're just regular Americans who go about their daily lives...
and if Sharia comes to American muslim communities, these gentle Muslims will suffer as much as we kafr and most of these gentle Muslims know this ... they just can't admit it to themselves
Hooray for this woman speaking out. Women have the most to gain from eradicating this nonsense "religion" from the face of the earth. This woman has come forward to spit in their eye, in Arabic. She needs and desrves protection. Her voice should be heard over and over. She knows exactly what she's talking about.
There are modern, friendly muzzies about, but remember the jerk who drove a rented SUV into a campus gathering at UNC ? Was he a modern, friendly ?
Islam is the religion of lunacy, and many of them are walking time bombs. Don't let your guard down.
Dr Sultan could save Islam from itself, but human nature suggests that Islam will reject her and her message and commit gruesome acts to prove it.
Islam is our enemy and when we realize that FACT, we will do the only thing left. We will outlaw the practice of Islam and burn all Korans, and raise all mosques to the ground. There is no fork in the road.
Sultan is gener correct - the probs of Islam as an organized societal, ethnic, cultural, progressive and political force - probs which are predomin caused andor controlled by Muslims ags other Muslims - is not going to be resolved by Muslims merely conquering the enemy andor inducing them to verify Islam for Muslims. Rights of Non-Muslims, rights of women, children, universal education, economic equality, etal. - solving these will not be achieved by forcibly putting a Crescent on America's national and state flag(s), or over Fort Knox Gold Depository, etc, nor put Islam into space.
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