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Area: WoT Operations    Non-WoT    Opinion        Politix   
Sri Lanka president declares victory in civil war
Today's Headlines
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Page 6: Politix
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Afghanistan to review NATO, US military presence
Hey Baraka, here is your exit strategy.
Afghanistan will review regulations governing the presence of tens of thousands of foreign troops fighting a bloody Islamist insurgency, Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta said Saturday.

The review was demanded by parliament after US air strikes against Taliban insurgents killed civilians in the western province of Farah this month.

An Afghan government investigation says 140 civilians died, making it one of the deadliest such incidents since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban.

An interim administration in 2002 signed agreements with foreign troops regulating their activities in Afghanistan but times have changed, Spanta said.

"Today we have an elected government, an elected parliament, free media," the minister told reporters. "This requires the agreements we had signed as a country then, with no government, seven years ago, to be reviewed."

"It is our duty and responsibility to defend the rights and dignity of the Afghans. It is our duty and responsibility to know why Afghans are jailed. It is our responsibility to see whether our compatriots are tortured or not." For the government to do this "we must have new agreements with our allies," the minister said.

Similar demands were made after the previous most deadly incident for civilians -- caught up in the battle between insurgents and security forces -- in the western province of Herat last August. UN and Afghan investigations said around 90 civilians were killed; the US military said at least 33 civilians and 22 militants died.

Afghan and foreign security forces have since signed an agreement committing the US and NATO-led deployments to measures to reduce harm to civilians.
Posted by: ed || 05/16/2009 08:51 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6496 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Afghanistan to review NATO, US military presence its chances of surviving alone.
Posted by: Kofi Claitle6576 || 05/16/2009 11:44 Comments || Top||

#2  Afghanistan to review NATO, US military presence its chances of surviving alone.

Posted by: Kofi Claitle6576 || 05/16/2009 11:44 Comments || Top||

#3  We should agree to whatever the Taliban agrees to.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 05/16/2009 13:52 Comments || Top||

Africa Horn
SKor Navy Wards Off Somali Pirates for Fourth Time
A Korean naval unit has rescued another foreign vessel from Somali pirates off the eastern coast of Africa. According to a spokesperson for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul, a naval destroyer called Munmu the Great scared off a pirate boat that was chasing an Egyptian ship on Wednesday.

When Korea's Cheonghae unit received a distress call from the 74-ton vessel, which was on its way to the Red Sea from India, it immediately dispatched a helicopter with a team of snipers aboard. The helicopter threatened to open fire on the pirate's boat and shot flares to inform ships from other navies patrolling the area. It was soon joined by a United States naval helicopter and the Egyptian commercial ship was saved.

This is the first time that a Korean naval unit has carried out a joint operation with the U.S. Navy since joining multinational anti-piracy operations in the region last month. And this was the fourth rescue by the Cheonghae unit, after it saved ships registered in Denmark, North Korea, and Panama.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6471 views] Top|| File under:

#1  That's exactly the right thing to do, build up several nation's goodwill before the starving masses from NORK come shambling over your border like a plague of locusts.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/16/2009 14:40 Comments || Top||

Africa Subsaharan
Bank of Uganda: ForEx boom could be funding terror
The huge amounts of money handled by private forex bureaus could be a threat to the country and the region if foreign exchange rules are disregarded, the Bank of Uganda has warned.In a meeting held in Kampala by forex bureaus and money remittance operators on April 30, the executive director of bank supervision at the Bank of Uganda, Justine Bagyenda, raised the alarm on possible money laundering and financial terrorism. She said the laid-down guidelines should be adhered to as the country awaits the enactment of the Anti Money Laundering Law.

Ms Bagyenda said an increase was reported in the inflows and outflows of licensed money remittances in the country that stood at the equivalent of $226.01 million in inflows and $104.20 million in outflows, at the close of December 2008. This was a tremendous improvement compared with $99.44 million and $40.59 million recorded inflows and outflows during 2007.

Uganda’s forex bureaus and money remitters operate under the Foreign Exchange Act of 2004 and the Foreign Exchange Remitters Act 2006. The two Acts provide for exchange of foreign currencies in Uganda and making of international payments and transfer of foreign exchange; and for other related and incidental matters. A survey by the EastAfrican reveals that many operators are not complying with Know Your Customer requirements and procedures drafted by the central bank.

Privately run foreign currency exchange bureaus and money remittance outlets handled 30 percent of the net foreign exchange transactions in Uganda in 2008, but the regulators are concerned by increased laxity. The Bank of Uganda says the forex bureau and money remittance sector has remained largely buoyant, with a total of 122 forex bureaus and 75 money remittance outlets. But a few were not following operational procedures regarding identification of clients, leaving the country open to money laundering.
Posted by: Pappy || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6493 views] Top|| File under:

Muslim extremist firebombed home of Mohammed book publisher
A Muslim extremist has been found guilty of firebombing the home of the publisher of a controversial novel about the Prophet Mohammed and his child bride.

Abbas Taj, 31, a minicab driver from Forest Gate, East London, had claimed he was simply giving two other men a lift to the house in an exclusive square in Islington, North London. The other men, Ali Beheshti, 41, and Abrar Mirza, 23, had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to recklessly damaging property and endangering life following the attack at 2.30am on Saturday September 27 last year.

The men were under surveillance by police who had warned Martin Rynja, 43, and his partner John Basgne de Beauval, to move out of their four-storey townhouse, which had an office in the basement. Taj's car, a Honda Accord, had been bugged by officers and their conversation was recorded as they drove to the square. Beheshti was heard asking Taj: "You wanna be the emir [leader], yeh?" and Taj replied: "That would be you."

"You know what we gotta do, anyway, innit?" Beheshti added.

In the early hours of September 27 last year the three men were observed driving twice through the square in Islington before Beheshti and Mirza approached the front door with a petrol can in a white plastic bag, poured diesel fuel through the letter box and used a disposable lighter to set it on fire. It was alleged that Taj, who was born in Somalia, East Africa, but moved to Britain at the age of 15, was acting as the getaway driver and as armed police swooped, his car was stopped near the Angel tube station not far away.

Mr Rynja, who ran a company called Gibson Square Books, had been planning to publish a historical novel by US author Shelley Jones called the Jewel of Medina about the Prophet Mohamed's third wife Aisha, who married him at the age of nine. The book was criticised for inaccuracy, sex and violence by academics and the publisher Random House, which produced Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses, withdrew from the project, fearing a backlash from the Muslim community.

But on September 9, six days after Mr Rynja announced he was taking on the book, Mirza drove to his home and used an iPhone and Nokia mobile phone to take photographs of his house. The following day, Mirza used the Google Earth internet site to plan their approach to the house. Four days later Mr Rynja's sister, visiting from the Netherlands, noticed Beheshti's Mitsubishi Outlander parked in the square with Beheshti and Mirza inside.

Beheshti purchased the diesel near his home in Ilford, East London, on September 25 and took it to Taj's home in Forest Gate the following evening. That evening, the 27th night of the Muslim festival of Ramadan, known as the Night of Power, Beheshti and Taj left Taj's house to pick up Mirza before driving to Regent's Park Mosque in central London, arriving at 1.22am. They left for Islington at 2.01am with Beheshti, putting on a hooded top and tying his hair into a ponytail.

Beheshti, unemployed, from Ilford, East London, was a former member of the radical group al-Muhajiroun who had burned himself on a demonstration in May 2005 when he set light to a picture of George Bush. Calling himself Abu Jihad, he also took his 20-month old daughter, dressed in an "I love al-Qaida" hat, to the protests against the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2006.

Taj, a trustee of the Muslim Prisoner Support Group [sic], said he had met Beheshti when the pair ran market stalls in Whitechapel Market in East London.
Posted by: ryuge || 05/16/2009 03:13 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6478 views] Top|| File under:

#1  See Virginia, these people thought that firebombing was free speech since the Government of the UK has given every reason to them to believe that as a minority such things are permissible and in the eyes of those UK panjandrums, a person who sheds light on this flawed thinking, like Michael Savage, then you are band as an enemy of the people. Virginia, I'm still trying to figure it out, too.
Posted by: hammerhead || 05/16/2009 6:54 Comments || Top||

Nork reactor restarting to lead to 2nd nuclear test: expert
WASHINGTON, May 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korea may conduct a second nuclear test in the near future with weapons-grade plutonium produced from restarting its nuclear facilities, a U.S. expert said Friday.

"Although it must have been tempted to conduct a second test after the limited success in October in 2006, North Korea has been constrained by its meager plutonium inventory and by the threat of international sanctions," said Siegfried Hecker, a professor at Stanford University, in an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6476 views] Top|| File under:

Audit agency questions lax monitoring of Nork trade
SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's audit agency expressed concern Wednesday that materials used to develop weapons of mass destruction may enter North Korea due to Seoul's lax monitoring and advised the Unification Ministry to tighten rules. The ministry, in charge of overseeing personnel and equipment exchanges with North Korea, should consider the "special nature of inter-Korean relations" and give censoring priority to strategic materials over general trade items, the Board of Audit and Inspection said in a report.
Want to bet that the problem was worse during the Roh administration?
"The process of monitoring items exported to North Korea has no order of priority, raising concern that there could be a chance of strategic materials going to North Korea," the audit agency said after an investigation requested by the National Assembly.

Strategic materials refer to equipment or technology used to make nuclear or biological weapons or missiles that are prohibited from being carried into the North. Such materials or items that may fall into that category are sometimes overlooked as the ministry's checklist, generally used by the tax agency and other government agencies, is too broad, it said.

The ministry failed to spot and investigate packages of black powder, an explosive mixture of sulfur, that were transported into North Korea by a local firm last year, the agency said, though it could not say whether black powder is a strategic material.

The audit agency also found that 270 used computers were exported to North Korea in a possible violation of the law. The computers were initially destined for China, but their owner changed the destination to North Korea without informing the government, it said. Other computers that were subject to return to the South were not brought back in time, it noted. South Korean law allows citizens to bring computers to North Korea on condition that they bring them back within a year.

The ministry failed to keep track of more than 2,000 computers taken to a joint industrial complex in the North's border town of Kaesong over the past year by South Korean workers, it said.

The Unification Ministry said in a statement that some of the items noted by the customs agency were not strategic materials, but added it will "prepare a manual to effectively control" such items.

Inter-Korean trade volume reached US$1.82 billion last year, the audit agency said. More than 186,000 South Koreans, not counting over 303,000 who toured North Korean resorts, visited North Korea for business and aid projects during the period, up 18 percent from the previous year, it said.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6470 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front: Politix
Panetta's letter to CIA employees
For the record.
Message from the Director: Turning Down the Volume

There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I’m gone. But the political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress.

Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.” Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.

My advice — indeed, my direction — to you is straightforward: ignore the noise and stay focused on your mission. We have too much work to do to be distracted from our job of protecting this country.

We are an Agency of high integrity, professionalism, and dedication. Our task is to tell it like it is — even if that’s not what people always want to hear. Keep it up. Our national security depends on it.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I honestly didn't think Panetta had it in him to write something like this. I guess Zero actually could have made worse choices to head the Agency.
Posted by: Glenmore || 05/16/2009 8:29 Comments || Top||

#2  http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/

Posted by: mom || 05/16/2009 10:17 Comments || Top||

#3  Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress.

Make no mistake: Panetts is there to run political interference for Oblahblah as he certainly does not have the capability to run an effective agency. Leon is saying that the lying/leaking thingy was policy of the Bush CIA.
Posted by: regular joe || 05/16/2009 10:39 Comments || Top||

#4  RJ:

As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing "the enhanced techniques that had been employed."

Pelosi has said the CIA is lying. Panetta has said the record created at the time of testimony supports the CIA. By circulating a document sure to become public Panetta has fired a shot across Pelosi's bow.

You are correct in noting that Obama has let Panetta carry the ball. I bet that Rahm is running shuttle diplomacy and Obama is trying to stay above the fray.
Posted by: DoDo || 05/16/2009 11:11 Comments || Top||

#5  Pelosi might Losi her job.
Posted by: GirlThurday || 05/16/2009 11:24 Comments || Top||

#6  "Oblahblah" ... LOL. Perfect!
Posted by: Zorba || 05/16/2009 11:40 Comments || Top||

#7  The agency will not go after her in public unless she continues to make charges in the press. I think they will remind her of all her other unethical actions they have on file with her that will surface if she continues to be stupid. They will put her in her box, she will make nice with the CIA and all the truth commission crap will go away, protecting all the brave agency men and women she was going to use as political fodder.
Posted by: 49 Pan || 05/16/2009 15:06 Comments || Top||

#8  The agency has said its not going to die for the Donks and their games. The 'last full measure of devotion' is what fundamentally the 'consent of the governed' is really about. I suspect though too many Donks are high on power and don't grasp what happens when there's no one with ability or capability who'll defend/protect them or their power when the system collapses.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 05/16/2009 16:41 Comments || Top||

Home Front: WoT
Obama U-turn over military terror trials
Summary, follow-up and dismay from a Brit newspaper.
President Obama has been accused of a major policy U-turn after he decided to restore the controversial military commissions set up by George Bush to prosecute terror suspects. The surprise White House announcement reversed his campaign pledge to rely on the conventional court system.

The move was last night criticised by human rights groups, who believed Mr Obama intended to dismantle the terror tribunals after calling them 'an enormous failure' during last year's presidential campaign.

In one of his first acts as president, Mr Obama obtained a 120-day suspension of the military commissions established at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Last night, he was expected to ask for an additional 120-day delay in nine pending cases to revamp the trials.

Mr Obama is asking Congress to expand the rights of defendants to ban evidence gained from torture or cruel treatment, limit the use of hearsay and give detainees more rights to pick their own lawyers. He also wants some defendants to face trial in civil courts.

But aides said the president now plans to retain the Bush administration's military commissions to try a smaller number of around 20 terror suspects.

The White House insisted that Mr Obama had not gone back on his word. Aides maintained the president 'never promised to abolish' military tribunals. He 'has always envisioned a role for commissions, properly constituted,' added an official.
Every statement from Barack Obama, without exception, has an expiration date.
But critics said Mr Obama repeatedly called for change. 'Everyone knows the military commissions have been a dismal failure,' said Gabor Rona, the international legal director of Human Rights First. 'The results of the cases will be suspect around the world. It is a tragic mistake to continue them,' he added.

Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, said: 'It's disappointing that Obama is seeking to revive rather than end this failed experiment.'

Even with the additional rights being proposed, defendants would not get the same protection at a military hearing as they would under the civilian system. Hearsay evidence, for example, is banned in American courts.
Since they're not civilian criminals ...
Under the Bush administration tribunals, hearsay testimony was allowed unless a defendant could prove it unreliable. Mr Obama plans to shift the burden onto the prosecution.

The Bush tribunals won three convictions in eight years, with charges pending against 21 suspects. Trial plans for more than 200 other Guantanamo detainees are still undecided. Some 241 inmates remain in Guantanamo.

The president's decision came as he faces increasing pressure to come up with a plan for dealing with detainees at Guantanamo Bay, which he has promised to close by next January. Mr Obama was already under fire for his decision to bow to the advice of his military chiefs and block the release of photos detailing the U.S. abuse of prisoners.
Easier to make a promise than to do the hard work of honoring it ...
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6498 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Obama's supporters must be suffering from whiplash from all his sudden u-turns.
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia || 05/16/2009 1:01 Comments || Top||


But Hussein Melonhead still have his core supporters!

Hosted by imgur.com
Posted by: Ming the Merciless || 05/16/2009 2:12 Comments || Top||

#3  The president's decision came as he faces increasing pressure to come up with a plan for dealing with detainees at Guantanamo

What!! No 'exit strategy'? Oopsie!
Posted by: Zorba || 05/16/2009 9:16 Comments || Top||

Bad times return to Karachi
Interesting backgrounder.
Renewed violence in this Pakistani port city is threatening its status as a safe haven from troubles further north.

Despite Karachi’s decades-old reputation as Pakistan’s most violent city, over the last year this urban economic hub has remained a haven from the bombings and violence in the rest of the country. But a flaring of ethnic clashes in recent weeks, exacerbated by the arrival of thousands of refugees from the violence in northern Pakistan, has many worried that instability has returned to the streets of this massive port city on the shores of the Arabian Sea.

Karachi is a migrant city, home to more than 14 million people, drawn from all corners of Pakistan by the promise of economic opportunity. It is members of two of these groups, Pashtuns from the north and Urdu-speaking Mohajirs — descendants of immigrants from India during partition — that have been engaging in violent skirmishes throughout the city in past weeks. “We believe that military operations in northern areas are causing the Taliban to now divert attention to Karachi,” says Haider Abbas Rizvi, of MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement), a powerful political party associated with the city’s Mohajirs. “We believe that it is Taliban militants in these [Pashtun] areas encouraging Talibanization in Karachi and creating the violence.” Reports say that the recent fighting sparked after an unidentified man shot three members of the MQM.

Karachi gained its reputation for unrest due to similar ethnic violence in the 1980s and 1990s, but renewed clashes have taken on ominous contemporary political undertones as Pashtun communities are suspected of harboring militants in their midst. Reports of gun battles, arsons and the deaths of dozens of people (mostly Pashtuns) in the last week are keeping schools closed, traffic thin, heavily armed rangers patrolling the city and Karachites tense, especially in light of a planned general strike called by Pashtun leadership and scheduled for May 12.

Karachi police have reported that recent raids into Pashtun neighborhoods have led to the arrest of militants plotting to attack the city. “We have to go together to the different areas of Karachi and appeal to the local people in the area and ask them to not go along with these militants” says Rizvi, referring to concerns that Pashtun communities in Karachi could provide camouflage for militants “they need to work with the police and the military today and give these people up.”
Posted by: trailing wife || 05/16/2009 22:22 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6479 views] Top|| File under:

APC useless as parliament is powerless: Fazl
Pretty much everything is useless in Pakistain ...
ISLAMABAD: An all parties’ conference (APC) will be useless as parliament is powerless, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman said on Friday, rejecting the idea of an APC over the Swat operation.

Talking to reporters at the Parliament House, the JUI-F chief said the government was giving no importance to the joint parliamentary resolution vis-à-vis the situation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the NWFP. “If you don’t give importance to the joint parliamentary resolution, what would be the fate of parliament?” he said.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6473 views] Top|| File under:

$10bn needed in 5 years to fight war on terror: Tareen
So come see us in five years if you're still around.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will require $2 billion each year for the next five years to fight terrorism, Finance Adviser Shaukat Tareen told reporters at the Press Information Department on Friday. Pakistan has sought $10 billion of direct aid from the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) member countries for the next five years for enhancing its capacity to fight terrorism and militancy and member countries responded positively at the Tokyo meeting.
Ten percent of that would be pretty nice for Zardari ...
Tareen said assistance pledges are expected to be made at the FODP meeting to be held in Turkey as the group has shown keen interest in financing Pakistan’s proposed $10 billion plan. He said the government would meet the additional expenses incurred during the military operation in Swat.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6470 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Wehell gee whizzz, I wundeeer what country + POTUS Admin on earth will be asked to pay for most or all of same???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 05/16/2009 0:11 Comments || Top||

US senators ask India to reduce troops on Pak border
It's Kerry again. The man is dangerous.
WASHINGTON: Top US senators on Friday underscored the need for India and Pakistan to reduce troops on the Kashmir border to allow Islamabad to fight the Taliban on its Afghan border more effectively. "Once the elections in India are over and completed, I believe the dynamics will shift so that there can be some redeployment on both sides. That will help the Pakistanis to begin to deal with this (extremist threat) themselves," Senator John Kerry said.
Where was he standing when he said that? Somewhere safe, I imagine.
The lawmaker called for empowering Pakistan to take actions itself against the Taliban.
Because that's all that's lacking, by gum, a lack of empowerment!
Senator Richard Lugar shared the view on border troop reduction and felt there could be lesser use of American firepower to take out the Taliban.
Feeling sorry for them? Or have you been around Kerry too long?
Sharing feelings -- I used to do that in kindergarten, but then I moved on to thinking for myself based on actual facts. Lets all hope really hard that the honourable senators someday are able to do the same.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6473 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Infiltration is actually up along the LOC.
If the Indians reduce troops, more terrorists will get in and more people will die.
Posted by: john frum || 05/16/2009 14:57 Comments || Top||

1.1m displaced persons registered in NWFP
PESHAWAR: The NWFP government has so far registered around 1.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). The provincial government has also increased the number of registration points from 16 to 40 in Mardan district, eight to 15 in Swabi district, seven to 15 in Charsadda district, three to 15 in Peshawar district, three to 10 in Nowshera district and three new points have been set up in Kohat district. The NWFP Social Welfare Department is registering the IDPs in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
12 million euros isn't going to go too far with this bunch ...
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6471 views] Top|| File under:

Perv not ruling out presidency
LAHORE: Former president Pervez Musharraf is not ruling out the possibility of running for office once again.
"Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up!"
Speaking on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Musharraf said he wished the current government well and that he “would be the happiest person” if the nation dealt well with threats posed by the growing strength of the Taliban. The programme is scheduled to air on Sunday.

“If Pakistan is in trouble and if any Pakistani, myself included – if you can see that we can do something for it – well ... my life is for Pakistan,” he said.

Musharraf mentioned that the law would allow him to run for office in Pakistan in six months. “We’re not running for office in six months,” he said.

Musharraf said deals with the Taliban several years ago were a mistake because “it was not from a position of strength”. But, if the military is able to take the upper hand, more deals may be needed to calm fighting by the fundamentalists.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6473 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Last I heard Musharraf had legged it to Turkey and was living in a mansion on the Mediterranean
Posted by: Gaz || 05/16/2009 4:02 Comments || Top||

#2  Honestly, so few men ought to be allowed near hair dye without the help of a professional. That is the queerest greying pattern I have ever seen -- two precisely square patches of white at the temples, the mustache decidedly grey, the eyebrows... I'm not sure how to describe the eyebrows, but the hair is quite another shade than the eyebrows. And those eyeglasses reduce authority rather than enhancing it.

The suit is nice, though.
Posted by: trailing wife || 05/16/2009 12:47 Comments || Top||

France offers civilian nuclear technology to Pakistan
PARIS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy told President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday that he wants Pakistan to have a wide-ranging deal to to buy nuclear equipment like the one obtained by its rival India, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday.
Paid for by whom?
"France has agreed to transfer civilian nuclear technology to Pakistan ... they have agreed that Pakistan should be treated like India," Qureshi told reporters after a meeting between Zardari and Sarkozy.
Even though Pakistain is nothing like India ...
"President Sarkozy said ... 'what can be done for India can be done for Pakistan as well'," Qureshi said after the meeting in Paris.

He said that negotiations over the transfer of technology would be held in July, and a new framework agreement and an MOU were likely to be signed during Sarkozy's visit to Pakistan in September.
By September the Taliban might be in charge ...
What could possibly go wrong if mental defectives with a strong faith in the efficacy of djinns take over running sophisticated, nuclear-powered equipment?
An official in Sarkozy's office said France wanted Pakistan to improve its nuclear security, but did not comment on the idea of an India-style deal. "The president confirmed that we are prepared ... to cooperate with Pakistan in the area of nuclear safety," he said.

Qureshi dismissed concerns over the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and its proliferation history.
At the meeting, France pledged to provide Pakistan 12 million euros as aid for internally displaced people.
"And the money kept rolling out in all directions
To the poor to the weak to the destitute of all complexions
Now cynics claim a little of the cash has gone astray
But that's not the point my friends
When the money keeps rolling out you don't keep books
You can tell you've done well by the happy grateful looks
Accountants only slow things down, figures get in the way
Never been a lady loved as much as Eva Peron!"
Sarkozy's office issued a statement reaffirming France's support for Pakistan while urging Zardari to fight all terrorist groups threatening his own country and its neighbours from Pakistani territory.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6473 views] Top|| File under:

#1  A little multi-cultural thinking going on in France...equating a failed belligerent country to a democracy.

Posted by: hammerhead || 05/16/2009 7:02 Comments || Top||

#2  The French have clarified that they offered help with nuclear safety. Nothing about reactors or fuel.
Posted by: john frum || 05/16/2009 8:36 Comments || Top||

#3  Maybe the French can teach them how to make their nukes safe by adding a dollop of Boron to the fuel.
Posted by: Glenmore || 05/16/2009 8:57 Comments || Top||

Mohamed ElBaradei warns of new nuclear age
It's the Grauniad, but even so.
The number of potential nuclear weapons states could more than double in a few years unless the major powers take radical steps towards disarmament, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog has warned.
Disarm yourselves, lest others nuke-up, he says. I think I prefer peace through greater firepower, and the willingness to use it. Perhaps that's why the UN didn't hire me, the time I didn't submit an application for Secretary General of the Security Council.
ElBaradei, the outgoing director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the current international regime limiting the spread of nuclear weapons was in danger of falling apart under its own inequity. "Any regime ... has to have a sense of fairness and equity and it is not there," he said in an interview at his offices in Vienna.
If it were fair, each Muslim country would have its own nukes, especially Egypt, home of the world's oldest civilization (or something like that, anyway), and Israel would be a glowing pit -- except for that mosque in Jerusalem, which Allah would protect with those special anti-nuke djinns Pakistani academics have studied so thoroughly in recent years.
He has presided over the IAEA for more than 11 years
During which time he has prevented Pakistan, North Korea, Syria, Libya and Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. Wait -- he didn't? Well I'm sure he intended to, which must count for something.
He argued that the only way back from the nuclear abyss was for the established nuclear powers to fulfil their NPT obligations and disarm as rapidly as possible. He said it was essential to generate momentum in that direction before the NPT comes up for review next April in New York. "There's a lot of work to be done but there are a lot of things we can do right away," ElBaradei said. "Slash the 27,000 warheads we have, 95% of which are in Russia and the US."

Only deep strategic cuts, coupled with internationally agreed bans on nuclear tests and on the production of weapons-grade fissile material, could restore the world's faith in arms control, he argued. "If some of this concrete action is taken before the NPT [conference], you would have a completely different environment. All these so-called virtual weapons states, or virtual wannabe weapons states, will think twice ... because then the major powers will have the moral authority to go after them and say: 'We are doing our part of the bargain. Now it is up to you.' "
I'm sure that will work. I also believe that clapping my little hands together will bring Tinker Bell back to life.
ElBaradei won global fame -- and the Nobel peace prize for himself and his agency -- by standing up to the Bush and Blair governments over claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Proof, if anyone needed it, that the Nobel Peace Prize committee is as morally corrupt as the United Nations.
His relationships with the Obama administration, and to some extent the Brown government, are better, since both have embraced banning nuclear weapons. Obama has started talks with Moscow on mutual cuts in arsenals.
Joy no doubt reigns unbounded.
Posted by: trailing wife || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6495 views] Top|| File under:

#1  ElBaradei, the outgoing director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
Woo hoo! When does he go?
Which Muslim will replace him and run the agency with as much integrity?
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia || 05/16/2009 1:16 Comments || Top||

#2  He keeps letting Iran off the hook! I remember him saying he didn't think Iran was seeking military nuke power. Worst person for the job, no Idea why GW didn't protest his reappointment.
Posted by: Omique Gonque4915 || 05/16/2009 3:01 Comments || Top||

#3  Whoever replaced him would have been equally carefully not achieved the official job description, Omique Gonque4915. The current situation is simply a legacy of Euro-American colonialism, you see, and like colonialism should be reversed as soon as possible.
Posted by: trailing wife || 05/16/2009 6:05 Comments || Top||

#4  Only deep strategic cuts, coupled with internationally agreed bans on nuclear tests and on the production of weapons-grade fissile material, could restore the world's faith in arms control,

Cutting down to a Chinese size arsenal would be utterly foolish. Do you really want a world where the Chinese have the same number of weapons as the US and Russia? A world where Pakistan has an arsenal 1/4 the size of the US?

What next? Cut the Navy down?
Posted by: john frum || 05/16/2009 8:45 Comments || Top||

#5  John, they believe in Peace Through Superior Firepower. Just not US firepower, since the mean old US would use it for Imperialist purposes.
Posted by: Glenmore || 05/16/2009 8:55 Comments || Top||

#6  The number of potential nuclear weapons states could more than double in a few years unless the major powers take radical steps towards disarmament, I have failed utterly, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog has warned.

There, that's better.
Posted by: Parabellum || 05/16/2009 9:13 Comments || Top||

UN: Israel should reveal secret torture centers, if they exist
The United Nations urged Israel to reveal secret torture facilities, if the country operated such centers, in a report published Friday by the world body's Committee against Torture.
"They don't exist. Thanks for asking."
Does the Committee plan to send a similar note to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Zimbabwe, etc, or just to the juices?
In reference to information provided by Israel that a detention center run by the Shin Bet security services known as "Facility 1391" was no longer operational, the committee wrote: "The State party should investigate and disclose the existence of any other such facility and the authority under which it has been established."

The committee also said it was concerned by the fact that the Supreme Court has found that Israeli authorities acted reasonably in not conducting investigations on allegations on torture and ill-treatment and poor detention conditions in the facility, which Israel said was closed in 2006.

For the first time, the committee dealt with allegations of Palestinian human rights infringements in Friday's report. "The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank should take immediate measures to investigate, prosecute and appropriately punish persons under their jurisdiction responsible for these abuses," it said.
What about the torture chambers maintained by Hamas? When are those opened for inspection?
Hamas is different, silly.
"Additionally," the report continued, "Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip should take immediate steps to end its campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture, and unlawful detentions, and to punish those responsible."
You and what army will force Hamas to do that?
They're being even-handed. It's new, so they aren't very good at it yet.
Members of the UN panel questioned Israeli officials earlier in the month about the allegations over the detention facility.

Shai Nitzan, deputy state attorney for special affairs at Israel's justice ministry, told them in response: "Every complaint alleging inappropriate treatment towards prisoners and detainees is investigated and seriously considered by the competent authorities, and if there is legal basis, criminal or disciplinary procedures are taken."
Opening the door to lawfare, but that's a discussion for another time.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6479 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Great. "Dead men file no complaints" is a wonderful message to send.
Posted by: mojo || 05/16/2009 1:08 Comments || Top||

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 05/16/2009 1:59 Comments || Top||

#3  Ragheads dont need interrogations, torture, etc,
because they always know the answer...

It is written, as they say,

Hosted by imgur.com
Posted by: Ming the Merciless || 05/16/2009 2:25 Comments || Top||

#4  The Secret Torture Centres™ are in Shangra La.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 05/16/2009 3:33 Comments || Top||

#5  You've gotta love the "have you (finally) stopped beating your wife and kids?" quality of this request. Those UN guys are good.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 05/16/2009 7:27 Comments || Top||

#6  Ragheads dont need interrogations, torture, etc,
because they always know the answer...

Dude: you need to drop the "raghead" slur before someone drops the banhammer on you.

Don't say you weren't warned.

Beastie drops the banhammer
Posted by: badanov || 05/16/2009 8:17 Comments || Top||

#7  TW, I think 'juice' is already the plural and 'juices' is the feminine plural.
Posted by: Glenmore || 05/16/2009 8:36 Comments || Top||

#8  You're right, badanov, the "R" word
is an unfair slur on the AbdAllahs
(Slaves of Allah)

Hosted by imgur.com
Posted by: Ming the Merciless || 05/16/2009 9:01 Comments || Top||

Second warning.

There is no third warning.
Posted by: Pappy || 05/16/2009 10:23 Comments || Top||

#10  I think 'juice' is already the plural and 'juices' is the feminine plural.

An interesting little grammatical question, Glenmore. Were it the traditional spelling of joooooos, I'd agree. But look at it: juice is clearly singular, like the juice box I'd give a trailing daughter as we headed to soccer practice, back when they played soccer. Which leads to juicess for the feminine, juices masculine plural and juicesses f.pl., although that is a terrible word that in practice will be replaced with concubines, or something equivalent. At least that's the logic I was working from. Please show me where I am in error.

*heavy sigh* We who live on the growing edge of a living language suffer agonies unknown to the common horde who simply use the results of our labours. Truly, I'd thought I was safe in my little retirement from work of such moment. I shall need to have another nap.
Posted by: trailing wife || 05/16/2009 12:22 Comments || Top||

#11  I personally like 'the juices'. The grammatic clanging noise it makes just adds to the mockery.
Posted by: SteveS || 05/16/2009 13:05 Comments || Top||

Kerry: Chances for two-state solution dwindling
Best news I've heard in a while.
U.S. Senator John Kerry told an economic forum on Friday he believed the window of opportunity for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was closing. "It's closing for a number of reasons - crushed aspirations, demographics, realities on the ground," the Massachusetts Democrat, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told a World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan.

Kerry's comments came amid mounting international pressure on Israel to accept the two-state solution, a step Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been reluctant to take.

Earlier Friday, Jordan's King Abdullah II used his speech at the forum to push the idea of expanding an Arab initiative for peace with Israel to include the entire Muslim world. "The Arab peace initiative has offered Israel a place in the neighborhood and more - acceptance by 57 nations, the one-third of the UN members that do not recognize Israel," King Abdullah told a World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan.

"This is true security - security that barriers and armed forces cannot bring," he said.
Except, of course, that the Paleos, and particularly Hamas, see a two-state solution as nothing more than a 'hudna'. You know what that word means, don't you, Your Immensity?
The king spoke a day after he pressed Netanyahu to immediately commit to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

U.S. President Barack Obama is due to address the region in a speech in Cairo next month and foreign ministers of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference are due to meet in Syria on May 23.

An Arab peace initiative, backed by leading U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, offers Israel normal relations with the 22 countries of the Arab League in return for returning lands to Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinians.

Israel has reacted coldly to the plan, citing concerns over the return of Palestinian refugees.
The right of return is the final non-negotiable sticking point. The Israelis will never accept it. The Paleos will never drop it. Therefore, no two-state solution.
Therefore no solution, which is just how the Arabs want it.
The Jordanian monarch, who met Obama in Washington last month, said Obama was committed to seeing a Palestinian state. "I was encouraged by the president's commitment to the two-state solution," he said. "I was encouraged that in all my conversations in Washington, it was clear that people know - inaction is not an option."

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat later said he hopes Netanyahu will heed calls to endorse a two-state solution. "I hope the king's words will not fall on deaf ears," Erekat said.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6476 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Why don't Jordan and Egypt just take back the West Bank and Gaza Strip? That would solve the problem - the "Palestinians" would be part of a country again.
Of course NO ONE wants the Palestinians to be part of their country.
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia || 05/16/2009 0:15 Comments || Top||

#2  Israel is 9 miles wide at one point. Security problems on the South (Egypt) and North (Lebanon, Syria) are resolveable through diplomacy (with the Golan Heights being a real obstacle). The West Bank is not. Occupation is the only solution in the forseeable future. Terror appears manageable, up to the Jordan River.

It is likely that Obama's successor will at long last refuse peace brokerage, until the arabs meet certain absolute preconditions. And that can only involve the liquidation of Hamas, Hizbollah, and Fatah. Self-determination is a sick joke.
Posted by: Jans Wittlesbach2039 || 05/16/2009 1:04 Comments || Top||

#3  Plenty of support for a two state solution - as long as the two states are an expanded Gaza and an expanded West Bank, with no Israel in between.
Posted by: Glenmore || 05/16/2009 8:38 Comments || Top||

#4  You need two peoples to make two states.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles the pedantic || 05/16/2009 11:13 Comments || Top||

#5  Dwindling? For some reason, the Monty Python Dead Parrot skit comes to mind. It's not dwindling, it's pining for the fjords!
Posted by: SteveS || 05/16/2009 16:26 Comments || Top||

Sri Lanka
Thenmozhi is her name
Thenmozhi is her name, and she's 17 years old. And she knows quite well that almost twenty years ago, it was a girl with the exact same name who blew both herself and Rajiv Gandhi up. That girl was Thenmozhi Rajarattinam. This girl is called Thenni - a conscious abbreviation so there's no confusion with the original, considered one of the most important martyrs to the Liberation Tigers.

Thenni was abducted by two motorcycle-borne raiders when she was on her way to her dance class in a village outside Kilinochchi. She was 14 at the time. She spent the next year training to use a Chinese-made T-56 assault rifle and sundry small arms. Her frail frame meant she couldn't use heavy machine guns. A year into her training, in the women's wing of the LTTE, Thenni was injured in an accident during an exercise to train women cadres in explosives handling. A month later, she says her hand was almost blown off by whizzing shrapnel during an artillery attack by Sri Lankan forces.

Fourteen months after her induction, Thenni was handpicked by a senior member of the LTTE to become part of the elite Black Tigers wing, the world's most lethal suicide squadron. Immediately, she was sent off for training in Sinhala. She says she was picked because she was quiet and listened to everything her seniors told her.

For almost six months, she attended language lessons, urban vocational training and psychological sessions. During these sessions, Thenni discovered that a distant cousin was also part of the batch commissioned into the Black Tigers. This cousin revealed that there were two other common relatives who were in the area, both being trained by Col Soosai's Sea Tigers wing.

In mid-2008, when Thenni was 16 years old, she began training for a real suicide mission. For three weeks, she says she was taught how to assemble a "body bomb", how to stow it safely, and how to speak Sinhala without an accent. By this time, she remembers being treated well by the senior women cadres, made to feel special. Her target was never revealed to her, and as it turned out, she didn't stay long enough to find out who it would be, because in January 2009, in an ambush, Thenni and three other child soldiers surrendered to the Sri Lankan Army. She was promptly transferred to Anuradhapura.

After a three-day-long debrief with intelligence officials, she was transported to the government's rehabilitation center for child soldiers at Ambepussa, nestled in hills 60 kilometers outside Colombo.

Barefoot and in a blue frock, she fidgets with her hands when she talks. While many of the other child soldiers in the facility play volleyball and cricket, Thenni takes long lonely walks that the barbed-wired campus affords her. She speaks to her parents once a week on the telephone.

The Army officer in charge of the facility says she's an introvert, doesn't mix easily with others, but is always cheerful and happy to watch the others playing and frolicking from a distance. She takes her lessons seriously, and uses a battery-powered torch to practice reading Sinhala from children's magazines that are made available. Copies of English newspapers stand piled into a corner in the main office area.

Thenni wants to study and move back in with her parents. But she doesn't want to waste the training she got from the Liberation Tigers. This is something that endlessly troubles the officials who now oversee her rehabilitation.

Thenni, you see, wants to be a commando. With the Indian Army.
Posted by: john frum || 05/16/2009 15:28 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6478 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Good for her. Good luck, Thenni!
Posted by: trailing wife || 05/16/2009 17:15 Comments || Top||

Nasrallah: Hezbollah capable of running Lebanon if it wins election
The Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah will be capable of "managing" Lebanon if it wins the country's upcoming elections, the movement's leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday.
Just look at how well they've managed the territory they already control. Has anything been rebuilt since the Israelis left?
Lots of bomb shelters ...
"I tell those who are betting on the [Hezbollah-led] opposition's failure during elections: The resistance that defeated Israel can govern a country that is 100 times larger than Lebanon," said Nasrallah, speaking at a university graduation ceremony in Beirut.
Did he come out of hiding to speak or did he see his shadow?
The Hezbollah leader was apparently referring to the 2006 Second Lebanon War, which his militant organization sparked by kidnapping two Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
Apparently? Journalists can be so cute!
He added that if the opposition won a majority in June 7 parliamentary elections, it would not beg the current ruling majority "to be our partners in the governing process."

A tight race is expected between the opposition and the Western-backed majority, which Nasrallah accused of being behind the country's sectarian problems. "We, Hezbollah, have always rejected the division of Lebanon and we shall always maintain this," he said
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6474 views] Top|| File under:

Assad: No partner in Israel for Syria peace talks
Syrian President Bashar Assad said Friday he could not set a date for resuming indirect peace talks with Israel because there was no one on the other side with whom to negotiate. "We cannot talk about a date [for resuming the talks] because we don't have a partner," Assad said during a joint press conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
One less item on Prime Minister Netanyahu's plate. How clever of him to handle it so quickly!
But he added that "Syria is keen about peace as much as it is keen about the return of its occupied territories." Assad was referring to the Golan Heights, which Israel captured during the 1967 Six-Day War.
It's not so keen on giving anything in return other than 'peace', which means nothing to Assad. How about pledging to turn over all the Paleo rats currently tucked away in Damascus? Nah, can't do that.
Don't be silly -- it's the job of the juices to give things up, not the Arabs.
The Syrian leader also said Israel's three-week-long offensive against Hamas in Gaza had prevented the Turkish-mediated talks from moving to a direct phase. The negotiations were formally suspended during the campaign, which halted in January.

Assad's Turkish counterpart, meanwhile, urged Israel on Friday to work toward resuming the peace talks, and said Ankara was ready to continue its role as a mediator between the two parties. "Israel has to show clearly it is a partner," said Gul. "We have heard Syria say it is ready to resume the peace talks from the point where they stopped with the previous [Israeli] government. We in Turkey are also ready."
Because the Turkish prime minister showed exactly how unbiased he is at Davos last year.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of Russian journalists last week that Israel will not withdraw from the Golan because of its strategic military value.

Syrian officials have refrained from responding to Netanyahu's remarks. They also ignored statements last month by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that Israel would talk peace with Syria only if it did not set preconditions or ultimatums.

Netanyahu was involved in U.S.-supervised talks between Syria and Israel during his previous term as prime minister in the 1990s. The talks, which lasted almost 10 years, collapsed in 2000 when Assad's father, the late President Hafez Assad, refused an Israeli offer to withdraw from the Golan but keep several hundred meters on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Just like the Paleos, the Syrians rarely miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/16/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6474 views] Top|| File under:

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Meet the Mods
In no particular order...
Steve White
Scooter McGruder
john frum
Bright Pebbles
trailing wife
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Two weeks of WOT
Sat 2009-05-16
  Sri Lanka president declares victory in civil war
Fri 2009-05-15
  60 Talibs killed in Swat
Thu 2009-05-14
  Morocco dismantles Salafiya Jihadiya cell
Wed 2009-05-13
   113 deaders, thousands flee Somalia festivities
Tue 2009-05-12
  Pak commandos dropped into Taliban stronghold
Mon 2009-05-11
  200 Taliban killed in Swat operation
Sun 2009-05-10
  Scores dead as drone hits S. Wazoo Mehsud stronghold
Sat 2009-05-09
  1.2 million people leave Buner, Swat other areas
Fri 2009-05-08
  Gilani orders all-out war on Pak Taliban
Thu 2009-05-07
  Sufi Mohammad's son killed in Lower Dir shelling
Wed 2009-05-06
  Mashaal: Hamas wants 10 year cease-fire
Tue 2009-05-05
  Pirates captured after attacking the wrong ship
Mon 2009-05-04
  Khaled Mashaal re-elected Hamas political leader
Sun 2009-05-03
  64 civilians killed in Lanka hospital attack
Sat 2009-05-02
  60 Taliban killed in Buner offensive

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