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Largest Iraq air assault since invasion
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
Page 2: WoT Background
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The Wisdom of the Ancients
March 16, 2006: There's a link between the Sunni Arab terrorists of Iraq, and the Taliban of Afghanistan, and there are CDs to prove it. The Sunni Arab terrorists have long been known to be well organized. That's because most of their leadership worked for Saddam. These guys were long time terrorism experts, as it was with fear that Saddam ruled Iraq for over three decades. Iraqi Sunni Arabs are also very well educated. Lots of lawyers, doctors and engineers. Even Saddam was studying to be a lawyer, before he realized he had better career prospects as a tyrant. So the Sunni Arab terrorists created a CD containing step-by-step instructions on how to run a successful terrorism campaign. Actually, the Iraqi terrorism campaign wasn't successful, but that's another story. However, following the instructions on the CD will definitely make your terrorism more effective. So if you are satisfied with just killing more people, you need this CD. The Taliban have received many copies of the CD.

The principal advice concerns some pretty ancient (we're talking biblical here) advice. First, have good intelligence about the enemy. Then, get spies inside the enemy security forces. Know as much as possible about any target you are going to attack. Have the right weapons for successfully carrying out the attack. And it's important to have dedicated fighters. Now, back to that biblical reference. And so it came to pass that the Israeli warrior Joshua did conquer Jericho, 3,000 years ago, using these principles. The wisdom of the ancients.

The Taliban are trying to use the CD to regain power in Afghanistan. In addition, there are supposed to be several hundred Afghans, who fought in Iraq, assisting in the process. This is hard to prove, as very few Afghans, dead or alive, have been encountered in Iraq. But the CD has led to the increased use of roadside bombs and, well, not much else, in Afghanistan. The Iraqi CD also emphasizes the usefulness of terror in demoralizing the enemy, and maintaining the loyalty of people you need. This has not worked in Iraq, or Afghanistan, but how to deal with that is not covered in the CD. The biblical scriptures contain useful advice on that subject, but it's unlikely that the Taliban will look there.
Posted by: Steve || 03/16/2006 08:27 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The best tactic they could have is to lie low, bury their weapons, and wait for the western nationals to move out of Afghanistan and Iraq before coming back.

That and play the Western Mediaj's fear and natural anti-western attitudes as they've been doing rather than killing them as the knucklead Taliban did.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 03/16/2006 16:29 Comments || Top||

Help fight Taliban sincerely, Afghan FM tells Pakistan
Afghanistan’s foreign minister urged Pakistan on Wednesday to demonstrate consistency and sincerity in its policy of helping to defeat Taliban and Al Qaeda militants. Abdullah Abdullah, who is visiting Malaysia to attract investment to help rebuild his war-shattered country’s economy, said that relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan in the area of security had to move forward in a more robust manner. “But what is needed is a policy of consistency and continuity and sincerity that will help us overcome this challenge,” said Abdullah.

The comments come days after a suicide car bomb attack aimed at a former Afghan president who blamed Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency for the attack. Sibghatullah Mujadadi, who leads a panel to encourage Taliban defections, escaped with slight wounds, but two suicide bombers and two civilians were killed in the attack, for which the Taliban have claimed responsibility. Pakistan has denied the accusation that its nationals were involved.

Cooperation rather than finding fault with other countries was the swiftest way to resolve the problem, Abdullah said. “Cooperation is something that we need to continue and we need to continue to work together,” he said, adding that the elimination of Taliban and Al Qaeda militants was a challenge for the international community and Afghanistan’s neighbours. “So it’s important that we get to the business of dealing with this issue, rather than getting diverted in blaming Pakistan, for example, for what is happening here.” Asked if he knew where Taliban leader Mulla Mohammad Omar was, Abdullah said, “Mulla Omar is not in Afghanistan, that’s as much as I can say with a degree of certainty.”
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  If the Paks would just acknowledge that they have >0< control over the territories and let others solve their problem for them, this would not be a problem. However, its everyone's problem because the Paks wouldn't give up their fiction and no one is willing to call them on it.

Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. GWB, Sept 2001
Posted by: Hupomoling Creremp5509 || 03/16/2006 9:10 Comments || Top||

Africa Horn
Sudan opposes AU terms on Darfur
Sudan will reject the proposed deployment of UN forces to Darfur after the African Union's peacekeeping mandate expires in September, according to Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, the vice-president. Taha's comment on Tuesday conflicts with the agreement announced in Addis Ababa on Friday, when Sudan and the African Union agreed to extend the mandate of the AU peacekeepers in Darfur to September, and then allow them to be merged into a larger United Nations force. Referring to the UN force, Taha said "Sudan's stand is to reject those forces even when the period of six months has elapsed". He did not explain how the government reconciled that position with its acceptance of the Addis Ababa accord.

Separately, Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, criticised the African Union decision to extend its peacekeeping mission in Darfur up to next September. "Invisible hands" have added items to the AU decision that were not part of the original agenda for discussion, he said.

The Khartoum government has long opposed a UN force replacing the AU mission in Darfur, western Sudan, where a three-year conflict has led to the deaths of at least 180,000 people and the displacement of another two million in what the US calls "genocide."
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6457 views] Top|| File under:

Official Blood money payment rates in Saudi Arabia
All Death Compensation cases (except industrial accidents) in Saudi Arabia are settled through concerned Shariat Courts in accordance with the Shariat Law.

The maximum amount of Death Compensation (Diyya) generally admissible in Saudi Arabia, in respect of road/traffic/fire accident, murder, etc. is as under:

Death Compensation in respect of a male person:

i. Muslim - SR. 100,000/-

ii. Christian/Jew - SR.50,000/-

iii. Other religions : such as Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, etc. - SR 6666.66

In the case of death of a female, death compensation allowed is equal to half the amount as admissible to males professing the same religion. Further the amount of compensation admissible, is based on the percentage of responsibility fixed on the causer e.g. if the causer is held 50% responsible for the accident resulting in the death of a Muslim, the amount of Death Compensation admissible will be SR 50,000 only.
Posted by: Crereth Ominert9452 || 03/16/2006 18:50 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Are those inflation adjusted?

Is there a discount if hands are missing?

Do they have a rate sheet for women and children?

How about the elderly?
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/16/2006 19:11 Comments || Top||

#2  From Wikipedia

Legally prescribed rates

The Blood-Money tradition has found its way into legislation in several Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan. Some of these countries also define, by lawful legislation, a hierarchy of rates for the lives of people; religious affiliation and gender are usually the main modulating factors for these Blood Money rates. Two examples are presented below.

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, when a person has been killed or caused to die by another, the prescribed blood money rates are as follows:

* 100,000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man
* 50,000 riyals if a Muslim woman
* 50,000 riyals if a Christian man
* 25,000 riyals if a Christian woman
* 6,666 riyals if a Hindu man
* 3,333 riyals if a Hindu woman.

Blood money is to be paid not only for murder, but also in case of unnatural death, interpreted to mean death in a fire, industrial or road accident, for instance.


In Iran, a further refinement on the hierarchy of rates has been devised: variations are also based on the month of the Islamic calendar that the crime is committed in. The Iraninan Judiciary system announces a table of the prescribed amounts each year. During the four haraam months, when wars and killings were traditionally discouraged in the Arabian peninsula and later in the larger Islamic world, the blood money rates stand doubled. The rates for female victims is half that for male victims.

As in Saudi Arabia, the rates for bloody crimes committed against Iranian non-muslims used to be half the rate prescribed for muslim victims, but this was changed by "equitable", progressive-minded legislation in early 2004. This legislation was initially rejected by the Guardian Council but was later approved by the Expediency Discernment Council.
Posted by: Crereth Ominert9452 || 03/16/2006 19:37 Comments || Top||

#3  Doesn't matter. If there was a foreigner involved, it's his fault. Because after all, were he not in the country, the accident would not have happened.

And what's this about Jews on the list? How can that be, when it is illegal for a Jew even to enter Saudi Arabia?
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 19:40 Comments || Top||

#4  Christian/Jew - "People of the book"

Posted by: john || 03/16/2006 19:52 Comments || Top||

#5  I had a good friend of mine working in Saudi who had a local guy step in front of his pickup truck. My friend hit the guy, who was hoping to be injured and collect a bit of money. Instead, he got killed. They threw my friend in jail. He was in there a week. The folks from the office brought food, bedding, etc. and my friend was comfy for about a week while negotiations continued until my friend's company settled on a $10,000 figure. The guy that died had collected money before on injuries, but this time, he went too far. My friend said that if his office did not support him in the jail, he would be a hurting unit waiting to get out.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 03/16/2006 22:17 Comments || Top||

#6  I know, john, but to the best of my knowledge it's illegal for Jews to enter the Magic Kingdom, which is how Mr. Wife explained turning down the opportunity to transfer there (instead of just flying in for long business trips) three times. I would not have handled the life there very well -- I'm not good at keeping my mouth shut, I'm afraid.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 22:21 Comments || Top||

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
IRAN: US Trained Physicists Make A-Bomb For Mullahs
Iran can create nuclear bomb
Novosti, Moscow
10/ 03/ 2006

Academician Viktor Mikhailov, director of the Strategic Stability Institute of Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy, academic supervisor of Russia's Federal Nuclear Center (Research Institute of Experimental Physics), holder of the Lenin and State prizes, and minister of nuclear energy from 1992 to 1998, in an interview with RIA Novosti military commentator Viktor Litovkin.

Question: Experts say you were one of the fathers of the Iranian nuclear industry. Can you describe its current situation?

Answer: It is true that I was among the initiators and participated in drafting a contract for the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant. The United States did not want to cooperate with us in the nuclear sphere and advanced unacceptable conditions. Therefore, we had to go east - to Iran, China and India. The Russian nuclear industry was dying; we had to save it and create jobs for unique specialists so as to prevent them from emigrating to countries that want to create their own nuclear bombs.

I have not been to Iran since I had left the post of the nuclear minister. But during my visits there I saw that Iran had very high nuclear research standards, which is not surprising. Nearly all Iranian scientists, researchers and nuclear engineers graduated from U.S. and West European universities with high standards of education. Iran continues to train its specialists there. As far as I know, about 10,000 Iranians are studying in Europe and the U.S. Iranian laboratories had highly efficient computer equipment, which the U.S. prohibited to sell to Russia, as well as other equipment made by the leading Western companies, such as Siemens. I think that the nuclear sector of the Iranian economy is maintained at a very high research and technical level.

Q: Can Iran create nuclear weapons soon?

A: This is a frequently asked question. I am sometimes asked if Iran wants to create such weapons or is thinking about the possibility, and I always reply that it does and is. It is impossible to retain national independence and sovereignty now without nuclear weapons. The U.S. wants to use military methods to spread its form of democracy to countries that have their own rich history and have contributed much to humankind. But Washington disregards these nations, their customs and traditions, trying to change them to the American way of life, which is impossible.

Q: And still, can Iran create its own nuclear weapons or not?

A: Of course it can. Any developed country can do this now, even through the Internet, but this takes much time and money. How much? Iran will create - can create - its nuclear bomb in five to ten years. It will not be as sophisticated as the nuclear weapons of Russia or the U.S., but it will do. The Americans are afraid of this, whatever BMD systems they create, because nuclear death can come not from the air but in many other ways. They fear a single nuclear explosion in their territory...
"Fear"? Good idea.
Posted by: Listen To Dogs || 03/16/2006 07:56 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  We do indeed have the fear of a nuclear detonation here in the US.

However, we do not have any concern whatsoever that the strategic nuclear triad, which we built to prevail in an exchange with Mr. Mikhailov's former nation, is capable of erasing forever all evidence of Iran's "rich history" and "contributions to mankind."

That we have not already employed this capability and are taking great pains to avoid having to do so is evidence of moral values totally foreign to to Mr. Mikhailov.
Posted by: JAB || 03/16/2006 9:29 Comments || Top||

#2  Hat tip to Mrs. Davis re: list.

They fear a single nuclear explosion in their territory...

Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and all other rogue or Islamic nations with atomic weapon ambitions need to be put on notice that a single terrorist nuclear attack on American soil will result in the end of all life as they know it in the aforementioned countries. The list needs to be concise and made public immediately.

It is they who should fear a single nuclear explosion in our territory...
Posted by: Zenster || 03/16/2006 12:47 Comments || Top||

#3  Mrs. Davis?
Posted by: 6 || 03/16/2006 14:18 Comments || Top||

#4  Yes, Mrs. Davis, a long time participant here at Rantburg. I firmly believe in credit where credit is due, and she was the very first to suggest that every rogue nation or Islamic nuclear power be put on notice that all of them get glassed and Windexed if so much as a single terrorist nuclear attack goes down on American soil.

Personally, I cannot think of a better way of ensuring that all our enemies suddenly are confronted with a unanimous fate. It is a perfect reward for all their troubles and brings into stark relief the perils of proliferation for all of them to consider.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/16/2006 14:28 Comments || Top||

#5  Her stiletto is sorley missed!

whatsup with Mrs. D? classified?

I hope she's doing well.
Posted by: RD || 03/16/2006 15:47 Comments || Top||

#6  Once again America bites itself in the ass. We tried to force "democracy", er well, not really democracy, but the free market system per globalization on the Russkies. They were bankrupt. But they did respond in the capitalistic fashion. They tried to sell their technology. America blocked their nuclear sales to the "West", because we didn't want or need the competition. So they sold to whomever was buying. Ah hah ! The oil enriched Arabs. They bought all they could get. And, #2, as he so rightly points out, their scientists and technologists were all trained either in Europe or the US. Couldn't wait to get those rich Iranian grad students in to pay the freight. They had the cash and they paid. They learned what they wanted and needed. Now they are back there applying it. Certainly, they will produce a bomb. The yield may not be high, but the destruction will still be enormous. Even today, look at the grad student population in American universities. Is this some of our critical infrastructure ? And, finally, the most troubling aspect is that the former logic of assured destruction holds no meaning for Muslims. They look forward to death in the death culture. They don't mind a few million lost as long as they can create something horrific that will not ever be forgotten.
Posted by: SOP35/Rat || 03/16/2006 16:50 Comments || Top||

#7  Having scientists is all very well, but most of their work will of necessity remain theoretical so long as the technological infrastructure to produce the necessary tools is lacking. Leonardo DaVinci invented a great many fascinating things, which his world lacked the tools to construct, and the materials out of which to construct them. It must be horribly frustrating for Iran's Western-trained nuclear physicists and nuclear engineers to know that if only they had a solid machine-tool industry and a large number of Western-trained technicians and US-trained mechanical engineers, that whole pesky nuclear weapon thingy would have been solved (and missile-mounted) years ago. As it is, they are severely limited (not limited enough, unfortunately) by having to sneak in equipment purchases from Germany, Russia, etc. One almost feels for the poor darlings...
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 18:41 Comments || Top||

#8  As for darling Mrs. D.: once upon a time there was an equally darling Mr. Davis, who occasionally became impatient with me for arguing with trolls, trying to help them to understand the real world, although he was ever gentlemanly even in his impatience. Mr. D. was one of the originals here, back when they were still fancy Rantburgundians, not the simpler Rantburgers of today. In those halcyon days a young lady student from the UAE or environs used to come by, who called herself "Gentle", trying to pursuade us that Islam is a religion of peace and love and nurturing happiness, ignoring the existence of the too many fascist and jihad-bound Islamists that work so hard make themselves loathed around the world today. Young Miss Gentle was not very good about doing the readings we assigned to her (ok, I was the only one who provided reading lists, but still), or even in following the logic of those who countered her arguments.

Anyway, and as it happens, a troll (as we then assumed) stole Mr. D's nym (or is it nic? The terminology here does confuse me), and spewed endless hateful nonsense over Fred's threads. And thus Mrs. D appeared, so that we should not think that Mr. D had a monumental mid-life crisis. The story later appeared that actually Mr. D and Gentle were having an affair and had run off together, and Mrs. D ever charged me that should Mr. Wife come across him in his travels, to either send him home to his loving and anxious wife or shoot the sonufabitch -- depending on her mood.

But it has been a very long time since Mrs. D appeared, quietly amused by those who, not knowing the back story, treated her as an elderly version of someone like me.

Submitted this day by
Rantburg's amateur historianess
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 19:01 Comments || Top||

#9  LOL. I though the Secret RB Cabal had decided that the Davis gender transformation was to remain secret!
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 19:05 Comments || Top||

#10  Well, he hasn't been around for so long, Glert, that I thought it safe to share the rest of the story.

There's a Secret Rantburg Cabal? Why didn't anyone tell me?
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 19:37 Comments || Top||

#11  Cuz then we'd have to kill you, of course. We don't want to be forced into such a lose-lose situation. :)

*secret sign*
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 19:48 Comments || Top||

#12  hey TW that clears it up!

*clueless sign*

Posted by: RD || 03/16/2006 20:30 Comments || Top||

#13  Trailing Wife (dba RB historian) Could you like furnish a road map? You know, a diagram of the RB Genesis and evolution.

Was there ever a Rantburg "big bang" or anything?
Posted by: Captain America || 03/16/2006 21:14 Comments || Top||

#14  That's before my time, Captain A. But check the archives -- Fred's first post was on 9/11/01. Also, see here and here. I didn't find this place until just before PD morphed into .com, which thoroughly confused me. Sorry I can't be more helpful.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 22:30 Comments || Top||

So. Korean Minister: US Forces Should Stay After Unification
You make your bed, you lay in it

South Korean minister emphasized Thursday the necessary of the U.S. forces stationed in Korean peninsula even after the unification of the two Koreans.

'We must see the U.S. Forces Korea as a constant,' Minister of Unification Lee Jong-seok said, indicating that the South hopes the U.S. forces would further stay in Korea even after the reunification, the Korea Times reported Thursday.

At a breakfast forum of Seoul National University`s political science alumna at a Seoul hotel, Lee said that it is one of the two key conditions under which South and North Korea could work toward establishing a peace regime after resolving the North`s nuclear issue at the six-party talks.

North Korean officials have often criticized the presence of the U.S. forces in the South but North Korean leader Kim Jong-il once said that he has changed his way of thinking since the end of the Cold War, expressing hope that U.S. forces would serve to maintain stability in the Northeast Asian region, according to some South Koreans who met Kim during the inter-Korean summit in June 2000 in Pyongyang.

Lee, who is in charge of the North Korean issues, added that the other condition for discussion of the peace treaty entails the matter of bilateral joint control of the inter-Korean border.
Posted by: Captain America || 03/16/2006 20:21 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6476 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Link
Posted by: Captain America || 03/16/2006 20:23 Comments || Top||

#2  Somebody needs to give these guys a reality check. They are definitely out of phase.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/16/2006 20:26 Comments || Top||

#3  tell him the hourly rate including O/H and profit
Posted by: Frank G || 03/16/2006 21:16 Comments || Top||

#4  "South Korean minister emphasized Thursday the necessary of the U.S. forces stationed in Korean peninsula even after the unification of the two Koreans."

Go fuck yourself, Kimchee-breath. If you're stupid enough to unite with that madman up North, you sure as Hell don't need us there.


Posted by: Dave D. || 03/16/2006 21:46 Comments || Top||

#5  What, they don't trust their neighbors, the Chinese?
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/16/2006 22:22 Comments || Top||

#6  Hey, they gotta have somebody to blame...
Posted by: Pappy || 03/16/2006 23:46 Comments || Top||

Spanish ship recovers migrants
A Spanish ship has picked up the bodies of 18 would-be immigrants south of the Canary Islands. The hospital ship Esperanza del Mar retrieved the bodies, at least some of whom were wearing life jackets, 720km from the Spanish archipelago on Wednesday, a regional government source said.

At least 67 Africans are now known to have drowned since the end of February with thousands setting sail for the Canaries in barely seaworthy boats on a perilous voyage from Mauritania. Regional prefect Jose Segura said the local authorities "are concerned from a humanitarian point of view, even if they (the bodies) were found on the open sea" some 70 nautical miles off Ras Nouadhibou in northern Mauritania.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front: Politix
Bush to restate terror strategy
President Bush plans to issue a new national security strategy today reaffirming his doctrine of preemptive war against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, despite the troubled experience in Iraq.

The long-overdue document, an articulation of U.S. strategic priorities that is required by law, lays out a robust view of America's power and an assertive view of its responsibility to bring change around the world. On topics including genocide, human trafficking and AIDS, the strategy describes itself as "idealistic about goals and realistic about means."

The strategy expands on the original security framework developed by the Bush administration in September 2002, before the invasion of Iraq. That strategy shifted U.S. foreign policy away from decades of deterrence and containment toward a more aggressive stance of attacking enemies before they attack the United States.

The preemption doctrine generated fierce debate at the time, and many critics believe the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq fatally undermined an essential assumption of the strategy -- that intelligence about an enemy's capabilities and intentions can be sufficient to justify preventive war.

In his revised version, Bush offers no second thoughts about the preemption policy, saying it "remains the same" and defending it as necessary for a country in the "early years of a long struggle" akin to the Cold War. In a nod to critics in Europe, the document places a greater emphasis on working with allies and declares diplomacy to be "our strong preference" in tackling the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

"If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," the document continues. "When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize."

Such language could be seen as provocative at a time when the United States and its European allies have brought Iran before the U.N. Security Council to answer allegations that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons. At a news conference in January, Bush described an Iran with nuclear arms as a "grave threat to the security of the world."

Some security specialists criticized the continued commitment to preemption. "Preemption is and always will be a potentially useful tool, but it's not something you want to trot out and throw in everybody's face," said Harlan Ullman, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "To have a strategy on preemption and make it central is a huge error."

A military attack against Iran, for instance, could be "foolish," Ullman said, and it would be better to seek other ways to influence its behavior. "I think most states are deterrable."

Thomas Donnelly, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has written on the 2002 strategy, said the 2003 invasion of Iraq in the strict sense is not an example of preemptive war, because it was preceded by 12 years of low-grade conflict and was essentially the completion of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Still, he said, recent problems there contain lessons for those who would advocate preemptive war elsewhere. A military strike is not enough, he said; building a sustainable, responsible state in place of a rogue nation is the real challenge.

"We have to understand preemption -- it's not going to be simply a preemptive strike," he said. "That's not the end of the exercise but the beginning of the exercise."

The White House plans to release the 49-page National Security Strategy today, starting with a speech by national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley to the U.S. Institute of Peace. The White House gave advance copies to The Washington Post and three other newspapers.

The strategy has no legal force of its own but serves as a guidepost for agencies and officials drawing up policies in a range of military, diplomatic and other arenas. Although a 1986 law requires that the strategy be revised annually, this is the first new version since 2002. "I don't think it's a change in strategy," Hadley said in an interview. "It's an updating of where we are with the strategy, given the time that's passed and the events that have occurred."

But the new version of the strategy underscores in a more thematic way Bush's desire to make the spread of democracy the fundamental underpinning of U.S. foreign policy, as he expressed in his second inaugural address last year. The opening words of the strategy, in fact, are lifted from that speech: "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

The strategy commits the administration to speaking out against human rights abuses, holding high-level meetings at the White House with reformers from repressive nations, using foreign aid to support elections and civil society, and applying sanctions against oppressive governments. It makes special mention of religious intolerance, subjugation of women and human trafficking.

At the same time, it acknowledges that "elections alone are not enough" and sometimes lead to undesirable results. "These principles are tested by the victory of Hamas candidates in the recent elections in the Palestinian territories," the strategy says, referring to the radical group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States.

Without saying what action would be taken against them, the strategy singles out seven nations as prime examples of "despotic systems" -- North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma and Zimbabwe. Iran and North Korea receive particular attention because of their nuclear programs, and the strategy vows in both cases "to take all necessary measures" to protect the United States against them.

"We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," the document says, echoing a statement made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week. It recommits to efforts with European allies to pressure Tehran to give up any aspirations of nuclear weapons, then adds ominously: "This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided."

The language about confrontation is not repeated with North Korea, which says it already has nuclear bombs, an assertion believed by U.S. intelligence. But Pyongyang is accused of a "bleak record of duplicity and bad-faith negotiations," as well as of counterfeiting U.S. currency, trafficking in drugs and starving its own people.

The strategy offers a much more skeptical view of Russia than in 2002, when the glow of Bush's friendship with President Vladimir Putin was still bright.

"Recent trends regrettably point toward a diminishing commitment to democratic freedoms and institutions," it says. "We will work to try to persuade the Russian Government to move forward, not backward, along freedom's path."

It also warns China that "it must act as a responsible stakeholder that fulfills its obligations" and guarantee political freedom as well as economic freedom. "Our strategy," the document says, "seeks to encourage China to make the right strategic choices for its people, while we hedge against other possibilities."

To assuage allies antagonized by Bush's go-it-alone style in his first term, the White House stresses alliance and the use of what it calls "transformational diplomacy" to achieve change. At the same time, it asserts that formal structures such as the United Nations or NATO may at times be less effective than "coalitions of the willing," or groups responding to particular situations, such as the Asian tsunami of 2004.

Beyond the military response to terrorism, the document emphasizes the need to fight the war of ideas against Islamic radicals whose anti-American rhetoric has won wide sympathy in parts of the world.

The strategy also addresses topics largely left out of the 2002 version, including a section on genocide and a new chapter on global threats such as avian influenza, AIDS, environmental destruction and natural disasters. Critics have accused the administration of not doing enough to stop genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, responding too slowly to the Asian tsunami and disregarding global environmental threats such as climate change.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/16/2006 01:10 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6476 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "idealistic about goals and realistic about means." Support for Iraq federalism rather than centralism is an example of realism. Could happen if the al-Sadr shakedown is squelched.
Posted by: Listen To Dogs || 03/16/2006 7:10 Comments || Top||

#2  Pre-emptive war works as long as you pick on a country that doesnt have the means to repel your offensive.
Posted by: Bystander || 03/16/2006 10:32 Comments || Top||

#3  hey thanks for the stategery Bystander! LOL!
Posted by: RD || 03/16/2006 11:27 Comments || Top||

#4  No problem, You think Bush would do a pre-emptive strike on any country with the means to
strike the U.S. with nuclear weapons?
Posted by: Bystander || 03/16/2006 11:47 Comments || Top||

#5  "Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them."
-- -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Posted by: bgrebel || 03/16/2006 12:21 Comments || Top||

#6  That is why you hit them BEFORE they get the functional nuclear weapons, along with the tested delivery systems. MAD or Mutually Assured Destruction is a deterrent when you faced essential rational individuals, not when you face psychopaths looking to a reward in an afterlife. That is why you remove their ability to assure your destruction before it comes completely online.
Posted by: Shieldwolf || 03/16/2006 13:00 Comments || Top||

#7  Bystander is Just Curious/Left Angle/Cassini, etc.

Posted by: Pappy || 03/16/2006 13:17 Comments || Top||

#8  Bystander is Just Curious/Left Angle/Cassini, etc.

Multiple personality disorder, so sad..
Posted by: Steve || 03/16/2006 13:25 Comments || Top||

#9  Like I said, pre-emptive war works only on countries that cant defend themselves. With the results of U.S. Pre-War Intelligence on Iraq's WMD'S, I would be very hestitant to start a pre-emptive war based on it. It would be utterly foolish to do so. A maybe they do, maybe they dont intelligence report could reap disasterous results, particulary dealing with a nation developing Nuclear capabilities.
Posted by: Bystander || 03/16/2006 13:34 Comments || Top||

#10  What is utterly foolish is to pontificate while a clear and present danger emerges.

Why, such a clear dereliction of duty would be grounds for impeachment.

Everything changes, evolves, demands reassessment, demands those entrusted with the security of the nation fulfill their duty to preserve, protect, and defend the nation. Strategies to accomplish that end must evolve in synch. Pre-emption is an example which has emerged in response to the changing reality and is, apparently, beyond your capacity to fathom.

What I can't figure out why you're still allowed on this site.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 13:54 Comments || Top||

#11  Where are the Iraqi WMD's Bush KNEW they had?
Iraq is a f**king mess and you on the right give Bush a free pass on his blunder. The strategy of pre-emptive war is not how the U.S. has dealt with security issues in the past and if Iraq is an example, it damn sure shoudnt be how we deal with it the future.
Posted by: Bystander || 03/16/2006 14:17 Comments || Top||

#12  Glen Thetch:

One more thing. President Bush is a cowardly, fake-macho bully. He only picks on nations he KNOWS that cant defend themselves like Iraq.
I dare him to do a pre-emptive strike on the likes of Iran or N. Korea. Lets see how his "cowboy" bs works then..lmao
Posted by: Bystander || 03/16/2006 14:25 Comments || Top||

#13  You're really feeling threatened, LOL. Son, your grasp of reality is non-existent. Now putter along to your next therapy session.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 14:44 Comments || Top||

#14  Glen Thetch:

No, sir I see reality just fine. I call em just like I see em. I'm not among the "brainwashed true believers" (Bushwackers) such as yourself.
Preemptive strikes work only partially against nations that cant defend themselves.
Apparently, the majority of the American people
are starting to understand this too. Looked at Bush's poll numbers on Iraq lately?

How much you want to bet that President Bush does or doesnt launch an pre-emptive strike against Iran or N. Korea? He wont do it because he knows these nations can defend themselves and wont back down to his threats. In essense he is as most Republicans are: cowards/bullies. lmao
Posted by: Bystander || 03/16/2006 15:11 Comments || Top||

#15  I look forward to Bystander's thinking (under whatever name it favours at the time to evade Fred's security measures) once it's had time to digest the Saddam papers being released by Negroponte's people. This does presume that it starts to think at that point, of course. Perhpas Bystander should consider a course of Arabic studies, so it can do its own translating, instead of relying on those employed by the government... which would also give it something productive to do for a couple of years.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 15:30 Comments || Top||

#16  LOL, TW. Too much tinfoil, Icke, Jones, Chomsky, and Kool Aid - I doubt it can become a useful idiot, not to mention a rational or productive citizen. The desire to glow in the dark is strong with this one, LOL.

And if they need to block all IP's coming out of BC (isn't that where this particular moron's mossy rock is located?), well, them's the breaks.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 15:36 Comments || Top||

#17  Ms. Trailing Wife:

apparently you have a reading comprehension problem. I speak in very simple terms so that the things I say are very easy to digest.

So let me say these things again to you in the simplest of terms so that maybe, just maybe you will understand where I'm coming from.

I am not a supporter of President Bush.

I believe that he is a total incompetent who makes bad decisions that cause of more problems than they solve.

I think the Iraq war was and is a tremendous blunder that will do absolutely nothing to stop future terrorist attacks to the U.S.

I think that his strategies of spreading democracy to the middle east and pre-emptive
war simply will not work.

I beleive that efforts of the Bush administration to tie Al Qaeda with Hussien
and the events of 9-11 are total bs that have
been disproven.

I think the War with Iraq is a total waste of time, money and american military lives.

see how easy that is? Even an airhead such as yourself should be able to get it.
Posted by: Bystander || 03/16/2006 15:42 Comments || Top||

#18  Q.E.D.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 15:44 Comments || Top||

#19  Mr. Glen Thetchet:

you are a genius, clearly you are..I've been reading your posting in here and clearly, clearly
you are an advanced species. I stand in awe of your brilliant analysis of political issues..
you are an exemplary example of the "intellectual firepower" in this site as Zenster says...rotflmao
Posted by: Bystander || 03/16/2006 15:48 Comments || Top||

#20  Coming from you, I must say that means absolutely nothing. Who would anyone waste any thought on you?

BTW, love your "lmao" affectation. So witty and deep and, well, repetitive - thus pointless.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 16:09 Comments || Top||

#21  Bypolarstander, it's not Bush who screwed up the Iraqi democracy, it's the bitter Iraqis and jealous Arabs who refuse to accept such a major gift. One would think that such a brainiak as you would already know that. It's like you're blaming the bad behavior of the junk yard dogs on Ford.
Ford may make junks, but they don't make dogs, silly bystander.
Posted by: wxjames || 03/16/2006 16:10 Comments || Top||

#22  I think the Iraq war was and is a tremendous blunder that will do absolutely nothing to stop future terrorist attacks to the U.S.

Duly noted.
Posted by: eLarson || 03/16/2006 16:22 Comments || Top||

#23  So, tell us Bystander/Just Curious/Left Angle/Cassini,or whoever you are today.

You work at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, or are you a patient there? That's where your IP sez you're posting from, specificly the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Posted by: Steve || 03/16/2006 16:23 Comments || Top||

#24  Shlemp Thatch:

pointless: exactly how I regard your comments about my comments. I have heard this same bs
you post so many times from bushwackers that it has become redundant. I could have told you what you were going to say before you even said it. waste a thought on me? You keep responding to what I'm saying because you know I'm correct.

I will say this one more time in the most basic terms because there is no need to overintellectualize it as you "geniuses" in here are wont to do.

Bush's policies of spreading democracy to the middle east and pre-emptive war strikes to ward off future domestic attacks against the U.S.
simply will not work and are doomed to failure.

The war on Iraq is a incredible blunder that is a waste of time, money and american military lives and will do absolutely nothing to prevent a future terrorist attack against the domestic U.S..

finally once again:

President Bush is a incompetent fake-macho bully, who makes incredibly bad decisions that cause far more problems than they solve. example#1 The Iraqi War.

I'm not the first person to say these things and there are millions of us that believe them to be true: we are called democrats. yeah dude, everyone on the left that believes these things is a moron. the real "morons" are the bushwakers like yourself that blindly buy into his bs propaganda and faked out version of reality...

go ahead and follow him off that cliff every thing is going just great for bush right dude?...lmao
Posted by: Bystander || 03/16/2006 16:40 Comments || Top||

#25  What? I thought for sure it was some devious Karl Rove/Halliburton plot.


I guess I need new tinfoil. My beanie's not working.

Good thing he's posting on my taxpayer dime to keep me aware of all the dastardly, nefarious Republican plots. Maybe we should contact Bethesda to let them know how much we 'preciate his taking all these breaks from work to let us know the truth?
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/16/2006 16:54 Comments || Top||

#26  Your BDS was never in doubt. And, BTW, where I go, you go, fool - the Pubs are in control, little one. You're a born loser and obviously too limited to change. Thus a loser you'll remain, powerless, irrelevant, always flailing away ineffectually, tilting at windmills, spewing your cute little temper tantrums, wasting your life on half-assed lunacy and half-baked conspiracies. A sucker for the idiot industry. When you're old and gray, assuming you aren't run over by a bus while throwing a fit on the centerline mewlin and sputtering in your powerless rage, you will die knowing you've been an utter fool, a tool of those who hate you and everything you cherish. You'll die as you were born - a fool, a loser. No one will notice. No one will care. No one.

Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 16:56 Comments || Top||

#27  Blatch Therst:

So you think the republican hold on power is permanent? rotflmao

if you were half the political genius you think you are you would know that is nonsense.

Any basic novice knows that american politics happens in cycles...and eventually at some point in the near future democrats WILL regain power,
just as they did for most of the 20th century.

I dont care if what names you call me because deep in that empty rnc brainwashed skull of yours you KNOW I'm correct. you have been checkmated by a moron..who's the loser now?

Posted by: Bystander || 03/16/2006 17:11 Comments || Top||

#28  RFSP.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 17:13 Comments || Top||

#29  Whatever Bush has for a stratgery, it has got to be better than anything the Dems come up with. The only thing the Dems can think of is voting on a censure resolution on Bush in hopes it will lead to the ultimate prize of Impeachment. This, of course, has the LLL Fever Swamp masturbating uncontrollably until the grasp onto the concept of President Cheney, Frist, Rice, or Gonzales. I want to thank them for once again rallying the Republican base for what will shape up to be one hoot of an ass whooping come this November. After which of course we will hear endless stories of Republicans looking cross-eyed at potential Dem voters causing them to flee the polling place, stories of waiting in line for hours (ever hear of absentee voting?), and those damn Diebold machines operated by KBR contractors! Thank you Russ Finegold!
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 03/16/2006 18:11 Comments || Top||

#30  Poor, dear "Bystander" thinks we haven't been clear on his talking points since his first post under whatever name it was that he used in the long ago mists of time when he first discover Rantburg. How sad. How very unperceptive of him... not that it's fair to expect otherwise, poor darling.

I mean, political cycles, fergoodnessake! Little children know about taking turns even in pre-school -- but it takes a bit more intelligence or experience to realize that the turns may last minutes.... or generations. And in this country it appears that "generations" is the normal length of that sine curve. Perhaps darling whoever it is today hasn't lived long enough, or is just nearsighted.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 19:22 Comments || Top||

#31  Looks like BiStander is nearing critical mass. I still advise using ROFLMAO instead of LMAO, it's way more sincere.
Posted by: 6 || 03/16/2006 19:47 Comments || Top||

#32  ROFLMAO!!!

How's that?
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 19:51 Comments || Top||

#33  *giggle*

But you go on ROF-ing, Glert, each should fit the person. ;-)
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 22:40 Comments || Top||

#34  Hey we attacked somebody today didn't we, they seem to come out when we do something positive in the WOT. :)
Posted by: djohn66 || 03/16/2006 23:06 Comments || Top||

#35  From Gorby to Putin, RUSSIA reserves its unilateral unconditional national right to use any and means, including military force, to protect the lives of Russian citizens and emigres' abroad, against any country. CHINA also has said the same thing, only more subtledly. Both Russia and China's [SSSHHHHHH, PRE-9-11]precepts strongly imply/infer the use of unilater[MOTHERLY]PREEMPTIVE STRIKE, so why not Clintonian Fascist = Semi-Commie/Half-A-Commie Male Brute Amerikkka!?
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/16/2006 23:34 Comments || Top||

Home Front: WoT
Libby's lawyers subpoena NYT, Judy Miller, Tim Russert
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/16/2006 13:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6474 views] Top|| File under:

#1  How about Woodward? Mr. know all tell nothing guy.
Posted by: Captain America || 03/16/2006 14:21 Comments || Top||

#2  Start popping the corn......
Posted by: anonymous2u || 03/16/2006 17:49 Comments || Top||

#3  Stories that you will soon here the MSM reporting:

"Valerie Plames identity was no state secret. It could easily have been discovered by anyone who did some modest amount of digging in publicly available records."

No, wait - there was just an article in the Chicago Tribune about that, right?

The real hypocrisy of the MSM is revealed in their
belief that some thing is true only because it will hurt Bush. If it hurts the MSM, then it must not be true anymore.
Posted by: Who was Valerie Plame? || 03/16/2006 22:58 Comments || Top||

#4  I saw that posted here waay back as the Bush & Handgrenades Law, I think:

Good news is to be distanced from Bush as much as possible.

Bad news is to be placed as close to Bush as possible.

Something like that.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 23:22 Comments || Top||

Iran 'greatest threat' to US
A NEW US national security strategy document reaffirms the White House stance on pre-emptive war against threatening foreign states and terrorists, despite the country's mounting troubles in Iraq. In a quadrennial review of national security strategy to be released today, the White House also singles out Iran as possibly the greatest threat to the US, the Washington Post reported.

"We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," it says, according to the Post, noting Tehran's alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But it also cites challenging situations in North Korea, Russia and China, according to the newspaper. It calls on Beijing to "act as a responsible stakeholder", adding that "Our strategy ... seeks to encourage China to make the right strategic choices for its people, while we hedge against other possibilities".

The 49-page document reiterates the stance laid out in the 2002 document moving away from deterrence and containment to a more aggressive stance toward US enemies, the Post said. "If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defence, we do not rule out use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," it says. "When the consequences of an attack with WMD (weapons of mass destruction) are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialise," it says.

The strategy, to be made public with a speech by White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley later today, "serves as a guidepost for agencies and officials drawing up policies in a range of military, diplomatic and other arenas", the Post said. "I don't think it's a change in strategy," Hadley told the Post. "It's an updating of where we are with the strategy, given the time that's passed and the events that have occurred."
Posted by: tipper || 03/16/2006 01:03 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6485 views] Top|| File under:

#1  A NEW US national security strategy document reaffirms the White House stance on pre-emptive war against threatening foreign states and terrorists, despite the country's mounting troubles in Iraq

Trouble in Iraq is not due to war. It's due to assuming that Arabs are capable of enlightened self-interest.
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/16/2006 4:31 Comments || Top||

#2  It calls on Beijing to "act as a responsible stakeholder", adding that "Our strategy ... seeks to encourage China to make the right strategic choices for its people, while we hedge against other possibilities".

Yeah, sure. And every Saturday night monkeys fly outta my butt.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/16/2006 12:59 Comments || Top||

#3  Neither the Spetzlamists nor SpetzNorks, Russia andor China, will have tp worry about US-specific Preemptive Strike iff George Norry's belief about AMerica being controlled by a Totalitarian, likely Socialist-Communist Government and One World Order, in 10-15 years, holds true. *Getting the Fed to PC/PDeniably take over everything so that POTUS Hillary can take it away from us, in the name of good, proper Socialism, anti-Morals Morality and human decency, and of course permanent Deficit Budgeting/Accounting and Deficit-happy/based Universal Ultra-Conservatism, i.e. Totalitarianism, where the Gummermint has no choice fiscally except to make the decisions for everyone.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/16/2006 23:47 Comments || Top||

Jihadi literature found at Lodi suspects' home
Publications promoting jihad and a Pakistani militant group were found in the home of a father and son who are charged with lying about the younger man attending an al-Qaida training camp, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

FBI agents found the items while searching the family home in the Central Valley town of Lodi two days after the men were arrested last June, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Tice-Raskin said during the men's trial in U.S. District Court.

"This is the book entitled 'Book of Jihad,'" he said. "It teaches the virtues of violent jihad," the Arabic term for holy war.

A magazine found with the book was published in Urdu by "a well-known militant group in Pakistan," Tice-Raskin told U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr.

FBI agent Bridget Cox testified that the magazine had "pictures of violence, dead persons and military items like machine guns." She said financial and insurance documents were seized with the publications.

Hamid Hayat, 23, and his father, 48-year-old Umer Hayat, are being tried in front of separate juries, which were together in the courtroom for the second time Wednesday during the fifth week of their trial.

Hamid Hayat is being tried on three counts of lying to the FBI and separate charges of providing material support to terrorists by attending the camp. His father is charged with two counts of making false statements to the FBI.

Both men have pleaded not guilty. Their attorneys contend that the younger man never actually attended a camp despite repeated promises, and government witnesses say they have little proof other than the men's statements, which were videotaped by the FBI.

Agents searching their home also found a scrapbook kept by Hamid Hayat that was filled with anti-American Pakistani newspaper articles that defend al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan's Taliban, and indict the United States as "the world's biggest terrorist." The articles date from 1999 to just after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

FBI translator Phamas Batti testified earlier this week that agents also seized two books from a laundry room, including one with the word "jihad" written on it.

The separate juries previously have viewed hours of incriminating statements given by the men during lengthy videotaped interviews with the FBI. They also have been read transcripts of hundreds of hours of secretly taped conversations with an FBI informant who infiltrated Lodi's Pakistani community in the months after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/16/2006 00:51 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

What the Gitmo transcripts show
Named detainees: 186, citizens of two dozen countries including Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Accusations: Recruiting for the Taliban, helping Osama bin Laden escape U.S. troops, harboring gunmen who attacked American special forces.

These details, and many more, emerge from more than 5,000 pages of newly released transcripts of detainee hearings at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But as much as they reveal about the U.S. war against terrorism, much more remains unknown — the answers tantalizingly beyond reach.

Where, for example, is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, who was captured in Pakistan three years ago by CIA officers and Pakistani authorities?

He may be among the more than 600 detainees who have been held at Guantanamo Bay whose names don't appear in the transcripts, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by The Associated Press. Or he might be at the U.S. military base on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, or in one of the secret detention centers allegedly used by the CIA to interrogate al-Qaeda suspects.

Where is Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, allegedly involved in al-Qaeda's 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania? He was captured after a gunbattle in Pakistan in July 2004 and handed over to the United States.

The transcripts, of hearings held to determine whether a detainee is an enemy combatant, don't say.

None of the terrorist masterminds captured by America and its allies appear in the transcripts. It's possible that high-value detainees with considerable evidence against them wouldn't have tried to challenge their status as enemies of the United States.

The only exception is Abu Zubaydah, an al-Qaeda commander. A detainee mentioned to the tribunal that Zubaydah, who was wounded and captured in March 2002 in a gunbattle in Pakistan, was being held at Guantanamo Bay.

Many of those whose names do appear are accused of relatively minor or vague offenses, such as working as a driver or cook for the Taliban or receiving military training. Others were accused of fighting U.S. troops or coordinating ambushes. The detainees often denied the accusations, saying they were farmers, merchants or charity workers who in some cases were simply caught up in the Afghan war.

Nor do the transcripts fully illuminate the quality of evidence that has kept detainees behind bars at Guantanamo Bay, some for more than four years. The transcripts describe only unclassified evidence, much of it ambiguous. If a man owned a rifle, that's considered evidence, even though many men in Afghanistan keep weapons for protection.

The transcripts mark the first time that large numbers of detainees have been officially identified, but the Pentagon hasn't said whether these men are still in Guantanamo or were among the 267 prisoners released or transferred to date.

What is clear from the transcripts is the frustration of detainees trying to defend themselves against often hazy accusations.

Mohammed Sharif, an Afghan, was accused of guarding a Taliban camp. He denied it — and urged the military tribunal to produce the classified evidence against him. An unidentified tribunal member seemed as mystified as Sharif.

"Q: You mentioned that if we had facts or proof against you, you would understand why you were a prisoner, is that correct?

"A: Yes.

"Q: What could you have possibly done, that we might discover some of those facts?

"A: That's my point. There are no facts ... This is ridiculous. I know for a fact there is no proof."

The lack of concrete evidence cited in the transcripts against detainees — many of whom were captured in Afghanistan in the months following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — might create the impression they're being held unjustly, said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a military policy think tank.

"I think it is going to strengthen the perception that we've rounded up a bunch of bystanders — that we just rounded up a bunch of Muslims to torment them," Pike said. He pointed out that pursuing shadowy enemy combatants is completely different from nailing common criminals.

"The sort of evidence you're going to be able to gather is not going to be courtroom quality evidence," Pike in a telephone interview from Alexandria, Va.

But attorney Gaillard Hunt, who represents a Guantanamo Bay detainee, said he has seen heavily censored classified evidence against his client, and described it as thin.

"It was underwhelming," Hunt said, adding that he is barred from discussing the evidence, even with his client, Pakistani millionaire Saifullah Paracha. Paracha is accused of laundering money for al-Qaeda and plotting to smuggle explosives into the United States.

Bill Goodman, of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, said the transcripts contain no hint of significant classified evidence.

"You would think that if they had something more substantial, that you would see shadows of it in the transcripts," Goodman said. "But you don't see it."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/16/2006 00:47 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Is it too much to ask lawyers not to take to treason as their first choice?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/16/2006 7:10 Comments || Top||

Ex-CIA Contractor Free on Bail Until Trial
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A former CIA contractor charged with beating a suspected terrorist in Afghanistan who later died must be released from jail so he can better help prepare his defense, a federal judge ruled. David Passaro, 39, will be released Friday from Wake County jail. The judge, in a ruling signed Tuesday, ordered Passaro to post a property as bond and wear an electronic monitor. He was forbidden to have contact with his ex-girlfriend, ex-wife and child.
That will certainly help him focus ...
While in Afghanistan, the former Army special operations soldier helped the U.S. military hunt terrorists, gather intelligence and train the country's armed forces. Authorities said Passaro kicked and beat an Afghan suspect named Abdul Wali with his fists and a flashlight for two days before the prisoner died. Wali was being questioned about a series of rocket attacks on a remote firebase housing U.S. and Afghan troops in Afghanistan's mountains.

Passaro has denied any role in the prisoner's 2003 death. He claims the military made him a scapegoat in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal. He is the first U.S. civilian to face prisoner abuse charges stemming from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is charged with assault and could get 40 years in prison if convicted. No trial date has been set.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/16/2006 00:05 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

AZ Nat'l Guard to get Predators
Drones will soon rise in southern Arizona skies after a tag team of Gov. Janet Napolitano, Sen. John McCain and congressman Jim Kolbe got unmanned aerial vehicles stationed at two of the region's military installations.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson 60 miles from Mexico and Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista 20 miles from Mexico will share the fifth RQ-1 Predator squadron active in the U.S. military. The Arizona Air National Guard squadron joins three Air Force squadrons operating in Nevada and a fourth run by the California Air National Guard.

Once fully operational, about 350 personnel will come to the area as part of the new squadron, said Maj. Paul Aguirre, Arizona National Guard spokesman. The new unit will be deployed on missions worldwide. "This is a real feather in the cap for the Arizona Air National Guard."

The MQ-1 Predator is a system, not just an aircraft. A fully operational system consists of four aircraft (with sensors), a ground control station, a Predator Primary Satellite Link, and approximately 55 personnel for deployed 24-hour operations, according to a military fact sheet.

In a Jan. 12 letter to National Guard chief Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, Napolitano said putting the aircraft close to the border in the hands of the Arizona Air National Guard, which has had no problem recruiting the personnel to run the program, would be in the military's best interest.

Will they be used along the border to try to stop illegal immigration? Officials aren't saying. Napolitano has assigned certain Guard units to the border to help federal officials head off illegal immigrants, but it is too early to tell if Predators will assist that effort.
If she continues to lead handily in her reelection bid, it's doubtful, but if she falters...
Posted by: Sninenter Chomock3996 || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6457 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Ah, but the question is whether the Predators will merely watch the illegals come across or will carry Hellfires and zap a few.
Posted by: RWV || 03/16/2006 9:39 Comments || Top||

#2  "Napolitano has assigned certain Guard units to the border to help federal officials head off illegal immigrants"

I call bullshit. When this "news" broke, I read a story where the AZ Nat'l Guard Commander was interviewed and he said nothing was changed by the Gov's "order". Nothing. Not one thing. No troops would move an inch and none would be doing anything different tomorrow than they were doing today. Pure PR and grandstanding. She's a posturing partisan moron.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 10:53 Comments || Top||

#3  Likely they were assigned. Deployed is another matter.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/16/2006 13:20 Comments || Top||

Visa ban on Tariq Ramadan challenged
A leading Muslim academic suing the US government over its refusal to give him a travel visa has asked a federal court to allow him to enter the country temporarily while the case is awaiting trial. Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss citizen who now teaches at Oxford University in the UK, had his US visa revoked in 2004, shortly before he was scheduled to move to the US to accept a position at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is representing Ramadan, said the State Department excluded the professor under a provision of the Patriot Act that allows the government to bar entry to any prominent foreigner who has used his status to endorse or espouse terrorism. Ramadan is a critic of the US invasion of Iraq and has said he sympathises with nonviolent Palestinian resistance against Israel, but says he is a moderate who opposes terrorism and does not support Islamic extremism.
It's our country. If we don't want to let him in we don't have to.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6457 views] Top|| File under:

#1  They'll shop for an accommodating judge and probably get approval. ACLU is, in fact, the greater evil and enemy.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 21:10 Comments || Top||

Paks whine about Afghan TV coverage
QUETTA, Pakistan - Pakistan on Thursday banned two Afghan TV channels and stopped cable operators from airing their content because they had blamed Pakistani security forces for trying to kill an Afghan politician, an official said.
Got caught, did they?
The ban was the latest blow in a war of words between Pakistan and Afghanistan amid an increase of Islamic extremist and tribal violence on both sides of these troubled neighbors’ borders. The Tolo TV and Ariana TV stations were barred from operating in Pakistan because they “were involved in negative propaganda against Pakistan,” said Abdul Jalal Khan, an official with the state-run Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority that supervises cable and television channels.

“They used poisonous, undiplomatic language against Pakistan in their programs,” Khan said from Quetta, capital of the southwestern Baluchistan province where many Afghan refugees live.
Afghans told the truth, and the Paks thought it was hell.
The stations stopped airing in Quetta on Thursday, said Khan, who accused both stations of blaming Pakistan’s spy network for a March 12 suicide attack against a senior Afghan political figure in the Afghan capital Kabul. The official lived, but four people were killed. Islamabad has rejected claims of involvement.

Privately run Tolo issued a statement condemning the banning, saying “it always attempted to present balanced stories on national, regional and international issues.” “We are alarmed at news that TOLO has been banned in Baluchistan province as our station is very popular in the province,” the statement said, adding the Pakistani Embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, rejected overtures to discuss the ban.
"We like to think of ourselves as Radio Free Wazoo," he added.
Mohammed Shahid, a spokesman for the regulatory authority in the capital, Islamabad, declined to confirm the ban, but said the Afghan stations had not applied for permission to broadcast their programs in Pakistan.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/16/2006 22:23 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

Pakistan weekly spills 9/11 beans
From an indian daily.
The Pakistan foreign office had paid tens of thousands of dollars to lobbyists in the US to get anti-Pakistan references dropped from the 9/11 inquiry commission report, The Friday Times has claimed.

The Pakistani weekly said its story is based on disclosures made by foreign service officials to the Public Accounts Committee at a secret meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday.

It claimed that some of the commission members were also bribed to prevent them from including damaging information about Pakistan.

The magazine said the PAC grilled officials in the presence of foreign secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan and special secretary Sher Afghan on the money paid to lobbyists.

“The disclosure sheds doubt on the integrity and honesty of the members of the 9/11 inquiry commission and, above all, the authenticity of the information in their final report,” it said.

The report quoted an officer as saying that dramatic changes were made in the final draft of the inquiry commission after the lobbyists got to work. The panel was formed to probe the September 11 terror attack and make suggestions to fight terrorism.

After the commission tipped the lobbyists about the damaging revelations on Pakistan’s role in 9/11, they contacted the panel members and asked them to go soft on the country. The Friday Times claimed that a lot of money was used to silence these members.

According to the report, the lobbyists also helped Pakistan win the sympathy of 75 US Congressmen as part of its strategy to guard Islamabad’s interests in Washington. “US softened towards Pakistan only because of the efforts of the foreign office,” an official was quoted as saying in the report.

The Pakistan foreign office defended the decision to hire the lobbyists, saying it was an established practice in the US.

An observer at the Islamabad meeting said money could play an important role in buying powerful people. The remark came in response to comments made by some US officials after 9/11 that “Pakistanis will sell their mothers for a dollar”.

Pakistan had emerged as front-runner in the fight against terrorism unleashed by the US after the terror strikes. Washington pumped in billions of dollars to win President Pervez Musharraf’s support in launching a crackdown on al Qaida network thriving on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/16/2006 12:07 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Pakistanis will sell their mothers for a dollar”

Some of my cousins must be Pakistani too...
Posted by: DarthVader || 03/16/2006 13:39 Comments || Top||

#2  Pakistan had emerged as front-runner in the fight against terrorism unleashed by the US after the terror strikes.
Bullpuckey. The terrorism has been going on since well before 1972. The behavior of the US has little to do with the desire by some islamofruitcakes to blow things up. The people who push this piece of tripe must be countered every time they open their mouths. It's time we took the war being waged against us seriously, and start whacking those who have raised arms against us, even if it's only verbally.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/16/2006 19:27 Comments || Top||

#3  hmmmm....we must be related,,,,
Posted by: kelly || 03/16/2006 19:31 Comments || Top||

Pakistan weekly: U.S.9/11 Commission lobbied; bribed
Hat Tip: Protein Wisdom

New Delhi, March 12: The Pakistan foreign office had paid tens of thousands of dollars to lobbyists in the US to get anti-Pakistan references dropped from the 9/11 inquiry commission report, The Friday Times has claimed. The Pakistani weekly said its story is based on disclosures made by foreign service officials to the Public Accounts Committee at a secret meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday.

It claimed that some of the commission members were also bribed to prevent them from including damaging information about Pakistan.

The magazine said the PAC grilled officials in the presence of foreign secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan and special secretary Sher Afghan on the money paid to lobbyists.

“The disclosure sheds doubt on the integrity and honesty of the members of the 9/11 inquiry commission and, above all, the authenticity of the information in their final report,” it said. The report quoted an officer as saying that dramatic changes were made in the final draft of the inquiry commission after the lobbyists got to work. The panel was formed to probe the September 11 terror attack and make suggestions to fight terrorism.

After the commission tipped the lobbyists about the damaging revelations on Pakistan’s role in 9/11, they contacted the panel members and asked them to go soft on the country. The Friday Times claimed that a lot of money was used to silence these members.

According to the report, the lobbyists also helped Pakistan win the sympathy of 75 US Congressmen as part of its strategy to guard Islamabad’s interests in Washington. “US softened towards Pakistan only because of the efforts of the foreign office,” an official was quoted as saying in the report.

The Pakistan foreign office defended the decision to hire the lobbyists, saying it was an established practice in the US.

An observer at the Islamabad meeting said money could play an important role in buying powerful people. The remark came in response to comments made by some US officials after 9/11 that “Pakistanis will sell their mothers for a dollar”.

Pakistan had emerged as front-runner in the fight against terrorism unleashed by the US after the terror strikes. Washington pumped in billions of dollars to win President Pervez Musharraf’s support in launching a crackdown on al Qaida network thriving on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  According to the report, the lobbyists also helped Pakistan win the sympathy of 75 US Congressmen

names please
Posted by: 2b || 03/16/2006 0:07 Comments || Top||

Pak rejects Indian claim to Gilgit-Baltistan
Pakistan on Wednesday rejected India's claim that Gilgit-Baltistan area in the Northern Areas is an integral part of India. Pakistan's Foreign Office spokeswoman responding to a question drew India's attention to UN Security Council and the UN Commission for India and Pakistan's resolutions regarding the status of Jammu and Kashmir. She said the valley is a disputed territory whose final status is yet to be determined. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman on March 10 claimed that Gilgit-Baltistan "is an integral part of India".
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

No time limit for bounty on Danish cartoonists: Cleric
In his office in Peshawar's historic Mohabat Khan mosque, prayer leader Maulana Yousaf Qureshi smoothes his beard from the white roots to the henna-orange tips. "There's no time limit. If someone kills the cartoonist in 50 years he will still get the million dollars," he says. In a blazing sermon on February 17, Qureshi promised the money — and a new car — to whoever assassinates any of the 12 Danes whose drawings of the Prophet Mohammed ignited a firestorm of protest across the Muslim world.d.

On the same day, anti-cartoon protests in the conservative northwestern city turned into full-fledged anti-western riots that left foreign fast-food joints and businesses in flames. The unrest has abated since then, but not the anger. "We want them to spend the rest of their days like prisoners, under police protection," nods the imam, between two sips of sweetened green tea.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6471 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Wow! A Jihadi Savings Plan(TM). Collect $1m (and a new car) and spend not a penny of it while you're cooling your heels in prison for the rest of your life.

Interestingly enough, this guy is publicly issuing a murder contract, but has not been arrested by the Pakistani government. This says a little something about the character of that government.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/16/2006 6:55 Comments || Top||

#2  No time limit on shortening his life, either.

Just sayin', 's all.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/16/2006 13:21 Comments || Top||

#3  Collect the GPS coordinates of every imam and mosque issuing these death fatwas and the instant a single one of the cartoonists (including their loved ones) are harmed or killed, bomb every single stinking one of the cesspits back to the stone age.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/16/2006 14:36 Comments || Top||

#4  Zenster - why wait
Posted by: DMFD || 03/16/2006 23:10 Comments || Top||

Hizb says peace talks incomplete without militants
A top Kashmiri militant commander said an Islamic insurgency in the disputed Himalayan region wouldn't end until India and Pakistan include the militants in peace talks, a news agency reported on Wednesday. The comments by Misbah-ud-Din Ghazi of the Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen are the first by a militant leader suggesting the insurgents - who have been fighting to wrest Kashmir from India since 1989 — would consider playing a role in the peace process that was launched in January 2004 to end decades of enmity over the region between India and Pakistan. "India and Pakistan are engaged in talks to promote bilateral trade and ties," Ghazi was quoted as saying by Kashmir's Current News Service. "The talks to resolve Kashmir cannot begin without (Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen) being at the forefront," Ghazi said, adding that until the militants are brought into the negotiations "the armed militant lion is the only way to take the Kashmir struggle to a logical conclusion".

Kashmiri groups have been excluded from peace talks involving India and Pakistan, although Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has held preliminary talks with nonviolent Kashmiri separatists, and Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen briefly opened negotiations with New Delhi in 2000.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

Pakistan asked to confirm arrest of Mustafa Setmariam Nasar
The US State Department has sought confirmation from Pakistan of the arrest of an Al Qaeda leader believed to be the mastermind of the Madrid bombings in March 2004. CNN and NBC News reported in November last year that Mustafa Setmariam Nasar was captured after a gun battle in a remote area of Kohat. CNN also reported that one of Nasar’s aides was killed in the battle.
Checking to see if he's still arrested, are they?
Sources in the Interior Ministry told Daily Times on Wednesday that the State Department recently sent a letter to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Tariq Pervez through the US Embassy in Islamabad, seeking information about Nasar’s arrest. The letter, referring to various reports in the American and Spanish media about the arrest, asks the Pakistan government to confirm whether the Syrian fugitive was being held in Pakistan and inquires about his latest status.

The Syrian-born Nasar is considered the mastermind of the Madrid bombings, a series of coordinated attacks on the Spanish capital’s system on the morning of March 11, 2004, which killed 192 people and wounded 2,050. He is also accused of organising the July 7 London suicide bombings. The US State Department announced a $5 million reward for Nasar’s capture in July 2005, saying that he was believed to have fled either to Iraq or Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afganistan.

Khaleej Times: ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan is holding a Syrian-born man with suspected terrorism links, a Pakistani official said on Thursday.
The official, who declined to be identified further due to the sensitive nature of the matter, gave no further details, including when or where he was detained.

Pakistani authorities confirmed in November that the were trying to determine whether a man detained during a police raid in the southern city of Quetta was Mustafa Setmarian Nasar, 47, an Al Qaeda-linked Syrian native who holds Spanish citizenship.
I'd classify this as a "Maybe".
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

India wants 130 'criminals'
The Indian government has asked Pakistan to hand over 130 of the 250 criminals wanted in India believed to be residing Pakistan, Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patel informed the Indian parliament on Tuesday. He said arrest notices were issued for these criminals and distributed in different countries through the Interpol. Pakistan rejected Indian claims. India has repeatedly alleged that Mafia don Dawood Ibrahim was living in Karachi. Pakistan has rejected the claim. The minister said lookout circulars have also been issued against criminals. He added that nine fugitives had been brought to India from nine different countries.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

#1  India wants 130 ‘criminals’
They can have all of ours....
Posted by: GK || 03/16/2006 14:05 Comments || Top||

UN establishes rights body despite US objections
The United Nations General Assembly has created a new UN human rights body by an overwhelming majority, ignoring objections from the United States. Ambassadors broke out in sustained applause when the vote was announced: 170-4 with three abstentions. Joining the United States in a "no" vote were Israel, Marshall Islands, and Palau - but not American allies in Europe or Canada. Belarus, Iran and Venezuela abstained.

As the pre-eminent international rights watchdog, the 47-seat UN Human Rights Council is to expose human rights abusers and help nations draw up rights legislation. It would replace the 53-country Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission, which in recent years has included some of the world's most notorious rights violators.

US Ambassador John Bolton told the assembly the rules for the new council were not strong enough to prevent rights violators from getting a seat. But he said the United States would cooperate with the body. "We did not have sufficient confidence in this text to be able to say that the Human Rights Council will be better than its predecessor," Mr Bolton said. "That said, the United States will work cooperatively with other member states to make the council as strong and effective as it can be."

Cuba, which had distributed four amendments, voted in favour, although it stated many objections and called the council a creation of the West, which would be used to "unjustly condemn Third World countries".
Since that's where most of the human rights violations are.
Its mouthpiece ambassador, Rodrigo Malierca, said, "We were never deceived by the loudmouthed objections of the Washington representatives. "The text, he said, was "conceived and negotiated behind the scenes to accommodate its demands, sacrificing vital interests of the countries of the south."

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan first proposed the new council last year as part of sweeping reforms of the world body. But his blueprint was watered down in the resolution. The seats would be distributed among regional groups: 13 for Africa, 13 for Asia, six for Eastern Europe, eight for Latin America and the Caribbean and seven for a block of mainly Western countries, including the United States and Canada.
Tells you everything you need to know to look at the distribution of members: where are they going to find 13 countries in Africa that don't abuse human rights? Ditto for Asia, where Iran, Burma and Bangladesh will inevitably find their ways onto the new 'Council'. And the better countries of the world make do with 7 seats: odds are the U.S. won't be on the 'Council' very often. We should be dancing the minuet to this farce.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6457 views] Top|| File under:

#1  You should put "Pull the plug:" back into the title.

Everything that includes the word "watchdog" coming out of the UN is a farce to substitute the opposite - lapdog.

This may be a godsend - it just might tip the scales in the US Congress to go after US funding of this zoo. Kill this hideous aberration.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 1:58 Comments || Top||

#2  Glert.I had the best watchdog in the state.Bitch would watch you steal everything in the house.
Posted by: raptor || 03/16/2006 7:53 Comments || Top||

#3  13 for Africa, 13 for Asia, six for Eastern Europe, eight for Latin America and the Caribbean and seven for a block of mainly Western countries, including the United States and Canada.

In the first wave of members will be Venezuela, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, and France.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/16/2006 8:01 Comments || Top||

#4  Second verse
Same as the first
A little bit longer
And a little bit worse
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 03/16/2006 10:24 Comments || Top||

#5  LOL, raptor / AP!
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 10:27 Comments || Top||

#6  Pull out now and defund the asinine bastards. Take the Japanese along too.

Kiss 50% of your gelt goodbye, boys.
Posted by: mojo || 03/16/2006 10:43 Comments || Top||

#7  LOL al Aska!
Posted by: RD || 03/16/2006 11:30 Comments || Top||

Saddam's Delusions

Summary: A special, double-length article from the upcoming May/June issue of Foreign Affairs, presenting key excerpts from the recently declassified book-length report of the USJFCOM Iraqi Perspectives Project.

As late as the end of March 2003, Saddam apparently still believed that the war was going the way he had expected. If Iraq was not actually winning it, neither was it losing -- or at least so it seemed to the dictator. Americans may have listened with amusement to the seemingly obvious fabrications of Muhammad Said al-Sahaf, Iraq's information minister (nicknamed "Baghdad Bob" by the media). But the evidence now clearly shows that Saddam and those around him believed virtually every word issued by their own propaganda machine.

For example, during the first ten days of the war, Iraq asked Russia, France, and China not to support cease-fire initiatives because Saddam believed such moves would legitimize the coalition's presence in Iraq. As late as March 30, Saddam thought that his strategy was working and that the coalition offensive was grinding to a halt. On that day, Lieutenant General Abed Hamid Mahmoud, Saddam's principal secretary, directed the Iraqi foreign minister to tell the French and Russian governments that Baghdad would accept only an "unconditional withdrawal" of U.S. forces because "Iraq is now winning and . . . the United States has sunk in the mud of defeat." At that moment, U.S. tanks were a hundred miles south of Baghdad, refueling and rearming for the final push.


A 1982 incident vividly illustrated the danger of telling Saddam what he did not want to hear. At one low point during the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam asked his ministers for candid advice. With some temerity, the minister of health, Riyadh Ibrahim, suggested that Saddam temporarily step down and resume the presidency after peace was established. Saddam had him carted away immediately. The next day, pieces of the minister's chopped-up body were delivered to his wife. According to Abd al-Tawab Mullah Huwaysh, the head of the Military Industrial Commission and a relative of the murdered minister, "This powerfully concentrated the attention of the other ministers, who were unanimous in their insistence that Saddam remain in power."

Within the Iraqi military and the Iraqi regime more generally, rumors circulated that summary execution awaited anyone who dared contradict the dictator. Officers remembered the story of the brigadier general who once spent over a year in prison for daring to suggest that U.S. tanks might be superior to those of the Iraqi army. One senior minister noted, "Directly disagreeing with Saddam Hussein's ideas was unforgivable. It would be suicide." Nor was Saddam alone in his distaste for bad news. According to Major General Hamid Ismail Dawish al-Rubai, the director general of the Republican Guard's general staff, "Any commander who spoke the truth to [Saddam's son] Qusay would lose his head."


The Republican Guard chief of staff briefed us in front of a large wall map that covered just the central portion of Iraq. The map showed Baghdad in the center with four rings. Every ring had a color. The center ring was red. Approximately ten kilometers out from the red ring was a blue ring. Then approximately seven kilometers out from that one was a black ring. Finally, the last circle was marked in yellow, which was designated for reconnaissance forces only. The Republican Guard chief of staff explained the plan in a very crude and ugly way. Things like "the Republican Guard Hammurabi Division defends in the north of the city, the Republican Guard Medina Division in the south, the Republican Guard al Nida Division in the east, and special forces and the Special Republican Guard in the west."

When the Americans arrived at the first ring, on the order from Saddam, the forces would conduct a simultaneous withdrawal. The units would then repeat this "procedure" until reaching the red circle. Once in the red circle, the remaining units would fight to the death.

With this incredible simplicity and stupidity, the assembled Republican Guard officers were told that this was the plan for the defense of our country. Qusay said that the plan was already approved by Saddam and "it was you who would now make it work." I disagreed and told Qusay that a proud army with an 82-year history cannot fight like this. We were not using our experience. I was told by Qusay that there would be no changes because Saddam had signed the plan already.

Compared to previous defense arrangements drawn up by professional military staffs, this new plan was amateurish. It paid no attention to basic military factors, such as geography, nor did it explain how all the units would be able to retreat simultaneously from one ring to the next while being engaged on the ground and assaulted from the air. Even after Qusay and the Republican Guard's chief of staff briefed their officers on the concept, the senior military leadership did little to arrange for it to be implemented. For Saddam, issuing a decree was considered enough to make the plan work.


Yet Saddam began giving orders to deploy and maneuver formations that had ceased to exist. His attention focused on plans to have the Republican Guard enter Baghdad and join with the Saddam Fedayeen in "preparing" for urban warfare. Late the next day, Saddam met again with his closest advisers and, according to a participant, accepted that "the army divisions were no longer capable of defending Baghdad, and that he would have a meeting with the Baath Regional Commanders to enlist them in the final defense of the regime." A subsequent meeting on the same day produced an unexecuted plan to divide Baghdad into four quadrants. Saddam placed loyal Baath Party stalwarts in command of each sector and charged them with defending the city to their last drops of blood.

By the time Saddam spoke to his military staff, however, a U.S. armored brigade had already captured Baghdad's airport. As he discussed the plan for the final defense of the city, another brigade of U.S. armor was busily chewing up the manicured lawn in front of his central palace.

Posted by: KBK || 03/16/2006 13:04 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

USAF Creates a Magnificent Monster
March 16, 2006: The U.S. Air Force has created the ultimate version of the Stryker wheeled armored vehicle. The TACP (Tactical Air Control Party) Stryker has extra equipment for managing what's in the air, as well as on the ground. This includes permanent mounts for extra radios, antennae, a tactical computer and the Rover system to view video taken by UAVs. Each TACP has a crew of seven (an army driver, an army vehicle commander; an air force NCO, an army fire support officer or NCO, an air force air controller; a radio operator; and a maintenance specialist). All are trained to fight on the ground, but their main job it to bring in smart bombs, artillery and rockets to where the troops around them need it.

After working with the six TACPs built so far, the army realized that this was the future of mechanized warfare. If all armored vehicles, and unarmored command vehicles, were equipped like this, you could bring enormous firepower down on the enemy with unprecedented speed and accuracy. Moreover, the Rover link with UAVs (and eventually warplane sensors) enables a single vehicle to see much farther, day or night and in all weather. Actually, this type of capability has been an army goal for some time. But the need for more capabilities because of a war going on in Iraq, and the subsequent development of stuff like TACP, has speeded up the process. Each TACP Stryker costs $3 million (vehicle and special equipment).

TACPs are going to Iraq, where they will serve their designed purpose, to make a new air force/army concept work. This involves formally linking air force fighter squadrons with army combat brigades. The air force and army units would regularly train together in peace time. This means that the commanders and staffs from the two services would frequently meet to plan these exercises. That would give everyone an opportunity to bring each other up to date on new equipment, weapons and ideas in each service. The first units will consist of several F-16 squadrons and a Stryker brigade. One reason for using the Stryker brigade is that these units have the latest communications and computer gear, which is designed to easily communicate with similarly equipped warplanes overhead. The new combinations will be called a Joint Mission Capability Package (Joint MCAP). If this experiment works, reserve and active duty warplane squadrons would be linked, via a Joint MCAP arrangement, with army brigades, with the idea that, if the army unit had to ship out to a combat zone overseas, its MCAP air force squadrons would go with it.

The air force doesn't like the idea of every armored vehicle having TACP capabilities, or using many more army personnel as air controllers. But that's where it's going, mainly because smart bombs have gotten so smart they no longer require a hot shot pilot to hit the target accurately every time. The primary responsibility is now on the ground, and most of it is embedded in machines. It's mainly point (the laser rangefinder) and click (to capture the location of the target, and transmit it to the aircraft overhead.) The army can even uses its own UAVs for the airborne videos. The army is rushing ahead with all this battlefield automation, and the air force is trying to keep up.
Posted by: Steve || 03/16/2006 08:30 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Wow, it's like the Army and the Air Force should be considered the same service...
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/16/2006 9:04 Comments || Top||

#2  The AF pilots union doesn't like the idea of outsourcing the close support mission to the Army, even less so to Army UASs. All things considered, the Army would rather have support from B-52s and A-10s than Jim Wright's keep Ft Worth green F-16s.
Posted by: RWV || 03/16/2006 9:34 Comments || Top||

#3  You could make B52s into UAVs...
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 03/16/2006 10:09 Comments || Top||

#4  Since the AF embeds Air Controllers with Army units this is a logical step. I have met two of these ?Romos? in my career and both were looney as a bat and very very professional when the rubber met the road. I bet the ROMOs are happy that they no longer have to lug their radios and gear around with them. One guy assigned to the 25th Light explained that he had to carry a standard Infantry load plus his ATC gear. He brought all his gear in for a "show and Tell" at NCO leadership school and he said he "Loved his job more than sex." He got to kill the enemy before anyone else and order officers to destroy things of his choosing. Like I said he was whacked, but I would want him on my side in a fight.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 03/16/2006 10:39 Comments || Top||

#5  I hope this isn't like the old Soviet unit commander vehicles, carrying antennas all over it. Calls unwanted attention.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins || 03/16/2006 11:31 Comments || Top||

#6  I hope this isn't like the old Soviet unit commander vehicles, carrying antennas all over it. Calls unwanted attention.

Are there US vehicles without antennas all over them?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/16/2006 13:08 Comments || Top||

#7  I would like to see B-58 UAVs and other assorted Boneyard gems turned into UACV gold.

More bang for the buck.

Posted by: 3dc || 03/16/2006 14:39 Comments || Top||

#8  #6 I hope this isn't like the old Soviet unit commander vehicles, carrying antennas all over it. Calls unwanted attention.

Are there US vehicles without antennas all over them?

Why not put tons of antennas on every vehicle then. Strip the autojunkyards for antennas, they don't have to work.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 03/16/2006 16:25 Comments || Top||

#9  Why not put tons of antennas on every vehicle then. Strip the autojunkyards for antennas, they don't have to work

We have! IIRC from my tour, there were quite a few M1114's I rode in that had antennas, but no radios inside. For the procuremnt monkeys at DOD, it's easier and cheaper to install a mount kit at the factory, than waste man hours installing at the destination unit.
Posted by: N guard || 03/16/2006 19:44 Comments || Top||

#10  I think you mean ROMADS, Cyber Sarge. I did some intel work for the 601st Tac Control Wing for a couple of years, and dealt with the ROMADS on an almost-daily basis. "Whacked" is one description, "Crazy as a stadium full of bedbugs" is another. Either way, they were purely professional once they deployed. At one time, teams used jeeps and a trailer full of radios. Glad to see they're getting better equipment.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/16/2006 19:48 Comments || Top||

Video shows Ramadi children playing with remains of US soldiers
The children climb down into the crater left by an explosion and start picking up scraps of twisted metal. "Allah is great!" they shout before the camera hones in to show what one boy is holding: torn fabric, the colour of the camouflage fatigues worn by US troops. The next scene shows the same children holding aloft a human leg, shreds of the same camouflage fabric hang from it and the foot is clad in a military-style boot. The children trample the leg and kick it around in the dust.

"Today the Americans came to these parts and the buried bomb blew up their Hummer vehicle," says a teenage boy, adding, "if Allah wants it, the mujahadeen will win."

This grisly footage, purportedly shot in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, has appeared in the form of a three-minute video on the Internet. It marks the latest attempt by Jihadist militants to exploit children for propaganda purposes.

Last week Adnkronos International (AKI) obtained a copy of another video shot in Ramadi. On that occasion the action shown took place in the apparently placid setting of a school classroom.

Still, sinister references to the carnage that blights Iraq on a daily basis soon became evident. The pupils were being taught to sing Jihad songs by hooded militants who rewarded their efforts with pens, rulers and erasers. The video concluded with images of two small boys, clad in black tunics and wearing black ski masks and one holding a pistol in his tiny hand.

Unlike the professionally shot video of the schoolchildren posted on the Internet by the Ansar al-Sunna group, part of the terror galaxy of al-Qaeda linked Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the latest crudely filmed footage bears no indication on who its authors might be.

But the sudden appearance of children protagonists in the videos, indicates that the Jihadist militant groups have no intention of sparing the young from the horrors of the fighting. It also shows the extent of the militants' control in the restive al-Anbar province, were Ramadi is located.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/16/2006 01:13 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Surprise meter.
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/16/2006 4:42 Comments || Top||

#2  Hey kids ... Brave Uncle Zarkie has bugged out!
Posted by: doc || 03/16/2006 6:27 Comments || Top||

#3  Also no time tag. Two years ago, last week?
Posted by: Hupomoling Creremp5509 || 03/16/2006 9:21 Comments || Top||

#4  All the more reason to direct counter-batery fire towards all locations of enemy attacks with no known survivors. Car swarms, kiddie swarms, it matters not. Those kids waving that soldier's leg are the bomb vest wearers of tomorrow. Effing disgusting.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/16/2006 12:54 Comments || Top||

#5  "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood..."

-- Mr. Zarki's neighborhood
Posted by: Captain America || 03/16/2006 14:27 Comments || Top||

#6  All cultures, all civilizations, all religions are equal, have the same intrinsic values... but somehow I cannot imagine WWI or WWII children (and theses were wars on a scale unknown to any arab past or present) playing gleefully with the gory remains of a man, ennemy or not... but perhaps I'm naive, or bigoted?
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/16/2006 15:04 Comments || Top||

#7  This multiculti crap is p*ssing me off, theses guys are barbarians!
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/16/2006 15:05 Comments || Top||

#8  All cultures, all civilizations, all religions are equal, have the same intrinsic values

Ummmm ... no. Moral relativism is no longer applicable in an age of death-cult political ideology masquerading as a religion which is seeking nuclear weapons to achieve world domination.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/16/2006 16:22 Comments || Top||

#9  Actually, this was meant to be irony, I *really* don't believe this official mantra.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/16/2006 17:12 Comments || Top||

#10  Thank you for clarifying. Far too many people still take moral relativism seriously, and in a final irony, some liberals (e.g., Germaine Greer) are actually embracing it once again.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/16/2006 17:56 Comments || Top||

#11  "All the more reason to direct counter-batery fire towards all locations of enemy attacks with no known survivors. Car swarms, kiddie swarms, it matters not."

"Those kids waving that soldier's leg are the bomb vest wearers of tomorrow. Effing disgusting."

If you are advocating killing children because you are feeling angry then it is you, sir, that is disgusting. Such views are more sickening than the video itself.

Killing children? Are you seriously advocating that, Zenster?
Posted by: Trex || 03/16/2006 18:20 Comments || Top||

#12  No he's advocating non-discriminatory elimination of non-combatants who desecrate the bodies of the dead. I'm with him.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/16/2006 18:22 Comments || Top||

#13  Can the moral superiority BS, Trix.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 18:27 Comments || Top||

#14  Oh pleeease, you guys have huge double standards.

In other posts you rant how the extremists are animals for indoctrinating their kids or worse.

Then you say even if there is a street full of kids and one bad guy lets drop a bomb anyway. Forget about the kids.

'Discretion' is part what the west uses as it's moral high ground to distinguish us from them. If we ignore that then you are no better than they are.

Personally, I think it is sick that they allow (encourage) their kids to do these things. Hamas, et al, are particularly good at indoctrinating their toddlers. But from extremists what do you expect?

You cant claim moral high ground then deliberately call for the killing of innocent children. That is just sick.

Basically, I think you are sick dudes.....
Posted by: Trex || 03/16/2006 18:38 Comments || Top||

#15  What a load of bullshit - and obvious hypocrisy.

In one breath you shake your tiny fists and squeak about double standards. In the very next breath you stamp your imprimatur on an obvious double standard by saying "But from extremists what do you expect?"

Hypocritical dimwit. You can't even be internally consistent in one comment and we're supposed to cower before your staged moral blitzkrieg?

You're developing a bad habit of blustering in and throwing an infantile hissy fit when you think you see an angle. Yawn. Manufactured outrage characterizes your drivel posts.

You turning Pro?

Basically, I think you're a fucking Drama Queen.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 18:51 Comments || Top||

#16  Trex is an Ageist. Trex is an Ageist.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/16/2006 19:01 Comments || Top||

#17  Wow, it sure shook your tutu, GT. Personal insults no less. I am honoured.

"In one breath you shake your tiny fists and squeak about double standards. In the very next breath you stamp your imprimatur on an obvious double standard by saying "But from extremists what do you expect?"

What are you pointing to here? If there is any doubt, I am a middle aged white boy originally from Scotland and I am definately with you guys.

I dont however agree with the notion of killing innocent kids regardless,'kiddieswarms' as Zenster put it. Or the fact that grown men would do the same or even suggest it.

Are you saying you think it's OK to call for the killing of innocent kids GT?
Posted by: Trex || 03/16/2006 19:08 Comments || Top||

#18  What am I pointing to? Are you daft? You claim we used double standards then did so yourself. Read. Think.

I'm saying you're a drama queen who has decided to make a couple of recent appearances full of bluster and bother, throwing 3 yr old hissy fits, and you're a hypocrit who can't construct a valid comment.

Many posts are angry and vindictive because of the acts of barbaric societies. He's not General Zenster so he won't be ordering up any air raids. Apply that perspective and your tirade is fucking manufactured outrage.

If you want to be constructive, then be constructive.

If you want to throw an infantile fit and parade some imaginary moral superiority, you'd better expect it to be critiqued and, if found wanting, lambasted for the charade it is.

I've been in combat and seen shit I'll never speak of. You can't teach me diddley-squat about horror or depravity or true morality. I take it personally when someone plays your game.

Goddamnit. I was trying to be nice today. Hell, I was nice when you showed up the other day with that RFID hissy. I spent time seeking out info to make heads or tails of the issue. You weren't constructive then and again not today. I don't want you with me. You're a childish poseur.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 19:19 Comments || Top||

#19  So you wanna be nice. OK. I'll be nice and not rise to your insults. I get angry too you know but I dont run out calling for innocent kids to be bombed indiscriminantly.

I am being constructive. I am trying to determine where you guys draw the line and, knowing where that line is, whether it makes you different that THEY are or just the same....

"Apply that perspective and your tirade is fucking manufactured outrage."

How so? I do not remember ever hearing anyone from a civilised country calling for the indiscriminate killing of children. THIS IS MY QUESTION HERE.

You wrote a lot but you never managed to answer the question. Can you do that now GT?
Posted by: Trex || 03/16/2006 19:36 Comments || Top||

#20  now, now, now children, put those things down before somebody gets hurt. it's all fund and games til someone get's an eye Or an opinion) poked out.

Personally, I think it is sick that they allow (encourage) their kids to do these things. Hamas, et al, are particularly good at indoctrinating their toddlers. But from extremists what do you expect?

Yes it is sick that they train their children this way. And what we expect is to eliminate the extremists and ensure this legacy of violence, hatred and intolerance comes to an end before we are all dead. Dead at the hands, perhaps of these very children. Children are the next wave of attackers - or haven't you been reading?

No one is advocating the killing of innocent children. but you will need to prepare yourself for the casualties among children that are likely to occur. They are used as shields and soon as weapons.

Just as we are told that not all muslims are extremists, we must understand that not all children are non-violent in make-up or given indoctrination such as these recent generations.

Harden yourself. Save those who can be, but up ahead, children are going to die. But, as the video shows, by the hand of muslims.
Posted by: Thinemp Whimble2412 || 03/16/2006 19:41 Comments || Top||

#21  Constructive?

I think not. I think it was far more show than anything else. And the main realization for me, what hit the button for me, was your amazing sputtering rage, what?, 48 hours ago over the RFID story. It was absurd and over nothing. Today's post confirmed your pattern - your MO: manufactured outrage.

And if I see it again, I'll be happy to shit on you again. No need to thank me, I hate fuckers like you. Just part of the service.

Now if you want to engage Zenster, please be my guest. Drop the fax posturing and go for it.

If you again post drivel to the effect that all of the 'Burg is responsible for one post, then I'll fuck you every time I encounter you.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 19:44 Comments || Top||

#22  Got the harden yourself part down, TW. Working on the be nice part. Failing miserably, of course.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 19:46 Comments || Top||

#23  Killing children? Are you seriously advocating that, Zenster?

One word, yes. When kids are already programmed to disfigure the remains of our soldiers, they are equally liable to assist in the planting (or lookout watch) of an IED. They want to play combatant, they can catch a slug.

Remember how Arafat used to surround himself with children wherever he went so the IDF wouldn't grease him like a squeaky undercarriage? The IDF should have whacked Arafat and his midget shields and let the Palestinian parents finally figure out that maybe their leaders' strategy wasn't so good. We've coddled these maggots for way too long.

It's time for the terrorists to understand that there is a horrific price if they involve their young in the battle. Once these rugrats are on the battlefield, all bets are off. The parents of these children need to learn that their lack of concern about where their children play and who they play with can have fatal consequences. Just like they need to learn that where their children pray and who they pray with can be just as fatal.

Like .com says, these radical Muslims have to come from somewhere. How many imams are sending their sons and daughters to a glorious death. Answer? ZEER-EFFING-OH. The moderate Muslims just do not care enough about what happens to their children. Maybe when they get home for supper in a pine box, they'll wise up.

If you hadn't noticed, we're fighting an enemy that, save for lack of access to advanced technology, makes the Nazis look like a bunch of schoolboys. If we do not begin to make life supremely miserable for all involved with terrorism, nobody in this massive death-cult will ever catch on.

Save your overinflated hypocritical moral indignation for someone who cares.

NOTE: To all who rose to my defense, especially GT and NS, you have my thanks. We may not all always agree on all things here, but the simply incredible level of demonic evil that terrorism represents requires a no-holds-barred attitude if we ever expect to come out of this alive.

But from extremists what do you expect?

I expect them to die and nothing else. The children of extremists need the same dose of salts. The pathological meme known as Islamist terrorism must be exterminated. When you clean out a rat's nest you don't set the pups free because they're so cute. Get a clue.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/16/2006 20:06 Comments || Top||

#24  GT I gotta laugh. Outrage?! This is what happens when I treat you nice?

WHen people make posts devoid of argument or intellectual capital with the sole purpose of backslapping each other in some misguided testosterone driven, patriarchal cameraderie then I take issue.

It seems you cant take it when I call folks on their shit.

All you can do is spout off, firing insults and personal name calling. AND you still have not answereed the question. WHY DIDN'T YOU ANSWER MY ORIGINAL QUESTION?

My argument is that, in our fine country, IT IS NOT OK to call for the mass killing of children. Whether you are "angry and vindictive" or not.

I look forward to jousting with you further GT. Just lay off the insults and I promise I will do the same.

"And if I see it again, I'll be happy to shit on you again. No need to thank me, I hate fuckers like you."

I'd like to say the same but I usually save my insults for someone I know. ;-)
Posted by: Trex || 03/16/2006 20:12 Comments || Top||

#25  Dotcom used to say that someday we'd find ourselves shedding the Order of the Garter (which I had to google to make sense of, lol) nonsense which has us constantly fighting with one or both hands behind our backs. That we'd drop it when it cost us too dearly - and marvel at how naive we were in retrospect. *shudder*

I don't want to go there, but my gut says we will - dragged kicking and screaming by those who insist upon it - another dotcom phrase.

Sucks, but I lost my doubts while watching the Iranian situation build.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 20:15 Comments || Top||

#26  No, it's what happens when poseurs show up and step on the mine.

You can call anyone on anything you like. And I will do the same. You are a hypocrit (figured it out, yet, poseur?) and posturing ass.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 20:18 Comments || Top||

#27  Folks,

Did it ever occur to anyone that this story was a plant? Pure hyperbolae?

From the subject matter and the lurid nature of the prose I highly suspect this entire episode as being compete BS.

Posted by: FOTSGreg || 03/16/2006 20:32 Comments || Top||

#28  I do hope you're right, FOTSGreg. However, like so many urban legends, it does fit nicely with what we know about the Islamofascists and the Baathists, and the way they rear their children. Look at the car swarming behaviour of the Palestinians, and how those kids take away bits of their heroes' bits after a missile hit.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 23:01 Comments || Top||

#29  Killing children? Are you seriously advocating that, Zenster?

One word, yes

Wow. Just fucking wow. I'm not sure who I want to win anymore, if that's the case. And no regulars stepped in. Just wow.
Posted by: MO || 03/16/2006 23:13 Comments || Top||

#30  Hey, Rantburg has got its Kos moment now ;-)
Posted by: MO || 03/16/2006 23:16 Comments || Top||

#31  MO, you did notice that Zenster is advocating treating children who dance around with enemy body parts the same way he advocates treating adults who do the same. I don't agree with his Kill 'em all! approach overall, but that isn't what he's suggesting here. How would you suggest we handle this kind of situation, if indeed the video wasn't staged, or very old news?
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 23:31 Comments || Top||

#32  MO's illogical. Like the other Mo.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 23:33 Comments || Top||

#33  See the Khatami thread for an example. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't...
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 23:34 Comments || Top||

Barzan denies involvement in Dujail massacre
Saddam Hussein's half brother, Barzan al-Tikriti, on Wednesday denied involvement in mass reprisals ordered against a village after a failed 1982 assassination attempt there against the ousted Iraqi leader. "I arrested no one, it was the security services that were in charge" of operations in Dujail, Barzan said as the trial of Saddam and seven co-accused resumed before the Iraqi High Tribunal. "I can assure you I have no responsibility in this matter. It was handled by the former head of security who has since died. Just show me one document proving that I ordered an arrest or the destruction of someone's farm," he said.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

Jordan blasts 'escalation'; Blair: PA was warned
Jordan's King Abdullah yesterday sharply criticized Tuesday's raid in Jericho, calling it "an unfortunate escalation" that posed a threat to the future of the peace process and to security in the region.

"It would have been better for the parties concerned to find another formula to deal with this issue," the king said, adding, "[The Israelis] created tension and lessened the chances for an adequate climate to forge ahead with the peace process."

He also urged Hamas "to deal with regional and international realities," referring to the group's refusal to disarm, recognize international treaties signed by the Palestinian Authority or recognize Israel.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit also denounced the raid.

"Using violence to settle pending issues between the two sides contradicts all previously signed agreements," Aboul Gheit was quoted as saying. He added that Egypt was in continuous contact with all parties concerned in order to contain the situation.

The minister warned Israel against "adopting unilateral measures, using force and obstructing Palestinian security men carrying out their duties," but he also called on all Palestinian groups to exercise self-restraint.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday that suggestions from top Hamas lawmakers that they would free the men suspected in the 2001 assassination of Minister Rehavam Ze'evi had partly motivated Britain's decision to withdraw its monitors from the prison.

Blair said the Palestinian Authority had been warned for three months about problems at the Jericho prison. The PA became responsible for conditions there under a 2002 agreement made to get men out of the besieged compound of then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

"We have kept to that agreement every inch of the way," Blair said. "The breach has been because the proper detention procedures were not being observed on the Palestinian side."

The presidency of the European Union said yesterday it was "gravely concerned" by recent events in the PA and urged both Israelis and Palestinians to exercise restraint.

"The presidency stresses the need to take the appropriate measures to restore calm and order," the EU said in a statement released in Austria, which currently holds the presidency of the 25-nation bloc.

Israel and the PA should exercise restraint and carefully weigh the impact of their actions to prevent a further escalation, the EU said.

The EU also condemned the taking of hostages, called on the PA to ensure the protection of foreign nationals and their property and said it remained committed to supporting the Palestinian people.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday told Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that he feared Israel's prison raid would lead to an escalation of violence, Olmert's office said.

Annan, who was in South Africa, spoke with Olmert by telephone about the operations. "The secretary general said that after the operation was finished he is more calm because he feared an escalation in the region," read a statement from Olmert's office.

The United States is working to prevent a second attempt by UN Security Council member Qatar to discuss the IDF raid in the Security Council. On Tuesday Qatar called for a convention of the body to discuss the military operation, but the U.S. blocked the meeting. Yesterday Qatar submitted a new draft of a presidential statement it sought to publish on the issue.

The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said he would do everything in his power to prevent a Security Council deliberation and statement on the issue.
Posted by: Slusing Clerenter8792 || 03/16/2006 05:59 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

Hamas, Fatah fail to bridge differences
Hamas and the other parliamentary blocs in the Palestinian Legislative Council have failed at the end of a meeting in Gaza to agree on a common programme for a Palestinian government, Aljazeera reports.
Couldn't figure how to split the boodle, huh?
Couldn't even get past the traditional Cursing of the Moustaches.
Fatah representative in the dialogue, Rudwan al-Akhras, said on Wednesday - the fourth day of inconclusive coalition talks in Gaza - that the gap with Hamas' position was still big.
"Dey want way too big a cut! Dey got da numbers, dey got da dockyards. Dey want da hookers and da booze, too? I don't t'ink so!"
Aljazeera reported quoting him that all the presentations and amendments in the revised Hamas offer did not meet the minimum demands of Fatah for joining a Hamas-led government. "I do not see any encouraging signals that we will be able to reach an agreement over the programme to form a joint government between the factions," Reuters quoted al-Akhras as saying.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Civil war. Pleeeese.
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/16/2006 4:34 Comments || Top||

Jordan king warns against strike on Iran
AMMAN — King Abdullah warned that a strike on Iran would cause the region "to explode" and deplored Israel's raid on a Palestinian prison, in an interview Wednesday with AFP. "A strike against Iran would cause the whole region to explode," the Monarch said in comments on the crisis between the West and Tehran over its nuclear activities. "The threat to regional security and stability will be grave if force is utilised to resolve this problem. Dialogue, patience and diplomacy are the only solution."
"Why, the Arab Street would explode!"
He likewise deplored Israel's raid Tuesday on a Jericho prison to seize Palestinians wanted over the 2001 murder of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi. "What happened... is a threat to the future of the peace process and to security in the region. It is an unfortunate escalation," he said. "It would have been better for the parties concerned to find another formula to deal with this issue. They created tension and lessened the chances for an adequate climate to forge ahead with the peace process."
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6473 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Nothing but rhetoric. All the Sunni majority countries would like to see revolutionary Iran taken down. But, if they didn't make the usual noise about the Middle East drowning in blood, then the Mullahs would rain missiles in their direction when the games begin. They Ayatollahs have to go.
Posted by: Listen To Dogs || 03/16/2006 1:20 Comments || Top||

#2  Shut up already.
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/16/2006 4:35 Comments || Top||

#3  Thanks for your opinion, kid. Now go sit down and don't get in the way.
Posted by: mojo || 03/16/2006 10:40 Comments || Top||

#4  Yeah its so much better to just let the pressure cooker build up pressure until it explodes on its own.

I would rather US pop it off than a nuclear armed Iran later on.
Posted by: C-Low || 03/16/2006 11:25 Comments || Top||

#5  Don't forget, this poor guy is half American, and only half lunatic.
How will we know when the Arab street explodes ?
Those jerkoffs have already used every form of violence known to man in their streets.
Posted by: wxjames || 03/16/2006 16:15 Comments || Top||

#6  Yeah, we'll make them mad and they'll threaten us with death and acts of mayhem - oh, wait!
Posted by: DMFD || 03/16/2006 23:11 Comments || Top||

'Disenfranchised' Wolfensohn threatens to quit
James Wolfensohn, special envoy of the international diplomatic "Quartet," complained Wednesday of being "disenfranchised" in his efforts to advance the Mideast peace process, and threatened to quit the high-profile post. "I think the Quartet itself must continue ... but the role of a disenfranchised leader of that Quartet doesn't seem to me to be a particularly attractive thing to spend your life doing," the former World Bank head said Wednesday at a hearing of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He suggested that he still hopes to make a constructive contribution to helping achieve Middle East peace, but not necessarily in his current post. "I am considering, but have not decided... whether the best place for me to do it is leaving the Quartet, or in other ways," Wolfensohn said at the Senate hearing examining challenges in the Middle East following January's Palestinian Authority elections. "If you were in a job where it's unclear what the purpose of that job was, and what the backing that you have was... and you're as old as I am, you would probably wonder whether for the few remaining years that you've got, [if] that's the thing you want to do," the 72-year old Wolfensohn told the panel.

Wolfensohn, who retired as president of the World Bank last year, was appointed in April 2005 by the Middle East Quartet to be its special envoy for Israel's disengagement project in the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza. But his job has been complicated by Washington's insistence on withholding aid from a Palestinian government expected to be formed by Hamas, which the Americans brand a terrorist organisation.

Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli tried Wednesday to play down any differences between the quartet and Wolfensohn and said Washington hoped the envoy would stay on the job at least through April. "We certainly retain full confidence in special envoy Wolfensohn. We think he's doing a great job," Ereli told reporters.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6472 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Get a job.
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/16/2006 4:36 Comments || Top||

#2  Agreed, gromgoru. The Quartet's purpose is to force unacceptable concessions on Israel, while protecting the Palestinians from any consequences for their destructive choices.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/16/2006 6:37 Comments || Top||

#3  But his job has been complicated by Washington's insistence on withholding aid from a Palestinian government expected to be formed by Hamas, which the Americans brand a terrorist organisation.

It was complicated by the palestinians electing a terrorist government.
Posted by: DoDo || 03/16/2006 11:14 Comments || Top||

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/16/2006 23:50 Comments || Top||

Abbas slams Israel over prison raid
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned Israel's raid on a West Bank prison and seizure of a militant leader as a crime that would not be forgiven. Across the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Palestinians went on strike over an Israeli operation that has boosted interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ahead of March 28 general elections.

Israeli security forces were on high alert after Ahmed Saadat's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Islamist militant group Hamas promised retaliation. Israeli forces used tanks and bulldozers to tear apart the Jericho jail on Tuesday to grab Saadat, accused by Israel of overseeing the 2001 assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi claimed by the PFLP. Speaking at the destroyed jail, Mr Abbas accused British and US monitors supervising the incarceration of Saadat and five other militants who were detained of complicity with Israel. "What happened is an ugly crime which cannot be forgiven and a humiliation for the Palestinian people and a violation of all the agreements - their arrest by Israel is illegal," Mr Abbas said. The United States and Britain, citing security concerns, withdrew the monitors on Tuesday and Israeli forces moved in minutes later.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6457 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The sand is running out Abu Mazen
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/16/2006 4:41 Comments || Top||

#2  The JPost article is much better. It doesn't censor out the constant references to 'humiliation'.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/16/2006 5:38 Comments || Top||

#3  That's Humiliation number 2,398,654 and 2,398,655 for the Paleos.
Posted by: mhw || 03/16/2006 5:59 Comments || Top||

#4  Wasn't the reason for this the fact that the PA was going to spring him and others?

How do you say "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time." in Paleo?
Posted by: SPoD || 03/16/2006 6:25 Comments || Top||

#5  You cannot, SPoD. It is an alien concept and causes the onset of terminal cognitive dissonance among Arab populations. Besides, nothing a "freedom fighter" does against a Jew counts as a crime, in the Arab world.
Posted by: Shieldwolf || 03/16/2006 7:14 Comments || Top||

#6  I wonder if the work stoppage applies to suicide bombers?

Nah, I didn't think so, either.....
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/16/2006 7:27 Comments || Top||

#7  So with their economy in shards, they decide to go on strike because a pack of murderers who were going to be released from prison are in the custody of the people they attacked?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/16/2006 7:52 Comments || Top||

#8  Hey, any excuse for rioting, terrorism, martyrdom, and mayhem. Oh, and seething, did I mention seething?
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 03/16/2006 10:30 Comments || Top||

#9  Oh, shut up Abbas, you sap. Nobody (and I mean NOBODY) gives a crap what you have to say. If you weren't such an asshole, you'd just kill yourself now and save Israel the trouble.
Posted by: mojo || 03/16/2006 10:44 Comments || Top||

Science & Technology
The Pentagons' Insect Cyborgs

The Pentagon is trying to develop "insect cyborgs" able to sniff out explosives, or "bug" conversations by lurking unseen in enemy hideouts with micro-transmitters strapped to their bodies.

The cyborgs — half insect, half robot — would be created by inserting tiny devices into the bodies of flying, hopping or crawling insects while in their larva or pupa stage, so that the mechanisms become part of their bodies and ultimately allow them to be moved by remote control. Their most immediate task could be spotting and identifying the location of roadside bombs in Iraq.

(U.S. President) George Bush announced on Monday that the administration was spending more than $3 billion this year to combat the threat of ``improvised explosive devices.'' Some of that money, he said, would be used to bring together the best minds to think up new ideas.

The "insect cyborg" is clearly one of those ideas. Last week the Pentagon's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) called for bids on the project.

"Through each metamorphic stage, the insect body goes through a renewal process that can heal wounds and reposition internal organs around foreign objects," a DARPA statement says.
Such techniques will provide a much better link between the microsystem and the insect than simply sticking a microchip to the abdomen of a bee, wasp or cockroach, it believes.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 03/16/2006 11:53 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6470 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Wait til they manage to incorporate a Ma Deuce into them. It'll give a whole new meaning to "Killer Bees".

Posted by: DanNY || 03/16/2006 14:44 Comments || Top||

#2  Brings a whole new 'literal' meaning to the term 'bugged'.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 03/16/2006 15:38 Comments || Top||

#3  Typical DARPA fishing project. Proof of concept and prototype delivery undoubtedly scheduled for the spring or summer of 2039.

"The cyborgs — half insect, half robot"
"The DARPA - half hucksters, half loonies."
Posted by: Visitor || 03/16/2006 17:36 Comments || Top||

#4  "The DARPA - half hucksters, half loonies."

Someone has to fund the half-wacky blue-sky R&D. Hewlett Packard and Bell Labs are not doing it anymore. Shall I note the irony that this msg is traveling over what was originally a DARPA project - the Internet?
Posted by: SteveS || 03/16/2006 17:50 Comments || Top||

#5  And all this time I thought Al Gore invented the 'Internet'.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 03/16/2006 22:52 Comments || Top||

#6  SteveS - Bell Labs doesn't exist anymore except as a brand name. Most of the former labs locations have been shut down and the staff laid off.
Posted by: DMFD || 03/16/2006 22:58 Comments || Top||

#7  heh heh - fire-breathing crab lice...think of the potential
Posted by: Frank G || 03/16/2006 23:09 Comments || Top||

#8  Leslie Crusher from STAR TREK:NG and his escaped nanomachines/nanytes are on a ship-wide rampage again??? I could say "trained cockroaches" and "geckos" but USDOD-DARPA prob means fake/robo-snakes, 'pedes, and other fav robo creepy crawlers.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/16/2006 23:23 Comments || Top||

#9  Joe nails it again!
Posted by: Inspector Clueso || 03/16/2006 23:48 Comments || Top||

Southeast Asia
Rice urges greater reform of Indonesia's armed forces
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6457 views] Top|| File under:

Tehran Wants to Talk to US About Iraq (Only)
A top Iranian official said Thursday that Tehran was ready to open direct talks with the U.S. over Iraq, marking a major shift in Iranian foreign policy. "To resolve Iraqi issues and help the establishment of an independent and free government in Iraq, we agree to [talks with the U.S.]," Ali Larijani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator and secretary of the country's Supreme National Security Council, told reporters after a closed meeting of the parliament Thursday.

The White House said the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, is authorized to talk with Iran about Iraq, much as the U.S. has talked with Iran about issues relating to Afghanistan. "But this is a very narrow mandate dealing specifically with issues relating to Iraq," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, adding that it didn't include U.S. concerns about Iran's nuclear program.

Previous discussions between Washington and Tehran in recent years have focused on logistics involved with the war in Afghanistan and earthquake relief efforts in Bam, Iran -- but all were on lower levels. The U.S. has repeatedly accused Iran of meddling in Iraqi affairs and of sending weapons and men to help insurgents in Iraq.

Mr. Larijani's statement marked the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iran had officially called for dialogue with the U.S., which it has repeatedly condemned as "the Great Satan."

Thursday's proposal came in response to a request from senior Iraqi Shiite leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who on Wednesday called for Iran-U.S. talks on Iraq. Mr. Hakim has close ties to Iran, and heads one of the main Shiite parties in Iraq, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. "I demand the leadership in Iran to open a clear dialogue with America about Iraq," he said. "It is in the interests of the Iraqi people that such dialogue is opened and to find an understanding on various issues."

Ashraf Qazi, the top United Nations envoy in Iraq, said "without knowing about this in any detail, right now I would say this is a welcome development provided it's acceptable to both sides."

Mr. Larijani said Iran will officially name negotiators for direct talks with the U.S. "These talks will merely be about resolving Iraqi issues," he told the parliament.

The U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Iran in 1979 after the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was seized by students to protest Washington's refusal to hand over Iran's former monarch for trial at home. Militant students held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. The U.S. accuses Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to build an atomic bomb. Tehran denies this, saying its nuclear program is geared merely toward generating electricity, not a bomb.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said the administration had concluded "the best way" to deal with the nuclear program is at the U.N. Security Council. While Mr. Burns didn't flatly reject Mr. Larijani's overture, he said "we have made the calculation … it is better to try to isolate the Iranian government" and that effort has caught Tehran's attention.
Posted by: Captain America || 03/16/2006 19:20 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6457 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Why would we want to follow the example of the Eurodinks into pointless talks on any subject with a regime that will be toast before the shape of the table is agreed upon?

Look up!

Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 19:35 Comments || Top||

#2  Is "piss off" an acceptable diplomatic answer?
Posted by: Thinemp Whimble2412 || 03/16/2006 19:59 Comments || Top||

#3  As far as Iraq goes, it is not any of Iran's business. We do have the issue of Iranian meddling in Iraq, like supporting terrorists, supplying new and more deadly IEDs, etc. However, we have nothing to talk about on that subject except cease and desist. End of discussion. Have a nice day.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 03/16/2006 20:08 Comments || Top||

#4  I wonder if Bolton will wear his cape and helmet.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/16/2006 20:19 Comments || Top||

#5  Why do we hafta talk? Why can't we just do unto other as they have done unto us?

Not (necessarily) with a nuke....

We gotta be better at rhetoric games than the Mad Mullahs!

Posted by: Bobby || 03/16/2006 22:21 Comments || Top||

White House opposes Iran sanctions bill
WASHINGTON, March 14 (Reuters) - The Bush administration has told lawmakers it opposes legislation to impose sanctions on foreign firms and countries working in Iran, but the lawmakers said on Tuesday they intended to advance the bill anyway. Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a key sponsor of the measure, said she would not bow to the administration's demand for more flexibility in enforcing the sanctions.

The House of Representatives International Relations Committee is to consider the bill on Wednesday, despite the White House's opposition. Backers of the sanctions legislation said it would squeeze Iran's economy, strengthening the response to Tehran's pursuit of nuclear technology which the United States says could be used to make nuclear weapons.

The legislation would require U.S. sanctions on any company or nation investing more than $20 million in Iran's energy sector, and require U.S.-based pension funds to disclose Iran-related investment. The United States has long-standing sanctions barring American companies and individuals from doing business with Iran.

"Despite the fact that the bill affords the necessary flexibility to the president and despite my best efforts and those of Mr. Lantos to make changes to the legislation toward achieving a mutually acceptable agreement, the administration will not support (it)," said Ros-Lehtinen, who crafted the bill with Rep. Tom Lantos of California, top Democrat on the committee.

Because previous sanctions on Iran were waived under the Clinton administration "and due to the gravity of the Iran threat, we do not believe it would be beneficial to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests to weaken the legislation," Ros-Lehtinen said. Rep. Henry Hyde, the Illinois Republican who chairs the committee, will decide whether to support the bill based on "how the amending process develops," his spokesman said.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/16/2006 00:11 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Some creative ideas are starting to emerge, it appears. This one certainly presents some risks-especially economic ones-but I'm glad to see that we're not in the mindset that we must immediately choose between pushing UN sanctions and attacking Iran militarily (with no allied backing except Israel). I'd like to hear this bill fleshed out and hope even more ideas emerge.

Now I have to come back to reality, though-we all must. Even if this bill passed, how long before its effects were felt; and would those effects in any way prevent Iran from realizing its nuclear dream? And what of Iran's statements about Israel? Do we have that much faith that Iran won't act on its declaration to wipe Israel off the map? Do we have that much faith that even an Iran without Ahmedinejad would desire anything different?
Posted by: Jules || 03/16/2006 1:06 Comments || Top||

#2  My opinion:
$5 will get you $50 that the only people who will be hurt by economic actions of any type would be Joe Persian. The Mullahs have cash running out their ears, total control when and where they want it, and 50+ countries who'd kill their mother to sell them anything they think they can get away with - for cash on the barrel-head.

In fact, only one thing will stop the Mullahs - regime change - and that's the ugly truth. You have to play with the hand actually dealt, not the one you wish you had.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 1:41 Comments || Top||

#3  Sanctions are a waste of time, paper, and ink. All these regimes are liars and cheats, it's the culture. And, it seems, the culture of some major European powers that are willing to enable regimes like Iran for 30 pieces of silver.

Glert is right on the mark. Nothing will stop the march of the M²s to nuclear holocaust except regime change. This whole thing is going to get a lot uglier before it gets better. the M²s don't give a rat's behind for their people---they will use them to achieve their ends. Look at the many thousands that they threw away against their war with Sammy.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 03/16/2006 10:39 Comments || Top||

#4  Must be an election year.
Posted by: GK || 03/16/2006 10:43 Comments || Top||

#5  Well, Generals Ros-Lehtinen and Lantos say...
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 10:49 Comments || Top||

#6  The Congress likes to think they are taking action. Duh, wouldn't it be smart to work with the administration and the state department and furnish what they need to deal with Iran ?
This is a clue to what's wrong with our CIA and border patrol and port security and state department and tax system and property rights and energy plans and health care and social security and on and on.
Posted by: wxjames || 03/16/2006 16:45 Comments || Top||

Iran: British Embassy Is 'spy Nest' Says Iranian Lawmaker
The deputy president of the Iranian parliament's culture commission, has described Britain's embassy in Tehran as "a nest of spies." Saiid Abu Taleb, in an interview with the Iranian newsagency ILNA, also branded British diplomats as "spies sent to our country to inform their government" on conditions in the Islamic Republic. "Every day that we delay shutting down the embassy, which is in reality a nest of spies, we are causing ourselves great harm," said Abu Taleb, adding that the British diplomats should also be expelled from Iran.
Sounds like they're working themselves up for another embassy takeover. I wonder what Jimmy Carter's reaction will be when it happens?
In recent months stone-pelting crowds have on several occasions targeted the British embassy and the residence of Britain's ambassador to Iran. In one incident a petrol bomb was also hurled at the embassy. Tension between London and Tehran came to a head in October when British prime minister Tony Blair accused Iran of a hand in the killing of British soldiers in southern Iraq by Shiite extremists. Anti-British sentiment has been fuelled in recent weeks by Interior Ministry statements alleging that London has supported revolts by ethnic Arabs in southern Iran. Before being hanged in the southern city of Ahwaz, two ethnic Arab men accused of carrying out anti-government attacks, in a televised confession said they had acted on behalf of a "foreign power". The statement was widely believed to refer to Britain.
"Har har! The foolish turbans will never suspect that it was really us, the Evil Overlords of Vanuatu!"
Many observers have highlighted the similiarities between the current campaign against Britain's diplomatic mission in Iran and the wave of anti-American sentiment preceeding the 1979 occupation of the US embassy in Tehran.
Reeeeeally? But the similarities are so subtle!
On that occasion, radical students held US embassy staff hostage for 444 days before releasing them.
They were not students.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Glad I don't have the British ambassador's job. Although those green hand bands look trendy.

About that Nazi gesture though.
Posted by: Captain America || 03/16/2006 1:01 Comments || Top||

#2  Spying has been the job of ambassadors since the very start of the profession. The sun is bright too. So their point is?
Posted by: Hupomoling Creremp5509 || 03/16/2006 9:03 Comments || Top||

#3  Do spies turn around three times before they nest, like dogs?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/16/2006 9:04 Comments || Top||

Syria, Lebanon welcome UN report on Hariri
Syrian and Lebanese officials have welcomed the latest report by a UN commission investigating the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, calling it fair and cooperative. "The report was realistic and has a lot of professionalism," Fayssal Mekdad, the Syrian deputy foreign minister and a former ambassador to the United Nations, was quoted as saying in the government newspaper Thawra Wednesday. In Beirut, Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh also said the report was well-done, telling reporters that "we welcome the atmosphere of close cooperation reflected in the report between the commission and Lebanese authorities."

The report, released Tuesday by the investigating commission's new chief Serge Brammertz, said there are encouraging signals from Syria, which earlier reports accused of not fully cooperating in the UN probe. The report noted that, after two high-level meetings, Syria agreed to a deal that will give the commission access to "individuals, sites and information." "This understanding will be tested in the upcoming months," Brammertz wrote.

In a major sign of Syrian cooperation, the UN team was to meet with President Bashar Assad and Vice President Farouq Sharaa in the coming month as part of its investigation, according to Brammertz. The commission has asked to interview Assad, who is alleged to have threatened Hariri in a private meeting several months before his assassination. Assad, who has denied the claims, had earlier resisted interviews, implying in comments to newspapers that he rejected the team's requests on the grounds that he has international immunity. Earlier commission reports implicated several Syrian and allied Lebanese officials in the February 2005 bombing that killed Hariri and 20 others in Beirut. Those reports, Mekdad said, encouraged the news media to make premature judgements. "But the new one did not," he said.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:

Security Council seeks united front on Tehran
The UN Security Council strove Wednesday to present a united front on the Iran nuclear crisis — the thorniest issue to confront the world body since Iraq three years ago. The council's five veto-wielding permanent members, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, held talks in the morning — their fifth round of discussions since the issue was referred to the UN by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a week ago.

The talks in the US mission focused on the wording of a text proposed by Britain and France as a first step in securing a unified Security Council response to the Iran question. "Discussions among the [permanent five] continue and in the light of those we'll see how soon we can bring a text forward formally in the council and get it agreed," said the British ambassador to the UN, Emyr Jones Parry. The so-called "P5" circulated the Franco-British text to the council's 10 non-permanent members for the first time on Tuesday.

The proposed document calls on Iran to accede to all IAEA demands and immediately halt any activities linked to nuclear enrichment. It also urges Iran to reconsider the construction of a heavy water research reactor and to resume implementation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's Additional Protocol that allows for wider inspections of a country's nuclear facilities. And it requests IAEA head Mohammad Al Baradei — to report on Iranian compliance with the demands within 14 days.

The figure "14" is between brackets, signifying that the precise deadline is still under debate. Jones Parry said the P5 was pushing for the document to be presented as a presidential statement, which is nonbinding but requires the approval of all 15 Security Council members.
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front: Culture Wars
Pat Robertson badmouths Islam again
Pat Robertson, the dingbat evangelist favoured by the Republican and Christian evangelist establishment as one of America's leading idiotarians, has once again offended American Muslims by denigrating Islam as a religion of violence.
Oh, dear. What terrible thing did he say this time?
He told '700 Club', a television show, on Monday that the goal of Islam is world domination and, further, that it is not a religion of peace.
Ummm... Both of those are true statements.
Most Muslims would even agree with the first statement ...
Referring to the blasphemous Danish cartoons, he said, "The fact that this elicited this incredible outpouring of rage, just shows the kind of people we're dealing with. These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now."
Usually I disagree with Pat Robertson, if only on principle. In this case, he's merely stating the obvious ...
Makes me darned uncomfortable to be agreeing with him, it does ...
Roberts said the goal of Islam is world domination and "why we don't wake up to the fact we're dealing with," he could not understand. He added, "And by the way, Islam is not a religion of peace." In 2002, the controversial evangelist said that Islam "is not a peaceful religion" and it wants to "control, dominate and then destroy."
Posted by: Fred || 03/16/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

#1  MY GOD, What if he is Right?
Posted by: newc || 03/16/2006 0:11 Comments || Top||

#2  even a broke clock...
Posted by: Frank G || 03/16/2006 0:31 Comments || Top||

#3  A blind squirrel...
Posted by: Pappy || 03/16/2006 0:35 Comments || Top||

#4  LOL. Dead right. Love the smear attempt, lol. Too funny... and discombobulating. I need to lie down.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 1:33 Comments || Top||

#5  Say what you will of Pat Robertson, but he hasn't put out a $1m bounty on anyone for desecrating Christian symbols. And his 9/11 remarks were straight out of the Bible.

Just as the remarks of a number of mullahs are straight out of the Koran. The problem isn't that they're quoting their respective holy texts - it's that Moose Limb clerics are urging their followers to go forth and tear the infidel limb from limb.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/16/2006 7:00 Comments || Top||

#6  ZF

you said, "Just as the remarks of a number of mullahs are straight out of the Koran... clerics are urging their followers to go forth and tear the infidel limb from limb."

No clerics have called for dismemberment for the cartoonists. In Islam apostasy=blasphemy and the punishment is death. Various schools of Islamic law prescribe stoning or throat slicing or other ways of carrying out the death penalty but no schools prescribe dismemberment (although dismemberment could arguably be a tactic in jihad if it causes fear in the kafr)
Posted by: mhw || 03/16/2006 8:33 Comments || Top||

#7  I don't, mmw, but beheading sounds pretty much like dismemberment to me.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/16/2006 10:53 Comments || Top||

#8  Then words did rise and honest doubt
And four grave ministers sat about
Whether the blow that left him dead
Cut off his body, or his head.
Posted by: Phil || 03/16/2006 10:57 Comments || Top||

#9  I'm a Christian evangelical, albeit not one of the establishment, and I've long wished Pat would become a Trappist. He's got a bit of a handle on the facts this time, and I hear that behind the scenes he's done some quiet good work, but when he opens his mouth I cringe.
Posted by: James || 03/16/2006 10:58 Comments || Top||


I dunno, I think he's on the Kos' payroll.
Posted by: macofromoc || 03/16/2006 11:23 Comments || Top||

#11  Novus Ordo Mundi
Posted by: Bystander || 03/16/2006 11:24 Comments || Top||

#12  We need Pat at this time. No politician is going to make such statements, no matter how true. And, we need the public to become aware of the religion of blood. Welcome Pat and anyone else who stands before a microphone and slams Islam for it's continued lunacy. Wake up America. Wake up Europe. If we wait for them to come after us, they will and they will overwehelm us. We must act now. We must take the offensive. We must put a stop to Islam, NOW.
Posted by: wxjames || 03/16/2006 11:40 Comments || Top||

#13  Pat isnt very good with his words these days... but I fail to remember the last time that Jewish or Catholic hijackers flew planes in U.S. buildings in the last 10 years...
Posted by: bgrebel || 03/16/2006 12:25 Comments || Top||

#14  I've always thought ol' Pat a dingbat. But... now I'm beginning to wonder. When surfing channels I used to wind up on the 700 clubs world news and it often had the best news reporting I have ever seen. Great heartwarming stories about Christian works and other good works being done world wide re: orphanages, medial help being provided and Christian persecution. Had one of the best documentaries I've ever seen about Jewish doctors helping Palestinian children for free. It covered the dilemma of the mommies allowing Jewish doctors to help their children and the goodwill created between the two.

Darn, maybe I've misjudged him.
Posted by: 2b || 03/16/2006 13:17 Comments || Top||

#15  Makes me darned uncomfortable to be agreeing with him, it does ...

I second the emotion. Too many of his messages have been totally screwloose well off the beaten track. How sad that he is one of the few wingnuts individuals with sufficient intestinal fortitude to call a spade a spade. I guess he sees his meal-ticket being threatened. No tele-evangelism buckaroos once mullahs are running the tent.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/16/2006 13:28 Comments || Top||

#16  "I guess he sees his meal-ticket being threatened."

Or he's smarter, more honest, and free to tell the truth - and happens to reach tens of millions of people when he speaks - than you give him credit for. I think you're jealous, lol.

Cut him, and the others who come from different points of view but have the threat correctly nailed, the slack that honesty deserves. Diatribes, whether his or yours, sound eerily alike to the neutral observer. Don't turn off the audience you (obviously) seek by doing precisely what you ridicule him for.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 13:37 Comments || Top||

#17  Or he's smarter, more honest, and free to tell the truth - and happens to reach tens of millions of people when he speaks - than you give him credit for. I think you're jealous, lol.

Ummm ... no. I just see his spewing (retracted or not) about how 9-11 (or the shuttle catastrophe) was America's just punishment for our straying from the path as abetting the enemy's morale. Yes, he's on the right track now (ergo, the strikethroughs in my previous comments), but who knows what or where this loose cannon will blunder into next?
Posted by: Zenster || 03/16/2006 14:18 Comments || Top||

#18  You've got a spew problem too - such as your endlessly repetitive:

Collect the GPS coordinates of every imam and mosque issuing these death fatwas and the instant a single one of the cartoonists (including their loved ones) are harmed or killed, bomb every single stinking one of the cesspits back to the stone age.

We get it. Always did. We're on the same side, sort of. When someone joins us and spreads the message to millions, be happy. Be gracious. Be generous. It doesn't cost you anything. As I said at O'dark-thirty this AM in #4, yeah - finding yourself in agreement with PR is "discombobulating". And I left it at that because it serves no useful purpose to dilute the message. That's free advice, lol. Don't want it or whatever? Fine. You come across obsessed. Sad, that.
Posted by: Glert Thetch2165 || 03/16/2006 15:03 Comments || Top||

#19  Tell it like it is Pat! 700 club news and docs are getting better and their work is amazing.
Posted by: Johnnie Bartlett || 03/16/2006 15:34 Comments || Top||

#20  We get it. Always did. We're on the same side, sort of.

Thank you, GT. Message confirmed, I'll tone that one down. I have no intent of spamming this board with any sort of message, no matter how meaningful.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/16/2006 16:25 Comments || Top||

#21  Oooh, triple win. Out in the open for discussion in the west, fatwa on Pat and riots of offended muslims across islamania. Three birds - one stone!
Posted by: Thinemp Whimble2412 || 03/16/2006 20:03 Comments || Top||

#22  I'm with most of you all too here. Being one of those hated, dispised groupies of the "religious right" (I always note the MSM doesn't paint a group as the secular left, do they?), I even cringe now when Pat gets the mic. However, we must praise him when he gets it right. I truly believe he sees Islam for what it truly is, and will "speak truth" to that fact. After his last snafu, though, it hurt (about Sharon getting just desserts for trying to give away God's land). While many Christians may even think that way, we'd never say it...Pat does, lol!
Posted by: BA || 03/16/2006 23:05 Comments || Top||

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Wed 2006-03-15
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Tue 2006-03-14
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Mon 2006-03-13
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