Marjan the one-eyed lion, the most famous of the war-battered beasts at the Kabul Zoo, has died. Marjan, believed to be around 25, probably died of kidney and liver failure connected to old age. The lion had a hard life. In the 1990s, an Afghan guerrilla showing off for his friends jumped over the guardrail into Marjan's den, and the lion killed him. The next day, the dead man's vengeful brother threw a grenade into the cage, and the explosion took out Marjan's eye. It just doesn't seem fair. He shoulda gone on another ten years and died fat and surrounded by lionesses and cubs. The poor guy deserved that.
It's sweet and poetic that he lived to see peace, though. On a more practical level I hope this doesn't deflate efforts to bring aid to the zoo's remaining animals. Posted by lakefxdan 1/26/2002 9:36:54 PM
Last weekend, the former U.S. attorney general under Lyndon Johnson and his anti-war buddies filed a court petition on behalf of more than 100 terrorism suspects challenging their detention at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. According to Mr. Clark's neo-Stalinist front group, the International Action Center, the United States is violating the detainees' human rights by not providing them with basic amenities such as "adequate clothing, underwear and footwear," "fairly priced food, soap, tobacco and ordinary items"; and "complete latitude in the exercise of religion." Malkin doesn't like him, either. Nice history of Ramsey's liking for tin-hat dictators and vicious holy men.
Thieves ransacked the home of an Indiana family while they were attending the funeral of Sgt. Jeanne Winters, a U.S. Marine who lost her life in Pakistan on Jan. 9. Fifty fellow Marines were among the mourners bringing comfort to the Winters family. While they laid their loved one to rest, a thief or thieves broke into their home. Some suspect that the thieves were after cash donations. The family is still assessing what is missing. Sometimes you really hope there's a Hell, because some people so thoroughly deserve to go there.
I'm from Indiana, although I haven't lived there in more than thirty years. But there was a time when, if there was a hell on earth, Gary, IN was pretty much it. It had a downtown that looked like Berlin at the end of WWII. People fled the place as if it were radioactive. Crime was unbelievable - I believe it was one of the murder capitals, back when the slaughter really was unbelievable.
I hope it's improved over the years - but for a time, Gary was not only the heart of the rust belt, but the blood belt as well. Posted by Anonymous 1/27/2002 2:33:31 AM
Authorities at O'Hare International Airport intercepted more than $650,000 in cash that was hidden inside cereal boxes in luggage waiting to be loaded aboard a plane bound for Amman, Jordan. The Chicago-area man who checked the bag aboard the Royal Jordanian airlines flight was taken off the plane at O'Hare and questioned. No charges had been filed by Friday evening.Airport sources said the bag containing the money--bundles of mostly $10 and $20 bills--did not undergo required security screening. There was no indication that the money was linked to terrorist activities. Interesting little story. Bet we never see any follow-up on it. "No indication it was linked to terrorist activities"! I suppose not. Could be drugs. Or it could be... Hey! Where're my cereal boxes? I was keepin'... stuff in them!
The Chicago ABC station's investigative reporter is promising a Thursday story on "the Chicago connection to terrorism". I'm assuming some of it will hit the papers, but I'll update on my blog when the story airs. Uh... my blog should be back on the air by then. :-S Posted by lakefxdan 1/26/2002 9:38:40 PM
Regarding Chairman-for-Life Arafat and the PLO: "I think we'd better be very careful here before we start cutting off relationships, because of the questions that follow . . . What is the alternative? Who then do you deal with?" Sen. Chuck Hagel, Republican from Nebraska and member of the Foreign Relations Committee. If there's no alternative to Arafat and the PLO, then there are no constraints on the Chairman and his Political Arm. He and they can do anything they want and we and the rest of the world have to let them get away with it, not necessarily because the alternative is worse, but because the alternative is unknown. "General" Afafat has succeeded in painting himself into a corner by acting on that assumption. Yasser is a one-track thinker, and that track is the one that's strewn with bombs and bullets. He thinks they got him where he is today (the position as a player in Middle Eastern politics, not the one where he's trapped in his office with Israeli tanks parked outside in every direction).
If Arafat were to drop dead this afternoon of a stroke or heart attack, what would happen? The "unified" Palestinian areas would break down into factions. The hard boys among them would indulge in a period of shooting and blowing each other up as they jockeyed for position as Arafat's successor and, more important, for his place at the international money trough.
There are indications that the Arabs expect Yasser to go down. In the current crisis, Arab leaders haven't been calling, writing, and badgering the USA. The crisis itself popped up because he couldn't control the factions - Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa, his own Tanzim, the PFLP, and other nut jobs. After Sharon described him as "irrelevant" there was discussion in the Beirut press over whether he was, and the concensus was that Sharon was correct. Then last week Hezbollah started to flex, for no particular reason. There is more brain power behind Hezbollah than there is behind Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They usually do things for a reason, yet here none was obvious. We should be seeing a Palestinian branch of Hezbollah, or an alliance between Hezbollah and one of the Palestinian factions fairly soon.
So return to the assumption that Yasser keels over with a chicken bone in his throat. Hamas is probably the most powerful faction. Allied with them will be Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa. The three probably have interlocking directorates already. The PA cops will become a faction in themselves - already have, judging from the number the Israelis arrest. They may ultimately ally with the politicals - PFLP, DFLP, and Fatah. That puts Hizbollah in a balance of power position, as they're a hybrid political/religious group, with their backing from Shi'ite Iran rather than from Sunni Arabia.
We can expect all of these factions to fight among themselves, with the internal alliances changing without warning (at least to us outsiders), while they attempt to keep fighting against Israel. But Yasser's departure would turn Palestinian attention self-destructively inward for anywhere from a year to 18 months before the next Chairman-for-Life arises. It could even result in a situation such as applied in Lebanon for long, long years, of total and tiresome anarchy. Israel won't be totally off the hook, but there are only so many suicide bombers to go around.
In a statement released after a Saturday night meeting in Ramallah, headed by Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian cabinet said that the armed conflict between Israel and the Palestinians could end within 24 hours. The statement called upon all Palestinian organizations to enforce a "comprehensive cease-fire and stop operations against Israel and Israelis." The statement added, "these attacks [against Israel] do not serve our national interests." The Palestinian Cabinet also called upon the United States to return special envoy Anthony Zinni to the region, and to renew the joint Israeli-American-Palestinian security coordination talks. The statement also demanded that Israel let Arafat leave Ramallah and withdraw its troops from Palestinian cities. Yasser? They ain't listening. This is starting to look a little like Hitler issuing orders to non-existent divisions while the Russians were knocking at his door.
the sad truth is that hostilities could and would end in 24 hours if that is what Arafat wanted. He still controls over 40,000 armed militia/police that could easily wipe out/tie down the Hamas and Islamic Jihad active cells. Arafat doesn't wan't to. Peace is not in his plans. Why rule over a tinpot thord world country when you can fantasize about keeping the whole world focussed on your shitty little mess. Shame on the so-called Arab leadership who stand by and acquiesce in this Arafatian farce as their brothers suffer. Must be a line or two in the Koran about that. Posted by Mark 1/26/2002 4:27:43 PM
I don't think that's the case anymore. I don't think he can stop what he's started. Posted by Fred 1/26/2002 5:59:44 PM
There's just the glimmer of a policy turn here; very optimistically, Arafat could be laying the groundwork for a civil war. How he'd fight it would be the interesting part. (What if that's why he was arming up? Hmmm. I'm not ready to accept that explanation, but I also can't see how he would have pursued an escalation with Israel he must know he'd lose badly.) Posted by lakefxdan 1/26/2002 9:46:05 PM
French police seized an explosives stash linked to the Basque separatist guerrilla group ETA. Police said they had discovered some 1,300 pounds of dynamite together with bomb-making equipment and false car number plates when they raided a house near Pau, on the edge of the Basque region that straddles the border with Spain. They said they raided the rented property after the landlord tipped them off that he had not been paid for several months. There was no sign of the tenants. Documents linked to ETA were also found at the premises. Dontcha hate it when that happens? They spent so much money on dynamite, they didn't have enough left over to pay the rent.
Saudi Arabians implicated in the September 11 attacks on the United States were unwitting victims of Osama bin Laden, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister was quoted as saying. "The Saudis who perpetrated the attacks of September 11 were betrayed themselves. You can see it in the second video cassette from bin Laden where you can see him laughing, Prince Saud al-Faisal told French newspaper Le Figaro. "He dragged fellow countrymen into a suicide mission they knew nothing of. We are studying our mistakes. But by loading the blame for September 11 on a country, Saudi Arabia, the Western media is committing a massive injustice," he said. Prince Saud also said his country would pursue and arrest any Saudis involved in al Qaeda. Uhuh. The arrests should start any time now.
The Philippine government said it refused to be intimidated by local communists opposing Manila's joint military exercises with U.S. forces in the south of the country. Presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao said that Netherlands-based Philippine Communist Party chief Jose Maria Sison had ordered his group's front organizations last week to "vigorously oppose and resist" the joint training, dubbed Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder). "Sison has ordered his organizations to drop everything and focus on anti-Balikatan propaganda war," Tiglao said in a statement. "He has also asked his agitators in pickets to provoke the police to violence in order to gain public sympathy for his demonstrators. They'll probably hire Ramsey Clark at some point. Seems, though, like the commies would have a lot to lose if the fundos got a firm foothold in the area.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.