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Brits hunting anti-aircraft missile smugglers
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Page 1: WoT Operations
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Suspicion Surround Deaths Of Muslim Activists In The UK
Source: almuhajiroun.com
Following the death of Sulayman Zein ul-Aabideen recently, the news of the sudden death of another Islamic activist comes as a shock to the Muslim Community in Britain. Sulayman Blandin of Al-Muhajiroun, was allegedly found by the police in the River Thames on the 5th of February 2003, suspected to have been in the water for between 3-5 days before being discovered.
Ewwww! Ucky!
Sulayman, a black convert in his 50’s, was well known in the North London area as a devoted Muslim who was always keen to help out with Islamic causes. He was regularly seen at Islamic conferences, talks and seminars over the years, often offering to video and record the events for distribution by Al-Muhajiroun (and other Islamic organisations) to further propagate the Islamic concepts and ideas passed. His professional audio and videoing skills were well known and his sudden death, claimed to be suicide by the police, is therefore being treated with great suspicion especially considering that Sulayman Blandin had often complained about being harassed by the police and in light of the intimidation and oppression currently being suffered by the Muslim community generally at the hands of the British government through their police; the Manchester, Woodgreen and Finsbury Park arrests being examples.
On the other hand, he may have awakened one morning and realized that al-Muhajiroun in all wind and no substance, that there's not going to be a khalifate in Britain, that he was never going to be the Amir of vast country estates populated by deferential British dhimmis, and thrown himself into the canal. If so, it was probably one of the better ideas he ever had.
Far from contemplating suicide Sulayman Blandin was working on many projects just before news of his sudden death was heard. These included a commentary of the Qur’an, with various audio-video materials having just been purchased for this purpose. These are clearly not the actions of someone about to commit suicide, an action known by Sulayman to be prohibited in Islam. Sulayman Blandin was a key figure in Al-Muhajiroun’s publication team and never hesitated to show his open support to Usama Bin laden or the Taleban for their stand against those who are at war with, and would silence, Islam and Muslims.
"Those who we are at war with" includes not only the British government (why they allow al-Muhajiroun to stay in business is another unanswered question) and the British people. Maybe some prospective dhimmi got tired of listening to him, and helped him into the canal.
Following the draconian measures introduced post-September the 11th by the British Government, the random and wild arrests of many Muslims across the country, the detainment of Muslims without any trial or charges, the violation of the sanctity of Muslim homes and mosques, the sudden death of Sulayman Zein-ul-Aabideen and the stories of ricin, intended to stir up anti-Muslim hatred to support the war in Iraq, the burden of proof is firmly on the Police and British Government to show that Sulayman was the victim of a crime as opposed to another sacrifice of the Blair governments new crusade against Muslims.
They say that like they're in charge. Tony, show him what your finger looks like.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/13/2003 02:16 pm || Comments || Link || [336087 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This sounds like a job for...

The local police.
Posted by: mojo || 02/13/2003 15:20 Comments || Top||

#2  Probably a ... double secret fatwa just like in "Animal House"
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2003 15:39 Comments || Top||

#3  I say he blew a blood vessel when he saw that picture of Prince Charles wearing a kofi cap.
Posted by: Anon || 02/13/2003 15:45 Comments || Top||

#4  There was a mole in that org. Just hope it wasn't him...
Posted by: Kathy K || 02/13/2003 16:03 Comments || Top||

#5  Wouldn't it be great if the deranged serial killers of the world all started fixating on Abu Hamza-like Islamofascists... instead of little old ladies, children or young women et al.

The Islamofascist Stalker... wonderful.

Loonies versus Loonies.
Posted by: anon || 02/13/2003 19:27 Comments || Top||

#6  I think it's quite likely these kinds of odd deaths of Muslims will be those of suspected double agents or moles, who have infiltrated the jihadis. Since there's been no substantial investigation of US intelligence failures concerning 9/11, I suspect there are Saudi-paid moles working in the CIA/FBI/NSA, a la Hanson.
Posted by: Tresho || 02/13/2003 23:23 Comments || Top||

Live grenade found in London airport arrest
With authorities on heightened alert for terrorist attacks, police Thursday arrested a Venezuelan man with a live grenade in his luggage soon after he arrived at Gatwick Airport, prompting the north terminal of Britain's second busiest airport to be evacuated, authorities said.
Bet the baggage checker evacuated himself too.
The incident was one of two airport security scares Thursday; near Heathrow Airport, authorities arrested two men under Britain's Terrorism Act as a precaution, but further details were not released. In the Gatwick incident, the 37-year-old man was arrested after his luggage was searched and the grenade was found. He had arrived at the airport aboard a British Airways flight from Bogata, Colombia, via Caracas, Venezuela.
On his way to a IRA seminar, perhaps?
"The item has been examined by explosives officers, and it appears to be a live grenade," Scotland Yard said in a statement. The man was taken into custody under Britain's Terrorism Act and transferred to Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist detectives for questioning.
Having a live grenade in your baggage does tend to raise a few eyebrows.
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2003 01:35 pm || Comments || Link || [336077 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "I was going fishing in Scotland, I swear!"....
Posted by: mojo || 02/13/2003 13:51 Comments || Top||

#2  Bogata, huh? Didn't something interesting happen there recently. Think the Columbian cops might want to talk to this guy?
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/13/2003 14:00 Comments || Top||

#3  Lots of IRA ties to Bogota.
Posted by: Chuck || 02/13/2003 15:27 Comments || Top||

#4  Yep, the baggage inspector's pants probably went to condition brown.
Posted by: Tresho || 02/13/2003 23:25 Comments || Top||

Brits hunt anti-aircraft missile smugglers
This week's Heathrow security alert was sparked by high-quality intelligence that Islamist extremists with links to al-Qaida have smuggled portable Sam-7 anti-aircraft missiles into Britain from Europe. Investigators have been told that the smugglers then contacted a small number of known sympathisers within the UK, who have become the focus of a huge police inquiry.
Sam-7's are not good news.
The intelligence, which is understood to have been received at the weekend, sent shudders through anti-terrorist investigators. They had not received such specific and credible information of an imminent threat since the September 11 atrocities. The warning about the movement of a number of the shoulder-held missiles did not come from the FBI or from European agencies but from credible "homegrown" sources.
From which mosque?
MI5 immediately shared the information with senior detectives from Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch, who used emergency procedures to request troops to beef up security at the airport. Police and the intelligence agencies regularly hear "background noise" pointing to possible attacks on UK interests here and abroad. But investigators insisted yesterday the Heathrow warning was of a quite different order and that the response to it had to be quick and uncompromising. A surveillance operation has been launched and anti-terrorist investigators are hopeful of making arrests in the coming days. The police and MI5 believe there are about 40 Islamist extremists based in Britain who are linked to al-Qaida, some of whom have been monitored for months due to concerns they might be instructed to carry out a terrorist strike.

In a briefing yesterday, the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir John Stevens, hinted that Heathrow was not the only target in London, but he refused to be drawn on which other buildings in the capital could be under threat. He also confirmed that closing Heathrow had been considered. There was also the possibility of troops being drafted into the capital, he said, but this was not imminent. However, Whitehall sources also said there would almost certainly be more high-profile security operations involving the army as well as armed police when fresh intelligence emerges. The Met and the security service is assessing the threat on a day-to-day basis and reporting to Downing Street.

Though security at most of Britain's other major airports was increased yesterday - armed police were stationed at Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham International, Stansted and Gatwick - investigators said this was precautionary and that the "core" threat was still to London and Heathrow. Sir John has been riled by suggestions that he has come under political pressure to exaggerate the threat posed by terrorists. Detectives insisted yesterday that their concerns, which have been growing for months, are separate from the debate about whether there should be a war in Iraq. "This is not linked into any propaganda war, which has been alleged by one or two people," Sir John said. "Let me make this absolutely clear - we're not in the business of scaring people or doing things without reason. This kind of operation ... is a last resort."
Sir John is a professional; he's not likely to tolerate political meddling of the kind suggested.
Asked if there had been any interference at all, Sir John said: "Absolutely not, I can assure you of that. We would not go along with any kind of pressure. I would not be part and parcel of anything like that." He said his reputation, particularly in his ongoing investigation into collusion between the security forces and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, was for independence of mind. "I go where the evidence is," he said.

However, the suggestion that the Heathrow operation was a useful PR exercise for a government that has struggled to persuade the public about conflict in Iraq rattled John Reid, the Labour party chairman. In an interview yesterday morning, he said London faced a threat "of the nature that massacred thousands of people in New York". Later he qualified his remarks, saying that he had been "misinterpreted" and that he had not meant to compare September 11 to the current situation in London.
No, he was right the first time. Having Sam7's fired at civilian airliners is of the same nature that cost us the WTC.
"I was attempting to make clear this is not some sort of game; it's not some sort of PR exercise. It was precisely the suggestion that any government ... would use such a serious subject for their own purposes of spin or public relations I just found pretty contemptible."

The home secretary, David Blunkett, said closing Heathrow, which was discussed by cabinet members on Monday, would have been "a victory for the terrorists".
The chancellor, Gordon Brown, yesterday increased the amount the Ministry of Defence can spend on a war against Iraq from £1bn to £1.75bn. However, independent analysts say the cost to British taxpayers of an invasion of Iraq would be at least £3.5bn.
Freedom isn't cheap. It's going to cost us more than cash, we'll undoubtedly lose some fine people, and the Brits will too.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2003 09:42 am || Comments || Link || [336109 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Does anyone have the serial numbers on the SA-7s that Sammy bought?
Posted by: Dishman || 02/13/2003 1:11 Comments || Top||

#2  Has anyone looked under Vanessa Redgrave's bed?
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 02/13/2003 5:07 Comments || Top||

#3  if the problem is SAM-7's whats the benefit of the troops around heathrow - doesnt the sam 7 have a longer range than the airport perimeter?
Posted by: liberalhawk || 02/13/2003 7:53 Comments || Top||

#4  Aircraft are in danger below 10,000 feet. So, the area that needs to be defended is the approach and departure paths out to where aircraft are above that altitude.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/13/2003 9:56 Comments || Top||

#5  Round up Hookboy.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/13/2003 10:06 Comments || Top||

#6  While the Brits are hunting Wahabi financed missiles, the Islamo-fascists of the Promotion-of-virtue-Prevention-of-vice corps are conducting search and destroy operations against ROP conscripts who have dared to celebrate Valentine's Day. The Saud hired tablecloth-heads have this to say to sweethearts everywhere:


I would like to send a 10 megaton Valentine to Mecca, Medina and Riyadh.
Posted by: Anon || 02/13/2003 11:27 Comments || Top||

#7  Sigh. You had to post that link, didn't you? I was saving it for tomorrow...
Posted by: Fred || 02/13/2003 11:58 Comments || Top||

#8  If you sent a Valentine's greeting in the form of a 10 megaton bomb to Mecca today, you could wipe out a whole big bunch of turbans. Just trying to make your site more bloodthirsty Fred so you can move up in the most bloodthirsty category next year.
Posted by: Denny || 02/13/2003 12:20 Comments || Top||

#9  This is something I have considered and rejected. Methinks it would be much more effective to put a few kilos of X in the water supply. No fatalities, but a whole lot of laughs and embarassment a-plenty.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/13/2003 15:09 Comments || Top||

#10  Next Haj, couldn't we just spray Mecca with Ebola from 40,000 feet?
Posted by: anon || 02/13/2003 19:32 Comments || Top||

#11  The Brits are getting the same type of detractor heat that we in the US are getting. Stopping terrorism is like facilities maintenance. You never get an "atta-boy" when nothing happens. On another note, maybe we should develop some nitrous oxide "laughing gas" JDAMS. It would be a hoot to see millios of folks in Mecca laughing their asses off. They need to lighten up a bit. Just a thought.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/13/2003 22:05 Comments || Top||

Der Speigel: How the German Intelligencia Perceives Bush and the US.
Sorry kids, were going to have to deal with my high school german translation of der speigel, but its pretty interesting none-the-less.

Why Bush must lead this war

Weakend by failure complexes, of the fundamentalist God illusion: George Bush is preceived by the Psychocologist and theologian Eugen Drewermann to desire to lead a "better" war than its father. In the interview Der Speigel uses one of the most debated church critics to look into the psyche of the US president.

Der Speigel: Mr. Drewermann, US-President George W. Bush often uses often religious images: He speaks of the "axis of evil", In German - this comes out as 'axle of the bad one', I dont think it carries the rhetorical wieght over there that it does here...of the "crusade" against the terror. After the crash of the space shuttle "Columbia" he quoted the Prophet Isiah, he frequently closes he speeches with the formula: "God protects America". Is Bush a convincing Christian?

Drewermann: It the kind of rhetoric that betrays its effort to convince the public with religious conceptions of the kind of the exercise of power in particular of the monumental possibilities of a crusade against the bad.

Der Speigel: What are the consequences of organizing mankind into properties of good and bad?

Drewermann: Such a bipolar viewpoint of history is ideologically extraordinarily dangerous and psychologically almost blind. One avails oneself of the myths of Persian dualism for the reason of an absolute morality.

Der Speigel: Do you want to equate Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush?

Drewermann: Those who fight like Bush against the terrorism, gives strength to terrorism. The Americans should give an example to the world for effective disarmament, and they should the enormous sums of money, which they invest into the war, begin to the fight against the reasons of the war. The Americans reduced their expenditures for the fight on poverty in the world to 1.7 billion dollars. That is not as much as they spend in two days for the military.
there it is folks, its all our fault.

Der Speigel: You regard Bush obviously rather as a criminal as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth.

Drewermann: who is it that is wishing to avoid war?, who takes the authentication from the 'Sermon on the mount'?.Hundreds of thousands of humans who deliberately to kill, has not understood Christianity, or he has walked away from it. One cannot go over corpses, if one wants to go the way the Christ.

Der Speigel: Why does Bush use religious language?

Drewermann: It's to win the voices from the American Bible belt. They are the religious ZuengleinSorry, I didnt catch that one at the balance. In the meantime it is usual to present itself as a president with the aura of the "Gods choosen". Within it is the wording of the USA as "God's own country". There one lives in the illusion to possess as large nation of God for the steering of the world fate a special missionary appointment. Hey -we even put it on our money,"in god we trust", quait people aint we. I think I understand why we left europe in the first place

Der Speigel: Therefore does the intolerance of the American government cause agitation in relation to the German attitude in the Iraq conflict? wowm the german government calling someone else intolerant. Call me back when they start rebuilding synagoges in berlin.

Drewermann: Bush shifts the religious absolutists speech on power-politics, geostrategic and economic goals. Therefore its attitude: "If you are not for us, you are against us". In this situation, the US must have unbelievable hubris. and lots of really big grey ships with airplanes on them.Over a so chauvinististic, illusory religiously motivated speech can only serve to frighten.

Der Speigel: Is this attitude of the American government to be due alone to Bush?
They keep forgetting about that "voting" thing, as if he just popped up one day.
Drewermann: In certain sense Bush is victim of an attitude of the mind, which with the Evangelists, which the political right and the fundamentalists go extraordinarily deep with their Christian values. Beyond that, it has surrounded itself with a fantasy from the time of the Gulf War. Vice President Cheney ascended with oil compainies from Halliburton to the top man at the pentagon, Colin Powell appears moderate, but was however in reality something else. Condoleezza Rice is not an absolutely ambitious lady and preaches anything as war. Paul Wolfowitz inflicts the world with the conception that a war will bring prosperity, democracy and human rights in Iraq.

Der Speigel: If fundamentalist positions fasten with Bush, how is its psyche knitted?

Drewermann: We may accept Psychoanalysis that the religious foundation depends on the worth of parents. Bush senior had already said 1991 in the first war against the Iraq, the completion of the war could be only the victory of the good. This victory of the good one cost the life in the Iraq alone more than 200,000 people and made hundred of thousands crippled. The embargo politics pressed more than one million humans into death. How can one intone the word "good" in such a cruel way?

Der Speigel: Do you want to state in all seriousness, Bushs Iraq politics is a synthesis from father complex and religious fundamentalism?

Drewermann: The religious component can have connected itself with the completion of its alcoholism problems. Alcoholics compensate heavy inferiority complexes - Bush applied over years as the failures of the family - by drugs and by loyalty and joviality. For George W. , he merges God and his father into the order to lead a still larger and still better war than his own father - with the assistance of the "father in the sky".

Well, atleast he didnt say it was "all about the Oil"

Eugen Drewermann
Eugen Drewermann, 63, is a most widely read and most debated German theologian. From 1979 to 1991 he taught at the catholic-theological faculty in Paderborn Dogmatik. Then church training permission was extracted from it. One year later it was suspended by the office for priest. Drewermann, who studied Psychoananalysis, published and operates more than 70 books and a psychoanalysis practice.

Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/13/2003 12:31 pm || Comments || Link || [336079 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I forgot to add that at the end of this article is a online poll asking if the reader thought it was accurate and informative. 62% of the respondents ( about 8000 votes) said yes.

further on in the article Herr Drewermann said that he didnt think the US was a democracy but a plutocracy, so we were on the same level as Saddam Hussien anyway.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/13/2003 13:14 Comments || Top||

#2  "This victory of the good one cost the life in the Iraq alone more than 200,000 people and made hundred of thousands crippled. The embargo politics pressed more than one million humans into death. How can one intone the word "good" in such a cruel way? ".....

As I read this, he's saying that GulfWar I was a bad thing. Brings to mind the Catholic Church rolling over for "The Leader".
Posted by: Dishman || 02/13/2003 13:27 Comments || Top||

#3  Now, I know nothing about the German media, but one of the few periodical names I do know is Der Spiegel. So this is a real, mainstream, respected German publication, right? And it comes up with this undiluted, cheapjack faux-psychological crap, with nary a blush. And the Europeans are now shocked and bewildered at the anti-Europe sentiment here.

Posted by: Angie Schultz || 02/13/2003 15:00 Comments || Top||

#4  Der Speigel is like the 'New York Times' of Germany, you can consider it to be the 'newspaper of record' for the germans.

The whole issue is full of of a bunch of real shocking things, of which this article is just a sample. I hesitated putting into Fred's "Open Souce Journalism" because it was so long and I had to get a serious QWERTY bruise banging my head on the keyboard translating german. But I thought it was pretty interesting to get a view inside the heads of these folks.

Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/13/2003 15:10 Comments || Top||

#5  Angie: If you've ever worked with Euros, you'd know this is pretty typical patter. They just don't seem to follow the rules of logic as we know them. I was in grad school with a bunch and they could not dissect the simplest argument let alone create one. I never cease to be amazed that they are able to keep their countries running. The Brits are the big exception.
Posted by: 11A5S || 02/13/2003 16:10 Comments || Top||

#6  An assessment of anyone's Christian orthodoxy by a modern German theologian is worth as much as my assessment of a Bulgarian textbook on quantum physics. Less than nothing.
Posted by: Christopher Johnson || 02/13/2003 16:22 Comments || Top||

#7  Ran across this at UPI:

In the current issue of the German newsmagazine, Der Spiegel, the Catholic theologian Eugen Drewermann did just that. Being a psychoanalyst as well, he diagnosed Bush's war plans as a symptom of a neurosis and a socio-psychological delusion rooted in the desire to outdo his father in the martial realm.

As far as we know, Drewermann has never had Bush on his couch. On the other hand, we do know that the Vatican has suspended this theologian from his priestly functions, which makes one wonder why one of Europe's most important publications would use this man in its continuous quest to turn its readers against the United States.
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/13/2003 17:32 Comments || Top||

#8  11A5S, I have worked with Europeans, extensively, and they've never had any trouble with logic when it came to things like quantum physics. I confess that I rarely had political discussions with them.

When I was in Australia we had a German grad student. One of the Australian students made some remark in front of him about Germany munching Poland. I must have looked shocked, because the Aussie said, "Oh, that's OK, he's one of those mellow Germans." I said that all the Germans I'd worked with were mellow Germans, and it's true. So where do these other bastards come from?
Posted by: Angie Schultz || 02/13/2003 17:40 Comments || Top||

#9  I think someone forgot to remind the Germans that the Iraqis are Semites. That would clear up any misunderstanding.
Posted by: Penguin || 02/13/2003 19:12 Comments || Top||

#10  Angie:

Quantum physics, yes, they're great. Politics and strategy, weak. I think it has a lot to do with educational philosophy and maybe the games we play as children. Americans are educated to solve big problems (strategy). Europeans are great tacticians (small problems). Once you get away from things like science and math, it becomes hard to measure differences quantitively, so let me give you some historical examples. When the French started building the Panama Canal, they just could never grasp the scale of what they were attempting. As a result, they dug a few hundred meters of canal and quit. The Americans came in and instantly grasped once they were up against. They mobilized accordingly and succeeded. (Source: The Path Between the Seas) In the WWII, the Germans were excellent tacticians, very strong at the operational level of war but awful at strategy. You can blame a lot of that on Hitler, but I have never been able to find any documented cases of when the German General Staff presented a credible strategic alternative.

My experience is that most Euros (there are always outliers) have a hard time when approaching real world business and political problems. They try to apply a "scientific," schematic approach to problems that can't be solved scientifically or schematically. The result is a pseudo-scientific hash like the Der Speigel article. If you understand this, then a lot of their behavior regarding Iraq and the WoT suddenly makes a lot of sense.
Posted by: 11A5S || 02/13/2003 19:44 Comments || Top||

#11  I always thought Freud was a fraud, his psychonalysis looking for root causes, his patients endlessly talking and never actually doing anything. Hm, sounds like the Franco-German position.
Posted by: Tresho || 02/13/2003 23:37 Comments || Top||

Italy frees Pakistani terror suspects
An Italian judge has ordered the release of 28 Pakistani immigrants arrested on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks.
The reasons for the order are unclear, but reports suggest little evidence was found against the men. Judge Ettore Favara said: "Preliminary checks of each individual arrested can only lead to the considerable reduction of the seriousness of the charges against them." The Pakistanis were arrested late last month during a raid on a run-down estate in Naples. Police said they found a circled newspaper photograph of the head of Britain's armed forces, Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Sir Michael Boyce.
Maybe they were just fans
Several pages of a map of the area of Bagnoli, a suburb which is home to Nato's southern command headquarters which is based in the city, were also said to have been recovered. Sir Admiral Boyce was due to visit the base in March. The arrests sparked a protest from the Pakistani Government to the Italian ambassador, claiming the suspects were victims of a "conspiracy."
Posted by: Paul || 02/13/2003 09:45 am || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Judge Ettore Favara ordered the release concluding there was "reason to believe the men were unaware that explosives were hidden", in the apartment they had been renting.
They said they were renting the apartment from the local mob.
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2003 15:33 Comments || Top||

Spain’s Aznar ’isolated’ over Iraq
Only his party supports Bush's position to attack Hussein.
This is rich."Only" his party!
The Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar, faces the sixth consecutive negative of the Spanish Congress to support Bush's plans in the Middle East. Additionally, the growing popular opposition to Government's foreign policy, over 75% according polls, called on a massive demonstration for Saturday in Madrid as part of the European anti-war movement.
It'll give the loonies a chance to catch up.
According with the information published by the local media, national and communal forces will prepare a joint statement, in which they will ask PM's office to exhaust all the ways to find a pacific solution to the conflict and avoid war. The document is supported by the Workers Socialist Party of Spain, PSOE, the United Left, a coalition of communist and other leftist forces, as well as Catalan and Canarian nationalists.
All the usual suspects.
The statement comes by the time German Chancellor Schroeder holds talks in Madrid about the Spanish position on the Iraqi affair. Aznar, backed by his party, PP, has been a strong allied of Bush on US foreign policy over the last years.
"Gerhard! Good to see you. Um, nice hair!"
The United Left, IU by its initials in Spanish, had proposed a harder statement, but was rejected by the moderate Socialists. In such document, IU leaders urged the Government not to support in the UN Security Council any proposal that could allow the possibility of an armed conflict. Also, the final document will not include IU's about the use of Spanish bases by US forces. On Saturday, a nation-wide day of protests against war is scheduled to press Government to abandon bellicose Bush-style rhetoric. Marchers will meet in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Alicante, Valencia, Oviedo, Sevilla, and all major cities of the country. Organizers expect a massive anti-war demonstration, which has already started in many national universities.
Wonder if the bomber bikini babe will march?
"We don't want Europe to be economically powerful but politically coward", said Francisco Frutos, General Secretary of the Spanish Communist Party, during a summit in Buenos Aires on January. "Aznar's Popular Party - PP - is the most servile and abject follower of the most dangerous world leader, George W. Bush", added Frutos, stating clearly his point of view regarding Government's foreign policy.
Also stating clearly why his party is fizzling.
During the last weeks, Aznar faced repeated rejections to pass pro-Bush resolutions regarding the Iraqi conflict. The Spanish public opinion has expressed its opinion regarding the issue, but Aznar does not look like very much interested in listening to it. The protests scheduled for Saturday will be a test for the PP, looking forward the elections of May.
By May Aznar will have been proven to be right. The IU will really sputter then.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2003 09:46 am || Comments || Link || [336066 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hmmm... IU? Idiotarianistas Unidas?
Posted by: mojo || 02/13/2003 1:12 Comments || Top||

#2  Mojo, LOL! I wish I had thought of that.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2003 1:18 Comments || Top||

#3  You'll love this one, then: The Avg. American's view of the Muslim World...

Posted by: mojo || 02/13/2003 1:58 Comments || Top||

Pakistan urged to learn from Iraq's experience
Just as Pakistan is today, Iraq was once a close ally of Washington's. And just like Iraq, the United States may one day demand of Pakistan to disarm itself, said Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani on Tuesday.
Actually, that's not only a lie, but a damned lie. Iraq was a Soviet client state up until the Sovs went out of business. Iraq's tanks were all Soviet — T72s and T55s. So were her APCs, mostly MT-LBs, if I recall. So were the majority of her aircraft, to include bombers; the remainder were French. The artillery was Soviet, too, except for some Brazilian multiple rocket launchers. The U.S. did provide some intel support during the Iran-Iraq War, which occurred just after the Iranians occupied our embassy and held our people hostage. That was pretty much the extent of our involvement, other than diplomatically — and that was usually in oppostion to Iraq.
Maulana Noorani, a leader of the Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Pakistan and the Chairman of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, said the American moves against Iraq were actually aimed at getting hold of the Muslim World's resources. Washington's measures were also meant to protect and preserve Israel.
JUP's measures, on the other hand, are meant to protect and preserve international terrorism. Let us not forget that they're one of the signators of Binny's declaration of war on us. Let us never forget — and never forgive. I consider the fact that JUP hasn't been disbanded and its leadership jugged as an unfriendly act by Pakistan, and probably grounds for war itself.
If the United Nations allowed the United States to launch an attack on Iraq, the Muslim countries and the Organization of Islamic Countries should reject it as it would go against them, he said.
so why bother?
Maulana Noorani suggested that in such an eventuality, the Muslim countries should boycott American goods and recalled their diplomats. Relations with Washington be scaled down, and if America still didn't get rid of its wrong policies, supply of oil be stopped.
Notice that Noorani doesn't control any oil himself...
The MMA leader claimed that the United Kingdom had been plotting against Islam for the last two centuries. This time it had used the United States. Similarly, the United States was using Great Britain in its shameful game, said Maulana Noorani. It was the United Kingdom which had by giving away the district of Gurdaspur to India provided the latter with a land route to Kashmir. London had also played an objectionable role in the international designs against the Ottoman Empire, he said. The real force behind the moves against Islamic countries, thus, remained the United Kingdom, he claimed. "Great Britain, in league with the United States, again is busy in plotting against Islam," he said. "This is an important part of their 'New World Order.''
Oh. I never knew that about the Brits. I always assumed they were sticking with us because they like our beer. Make's me like 'em more, y'know?
Answering a question, Maulana Noorani said at the moment war was on America's mind only. "Like a wild elephant, it wants to crush the Muslim World."
Only that part of it that wants to kill us. But that includes Noorani's bunch, eventually...
The only way out of the present situation was for the Muslim countries to unite against the West's evil designs. "America is planning for the future. In about 12 years, there will be a shortage of oil in the United States. And the big oil reserves are in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. We thought that the Pakistan government had finally realized that it had made some mistakes, but as it turns out, it is still dancing to the American tune."
I suppose it could always bite the bullet and arrest Noorani and Qazi and Fazl and stretch their necks. They could also stop infiltration into Afghanistan and Kashmir. But I guess that's asking too much.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/13/2003 04:24 pm || Comments || Link || [336074 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Fred, what's this about us supplying stuff to Iraq---tangible things, not intel---during the Iran-Iraq war? I've heard it was everything from actual bioweapons [very bad] to dual-use medical supplies [questionable, at worst]. Do you know of a good site for reference?

I've tried googling on it, but I only get about ten thousand hysterical wacko hits.

Yeah, yeah, I know other countries (like, oh---FRANCE) supplied much more, and much more dubious, things; but I'd like some hard facts to hit idiots over the head with.
Posted by: Angie Schultz || 02/13/2003 17:33 Comments || Top||

#2  My feeling is that any supply of materials to Iraq for their chem weapons program would have involved dual-use materials. Sammy's first usage against the Iranians involved mustard gas and, if I remember correctly, chlorine. Chlorine has a lot of legitimate uses, and mustard gas isn't very complicated to make; both are WWI technology. Mustard gas was actually "invented" in 1860, by mixing ethelyne with chlorine. Sarin is a "fluorinated organophosphorous compound" - doesn't sound real complicated to make, not as complicated as gasoline. VX, I think, is more complicated.

I don't know anything about the bio agents, but I suspect that data exchange was in the realm of disease control.

NBC components were embargoed in the 1980s, at the latest, and I'm pretty sure the embargo was in effect through the beginning of Gulf War I. Obviously it was breached, but I doubt if it was with government connivance, despite the theorizing at Indymedia and its clones.

You can find some released CIA reports - some of them look like they're barely out of the raw intel stage - here, and there is some non-hysterical information at Gulf Web.
Posted by: Fred || 02/13/2003 20:43 Comments || Top||

Al Rashed’s Disappearance Veiled In Mystery
Source: Jiahd Unspun
According to Islammemo.com [the name doesn't resolve -Fred], it was unusual for the Arabic website Jehad.net, owned by Abd El Rahaman to publish a statement ten days ago stating "Al Rashed was arrested by the Western intelligence and we ask the brothers to invoke Allah to help him and please don't try to contact the site". The site is known to publish information on operations of the Mujahideen and has been hacked into on several occasions. One day after this mysterious message, the site disappeared. With further analysis, one has to question whether it is really reasonable for Jehad.net to publish this statement which would only make the situation worse for Al Rashed in front of western intelligence if he is really was arrested. Islammemo concluded that this statement was false and that it was put by hackers. Al Rashid may not have been arrested; he may have traveled to Pakistan, which he has done in the past to engage more correspondents for the portal, particularly those who speak Urdu to acquire more sources of news about this sensitive area. Only time will tell if and when the portal comes back online. In the meantime, one can only speculate whether Al Rashid is really in custody of if this is merely more disinformation to weaken the Muslim voices.
I like to think he's been kidnapped by members of the Samoan underground and that he's being beaten on a daily basis just on GPs. More likely, he just went back to Pakland for a bit of home cooking and some jihad lessons.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/13/2003 02:01 pm || Comments || Link || [336069 views] Top|| File under:

Report: Iran, India to share intelligence on al-Qaeda activities
India and Iran are expected to sign an agreement to set up a joint working group on terrorism and security during a visit by a top Indian home ministry official to Tehran this week, according to The Indian Express.
If I needed someone who knows terrorism, I'd think of Iran.
In its Wednesday edition, the paper said that home secretary Gopalaswami was on a four-day visit to Iran to finalize the joint working group that would also deal with activity in Afghanistan of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
"The home secretary has gone for a final round of talks with officials including the deputy interior minister," the report quoted an unidentified Indian official as saying. "The working group is likely to be constituted during this visit itself," the official said. The main purpose of the working group was to share intelligence on al-Qaeda activities in Afghanistan, the report added.
Uh huh. Since both India and Iran are not blind to current events, they both know that al-Qaeda is most likely to be found in their common neighbor, Pakistan. Look for ranting and spittle to flow from Perv soon about this.
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2003 10:16 am || Comments || Link || [336084 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This is nuts. Iran is cooperating with al-Qaeda, and India must know this. What gives?
Posted by: Joe Katzman || 02/14/2003 0:40 Comments || Top||

Senior Democrats accuse CIA of sabotaging inspections
CIA 'sabotaged inspections and hid weapons details'
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
14 February 2003

Senior democrats weasels have accused the CIA of sabotaging weapons inspections in Iraq by refusing to co-operate fully with the UN and withholding crucial information about Saddam Hussein's arsenal. Sammy won't tell us where they are, and the CIA won't reveal their sensitive info, so of course, in the Dem's mind, it's the CIA's fault

Led by Senator Carl Levin, the Democrats accused the CIA of making an assessment that the inspections were unlikely to be a success an opinion shared by everyone with a brain and then ensuring they would not be by not doing Sammy's job for him? . They have accused the CIA director of lying about what information on the suspected location of weapons of mass destruction had been passed on.
pretty harsh accusation - and what evidence do you have of that, Mr Levin?
The row is of heightened significance given the Bush administration's preparations to argue later today before the UN Security Council that the inspections have run their course and it is now time to move to military action.

France, Russia, Germany and other members of the Security Council are likely to back a counter-proposal to increase the number of inspectors, providing them, if necessary, with the support of armed UN soldiers, as a means of avoiding a military strike.
a non-starter for so many reasons
The accusation of US sabotage emerged from a series of Senate hearings on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, George Tenet, the CIA director, told the armed services committee panel that the agency had provided the UN inspectors with all the information it had on "high" and "moderate" interest locations inside Iraq – those sites where there was a possibility of finding banned weapons. But Mr Tenet later told a different panel that he had been mistaken and that there were in fact "a handful" of locations the UN inspectors may not have known about.

Senator Levin, from Michigan, responded by saying the CIA director had not been telling the truth. Citing a number of classified letters he had obtained from the agency, he said it was clear the CIA had not shared information with the inspectors about a "large number of sites of significant value".
because the team of inspectors was infiltrated and surveilled by Iraqi intelligence who would take countermeasures
He said the CIA had told him additional information would be passed to the inspectors within the next few days.By us, not Sammy, and that's the rub, isn't it, Senator (D-Moron)?
Mr Levin pushed Mr Tenet on whether he thought the inspections had any value. The CIA director replied: "Unless [President Saddam] provides the data to build on, provides the access, provides the unfettered access that he's supposed to, provides us with surveillance capability, there is little chance you're going to find weapons of mass destruction under the rubric he's created inside the country ... The inspectors have been put in a very difficult position by his behaviour. That's the right response
Mr Levin said later he believed the CIA had, in effect, taken the decision to undermine the inspections. "When they've taken the position that inspections are useless, they are bound to fail," he told The Washington Post. "We have undermined the inspectors." What an A*%HOLE

Mr Levin has raised his concerns with the White House. In a letter to President Bush, the senator asked that America provide the inspectors with as much information as available.
Please identify any sources so the Iraqis can kill them verify their credentials

He wrote: "The American people want the inspections to proceed, want the United States to share the information we have with the UN inspectors and want us to obtain United Nations support before military action is used against Iraq."
13 February 2003 15:54

Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2003 05:58 pm || Comments || Link || [336089 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Idiot.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/13/2003 18:19 Comments || Top||

#2  You know, on second thought, he's not an idiot. In near future we're going to be showing the world Saddam's rather large WDM stockpile. All the folks who were pinning their hopes on the inspectors will look pretty silly. So what to do? Make it all the fault of the CIA that the inspectors couldn't find anything! If only the mean-old CIA had given the inspectors whatever they wanted, then inspections would have worked and everything would have somehow been sunshine and flowers.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/13/2003 18:28 Comments || Top||

#3  No Patrick, you were right the first time. An idiot, but not your average idiot but a true idiotarian of the highest degree.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 02/13/2003 18:52 Comments || Top||

#4  Dear carl's blubbering last sunday alone qualifies him as the village idiot...

Posted by: Anonymous || 02/13/2003 20:05 Comments || Top||

#5  What Levin said is so illogical on its face, so knowingly dishonest, so vile that my reaction to it is rage and nothing else. What he's saying is poisonous. Any elected official who agrees with him should be driven from office the next time they're up for reelection.
Posted by: Michael Levy || 02/13/2003 23:03 Comments || Top||

#6  i note that the independent calls Levin a "senior democrat" both the far left and the right have a motive to emphasize the centralitiy of this type of position in Democratic politics. I note that of the Dem presidential candidates, Leiberman, Edwards, and Gephardt openly support the admin on Iraq, Kerry does so in his inimitable non-commital way, only Dean and Sharpton are opposed.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 02/14/2003 8:11 Comments || Top||

Saddam’s relative leading UK antiwar protest?
Rallying to the cry of 'no war'
By Ian Cobain, Christopher Walker and Ben Hoyle

THE United States is preparing for one of its largest military engagements since the Second World War. Britain, meanwhile, is expecting one of the biggest gatherings in London since VE Day. The crowds that will assemble on Saturday will not be celebrating the end of one conflict, but mounting a protest against the start of another. Organisers of the demonstration opposing war against Iraq say they are confident that at least 500,000 people will take part, and latest polls indicate no lack of support for the cause. ...

The first seeds of the protest were sown at a meeting at the Friends’ Meeting House, opposite Euston Station, ten days after the September 11 attacks. It led to the formation of the Stop the War Coalition, whose supporters include Tariq Ali, Louise Christian, lawyer to the Paddington rail crash families, and George Galloway, the Labour MP for Glasgow Kelvin.

The Stop the War march has been organised by the coalition in conjunction with the Muslim Association of Britain, a five-year-old network offering spiritual and educational support, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which expects most of its 30,000 members to attend.

The association is predicting a degree of Muslim involvement never before seen at a British popular protest. Anas Altikriti, a member of its executive, said: “Over the last few years (British Muslims) have realised that they can’t afford to stay at home watching television and shaking their heads in disbelief. They have to come out and do something.”
Altikriti or Al-tikriti is the original surname of Saddam Hussein, who comes from the town of Tikrit. So do most of the leaders of the regime. Saddam Hussein's half-brothers (former head of the Mukhabarat, former Director of Intelligence, and former Minister of the Interior) all still use the surname al-Tikriti, as do the secretary general of the Iraqi armed forces and most of the leaders of the "Special Security Organization". Is Anas Altikriti a relative of Saddam Hussein, a loyal member of the Tikriti group that leads Iraq, and/or an Iraqi government agent? While there is no additional evidence for these possibilities, the co-incidence seems quite striking. And it would be quite natural for a Saddam Hussein relative to be leading protests in favor of his clansman.
Posted by: Matthew M || 02/13/2003 11:00 pm || Comments || Link || [336080 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I'm not too sure about the significance of this. "al-Tikriti" just means someone who came from Tikrit. Just glancing down the al-Qaeda list on Thugburg, the first name is Abd al-Mushin Al-Libi (the Libyan). Abdel Azeem al-Muhajir is "the immigrant," or maybe "the traveller." We can guess were Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi is from.

Anas Altikriti has been the Media and Public Relations Director for Muslim Association of Britain for awhile, just as Galloway's been a suck-up to Sammy for awhile. Anas al-Tikriti - I'd guess he's the same one - is an instructor of Arabic at Heriot-Watt University.

If he is a relative or a clansman, which is entirely likely, it would be pretty clumsy of the regime. They do seem to be more clumsy than usual lately - viz., the diplo on his way home now from Manila for consorting with Abu Sayyaf. On the other hand, he may legitimately have no connection with Sammy's family beyond the distant relative category.
Posted by: Fred || 02/13/2003 21:18 Comments || Top||

#2  Ridiculous, pathetic attempt at journalism. Perhaps because I come from Glasgow I am George Galloway's brother, which must make me loyal to Saddam. Geez, you can always find a link somehow, eh?
Posted by: Glasweji || 12/03/2003 16:14 Comments || Top||

Iraqi Women Besiege U.N. Office, Vow to Battle Invaders
With world attention now commanded by the looming U.S. war on Iraq, people inside the target country act with a clear sense of patriotic responsibility and a spontaneous readiness to "fight the new Anglo-American colonialism" on Sunday, February 9. They chanted anti-American slogans and lambasted Washington’s false justifications to win over world skeptics of war.
Did they get this rhetoric from KCNA?
Raising Iraqi and Palestinian flags, the women demonstrators called on U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to take up responsibility to ensure settling international disputes through peaceful means and not to succumb to vicious American attempts to blackmail the international agency. "I participated in the march to express my deep feelings of condemnation of U.S. historic aggression plans against our country which are only meant to raze its infrastructure, monopolize its resources and force its people to their knees," said Zahraa Nazim Suheil, one of the organizers.
"That, and 'cuz they told me to..."
She has attended several training courses on fighting techniques in what described as a clear demonstration that Iraqi women will stand shoulder to shoulder with men in battling the invaders and thwart their occupation schemes. "Iraqi women are not less courageous than their Palestinian counterparts who ferociously stand against Israeli occupation forces in heroism, ready to sacrifice their lives for their usurped homeland," Sahbaa Abdel-Rahim Hassan, a pharmacy student, said amid spiraling anti-war slogans.
"Yeah. Them Paleos got nothin' on us..."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/13/2003 01:48 pm || Comments || Link || [336067 views] Top|| File under:

US-British planes hit missile base near Basra again
US and British warplanes Wednesday attacked an Iraqi surface-to-surface missile system that had been moved into striking range of US troops in Kuwait, US military officials said. The missile base, located near Basra in southern Iraq, was struck for the first time Tuesday, but coalition warplanes returned to knock out its radar, said Navy Commander Dan Balice, a spokesman for the US Central Command. "Today's target was against a portion of the system that was identified yesterday, but they didn't positively identify it as a legitimate target," he said. "So rather than hitting it when they weren't sure, they went back to recheck what they had seen and then hit it today."
Being careful to avoid civilians
A missile carrier also was struck in Wednesday's raid, said Lieutenant Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman. The first raid struck the missile launcher, a command van and a support vehicle, he said.
This is why they used so many smart bombs during the first raid. Most likely the targets were spread out over a wide area.
A defense official, who asked not to be named, said it was an Abadil-100 ballistic missile system. It was the first time such missile launchers have been targeted by US and British air forces. A Central Command statement said the raid was carried out "after Iraqi forces moved the missile system into range of coalition forces in Kuwait."
Those troops bunched up in Kuwait are too good a target for any WMD that Sammy's got. Anything that could hit them will be taken out ASAP.
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2003 10:51 am || Comments || Link || [336067 views] Top|| File under:

#1  They're really, really serious about this target. You have to wonder if they had details on the warheads that were there.
Posted by: Chuck || 02/13/2003 11:02 Comments || Top||

#2  Question for you military guys from an ignorant civilian:
Why does this short range surface to surface missile have a radar? Is it a 'firefinder' radar for locating artillery positions?
Posted by: JAB || 02/13/2003 12:36 Comments || Top||

#3  Tracking the bird after launch to check and adjust trajectory, probably.
Posted by: mojo || 02/13/2003 12:57 Comments || Top||

#4  So, like do you think they would start the war without telling us, maybe hoping the French might not notice?
Posted by: Michael || 02/13/2003 13:43 Comments || Top||

#5  From a military guy.
The Nike-Herc system [double function as both an AA missile and Surface to Surface missile] had three radars. Two for target tracking and the third which was the missile tracking radar [MTR]. This radar functioned as part of the guidance system. Being a circa 50/60s design without advantage of transistors, the calculation for guidance were done on an analog computer in a van with the initial coordinates and corrections relayed via the MTR. If you don't have a good microprocessor technology to fab your own advance avionics, then this system design would provide something on a lesser scale but still viable. On the other hand, it always made for a very large target for the other guys.
Posted by: Don || 02/13/2003 13:50 Comments || Top||

#6  If you know what you're doing, you can assemble a decent guidance system from COTS parts. I've seen it done. As far as Iraq's claims of not having a guidance system yet, and that the added weight would affect the range, I think not. The system I saw built weighed about two pounds.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/13/2003 13:59 Comments || Top||

Special Operations Units Already in Iraq
Washington Post: Edited for length
U.S. Special Operations troops are already operating in various parts of Iraq, hunting for weapons sites, establishing a communications network and seeking potential defectors from Iraqi military units in what amounts to the initial ground phase of a war, U.S. defense officials and experts familiar with Pentagon planning said. The troops, comprising two Special Operations Task Forces with an undetermined number of personnel, have been in and out of Iraq for well over a month, said two military officials with direct knowledge of their activities. They are laying the groundwork for conventional U.S. forces that could quickly seize large portions of Iraq if President Bush gives a formal order to go to war, the officials said.
The ground operation points to a Pentagon war plan that is shaping up to be dramatically different than the one carried out by the United States and its allies in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Instead of beginning with a massive aerial bombardment, the plan envisions a series of preliminary ground actions to seize Iraqi territory and effectively encircle Baghdad before a large-scale air campaign hits the capital, defense officials and analysts said. "It's possible that ground movements could come in and occupy large portions of Iraq almost unimpeded," said one person familiar with Pentagon planning. In northern Iraq, the source said, "we might get to the outskirts of Tikrit without firing a shot." Tikrit, a city north of Baghdad, is Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's ancestral home and a major base of his power. Military officials familiar with the war plan say it is possible that a fairly substantial ground operation could take place not after the air campaign, as in the Gulf War, but either before or simultaneously with it.
The Special Operations forces operating in Iraq have several distinct missions. Some are establishing relations with opposition groups and setting up airstrips into which U.S. forces could be flown, the officials said. Others are focused on preventing Iraq from launching missiles or drone aircraft against Israel. Those troops are believed to move in and out of Iraq from neighboring countries. In addition to the ground operations, a small-scale air war against Iraq also continues. U.S. and British aircraft patrolling "no-fly" zones in northern and southern Iraq have conducted airstrikes several times a week for months, hitting antiaircraft sites, military communications lines and other government facilities. On Tuesday, U.S. warplanes dropped more than a dozen bombs on a medium-range missile launcher system in southern Iraq. Yesterday, they returned to bomb the radar system for that launcher. A psychological operations campaign also has been underway, with leaflets and broadcasts preparing Iraqis for military action, telling them, among other things, that "coalition forces do not wish to harm the noble people of Iraq."
Early moves of U.S. forces into northern, southern and western Iraq could substantially reduce the obstacles faced by the large-scale ground operations that would follow, military planners said. In the north, Kurdish militias already have achieved considerable autonomy while the south is overwhelmingly populated by members of the Shiite sect of Islam who widely resent Hussein's Sunni-dominated leadership. Western Iraq is largely uninhabited desert. As a result, military planners said, U.S. ground forces could seize as much as 75 percent of Iraqi territory in the early phase of a war, leaving Hussein in control of Baghdad and the area from the capital north to Tikrit, bounded on the west by the Euphrates River and on the east by the Tigris -- a region less than 50 miles wide and about 150 miles long. Assaulting that area still presents a formidable challenge, especially in Baghdad and other cities. But by radically reducing the combat zone, the war plan promises to substantially lessen the impact on the Iraqi population. That in turn would ease humanitarian problems.
For many of the same reasons, people familiar with the Pentagon's war plan said, the military also will move quickly to secure major oil fields either before the formal outset of war, or as it begins. Pentagon officials said the plan under contemplation would not resemble the Gulf War, where the opening signal was cruise missiles and bombs hitting downtown Baghdad. Rather, they said, widespread aerial attacks on the capital may be among the last major moves by the United States.
In 1991, it was essential to hit targets in and around Baghdad to cut communications of the national antiaircraft network. But in contrast to 12 years ago, the antiaircraft system in northern and southern Iraq has been substantially degraded by years of airstrikes. While Baghdad remains protected by surface-to-air missiles, many of them withdrawn into the capital region from the "no-fly" zones, much of the rest of the country is relatively open to U.S. aircraft. Military experts cited tactical and strategic reasons for beginning the war in a way that almost inverts the opening of the Gulf War.
"If Saddam Hussein has the oil fields wired for destruction and is prepared to blow the dams and dikes of the lower Tigris and Euphrates, which would slow down our forces, you can't go through a week of bombing that gives him the chance to do that," said Andrew Krepinevich, a defense expert at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think tank. Also, the Bush administration worries that global patience with a war would begin running out after a few weeks of fighting. Arab governments have sent the message to the U.S. government that "if you do it, it's got to be done quickly," said Michael Eisenstadt, an expert on the Iraqi military at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. So it is advantageous, he said, for the military to win some strategic breathing space by achieving some of its war aims before the major air campaign begins.
Makes sense, also means that we could start anytime with the forces already in place. The heavy armor units still in transit would not be needed until later.
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2003 08:52 am || Comments || Link || [336083 views] Top|| File under:

#1  How to make a country disappear... I wonder how tough Tikrit is? It'd be nice to snap it up very early on, though that's the one place I'd expect house to house or Paleo style resistance after the occupation.
Posted by: Chuck || 02/13/2003 11:06 Comments || Top||

#2  We ought to simply annihilate Tikrit - I doubt there's anybody in the entire town we couldn't do without, and lots we'd consider "better dead".
Posted by: mojo || 02/13/2003 12:59 Comments || Top||

#3  Good chance too that Saddam has harbored WMD's in Tikrit as it's one of his only loyal areas - they're like a giant mob family there
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2003 16:00 Comments || Top||

#4  Has anyone thought that Saddam has WMD installations tunneled under Baghdad itself? If Scuds are launched from the city itself, Baghdad will have to either be occupied or destroyed.
Posted by: Tresho || 02/13/2003 23:48 Comments || Top||

Turkey denies British troops role on border
Turkey is withholding permission for the deployment of British troops in support of American ground forces preparing a northern front against Saddam Hussein's regime. A formal request made three weeks ago has still not been answered.
News of the delay emerged as Turkey's foreign minister, Yasar Yakis, flew to Washington to smooth its troubled military cooperation with the US. The row within Nato over deploying troops to the Turkish border with Iraq last night also remained deadlocked.

One Istanbul newspaper has reported Turkish military sources as saying that senior officers are reluctant to accept British troops because they fear the British "are trying to influence the Iraqi Kurds to create distrust for Ankara".
They may also remember Gallipoli, and the plans Churchill had for Turkey after WW I.
The formal request was made in late January when the chief of the defence staff, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, met his Turkish counterpart, General Hilmi Ozkok and visited the Turkish airbase at Incirlik, where a British squadron of Jaguars enforces the no-fly zone over northern Iraq. The 16 air assault brigade, several thousand strong, consists of two battalions of the Parachute regiment as well as commando units, helicopters and engineers.

The delay reflects growing anxiety about the turmoil which might erupt in northern Iraq in the event of a war. Washington insists Turkish forces in northern Iraq should be under the command of American generals; Turkey, which has up to 15,000 soldiers in the Kurdish semi-autonomous enclave, has dismissed the request.

There are fears of clashes between Turkish forces and Kurdish groups. Turkish soldiers are likely to begin search and destroy missions against the last mountain refuges occupied by Kadek, formerly known as the the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
They can't do that if they're under American command, so ...
The threat of Turkish military intervention has already triggered a threat from Kadek - on ceasefire for the past three years - that it may resume its terror campaign. Earlier this week Osman Ocalan, the brother of the group's jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan, said militants would reinfiltrate Turkey if Turkish troops entered the region.

"If Turkey sees the issue as a vendetta and starts an annihilation war, the [Ankara] government will seal its own end," Ocalan said. "The armed resistance will be carried out in the widest possible area."
This would be very bad for the region, and particularly bad for Osman's health.
In Brussels, Nato's 19 ambassadors met for the third day of a crisis that has shaken the alliance to its foundations and risked rendering it irrelevant as the US loses patience with its European allies.

France appeared determined to block a possible compromise over the issue of defending Turkey in case of attack by Iraq despite proposals by the secretary general, George Robertson, to drop earlier requests that European al lies replace US troops serving in the Balkans. France, Germany and Belgium vetoed the original proposals on Monday. The view in Brussels is that they are unlikely to budge until after the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, reports to the security council tomorrow.
And they'll find another excuse after that.
Turkey, invoking Nato's protection in anticipation of war with Iraq, has formally requested the deployment of Awacs early-warning planes, Patriot anti-missile batteries and specialised infantry units trained to resist attacks by chemical and biological weapons. Some commentators suggest Nato's deployments could be used for offensive as a well as defensive operations.
All this gives great comfort to our new NATO members in eastern Europe, who now are permitted to wonder if the French would come to their aid in the future. No wait, they don't wonder at all.
Along the Turkish border with Iraq, householders have begun putting plastic sheeting over doors and windows or creating sealed, safe rooms to protect them against possible Iraqi gas attacks.

Mr Yakis's talks in Washington will focus on Turkey's request for extra cash for agreeing to open its bases to US forces. The Turkish parliament will vote next Tuesday on whether to formally authorise military cooperation.
How long will it take to get our units in place after that?
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2003 01:12 am || Comments || Link || [336076 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Can anybody give a clear motivation why the US is so eager to destroy Iraq, please don't bring up that old cliche of Saddam is a dictator or mass destruction weapons conspiracy theory.

I wonder if the US is going to stop after Iraq, or whill she continue with Iran?
Posted by: Murat || 02/13/2003 2:21 Comments || Top||

#2  If the US is 'so eager', why didn't they invade last year?

It's funny, you people are so clueless that you just don't get that Bush is essentially dragging his heels on Iraq. Many, many, many Americans wanted Saddam taken out last year.

But no. Bush had to go to the UN and get the weapons inspectors in. He had to consult with our allies.

That's the really ironic thing. Because he's taken so long to actually do it, it's given the opposition ages and ages and ages to grow.
Posted by: Jeremy || 02/13/2003 2:48 Comments || Top||

#3  Machiavelli taught that you should get the unpleasant, unpopular decisions over and done with QUICKLY or and string out the treats, as people are apt to get angry quickly then forget about it, while constantly being reminded of how good their leaders are by the treats.

I wish GW Bush and Colin Powell would read The Prince. Saddam should have been toast by last year already. If they linger much longer, there'll be no acting at all.
Posted by: anon || 02/13/2003 3:55 Comments || Top||

#4  Machiavelli taught that you should get the unpleasant, unpopular decisions over and done with QUICKLY and string out the treats, as people are apt to get angry quickly then forget about it, while constantly being reminded of how good their leaders are by those treats.

GWB and CP et al should read The Prince. Saddam should have been toast by last year already. If they linger much longer, there'll be no getting rid of him at all.
Posted by: anon || 02/13/2003 3:56 Comments || Top||

#5  Murat,

The U.S. is not interested in "destroying Iraq" any more than it was interested in "destroying Afghanistan" or "destroying Kosovo". We are intersted in removing from power the current rulers of Iraq. Iraq will not only survive, but prosper if we do that.

As for why we want to do that, well, since you've already absolutely ruled-out a willingness to listen to the best reason, there's no point to even have the discussion, is there?

As for "what's next", I'm damned if I know. A lot will depend on the post-Saddam world situation. Iran could explode into a revolution that topples the current regime, descend into civil war, or simply continue to repress its people while hunkering down and waiting. North Korea could lash out wildly at South Korea, make a deal with the US, or simply sit and starve to death. Terrorists could perform one or more hign-profile attacks on targets in the U.S. or Europe or they could continue to make loud threats and do nothing. The Palestineans could decide that they need to make a deal with the Israelis or they could continue the intifada. Islamic countries could get out of the business of supporting terrorism or they could continue. My crystal ball is pretty hazy on all of those points.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/13/2003 4:36 Comments || Top||

#6  Patrick, Iraq will prosper if we do that, if we do what? Bombing them three centuries back in time (equal to Afghanistan)? Bombing every infrastructure and complex that has been left or rebuilt since 1991, that decreased the average income of an Iraqi from the $7000 to the current $1200. Letting the income of the Iraqis further decrees to $200, well below the standard of the Central African nations? What kind of prosperity do you mean if I may ask, spiritual prosperity?

I am not a person of follow the CNN blindfolded, I asked Iraqi Arabs themselves what they feel about Saddam, most of them regard him as a hero (how strange it may sound for us). They speak of him as the only ruler of Iraq who cared for the Iraqi people, you have to know that Iraq has never known democracy ever. They understate that he only shared the oil revenues for the prosperity of the people, and before 1991 Iraq was the only Arab country with a full social system and health care for every individual. Only a majority of the Kurds are radical anti Saddam.

I admit that I am a sceptical, but it is not wrong to question whether we are not focused by one-sided information only. If Iraq is packed full with mass destruction weapons, then where are they, why didn’t the weapons inspectors have one piece of evidence. And why has Collin Powel presented such shallow evidence, let go of the smoking gun, there was not even fume.

Sorry but I am not convinced, this tantrum is more a personal vendetta of Bush and nothing else IMO.
Posted by: Murat || 02/13/2003 5:16 Comments || Top||

#7  My recollection is that in October of 2001, support for taking down Saddam was around 70%. That was over 6 months before the administration made any kind of noise about actually doing anything.

As for "WMD conspiracies"...

Suppose we did nothing, and then Saddam's weapons WERE revealed..

What would you say to the families of the dead?
"Your family member died so we wouldn't have to go to war in Iraq."
Except.. then the fat would really be in the fire, and it wouldn't be precision guided explosives.

If you think America is aggressive now after 3,000 people died, just imagine how aggressive we would be if there were a successful WMD attack on us.

For all the talk of fueling Islamic militance, there's been very little consideration given to the effect on Americans. A lot of American youth have been transformed by events, in ways that certain parties beyond our shores might not much care for.

"Go ahead, make my day."

Can't you feel the anger rising?

Posted by: Dishman || 02/13/2003 5:29 Comments || Top||

#8  Congratulations Dishman, you answered my question in a way that I totally have not expected:
What would you say to the families of the dead?
"Your family member died so we wouldn't have to go to war in Iraq."

So I guess, now you plan to tell the innocent, your family member has died because we had suspicions that Saddam had unrevealed weapons. Very convincing indeed!!!!

For all the talk of fueling Islamic militance, there's been very little consideration given to the effect on Americans. A lot of American youth have been transformed by events, in ways that certain parties beyond our shores might not much care for.

Forgive me for not understanding your logic, do you say American youth will be de-transformed when the US wipes out hundreds of thousands of lives?
Posted by: Murat || 02/13/2003 7:39 Comments || Top||

#9  murat

your point about infrastructure is good - if we destroy it that will make it hard to build a democratic, prosperos IRaq. Fortunately the Pentagon knows this. Rumor is they will make every effort to AVOID destroying infrastructure this time. The air war will look very different from Gulf war 1 or from Kosovo.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 02/13/2003 7:57 Comments || Top||

#10  Murat,

You're assumption that the war with Iraq will inflict hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties and result in the near complete destruction of Iraqi infrastructure strikes me as possible only in one circumstance -- if Saddam uses the WMDs you seem to feel he doesn't have.

I acknowledge the catastrophe that is the current Iraqi economy. However, if after the first Gulf War Saddam had obeyed the instructions of the UN to disarm, then Iraq would not have been been hit by the UN sanctions that limited Iraq's ability to export oil. With the wealth provided by oil exports, Iraq would have been able to rebuild something other than grandiose Presidential Palaces. Unfortunately, Saddam had different ideas.

Iraq's slide into it's present misery began during the disastrous Iran-Iraq war, which was caused by the ambitions of Saddam Hussein. In 1991, the United States and a host of allies did not suddenly attack Iraq just for kicks. They did so because of the actions of Saddam Hussein. The reason Iraq was unable to rebuild after the war was because of the decisions of Saddam Hussein.

If you want a prosperous Iraq, getting rid of that man is the fastest route. And if your Iraqi Arab friends cannot see that, I can now finally see how Iraq ended up with Saddam in the first place. I thank you for that insight.
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/13/2003 8:39 Comments || Top||

#11  Liberalhawk, Patrick Phillips,

Rumours do also say that this time the bombing will be so heavy that it will be matchless to anything we have ever seen. If it is not the infrastructure then it must be the mountains and the shepherds who will be targeted by the air force. Before 1991 Saddam was regarded as US ally, you just have to read some notes about April Gilespie.
But forget about Saddam, the fact of removing the Baath’ist regime alone will probably cost more than hundreds of thousands of victims, even US planners do reckon with a power vacuum, which will draw Iraq into civil war.

Although I am not convinced about the US justification for a war, I am convinced that the US will proceed with it no matter what. May the war rid every Arab nation of their dictators, starting with the Saudi’s and all of the other sheikh dictators.
Posted by: Murat || 02/13/2003 9:13 Comments || Top||

#12  Anon,

the U.S. is not run by Princes, but simple mortal men


we in the U.S. also destroyed Germany and then rebuilt the democratic German state that is now challenging us. (we are sentimental saps, thus the large debt)
I, a mortal man, want the same thing for the people of Iraq. I want to be able to trust that people of Iraq can disagree with the U.S. and not get mailed a vial of anthrax. It's that simple.
Posted by: Bruce || 02/13/2003 10:03 Comments || Top||

#13  How amazing it is that so many people seem to have the inside scoop on U.S. military strategy and target lists! Suffice it to say that GWB will do no more harm than necessary to secure the WMDs and remove Saddam and his cronies. To the extent that the Iraqis and others make that difficult, they are only doing more harm than good. I fail to see how terrorist threats and French bumbling are doing anything other than stiffening American resolve. As for Iran, behavior similar to Saddam's is sure to invoke the same response.
Posted by: Tom || 02/13/2003 10:29 Comments || Top||

#14  Rumors say that the air portion will start out with 3,000 precision guided munitions, true.
Results from Afghanistan were that 90% landed within 10 feet of their target.

Now, what are we going to be aiming at?
Bunkers, command posts, senior officers.
Get the maximum leverage out of our weapons.

People predicted tens of thousands of civilian deaths in Afghanistan. My recollection is that the final tally was 954. More people were dying of starvation before we went in.

While the rest of the world has recognized our dislike of casualties among our own, it has not yet recognized our dislike of casualties among civilians or even the enemy's armed forces.

As for Saddam's WMD:
The truth will come out within one month. You might want to consider how strongly you say he has none. It might affect your credibility in the future. We're willing to put our credibility on the line in saying that he has them, and we intend to prove it. Forget the CIA intelligence and NSA intercepts. The UNMOVIC reports have all the evidence I personally need to feel comfortable in that.

Perhaps I should rephrase my "what do you tell the families.."
What would you tell the families of the dead in Moscow, New York or London?
"Sorry, I didn't think it was worth the risk."
Posted by: Dishman || 02/13/2003 10:40 Comments || Top||

#15  Murat, the way you phrase your ideas suggests that the anti-war propaganda is making a very good impression on you. It makes you susceptible to believing anything evil about Bush that this propaganda spits out. In fact, it doesn't matter if it's Bush or someone else, the propaganda is always the same, Bush just makes an easy target.

The difference between Bush and Saddam, is that Bush is willing to use the WMD only in self-defense. You've obviously forgiven Saddam for murdering countless people with his weapons.
Posted by: RW || 02/13/2003 10:55 Comments || Top||

#16  Much of the "inside scoop" comes from one of the oldest books in existence, Sun Tzu Bing Fa. 2500 years later, it's still just as relevant. The roots of most US military thinking can be found within its pages. I'm not sure that GWB has read it, but we can be sure Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice and Franks all have.

Another good source of information is a book on "Game Theory", such as "The Compleat Strategist". While war is not a game, Game Theory is just as applicable as it is in business, economics or politics.

The last piece is that there are rumors that the Pentagon has finally come to terms with the difficulty in surrendering to a B-2.

Our aim is to achieve as close to the acme of skill as game theory says is prudent.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/13/2003 11:09 Comments || Top||

#17  Regarding the bombing campaign, it doesn't look like we're going to bomb Iraq back into even the last couple of centuries. There's a good article in the Wash Times about complaints that the air campaign will not be aggressive enough - that we will spare all the bridges, and even leave the lights on in Baghdad. Cent Com describes the plan as "flexible" so it sounds like they're retaining the option to do so should things get sticky.
As for WMD "conspiracies" ....puhhhh-leeeeeeease!. I'll say this, if Sammy does successfully pop a chem-cap on our boys, all bets are off.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 02/13/2003 11:19 Comments || Top||

#18  Murat - I've been in the Persian Gulf Region 4 times now, DS/S, 2 IA's and now here I find myself back in Kuwait once again preparing to do what the world would not allow us to do in 91'. Yes, he has WMD. Yes, he would love to use them (or have somebody use them for him). When we entered Kuwait from Iraq about a week after the cease-fire, we were given the task to clean up the unexploded ordinance, haul away the bodies, and try to make Kuwait safe for its' people. The scenes that awaited me still to this day give me nightmares. The instruments and devices of the Iraqi Army were beyond belief. Stuff to make Hitler & Stalin puke. If you don't know the real deal, please don't try to sell your snake oil to a somewhat gullible world. He hates you, he hates me, he hates even his own countrymen. The feel of power and self-righteousness that fuels his brain and psyche is to set in place to allow him to listen to reason, or to feel compassion for anyone or anything. May the Blessings of Heaven rest upon us, and all free people throughout the world.
Posted by: Bodyguard || 02/13/2003 12:09 Comments || Top||

#19  Excuse me, could anyone tell me why the US is so keen to take down Saddam Hussein? And please don't give me any of those "facts", just cater to my own hysterical fantasies, thanks.
Posted by: Angie Schultz || 02/13/2003 12:45 Comments || Top||

#20  "Cuz' Saddam Hussein is the Devil!" "No Mama, YOU the Devil! I like Saddam, and he showed me his boobies, and I like dem' too"!
Posted by: Bodyguard || 02/13/2003 13:01 Comments || Top||

#21  Murat, I do not believe you to be an honest debater. If we came up with additional good reasons, what would keep you from sticking your lower lip out and whining "Well, BESIDES THOSE REASONS!" Up until now, you had me fooled, but no longer.

The reasons you ARBITRARILY EXCLUDED have been amply documented or can be logically inferred from pre-existing documentation from previous inspections.

It is for YOU to argue TO ME that *I* MUST close MY eyes and IGNORE the OBVIOUS, not for me to provide further evidence beyond the obvious to you, who has unilaterally pre-invalidated certain arguments that you've failed to refute before. Unlike you, I choose to evaluate information and arguments APART FROM the bearer's race, religion, nationality, gender, or motives (Yes, I'm big enough to see when an "enemy" has a point. For instance, I do not buy, for one minute, that the latest OBL tape is "proof" of a linkage between Al Quaida and Hussein. I just don't buy the assertion that there NEVER WILL BE a hookup between AQ and Saddam in the future.)

Perhaps you feel that your stance morally entitles you to a free pass that releases you from any obligation to argue in a logial or principled manner. Don't whine if I don't feel obligated to honor a forgery...
Posted by: Ptah || 02/13/2003 13:28 Comments || Top||

#22  SULAYMANIYAH, IRAQ - The head of the US military's Central Command, Gen. Tommy Franks, will rule Iraq in the initial aftermath of a US invasion to overthrow President Saddam Hussein.
Quote: "BWAHAHAHAhaahahahaha! KNEEL before ZOD!"
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/13/2003 14:00 Comments || Top||

#23  "If you kick the king, you better kill him." We did not do this in '91, and now we are paying for the mistake.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/13/2003 22:34 Comments || Top||

#24  Ptah, whether you believe me or not is up to you, it won’t change my opinion though. I believe that even a murderer has the right to live until his guild is steadfast proven with solid evidence, with this I mean the existence of chemo/bio weapons and not just a few out of focus satellite photos of who knows what. It would not bother me a bit if the US targeted only Saddam and/or his Baat’hist leadership. But what the US is planning to do is to burn the whole forest in order to catch the fox. Maybe I do whine, which is only for all those innocent who will die along with that mischief of Saddam, don’t preach about obligation to honor, tell me where is the justice.
Posted by: Murat || 02/14/2003 2:14 Comments || Top||

#25  I had suspected you'd do this sort of retreat from dealing with facts to the more murky concept like "justice" (And one sidedly applied to boot, in addition to being very culturally, ahh, flexible.) When people were talking about all the indicators that we were not going to "burn down the forest", you kept silence. You posted only to respond to MY comment, at the tail end of all those posts. You saw them. You read them. You ignored them. You didn't address them.

I don't know whether your culture regards evasiveness and reluctance to address the facts as acceptable: American culture views these behavioral traits as the modus operandi of cons, thieves, and losers.

Ahhh, forget it! I finally figured out why I shouldn't feed trolls: Its a waste of time, since they won't really read what I say, so why bother?
Posted by: Ptah || 02/14/2003 7:32 Comments || Top||

Southeast Asia
Iraqi envoy linked to Muslim rebels leaves Manila
An Iraqi diplomat expelled by the Philippines for alleged links to Muslim militants flew out of Manila on Thursday evening, airport officials said. Husham Husain, a second secretary at the Iraqi embassy, left on a Qatar Airways flight which took off around 11:30 p.m. (1530 GMT) for Doha.
The government said on Wednesday it had given Husain 48 hours to leave after an intelligence report linked him to the Abu Sayyaf rebels, blamed for a bombing that killed a U.S. soldier and three Filipinos in the southern city of Zamboanga in October. Iraq's Foreign Ministry said in Baghdad the expulsion was part of a U.S. campaign to distort the image of Iraq and link it to terror. "What astonished us was the Philippines following the U.S. campaign of disinformation, which spread allegations about the Iraq diplomat having links to the Abu Sayyaf group," it said in a statement.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Blas Ople said Husain was expelled after an intelligence agency traced cellular phone calls to him from Abu Sayyaf members immediately after the bombing of a karaoke bar in Zamboanga. "There is no sign that there will be retaliation," Ople told reporters when asked whether Iraq would take similar action against Philippine diplomats in Baghdad.
Na Na Nah Nah, Na Na Nah Nah, Hey Hey, Goodbye!
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2003 12:12 pm || Comments || Link || [336070 views] Top|| File under:

Philippine Army Says May Have Killed 140 Rebels
The Philippine military said on Thursday it may have killed nearly 140 Muslim guerrillas in three days of heavy fighting that shattered a shaky cease-fire on the southern island of Mindanao. Four soldiers and five civilians were killed as troops pursued fleeing rebel bands in three provinces after pounding their stronghold on the outskirts of Pikit town with bombs, rockets and cannon fire, military reports said.
Soldiers rescued 10 villagers used as human shields by rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as they tried to flee the offensive, field commanders said.
"The enemy is on the run," Colonel Essel Soriano told reporters. "They have gone into splinter groups." He said the fighting had spread from Pikit to villages in the neighboring provinces of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat, about 560 miles southeast of the capital Manila. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the target of the offensive was not the MILF but the Pentagon kidnap-for-ransom gang -- composed of former guerrillas turned bandits -- which she said had sought sanctuary in a MILF camp. "They are birds of the same feather," an army officer told Reuters. "When they kidnap people, the MILF says they are not with them. But they all band together when they fight us."
Same thugs, same fate.
The MILF, with an estimated 12,000 fighters on Mindanao, is the biggest of several groups fighting for an Islamic state in the mainly Roman Catholic country. Intelligence agencies have accused it of links to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
The three-day confrontation between thousands of troops and 2,000 MILF guerrillas and allied groups has forced 32,000 people to flee their homes. "Our count of enemy dead is 138," army division commander Major Generoso Senga said by telephone. "This includes 50 bodies seen in one area, but we are still verifying the report." Tallies of rebel casualties were based on body count, reports from villagers and intercepted radio messages, the military said.
Hard to verify until you pile all the bodies in one place.
Fifteen soldiers have been wounded. MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said the rebels suffered 34 dead. The scene of the fighting is about 185 miles east of Zamboanga City, where hundreds of U.S. troops are due to begin the second phase of exercises on February 24 aimed at improving the counter-terrorism skills of Philippine soldiers. Early on Thursday, about 40 guerrillas took control of part of a major highway linking the main southern cities of Davao and Cotabato. Soldiers drove them away after an exchange of fire. Fighting escalated after Arroyo lifted her order for a cease-fire on Wednesday.
"The rebels tried to extricate themselves from the area, but one of our attacking forces blocked them. It was a swift attack and there was fairly heavy fighting," Senga said. The bloodiest clash on Thursday occurred in Lambayong town where 41 guerrillas were killed in two hours of combat, he said.
Sounds like the Philippine troops are doing pretty good. Congratulations, keep it up.
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2003 09:42 am || Comments || Link || [336063 views] Top|| File under:

Terror Networks
British Agency Claims New bin Laden Tape
A second tape attributed to Osama bin Laden has the al-Qaida leader saying he wants to die a martyr this year in the "eagle's belly," in an apparent reference to the United States. The British-based Islamic Al-Ansaar news agency on Thursday said it had a 53-minute tape of bin Laden that was allegedly recorded this month and acquired from a seller who advertised over the Internet.
Osama is selling his tapes on Ebay? Must be short of cash.
Two days earlier, Al-Jazeera satellite television station aired another tape attributed to bin Laden in which the voice urged Iraqis to back Saddam Hussein and carry out attacks against Americans. U.S. officials said they believed that voice was bin Laden's and it showed his ties to the Iraqi government.
In Thursday's tape, the voice says: "In this final year I hurl myself and my steed with my soul at the enemy. Indeed on my demise I will become a martyr." "I pray my demise isn't on a coffin bearing green mantles. I wish my demise to be in the eagle's belly," the voice continued.
My opinion: He's already dead, most likely since Tora Bora. Whoever has been sending tapes out in his name has decided that they can't string it out any longer. Having "him" announce that he is going out as a martyr is much better PR than announcing that he died hiding in a cave. Also, it may mean that his successor has been chosen and is ready to take over.
Imran Khan, who runs Al-Ansaar, said experts contacted by the news agency believed the "eagle" referred to the United States and the quote revealed bin Laden's wish to end his life in a final act of terrorism.
Going to tie his dead body behind the wheel of a truck bomb?
Khan told The Associated Press that he translated the tape, describing it as poetic with several verses from the Quran.
Binny's signature style.
Khan said the agency, which has released previous bin Laden tapes, had used the same sources to check the validity of the new tape. His claims could not be independently verified.
In Washington, U.S. counterterrorism officials were reviewing a transcript of the tape, but said they could not verify it was an authentic message from bin Laden. Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they could not be certain of the speaker's identity without reviewing the actual recording.
On Wednesday, CIA Director George Tenet said he is worried that Tuesday's audio message attributed to bin Laden was a prelude to a strike. "He's obviously raising the confidence of his people. He's obviously exhorting them to do more," Tenet told the Senate Armed Forces Committee. "What he's said is often followed by an attack."
Any large attack now is likely to be claimed as al-Qaida
On Thursday, Khan said the new Ansaar tape also calls for individual attacks against "Americans and Jews" around the world as well as larger acts of terrorism. Khan said the speaker also bragged about how the Sept. 11 attacks took just a few people to create such damage. Khan said the seller of the tape spoke with a Saudi accent but he declined to say when it was acquired. Now there's a surprise. Khan said Al-Ansaar had held talks with several news organizations about selling the tape and it expected it to be released publicly shortly.
Waiting for sweeps week to boost tv ratings.
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2003 09:55 am || Comments || Link || [336079 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I think I was right. The 1st tape was cobbled together by Binny's Boyz, the 2nd by the CIA, who took over the scam and ran it to their own advantage. This pissed off BB, so they popped out a new one. Battle of the bullshit artists...
Posted by: mojo || 02/13/2003 10:20 Comments || Top||

#2  Qu'ran (9-11-01): For it is written that a son of Arabia will one day awaken a fearsome Eagle; the wrath of the Eagle will be seen and felt by the children of Allah and lo, some will tremble in despair while still others rejoice. For the wrath of the Eagle will cleanse the lands of Allah; and there will be peace.
Posted by: Mark || 02/13/2003 11:25 Comments || Top||

#3  Or maybe it is a promo for "The Return of the Living Dead."
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/13/2003 22:38 Comments || Top||

Rafsanjani says US not allowed to remain in region
Goose-stepping Iranian holy menFormer Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said "we do not allow the Americans to remain in the region", IRNA reported. Rafsanjani who is also the head of the Expediency Council said the Americans are lobbying to make the Islamic countries accompany them so that they could remain in the region after the hazardous task they are going to commit (to wage a war on Iraq). "The US representative on Iraq issue who is of the Afghan origin has said the US plans to remain in the region and take control of Iraq for several years," Rafsanjani said adding that the United States seem to ignore the consequences of their dangerous plans.
Doesn't sound like Iran is...
Rafsanjani regretted the lack of a strong unity in the Muslim countries. He said it is an undeniable fact that Iraq has created many problems for its neighbors in particular Iran and Kuwait but the Iranians do not tolerate the US ruling Iraq. He said Iran wants Iraq to remain an Islamic country ruled by a government elected by the Iraqi people while its territorial integrity be guaranteed.
Ummm... Thought Iraq was a secular country with a Muslim majority? I guess once you have a Muslim majority, you don't have to worry about the rest, eh?
The Americans are after either getting control of Iraq without a war or taking control of Iraq through a deadly war which brings about very bad effects in the region.
Make up your daggone mind. (You can tell he's got a religious education, can't you?)
He said the US makes an effort to dominate over the energy resources of the region through a war while advising the US leaders to consider this fact that the regional states would not allow them to rob their natural wealth.
If we pay for it, it's not robbery. And while we're on the subject of robbery, how come there's so many more po' folks in Iran than there were when the Shah was in power? Where's the money go?
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/13/2003 06:46 pm || Comments || Link || [336070 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The money goes to uranium separation (which is very costly)and to supporting terrorism abroad. Remember that boatload of armament that didn't quite make it to the Palestinians? [Oh yes, and judging by the photo, goose-stepping lessons.]
Posted by: Anonymous || 02/13/2003 18:59 Comments || Top||

Home Front
Seattle: Coast Guard Expands Security Zones Around Ferries
SEATTLE - For the first time since immediately after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, the Coast Guard is enforcing a 500-yard security zone around state ferries.
The puget sound area is highly dependent on the use of ferries for basic transportation.
Coast Guard spokesman Robert Lanier said Thursday that the expanded security zones are in response to a decision by the U.S. government to place the nation on high alert for possible terrorist attacks.

Lanier said the security zones, which routinely apply to tankers and military vessels, were expanded last week to include passenger vessels more than 100 feet long.

The 500-yard security zone applies to Puget Sound and adjacent waters, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Sam Teague told the Peninsula Daily News of Port Angeles. Passenger vessels include auto and passenger ferries, cruise ships and chartered excursion vessels.

If a passageway is too narrow to maintain a 500-yard distance, a ship's master must contact the passenger vessel's master to state his intentions and request permission to approach, Teague said.

Then the vessel must proceed at the minimum speed necessary to maintain steering and come no closer than 100 yards, he said.

The passenger ferry security zone is effective until Aug. 8, Teague said.

Ferry spokeswoman Susan Harris said she was aware of only one instance of a potential violation of the 500-yard ban since its imposition - on Wednesday, in the waters off Edmonds.

"We had a passenger vessel that had to work very, very closely with us" to avoid coming too close to a ferry, she said.

Seattle, home to several money laundering operations for al-queda that have been closed since Sept 11th, a recent sweep that netted 57 illegal aliens from jordan-syria-iraq-iran, One of which was a commercial pilot, an unusual high profile jewel robbery ( 3 million in jewels stolen)that was caught by accident that revealed a smuggling ring to the middle east.

Seattle has also seen a sudden enormous increase in meth labs operating in the area using smuggled pseudoephedrine from Canada. Canada import 3000% more pseudoephedrine than could possibly be used by their population, and is in fact the most popular import location for pseudoephedrine on earth.

Al-queda is looking for money from other sources, the easy untraceable money that meth production creates is not lost on those people.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/13/2003 03:18 pm || Comments || Link || [336064 views] Top|| File under:

Stop that unseemly debauchery and fornication!
You there! Put that thing away!

Direct from Mecca, courtesy of our friends, the Soddies...
This is a time when the Muslims celebrate their blessed 'Eed, which is the 'Eed of glorifying and magnifying Allaah and thanking Him; and which is the 'Eed during which Muslims practice acts of kindness towards all, spend in charity, and bring joy to one another's hearts. It is also the 'Eed of chastity and innocence.

However, this is also a time when others are celebrating another festival whose name opposes its very essence; it is called 'Valentines Day' or 'The Festival of Love' while the reality of it is immorality, adultery, fornication and debauchery.

The vices that occur during this festival are unimaginable in their depravity and this is sure to repulse anybody who has a sense of honour and dignity.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon the 'Knights of Alminbar' to warn against this festival and enlighten the Muslims about this evil plot against them.
You can read several sermons (khutbah) on the subject, if you've need of a powerful soporific. I, personally, rather than reading the sermons, will remember to buy a card, chocolates, and flowers for The Little Woman. In the course of tomorrow, we might well indulge in vices that are unimaginable (I do hope she remembered to call the trapeze repairman...) I encourage all readers to do the same with the objects of their depraved Western lust and depravity, if only as a matter of cultural solidarity.

A mere couple days ago, Sofia Sideshow had an entry entitled "Let 'Em Speak." It suggested that the garbled lunacy spilling from the slackened lips of the lefties has been doing more harm to their cause than we of more moderate and sensible political affinities could ever do. In the same vein, I suggest that publicizing statements like this — illustrating the utterly intolerant humorlessness of the turban and automatic weapons set — does as much to hammer them as any statements we could come up with on our own.

The more I read drool like this, the more I'm convinced that, yes, there is indeed room for lots and lots of Islamists in Paradise. But that's only because they have such small souls that they don't take up much room.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 02/13/2003 12:52 pm || Comments || Link || [336071 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Notes of an Iranian Girl notes that the papers have said there is a crackdown on Valentine's Day goods, but the stores she has seen have plenty of stuff on display -


"Actually I got a little surprised by reading this piece of news, because yesterday that I had gone out, I saw all shops that sell valentine card, chocolate, dolls & the stuff open, & also full of young girls & boys, just like other years...so, I don't know, perhaps this cracking down started today! or it is a little bit bombastic!"
Posted by: John Anderson || 02/13/2003 13:01 Comments || Top||

#2  God, these people are whacked....and paranoid.I prefer to be a debauched westerner.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/13/2003 13:48 Comments || Top||

#3  Fred --- I got a neat hand made little Valentine gift for m'lady, and now, after reading the khutbah I must take it back. What a drag. Wait a minute
What the hell
I guess I'll remain
An Infidel.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/13/2003 21:52 Comments || Top||

Bin Laden’s eldest son spotted in Iran
Osama bin Laden's eldest son, Saad, who was with his father during the US-led air campaign against Afghanistan in 2001, is currently in Iran, a Saudi-owned newspaper reported Thursday.
Oh, really?
"Saad, the eldest son of Osama bin Laden, head of the al-Qaeda network, was spotted in Iran," Al-Sharq Al-Awsat said, citing a diplomatic source and without giving further details. The pan-Arab paper added that bin Laden himself "is not in Iran."
Asharq Al-Awsat reported last July that Saad had taken over the command of al-Qaeda since the US offensive against al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan. That disclosure, the daily said at the time, "substantiates the theory that Osama was killed or seriously wounded" in the US-led military campaign.
In a tape broadcast Tuesday by Al-Jazeera satellite television a voice identified as that of bin Laden urged Muslims to fight for Iraq in the event of a possible US-led war.
Since nothing gets printed in a Saudi paper without government approval, that means that the diplomatic source quoted here is most likely a Saudi royal family member. Interesting, bet we get a denial of this story from Iran soon.
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2003 12:19 pm || Comments || Link || [336071 views] Top|| File under:

#1  ... and how would they know with any certainty that he's NOT in Iran?
Posted by: Dishman || 02/13/2003 12:46 Comments || Top||

#2  Because he's in "paradise" with his virgin rewards or we would have seen his face by now!
Posted by: Tom || 02/13/2003 14:57 Comments || Top||

Japan mulls N. Korea self-defense strike
Japan would launch a military strike against North Korea if Tokyo had firm evidence that the Stalinist state was ready to attack with ballistic missiles, Japanese Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba said. "It is too late if [a missile] flies towards Japan," Ishiba told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. "Our nation will use military force as a self-defense measure if [North Korea] started to resort to arms against Japan," he said, adding that Japan could regard the process of injecting fuel into a missile as the start of military attack.
That's why they call it a Self Defense Force.
Ishiba, known as a hawkish defense expert, also said Tokyo should develop a missile defense system with the United States since it lacks the capability to defend itself from missile attacks from North Korea. "To develop and deploy [a missile defense system] is one of the major options. Our nation should pursue this," he said. Ishiba, who took over the defense portfolio last September, said that in the longer term Japan could boost its military strength in order to reduce dependence on the United States.
While this is a good thing for Japan and for the US, I doubt that Japan's neighbors will look at it that way.
Ishiba's remarks come as tensions run high over North Korea's suspected nuclear weapons program and Pyongyang's insistence that it is free to launch ballistic missiles. In 1993, North Korea upset Japan by test-firing a medium-range Rodong-1 missile into the Sea of Japan. And in August 1998, North Korea launched a three-stage Taepodong-1 missile over Japan, demonstrating that parts of western Japan were within the estimated 1,000-km (600-mile) range of the missile.
This woke a lot of people up.
U.S. officials said on Wednesday that Pyongyang had a three-stage Taepodong-2 missile that could reach the West Coast of the United States, but that the missile had not been tested.
Washington also says North Korea probably has one or two atomic weapons, but Ishiba declined comment on whether Japan had any independent confirmation of that assertion.
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2003 12:02 pm || Comments || Link || [336075 views] Top|| File under:

#1  What he said, only I've said it for over a month.

The Japanese are going to solve North Korea if push comes to shove, I think. Remember, they still think of Korea as that vassel state that got away.
Posted by: Chuck || 02/13/2003 13:23 Comments || Top||

#2  I think we should use the threat of an emerging Japanese military over China and South Korea in order to get them to take a harder stance on NK.
Posted by: Jon || 02/13/2003 15:17 Comments || Top||

#3  Hmm, remember that article from a few weeks back that mentioned all the plutonium that had gone missing in Japan? Enough plutonium to build 20 or so atom bombs?
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/13/2003 17:44 Comments || Top||

#4  Right. I laughed out loud when I read that. Whatcha wanna bet that some day soon they'll say "Hey! We found it. Somehow it rolled itself up into several spheres which rolled downhill and nestled themselves into some old left-over rockets that we also lost."
Posted by: ray || 02/13/2003 20:56 Comments || Top||

U.S. massive arms buildup under fire
Nothing yet on the UN sanctions or the fact that they've got ICBMs. Must be storing it up for a rabid rant tomorrow.
Pyongyang, February 12 (KCNA) -- The U.S. air force present in South Korea was put in a "semi-war" state to cope with "contingency" and the U.S. command in South Korea issued a decision to extend for six months the stay of thousands of soldiers in South Korea even after the expiry of their service term against the backdrop of the deployment of more aggression forces in and around the Korean Peninsula. Rodong Sinmun today carries a signed commentary in this regard.
Quick! Send more "agression forces"!
It says:
This clearly proves that the U.S. imperialists' moves to provoke a new Korean war have entered a dangerous phase.
The U.S. is making absurd pretexts to justify its military moves.
Pay no attention to those nuclear tipped ICBM's behind the curtain.
It is all the more ridiculous for the U.S. to try to create the impression that its massive arms buildup has nothing to do with the "nuclear issue" of the DPRK.
It's got everything to do with it.Who says it didn't?
The peaceful solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and arms buildup can never go together.
It was the U.S. calculation that it could attain its criminal goal with ease by spawning and internationalizing the "nuclear issue" of the DPRK. It even worked out a plan to use force in case its original plan fails and has pushed forward it.
The U.S. is turning to the use of force, its second option, now that its plan to put political and diplomatic pressure on the DPRK is bound to go busted.
Bound to go busted? Wasn't that a Willie Nelson album?
The army and the people of the DPRK will never show any mercy to those who dare invade their country. The U.S. should stop running amuck just like a puppy knowing no fear of the tiger.
The last line a KCNA classic. Right outta "Kung Fu".
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/13/2003 09:33 am || Comments || Link || [336067 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Talk tough now, DPRK. We'll see how tough you are when the food aid and oil stops flowing, your missile shipments are mysteriously sunken outside your ports, and the Japanese and our aircraft carriers start moving in your general direction. If Seoul wasn't 35 miles from the border, you'd already be toast.
Posted by: Tom || 02/13/2003 15:13 Comments || Top||

#2  I think the only military that could take down Daffy without harming Seoul belongs to China. Most recent information I've got says they have approximately 550,000 troops deployed close to the NKor border. It's not that far from the Yalu to Pyongyang, especially with 70% of the NKor army "forward deployed" to the south and low on fuel.
Posted by: Dishman || 02/13/2003 15:26 Comments || Top||

East/Subsaharan Africa
Man-eating lions dine on ecotourists
Ecotourists are helping nature in an unexpected way - by becoming "fast food of the bush" for man-eating lions, it was claimed today.
Ecotourists - the other white meat!
Reports of lions eating humans are increasing in Africa, and one reason may be more tourists camping on the big cats' doorstep. Craig Packer, of Minnesota University, told New Scientist magazine: "There have been a fair number of attacks on humans in the last couple of years, including some in South African camps. "The problem is, there is a growing number of camps putting people in the bush right next to lions." Separate research casts doubt on the theory that lions get a taste for human flesh only when illness or injury means they cannot hunt faster four-legged prey.Zoologist Bruce Patterson examined the bones of 23 maneaters in Kenya. Most were healthy young male lions. He believes males expelled from prides meet more humans on their travels. "It may all be too much for a lion to resist," he said.
More proof that Mother Nature has a sense of humor.
Posted by: Steve || 02/13/2003 09:43 am || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

#1  So... What's the Hausa word for "dumbass"?
Posted by: Fred || 02/13/2003 10:01 Comments || Top||

#2  This is almost as good as the "Tree Hugger In Fatal Fall From Tree" stories.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/13/2003 10:05 Comments || Top||

#3  Sigh. Will someone please tell people that "nature" is a synonym for "food chain"?
Posted by: Patrick Phillips || 02/13/2003 10:19 Comments || Top||

#4  "Civilization stops at the water line - after that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top, either."

-- Hunter Thompson, "The Great Shark Hunt"
Posted by: mojo || 02/13/2003 11:48 Comments || Top||

#5  PETH - Predators for the Eating of Tasty Humans

this story is satisfying on so many levels...
Posted by: Frank G || 02/13/2003 18:12 Comments || Top||

Home Front
Daschle Says Americans Need More Than Duct Tape
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said on Wednesday the Bush administration must do more to protect Americans against a suspected increased risk of terrorist attacks than urge them to seal a designated room with duct tape and plastic sheets.
Daschle's right: I've never thought duct tape would stop a Democrat.
"This administration has to do a lot better," said Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat. "They have to do a lot more than tell people that the responsibility is now on their shoulders."
Tell us something we don't already know.
With a possible war with Iraq looming and the U.S. government having raised the risk level of terrorist attacks based on intelligence reports, U.S. authorities this week recommended that every American home have at least three days' worth of food and water in case of a chemical, biological or radiological strike. Officials of the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security also said families should designate a room where they could gather in the event of such an attack and have duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal it. The recommendations have generated plenty of anxiety as well as some ridicule as Americans flock to hardware and office supply stores to buy the items -- just in case.
It's the American way: find the humor while getting the job done.
Sen. Robert Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat and a leading opponent of war with Iraq, took the Senate floor on Wednesday and declared: "The mood of the nation is grim... People are warned of imminent terrorist attacks with little guidance as to when or where such attacks might occur," Byrd said. "Family members are being called to active military duty, with no idea of the duration of their stay or what horrors they may face. Communities are being left with less than adequate police and fire protection."

Daschle charged that the administration made a mistake when it opposed efforts earlier this year to provide an additional $5 billion for homeland defense. The money would have been used on a number of fronts, from hiring more FBI and Customs Service agents to better equipping and training local police and firefighters.
Or it could have been spent on more boondoggles that would have pumped money into favored Congressional districts.
Daschle said Democrats would make a renewed effort to increase funding and called on the administration to back it. "It shouldn't even be a fight," Daschle said. "If we're going to be providing the resources to our defense forces, as we should ... we ought to be willing to commit the resources to protect our own people."
Tom, old boy, we're managing.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson told a congressional hearing on Wednesday that the government has improved defenses against a bioterror or chemical attack, including by recently putting some medical response teams on alert. Asked about recommendations that homeowners stock up on duct tape and other emergency supplies, Thompson said: "Ask (Department of Homeland Security Secretary) Tom Ridge."
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2003 09:47 am || Comments || Link || [336068 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Civil Defense has been non-existent in this country since the Left ridiculed it out of business in the 1960s. Luddite anti-nuclear propaganda required that the American people be as vulnerable as possible. With the full support of the Hollywood/Madison Avenue Cultural Axis, various luddites and other power-seekers have convinced two generations of Americans that personal survival in a WMD attack is impossible or even undesirable. For Kultural Konformist sheep, "Survivalist" is a synonym for "deranged camo-clad gun-loon" and the word of mediatarian elites outweighs any possible combination of fact, logic, or even the survival instinct itself. It is outrageous to see Dash-hole and Byrd-brain, bought-and-paid-for allies of the luddite Hollywoodistas, now decrying our lack of survival preparedness.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 02/13/2003 2:52 Comments || Top||

#2  Of course 'talkin tom, the people's friend!' has no actual suggestions himself as to what needs to be done, he's just sure that what ever is being done is not good enough for him.

Of course 'the left', headed by 'talkin tom' would be the first to cry out that preparations for a disaster would only 'inflame the situation'.

lead, follow or get out of the way.
Posted by: Frank Martin || 02/13/2003 3:37 Comments || Top||

#3  And WHO, precisely, was opposed to the formation of the Homeland Security Department?
Posted by: Ptah || 02/13/2003 6:39 Comments || Top||

#4  up ptah, the admin was oppposed for several months. The dems were NOT opposed. They did dispute the proposed labor rules for the new dept - whatever you think of that (and there are reasonable arguments both ways) its unfair to imply they opposed the new dept.

Dont know of any positive suggestions by Daschle, and the knock on Byrd about boon doggles is weel, hard to take issue with, but you dont have to be an idiotarian to be concerned with the admin failing to provide enough funds for local civil defense, and increased security expenditures, and for public health.

To atomic - the derogation of civil defense was in context of a nuclear attack by the USSR, not a chem-biol attack by terrorists - while it may have been overdone, that probably had a lot to do with the elite being physically concentrated in places where civil defense would have been useless (like manhattan) rather than in rural areas. (celeb movement to montana, etc is more recent and is mainly hollywood, not newsies IIUC)
Posted by: liberalhawk || 02/13/2003 7:51 Comments || Top||

#5  At this point, a few wraps of duct tape around Daschle's mouth and Byrd's mouth would be doing them a favor. For every American that has purchased duct tape this week, there are probably 20 Americans that would just as soon have the press find someone else to cover. If these are serious issues for the Democrats, then the Demorcats need to find people with better reputations to voice them. The baron of Bush bashing and the prince of pork are not good choices.
Posted by: Tom || 02/13/2003 10:40 Comments || Top||

#6  Typical Dims. We've got to do SOMETHING! What, they don't mention. Maybe they can find a rathole to throw more money down. That solves everything.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/13/2003 13:44 Comments || Top||

East/Subsaharan Africa
Bob hires new farm workers in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has turned to China for help in restoring its agricultural productivity after two years of land seizures which are largely blamed for causing a famine now threatening more than seven million people. In an open tacit admission of the failure of President Robert Mugabe's land seizure programme, a Chinese state company, the China International Water and Electric Corporation, has been awarded a government contract to farm 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) in southern Zimbabwe.
Birds of a feather ...
The country was until recently extolled as the "breadbasket of Africa" for its ability to feed itself and export grains. But following the state land seizures - which have cut the number of white-owned farms from 4,500 to 600 - nearly two-thirds of the 12 million population risk starvation, says the United Nations. A moderate drought is also seen as a contributing factor.
Here's that cause and effect thing again.
Many seized farms are standing idle, in what is the peak growing season, because black farmers awarded the land have not started farming.
Because ... maybe they don't know how to farm?
The minister of agriculture, Joseph Made, admitted last month that half the seized land allocated to black farmers had not been taken up. One reason is that the new farmers are only given permits to farm and not the title to the land, which would allow them to mortgage it and buy equipment. Most do not have the funds for seeds, fertiliser and equipment to develop plots.
Not to mention that with only a permit and not a title, it's a simple administrative procedure to throw you out and bring in someone else. Didn't that just happen recently? So why bust yer butt following Bessie the Water Buffalo around the back 40 when you could be gone tomorrow?
Chinese and Zimbabwean developers estimate that the project could yield 2.1m tonnes of maize a year by producing three crops a year. This would easily satisfy Zimbabwe's annual domestic demand for 1.8m tonnes of maize.
Only if Bob and his thugs stay out of the way, and the people sent by China know anything about modern agriculture. Of course, if Bob cared about modern agriculture he wouldn't have thrown out the farmers who had made the farms bountiful in the first place.
The Chinese deal was hailed as "a major breakthrough in Zimbabwe's quest to return to food self-sufficiency" by the state-controlled news media. But independent agricultural experts dismissed the project as a "pie in the sky pipedream". "You cannot grow three crops of maize a year in this country, even with the best irrigation," said the director of a large agricultural business. "Many have tried to grow winter maize and have failed ... the whole notion of growing three crops a year is preposterous. To rely on such a scheme for the country's food self-sufficiency is dangerous."
Oops. Guess those Chinese experts have some 'plaining to do.
Harare has not revealed how much it will pay China for the development of the huge agricultural scheme, which calls for the company to establish a costly irrigation system. Because of Zimbabwe's drastic shortage of hard currency, it is believed that payment will be made with tobacco, which China buys in large quantities from Zimbabwe each year. But the land seizures have also reduced tobacco production.
Isn't it nice how a plan comes together?
The Mugabe government has recently met the Commercial Farmers Union and tried to negotiate a new deal under which white farmers will be given back their farms, or compensation, and in return they will hand over irrigation equipment. The farmers union has so far not agreed to the new offer. Although the government has claimed that the land seizures have ended, farmers' groups still report top officials grabbing farms and forcing owners off their properties.
Bob wants all the white folks out, and won't stop seizing farms until that happens.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2003 09:44 am || Comments || Link || [336086 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Guess I'll take Zimbabwe in the "Next African Famine" pool at the office.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/13/2003 9:12 Comments || Top||

#2  Socialist farmers from China helping socialist farmers from Zimbabwe. Yeah. That'll work.
Posted by: Denny || 02/13/2003 12:23 Comments || Top||

#3  "...tried to negotiate a new deal under which white farmers will be given back their farms, or compensation, and in return they will hand over irrigation equipment."

Oh good. They can have the land back as long as they agree to turn it into a dustbowl. To quote The Churchlady, "Well, isn't that special!"
Posted by: John Anderson || 02/13/2003 13:10 Comments || Top||

#4  In reply to John Anderson - Actually, John, I THINK what's meant by 'handing over irrigation equipment' is that the white farmers, when forced off their lands, are disabling as much of the irrigation machinery (and other high tech farming equipment) as possible. Or taking it with them when they leave, if they can.

Bob's finding out what many barbarians have discovered in the past when they've overrun agricultural nations.. that farming ISN'T a voodoo career where you pray to the gods and they grant you food. It's actually a highly scientific way of life that takes a great deal of effort and rational thought. Any number of barbarians have, in the past, tried to 'encourage' high crop yields by threats or bribes, failing to understand how farming REALLY works.

Bob appears to be one of these idiots, expecting food to magically appear because the farmer has cast some sort of spell.

Well, he's about to learn better, I think.

Posted by: Ed Becerra || 02/13/2003 20:01 Comments || Top||

#5  Bob needs a pop...and soon.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/13/2003 22:10 Comments || Top||

Home Front
Peaceniks to march again
Up to 10 million misguided fools people on five continents are expected to demonstrate against the probable war in Iraq on Saturday, in some of the largest peace marches ever known.
Yesterday, up to 400 cities in 60 countries, from Antarctica to Pacific islands, confirmed that peace rallies, vigils and marches would take place.
Of course people are marching in Antarctica. It's summer for them!
Of all major countries, only China is absent from the growing list which includes more than 300 cities in Europe and north America, 50 in Asia and Latin America, 10 in Africa and 20 in Australia and Oceania.
No peaceniks in China. Wonder why? And there's such a large public square in Beijing for them to rally!
Many countries will witness the largest demonstrations against war they have ever seen.

The majority will be small but 500,000 people are expected in London and Barcelona, and more than 100,000 in Rome, Paris, Berlin and other European capitals. In the US, organisers were yesterday anticipating 200,000 marching in New York if permission is given. A further 100,000 are expected to march in 140 other American cities.
The other 289,700,001 Americans will be shopping, checking out SUV's at the dealers, watching some college hoops, or firing up TurboTax.
What is extraordinary, say the organisers, is the depth and breadth of opposition that the US and Britain are meeting across the world before a war has even started. "This is unprecedented. Demonstrations only got this large against the Vietnam war at the height of the conflict, years after it started," said a spokesman for Answer, a coalition of US peace groups which helped organise a march of 200,000 people last month in Washington.

Many in the global peace movement forlornly optimistically speculate wish hope without foundation that public opposition to a war is becoming politically significant and could now affect the timing of an invasion of Iraq and possibly even help avert conflict altogether.
I think D-day and H-hour have been set.
"The internationalism of the opposition is the most powerful weapon people have. It's all we have ain't that the truth. We think that Bush and Blair are well aware that global opposition is mounting fast and that they are now desperate to start the war before they are completely isolated by world opinion," said a spokesman for United for Peace and Justice, a US coalition.

New polls in Europe and the US yesterday suggested that opposition is still mounting and is likely to continue even if the US gets a second resolution. Spanish and Dutch polls showed that more than 70% now oppose even UN-mandated action, with slightly fewer in Italy. Yesterday CND reported that it was struggling to cope with the deluge of people wanting to join.

In Germany, more than 300 towns are sending coaches to Berlin, where more than 100,000 people are expected to march.

"Opposition is broader than at any time in the past. This will be the largest peace march in 20 years," said Malte Keutzseldt of Attac, Germany. "The peace movement is getting older now, but a new generation of young people is deeply concerned. The churches and unions have linked to make the coalition far broader than even the anti-nuclear missile marches in the 1980s".
And we all know how important those anti-nuclear missile marches were to bringing about an end to the Cold War!
In Paris, a march organiser said that feeling was running high and that he expected the anti-war demonstration to be largest ever. The most unusual rally is expected to be in the international territory of Antarctica, where dozens of scientists and others at the US McMurdo base on the edge of the Ross sea will take to the ice.
Hate to think that global warming will create an inopportune moment on an ice floe.
The idea of an international day of pig-headed action against the war was first suggested in London after the last peace march in October. It was discussed by peace and anti-globalisation groups from 11 countries at the European social forum in Florence in November, but only became truly international following meetings in Cairo, Egypt and Porto Alegre, Brazil, last month.
What's a peace movement if you can't rack up some frequent flyer miles?
Since then the idea of coordinating international peace protests has spread rapidly across the world and up to 30 new cities a day are believed to be planning demonstrations. Next month activists from all continents will meet in London to propose further global actions.
Next month? Clearly they're not paying attention.
Coordinated international demonstrations have flourished in the past five years with anti-capitalist marches and campaigns by skinheads anarchists pomo thugs shiftless bums general weirdos tree huggers environmentalists and vandals anti-globalisers against corporations like McDonald's, Shell and Esso, and against global warming or international trade. Mostly organised on the web by activists working below the radar of the mainstream media, they have taken the establishment by surprise in many countries and only been reported by independent media.

"The whole world's marching," said Helmut, a German student in London. "This peace party should be better than the millennium celebrations."
"For one thing, the girls will be easier!"
· The Stop The War Coalition (STWC) is planning a display of mass direct stupidity action designed to bring Britain to a standstill on the day any war starts with Iraq. The protests would involve demonstrations in the centre of London and other big towns and cities, wildcat strikes by anti-war supporters and mass sit-ins at schools, colleges and universities across the country.
Might as well sit-in at the universities, they won't be busy that day.
A spokeswoman for the SWTC said: "We do think there will be a whole wave of civil disobedience if war breaks out. People want to be peaceful and are quite slow to anger, but they will be very angry if after Saturday's mass show of unthinking opposition Tony Blair refuses to listen."
Guess they're going to be angry.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2003 12:45 am || Comments || Link || [336065 views] Top|| File under:

#1  So what else is new? They're ALWAYS angry about whatever the movement du jour is.

I bet Tom Daschle expresses "concerns"...
Posted by: mojo || 02/13/2003 1:15 Comments || Top||

#2  Australia doesn't even HAVE 20 cities.

towns, maybe...

Lunatics, plenty of them, and all at the Pro-Appeasement rally, cheerleading for their Best Mate, Saddam Hussein.
Posted by: anon || 02/13/2003 3:47 Comments || Top||

#3  Instead of disputing their Stalinist associations with the Workers World Policy, the corporate-financed A.N.S.W.E.R. hypocrites simply denounced any mention of those associations as "the worst kind of McCarthyism."
With nazi sympathizers multiplying like rats (appropriately enough) these days, I suggest that we repeal Godwin's Law and replace it with Goddamn's Law: Whoever first invokes the whisky-sodden ghost of Joe McCarthy has lost the argument and confessed to clueless totalitarian dhimmitude.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 02/13/2003 5:05 Comments || Top||

#4  Yesterday, up to 400 cities in 60 countries, from Antarctica to Pacific islands, confirmed that peace rallies, vigils and marches would take place.

Do you suppose its the research scientists on Antartica? Just asking.
Posted by: Lila || 02/13/2003 6:49 Comments || Top||

#5  It is astonishing to see how many idiots allow themselves to be moved around in the roads to defend Saddam's regime. The regime that is one of the strongholds against democracy and the West in general.
It is less astonishing if we analyze calmly the forces at work behind the scenes. In the proSaddam movement are active the greatest organizations of the world: the so called Black International, that is the nazis, that are always at work, with the help of many Muslim regimes, against democracy, against the States, against Israel. The communists and post communists with their undending conspiracy to create 'one, two, three, many Vietnams' (read Colombia, Venezuela, etc. etc.). Add to this fancy list the Catholic Church that has never fully acknowledged the right of Israel to exist and has never stopped its cultural battle against the open society.
Think about the resources these forces can have, add the money from the oil that the Muslim Countries can move around, and then shake with the presence of cells of islamofascists spread in every Country...you will be able to organize a mass demonstration of idiots in every restroom in the world.
Of course all this does not exist and it is propaganda from the hawks that just like war...
Posted by: Poitiers || 02/13/2003 10:16 Comments || Top||

#6  Why don't they just all go to Iraq and become human shields?
Posted by: Denny || 02/13/2003 12:28 Comments || Top||

#7  Lila asks: Do you suppose its the research scientists on Antartica? That's what I assumed, and it's pissing me off.

See here and here. At least they're not naked. The first picture looks more like McMurdo than the Pole.

I did see one picture, somewhere, of a group of people gathered around the actual South Pole, or at least the ceremonial Pole, and they were scientists and techs, rather than tourists. (Yes, there are a few tourists in the Antarctic, even at the Pole.)
Posted by: Angie Schultz || 02/13/2003 12:37 Comments || Top||

#8  AWWWWWWWWWWW.... isn't that nice. Can't wait for those things to melt.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/13/2003 13:17 Comments || Top||

East/Subsaharan Africa
EU renews sanctions on Zimbabwe
The EU agreed last night to a controversial deal to renew sanctions against Zimbabwe while allowing its President, Robert Mugabe, to attend a summit in Paris next week.
Another glorious victory for Chirac. He and Bob can have a nice photo-op now.
However, EU ambassadors will not sign the agreement until tomorrow to give diplomats time to salvage a threatened EU-Africa summit, planned for April. With Britain and four allies at odds with France and Portugal over sanctions, the issue of Zimbabwe had divided the EU, exacerbating friction between London and Paris.
On one side we had those who refused to deal with a thug, and on the other side we had France.
After more than two weeks of talks, all 15 governments backed a proposal yesterday to maintain sanctions for another year. The measures – an EU-wide visa ban, freezing the assets of more than 70 members of the Zimbabwean elite, and an arms export ban – were all due to expire on 18 February. As a price for backing the deal, the UK, Germany and Netherlands agreed to an exemption from the sanctions to allow France to invite Mr Mugabe to a Franco-African summit in Paris on Wednesday.
Talk about having to hold your nose.
However, formal agreement has been put on hold until tomorrow pending a last-ditch effort to save April's EU-African summit in Lisbon. Diplomats expect it to be cancelled because southern African nations are threatening a boycott if Zimbabwe is excluded.
So let it fall. Who's in most need of the conference right now?
With the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden blocking any invitation to Lisbon for Mr Mugabe, the Greek presidency of the EU wants more time to find a compromise. It is seeking a deal with Zimbabwean and southern African diplomats under which Harare would be represented by its Foreign Minister. A spokesman for the Greek presidency said: "Everybody is concerned that the dialogue between the EU and Africa should go on."
Ah, dialogue without purpose.
Portugal, which sided with France, won a concession yesterday when it was agreed to water down the right of any country to veto another nation issuing a visa to a banned Zimbabwean. In future, several nations will have to object using a Jerry Lewis voice impersonation to stop a visa. However, the UK argues that it has enough allies to stop this loophole being exploited.
Never underestimate the ability of a weasel to exploit a loophole.
The decision comes as South Africa and Nigeria are seeking to readmit Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth. Glenys Kinnock, the Labour MEP, welcomed the EU's move. She said: "We were never going to stop Mugabe's visit to Paris and if we had made a big issue of it we would have lost nothing of consequence everything. But five or six states have stood up and said they are not prepared to be held hostage, either by Mugabe or by a combination of France and Portugal."
Would have been better to walk away from the whole affair, and keep the moral high ground.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/13/2003 09:45 am || Comments || Link || [336076 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The Commonwealth sounds more like the UN every day.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/13/2003 22:13 Comments || Top||

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