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Paris and Berlin prepare alliance to rival NATO
Today's Headlines
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Afghanistan
US forces unearth explosives in Afghanistan
US special forces have discovered a massive haul of more than 200 tonnes of explosives in a cave complex in north-western Afghanistan, a military spokesman says. Acting on a tip-off, special forces last week discovered 204 tonnes of explosives in 17 caves near Maimana, capital of Faryab province, Colonel Roger King said at Bagram Air Base. He said the haul included 80 tonnes of high explosive and the rest was from small arms ammunition. Earlier this month, Romanian soldiers discovered thousands of rockets and more than 1 million rounds of ammunition in what the US military then described as the largest weapons cache discovered by US-led forces in Afghanistan. The find near Qalat, capital of southern Zabul province, included 3,000 107mm rockets, 250,000 rounds of 12.7mm machinegun ammunition, about 1 million rounds of small arms ammunition and other ammunition and mines. Afghan forces earlier this month also discovered about 18 caves full of ammunition and weapons near Maimana. Each cave was 15 metres by five metres by four metres high, Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said when he announced the finds. Those weapons appeared to have been stockpiled during Afghanistan's 1992-1996 civil war, however, not a Taliban or Al Qaeda arsenal. US special forces also uncovered six smaller caches of weapons including 400 107mm rockets and machineguns in the Madr valley north-east of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan.
Without wanting to sound like a job applicant to an NGO, imagine if all the money that went into arms and ammunition in these Islamic paradises went into groceries, or hospitals, or schools...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/28/2003 10:33 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [578 views] Top|| File under:

#1  So what do you do with all this? Can't imagine the new Afghan army needs it all (or wants it). Blow it all up in place? That's going to be one big rock-slide.
Posted by: Steve White || 04/28/2003 22:38 Comments || Top||

#2  I'd say, toss a cigar into it, run like hell, and arrest everybody who's weeping after the boom...
Posted by: Fred || 04/28/2003 22:39 Comments || Top||


Arabia
One soldier dead, 14 injured in Yemen election tradition
One soldier was killed and 14 civilians injured in clashes during Yemen's third parliamentary elections since reunification in 1990. The soldier was killed in a constituency in Taiz. Fourteen civilians were also injured, mainly in Taiz. Opposition sources charged late Sunday that there had been some voting irregularities in Taiz, and called for poll-counting to be halted. Tension was also high in various constituencies in Ibb, Omran and Lahj. The electoral process was temporarily halted last week in Omran after a failed assassination attempt by a candidate from the Islamist opposition Al-Islah party on the governor from the ruling General People's Congress (GPC).
Yep. That's what I always say: "If you can't beat 'em, kill 'em..."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/28/2003 10:53 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [473 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "If you can't beat 'em, kill 'em..."

I always thought that was a uniquely Palestinian belief....
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 04/29/2003 0:52 Comments || Top||


Kuwaiti doctors plan Baghdad trip
Nazem Jadaan, from the Khazaa'el tribe, told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) on the phone the next generation of Iraqis will remember the noble stand adopted by Kuwait. Kuwait, despite the Iraqi invasion and its consequent destruction, decided to support the Iraqi people and assist in deposing Saddam Hussein's regime, started off the humanitarian aid and established health centers to help the Iraq people, and received Iraqi children, injured during military operations, to provide medical care at its own medical facilities. "We have seen Kuwaiti officials of the highest levels, such as the first deputy premier and foreign minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al- Sabah visiting our fellow Iraqi citizens receiving treatment in Kuwaiti hospitals," Jadaan said.
Kuwait should be a good influence on the emerging Iraq. Though they had their own reasons for it, they stood with us when much of the rest of the Arab world was making faces and rushing off to defend Sammy.
In another develoment, a group of Kuwaiti doctors will go to Baghdad this week to cover the shortage of medical staff in Baghdad's hospitals. The Health Ministry is planning to establish specialized clinics to be managed by Kuwaiti doctors along with Iraqi and American doctors. The ministry is expected to send an aid convoy with 22 tons of medical supplies and several mobile medical clinics to Iraq this week.
Betcha somebody still curses the Kuwaiti moustache at the next Arab League meeting...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/28/2003 10:20 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [369 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Ya know, Fred. Much of the Arab world will rant and rave, but I believe that actions like the ones described above by Kuwait are the small but significant steps that will make real progress in slowly turning the Arab Street around. Here are people doing good things instead of yelling "jihad" all the live long day.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/28/2003 22:24 Comments || Top||


U.S. moves CAOC to Qatar
The U.S. military will move its major air operations center in the Middle East to Qatar. Oversight of air missions to Iraq and the Middle East will move this week from Prince Sultan Air Base near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar. President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have not decided whether to make the move permanent. "Whether we'll stay there or not ... not sure," Gen. Tommy Franks, head of U.S. Central Command, told the New York Times. "But we do know that since we have it, we want to be able to run some operations out of it," Franks said. U.S. officials stressed that the move does not mean an end to military relations with Saudi Arabia. "We are not leaving Saudi Arabia," a Bush administration official told the Times.
"We'll be back!"
The Pentagon will use its two-year-old air command center at Prince Sultan Air Base to oversee military exercises, and could shift air operations back there in a crisis. Another high-ranking Centcom official said the move reflected scaled-back capacity needs. "There's a convenience in the fact we're adjusting the size," Maj. Gen. Victor Renuart told the Times. "You don't need a CAOC (Combat Air Operations Center) designed to fly 3,000 missions if you're only flying a few hundred."
You don't need a CAOC in a hostile state either.
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 09:19 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [387 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The Arabs are familiar with the proverb about the Camel's nose in the tent: Once the nose is in the tent, it's only a matter of time before the rest of the camel is in the tent.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/28/2003 10:09 Comments || Top||


Britain
Blair warns Chirac on the future of Europe
This is the FT's own synopsis of an interview it held with Tony Blair. Though long, the full interview is available online and is penetrating and wll worth a read.
Tony Blair has issued a direct challenge to France's Jacques Chirac over the future of the transatlantic relationship by warning that the French president's vision of Europe as a rival to the US is dangerously destabilising. In a wide-ranging interview with the Financial Times, the prime minister foreshadows a continuing Anglo-French struggle about Europe's relationship with Washington. Mr Blair seeks to keep alive the prospect of British entry to the euro but he disavows any personal ambition to become president of the European Union.
The sooner you hold that Euro referendum, Tony, the sooner we can start forgetting about it.
Though his personal relationship with Mr Chirac has improved since the bitter row over France's veto of a second United Nations resolution, Mr Blair is clear that the strategic divide that opened over Iraq has not been bridged. Meanwhile a new MORI poll for the FT reveals that 55 per cent of Britons regard France as the UK's least reliable ally, while 73 per cent view the US as the country's most reliable.
Har! Confusion to the French!
The prime minister disassociated himself from those in Washington who have said that France should be "punished" for its opposition to the war with Iraq. He drew the limits of his own alliance with Washington by rejecting military intervention to halt the development of weapons of mass destruction in countries such as North Korea and Syria.
That's because both problems are still amenable to diplomatic (or other) means of solution. Still lotsa options open...
He was equally determined, though, that Europe has to face up to divisions in the alliance exposed by the US-led invasion. Spelling out the damage that would be inflicted by Mr Chirac's vision of a "multipolar" world, he said: "I am not really interested in talk about punishing countries, but I think there is an issue that we have to resolve here between America and Europe and within Europe about Europe's attitude towards the transatlantic alliance. I don't want Europe setting itself up in opposition to America . . . I think it will be dangerous and destabilising." France wanted a multipolar world with different centres of power, he said, but "I believe that they will very quickly develop into rival centres of power". The result would be that "you end up reawakening some of the problems that we had in the cold war with countries playing different centres of power off each other". Rather than seek to gloss over the divide it was better "to have it out in the open".
Ahh, France: Defender of the United Nations; Champion of National Disunity.

Rather than a Cold War model, I think the Frenchies are looking further back through the dustbin of history, to the ententes (cordiale and otherwise) of the late 19th century. Most of these were the result of or in response to French diplomacy — French, recall, used to be the language of diplomacy. France was Britain's bitter colonial rival, while the Spanish, Belgians, and Dutch had their own colonial operations. And they had Austria-Hungary as a non-colonial power in Central Europe, and Russia as protector of the Slavs. Our grandparents and great-grandparents saw how well that turned out in 1914.
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/28/2003 09:22 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [567 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Agreed: stay the hell away from the Euro, Tony.
It's goin' DOWN, baby...
Posted by: mojo || 04/28/2003 11:16 Comments || Top||

#2  Bulldog: Does the great British nation seriously intend to surrender one mote of its sovereignty to the EU? Churchill must be spinning like a top.
Posted by: Matt || 04/28/2003 12:03 Comments || Top||

#3  Matt, British governments have been handing motes of sovereignty over to Europe for decades. Churchill and Hitler would be reacting very differently, I think.
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/28/2003 16:34 Comments || Top||

#4  Matt,
There's a few things likely to be make-or-break for the UK in the next few months to year or two.

Blair might go for a snap referendum on joining the Euro based on his increased popularity from GWII. This would be a disaster for our economy.

Secondly, there is the more odious 'constitution' being bandied around by Giscard d'Estaing (sp?) which Blair is quite keen on. This would mean the end of British sovereignty as we know it.

The combination of these events would mean the end of the UK as we currently understand it. The thing is, that a lot of people in this country wouldn't realise that it had happened until years later.

I've seen (and appreciated) American sentiments about our involvements, and there has been a lot of support for Blair personally in this. However, what seems to be missed is that he is very pro-European and very left-wing. Not the usual ally for a Republican president.

He's gambled a lot, and its paid off - so far. He's now endangering all that though for some ridiculous vision of 'unity' with the European continent, and this when the relationship with the US has the best chance in decades of becoming something a little more tangible than a 'special relationship' (maybe even NAFTA membership).

It's rapidly coming up to 'make your mind up time' - look to the East (France, Germany etc) or to the West (well, you all know who's over there). This idea of Britain being 'European' when the rest of the world is embracing globalisation is simply ridiculous (very few people here consider themselves 'European').

Put it this way, this government is very left-wing. He got the vote for war with a lot of dissent from his own backbenches, and there was talk of 'payback' afterwards (I'm dreading to hear what deals have been made).

Can you imagine what would have happened if we had a right-wing government in place...we'd have probably told France to get stuffed, Germany to swivel and started the bombing runs without you! :)
Posted by: Tony || 04/28/2003 18:44 Comments || Top||

#5  Bulldog and Tony: (1) I have said kind things about Blair and do not retract them. He gave his word and stuck to it, which is rare for a politican of any nationality. (2) While I have not seen a full draft, I have read bits and pieces of the D'Estaing draft, and it is what Merkins would call a "Lawyers' and Bureaucrats' Relief Act", possibly the greatest of all time. But I'm sure the sophisticated French can explain to my simple Merkin self what a "shared competence" will mean in practice. (3) Even assuming the drafting issues can be worked out, one can't draft around basic distrust, and the current French government is about as trustworthy as Baghdad Bob (but less amusing.) (4) The unspoken premise seems to be that the UK can't go it alone. Not to confuse military matters with economic ones, but the Royal Marines, paras and SAS just proved otherwise (again.) (5) As for what might have happened had a conservative British government been at the helm, my mind simply goes into overload at the thought of a three-way debate including DeVillepin, Rumsfeld and Maggie Thatcher. Trafalgar would have looked like a French triumph by comparison.
Posted by: Matt || 04/28/2003 20:40 Comments || Top||

#6  I can't help but recall the poor grocer who was arrested and fined for selling his produce in pounds and ounces instead of kilos and grams. Wouldn't any loyal Brit vote against this madness and reject the Euro?
Posted by: tbn || 04/29/2003 1:07 Comments || Top||


Down Under
No 10-gallon hat for PM
PRIME Minister John Howard has scotched speculation he would wear a 10-gallon hat when he visits United States President George Bush's Texas ranch this week.
"No, I won't be taking one of those," Mr Howard told Radio 3AW. "Australians don't wear them."
Well, try this Comanche ceremonial headdress, then...
Mr Howard, who usually dons an Akubra Pastoralist when he ventures from metropolitan Australia, will start a 10-day visit this week to the United States and Britain.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/28/2003 09:09 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [492 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I hope the PM wears one of those Aussie numbers with the dangling corks to shoo flies away.

And, although the President now eschews the 'golden gargle', I hope he will be 'sensitive to other cultures' and have a well stocked fridge for a good friend!
Posted by: JDB || 04/28/2003 22:40 Comments || Top||

#2  Aussies do have those very cool leather cowboy style hats. Can't remember what they call them, but I have one and it's great for a day in the country on a horse.
Posted by: Steve White || 04/28/2003 22:42 Comments || Top||

#3  That would probably be the "Paul Hogan" model...
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 04/29/2003 0:54 Comments || Top||


Europe
U.S. to cut presence at Paris Air Show
WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) - The Defense Department said on Thursday it was scaling back U.S. participation at the Paris Air Show in what industry officials called a thinly veiled slap at France for bucking Washington on war in Iraq. "In light of current international circumstances, and the demands on DoD resources, U.S. participation in the Paris Air Show will be more limited than in previous years," said Marine Lt. Col. Michael Humm, a Pentagon spokesman. The department said it would send no one above colonel rank or its civilian equivalent to the June 15-22 event, perhaps the world's premier showcase for aerospace and related hardware. In addition, no U.S. aircraft would join the traditional daily flyovers that demonstrate performance characteristics to showgoers and weapons buyers from around the world, Humm said.

(con't see link)
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/28/2003 09:09 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [477 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "I think the performance of our aircraft has already been adequately demonstrated - in combat."

(sniff)
Posted by: mojo || 04/28/2003 23:44 Comments || Top||

#2  Yeah, but the Russkies will be there to collide a couple of MiGs for everyone's entertainment. IMHO, they need to come up with a new act... this one's wearing thin.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 04/29/2003 0:48 Comments || Top||


Paris and Berlin prepare alliance to rival Nato
EFL
EUROPE’S self-inflicted wounds over Iraq will be on display tomorrow, when the leaders of France and Germany — dubbed the “Axis of Weasels” in America — start to try to lay the groundwork for a European Union military alliance that would compete with Nato.
WUSS - Weasels United for Socialist Security
At a meeting in Brussels with the Prime Ministers of Belgium and Luxembourg, President Chirac and Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, want to clear the way for a common European defence system that would start with a core of volunteer states.
As opposed to the usual EU-type coercion
Although the Germans have qualms about a confrontation with Nato, the French are not hiding their aim to achieve their long-standing goal of unhitching the United States from European defence. This has become more pressing with the reported plans of the US to punish France for its stand on the war in Iraq by excluding it from Nato decision-making.
"We're going down and we want you to volunteer to go down with us"
Last night, however, Tony Blair gave warning to M Chirac against placing Europe as a rival to the United States, calling such a move “destabilising”. In an interview with the Financial Times, he said: “I am not really interested in talk about punishing countries, but I think there is an issue that we have to resolve here between America and Europe and within Europe about Old Europe’s attitutde towards the transatlantic alliance. I don’t want Old Europe setting itself up in opposition to America. I think it will be dangerous and destabilising.”
There are three choices available: alliance, neutrality, or opposition. France has professed the first, and done the third. She's trying to entice Germany into doing the same...
The mechanism for founding what would be a unified EU military force was tabled last week without much fanfare by the chiefs of the convention that is drafting a new EU constitution. The arrangement, akin to the foundation of monetary union, would be far more ambitious than the existing European security and defence policy that was launched by Britain and France in 1998. That policy, which includes a rapid reaction force, is limited to humanitarian, peacekeeping and crisis management in co-operation with Nato.
And to recover damaging records, files from countries they illegally supported
Although Guy Verhofstadt, the Belgian Poodle Prime Minister, proposed the mini-summit months ago, London and other EU capitals view the Brussels initiative as akin to provocation by the four most active opponents of American policy over Iraq.
Another provocation accusation? why don't you learn to respect your elders and shut up
Despite denials from Paris and Berlin, the session looks like a manoeuvre by French-led “old Europe” against the pro-Atlantic axis, led by Britain and Spain and featuring new EU states, which Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, called “new Europe”.
Heh heh Rumsfeld can turn a phrase huh?
Britain, which has the EU’s most powerful Armed Forces, was not invited. Nor were the leaders of the EU’s other main pro-Atlantic states — Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.
Hmmm I wonder why that is?
Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, said that the Brussels meeting “risks sending a message of division about the the creation of a defence policy separate from Nato”. Britain was adamant that the EU’s present security arrangement had nothing to do with a common defence, which was the domain of Nato, Mr Hoon told a French newspaper.
NATO's dead - there's no reason for it anymore
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 09:32 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [1197 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And these troops are going to reach their destinations how? Hitchhike? The U.S. has the only airlift capacity in the world, and the U.S. and Brits are about the only ones with any sealift capacity.

Always remember, Belguim is a country about equally divided between Phlegms and Loons.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/28/2003 9:48 Comments || Top||

#2 
Actually, Europe could fairly easily purchase a bunch of Ro-ro ships. These can be purchased commercially, it is not a specifically military design. That would give considerable sealift capability.

They would be a very long way from having amphibious assault capability, but with a half dozen or so large ro-ro's a French or German division could be quickly unloaded at a friendly port.
Posted by: buwaya || 04/28/2003 10:36 Comments || Top||

#3  The problem with the Ro-ro your boats would be finding a friendly port to unload at in a wartime situation.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/28/2003 10:54 Comments || Top||

#4  Air cover might also be a bit of a problem given the demonstrated (non)combat capability of the Charles De Gaulle.
Posted by: Matt || 04/28/2003 12:07 Comments || Top||

#5  The other problem with the Ro-Ro boats is that they are unusable without sea control This is law. It is known as Rule Britannia.

Posted by: Shipman || 04/28/2003 12:11 Comments || Top||

#6  WUSS--- I thought it was Weasels United to Secure Socialism

dorf
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/28/2003 12:12 Comments || Top||

#7  There's a CHANCE this could be a good thing, IF it means that the Europeans would actually be trying to become active in the world to help deal with issues like Iraq (or the Ivory Coast) and
"do it right," but I'm cetainly concerned that it is, indeed, just a poltical "game" to attempt to increase the political of France in opposition to the U.S --- regardless of the situation.

The ro-ro concept would fine for most types of "world police" interventions, and for any humanitarian aid missions. In fact, they could probably work them based on "spot charters" if they set up the contracts ahead of time. Of course, they'd have to limit the size of the ships IF they goal is widespread humanitarian actions. MANY of the world's ports won't handle the draft requirements of "main stream" merchantmen today.
Posted by: Ralph || 04/28/2003 12:18 Comments || Top||

#8  italy has also expressed opposition. BBC states that even France and Germany want to keep it low profile - looks like they regret it now, but it was too far along to cancel meeting without embarassment,
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 12:46 Comments || Top||

#9  BORN IN LUXEMBOURG PROUD AMERCAN FOR A LONG TIME HELL LUX DOES NOT HAVE AN ARMY BELGIUM SIZE DONT BLINK OR IT IS GONE AND FRANCE DOES NOT HAVE A POT TO P...SSIN.
Posted by: donner || 04/28/2003 13:24 Comments || Top||

#10  I would love to see how their already overtaxed populace could afford to support any viable military rivaling the US and still maintain their womb-to-tomb healthcare, months of vacation, subsidized education, and unemployment benefits!

Guess they didn't learn anything from the whole Soviet experience.
Posted by: Dar || 04/28/2003 13:45 Comments || Top||

#11  You mean that, conceivably, sometime in the future we might have to fight the FRENCH, BELIGIANS, AND LUXEMBOURG!? All at once?! Excuse me while I hide under my bed. What, were Andorra, Lichtenstien, and Monaco too busy to add their fighting might to this fearsome coalition? I don't include the Germans because they'd be nuts to go for this. I hope they realize that betting on the French to come through when the shit hits the fan might not be the smartest move they've ever made.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/28/2003 14:01 Comments || Top||

#12  Dar, it is so simplisme. That Soviet experience was run by Slavs, not the enlightened, educated, cultured French. Why, those silly Eastern Europeans thought they somehow knew what they were talking about when they supported the US! No wonder they couldn't make socialism work! It will be different this time. Mais oui.
Oh, and that silly American cowboy idea that the only reason Europe could afford all that was because the US paid for troops to be stationed there! Such an unsophisticated idea.


/sarcasm now switched off.
Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/28/2003 14:07 Comments || Top||

#13  Even Marx said you needed an industrial base for communism to work ("proletariat", remember?).
Otherwise tou get a classic kleptocracy/dictatorship, a la Mugabe/Zimbabwe.

One of the few things the crazy old bastard was right about.
Posted by: mojo || 04/28/2003 14:45 Comments || Top||

#14  An idea for naming the new alliance of weasels:

Middle Europe Real Diplomacy Entente
Posted by: KP || 04/28/2003 15:56 Comments || Top||

#15  TU3031 FROM DONNER.POSTED ANOTHER COMMENTUNDER IRAQIS TARGET GEN.FRANK FOR BOGUS WAR CRIMES.YOU MAY WANT TO READ IT.
Posted by: donner || 04/28/2003 21:50 Comments || Top||

#16  Donner. I read it. Glad everybody from there or over there doesn't have short memories.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/28/2003 23:35 Comments || Top||

#17  Leaving aside the issue of how the EU army will be moved, one must wonder just what the army being moved will consist of? Omitting Britain, Old Europe's ground forces combined barely meet our division strength, and its entire navy is about equal to one carrier fleet. Its cavalry can't even be compared to ours. Its planes, artillery, tanks, missiles etc. are two generations out of date. EU is even further behind in tactics and training, and is utterly lacking a battlefield communications infrastructure, never mind the ability to use same in combat conditions. All the Ro-ro's in the world won't fix this.

My real concern, and this is the meat of this comment, is the EU turning to the *Chinese* to buy off-the-shelf weapons. It is hard to contemplate Old Europe spending the capital to revamp its military industry to get back into the game (that would cut into social programs, don't you know), so if you want them and don't want to deal with the U.S., China is a place to go. (Russia is a possibility, but wouldn't honor the warranty. NK is too over-the-top, and its weapons are probably of dubious quality, just like its bad heroin that killed a bunch o' Japanese.)

You saw it here first! Old Europe will buy modern weapons from China. Won't that do wonders for transAtlantic relations!
Posted by: tbn || 04/29/2003 1:33 Comments || Top||


Iraqis target Gen. Franks for bogus war crimes
EFL
Iraqi civilians are preparing a complaint to present in court in Belgium accusing allied commander Gen. Tommy Franks and other U.S. military officials of war crimes in Iraq, according to the ambulance chaser attorney representing the plaintiffs. The complaint will state that coalition forces are responsible for the indiscriminate killing of Iraqi civilians, the bombing of a marketplace in Baghdad, the shooting of an ambulance, and failure to prevent the mass looting of hospitals, said Jan Fermon, a Brussels-based lawyer. Mr. Fermon said the complaint will ask an investigative magistrate to look into whether indictments should be issued against Gen. Franks. If an indictment is filed against the general and other U.S. officials, they could be convicted and sentenced by a Belgian court. "Belgium could issue international arrest warrants, but I don't think we will get to that point," Mr. Fermon said.
I don't think we will, either. I think M. Fermon is a staunch defender of terrorism and antiglobalist anarchy, and that he's trying to make himself a thorn in the side of the United States. Such a lawsuit will be considered frivolous, even in Belgium. But it has gotten him on the Rantburg "I don't like you" list...
The Bush administration has reacted angrily to the complaint. A senior administration official warned that "there will be diplomatic consequences for Belgium" if the complaint is taken up by a court there and Belgian authorities issue indictments against Gen. Franks and other U.S. officials. The administration official said the complaint highlights U.S. concerns that laws regarding war crimes and institutions such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) can be used to initiate politically motivated prosecutions against American officials. "This is obviously not a political case with the ICC, but it's typical of what we can expect in the future," the official said on the condition of anonymity.
Yup, bullshit prosecutions by bitter leftists.
Mr. Fermon said that because under international law President Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell cannot be prosecuted for war crimes while they are in office, the complaint will target Gen. Franks and other U.S. military officials. Mr. Fermon said the complaint against U.S. officials is based on a 1993 Belgian law that gives a Belgian court authority to judge war crimes committed by noncitizens anywhere in the world. The plaintiffs sought to file the complaint with the recently inaugurated ICC, but "since the United States did not ratify the treaty to join the institution, we felt compelled to go to a court in Belgium," he said.
This is why we didn't join the ICC.
The filing of the complaint threatens to heighten tensions between Brussels and Washington, which have been strained since Belgium joined France and Germany to lead European opposition to the war in Iraq. Earlier this month, Mr. Powell said Belgium's law threatened to hamper travel by U.S. officials to Brussels, where NATO headquarters are located. "It affects the ability of people to travel in Belgium without being subject to this kind of threat. For a place that is an international center, they should be a little bit concerned about this," Mr. Powell said.
There's a simple enough solution: tell NATO to piss off. It's proven itself to be useless anyway...
The complaint, which Mr. Fermon said will be officially filed in about two weeks, will accuse coalition forces of numerous atrocities in Iraq. Among them:
  • The failure to prevent the mass looting of hospitals in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.
    They would have been more upset if we had shot the looters.
  • Eyewitness testimony of U.S. troops firing upon an ambulance.
    Carrying gunnies.
  • The indiscriminate shooting and wounding its driver by U.S. armored vehicles of civilians in Baghdad.
    Huh?
  • The bombing of a marketplace in Baghdad that killed scores of civilians.
    That would be the Iraqi SAM that dropped short.
  • The attack on a civilian bus with an "energy weapon" in the town of al-Hillah, killing at least 10 passengers.
    Energy weapon? Phasers set on kill?
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 08:21 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [374 views] Top|| File under:

#1  the bus at al-Hillah. Would that be the one full of Syrian "migrant workers"? If so, I believe we did our darndest to convert mass into energy there. Perhaps that's what they mean.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/28/2003 8:45 Comments || Top||

#2  Why aren't these people going after the UK through the ICC? We've put our armed forces' heads on the block for no sane reason and ratified it. It would be hilarious to watch Belgium demanding we hand over our "war criminals" to Brussels for "justice". It would also be a slap-in-the-face wake-up for Tony, and anyone else who confuses EU/UN membership with something resembling British national self-interest. Bring it on, Belgium!
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/28/2003 8:55 Comments || Top||

#3  What a load of crap! Sounds like more "searching under the streetlight", since the @)#*$ morons wouldn't bother with Saddam, or Mugabe, or Boy Assad, or any of the other two-bit dictators on this rock. Nope--always gotta go after the "evil" US of A.
Posted by: Dar || 04/28/2003 9:10 Comments || Top||

#4  When did the Belgians start running the world? I missed when that happened.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/28/2003 9:12 Comments || Top||

#5  Wouldja just look at those cute lil' funny bunnies -- they passed a law and that makes them think they have the authority to judge war crimes committed by noncitizens anywhere in the world! Isn't that just precious?
Posted by: John Phares || 04/28/2003 9:36 Comments || Top||

#6  They are going after the UK, which was dumb enough to ratify this monstrosity. They can't get at the US, so the'll give Tony a hard time.

I say we send in the Marines to sit in the court.
Think about THAT, Mr. Procurator...
Posted by: mojo || 04/28/2003 9:56 Comments || Top||

#7  And they let the REAL war criminals off. I hope they don't apply this to their Police force. What a crime wave would result!
Posted by: KP || 04/28/2003 9:57 Comments || Top||

#8  Send the reply by Tomahawk. I'm sure they'll get the message. Snotty little posturing by a bunch of bureaucratic twits.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 04/28/2003 10:30 Comments || Top||

#9  What a steaming pile of hypocritical bullshit. To go after Franks but ignore Hussein for the past 12 years, that is the very definition of hypocrisy. The mind reels.

The Europeans really need to get hold of themselves -- sure it's a good thing to be wary of war, after the mess they got themselves into during the early 20th century, but to openly defend murdering dictators and openly defy the only country willing to do something about it -- this differentiates them from Hussein, how exactly?

Follow the money. I'm quite sure Galloway and Chirac are not the only benefactors of Saddam's oil money.
Posted by: Jeff B || 04/28/2003 10:31 Comments || Top||

#10  tu3031 - How did Belgium get to rule the world -

Ok we gotta have a EU central control, how we gonna stomp it if it gets out of control? Well belgium is pretty easy to invade...
Posted by: flash91 || 04/28/2003 11:39 Comments || Top||

#11  No, really, they do intend to go after the other threats on this planet......really. It's just that Kimmie has promised to turn Belgium into a "sea of fire" and Belgians don't have the Juche to use an army-based philosophy to counteract his ol' man's great feats. Um, yeah. And if they go after Mugabe, his wife threatened to boycott Belgian chocolates on her next Champs-Elysee shopping spree. So, once they deal with the REAL threat to their sense of irrelevancy the supremacy of international law, then they'll go after Kimmie & Bob. Maybe. They promise to get back to us on that.
Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/28/2003 13:30 Comments || Top||

#12  The Belgians trying to serve that arrest warrant could make for the greatest episode of COPS ever. "Be careful, Francoise. The subject is armed with three carrier battle groups, the 82nd Airborne Division, 25,000 Marines, 450 Abrams tanks ... Have you got an extra magazine?"
Posted by: Matt || 04/28/2003 13:44 Comments || Top||

#13  Can we start calling the Belgians the "Axis of Waffles"?


Please?....
Posted by: mojo || 04/28/2003 17:00 Comments || Top||

#14  Axis of Waffling Weasels already includes Belgium.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/28/2003 17:31 Comments || Top||

#15  MY TYPING IS NOT VERY GOOD SO THIS FORMAT IS EASIER FOR ME .LET US HOPE WE DO NOT HAVE TO FIGHT THEM ALL AT ONCE AND HOPE THAT MONACO ANDORRA AND LICHTENSTEIN JOIN THEM.GENERAL PATTON AND HIS TROOPS ARE BURIED IN LUXEMBOURG.BATTLE OF THE BULGE ONE OF MANY YOU BELGIANS>AND YOU WISHI WASHI FRENCH YOU ALL HAVE AMERICAN TROOPS BURIED IN YOUR COUNTRIES.MAYBE WE SHOULD BRING THOSE HEROES HOME.THEIR FAMILIES DID NOT HAVE A GRAVE TO GO TO AND MOURN THEIR LOVED ONES.IF IT WAS NOT FOR THOSE AMERICANS I PROBABLY WOULD NOT BE ALIVE TODAY UNDER THE NAZIS OR RUSSIANS.HEY YOU F..... FRENCH BELGIANS LUXEMBOURG THAT GOES FOR YOU TO.YOU MAKE ME PUKE AND I AM DEEPLY ASHAMED FOR MY BIRTH COUNTRY LUXEMBOURG AND FOR THE REST OF THOSE SO CALLED PEOPLE.ALWAYS LIKED THE DUTCH HOPE THEY DO NOT CHANGE.THERE I FEEL BETTER NOW.PS IWAS ONLY ALITTLE GIRL DURING THE WAR BUT IREMEMBER.THANK YOU AMERICA AND I AM PROUD TO BE ONE OF YOU.Donner
Posted by: Donner || 04/28/2003 19:11 Comments || Top||

#16  SORRY ABOUT ALL THIS REPEATS MS KEPT CANCELLING MY ACTIONS.SORRY SORRY
Posted by: donner || 04/28/2003 19:34 Comments || Top||

#17  Hmmmm,

Jeffbrokaw, you say the europeans should get ahold of themselves, perhaps they already have and perhaps this great Austrailian insult would apply for what they are doing: "WANKERS"
Posted by: SOG475 || 04/28/2003 19:52 Comments || Top||


French helped Iraq to stifle dissent
France colluded with the Iraqi secret service to undermine a Paris conference held by the prominent human rights group Indict, according to documents found in the foreign ministry in Baghdad.
Hosting a human rights conference in Paris seemed like such a funny idea at the time...
Various documents state that the Iraqis believed the French were doing their utmost to prevent the meeting from going ahead. Ann Clwyd, the Labour MP who chairs Indict, said last night that she would be demanding an apology from the French government for its behaviour, which she described as "atrocious". The files, retrieved from the looted and burned foreign ministry by The Telegraph last week, detail the warmth and strength of Iraqi-French ties. They include a six-page letter dated February 1998 from Saddam Hussein to Jacques Chirac, welcoming the French president's support in the campaign against sanctions and assuring him that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. The documents regarding Indict show that pro-Saddam elements, "Iraqi and Arab brothers", gained access to the conference, which opened on April 14, 2000, at the Hotel La Concorde Lafayette. Indict's attempt to mount a protest outside the Iraqi ambassador's residence was foiled by the authorities. A month after the meeting, a letter headed "Role of Vichy Southern France" (sic) from Saddam's office authorised the finance ministry to pay $383,439 to undisclosed beneficiaries.
Cheques made out to Georges Galloise?
Perhaps the most damning document is from the Iraqi intelligence service, Iris. The service, known as the Mukhabarat in Iraq, operated as the domestic secret police and as an external intelligence agency. Its role abroad was to collect intelligence, murder opponents and maintain relations with friendly groups. The document, dated March 28, 2000, is from the head of Iris to Saddam's office. At the time the organisation was run by Tahir Jalil al-Habbush, number 14 on America's wanted list. The letter appears to be written by a different hand from one revealed last week purporting to record that George Galloway benefited from contracts under the oil for food programme. But it carries the same signature. It states that "one of our sources" met the "deputy spokesman" of the French foreign ministry, "with whom he has good relations". It claims that the spokesman from the justice and interior ministries had sought to find a legal way of preventing the Indict meeting. The paper said it had been agreed that no Iraqi opposition leaders would be granted visas for France to attend the conference. It is not clear if Iraqis living outside the country were granted visas. Although the conference went ahead, the Iraqis regarded moves to undermine it as a striking success. A memo dated April 18, 2000, was sent to Saddam's office by the then foreign minister, Mohammad Said al-Sahaf, who later became the information minister nicknamed "Comical Ali". It is headed "The Failed Enemy Conference in Paris" and says that the French media ignored the event.
Typical Comical Ali. "We persuaded les Francaise to behave terribly, terribly badly. They wanted to oppose us, cruel oppressors that we are, but we threatened to roast their stomachs in hell. My feelings, as usual, we will corrupt them all."
Miss Clwyd, MP for Cynon Valley, recalled various attempts at disruption. Saddam supporters staged a protest outside before it started, she said, and at one point a bomb scare led to the hall having to be evacuated. Victims of Saddam's regime gave evidence at the conference and filming was strictly forbidden because they feared being identified. But someone smuggled in a camera and started filming, Miss Clwyd said. "The police were called. But they could not take the film from the man because he was an Iraqi accredited to the Moroccan embassy." The French foreign ministry denied collusion. A Quai d'Orsay source said it should not come as a surprise that French officials met Iraqi intelligence officers in Baghdad. But he denied accusations of specific collaboration to disrupt the conference.
Could indict have possibly chosen a worse venue?!
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/28/2003 04:35 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [570 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yes, worse was possible. They could have chosen Baghdad.
Posted by: Kalle (kafir forever) || 04/28/2003 5:31 Comments || Top||

#2  By the way, to my knowledge, so far there has been no serious mentions of post-war releases (Galloway scandal, possible links w/AQ, involvments w/french, germano intelligence agencies,...) in french media. Apart from short press articles, there is a complete black-out on radio & tv.
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/28/2003 7:12 Comments || Top||

#3  Not to defend the French but the positive quotes from al-Sahaf kind of undermine the credibility of his claims to have succeeded in disrupting the conference with the help of the French.
Posted by: Tokyo Taro || 04/28/2003 7:15 Comments || Top||

#4  These are damning times for the french, their leadership while enjoying this cozy relationship enriched themselves and diminished their entire country in the process. While french citizens lived in relative prosperity the iraqi people suffered under this brutal regime...whats up with the french? Looking the other way while others are tortured and killed, makes you wonder just how valueless this country has become. The rationalizations spun by this group shows an outright moral depravity that is beyond pale.The french leadership is wearing RED Hands, and the french people failing to take action against their leadership are equally culpable. Shame on the french!
Posted by: AnonymousLy yours || 04/28/2003 8:24 Comments || Top||

#5  Tokyo Taro, The Ali quote was my invention. I hoped the "...we will corrupt them all" part would give that away. As we'd expect, the former Iraqi MisInformation Minister would feel obliged to claim he'd achieved the impossible - that is, corrupt the (thoroughly corrupt) French...
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/28/2003 8:28 Comments || Top||

#6  in french media...there is a complete black-out on radio & tv

Anonymous,

Well that goes perfectly with the complete blackout in their newspapers then. They're going for the hat-trick it seems.

I check Le Monde, Liberation, and Le Figaro at least once a day and there has been no mentions whatsoever (that I could find) of these Telegraph reports indicting THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT. This would NEVER happen in the US. But it's no wonder so many French have the opinions they have, apparently their own government and media have them on a 'need to know' basis.
Posted by: g wiz || 04/28/2003 8:31 Comments || Top||

#7  these reports are all fairly different in their implications. Galloway scandal is playing itself out in UK, no reason for French (or for that matter Americans) to get involved (of course we are interested in it)
AQ links are a fresh story and of the greatest immediate significance - it trumps the WMD search - if we find links, then the war is retroactively justified, whatever we find in WMD. Which, paradoxically, probably makes it easier to find WMD, since it lessens bargaining leverage of those Iraqis who have info on WMD.
French/German/Russian intel links are most complex issues - since it relates to short and long term issues of how we deal with them, what we want from them in short and long term, relative approaches to different members of AoW, etc. I think we want to think through these issues before pursuing them - and will probably never overtly pursue them in public - it will be a game of leaks and blackmail.

Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 9:29 Comments || Top||

#8  You fail to mention that most non-French papers haven't picked up the Telegraph allegations either. Publishing random papers of dubious authenticity without any context isn't exactly what I call fair journalism. French papers tend to be very critical with their own government.
It is decent journalist work to verify sources. Blindly copying Telegraph articles does not qualify.
Btw the Galloway affair is amply reported in Le Monde.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/28/2003 9:33 Comments || Top||

#9  "Blindly copying Telegraph articles does not qualify. "

So dont blindly copy them - put it in context - explain any valid concerns about the sources - explain that Telegraph is established, but pro-paper etc, then let your readers judge for themselves. When Guardian et al have published anti-US accusations of dubious provenenance, that has been picked up in the US press (maybe not Fox, but certainly in NYT, LAT, NPR, etc)

By the way evidence is there that the documents are of dubious authenticity. From what Ive heard if they are forgeries they are VERY artful. One Iraqi exile formerly in the Iraqi govt confirmed the handwriting of the Iraqi intel official on one of the Galloway documents.
I presume we will soon see similar discussion of the documents relating to Al qaeeda, etc.

I think it depends, like the prewar discussions of WMD-evidence and Iraq-AQ link evidence, on your "bayesian prior" If you think, a priori, that an Iraq - AQ link makes no sense ("a secularist like Saddam could never made common cause with an islamist radical") then your first assumption about a document showing such a link is that its probably a forgery. If, OTOH, you think, a priori, that a Saddam-AQ link makes sense (they're both crazed murderers, with a common strategic interest in overturning the Saudi govt and opposing the US,UK and Israel) then when you see a document that supports such a link, you tend to take it as real, barring any specific evidence (of which I see none, so far) that its a forgery.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 9:56 Comments || Top||

#10  liberalhawk, a neutral instance is obviously not to be hoped for?
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/28/2003 10:53 Comments || Top||

#11  I've said this before, I honestly don't believe "old Europe" understands America and our version of democracy. Colonialism, hegemony and nationalism they 'get'. And they keep trying to interpret us through one of those colored glasses. And that's why we're so baffled when they misjudge our intentions.

We could have split the world with the Russians and they don't understand why we didn't. (they would have) In fact some think we did. (where did France's tribute $ go anyway?)
Posted by: Scott || 04/28/2003 11:02 Comments || Top||

#12  TGA, I agree with your position yesterday that we should not be petty and punish France for an honest difference of opinion. However, I do not think that "honest difference of opinion" describes Chiraq's motives and actions.

Actions have consequences, and I think it is quite appropriate that France see some consequences of it's actions. If for no other reason than to discourage such actions in the future, from them or others, against us or others.

I think most of the rest of Europe will recognize this, and won't hold it against us. If I'm wrong, I still think it's the right thing to do.

Lynwood
Posted by: Lynwood || 04/28/2003 11:21 Comments || Top||

#13  TGA - 3 possibilities(as examples): theres a 10% a priori possibility that Saddam and Osama are linked, theres a 50% possility, and there's a 90% possibility.

Point 1 - I see no reason to privilege the 50% possibility (as you seem to) as "neutral". We form our a priori views based on the sum of what we know and believe - there is no "neutral" position.

Point 2 - Lets assume for the moment that the French press is has an a priori belief about the possibility of Saddam-Osama links that is somewhere in between the positions i outlined in the earlier posts - lets say a 50% probability - in that context wouldnt there be reason to think that theres an excellent chance that the Telegraph finds are not a forgery, and are newsworthy?
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 11:25 Comments || Top||

#14  liberalhawk - a few points:
1) Does the Telegraph have a privileged access to the Mukhbarat headquarters. Wouldn't you rather think that this building (or what is left of it) is guarded as heavily as the oil ministry? What do Telegraph journalist have that they can freely sift through top secret Iraqi papers? Did the CIA tell them: "Come on guys, you are much better with the curly scribble, give us a hand?
2) Check what info is actually leaked: France telling Iraq about US war plans in September 2001??? Did the US have a war plan then? And that info the French are supposed to have provided, well I think Saddam could just have logged on to Le Monde or the NYT to find out that he was not the target (yet) in 2001. Another document tells about a meeting of a German guy with the Mukhbarat. He only says, my org wants to work with your org. The information business is rather messy, you can't be too fussy with your sources. Too bad we aren't even told which German intelligence services (Germany has 3) worked for (if he didn't make it all up in the first place for what reason ever). And then we hear about a meeting between a guy supposed to have links with Al Qa'eda and the Mukhbarat. In 1998? You call THAT a link between Saddam and Bin Laden. And what does "link" actually mean? That they talked? Hated each other? Cooperated? With what. When? Where?
Oh we don't know of course. These "papers" (authentic or not) are a bit like these "suspicious substances" the US finds in Iraq, only to find out later that they weren't WMD. Of course you read about the find on page one, not about the fact that the substances were no WMD. And so it goes on and will continue.
So frankly, if the Telegraph publishes things like that that may be worth 5 lines on page 14 in Le Monde unless there is something else to back it up. The "German find" of the Telegraph was actually reported a few hours later by the Deutsche Welle, a program sponsored by the German government. But few German papers ran the story and you can bet the Spiegel would have made a big fuzz out of it.
We can only dream about what we would find if we were getting the privilege to sift through the CIA archives, right? But unfortunately we have to be happy with the morsels some of course very uninterested people throw at our feet.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/28/2003 13:43 Comments || Top||

#15  TGA - 1 why does the telegraph get them and no one else? Like Le Monde? I dont know, if the other papers (like Le Monde) are being turned away why dont they tell us? I dont know whats going on - as far as i can tell the telegraph is more aggressive about this.

And supposing the US was giving them privileged access - so what? thats not evidence of forgery, just that the US wants to make sure the GENUINE documents are seen first by an outlet that will report it.

I dont know about the French - German intell stuff - I agree the world of intell is murky, and it will take some time to figure out these mean. But at first glance it dont look good, and it does look newsworthy. (including evidence that France interfered with a gathering of the Iraqi opposition)

as for this
"And then we hear about a meeting between a guy supposed to have links with Al Qa'eda and the Mukhbarat. In 1998? You call THAT a link between Saddam and Bin Laden. And what does "link" actually mean? That they talked? Hated each other? Cooperated? With what. When? Where?
Oh we don't know of course."

"Supposed to have links with Al qaeeda"??? the documents, if genuine, indicate that the Iraqis certainly thought he was from al qaeeda. "hated each other" then what were they going to all the trouble and risk to meet for? No, theres no evidence yet that they "cooperated". But that a state that has for years proclaimed its hatred for the US, that cheered on the 12 of September, 2001, and that has supported such terrorists as Abu Abbas, Abu Nidal, and Hamas for years dared to even have a friendly meeting with the folks who went on make a smoking hole of the tallest building in my home town is quite enough of a smoking gun for me. I think that most Americans would agree with me. If Frenchmen and Germans insist this is only important if some higher hurdle of cooperation is proved, they will only widen the gulf that exists between us.

Again, as in the case of the veracity of the Telegraph, you are missing context. Just as Europeans and American leftists see the CIA and Pentagon in the context of El Salvador and Viet Nam, we see French and German contacts with the Iraqi regime in the context of the purportedly peace seeking activities of the French and Germans before the war. Even before the war it was said that they wanted to keep us out of Iraq because they had things to hide. It would have been well for them to come clean before the war about these contacts - for now it looks like those pre-war accusations are correct.

I can certainly say that I suspect strongly that if the UN and a Franco-German peacekeeping force were in Iraq now, the Telegraph would NOT have had access to those documents, and the reputation of France and Germany would be preserved, and in all likelihood we would not have seed the documents about Bin Laden either.

At this point UN control over Iraq is out of the question.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 14:19 Comments || Top||

#16  BTW TGA - you make many references to the CIA- are you familiar with discussion that CIA has sought to suppress some evidence of Saddam-Bin Laden connection, where that evidence also indicated failure of CIA to adequately investigate pre-9/11 (in particular with regard to Atta Muhammed meeting in Prague?)
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 14:22 Comments || Top||

#17  liberalhawk-again, I'm no more willing than you to defend Iraq here, I just don't take everything at face value that is presented to me under dubious circumstances.
We know that discovering links (or better cooperation) between Bin Laden and Saddam is very much in U.S. interest. But let me put it that way. If I were a Mukhbarat guy I would be damn interested in what al-Qa'eda was up to in 1998. That's the duty of an intell man: be informed.
Now wouldn't you like to know what the CIA had to talk with Bin Laden in that Dubai hospital 2 months before 9/11? Oh no, excuse me, that was leaked by French intelligence in November 2001 and is of course a bloody lie. But let's assume the French didn't make it up, would you think that there is a "link between Bin Laden and Bush"? Or rather some intell gathering?
Al Qa'eda is a foggy global network of terrorists. That it would have avoided Iraq like the plague is not very credible indeed. But as you know Abu Nidal was killed by Saddam so Iraq probably wasn't the most comfortable territory either.
What was presented to us BEFORE the war started about Al Qa'eda and Iraq was less than convincing. I guess I don't have to remind you of that laughable British intelligence report, right?
Would I be surprised if Saddam an Bin Laden had something going together? No. But this little paper here, that little paper there amounts to shadow boxing.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/28/2003 14:50 Comments || Top||

#18  The quote from Le Figaro merely cites unnamed French Intell Sources. The Telegraph has an actual document. That alone should put them in different categories. And of course again there is context - the US was in the midst of secret war against Al Qaeeda at the time of the meeting alleged by Le Figaro. Iraq on the other hand was facing a common enemy with Al Qaeeda, and such opposition as AQ presented to Iraq seems to be merely verbal.

This little paper is the first tangible evidence presented from inside Iraq of Iraq having a full week long meeting with an envoy from Bin Laden, receiving a message from Bin Laden,and sending a message back, and hoping to arrange a meeting in person. It is VERY important, and the fact that you could dig up an allegation from Le Figaro does not change that.

Now one thing that is frustrating about this conversation (as indeed about the pre-war conversations) is that you go back and forth between challenging the veracity of the document,and challenging its importance. Do you or do you not believe it to be genuine? If genuine it is clearly important - if you think not, Id like to know the basis.

BTW - TGA - as a German, do you happen to think that Iraq gave us a Casus Belli as a supporter of terrorism by its support for Hamas, Abu Abbas and Abu Nidal alone???? Clearly the admin couldnt focus too much on that, for political reasons - I wonder what you and your fellow Germans think?
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 15:07 Comments || Top||

#19  liberalhawk-Of course I cannot know whether this document is genuine or not. It may very well be. I do not believe though that an innocent Telegraph journalist sifted through some dusty papers, jumped and said: Yippie, I found the link!
Of course the document was provided to him.
Casus belli? We were told that Iraq has WMD which UN resolutions don't allow it to have, and that Iraq could provide these WMD to terrorists who could then attack the US with them. That's what Bush told us on the eve of war. Oh, and the nice side effect would be the liberation of the Iraqi people from Saddam (which I fully applaud).
Whether this justified a war in March 2003, whether the disarming of Iraq (of WMD we haven't yet found) could have been achieved by other means is another story.
Many Germans will come up with different reasons for this war. I won't detail them here as this will just spark off a new heated debate about things discussed a hundred times here already.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/28/2003 15:39 Comments || Top||

#20  im not aksing what Bush told us on the eve of war. Bush said in a different context that we had the right to attack any country that harbored or assisted terrorists. That is the context in which this find is important. You seem to set a high standard for Iraqi cooperation with Al qaeeda to prove that this is important.

Very well - there is NO question that Iraq under Saddam supported terrorist groups that have engaged in the murder of Israeli civilians. It is clear, as you and I both know, that Bush could not call that a Casus Belli, becuase then certain (viciouslly Jew-hating) voices in the Arab world would have said that this is a war for Israel. You are a German. Your country has claimed to have learned from its past. Do you consider that Iraq had the sovereign right to fund the deliberate murder of Israeli Jews, without interference by great powers like the United States? My own thought is that for a Germany that still takes its own history as seriously as Germany used to, would see the case closed with knowledge of Iraqi support for Hamas. ANYTHING else - Al qaeeda ties, WMD, is just additional justification. That Germans are still caught up in a discussion of the justification for war is troubling to me.

Im sorry if you find this unsettling or unfair. Ive tried to be calm and rational about this - (believe me I have close friends who are far less friendly to Germany than I am) I appreciate how much Germany has changed, and the efforts of people who have worked hard to make those changes- and I certainly am not troubled that German pacifism would cause Germans to refrain from direct support of us with military force - but nonetheless the point of view expressed by many Germans in the current crisis indicates to me a profound turning away from Germany's moral obligations, and threatens an undoing of much of the work of the past decades.

If you are a TRUE GERMAN ALLY, you will reflect on those things.

I must refrain from further comment, as I must depart for a holocaust rembrance ceremony tonight.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 16:15 Comments || Top||

#21  I came back from one
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/28/2003 16:22 Comments || Top||

#22  "Dubious authenticity" my ass. TGA's wilful blindness in preferring his own self-serving preconceptions to an actual document is everything that's wrong with Olde Europe today.
Posted by: someone || 04/28/2003 18:11 Comments || Top||

#23  someone, in the early Eighties a very respectable German magazine came out with a scoop like no other: "Hitler's Diaries Found: History of 3rd Reich Must Be Rewritten"
2 weeks later this turned out to be a crude forgery. But several historians and "experts" had attested authenticity.
So forgive me if I'm less willing to believe everything a newspaper prints. Especially when there is no uninterested neutral expert to verify the claims. That's all.
Oh, what ever happened to U.S. claims that Iraq had purchased uranium from Niger? What about THOSE documents on which the claim was based?
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/28/2003 19:19 Comments || Top||

#24  TGA: those were crudely forged by the French. Notice a trend here?
Posted by: someone || 04/28/2003 19:24 Comments || Top||

#25  What we have here is an indication that a link was being explored by Iraq and Al Quada. Nothing more.This in and of itself is probably not enough to conclude actual conspiracy. As to authenticity, the release seems to be a joint effort between a reporter from the (conservative)Telegraph and a reporter from the (liberal anti-war)Toronto Star. The very fact that the Star would publish this as front page news is proof enough to me they believe it is authentic.
Posted by: john || 04/28/2003 19:36 Comments || Top||

#26  "The intelligence officials offered a tantalizing coda for conspiracy-mongers. They said the "crude forgery" received by U.N. weapons inspectors suggesting the Iraqis were trying to buy uranium from Niger as part of their nuclear program was originally put in intelligence channels by France. The officials wouldn't speculate on French motives."

Unnamed "intelligence officials" accusing France to put something into intelligence channels. Oh please.

You see, those are the murky waters we are all supposed to paddle in. The CIA can't realize a "crude forgery anymore"? Ask for your tax money back.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/28/2003 19:40 Comments || Top||

#27  Just so you know: there is dead silence in the Gallic press on these issues. On the eve of GW2, the Muslim-puppet government of France closed down over 20 anti-jihadi websites, including the informative, www.aijc.com SAVAGES!
Posted by: Anonon || 04/28/2003 19:43 Comments || Top||

#28  Look how silent the French press is
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/28/2003 20:19 Comments || Top||

#29  TGA,in case you haven't noticed there are no neutral parties in this situation.Personally I believe the documents are real,if not this will soon be known.One of things I do not understand is the people who are willing to dismiss this out of hand(after all the enemy of my enem...).I have stated publically and on the net that any country that supports,protects or provides sanctuary to terrorists that attack/kill Americans or our allies should come under immediate devestating overwhelming attack.This would make our enemies very reluctant to support terrorists.



























Posted by: raptor || 04/29/2003 9:07 Comments || Top||

#30  Sorry about that,something wierd going on.
Posted by: raptor || 04/29/2003 9:17 Comments || Top||


Fifth Column
An antiwar American looks to the north and south for a new place to call home
Christ,lady. Take one of your pills, willya?
And, she says, now she wants out.
"I can't help but feel like I've left America," she says over the telephone from her home in West Virginia."I feel like I've gone to another planet somehow."
...and maybe she has. And not for the first time.
Dianne Burnham knows she is not the majority. Nor is she a loud voice, but speaks quietly and cautiously, wary of the death threats that have already come her way as the convener of the Ohio Valley Peace group and an American who is deeply opposed to America's war with Iraq.The physiotherapist and mother of two is one year away from retirement, and this month she drove north to see if perhaps she might feel more at home in Planet Canada than she has felt this spring in Planet America. She fell in love with London, Ont. -- clean, small enough, a good university for her continuing education plans -- but she is also looking at Costa Rica and has not yet made a decision.
I hear CUBA's nice...
All she knows for sure is she had better leave the country where she has lived her entire life, but no longer feels a part of -- or, for that matter, welcome.
Sure we can't talk you out of it? Okay. Buh-bye.
There has been a new split in America, and the gap has widened steadily since the United States lost patience with the United Nations and led its own 40-member coalition against Iraq.It is hardly an even split, the pro-war side vastly outnumbering the antiwar, and because the media, particularly television, have been vastly pro-war, little attention has been paid to the minority side apart from quick dismissals and even charges of unpatriotic activity.This has stung Dianne Burnham deepest. She is, simply, a believer in peace everywhere -- her car's bumper sticker, unlike most in America, says "God Bless THE WORLD" -- and she is outraged by the manner in which the antiwar demonstrators have been painted as, by extension, being against the troops.
"My flag has been stolen from me," she says. "I have two American flags, and I do not dare put them up for fear people will think I'm pro-war.That's what it's come to in this country. That's what this war has done to America. It's taken away my flag."
It has? It seems that you're the one who made the decision not to display one because of your own beliefs. And no one has come and forced you to put one up.
The split has affected her extended family. She has two nephews in the service, and while one brother was posted to the front lines of Iraq, the other declared himself a conscientious objector and is now awaiting a hearing.
The war's pretty much over. He can change his mind now. Why go through all the paperwork.
"My sister-in-law told me now she knows how people felt during the Civil War," Burnham says, "when families were fighting on opposite sides." She lays the blame, not surprisingly, directly at the feet of U.S. President George W. Bush, the commander-in-chief who grew so exasperated with the dawdling UN attitude toward Iraq that he decided to act with whatever allies would join in. Americans, by a wide margin, supported the President's action.
Couldn't see that coming, could we? The Evil Bush...
In Canada, the government elected not to join in, but Canadians also split on the need for war, though in more balanced proportions than the American public.
"Bush has really divided the country," Burnham says. "I've never seen people so wide apart, and with such animosity and anger.I cannot believe that, because I have sympathy for victims of war, because I'm for peace, that somehow I've become America's enemy. I'm for peace because I don't want anybody killed over these issues, and exactly what are those issues, anyway? Where are these weapons of mass destruction we were going in to find and destroy? Where are they? Now they're saying we went in to liberate the Iraqis and bring them democracy. This wasn't even a 'war,' for heaven's sake; this was shooting at sick rabbits in a cage. We're there to get control of their oil."...AND THERE IT IS!!!Is this broad reading right out of the handbook, or what?
So distraught has the Ohio Valley peace activist become over the continuing coverage of the war that she will no longer watch her television or turn on her car radio. She uses the time instead to learn Spanish, just in case she ends up heading for Costa Rica rather than Canada.
You could watch "West Wing". You could pretend it's real. You might feel better.
"I'm kind of torn," she says.I have friends urging me not to do it, but I go to work and I feel so alien these days. I keep asking, 'What has happened to America?' Everyone is just so full of testosterone. They listen all day to the media spin and eventually everyone starts sounding the same; they even use the same phrases, the same arguments."
You mean, just like you? Excuse me while I get another glass of Testosterone.
"If I stay here, I will be paying for this. I will be supporting this administration, whether I want to or not.
I love my country deeply. I love the water, the land, the leaves, the wild animals. I want what's healthy for the country, but I don't want this.It's putting me out of my own country, you know.
"I need a safe haven."
She needs safe haven all right. Safe Haven State Hospital. Poor lefties, things really aren't going well for them these days.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/28/2003 12:30 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [606 views] Top|| File under:

#1  .....and stay out! And while yer at it, take some of your anti-Bush, it's all about OOOIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLL syncophants with you.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 04/28/2003 13:21 Comments || Top||

#2  Stand back. I'm an EMT and trained to handle this sort of thing.

{Irv, get the Haldol ready!}

Now, dear, let the nice man show you this lovely white coat with the funny arms. That's it; it's so cozy and comfy. {Nail her, Irv, while her eyes are closed!}
Posted by: Chuck || 04/28/2003 13:30 Comments || Top||

#3  Godspeed to you, lady, and take that a**hole Alec Baldwin with you while you're at it. He's waaaay overdue.
Posted by: Dar || 04/28/2003 13:35 Comments || Top||

#4  The choices are clear: Drive north and listen to non stop Celine Dion tapes, or head south and listen to spanish soap opera's...

May God grant you the wisdom in making the best choice for you.

I will truly start worrying about this trend when the number of people jumping in styrophome beer coolers and paddling away from America is the same as the number paddling in.
Posted by: Capsu78 || 04/28/2003 13:50 Comments || Top||

#5  I think that her problem is common to alot of peace at any price people: They believe that violence is not the answer, they are asking what did we do to offend people to have our buildings blown up by aircraft. They just cannot believe that one cannot reason and love unconditionally and everything will be fine. My wife (a psychologist) uses this analogy: if you are being attacked in your house by a psychopath, do you reason with them, defend your self and/or call the police? 9-11 is the same thing. She has used this analogy many times with her teaching colleagues and they have tended to agree, or at least it got them thinking. The problem is that basically well meaning people cannot believe how bad other people can be. So they delude themselves.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/28/2003 13:52 Comments || Top||

#6  The funny thing about her is how blind she is to reality.
1) She's soooooo oppressed for her views that she's allowed to express them in a newspaper, with her full name. She can still go back to work (so she can get that pension next year) instead of some gulag.
2) She can leave any time she wants, to go to any country that will have her. No one is forcing her to stay.
3) She sooooo wants to make the world a better place that she is going to a nice safe place. I'd have some respect for her if she was going to work with poor kids in some third-world hellhole to improve their lives. Is this "victim" doing that? Nope, she wants to go somewhere where the US dollar will buy her a comfortable retirement without having to deal with icky things.

Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/28/2003 13:55 Comments || Top||

#7  No! Not Canada! Atleast not anywhere near Ontario, pleeeease! Besides, it's too cold up here for Americans and we have comedy shows about that to prove it. (Alaskans get an exemption).
OTOH, bet you where ever she goes, she comes back to the good ol' USA in about 2 weeks.
Posted by: RW || 04/28/2003 14:47 Comments || Top||

#8  I agree with Capsu78. Why are they wasting type space on a person that really doesn't get it. You could be against the war, but these people were always against America. They were burning U.S. flags and not Iraqi/UN ones. If these people really had a clue they would be demonstrating at the UN. Too bad the Hollywood crowd won't follow this lady. I have had my fill of Tom, Susan, et al.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 04/28/2003 14:49 Comments || Top||

#9  All I can say is, why wait? Get going. Now.

Maybe if she's lucky, she can find a suitable socialist society she can fit into and sponge off them. Once gone, she will be one less sad sack to have to contemplate.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 04/28/2003 15:00 Comments || Top||

#10  I think it's symptomatic of her problem that she NEVER mentions loving "people" - just "peace", just land, water, etc.,etc. "Everybody" is against her. The "news media" tells all kinds of lies.

This lady isn't hearing what she wants to hear, so she's upset. She needs to get a grip on herself and start seeing reality. The United States is a nice place, but to keep it a nice place, we have to take a club to the riff-raff that want to wreck it. This lady is blind to reality. I hope she goes to Costa Rica. It'll be a HUGE eye-opener for her.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 04/28/2003 15:10 Comments || Top||

#11  Costa Rica is too nice - they don't deserve her. I think Fidel's Paradise is her best bet. Vaya Con Dios dumbass
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 18:07 Comments || Top||

#12  I hate Bush's America, so I am leaving...

DId you hear me? I said I am leaving...

Hey! Listen up! I am leaving America...

Hey, I am a peace person and I am l e a v i n g America...

Are you listening?
Posted by: badanov || 04/28/2003 18:10 Comments || Top||

#13  Here is another situation of a person living in denial. Does she think that peace and freedom are free? Maybe she should leave, but no matter where she ends up, she will take her fear with her.
Posted by: quark2 || 04/28/2003 22:27 Comments || Top||

#14  She'll never gets what she really wants: everyone agreeing with her utopian visions. Unless, of course, she and her like-minded fascists get to run things. Then EVERYONE would agree and all would be safe, unless someone disagreed. And, of course there is a place in the Caribbean, with nice weather, where everyone agrees with everyone else. Except when they don't. Then they get 25 years...

You'll love it Havana, honey!

Posted by: R. McLeod || 04/29/2003 2:38 Comments || Top||

#15  Don't let the door hit you in the ass.Way-to-go,that is the way to fix a problem run a way(what a wuss).
Posted by: raptor || 04/29/2003 9:11 Comments || Top||


Eerie Silence in Hollywood as Anti-War Stars Vanish
...and Thank God for that.
Where has the Hollywood anti-war lobby gone? In the weeks leading up to war in Iraq actors Martin Sheen, Mike Farrell, Sean Penn and Janeane Garofalo joined a cast of thousands in a fierce Hollywood resistance played out in protest marches and from the sofas of television talk shows. But with the war in its waning hours, all is quiet on the western coast — leading conservatives to suggest that Garofalo and her fellow travelers are in full retreat from a public backlash and feeling chastened by a swift American victory.
Are we sure the black helicopters haven't rounded them up and put them in the re-education camps?
Liberals fear Hollywood's left-wing stars are being muzzled and their careers placed in jeopardy from what actor Tim Robbins, called in a recent speech a "climate of fear."
Climate of fear! Blacklist! McCarthyism! How about "Sick of a**holes and their bulls**t"?
Oh, Ethel! Quick! My pills!
But Mike Farrell, star of television's "MASH" and organizer of "Artists United to Win Without War," told Reuters that those who joined the loyal opposition in Hollywood had not been silenced and certainly were not backing down. Instead, he said, the "huge coalition" of those opposed to the war were gathering strength and preparing to fight another day — over post-war Iraq, domestic issues and future "preemptive strikes" by the Bush administration. "What's the point of me saying anything right now, while they're in the end zone doing the dance and spiking the football?" Farrell said. "They are going to do the thing they are going to do, but we'll be heard from when it's appropriate and in the manner that is appropriate."
Jeez, Mike. Don't get all pissy on us. You lost. Take it like a man.
Garofalo, working hard on her upcoming ABC sitcom, did not respond to interview requests for this story. But she told the Washington Post last week that her anti-war stance had been a "positive" experience that had helped her career. "Before this I was a moderately well-known character actress," she told the paper. "Now, I'm almost famous."
Like Tokyo Rose! Anybody want to lay odds on how long her sitcom lasts?
A spokeswoman for Penn, who infuriated many Americans by visiting Iraq in December on his own fact-finding mission, said the actor was not granting interviews. Sheen's publicist said the man who plays president on "The West Wing" was "not talking to anybody right now."
Penn's probably busy shopping for new guns, and make believe President is probably too busy making believe all this never happened.
Farrell lamented the backlash to celebrities who spoke out — notably in the case of the Dixie Chicks. Farrell said the backlash came from a small number of Americans galvanized by the Bush administration and conservative radio talk show hosts. "There was a well-orchestrated campaign to do that through hate radio and Web sites and voices that sprang from the (Bush) administration and said 'take your choice, you're with us or with the terrorists,"' he said.
That damn hate radio! How dare they think they've got the same rights that a star like me does!
"But the Dixie Chicks are back on the air and their record is number one again," he said. "Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon are not going to stop making movies for a long time. Janeane Garofalo has a (TV) pilot going forward. These ugly-mouthed people like to think they are more powerful than they are."
The last poll I saw was something like 70% in favor of the war. That's a lot of "ugly mouth people". I think some of them buy CD's, watch TV, and go to movies.If they vote with their wallets, they may be more powerful then you think, Mikey.
Farrell said that the ability of U.S. troops to topple Saddam Hussein regime in relatively short order has not softened his opposition to the war. "An illegal war is an illegal war no matter what the result. We'll never know now what could have been achieved through peaceful means."
Yes, we do. Nothing. Status quo. Now? One less a**hole in the world that we don't have to deal with.
Prof. Howard Suber, founding director of UCLA's film and television producer's program, said the eerie silence from Hollywood was to be expected once American troops were on the ground in Iraq. "It's one thing to oppose the war and it's another thing entirely to appear that you are supporting the enemy," Suber said. "That's the trap Jane Fonda fell into when she went to North Vietnam (during the Vietnam War) and was a labeled traitor. I know of no public figure who supported Saddam, so once the troops are in the field you've got to shut up." But, he added: "To suggest they've been muzzled I think is bull. They've just got nothing to say. Once the deed is done there's nothing to say until the next time."
A professor with common sense. How often do you see that?
Allan Mayer, a top Hollywood crisis public relations manager, said a few performers not used to dabbling in politics had been given a wake-up call by the blistering public response to their remarks. "Clearly Natalie Maines didn't have an inkling of the kind of reaction she was going to provoke," Mayer said, adding, "There's a level of vitriol in the air that I haven't seen since the Vietnam War."
Clearly Natalie Maines is IQ-challenged. Having made a very respectable name for herself in the country music field, she decided to take a position that the majority of her fans found offensive. Her backing and filling and "apologies" to the contrary, her "roots" seem to lie in the Tim Robbins-Anybodynamed Sheen camp, rather than with her fan base. Attention spans being what they are, if Maines and the Chicklets can keep their clothes on and their mouths shut and pretend the whole thing happened to someone else, their sales will go back up, probably. If she keeps going on terriblevision with her "I have questions" routine, she can forget about that. If everybody else gets it, but you still have questions, it either means you've thought of something new or you're too stoopid to grasp the answer that's been given. I haven't heard Maines or the other Ditzy Chicks come up with anything new...
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/28/2003 10:37 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [573 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Janeane's still at the ER getting her knees sewed up.
Posted by: Scott || 04/28/2003 11:59 Comments || Top||

#2  Didn't know that Farrell could be such a condescending prick. I even liked M*A*S*H for pete's sakes. He forgot to mention that the backlash against some Hollywood types also came from non-Americans who can't even vote for Bush.
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/28/2003 12:18 Comments || Top||

#3  Wait til the '04 presidential election - they'll be out in force with temporary alzheimer's for all the stupid things they said and predicted. Should be fun
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 12:29 Comments || Top||

#4  Stars vanish? One could only hope. Kinda like the Rapture, only in a reverse direction?
Posted by: Chuck || 04/28/2003 12:45 Comments || Top||

#5  Mike who?

Oh, HIM...

Still no job, huh? Ya bum...
Posted by: mojo || 04/28/2003 13:23 Comments || Top||

#6  I guess you don't have to work if your a card-carrying commie. Wonder if they will vow to leave the country after the next election?
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 04/28/2003 14:52 Comments || Top||

#7  "What's the point of me saying anything right now, while they're in the end zone doing the dance and spiking the football?" Farrell said.

The implication here seems to be that those who supported the war won, and Farrell and his compatriots lost. This is incorrect. Farrell and his compatriots were shown to be WRONG, which isn't the same as losing. (a good case could be made for them to be "losers", but that's something a wee bit different...)
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 04/28/2003 15:11 Comments || Top||

#8  Amazing,

It always gets me how the leftists always invoke "freedom of speech" when they say these outrageously borderline seditious comments and then when we exercise OUR free speech rights and criticize them and boycott their movies and picket their gatherings, we are REPRESSIVE and creating a climate of fear and oppression.

OH PLEASE........I think we now have a new definition of hypocrite...an entertainer who does not want to pay the price for taking unpopular positions. I thought being really dedicated meant standing up for your opinions and taking the heat even when they are unpopular.
Posted by: SOG475 || 04/28/2003 19:56 Comments || Top||

#9  Hilarious quote from Farrell:

"An illegal war is an illegal war no matter what the result. We'll never know now what could have been achieved through peaceful means."

You see if our motives had been good (i.e. they'd met with Mike's approval), but the result was bad, that would have been fine.

But our motives were bad and even if the result was good, the whole thing was rotten.

This is pure leftist ideology, folks, right there in front of you. Only the "right" motive matters. If the result sucks (see welfare, for one example) it doesn't matter...you were trying to do the right thing.

Garofalo will fail on TV. Farrell will never work again. West Wing is going to be cancelled. Both of Sarandon's last two films bombed, including one last week. The Dixie Chicks will NOT comeback and their record is sinking fast on the charts.

The entire pro-Saddam Hollywood movement was a disaster. Tough shit.
Posted by: R. McLeod || 04/29/2003 2:47 Comments || Top||

#10  "positive" experience that had helped her career. "Before this I was a moderately well-known character actress," she told the paper. "Now, I'm almost famous"
What did I tell you,a bunch of publicity-seeking, washed-up hasbeens,and wanta-bes.
Posted by: raptor || 04/29/2003 9:33 Comments || Top||


Great White North
Security tight for plane bomb trial
TWO men accused of bombing an Air India flight in 1985, killing all 329 people on board, have pleaded not guilty at the start of their trial in a specially built courtroom. Ajaib Singh Bagri, 53, and Ripudaman Singh Malik, 56, sat behind bulletproof glass for the hearing in Vancouver, Canada, today. The trial comes almost 18 years after the Boeing 747 exploded off the coast of Ireland in the worst terrorist bombing of a commercial aircraft. Calling Bagri a "militant Sikh terrorist", prosecutor Robert Wright said the bombing was revenge by Sikh separatists for the 1984 raid by Indian forces on the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the religion's holiest site. "Their motive was so strongly felt that they were prepared to murder hundreds of innocent people," Wright said.
Guess they got that "Dire Revenge™" thing from the Muslims...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/28/2003 08:47 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [385 views] Top|| File under:


India-Pakistan
Consulate General of Pakistan & Visa Requirements
I found this rather hilarious article on an Indian forum

Consulate General of Pakistan & Visa Requirements

GUIDE LINES FOR VISA AND PASSPORT


Visa Applicants to please note:
Applications must accompany:


Passport with minimum validity for six months (optional) not required if you are anti India-isreal-us

Two passport size latest photographs with AK-47 (at least caliber)

Confirmed travel itinerary (Not necessary you can just cross border with opium or AK-47)

Forms must be signed by applicant & if you illitrate thumb impresssion will do (Well most pakis are illltrates anyway)

Self addressed envelope (Optional, We don't care)

Appropriate fee in bank Cheque or Money Order in the name of Consulate General of Pakistan by indicating payment of visa fee
(cash and personal cheques not accepted)


Incomplete and unsigned applications will be processed if you meet any of the above criteria)

Persons proceeding to Pakistan on specific assignments (Business/Official/Journalist/Terroists/Jihadis/Extremists/Separatists) should enclose letter/documents from their employer/sponsors/mudrasas giving all details such as the nature of the assignment, duration of visit etc (Optional, Just formality we don't care, just in Case)

PASSPORT PROCEDURES

For prompt servicing of your passport requirements please ensure that you observe the following procedures. Failure to observe these procedures will result in delay for which the Consulate will not accept responsibility. In urgent cases higher fee will be charged as indicated. Please advise whether you require urgent attention and if so send the required amount of urgent fees.

(1) FRESH PASSPORT

Fresh passport in lieu of an expired passport is issued if

(a) Validity of passport has expired or
(b) Pages in the passport have exhausted. While applying for a new passport the following documents are required to be submitted along with the original (previous) passport:
(c) Following conditions


KASMIRI SEPARATISTS & MUJAHUDEEN (Own House, Vechicle for the whole family will provided, along with A+ Training in Explosives handling, killing innoncents people ruthlessly)
EXTREME ISLAMIC ORGANISATIONS (Such as LeT) (Own business premises, with telephone, ISDN, Radio telecommunications and fax will granted instantly for further information please Board Investment, Pakistan)
Al-Queda Operatives (Preferred city with 5***** Accomidation provided, we have track record all the september 11, 2001 operatives sent money to USA from Karachi, if you don't belive Check out fbi site)
Jeehadi Connections (Own house till you die will be provided)

Duly filled in Form 'A' (for persons of 12 years of age or above) or Form 'B' (for children under 12 years of age) (Youth are required for our nation to ignite more bombs)
Three copies of recent passport size photographs with name and signature of applicant on the back
National Identity Card or registered form in case of children under 18 years of age
Bank Cheque/Money Order (Personal Cheque or Cash are not accepted) in the name of Consulate General of Pakistan, Islamabad for a sum of 2 AK-47 & 1/2 kg opium (3 AK-47 & 1 kg opium for urgent cases). Processing time with normal fee is ten working days and with fee for urgent cases is one hour only (Like Indian Airlines hijackers in kadhahar, instantly with in minutes we will provide passport, fastest service on this planet) Two photos of each child for entry in parent's passport
Posted by: rg117 || 04/28/2003 12:15 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [366 views] Top|| File under:


Pakistan Vows Crackdown on Taliban Remnants
Pakistan on Monday vowed to act against Afghan Taliban leaders who might have been operating from its territory, but denied reports that the elusive chief of the Islamic militia was in the country. Foreign Ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan said reports that Taliban Supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was hiding in Pakistan were misinformation. "Anybody who knows it why doesn't he go and catch that prize (announced by the United States) rather than just making claims that he is in Pakistan," he said.
Ummm, because he's under your protection?
Afghan leaders say they have drawn up a list of senior members of the Taliban they believe to be operating from Pakistan. Mullah Omar tops the list, Afghan Foreign Minister Dr Abdullah told Reuters on Saturday. The list also includes the names of notorious Taliban commander Akhtar Mohammad Usmani, a close confidant of Mullah Omar, and Mullah Turabi, a former justice minister who created the feared Taliban religious police. But Khan said the Afghan government had not handed over any list to Pakistan during Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit to Islamabad last week.
"List? Nope, never seen one."
"There is no list. Some names were mentioned... we have assured him (Karzai) that we will do everything possible to investigate the issue," he said. "We will do everything possible not to allow anything detrimental to that (Karzai's) government being done from Pakistani soil."
"Anything that can be proved, that is."
Pakistan withdrew its support to the Taliban following the September 11 attacks and joined hands with the United States in its war against terror.
Hope we're wearing rubber gloves.
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 09:58 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [362 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Put this list next that list from India

.....
Posted by: rg117 || 04/28/2003 11:56 Comments || Top||


Pakistan Hold Men Linked to U.S. Shooting
Pakistani troops working with U.S. soldiers captured two men trying to retrieve the body of a rebel from the scene of a gun battle that also left two U.S. troops dead. U.S. soldiers backed by A-10 tankbuster fighter planes and Apache helicopter gunships rushed to the area Sunday after men were spotted at the scene of Friday's battle in Shkin, Col. Roger King said. In a sign of increasing cooperation with the Pakistani military on the border region, U.S. commanders immediately contacted the Pakistani authorities who agreed to help trap the men at the border, King said.
Is this the first time they've done this?
King did not identify the two captured men. However, he said that at least one of the rebels killed Friday apparently was a foreign fighter who may have belonged to the al-Qaida terrorist network. He did not reveal the fighter's nationality. The deaths happened after U.S. soldiers engaged at least 20 rebels in a brief gunbattle about 1,000 yards from the Pakistani border. The soldiers were investigating reported activity by a group of men armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and AK-47 assault rifles. U.S. soldiers said they killed three rebels, although only two bodies have been found. Four American soldiers and an Afghan militia fighter also were wounded. Coalition forces have been seeking greater cooperation with Pakistan to stop holdouts from the Taliban regime, fugitive members of the al-Qaida terrorist network or loyalists of renegade Afghan commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar from escaping across the border.
I'll bet the guys they picked up are foreign Taliban without Pak political connections. Hek seems to have a "Get out of jail free" card.
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 09:02 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [368 views] Top|| File under:

#1  How do they know a dead guy is a foreign fighter? Lack of the Pak-customary multiple passports?
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 9:30 Comments || Top||

#2  Why are 2 American soldiers dead? The answer: because American taxpayer aid to Porkistan is funneled directly to the jihadi provinces - Balochistan and NWFP - and used to arm and equip neo-Talibanis. Americans get nothing out of the alliance with the terror state, except the death of Americans, at the cost of billions of American dollars.

Posted by: Anonon || 04/28/2003 10:27 Comments || Top||

#3  Anonon, how do you propose resupply to Afghanistan? Magic carpet?

Besides, we can thank the f*cking predecessor, Clinton, for letting Musharraf boot the previous elected Government.

The Dems really handled that situation well...
Posted by: Brian || 04/28/2003 19:01 Comments || Top||


Iraq
Loyalty What Matters, Not Muslim Or Christian: Tikriti
The Iraqi people should stand shoulder to shoulder in such a critical juncture and undertake the death-or-life task of liberating their motherland from U.S. colonialism, the general supervisor of the Muslim Brotherhood Group in Iraq and head of the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), Dr. Osama al-Tikriti, said in an IslamOnline.net live dialogue Sunday, April 27.
Oh, that's zackly what we need: The Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq, run by Osama, from Tikrit...
In a two-hour dialogue with people from all over the globe, Tikriti gave visitors of IslamOnline.net some insights into the party's broad guidelines and the role undertaken by the group in the post-war Iraq. The dialogue, in effect, covered a plethora of troubling questions and burning issues, including Iraq's religious, sectarian and cultural mosaic, the expected U.S.-installed government in the war-torn country, the resistance against the U.S. occupation and the priorities of the party's agenda in the days ahead. Now that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is out of the picture, Tikriti expected that the Iraqi people will enjoy their inalienable right to freedom of expression, asserting that Iraq would be for all Iraqis regardless of their religion or race.
Where were all those inalienable rights when Sammy was warming the seat of all power? And where was Osama al-Tikriti? What'd he do to dump Sammy?
"Loyalty to Iraq is what really matters
 No difference whatsoever between Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites or Christians," he said.
"All grist for the mill..."
"The talk about Sunni or Shiite majority and minority in Iraq is far from being true and worthless. The percentage of Sunni and Shiite population in Iraq is edging closer," he asserted, hoping that the new Iraqi regime would enhance political plurality.
Why am I not convinced that he means that? Something to do with the Muslim Brotherhood, I guess...
"I hope that ballots would have the final say in those who would represent the Iraqis," he said. "I underline and underscore that we will not impose our own way on the Iraqi people forcibly
 Enough is enough. We must provide an ample room for the Iraqi people to speak their minds out and choose (their leaders)."
"Once they choose us, we'll tell them what to do next..."
Iraq is a Muslim country, he continued, and Islam respects all other religions and although "Christians, Jews and Sabeans represent only three percent of Iraq's population, but this does not mean that we will trespass them or down-tread their rights."
"We'll just convert their sorry asses to the Master Religion and be done with it."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/28/2003 08:04 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [391 views] Top|| File under:


Iraqi town holds first election
Don't know if this was posted last week, EFL:
The first democratic elections in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein were held in a city near Baghdad last week, said United States military officials. In a tentative step towards democracy, Abu Ghraib, a city of more than one million people about 20km west of the capital, elected a city council in a poll which US officials helped organise. The vote was hailed as "the first, free election in recent Iraqi history," by Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Garrell, commander of the 1-2 Air Defencse Artillery (ADA) regiment. The Abu Ghraib city council met officials from the town's municipal service and leaders from the battalion last Wednesday to discuss restoring vital services and order to the town, the statement said.
It added that soldiers from the 5th Special Forces group had been working with Abu Ghraib townspeople for more than eight months to help them with the elections, long before the start of the US-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein.
That's right, SF has been in Iraq for 8 months!
"It helped considerably that Special Forces soldiers had been in the area before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom," said the Special Forces team leader, identified only as Captain Mike, referring to the US name for the military campaign.
The main concerns raised by the council were security and water for the local hospital and salaries for police forces, who had not been paid in more than two months, said Mike. "We told them if they led, we would support them," he said. "After 36 years under Ba'ath Party leadership, they're scared, and they don't really know how democracy works. But, for the first time, they have an assembly elected through a democratic process."
Garrell told the council he would work fast to address the issues he could, and take the problems he could not resolve up with his chain of command, said the statement. Mike said the army would need the support of the local government because it could serve as a "template" for other cities.
Well done
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 02:10 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [386 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And when can we expect the 5th Special Forces group to re-deploy to Florida?

By early 2004, one can only hope.
Posted by: Michael || 04/28/2003 14:57 Comments || Top||

#2  And when can we expect Michael to redeploy to Iraq for a taste of real democracy? Iraq's not Timbuktu by any means; as I understand it, beer, whisky and hashish are freely available.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 04/28/2003 17:11 Comments || Top||

#3  Ah, I was not poking fun at Iraq, I was poking fun at us, if that was you point.

No offense intended, it it was indeed taken
Posted by: Michael || 04/28/2003 18:22 Comments || Top||


Kurdish Paramilitaries to End Patrols
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - Kurdish paramilitary forces said Monday they are complying with a U.S. Army order to cease armed patrols and that they will not act as an occupation force in Mosul, a city deeply divided between Kurds and Arabs. Kurdish fighters have been pulled back from the streets, said Bruska Shaways, deputy for military affairs of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
For all the shenanigans of their leaders, the Kurds seem to understand what needs to be done.
Shaways, who said he and his group of some 350 fighters, called peshmergas, accompanied about three dozen U.S. special forces on the initial push into Mosul, said the time was right to start scaling back operations.

``As more American forces are coming, the 101st Airborne, there are too many soldiers here now,'' he said at headquarters on the banks of the Tigris River, where the yellow Kurdistan Democratic Party flag now flies over what was one of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party offices. ``There is not more need for so many peshmerga here.''
"So we'll move them to the Turkish border where we might need them more!"
Since the fall of Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, tensions have escalated between Arab residents and the large Kurdish minority. Kurds say Saddam sought to displace them with Arabs, taking their homes and giving them to Arabs. Some Arab families have recently been forced from their homes by Kurdish fighters.

Abandoned buildings have quickly become occupied by both the Kurdistan Democratic Party and its main rival, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said Maj. Brian Pearl of the 101st Airborne Division, 3rd Battalion, 502 Infantry Regiment. ``They're trying to disperse into the sector to establish themselves - that's what we're seeing,'' said Pearl, 36, of Canton, Mo.

Armed Kurdistan Democratic Party patrols had set up checkpoints and searched cars while the rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan charged residents 500 Iraqi dinars - about 25 cents - at gunpoint to enter some gas stations, Pearl said. They've since agreed to stop.

Three walk-in centers opened Saturday to inform people gasoline was flowing at some service stations and propane was available starting Sunday. Soldiers and local police also began joint patrols Saturday.

Shaways said Kurds want to be represented in any interim government, but are not looking to occupy the city. ``Mosul as a city is not a Kurd city, there are a large number of Kurds but it is an Arab city for the moment,'' Shaways said. ``So we don't want the people to think that our peshmerga are coming here to rule.''

Still, on Saturday, when troops from Pearl's unit began trying to forcibly disarm the Kurdish fighters, they refused to yield. The Americans eventually backed down, giving the Kurds until Monday to restrict all armed soldiers to their own compounds. ``They know the order and the right thing to do but they just tried to push the limits,'' Pearl said.
They had damned well better obey the next order from American forces, or else.
Shaways said the incident was a misunderstanding. The 101st Airborne, he said, ``thought every guy with a weapon was an enemy.''
Yup, that's how soldiers frequently think!
In a concession to the rival groups' leaders, each will be allowed to keep a force of eight armed bodyguards.

American commanders are now hopeful the city's disparate and sometimes hostile groups - the Kurds and Iraqi Arabs being the largest, but also including ethnic Turks, Syrians and others - to work together to form an interim government.
Posted by: Steve White || 04/28/2003 11:48 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [385 views] Top|| File under:

#1  ethnic Syrians? perhaps they mean the Christian Assyrians.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 12:19 Comments || Top||


Second test positive
TIKRIT, Iraq — More-sophisticated field tests conducted yesterday on the pile of 55-gallon drums found near a small industrial town in central Iraq came up positive for a chemical nerve agent.
But military officials said it will be two to three days before laboratory tests can show with certainty whether fluid from one of the 14 drums is a chemical agent used to make weapons of mass destruction.
The Washington Times first reported yesterday that U.S. troops discovered the pile of drums near Baiji, about 115 miles north of Baghdad, and that initial tests yielded positive results for the nerve agent cyclo-sarin.
Long article, edited to just the most pertinent information to preserve Fred's bandwidth. Worth a look at the whole thing.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 04/28/2003 11:27 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [367 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Thinking about this. If they don't have enough troops to cover all areas now for security, how can they cover hundreds of potential WMD sites? If you break your forces down to little detachments, they become easier targerts for the dead-ender holdouts. If you do find the stuff, you'd keep quiet about it. Remembering how George works, he'll let the noise level rise to an embarrassing level on the critics side, and THEN release the information validating finds. The longer he can play this game, the more he can find without getting the troops dispersed over the Iraqi landscape to guard them. It's not easy to move the stuff with care. Of course if you don't care, it is easy to move the stuff.
Posted by: Don || 04/28/2003 18:05 Comments || Top||

#2  Good point, Don. Bush is a poker player, and keeps his cards close to his chest.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/28/2003 19:41 Comments || Top||


Turkish Press Review
Edited for topic
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that Turkey was closely following developments in northern Iraq. “We have plans and programs for the region. They will be carried out in coordination,” said Gul. Speaking to a meeting of the Diplomatic Correspondents’ Association, Gul denied reports of Turkish Special Forces arming northern Iraq’s Turkmen being sent back by US troops. “There are no problems regarding Turkish teams in the region,” he said. “They are continuing to carry out their duties and conveying reports back to us. Our teams are carrying weapons to protect trucks carrying humanitarian aid to the region through Turkey.”
The New York Times over the weekend reported yesterday that according to US military officials, men identifying themselves as Turkish Special Forces soldiers last week tried to smuggle grenades, night-vision goggles and dozens of rifles into the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The officials said that they believe the weapons, which were allegedly hidden in an aid convoy, were bound for ethnic Turkmen living in the oil-rich city, said the Times. However, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul denied these reports, reiterating that Turkish forces were present in the region only to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees.
Smuggling arms into Iraq seems a bit redundent.
There is "no justification" for US forces to remain in Iraq once an interim Iraqi government has been established, stated Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Massoud Barzani over the weekend. Barzani added that the “Kurdish nation” had the right to self-determination and to establish its own state. “However, this issue is not on our agenda right now,” said the Kurdish leader. “We are responsible for solving the problems of Iraq’s Kurds. However, the Kurds living in Turkey and Iran should themselves find solutions to their problems.”
That's what the Turks are worried about.
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 10:17 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [367 views] Top|| File under:


Tribe Would Protect Saddam’s Kin -- if Asked
EFL
Iraqi tribesmen near the Syrian border denied on Monday that they had given sanctuary to Saddam Hussein's wife and daughters — but said that if they did arrive and ask for protection, they would get it. The tribesmen said relatives of several senior Iraqis had passed through the northern region during the war. But they refused to say who they were, or where they had gone. Some media reports have said members of Saddam's family fled to Syria during the war and were later sent back to Iraq, where they were being sheltered by the Shamar tribe. Arabic channel Al Arabiya quoted sources as saying the group included Saddam's wife Sajida, and his three daughters — Raghd and Rana whose husbands he ordered killed in 1996, and Hala, whose husband Jamal Mustafa Sultan al-Tikriti surrendered to U.S. troops last week after returning from Syria. Fener Ahmed Sfook al-Faisal, a Shamar tribe sheikh in Rabia, dismissed the reports. "We heard this report on Arabiya television and were astonished. We deny this and if they stayed in this place we would know about it," he told Reuters.
"We'd notice a bunch of hot babes!"
But asked what would happen if Saddam's wives and daughters came to the tribe for protection, he said: "If they came here we would show them hospitality because that is our custom as Arabs. It is Saddam who is wanted, not his family." He added that U.S. officers had last visited the area about two weeks ago to meet tribal elders and local officials.
I think we'd like to talk to them, but I don't think they'd face any charges. We should just wait for the media agents to track them down and offer them a movie deal.
A member of the Shamar tribe attending a U.S.-backed meeting of prominent Iraqis in Baghdad said he had not heard reports that members of Saddam's family were under tribal protection. "But for us Arabs, if a woman and her children seek refuge, and especially if they are not accused of anything, we protect them," he said. Britain's Daily Mail newspaper quoted Haitham Rashid Wihaib, Saddam's former chief of protocol and a long-time exile in the West, as saying members of Saddam's family had been sent back to Iraq by Syria on Saturday. "Syria told Saddam's family they had to leave because they were worried about the effect their presence would have on Syria's relationship with the West," he was quoted as saying. "The Syrians made inquiries with other Arab countries to find out if anyone else would be prepared to take them in, but they all refused. So on Saturday the family were smuggled out of Syria back into Iraq using a border pass which takes them straight to the safety of the tribes in Iraq."
Interesting, Syria seems to have been paying attention.
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 09:47 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [370 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Another stupifada brewing. I always supported use of nuclear blackmail to force countries which are polluted with jihadi populations, to liquidate this vermin. Would I want to see mass executions of all 20,000 jihadis who are incarcerated by the Egyptian government? Yes, and anyone suspected of jihadism. What if that was 100,000,000 alleged humans on a global scale? If that's what it takes, then kill them all. Jihadi life is cheap. My critics can eat dirt.
Posted by: Anonon || 04/28/2003 19:39 Comments || Top||


Self-proclaimed Baghdad mayor held
UPDATE - EFL
An Iraqi exile who proclaimed himself mayor of Baghdad was arrested Sunday by U.S. military forces, U.S. Central Command said. They said the trouble began when the Americans found out they had seized the money and were going to distribute it. Al-Zubaidi also distributed uniforms and arms to his supporters, a move that last week brought about a strong rebuke from U.S. military officials. "Anyone in uniform working with al-Zubaidi will be arrested as a combatant," King said. "The only people in Baghdad allowed to wear a uniform ... is who we authorize."
Seems a logical precaution, doesn't it?
"We all do carry guns. We have security," one of al-Zubaidi's supporters said. "Baghdad is a very dangerous place." He then denied carrying guns, saying that he was trying to say the population carried guns. One U.S. soldier who mans a checkpoint near the Sheraton hotel said he found a gun on al-Zubaidi Saturday and confiscated it. Weapons were found on his followers on previous days, he said.
Stepped over the line, got smacked down.
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 09:28 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  over the line - yup.

Perhaps also to balance the Islamist (fadlil?) we chased out of Kut the other day - cant look like its only Islamists we chase out. Perhaps also we're closer to putting a more desirable Iraqi admin in Baghdad now - big meeting with Garner and Iraqi pols there today.

Related - NYT reported over the weekend, 65% of Baghdad has power, half has running water.

As living conditions improve, may give us more political traction.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 9:44 Comments || Top||

#2  btw - reports indicate SCIRI will be sending low level people to the Baghdad conference - breaking their boycott of the US-sponsored political process.

One presumes this relates both to events on the ground that give US increasing leverage (utility improvements, security improvements, etc) and to directives from Iran - which may be losing leverage as it sees its own domestic weakness, and sees its AoW supporters in growing disarray.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 10:04 Comments || Top||

#3  Iraqis at Baghdad conderence divided on US role.

Reuters pool correspondent, via Centcom

"There are clear differences among Iraqis on what role the United States should play, delegates say.

Some (mostly non-exiiles) want the Americans to have a direct role in the interim period to prepare for elections, because they don't trust each other.

Others (mainly exiles) say only Iraqis should rule Iraq and the US should have less influence in the interim period.

Mustapha Qazwin, who lives in the United States, a sheikh and a doctor, said: "We are having healthy discussions between people inside Iraq and who were outside Iraq. This is a democratic process and we are still debating the best route forward.""

Suheil al-Suheil, a Baghdad lawyer, said: "There are differences over the role of the Americans. We here prefer the Americans to rule us in the interim period."

Asked why, he said: "We are not ready to handle this yet. Saddam's orphans are still alive."
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 11:18 Comments || Top||

#4  Update: A senior U.S. military commander said on Monday there was no question of releasing Mohammed Mohsen Zubaidi, the self-proclaimed Baghdad mayor arrested on Sunday for exercising authority he did not have. "He's not going to be released. He's a criminal," Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, told Reuters in the Iraqi capital. "He's broken multiple laws, from theft to intimidation," Blount said, giving no details of any charges. "Right now he's in a holding center and his movements will be decided in the next few days," the general added.
Sounds like Mohammed is going to be wearing a orange jumpsuit real soon.
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 15:29 Comments || Top||

#5  That's Democracy at work.2 opposeing sides come together and hpefully reach and aggrement some where in the middle.
Posted by: raptor || 04/29/2003 10:39 Comments || Top||

#6  That's Democracy at work.2 opposeing sides come together and hpefully reach and aggrement some where in the middle.
Posted by: raptor || 04/29/2003 10:40 Comments || Top||


Sammy lives! - Aziz
ELF
Iraq's former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz has told U.S. interrogators he saw Saddam Hussein alive after the two airstrikes mounted by coalition forces to kill him. The information bolsters sketchy reports flowing into U.S. intelligence that Saddam and his two sons survived the March 19 and April 7 airstrikes targeting them during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Curses!
Almost three weeks after the fall of Baghdad, the Bush administration's public stance is nonchalant: Saddam will turn up, either alive, in some Iraqi version of the Alamo, or dead under a pile of rubble.
Sammy? The Alamo? Bailiff! Wash that writer's mouth out with soap! And whack his pee-pee!
The important thing, administration officials say, is that Saddam no longer runs Iraq. Privately, however, administration officials know their stance is, at best, a brave face on an uncertain situation. Until Saddam is found, some of his friends and his foes in Iraq will continue to operate out of fear that he could make a comeback and settle scores. Captured regime officials might withhold what they know about any weapons of mass destruction as long as they are uncertain of Saddam's fate. Partly for those reasons, U.S. officials don't know whether they can trust Aziz.
If you can't trust Tariq Aziz, who can you trust?
Army Gen. Tommy Franks said Sunday in Abu Dhabi that he had seen no solid evidence that Saddam was alive but that Aziz was being ''cooperative and talkative'' under interrogation. ''What we don't know is the veracity of it. It will take time,'' Franks said. The senior Defense official who says Aziz claimed to have seen Saddam also says interrogators have concluded that Aziz is lying about some other matters that have come up in questioning. Some of the 13 senior regime officials being questioned at an undisclosed location in the Persian Gulf region may be holding back their best information...
No! I don't believe it!
... in hopes of bartering for lenient treatment, says the Defense official, who receives detailed daily reports on the interrogations.
Posted by: Spot || 04/28/2003 07:59 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [360 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Well, we could use native Iraqi methodology - pick the one with the least interesting secrets and shoot him in front of the others.

"Next?"
Posted by: mojo || 04/28/2003 9:59 Comments || Top||


Southeast Asia
Four Thai troops killed in rebel attacks
Two groups of heavily armed gunmen attacked military outposts in southern Thailand early Monday, killing four Thai soldiers and wounding four others in coordinated attacks suspected to be linked to Muslim insurgency. Police said about 20 insurgents attacked a military post in Sukhirin District of Narathiwat province and killed four soldiers and wounded two others. At about the same time, another band of gunmen attacked an outpost in the neighboring province of Yala, severely wounding two Thai soldiers. After both raids the gunmen ransacked the military outposts, stealing 30 M-16 rifles, an M-79 grenade launcher and other military equipment before escaping into the jungle. Military officials said the identity of the attackers was unknown, but Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra blamed Muslim separatist insurgents who have been fighting to create an Islamic republic in Thailand's five predominantly Muslim provinces since the 1970s. Thailand's population of 63 million is more than 90 percent Buddhist, but the Muslim minority of about 7 percent is concentrated mainly in the southern provinces bordering Malaysia.
So of course they want their own state
Speaking to reporters in the sea-side resort of Hua Hin, south of Bangkok, Thaksin said he believed the attackers were connected with the Pattani United Liberation Organization, the best-known of several militant Muslim groups in the south. Thaksin said the insurgents were apparently trying to justify funding from like-minded Muslim militants in the Middle East. He did not say which country was backing the rebels.
Oh, but I'll bet we can guess. Some place with a lot of sand, oil money, and ranting holy men.
Thaksin said Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh had been ordered to take charge of a campaign to wipe out the militants. He said no mercy would be shown to the rebels because their activities had seriously undermined security in the south.
Hurts the tourist trade.
Thaksin also blamed Muslim militants for mob violence in Narathiwat last Saturday that killed two Thai policemen.
Muslim militants + mob = violence
It comes with the turban...
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 09:35 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [375 views] Top|| File under:


East/Subsaharan Africa
More rumors of Bob's retirement...
South African President Thabo Mbeki says his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, is seriously considering retirement. President Mbeki says Mr Mugabe has told him several times that he is contemplating retirement.
"I mean, there's nothing left to steal, Thabo. Maybe I should just move on..."
Mr Mbeki says the Zimbabwean President and the ruling ZANU-PF party are considering a renewal of leadership.
"Yeah. I think it's time for new blood. So to speak."
Last week, during an interview with Zimbabwean state television, Mr Mugabe said he was getting to the stage that retirement might be possible. The 79-year-old has previously suggested that he would step down when his controversial land reform program was completed. But there is no obvious successor to take over the presidency.
They've all been killed and eaten...
Mr Mugabe has been in power since 1980.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/28/2003 10:28 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [380 views] Top|| File under:


Syria-Lebanon
US lawmaker says Syrian support for Hizbullah damages ties
Syrian support for Hizbullah remains a major impediment to improving strained relations with Washington, a senior US lawmaker said Thursday.
Ummm... Yasss... You might say that...
“The training of terrorists (and) the operation of a global terrorist network cannot be part of any legitimate political or social organization,” said Senator Bob Graham, Democrat from Florida. “Nor can we have a constructive relationship with a country that provides sanctuary to these terrorist organizations and their training camps." If Syrian President Bashar Assad fails to rein in the group, Washington should take action, in concert “with our allies in the global coalition on terrorism,” said Graham, who did not elaborate on specific measures.
"What measures?"
"Diff'rent measures."
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Bouthaina Shaaban, who appeared on the podium with Graham, denied that Hizbullah is a terrorist organization. “Hizbullah is a political party whose sole objective is to liberate its territory from the Israeli occupation,” she said, noting that there are some half-million uprooted Palestinians living on Syrian territory.
“Ending the (Israeli) occupation is the solution to all these problems,” she said.
281 dead Marines. But who's counting, eh?
And far from being a state that supports terrorism, the information minister asserted that “Syria has always worked for peace.”
That's why Islamic Jihad and the PFLP are headquartered there. The PFLP-General Command (a separate organization from PFLP) was founded by a Syrian army captain and receives its funding from Syria. All the most festive meetings of terror bigs seem to be held in Damascus. But no, they're not involved in terrorism.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/28/2003 10:08 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [388 views] Top|| File under:


Amin Gemayel stresses need to recover sovereignty
Former President Amin Gemayel stressed Friday the need for the country to interact with the new regional and international situation to recover its sovereignty and independence.
What? No solidarity with the Mother Country?
Speaking in a meeting with a visiting German parliamentary delegation at his office in Sin al-Fil, Gemayel also said that the Lebanese people strove for complete independence. “The Lebanese struggle for stopping any intervention in their affairs and for the pullout of all foreign troops from Lebanon, to ensure the proper climate for a sincere and transparent dialogue allowing Lebanon to regain its natural role in the region and the world,” Gemayel said.
"Not all the Lebanese people, of course. But most of the ones without turbans..."
He said the people insisted on the experience of Christian-Muslim coexistence that encountered obstacles during the war as a result of foreign intervention from many sides. The meeting was attended by Jbeil MP Fares Soueid, Metn MP Pierre Gemayel, Sheikh Michel Khoury, Farid Khazen and other figures.
This would be the opposition to the Hariri-Fadlallah-Nasrullah axis. It's been awhile, but if I remember correctly, much of the Lebanese civil war featured dead Gemayels...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/28/2003 09:53 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [367 views] Top|| File under:


Diplomaneuvers get under way in Lebanon
US Ambassador Vincent Battle’s first meeting with newly appointed Foreign Minister Jean Obeid next week will focus on the long-standing demands of both sides. Obeid’s talks with the ambassador will center on the Syrian military presence in Lebanon, Hizbullah’s deployment in the South and US opposition to both. The discussions will also focus on Lebanese-American and Lebanese-Syrian-American dialogue and their prospects and timing in the present phase. Obeid is believed to be giving priority to warding off any danger to Lebanon and Syria in the wake of threats directed against the two countries by the US and Israel.
Only threat I've seen to Lebanon is to toss the Syrian occupation. Oh, and Hezbollah with it...
He is expected to visit Damascus soon to discuss confronting this danger within the framework of the policy of coordination between the two countries, and the possibility of a dialogue with the Americans.
That means he's going to ask Bashar for his marching orders...
The Obeid-Battle talks will also touch on the Middle East peace process on the eve of the expected publication of the “road map” plan for comprehensive peace in the region. The publication of the plan, drawn up by the US, the UN, Russia and European Union, was awaiting the formation a new Palestinian government and the end of hostilities in Iraq.
Personally, I'm hoping the Road Map dies a natural death, which Yasser seems to be determined to bring about. It's going to have about the same degree of effect on the Paleos as the Oslo agreements did — lip service, followed by explosions and flying meat...
Lebanese and American readiness to enter into a dialogue on all these and other matters was encouraging and the desire to do so was not a secret. Prime Minister Rafik Hariri had supported such dialogue, while Battle not only backed this move, but also called for an American-Lebanese-Syrian dialogue as well.
Might as well bring the colonial power in on the ground floor...
Battle has already embarked on a series of meetings with several Lebanese leaders since the formation of the new government last week, holding talks with Information Minister Michel Samaha and the vice-president of the Higher Shiite Council, Sheikh Abdel-Amir Qabalan.
Oooh! An Beirut Bob and a spittle-spewing cleric! Battle's got his work cut out for him...
Qabalan said in a sermon Friday that he had received Battle to convey to him his rejection of American threats to Lebanon and Hizbullah as well as to Syria, Iran and any Arab country. The cleric also expressed support for the Iraqi people and their “aspirations” and for reconstructing the country within the framework of an elected government.
"Yeah. An' we don't want any threats against Samoa or Greenland or Swaziland, either! An' no threats against the Avars or the Veps or the YÀnömÀmö, either! We're watchin' you hegemons, dammit!"
Leading Shiite cleric Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah said the American-Israeli war was planned to weaken all sources of power in the region. He said the Americans and Israelis had announced that the Iraq war had ensured the protection of Israel from the dangers of a regional power, namely Iraq.
I think Israel may have been mildly worried over the prospect of SCUDs, but I doubt they were quivering in their booties over the Iraqi army...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/28/2003 09:38 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [479 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The Palestian issues will be solved quickly and successfully for all parties after:
1. Hamas, Hez, and all the snuffies are out of Lebanon and Syria.
2. The Syrian Army gets out of Lebanon.
3. Syria gets out of the terrorist support business.
4. Shiite Cleric Fadallah shuts his gob or has it shut for him
5. Syria brings down its Blame-US/Israel-for Everything-Monologues 3 db
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/28/2003 22:21 Comments || Top||

#2  Funny you should mention Mullah Fudlullah. Michael Young suggests Fuds might be thinking of heading back to ol' Najaf for a theopolitical career.
Fadlallah also played down the differences among Najafi Shiite clerics, and made the rather odd claim that the death of Abdel Majid al-Kho'i might have been an accident. He also played down threats against certain Najafi clerics, including Ali Sistani, reportedly from the followers of Muqtadah al-Sadr. And to sound even more reassuring, he underlined there would probably be no discord between Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites, arguing that Shiites only wanted to be equal citizens in a unified Iraqi state, not dominators.

I report this only to underline that all that sounded like part of a campaign platform by someone who realizes he might have an electorate and a balancing role in the religious politics of postwar Iraq.
Posted by: Fred || 04/28/2003 22:58 Comments || Top||


Home Front
Seventh charged with war plot
US federal authorities have charged a seventh person with plotting to aid al-Qaeda and Taliban forces fighting US soldiers a month after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Maher Hawash, a 39-year-old Palestinian software engineer, was charged with conspiracy to levy war and two counts of conspiring to provide material support to the two groups. He has been in custody since late March. The Justice Department said Hawash was part of a Portland-based group of six other suspects who have already been charged over the alleged plan. Hawash flew to Hong Kong on October 24, 2001, where he joined five of the other defendants, Jeffrey Battle, Patrice Ford, Habis Abdullah Al Saoub and the brothers Ahmed and Muhammad Bilal, according to the Justice Department.
The house always smells better after a thorough cleaning, doesn't it?
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/28/2003 08:16 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [376 views] Top|| File under:

#1  LGF has a good take on "Mike" Hawash and the PR campaign they tried on his behalf, at least until he was indicted ;-)
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 20:46 Comments || Top||


Rantburg shown on the PBS Newshour w/ Jim Lehrer
The PBS newshour did a story on blogs and provided a quick shot of the Rantburg website. Congrats to those who run and maintain this site.
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/28/2003 06:25 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [477 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Fame! fame at last. Well done Fred, Steve and all the other contributors.
Posted by: Tony || 04/28/2003 19:10 Comments || Top||

#2  Great---wonder how many trolls that will dredge up?
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/28/2003 19:19 Comments || Top||

#3  Ever notice how the word "troll" is always used by coffee fetchers who never contribute anything useful here. They can't research terror/counter-terror issues because they have no ability to acquire even basic knowledge of these subjects. I wish you crap-flies would find some Yahoo sandbox for mental equals of yourselves.
Posted by: Anonon || 04/28/2003 19:31 Comments || Top||

#4  speaking of which ...he he
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 19:40 Comments || Top||

#5  Anonon - make me a sandwich - thx
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 20:26 Comments || Top||

#6  ...and iron my shirt!
Posted by: Raj || 04/28/2003 20:45 Comments || Top||

#7  Large regular, 3 sugars for me, Anonon.Thanks so much.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/28/2003 21:47 Comments || Top||

#8  I contributed something useful to this site: money. Have you, anonon?
Posted by: Anony1 || 04/28/2003 23:07 Comments || Top||

#9  Did you mean to say "a shot of Rantburg" or "a shot AT Rantburg." Knowing PBS, I's say it was the latter.
Posted by: Troll || 04/29/2003 0:10 Comments || Top||

#10  Hope i,was mentioned(hopa,hopa,hopa).

3 sugars,eewww.I like my coffe like my women"Hot,strong,and nasty"
Posted by: raptor || 04/29/2003 9:38 Comments || Top||


International
Egyptian Sailor Dies in Brazil From Anthrax-Police
A crew member of an Egyptian merchant ship has died in northern Brazil, almost certainly from anthrax, after opening a suitcase suspected of containing the substance which he was taking to Canada.
Think Canada was his last stop? Me neither.
A spokesman for Brazilian federal police in the Amazon state of Para said on Monday an autopsy of the Egyptian man, whom he named as Ibrahim Saved Soliman Ibrahim, showed that he had died after vomiting, internal bleeding and multiple organ failure. "He was the victim of anthrax," said Fernando Sergio Castro, adding that police were 90 percent certain that Ibrahim had died of anthrax. Ibrahim died in the hotel were he was staying on April 11. Several health workers who found his body were taken to a hospital after becoming ill but are now out of danger. Ibrahim had traveled to Brazil from Cairo to join his ship, the Wabi Alaras, which loaded bauxite in the Amazon to take to Canada. "We imagine that this is about bioterrorism and Brazil was just used as a point of transfer," said Castro. Ibrahim died before his ship sailed to Canada, where it was quarantined by authorities last week. Canada was alerted about the ship through Interpol. Castro said Ibrahim had been given the suitcase in Cairo by an unidentified person and was due to deliver it to somebody in Canada. But he doubted Ibrahim knew what the content of the bag was otherwise he most likely would not have opened it.
Bright boy...
"He opened it because he was curious," Castro said.
...and we all know what curiousity does. Also, where's the suitcase now? I'd be real interested in that.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, five people died in still-unsolved anthrax mailings.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/28/2003 02:21 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [382 views] Top|| File under:

#1  See what our great airport security does, and why it should be implemented at ports as well? If only someone at the dock had asked him if he'd packed his own bags or if anyone had given him a package to take with him, this whole incident could have been averted!

Real tough questions = real security! How many more Ibrahims must we lose before the world understands?
Posted by: Dar || 04/28/2003 14:39 Comments || Top||

#2  Given the point sources for this news are Egypt and Brazil, I'd place its reliability at about 20%.

Plus, anthrax doesn't make people ill immediately, as were the health workers who discovered his body.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/28/2003 14:45 Comments || Top||

#3  Infectious disease experts have found no obvious sign of anthrax aboard an Egyptian freighter quarantined outside Halifax Harbour, a Health Canada official said Sunday. "They found the ship in good shape, the level of cleanliness, all those sorts of things," said Bob Fowler of the team that inspected the ship. "So they are obviously coming back with a good feeling that … the ship does not contain any anthrax contamination." The samples taken during the inspection will be analyzed in Halifax, and results are expected by Tuesday at the latest. If the test is negative, the ship will continue. Otherwise, a biohazard team will clean it. The deceased man visited a farm, and doctors think he may have come in contact with an infected animal.
Questions, where and when did he visit this farm? His symptoms match those of Gastrointestinal anthrax -- results from ingestion of meat contaminated with anthrax bacteria, causes symptoms within two to five days and includes stomach pain, diarrhea, fever and septicemia (bacteria in the blood).
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 15:11 Comments || Top||

#4  Questions:
1. Who gave him the suitcase?
2. Who was he supposed to give it to, and where?
3. Where is the suitcase?
4. How much anthrax was in it?
5. Was it weaponized(powedered,etc)?
6. Why did the health workers take ill so fast?
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/28/2003 15:59 Comments || Top||

#5  "Several health workers who found his body were taken to a hospital after becoming ill ..."

Oh, that SMELL!...
Posted by: mojo || 04/28/2003 17:05 Comments || Top||

#6  Some thoughts:Presumably,he wanted to check the mystery suitcase in private;what better place than your hotel room?If the guy had anthrax spores on his body,that explains how the health workers could have gotten infected.That's how you get cutaneous and inhalation anthrax (but not intestinal).Also,the health workers didn't take ill 'fast',the man died on April 11. And Steve,the symptoms match inhalational anthrax even better than intestinal, in particular the 'multiple organ failure'.(Also,if the guy had intestinal,how the hell did the health workers get ill?)
Posted by: El Id || 04/28/2003 17:41 Comments || Top||

#7  Uh, where's the suitcase now?
Posted by: someone || 04/28/2003 18:15 Comments || Top||


Home Front
VICTORY
We fought despite a shrill and rising whine, like a jet engine about to explode, warning us, begging us, threatening us, mocking us, shaming us not to fight. But we did fight. And that is the Victory I want to celebrate. Not as a swaggering, macho attitude about kicking ass and taking names. But rather the sublime, astonishing and humbling realization that everything the enemies of America could throw at us – failed. We have listened to their lies since Marx took pen to paper, yet the vast, strong, humane and decent center of this Silent America did not buy into the idea that we are a nation of murderers, and simpletons, and ‘sheeple.’

If we could withstand that assault on our integrity, on our values and our beliefs, coming out of the stains of dishonor we assumed to win the many proxy battles of the Cold War, then what will these America-haters be left with? That an action that prevented parents from watching their children being placed into industrial shredders should never have taken place because some clay pots went missing? Who is left to believe these people now, except they themselves?

I never feared those losers, those cynics, those bitter, small, perpetually angry people. I only feared what they could do to the middle, to the center of the line, the people who get up and vote the way we will steer this ship of ours through the reefs and storms we sometimes face. They took their best shot. They took it at a time when their ammunition was piled as high as it will ever be in our lifetimes. They failed. They failed miserably. And in their failure they have shown what they are, and who they are, and what they really want.

International A.N.S.W.E.R, an offshoot of the Workers World Party, recipient of North Korean financial largesse and the driving force behind these rallies, does not care a whit about the Iraqi people. Nor does it want peace. What it and many other sad little groups desperately want is the paralysis and destruction of the one force that stands in the way of their flawed and murderous ideals: The United States of America.

They didn’t get it. Not this time. Not today.

That's just a sample. If you haven't read Bill Whittle's stuff, hie thee to his page and read the whole thing.
Posted by: growler || 04/28/2003 01:26 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [365 views] Top|| File under:

#1  He definitely needs an EFL guy...
Posted by: someone || 04/28/2003 16:56 Comments || Top||

#2  Bill's great! Too bad the assholes cluttered up his comments so much that he had to turn them off.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/28/2003 19:33 Comments || Top||

#3  That was quite possibly one of the best-written, most moving articles I have ever read. I sent it to just about everyone I know.
Posted by: Targus || 04/28/2003 20:27 Comments || Top||


Korea
North Korea ’softens stance’ on weapons inspections
North Korea claimed that it would halt its nuclear programme and allow inspectors into the country if the US dropped its hostile attitude, a Chinese official told western diplomats today.

Quoting unnamed western diplomatic sources, the Reuters news agency reported that North Korea also offered to suspend ballistic missile tests and stop missile exports during talks in Beijing last week.
I think cutting the oil pipeline for a few days had an effect.
The diplomats were speaking after being given a rare briefing by China's top North Korea expert, following talks between Washington and Pyongyang in Beijing late last week. The two countries have been engaged in a standoff over North Korea's nuclear programme. The Chinese official also told diplomats that North Korea had backed down from its previous insistence on bilateral talks with the US and told the assistant secretary of state, James Kelly, that it had no preferences for any particular format for negotiations.
"As long as we get what we want, we don't have any preference as to the format. By the way, are you going to eat that?"
However the diplomats said North Korea had threatened "extraordinary moves" if the US played any of its "usual tricks".
We have so many!
During the Beijing talks, US officials said North Korea also claimed that it had reprocessed 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods - a key step in producing nuclear weapons that could yield several more bombs within months.

Today North Korea told South Korea not to meddle in the talks on the suspected nuclear weapons programme, insisting it would only discuss the issue with the US.
"So what if we're cousins!"
In the second of three days of cabinet-level talks in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, South Korean delegates again demanded that the North abandon any nuclear weapons development. They cited a 1992 inter-Korean agreement to keep the peninsula nuclear-free. Northern negotiators stonewalled the nuclear discussion. Instead, the North tried to shift the focus of the talks to linking cross-border railways and other economic projects with South Korea.
"Hey! Look over there!" [hides pea under another shell]
"The Northern side reiterated that the nuclear issue is a matter between the North and the United States," said a statement from the South Korean government. "But they said they wanted to resolve the matter completely in their favor peacefully."

Seoul officials said North Korean delegates have not confirmed a US claim that during talks in Beijing last week they told an American envoy that they may test, sell or use atomic weapons, depending on Washington's actions. Instead, they reiterated that the North made a "new, bold" proposal to the US during the Beijing talks, but did not elaborate, South Korean spokesman Shin Eun-sang said.
"Give us everything we want, and we'll consider talking about giving something to you at some point in ther future. Maybe. By the way, are you going to eat that?"
US officials did not reveal the North's proposal, but South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, quoting unidentified diplomatic sources, reported today that North Korea proposed to give up its nuclear programs in return for a non-aggression treaty and normalisation of "political and economic relations" with the US. The Bush administration has ruled out such a treaty, but US officials have said some form of written security guarantee could be possible. North Korea says it rightly fears being invaded by the US following the Iraq war.

The South Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun, said today that he will discuss cooperating "to find a complete and peaceful solution to the nuclear issue" when he meets Mr Bush in Washington on May 15.
Not that he'll actually do anything to make that happen. He'll fight to the last American.
Posted by: Steve White || 04/28/2003 11:38 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [381 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Typical al-Guardian rubbish.

"...following talks between Washington and Pyongyang in Beijing late last week."

We talked with the Chinese, who talked to the crazy NK wiggos. We did NOT talk directly with NK. That was the whole friggin' POINT...

"...North Korea proposed to give up its nuclear programs in return for a non-aggression treaty and normalisation of "political and economic relations"

Wow. Like, deja vu, man...
Posted by: mojo || 04/28/2003 14:52 Comments || Top||


Middle East
Court allows use of flachettes against Palestinians
EFL
The Israeli Supreme Court ruled Sunday that international law does not bar the Israeli army from using flachette shells. According to the court, an international treaty restricting the use of conventional weapons, which Israel ratified in 1995, does not ban flachette use. The court rejected the petitions filed by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and Physicians for Human Rights, which requested that the use of flachette shells in the Gaza Strip be banned. The petitioners claimed that these shells are banned according to international law, because they cause "unnecessary suffering."
No more than being shot, many, many times.
The Israeli army is using a modified version of the M494 105mm APERS-T round provided by the USA in the 1970s. According to a US Army manual, the round is "designed for close-in assault against massed infantry assaults and for offensive fire against exposed enemy personnel". The use of flechette rounds in war is not proscribed by the Geneva Convention, The Jane's Defense Weekly has reported.
Think of it as a 105mm shotgun shell full of darts.
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 10:59 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [390 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The grapeshot of the modern era.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/28/2003 11:16 Comments || Top||

#2  Ooooh! "Beehive" rounds. Nasty.

Saw a tank take out a bunker with one of those, many moons ago. Not much left of the occupants.

Hell of a mess.
Posted by: mojo || 04/28/2003 11:22 Comments || Top||

#3  Here's a simple solution to prevent Israel from using flachette shells...don't do anything to provoke them.
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 04/28/2003 11:42 Comments || Top||

#4  Do those shells cause as much damage as a homicide bomber? Wonder how the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and Physicians for Human Rights interprets the use of human bombers on civilian targets?
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 04/28/2003 14:56 Comments || Top||

#5  Do those shells cause as much damage as a homicide bomber?

Pretty much the same principle when the explosives are packed with nails.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 04/28/2003 15:04 Comments || Top||

#6  Something I forgot to point out: Paleos want Israel to be barred from using beehive rounds, yet nothing is said about Paleo murder-bombers using nails in their explosive packs for the same effect.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 04/28/2003 15:17 Comments || Top||


Syria-Lebanon
Syria releases two captured British soldiers
Two British soldiers who were at war in Iraq and crossed into Syria were recently released from Syrian custody after a surprise visit to Damascus by British Foreign Office minister Mike O'Brien two weeks ago, the Tel Aviv-based Haaretz daily reported Monday. It remains unknown how the two crossed into Syria and were captured. It is not known if they entered Syria by accident or were in on a mission across the border, the Israeli newspaper said without giving any source to this report. Neither those details - nor even the fact of their release - have been officially released by the British, nor is it known what happened to other soldiers in their unit.
If true, and it's a big if, I'd say that if the British soldiers had made a wrong turn and crossed into Syria by accident, they would admit it and thank Syria. That's what happened when Brit forces on a training exercise landed in Spain by mistake. Now, if they were SAS sneaking around in Syria looking for Iraqi WMD, we'll never hear about it again.
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 10:44 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [388 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yipes! Hope this was simply such a wrong turn and not a Coalition version of the Turkish "Green Fezzes" incident of last week. How embarrassing!
Posted by: Dar || 04/28/2003 11:22 Comments || Top||


Korea
Young people present armored cars to KPA
...and everybody says that these kids today don't care.EFL
The officials of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League and young people across the country presented 20 armored cars "Chongnyon Jonwi" to the Korean People's Army (KPA). They provided them through a do-good-thing movement on the occasion of the 71st birthday of the heroic KPA.
The "do-good thing movement". Or else.
A presentation ceremony took place at Jonsung Square in Pyongyang on Friday. Kim Kyong Ho, first secretary of the central committee of the league, in a report said that the young people are very proud of presenting the armored cars "Chongnyon Jonwi" to the KPA, the main force of the Songun revolution and defender of the DPRK, on the occasion of the significant army day as they regard it as the most sacred duty to defend the country and deem it as the greatest honor to glorify their youth on the road of implementing the Songun policy of Kim Jong Il.
They might as well give up their lunch money, seeing how there's no lunch to eat.
He called upon all the young people to perform miracles and feats and become young heroes and heroines in the drive for building a great prosperous power in the same spirit of devotedly defending the country as displayed in the 1950s and the revolutionary spirit of soldiers in the era of the Songun policy and demonstrate the might of the five million human bombs in the sacred struggle to defend the country with the transparent anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. class consciousness.
Hey, kids! Let's all be human bombs! How sick are these people?
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/28/2003 09:53 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [375 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "called upon all the young people to perform miracles "
Well now this proves it. Everyone in NKorea is on hallucinogenic drugs. Or atleast the card-carrying party members are.
I give this one a score of 8/10.
Posted by: RW || 04/28/2003 10:47 Comments || Top||

#2  Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth (KISSY?) League? ugh!
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 10:48 Comments || Top||

#3  KISS Army rocks! Woo hoo!
Posted by: Dar || 04/28/2003 11:19 Comments || Top||

#4  It's a "do-good thang"
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 04/28/2003 17:48 Comments || Top||

#5  I give it a 9.1; we've moved to Songun which is the next paradigm of Juche. We've also got anti-US and anti-Imperialist class consciousness. What more could one want?
Posted by: Brian || 04/28/2003 19:06 Comments || Top||

#6  *Holds up card* 9.1. another poster says Songun is Korean for "Army First". Good to have a second judge here, Brian. Maybe we can make this an Olympic event???
Posted by: Ptah || 04/28/2003 19:47 Comments || Top||


Middle East
Israeli Troops Capture Senior Militants
EFL
Israeli troops on Monday captured two Palestinian militants responsible for a suicide bombing in Israel last week. The fugitives were holed up in a three-story residential building in Nablus and were caught after a gun battle and a six-hour standoff. Two soldiers were hurt.
"Ouch, we give up!"
Palestinians identified the militants as Amir Thoqan and Allam Kabi. Residents who saw them being led away said one was wounded. An AP photographer said the names of the two were written in blood on the wall of their hideout.
"Amir loves Allam"
Thoqan is the local leader of a splinter group of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, and Kabi leads the local military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical PLO faction. The militias took joint responsibility for a suicide bombing at a train station in central Israel on Thursday that killed a security guard, and a shooting attack at an Israeli motorist late Sunday. The driver was lightly hurt when her car came to a sudden stop, but was not hit by gunfire.
Thank God for ineptitude...
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 09:13 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [381 views] Top|| File under:

#1  a detour on the roadmap to peace? We'll keep having those until Arafat's dead
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 9:25 Comments || Top||

#2  So what's Ole Babywipes up to these days, Frank?
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/28/2003 16:26 Comments || Top||

#3  Keeping power any way he can. Abbas is still no. 2 on the Paleo charts, and won't move up til Arafish takes the long-deserved dirt nap.
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 16:33 Comments || Top||


Korea
U.S. urged to have right viewpoint and attitude
They're very cranky today over at KCNA...
The U.S. which used to vituperate against the DPRK and kick up a racket to pressurize it under the pretext of its "nuclear issue," is now talking nonsense over the talks in Beijing that there will be no security of the system nor provision of rewards to the DPRK even though it gives up the "nuclear program". Commenting on this, Rodong Sinmun today says that those who know politics and understand the reality would not have made such infantile and nonsensical remarks over the negotiation on the nuclear issue.
"Understand the reality"? The reality is that you people are all f**ked in the head.
The news analyst continues:
The U.S. rulers' talk about the "security of the system" is a sort of pressure upon the DPRK and nothing short of announcement that it will stifle the DPRK by force even after the settlement of the nuclear issue. The U.S., the very one who spawned the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula, should bear heavy responsibility for it and sincerely approach the settlement of the issue on a fair and equal footing. The nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S. will not be settled easily if the u.s. keeps urging the DPRK to accept its demand while insisting on its viewpoint that it never makes a concession because it is a big power. The U.S. statement that there will be no provision of rewards even after the settlement of the "nuclear issue" is, in essence, little short of opposing the conclusion of a non-aggression treaty between the two countries.
Rewards? They got their hands out which means they'll deal.Make them sweat first.
The DPRK will be left with no option but to do everything to defend itself unless the U.S. legally guarantees no use of arms including nukes against the DPRK. If this poses a threat to the U.S. the latter should take a corresponding measure for a solution to it.
...and we all know how the NK's adhere to those legal guarantees. Just ask Nobel Prize winner Jimmy Carter.
The DPRK has nothing to benefit from the U.S. through the bilateral negotiation on the nuclear issue and does not intend to wrest a concession from it.
Except could you maybe, ummmmm, feed us?
The DPRK has a big pluck and will not be frightened by the U.S. tall talk.
They got a big pluck? I'll bet it ain't that big anymore. Starvation probably causes severe shrinkage.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/28/2003 08:34 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [359 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Uh oh Big Pluck & Juche? A dangerous combination.
Posted by: Shipman || 04/28/2003 9:48 Comments || Top||

#2  Truth be told, their Plucks weren't really that big even before the famine.
Posted by: The Marmot || 04/28/2003 9:51 Comments || Top||

#3  Big Pluck & Little Juche, sounds like a low budget porno movie.
Posted by: Steve || 04/28/2003 14:53 Comments || Top||

#4  *Holds up card* 8.2. Promising, but fails to hit any of the mandatory hot buttons. Send this one back to the showers to come up with a memorable handle.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/28/2003 19:49 Comments || Top||


Songun policy praised by S. Korean
Professor Jin Chol of the meeting for the study of politics of the 21st century in South Korea issued an article titled "All the Fellow Countrymen Are Blessed with Songun Policy", Seoul-based radio Voice of National Salvation Said. The Songun policy pursued by Kim Jong Il is an all-mighty treasured sword which began a new epoch in the human history of politics, the article said, adding: the blessedness bestowed by this great Songun policy is, indeed, the great foundation of all felicity leading the whole nation and people to reunification and prosperity.
The great foundation of all felicity. Now who could argue with that?
Independence comes from Kim Jong Il's Songun policy, it said, and went on:
The northern half of Korea remains unfazed despite the political pressure, military threat and economic blockade of the U.S., a rogue state styling itself an "emperor" of the world. The proud stamina and dignified appearance of North Korea are instilling national self-confidence and superiority into the hearts of the Korean people. It is none other than the Korean People's Army, the main force of Songun policy, that is defending the blue sky and seas of Korea and protecting this land like a cradle of peace.
When I think of "cradles of peace", the first place I think of is North Korea.
The KPA led by Kim Jong Il is an army of justice, a patriotic army that never allows a war of injustice. It is a matchless army that is merciless to the aggressors and sure to win in the fight against them though it has never invaded others, an ideologically strong army imbued with the spirit of devotedly defending the leader, the spirit of human bombs, a great army that has achieved army-people unity and single-hearted unity and the strongest elite army that has offensive and defensive power.
Songun man is on a roll! Good paragraph! A little fast and loose on history, but it's KCNA.
As military experts said that a war between North Korea and the U.S. will end with the delightful victory of North Korea, a newly-emerging, military power, in 100 hours, the aggression troops will be annihilated by the lightning counter-attack of the North Korean army at the initial stage of war, the heart of the U.S. be enveloped in flames by the attack of powerful strategic weapons and the arrogant empire of a devil will breathe its last.
Songun man is really on today! "Enveloped in flames", "aggresion troops will be annihilated", "arrogant empire of a devil". I can almost see the spit flying and the eyes bulging out.
The U.S. overthrew other country as it pleases and worked out even a plan for forming a puppet government. But it deplored that it should not provoke North Korea and the might of North Korea cannot be predicted or deterred. It said repeatedly that North Korea is different from Iraq and the nuclear issue of North Korea should be settled in a peaceful way. This is a confession proving that no force can match the powerful Songun arms of North Korea. But for the Songun policy of the northern half of Korea, the unstable-Korean Peninsula would have been engulfed in flames of war more than a hundred times. The Songun policy of Kim Jong Il is a warm cradle, a warm bosom of a mother that helps the people sleep in peace.
...or rest in peace. More barnyard grass?
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/28/2003 08:08 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [571 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This was broadcast in Seoul?
Posted by: Chuck || 04/28/2003 8:47 Comments || Top||

#2  The Koreans (that's both North and South) believe that ethnicity trumps all, i.e. blood is thicker than water. The South Koreans are really anti-American; what you see on TV is just a tiny slice of the animosity that they harbor against Americans. They feel closer to China because the Chinese look like Koreans, in spite of the fact that the Chinese prevented the reunification of Korea in 1950. This is why I believe the sooner we withdraw our troops from South Korea, the better off we'll be. To borrow a line from Bismarck: South Koreans are not worth the bones of a single American soldier. (Of course, we should resolve the problem of North Korea having nukes - reunification before the removal of these nukes would seriously destabilize North East Asia. A military solution appears inevitable, albeit after all the usual diplomatic formalities, as with Iraq).
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 04/28/2003 9:42 Comments || Top||

#3  Actually, no. It's broadcast from the North, although the broadcasters used to all be defectors from the South (yes, there once was such a thing). You normally can't get it here, but students (who are the only ones that listen to such sh*t) can easily download it from sites run by pro-North Korean groups in Japan. If you like, you can also pay a visit to the "Seoul-based radio Voice of National Salvation"'s website, which I think is registered in Tonga. Some of it's in English for the Korean-impaired.

Coincidently, if you were wondering about the military experts predicting a glorious victory for the Korean People's Army, you can read one expert's analysis here. Frightening stuff indeed. Funny thing is, his think tank's based in New York, of all places.

Actually, I read the KCNA report, and I must say, it read a lot better in Korean - almost brought a tear to me eye :). And I wonder why they didn't just translate "Songun" into "Army First" like they usually do. Those translators need to get on the freakin' ball.

Posted by: The Marmot || 04/28/2003 9:44 Comments || Top||

#4  Marmot, I just read that expert's analysis of the KPA and there are so many points of contention to argue against that it would take another blog just to go thru them all. You can have a tank, artillery, and SOF for every square meter of Korea and it doesn't mean squat when put up against a tactical nuke.
Posted by: RW || 04/28/2003 11:05 Comments || Top||

#5 
The "Information Clearing House" article is designed to be scary, not an unbiased or unspun source.

Its information is also wrong in many respects, even to me, no expert. The T-62 has a 115mm gun, not a 155mm, and this is scarcely significant in any case. As far as I know the Russian 115mm gun is incapable of penetrating the M1 under normal conditions. The report states that the T-62 is superior to the M1 due to its higher rated speed. This is silly. The M1 turbine is capable of delivering much higher speed, but this just isn't useful for cross-country travel. One cannot use these speeds in practice. The T-62 is a completely obsolete tank. I also doubt very much that the US and South Koreans cannot conduct armoured warfare in hilly terrain, just a minor point the T-62 is much less capable of hull-down positioning due to its limited gun depression, which seems to me a critical issue in irregular terrain. That the US and Korean airforces won't shoot down the MIG-21's and MIG-29's promptly to maintain air supremacy over the battlefield also seems unlikely. Others can find plenty more holes.

Posted by: buwaya || 04/28/2003 11:23 Comments || Top||

#6  Information Clearing House info was a hoot. Sort of like FAS.org with Robert Fisk as web-master.
Posted by: Shipman || 04/28/2003 12:24 Comments || Top||

#7  *holds up card* 9.5 Very good, hindered only by the failure of the translator.

It suddenly struck me: Are they bothering to wash the pesticides off the grass before they eat it? My momma always told me to wash my fruits and vegetables before cooking or eating them raw.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/28/2003 19:53 Comments || Top||

#8  I read the "Information Clearing House" article. One must never underestimate the Nkors. They can cause alot of mischief and misery with a surprise attack before they become a smoking hole. I did get a kick out of their AN-2 "stealth" troop transport planes. The AN-2 is a large biplane tailgragger transport with a big ass radial engine. It's larger than a Dehavelland Single engined otter. It ought to have a good radar signature. And 300 of them are going to be hard to hide from start to finish. Like I said, never underestimate the NKors, but their AN-2 attack squadron would make one hell of a movie before they're all splashed.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/28/2003 20:18 Comments || Top||

#9  I thought you guys might have gotten a kick out of that. Actually, the article at "Information Clearing House" is a translation of "Professor" Han Ho-seok's paper at his New York-based "Center for Korean Affairs" (sorry, there's no English). Strangely enough, the think tank's (if you can call a one-man organization a think tank) Korean name is the "Unification Studies Research Center"; it should be pointed out that even in South Korea, the English and Korean editions of their daily papers are often different. I found the site useful, if for no other reason than to brush up on my Marxist-Leninist Korean terminology. Seriously, I hope the North Koreans are getting more realistic military advice than this, or else I'm seriously screwed. And BTW, Ptah, given that the only pesticides in North Korea are the ones South Korea pays them off with donates out of feelings of true humanitarianism, I would guess the grass is probably safe to eat without a preliminary washing.
Posted by: The Marmot || 04/28/2003 21:01 Comments || Top||

#10  Just taking one point...

"However, it takes for the Paladins about 10 min to locate the enemy guns, during which time the Paladins would be targeted by the enemy guns"

Apparently this yoyo has never heard of the firefinder system. The counterbattery fire is usually on its way before the initial enemy volley even hits the ground.

Additionally, they cannot even feed themselves, much less maintain an army in the field.

I hope they believe their own lies, jsut like Saddam did.
Posted by: OldSpook || 04/28/2003 23:54 Comments || Top||


East/Subsaharan Africa
Ivorian rebel leader feared dead
EFL
Rebels in Ivory Coast say they fear one of their most senior leaders has been killed.
Hurrah!
Felix Doh went missing in an ambush over the weekend in the west of the country, reportedly staged by Liberian mercenaries who had been fighting alongside the rebels. He led Mpigo, the Popular Movement of Ivory Coast's Far West, one of the newer and rebel movements in Ivory Coast.
Sounds like the Liberians ate well that night
The BBC's Paul Welsh in Abidjan says that the peace process with the government is unlikely to be affected because they seem to have had no part in the attack.
It is awful convenient though, not that they would ever pay some mercanaries to take this guy out
An Mpigo minister in the power-sharing government believes that he is dead, reports the French news agency, AFP. "Sergeant Doh was reported missing Saturday and late yesterday (Sunday) I received word of his death from authorised sources," Roger Banchi told AFP.
"Sergeant Doh"? No wonder the Liberians killed him!
The leader of another rebel group, Gaspard Deli, who has formed an alliance with Felix Doh's Mpigo, says he fears the rebel commander has been killed.
And maybe eaten...
The ambush is said to have been mounted by Liberian rebels who had been fighting alongside Mpigo. The Liberians were told to leave the group because they were harassing the local population and funding their activities by looting.
"Hey you guys, stop taking our cut"
More fragmentation of the rebel movements and in-fighting raise the prospect of the conflict here turning into a Liberian-style war - with numerous rebel movements fighting amongst themselves as well as taking on the government.
Sounds like traditional West African festivities, doesn't it?
Posted by: Paul Moloney || 04/28/2003 07:03 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [368 views] Top|| File under:

#1  At the beginning of the ivorian crisis, there was reports gvt was hiring instructors(IC had no real standing army, mostly a large gendarmerie), helicopters pilots (hence the gunships attaks), and (supposedly) irregular warfare specialists whose job would have been to eliminate rebel leaders. Given theses *specialists* were outperformed for free by liberians rag-tags, ivory officials must be asking for a refund already...
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/28/2003 7:25 Comments || Top||

#2  Sergeant D'oh was killed?!!? Ay Carumba!

(hope I'm not the only one who had this synapse flash...)
Posted by: Bart || 04/28/2003 8:13 Comments || Top||

#3  Excellent! (Monty Burns channelled)
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 9:12 Comments || Top||

#4  Well, Doh!
Posted by: Hiryu || 04/28/2003 9:46 Comments || Top||

#5  wasn't Samuel K. Doe also a sergeant?
Posted by: Frank G || 04/28/2003 10:34 Comments || Top||

#6  That's why I said, no wonder the Liberians kilt 'im. Probably wanted to make sure he stayed dead this time...
Posted by: Fred || 04/28/2003 13:03 Comments || Top||

#7  It's the religion of peace, Africa-style
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/28/2003 21:32 Comments || Top||



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Two weeks of WOT
Mon 2003-04-28
  Paris and Berlin prepare alliance to rival NATO
Sun 2003-04-27
  Galloway may be tried as a traitor
Sat 2003-04-26
  We Will Join U.S.-Installed Government: Iraqi Scholar
Fri 2003-04-25
  Booze and smokes in Baghdad
Thu 2003-04-24
  North Korea nuclear talks end
Wed 2003-04-23
  North Korea nuclear talks begin
Tue 2003-04-22
  Yasser scuttles cabinet talks
Mon 2003-04-21
  Garner in Baghdad
Sun 2003-04-20
  US arrests sixth Saddam aide
Sat 2003-04-19
  Iraqi cash find valued at $650 Million
Fri 2003-04-18
  Another Baath Big nabbed
Thu 2003-04-17
  Ceasefire With MKO
Wed 2003-04-16
  Lebanese government resigns
Tue 2003-04-15
  Abu Abbas nabbed
Mon 2003-04-14
  US starts buildup along border with Syria

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