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U.S. pulling out of Soddy Arabia
Today's Headlines
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Hek's Mom dies in Peshawar
The mother of former Afghan Mujahideen leader Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, wanted by the US after being declared a terrorist, died in a Afghan refugee camp near here on Monday. She was 90. The deceased was living in the camp with her younger son, Shahabuddin. Another son Nizamuddin is also alive but two of her sons went missing in Afghanistan during the rule of the late communist president Hafizullah Amin. Her largely-attended funeral was held at the Shamshatoo camp, which served as headquarters for Hekmatyar's Hezb-i-Islami party during Jehad against the Soviet occupation troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Among the mourners was MMA leader and Senior Provincial Minister Sirajul Haq. Some other MMA leaders who attended the Nimaz-i-Janaza include Senator Professor Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, MNA Sabir Hussain Awan and MPA Javed Khan Mohmand. Hezb-I-Islami's deputy head Qutbuddin Hilal escorted them and other prominent guests at the funeral.
Donations of arms and ammunition are being accepted care of your local MMA office...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/29/2003 03:07 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [385 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Here's your chance to nail him. He plays dirty, we should play dirty too.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 15:56 Comments || Top||

#2  Please, please, please make sure there's a Predator flying over the funeral when this thug is wailing and beating his breast over the loss of his mammy.
Posted by: Tibor || 04/29/2003 16:01 Comments || Top||

#3  "My son is a good boy. He would not harm anybody. He is so.........misunderstood....."
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/29/2003 16:10 Comments || Top||

The Saudi Exit:
Crown Prince Abdullah, the 79-year-old day-to-day ruler, has styled himself as the leader who will drag the kingdom into political modernity, but many members of the royal household understand that it is the other way around: a restive population of young Saudis for whom there is little work, little wealth and no political participation is pressing relentlessly for change.

In the words of one senior prince who has participated in debates within the circle around Crown Prince Abdullah, "We are fighting for our lives, and we are going to do what is necessary to save our behinds."

(con't see link)
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/29/2003 10:46 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [388 views] Top|| File under:

Western tourists still shunning Yemen
Anti-western fervour on the streets of Sanaa during the war on Iraq ensured that western tourists stay away from Yemen, a country already tainted by a history of kidnappings, suicide bombings and terror links. "I have not had a tour with a western tourist since 9/11 and it doesn't look good for a few more months given the Yemeni population's reaction to the war in Iraq," laments Ahmed, an independent tourist guide.
Maybe, rather than running through the streets waving firearms and screaming "Death to Everybody!" you should try hula-hula girls and leis, and service with a smile, eh?... Naw. That'd never work.
Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in March in a series of well-policed protests to vent their anger at the US-led war against Iraq. Yemen's reputation as an off-beat tourist hotspot took a major nosedive after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States and reports that the country could be a target in a future phase of Washington's anti-terror campaign. It had already been severely dented by the suicide bombing of the US destroyer Cole in the southern port city of Aden in October 2000 that left 17 American sailors dead and by the albeit fading threat of kidnappings - 200 foreigners since 1991 - by armed tribesmen. "The hotel industry in Yemen hasn't had a particularly good time considering global developments, especially after September 11," says Rohit Khosla, general manager of the upmarket Taj Sheba hotel in downtown Sanaa. "Before those global developments, we had high levels of tourism from the European market. Lately, tourists have been a little hesitant about travelling, not just to Yemen but to the whole region."
"Margaret, I just can't decide. Where should we go on vacation this year? The Caymans or Yemen?"
"Oh, Bob! Yemen's just lovely this time of year! And the natives are so quaint with their local customs. Why, last year Aunt Harriet and Uncle Wilbur were kidnapped and held for almost six months before they were shot!"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/29/2003 04:02 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [554 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yeak, like there must have been, oh, what...

tens of tourists going to Yemen?

Or, they're counting all the Islamofascists that stopped coming, because they're dead in Afghanistan or Iraq, or heck, in Yemen!
Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 16:59 Comments || Top||

#2  Ok, so, we're supposed to ignore the lovely little requests for our death and destruction every Friday from Sanaa's Grand Mosque, ignore all the kidnappings of westerners, and forget that a US Navy ship was bombed? Damn, they must have some seriously strong qat over there.
Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/29/2003 21:42 Comments || Top||

#3  They need a snappy slogan: "Yemen is for Lovers", "I Love Yemen", not "Come to Yemen and Die, Infidel!". That just doesn't...sing.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 22:10 Comments || Top||

#4  Read Motoring with Mohammed, by Eric Hansen. It made me want to go. But then, I'm crazy that way...
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/30/2003 2:46 Comments || Top||

#5  Sartre was wrong about hell. Hell is touring Yemen in summer. With Norman Mailer.
Posted by: Joe || 04/30/2003 10:14 Comments || Top||

US pulls out of Saudi Arabia
The United States has said that virtually all its troops, except some training personnel, are to be pulled out of Saudi Arabia. The decision was announced as US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in the Gulf kingdom for talks with senior Saudi officials. A top US military official said the decision was taken by a "very mutual agreement" with the Saudi Government and that the withdrawal would be completed by the end of the summer. Earlier on Tuesday, the US military confirmed that it was moving its air command centre from Saudi Arabia to the al-Udeid air base in neighbouring Qatar.

US Rear Admiral David Nichols said the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at the Prince Sultan base in Saudi Arabia would be closed by the end of the summer. "We already have switched, as of yesterday (Monday)," Admiral Nichols told reporters travelling with Mr Rumsfeld. But, he added, the base would remain wired and could be used again if the US and Saudi Arabia decided it was necessary. The admiral said the decision had been agreed with the Saudi authorities, adding that all US aircraft using the Prince Sultan base would be removed by the middle of the year. "When you no longer have Southern Watch, then it's self-evident that you no longer need bodies here," he said.
So long, thanks for nothing.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 07:42 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [1140 views] Top|| File under:

#1  excellent - finally -

If we want to make nice with Saudi this makes it easier - no US troops on "holy soil" stirring things up.
If we want to put pressure on the Saudis this makes it easier.
And it presumably improves conditions for our troops, especially the females.
More fruits of the 3 week war.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/29/2003 8:24 Comments || Top||

#2  So what's Binny gonna bitch about now? That's if he's not a compost heap, which is entirely possible.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 9:03 Comments || Top||

#3  U.S. Pulls Out Of Saudi Arabia

"a dissatisfied Saudi Arabia expressed frustration afterward, whining: 'it's all about them and once they get what they want, it's over'"
Posted by: Frank G || 04/29/2003 9:37 Comments || Top||

#4  Did we leave cab fare on the dresser?
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 10:54 Comments || Top||

#5  Will they still respect us?
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/29/2003 12:39 Comments || Top||

#6  Do we care?
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 12:47 Comments || Top||

#7  I'm more worried about catching something...
Posted by: Fred || 04/29/2003 12:50 Comments || Top||

#8  The sweetest part about it is. When we have to invade Soddy from Iraq, we'll have a kick ass forward air base, that's just waiting for our arrival.
I'm beginning to really like those military planners of ours.
Posted by: Mike N. || 04/29/2003 13:07 Comments || Top||

#9  So what's Old Scratch's Absolutely Murderous Archvillain going to complain about now? Oh, just the overthrow of the Tally Banned and Saddamn; he'll use an inflated # of civilian casualties, probably certainly.
Posted by: KP || 04/29/2003 16:41 Comments || Top||

#10  Do you realize what HUGE news this is for the military - particularly the Air Force?... SOUTHERN WATCH rotations were a fact of life for those guys for MANY years - any person joining the military after the first Gulf War does not remember an Air Force that did NOT deploy to Saudi on a continuous basis... This Saudi rotation act was directly the cause for untold numbers of fed-up, mid-level NCO's and first term enlistees leaving the service! and now its over... Quite frankly, with unemployment up, and operations SOUTHERN and NORTHERN WATCH ended, I don't think we're going to see the degree of retention problems that we have been living with in the military for the past decade or so...

I'm actually tremendously excited for the friends that I have that are still in the Air Force - we had all assumed that Prince Sultan would eventually become a permanent duty station -- guess the government meant it when they said it was temporary - it only SEEMED like forever...

Posted by: Steve W. || 04/29/2003 21:54 Comments || Top||

US moves air HQ from Saudi to Qatar
The United States has moved its air command centre from Saudi Arabia to neighbouring Qatar, a top American military official has said. US Rear Admiral David Nichols said the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at the Prince Sultan base in Saudi Arabia would be closed later this year. "We already have switched, as of yesterday (Monday)," Admiral Nichols told reporters travelling with US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is currently visiting Saudi Arabia. The new US centre is at the al Udeid air base. The admiral said the decision had been agreed with the Saudi authorities, adding that all US aircraft using the Prince Sultan base would be removed by the middle of the year. The CAOC was set up after the 1991 Gulf war in Iraq and was used to control the coalition air campaign in the latest conflict in Iraq.
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/29/2003 04:57 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [546 views] Top|| File under:

#1  How about some comment on the Bush-Powell "roadmap" to Mideast disaster? The Paleos saw these dorks coming. At least in Baltimore they know snakeoil when they see it.

Posted by: Anonon || 04/29/2003 6:15 Comments || Top||

#2  anonon:

I'd like a tall skim latte, please.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/29/2003 8:21 Comments || Top||

#3  Large regular, 3 sugars. Thanks.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 9:04 Comments || Top||

#4  where's my damn sandwich?
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/29/2003 9:52 Comments || Top||

#5  Fred, the comments poster is intermittently forgetting the names/emails and defaulting to anonymous . That's MY damn sandwich Anonon
Posted by: Frank G || 04/29/2003 10:08 Comments || Top||

#6  We're leaving on a jet plane. Don't know when we'll be back again.

Never forget that the Jordanian King has as equal a claim to the throne of Soddi as does the current occupant. Just a thought, mind you.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 10:42 Comments || Top||

#7  ..and my shirt's still wrinkled. Don't make me sic Rummy on your ass!
Posted by: Raj || 04/29/2003 10:53 Comments || Top||

#8  The wide screen! Argh.
Posted by: someone || 04/29/2003 11:28 Comments || Top||

#9  Expressing a different pow doesn't mean you're a troll; that was true with the Murat-induced exchanges, until his latest rant-mode posts, anyway; Anonon fills the bloodthirsty-rightist-civilizations clash niche, and does it well. I'd hate a Rantburg turned into an all-republican tribune, so I welcome all kind of variety, Bulldog, Liberalhawk, RG117, TGA & so on).
Posted by: (A true) Anonymous || 04/29/2003 13:43 Comments || Top||

#10  Hey, what's a little dialogue without the threat of atomic weapons and Roentgen Soupbowls™? Quantum theory at ground zero level..... spices up the conversation, like.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/29/2003 17:10 Comments || Top||

#11  liberalhawk, tu3031, et al.....it is just SO damn hard to find good help nowadays, isn't it? Sigh....
BTW, (A true) Anonymous, didn't you notice who placed the first anti-troll post? ;)
Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/29/2003 20:04 Comments || Top||

#12  You know, it might not be a bad idea to READ the op-ed in the Baltimore paper that anonon suggests. It talks about NOT rewarding the Intifada and putting a HEAVY onus on Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to put their money where their "peace process" mouths are...It's actually a pretty good column...and I'm about as pro-Israel as you get.
Posted by: R. McLeod || 04/30/2003 3:10 Comments || Top||

Galloway tells Al Bawaba Arab movement mobilizing for his defense
Long interview, short quote:
Q. Can you elaborate on this defence campaign shedding light on efforts we have been hearing involving lawyers from Lebanon, Jordan and the GCC?
A. Honestly, I cannot because I have just had a telephone call that Arab National Congress meeting in Beirut was setting up such a campaign and Dr. Ma’an Bashour I think is the driving force behind that. I also understand that there are such campaigns now beginning to be formed and I am very very humbled and moved by that. I hope that they will try to raise the issues and the consciousness of people about why these attacks are taking place. I won’t be the last
let me predict confidently to you. One country after the other, the local George Galloways who fought this fight will likely be subject to the same kind of smears and the same kind of attacks. So these defence campaigns can be a means by which we all stay together and face this difficult future together. I would like to say that if anyone would like to contribute to my legal fund, they can send cheques or payments to the George Galloway Legal Fund, C/o Davenport Lyons Solicitors, 1 Old Burlington Street, London W1. United Kingdom. This is a fund that will be administered by my lawyers to help fund the legal actions that I have embarked on to try to defend myself. Any finds raised will be spent exclusively on the legal costs, if we have a victory inshallah (Arabic for God willing) in the courts, the costs will be awarded we hope to our side and therefore any monies given would be returned to the donors because the loser of the case has have to pay all of the costs. So I suppose I am asking my friends to advance to my lawyers the money that I will need to fight this case.
Guess that oil money only went so far.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 01:59 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [554 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money...
Do these assholes actually pay for anything?
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 14:13 Comments || Top||

#2  Unka Sammy wants to contribute, but he's sending a special representative to deliver the cheque in person - one Mr. Ben Dover...
Posted by: mojo || 04/29/2003 14:51 Comments || Top||

#3  "One country after the other, the local George Galloways who fought this fight..."
Ahhhh the beginning of his defense becomes apparent: It wasn't me, George Galloway, MP of Glasgow Kelvin, it was a different George Galloway. That's the ticket!

What a piece of crap - hey George, spare us all? Get drunk and clean your loaded guns, huh?
Posted by: Frank G || 04/29/2003 16:48 Comments || Top||

#4  "One country after the other, the local George Galloways who fought this fight will likely be subject to the same kind of smears and the same kind of attacks. "

He is right. Galloway knows that the U.S. is unraveling the corruption. There will be others uncovered, maybe some in the U.S.
Posted by: dc || 04/29/2003 19:10 Comments || Top||

#5  Hmm, must be no more money in the Mariam fund.
And, I'm sure he'll give about the same percentage to aid the "George Galloways" of the world that he gave to that poor Iraqi girl. Maybe less.
Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/29/2003 20:22 Comments || Top||

#6  Amazing, this guy is under serious scrutiny for handling of funds and for taking bribes and he puts the address of his defense fund out there. This guy truly has brass.

Also, very illuminating, is his use of the term "local George Galloways". Not, "other activists," you'll notice. Classic meglomanic.

Posted by: R. McLeod || 04/30/2003 3:13 Comments || Top||

Muslim leader whacked with coat hanger
A member of Xanthi’s Muslim minority — who has repeatedly claimed to be the legitimate local religious leader, as opposed to the mufti appointed by the Greek state — was hospitalized with minor head wounds on Friday after being attacked in his home near the northern city by a fellow-Muslim wielding a coat hanger.
Ow! Cheeze, that sounds like it hurts! Betcha civil, well-reasoned discourse like that is why they wear turbans, huh?
Mehmet Emin Aga, 71, was attacked by a 48-year-old man from the same area, police said. A Council of State ruling made public last July rejected a suit filed by Aga, finding it entirely legal that Muslim leaders in Greece should be appointed by the government rather than elected by local Muslims.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/29/2003 01:29 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [373 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This is what happens without a 7-day cooling off period for the purchase of coat hangers.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 13:45 Comments || Top||

#2  I believe they call that a "pimp beating" around here.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 14:02 Comments || Top||

#3  "Power flows from the barrel of a strong pimp hand..."
Posted by: Raj || 04/29/2003 14:47 Comments || Top||

#4  A Council of State ruling made public last July rejected a suit filed by Aga, finding it entirely legal that Muslim leaders in Greece should be appointed by the government rather than elected by local Muslims.

The Greek govt appoints Muslim leaders? Be interesting to find the whole interaction between the Muslim community, their mosques, and the Greek govt.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/29/2003 15:52 Comments || Top||

#5  AP, it's similar to how the Turks handle the Orthodox community and their churches in Istanbul.
Posted by: Steve White || 04/29/2003 17:52 Comments || Top||

Russia May Agree to Restructure Iraq Debt
Russia's finance minister said Tuesday that Moscow may be willing to consider a restructuring of Iraqi debts contracted by Saddam Hussein's regime but stressed that the government opposed a complete write-off. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin emphasized that the issue of Iraq's massive debt must be handled within the framework of the Paris Club of creditor nations. Russian officials initially bristled at suggestions by U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz earlier this month that Russia should simply write off the Iraqi debt to help in the country's postwar reconstruction. However, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was willing to consider the proposal. Russia opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq, but Moscow is being encouraged by Washington to play a constructive role in rebuilding the country. A flexible Russian attitude on debt repayment could be interpreted positively by the United States.
Write off that money, and you get more money in the future...
Alexander Shokhin, the head of the finance and credit committee of the lower house of the Russian parliament, suggested that Iraq's debt to Russia, some of which was for arms purchases, could be reduced by 80 percent.
Putin is cutting his losses, he wants another invite to the ranch.
And to be in line for more money in the future, when Iraq is rich enough to buy things for real cash, not just on credit...
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 08:19 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [363 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I'm looking forward to the restructuring of the old Czarist bonds as well. Settle those first, then we'll talk about Iraq. Must be some hefty interests compounding by now.
Posted by: Don || 04/29/2003 8:30 Comments || Top||

#2  Vlad the Putin; do you want some of the dough you wasted on weapons and other goodies for Saddamn refunded? Tough shit.
Posted by: KP || 04/29/2003 15:28 Comments || Top||

French economy shrinks
The French economy was shrinking in the last three months of 2002, new figures show. Previous estimates of slight growth have proved over-optimistic, with the latest statistics showing the economy contracted by 0.1% during the three month period. The bad news about the state of the French economy, the second largest in the eurozone, coincides with equally gloomy data about business morale. French business sentiment slumped for the second consecutive month in April as the Iraq war hit confidence, according to official figures.
Q1 2002: +0.7%
Q2 2002: +0.5%
Q3 2002: +0.3%
Q4 2002: -0.1%
Businesses have also been unsettled by publicity campaigns urging US consumers to boycott French products, including high-profile exports like wine and cheese.
Posted by: George || 04/29/2003 05:09 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [377 views] Top|| File under:

#1  BBC, there is a call on line one from Cause and Effect.
Tell them we're out to lunch.
Posted by: Dick Saucer || 04/29/2003 6:53 Comments || Top||

#2  "... publicity campaigns urging US consumers to boycott French products."

Hmmm. Haven't seen any. Totally grass-roots actions, as far as I can tell. Which means the French have pissed off the "american street" and are REALLY screwed...
Posted by: mojo || 04/29/2003 9:38 Comments || Top||

#3  In an effort to counter this economic downturn, French unions went on strike to promote a 20 hour work week with 52 paid holidays a year. Victory in the Ivory Coast Day is expected to be a popular addition.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 10:44 Comments || Top||

#4  How dare those French not bend to the will of the "American street"? You'd think they were acting in their own self-interests! And why do they even evaluate their economy on a unilateral basis?
Posted by: Tom || 04/29/2003 13:45 Comments || Top||

#5  Heh. the article says that, despite the 2002 trend, that growth will STILL be about 1.2%.

Must be some damn good weed they're smoking over there.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/29/2003 13:54 Comments || Top||

Fifth Column
Statement supporting Cuba against Bush’s attacks
Initiated by the International A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Just a few short takes from their "unbiased" statement.
We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, view with great concern the intensifying campaign of subversion and aggression against Cuba, directed by the U.S. government. We in the U.S. progressive and anti-war movement recognize our obligation to expose and organize against the Bush administration's plans to overthrow the government of Cuba. Under the rubric of the "war against terrorism" the Bush administration has aggressively embarked on a campaign to carry out the overturn of governments that seek to maintain independent control over their own land and resources. At stake in Cuba are the considerable social and economic gains of the people made in spite of overwhelming opposition from the government representing the most powerful country in the world. On April 7, James Cason, chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and the top U.S. diplomat in Cuba, declared, "all of our allies agree that their policy goal in Cuba is, ultimately, the same as ours: the rapid and peaceful transition to a democratic government characterized by strong support for human rights and an open market economy." He stated on the same day, "the Administration's top priority is to promote a rapid, peaceful transition." Coming from a U.S. government representative, the meaning is clear: "transition" translates to overthrow.
In the wake of the war on Iraq, there is no corner of the world that is safe today from U.S. aggression. This is especially the case for Cuba, part of whose national territory remains under U.S. military occupation. U.S. diplomats have warned Cuba, along with Iran, Syria and North Korea, to "learn the lessons of Iraq."
Cuba seems to be a slow learner.
The trial of the 75 Cuban individuals arrested in March uncovered the directing role of the U.S. Interests Section in guiding, financing, and organizing subversive actions against the Cuban government. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funneled some $20 million in support to anti-government organizations in Cuba as a part of this counter-revolutionary campaign. After the popular revolution that overthrew the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Batista in 1959, the U.S. government has resorted to invasion, nuclear threats, biological and chemical attacks, assassination attempts and murders, C.I.A. financed and organized "opposition," and economic destabilization. For forty years the overthrow of the Cuban government has been a priority for U.S. policy makers. The Bush administration's goal is to carry out regime change and replace the Cuban government with a puppet regime. It is a testament to the popular support of the Cuban government and its ability to stand up and confront U.S. aggression that the people of Cuba have successfully repelled overt and covert attempts to recolonize their country.
Wonder how many Hollywood types are going to sign on to this one?
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 01:32 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [409 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Don't they risk being taken out and shot?

Oh, wait, that's in Cuba. Here all they risk is looking silly sillier.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 13:53 Comments || Top||

#2  Oh, Boy! Haywood Jablome rides again!
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 14:04 Comments || Top||

#3  Ah'll Never Stop Welcoming Evil's Reign sez: "At stake in Cuba are the considerable social and economic gains of the people…" What gains? Oh, yeah, Castro and his buddies are people, that's RIGHT!
Posted by: KP || 04/29/2003 15:19 Comments || Top||

#4  The Imperialist US Govt also does not like the Peoples Republic of Cuba to have WMD hanging around that fair island, either. It was there about 40 years ago. Do not make us angry...you would not like us when we are angry.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/29/2003 16:02 Comments || Top||

#5  Wheres Michael Corleone and Hyman Roth when you need them?
Posted by: Wills || 04/29/2003 16:43 Comments || Top||

#6  Ummm...this is sick..but...

I know this guy that goes to Cuba, hangs out at clubs and picks up the minions of 14 \15\16 year old girls that hang outside the club waiting for foreigners.....

So much for the Socialist Paradise.....
Posted by: Porps || 04/29/2003 19:56 Comments || Top||

#7  Ahhh too bad. Now that they aren't getting any money from Sadaam, and Kimmy's running a little short, ANSWER is going to have to shill even harder for a few extra shillings from Fidel. Never mind they look sooo silly after his recent round up. Toss some coins in the hat and they'll tap dance for anyone.
Posted by: Becky || 04/29/2003 20:04 Comments || Top||

#8  Becky, don't you mean lap dance for anyone? ;)
Why wouldn't they defend Cuba? It and NK are the only ones who put on decent commie show trials anymore. Ah Cuba.....see a show trial in the morning, and still have time to cruise the Malecon looking for an underage hooker. Not to mention the cigars. And the rum. Ah, a true socialist paradise. As long as you have a passport and a ticket out, that is.
Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/29/2003 20:35 Comments || Top||

We went to war just to boost the white male ego
Looks like Norm got into the mushrooms again...or he's gone completely insane. I'd edit it, but you really have to read it all.
Norman Mailer
With their dominance in sport, at work and at home eroded, Bush thought white American men needed to know they were still good at something. That's where Iraq came in...
It did?
Exeunt: lightning and thunder, shock and awe. Dust, ash, fog, fire, smoke, sand, blood, and a good deal of waste now moves to the wings.
Yes! Yes! Begone with you! Out, out, damned lightning and thunder, damned shock and awe, damned spot!
The stage, however, remains occupied. The question posed at curtain-rise has not been answered. Why did we go to war?
I dunno. Couldn't get a date? Nothing good on teevee and nothing to read that wasn't pretentious posing by drunks who could write 50 years ago?
If no real weapons of mass destruction are found, the question will keen in pitch. Or, if more likely, such weapons are uncovered in Iraq — not a tenth, not a hundredth of what we possess — but, yes, if such weapons are there, it is also likely that even more have been moved to new hiding places beyond Iraq. If that is so, horrific events could ensue. Should they take place, we can count on a predictable response: “Good, honest, innocent Americans died today because of evil al-Qaeda terrorists.”
Could even be bad, dishonest ones. Murder's still murder, ain't it? Unless it's a political act, of course, promulgated by a White Negro™...
Yes, we will hear the President’s voice speaking before he even utters such words. (For those of us who do not like George Bush, we may as well recognise that putting up with him in the Oval Office is like being married to a mate who always says exactly what you know in advance he or she is going to say, which also helps to account for why the other half of America loves him.)
Sounds kinda like a description of Norman Mailer there, doesn't it? I guess it's all about Norm, when you come down to it...
The key question remains — why did we go to war? It is not yet answered.
Y'know, Natalie Maines was just trying to figure that out the other day. Maybe you should ask her...
In the end, it is likely that a host of responses will produce a cognitive stew, which does, at least, open the way to offering one’s own notion. We went to war, I could say, because we very much needed a war. The US economy was sinking, the market was gloomy and down, and some classic bastions of the erstwhile American faith (corporate integrity, the FBI, and the Catholic Church, to cite but three) had each suffered a separate and grievous loss of face. Since our Administration was probably not ready to solve any one of the serious problems before it, it was natural to feel the impulse to move into larger ventures, thrusts into the empyrean-war!
Mmmmm! Cognitive stew! My favorite! Throw in a few more carrots of coherence this time, though, okay, Norm?
Be it said that the Administration knew something a good many of us did not — it knew that we had a very good, perhaps even an extraordinarily good, if essentially untested, group of Armed Forces, a skilled, disciplined, well-motivated military, career-focused and run by a field-rank and general staff who were intelligent, articulate, and considerably less corrupt than any other power group in America. In such a pass, how could the White House not use them?
Maybe the same way they didn't use them previously? Naw. That can't be right...
They could prove quintessential as morale-builders to one group in US life, perhaps the key group: the white American male. If once this aggregate came near to 50 per cent of the population, it was down to . . . was it now 30 per cent? Still, it remained key to the President’s political footing. And it had taken a real beating. As a matter of collective ego, the good white American male had had very little to nourish his morale since the job market had gone bad, unless he happened to be in the Armed Forces. There, it was certainly different. The Armed Forces had become the paradigmatic equal of a great young athlete looking to test his true size. Could it be that there was a bozo out in the boondocks who was made to order, and his name was Iraq? Iraq had a tough rep, but he was old and a blowhard. A choice opponent. A desert war with no caves in sight is designed for an air force whose state-of-the-art is comparable in perfection to a top-flight fashion model on a runway.
He's equating Warthogs with Naomi Campbell? He does have an imagination, doesn't he?
So Iraq was chosen. Our good people on high would rush to claim that our putative foe possessed a nuclear threat. Along the way, they presented President Saddam Hussein as the closet architect of 9/11. Then they declared that he ran a nest of terrorists. None of that held up on close examination but it did not have to. We were ready to go to war anyway. After 9/11, and the absence of Osama bin Laden’s body in Afghanistan or anywhere else, why not choose Saddam as the evil force behind the fall of the twin towers? We would liberate the Iraqis. Wantonly, shamelessly, proudly, exuberantly, one half of our prodigiously divided America could hardly wait for the new war. We understood that our television was going to be terrific. And it was. Sanitised but terrific — which is, after all, exactly what network and good cable television are supposed to be.
The other half of our prodigiously divided America, in the meanwhile, was jumping up and down and making faces and building papiermache puppets and walking on stilts and getting naked in public. Except for Norm, who seems to have been drinking...
There were, however, even better reasons for using our military skills, but these reasons return us to the ongoing malaise of the white American male. He had been taking a daily drubbing over the past 30 years. For better or worse, the women’s movement had had its breakthrough successes and the old, easy white male ego had withered in the glare. Even the mighty consolations of rooting for your team on TV had been skewed. There was now less reward in watching sports than there used to be, a clear and declarable loss. The great white stars of yesteryear were for the most part gone, gone in football, in basketball, in boxing, and half-gone in baseball. Black genius now prevailed in all these sports (and the Hispanics were coming up fast; even the Asians were beginning to make their mark).
How 'bout that? Norm's discovered the Black Negro™. He'll no doubt write about about it...
We white men were now left with half of tennis (at least its male half), and might also point to ice-hockey, skiing, soccer, golf, (with the notable exception of the Tiger) as well as lacrosse, swimming, and the World-Wide Wrestling Federation — remnants and orts of a once-great and glorious centrality.
He's lamenting the decline of the Knickerbocker and the Episcopalian? All that's left is the WWF and a few remnants and orts...
On the other hand, the good white American male still had the Armed Forces. If blacks and Hispanics were numerous there, still they were not a majority, and the officer corps, (if the TV was a reliable witness), suggested that the percentage of white men increased as one rose in rank to the higher officers. Moreover, we had knock-out tank echelons, Super-Marines, and — one magical ace in the hole — the best air force that ever existed. If we cannot find our machismo anywhere else, we can certainly settle in on the interface between combat and technology. Let me then advance the offensive suggestion that this may have been one of the cardinal reasons we went looking for war. We knew we were likely to be good at it.
Hokay. Explain why Sammy went looking for the other half of the tango. Let me advance the offensive suggestion that Sammy knew he was likely to get his cheeks blown off, and rather than backing down or even acting reasonable, he kept getting more and more bellicose. Did that have something to do with recent attacks by feminism on moustachioed Arab male self-image? Or is it just another ort?
In the course, however, of all the quick events of the past few weeks, our military went through a transmogrification. Indeed, it was one hellion of a morph. We went from a potentially great athlete into a master surgeon capable of operating at high speed on an awfully sick patient. Now, even as the patient is being stitched up, a new and troubling question arises: have any fresh medicines been developed to deal with what seem to be teeming infections? Do we really know how to treat livid suppurations we were not quite prepared for?
Best way to treat livid suppurations like that is to debrede them, apply topical antibiotics, administer same by mouth, and cover the wound to keep foreign matter out. Or you could just slap on a mustard plaster and hope for the best...
Or would it be better to ignore the consequences? Mightn’t we keep trusting our great American luck, our faith in our divinely protected can-do luck? We are, by custom, gung-ho. If these suppurations prove to be unmanageable, or just too time-consuming, may we not leave them behind? We could move on to the next venue. Syria, we might declare in our best John Wayne voice: You can run, but you can’t hide.
Or we could say in our best Wally Cox voice, "Oooow! That huuuuurt!" Guess which one I'd prefer, Pilgrim?
Saudi Arabia, you over-rated tank of blubber, are you out of gas? And Iran, watch it, we have eyes for you. You could be our next real meal. Because when we are feeling this good, we are ready to go, and go again. We must. We have had a real taste. Why, there’s a basket-full of billions to be made in the Middle East just so long as we stay ahead of the trillions of debt that are coming after us.
Hmmm... Important and profound lessons in cost effectiveness here. Lemme make a note...
Be it said: the motives that lead to a nation’s major historical acts can probably rise no higher than the spiritual understanding of its leadership. While George W. may not know as much as he believes he knows about the dispositions of God’s blessing, he is driving us at high speed all the same. He is more of a white male by at least an order of magnitude than any other boyo in America, yes, we have this man at the wheel whose most legitimate boast might be that he knew how to parlay the part-ownership of a major-league baseball team into a gubernatorial win in Texas. And — shall we ever forget? — was catapulted, thereafter, into a mighty hymn: All Hail to the Chief!
Now who can argue with that?
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 11:43 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [1360 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And this from a guy who once punched Gore Vidal. You GO, girl!

Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/29/2003 12:02 Comments || Top||

#2  This guy's a pathetic jerkoff. He used to be known for getting drunk and picking fistfights with people, so I guess he'd know all about uncontrolled machismo and senseless aggression. Don't we have an Institute for Horses' Asses where we can put all these people? Didn't Norman Mailer also befriend murderer Gary Gilmore and try to make him look like a victim? If Norman Mailer told me it was raining, I'd have to look out the window and check.
Posted by: Joe || 04/29/2003 12:08 Comments || Top||

#3  Mail Mailer somewhere.
Posted by: KP || 04/29/2003 13:12 Comments || Top||

#4  "For those of us who do not like George Bush, we may as well recognise that putting up with him in the Oval Office is like being married to a mate who always says exactly what you know in advance he or she is going to say,..."

This may go a long way towards explaining why he killed his first wife.
Posted by: 11A5S || 04/29/2003 13:29 Comments || Top||

#5  Sheesh, what an @$$h@t
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 04/29/2003 13:32 Comments || Top||

#6  When Norman Mailers reputation as a reputable author of renown eroded, he thought he needed to feel he was still good at something. Thats where the keyboard came in. Bashing away at the keyboard, hurling small-minded, indefensible, irrational phrases into the atmosphere boosted his white male ego. I'm glad he feels better now, but for the sane, adult world, we realize what a mean-spirited emotionally-stunted adolescent he is. By the way Norman, you have to earn the right to Mister, if no one has ever pointed this out to you, chronological age has nothing to do with maturity. Your abilty to string sentences together without once coming close to a coherent, reasonable or mature conclusion, gives full credence to that truism.
Posted by: Carolyn || 04/29/2003 13:56 Comments || Top||

#7  Neither amusing nor thought-provoking. Just another pathetic celebrity loser.
Posted by: Tom || 04/29/2003 14:00 Comments || Top||

#8  Norm's always made me think of a prolonged belch, all noise and odor...
Posted by: Fred || 04/29/2003 14:32 Comments || Top||

#9  Hi, I'm Norman Mailer's liver. Yes, I know, you thought I was dead. Well, I ought to be, all the alcohol he's ran through me over the years. But, I got friends and connections, and that helps. Gore Vidal's prostate, good friend. Cell phone's always on. Then there's Helen Thomas's vagina. What can I say? If it can manage, so can I. We cry on eachother's shoulder a LOT, I tell you, a LOT.

Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 15:52 Comments || Top||

#10  11A5S. Actually, I think the wife tried to kill him. Can't say that I blame her.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 15:59 Comments || Top||

#11  Just when I get pissed off at the intolerant wing of the Republican party - e.g., Santorum's comments of last week - I am reminded why I can NEVER vote for liberal Democrats who represent the leading liberal thinkers such as this boob.
Posted by: ColoradoConservative || 04/29/2003 16:17 Comments || Top||

#12  Be It said? Boyo, thats it I am never having another drink in my life...Thanks Norm
Posted by: Wills || 04/29/2003 17:04 Comments || Top||

#13  Mailer himself said it best: "I've made an ass of myself so many times I think I must be one." (Interview with NYT Review of Books, 1991 or so)
Posted by: Sofia || 04/29/2003 17:39 Comments || Top||

#14  tu3031: We're both wrong. It was only attempted homicide. Though it does seem like he definitely knows what it's like to have his white male ego bruised.

In 1960, during a boisterous all-night party at their West 94th Street apartment, Mailer stabbed his second wife Adele with a "dirty three-inch penknife" for calling him a "faggot." From her bed in the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital, the soon-to-be-ex-Mrs. Mailer declined to press charges. But police arrested Mailer for felonious assault. (The week before, he had been arrested for disorderly conduct after he was refused credit for a $7.60 liquor bill at Birdland, a jazz nightclub.)
Given a suspended sentence, Mailer was committed to Bellevue Hospital for observation. "It's important for me not be sent to a mental hospital," Mailer protested, "because my work will be considered that of a disordered mind. My pride is that I can explore areas of experience that other men are afraid of. I insist I am sane."
Posted by: 11A5S || 04/29/2003 18:03 Comments || Top||

#15  I'm a white male and my ego is just fine, even without the war.
Posted by: Hiryu || 04/29/2003 20:04 Comments || Top||

#16  Is he trying to be like Hunter S Thompson here? He's got the incoherence down, he's got the substance abuse, but it still fails miserably.
Any guesses on what his blood alcohol content was when he wrote this? I'd say about .25. Most of us would have been passed out before we reach that, but considering his history of drinking, I'm sure he was somewhere around that level.
Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/29/2003 20:49 Comments || Top||

#17  This may seem a bit off-topic, and God help me for changing the subject in this manner, but does anyone else get the impression that this guy is doing the "tuck between the legs" dance in front of a mirror in his best lingiere??? For all of his 'white, male ego' talk, he seems ashamed to be a 'white male'?

Last time I checked, being a white male in and of itself was not a crime, for anything to be ashamed of... now, being a white, male dumba%S!@... thats something I have no truck with...

Posted by: Steve W. || 04/29/2003 22:12 Comments || Top||

#18  11A5S.Since you're researching this literary giant, look up the name Jack Henry Abbott. That'll really turn your stomach...
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 22:22 Comments || Top||

#19  tu3031: Yeah, I know about the Belly of the Beast and its aftermath. I didn't want to bring it up here since I felt that the wife stabbing was damning enough. There must be a special place in hell for narcissitic punks like Mailer. Even scarier than Mailer is the reception he gets from the privilegenstia in this country -- a sociopathic alchoholic being adulated by the jaded elites. Whenever I read about him and his circle, I feel like I've just walked into a room full of decadents watching a snuff film.
Posted by: 11A5S || 04/29/2003 23:04 Comments || Top||

#20  Mailer is now 80 years old, a literary corpse preserved in alcohol, one whose last original thought lies half a century in the past. He is also responsible for one of the most racist screeds of the 1950s, a little essay entitled The White Negro. Of course, Mailer did not realize that it was racist, he was trying to praise what he saw as a lifestyle of indulgence, irresponsibility, and sensuality.

Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 04/29/2003 23:12 Comments || Top||

#21  Is it just me or is anyone else noticing that leftist nuts like this washed up novelist are totally obsessed with sexual issues? It's always there...just wondering.
Posted by: R. McLeod || 04/30/2003 3:24 Comments || Top||

Great White North
Syria to Charge Canadian Over ’Terrorist’ Links
A Canadian citizen who was controversially deported to Syria last year by U.S. agents will soon be charged in Syria with belonging to a "terrorist organization", Canadian officials said on Tuesday. Mohamed Arar -- who also holds a Syrian passport -- was deported from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport last October, prompting a protest to Washington from Ottawa.
Memo to "terrorists"; don't be carrying passports for countries you don't want to be deported to.
"He will be formally charged by the Syrians with being a member of terrorist organization (which) we believe to be the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood," a Canadian official told Reuters, saying the charge would be laid "in the near future".
Bet Gitmo is looking real inviting about now.
Arar was arrested on Sept. 26 as he was changing planes on his way back to Canada after a trip to Tunisia.
Also check those airline tickets, direct flight and non-stop flight don't mean the same thing.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 11:21 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [545 views] Top|| File under:

#1  He, he, he, he, he, he, he, he, he, he,

Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho,

Hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah

ROTFL. Thanks, I needed a good laugh.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 13:24 Comments || Top||

#2  Syria charges Terrorist isn't that a oxymoron :)
Posted by: djohn || 04/29/2003 21:46 Comments || Top||

No operation against Taliban in Pakistan, says Minister
A whole lot of denying going on.
IRNA - Pakistan Monday said that no operation has been launched against Taliban and no Taliban leader has been handed over to U.S authorities. Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat speaking at a news conference in Islamabad denied claim by U.S spokesman in Afghanistan that Pakistan has handed over two Taliban leaders to the U.S forces in Afghanistan.
"No, no! We're keeping them for ourselves! We're gonna find them seats in parliament..."
He denied reports that a country-wide crack-down on the wanted leaders has been launched after Kabul handed over a list of its wanted people now hiding and operating from Pakistani soil to destabilise the Karazi-led Afghan administration. Hayat also denied reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai or any other Afghan official handed over list of wanted Taliban leaders to Pakistan during their recent visit to Pakistan.
"It's all a big lie! There is no list! We have no Taliban in Pakistan! There is no al-Qaeda! There is no Pakistan! This is all a figment of your imagination!"
President Karzai told reporters in Islamabad last week that he has given names of a few wanted Taliban to Pakistan and a detailed list would soon be handed over to Islamabad. Foreign Office spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan on Monday also denied receiving any list but said that several names were given to Pakistan and he said Pakistan is investigating into the list. Pakistan has been denying presence of Taliban leaders in the country but Afghan authorities insist some of the leaders are in Pakistan.
Apparently they're at home to Reuters or AP, but not to Pak coppers...
Afghan Foreign Minister Dr Abdullah said on Saturday that Mulla Omar is in Pakistan, the claim denied by Pakistan Foreign Office and Interior Minister. Reports said Monday that an operation has been launched after Kabul administration reported to the higher authorities in Pakistan that fugitive leaders of the past regime were fuelling and funding regrouping of Taliban in Afghanistan.
Too many denials for it not to be true. Must be for internal press coverage, trying to keep the local fundi's happy.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 09:08 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [393 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Foreign Office spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan on Monday also denied receiving any list but said that several names were given to Pakistan and he said Pakistan is investigating into the list."

Glad that's been cleared up.
Posted by: Pink & Fluffy || 04/29/2003 11:34 Comments || Top||

#2  "It's all a big lie! There is no list! We have no Taliban in Pakistan! There is no al-Qaeda! There is no Pakistan! This is all a figment of your imagination!"

So that's where Baghdad Bob went!
Posted by: Steve White || 04/29/2003 18:03 Comments || Top||

Forbidden vices and voices flourish in Baghdad
When the Atlas Cinema last showed Blue Chill, people screamed: "Yes! Yes!" every time the actors began kissing, only to see the scratched reel jump to the next scene. Yesterday, they sat in awed silence as naked couples writhed on screen.
"The movie is much more beautiful now, because there's sex," said a beaming Mohammed Taher, 18. Since Saturday, when the theatre reopened with a freshly uncensored version of the low-budget American flick, he has seen Blue Chill three times.
Baghdad has gone through a revolution in the past three weeks, casting off decades of censorship and state control with shock and awe. Banned books, satellite dishes and video CDs are now sold on the street — as are alcohol and women.
Nobody knows how long the permissiveness will last. Many Baghdadis believe that once a new government is in place, some of their freedoms will disappear. [...]
Teenagers gape at Christina Aguilera's navel via brand-new satellite dishes illegal under Saddam.
Young lovers smooch in roadside cars, hidden behind tinted windows that were banned by Saddam because they prevented police from spying on motorists.
Prostitutes walk the streets in some neighbourhoods, beckoning passing motorists.
Bookworms excitedly leaf through political histories that could have gotten them tortured in years gone by.
Shiite Muslim religious leaders watch grainy video images of ceremonies from neighbouring Syria, banned for years out of fear that clerics might challenge Saddam for Iraqis' loyalties.
"Before, everything was forbidden except the air," said Mohammed Jabbar. "Now, we don't have electricity, we don't have water, but we are free."
Sahad Hashim, manager of the Atlas Cinema, couldn't be more delighted. Because of the lawlessness, he closes at 3 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. But he's still selling 800 tickets a day — double his pre-war box office.
Under Saddam, Hashim cut sexy scenes from his movies to conform to Information Ministry orders. When the Americans took over, he simply spliced them back in.
As well as once-banned videos and books, Amstel beer and Jack Daniel's whiskey are sold on street corners, In recent years, alcohol was forbidden from public places.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/29/2003 08:45 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [532 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Democracy.....workin' on it, but looks promising.
Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/29/2003 21:11 Comments || Top||

Chalabi: Iraq Agents Work at Al-Jazeera
DOHA, Qatar - Iraqi intelligence agents of Saddam Hussein's regime infiltrated the Arabic language news station Al-Jazeera television, the head of a major Iraqi opposition group claimed Tuesday. "Al-Jazeera is completely infiltrated by Iraqi intelligence," Ahmad Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, said in an interview aired live by Abu Dhabi Television, an Al-Jazeera competitor. "We got the information from the files of Iraqi intelligence," Chalabi added.

An employee for Al-Jazeera, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was unlikely that the station would respond to Chalabi's allegations, adding, "Of course what he says is not true."

Posted by: Anonymous || 04/29/2003 08:36 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [389 views] Top|| File under:

’Garden of Eden’ Devastated Under Saddam
Edited for brevity.
In the purported Garden of Eden, lifeless trees stand amid trash, patches of dry grass and salt-encrusted mud - the remnants of once-lush marshlands. For more than a decade, Saddam Hussein systematically destroyed the vast wetlands of southern Iraq - building dams and canals to drain the swamps, setting fire to the sea of reeds, and arresting and killing residents. Those left behind hope Saddam's fall heralds restoration of the devastated land to the paradise they remember - the one many scholars believe was the biblical Garden of Eden.

The marshlands - home to rare species of boar and otter and a spawning ground for Persian Gulf fisheries - once extended 6,000 to 8,000 square miles across an area straddling the Iran-Iraq border. Satellite studies conducted by the U.N. Environment Program show less than 400 square miles remain today. Without urgent action, the U.N. agency warned in March, the entire wetland system could be gone in three to five years. An emergency release of water could stave off further deterioration, it said, but a long-term recovery plan is needed to bring back the scenes some marsh Arabs remember longingly.
Posted by: Dar || 04/29/2003 03:39 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [376 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The United States: Saviors of the Environment!
Posted by: Just John || 04/29/2003 16:00 Comments || Top||

#2  So, is the UN going to rush in and take charge and save the planet? Kofi..........ahem.....uh............Kofi?
Jacques?............George Galloway?............
Thought so............
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/29/2003 16:08 Comments || Top||

#3  While we're restoring wetlands...
how about the wetlands of "Le Marais"?
Posted by: Dishman || 04/29/2003 18:29 Comments || Top||

First "Major" Army Unit to Leave Iraq
Edited for brevity.
"We brought everyone home alive." For Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack, that was the best of a string of accomplishments as his troops in the 82nd Airborne Division prepared to leave Iraq. They cleared several cities of Saddam Hussein's paramilitary. They protected supply lines from snipers and rearguard ambushes. They coordinated security for a Shiite Muslim pilgrimage by some 1 million faithful.

This week, some 1,200 soldiers of the 82nd - a group trained for rapid deployment known as America's 911 force - began heading for Kuwait, expecting to be stateside by mid-May. They are the first major Army unit to head home.
Some good stories at the link from a handful of the soldiers themselves.
Posted by: Dar || 04/29/2003 02:52 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [412 views] Top|| File under:

#1  You did a good job with beginning the liberation, soldiers.
Posted by: KP || 04/29/2003 15:35 Comments || Top||

#2  Well done, heroes!
Posted by: Ptah || 04/29/2003 16:23 Comments || Top||

Sammy to speak?
Saddam Hussein is to deliver a message in the next three days, it is being reported. The claim was made by a previously unknown Iraqi group opposed to the US presence in Iraq. The Iraqi Resistance group said the toppled Iraqi leader was still alive - despite two attempts by the Coalition to kill him. "President Saddam Hussein was not killed. He is still alive. He is going to address a message to Iraqis and to the (Arab) nation within 72 hours," it said. The claim was made in a letter to the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. The group goes on to say that Saddam "has come across evidence that some Iraqi officials had long been involved with American and British intelligence". It stressed it was not "the remnants of the (ousted) Iraqi government". The group denounced what it called "a disinformation campaign" by the United States to hide losses at the hands of the "courageous resistance". And it went on to claim some 211 British soldiers and 1,300 US troops had died in the campaign - a figure wildly a odds with official statements.
I thought Info Man was trying to turn himself in?
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/29/2003 12:57 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [523 views] Top|| File under:

#1  *Yawns* Let us know when he does speak. In the meantime, conserve oxygen.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/29/2003 13:59 Comments || Top||

#2  Maybe him and Binny can do a duet? "Live!!! From Hell...."
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 14:11 Comments || Top||

#3  I guess the "Iraqi Resistance Group" thought we had somehow mis-counted our casualties by a factor of 10 or more, and that the families of the dead wouldn't notice. Idiots. Truth is just not a big deal over there, is it?
Posted by: Jeff Brokaw || 04/29/2003 15:38 Comments || Top||

#4  I find rather comical that the region that gave us mathmatics can't seem to count! I am getting the feeling we need to hit the 'reset' button on the whole Arab populace. They can't see the truth if it bit them. Besides racisim and terrorism, what else can they offer?
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 04/29/2003 16:16 Comments || Top||

#5  I honestly don't know the answer to that question, Sarge. Let's see......racism, terrorism.....large amounts of carbon dioxide I guess.
Posted by: Joe || 04/30/2003 10:38 Comments || Top||

Gov. of Basra Province Said in Custody
The former governor of southern Basra province, a member of Saddam Hussein's clan and one of the Iraqis on the U.S.-led coalition's most-wanted list, surrendered and is in custody, the exile Iraqi National Congress said Tuesday. Wahid Hamed Tawfiq al-Tikriti turned himself in to the Iraqi National Congress in Baghdad, according to Haidar al-Moussawi, a London-based spokesman for the group. He was being interrogated Tuesday night by U.S. forces and Iraqi National Congress representatives, al-Moussawi said. "They will decide in the field" when to hand him over to U.S. custody, al-Moussawi said.
In Doha, Qatar, U.S. Central Command had no comment and could not immediately confirm that the former governor was in custody. Fourteen of the 55 most-wanted members of Saddam's inner circle are already being detained.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 11:56 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [379 views] Top|| File under:

#1  With him in custody, we now are only missing Saddam and Quasay as the other two Dead Man's Hand.
Posted by: BigFire || 04/29/2003 12:39 Comments || Top||

Iraqis map out country's future
Iraqis across the political spectrum said yesterday they would try to set up an interim government in one month as the US pledged to bring democracy to Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Around 250 delegates reached agreement to hold a national congress within four weeks that would elect the first Iraqi government after the fall of Saddam's 24-year reign. "Hopefully, we will have this national meeting that will select or elect the interim authority," said Zalmay Khalilzad, the top US envoy to Iraq's emerging political movements. The announcement came as sharp divisions emerged between exiles who have lived away from Iraq for years, who favour a quick US exit, and locals who suffered under Saddam and are doubtful over their preparedness to lead the nation. "It is our responsibility to start the process of the birth of democracy in Iraq here today," said retired US general Jay Garner, the man in charge of Iraq until a new government is formed.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/29/2003 11:55 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [391 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Interesting that it is the exiles who wish the foreigners to leave, and the locals who wish them to remain.
Posted by: A || 04/29/2003 12:24 Comments || Top||

#2  They all agreed that : 1.The United Nations should lift sanctions.
2.The International Community should forgive Iraq's debts.

Are you listening Vlad, Gerhard, and Jacques?
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/29/2003 12:43 Comments || Top||

#3  I agree that Germany should waive Iraq's debt (4bn) and France (8bn) and Russia (8bn) should do the same. As far as I understand it, the sums don't include interests that haven't been paid since the 70s. So frankly I don't know which sums we are talking about but they have probably be written off already secretly. Fresh business is what we need. But to ask Russia, France and Germany to waive billions and then shove it and leave it to the U.S./UK to make money in debtless Iraq doesn't sound like a proposal that is going to work.
And from what I read Iraq may owe up 200 bn when we include its principal creditors, the Gulf States, plus reparations owed for Gulf War I (Kuwait predominantly).
So if France, Germany and Russia write off the debts (20bn or so), and the U.S. (4 bn) does, too, this makes up for about 12 percent of the total owed (nobody seems to come forward with hard figures).

So it rather sounds like a symbolical act to me.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/29/2003 14:13 Comments || Top||

#4  TGA - yes the gulf states and others will have to participate as well - to the extent that Iraq has creditors that themselves have severe financial problems, the developed world may have to help out.

Can the US and Iraq ask for this and still freeze the weasels out of all contracts and influence = of course not. the question is what will the weasels need to give, and what will they get. The weasels want A. Reconstruction contracts B. Oil contracts C. Some say (through the UN) over the political process in Iraq
The US/Iraqi side wants A. Debt forgiveness B. Immediate end to sanctions C. Support for the poltical process.
Can the US all it wants while giving the weasels none of they want - no, there will have to be give and take. But the fact that Iraqis are asking for the end to sanctions and debt forgiveness, and seem to be happy with the US involvement in the political process, certainly adds weight to the US side of the give and take.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/29/2003 15:28 Comments || Top||

#5  Flash - CNN reports sources say associate of Zaraqawi, Jordanian linked to Al Qaida and implicated in murder of US diplo Foley in Amman, captured in west baghdad.

Posting this here in your honor, TGA.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/29/2003 16:16 Comments || Top||

#6  Remember that there are a lot of reasons that you go into exile, not all of them due to purity of heart. Most of the time it's because your set of crooks is on the outs and another set of crooks is on the ins. (See also, Cuba/Batista, Haiti, Panama, and nearly all of West Africa)

That's why you want the foreigners out. So you can go ahead with the business of making yourself rich.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 18:37 Comments || Top||

Major role for clerics urged
Several thousand Shi'ite Muslims rallied in the Iraqi capital yesterday demanding a role for their clerics in running a post-Saddam Iraq.
Ummm... Lemme think. No.
"We want a new national conference" on Iraq's political future, chanted the protesters led by dozens of religious leaders from the powerful Hawza Shi'ite school in the holy city of Najaf. "Yes, Yes, Islam. No, No, America," they shouted as they marched from Al Andalus Square to Al Fardus Square where Saddam Hussein's huge statue was toppled on April 9 in the most indelible symbol of the end of the regime.
March and be damned!
The show of strength came as the retired US general running the country, Jay Garner, convened a meeting of as many as 400 Iraqis of all political stripes to plot out the post-Saddam future. The Iran-based Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the main Shi'ite Muslim movement that opposed Saddam from a very safe distance, said yesterday it would not take part in any US-led meetings on the country's political future. Spokesman Hamed Al Bayati told Al Jazeera television that Garner "is responsible for Iraq's reconstruction and humanitarian affairs and we plan to co-operate with him only in this domain. "Political arrangements are the jurisdiction of only holy men Iraqis."
Then stay the hell out of politix for good...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/29/2003 11:52 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [392 views] Top|| File under:

#1  First Iraqi opinion poll, by NDTV (New Delhi TV?) froma India Express, via Andrew Sullivan.

"Was the US war to remove Saddam correct?
• RIGHT: 54
• WRONG: 32

Should US troops stay on to rebuild Iraq
• GO BACK: 52
• STAY ON: 43"

32% would have preferred we not invade (either pro-Saddam or the Salaam Pax position - against both Saddam and invasion)
43% are glad we invaded and want us to stay
19 to 25% are glad we invaded, but want us to leave now.
32% sounds like the Sunni Arabs, plus a small minority of Shiites.
43% are the Kurds and about a third of Shia.
19-25% is the rest of the Shiites.

Likely that these numbers could shift in favor of US presence, if living conditions improve, and as we make clear shift to Iraqi governance.
Or could get worse if there are too many occupation incidents, or we mishandle political process.

Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/29/2003 12:10 Comments || Top||

#2  If we get numbers that good now, when all the electricity's not yet back on and there's no civil administration in place, they're gonna love us six months from now.

If the figs can be trusted...
Posted by: Fred || 04/29/2003 13:00 Comments || Top||

Iraqi Lawyer Who Helped Rescue PFC Lynch Granted Asylum
Edited for brevity.
The Iraqi lawyer who led U.S. forces to missing soldier Jessica Lynch has been granted asylum by the United States, Fox News has learned. Mohammed Odeh Al-Rehatef, 33, who helped U.S. special operations teams track down Pfc. Jessica Lynch, is now living in the United States with his wife and 5-year-old child. Al-Rehatef was granted asylum Monday in Arlington, Virginia, which allows him to work in this country. He can stay in the U.S. indefinitely and can eventually apply for U.S. citizenship.
If you're going to move to a new country, might as well go somewhere you already have friends. He's got a lot of them...
Posted by: Dar || 04/29/2003 11:51 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [571 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sounds like the kind of guy I want as a fellow citizen.

Welcome home, friend of freedom. Stay as long as you like.
Posted by: Mike || 04/29/2003 12:16 Comments || Top||

#2  If he ever makes it to Mpls. I'll buy him all the beer he can drink. Come to think of it, I'll be in VA. in a few weeks. Hmmm......
Posted by: Mike N. || 04/29/2003 12:55 Comments || Top||

#3  With all of the nutcases and loose cannons in Iraq, coupled with his noteriety, it was time for him and his family to get out of Dodge. Here is a brave and decent man who did the right thing. He is the type of person needed to build Iraq, but I am sure that it is too dangerous for him and his family now.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/29/2003 12:58 Comments || Top||

#4  It'd sure be nice to see him and his family with Jessica Lynch at her homecoming whenever she gets out of Walter Reed. I'm going to drive down there from Pittsburgh that day and help those folks party!
Posted by: Dar || 04/29/2003 13:06 Comments || Top||

#5  It would have been a crime against humanity if he had been denied Asylum. Any info on sending in a housewarming gift for him?

Welcome to America. We can't have too many good men.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/29/2003 14:05 Comments || Top||

#6  This New York Post report makes me wonder:

April 29, 2003 -- JERUSALEM - Israeli intelligence tipped off U.S. forces to the location of American POWs at an Iraqi hospital, leading to the surprise Marine rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch, it was revealed yesterday.

The Israeli role in Lynch's escape from Nasiriyah last month surfaced yesterday when Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), on a Mideast tour, told reporters he had been briefed about it by Israeli officials. Sources said he was told that Israeli intelligence provided the first information that Lynch and her comrades were in the hospital.

The information was specific enough so that Marines knew where in the hospital she could be found during the April 1 rescue, sources said.

Until now, an Iraqi lawyer, identified only as Mohammed, was credited with providing the U.S.-led coalition with information about Lynch's whereabouts.

Posted by: growler || 04/29/2003 15:00 Comments || Top||

#7  Dinner at my place for Mohammed, his wife and daughter any time convenient to him.
Posted by: Steve White || 04/29/2003 18:11 Comments || Top||

#8  The name of the medal escapes me - The highest award for civilians - does it come with a stipend and can we get it for this guy
Posted by: Luigi || 04/29/2003 18:37 Comments || Top||

#9  Medal of Freedom
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/30/2003 9:13 Comments || Top||

Ex-Iraq Info Minister Gets TV Job Offer
All Info Man, all the time. Now we know why he wants out...
An Arab television network said on Tuesday it wants to give a job to former Iraqi information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, whose colorful daily briefings during the U.S.-led invasion won him a cult following. Ali al-Hadethi, supervisor of the Dubai-based al-Arabiya satellite channel, told Reuters that Sahaf, who does not figure on Washington's list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis, was welcome to join the network immediately as a commentator and analyst. Hadethi said he did not know the former minister's whereabouts and asked him to contact Arabiya to take up his job. "We want to benefit from the experience of Mr Sahaf and his analysis of the current situation and the future of Iraq," Hadethi said, without giving details of the job package.
He can become another TV "expert". But on what, I don't know.
Arabiya television executive Hadethi, asked about Sahaf's exaggerated statements at his daily briefings, said he "was a member of the former regime and had to say what the government wanted. He was repeating what was being given to him without being able to verify the truth." Hadethi said his network was already using Saddam's former U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, as an analyst in Dubai.
See, it all worked out for him.
Sahaf, with his trademark beret and standing behind a forest of microphones, quickly built up a worldwide following as his daily briefings departed more and more from objective reality. A Web site, welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com, sprang up only to be forced offline by a rush of global interest that attracted up to 4,000 hits a second. Once Saddam had been toppled, even President Bush admitted he was a Sahaf fan. "He's my man, he was great," Bush enthused in an interview with NBC's Tom Brokaw. "Somebody accused us of hiring him and putting him there. He was a classic."
Bush is a riot!
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 10:51 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [385 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Heh. Rumor was he'd be call out of cabinet meetings to catch Sahaf on TV.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/29/2003 11:20 Comments || Top||

#2  "...Sahaf, who does not figure on Washington's list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis..."

Hey, I thought he was the Joker!
Posted by: MW || 04/29/2003 12:42 Comments || Top||

#3  Three months from now:

"Live from the evil city of the infidels whose stomachs will roast in hell when they are smitten by the hand of Allah before the gates of Baghdad and who still haven't reached the airport....It's Saturday Night!!!"
Posted by: Matt || 04/29/2003 13:18 Comments || Top||

#4  Poor Hillary Clinton. She will be so disappointed. You know she was hoping that he'd be available as her press secretary. I bet her PI's are working overtime to find him and extend an offer.
Posted by: Becky || 04/29/2003 19:49 Comments || Top||

US forces ’turn down Sahhaf’s surrender overtures’
Iraq's former information minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf, who denied to the end the presence of US forces in Baghdad, was turned down by US troops after trying to turn himself in, said the London-based Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, citing a Kurdish official. Sahhaf had been at his aunt's house in Baghdad for the past four days and wanted US troops to arrest him so that "they can protect him" but they refused since he was not on their "most wanted" deck of playing cards, said the paper, citing Adel Murad of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Mr Murad said Sahhaf was in Mosul before going to Baghdad and that some PUK partisans saw him in the northern city and that he even asked some of them to intervene on his behalf with US troops, but "we told him that we didn't want to be party to this matter", the paper added. The Kurdish official told the paper that US troops regularly patrolled near Sahhaf's hideout on Palestine Street in the Iraqi capital and that he sent some of his relatives to inform them of his wish to surrender, but they turned him down. "Negotiations are still going on to hand him over to them," said Mr Murad.
"Please arrest me, I miss the spotlight!"
Well, I'm glad he's not dead. But what a blow to the ego, when you can't even get yourself arrested...
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 10:25 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [402 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I deny this slander! I have raised my arms to crush the Americans like dog snot! I shall not surrender as the vile Zionist run fleeing from my large white flag! I will soon show you that I have not surrendered. At the airport, you can come and see for yourself. And I grind all American playing cards under my boot.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 10:40 Comments || Top||

#2  He's got a website, an action figure, and who knows what else. He probably wants to come out and start suing for royalties.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 10:47 Comments || Top||

#3  Seems to me that our soldiers are getting into the act, since this is just going to feed the MSS legend...
Posted by: Ptah || 04/29/2003 11:22 Comments || Top||

#4  I guess this means our troops aren't committing suicide beneath the walls of Baghdad anymore but I wonder if they are in the airport yet.
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 04/29/2003 13:06 Comments || Top||

#5  It makes sense though. There are no Americans in Baghdad (except for those with roasted bellies maybe) so there is nobody around who can arrest him. Watch a drama of Shakespearean proportions unfold.

"These deeds must not be thought after these ways; so, it will make us mad." (Macbeth)
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/29/2003 13:49 Comments || Top||

Former Iraqi Oil Minister (Husband of Dr. Germ) Surrenders
The former Iraqi oil minister, Amir Rashid Muhammad al-Ubaydi, has surrendered to the U.S.-led coalition forces, the U.S. Central Command said. He surrendered Monday and is in coalition custody.
Talk to his wife?
Al-Ubaydi was listed as Number 47 on the coalition's list of the 55 most-wanted officials from the Saddam Hussein regime and was denominated as the six of spades in the deck of cards issued to coalition forces to identify top regime members. Rashid, a former Iraqi army general known as the "Missile Man," was Saddam's point-man on weapons delivery systems and eventually rose to the prestigious post of oil minister. He is married to Dr. Rihab Taha, a microbiologist known as "Dr. Germ" who was in charge of the secret Iraqi facility that weaponized anthrax, botulinum toxin and aflotoxin. She is also sought by the United States, but there was no word on her whereabouts. Rashid retired last year at 65, Saddam's news agency had reported. Capturing him or his wife would be a boon for U.S. disarmament specialists, who are searching for any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in Iraq.
Posted by: Frank G || 04/29/2003 10:02 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [475 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Did Doc Germ give him the name "Missle Man"? WooHoo!
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 10:39 Comments || Top||

#2  "Rashid retired last year at 65".
He was retired after he pissed off the Russians over their oil leases.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 10:53 Comments || Top||

#3  Hmm. Given Dr. Germ's looks, perhaps he surrendered when he heard she was still alive...
Posted by: Ptah || 04/29/2003 11:23 Comments || Top||

#4  I dunno, she didn't look to bad in the TV shots I saw. Of course, you'd have to get over the fear of "cooties"...
Posted by: mojo || 04/29/2003 11:52 Comments || Top||

#5  I wouldn't piss her off. God knows what she could send marching up your ass.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 12:27 Comments || Top||

#6  A gerbil with smallpox?
Posted by: Dar || 04/29/2003 12:42 Comments || Top||

#7  Dr. Germ is the kind of woman a man wouldn't want to be down wind from, hold hands with, or get a letter from.
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/29/2003 23:44 Comments || Top||

U.S. Cuts Deal With Iraq-Based Iranian Terrorist Group
The United States agreed to a cease-fire with an Iraqi-based terrorist group that will be allowed to continue fighting against the Iranian government, U.S. military officials said Tuesday.
If that's true, it's a really bad move on our part...
The deal signed April 15 with the Mujahedeen Khalq doesn't require its fighters to surrender to U.S.-led coalition forces — at least for now, said a military official. The cease-fire appears to be a way for the United States to increase pressure on the Tehran government, which Washington has accused of meddling in Iraq in a bid to keep it destabilized in the aftermath of the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime. But the cease-fire represents a conundrum of sorts for the United States, which has classified the Mujahedeen Khalq as a terrorist organization.
Only because it is. It's also a collaborator with and a tool of Sammy's regime, so they should be put out of business permanently for two solid reasons.
The United States went to war against Iraq in part to dismantle what it said were terrorist networks supported by Saddam Hussein's regime. Yet the U.S. military negotiated a cease-fire with the group, has allowed its fighters to keep their weapons and has allowed them to use military force against what the United States says are Iranian infiltrators entering Iraq.
Still say it's a bad move. Let the Kurds deal with the infiltrators...
"They're authorized to use their arms only against groups like the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade," the official said. The brigade is the military wing of the Iran-based anti-Saddam group the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The Independent newspaper of Britain has reported that armed members of the Badr Brigade had crossed into Iraq from Iran and were holding sway in Baqubah, a town 25 miles northeast of Baghdad.
Using them as proxies to wack the Iranian fundies.
Better to use our own guys to root them out of Baqubah...
When asked how the United States could negotiate deals with groups classified as terrorists, the official said the cease-fire was a battlefield agreement that coalition commanders were entitled to negotiate. "Like all other parties in Iraq we will use U.S. influence and power to establish and maintain a secure and stable environment," the official said.
The Iranians have been screaming about this deal for a while. We seem to have gotten their attention. Two can play the destablization game, it's time they got the word.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 09:31 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [390 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I think this is based on a Debka report.

OTOH, if they want to battle it out with the Badr Brigade, all the better.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 10:36 Comments || Top||

#2  As Reuters says, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

If the US can use these guys to take out Iranian agents within Iraq its a good thing. Otherwise its trouble waiting to happen.
Posted by: Yank || 04/29/2003 11:34 Comments || Top||

Iraqis killed in anti-US protest
At least 13 Iraqis are reported to have been killed in the town of Falluja when US forces opened fire on demonstrators on Monday night. There are conflicting reports as to what happened in the town, which lies 50 kilometres (35 miles) west of Baghdad. A US spokesman said soldiers started shooting after people in the crowd fired on them - but Iraqi witnesses said the protesters were unarmed. American forces are reported to have entered Falluja for the first time two days ago.

A local Sunni cleric, Kamal Shaker Mahmoud, said the demonstrators were unarmed and had gone to a local school occupied by US forces to ask them to leave, Reuters news agency reports. "It was a peaceful demonstration. They did not have any weapons. They were asking the Americans to leave the school so they could use it," the cleric is quoted as saying.

Witnesses quoted by the French news agency, AFP, said the demonstrators had been marking Saddam Hussein's birthday when the Americans opened fire. The report said protesters were carrying portraits of their ousted leader and Iraqi flags when they approached a school manned by US troops.

US Colonel Arnold Bray said American forces had come under fire from the protesters. Seven people had been killed in the incident, he said. According to local residents, several children were among the dead. A Reuters correspondent in the town said mourners chanted "Our soul and our blood we will sacrifice to you martyrs" as burials got under way.
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/29/2003 09:29 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [397 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The NYT interviewed one of the injured who was just innocently standing there when he was shot in the arm and hand. Sounds like a very disciplined sniper to me. Also in the same article, local Islamists are accusing the Americans of giving porn to kids and spying on women with binoculars. All right out of the manual for inciting a semiliterate mob. The same accusation has been made in Afghanistan.

Link to NYT article.
Posted by: 11A5S || 04/29/2003 13:50 Comments || Top||

#2  Oh, Murat! Where are you!
Posted by: KP || 04/29/2003 15:20 Comments || Top||

#3  for heaven's sake, let's all chip in and buy some video cameras for our boys, so that we can document the circumstances of the attack as it occurs! We'll need shots of the guys with the AKs in the act of firing on our troops for al Jazerra...
Posted by: snellenr || 04/29/2003 16:53 Comments || Top||

Iraqis (and BBC) reject US explanations on ammo dump explosions
This guy appears to be a Fisk wannabee who does his best to make the US forces look (at best)like goons and (at worst) like instruments of evil. He makes an allegation toward the end of the piece casting doubt on the flare gun theory. Any ideas from you munitions guys on whether he is correct?

Lieutenant Colonel Jack Kammerer is on a mission to "explain and offer help" to the people of Hai al-Muallimin, but it doesn't seem to be going very well. A few young Iraqi men and boys are gathered around his Bradley armoured vehicle, where a US Army lieutenant who speaks a few words of poor Arabic is causing some wry amusement.

But most residents are still too emotionally bruised to do anything except stare resentfully from a distance. Not that Colonel Kammerer is discouraged. "After Saturday's unfortunate event we were received here by an angry mob which chased us away... People seem less angry today," he tells me.

The reason for the anger is that, between about 0800 and 1100 on Saturday, Hai al-Muallimin was hit by an infernal rain of twisted, blackened metal during a series of massive explosions at the nearby weapons' dump under Colonel Kammerer's command.
"My soldiers were attacked by some Iraqi gentlemen who fired flares into the ammunition storage area causing a fire," the colonel says. "We tried to contain the situation but the blaze spread, detonating the munitions."

Rubbing salt into wounds
On the other side of Hai al-Muallimin - a long strip of houses skirting the arms dump in Baghdad's Zafaranya district - a red-eyed Sabi Hassoun is still too shocked to hold a conversation.
The 70-year-old great-grandfather is grieving for six members of his family - one son, three grandsons and two of their wives - who died when a Soviet-made Frog-7 missile exploded on their doorstep, demolishing two houses and leaving a large crater in the street. Amid the crowds and the rubble, little Abbas is crying inconsolably. He lost both his parents in the disaster. "What are the Americans doing? It's two kilometres from Hai al-Muallimin to the nearest district, and they are exploding weapons between us. Is that normal?" the boy's uncle, Hisham, asks.

Just then a group US soldiers approaches up the street, causing a murmur of revulsion around me. There are seven of them in full battle dress, helmets and flack jackets, five with weapons at the ready, two taking photos of the devastation. It turns out that the two - one of them a great bear of a man with bristling moustache and wrap-around sunglasses - are engineers who have come to see "what they can do to help". But they don't have a translator with them to explain this and their appearance just seems to rub salt into the wounds of the shocked and angry residents. I hear a voice behind me muttering: "Don't they say that criminals always return to the scene of their crimes?"

Contradictory stories
No one in Hai al-Muallimin believes the US explanation that Iraqis caused the blasts. They think it was probably an accident caused by the Americans, who they say have been carrying out at least three controlled explosions a day here - usually at 0800, 1400 and 1700 - for the past two weeks. Three days earlier, they said, village representatives had demanded that the Americans should stop the blasts, which they feared were too close to their homes. "They ignored us, saying they took orders only from their military superiors, not from Iraqis like us," Hisham says. But when I spoke to Colonel Kammerer he denied that any explosions had been carried out next to Hai al-Muallimin since he had taken over command of the area from the US marines a week earlier. "Because of concerns about the proximity of civilian populations, this facility has only been used as a consolidation area," he said. There have been explosions around this part of Baghdad, but it is a misperception that we're destroying things in this particular location."

'Price of occupation'
I go over to a group of Iraqis standing on the other side of the dirt road after my interview with the colonel.
"The officer tells me that, apart from Saturday, there haven't been any explosions here for more than a week," I tell them.
They look at me with incredulity for a moment, before insisting: "there were, there were". So I ask the group whether they want to discuss this with Colonel Kammerer. Most are reluctant, but one man says he will, and the others follow him across the dirt road towards the Bradley. "Colonel, these people say there have been lots of explosions here in the last week," I say. A short debate ensues, with the increasingly agitated crowd pressing their point via the colonel's translator and an increasingly defensive colonel sticking to his story. Finally, the colonel says he has to go. He leaves his audience unpersuaded. "Let them pay the price for this crime, every single American soldier who has come to occupy Iraq," says one of the group as the Bradley and accompanying Humvee disappear in a cloud of dust.

Flare doubts
I later showed my photographs of Saturday's blasts to a Western security consultant with explosives expertise currently working in Baghdad. He found it hard to believe that simple flares could have caused the tragedy in Zafaranya, in which at least 12 people are thought to have been killed. "The debris at the epicentre is consistent with a powerful high explosive blast whose shockwave triggered what we call sympathetic explosions in nearby munitions. "If you'd asked me to cause that using flares, I'd have been stumped. High explosives are not that volatile to be detonated with flares. But you could do it with a hand grenade or a mine. "The question is why were all those munitions stored together - and so close to civilian areas? It might have been necessary in the first phase after the capture of Baghdad, but that was two weeks ago."
Posted by: kgb || 04/29/2003 01:25 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [557 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yeah! Shoulda left 'em in the school, where ya found 'em!

Posted by: mojo || 04/29/2003 9:57 Comments || Top||

#2  related - Iraq reconstruction

Reuters reports Brits say power stations back online in Basra (percentage of capacity?) enough to run refinery, water system, hospitals, etc. They think they have line from Basra to Nassariya ready to send power to restart power plant at Nassariyah.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/29/2003 11:26 Comments || Top||

#3  AP

"Maj. Gen. Buford Blount III, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said electricity has been restored to 80 percent of the Iraqi capital for at least several hours a day and 70 percent of the city has running water. He said Iraqi and U.S. engineers have worked together to restore all city services. "

also US has started paying at least 7000 civil servants in Baghdad, almost half police. Also says that civilian humanitarian relief flights now arriving at Baghdad airport.

Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/29/2003 15:35 Comments || Top||

#4  Has anyone ordered some new metal letters to replace "Saddam" with "Baghdad" on the signage on the walls of the airport terminal?
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/29/2003 17:32 Comments || Top||

#5  What an vacious article. "He found it hard to believe that simple flares..." Perhaps it wasn't simple flares, but a flare that got lucky and landed ontop of the big keg of ACME TNT in the center of the depot. It must be hard hating the US 24-7.
Posted by: Yank || 04/29/2003 17:49 Comments || Top||

#6  Hmmm... Its tough to say about the flares... Flares COULD cause mass fire in a ammo dump by igniting "highly flammable" material (i.e. crates, camo netting, etc.) - this mass fire, if intense enough COULD set off one or more high explosive weapon... When one HE weapon goes up, it COULD cause others to explode...
So, the flare gun thing is plausible, but unlikely if the munitions are stored according to US military regs, which are set up by things like Quantity vs. Distance, Exposure time and area vs. 'risk' criteria... Now, was this dump organized in such a manner?... Who knows... Do I believe the Army's story?... probably...

Posted by: steve w || 04/29/2003 18:55 Comments || Top||

Galloway Has Forgotten Mariam, Girl May Die
EFL....sorry, couldn't make snarky comments, I was just too disgusted and angry after reading this article.
The father of Mariam Hamza, the 11-year-old Iraqi leukaemia victim championed by George Galloway, said yesterday that he was worried his daughter's life was in danger because funds promised by the Scottish MP's Mariam Appeal had failed to arrive. Hamza Abd Mittab said that the monthly allowance of £65 that the family of seven has received for three years from the appeal, to pay for Mariam's food and travel expenses, had last been paid in January. Speaking at the family home in Baghdad yesterday, he said: "Mariam's drugs are almost finished now and my daughter will die if she doesn't receive assistance."

The family has been told that Mariam, 11, who contracted acute lymphocytic leukaemia in 1997, must be treated regularly until she is 18. She is due to travel to Jordan for chemotherapy treatment in June, but Mr Hamza says he cannot afford to make the journey. Mariam recently suffered a 15-minute shaking fit, which has happened once previously when Mr Hamza was two days late for a hospital appointment in Jordan. The family has also been threatened with eviction from its house, whose annual rent of £800 has always been paid by the appeal. They are already 25 days in arrears after the lease expired on April 1 and the property's owner has demanded that they continue the previous arrangement of paying a year in advance. Money for the rent has not been received from the Mariam Appeal.

Mr Hamza was desperate to telephone the appeal to find out what was happening. "I want to be sure if they care about Mariam now," he said. Mr Hamza said that for three years he has collected the monthly allowance from a representative office in Baghdad of Fawaz Zureikat, the Jordanian businessman implicated in Mr Galloway's business deals with the regime by documents discovered at the foreign ministry in Baghdad. Mr Hamza began to sense something was wrong when he visited Mr Zureikat's office in February and was told the money had not appeared. He said he went back several times but was told to return the following day and that there had been no word from Jordan.

Looks like Galloway and his cronies just dumped them when they were no longer useful. It goes with the mindset, but it's still not pleasant to look upon.

Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/29/2003 01:17 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [419 views] Top|| File under:

#1  how disgraceful, that appeal raised upwards of a million pounds.

Just disgusting.
Posted by: Anony1 || 04/29/2003 2:17 Comments || Top||

#2  I mill.pounds x .01 intrest=10,000
rent 800+65 stipend=1580
Hmmmm,wonder where the rest is,could it be that villa in Portugal?
Posted by: raptor || 04/29/2003 7:12 Comments || Top||

#3  I hope Galloway got his money's worth, and can rest easy knowing he used a sick little girl to advance himself politically and economically. What a scumbag.
Posted by: Jeff Brokaw || 04/29/2003 7:16 Comments || Top||

#4  It looks like as soon as it was clear that Saddam was toast anyway (and galloway's paydays from Saddam would soon stop), his payments to the little girl also stopped.

But I'm sure that this is all, as the arabs would say, a "misunderstanding."
Posted by: Dave || 04/29/2003 7:41 Comments || Top||

#5  A lefty who got rich fighting for "The Cause". Boy, you don't see that very often do you? He must be the UK version of Jesse Jackson. Scumbag.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 9:12 Comments || Top||

#6  Tommy Franks should tell Rumsfeld to whistle up a Gulfstream and fly this kid to Bethesda for treatment. Better yet Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins. The cost would be mininal to us and the public relations coup could be priceless. And while we're at it get the dad a job in country with Bechtel
Posted by: Someone who did NOT vote for William Proxmire || 04/29/2003 16:24 Comments || Top||

#7  Update....apparently according to the Best of the Web, Galloway's wife's salary was approximately 23 times the annual amount paid to Mariam every year for treatment.
Absolutely no f***ing shame whatsoever. Hope there's a special place in hell for them both.
Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/29/2003 19:34 Comments || Top||

Middle East
Huge Suicide Bombing rocks Tel Aviv - FoxNews - developing
still just a headline on Fox, brit Hume says it was a beachfront blast, apparently a terrorist bombing/suicide bomber.

Probably to commemorate the new Paleo caabinet, and the Roadmap to Peace? Arafat reminds everyone he's still in charge and Hamas has a plave at the table
Posted by: Frank G || 04/29/2003 05:28 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [538 views] Top|| File under:

#1  update: Mike's Pub in Tel Aviv, an American hangout, near the embassy. 3 dead, 30 injured so far. A message to the U.S., Mazen and the Israeli's. Crack heads at will gentlemen
Posted by: Frank G || 04/29/2003 17:56 Comments || Top||

#2  It sounds like Hamas leadership needs a complete beheading. No more talk, just action.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/29/2003 18:16 Comments || Top||

#3  On the money Alaska Paul. Everyone's tiptoeing around the obvious - no peace until Hamas is crushed.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 04/29/2003 18:40 Comments || Top||

#4  This is America's Bali bombing.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 21:41 Comments || Top||

Three Jordanian Islamists sentenced to death
Three Jordanian Islamists were sentenced to death by the state security court Tuesday for plotting the assassination of a senior security official in the capital in February 2002. They were Mohamad Arafat, 22, arrested in April last year, and Mustafa Siam and Ahed Khreissat, who were tried in their absence. A fourth defendant, Mohamad Jamil, 32, who was also arrested a year ago, had a death sentence commuted immediately to hard labour for life. Two more, Moawiya Nabulsi, 25, and Ali Nassar, 21, were sentenced to prison terms of two years and one year respectively. The six were charged in May with plotting terrorist actions, and manufacturing and possessing explosives. The arrests and charges followed a bomb attack on February 28 last year against the head of the anti-terrorist section of the Jordanian intelligence services, Ali Burjak. The time-bomb exploded behind Burjak's car parked outside his Amman home, killing an Egyptian and an Iraqi who were working in a nearby cafe. It was the first such deadly attack in Jordan for more than 10 years, and a source close to the inquiry said those behind it acted spontaneously and were not linked to a larger organisation.

On pronouncement of sentence by the chief judge, Colonel Fawaz al-Bukur, the four defendants present shouted "Allahu Akhbar" (God is greater) and "You are unjust" at the judges. Arafat and Jamil were alleged to have received military training from Muslim fundamentalists during several years spent in Afghanistan. They fought for the Taliban who seized control of Kabul in 1996, and returned to Jordan at the end of 2001.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/29/2003 04:24 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [358 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front
Tom Daschle’s Week From Hell
As April waned, Sen. Tom Daschle had the week from hell. Not only did three polls in South Dakota indicate he is likely to be beaten for re-election next year by any one of several Republicans, but the local bishop took offense at Tom's calling himself a Catholic and raising funds for the National Abortion Rights League - a bloody-handed bunch if ever there was one.
As a former South Dakotan, I can tell you that this will not sit well with the electorate there.
Having divorced his wife Laurie in 1984 to marry a 1976 Miss Kansas, Daschle is not a Catholic communicant, but until the bishop told him to cut it out he has for political purposes continued to list himself as Catholic. The second wife, Linda Daschle, now makes out in Washington as a well-connected lobbyist who reportedly draws about $6 million a year from special interests, including airlines looking for huge taxpayer bailouts and other favors.
This is why Tommy Boy (who earns $ 171,000/year as a Senator) can afford to pay over $ 2 M for a new house in the D.C. area. Common man of the people my ass.
Posted by: ColoradoConservative || 04/29/2003 04:19 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [570 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sorry, the link didn't work. The above is from Insight magazine's The Insider column, April 28, 2003. http://www.insightmag.com/news/426735.html
Posted by: ColoradoConservative || 04/29/2003 16:25 Comments || Top||

#2  Daschle is a skunk of the lowest order, a pandering butt monkey for poverty pimps USA, this man should be beaten with a stick
Posted by: Wills || 04/29/2003 16:32 Comments || Top||

#3  I like the stick-whipping, but a long losing campaign for Senator after he was Senate Majority Leader for a period will actually be more enjoyable. By the time it's done, he'll have used the "I'm concerned" and "I'm disappointed" cliches umpteen million times and might actually have physically shrunk to Robert Reich dimensions. He already has to stand on a raised platform to seem adult
Posted by: Frank G || 04/29/2003 17:01 Comments || Top||

#4  I'm saddened, saddened that this senator failed so miserably at following Christian doctrine that we're now forced to chastise him, saddened that we have to give up one unborn child's life because this senator couldn't create the kind of introspectively honest effort that is so critical for our country.
Posted by: John Phares || 04/29/2003 18:01 Comments || Top||

#5  Don't write Tom Thumb off yet. Remember, the polls don't cover dead people, and they only ask prospective voters once...
Posted by: Fred || 04/29/2003 18:03 Comments || Top||

#6  Fred I think you owe the good dead voters of South Dakota an apology. They have fought to stay on the voter rolls and carry Tom to victory in several districts. Fear not dead people! You have a friend in Tom Dash-it-All!
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 04/29/2003 20:42 Comments || Top||

#7  Out-RAGEOUS!!!Out-RAGEOUS!!!
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 22:27 Comments || Top||

Middle East
Islamic Jihad chief snagged in Jenin
Israel has captured a leading commander of the Iranian-based Islamic Jihad. Israeli undercover agents captured Abu Ali Casey in the West Bank city of Jenin on Monday. Casey was identified as head of Islamic Jihad in the city, regarded as the largest stronghold of the insurgency group.
Faith! And what kind o' Paleostinian's named Casey, I ask yez? Next thing y'know, they'll be roundin' up the O'Grady's, too!
Officers from the Israeli Border Police undercover unit captured Casey after a shootout in which a Palestinian insurgent was killed. The officers found firearms, bulletproof vests and helmets in Casey's house and car. Israeli military sources said Casey was planning a series of attacks on Israeli forces in and around Jenin. They were said to have included suicide bombings, abduction of soldiers and ambushes.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/29/2003 03:54 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [376 views] Top|| File under:

#1  …but there is no joy in IJ; mighty Casey has struck out.
Posted by: KP || 04/29/2003 16:06 Comments || Top||

#2  The caboose number 83 was on the main line,
Casey's last words were "Jump, Sim, while you have the time.
"At 3:52 that morning came the fareful end,
Casey took his farewell trip to the promised land.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/29/2003 16:14 Comments || Top||

#3  So that's how he got to Jenin. Thanks, liberalhawk! It is upsetting, but I will learn to live with it.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/29/2003 17:36 Comments || Top||

Rebels rob Chechens of compensation money
Militants in Chechnya are attacking locals who have received compensation for destroyed houses, the apparatus of the Chechen administration said on Tuesday. A representative of the administration said that in the village of Alkhan-Kala of the Grozny district alone two such crimes were registered last week. Earlier, criminals of a gang led by a certain Galayev killed a man who had refused to give them the 60,000 roubles (approximately $2,000) he got as compensation. For the same reasons bandits kidnapped a girl in Alkhan-Kala on April 22, the administration representative added. He stressed that "the people are concerned about the increasingly frequent criminal attacks and intend to appeal to the authorities with a request to ensure their security".
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/29/2003 01:23 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [375 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Well it's only fair. The houses wouldn't have been destroyed if it wasn't for them.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 13:32 Comments || Top||

Home Front
Pro-Hamas Figure Reappears at AMC
Adurahman Alamoudi, the avowedly pro-Hamas, pro-Hezbollah Muslim activist, is back playing a formal role at the American Muslim Council, which had disavowed ties to its former executive director while its officials were off meeting with FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Guess the meeting's over now, huh?
At a rally in 2000, Mr. Alamoudi declared outside the White House, "We are all supporters of Hamas. Allahu Akhbar. I wish to add that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah," according to numerous broadcast and press accounts of the rally. Mr. Mueller spoke at the AMC’s annual conference last summer. At the time, the Washington Times reported that Mohammed Ali Khan, chairman of the council, said Mr. Alamoudi "is no longer part of the council and the only Hamas I know is a Middle Eastern restaurant."
Ho ho! He's so witty. He also lies through his teeth...
Jewish groups and terrorism experts said Mr. Alamoudi’s reemergence is a sign that the AMC has abandoned its former pretenses that it does not support terrorist groups. "I don’t think they have turned over a new leaf, if they have Alamoudi chairing their Imam Conference," the director of the American Jewish Committee’s Middle East and International terrorism division, Yehudit Barsky, said.
Guess they just got tired of keeping up the pretense...
"It’s mind-boggling, isn’t it?" asked the president of the Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein. "It shows that the AMC is an organization that is unrepentant in its support of those who support terrorism."
And this comes as a surprise?
Mr. Alamoudi has been serving as president of the American Muslim Foundation, a group connected to the American Muslim Council. A membership application for the American Muslim Council instructs applicants to make any securities donations to the American Muslim Foundation. Asked why Mr. Alamoudi was serving as a conference chairman for the American Muslim Council, a spokesman for the council, Faiz Rehman, said, "He is?" He told a New York Sun reporter that he would return the Sun’s phone call in 15 minutes, then failed to do so. He did not answer subsequent calls, either at his cell phone number or at the council.
I guess we can take that as a "yes."
The 2000 comment wasn’t the only one by Mr. Alamoudi that raised objections. At a 1996 convention in Chicago, he said, "If we are outside this country, we can say, ‘Oh, Allah, destroy America,’" according to press accounts.
You can say it inside the country, too. In 1996, people didn't take it seriously. This isn't 1996.
A spokesman at the FBI, Bill Carter, would not say if the FBI would again meet with the AMC or if any future meetings were planned. "I am unaware of any change in our position," Mr. Carter said."The purpose of these meetings is to have an outreach into the Muslim community. We appeal to people to provide us with information about terrorist and criminal activity. The purpose is not to endorse anyone or say they are great people."
I'm hoping they are not as stupid at the FBI as they seem.
In February, the AMC put out a press release saying Mr. Mueller had invited the chairman of its board, Yahya Mossa Basha, to participate in a meeting of Muslim and Arab groups to discuss "the FBI response to terrorist threats and backlash hate crimes."
Might as well go to the source, I guess...
The AMC Web site features a letter attributed to Mr. Alamoudi and addressed to "Dear brother Imams and Religious Leaders." Originally, Mr. Alamoudi wrote, the Imam Conference was to be held bi-annually. But the "rapidly changing national scene, an anti-Muslim climate, war in Iraq and the overall conditions in the American Muslim community" necessitated a meeting this year as well, he wrote. "The tragedies of the 9-11 have changed America forever and also created a depressing environment for the Muslims to live and follow their day-today routine. There is a dramatic increase in the anti-Muslim bias not just in the media but also in smaller communities across the US. This bias and a gross misunderstanding of Islam and Muslims have given rise to more serious hate crimes against Muslims. This is the time to act and get organized."
Oh, but we do understand, Mr. Alamoudi, we do.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 01:09 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [367 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This guy should have so many bugs around him that he could do a "Raid" commercial.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 16:01 Comments || Top||

#2  Steve, the misunderstanding he's talking about is the thinking that his Islam is a Religion of Peace™.
Posted by: Frank G || 04/29/2003 17:16 Comments || Top||

North Africa
Missing tourists held by Islamists
Algeria has made an important breakthrough in its search for 31 missing European tourists with the discovery of one of their vehicles and confirmation from a senior army official that they are in the hands of more than a dozen Islamists. The tourists have been separated into two groups and are being held in canyons and gullies near the town of Illizi, which lies near the Libyan border some 900 miles south-east of Algiers, a senior security official told the French newspaper Le Monde yesterday. The 15 Germans, 10 Austrians, four Swiss, a Dutchman and a Swede who, while travelling in seven different groups, have gone missing since mid-February, are being held by rebels led by local Islamist leader Emir Ammari.
"They are well and their lives are not in danger," the Algerian official told Le Monde. He said the hostages appeared to have plenty of water, but were beginning to run out of food.
The Algerian army is respecting the wishes of Germany and several other countries that there should be no attempt to liberate the hostages by force. Security officials have been ordered to let the Islamists go free if they release their captives. "We will have a chance to catch them another day," the official said. He speculated, however, that the group - part of the armed Salafist Group for Call and Combat - might seek to exchange the hostages for Algerian terrorists jailed recently for planning bomb attacks in Strasbourg.
That's my guess.
Officially, Algeria has refused to comment on the tourists' whereabouts. A similar silence from the five European countries involved has prompted various rumours about their fate. On Sunday a senior official in charge of search operations told the Algerian newspaper El Watan that he did not believe Islamists could have kidnapped the tourists because such groups did not normally hold on to hostages. Le Monde reported that Algerian officials had been concerned that the hostage-takers might try to move their captives south to Niger or further north inside Algeria, where other Islamist groups are active.
News that the tourists had been located, however, was confirmed independently to Agence France Press by a diplomatic source in neighbouring Mali on Sunday. "The 31 have been spotted and our Algerian brothers are working in double quick time to ensure their release," the official said.
Double quick time must be different in Algeria.
The Algerian newspaper al-Khabar reported on Sunday that the army was besieging a group of some 300 Islamists near Emir Ammari's home town of Tebessa.
If they stop the siege, you'll know a deal is in the works.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 12:57 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [414 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "They are well and their lives are not in danger," the Algerian official told Le Monde.

Well, other than the whole being kidnapped by Islamists and held for months in desert canyons and gullies thing, they're fine.
Posted by: Tibor || 04/29/2003 15:43 Comments || Top||

Libya Accepts Civil Liability For Lockerbie
Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgham announced Tuesday that Libya will pay 10 million dollars to the families of each of the 270 victims who died in the 1988 bombing of a U.S. jumbo jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. Tripoli also accepted limited civil responsibility for the blast. "My country has accepted civil responsibility for the actions of its officials in the Lockerbie affair, in conformity with international civil law and the agreement reached in London in March by Libyan, American and British officials," he said. Raghman said full payment was conditional on UN sanctions against Libya being lifted after payment of an initial installment of four million dollars to each victim, and U.S. sanctions after a similar payment. After payment of the final installment of two million dollars, Libya would ask to be removed from the U.S. list of countries supporting terrorism, he added.
Toldja Libya was going out of the terrorism business. Muammar's house getting bombed was the start of it, but I think he's serious about becoming an African, rather than an Arab. He refuses to kow-tow to Riyadh. He says he's actually cooperating against al-Qaeda. He's got to see to his kid's succession. Most importantly, he knows how many statues and portraits there are of himself within Libya, and just how secure that makes his aging butt. I think Muammar's taken a hard look at the world and seen who's been winning, and that it's entirely possible that — if it's worked right — he could become reconciled to the U.S. in his old age...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/29/2003 12:49 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [424 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Maybe. Didn't I hear some rumors of him betting (perhaps covertly) on Saddam though?
Posted by: someone || 04/29/2003 13:24 Comments || Top||

#2  Must have been covertly. In an interview, Muammar characterized Sammy as a loon:
You must know Saddam?
I know him well.
Is he rational?
I don’t think so.
He went on to say that he didn't regard Sammy as a threat, but other than the implications for his own (similar) regime, I don't think he particularly cares that we chased Sammy out of town.
Posted by: Fred || 04/29/2003 13:53 Comments || Top||

#3  Hasn't Qadaffi also orchestrated a lot of the crap that's taken place in the Ivory Coast? If that is the case, I wouldn't rule him out just yet, especially after what Sharon has said about his nuclear program.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 04/29/2003 14:45 Comments || Top||

#4  I hadn't heard about his involvement in Ivory Coast. He was propping up the guy in Central Africa, but then got bored with it and went home. Shortly thereafter the guy in Central Africa moved to Ghana or Biarritz or someplace...
Posted by: Fred || 04/29/2003 15:35 Comments || Top||

#5  I think muamar has been linked to Charles Taylor in Liberia, and some connect Taylor to the Ivoirian rebels. Not sure though.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/29/2003 15:39 Comments || Top||

#6  Isn't Mo suffering from some kind of cancer of the soul ?
Posted by: Frank G || 04/29/2003 18:07 Comments || Top||

Middle East
Hamas Rejects Abbas' Call To Hand Over Weapons
As Palestinian prime minister-designate Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) vowed before the parliament to crack down on the arms and activities of resistance movements and incitement to violence, the Islamic resistance movement (Hamas) and the Islamic Jihad flatly rejected to hand over their weapons, pledging the resistance will go non-stop. "Hamas rejects this call to hand over our weapons because all our lives, in the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, are in danger from the Israeli policy of assassination. We need to defend ourselves and our land," a Hamas leader told Agence France-Presse (AFP). "That would be suicidal," he added.
"Besides, what would we do at weddings and funerals? Answer me that!"
"This issue will threaten Palestinian security," he said, adding he did not think the Palestinian Authority would follow through on Abbas' pledge to "end the chaos of arms" made during a parliamentary session to approve his new cabinet.
Nope. We don't expect any follow through, either...
He said Hamas would try "very hard to avoid clashes" if the security forces tried to disarm them, but any response would be decided in conjunction with other Palestinian factions. "If the Palestinian Authority asks us to surrender our weapons we will refuse," said Abdal Aziz al-Rantisi.
"Hey! Civil war? What's so different between that and what we've had for the past five years?"
For his part, the spokesman for the Islamic Jihad Nafez Azzam, said the movement will never give up resistance unless the Israeli occupation has come to an end. "The Palestinian fighters had never laid down their arms at any point in time," Azzam told Al-Jazeera.
"Without Armed Struggle™ we'd have to get jobs or somethin'..."
Mohammed al-Hindi, of the same movement, called on Abbas "to protect our weapons against the Zionist occupier... We ask Abbas if he means the weapons of our resistance fighters or not."
I think that's you he was talking about, chum...
In a powerful speech to the Palestinian parliament earlier in the day, Abbas vowed to crack down on "illegal arms," incitement to violence and corruption, all “key steps” demanded by Israel as steps to put the peace process back on track. "We call on the opposition factions to develop their dialogue and to stop the language of provocation. To end the disorder and the chaos of weapons ... will be one of the main tasks of the government," he said, adding that security forces alone would be allowed to carry weapons," said Abbas.
That would seem to leave out Hamas and Jihad, unless they've become security forces...
Addressing the parliament as it convened to approve his new cabinet, Abbas also extended his hand to Israel for renewed negotiations, but warned that real peace would only come if Israel dismantled Jewish settlements in the Palestinian lands. "There will be a real peace only without settlements. You have to choose," he said in a message to the Israeli people. "We reject terrorism from any party and in all its forms. We extend our hand in negotiation," he said. "The government will in particular concentrate its attention on the security of Palestinian citizens and their safety in their homeland. The government will ... pay most attention to the professional qualifications of members of security departments and will not be lenient towards any violation."
Usually, it takes about 48 hours after a move like this for the next boomer to get into action. My guess is Wednesday night or Thursday morning...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/29/2003 12:31 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [405 views] Top|| File under:

#1  One fact that will eternally be lost on the Paleos: Israel holds all the cards and gets to set the terms of peace - if there is ever to be peace. The Paleos can make demands until they turn blue but the ugly reality is they've already lost the war (many wars, actually) and aren't in the position to demand anything.

Until they're prepared to accept that reality nothing will ever change.
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 04/29/2003 13:09 Comments || Top||

#2  Unfortunately, the Pals must be getting their boomer act better organized -- Fox is reporting a "Huge Explosion Rocks Tel Aviv". (5:22 pm CDT)
Posted by: snellenr || 04/29/2003 17:27 Comments || Top||

Latin America
Super-spy Vilma drops cover
A top Cuban dissident has revealed herself to have been a longstanding spy for Fidel Castro's security service infiltrated into the opposition movement. Most Cubans knew of Aleida Godinez, but not her codename "Agent Vilma". Her cover was blown after 78 political activists and journalists were detained and jailed earlier this month for between six and 28 years for 'anti-state' activities. Godinez had been secretary-general of the Cuban Independent Federation of Trade Unions and editor-in-chief of the dissident magazine "Lux", which was printed in Miami and brought into Cuba in the US diplomatic bag. Godinez said her double-life of nearly 13 years had required a "great personal sacrifice", but had resulted in a "fatal blow against subversion in Cuba". "The evil known as dissidence can no longer act with impunity as it has done until now," she said.
She's a true believer
Through her anti-Castro sham, Godinez became a close confidante of leading dissident economist Marta Beatriz Roque, who was sentenced this month to 20 years in jail - and was leader of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society. But, speaking in her 'true' voice, Godinez dismissed the anti-Castro opposition as "mercenaries" on Washington's payroll. "They are not dissidents, because dissidents are those who do not agree with the policies of the Cuban revolution; these people are mercenaries because they receive money from the United States," she said. In her guise as a dissident leader, she won the confidence of US officials at the US interests section in Havana, where she claims to have had a permanent access pass since 1996.
No doubt there will be a few red faces at State, oh wait....
She said the US government "organises, directs and finances the counter-revolution in Cuba", with certain groups having received up to $35 000 (about R256 000) a month from USAid, the US government agency for international development, along with computers, fax machines and tape recorders. The Cuban government has long accused the US diplomatic office of funding the opposition to the communist authorities. State prosecutors accused the dissidents jailed this month of acting as a US "fifth column" to conspire against Castro. Agent Vilma's revelation is one of several orchestrated by the Cuban government after last month's crackdown. Public television has shown extended footage of revelations by other double-agents, portraying them as "heroes" and the "true face of the country" who "exposed the unpatriotic attitude" of "counter-revolutionary elements". Cubans have also learned about 'Agent Ernesto', or Pedro Luis Veliz, a doctor, who infiltrated the dissident movement in 1996; and also 'Agent Tania' or Odilia Collazo, whose double identity was president of the Party of the Rights of Man.
No wonder Fidel has lasted so long.
Veliz said the US interests section had sought to destroy the Cuban health system, regularly held up as one of the communist government's top achievements. Collazo said she had been "proud to have followed in the footsteps of my father" who, she added, was also an undercover agent.
Oliver Stone will be after the movie rights to her "heroic" story.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 10:39 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [395 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And how many agents were in the boats coming over from Marial?
Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 11:11 Comments || Top||

#2  More ammo to beat up those striped pants appeasers at Dept of State. Bush needs to take a firehose to that place.
Posted by: OldSpook || 04/29/2003 11:13 Comments || Top||

#3  In fake news today, Aleida Godinez, also known as "Agent Vilma" to her god-like, communist patron, attended a protest rally alongside Michael Moore, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and other notable Hollywood power players. "We hope that this will be a fatal blow against subversion in America," said Robbins, whose face-time on television has increased since the United States' Despot-In-Chief began his crackdown on Robbins' right to speak freely in public.

The floor was then given to Godinez, who praised Castro, damned Bush, and then said "The evil known as dissidence can no longer act with impunity as it has done until now." She then took out a pistol and shot Robbins in the head, an act that was deemed "sheer bravery in the face of a hostile universe" by a remarkably confused but sincere Sarandon.

Not all the celebrities in attendance were equally enthused.

"Fuck you, ya lunatic," said Moore. "Dissent against the system is what keeps me rolling in the green. Hey! That's a pun! Get it? Green? Man, I LOVE our system! Oh, and I hate it, too."

The other celebrities attending the rally clearly didn't know what to think.

Janeane Garafalo, however, had a startling confession. "It's because we're idiots," she said. "Don't expect any apologies, though. Bush is still at least as evil as the Great Satan (whom I thank for my career) himself, and surely it should be obvious to all by now that the fact that we are here being upset about our temporarily dwindling fan base is proof enough that under Bush our wonderful country has become as soaked in genodical/political blood as Burundi, Sudan, the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Algeria, Liberia, Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Congo-Brazzaville, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Ertirea, Equatorial Ginuea, Senegal - Cosamance, Kenya, Angola, Chad, Morocco and the Western Sahara, Mali, Mozambique, Madagascar, South Africa, Botswana, Eqypt, Columbia, Venezuela, Brazil, Cuba - I mean, NOT Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Paraguay, Mexico and the Chiapas, North Korea, India, Kashmir, China, Sri Lanka, Burma, Indonesia, the Phillipines, Napal, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Tibet, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, all four freakin' Vietnams, Laos, East Timor, Russia and Chechnya, Yugoslavia and the whole Kosovo Kroatia Serbia Bosnia thing, Macedonia, Georgia and Abkhasia, Northern Irleand, the old USSR against Crimea Dagestan and Ingushetia, Israel and Palestine, Iraq - no, wait!, I mean . . . anyways . . . Turkey, Syria, Iran, Cyprus, and Lebanon, and that's just since the end of World War II. I'm serious; today, it's some right-wing yahoo saying 'don't go to her movies!' but tomorrow - or possibly today - this nation's refusal to embrace its celebrities will result in the spilled blood of millions!!!!!!!"

Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/29/2003 11:51 Comments || Top||

#4  State has to be completely dismantled before it can be rebuilt correctly.
Posted by: Mike N. || 04/29/2003 11:55 Comments || Top||

#5  Damn I know so well how things were in communist East Germany. You didn't trust anyone but some very close friends. And then on a cold morning at 4am some people knock at your door and a few days later you find out that one of your best friends has betrayed you for years, telling every word you ever said to the Stasi (East German intelligence).
I don't know how much you can blame the U.S. interest section in Havana. Communist traitors are very smart unfortunately. But I wouldn't recommend to hire any Cuban for anything intelligence related, as trustworthy as he or she may seem. The best guy for the job will work for Castro probably.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/29/2003 12:14 Comments || Top||

Anthrax destined for Canada, Brazil says
Update, EFL
Canadian investigators played down reports yesterday that an Egyptian who died from a suspected case of anthrax was carrying a package destined for Canada that might have contained the lethal bacteria. RCMP Inspector Dan Tanner dismissed media claims originating in Brazil that suggest the deceased was given a piece of luggage in Egypt to take to someone in Canada before he travelled to Brazil to join a ship Canada has quarantined off Nova Scotia. "I can assure you we've discovered no threat to Canada, criminally or terrorism-wise," Tanner said yesterday in Halifax. ``Right now it's just a story." But RCMP in Ottawa said they were trying to get more information on the claims by Brazilian officials investigating the man's death on April 11. Fernando Sergio Castro, a spokesperson for Brazilian federal police, told Reuters that the man in his 50s, identified as Ibrahim Saved Soliman Ibrahim, was given a suitcase in Cairo to be delivered to someone in Canada. Word that he opened the suitcase and was well before boarding his ship came from crewmates and health authorities, respectively.
He had a standard health check before he boarded the ship.
The body, the bag and all his belongings are in police hands in the Amazonian port of Belem.
The Brazilian cops have the bag, that answers yesterday's big question.
Results of a second conclusive autopsy by Brazilian health authorities in Brasilia were expected today.
Brazil having a big cattle industry, I suspect they have experience with anthrax deaths. Once they determine if that is indeed what he died of and there are any containers of powder or liquid in the bag, then we can call this a terror incident. Until then, it's only a guess.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 10:00 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [391 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Steven Den Beste thinks the guy got curious, opened the bag, saw white stuff, figured it was cocaine, and took a snort to find out...
Posted by: Ptah || 04/29/2003 16:28 Comments || Top||

#2  Right wing white supremicists in Brazil?
Those bastards are everywhere.
Posted by: Ray || 04/29/2003 10:28 Comments || Top||

#3  Big grain of salt. Remember that not too many years ago the hot story out of Brazil was the flocks of flying pigs that were being seen everywhere.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/29/2003 10:34 Comments || Top||

#4  Anthrax is enzootic (endemic in animals) in Brazil, especially in pigs and cattle. His symptoms sound a lot like intestinal anthrax, suggesting he could have picked it up there from something he ate.
Posted by: Sofia || 04/29/2003 11:59 Comments || Top||

#5  Maybe the cops don't have the bag: Brazilian police don’t know who Ibrahim was supposed to deliver the package to, or where it was going in Canada, Duarte said. “The bag didn’t come out from the the ship, just the corpse came out from the ship,” he said. “The bag is in Canada because the bag went with the ship.”
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 14:38 Comments || Top||

#6  Steven Den Beste thinks the guy got curious, opened the bag, saw white stuff, figured it was cocaine, and took a snort to find out...
Posted by: Ptah || 04/29/2003 16:28 Comments || Top||

Home Front
Minn.: Conceal-carry becomes law
Edited for brevity.
It took the longest debate in memory on the floor of the Minnesota Senate, but a bill to make permits to carry handguns in public available to more people gained final legislative approval Monday and was signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. It is to go into effect in 30 days. Eventually, according to an official legislative estimate, it could increase the number of people licensed to tote guns on Minnesota streets from fewer than 12,000 now to about 90,000.
I.e. 78,000 more reasons for criminals to give Minnesota a wide berth.
For 7 1/2 hours Monday, Senate DFLers railed against the measure and the parliamentary legerdemain that brought it directly from the House with no opportunity for Senate amendments. Six DFL senators even donned bulletproof vests as they denounced the bill as "insanity," "lunacy" and "sheer madness."
"Why, the very idea that the people of Minnesota are entitled to Constitutional rights is repulsive!"
In the end, a small group of outstate DFL senators who favor gun rights bucked their leadership's opposition and tipped the balance in favor of the bill. The vote for final passage was 37 to 30. What comes next is a sweeping reversal of Minnesota handgun policy that has been in effect since 1975. Under that system, police chiefs and sheriffs have had broad discretion to grant or deny permits for occupational needs or personal protection. In some areas, especially the Twin Cities, critics say, authorities have abused that discretion by denying permits to nearly all applicants.
If they wanted to carry beforehand, they should have done the California Circumvention: change their names to "Sean Penn" and declare they're pacifists.
Posted by: Dar || 04/29/2003 09:58 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [561 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Six DFL senators even donned bulletproof vests as they denounced the bill as "insanity," "lunacy" and "sheer madness".

Sounds like they know a lot about that stuff. And where'd they get the vests?
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 10:42 Comments || Top||

#2  Like to know how many of the 30 "against" votes have, either themselves or staff members, concealed carry permits for self-defense? Of course they NEED it, you little people on the other hand can't be trusted with that much responsibility
Posted by: Frank G || 04/29/2003 11:32 Comments || Top||

#3  Man, I hope the MN. DFL stays strong.(Not to strong though) MN. polotics would bore me to death if it was't for the DFL. Unless we can get a string of Jesse "I aint got time to lead!" Venturas, the DFL is my only source of entertainment.
Posted by: Mike N. || 04/29/2003 11:47 Comments || Top||

#4  "where'd they get the vests?"

Ollie North is now chairman and co-founder of Guardian Technologies International, Inc., a Virginia-based manufacturer of body armor for law enforcement personnel.
Posted by: mojo || 04/29/2003 11:50 Comments || Top||

#5  Robber: Now how will I know if it's safe to rob someone or not?
Gov't: Tough beans, pal.
Posted by: KP || 04/29/2003 12:49 Comments || Top||

#6  I agree with most comments/opinion on Rantburg, and I love America.

But Gun ownership is not one of those issues.

I live in a country where gun ownership is tightly regulated and hardly anyone has even touched a gun let alone owned one.

Guess what? We have hardly any gun deaths.

A nation of 18 million people and a single shooting is a big deal and makes it on the 6pm nightly news.

I went travelling up the west coast of the US in November and one lady actually said she feels SORRY for me that I live in a country without guns.

I couldn't believe my ears. I am RELIEVED to live in a country without guns. IF they legalised gun ownership for the masses here, I'd emigrate to Britain or New Zealand.

The statistics show that with widely available guns, you are just asking for an increase in gun crime and also accidents with guns: there will always be an idiot like Sean Penn who leaves one in the glovebox of the car or in a drawer where a 6-year-old can get it.

It's too late to disarm or heavily regulate the USA: i feel very sorry for you, you are stuck with guns. Reason being: there are too many out there already, in the hands of gangs and criminals - if you had an amnesty you would never get even half the weapons handed in. Also it is deeply ingrained in your culture that it is a right, not a privelige to own a gun.

You can't change your society, but let me tell you that from an outsider looking in, that is one road I am GLAD my country was spared from walking down.
Posted by: Anon1 || 04/30/2003 1:08 Comments || Top||

#7  And what nation would that be?
Posted by: Watcher || 04/30/2003 4:12 Comments || Top||

#8  Tell me,Anon1
What is the murder(by other means) rate in your country?
What is the rate of home invasions?
Have you checked out the murder stats in Britan,they are not good.
Since Canada passed it's represive gun laws home invasion and other violent crime have increased exponentially.
Seems to me that any criminal with a lick of common sense would be very carefull about breaking into someones home knowing there is a high probability he will get shot.The excepttion would be someone who is either a drug addict,or insane in wich case witout a weapon you put your family at terrible risk.
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/30/2003 8:56 Comments || Top||

East/Subsaharan Africa
Nigerian Strikers Hold 100 Foreign Oil Workers
The strikers have been holding 97 foreign workers, including 35 Britons, aboard four offshore drilling rigs owned by Houston-based Transocean since April 19. The events occurred in a remote area off the West African nation's coastline. The rigs were drilling wells on behalf of oil multinationals Royal/Dutch Shell and TotalFina Elf. Western diplomats said the hostages included 21 Americans and 35 Britons. Their conditions were unclear, although there were no initial reports of injuries or deaths. A source close to the ongoing negotiations between company officials and the strikers told The Associated Press that some of the foreign workers sent e-mails from the facilities to family members and diplomats Monday complaining they had received death threats. Shell spokesman Donald Boham said company officials were involved in the talks. He was unaware of any threats being made. "The striking Nigerian workers have prevented the foreign workers from leaving the rigs," Boham said without elaborating. The strikers were protesting a decision by Transocean to use boats instead of helicopters to ferry them from company rigs about 25 miles offshore the restive Niger Delta state of Rivers, said Joseph Akinlaja, secretary-general of Nigeria's largest oil workers' union.
Fox News had an oil company spokeman on the phone this morning. The striking Nigerian workers are not armed, they have blocked the helipads on the oil platforms preventing the workers from leaving by helicopter. Looks like the foreign workers were being flown to work while the nigerians were being made to take the boat. The spokesman said that the foreign workers have been allowed to leave via boat, and many have. Much ado about nothing, I mean, it's not like death threats are unknown during strikes by the Teamsters or United Mine Workers.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 08:40 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [372 views] Top|| File under:

North Africa
Missing tourists clue found
Algerian police have found a vehicle thought to belong to some of the European tourists who have gone missing in the desert. Officials say the blue four-wheel-drive Iveco car found near the south-eastern town of Illizi may be that used by a German couple who disappeared on 8 March.
It was found almost completely buried in the sand.
Separately Colonel Massaoud Benboudria, who is leading the search, said he was "personally convinced" that all the tourists were alive and might be in another country. More than 1,000 Algerian troops have been deployed to look for the 31 tourists - from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands. Some of the travellers - who were in seven separate groups - have not been heard from since February. Colonel Benboudria told El Watan newspaper on Sunday that there was no evidence to support speculation that the tourists had been abducted by Islamic rebels. "Terrorists don't keep hostages," he said. "They usually kill them for media effect or use them as a bargaining tool."
He's in denial mode, terrorists take hostages for a lot of reasons, including fund raising. You just have to look at South America and the Phillipines for examples.
He added that it would require huge resources to keep such a large group hostage in the Sahara.
How much can bread and water cost?
There was no evidence to suggest they had been murdered either, he said.
Just because you haven't found a body, yet!
Media reports in Algeria have suggested that militant groups linked to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network could be behind the disappearances. Attention has focused on militant Islamist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who operates in the region. Colonel Benboudria said he thought the tourists had got lost in violent sandstorms. Algerian tourism officials have suggested that the tourists brought their fate on themselves because they had travelled without the help of guides who know the desert terrain.
In other news, the mayor of Amity Island said there was no danger of tourists being eaten by a great white shark.
Some of the tourists left a message in the desert two weeks ago saying they were alive. The tourists comprise 15 Germans, 10 Austrians, four Swiss nationals, a Dutchman and a Swede.
Somebody knows what happened and isn't talking.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 07:51 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [386 views] Top|| File under:

#1  None of the nations that those missing tourists are citizens of have enough balls to go and try to find them on their own. Their pathetic Gov't is hoping for a miracle, and their fellow countrymen are letting get away woth it. It's a damn shame.
Posted by: Mike N. || 04/29/2003 13:02 Comments || Top||

Home Front
NBC’s Banfield Chided Over Criticisms
Meet your new anchorwomen, Channel 62, Cheyenne, Wyoming!
NBC News president Neal Shapiro has taken correspondent Ashleigh Banfield to the woodshed for a speech in which she criticized the networks for portraying the Iraqi war as "glorious and wonderful."
Al Jazeera awaits. She could be their poster girl.
Banfield delivered her remarks Thursday at Kansas State University. "She and we both agreed that she didn't intend to demean the work of her colleagues, and she will choose her words more carefully in the future," an NBC spokeswoman said Monday. Other sources inside NBC said Banfield promised, in effect, not to do it again and to check her facts before making public statements in the future. Banfield had criticized NBC in the speech for closing its bureau in Kabul, Afghanistan, a statement that the network said was untrue.
Really good when you have to remind ace reporter to "check her facts". Does wonders for her credibility.
Sources said Shapiro "bawled her out" for what were perceived as criticisms over the war coverage of all of the networks, including NBC and MSNBC. In her speech, Banfield said the networks had portrayed the Iraqi war as "glorious and wonderful" because they had failed to show the bloody horrors of the battles.
Bloodthisty wench, isn't she?
There was no indication whether Shapiro was upset over the entire speech — Banfield also lambasted Fox News Channel and MSNBC talk show host Michael Savage — or just the elements that were critical of the networks' war coverage. NBC insiders said few people took Banfield's comments seriously because of her lack of experience — she is largely working for MSNBC these days, and her primetime show on the network failed last summer. "I don't think people look to Ashleigh Banfield to set the standards of journalism," one person said about the reaction inside the department. "People were sort of rolling their eyes."
Sounds like the clock is ticking...
Scratch that Channel 62 remark. There might be a rewarding career in the food service industry in Ashleigh's future...
Reporters who have returned from Iraq have defended the networks' lack of blood-and-guts video, saying it was impossible to film much of it because of logistical reasons. They also noted that embedded reporters did not see action much of the time in Iraq. "In my situation, I didn't have the occasion to videotape many bodies or anything," said Don Dahler, an ABC News correspondent embedded in Iraq who was interviewed April 16 after returning to the United States. "I don't think I would have shied away from shooting dead bodies or injured Americans." Banfield noted in her speech that Americans never got to see the results of mortar fire, just the smoke. But correspondents have said it was impossible to film the damage because tanks and artillery were firing at targets miles away from them.
Which is the whole idea. Kill them before they even see you if possible. Sorry they couldn't reenact Gettysburg for you Ashleigh.
Banfield, who was stationed Stateside during the war, is jealous of Geraldo the first network journalist to publicly criticize television's coverage of the war.
Now we know why she's pissed. No book deal for her.
Correspondents who have returned from the front have all raved about the embedding system that placed them with troops as well as the overall network coverage of the war. "On a more macular level, there's some sort of demystification here — not only for the media but for the military and what the other institution is about," CBS News correspondent Mark Strassman said after returning from the war. "This vague process is a new step that will always continue to evolve. And all that's for the better. They have a story worth telling, and we have a story that we want to tell, and all that is for the good."
Gee, they had guns and big tanks and...EVERYTHING!
Lost in much of the controversy is that Banfield actually had praise for NBC News in her KSU speech, saying the network had never censored her when she covered the Arab point of view. A major theme of her speech was that both Americans and Arabs need to be educated about each other's culture and points of view in order to begin a dialogue that would lead to peace. She said that can't be done if television networks abandon overseas coverage.
The Arabs know about our culture. That's why lots of them want to kill us.
But much of Banfield's criticism was aimed at television audiences who would prefer to watch stories about murder victims and missing girls than international relations — unless there is a major crisis.
Yeah, you'll turn down the sniper trial or the Laci Peterson trial won't you? Sure you would.
"It's crucial to our security that you are interested in this," she said. "Because when you are interested, I can respond. If I put this on right now, you'll turn it off."

The pretty girl with nice hair does have a point, though. Jazeera and Abu Dhabi teevee and other Arab outlets carried enough pictures of corpses, so I don't think it's that the embeds couldn't find any. But I think it's a cultural difference between us and the Arabs that we don't like to look at what used to be people, whereas the entire Arab world seems to have a fascination with rigor mortis. Seems like Ashleigh might have picked up some of that. Either that, or she's never seen a corpse and thinks it would be neat.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 07:23 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [570 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Sorry they couldn't reenact Gettysburg for you Ashleigh. "

140th anniversary of the battle this July. Plenty of folks will be gathering in Pennsylvania who are quite capable of reenacting the battle.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/29/2003 8:28 Comments || Top||

#2  Seems Ashleigh isn't too brilliant.
Posted by: mojo || 04/29/2003 9:40 Comments || Top||

#3  How could it be? I mean she had the cool glasses thing going and all, do they expect her to have a clue too?? picky bastards
Posted by: Frank G || 04/29/2003 10:07 Comments || Top||

#4  Ever since she lost her show (due to bad ratings) and Savage got one, she's been quite the shrill little harpie, and this was just the latest "Look at meeeeeee" tantrum.

Sorry Ashleigh, you aren't getting Katie Courics chair (which is what she has been after all along). Being Perky and Liberal isnt enough anymore.
Posted by: OldSpook || 04/29/2003 11:08 Comments || Top||

#5  I might be interested in purchasing a video of her getting spanked behind the wood shed, however.
Posted by: Capsu78 || 04/29/2003 11:51 Comments || Top||

#6  The amazing thing about this woman is that she takes herself seriously. She'd get more attention if she changed her name to "Assly Bunghole".
Posted by: anon || 04/29/2003 18:16 Comments || Top||

#7  Anyone think it's an accident that Banfield didn't get an overseas assignment for the war? After all, she was in Pakistan, and a bit of Afghanistan, during the Afghan war. It's no accident, no way.

Ashfield is Madonna with an MSNBC mike. She has very limited intelligence or perspective or reporting skills. She tries to cover it up with her Garafolo "intellectual" glasses and her semi-radical comments. But in the end, she's like Madonna: an inarticulate, poorly educated, "pretty" face.
Posted by: R. McLeod || 04/30/2003 3:35 Comments || Top||

North Korea Said to Offer Small Nuclear Steps, at a Price
Mr. Powell declined to provide other details of North Korea's offer, but other administration officials said North Korea had asked for a step-by-step package under which it would receive oil shipments, food aid, security guarantees, energy assistance, economic benefits and construction of a light-water nuclear reactor. In return, they said, North Korea had offered to take very small steps.

The officials said that under its proposal North Korea would dismantle its nuclear weapons only at the end of the process. Moreover, they said, it was not clear that this would affect both its plutonium weapons program, frozen in 1994, and the highly enriched uranium program disclosed last year.

American officials said that North Korea's offer was seen throughout the Bush administration as almost absurdly unacceptable. They said this was the view of both hard-liners, who oppose negotiations with North Korea, and moderates, who favor continued diplomatic contact.

(con't see link)
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/29/2003 06:23 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [393 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hey, China--about you cut off all supplies to North Korea until they dismantle their nuclear program unconditionally, or would you like to see Japan with nuclear weapons? No? How about Taiwan?
Posted by: Dar || 04/29/2003 8:48 Comments || Top||

#2  I was playing around with an idea. One of the guiding principles of DPRK diplomacy is that even if they violate an agreement, the other side (usually us) will continue to regard the agreement as in force. We need to wean them off this assumption. In 1991, the US removed its tactical nuclear weapons from South Korea in return for promises that North Korea would not develop nuclear weapons. I was thinking that if one was gonna go down the diplomatic route, rather than simply offering concessions to get Pyongyang to do what they promised to do in '91 (and '94), we should first re-introduce tactical nukes back into South Korea, and start negotiations from there. I figure if we're both going to offer concessions, we should both be offering concessions we have conceeded before.
Posted by: The Marmot || 04/29/2003 9:10 Comments || Top||

#3  *nods* That sounds like a good idea, Marmot.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/29/2003 14:08 Comments || Top||

#4  Interesting idea, Marmot, but Dar has the long term ticket. NK is simply China's agent provocateur. (I HATE using a french term! Hmmm, how 'bout China's bitch?)

Time to jerk China's chain. Maybe over SARS?
Posted by: Scott || 04/29/2003 16:24 Comments || Top||

US anger at war crimes threat
The Bush administration has reacted angrily to suggestions that General Tommy Franks, the commander of the US-led war in Iraq, might be charged with war crimes. A Belgian lawyer says he is preparing a case that could see General Franks charged under a law which allows the prosecution of non-Belgian citizens for war crimes. The most famous such case was brought against the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, and caused deep strains in the relationship between Belgium and Israel. If this prosecution goes ahead, Bush administration officials are making it plain they will regard it as a major diplomatic incident — an example of political harassment. A senior administration official warned that even the issuing of indictments would result in what he called "diplomatic consequences" for Belgium. The State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, said the Belgian authorities should act early to prevent such consequences. "We believe the Belgian Government needs to be diligent in taking steps to prevent abuse of the legal system for political ends," he said.
Oooh. Diplomatic consequences! Will we go so far as to withdraw our ambassador? What would happen if we actually broke diplomatic relations with them?
The row erupted after a Brussels lawyer gave an interview to American newspapers in which he said he was aiming to file a case next week on behalf of 10 Iraqi civilians alleging among other things that General Franks did nothing to stop the looting of hospitals in Baghdad and that coalition forces fired on an ambulance.
This is what happens when the Oompa Loompas get excited about international politics.
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/29/2003 05:01 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [979 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Who the hell appointed the Belgians as the ultimate arbiter of world justice? The Belgians themselves? They need to be spanked.

Do Britons really want to join themselves at the hip with these midgets, Bulldog? I should think many would have severe doubts about now.

Keep the "Great" in Great Britain! Don't join the Frogreich!
Posted by: Dave D. || 04/29/2003 5:47 Comments || Top||

#2  As a trading bloc, the EU has a lot to be said in its defence. As a supranational evolving power, it's about as popular as a Frenchman's armpit in the UK at the moment. Most people have been willing to accept further European integration as a kind of inevtiable process, one to grumble about and ridicule, but not take to the streets to protest about. This Iraq fiasco has exposed the fact that those nations at the heart of Europe and who drive the process of unification, have fundamentally different ideas and attitudes from those at the periphery. Watch animosity towards the EU grow, and expect a to see a more flexible monster with smaller ambitions in the future.
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/29/2003 7:04 Comments || Top||

#3  I think that Beligum will discover that its one thing to terrorize little countries like Israel with these threats another to try to take on the US.

Posted by: bernardz || 04/29/2003 8:12 Comments || Top||

#4  OK, folks -- remember this story for when the Jeopardy answer is "Resulted in Belgium being added to the list of nations which support terrorism"...
Posted by: snellenr || 04/29/2003 8:30 Comments || Top||

#5  I can't wait to see what "diplomatic consequences" consists of! It's so good to have a president in office that actually means what he says--Belgium should take note and back off now. They and France can drown their economic woes together with chocolate and wine.
Posted by: Dar || 04/29/2003 8:41 Comments || Top||

#6  Belgium is the country that lets two girls who were abducted for the explicit purpose of making kiddy porn were starved to death when their kidnapper went to jail for unrelated crime.
Posted by: BigFire || 04/29/2003 9:12 Comments || Top||

#7  "A lawyer is preparing a case."

So what? Lawyers can prepare whatever they want. What has the government of Belgium got to do with it?
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/29/2003 9:23 Comments || Top||

#8  "C'ues que C'est "come get some"?
Posted by: mojo || 04/29/2003 9:42 Comments || Top||

#9  I remember some flak flying around here months ago about how much tonnage we were putting through the port of Antwerp while the Belgians were sucking up to Chiraq--at the same time the Dutch didn't hesitate to send Patriots to Turkey although NATO was balking. Anyone know if port facilities are an obstacle to switching from Belgian to Dutch ports?
Posted by: Dar || 04/29/2003 12:25 Comments || Top||

#10  Mr. Fermon (the lawyer) is a member of Centre for Research on Globalisation (ie commmie). Do these guys ever give up? Why don't all the people who want to live in a communist country just move to the PRC! We should add this organization to the terror watch list.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 04/29/2003 12:58 Comments || Top||

#11  Oompa Loompas. HA! So it'll be Oompaloompastan when the Sharia law goes into effect?
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/29/2003 13:18 Comments || Top||

#12  I'm filing a frivolous lawsuit complaint against the lawyer with the Belgium Bar Association.
Here's how:

How much good will it do? Who knows, but it will give them paper to chase around.
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/29/2003 13:44 Comments || Top||

#13  TGA -- the Belgian government passed the law that allows this guy to file this suit, plus he's going to be trying it in a Belgian court. He's looking for an indictment that allows for the arrest of General Franks and the other named parties if they set foot in Belgian territory. Those can only be enforced (generally) by the local police forces, unless they are going to try to have another country arrest him under that warrant and extradite him to Belgium. That's why their government is involved.
Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/29/2003 21:01 Comments || Top||

#14  I also forgot to put in the following: although I don't know precisely what kind of penalty General Franks and the others would be facing, if it involves some kind of imprisonment, I doubt that he would be allowed to serve it anywhere but in a Belgian jail.
Posted by: Baba Yaga || 04/29/2003 21:07 Comments || Top||

#15  If this case goes ahead as planned, watch TGA argue that the US gave Belgium no other choice but to prosecute Franks.
Hell, let's all file lawsuits against Chiraq & Schroeder for defamation of character of the President of the USA. Think nothing of it TGA, the US government won't be involved in the prosecution.
Posted by: RW || 04/29/2003 22:46 Comments || Top||

Two SBS survive ambush, desert trek and Syria jail
Two British special forces commandos escaped capture by Iraqi forces by trekking up to 100 miles through enemy territory and desert to the Syrian border. One of the most stirring escape stories yet to emerge from the Iraq war ended with the two men being taken into custody by the Syrians, and the Prime Minister sending a personal envoy to Damascus to win their release. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence refuse to comment on an episode that had begun with the disastrous ambush of a secret British mission behind enemy lines, but details divulged to The Times suggest it was another case of triumph over adversity. Major Charles Heyman, Editor of Jane’s World Armies, said: “There’s no doubt whatsover this is the sort of high standard of evasion of the enemy on the ground we’ve come to expect of our special forces. It’s still pretty remarkable.”

Military sources said that on about April 2, in the second week of the war, a squadron of between 30 and 40 Special Boat Service commandos were dropped by helicopter into northern Iraq to carry out reconnaissance and sabotage operations around Mosul. They split up into patrols, driving Land Rovers. One of the patrols of about 10 SBS commandos spotted a suspected Iraqi reconnaissance patrol, but did not open fire because of doubts over whether it was an Iraqi Army unit or Kurdish soldiers. That SBS patrol ran into an Iraqi ambush and came under heavy fire. The commandos were forced to abandon their vehicles and head off across rough terrain into the hills. All survived the ambush. An emergency call summoned a Chinook helicopter to rescue them, but two were missing.

Al-Jazeera television subsequently showed pictures of jubilant Iraqis jumping on one of the British Land Rovers. Baghdad claimed that 10 soldiers from the SAS had been killed. The MoD made a brief statement in which it confirmed that British soldiers had had to be “extracted” from northern Iraq, but made no mention of the two missing commandos.

The two SBS men set off for the Syrian border, seeking what a military source called a “safe haven”. They would have had desert clothing and hoods, as well as night-vision goggles. Their survival kit would have included a personal global positioning system the size of a mobile telephone, a map and other basics. They would have travelled by night and hidden by day. Initially, at least, they would have been crossing country infested by Iraqi troops guarding oilfields. Later they would have crossed sparsely-populated desert. Once in Syria, they were almost certainly picked up by border guards.

On April 14 - the day the war effectively ended with the fall of Tikrit - Tony Blair sent Mike O’Brien, a Foreign Office minister, to Damascus to exploit Mr Blair’s cordial relations with President Assad, of Syria, to win the commandos’ release. They flew home without publicity.

The commandos’ story bears a strong resemblance to the escape of Chris Ryan, the SAS trooper in the ill-fated Bravo Two Zero patrol during the 1991 Gulf War. In that instance the eight-man SAS patrol ran into Iraqi troops while hunting Scud missiles in Iraq. One was killed in the subsequent firefight, four were captured and the other three tried to escape. Two died of hypothermia but Ryan managed to reach Syria.
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/29/2003 03:24 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [399 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Seems a hoax....the land rovers are usually operated by the SAS and not the SBS, who are confined to primarily maritime ops.

Also just too similar to Bravo 20.
Posted by: Rajit || 04/29/2003 7:24 Comments || Top||

#2  That's an amazing story,ask anybody from the American S.W.Desert how dangerous it is.
We have illegal aliens that cross the Az/Mex border all the time,most are from the deserts of N.Mexico and are all to familar with the hazards of crossing the desert and many die crossing these same deserts.
Posted by: raptor || 04/29/2003 7:36 Comments || Top||

#3  Rajit, what do you expect the SBS to use in the desert - rubber dinghies?! The evidence which is available supports this story.
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/29/2003 7:44 Comments || Top||

#4  Not so, Rajit. SBS does a lot, it's even more secretive than the SAS. Below is from BBC:
The Special Boat Service is a sister force to the more widely known Special Air Service, the SAS. Members of the Royal Marines are chosen to join the elite band of SBS members only after a gruelling physical and mental selection process.
The focus of their operations tends to be from the sea but they also operate inland and were deployed in Afghanistan last year.

The USMC is a maritime force as well, I seem to have seen them quite a ways inland lately.
Posted by: Steve || 04/29/2003 8:15 Comments || Top||

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