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France denies giving information to Saddam
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U.S. Army Europe facilities to be returned to German control
The Department of Defense today announced that U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) will partially close the Giessen General Depot, Germany, and return its other facilities in Giessen, Friedberg, Butzbach, Wetzlar and Bad Nauheim in fiscal 2006-2008 as part of the U.S. Army's Efficient-Basing East project. In fiscal 2006, the MacArthur Family Housing Area in Friedberg, the George Gershwin Family Housing Area in Wetzlar and the Alvin York Village Familiy Housing Area in Bad Nauheim will be returned to Germany. In fiscal 2007, operations at the Ray Barracks in Friedberg, the Friedberg Training and Storage Area, Schloss Kaserne in Butzbach and the Roman Way Village family housing area will end. In fiscal 2008, facilities in Giessen, including Pendleton Barracks, the John F. Dulles Village Housing Area, the George C.Marshall Village Family Housing Area and the Giessen Military Community Facilities will be closed. Operations at the Butzbach training area and range will terminate in 2008 as well. Also in fiscal 2008, the partial closure of the Giessen Depot will occur.

As a result of these closures, USAREUR will inactivate the 284th Base Support Battalion and local elements of the 104th Area Support Group after completion of the move in fiscal 2007 and 2008. Overall, the closures will impact approximately 3,400 soldiers and some 5,000 family members. A total of approximately 270 U.S. appropriated fund civilians, 140 U.S. nonappropriated fund personnel, and 230 local national civilians will be affected. U.S. military operations at the retained portion of the Giessen Depot will be the Army and Air Force Exchange System (AAFES) distribution center and engineer support center. The AAFES distribution center currently employs about 26 U.S. civilians and some 500 local nationals. The Engineer Support Center employs about 12 U.S. civilians and 45 local nationals. Military officials determined the depot remains the most efficient site for these operations in terms of its location and extensive warehouses. The engineer support center, an element of Installation Management Agency, Europe Region, is the central administration and distribution point for both issued family housing furniture and unaccompanied personnel housing furnishings throughout the command.
Posted by: Domingo || 04/30/2003 09:59 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [473 views] Top|| File under:

#1  230 local jobs down the tubes. Can we expect more of these kinds of announcements ?
Posted by: Domingo || 04/30/2003 10:06 Comments || Top||

#2  Hope so. As well as relocations to the New Europe countries which are cheaper and, sorry TGA, at least publicly, more eager for our operations
Posted by: Frank G || 04/30/2003 10:11 Comments || Top||

#3  The "local jobs" are U.S.-paid jobs. That's a tiny part of the effect on the local economy compared to removing well over 8,000 consumers.
Posted by: Tom || 04/30/2003 10:23 Comments || Top||

#4  We once had several 100000s of US troups on German soil. We had to cope with the loss a few years ago as well and it was much bigger. As I have pointed out before these are strategic decisions. Troops are not moved out because we happen to have a mediocre government for a while, they move out because they are not needed anymore in Germany.
As to 8000 consumers: This is true although the impact depends a lot on the current Euro-Dollar rate. GI's are not exactly overpaid so they spend most of their income in local army stores. The Euro trades at 1,11$ today, so Germany is expensive right now. When the dollar was stronger soldiers ventured out more into German restaurants, shops etc.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 10:57 Comments || Top||

#5  I think this is a win/win situation for everyone. The local German economy will suffer, but just like bases that have been brac(k)ed here in the US, they will get over it. The current political climate just makes it easier for the US to rip the band aid off and pull out. The local's complaints will fall on deaf ears right now, which for the US, is actually a feature, not a bug.

Just because we had a base there in the past, doesn't mean it's the ideal location or that the cost/benefit of having it, is justified.

Good for the Pentagon planners for making changes that will be beneficial in the long term. Now....if we can just get our troops out of Korea where the cost/benefit/usefullness is clearly askew.
Posted by: Becky || 04/30/2003 11:23 Comments || Top||

#6  What's the delay? Close 'em now. (I agree about Korea, too)
Posted by: Jeremy || 04/30/2003 15:36 Comments || Top||

#7  A slow phaseout from Germany makes sense, and as TGA says, not because of the poor Schroeder government.

Korea is another matter. The SKors clearly don't like us being there, except when our guys are being used as tripwires. I also fail to see what our interest is in keeping ground forces there. The SKors have a strong economy and plenty of capability to defend themselves...and we can help from the air and sea if needed.

Strategically, I also fail to see the value of 37,000 troops tied down in Korea. The primary threats from North Korea to US are that they will ship missiles to terror states and/or build ICBMs capable of hitting us. We can take ICBMs out on their launchpads, if necessary, and we can blockade that country by sea, something we couldn't do with Iraq.

I think we bring our guys home, stop dealing with North Korea at all, let the SKors, Japanese and Chinese deal with the problem.

Explain to me why this is wrong?

Posted by: R. McLeod || 05/01/2003 1:40 Comments || Top||

Italy moving against Cuba
Cuba's recent clampdown on dissidents is alienating Italy, a country historically close to the Caribbean island. On Tuesday, the Italian lower house approved a motion calling on the government to halt Italy's economic aid to Cuba if dissidents are not freed and executions are not stopped. The motion - sponsored by the centre-right ruling coalition but partially backed by the left as well - also urged the government to seek a EU-wide common position of pressure on Cuba. The move could be helped by Italy's forthcoming term of EU presidency, scheduled to start on 1 July. By acting against Cuba's one-party socialist state, Italy's conservative ruling coalition has come yet one step closer to the positions of US President George W Bush.

More surprisingly, Italy's left is also condemning repression in Cuba: some of Fidel Castro's best friends can be found in the Italian left, which includes two explicitly communist parties. Fidel Castro's recent policies have prompted a serious soul-searching exercise in the Italian left, often accused by critics of supporting dictatorships. The left is increasingly critical of the Cuban leader, with the possible exception of the Party of Italian Communists, who mostly still support Mr Castro. Not only did the moderate left vote in favour of some sections of the centre-right's motion, but it also tabled its own motion condemning Cuba's clampdown and calling for the respect of human rights. The Party of Italian Communists and Communist Refoundation also presented motions urging the respect of human rights. Arguably, Italy has been Cuba's best friend in the West and Cuba seems to be losing this support. But Fidel Castro also risks losing the support of Pope John Paul II, who boosted the Cuban leader's international reputation by visiting the island in 1998. A Vatican statement released on Saturday expressed the Pope's deep regret at the executions and urged "a significant act of clemency" from the Cuban leader.
Not that it's likely to happen.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 09:30 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [457 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sounds to me that Italy's left is a bit more ethical than ours.
Posted by: TheMightyEmu || 04/30/2003 10:28 Comments || Top||

#2  Italy's left is just compelled to eat crow by the public opinion, there is no good faith in their positions. Have a look to their anti US demonstrations with thousands of paleostinians flags and some nice bin laden's big posters. They have helped Castro for tens of years. Don't give them any credit, it's just make up on a corpse.
Posted by: Poitiers || 04/30/2003 10:36 Comments || Top||

#3  Recently Castro has lost a lot of intellectual support he could normally bank on (for reasons I never understood). Gabriel García Márquez and José Saramago (two winners of the Novel Prize of Literature) have spoken out against him. They had supported him for decades before. Even French intellectuals haven't got much good to say about him these times and thats saying a lot.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 11:01 Comments || Top||

#4  Even French intellectuals haven't got much good to say about him these times and thats saying a lot.

He's doomed, doomed I tell ya! How can Castro possibly go on without the support of French intellectuals?
Posted by: Steve White || 04/30/2003 11:46 Comments || Top||

#5  Cuba will change when Fidel dies of old age. The lefties may say bad things about him now and then, but they always come back because he's one of them, and yesterday's in the past. Job security, thy name is Fidel.

When he's kicked it, somebody else will try and take over. Within a year or two the somebody else will be visiting with Egon Krenz.
Posted by: Fred || 04/30/2003 11:50 Comments || Top||

#6  The "somebody else" will be Raul Castro who is about the staunchest communist of Cuba (and a complete asshole) and leads the military. Egon Krenz was a lamb compared to Raul.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 12:41 Comments || Top||

#7  Bah. Credit the change to Oriana Fallaci putting an iron rod up the Italian Left's backbone via its collective ass.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 13:10 Comments || Top||

#8  Raul will take over, but not for long, he has neither the "charisma" nor the sentimental support among the populace, and is also an old man. Would be nice if he and fidel took the trip to hell at the same time, no?
Posted by: Frank G || 04/30/2003 15:10 Comments || Top||

#9  "Castro has lost a lot of intellectual support he could normally bank on"

I'm wondering if that is because, with Sammy dead and other terrorist money becoming as frozen as a cold day in hell,... well, ya just have to wonder if the checks that these enlightened souls could normally bank on for their anti-American brilliance, (think Galloway), just aren't clearing like they used to.
Posted by: Becky || 04/30/2003 17:29 Comments || Top||

#10  I wonder how much the Chinese have their tongs into Fidelia land......
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/30/2003 20:32 Comments || Top||

#11  Best line:

"Fidel Castro's recent policies have prompted a serious soul-searching exercise in the Italian left, often accused by critics of supporting dictatorships"

Not just the Italian left, the entire left. Kim Jong Il, Milosevic, Saddam, Arafat, Mugabe...all these monsters have been celebrated as heros by the Left. Jeezus how times change. In the old days, it was the right who was accused, often correctly, with supporting dictators...but that shoe is on the sinister foot now!
Posted by: R. McLeod || 05/01/2003 1:47 Comments || Top||

Witness Retracts Bomb Threat Testimony
A witness Tuesday in the trial of a Turkish man and his American girlfriend charged with planning to bomb a U.S. military base in Germany around last year's Sept. 11 anniversary retracted statements that the woman had mentioned specific targets.
The testimony prompted defense accusations that the witness had invented her story, and the court later freed defendant Astrid Eyzaguirre, 23, from custody, saying she was not a flight risk. Her friend Osman Petmezci, 25, remained jailed, charged with planning to attack the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Department or a store on the base in this southwestern city, home to 16,000 U.S. troops and dependents stationed mainly with the Army's European headquarters and the V Corps' headquarters. Witness Christi Allen, 21, a U.S. national who used to work with Eyzaguirre at the base store, testified that she alerted the FBI in an e-mail after Eyzaguirre told her Petmezci "wanted to build a bomb" and she saw chemicals in their apartment. But under questioning by Judge Edgar Gramlich, she revised her earlier account to police that Eyzaguirre mentioned the two targets at the base. "She never said Osman was building a bomb for a particular purpose," Allen told the Heidelberg state court. "I never knew, I could only assume."
There goes your case.
Petmezci has denied charges that he planned an explosion around the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, saying he abhorred the suicide hijackings and was not anti-American. His attorney, Andrea Combe, questioned Allen's credibility after Tuesday's testimony, claiming she had "spun together" a story in her mind. Allen, a student, was questioned by German and U.S. investigators after sending her allegation to the FBI. She has since returned to the United States. After the couple's Sept. 5 arrest on an FBI tip, investigators found gunpowder and six pipes they believe were intended for making a bomb, as well as other chemicals that could be used for homemade explosives, at their apartment in Walldorf, south of Heidelberg. Petmezci said he stole some of the chemicals from the suburban Heidelberg factory where he worked. Prosecutors have ruled out any link with the al-Qaida cell based in Hamburg that included three of the Sept. 11 hijackers. Eyzaguirre, who holds both U.S. and German citizenship, initially was charged with plotting an explosion along with Petmezci. The court later reduced the charges to being an accessory. She has declined to testify during the trial. If convicted, Petmezci faces up to three years in prison and Eyzaguirre, a maximum of two years, three months. A verdict is expected May 6.
Sounds to me like the most that he could be convicted of is possession of an explosive device.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 09:17 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [368 views] Top|| File under:

Blair/Putin talks reveal deep splits over Iraq
Tony Blair's attempts to heal the diplomatic rift caused by the war against Iraq suffered a serious setback yesterday when he was forced to endure an extraordinary public lecture from Russia's president, Vladimir Putin. Speaking after talks held during a one-day trip to Russia, the Russian leader used a press conference to contradict Mr Blair's assertion that the war had been won. "The question is, where is Saddam? Where are his arsenals of weapons of mass destruction?" the Russian president asked. "Perhaps Saddam is still hiding somewhere in Moscow underground, sitting on cases of weapons of mass destruction, preparing to blow the whole thing up and kill hundreds of thousands of people. We do not know what the situation is." He added: "What we want is to ensure that there is no ambiguity and that the threat has been eliminated."
On TV, Putin did seem remarkably cheery. Does he know assurances as to Sammy's fate won't be possible for the coalition?
Mr Blair's trip coincided with France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg agreeing at a mini summit to set up an independent European armed force. The move appeared to be a clear threat to the supremacy of a US-dominated Nato, which Mr Blair strongly supports. Yesterday the Prime Minister repeatedly called for America, the EU and Russia to work together in a strategic partnership. At his joint press conference with the Russian president, Mr Blair said it would be "highly dangerous" if these rival powers failed to co-operate with each other.
Tony's fighting a losing battle here, I think. There's no common threat against both Europe and the U.S. to justify NATO. It's degenerating into a feel-good organization and a debating society. Its primary use in any future operations will be to allow member states to spread blame for things that go wrong...
But the news conference, which came towards the end of four hours of talks, revealed a series of deep splits between Russia and Britain over the future of Iraq. Mr Putin said it was impossible to know whether the people who possessed weapons of mass destruction had been killed or whether they had just gone into hiding. "Perhaps their plan is to transfer these weapons to terrorist organisations," he said. "We simply do not know. Until we get answers to these questions we cannot feel safe and secure." Mr Putin insisted that the United Nations should be involved in the search for weapons of mass destruction. "If something is found there, some empty barrels, then the UN inspectors could be summoned," he said. The inspectors could be protected by "blue helmet" soldiers working for the UN. He even offered to send servicemen from Russia to help.
Take the offer of troops. Let them wear Russian hats, though...
Mr Putin said that he wanted UN sanctions against Iraq to remain in place until the weapons of mass destruction issue was resolved, despite appeals from President George W Bush that they be lifted. He also called for the Oil for Food programme to continue under United Nations control.
Why? They need money to repair all those palaces?
The Prime Minister, who was accompanied by his foreign policy adviser, Sir David Manning, in what were described as frank talks with Mr Putin, is opposed to the Russian position on most of these issues. In the hope of improving relations with Moscow, Mr Blair announced that Mr Putin would make a formal state visit to Britain at the end of June. He said it would be the first official state visit by a Russian leader since 1870. But otherwise the Prime Minister, who looked uncomfortable at the news conference in Mr Putin's official residence, struggled to find points of agreement. "Our soldiers, who have fought and died in respect to this war in Iraq, cannot simply hand over Iraq to the sole charge of the UN while coalition forces are on the ground," he said.
Doesn't make any sense to me, either. We do the work and the UN reaps the benefit? Why?
He also insisted that what happened in Iraq would be the "first test" of whether the strategic partnership he was calling for between the US, the EU and Russia could be made to work. "I think it can be made to work but it requires goodwill, real vision and an acceptance of the strategic partnership," he said. "The alternative is a world where we break up into different poles of power, rivalling one another."
I think that's eventually coming. I don't think it's coming as fast as France expects it to come. And I'm not sure France is going to be one of the major players in the anti-U.S. pole.
But Mr Putin suggested that he was not prepared to accept a world order in which countries always had to follow the US. "If decisions are being made by just one member of the international community and with other members being required just to subscribe to those decisions, that is something we would not find acceptable," he said.
Did anyone say that? I didn't hear it. You made your choice to defend Saddam, and you found yourself at odds with the US and her allies. That was your choice.
Putin makes more sense than Chiraq does, though I think he's misinterpreting our position. At least I hope that's what's happening. There's a difference between differences of opinion and obstructionism. The feeling I've been getting is that Russia and Germany disagreed with the U.S. stance, but insofar as they could, they maintained a sort of neutrality between the U.S. and Iraq, except where they saw themselves protecting their interests. Chiraq actively took Sammy's side and acted as his ally, while professing to be ours. That's just my impression, from all that's gone on in the past six months, and I don't have access to the classified data to back that position up — but I think the press accounts support it. That's why I think the U.S./Britain and Germany/Russia will achieve a rapprochment, while relations between us and France and the mini-Frances will worsen.
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/30/2003 05:38 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [583 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Unless there's a translation error..
Putin's statements leave no doubt that he believes the weapons were there.
I get the feeling he's concerned about the Chechens getting their hands on something big.
Posted by: Dishman || 04/30/2003 7:38 Comments || Top||

#2  If that's his concern, it's hard to see how maintaining UN economic sanctions on the people of Iraq- with Saddam no longer in power- could possibly be a rational way of addressing that concern.

No, this is simple greed: the threat of continued sanctions is intended to coerce the US and UK into giving him a piece of the economic action in post-war Iraq, and repayment of Saddam's pre-war debt.
Posted by: Dave D. || 04/30/2003 7:51 Comments || Top||

#3  I have an article at my website, where I show that WMD is a red herring. Availability may be iffy due to Bellsouth meddling with my spiffy new third party SDSL connection, but keep trying.

Don't worry. It's not a liberal rant. I just wanted to explain why there's more to WMD than just WMD...
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 8:41 Comments || Top||

#4  Good analysis, Ptah, and it's consistent with our present emphasis on finding the people who know about the weapons, more than finding the weapons themselves.

One question, though: what the hell is a "Hugo"?
Posted by: Dave D. || 04/30/2003 9:04 Comments || Top||

#5  Ptah, I fully agree with your analysis. This was something I never understood about the whole thing. Why didn't Saddam give up the WMD he had years ago, ask for lifting of sanctions and when the money starts flowing again get his weapons back?
A sanctions-free Iraq would have had no much trouble to buy the stuff it needed and all the knowhow was there anyway.
Now the question is: If Saddam had WMD hidden and he had come clear, leading the UN inspectors to any place where a bottle of sarin was hidden, could he ever have satisfied the U.S.? No, because nobody could ever be sure that he didn't have some more, right?
Could he have dragged on the UN inspection process if he had been somewhat smarter? Maybe. His mistake was to say that Iraq didn't have any WMD. Had he said... well we got a bit left buried but please UN come and destroy it all... tough shit for the U.S. Yet it wouldn't have changed a thing, the invasion would have gone ahead as planned way before Bush addressed the UN. And Sammy knew that. But had Saddam played the UN a bit better, he would have given Tony Blair more trouble because visible evidence that the inspections "were working" would have strengthen the anti war stance in Britain (and even more in the rest of the world.
So why was the WMD issue chosen anyway? Because it was the only issue that could be played at the UN Security Council. As the Council wasn't giving in, it was made irrelevant (for this and further U.S. wars).
Red herring indeed. The catastrophic situation in Iraq would have made a more convincing case. But probably not a case that would have been decided in a few months.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 10:29 Comments || Top||

#6  Hugo, Yugo... What's the difference as long as you are not considering buying French!

Great points, Ptah.
Posted by: Tom || 04/30/2003 10:30 Comments || Top||

#7  Yah, it was supposed to be YUGO, not Hugo. erk.

Thanx for the comments, everyone!
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 12:52 Comments || Top||

#8  i must respectfully disagree with both ptah and TGA. at least as regards the legal case for war (for the prudential case i suppose i agree - hmm)
The legal case was based on UN resolutions, but ultimately rooted in the 1991 ceasefire agreements - in these Iraq forfeited rights to build weapons that other sovereign states possess (I note that while chemical weapons are banned under treaty, the sanction is embargo on the country's chemical industry, not regime change) IIRC the ceasefire documents referred to actual weapons or active programs to research and build them - not the mere possesion of sufficient knowledge and broad infrastructure.

I would agree that there is an element of red herringness about WMD now - 1. the immediate provacation to war was UNSC 1441, which required Iraq to actively cooperate - if Iraq failed to cooperate then the war was justified ("serious consequences") even if Iraq had no WMD - since we couldnt verify that due to Iraqs non-cooperation (Police: take that gun out of you pocket or I'll shoot. Thug: never, copper. Police: Geez, he's dead and all he had in his pocket was his wallet - i wonder why?) 2. I think there is evidence of terrorism connection sufficient to justify war. 3. Support of Iraqi people for the war effectively renders justification pointless, troubling though this may be to advocates of Treaty of Westphalia.

however the issue of finding WMD is still important - to US credibility on future issues - failure to find WMD (or at least to show evidence they were destroyed in run-up to war) would make us less believable whenever WMD come up in future arguments wrt other countries.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/30/2003 13:18 Comments || Top||

#9  "Russia and Germany disagreed with the U.S. stance"
They did more than simply disagree, they failed to reign-in Chiraq. And according to TGA, that was because they weren't given a choice by the US. In the run-up to the war, all I saw were meetings between Chiraq-Schroeder-Putin. Schroeder and Putin had their chance, why didn't they take it?

Secondly, the issue of WMD and Iraq is what was fed for public digestion at the UN, and was a tool used by the US for trying to obtain global permission at the UNSC to go after Saddam. There were other reasons for going into Iraq, and in my opinion WMD was secondary to those. And yes, oil was one of them, but not for the reason the leftist goons would want you to think. I find it interesting that the US pulled out (somewhat) from Saudi Arabia now, shortly after the war, when the oil in Iraq is about to start flowing. Seems like they were itching to get out. Seems the US wants to rid itself of any dependance on the Soddies. And everyone in Rantburg knows the reason why.
Posted by: RW || 04/30/2003 14:14 Comments || Top||

#10  liberalhawk, that doesn't answer my question: What would the U.S. actually have done IF Saddam had fully cooperated? And it was up to Blix to state full cooperation, right? We all agree that Saddam didn't fully (or even partially) cooperate. But could he actually have done so? Let's say he let all scientists go abroad with their "extended families" and these guys had said: Nope, no active programs, we're just researching better ways to make baby milk powder, then what?
The U.S. would NEVER have accepted Blix confirming that Iraq was in full compliance. It was never an option. And everybody involved knew it.
And everybody knew that the U.S. couldn't possibly feel THAT threatened by Iraq's elusive WMD. I agree with RW: The war was mainly fought for strategic reasons: Getting out of KSA, cornering Iran and Syria, sitting right in the middle of everything and control (not steal) the oil flow. Never could so much be achieved with so little. I think the U.S. knew quite well in what sorry state Iraq really was. And I'm rather convinced that Baghdad was bought, not conquered.
I remember the worst case scenarios flying around in fall 2002 (including mushroomed Baghdad, poisoned Tel Aviv, 100000s of casualties and a 2 trillion dollar bill). Can you blame the millions of people demonstrating against the war that they had all this in mind?
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 14:39 Comments || Top||

#11  Here is another thought. WMDs as a possibility were important to Saddam for rebellion control. It didn't matter if he had them or not, he had to say he had them in order to suppress rebellion. If he ever complied with 1441 then he would of had a rebellion.
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/30/2003 14:40 Comments || Top||

#12  "Can you blame the millions of people demonstrating against the war that they had all this in mind?"
Well, yes. Firstly, they were not protesting the war, they were demonstrating against the US. A very small minority was actually concerned about this turning into a Vietnam, or worse. Those would have been legitimate concerns, and legitimate protests. But all you had to do was read the placards or interview the protestors. On CNN I saw a reporter ask a protestor why they were protesting, and the answer was that they were against US foreign policy. I would have loved to continue that conversation and ask them what specific policy they were against, and watch them choke.
Finally, I do not want to leave the impression that I disagree with what the US is doing, just that WMD isn't the primary concern among the Bush team... and rightly so. And no matter how dubious the other reasons for war would have been, getting rid of a murderous dictator and lifting the sanctions is good enough for me.
Posted by: RW || 04/30/2003 15:24 Comments || Top||

#13  "What would the U.S. actually have done IF Saddam had fully cooperated?"
Full cooperation would have been too risky for Saddam. It means he would have to have full trust in his staff. To stay in power he used murder, torture, fear... and not trust. If he HAD fully cooperated and disarmed, and even invited the US Marines to inspect, the minute he re-started his WMD programs, the cycle would have begun all over again: UN, sanctions, 12 years, Blix, Chiraq, war. (Well, maybe not the 12 years)
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/30/2003 16:03 Comments || Top||

#14  Anon, your postulated second cycle would have had one big difference: Saddam's scientists would have known more the second time around. They would have known what they would have needed, and would have avoided a lot of blind alleys.

Sorry, L.H., the Know-how of WMD is more important than the WMD itself, and because the resolutions targeted the physical WMD and not the knowhow or incentive, they were inherently flawed.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 19:46 Comments || Top||

#15  "And it was up to Blix to state full cooperation, right? "

No it was not. UNSC simply stated that Iraq should cooperate, and authorized Blix to make reports to the UNSC. It did not require the Council to rely on Blix's judgement. Nor did it state that a second resolution was required before serious consequences would ensue.

Had Saddam actually cooperated, the US would not have invaded. We would have had to fall back on some plan B. However no one in the US expected that to happen, for a variety of reasons.
Posted by: Liberalhawk || 04/30/2003 23:31 Comments || Top||

#16  ptah - more important to what? prudentially more important - perhaps. Though it could be argue a great many aspects of the situation were and are prudentially more important than WMD - eg transforming the political culture of the region. For the legal case, the actual WMD were central. Different resolutions (or more centrally, different post-war cease-fire agreement) perhaps - but I find it hard to imagine an April 1991 ceasefire agreement that bans Iraq from possesing scientific know-how, or incentives to build WMD.
Posted by: Liberalhawk || 04/30/2003 23:36 Comments || Top||

#17  Al Capone was nailed on tax evasion.
Posted by: Dishman || 05/01/2003 0:08 Comments || Top||

Political will to bolster forces is absent, says US
America yesterday dismissed the European initiative to create a multi-national force headquarters as irrelevant because of a lack of political will to spend more on defence. "Reference was made to the meeting today in Belgium where four of the nations of the union have come together and created some sort of a plan to develop some sort of a headquarters," Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, said witheringly. "But what we need is not more headquarters. What we need is more capability and fleshing out the structure and the forces that are there with the equipment that they need." Mr Powell did not hide the Bush administration's dissatisfaction with European defence capabilities and its anger at the French-led blocking of Nato aid to Turkey and opposition to the United Nations authorising war with Iraq. "The individual countries of Nato have not done a good enough job on this," he told members of the Senate foreign relations committee. "They talk about it, we have plans there are always new initiatives coming along."
Posted by: George || 04/30/2003 04:33 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [539 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I have a theory: There is not one Colin Powell, but two. His mother really bore siamese twins, and when they got separated, one got the brains and backbone while the other got neither.

This is the one with the backbone and brains speaking.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 6:47 Comments || Top||

#2  I can see a basis for that theory, but I'm not convinced: there are also grounds for another theory, that the Powell/Rumsfeld "conflict of views" has been merely a good-cop/bad-cop act.

Powell has been roundly denounced for what is considered by many to have been a pointless, misguided effort to get UN blessing for the removal of Saddam. This effort produced nothing, it is said, and only wasted valuable time.

Consider what it gained us, though. Because of that excruciating six months of diplomatic wrangling, we now have a far clearer and more detailed picture of who are our friends and who are not, and why. That is valuable information, for it allows us to go forward with fewer illusions (like "our allies, the French").

Second, that allegedly wasted six months has allowed us to build a solid case for ignoring an obstructionist, anti-Anglo UN as we proceed further with our struggle against Islamofascist terrorism. Bush (and Powell) gave the UN a clear choice: either lead this struggle, or follow us in it, or we will shove you rudely out of the way. As most expected, the UN proved unable to lead and unwilling to follow; hence the shoving, already underway as we place severe limits on post-war UN involvement in Iraq. And as we turn our attention to Syria, Iran and the other countries that are part of the problem, we now have a firm basis in experience for ignoring the UN entirely.

And I doubt that bothers Powell a whole lot.
Posted by: Dave D. || 04/30/2003 8:14 Comments || Top||

#3  Powell will convince me of his backbone when he cleans the State house of the striped-pants Arabists suffering from Stockholm syndrome. There needs to be a reminder of who they work for and who they represent. A couple forced retirements and cuts in staff are in order
Posted by: Frank G || 04/30/2003 8:58 Comments || Top||

#4  Anyone familiar with the the post WWII history of Europe knows that Powell is absolutely correct. There has been no end of WEUs, Multilateral Forces, Rapid Reaction Corps, Multinational Brigades, etc. Most are French instigated. All have been PR exercises. They have never trained together and certainly have never deployed. It's all empty posturing.

Re Powell. The State Department is supposed to be all the good cops. Their job is to keep lines of communication open until the very advent of war. While not the opposite of the Pentagon, they are its complement. Powell is just doing his job. A State Dept. that is full of warriors is a State Dept. that will fail.
Posted by: 11A5S || 04/30/2003 10:29 Comments || Top||

#5  11A5S

A State Department that is full of warriors is one that will fail may well be true, BUT a state department is not JUST about "keeping the lines of communications open." It's also supposed to "represent the interests" of the country to which it belongs. It is easy for career diplomats to become more concerned about convincing their own country of the "reasonableness" of their contact states interests and lose sight of their charge of representing their parent country's interests. "Good Cops" still make arrests.
Posted by: Ralph || 04/30/2003 11:12 Comments || Top||

#6  Ralph: I work a lot with sales people. They are subject to the same influences as diplomats with the same outcome: they sometimes are more representative of their customer's concerns than their employer's interests. A good organization capitalizes on this, realizing that outside stakeholders need advocates within the company. I agree, that it is much more adversarial in the the world of foreign relations. But the need for advocates of outside points of view is still necessary. That having been said, someone needs to watch to ensure that none of your advocates is crossing the line and becoming a traitor. In most companies, marketing fulfills that function. Every once in a while, marketing has to reach out and squeeze some sales guy in the nuts to make sure that he is working for you and not the customer. For the most part, I believe that the State Department does an adequate job of representing our country's interests. If you have ever played this game, as I have, you would realize that it is borderline disfunctional and fraught with dangers. To put it into engineering parlance, it is not a stable system and needs constant adjustment. But it works better than anything else than I know of and organizations that do it well, know their own and opponents' strengths and weaknesses well and win. There is much empirical evidence that the USA has been winning for the last 50 years. I think that State has been a big contributor to our victories.
Posted by: 11A5S || 04/30/2003 12:13 Comments || Top||

#7  The problem at State is the same today as it was 20 years ago, when I lived and worked in Washington, DC. The middle- and upper-management people were all graduates of Harvard School of International Relations, and about as far left as you could get and still keep a security clearance. They are multinationalists, and have a strong aversion to the policy of diplomacy through strength. They have no love for the US Constitution and its checks and balances, and believe they should have unilateral control of US Foreign Policy, regardless of what the man in the White House says or does. Until they are shaken out of that idiotic attitude, they will continue to make mistake after diplomatic mistake, and continue to provide a serious challenge to this nation's relationships with other nations. Until the link between the "old boy's network" and Harvard are broken, and the old ideas purged with the old men that have them, the United States will be at a disadvantage in diplomatic relations with the rest of the world.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 04/30/2003 21:32 Comments || Top||

#8  Seems Frank Gaffney sees the same problems I do at State.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 04/30/2003 23:03 Comments || Top||

#9  Powel has done a damn ffine job,and I agree with dave.while dealing with the U.N.was a pain in the ass it has served 2 purposes(1)We now know who are our allies and friends(2)it has shown that the world and more importantly the American street that U.N. is controlled by dictators,terrorist supporters and thier lovers.Also that Kofi is a carrer beurocrat whose primary concern is his delusion of importance,and worried about his job.
OP is correct too.In that State is full of beurocrats and carrer diplomats and needs a through house cleaning,however Powel is not a carrer diplo.
Posted by: Anonymous || 05/01/2003 8:44 Comments || Top||

U.S. Top Military Officials to Skip Paris Show, Business Says
The U.S. military's top officials will boycott the Paris airshow in June in protest over France's anti-war stance over Iraq, the Business reported, without saying where it got the information from. The U.S. Defense Department has banned generals and other officials from the air force, army and navy from attending this year's biggest European airshow. The highest-ranking officials from the air force to attend will be colonels and the navy will send captains, the paper reported. France, which has a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, threatened to veto a resolution giving explicit approval for the use of force against Iraq. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that the country faces unspecified consequences for its opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Posted by: ISHMAIL || 04/30/2003 04:03 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [450 views] Top|| File under:

#1  There have been reports circulating around that France is bound to suffer a back lash of economic and political losses at American hands.
Repercussion against France are likely to range widely, from moves to reduce the importance of the Security Council and other international bodies that buoy French prestige to trans-Atlantic industrial co operations that infuse American technology into French companies.
Most irrepressible of all the responses noted are the consumer goods that the French companies provide in shape of products.
Washington is looking at the possibility of introducing reforms at the Security Council that will downgrade French role. These could be in shape of a much enlarged Security Council in which a veto would require "no" votes from at least two members - and either France or Britain would have to give up their permanent seats to create a single seat for the entire European Union.
U.S. boycott will hurt French Airbus Industrie when American companies will not only refuse to buy aircraft and other items manufactured in France but also by actively trying to replace France in other world export markets. Fifty percent of the entire Airbus sales come from American airlines.
Those standing to be damaged most are major French companies that depend on cooperation with U.S. manufacturers. These are THALES that partner with Raytheon in electronic warfare or SNECMA with General Electric in aircraft engines. The Pentagon is said to be looking in areas that will block French defense contactors from gaining access to U.S. technology.
On a worser note American investment are likely to be sucked out the Paris stock market depriving the bourse that account for up to one-fourth of the total capitalization of the exchange. As of immediate many major French companies desperately need fresh transfusion following sharp slumps in their sectors.
One more vulnerable company that stands to suffer is TotalFinaElf SA. It presently has interests in Iraq’s major oil fields. The French oil giant had signed prodigious contracts, lopsidedly favorable to France valuing as much as $50 billion. With the departing Iraqi regime and the U.S. military victory in Iraq mean that the French foothold would be lost forever.
Further more these contracts are crookedly favorable to France that neither any successor regime would respect them nor the French are likely to make good a legal case in any court house.
But Jacques Chirac has brushed aside such threats as he thinks these moves will be ruled out by the World Trade Organization. Mr. Chirac nurses the idea that in globalized economy, many U.S. jobs depend on American sales to France and even French-owned companies in the United States.
Many readers will be able to recall the time when France under Chirac resumed nuclear testing in the Pacific in 1995. The Clinton administration though voicing limited criticism still gave French military scientists access to U.S. technology for simulating nuclear explosions. In the present circumstances that all looks impossible.
Sensible French officials are not taking comfort in wait-and-see policy as they witness U.S. retaliation has started already, in shape of a commercial war. Washington successfully pressed the Czech Republic and Poland, both members of the European Union, to buy warplanes from the United States instead of Britain and France.
But it is certainly a matter of wisdom to protect oneself from negative eventualities as US makes sure that it never gets caught again in a diplomatic entangle like it faced in Security Council , NATO or in letting characters like Villepin make political capital for future as Mr. Chirac prepares him as his likely successor.

Omer Ishmail
Posted by: Omer Ishmail || 04/30/2003 5:26 Comments || Top||

#2  *nods* In addition to Omer's excellent observations, I want to add the proviso that, even though Airbus sales of new aircraft may drop, the existing fleet still has to be maintained. It MAY be possible for France to put the hurt on US airlines by forbidding sales of replacement and repair parts, but that would be cutting off their nose to spite their face. Even then, they would have to know, from personal experience, that such an "economic sanctions" regime can be easly circumvented. They may think they were oh-so-clever in getting around the Iraq economic sanctions, but they should bother to take a look at the period of American history known as Prohibition to realize they are mere pikers when compared to some real Pros...
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 6:58 Comments || Top||

#3  Even an increase in perceived risk in purchasing aircraft could hurt Airbus sales -- that applies to airlines being concerned about customer perception ("I won't fly on an Airbus -- got a flight that uses a 737?") or availability of spare parts and/or services.
Posted by: snellenr || 04/30/2003 10:11 Comments || Top||

#4  Oh, and I'm SO disappointed with the Army: I'd have thought they'd have tried to outdo the Navy and only send Majors...
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 8:48 Comments || Top||

#5  Somebody needs to mention that to Jet Blue, they just placed a big order for Airbuses.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 10:36 Comments || Top||

#6  The American Public may easily say,

"If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going."

People are looking for tangible things to grab onto for a boycott. They are very angry with Chiraq's French govt.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/30/2003 10:55 Comments || Top||

#7  Steve,

Very good point. I just left a comment at Jet Blue that I won't be using them if they buy French planes over American. Anyone else interested in voicing their opinions can do so at


(Sorry, couldn't make the link button work)
Posted by: RonB || 04/30/2003 11:39 Comments || Top||

#8  Steve: It'll be interesting to see whether Southwest (who only uses Boeing 737) starts to emphasize its "all-American" fleet in advertising (assuming they haven't already)...
Posted by: snellenr || 04/30/2003 11:46 Comments || Top||

#9  Here's an interesting bit from Reuters:
TOULOUSE, France - The head of European airplane maker Airbus said on Wednesday that Pratt & Whitney had made a bid to supply engines for the A400M military transport plane that was 20 percent lower than its rival. But Noel Forgeard told reporters he had been asked to delay a decision to award Pratt the contract in order to give its European rival time to make a more competitive offer.
Posted by: RonB || 04/30/2003 11:53 Comments || Top||

#10  The Paris Air Show is always a major draw for American defense contractors and those that want to see the "latest" from that world. The biggest way to hurt France and its pride would be to have Lockheed/Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and all the other suppliers of top-line military hardware send second-rate stuff to the show, rather than the "latest innovations". The big test of how well the United States rejects France is the summer tourism crowd. If they stay away, France will be in huge trouble financially.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 04/30/2003 12:28 Comments || Top||

#11  "either France or Britain would have to give up their permanent seats to create a single seat for the entire European Union"

either? Aren't they both EU-members? It would hardly work for now as the EU is not really a political entity yet, less so with 25 members.

Some French politicians have suggested to "share" a permanent SC seat with Germany. I hope that Schroeder doesn't feel tempted by that poisonous offer.

Airbus btw is not a French, its an European plane (with significant UK and Spanish contributions).

"In 2001, thirty years after its creation, Airbus formally became a single integrated company, thus passing another major milestone in its history of achievements. The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), (resulting from the merger between Aerospatiale Matra SA of France, Daimler Chrysler Aerospace AG of Germany and Construcciones Aeronauticas SA of Spain), and BAE SYSTEMS of the UK, transferred all of their Airbus-related assets to the newly incorporated company and, in exchange, became shareholders in Airbus with 80 per cent and 20 per cent respectively of the new stock. (Official Airbus Info)
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 12:57 Comments || Top||

Posted by: donner || 04/30/2003 15:28 Comments || Top||

#13  JetBlue's only aircraft type is the Airbus A320. It would be silly from a business standpoint to branch off into different types. Fleet commonality (in terms of training and maintenance) is one of the reasons why JetBlue keeps costs low and hording in profits while the majors continue to hemorrhage.

It was a sound decision from a business standpoint and I don't think they should be chided for that.
Posted by: SL || 04/30/2003 15:33 Comments || Top||

#14  My favorite Paris Air Show moment? When they were demonstrating the amazing autopilot landing capabilities of the mighty Airbus and put it right into the trees. Mon Dieu!
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/30/2003 15:40 Comments || Top||

#15  Inasmuch as I loathe Chiraq and everything Chiraqian, it's a good thing that Boeing has a competitor. Boeing is starting to drop the ball to Airbus. Anyone interested, checkout the FAA airworthiness directives
Posted by: RW || 04/30/2003 16:41 Comments || Top||

#16  I was going to Paris this month, but not now...we're going to Rome instead. Screw the French.

France is ALREADY being hardhit by loss of American tourism. Word is, you can get rooms in any hotel and they're not being snotty about deposits. They're going to suffer hugely this year.
Posted by: R. McLeod || 05/01/2003 2:15 Comments || Top||

France denies giving information to Saddam
France has denied a report in a British newspaper that claimed its journalists had found documents in Baghdad indicating that Paris had informed Saddam Hussein regularly of its dealings with Washington. 'There is no credibility whatsoever to this information,' Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told France-Info radio on Monday. 'Everybody knows that France never had a soft attitude towards the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.'
That seems to involve kind of a loose definition of "everyone"...
The French minister made the comments during an official visit to the Czech Republic for discussions on the future expansion of the European Union. On Sunday, Britain's Sunday Times said its reporters had found documents in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry revealing that Paris had shared with Baghdad the contents of private transatlantic meetings and diplomatic traffic from Washington. The paper said the information kept Saddam abreast of every development in US planning and might have helped him to prepare for war. One report warned of a US 'attempt to involve Iraq with terrorism' as 'cover for an attack on Iraq', according to the Times. nother document, dated Sept 25, 2001, from Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri to Saddam's palace, was reportedly based on a briefing from the French Ambassador in Baghdad and covered talks between presidents Jacques Chirac and George W. Bush, the newspaper said. 'I simply want us to avoid giving credibility to rumours and malicious gossip,' said Mr de Villepin.
"Whether it's true or not..."
France 'permanently acts with transparency and in the interests of the region', he added.
Posted by: ISHMAIL || 04/30/2003 03:59 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [896 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Soft Attitude! France's general posture was to bend over and grab the ankles.
Posted by: Douglas De Bono || 04/30/2003 6:57 Comments || Top||

#2  True or not, it did 'em a lot of good, didn't it? Is it just me, or does everything the French touch turn to shit?
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/30/2003 13:41 Comments || Top||

#3  I am sure that US officials watched what they said and wrote to the head of the AoW, so we were not really compromised. It is kind of a tradition in the US, dating back to WWII, and probably even before. Being prudent, ya know...
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/30/2003 13:49 Comments || Top||

#4  A "frog", by definition, is an ugly, greenish and swarthy animal who finds comfort in the darkness and slime of the swamp.
Posted by: ColoradoConservative || 04/30/2003 17:04 Comments || Top||

#5  Is de Villipen frog for "weasel". It may not of really been French policy to do this and the Sunday Times may be having a bit of fun with the French, BUT. And this is a great big BUT did the French do anything to discourage the passing of information by lower level intelligence types. By lower level I mean say the Head of the American Desk at the DSB or what ever they call the outfit that Clownsue worked at.
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/30/2003 17:47 Comments || Top||

Fifth Column
Judge Rejects Suit Against Bush Over War
LINCOLN, Neb. - A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former congressman alleging that President Bush violated the 1973 War Powers Act by attacking Iraq. Former Rep. Clair Callan had no legal standing to file the court action and failed to show that he would be personally injured by Bush's actions, U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf ruled. The judge also said the issues raised involved foreign policy and military decisions that are outside the jurisdiction of the judicial branch.

Callan, 82, said he might appeal. "All I ever wanted, and all I want right now, is that this president or any other president cannot preemptively strike another nation," he said.
Yeah, that ideology works real well in the era of WMD proliferation.
The Nebraska Democrat, who served in the House from 1965 to 1967, also has said he filed the suit because he was troubled by his own reluctance to oppose the Vietnam War while he was in Congress.
I'm sure he raised a fit over Clinton's air campaign in Kosovo and Iraq, too. *smirk*
Posted by: Dar || 04/30/2003 02:50 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336 views] Top|| File under:

Cali goes even more P.C., if that’s possible
LOS ANGELES — A textbook review process in California has changed or eliminated references to everything from the Founding Fathers (search) to hot dogs, leaving many to charge the state with distorting history in the name of political correctness.
The textbook review process, which is routinely done in many states, is meant to eliminate or replace outdated words or phrases. But what’s happening in California has a lot of people wondering – quite literally – "Where’s the beef?"
That’s because many California textbooks will no longer feature pictures of hot dogs, sodas, cakes, butter and other kinds of food that are not considered nutritious. Nor will the books contain any phrases judged to be sexist or politically insensitive.
The Founding Fathers, for instance, are now referred to as "The Framers," in an apparent effort to make them sound less male-dominant. And there will be no more reading about Mount Rushmore (search), where the faces of four U.S. presidents are carved into stone, because it appears to offend some Native-American groups.
Snowman? No more. Melt that image and replace with Snowperson. Want to sail away on a yacht? No, again. It’s too elitist.
And if you think grandpa is a senior citizen, guess what? You’re wrong. That’s demeaning, according to the new standards. He is now simply an "older person."
The laundry list of words and images banned or considered offensive is not a short one. The word "jungle" has been replaced with "rain forest." The word "devil" has disappeared entirely, with no replacement.
Many of the changes seem to represent a direct assault on historical accuracy. For example, the new guidelines dictate Native-Americans should not be depicted with long braids, in rural settings or on reservations. There are no suggestions on how they should be depicted, however.
The problem there, say historians, is that some Native-Americans did wear their hair in braids, and generally lived in rural settings before being relocated to reservations.
"Welcome to California-Land of fruits and nuts"
They appear to take offense when someone taints their religion with fact.

Posted by: Mike N. || 04/30/2003 01:25 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [404 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Can they show our Native American cousins oh...I dunno....dealing Blackjack maybe?
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/30/2003 13:35 Comments || Top||

#2  While those seemingly in political power amuse themselves with PC, the legislature amuses itself with cross-dressing discrimination laws. Meanwhile, after months of bickering and doing nothing, the State Debt is still there at $34 Billion and growing and has not been tackled. People in California are going to have to tackle the Governor and the Legislature, kick some ass, and get their problem solved soon, or there won't be money to even whitewash revise the textbooks. Cal wil tank. I hope that there is time and will to save that beautiful state.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/30/2003 13:45 Comments || Top||

#3  The CA Dept. of Ed. is a hotbed of PC morons, all protected by the teachers unions. Get a Sac pol to buck the teachers? Never happen, pal...
Posted by: mojo || 04/30/2003 13:52 Comments || Top||

#4  People, this is what happens when the Demoncrats hold all the cards politically as they do here in the once Golden State. We are running a defecit to the tune of 30 Billion (that's with B). That number increases by hundreds of millions every day...and the Demoncrats still have not passed a budget...let alone one that attempts to balance the books. Instead, they are more concerned about making sure that kids can't read The Little Engine That Could...why? Because the character is male. I'm crapping you negative, the book was just removed from the approved reading list for that very reason. This state has for all intents and purposes seceded from the union on political level. We are in fact a Marxist state. God help us.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 04/30/2003 13:55 Comments || Top||

#5  Alaska Paul, are you still offering the services of your plane? I got a target for ya.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 04/30/2003 13:59 Comments || Top||

#6  Feel a tug of disbelief? Keep in mind this is a state that recently passed the "Klinger" law, and will probably pass a law in the near future which will allow employees to sue employers if, say, the employee gets punched by a customer for being a jerk. It's like being able to sue a car manafacturer when I get sideswiped by a non-insured driver.

I used to worry about not being to buy a house in this state. These days, I can't see a downside.

Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/30/2003 14:09 Comments || Top||

#7  I could really care less as long as they update the history books beyond the Korean war.
Posted by: Yank || 04/30/2003 14:10 Comments || Top||

#8  I keep hoping for that earthquake that's going to make CA. float out into the Pacific. I wonder what would happen if AP crashed his plane into the San Adreas (sp?) fault? Unmanned of course. No reason for AP to martyr himself over this. He can parachute to safety.
Posted by: Mike N. || 04/30/2003 14:38 Comments || Top||

#9  Hey, Guys, be easy on my plane. I used to work for USGS c1970 in earthquake research on the San Andreas and branch faults. I had a survey going across the fault trace in San Juan Batista to determine local fault slip. Some places to the south were humming along at 25-30 mm/yr. This guy comes up to me and we start talking. He says that he was abducted by aliens, The west side of california will fall into the sea, etc. etc. He then asked what I was doing, and I said that the USGS was setting up control points for future surveys for beach front property. They guy got quite excited and said, "Now, finally, someone in the government believes me." And then he walked away.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending upon your point of view, the west side of California will just slowly head north at a regional rate of 30 mm per year, and will go into the pacific ocean around Pt. Reyes. And that is the end of my story.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/30/2003 15:03 Comments || Top||

#10  AP, that's a form of secession I can approve of! To bad it's gonna take ten to twenty million years
Posted by: Someone who did NOT vote for William Proxmire || 04/30/2003 16:59 Comments || Top||

#11  I sent the current administration a suggestion that would undoubtedly make George Bush the undisputed "Education President" of all times. So far, I haven't heard anything about it. I proposed that the US Department of Education design and implement a website, freely open to anyone, containing K-12 educational material - lessons, including reading material and supplemental links, self-tests, etc. Cost would be less than that to run the current Ed dept for a few days. That makes too much sense. It would also make it difficult for the NEA to control what kids learn. Our kids are being cheated every day the attend a public school.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 04/30/2003 17:24 Comments || Top||

#12  Old Patriot: That's a damned good idea.
Posted by: 11A5S || 04/30/2003 19:21 Comments || Top||

Now ISI wants terror camps within J&K
JAMMU: In view of the "large-scale" killing of infiltrating militants by Indian Army along the Line of Control, Pakistan's ISI has directed militant outfits operating in Jammu and Kashmir to set up local arms training camps within the state, BSF sources said on Wednesday.

"Increasing number of messages pouring in from Pakistan-based top commanders and ISI to militant outfits are directing them to setup local training camps and train more boys locally," the sources said here.

After suffering heavy casualties along the LoC and International Border (IB), ISI bosses and top commanders of Pakistan-based militant outfits, including Lashker-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and others, have asked their cadres to establish camps in the Pir Panjal ranges which spread across the state from Poonch to Kupwara, they said.

The sources said BSF and other security agencies have intercepted at least 37 such messages from different outfits during last one month.

These intercepts reveal that top Pak-based commanders are upset as most of militants infiltrated by them into J and K through Poonch-Rajouri, Kupwara and Baramulla area had been killed, the sources said.

Pointing out that it had become difficult for militants to cross-over to Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan as security in the area had been beefed up, the sources said 32 militants had been killed along the LoC in the last one week.

"Due to this, militant outfits are busy in the process of setting up local training camps in most difficult Pir Panjal ranges in Poonch-Rajouri-Gool-Doda belt of Jammu division," the sources said.

One such camp was destroyed when Army troops killed 13 militants in Bharat forests during a command council meeting in Doda on Tuesday, they said, adding that the security agencies were busy mapping the presence of more such camps.
Posted by: rg117 || 04/30/2003 12:05 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [325 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hey, you call yourself an Islamic state?! Where's your terror camp?!
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/30/2003 13:52 Comments || Top||

#2  Can't cross the border without getting wacked, and the Army notices when you start setting up shooting ranges in the local park. Guess the only thing left is home schooling.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 14:36 Comments || Top||

Violence rocks Kashmir as peace moves gain momentum
IRNA -- At least 32 people were killed and scores injured in gunbattles in the mountainous regions of Kashmir while militants triggered explosions at four places and made yet another bid on the life of a senior state minister overnight, reports said Wednesday morning. The bloody violence engulfed Kashmir as India and Pakistan inched closer towards restoring the stalled dialogue process.
This stuff kicks into high gear as soon as the peace processor's plugged in. When it's turned on, it gets worse...
Guns fell silent after nearly 48 hours in the southern Doda woods Tuesday afternoon, leaving 15 snuffies militants and seven army soldiers dead. The gunbattle, which began after troops laid siege of a vast forest in the Brath Nallah area in Doda district, also left 12 soldiers wounded. Police sources said four of the injured were stated to be in a serious condition. An official spokesman said in Jammu all the killed militants were foreign nationals, but did not identify them.
I doubt if they were Samoans... Probably not Lapplanders, either, though you can never tell with them. Or they could be Paks and Arabs of various flavors...
Reports quoting official sources said the militants were holding a meeting of their command councils when the army, during a search operation, challenged them to surrender. The militants refused to lay down their arms and instead fired rifle grenades and opened indiscriminate firing from mountain peaks. The advancing troops bombed the militant positions with mortars and automatic weapons. The densely wooded area was rattling with explosions and intense gunfire. A report said several huts of nomadic Gujjar tribes were destroyed in the gunbattle.
"Uhhh... We ain't with — Hey! Watch it! That's my hut! Omigawd! My baseball glove! Damn! That used to be my wife!"
According to the report, fire broke out in the forest area during the gunbattle.
"Hot dang! Too hot for me! I'm migratin' someplace else..."
Late in the night a group of suspected militants attacked the ancestral home of a senior minister, Muzafar Hussain Baig, in Baramulla. The minister, who holds the portfolios of finance, planning, law and parliamentary affairs, was there when the attack took place. The security men present repulsed the attack after an hour-long exchange of fire according to the reports. The army was called in, which later cordoned-off the area. This was the second attack on Baig, who quit as ruling party chief last night, within a week's time.
"Alright! Alright! I quit! Let somebody else's house get shot up!"
Six suspected militants, three of whom police described as Fidayeen, were killed elsewhere during the same period in gunbattles with Indian troops. Three IED explosions were triggered by militants, in which two BSF personnel received injuries elsewhere. The first blast took place at Padgampur village in Pulwama district of South Kashmir. Militants detonated two IEDs at Origam, near Khansahib in the central district of Budgam Bundzoo, in Pulwama. The Hizbul Mujahideen, which claimed responsibility, said a large number of soldiers were killed and injured in the explosions.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/30/2003 10:54 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [324 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Someone needs to put Naomi Campbell on this right away!
Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/30/2003 11:15 Comments || Top||

International inspectors visits Pakistan fertilizer plant
IRNA -- A three-member team of international inspectors visited a fertilizer factory in Karachi on Tuesday to verify that it is not producing chemical weapons, a Foreign Office official said.
"Whoa! What's that smell? Smells like..."
"Thank God! I thought it was Baluchi cooking!"
"This is absolutely a routine check. Pakistan allowed them to come here because we have nothing to hide," Foreign Ministry official Tipu Sultan told reporters at the Fauji Jordan Fertilizer plant in the port city of Karachi.
Tipoo Sultan? He's back? Cheeze. You just can't keep these guys killed. That was 200 years ago...
Security was tight for the team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as several religious, political parties criticized the inspection and some described it similar to that of Iraq. But the Foreign office official Sultan said it is not fair judgement to match them to the U.N. inspections in Iraq. "This inspection will benefit Pakistan by endorsing its credibility as a member state of the Chemical Weapons Convention," Sultan said.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/30/2003 10:51 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [434 views] Top|| File under:

#1  In fake news today:

IRNA -- A three-member team of international inspectors visited a fertilizer factory in Karachi on Tuesday to verify that it is not producing chemical weapons, a Foreign Office official said. "It is, however producing very bad movies. We have recovered two reels of some mess called 'Manos: The Hands of Fate.'"

Okay - that's a joke relying on an extremely obscure reference. Pat yerself on the back if you figure it out!
Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/30/2003 11:07 Comments || Top||

#2  Harold "Hal" Warren, a fertilizer salesman in El Paso wrote, directed, and starred in "Manos" The Hands of Fate, a film that would come to be the yardstick by which all bad movies are measured.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 11:16 Comments || Top||

#3  Steve:

Either you're quick with Google, or you're another MST3k fan. In either case, excellent!
Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/30/2003 11:19 Comments || Top||

#4  FormerLiberal: I can see you siting home with your black robes with big red hands on them, typing away, waiting for the slow motion chick-fight to ensue. *sigh* That movie hurt me on so many levels.
Posted by: Tadderly || 04/30/2003 11:36 Comments || Top||

#5  You mean it displaceed "Plan 9 from Outer Space"?
Posted by: Fred || 04/30/2003 11:47 Comments || Top||

#6  Hey, yeah... And what about "The Forbidden zone" starring (sort of, starring, if any acting was going on on anyone's part) Herve Vilachaise (sp?) as the emperor and Danny Elfman as Satan?
Posted by: Tadderly || 04/30/2003 11:49 Comments || Top||

#7  Thanks Steve, I had almost erased Manos, Hands of Fate from my memory until you broght it up. All those years of therapy wasted! Joel and the bots were never the same either.
"Press the button Frank"
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 04/30/2003 12:55 Comments || Top||

#8  Your chance to remark!

Torgo: "The dog goes where the master goes."

Bots: [fill in the blank, folks!]
Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/30/2003 13:05 Comments || Top||

#9  Oh - for the record, there is no right answer. It's a line that got buried by other dialogue and was missed entirely. Have fun!
Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/30/2003 14:15 Comments || Top||

#10  Sorry FormerLiberal...you should get the hat-tip....er I mean blame.
Posted by: Rex Mundi || 04/30/2003 14:37 Comments || Top||

#11  Servo: "Well, that explains the condition of the carpet."

[rim shot]
Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/30/2003 14:58 Comments || Top||

#12  You've all failed to mention the all-time, worst science-fiction (shudder - kinda, sorta) flick ever made, "When Worlds Collide". It's so bad it's condsidered a classic, must-see film by which all others are to be judged. I'll swear the props were made of cardboard - and it shows!
Posted by: Old Patriot || 04/30/2003 19:52 Comments || Top||

#13  ..Brilliant political commentary AND MST3K fans....this has got to be THE greatest blog on the planet.
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 05/01/2003 0:21 Comments || Top||

Poppygrowers in Pakistan clash with paramilitary forces
IRNA -- Tribesmen in Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchestan, on the border with Afghanistan, have fired on paramilitary troops trying to destroy their poppy fields. "One Frontier Corps man was killed in the clash that took place on 26 April," Brig Sikander Ali of Pakistan's anti-narcotics division said in the capital, Islamabad, on Tuesday. The incident occurred in the Pinakai valley in Gulistan District, according to UN information network. Local newspapers reported that weapons such as Kalashnikov assault rifles, mortars and rocket launchers were used.
All tricked out for elk season, aren't they?
"We know that these tribesmen have these types of weapons due to their location and proximity to the border," Sikander said.
"That, and their liking for slaughtering each other. I think it's part of their mating rituals..."
The poppy eradication process, which started on 15 April, was concentrated in Qila Abdullah, where about 90 percent of the crop was growing, 70 km from the provincial capital, Quetta. "Obviously there will be resistance, but we are taking this matter seriously and we have to eradicate the fields," Ali stressed. Haji Wali Muhammad, a tribal elder, said from Gulistan that farmers in the region turned to poppy cultivation because of a lack of infrastructure and a dearth of national or international assistance. "There are no schools, the hospital is not working and drought has destroyed our orchards," he said.
"Nobody gives a rat's heinie about us, until we start growing the heavy shit..."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/30/2003 10:47 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [320 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The paramilitary was pissed off that they weren't getting their share of the profits.
Posted by: rg117 || 04/30/2003 11:59 Comments || Top||

Pakistan Arrests Suspect in Cole Bombing
Pakistani police have arrested six men suspected of being linked with al-Qaida, including a Yemeni man wanted in connection with the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, an Interior Ministry official said Wednesday.
Wonder if any of these guys are some of those who "escaped" from the Yemeni jail?
Waleed Mohammed Bin Attash, who also is known as Khalid al-Attash, is wanted in connection with the suicide bombing of the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors, the official said. The arrests were made Tuesday in two raids conducted in southern Karachi by Pakistani authorities. "This is a big catch. Al-Attash is wanted in the USS Cole bombing," Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema said. "I think he is very important." The identities of the other men were not immediately known. All six suspects still are in Pakistan. The raids were "were solely a Pakistani operation," Cheema told The Associated Press in an interview in the capital of Islamabad. "We didn't say anything before now because we wanted to see whether we could make more arrests." The men have not yet been handed over to the United States, and U.S. law enforcement agencies have not questioned the suspects, Cheema said. "During the raid 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of high explosive and a large quantity of arms, ammunitions and explosives intended to be used for terrorist attacks have been recovered from the suspects," said a statement released by Cheema's National Crisis Management Cell, which oversees anti-terrorist activities in Pakistan.
Standard equipment for the turban set.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 09:08 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [328 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sounds like at least Brig. Cheema takes his job seriously, even if the rest of the Pak/ISI people don't. Good for him
Posted by: Frank G || 04/30/2003 9:33 Comments || Top||

#2  "During the raid 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of high explosive and a large quantity of arms, ammunitions and explosives intended to be used for terrorist attacks have been recovered from the suspects,"

They must have been very pious.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/30/2003 12:36 Comments || Top||

#3  Update: Waleed Mohammed Bin Attash, best known as Tawfiq bin Attash or Tawfiq Attash Khallad, was arrested Tuesday during a pair of raids conducted in southern Karachi by Pakistani authorities. U.S. counterterrorism officials in Washington confirmed the capture of the suspect, also known as Khallad, and described him as one of the most-wanted al-Qaida fugitives. Khallad was active in plotting new attacks, the officials said on condition of anonymity. U.S. intelligence officials said Khallad is suspected of meeting with two of the Sept. 11 hijackers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in January 2000. Those hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, were on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.
Khallad was in Afghanistan for much of the planning of the attacks and was believed to have moved to Pakistan by late 2002, officials said.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 14:57 Comments || Top||

J&K terrorists have chemical weapons, says Army
In a disturbing development on terrorism front, foreign mercenaries operating in Jammu and Kashmir are reported to be in possession of lethal chemical weapons raising security concerns in the border state, according to an Army official. "Terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir have chemical weapons, as per the recent intelligence reports analysed by Army", Lt Col SPK Singh of Northern Command Headquarters said on Wednesday. Over the past two to three months, the Army has been consistently receiving information that foreign terrorists in the state have been moving with suspicious looking containers, he said. "But recent intelligence inputs have suggested that terrorists have been talking about use of poisonous gas", Singh revealed. These reports are of great significance in light of American concern about chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction falling in the hands of terrorist groups here, he said.
Posted by: rg117 || 04/30/2003 07:28 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [321 views] Top|| File under:

#1  If memory serves, al-Qaeda ran a chemical weapons lab out of Darunta camp under the auspices of Midhat Mursi (who was last seen in Chechnya/Georgia) which was the source for those infamous CNN tapes of the dogs being gassed. If they did have any chemical weapons, they might have been moved south into Pakistan or west into Iran, the two main flight routes for al-Qaeda fleeing Afghanistan.

Also of note is that Washington Post article from March 22 noting that al-Qaeda was all set to begin the active production of their own chemical weapons when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was busted. Assuming that his nephews were able to successfully reform the groups' lines of communication after their uncle was busted, they could well have passed these weapons on to their Kashmiri affiliates for use against India.

Another potential source for the weapons, of course, is the Pakistani military, but I like to hope that Musharraf and the rest of his junta isn't that stupid, as any chemical weapons used by the Kashmiri groups is likely to provoke India into a full-scale war against Pakistan and rightfully so.

Did they ever catch that Dr. Mohammed Khan character who was said to be part of al-Qaeda's WMD division?
Posted by: Dan Darling || 04/30/2003 9:10 Comments || Top||

#2  Apprently one of the Khalid nephews is among the 6 suspects taken in by the Paks referred to above.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/30/2003 11:19 Comments || Top||

#3  If the Jihadis actually do use this poison, I seriously hope that Vajpayee does more than just write a poem about it.
Posted by: rg117 || 04/30/2003 12:00 Comments || Top||

Sammy’s Complete Letter to the Great Iraqi People
“In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful:
'Indeed, [before the battle began] they swore an oath to Allah that they would not turn back in flight, and an oath to Allah must be answered for.’"

Iraq, April 28, 2003
"From Saddam Hussein to the Great Iraqi People, and the Sons of the Arab and Islamic Nation, and men of honor everywhere: Peace be upon you, and Allah's mercy and blessings."

'This Is No Victory As Long as There is Resistance In Your Hearts' "Just as Hulagu entered Baghdad, so did the criminal Bush enter Baghdad, with the help of [traitor from within] 'Alqami – indeed, even more than one 'Alqami."

"They did not vanquish you, you who refuse to accept occupation and humiliation, and you, who have Arabism and Islam in your hearts and minds, [they did not defeat you] except through treachery."

"By Allah, this is no victory, as long as there is resistance in your hearts."

"What we used to say has now become fact. We do not live in peace and security as long as the monstrous Zionist entity is on our Arab land, and therefore there should be no split in the unity of Arab struggle."

"Oh sons of our great people, rise up against the occupier and do not put your trust in those who speak of Sunnis and Shiites, because the only problem that the homeland, your great Iraq, is experiencing now is occupation."

"There are no priorities [now] other than the expulsion of the cowardly, murderous infidel occupier. No honorable hand would be extended to shake his, except that of traitors and collaborators."

"I say to you that all the countries surrounding you are against your resistance – but Allah is with you, because you are fighting disbelief and defending your rights."
“The traitors have allowed themselves to proclaim their treachery, although this is a shameful thing. You should now proclaim your rejection of the occupier for the sake of the great Iraq and the nation, and for Islam and humanity."

"Iraq shall triumph, and with it the sons of the nation and men of honor. We shall restore the archeological artifacts they stole, and we shall rebuild Iraq, that they want to divide into separate parts, may Allah bring shame upon them."

Palaces Not Registered In My Name – I Moved to a Small House Long Ago
"Saddam had no property registered in his own name and I challenge anyone to prove that the palaces were not registered in the name of the Iraqi state. I abandoned them long ago and went to live in a small house."

"Forget everything and resist occupation. The sinful error begins when there are priorities other than the occupier and his expulsion. Remember that they aspire to bring in the conflicting parties so that your Iraq will remain weak, so they can plunder it as they have been doing."

"Your party, the party of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath, is proud that it has not it did not extended its hands to the Zionist enemy and did not make concessions to the cowardly American or British aggressor."

"Whoever stands against Iraq and plots against it shall not enjoy peace relying on American support."

"Blessings to every man of the resistance, every honorable Iraqi citizen, and to every woman, child, and elderly person in our great Iraq."

"Unite and the enemy will flee from you, and with him the traitors that entered with him."

"Know that he who came with the invading forces and he whose planes flew in order to kill you will not send you anything but poison."

"Allah willing, the day of liberation and victory will come, for us, for the nation, and for Islam above all else. This time, as always when right triumphs, the days to come will be better."

"Safeguard your property, your departments, and your schools, and boycott the occupier. Boycott him, as this is your duty towards Islam, the religion, and the homeland."

"Long Live Great Iraq and its people"

"Long Live Palestine, free and Arab from the river to the sea,"

"Allah Akbar"

"Disgrace upon the despicable ones."

"Saddam Hussein
26 Safar, 1424
April 28, 2003"
I like the small house comment, makes him sound like a real man of the people.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 03:56 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [298 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The Palestine reference makes it clear. Rachel Corrie still lives and is masquerading as Saddam Hussein.
Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/30/2003 16:14 Comments || Top||

#2  Yawn. Alright "Saddam", whatever.
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 04/30/2003 16:20 Comments || Top||

#3  "No honorable hand would be extended to shake his, except that of traitors and collaborators."

whoever sent this is instigating terror attacks on "friendly" iraqis.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/30/2003 16:29 Comments || Top||

Rumsfeld: ’I Don’t Do Diplomacy’
Take great pride in your remarkable accomplishments, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told coalition troops in Baghdad Wednesday. He thanked the troops for their courage, their dedication to duty and for "stepping up to serve your country." He told coalition forces: "You've rescued a nation, you've liberated a people, you've deposed a cruel dictator, and you have ended his threat to free nations." Rumsfeld said big challenges remain as the U.S. tries to "find and deal with" the remnants of Saddam's regime. "We have to help provide conditions of stability and security so that the Iraqi people can form an interim government and then ultimately a free Iraqi government, based on political freedom, individual liberty and the rule of law."
Taking questions from the U.S. troops, Rumsfeld said he didn't know if Iraq is currently a member of OPEC. "I suspect they're not," he said, adding, "I shouldn't get into this. This is diplomacy, and I don't do diplomacy. You may have noticed."
I like your brand of diplomacy just fine.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 03:14 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [319 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yes Rummy, we noticed that
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 15:26 Comments || Top||

#2  I never really warmed up to Rummy, but I have to admit; I like his reality checks!
Posted by: George || 04/30/2003 15:39 Comments || Top||

#3  As a reformed liberal, I was initially skeptical of Rummy due to his Halliburton connections but I think at this point in time he's the best man for the job and America is lucky to have him.
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 04/30/2003 15:45 Comments || Top||

#4  Didn't von Clausewitz say that war was diplomacy by other means? If that's the case, Rummy is a top-flight diplomat in my book.
Posted by: Tibor || 04/30/2003 16:25 Comments || Top||

#5  Rumsfeld has never worked at Halliburton. You must be thinking of Cheney. Just because liberals tend to have worked as government leeches and ambulance chasers does not mean that all elected officials should come from their ranks. Conflict of interest? Just think of the conflict of interest inherent in politicians buying votes by establishing huge social programs with taxpayer dollars.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 04/30/2003 16:33 Comments || Top||

Just Too Late: Huge U.S. Bomb

UWAIT, April 28 — The Pentagon sent two of its new 21,500-pound bombs to the Persian Gulf but they arrived too late to be used in the Iraq war, an allied official said today.

Two of the massive weapons, the largest conventional bombs in the American arsenal, were dispatched to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in early April, the official said.

At the direction of Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the allied commander in the Persian Gulf, military planners even picked out half a dozen possible targets, mostly Iraqi Republican Guard forces in northern Iraq.

But by the time the bombs arrived, the allied official said, "it would have looked like piling on to use them."

The weapon is officially called the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, but the initials have also been used to refer to it as the Mother of All Bombs. It is so big that it must be dropped from the rear of a cargo plane.
Posted by: George || 04/30/2003 03:09 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [436 views] Top|| File under:

#1  On the other hand, just read a report that Jennifer Lopez and Ben Afleck intend to star in a remake of "Casablanca", so we may have a use for it after all.
Posted by: Chuck || 04/30/2003 15:16 Comments || Top||

#2  I think the proposed marriage contract will do just fine!
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 15:27 Comments || Top||

#3  Chuck wrote:

On the other hand, just read a report that Jennifer Lopez and Ben Afleck intend to star in a remake of "Casablanca", so we may have a use for it after all.

No need for a MOAB. An Affleck/Lopez remake of Casablanca will be a big enough bomb on its own.
Posted by: Tibor || 04/30/2003 16:24 Comments || Top||

#4  just another WMD to me :(
Posted by: Biggus || 04/30/2003 18:09 Comments || Top||

#5  Since we have them in the region.....Lebenon is just a quick plane ride away. We could drop them on the HQs of Hamas and Hezballah.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 04/30/2003 18:12 Comments || Top||

#6  nice one Cyber Sarge . perhaps yor dumbass violent thoughts will quell others hatred . Then again ... maybe not
Posted by: Biggus || 04/30/2003 18:15 Comments || Top||

#7  that's right biggus if we don't hurt them, they won't hurt us.... er... won't they?

sorry pal, unless you are willing to see Israel pushed into the sea and millions of people killed and convert to Islam then they will come for you. Hamas are best delt with by a MOAB to the head.
Posted by: anon1 || 04/30/2003 19:12 Comments || Top||

#8  Jeez, what's with the trolls? It sure isn't the full moon that's bringing them out, so WTF???
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 20:19 Comments || Top||

#9  Yeah, Biggus? Maybe we'll come up with a bus bomb like the Pali "freedom fighters". Would that be okay with you? Run along now.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/30/2003 20:36 Comments || Top||

#10  Biggus: is your wife's name Incontenentia?
Posted by: R. McLeod || 05/01/2003 2:48 Comments || Top||

#11  Take your head out of the sand biggus,it's kill or be killed time.Since when is Hamas,Islamic jihad,et al considered to be nice folks.
Posted by: Anonymous || 05/01/2003 10:08 Comments || Top||

U.S. Troops Fire on Iraqi Protesters NYTimes
Excerpts follow.
In Monday's incident Iraqis said the soldiers opened fire, unprovoked, while the Americans — who were positioned in a school — said they were fired on first and then carefully counterattacked.
An unruly angry crowd, shouting and waving automatic weapons, with shots occasionally ringing out, should not provoke anyone, of course. What's the difference between protestors and rioters?
Three hospitals, two in Falluja and one in Ramadi to the west, reported 15 dead and 65 injured. Captain Davidson said that his soldiers recovered nine automatic rifles, two pistols and 2,000 rounds of ammunition from the houses across the street, and that the roofs were littered with spent cartridge cases.
Empty cartridge cases in the middle East are like confetti in Times Square on New Year's Day. People just celebrate differently there.
Residents said their anger stemmed from a general opposition to having American soldiers in a residential neighborhood as well as complaints that the soldiers used their binoculars and night-vision equipment to look at women, who are veiled and by Islamic tradition stay out of public, and had shown children pornography — an allegation that the soldiers strongly denied.
If the women stay "out of public" the soldiers will have to use their Xray vision equipment. NYTimes is rarely this ungrammatical. "Pornography" is anything the unnamed Islamists behind this statement choose to object to. A soldier may have shown an Iraqi child a photo of the soldier's wife, unveiled, an act of unspeakable pornography to a true Muslim believer.
"Our soldiers returned deliberately aimed fire at people with weapons, and only at people with weapons," Captain Riedmuller said.
Has anyone else noticed the drastic decrease in the quality & quantity of information about the situation in Iraq, both in regular media, and on the internet, since Saddam's statues fell? Events like these will prove very important in determining the outcome of the overthrough of Saddam, and the US military and Iraqi civilians will continue to die and be injured for some time to come.
Posted by: Tresho || 04/30/2003 12:06 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [437 views] Top|| File under:

#1  difficult line to walk - crack down too hard, and gain hatred as occupiers. Go too soft and gunnies, some from old regime, will spread anarchy and make it hard for iraqis to build new regime and society.

Note - Fajullah, in Sunni arab heartland, and backbone of Baathist regime.

Lets put enough people on the ground - including MP's and civil affairs, and coalition of willing peacekeepers, and Iraqi police. Quickly move to establish not just policing, but full legal system - need judges and prosecutors.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/30/2003 12:54 Comments || Top||

#2  newsflash - trouble in Baquba (predominantly Sunni Arab city, northeast of Baghdad toward Iranian border) players appear to include SCIRI, Iranian exile Mujahaddin, Baathists, and Kurds. Not much love lost among these groups, could be nasty. No real US presence yet, 4th ID nearby.
Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/30/2003 13:23 Comments || Top||

#3  These "protests" are obviously being used by factions with their own agenda for control of Iraq. We are going to have to get nasty with the leadership of these factions and we are going to have to fill the authority vacuum real soon, or there will be more and more of these "incidents."
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/30/2003 13:54 Comments || Top||

#4  Sounds like the best course of action would be to cordon them off, let 'em fight it out, then kill any survivors.
Posted by: Fred || 04/30/2003 13:57 Comments || Top||

#5  After a few more 'protests' the smart ones will stay away. If anyone believes that kids were protesting at 10:30pm to go to school, I have some land I want to sell you. What they should do is ban all protests in Saddam strongholds and see how they like that.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 04/30/2003 15:02 Comments || Top||

#6  I would kill as many as necessary to prevent the death or injury of even one of our soldiers. The instigators and fodder have just learned a lesson although it took two sessions to get into their tiny heads: f*&k with weapons around us and we'll defend ourselves....the consequences will bear much more harshly on you
Posted by: Frank G || 04/30/2003 15:47 Comments || Top||

#7  Tresho, for a second your headline had me excited. I thought it said "U.S. Troops Fire on Iraqi Protestors, NY Times" rather than "U.S. Troops Fire on Iraqi Protestors NY Times."
Posted by: Tibor || 04/30/2003 16:30 Comments || Top||

#8  Again in NYTimes: "Attackers lobbed two grenades over a wall and into a compound of U.S. troops in Fallujah on Thursday, wounding seven soldiers" This occurred at 0100 local time, reported 0405 EDT. Only took 11 hours for AP to report it.
Posted by: Tresho || 05/01/2003 3:24 Comments || Top||

Kids! Kids! The hookers are back!
Prostitutes face new dangers in a city ravaged by looting and lawlessness, but most are keen to take advantage of the power vacuum until a new government is established and religious leaders clamp down on their trade.

In a country where many women dress all in black and most wear headdresses, high-buttoned loose blouses and long skirts, heavily made-up streetwalkers stand out on the kerbside.

They open their shawls to reveal tight trousers and bright-coloured tops for drivers passing slowly by.

"They are all over the place now — I see them everywhere," said Ahmed Sabri, a taxi driver. "I could always spot them before, but now it's so obvious. They are not afraid and do it far more openly."
"Sexy! Getcher sexy! Only ten bucks!"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/30/2003 12:00 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [317 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I wonder if any of these girls are alumni from Saddam's swinging palace scene.
Posted by: Joe || 04/30/2003 12:14 Comments || Top||

#2  Uday-certified Grade AAA
Posted by: Dar || 04/30/2003 12:25 Comments || Top||

#3  Saddam used to behead them. But the oldest trade in the world isn't going to die that fast it seems.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 12:44 Comments || Top||

#4  Wonder if Victoria's Secret will have a new fall line of Burquas?
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 04/30/2003 12:52 Comments || Top||

#5  OK, I know that at least one of the twisted minds out there can come up with a good name for the Islamic version of Victoria's Secret.

Personally, I like the chain-mail headpiece burqua for October. You know, that fetching little number with the muzzle and the chastity belt. Of course, the quick-drop tunic for the guys will be very popular this fall too, what with all the new sexy available in Baghdad. And then there's the modified maternity robe that tastefully disguises that explosives belt.
Posted by: Joe || 04/30/2003 13:32 Comments || Top||

#6  "Alia's Hope Chest"?
Posted by: mojo || 04/30/2003 13:57 Comments || Top||

#7  Be careful of these "loose" women, they are probably cross-dressing French military advisors to iraq.
Posted by: Wills || 04/30/2003 14:05 Comments || Top||

#8  more ammo for the islamofascists
more reasons for the US to establish women's education - start skilling these women, make sure they can work as scientists, lawyers, teachers, engineers.
Show the Arab world that using women as incubators is a waste of resources as well as cruel oppressive and stupid.
In a region of slavery set one group free at least.
Posted by: anon1 || 04/30/2003 19:21 Comments || Top||

#9  Ah, ain't it splendid?
Free enterprise and capitalism lives!
(Ain't free, however).
Posted by: Larry || 04/30/2003 19:24 Comments || Top||

#10  the US is wasting a valuable resource here - these women are the bottom strata of society. Train them, put them in the new police force: they will be loyal beyond belief. Give them a sense of pride, a wage and the ability to be independant and they will be the fiercest, best police officers serving.

IF you want a group of people who will never support the Mullahs yet who have local knowledge: this is it.
Posted by: anon1 || 04/30/2003 19:55 Comments || Top||

#11  *blinks* Anon1, that's a damn great idea. Make sure they pack heat and shoot straight.

Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 20:24 Comments || Top||

Cleric sees more role for coalition forces in Iraq
Baath Party still exists and its presence is conspicuous in every corner in Iraq, said Ayatollah Al-Sayed Mohammad Bahr Al-Uloom, secretary of the Islamic Independent Movement. Speaking at a seminar on "Future vision for free Iraq" at Kuwait University yesterday, Al-Uloom added that the coalition forces would remain in Iraq until the situation was stabilised. "The Iraqi people need your support in all aspects of life, despite it is considered a rich country", he mentioned, adding that the old regime had squandered the national wealth "until we reached the point of humiliation of cutting ear, nose and even tongue".
I'll bet a statement like that makes sense in Arabic...
Ali Al-Turah, who spoke at the outset of the seminar, described that Iraq was passing through a critical phase. Some would like to see the future plan fail and the country return to the old regime. We hope that the Iraqis overcome the predicament and liberty prevails, he added. Although they are enjoying better freedom to practise their religion now, we have witnessed the Shias clamouring to stand up against the Americans. Surely, the foreign forces must go, it is a national demand and we support that. But calling for their exit at this juncture would be at the cost of democracy, he underlined.
Yeah. It'd prob'ly be a better idea to wait until all the gunnies and 'sploders have been rounded up and either sent back where they came from or hung. Unless you're one of the parties that relies on gunnies and 'sploders to make your arguments...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 04/30/2003 11:41 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [352 views] Top|| File under:

Iraqi Billionaire Has Stake in Bank That Holds Oil-for-Food Funds
EFL - NYTimes, reg req, yada, yada
One of the largest private shareholders in BNP Paribas, the French bank that holds more than $13 billion in Iraqi oil funds administered through the United Nation's oil-for-food program, is an Iraqi-born businessman who once helped to arm Iraq in the 1980's and brokered business deals with Saddam Hussein's government, according to public records and interviews.
Tap, tap, surprise meter still not working
The involvement of the businessman, the British billionaire Nadhmi Auchi, raises questions about how carefully the United Nations has vetted the bank in its continuing role as repository of oil-for-food funds. Although the United Nations pressed Iraq to allow banks other than BNP Paribas to be the primary repository for billions of dollars in oil revenue, Iraq successfully insisted that BNP Paribas remain the sole caretaker of the program's escrow account.
Gee, I wonder why?
There is no evidence that Mr. Auchi, or BNP Paribas itself, engaged in any irregularities in the handling of the Iraqi funds.
Not yet, anyway
A United Nations spokesman said it was now impossible to determine why Iraq insisted on BNP Paribas, other than that the Iraqis had "confidence and trust" in the bank.
Now there's a red flag
"It's moved on with the winds of history," said the spokesman, Ian Steele. He said the United Nations had no knowledge of Mr. Auchi or his investment in BNP Paribas.
The United Nations gained nominal control of Iraqi oil profits through the oil-for-food program. But critics in the United States government and elsewhere say the United Nations has not policed the program effectively, and that some funds were diverted by Iraqi officials. The United Nations has defended its stewardship of the program. Mr. Auchi first became involved with Paribas, the predecessor to BNP Paribas, in the 1970's. He also played a central role in the 2000 merger of Paribas and BNP, helping to steer Paribas away from a merger with a rival concern. In 1996, according to European news accounts, Belgium's ambassador to Luxembourg charged that Banque Continentale du Luxembourg, a bank that Mr. Auchi and Paribas jointly controlled until 1994, had handled personal accounts for Mr. Hussein.
Should still be records, if they were legit.
Earlier this month, Mr. Auchi was arrested and released on bail in London pending a court hearing next week on fraud charges involving the French oil giant TotalFinaElf. French prosecutors have accused Mr. Auchi of helping channel bribes to Total's executives, a charge Mr. Corker denies. Mr. Auchi was born in Iraq in 1937 and lived there until 1981, his lawyer said. He became a British citizen in 1981. Mr. Auchi sold Italian naval vessels to Mr. Hussein's government in the early 1980's.
In 1993, an Italian banker told Italian investigators that in 1987, Mr. Auchi had helped an engineering concern secure a contract for an oil pipeline from Iraq to Saudi Arabia by bribing members of the Hussein government, according to a transcript of a police interrogation.
I'd say this guy may have some idea where all that cash Sammy had stuffed in his sock drawer came from.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 10:54 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [436 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Let's not be too hard on these guys. SOMEbody has to fund and feed the new EU Army.
Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/30/2003 11:18 Comments || Top||

Posted by: donner || 04/30/2003 23:38 Comments || Top||

Posted by: donner || 04/30/2003 23:39 Comments || Top||

More of Sammy’s Cash Found
Foreign currency worth nearly $200m has been found in a Baghdad neighbourhood, the US military say. Troops found $100m and 90m euros in 31 containers, US Central Command said. The money has been flown out of the country to a "secure location" for counting purposes and will eventually be returned to Iraq to help rebuild the country, the US said. Last week, US troops found more than $650m in the same area of Baghdad.
What was that again about sanctions starving Iraqi children?
The latest banknotes were discovered between 23 and 26 April in an area of Baghdad secured by members of the US 3rd Infantry Division, according to a US statement. It did not specify exactly where the money was found, although the funds were said to have been kept in containers.
A really big cookie jar
The statement said the containers were flown from Baghdad International Airport on Sunday under an escort of police officers, criminal investigators and financial experts.
"The money arrived at a secure location for counting purposes at approximately 1030 that morning," the statement said.
"Soldiers of the unit in charge of the counting took approximately five hours to finish this count. Funds will remain secure until a stable government is established in Iraq and will ultimately be returned to the Iraqis to assist in the re-building of their nation."
Looking more and more like we got to Baghdad too fast for these guys to pick up their cash and get out of town. Either that, or they got wacked first.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 09:48 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [331 views] Top|| File under:

Sammy’s Letter to his fans
No video, just a fax from the grave.
A London-based Arabic newspaper said on Wednesday it has received a handwritten letter signed by Saddam Hussein, in which he urges the Iraqi people to resist US troops who took over Iraq and ousted his regime earlier this month. Abdul Bari Atwan, the editor of the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi said the message to the Iraqi people is dated April 28, coinciding with Saddam's 66th birthday. Atwan stated the letter was received by fax from an undetermined location and signed "Saddam Hussein." According to the daily, close sources to the ousted leader confirmed that the handwriting and signature were in fact Saddam Hussein’s, indicating that, for personal security reasons, his current circumstances would not permit him to do much more that send the letter.
Must be sharing a room with Binny.
The one-page message contained a reference to "betrayals" that led to the US military victory, an appeal to Iraqis to cast aside any differences and a warning that US-installed leaders will not bring them freedom. “They were not victorious over you — [you] the people who refuse occupation and humiliation and whose hearts and minds are filled with Arabism and Islam, however [they were victorious] by betrayal,” the letter said.
"And us Arabs and Muslims won Gulf War I, too, dammit!"
Saddam accused the countries neighboring Iraq of fighting against the Iraqi resistance, adding that “the traitors openly admit their betrayal [to the Iraqis] despite the fact that it is shameful,” in what appears to be an accusation against Kuwait.
"Hmmm... Sabah?"
"Yes, Jaber?"
"I've been thinking. Y'know, Iraq invaded us, tried to kill all us Sabahs, stole everything that wasn't nailed down, raped as many women as they could catch, and tried to obliterate us."
"Then the Merkins came in and killed them by the thousands and chased them back to Iraq."
"Whose side do y'think we should be on this time?"
"Oh, gosh, Jaber. That's a tough one..."
On his part, Atwan said: "I think the letter is genuine. We can't verify it because we don't know where he is, he is on the run. I have seen his signature before and it looks like it. I think it is authentic." Atwan was not surprised to receive it. "We have received letters and e-mails from Osama bin Laden. People know we are a credible and honest newspaper with circulation all over the world.
Just like the National Enquirer
"I believe that for the statement Saddam will try to emulate Osama bin Laden, by issuing a video tape or audio cassette to a prominent satellite channel. There is a resemblance now between him and Osama bin Laden. Both are on the run, both are against the United States, both are suffering from US military presence in their country. I think he will try to use his style by issuing his statement in this way. I expect it to be issued at any time, but you have to remember he is on the run, he does not have a fixed address, so I would not be surprised if there was some delay."
"Mail service from Hell is slow"
Following is the full text of Saddam’s letter:
“In the name of God, the most merciful, the most sympathetic”
“And yet they had already covenanted with Allah not to turn their backs, and a covenant with Allah must (surely) be answered for.” (a verse from the holy Koran)

Iraq, April 28, 2003.

From Saddam Hussein

To the great people of Iraq,
And the Arab and Islamic nations,
And noble everywhere.

Peace be upon you, his mercy and blessing. (Assalamu A’laikum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatoh) As I perceive it, like woodworm and more [than woodworm], criminal Bush entered Baghdad like Hulagu did. They were not victorious over you; [you] the people who oppose occupation and humiliation and whose hearts and minds are filled with Arabism and Islam, however [they were victorious] by betrayal. I swear by God that this in not victory as long as resistance remains inside you.

What we said before has now become a fact; we will not live in peace and security as long as this deformed Zionist entity exists on Arab land. So there is no dissociation in the unity of the Arab struggle (referring to the Palestinian struggle).
That's all there was, there may have been a problem with al-Bawaaba posting the letter. I'll check back later. This raises my belief that Sammy is dead.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 08:12 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [340 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I was driving through Vegas yesterday. When I stopped for gas at the full service pump - you guessed it - a slightly overweight, strangely familiar man pumped my gas, cleaned my windshield, and checked my oil.

I worked up my courage - I didn't want to scare a man who was content to let the world think was dead. "Hey, thanks, King!" I said, tipping the long, lost celebrity a $5.00.

He did one his trademark karate moves, winked, and said, "Thanks, infidel!"

And as one hand groomed his ridiculous Groucho Marx mustache while his other hand fondled his gold-plated handgun, I drove off into the Sunset.

Wow. I had seen the King.
Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/30/2003 10:08 Comments || Top||

#2  Can I get the stamp on that baby?
Posted by: mojo || 04/30/2003 10:13 Comments || Top||

#3  A London-based Arabic newspaper said on Wednesday it has received a handwritten letter signed by Saddam Hussein,...

Translation: Incapacitated or dead, take your pick. In either case, move along, nothing more to see here.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 04/30/2003 10:15 Comments || Top||

#4  I just got a letter the other day from Elvis. He said that his intergalactic Gig with the aliens that kidnapped him in exchange for the warp drive plans and equations has another 5 months on the contract. Make sure the pool is clean and the AC turned on at Graceland when he gets back, or there'll be hell to pay.

Oh, and Jimmy Hoffa says hi. Couldn't say much more, due to the rush between the meetings where he's representing the Pentabularians in a labor dispute with the Traxil.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 13:04 Comments || Top||

#5  How gullible are people if anyone believes this. No video, no audio, just a fax? Probably in the same handwriting as the fax's from Bin Laden. Show us the video you cheap-ass tin-pot swine of an ex-dictator!
Posted by: Yank || 04/30/2003 14:21 Comments || Top||

#6  Well, things are looking up! For weeks now all we had was a smoking hole. Now we've got a fax. Next week it will be SNL.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/30/2003 15:50 Comments || Top||

Saddam ’Will Broadcast’
Dubai: An Iraqi group opposed to the US presence in Iraq said yesterday that Saddam Hussein would address the country within three days.
He will appear live, from Moscow, with Osama and Elvis.
"He is still alive. He is going to address a message to Iraqis and to the (Arab) nation within 72 hours," the previously-unknown Iraqi Resistance and Liberation wrote in a letter published by the London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi. The group said that it was not made up of "the remnants of the (ousted) Iraqi Government".
We'll believe it when we get a DNA sample.
Posted by: Becky || 04/30/2003 08:14 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [388 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Update on Iraqi reconstruction - from UN reliefweb, via Instapundit.

"Basrah - An UN inter-agency mission reached Basrah on 27-28 April, to carry out a humanitarian assessment and to identify office premises. In Basrah, the situation is improving but is still tense. Water and power supplies are provided at 90% capacity, and are expected to reach 100% shortly. This constitutes a higher level than before the war. UNICEF is in dialogue with local water companies to gradually take over the water tankering operations in the city. Garbage collection is problematic. All hospitals are functional and guarded by military."

Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/30/2003 9:25 Comments || Top||

#2  I heard the producer is Jimmy Hoffa.
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 04/30/2003 11:44 Comments || Top||

#3  Centcom reports:

"Approximately 70 percent of An Najaf has water, 33 percent of the city has electrical power and two hospitals are now functional....

The 1st United Kingdom Armoured Division is evaluating areas near the major city of Basrah, which has 80 percent of its water system working....

Task Force Tarawa, home-based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., is now reviewing major areas including An Nasariyah and Al Kut. Electric power has been restored to 80 percent of An Nasariyah."

Apparently theyve managed to use Basra to restart Nassariyah. With northern cities back online, Kut and Karbala remain only cities without power. Kut will be hooked up from Baghdad.

Posted by: liberalhawk || 04/30/2003 15:42 Comments || Top||

Southeast Asia
Indonesia charges first suspect in Bali bombings
Indonesian prosecutors on Wednesday charged the first suspect in last year's terror bombings on the tourist island of Bali that killed 202 people. The suspect, known by the single name Amrozi, is one of 29 people detained on suspicion of involvement in the Oct. 12 attack. His arrest Nov. 5 was considered the first major break in the investigation. Antarsari, a spokesman for the prosecution, said Amrozi had been charged with violating recently passed anti-terror laws that carry a maximum punishment of death. Amrozi is alleged to be a member of Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida-linked regional terror group that has been blamed for the near-simultaneous bombings at two Bali nightclubs. Police have said he bought the explosives used in the attack and drove the van that blew up outside one of the clubs killing 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
How long before the first bombing to protest this trial?
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 08:06 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [344 views] Top|| File under:

Terror Networks
U.S. Adds 11 Islamist Groups to Annual Blacklist
The United States on Wednesday added 11 militant Islamist organizations to its lists of "terrorist groups," reflecting closer attention paid by U.S. policy-makers to the Muslim world in the war on terrorism. The new second tier list of 38 "other terrorist groups" issued by the State Department also included two new non-Islamic groups -- the Communist Party of Nepal and the New Red Brigades in Italy.
Second tier = Triple-A clubs all trying for the majors.
The list of secondary groups acts as a watch list for the first-tier list of "foreign terrorist organizations" (FTOs) on which the United States imposes sanctions. The annual Patterns of Global Terrorism report did not change the list of FTOs, which now has 36 groups.
The majors, see above
The State Department removed one group from the second-tier list -- the Orange Volunteers, a pro-British group in Northern Ireland which appears to be dormant.
They're sitting in the pubs crying in their beer; "I used to be a contender, now I'm just a bum."
Two groups were promoted to the list of "foreign terrorist organizations" during 2002 -- the communist New People's Army in the Philippines and Jemaah Islamiya in Indonesia, which has been linked to a bombing on the resort island of Bali.
Jemaah Islamiya is wishing they stayed in the minors where nobody paid attention to them.
The 11 new militant Islamist groups are:
(drum roll)The envelope, please!

-- al-Badhr Mujahidin, said to have several hundred members in Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The State Department described it as an offshoot from Hizb ul-Mujahidin, a Pakistani-based group that operates mainly in Kashmir.

-- Ansar al-Islam, the small group which was based in Iraqi Kurdistan until the U.S. invasion of Iraq and which may no longer exist after U.S. and Kurdish forces attacked its base. The United States said it had links with al Qaeda.
"Had" being the operative word. Rumored to be relocating to a country to be named later.
-- the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement, a small Uighur separatist group based in China's Xinjiang province. China had pressed the United States to take a stand against the group.

-- Hizb-i Islami Gulbuddin, founded by Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who opposes the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. It operates mainly in eastern Afghanistan.
Hek's group made the list! Pity mom didn't live to see it, she would have been so proud of her boy.
-- Hizb ul-Mujahedin, described as the largest Kashmiri militant group and the political wing of Pakistan's largest political party, the Jamaat-i-Islami. The State Department said it may have several thousand members in Kashmir and Pakistan.

-- the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade, one of three groups affiliated with Chechen guerrillas who took over a Moscow theater and took hundreds of hostages in October 2002.
Having both "Islamic" and "Peacekeeping" in their name costs them style points.
-- the Jamiat ul-Mujahidin, a small pro-Pakistani militant group formed in Indian-controlled Kashmir in 1990.

-- the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, which emerged in the late 1990s and had members train in Afghanistan. Members have trafficked in falsified documents and possibly guns, the State Department said.
Having false documents and guns is a requirement for being a islamic combatant, it sez so in the union rules.
Note: This may be the same organization as Moroccan Salafi Jihad.

-- Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs, another of the Chechen groups which took over the Moscow theater in October 2002. It is led by Chechen guerrilla chief Shamil Basayev.
Extra points awarded for longest name.
--Sipah-i-Sahaba, a Pakistani group that is violently opposed to Pakistan's Shi'ite community. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf banned the group in 2002.
Sipah, and most other Bad Guy groups, was recently authorized by the Pak government to change its name and go back into business, with a promise to be good. Maulana Azam Tariq, Sipah's supremo, has announced that he's open for business again as 'Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan'. It should take five or six years for the Millat to make it to State's terror list, which is the whole idea behind changing the names and putting on false noses and moustaches.
-- the Special Purposes Islamic Brigade, the third of the three Chechen groups implicated in the 2002 theater attack. The State Department said it probably had no more than 100 fighters at any given time.
Cuz ya got to be "Special" to get in.
Most of the those groups are already subject to financial sanctions under an executive order issued by President Bush after the September 2001 attacks on the United States.
Let's all give a big hand to this year's winners!
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 12:54 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [454 views] Top|| File under:

#1  But blacklisting is BAD! Tim Robbins said so!
Posted by: FormerLiberal || 04/30/2003 14:04 Comments || Top||

#2  *claps*

Oh, ya forgot the scare quotes around "winners", Steve.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 14:06 Comments || Top||

#3  Hey! What about the "General Purpose Truth and Understanding Through High Explosives Brigade and Dance Troupe, LLC."?

It's a big tent, folks...
Posted by: mojo || 04/30/2003 14:06 Comments || Top||

#4  Brigade seems to be the coming thing. I miss faction. I always wanted to be part of a faction.

Could we form a Rantburg Faction? The Special Peoples Rantburg Faction? Oh, I gotta find a way to work in some dashes ----- .
Posted by: Chuck || 04/30/2003 14:40 Comments || Top||

#5  --Rantburg Snide Comments and Special Remarks Fanction of the International Bloggers Brigade--
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 15:35 Comments || Top||

#6  Damm, that should have been Faction. Fred, the spell check is broken again.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 15:36 Comments || Top||

#7  Al-Aska San Andreas Fault Breakers Martyrs Brigade
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/30/2003 16:08 Comments || Top||

#8  I nominate "Peoples' Front of Rantburg" (PFR). Of course, it would be only a matter of time until a rival organization surfaced with the name of "Rantburg Peoples' Front" (RPF).
Posted by: Flaming Sword || 04/30/2003 16:33 Comments || Top||

#9  I will, all by myself, form the "Popular Front of Rantburg."
Posted by: Steve White || 04/30/2003 18:17 Comments || Top||

#10  And I shall split with you over fine points of smartassery, and form the Popular Front of Rantburg-General Command...
Posted by: Fred || 04/30/2003 18:53 Comments || Top||

#11  Shining Rantburg Antichiraquien Path
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 19:03 Comments || Top||

#12  Rantberg Anti Idiotarian Division
Rantberg Army Faction
Posted by: Ernest Brown || 04/30/2003 19:22 Comments || Top||

#13  The Rolling Raging Rantburg Raider Commentators.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 20:32 Comments || Top||

#14  If you make an org chart or an inter-relations chart of all the terrorist organizations, it will probably look like a root bound plant in terra cotta pot....
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/30/2003 20:40 Comments || Top||

#15  Rantburg Islamist Destruction Brigade, Anonymous Faction
Posted by: anon1 || 04/30/2003 21:45 Comments || Top||

#16  Steve and FS, I'm a "splitter." I'm forming the The Popular People's Front for the Liberation of Rantburg. It's only for the popular crowd...
Posted by: R. McLeod || 05/01/2003 3:06 Comments || Top||

Cuba Re-Elected
WASHINGTON — The White House on Tuesday expressed outrage that Cuba has been re-elected to the U.N. Human Rights Commission (search), only three weeks after rounding up dozens of dissidents and sending them to prison.
Sounds like th U.N. to me.
"This is a setback for the cause of human rights. Cuba does not deserve a seat on the Human Rights Commission. Cuba deserves to be investigated by the Human Rights Commission," said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.
"The Human Rights Commission wanted to send investigators into Cuba and Cuba said 'no.' And yet, today, Cuba gets re-elected to the Human Rights Commission. It raises troubling issues, and that's why the United States is speaking out about it," Fleischer said.
"You have to keep in mind that Libya is the chairman of this committee. There are some things that happen at the United Nations that it's very hard for anybody to explain," Fleischer said.
U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Economic Social Council Sichan Siv (search), who served as the U.S. representative at Tuesday's commission meeting, got up and walked out when it became clear Cuba was going to win the vote.
"It was an outrage for us because we view Cuba as the worst violator of human rights in this hemisphere," he said.
This should help keep the "Get out of the U.N." ball rolling.
Posted by: Mike N. || 04/30/2003 04:16 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [445 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Actually you'll find that most Europeans agree that this commission is becoming a joke. I read strong words about it in the German press.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 16:45 Comments || Top||

#2  Think of all the office space we would get if we drop kicked this USELESS organization accross the ocean! To think that Cuba can sit in judgement of ANYBODY on the issue of human rights is obscene. Kofi you have done yourself proud!
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 04/30/2003 18:03 Comments || Top||

#3  Cyber Sarge, infantile and naive opinions such as the one you've expressed here are really frightening. Not as frightening as the infantile and naive opinions of the criminals currently 'governing' the U.S., but frightening none the less.
Posted by: Sunnie || 04/30/2003 19:16 Comments || Top||

#4  Sunnie=/=Troll.
Sunnie==Very Stupid and foolish Troll.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 20:15 Comments || Top||

#5  You want frightening, Sunnie? Come back when we're all really on a roll. Peace, Dudette.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/30/2003 20:25 Comments || Top||

#6  and bring coffee dammit
Posted by: Frank G || 04/30/2003 21:36 Comments || Top||

#7  I think we should move to U.N. to Nebraska or Wyoming or someother red state. All those diplomats love living in New York on expense accounts with their diplomatic immunity and red carpet treatment at the poshest establishments in the world. Put them out in the middle of real America. The dictator's wive would have to do their shopping at Walmart instead of 5th Avenue. Instead of Limos down Broadway, they'd have to ride pick-ups down Main Street. That might straighten things out a bit.
Posted by: Tokyo Taro || 04/30/2003 21:41 Comments || Top||

Middle East
"Suspected" Suicide Bomber Had Accomplice
The man who carried out the suicide attack early Wednesday, killing three bystanders in Tel Aviv, carried a British passport, police said. Assaf Mohammed Hanif entered Israel from the Gaza Strip, the first such case in 89 attacks over the past 31 months, police said. Gaza is fenced in, unlike the West Bank. They said he carried a British passport, as did a second bomber, Omar Khan Sharif, police said. Israel TV channels showed the passports on their evening news broadcasts. Police said Sharif's bomb did not go off, and he escaped.
That's what happens when you use Lucas Electronics parts from your old Mini.
In London, the British Foreign Office said it was aware of the reports. "We're in continuing close contact with the Israeli authorities on security matters. We have no comment to make on this particular allegation," a spokesman at the British foreign office said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.
Wonder if these guys studied islamic thought and explosives at a mosque in London?
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 02:47 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [312 views] Top|| File under:

#1  For those who don't get the "Lucas Electronics" comment, check with anyone who had an MG or Triumph - or Mini - in the '60s. Reference was often made to "Lucas, Prince of Darkness".
Posted by: OldeForce || 04/30/2003 16:24 Comments || Top||

#2  "Lucas Electronics" = memories of my then new 1978 MGB Convertible. Enormous fun ... when it worked .... which wasn't often... the Arizona heat didn't help much ... always wondered how the Brits won the "Battle of Britain" after experiencing their electronic eccentricities...
Posted by: borgboy || 04/30/2003 18:08 Comments || Top||

Home Front
Fight to remove Fish & Wildlife from Vieques begins
Nongovernmental Vieques leaders assured Tuesday that they would fight to have the island municipality’s eastern land that will be given to the U.S. Department of the Interior transferred to the Puerto Rico government. They also did not rule out resorting to a new campaign of acts of civil disobedience against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service because they claim that the custodianship of the land that will be left by the U.S. Navy does not belong to that agency. "This land is ours. We don’t recognize any moral right of the Fish & Wildlife Service to take over this land," said in a press conference Ismael Guadalupe, one of the spokesmen of the Pro Rescue and Development of Vieques Committee.
See, it never was about bombing or morals, it's about development.
On Thursday, the Navy is to hand over the land it has occupied on the eastern side of the island municipality, at which time 900 acres of the firing range will be closed. The other 13,600 acres will become a wildlife refuge, also under the control of the federal government.
Can't build condos and hotels on a wildlife refuge.
Guadalupe warned that what has occurred is "a change of adversary" because Viequenses will still have restricted access to the land. Meanwhile, Vieques fisherman Carlos Zenon denounced that personnel of the Fish & Wildlife Service have already tried to interfere with fishermen. He indicated that a fisherman was fined for catching crabs and other crab fishermen later challenged the officials while gathered at the same spot but were not intervened.
"No Blood For Crabs" just doesn't have the same ring, does it?
Zenon demanded that Gov. Sila Calderon’s administration immediately seek ownership of the land so that the Navy cannot reassume its jurisdiction over the land.
Think we'll hear from Greenpeace, ELF, or any of the other liberal animal rights groups demanding that this land remain a wildlife refuge? Me neither.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 01:40 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [355 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Careful of unexploded ordnance while you're layin' out them tract homes, Raoul...
Posted by: mojo || 04/30/2003 13:54 Comments || Top||

#2  Vote for independence then, its the only way to win this battle Ismael.
Posted by: Yank || 04/30/2003 14:12 Comments || Top||

#3  Boy, Steve, you hit that nail on the head!
mojo - I bet what is really bugging them is that, with a real win for the environment on the table, it's going to be much harder to act all huffy and demand that the US pay for the ordinance clean up.... so that they can reap their profit margin on each condo.

Ha ha, this sanctuary move exposed them for the greedy developers they have always been. Smooth move, somebody.
Posted by: Becky || 04/30/2003 14:29 Comments || Top||

#4  I deal with U.S. Fish and Widlife all the time - this is a royal screwjob to the Vieques "activists" of such malevolence, scope, duration, and detail that I can only speculate it had to come directly from Rumsfeld. I love it!
Posted by: Frank G || 04/30/2003 15:36 Comments || Top||

16 F-16 aircraft buzz downtown Denver - Very Cool!

Buckley Airmen Returning Home
16 Jets Will Fly In Diamond Formation

POSTED: 5:21 a.m. MDT April 30, 2003
UPDATED: 11:26 a.m. MDT April 30, 2003

AURORA, Colo. -- Colorado welcomes home 16 Colorado Air National Guard pilots who took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The pilots have been waiting three long months to get home to family and friends and this afternoon, their wish becomes a reality. I work in the heart of downtown Denver and the 16 aircraft just buzzed us. It was an incredible sight!

The welcome home party will begin around noon at Buckley Air Force with Gov. Bill Owens, Maj. Gen. Mason C. Whitney and Brig. Gen. Michael Edwards. By the way, Owens is the Best Governor in the State per National Review.

The returning pilots, who are with the Colorado Air National Guard's 120th Fighter Squadron will be flying their F-16 aircraft in four diamond formations into Buckley Air Force Base. It was a beautiful sight.

"All Coloradans look forward to welcoming our heroes home," said Owens. "We're proud of their service to our nation and to the cause of peace and freedom around the world." You are damn right about that Bill.

The unit was called to duty in February and has been operating from a secure location overseas. Their mission included dropping precision-guided munitions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Central Command. The unit flew over 3700 hours and approximately 700 sorties, officials said.

"The mission that they were tasked to perform over there was counter theater ballistic missile hunting, or what we call SCUD hunting," Edwards said. "So their mission was to prevent a launch of a theater ballistic missile against Israel and countries that could be brought into the war to ause the war to be a lot bigger."

The homecoming ceremony is not open to the public, but it is expected to be brief so that the pilots can spend more time with their families.
Posted by: ColoradoConservative || 04/30/2003 12:59 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [450 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Welcome home boys!

Owens has got to be the best, if he has enough sense to just say "thanks", cut the ceremonies short, and get the hell out of the way.

Some Tomcats flew in a couple of days before the Vidalia Onion Festival to serve as static displays at the Air Show. Then the Blue Angels came in and flew over the local towns to drum up advertising and support. I came too close to bursting with pride.

Damn, our airmen and aircraft are GOOD!
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 13:08 Comments || Top||

#2  I'd love to see them buzz a city like Berkeley just to see the reaction. They'd probably cite them for noise pollution.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/30/2003 13:46 Comments || Top||

#3  They ought to buzz Bekeley with A-10's
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/30/2003 16:04 Comments || Top||

#4  Swing by Buckley on the E-70 loop or on Old Gun Club Road (yeah, the "old" gun club has been there since about 1949) and have a "fist" of four fighters come around in your direction. Your first thought will probably be, I hope I haven't p***ed them off!" - and your next should be, "Thank you!". Welcome back!
Posted by: OldeForce || 04/30/2003 16:05 Comments || Top||

#5  Can't say enough good things about the guys and gals that work out of Buckley. Living down here in Co. Springs, near the Academy, we get fly-bys all the time. Love to watch the birds do their stuff. Reminds me of my active duty days in the AF. Welcome home, folks!
Posted by: Old Patriot || 04/30/2003 17:31 Comments || Top||

#6  The nice thing about Buckley is you can play golf (Murphy Creek) and watch the Colorado Air National Guard go through its paces.
Posted by: Timmy the Wonder Dog || 04/30/2003 20:07 Comments || Top||

#7  During Fleet Week here in San Francisco you can always count on Berzerklians to get wadded up about the Blue Angels. But I love 'em. They buzz the entire city for 2-3 days of practice runs before the big show and hundreds of thousands of people come out.

When the Angels fly, an old buddy of mine had a great saying "That's the sound of freedom you're hearing..."
Posted by: R. McLeod || 05/01/2003 2:41 Comments || Top||

Chamber group receives threat in mail - from Brazil
Authorities are investigating an envelope mailed to the Greater Cleveland Growth Association that contained brown particles and a letter threatening Americans with some type of a virus.
Matt Carroll, the city's acting health director, said there is no evidence of anthrax in the substance, but authorities are uncertain of the contents. He said there were no concerns about exposure to the material. Investigators said the brown substance had the consistency of bread crumbs.
FBI agent Robert Hawk said agents delivered the envelope to the Ohio Health Department for testing. He said the Growth Association received the letter in the mail yesterday. It was postmarked from Porto Alegre, a southern port city in Brazil.
He said letters containing the brown substance have been mailed from Brazil to chambers of commerce or city halls in Albany, Ore.; Redwing, Minn.; and Uniontown, Ohio. Hawk said the letter to the Growth Association condemned America for attacks on Iraq.
Gee, I seem to recall something else about Brazil and ports being in the news lately. Humm, it'll come to me.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 12:27 pm || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [320 views] Top|| File under:

#1  There's an association for "growths"? EEEEEEWWWWWWW!
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/30/2003 13:50 Comments || Top||

Middle East
Hamas chief rejects peace plan, vows more attacks
GAZA, April 30 (Reuters) - The leader of Islamic militant group Hamas on Wednesday rejected a new U.S.-backed "roadmap" plan for Palestinian-Israeli peace and vowed no respite in attacks on Israel. "The road map aims to assure security for Israel at the expense of the security of our people. It is a plan to liquidate the Palestinian cause (for independence). It is rejected by us," Sheikh Ahmed Yassin told Reuters in Gaza City. He spoke just before envoys of the international peacemaking "Quartet" presented the long-delayed plan to Israeli and Palestinian leaders after a new Palestinian cabinet under reformist Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was sworn in. Abbas has vowed to curb "armed chaos" by militant groups that he said had set back Palestinian aspirations to a state on land captured by Israel in 1967. Militants who have been waging an uprising against Israel for two and a half years carried out another suicide attack in Israel hours before Abbas took office.
Suggested solution: "Decapitate" Hamas and Islamic Jihad, then repeat as needed: "Wudn't me."
Posted by: Tadderly || 04/30/2003 11:56 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [591 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It will take a Paleo civil war before they are ready for peace
Posted by: Frank G || 04/30/2003 12:00 Comments || Top||

#2  Ok, the "Road Map" is a non-starter. Hamas obviously prefers the current state of "occupation". Let's see if they're ready for talks after, say, another 5 years or so.

In the meantime the IDF will have a free hand to track, capture, or kill the Palestinian criminals. Works for me...
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 04/30/2003 12:03 Comments || Top||

#3  Hamas and Islamic Jihad need to become Road Kill.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 12:16 Comments || Top||

#4  Talking about a Palistinian state or negotiating with Abbas is not only a waste, but is counterproductive until Hamas, Hez, and their merry men are taken out and the financial sources are dried up. We cannot reward terrorists by negotiating. That requires a sense of goodwill, even a bit. And there is nothing here.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/30/2003 13:23 Comments || Top||

#5  "Loose the hounds!"

These bozos need a good, solid taste of their own medicine, boys.
Posted by: mojo || 04/30/2003 14:01 Comments || Top||

#6  I have just come across some interesting reading about the Qur'an (or whatever the correct spelling is). The German Arabist Christoph Luxenberg has studied the syro-aramaic roots of the Islamic Holy Book. The earliest manuscripts of the Qur'an are written in a very defective way, the Arab writing wasn't yet very sophisticated, so many words read the same (no diacritic signs yet). The most alarming find for wannabe jihadis should be the fact that the "huris", the virgins every jihadi is entitled to, are actually "white grapes".

Blowing yourself up for a handful of grapes? Hmmmmmmm. Abdul, can't we log on to that Adult Friend Finder Service instead??

Btw Luxenberg is an alias. The guy does know why he uses one.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 15:06 Comments || Top||

#7  Hee hee... i can see it now guys,

The scene: minaret studded paradise in the clouds. 18-year old Achmed is finally meeting Muhammed himself....

M: Well, Achmed you have fulfilled the rites of true martyrdom, and have earned this, your just reward...
A: umm, great one, I am honored, but this is a bunch of grapes.
M: Correct, my son! And you will find none finer in all the universe!
A: Please forgive me for my impertinance, great one, but what about the umm, you know, the umm...virgins?
M: Oh yes, them! They are right in this chamber here, awaiting you to join them. (opens an ornate door...)
A: Again, I must beg your forgiveness, exalted one, but there are only men in here?
M: Yes, indeed my child. And i assure you that they are all virgins, too. that is what happens when you waste the most productive years of your divinely granted lives in the insane pursuit of hatred, death and terror, rather than trying to improve yourselves or your community, or make the world a better place, or meet some girls and get married. Just have a seat next to Hafiz there, and enjoy your grapes.
A: (stammering) B-b-bb-but, that's it, then?
M: Well, there's one more bit of wisdom i can impart to you - Eat slowly, stretching 70 "huris" out over the course of Eternity can be a very difficult task.

sorry about the length guys, but I was having fun....
Posted by: dripping sarcasm || 04/30/2003 16:45 Comments || Top||

#8  TGA, I was under the impression that "huri" was related to the English word "whore"; both originating in the East and meaning "black eyed girl"...
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/30/2003 16:46 Comments || Top||

#9  ...But then I can't find any evidence to support that belief. Maybe I was daydreaming. About black eyed girls. Mmmmm....
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/30/2003 16:53 Comments || Top||

#10  Ahh yes, from Chambers: houri, n a nymph of the Muslim paradise; a voluptuously alluring woman [Persian huri, from Arabic huriya a black-eyed girl]. No link to whore though.
Posted by: Bulldog || 04/30/2003 17:08 Comments || Top||

#11  The problem is that old written syriac-aramaic (which latter Arab generations actually didn't fully understand anymore) is written without any vocals and many letters looked very much the same. The word in question is "hur" (surah 44 and 52), which originally meant "white grapes"
And what about the eyes? Well the word "in" means eye, but was used in metaphorical sense to mean "like pearls". So what's the reward for the warriors? "white grapes like pearls", not "big eyed virgins".

Some linguistic reading can really ruin your eternity.
Posted by: True German Ally || 04/30/2003 18:49 Comments || Top||

#12  TGA - Little Green Footballs has been on that for a while, and usually refer to the 72 virgins as 72 raisins....kinda makes one lose enthusiasm as a splodeydope, huh?
Posted by: Frank G || 04/30/2003 21:58 Comments || Top||

I'm amazed at how little the South Korean's openly and honestly discuss the horrific regime of the North

Soon Ok Lee, who defected from North Korean in 1994, was held prisoner in the Kaechon prison camp from 1987 to 1992. In testimony scheduled for delivery today before the House Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights, she will lay out in gruesome detail the horrors of life in the camps, among them beatings, torture, human biological testing, forced abortions, infanticide, and endless hours of hard labor. The hearing at the House Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights signals the opening of a second front in the case against Kim Jong Il’s dictatorial regime. The "axis of evil" nation has acknowledged that it possesses nuclear weapons, making it a serious security threat. However, there has been comparatively little attention paid to the country’s human rights violations. "The crimes against humanity that have been perpetuating in North Korea for decades have destroyed the humanity and personalities of all North Koreans. The personality cult of the leaders, the father and son, was the norm that came to replace respect for humanity," Ms. Lee’s testimony says. "To achieve this purpose, the North Korean leadership operates secret concentration camps and prisons for political prisoners in at least 12 locations. Their goal is to eliminate all forms of opposition. Over 200,000 innocent victims, including women and children, are detained there for life without a judicial process."

"I experienced a living hell there during the seven years that I was there. The ordeal at that time was to such an extent that even today I am not sure whether I am alive or merely dreaming," says Ms. Lee’s testimony, an advance copy of which was obtained by The New York Sun. Perhaps the most dramatic part of her account involves the treatment of pregnant women. They "were unconditionally forced to abort because the unborn baby was also considered a criminal by law," Ms. Lee’s testimony says. "Women in their 8th or 9th month of pregnancy had salt solutions injected into their wombs to induce abortion," her testimony says. "In spite of these brutal efforts, some babies were born alive, in which case the prison guards mercilessly killed the infants by squeezing their necks in front of their mothers. The dead babies were taken away for biological tests. If a mother pleaded for the life of her baby, she was publicly executed under the charge of ‘impure ideology.’" According to Ms. Lee, the 6,000 prisoners at the Kaechon prison "were treated as being lower than beasts." Of that number, 2,000 or so were housewives, she says, arrested for trying to find food after the regime discontinued rations. Prisoners worked 16 to 18 hour days, slept three to four hours, and were only allowed to use the toilet three times a day at fixed times. "Our cells were about 6 by 5 meters and contained 80 to 90 prisoners per cell. The cells were so crowded that the prisoners slept with the feet of the next prisoner right under their noses," she says.

(con't see link)
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/30/2003 10:19 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [396 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Now that this testimony's come out I'm sure the UN will be all over this issue,and quick too. Or maybe the EU Rapid Reaction Force.
Posted by: Matt || 04/30/2003 14:44 Comments || Top||

#2  Since the Kim Dae-jung Administration, there has actually been muzzle put on the press reporting negative stories about North Korea. Strangely enough, stories negatively depicting the American military presence in South Korea seemed to be OK until very recently. Coincidently, when the UN Human Rights Commission censured North Korea last week, did anyone notice which country was NOT in attendance? That's right - it was South Korea. Even South Korea's national human rights commission, which somehow managed to find it in their hearts to criticize American "human rights violations" in Iraq, refused to condemn North Korea's human rights situation. I sh*t you not; when the head of the commission was asked by lawmakers which country had a worse human rights situation, North or South Korea, the guy claimed he didn't have enough data to answer. After unification, there are going to be a lot of Korean leftists asking themselves some very uncomfortable questions.
Posted by: The Marmot || 04/30/2003 15:11 Comments || Top||

#3  Hello TM - with your knowledge of Korea, how do you explain the SK mindset? I find it quite confounding. As I understand it, President Roh made his name on human rights and the SK people consider NK their kin. How can they ignore the situation in the North?
Posted by: Anonymous || 04/30/2003 15:43 Comments || Top||

#4  Thing is, this info isn't new. I just pulled Soon Ok Lee's prison memoirs (Eyes of the Tailless Animals) off my bookshelf. Copyright date of 1999, originally published in Korean in 1996. She already testified before the Senate Judiciary committee in June 2002 (http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearing.cfm?id=292).

Norbert Vollertsen, a German doctor who spent 16 months in North Korea gathering evidence of horrific abuses (http://www.washtimes.com/world/20021206-53444593.htm), has been speaking out for a few years, but your average American knows nothing about it. Perhaps the human rights situation in North Korea will begin to get more play in the press, and people will take notice, but I'm skeptical. So far, the only people who seem to notice are the small group who follow these things closely.
Posted by: Kathy || 04/30/2003 16:23 Comments || Top||

#5  I wish I could give you a good explanation, but most of us expats are just as confounded as you are. Part of it has to do with post-war South Korean history; the military dictators who ruled SK for most of the 60s, 70s, and 80s really pushed the anti-North Korea propaganda, so when the dictators were discredited, in the minds of some people, so was the propaganda. In point of fact, for many human rights activists like Roh, their primary axe to grind is with the United States (which "backed" the military dictators), not the DPRK. Another thing is that despite the nationalist "we are one people" bullsh*t that you hear so often from people here, the truth is that for many South Koreans, the DPRK might as well be Mars. In fact, the only time those feelings of brotherhood really come out is when a third country is involved - usually the US or Japan. Lastly, it should be said that a lot of people here really ARE concerned about the human rights situation in North Korea; generally speaking, the media was furious at Noh for deciding to sit the UN vote out. There are a lot of other factors behind why South Koreans do not appear overly concerned about the suffering their northern kin must endure, but it's a long discussion and I'm not sure if it would make the "SK mindset" any more intelligible. Heck, even I spend much of my time wondering, "What the f*ck?"

Last note: This kind of hypocricy is hardly limited to the Korean Left; the Western Left was strangely silent over human rights abuses in the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba, while at the same time very vocal about abuses in Chile and South Africa. Hey, what can you do?
Posted by: The Marmot || 04/30/2003 16:50 Comments || Top||

#6  The sick thing about Norbert Vollertsen is that the Kim Dae-jung Administration attempted to bully him into remaining silent. He's a bit of a strange character, to be sure. But at least he's doing something, and he pulls no punches.
Posted by: The Marmot || 04/30/2003 16:53 Comments || Top||

#7  "Hello TM - with your knowledge of Korea, how do you explain the SK mindset? I find it quite confounding. As I understand it, President Roh made his name on human rights and the SK people consider NK their kin. How can they ignore the situation in the North?
Posted by: Anonymous 4/30/2003 3:43:41 PM"

That's a bit complex, Anon, but the simple explanation can be summed up thusly - Koreans, North AND South, tend to get caught up in the racial issue. If you think that some black Americans have a "It's us against the Honkey" mindset, then you've never encountered Asian racial prejudice. It's REALLY bad. No matter how insanely Jongy-boy behaves, Many South Koreans still desperately hold on to the belief that "We're all Koreans here, and it's us against the world. Particularly Japan and China!"

(There are still Koreans alive today who lived through the Japanese occupation of Korea, and if you even mention Japan, the hatred in their faces for the Japanese is hot enough to light your cigar by.)

It's the same tribalism that Africa suffers under, just on a larger scale.

Ed Becerra
Posted by: Ed Becerra || 04/30/2003 17:16 Comments || Top||

Latin America
Anthrax Did Not Kill Egypt Sailor in Brazil
The cause of death of an Egyptian sailor found dead in Brazil's Amazon is not known but anthrax has been ruled out, a medical expert said on Tuesday after a second examination. A first autopsy of the man, whom Brazilian police identified as Ibrahim Saved Soliman Ibrahim, had turned up positive for anthrax, prompting speculation he was carrying the substance to Canada, where his ship was headed. "What I can say is that it is not anthrax," said Claudio Guimaraes, director of the Legal Medical Institute in the Amazon city of Belem.
"Nothing to see here, move along"
He could not immediately say what caused the death of Ibrahim, who police earlier said died after vomiting, internal bleeding and multiple organ failures.
Could be a lot of things
Belem police said Ibrahim was found dead in his cabin on the ship on April 11, a few days after arriving in Brazil by plane from Cairo.
Thought they found him dead in a hotel room?
Original suspicions focused on a suitcase the sailor was taking to Canada. An initial police investigation indicated he may have opened the case and been poisoned by a substance inside it.
Much ado about nothing, or a cover-up? We report, you decide.
Posted by: Steve || 04/30/2003 08:46 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [323 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hotel room? ship? ..hey! what's the difference? It wasn't anthrax, he died of natural causes...uh...um...choked on his spleen.
Yeah, that's the ticket!

there's been a wholesale employment opportunity in the newsreading lately for Jon Lovitz
Posted by: Frank G || 04/30/2003 9:02 Comments || Top||

KCNA urges U.S. to properly understand DPRK
They're in lecture mode today...
The bellicose forces of the Bush administration, referring to the DPRK's "nuclear issue," are now blustering that the U.S. will not recognize the system in the DPRK and it will not offer reward to the DPRK.
No food for you!
This can not be construed otherwise than ridiculous jargons of political imbeciles. These silly remarks only go to clearly prove that U.S. policy-makers are totally ignorant of the DPRK.
Well, we know you're maniacs. We know you're insane. What else is there?
The DPRK urged the U.S. to assure it of non-aggression and drop a hostile policy toward Pyongyang out of its good faith and magnanimity not prompted by its wish to have its system recognized by the U.S. or to get any reward.
We're good guys. Really, we are. Trust us. We wouldn't screw you over. By the way, could you swing through the drive thru and pick up some burgers for 5 million people? We'll give you the money when you get here. Really.
In the mid-1990s the DPRK adopted the DPRK-U.S. Agreed Framework at the negotiations with the U.S. in which it committed itself to fulfil its political, moral and legal duties to remove the root cause of long-standing mistrust, confrontation and misunderstanding between the two countries and normalize the bilateral relations. It was a crucial measure taken by the DPRK out of magnanimity.
Well, there's a new sheriff in town and he's not like the pussies you were dealing with in the mid-90's. I suggest you get that idea embedded in your head.
Had the DPRK policy-makers of the Bush administration been far-sighted, they would not have missed this historic opportunity but opted for improving the relations with the DPRK for the future of the U.S. However, no sooner had the Bush administration taken office than it went so arrogant as to adopt it as its policy to pursue a hostile policy toward the DPRK and demand the DPRK scrap "its nuclear program before dialogue" after terming it part of "an axis of evil." It has talked much about a sort of reward in a bid to mislead the public opinion. The U.S. DPRK policy-makers should confess to being greenhorns.
The "greenhorns" have already taken down two countries that were threats to this country. Remember that. And you're on the list in case you didn't know..
The political system in the DPRK is a man-centered socialist system chosen by its people themselves and valued by them as their life and soul. Invincible is the Korean-style socialist system in which the leader, the army and people form a harmonious whole.
...as opposed to a glowing, radioactive hole.
The DPRK has not only the great single-hearted unity but the national defence capacity strong enough to repel the U.S. aggression at one swoop. There is no need for the DPRK to have its system recognized by the other as it represents the will of its people and is supported by the Songun political mode. They should know this before anything else.
Hey, if you want to keep your Looney Tunes system, fine. You just keep those nukes in your pocket.
The American hawks are well-advised to ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its confrontation with the DPRK before making any analysis.
We've pondered it and concenus is... you people are f**ked up big time.
But they sure do have lotsa statues and portraits of Kimmie. That's evidence of how much they really, truly love him, isn't it?
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/30/2003 08:00 am || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [327 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Whoa! What happened here? HELP!
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/30/2003 8:34 Comments || Top||

#2  Put the cap back on that highlighter before it dries out! Other people have to use it, too, you know! :-)
Posted by: Dar || 04/30/2003 8:40 Comments || Top||

#3  Damn yes! how the heck can I score the Korean performance when you're in the way, tu?

;)! JK!
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 8:54 Comments || Top||

#4  I'm knucklehead of the day. Thanks for fixing it
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/30/2003 9:42 Comments || Top||

#5  First, does anyone have any guesses as to which automated translator the KCNA is using to translate these "articles" into English? (So that I can avoid it in the future)

Second, does anyone want to speculate which language they're translating the original Korean into, before the final translation to English? I'm suspecting either Aleut, Sanskrit, Esperanto, or Fuddlish...
Posted by: snellenr || 04/30/2003 10:17 Comments || Top||

#6  *holds up card* 8.3

...drop a hostile policy toward Pyongyang out of its good faith and magnanimity not prompted by its wish to have its system recognized by the U.S. or to get any reward. Style points missed due to clear grammatical error.
Posted by: Ptah || 04/30/2003 14:26 Comments || Top||

#7  Even in Korean, it's hard to tell what the f*ck they're saying half the time. You know, if they promised to feed me something other than tree bark, I'd be more than willing to do their translation work myself. Figure save the guys at State and CIA the grief.

BTW, watch how many times they use the word "greenhorn" in the next few weeks. I have a feeling it's their colloquialism of the month.
Posted by: The Marmot || 04/30/2003 14:55 Comments || Top||

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Wed 2003-04-30
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Tue 2003-04-29
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