Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams
Praise for Voice
"A smart fellow...I do like, recommend and learn from Barbera's blog." -Roger L. Simon
"Your blog is bullshit"- anonymous angry French reader.
In the extravagant halls of King Saud University, 25-year-old Abdullah Al Gathani put a few more bricks in a wall of anger and denial. "I don't believe the hijackers were Saudis,"
Hey, does this guy know Amiri Baraka?
Abdullah Al Gathani, a student of computer science, managed to get much of the Saudi arguments into one bitter spray, in which he regurgitated conspiracy theories that are becoming accepted as fact by many in this region: "I'm being punished because of Osama bin Laden - the US will not grant me a student visa. What happened on September 11 was too big for 19 people to do - I think the Americans did it themselves; that's why the Jews on Wall Street didn't go to work that day."
The writer goes on to dig into life and the conditions of Saudi Arabia.
Despite the blocking by the Information Ministry, the Herald managed to interview Dr Ali Al Mosa, a local reformist academic, who debunked some of the theories offered as explanations for the young men of Asir signing on for death, theories like poverty and isolation. He said: "Most of them were from very rich, top-class Saudi families. The father of the Alshehri boys is one of the richest people in the area and the other families are not far behind him."
Some of the hijackers' parents still refuse to accept that their sons were involved in the attacks. But Al Mosa told of a recent two-hour meeting he had with the father of one of the hijackers: "He told me that for the first six months he wasn't able to believe it, but then he started to ask himself where was his son - why no calls? Why did he not come home at this terrible time?
"So he started to look at things again, and now he accepts that his son did do this thing. When I saw him he was crying and I'm sure he condemns it 100 per cent. He was not a happy man. All the families were in denial, but then they started to talk about their sons' pasts. They said that they were relatively innocent and that they must have been brainwashed. Their sons were victims too."
The External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten called on the US to help the EU strengthen its defence and security systems so as to "be taken seriously as international actor" and act as "a counterpart – if not a counterweight – to the US" itself. Speaking in Chicago on Thursday, he said that the "US might do more" to encourage the EU develop a common foreign policy.
"We don't want to pay for a real military so the US should pay for us to build a military to counterbalance and rival theirs"
Japan has raised and now confirmed that the 'fishing' vessel that was sunk in December is indeed a spy ship from North Korea.
The coast guard, which salvaged the 130-meter ship on Sept. 11, has thus far retrieved the remains of at least seven crew members.
It has also retrieved a 14.5mm heavy machinegun that has a firing range of 1,000 meters and looks like a Russian ZPU-2 anti-air heavy machinegun, two anti-air missile launchers with a range of 5,000 meters, two shoulder-held rocket launchers, four 5.45mm-caliber automatic rifles, an 82mm antitank recoilless gun, and six hand grenades. One of the rocket launchers, which looks like a Russian RPG-7 rocket launcher, features a red star -- the national symbol of North Korea -- and Korean characters denoting it is a 1968-type No. 7 Firing Tube. The automatic rifles, which look like Russian-made AKS-74 rifles, feature a carved seal of a North Korean red star on their surface, the coast guard said.
The ship was disguised as a Chinese fishing vessel, bearing the name of a Chinese port on its stern. But a wooden board bearing a fake Japanese fishery registration number was also recovered, indicating that the crew members were ready to try and disguise the vessel as a Japanese ship.
Sex for peace? Former Italian porn star offers sex to Saddam in exchange for peace. Unfortunately from what I have heard about Saddams treatment of 'lovers' I don't know if she would survive the night. And why choose an old used porn star when he has the run of a nation's worth of women?
"I offer myself to Saddam in exchange for universal peace," the Hungarian-born actress, whose real name is Ilona Staller, told Catalan daily El Periodico. "I would do it holding my nose and closing my eyes. I would do it for peace," she said, adding that she had already made the offer to the Iraqi leader during the 1991 Gulf war. When asked if her well-known stunt of exposing her breasts during political appearances in Italy had not undermined her credibility, the porn star answered: "My breasts have never done anyone any harm, while (Osama) bin Laden's war has caused thousands of victims."
This has a familiar ring to it. The only thing it is missing is an allusion to the 'brutal Iraqi [fill in the blank]'.
U.S. invasion of Iraq would play into bin Laden's hands
Wonder if the good professor had the same thing to say about US war on Afghanistan?
Despite the horrendous carnage of the Sept. 11 attacks, bin Laden's primary goal has never been to destroy the United States. Rather, he has attacked American targets as a means of provoking Muslim fundamentalist revolutions throughout the Middle East. In The Encyclopedia of the Afghan Jihad, a terrorist guide published in 1992, bin Laden's followers called for "the establishment of a castle of the Muslims, a (new) Caliphate" -- a pan-Islamic empire purged of Western influences.
So, how does the professor maintain bin Laden will believe he has a secure Caliphate without first destroying the US? Not to mention he ignores everything bin Laden has personally said. He uses the wisdom of one line out of The Encyclopedia of the Afghan Jihad while ignoring the tapes, interviews and fatwas of bin Laden and his followers.
In calling for military action against Iraq in a speech in Nashville recently, Vice President Dick Cheney predicted that "after liberation the streets in Basra and Baghdad are sure to erupt in joy in the same way throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans."
This scenario is overly optimistic. Although most Iraqis would probably welcome the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, many would also experience humiliation and resentment over the subsequent occupation of Iraq by American soldiers, which would be essential for preserving political stability in the region.
So rather than free them and give them an opportunity for a representative government. We should leave them under the murderous heel of Saddam. Got it? Better fearful and oppressed than having to deal with feelings of inferiority while US troops occupy their nation, innoculate them, give them health care, help build infrastructure and teach them how to achieve a good government.
The Gulf War of 1991 provides a cautionary precedent. Despite Iraq's defeat, American troops have remained stationed in Saudi Arabia for the past 12 years. They have been the targets of repeated terrorist attacks and have become a focal point for the hostility of political extremists. In 1998, bin Laden published his infamous "Fatwah Urging Jihad against Americans."
The terrorist leader raged against the American "crusader armies now spreading in (the Arabian Peninsula) like locusts, consuming its riches and destroying its plantations." He denounced the Americans' "eagerness to destroy Iraq . . . and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula."
Although bin Laden's views may not have been widely shared in Saudi Arabia, they resonated profoundly with an angry minority. It is no coincidence that 15 of the 19 hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks were Saudi citizens.
Could it have been the same hate filled and untrue rants that call Jews pigs and dogs and urges all Muslims to kill the Jews and take their wealth and enslave their wives? No matter what we or our allies do, they will find reasons to hate us even if they have to make stuff up.
The occupation of Iraq by U.S. troops would provide an ideal recruiting platform for al-Qaida and other extremist organizations. Many people of the region would become convinced that America's goal is global domination, not dignity for Muslim people.
No. Cheering masses of Iraqis instituting their own government and growing rich off of their oil wealth and rebuilding their nation as a peaceful and prosperous and free place will only force the other Arab nations to face their own inadequecies.
If President Bush launches a military campaign without the support of the United Nations, the perceptions will be even worse. Rather than upholding the rule of law, America will appear to be acting arbitrarily in its own interest. Despite our leaders' rhetoric about securing freedom and democracy, many will conclude that the United States cares only about preserving its own power.
Or they will see the truth, that the UN is good for talking but when it comes to threats and oppressed people they lock themselves into inaction marked by very concerned resolutions being passed.
If freedom and democracy are so important in Iraq, why does the administration show so little interest in promoting these values in Egypt or Saudi Arabia?
Now you know even his own arguments soud hollow to the Professor. He turns to diversionary tactics. Is he suggesting that our forces should be massing around these nations and the US should be pressing harsh UN Resolutions calling for democratization from these governments or face military action? Yes Egypt and Saudi Arabia need to be dealt with too but not right now. A free Iraq will go a long way in dealing with them.
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has developed a model of coercive inspections, backed by a multinational military force, which provides one possible means of enforcing the U.N. resolutions.
And this, apparently, will be less humiliating and more uplifting for the oppressed Iraqi masses.
For anyone who believes the reports from little Nicky Kristof about how Iraqis will react when America comes, based on interviews with people there, read this.
When did you first realize that the Iraqi regime was not just another Middle East dictatorship?
Von der Osten-Sacken: "When I first came to Iraq, I very quickly realized that I could not compare the situation there to other Middle Eastern countries I had been in, like Syria, Jordan or Egypt. This country was hell. We were the only Europeans in a city called Amara in the Shi'ite area of southern Iraq near Basra, and we arrived just a few weeks after the uprising had been crushed. There was a belt of tanks around the city. The majority of buildings were burned out. There was no food in the market. There was also a terrible degree of malnourishment there.
"People in Iraq won't talk freely, because they are terrified that their friends are working for one of Saddam's nine horrible security services. Because of this atmosphere, it took us three or four months to learn some details about the uprising. The Iraqis made people lie down in the streets and then buried them alive under asphalt. They killed everyone who looked a little religious, because this was a Shi'ite area. It was forbidden to take the corpses from the street. All in all, 60,000 or 70,000 people were killed in this area in 1991.
"The first thing that was done after the uprising was crushed was to repaint the pictures of Saddam Hussein. People had riddled them with bullets. Not one had been left. We were shocked at how neglected the south was, with open sewage systems, even though it is rich in oil. Saddam said before smashing the uprising that these Shi'ites were dirty people, not really Iraqis. We left there in October '91 when we felt we could not continue our work without unintentionally helping the government."
What was the atmosphere like in Baghdad then?
"Baghdad was 300 kilometers away, and we went quite often - for a good dinner, to have a meeting with another organization or even to make a phone call to Germany. The fear in Iraq, a BBC reporter said recently, is so palpable you can eat it. It's really indescribable. Syria is a dictatorship, but the fear and control in Iraq reaches into your living room. If there is no picture of Saddam Hussein in your living room, you might be arrested. There is no privacy. The Iraqi government considers everything political. In Syria, as long as you are not a member of the opposition, you can relax. You know you will not be harmed. But in Iraq, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you may be arrested, tortured, killed."
"When I was in southern Iraq in '91, we had a lot of conversations with a very nice, very sophisticated doctor. One day, he was watching television and the Iraqi army was being praised for having won the second part of the Gulf War [after the initial U.S. attack aimed at driving Iraq out of Kuwait]. The doctor just said, `Well, it is a strange victory if daily children are dying of hunger.' That was enough. Someone heard him. He was taken, tortured for three weeks and brought back a broken person. Letting one sentence slip is cause enough for a person to vanish into an Iraqi prison or even to be killed."
Is it conceivable that Al Qaeda and Iraq have cooperated?
"Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden share the same enemies, the same conspiracy theories. They share the claim that they are fighting in the name of the Arab masses. Both these men grew up in the same poisoned climate of Arab dictatorships. Their ideologies are quite close, even if Saddam is not an Islamist. And since he has been supporting many terror organizations, I would not be surprised if there are close ties on the ground between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
"I think that Osama bin Laden is trying to walk in the footsteps of Saddam Hussein. At the same time, Saddam Hussein in the 1990s was trying to strengthen the ties between Iraq and the Islamic movements. He put `Allah Akhbar' [`God is great'] into the flag of Iraq and also financed different Islamic groups in Palestine and other places in the Arab world. There is a terrorist education center in Baghdad called Salmanpak and according to the Iraqi opposition, in the mid-'90s, terrorists from other countries were being trained there in such skills as how to hijack planes and use chemical weapons. They may be cooperating and even if they are not, these are two trees growing in the same soil."
So you would not agree with the idea that the war on Iraq is a distraction from the war against terror that President George Bush has proclaimed.
"American policy in Iraq is a series of huge mistakes. Firstly, it was a mistake to support that horrible regime in the 1980s knowing, for example, about the massacres against the Kurds. Secondly, it was a huge mistake not to let the Iraqi people topple Saddam in '91. The Americans feared democracy in the Middle East, they feared the breakup of Iraq because it would strengthen Iran, so they allowed Saddam to crush the uprising.
"With regimes like the Iraqi one, there will be no peace in the Middle East. You cannot contain a regime like Saddam Hussein's. That was a mistake of the West. So the question is: Is America ready to face up to the mistakes it made in '91 and in the '80s? Are the Americans ready to support democracy? Because people like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden grew out of the Middle East. They are not products of Afghanistan."
He has a major cindition to supporting a US led war on Iraq. I think it is the same condition that many of us have:
Are you in favor of waging war against Iraq?
"Let me say first that I am not in favor of war, especially until we know how the Americans want to conduct the war. But one also has to consider that what the Lebanese intellectual Fouad Ajami has said: that for 30 years, Iraq has been conducting a war against its own society. Saddam Hussein is conducting a war against his own people and it must be stopped. It is hard to think of another people who have suffered in the last 20 years like the Iraqi people have suffered at the hands of Saddam Hussein and because of international policy aimed at containing him. If Americans are really ready to topple him, it might be very good for the Iraqi people and very good for the region. If the Americans start just another stupid war like the one in 1991, then I am against it, too.
"At this very moment there is a huge Arabization campaign against Kurds living in Karkuk. People are systematically deported because the regime wants to change a Kurdish city into an Arab one. Just now there are tremendous prison cleansing campaigns. Every Wednesday, the security forces come into the largest prison in Baghdad and say: You, you, you and you. Five hundred people are taken out to be killed just because the prisons are overcrowded. The Iraqi National Congress says that there are 600,000 to 700,000 political prisoners in Iraqi detention camps at present.
"So the question is: Are they really ready to support democracy in the Middle East? In that case, I think the war is necessary and good. Or do they just want to put some horrible general in instead of Saddam? Then I oppose this war very much."
Apparently filming Mugabe's thugs bribing people for votes is a crime punishable by torture.
Roy Bennett, one of only two white opposition MPs in Zimbabwe, was detained with Stewart Girvin on Sunday as they made a video recording near a polling station where representatives of the ruling Zanu-PF party were allegedly giving maize to hungry voters who pledged their allegiance.
The pair, with Mr Bennett's bodyguard, Mike Magwaza, were accused of breaking electoral laws after being held for two days for an offence that carries a maximum of a £100 fine, their supporters said.
Mr Magwaza was said to have been tortured while he was held at Chimanimani police station. Mr Bennett's wife, Heather, "heard loud screaming from the area where Mr Magwaza was being held", according to the campaign group Save Zimbabwe.
Mr Magwaza briefly escaped from the cell but was caught and dragged back before the screaming started again, Mrs Bennett said.
Mr Girvin, 40, a naturalised British citizen who was born in Zimbabwe, is a diabetic and was denied medication, according to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Six mortars rained down at dawn last month near slumbering U.S. special operations soldiers at a base in Lawara on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
But it was the enemy who got a rude awakening moments later when two U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolts screamed out of the sky, ripping up the ridgeline with 30 mm high-explosive ammunition, bombs and rockets.
This could portend something about coming action in Iraq. Turkey has agreed to lift the death sentence passed on Abdullah Ocalan the Kurdish Nationalist leader. BBC is reporting that this is proof to the EU that they mean to do away with the death penalty as a part of their acceptance to the EU. I don't agree, I think it is a offering to the Kurds. The EU hasn't murdered tens of thousands of Turks in a separatist movement.
Ocalan is the sole inmate of an island prison off Istanbul. The BBC's Tabitha Morgan says Ocalan's fate still arouses strong feelings, with many Turks still believing he should hang.
She has since found a job as a clerical worker in the city's High Court where she works with men."I am so happy that I am able to work," said the 26-year-old. "In the Taliban period we were like birds in a cage. Even if we wore the burkha, we could not go to bazaar alone and feel free."
Her 22-year-old sister Frozan has resumed her studies at college, happy to have the chance to pick up the pieces of her education but bitter that so many of her formative years were spent at home."I lost six years of my life doing nothing. If the Taliban were still in power, I would still be stuck at home. I would have nothing to look forward to except getting married and having children, without any legal rights."
Even those who do not feel the change personally speak out.
But while the downfall of the Taliban may have transformed the lives of some women, for others it has brought little change. Mother-of-three Karima Saleh is delighted that her six-year-old daughter Mursal will have a chance to be educated, but feels there have been few other practical benefits. She still wears the all-encompassing burkha veil which has just a narrow lace grille for women to peer through.
The burkha was mandatory for women whenever they stepped outside under the Taliban regime. A glimpse of an ankle was sometimes enough to prompt the religious police to beat women on the spot. "For me there has been no big change in my life since the Taliban left," she told the agency. "I still wear the burkha as Islam says that women should be fully covered. Sometimes when the weather is so hot it is hard to wear, but that is what Islam says. The men in our family also emphasise that we should be fully covered," said the 30-year-old.
And unlike the whiners here Afghani government officials understand that changes will take time.
Sima Samar, the women's minister in the previous interim administration, said it was unrealistic to expect men's attitudes to be transformed overnight, but emphasised that the state should work to enshrine women's rights. "We should not forget that here has been 23 years of war. Significantly, the violations against women's rights were really huge but we cannot change it in six months," Samar, who now heads Afghanistan's human rights commission, told AFP. "We need a lot of time and effort to change the mentality."
Rep. McDermott claims that those who say he is a traitor would not do so to his face. Well I would, if I met him. Standing in the capital of a nation that has for 12 years now decleared that they will bring America to its knees and calling the President a liar, while saying that a man caught in numerous lies who has committed crimes against humanity and nature should be taken at face value, would seem to fit pretty snugly under the 'aid and comfort' section of the definition of traitor.
And to critics who condemned him for raising questions about U.S. policy and his loyalty to the United States, he offered a blunt retort: "They wouldn't say that to my face.
Then against this is a guy who had to go to Bagdad to call the President a liar.
Oh wait, he backed off the Saddam should be taken at face value line.
"Let me say flat out, I don't trust Saddam Hussein under any circumstances. But what has not been clear to this point are the reasons why we're going to war," he said.
So which is it face value or no trust? Or could you not bring yourself to call Saddam a liar to his face?
Now I know why, besides the whole unfettered (i.e. anywhere anytime) part, Saddam is not willing to comply with new resolutions. The draft includes a section about offering amnesty to Oraqi WMD scientists for info.
The United States and Britain want Iraq's top weapons scientists to be allowed to leave the country with their families so they can be questioned by United Nations experts, it has emerged. The demand, in the draft US-British resolution being urged on the UN Security Council, is designed to allow weapons inspectors to interview key scientists without the intimidating presence of Iraqi officials. One diplomat involved in drafting the resolution denied that the plan was to extract Saddam Hussein's scientific elite and offer them a comfortable retirement in the West.
Reprint of an article published in 1997 making the claim that the Palestinian Authority embassy in Baghdad is used as a storage facility for Saddam's WMD documents and WMD themselves.
The alleged existence of secret repositories which effectively are off limits to the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) was reported to its British chairman, Richard Butler, in a confidential letter sent by the Iraqi exiles on September 16. Its text contains these passages:
"We learned certain information from sources in Baghdad which will be of use to you.
"We believe there are documents regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction hidden in St. Joseph's Church in the Dora district. The church is on the main street across from the Assyrian market.
"There are also important documents being stored at the Baghdad residence of President Yasser Arafat in the Jadiriya district."
Born in 1827 in Dublin to Scottish parents, Johnston sailed to Florida with his parents when he was 3. He went to sea at 14 and became an engineer. After returning to Ireland for several years, he sailed back to Florida and in 1853 met and married his wife. They had five children.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Johnston, being a sailor, joined the Confederate Navy and was made a lieutenant. He was aboard the blockade-runner CSS Atlanta when it was captured by the USS Weehawken off Savannah, Ga., on June 17, 1863. Johnston and other ship's officers were imprisoned at Fort Warren on George's Island in Boston Harbor. On Oct. 13, 1863, he died at the fort, most likely from a combination of pneumonia, dysentery and diarrhea. He was about 39. Union guards and other prisoners collected $75 to buy a 1,500-pound granite stone marker for his grave. That marker will follow Johnston's remains on the journey to Florida.
An Iranian official was arrested for allowing a man and woman who kissed in public walk away, making him an 'accomplice'.
Abolfazl Jalili, a film-maker, said Ms Kheirandish, in her 50s, was emotional and kissed Mr Zamani because the actor, in his 20s, was a student of her late husband, Jamshid Esmaeilkhani, an actor who died this year. "Zamani was like her son and there was definitely no other intention. Judicial action only harms Iran's improving international image," he said.
The lot of women in prison in Afghanistan has improved slightly since the fall of the Taliban.
But, says prison warder Djamillah, life in prison has improved since five years of rule by the hardline Taliban ended last year under a US-led bombing campaign. "This prison was not always so full. Under the Taliban regime, the women imprisoned for adultery or other crimes were executed in the stadium by bullet or by stoning. When the Taliban ended, there were only two women left in prison. "We had many cases of women accused of having killed their husbands, but they were often covering up for their daughters who kill their fathers after being raped. We could do nothing for these women who were executed."
There are still issues that must be dealt with.
Today, according to Djamillah, the prison faces a number of problems, including "the women who want to die, the arrival of winter and the poor hygiene."
Some of the changes are drastic in the face of some of the most shocking images out of Taliban ruled Afghanistan.
Before the death penalty was always administered, says Momina Yari, but now "women are no longer executed, the most serious sentence is imprisonment for life. We are now using the Islamic constitution of Afghanistan of 1964. We are all Muslims and we must apply Islamic laws."
As in all Islamic countries with Sharia as the law of the land there are advances that need to be made but, it seems like there is an effort.
"We have worked hard to accomplish this, there are 35 female judges in the whole country," she said. Each of the 31 Afghan provinces has two judges. Nevertheless, Afghan laws, according to the magistrate, are "more modern than those applied in Iran, where a father can kill a daughter who runs off with a man."
Lileks asks what it takes to call someone a traitor.
Then there are Democratic Congresspersons David Bonior and Jim McDermott. One can only wonder what made them want to visit beautiful downtown Baghdad -- it's possible they were thinking of opening up prisons for children in their home states of Michigan and Washington, and wanted to see how Saddam does it. (Curious George crucified in the lobby as a warning? Nice touch!) Whatever was on the itinerary, they made sure us ignorant Americans knew whom to trust in the Middle East.
"I think you have to take the Iraqis on their face value," McDermott said.
Yes, we do. And, like grocery store coupons, the face value is 1/100th of a cent. Not so much as a cocked Spock-like eyebrow toward Saddam or his claque of toadies.
No, save your suspicions for the real liar: George W. Bush. McDermott thinks this is all about oil, and said Bush "would mislead the American people" to get his war. Treason? No. This is "dissent," as in "the Rosenbergs dissented from the concept of American sole ownership of nuclear technology."
Waiting lists for common exams to detect major diseases -- such as mammograms and chest X-rays for cancer and bone mineral densitometry for osteoporosis -- are growing at an alarming and outrageous pace in Ontario, potentially endangering the lives of patients, a new report concludes.
The analysis of waiting times for six specific exams in 60 communities across Ontario, to be announced tomorrow, will show Toronto patients are waiting as long as 30 weeks for the front-line tests, while some communities are offering the services much quicker than others. The study was compiled by the Ontario Association of Radiologists.
Norwegien Foreign Minister, Jan Petersen, agrees with the US and Uk that the UN-Iraq deal leaves sommthing to be desired.
"The initial delight at there had been an agreement disappears when such important exceptions are presented. Inspectors are not the goal for this initiative, they are a means of checking that he does not have weapons of mass destruction, and if access is not unlimited then one cannot do this," Petersen said. "I have to say that I am disappointed that one has not managed to get an agreement that fills in the loopholes that were there before."
"I think it is important that we maintain pressure on this procedure so that the demands of global society are clear to Saddam Hussein. Only under such circumstances will he give in," Petersen said.
They keep telling us exactly what they mean and all of the apologists still ignore or try to 'interpret' or 'put in context' that the hate filled calls to murder and genocide. This from a Senior Palestinian Judge.
Bitawi told the Islam Online Website that "according to a religious edict and [relying on] the words of Allah: Youths and adults, Make haste. Fight the war of Jihad using your money and [sacrificing] your souls for the way of Allah." He said, in a special forum dedicated to religious sages and edicts, that religious sages have pointed out that men, women and children alike, should all follow this route [of Jihad]. "In the era of Muhammad the prophet, the participation of children [in Jihad] was a well-known fact; now we live in this reality in Palestine," he explained. "We hold a great deal of love towards Jihad and for the sacrifice of one's self in honor of Allah. This situation has brought many children to compete amongst themselves regarding the carrying out of the operations of Jihad and acts of suicide.
"However, many of these acts and operations were unsuccessful, and especially due to the anticipation and forecasting abilities of the enemy. Therefore, the Islamic movement was forced to ask these children to wait patiently and not carry out the suicide acts until they've completed their studies, trained and learned to act diligently and with caution."
Asked about the religious ruling regarding the participation of women in suicide attacks, Sheikh Bitawi, who is on the PA's payroll, said: "The sages have said that when the enemy occupies and conquers a land belonging to Muslims, the Jihad becomes a commandment that must be fulfilled by every Muslim man or woman. A woman can carry out Jihad without her husband's permission. The women in the era of Muhammad the prophet used to take part in Jihad. Women throughout Palestine can participate in a form of Jihad, including suicide terror attacks."
Aren't we supposed to trust the Palestinian Justice System to stop the suicide bombers and assure Israel's security?
Clinto just picking his words for the moment. No need to consider his own role in getting us where we are.
"I appreciate what the prime minister is trying to do in terms of bringing America and the rest of the world to a common position," he said. "If he weren't there to do this, I doubt if anyone else could. So I am very, very grateful."
Clinton said he disagreed with most of his successor President Bush's policies, but was with him on trying to achieve a tough new U.N. resolution on Iraq while maintaining the threat of military action as a "last resort."
Has he actually heard what Blair and Bush have been saying? Or did he hear Blair say "blah blah blah UN blah blah blah" and say "Yeah, I completely agree with Tony"?
"I believe we have to stay at this business until we get all those biological and chemical weapons out of there," Clinton said, noting that Britain and the United States had acted successfully in Kosovo after Russia blocked U.N. endorsement. "We will not allow ourselves to be defeated by tyrants with weapons of mass destruction. That will never happen."
Just forget those years between 1994 & 2000. And defnitely don't bring up 1998-2000.
Walter Russell Meade talks about misunderstanding the Rice Doctrine.
Ms Rice's doctrine of realist multilateralism may not be an inspiring rallying cry and many legitimate and helpful criticisms of it can no doubt be made. But the policy, whatever its faults, is neither rudderless nor radical. Until the critics grasp that, they will continue to have little impact.
Jack Straw (from Witchita) had this to say about the UN-Iraq deal
Mr. Straw says he awaits a report Thursday from Mr. Blix on those talks. But the foreign secretary says the Security Council, and not Mr. Blix, will have the final say on when inspectors return.
"Hans Blix is a senior civil servant of the United Nations and can only operate within the existing policy," stressed Mr. Straw. "That policy is defective. And what we have to have is upgraded weapons inspection arrangements where it is the international community, not Saddam Hussein playing games, which determines how these inspections take place, and what the consequences will be for Saddam Hussein if he continues to play games as he has done so over the past four years."
Mr. Straw says the agreement reached Tuesday in Vienna is particularly flawed because it excludes eight of Saddam Hussein's palaces from surprise inspections.
"Within these so-called presidential palaces, much of the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction has taken place," asserted Mr. Straw. "And it is just a further illustration of the way this man plays games," referring to Saddam Hussein.
CNN has figured out the perfect way to counter Fox News' ever expanding ratings lead.
Get ready for slang phrases like "bling-bling," "flava," and "freak" mixed in with the day's headlines as the AOL Time Warner-owned cable network turns to hip hop lingo to rope in younger viewers. "In an effort to be sure we are as cutting-edge as possible with our on-screen persona, please refer to this slang dictionary when looking for just the right phrase," reads an internal Headline News memo obtained by the Daily News. "Please use this guide to help all you homeys and honeys add a new flava to your tickers and dekos," the memo continues, referring to the graphics that appear on the busy Headline News screen. On the CNN pick list of hip hop phrases: "jimmy hat" meaning condom, "fly" for sexually attractive, and "ill," meaning to act inappropriately.
"Me fail English? That's unpossible". In Ontario it may soon also be noproblem.
Ontario is considering an "alternate diploma" for students who fail the province-wide Grade 10 literacy test that is a requirement for high school graduation, Elizabeth Witmer, the Education Minister, said yesterday.
"There is a suggestion that has been put forward that maybe we should look at an alternate diploma that students would receive if they were not going into post-secondary education and might just be making a choice that would be different such as going into an apprenticeship program," Ms. Witmer said.
Her remarks came one day after the province's testing agency released results showing 56% of Grade 10 students who do not plan to attend college or university failed the reading or writing or both portions of last February's literacy test.
While meeting with the Kuwaiti defence minister Iran has made clear they would completely sit out any attack on Iraq.
"We are against a war, but we will not oppose it by force," Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani emphasized at a press conference when asked to explain Iran's declared policy of "active neutrality". "At the same time, we will not seek to profit from the situation Iraq finds itself in, and we will also not cooperate with Iraq. We call on Iraq to implement all (UN) resolutions."
Blair is not taking the easy way by playing such an active role in the controversy over what to do about Iraq. His support for the Bush administration on this issue is also provoking lively public debate in Britain. Especially from critics within his own Labour Party, Blair has been hearing the accusation that he is behaving like Bush's lapdog when it comes to Iraq.
That is a cheap shot. Indeed, considerably more than in Schröder's case, there are ample indications that Blair's stance on the Iraq question is based in inner conviction and a sense of statesmanlike political responsibility. This week, his heartfelt speech to the House of Commons moved a good many doubters in his own party ranks to voice only mild criticism of him in Parliament. Blair can hardly be accused of being a warmonger. Rather, his decisiveness about using military force against a dangerous tyrant like Saddam Hussein bespeaks consistency. The British prime minister took the same position on the NATO intervention in Kosovo and the lightning campaign against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Schröder's stance, which rejects military action in Iraq even with a United Nations mandate - by now a rather isolated position in Europe - is certainly not as consistent as that of his social democratic colleague in London.
Aside from supporting Bush, Americans have come to realize that Blair is one of the few world leaders tham may actually understand America and understand our unique position right now.
It is reported that, in Bush's White House office, there stands a bust of wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (whose mother, by the way, was American), loaned to Bush by Tony Blair for the duration of his term in office. In contrast to some Continental Europeans, for Blair America is not some suspect hyperpower but a fundamentally positive, historically proven and democratically rooted force for order, without whose existence the world would hardly be a more comfortable place.
Something the whiners still don't seem to understand. They are like Brian in the life off Brian. They have no concept of how to haggle. They just accept whatever offer their opponent makes. "Okay, I'll let you search thise here outhose for WMD and then you must lift the sanctions and get out of Iraq" "Sounds good to us" "No, no no. Now you say the outhouse and all of your palaces"
Here we have another confirmation of the old insight that dictators of Saddam Hussein's ilk can be impressed, if at all, only by the credible threat of military force. Logically, then, those who believe that a war could be prevented by truly far-reaching and unhindered checks of Iraq's weapons potential should support a new, airtight UN resolution such as Washington is pushing for. But not all members of the Security Council are prepared as yet to follow that logic.
Then the article sort of falls apart in an attemp to be even handed. 1) Blair and Bush never tried to say Saddam must go for being involved in September 11th. 2) Saddam is a part of the War on terror. We are capable of fighting on more than one front. 3) As far as I know the Resolutions concerning Iraq are binding resolutions (they must be observed) and the resolutions concerning Israel are non-binding (more like suggestions).
In response to the name calling and alarmist 'statement' by Canada's leading 'intellectuals' a reporter did a little homework.
I was alarmed to learn last week that the biggest threat to world peace is George W. Bush and his henchmen in Washington. This news was brought to us by Margaret Atwood, Anton Kuerti, David Suzuki and other Canadian intellectuals who seem to know quite a lot about the evil American empire. (One of them called Mr. Bush a "thug.")The question is, what about Saddam Hussein? They didn't really mention him. So I phoned Charles Duelfer, the United Nations' deputy chief of weapons inspections in Iraq throughout the '90s. He's met thousands of Iraqis and logged a lot of time in Baghdad. I figured he'd know something about Saddam.
"Will peaceful inspections work this time?" I asked him. "No," he said.
In Mr. Duelfer's view, the worst menace is not Saddam's weapons. It's Saddam. "The regime is a growing threat and has taken its own population hostage." He says inspections are likely to be even less effective than they were last time, because the regime has fine-tuned its powers of deception and obstruction. "Iraq tested the inspectors very early on. It egregiously blocked them. And it saw the Security Council's only reaction was to write another resolution."
Iraq is excellent at cheating. And Russia and France, who must agree to any Security Council resolutions, are excellent at undermining the inspectors because they want to protect their oil deals with Iraq. Mr. Duelfer says any inspection team needs a strong military threat to back it up. It also needs the co-operation of Iraq's scientists and engineers. I asked how that could happen, given Saddam's habit of killing the people he doesn't like and torturing their relatives. "The UN would have to ensure that they and their families are offered safe haven."
And what do former inspectors have to say about Saddam and the use of WMD?
Okay, then. So what if Saddam gets nukes? He'd never dare to use them. Or so the peace faction says.
"We make the mistake of believing that he thinks like we do," said Mr. Duelfer. "But he believes that, if he had a nuke, then no one would threaten him. He knows he got it backward in 1990. He was six months away from having an atomic weapon when he invaded Kuwait. If he goes into Kuwait again, are we going to attack Baghdad if we think he will incinerate Tel Aviv?"
Quite a few former weapons inspectors agree with Mr. Duelfer. One is Richard Spertzel, who was the UN's chief inspector for biological weapons. He was in Iraq more than 40 times. "The inspectors don't have a chance," he says. Germ labs are too easy to hide and the Iraqis have become masters of deception. Once he asked an Iraqi official, "We know that you're lying, so why are you doing it?" The official replied, "It's not a lie when you're ordered to lie."
Mr. Spertzel thinks Saddam has anthrax, smallpox and tularemia (rabbit fever, a highly infections bacteria that affects both animals and humans), as well as anti-crop agents. "It will take a shift in the attitude of the Iraqi ruling regime before any elimination of weapons of mass destruction is possible."
So, we can believe a bunch of people whose get paid to entertain us or we can believe the people whose job it is to look for WMD and study Saddam in order to shut down his WMD programs. Choose wisely young Jedi.
The immigration minister, a colleague of the assassinated Pim Fortuyn (were Pim a favored son of the Leftists, which he should well have been, they would say he was assassinated. However, whenever I see him mentioned it is always 'murdered'), has called for mosques to give sermons in Dutch only.
Mr Nawijn told journalists that Muslim clerics had a duty to convince their fellow believers that they should be loyal to the values and norms of Dutch society. He said the new citizenship course was needed to improve the integration of immigrants - and that he would be looking at how best to promote the speaking of Dutch in places of worship.
Okay, I missed this on Sunday but it is hilarious. Our local conservative up here in MA, Howie Carr had some commments about Teddy K's speech on Friday.
It had to be a serious speech, as someone noted Friday, because Sen. Ted Kennedy remembered to wear his trousers. And so the senior senator weighed in, so to speak, on C-SPAN 2. He laid out the case for not going to war, and it boils down to one salient fact:
More Americans have been killed by Ted Kennedy's Oldsmobile than by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.
And those who like to say Bush is inarticulate should listen to Ted a little closer:
``Well uh the question are we putting politics over principle when we are trying to uh uh try to get a vote on on the Iraqi situation get back to the other. Uh I don't uh I don't think so. Uh you know my sense is uh that people have at least uh feel in our Democratic caucus that people have made up their minds and that this debate is all over. I mean I'd say that is a feeling among many. Um I kind of reject it because I don't think people have heard the other side. Myself.''
What's he saying?
``Well I I uh as I mentioned at the opening I believe that President Bush believes in his policy very uh firmly and and deeply I there's nothing in uh in uh that would lead to to uh another decision. It's one I differ with for the reasons that I have outlined here but uh I don't question that he uh doesn't believe that very very uh deeply and I think that that's you know to his uh uh to his credit.'' Teddy suggested that we go again to what he called ```the United Nation.'' He cited the post-war expulsion of the arms inspectors ``in 1988'' - three years before the Gulf War began. He mentioned a movie. He quoted an employee of CNN. All in all, a bravura performance.
Remember, this is the man that the intelligensia puts on a god-like pedestal.
If true, I suppose this is one way to put 'Sunshine' in you relations with a hostile neighbor.
South Korean president Kim Dae-jung has been accused of "bribing" North Korea to improve relations with the South by secretly channelling $400m (£250m) of public funds to Pyongyang through the Hyundai business group.
Opposition politicians alleged state-run Korea Development Bank funded payments by Hyundai to North Korea shortly before and after Mr Kim's Nobel Peace prize-winning summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in June 2000.
"It has been found that the inter-Korean summit in 2000 was bought with money," said Suh Chung-won, chairman of the Grand National party, South Korea's main opposition party. Hyundai and the government denied the allegations.
Providing generous aid to poverty-stricken North Korea in return for a reduction in tensions is an accepted principle of Seoul's "sunshine" policy of reconciliation. However the suggestion that a secret cash payment preceded the inter-Korean summit has provoked outrage in South Korean newspapers.
I don't know what all of his views may be, but Trad sounds like ht right kind of Muslim spokesperson.
"They say when a Muslim speaks it is an admission that Islam has a problem," Trad says. "They say you don't see them filming churches when a Christian commits a rape or a murder, so why are you letting them come to interview you at the mosque? They don't realise that the media comes anyway. They tell me - just say "no comment" - but I have a million comments. They cannot censor me. I answer the questions sensibly and we have got nothing to hide."
Trad and Hanifeh have been through a lot. They met in Lebanon when they were both about 22. They married after three weeks and she came to live with her new husband and mother-in-law in Yagoona. Trad worked at the Australian Tax Office while Hanifeh took English classes. "I find it hard to believe these mothers who cannot understand their children's language or who are dependent on their children for translation," she says.
Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, Alec Baldwin and other mindless knee-jerk leftists will try to claim that the Administration is crushing dissent (of course their comments are reported in papers, shown on the news and they are called for interviews) but, if they want to know what the suppression of dissent is prehaps they should talk to some wirters and editors in Iran.
An Iranian court has summoned the head of the country's official news agency to answer charges connected to its published report about U.S. relations with the Islamic Republic.
Iranian newspapers say the Islamic Republic News Agency's (IRNA) managing editor, Abdollah Nasseri, appeared in court Monday to explain a published survey showing 74 percent of Iranians want talks on restoring diplomatic ties with Washington. The IRNA poll was published last week.
The findings drew instant criticism in Iran's conservative press, with some publications calling for a purge of the news agency, and others accusing it of publishing false data. IRNA later withdrew the findings.
Gov. Gray Davis vetoed legislation Monday letting many illegal immigrants obtain California driver's licenses. The decision forced Davis to weigh what he said were increased security risks from licensing non-citizens after last year's terrorist attacks against the urging of immigrant rights groups. Davis had demanded a series of safeguards, including fingerprint background checks and cooperation with the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service, angering Hispanic groups vital to his re-election campaign.
So is that Arafat and the PA can't stop the terrorists or won't?
In an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post, Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Masri, head of the Political Security Department at the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, said the long-awaited crackdown on Hamas promised by former PA interior minister Abdel Razek Yahya will likely never happen. "We have enough men and arms, but not political horizon and no incentive, to enter into bloody conflict with other Palestinians," said Masri from his office at the PA's GIS building just north of Gaza City.
"The Palestinian street shows great support for Hamas and other groups opposing the PA, so we prefer to use other, more democratic methods," he said. "Capabilities and principle are two different things. Besides ending the occupation, our major goal is not to be labeled collaborators,"
Pretty damning indictment of both Republicans (for cedeing the high ground) and Deomcrats (for letting the issue die) when it comes to the cessation of inspections.
In the critical late 1990s, it was the United States, the preeminent power on the Security Council, that effectively stopped supporting the inspection system, rendering it a sham. Democrats understandably do not want to remember that. Republicans would find it inconvenient to have to share the blame with an amorphous "UN" that the Bush administration pretends not to be part of as it rattles sabers against the organization almost as frequently as it threatens Iraq.
Hitler found "Lord Haw Haw" -- William Joyce, who broadcast German propaganda to Britain during World War II -- in the dregs of British extremism. But Saddam Hussein finds American collaborators among senior congressional Democrats.
Not since Jane Fonda posed for photographers at a Hanoi antiaircraft gun has there been anything like Rep. Jim McDermott, speaking to ABC's "This Week" from Baghdad, saying Americans should take Saddam Hussein at his word, but should not take President Bush at his. McDermott, in his seventh term representing Seattle, said Iraqi officials promised him and his traveling companion, Rep. David Bonior, a 13-term Michigan Democrat, that weapons inspectors would be "allowed to look anywhere."
Do Liberals and Marxists have any other line of attack othere than racism. This is part of what Nelson Mandela said in Indonesia today.
"When the (UN) secretaries-general were white, we never had the question of any country ignoring the United Nations but now that we have got the black secretaries-general like...Kofi Annan, certain countries that believe in white supremacy are ignoring the United Nations," he told reporters at the airport on his arrival. "We have to combat that without reservation," he said.
Of course you would think that he is talking about Iraq's dismissal of UN Resolutions for the past 20 years. But you would be wrong. He is talking about the US threatening to take on Saddam even if the UN further proves it is good at talking and useless when it comes to action.
And somehow the wise one is somehow ignorant of all of the 'non-white' nations that continue to ignore UN resolutions. Zimbabwe, Sudan, Syria, North Korea, China (oh that's right, the UN Human Rights Commission doesn't see anything that China has done as worthy of denunciation), Cuba, Libya (the present chair of the UNHRC) and other such 'august' 'non-white' nations'. Apparently Nelson thinks ony 'white' countries ignore 'non-white' UN Secretary Generals.
And I don't even know where to start with this, except to say, apparently Mr Mandela has never heard of something called the US Constitution.
"No country, however powerful it may be, is entitled to act outside the United Nations...The United Nations is here to promote peace in the world, and any country that acts outside (it) is making a serious mistake."
This is something I think is misunderstood. People are saying that Turkey will face troubles if there is a war against Iraq.
But Turkey paid dearly for supporting the United States in the Gulf War, and its government doesn't want to be a loser in a second Iraq war. If the Bush administration doesn't listen more closely to Turkish concerns, it could soon be facing a disaster in northern Iraq.
What Turkey fears most is that a war will precipitate a semi-independent Kurdish entity in northern Iraq that will re-ignite the bitter civil war waged by Kurdish separatists in Turkey for nearly two decades.
Let me answer this with a question. What will happen if Saddam keeps inspectors on the run for a year or two. The world and the UN, as is their wont, lose interest and declare we have achieved victory. This time around it is decided that we will reward Saddam for his 'compliance' by lifting the sanctions and recognizing Iraq's 'territorial intergrity'. How long do you think Saddam will suffer a semi-independent Kurdish run Northern Iraq before sending troops (WMD armed) to put them down? Once this war of suppression starts Eastern Turkey will become a militarized Kurdish stronghold with even more Kurdish refugees agitating even more for independence.
Please explain to me how this is worse than a WMD armed Saddam looking to write his name in the record books for eons to come being toppled and the victorious Kurds, who are right now affirmng their support of a federal Iraq with to goal toward an independent Kurdish State. The writer of this piece makes the assumption that if we don't go to war with Iraq then the Kurds will never rise up. That is just plain ignorance.
A federally created Iraq with input from the allies who help bring freedom will have a much better chance at peace between the Turks and Kurds than waiting for an open war between the Kurds and Saddam.
Subsequently, the Bush administration facilitated the emergence of a Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Iraq. That entity was protected by U.S. and British overflights from Turkish NATO bases.
For the Turks, this was their worst nightmare: Not only had they lost their most important trading partner - Iraq - and sacrificed huge revenue from the Iraqi oil pipeline that ran through Turkey, but they also now had to worry that Kurdish autonomy would inspire Kurdish separatists within Turkey.
Apparently it would have been much better had we allowed Saddam to just kill them all off. That way Turkey could still be trading with Iraq and getting Saddam's oil.
Besides telling us how great he is and what a wonderful life he has has and how much he has loved being a Senator what the hell was hispress conference about. Oh that and how it is terrible that American con no longer find it in their hearts to forgive. What is there to forgive? Right from the start he said he didn't do anything. Secondly, he never asked for forgiveness and for their to be forgiveness their has to be an admission of sin and a sincere plea for forgiveness. And, forgiving does not mean that there will be no punishment or atonement. Any sincere person would admit they have let down those who trusted them and admit they were no longer fit to serve. Lying and accepting bribes over the course of years is apparently only a mistake.
The remains of four US Airmen lost in WWII are coming home after being found in Tibet.
The airmen, who have not been conclusively identified, crashed into a meadow 15,650 feet high on a mountain near the Tibetan village of Langko in March 1944, according to searchers from the U.S. Army's Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii. All four died on impact, the military says.
That C-46 was one of more than 500 U.S. planes believed to have crashed over the Himalayan mountains during World War II. More than 1,000 U.S. airmen are believed to have perished in such crashes along what became known as the ``Aluminum Trail'' for its many lost planes.
Zerah Warhaftig, one of the signers of Israel's Declaration of Independence and a rescuer of Jewish refugees during World War II, died Thursday, friends said. He was 96. One of the 37 signers of the declaration of independence on May 15, 1948, Warhaftig was a member of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, from 1949-81, and minister of religious affairs from 1961-70.
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