Day by Day

Saturday, July 31, 2004


John Kerry and the US flag. Notice how John Kerry is usually pictured with the US flag? I bet here is one he would rather forget. Notice it is upside down. Posted by Hello

Kerry reports for duty - maybe. Posted by Hello

Friday, July 30, 2004

The BBC's take on Kerry's acceptance speech

I haven't posted much about American politics for two reasons.

First, there are so many pundits that are far, far better at it than I am.

Second, I imagine most Brits have little interest in the details, just get the election over so we know who we are going to be dealing with for the next four years.

However, since the BBC is widely read, I thought it might be of some help to add some comment on the BBC's take on Kerry's speech.

In a major speech ending the party's convention in Boston, he promised to fight for a stronger America, saying strength was "more than tough words".

What does this mean? Is he saying all Bush has done is use "tough words"? That doesn't square with the successful wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He also attacked President Bush's policy on Iraq, and said that he would not "mislead the country into war".

It's refreshing to see the Democrats start to back off the "Bush lied" theme and tone it down to at least "mislead". But that doesn't explain Kerry's voting record or his own words.

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002."

So, Mr. Kerry, exactly how were you misled if you knew Saddam had WMDs?

The speech was preceded by a film of his life story, highlighting his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam.

This, to me, is one of the most bizarre events of the convention. This happened over 30 years ago and Kerry was only in Viet Nam for 16 weeks! I'll give him his due, he was in a war and he was wounded. But how does that short period over 30 years ago qualify Kerry to lead a country?

What is worse for Kerry, is this brings his flip flopping into sharp focus. When Kerry came back from Viet Nam he threw his (or someone's) medals over the White House fence and became an anti-war protester. He accused his fellow sailors of war crimes. Now he wants to use his time in Viet Nam to show what a war hero he is? This just defies logic.

Then, accompanied by his wartime crew mates, the candidate took to the stage.

Hold on a second BBC, you aren't telling us some important details. Kerry was accompanied by several "vets" but how many were actually "his wartime crew mates"? Answer, 2. That is right just 2. The rest of Kerry's "wartime crew mates" are campaigning against him.

When Kerry published a photograph of himself and "his wartime crew mates", they hired a lawyer and issued a "cease and desist" order to stop Kerry from using their photographs in his campaign.

Kerry's wartime crew mates were not happy with Kerry in Viet Nam and after he returned to the states he accused them of war crimes. So, they set up a website called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The main page contains the photograph Kerry used without their permission. When you point to the photograph, the members supporting Kerry are shown, there are just 2.

His wartime crew mates were so angry with the false statements by Kerry that they have even published a book called "Unfit for Command : Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry"

"I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president," Mr Kerry said.

By saying he "defended this country as a young man", Kerry is saying he believed then and still believes that the US needed defending from Viet Nam. Which makes his anti-war stance look ridiculous.

What is Kerry saying here, "I'll wait till we are attacked and then I will defend it as president"?

He said that as commander-in-chief he would "never hesitate to use force when it is required", and would be prepared for the US to go it alone.

How is any of this different from Bush?

"When it is required"? Would that be after we are attacked?

You would "go it alone"? As in unilaterally?

"I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security," Mr Kerry said.

Again, how does this differ from Bush? Is Kerry saying he will act unilaterally when it suits him? Isn't this a flip flop from the opening of the speech:

"Democratic Party candidate John Kerry has formally accepted the nomination to run for US president, vowing to rebuild America's alliances around the world."

He sought to contrast himself with Mr Bush by highlighting the faulty intelligence used by the administration ahead of the conflict.

"Faulty intelligence"? Then why, as I pointed out earlier, did he say "...I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002. And a year later Kerry said "...So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..." Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003


Even his running mate, John Edwards had this to say:

We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

"We only go to war because we have to," he said.

That's true, so what is the point here? Is Kerry trying to say we did not have to go to war in Iraq? Kerry voted for the war in Iraq. This line just does not make sense.

"In these dangerous days there is a right way and a wrong way to be strong. Strength is more than tough words," he said.

There is that line again. I keep asking myself as I read Kerry's speech, "what in the hell is he talking about"?

Again, is he saying that Bush is all talk and no action? The facts are obviously otherwise and for all to see.

Afghanistan, Iraq, the closing down of charities, abroad and in the US, funding terrorism, the capture or killing of thousands of terrorists world wide, the creation of the Homeland Security Department and the list goes on and on. These are tough actions, not "tough words".

The more Kerry talks the less he makes sense, kind of like Michael Moore. These two alone will insure the Democrats defeat in November.
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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Key al-Qaeda suspect 'arrested'

From The BBC

Pakistan says it has arrested a key suspect in the bombings of two US embassies in East Africa in 1998.

He has been named as Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, an al-Qaeda militant who has a $25m American bounty on his head.[...]

His Uzbek wife and two unidentified South African nationals are among those arrested with him, Mr Hayat added.


It is interesting to note how often South Africa is coming up lately.

here are a couple of recent South African connections.
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UK links to Iraq corruption probe

Remember when the anti-war movement and others were condemning the US for the thousands of babies dying in Iraq due to sanctions? The truth is finally coming out and I can't wait to see George Galloway in court.

UK citizens and companies are being investigated over claims of corruption in Iraq's Oil-for-Food scheme, it has been revealed.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has told MPs a "small number of UK individuals and entities" are named in papers about the inquiry sent to the government.

The scheme was set up so Iraq to use some of oil money to buy food and aid.


Instead a lot of people lined their pockets while Saddam squandered the money on luxuries.

UPDATE: One of my readers pointed out that I forgot to post the link to the story. My apologies and here is the link:

The BBC
British soldiers die fighting terrorists while new ones created at home

British Islam colleges 'link to terrorism'

MP calls for inquiry as lecturers give backing to Taleban and Hamas

TWO British universities have given their approval to a pair of Islamic colleges with close links to fundamentalist scholars and political movements, The Times can reveal.

Ministers faced calls last night for an inquiry into the apparent connections between the colleges, which train imams for British mosques, and hardline Islamist groups.

The European Institute of Human Sciences (EIHS) and the Markfield Institute of Higher Education are both registered charities and their courses have received univer-sity accreditation.

The rector of the college at Markfield, near Leicester — where a new campus was opened by the Prince of Wales last year — is Professor Khurshid Ahmad. He is also vice-president of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan’s largest hardline Islamic party.

Professor Ahmad has publicly praised the Taleban regime in Afghanistan. In an article in July 2003 on his party’s website, he wrote: “All of that area which was controlled by the Taleban had become the cradle of justice and peace.”

Markfield’s courses have been validated by the University of Loughborough and one of its lecturers is Azzam Tamimi, who has declared his support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

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OPTIMISM IN AFGHANISTAN

From The New York Post

With the situation in Iraq seen by many as a mess, Afghanistan has a constitution, is registering voters and is moving toward holding a presidential election in October. And the survey of 804 randomly selected male and female Afghan citizens, commissioned by the Asia Foundation notes that:

* 64 percent say the country is heading in the right direction.

* 81 percent say that they plan to vote in the October election.

* 77 percent say they believe the elections will "make a difference."

* 64 percent say they rarely or never worry about their personal safety, while under the Taliban only 36 percent felt that way.

* 62 percent rate President Hamid Karzai's performance as either good or excellent.

This was no pro-Bush put-up job. The polling firm, Charney Research, is a partisan Democratic polling firm. And superstar Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, who's read the study — and who has worked on similar polling in developing countries — calls it "very reliable."

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Encircling Iran

The Caspian Guard, a cage in the making - for Iran

The "unilateralist" Bush administration is also setting up a sister organization to the PSI called Caspian Guard. Caspian Guard is ostensibly a three-way alliance between the United States, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan for the integration of several interlocking program elements, namely airspace and maritime surveillance and control systems, reaction and response forces, and border control.

What might be Caspian Guard's deeper mission? Take a look at a couple of maps, one of Azerbaijan's neighborhood and one of Kazakhstan's. What do they have in common? Both are central Asian states with coasts on the Caspian Sea, and both either share a border with or are across the water from Iran. Caspian Guard is to Iran what the PSI is to North Korea -- a cage in the making, constructed by the Bush administration's State Department. Look for several other US-leaning states in the area, such as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and possibly even Turkey, to either join the Caspian Guard or cooperate with it in significant ways. The US will begin to encircle Iran, the world's most dangerous remaining Islamic state, the way it is attempting to encircle North Korea, all to strangle their nuclear proliferation programs and over time halt their nuclear programs altogether. Additionally, Caspian Guard gives member states access to US training and tactical knowledge and the assurance of friendly relations with the world's sole superpower in exchange for assistance in dealing with some of the axis of evil's charter members.

For all the abuse that the Bush administration receives for its conduct of the war on terrorism, the Proliferation Security Initiative and Caspian Guard stand as examples of the other side of the war as conducted by a serious administration that knows we are all in for a long twilight struggle. Only by removing or intimidating terror-sponsoring states into renouncing terrorism, and only by stopping the spread of nuclear and other mass killing technology in its tracks, can the free world hope to win this war without incredible loss of life. Bush administration critics and the media -- often one and the same -- consistently fail to take the existence of the PSI and its start-up sister Caspian Guard into account when assessing how we are doing in the war. The existence of these organizations indicate that for all the squabbling over Iraq, most of the world's major powers do regard terrorism and weapons proliferation as serious conjoined threats, and are willing to band together to do something about it. And they are willing to be led by the unilateral cowboy from Texas who defied several of them to topple Saddam Hussein.
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BERGER PAPERS BARED TRANSLATION DISASTER

From New York Post

We may never know what papers Berger was stealing, altering and/or inserting. One thig is sure, he should be investigated and if warranted face trial.

July 29, 2004 -- WASHINGTON — Urgent complaints that the FBI could not decipher bugged conversations between members of a Brooklyn mosque and Afghan terrorists because it lacked translators were included in the documents former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger removed from the National Archives, The Post has learned. In the latest twist to the document scandal, investigators said the revelation about translators was among several criticisms of America’s ability to deal with the looming al Qaeda threat contained in the “after action” memo on the millennium terror plot

A lack of translators was not the only problem; in-fighting and possible pro-Al Qaeda translators were as well.

Whistle-Blowing Said to Be Factor in an F.B.I. Firing

WASHINGTON, July 28 - A classified Justice Department investigation has concluded that a former F.B.I. translator at the center of a growing controversy was dismissed in part because she accused the bureau of ineptitude, and it found that the F.B.I. did not aggressively investigate her claims of espionage against a co-worker.

World Net Daily reported on this back in January 2004.

Arab translators cheered Sept. 11

WASHINGTON – In a shocking revelation, an FBI whistleblower claims some Arab-Americans translating Arabic intercepts for the FBI spoke approvingly of the terrorist attacks on America more than two years ago.

Former FBI translator Sibel D. Edmonds says translators of Middle Eastern origin working for the FBI's Washington field office maintain an "us"-versus-"them" attitude that's so strong it may be compromising al-Qaida investigations.[...]

"During my work with the bureau, I was seriously taken aback by what I heard and witnessed within the translation department," she said. "There were those who openly divided the fronts as 'Us' – the Middle-Easterners who shared certain views – and 'Them' – the Americans who were the outsiders [whose] arrogance was now 'leading to their own destruction.'"

Not long after the attacks, Edmonds said one translator said: "It is about time that they get a taste of what they have been giving to the rest of the Middle East."


The Berger thickens.
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Al-Qaida-linked statement threatens `waterfalls of blood' in Europe

From CBS New York

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) A statement purportedly from an al-Qaida-linked group threatens ``waterfalls of blood'' in European cities because the continent didn't respond to Osama bin Laden's demand that they leave Iraq and Afghanistan within three months.

The statement, dated Wednesday, was posted on an Islamic Web Site known for its extremist content. It was written in the name of the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which has made similar threats in the past,

According to the threat, Italy will be the first to face attack for not meeting bin Laden's demand. Premier Silvio Berlusconi has been a steadfast U.S. ally and contributed about 3,000 soldiers to the coalition, behind only the United States and Britain. Poland has about 2,400 troops in Iraq, while several other European countries have smaller contingents there.

``We will create waterfalls of blood that will drag you to their depths. You have condemned your people to that. The infidel Europe has done the same to its people by following America. We will destroy European cities, starting by you, Berlusconi,'' the statement said. ``The cities will bleed until all of you, European leaders and people, come to your senses. Withdraw your deadly missions from Iraq.''[...]

``Today, we have declared a bloody war against you. We will not stop our attacks until you have come to your senses,'' the statement said.


Meanwhile...

Al-Qaeda Trots Europe on "SA Identity"

Al-Qaeda terrorists are traveling through Europe equipped with South African passports, local authorities alarmed on Thursday.

Officials believed the forgery network came from crime syndicates operating inside the government agency that issues the documents.

The news broke after a top police official said "boxes and boxes" of the identity documents were discovered in London.

Barry Gilder, director general of the Home Affairs Department, said he came across a number of instances in which South African passports were found in the hands of al-Qaeda suspects or associates in Europe. It happened in his current capacity and earlier when he was deputy director in the National Intelligence Agency.


And some of these are already turning up in America.

Woman with altered passport detained

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Authorities have detained a woman who had six pages ripped from her passport and are investigating whether she has ties to terrorist organizations, government officials said Wednesday.

Authorities arrested the woman, who identified herself as Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed, on July 19 in Texas, and are trying to confirm her identity and nationality.

Government officials said that name is on an FBI watch list and that it was put on the list after it surfaced during an investigation of an overseas terrorist incident.[...]

They discovered that her South African passport had missing pages and lacked a stamp for entry into the United States.

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Republican video captures Kerry's flip flop on Iraq stance

From AP

There is a link to the video on the top right of the article.

In the video clips, Kerry gradually shifts from harsh anti-Saddam Hussein rhetoric in 2001 and 2002 to more cautious comments about Iraq in late 2003 and then to anti-war comments by early 2004.

"We've all reached a judgment the United States has to protect its interests," Kerry says on one talk show in early 2002. Saddam "may even slide these weapons off to terrorist groups, it's the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat," he says on a September 2002 talk show.

(here Kerry admits even he knew Iraq had WMDs)

The video reminds that Kerry voted in October 2002 to authorize President Bush to use force.

Through 2003 and early 2004, Kerry became more cautious and talked against the war, as problems grew in Iraq and his primary campaign against anti-war candidate Howard Dean became more intense


I like the music at the end, it's the theme song from the TV show "Flipper".
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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Twin Towers 'key suspect' breaks cover to email wife in Germany

From The Telegraph

By Massoud Ansari in Karachi and Tony Paterson in Berlin
(Filed: 25/07/2004)

A key September 11 suspect who disappeared eight days before the attacks on the World Trade Centre has broken his cover by emailing his wife in Germany, prompting Pakistani police to renew their hunt for him.

Said Bahaji, 29, a German of Moroccan origin who is alleged to have been the link between the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell - which masterminded the attacks - and Osama bin Laden, is believed to have been hiding in Pakistan and Afghanistan ever since the attacks.

In an email to his wife, Nese, who still lives in Germany, Bahaji revealed that he was being well looked after despite being on the run. Addressing her as "My Rose", Bahaji wrote: "The people here love Arabs. The simplest of people welcome us. Their wives can't wait to cook and do our laundry for us."

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U.S. indicts Muslim charity in Texas

The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, its executive director, its chairman and five other men were named in the 42-count federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.[...]

Among the men charged were Shukri Abu Baker, the foundation's former chief executive, and chairman Ghassan Elashi. Three charges of filing a false tax return applied only to Abu Baker and Elashi.

And let's not forget Elashi's connections to the Council on American-Islamic Relations or his recent conviction for conspiracy to violate the Export Administration Regulationsand the Libyan Sanctions Regulations.
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Bad news for the Democrats but good news for America

Boing, boing; so much for the Edwards bounce and convention bounce.

Consumer Confidence Hits Two-Year High

NEW YORK - Consumer confidence rose for the fourth straight month in July thanks to steady improvements in the job market, the Conference Board (news - web sites) reported Tuesday, putting the indicator at a two-year high.
The New York-based research group reported that its index for consumer confidence rose to 106.1 in July, up from 102.8 in June and well ahead of the figure of 102.0 that investors had been expecting. It was the highest level for the indicator since June 2002.

Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center, said the gains were fueled by a better outlook for jobs, "and unless the job market sours, consumer confidence should continue to post solid numbers."


That might help explain the latest poll numbers.

Poll Shows Support for Kerry Weakens on Issues and Attributes

July 26, 2004— The critical convention season begins with John Kerry losing momentum at just the hour he'd like to be gaining it: President Bush has clawed back on issues and attributes alike, reclaiming significant ground that Kerry had taken a month ago.

Kerry has lost support against Bush in trust to handle five of six issues tested in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, including terrorism, Iraq, taxes and even health care. And Kerry's ratings on personal attributes — honesty, strong leadership, consistency, empathy and others — have softened as well.


And when Kerry Defends Wife's 'Shove It' Comment (video link here), the Networks Pull Plug on Teresa's Speech.

Add in Chrenkoff's Good News Iraq Part 6 and his Good News Afghanistan, the vindication of Bush by the 9/11 commission and the Senate Intelligence report, Report Clears Army of Prisoner Abuse and I'd say things are looking good for the Republicans.

UPDATE: And the deficit is nearly $100 billion less than the forecast offered five months ago, congressional sources said on Tuesday.

All good news for Bush and Kerry has Wilson, Clarke, Berger and now his wife. Who says politics isn't fun?
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Report Clears Army of Prisoner Abuse

From Powerline

We're a few days late with this one, but Dafydd ab Hugh's analysis of the U.S. Army's report on prisoner abuse that was released last week is worth passing on:

The Army has released the findings of its report on all confirmed or alleged cases of prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the war on terror in general. The "shock" headline (for the mathematically challenged) is "U.S. Reports 94 Cases of Prisoner Abuse"

But in fact, the report is stunning as an example of the dog that *did not* bark -- and it's another vindication for Bush and Rumsfeld.

First of all, headline aside, the body of the AP story makes clear that the number ninety-four refers not just to confirmed cases but to all allegations of abuse as well: if a prisoner says "I was beaten," it's counted as part of those ninety-four, even if there is no corroboration whatsoever for it, or even if it's disputed by a dozen eye witnesses.

Second, and bearing the above in mind, the real shocker is at the bottom
of the article:

The Army inspector general report found that since the fall of 2001, overall the United States had held more than 50,000 prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq, a number never before made public.

I blinked in surprise at this: out of 50,000 arrests and detentions during a war, a grand total of only ninety-four allegations of abuse were made? That's astonishingly low -- and it's a wonderful testament to the professionalism and calm devotion to duty among our soldiers, led by Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush.


Read on, it gets better.
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Jihadi Iraq: Hopes and Dangers - a terrorist road map

From Belgravia Dispatch

The main thesis proposed in the document is that America cannot be coerced to leave Iraq by military-political means alone, but the Islamist resistance can succeed if it makes the occupation of Iraq as costly as possible - in economic terms - for the United States.

The document therefore offers a number of specific "policy recommendations" in order to increase the economic impact of the insurgency and the jihadi campaign in Iraq. The most important of these recommendations consists of trying to limit the number of American allies present in Iraq, because America must not be allowed to share the cost of occupation with a wide coalition of countries. If the mujahidin can force US allies to withdraw from Iraq then America will be left to cover the expenses on her own, which she cannot sustain for very long. The intermediary strategic goal is therefore to make one or two of the US allies leave the coalition, because this will cause others to follow suit and the dominos will start falling.

The document then analyses three countries (Britain, Spain and Poland) in depth, with a view to identifying the weakest link or the domino piece most likely to fall first. The author provides a surprisingly informed and nuanced analysis of the domestic political map in each country. He argues that each country will react differently to violent attacks against its forces because of domestic political factors:


As they say, read the rest...
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IRAN IS SUDDENLY RESUMING WORK TOWARD A-BOMB

From The New York Sun

LONDON — Iran has broken the seals on nuclear equipment monitored by United Nations inspectors and is once again building and testing machines that could make fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Tehran’s move, disclosed to the Daily Telegraph yesterday by Western sources, breaks a deal with European countries under which Iran suspended “all uranium enrichment activity.” It will also exacerbate fears that the regional power is determined to make an atomic bomb within a few years.

Enrichment is the most controversial part of Iran’s “peaceful’’ nuclear program because the same technology used to make low-enriched uranium to fuel nuclear reactors can be used to refine material for bombs.

America has in recent weeks renewed its call for Iran to be referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions. Diplomats said senior officials from the “EU-3’’ — Britain, France, and Germany — would try to coax Tehran back to the path of co-operation at a secret meeting in Paris on Thursday.

Their chances of success seem slim because Tehran appears to have calculated that America is paralyzed by the presidential election campaign and that Europe is too divided to exert real pressure.


How long before the mad mullahs have the bomb?
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Russian troops in Iraq?

The Asia Times thinks it may be possible before November.

Do not be surprised to see three or four divisions of the Russian army in the Sunni triangle before year-end, with an announcement just prior to the US presidential election in November. Long rumored (or under negotiation), a Russian deployment of 40,000 soldiers was predicted on July 16 by the US intelligence ...

Which might go some way to explain why Russian President Vladimir Putin made his surprise announcement "that his intelligence service had warned the Bush administration before the U.S. invasion of Iraq that Saddam Hussein's government was planning attacks against U.S. targets both inside and outside the country."

According to the Asia Times article it is an everybody wins situation except for the bad guys.

UPDATE: And this US Offers Citizenship To 7000 Ahiska Muslims is interesting.

KRASNODAR, Russia, July 24, (IslamOnline.net) - The United States has agreed to grant citizenship to 7,000 Ahiska Muslims who will be settled in Pennsylvania, reported a Russian newspaper on Friday, July 23.
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Monday, July 26, 2004

Terrified publishers won't print truth about Islam, says author

From The Telegraph

A distinguished writer and academic has accused leading publishers of turning down his latest book because it is too critical of Islam.

David Selbourne, who has written more than a dozen books, and his literary agent suspect that publishers are shunning The Losing Battle With Islam because it could provoke anger from Islamic extremists and other critics.

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Kill scientists, says animal rights chief

From The Guardian

A top adviser to Britain's two most powerful animal rights protest groups caused outrage last night by claiming that the assassination of scientists working in biomedical research would save millions of animals' lives.

To the fury of groups working with animals, Jerry Vlasak, a trauma surgeon and prominent figure in the anti-vivisection movement, told The Observer: 'I think violence is part of the struggle against oppression. If something bad happens to these people [animal researchers], it will discourage others. It is inevitable that violence will be used in the struggle and that it will be effective.'

Vlasak, who likens animal experimentation to the Nazis' treatment of the Jews, said he stood by his claim that: 'I don't think you'd have to kill too many [researchers]. I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives.

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Of America and Americans - an Arab is impressed

From Arab News via Athena

I was a little bit apprehensive when I gave my passport to the immigration officer at Washington international airport. I wasn’t sure I would be welcome after reading stories of how our fellow Muslims, Arabs and Saudis are treated in America since 9/11. I was in for a pleasant surprise. The officer welcomed me, politely explained that certain procedures are required for Saudis, which wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes in a nearby office. In an apologetic tone, he asked me not to think of this routine as anything more than standard procedure.

I was treated with similar politeness in the office he directed me to, and was given similar assurances and explanations. Fifteen minutes later, I was on my way out.

Like millions of immigrants and people of color, I just blended into the American melting pot and went about my business as usual.[...]

My visit is not over yet; I am here for two weeks to cover the 2004 elections as a guest of the foreign press center in the US department with a group of Arab journalists. But if my previous experiences are any guide, the actual situation is much better than what we anticipated. Accidents do happen, of course, and incidents of aggressive investigation and treatment of Saudi students, in particular, do occur. However, the overall environment is as welcoming as ever. And the American people are as hospitable, open, generous and beautiful as they always were.

This conclusion confirms my earlier conviction that American foreign policies are one thing, and America the civilization, the dream, and the great nation is something else.

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Attack on Fox News

Hat tip to Cori

Fox News is certainly shaking up the liberal media.

First Canada bans Fox News but lets Al Jazeera in, then the Brits are threatening to add warning labels to the show and now there is a website set up to attack Fox News.

Newshounds webpage banner reads "We watch FOX so you don't have to." In fact they would rather you didn't watch Fox News so you only get the Left's message.

The site engages in all the tricks it accuses Fox News of. Short on quotes and facts, long on spin.

Fortunately, Johnny Dollar has set up a counter website. Time after time he exposes their blatant falsehoods, lack of facts or quotes.

If you want to join in the fun, pay a visit to Newshounds and meet a group of people in serious denial.
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Palestinians 'made millions' selling cheap cement for barrier they bitterly oppose

From The Telegraph

Palestinian businessmen have made millions of pounds supplying cement for Israel's "security barrier" in the full knowledge of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader and one of the wall's most vocal critics.

A damning report by Palestinian legislators, which has been seen by the Telegraph, concludes that Mr Arafat did nothing to stop the deals although he publicly condemned the structure as a "crime against humanity".

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Kerry drops Joe Wilson

Former Ambassador, Joe Wilson, who said Bush lied over Iraq's attempts to buy uranium from Niger, when in fact it was Wilson who lied, has been dropped by John Kerry. This coming right on the heels of Kerry dropping Sandy Berger for stealing highly classified documents.

Joe Wilson had a website, RestoreHonesty.com, paid for by John Kerry, which carried an open letter praising Kerry. The letter also carried this line:

"But I wasn't ready to keep quiet when this President misled the nation in his State of the Union Address."

Since it has now been proven that it was Wilson who lied, the Kerry people decided to drop Wilson and the website now merely links to JohnKerry.com. But thanks to the Internet and the power of "cache" you can still get Wilson's old page, minus the pictures. The cache webpage is here.
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Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and terrorism

Finally, mainstream media is starting to pay attention to CAIR and expose them for what they really are.

From The Washington Times

Considering all of the above, it's little wonder that a cloud of suspicion has hung over CAIR since September 11. The Washington-based organization, which has described itself as a "Muslim NAACP," does itself no favors by failing to condemn these criminals when they are convicted; indeed, in numerous cases, it has continued to actively defend them. After the Elashi convictions, for example, Khalil Meek, who serves on the board of directors of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of CAIR, said: "We believe that these convictions indicate a growing disparity and climate of injustice for Muslims, who we feel are being selectively prosecuted and given unfair sentences precisely because they are Muslim or Arab ... This is not justice." CAIR also labeled the government's handling of the Royer case "draconian." Such statements are part of CAIR's dishonest campaign to create the sense of a widespread inquisition against Muslims and Arabs in America that simply doesn't exist.
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Saturday, July 24, 2004


Holy war Posted by Hello

Canadian Beer fridge.  Posted by Hello
Berger stole classified Middle East documents

According to World Net Daily classified 9/11 documents are not the only documents former Clinton National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, stole.

Former National Security Adviser Samuel Berger, who this week admitted to taking classified terrorism documents from the National Archives, also was found in possession of a small number of classified papers containing his handwritten notes from Middle East peace talks during the Clinton administration, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

Although the Mideast notes are not the main focus of the current criminal probe, the source says their removal may shed further light on Berger's intentions. The Mideast notes were allegedly taken from the National Archives along with classified documents that officials say may paint the Clinton administration's handling of the al-Qaida threat in a negative way.


You still buying his "inadvertently" story now?
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9/11 Commission backs Bush's pre-emptive strike doctrine

That is the conclusion of The Wall Street Journal.

They also say it vindicates the Patriot Act and names radical Islam as the cause of world terror.

I agree whole heartedly with all three points.

While the world derided Bush as a "cowboy" for his doctrine the 9/11 commission says pre-emption could have prevented 9/11.

That, reduced to its essence, is the main conclusion of yesterday's 567-page report from the 9/11 Commission. The September 11 attacks may have been a shock, it says, but they never should have come as a surprise. Our government--and the entire political class--knew enough to act against al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, but it did not because of "failures of imagination, policy, capability, and management." Though the bipartisan report can't quite bring itself to use the words, it would seem that the Bush anti-terror doctrine lives.

And the commission makes the case for taking action against looming danger.

The details, however, should not obscure the Commission's larger message about the dangers of not acting against a looming threat. After a year of recriminations against a President who chose to act against another threat, in Iraq, the report may even do some good.

Are you listening Iran?
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Friday, July 23, 2004

Anthrax vaccines in Iraq - Why?

Mike Francis is a reporter for The OregonLive.com and is embedded with 2/162 Oregon National Guard in Baghdad. He is blogging while stationed with the troops.

I was reading his latest post when this caught my eye:

THE MEDICS ARE ADMINISTERING anthrax vaccines to soldiers by the score. Lots of sore arms. The base doctor also has performed a handful of vasectomies. Lots of sore....people.

Why? Maybe they didn't have time before they left the US or do they know something and aren't saying?
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The relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam

From National Review Online

Here is what you won't read in the liberal press about Al Qaeda and Saddam.

Now, with the release of the commission's final report, it is clear what Hamilton and Cheney were talking about. The final report details a much more extensive set of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda than the earlier staff statement. It also modifies the original "no collaborative relationship" description, now saying there was "no collaborative operational relationship" (emphasis added) between Iraq and Al Qaeda. And it suggests a significant amount of contact and communication between the regime of Saddam Hussein and the terrorist organization headed by Osama bin Laden.

The report describes a time in 1996 when bin Laden, newly arrived in Afghanistan, could not be sure "that the Taliban would be his best bet as an ally." In 1997, the report says, bin Laden began making his Taliban sponsors nervous with a number of flamboyant and militant statements. At the time it seemed possible that bin Laden, who had gone to Afghanistan after being forced out of Sudan, might find himself at odds with his new hosts. What then? The report says bin Laden appears to have reached out to Saddam Hussein:

There is also evidence that around this time Bin Ladin sent out a number of feelers to the Iraqi regime, offering some cooperation. None are reported to have received a significant response. According to one report, Saddam Hussein's efforts at this time to rebuild relations with the Saudis and other Middle Eastern regimes led him to stay clear of Bin Ladin.

Since Saddam wasn't interested, the report says, nothing came of the contacts. But by the next year, Saddam, struggling under increasing pressure from the United States, appeared to have changed his mind, and there were more talks:

In mid-1998, the situation reversed; it was Iraq that reportedly took the initiative. In March 1998, after Bin Ladin's public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with Bin Ladin. Sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through Bin Ladin's Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis. In 1998, Iraq was under intensifying U.S. pressure, which culminated in a series of large air attacks in December.

The meetings went on, the report says, until Iraq offered to formalize its relationship with al Qaeda:

Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Ladin or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Ladin a safe haven in Iraq. Bin Ladin declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports describe friendly contacts and indicate some common themes in both sides' hatred of the United States.

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Islam's war on the West

Still think Islam taking over the world is for consipracy nuts and confined to fringe radical Muslims? Common Sense and Wonder quote The Spectator (you have to register) and prove otherwise.

Anthony Browne writes in the Spectator that stories of Islam wanting to take over the world are not wild conspiracy theories and it's also not just way-out fringe parts of Islam either.

A year ago I had lunch with an eminent figure who asked if I thought she was mad. ‘No,’ I said politely, while thinking, ‘Yup.’ She had said she thought there was a secret plot by Muslims to take over the West. I have never been into conspiracy theories, and this one was definitely of the little-green-men variety. It is the sort of thing BNP thugs claim to justify their racial hatred.


Obviously, we all know about Osama bin Laden’s ambitions. And we are all aware of the loons of al-Muhajiroun waving placards saying ‘Islam is the future of Britain’. But these are all on the extremist fringe, representative of no one but themselves. Surely no one in Islam takes this sort of thing seriously? I started surfing the Islamic media.

Take Dr Al-Qaradawi, the controversial Egyptian imam who was recently fawned over by the Mayor of London even though he promotes the execution of homosexuals, the right of men to indulge in domestic violence, and the murder of innocent Jews. During the brouhaha it went unnoticed that he also wants to conquer Europe. Don’t take my word for it, just listen to him on his popular al-Jazeera TV show, Sharia and Life.

‘Islam will return to Europe. The conquest need not necessarily be by the sword. Perhaps we will conquer these lands without armies. We want an army of preachers and teachers who will present Islam in all languages and in all dialects,’ he broadcast in 1999, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute, which translates his programmes. On another programme he declared, ‘Europe will see that it suffers from a materialist culture, and it will seek a way out, it will seek a lifeboat. It will seek no life-saver but the message of Islam.’

Far from being on the fringe, his immensely popular programmes are watched by millions across the Middle East and Europe. The BBC cooed that he has ‘star’ status among the world’s Muslims.

Dr Al-Qaradawi, who is based in Qatar, is also the spiritual guide of the hardline Muslim Brotherhood, which is growing across Europe, and whose leader Muhammad Mahdi Othman ’Akef declared recently, ‘I have complete faith that Islam will invade Europe and America, because Islam has logic and a mission.’

In the most sacred mosque in Islam, Sheikh Abd al-Rahman al-Sudais of the Grand Mosque in Mecca uses his sermons to call for Jews to be ‘annihilated’ and to urge the overthrow of Western civilisation. ‘The most noble civilisation ever known to mankind is our Islamic civilisation. Today, Western civilisation is nothing more than the product of its encounter with our Islamic civilisation in Andalusia [mediaeval Spain]. The reason for [Western civilisation’s] bankruptcy is its reliance on the materialistic approach, and its detachment from religion and values. [This approach] has been one reason for the misery of the human race, for the proliferation of suicide, mental problems and for moral perversion. Only one nation is capable of resuscitating global civilisation, and that is the nation [of Islam].’...Saudi Arabia, whose flag shows a sword, seems unabashed about its desire for Islam to take over the world. Its embassy in Washington recommends the home page of its Islamic affairs department, where it declares, ‘The Muslims are required to raise the banner of jihad in order to make the Word of Allah supreme in this world.’ Saudi Arabia has used billions of its petrodollars to export its particularly harsh form of Islam, Wahabism, paying for mosques and Islamic schools across the West. About 80 per cent of the US’s mosques are thought to be under Wahabi control.

Saudi Arabia’s education ministry encourages schoolchildren to despise Christianity and Judaism. A new schoolbook in the kingdom’s curriculum tells six-year-olds: ‘All religions other than Islam are false.’ A note for teachers says they should ‘ensure to explain’ this point. In Egypt, the schoolbook Studies in Theology: Traditions and Morals explains that a particularly ‘noble’ bit of the Koran is ‘encouraging the faithful to perform jihad in God’s cause, to behead the infidels, take them prisoner, break their power — all that in a style which contains the highest examples of urging to fight’.

A popular topic for discussion on Arabic TV channels is the best strategy for conquering the West. It seems to be agreed that since the West has overwhelming economic, military and scientific power, it could take some time, and a full frontal assault could prove counterproductive. Muslim immigration and conversion are seen as the best path....In Muslim tradition, the world is divided into Dar al-Islam, where Muslims rule, and Dar al-Harb, the ‘field of war’ where the infidels live. ‘The presumption is that the duty of jihad will continue, interrupted only by truces, until all the world either adopts the Muslim faith or submits to Muslim rule,’ wrote Professor Bernard Lewis in his bestseller The Crisis of Islam.’

The first jihad was in ad 630, when Mohammed led his army to conquer Mecca. He made a prediction that Islam would conquer the two most powerful Christian centres at the time, Constantinople and Rome. Within 100 years of his death, Muslim armies had conquered the previously Christian provinces of Syria, Palestine, Egypt and the rest of North Africa, as well as Spain, Portugal and southern Italy, until they were stopped at Poitiers in central France in ad 732. Muslim armies overthrew the ancient Zoroastrian empire of Persia, and conquered much of central Asia and Hindu India.

Ibn Warraq, a Pakistani who lost his Islamic faith, wrote in his book Why I am not a Muslim, ‘Although Europeans are constantly castigated for having imposed their insidious decadent values, culture and language on the Third World, no one cares to point out that Islam colonised lands that were the homes of advanced and ancient civilisations.’

It took 700 years for the Spanish to get their country back in the prolonged ‘Reconquista’. In the meantime the Turks, a central Asian people, had been converted to Islam and had conquered the ancient Christian land of Anatolia (now called Turkey). In 1453 they captured Constantinople — fulfilling Mohammed’s first prediction — which was the centre of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The glorious Hagia Sophia, which had been one of the most important churches in Christendom for nearly 1,000 years after it was built in ad 537, was turned into a mosque, and minarets were added. The Turks went on to occupy Greece and much of the Balkans for four centuries, turning the Parthenon into a mosque and besieging Vienna, before retreating as their power waned.


Still think there is such a thing as a moderate Muslim?
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Naming Names - Islamic terrorism

Recently I posted an article from The Belmont Club about the difficulties in naming the root of todays terrorism.

...merely articulating the word would cause a revolution in domestic and international politics something neither Democrats nor Republicans are prepared to do. Domestically it would mean that for the first time in American history, a major branch of a world religion would be declare a de facto enemy of the state. Not people, not a country; nothing with a capital unless it be Mecca, but a system of religious belief. It would strike at the very root of the American Constitutional system. Internationally it would signify that the principal enemy host, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose ruling house is intimately connected to and supports this ideology, should be targeted or its regime changed. Naming Wahabism as an enemy would indicate that the Iraq campaign, which the Bush administration was at pains to reach, was not the end but merely the beginning.

Looks like the 9/11 commission did just that. Via Instapundit

In this sense, 9/11 has taught us that terrorism against American interests “over there” should be regarded just as we regard terrorism against America “over here.” In this same sense, the American homeland is the planet. But the enemy is not just “terrorism,” some generic evil. This vagueness blurs the strategy. The catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific. It is the threat posed by Islamist terrorism —especially the al Qaeda network, its affiliates, and its ideology.

As we mentioned in chapter 2, Usama Bin Ladin and other Islamist terrorist leaders draw on a long tradition of extreme intolerance within one stream of Islam (a minority tradition), from at least Ibn Taimiyyah, through the founders of Wahhabism, through the Muslim Brotherhood, to Sayyid Qutb. That stream is motivated by religion and does not distinguish politics from religion, thus distorting both. It is further fed by grievances stressed by Bin Ladin and widely felt throughout the Muslim world—against the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, policies perceived as anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, and support of Israel. Bin Ladin and Islamist terrorists mean exactly what they say: to them America is the font of all evil, the “head of the snake,” and it must be converted or destroyed.

It is not a position with which Americans can bargain or negotiate. With it there is no common ground—not even respect for life—on which to begin a dialogue. It can only be destroyed or utterly isolated.


Remember "the shot heard around the world"? Maybe another one just went off.
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Clinton defends Berger in spy row

No, this is not breaking news. In fact this happended over 5 years ago! Seems Berger has a track record of misshandling classifed material and not telling his boss.

From The BBC via Instapundit

President Clinton has defended his National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, against demands for him to resign over the alleged theft by China of US nuclear secrets.[...]

When questioned on the US television network, PBS, Mr Berger said he took proper action when he was told about two cases of security lapses at a weapons laboratory in 1996, although he did not tell the president until a year later.

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Qaeda captives stir concern on new strike

From The International Herald Tribune

Al Qaeda members captured in recent weeks in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan have provided important information about a possible impending terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, according to senior American intelligence officials.
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The interrogations of the Al Qaeda members have been a major factor in raising American concerns about a possible attack to a level not seen since Sept. 11, 2001, the intelligence officials said. They added that the captured Al Qaeda members had provided clues that traced planning for a major attack back to the group’s central leadership, including Osama bin Laden, who is believed to be in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.
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‘‘We don’t have specificity to exact time, place or location,’’ a senior intelligence official said. ‘‘But it’s more than just them saying generally that there’s something coming,’’ a senior intelligence official said.
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American officials have warned for the last two weeks about such an attack but have refused to describe the source of their information.
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But with the release of the report by the Sept. 11 commission, the officials said they wanted to be as precise as possible about the foundation for the current concern.
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‘‘I wouldn’t characterize what we have now as chatter,’’ a senior CIA official said. ‘‘I think we have some fairly specific information that Al Qaeda wants to come after us.’’

.The CIA official, a counterterrorism expert, added: ‘‘This is serious.’’
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Two counterterrorism officials based in Europe said that an intelligence breakthrough pointing to such a renewed threat had come about six weeks ago.
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The officials suggested that the information was based both on human and technical intelligence, but they refused to be more specific. A third intelligence official said that the recent interrogations of Al Qaeda members had provided important leads.
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Compared with that period, other intelligence officials said, current intelligence-gathering has not found as many intercepted communications suggesting that an attack might be imminent.
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But the intelligence officials say that the current information has been specific, consistent and solid, and comes from multiple sources. They declined to identify the captured Al Qaeda members who have provided the most important information, but said they regarded it as credible. They said it had led them to believe that bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, regarded possible operations in the United States as falling very much under their authority.

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Navy: USS John F. Kennedy Collide With Dhow in Gulf

Shades of the USS Cole! Was this merely an accident or a terrorist dry run?

From AP

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) - The USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier collided with a dhow in the Arabian Gulf while running night flights in support of U.S. operations in Iraq, the Navy said Friday. The crew of the small boat was missing.

The Navy said none of its sailors were hurt and described the Thursday night collision as an accident. A nearby British warship, the Somerset, sent teams to search for the dhow's crew but had found nothing so far, the Navy said in a statement from its 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain.

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The 9/11 report - who's lying?

The entire press and political macines are spinning the 9/11 report faster than Hawking's black holes.

John Podhoretz, of the New York Post, has some thoughts on how to "slice" through the spin using Occam's Razor.

I'd slice my Berger with that same razor.
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Suicide bombing class Posted by Hello
UN oil-for-food scandal - follow the money

Friends of Saddam blog continues on the money trail of the UN oil-for-food scandal. And another very prominent name pops up. Scroll down if you can't wait.

First from CBS Market Watch we learn:

Weir review finds irregular Iraq oil-for-food payments (UK:WEIR) By Emily Church
LONDON (CBS.MW) -- British engineering firm Weir Group (UK:WEIR) Thursday said an internal review of its contracts under the UN's Oil for Food program in 2000 had uncovered 4.2 million pounds in payments that were on top of its normal commission payments. Weir said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange that it cannot rule out the possibility that sums may have been returned to Iraq. The trading terms had been amended at the request of certain Iraqi customers, it said. The contracts involved the supply of pump equipment and spare parts for clean water supply and oil field water injection and pipelines. Its internal review revealed that, in the case of 15 out of a total of 37 contracts, payments in addition to normal commissions were made to an agent acting on behalf of the group's subsidiaries. Weir said that the review "has revealed a number of areas within the group's procedures where improvements can be made. Management is taking the necessary actions to implement these improvements immediately. The Group has also filed disclosures with the relevant authorities."


This small article raises some big questions.

First of all, what prompted the internal review? Was it routine or did something or somebody (Volker maybe) prompt it?

$4.2 million is a lot of money to pay out on top of regular commissions and nobody noticed for almost four years; until the scandal broke?

Who were the "certain Iraqi customers" who altered the trading terms? And didn't someone at Weir have to authorize the increased changes in kickbacks, er, "commissions"?

Nearly half, 15 out of 37 contracts were altered and that didn't arouse suspicion?

And who was the "agent acting on behalf of the group's subsidiaries" who received the money?

As always, follow the money.

Then we have some interesting additional information from The Scotsman.

The CBS report leaves out some interesting information that the Scotsman provides.

For instance:

Media reports earlier this year named Weir among hundreds of firms alleged to have paid kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

According to an article in the Guardian in May, the Saddam regime had insisted on a 10% mark-up on all supplies under the oil-for-food programme since the middle of 2000.


I'm not sure, but when was it decided that an investigation by Volker should be undertaken?

Weir, which has previously denied any anomalies, said the final recipient of the £4.2 million was unknown but it accepted “the sums may have been returned to Iraq”.

And what prompted Weir's change of heart on the matter?

After an internal review discovered evidence of anomalies, Weir called in independent legal advisers Herbert Smith to carry out a more detailed probe.

This investigation, which is ongoing, confirmed that irregular payments were made in relation to 15 of the contracts.


Now, here is the really interesting part left out of the CBS report.

Weir, which has former Nato Secretary-General Lord Robertson on its board, was granted 37 contracts as part of the programme through its overseas business, Wesco Dubai.

Wow! Why leave that out? There is nothing, yet, to suggest Lord Robertson knew about any of this but it does raise the old eyebrows.
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Success in Iraq spreads to Egypt

It would appear the US led liberation of Iraq is having some positive effect on Middle East news coverage according to Egyptian blogger Big Pharoaoh.

My emphasis added.

Is Al Arabiya Born Again?

I am starting to sense a slight change in the coverage of the satellite news channel Al Arabiya. It is becoming a little bit less supportive of terrorism in Iraq and a little bit more supportive of the new government's efforts to bring security. While ferocious anti-Americanism will always run in the veins of any Arab media, I somehow sense that this is not in Al Arabiya's top priorities anymore.

Recent talk shows interviewed several Iraqi government officials who talked about the hope they want to install in their people and their plans to make Iraq a success. A show host went on to provide his personal wishes for the success of the Iraqi government in bringing security to the country. Recently, Al Arabiya also interviewed liberal thinkers such as Ahmed El Robaie and Abdul Rahman El Ansari. Today they had a news report on the new Iraq civil defense force where they interviewed an Iraqi female officer who looked brilliant in her uniform and stylish eye glasses.

My guess is that Al Arabiya might be going through a slight reevaluation phase after the appointment of the brilliant Abdul Rahman El Rashid as the channel's general manager. El Rashid was the editor in chief of my favorite London based newspaper El Sharq El Awsat (The Middle East). I mentioned before that this paper is neither pro-America nor anti-America but it is pro-Iraq. The paper tries very hard not to be biased and it hosts different editorial columns from the awful Islamist Fahmi Hewaidi to progressive thinkers such as Egyptian Mamoun Fandi and Kuwaiti Ahmed El Robaie. El Sharq El Awsat is the only paper that I'm willing to spare a couple of pounds to buy.

Nevertheless, I am not claiming that Al Arabiya suddenly became an angel. It is the second most watched news channel in the Middle East and El Rashid will have to sprinkle some doses of anti-Americanism and "bravo terrorists" in its coverage just so that his channel won't appear to be very different from the mouth of horror Al Jazerah.

One of El Sharq El Awsat and Al Arabiyah's drawbacks is that they are both linked to the Saudi royal family. In other words, just as Al Jazerah can't mess with Qatar, El Sharq El Awsat and Al Arabiyah have their own red line that they're not allowed to cross: Saudi Arabia.

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Thursday, July 22, 2004

Sloppy Berger - normal fare under Clinton

With the Sandy Berger scandal just starting to gather steam, George Neumayr has an article in The American Spectator, depicting how Berger epitomizes the Clinton administration's attitude to highly classified information and its' handling.

FBI files

Recall when ex-bar bouncer Craig Livingstone, elevated to a security position in the Clinton White House by Hillary Clinton, "inadvertenly"(Berger's word for cramming notes into his clothing) lifted 900 FBI files on political appointees from the Bush Sr. and Reagan administrations. This was mere "sloppiness," of course, as innocent and accidental as placing security information in one's tube sock.

CIA Files

When one of Clinton's CIA directors, John Deutch, inadvertenly took home a CIA-issued computer with top secret information on it, Sandy Berger rushed to his defense, and succeeded in persuading Clinton to pardon him.

State Department Files

After the State Department lost a computer once, the Clinton administration explained it away merely as an official forgetting to close a door to a "secure" conference room.

When a spy placed an eavesdropping device in the State Department, that too was an accidental oversight. Apparently he just walked through the front door. The FBI reported after the incident that its officials had seen a Russian spy loitering near the Foggy Bottom entrance.

Nuclear Files

Hazel O'Leary, Clinton's Energy Secretary, had figured out his security ethos early on, and just dispensed with security badges for visitors to nuclear labs. Placing security badges on foreign visitors, she famously explained, was discriminatory. Then it was learned that nuclear secrets had been nabbed by Chinese Communists. Sandy Berger's response? "We're talking about breaches of security that happened in the mid-1980s."

If that is how they handled our own classified material, one can only wonder how they handled foreign intelligence.

In light of the Clinton administrations blase attitude and misshandling of highly sensitive intelligence, I would imagine friendly countries would be reluctant to share their classified material with us as well. And in the intelligence business you need all the sources you can get.
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BBC insults Bush. Just how low can the BBC go? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Rise of the Chinese Bloggers

From Asia Times

Liu, is only one of many new Chinese bloggers - one conservative estimate places the number at 300,000 - who are becoming high-profile symbols for democracy and free speech. (China's reformist President Hu Jintao is believed to approve of, even support, websites that criticize and discredit anti-reformers and his rivals.)


As they say in the Far East, interesting, very interesting.
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Sandy Berger practising stuffing documents in his pockets. Really, in this picture where Cohen hears no evil, Clinton speaks on evil and Albright sees no evil, Berger is saying prophetically, "I'm evil". This picture was taken on April 25, 1999, no long before 9/11. Posted by Hello
Other countries besides Iran involved in 9/11

"Hardball with Chris Matthews"

GRAHAM: Chris, you‘re also assuming that the only foreign government that provided assistance to al Qaeda was Iran, based on this new information....

MATTHEWS: Right. But Senator Graham, do you know for a fact that any other government helped the al Qaeda people hit us on 9/11?

GRAHAM: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Who?

GRAHAM: I cannot say that.


Now who might that be?
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Major terrorist bust in Saudi Arabia

This is a huge bust but for some reason CNN decided to use a headline about hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr's head being found in a freezer at the scene.

Saudi forces Tuesday night launched a major operation in Riyadh against suspected al Qaeda militants in the northern part of the capital. Along with the two deaths, three others were wounded and the wife of the fifth-most-wanted man in the kingdom was arrested.

A Saudi security source believes the presence of the head and weapons confirms the belief of investigators that the villa was the major base and logistical support center for the al Qaeda cell operating in the area.


Here is what they found at the site:

One SAM-7 rocket; two RPG rockets and a launcher; nine pieces of RDX plastic explosives; elements for homemade explosives including ammonium powder and nitrate; three high-explosive hand grenades; 11 other hand grenades; fuses and detonators.

In addition, 22 Kalashnikovs; 11 handguns; four rifles; more than 30,000 rounds of ammunition; cell phones and other communications equipment; prepaid calling cards; documents; video cameras; computers; and cash amounting to $96,080.


And there was a major take down...

As for the raids, the Interior Ministry would not confirm that among the dead and wounded may be Saleh al-Oufi, the current leader of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia.

But security sources said one of those killed in the shootout was Eissa al-Aushan. He was on the list of 26 most-wanted terrorists sought by the Saudi government. A security source described him as an ideologue for the group.


What were these guys up to?

Security sources said it is believed that the raid disrupted the suspected terrorists as they planned an operation, and that the ensuing deaths and injuries neutralized the immediate colleagues of al-Oufi.

The Saudis are not done yet.

Sources told CNN that while forces surrounded the suspected militant safe house, a group of suspects believed to be colleagues of the militants tried to break through the police cordon to reach their comrades, but they were turned back.

That group was pursued and has now been surrounded. There was an "ongoing operation" to try to capture them.


And how did the Saudis find out about these terrorists?

There is speculation that the operation was undertaken based on information gathered from the interrogation of some 61 people who have taken advantage of the government's offer of leniency for wanted militants.

Now I wonder what is on those computers and what can we learn from the "other communications" equipment?
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Iraq's emerging economy

More good news about Iraq's economy.

Iraqis bullish on stocks

BAGHDAD — The miniature Liberty Bell clanged. Elbows flew. Sweat poured down foreheads. Sales tickets were passed and, with a flick of the wrist, 10,000 shares of the Middle East Bank had more than doubled in value.

The frantic pace yesterday of those first 10 minutes of trading typified the enthusiasm behind the Iraq Stock Exchange, an institution seen as a critical step in building a new Iraqi economy.


And on the bond market...

Iraq to get new start with bond market

BAGHDAD — Iraq's first bond market will open this month, a move designed to ensure that the Iraqi government won't repeat Saddam Hussein's ruinous economic policies.

At the first bond auction, scheduled for July 18, Iraqi banks can bid for about 150 billion dinars (a little more than $100 million) worth of government debt, the finance ministry announced Wednesday.

Iraqi authorities for the first time are letting free market forces set interest rates in Iraq. The yield at the auction will set an unprecedented benchmark in Iraq, allowing commercial lenders to price loans more rationally.

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Nuclear arms reportedly found in Iraq

From The Washington Times and Reuters.

Too soon to tell how much there is to this but if true - wow!

Washington Times

Baghdad, Iraq, Jul. 21 (UPI) -- Iraqi security reportedly discovered three missiles carrying nuclear heads concealed in a concrete trench northwest of Baghdad, official sources said Wednesday.

The official daily al-Sabah quoted the sources as saying the missiles were discovered in trenches near the city of Tikrit, the hometown of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"The three missiles were discovered by chance when the Iraqi security forces captured former Baath party official Khoder al-Douri who revealed during interrogation the location of the missiles saying they carried nuclear heads," the sources said.


Reuters has a different take.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq (news - web sites)'s Interior Ministry dismissed as "stupid" a report in a local newspaper Wednesday that said three nuclear missiles had been found near Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s hometown of Tikrit.

Back to the Times....

The report could not be authenticated by the interior ministry or the national security department, but the paper noted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiar Zibari made a surprise request recently to Mohammed el-Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to resume inspections for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

As I said too early to tell, but if true - wow!
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The BBC stabs America in the Back

From The BBC

In an article, prominently placed on the BBC World webpage, titled "State Of The Union: The power of the armed forces" writer Robert Hodierne makes some outrageous and dead wrong statements. What is more egregious is that Hodierne is "the number two manager in a 100-person newsroom that produces the weekly newspapers Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times, Air Force Times, Defense News and Federal Times ".

If you read his article you will note he provides absolutely no proof or links to back up any of his claims.

Here are some of his outrageous statements.

And from Iraq we hear the sickening, sucking sound of combat boots stuck in an oozing quagmire.

Perhaps Mr. Hodierne should read Chrenkoff's Good News Iraq series which is up to part six now and was featured in The Wall Street Journal.

Or maybe read a few Iraqi polls. Here is one from the anti-American newspaper The Guardian which states:

The poll was the latest in a series which this overwhelmingly Shia province has held in the past six weeks, and the results have been surprising. Seventeen towns have voted, and in almost every case secular independents and representatives of non-religious parties did better than the Islamists.

And from The Washington Post we learn:

68 percent of Iraqis have confidence in their new leaders

73 percent of Iraqis polled approved of Allawi to lead the new government

84 percent approved of President Ghazi Yawar

two-thirds backed the new Cabinet

Four out of every five Iraqis expected that the new government will "make things better" for Iraq


Some quagmire!

Hodierne starts to show his true colors now though.

Last time around, you may recall, most Americans voted for Al Gore.

Then how come Bush is president and Gore isn't? How come Gore is not the Democratic nominee for president and Kerry is? How come several recounts and post election analysis proves Bush won and by a wider margin than previously thought?

Where is your proof or some links to back up this absurd and false claim Mr. Hodieerne?

Here, here and here are a few to get you started Mr. Hodierne. Let us not forget that the Supreme Court of the United States, in deciding to overturn Florida courts decisions in regards to recounts, made the final decision.

Mr. Hodierne may not like the electoral college or the Supreme Courts decision or indeed the closeness of the contest, but make no mistake George Bush won the 2000 presidential election fairly and legally.

The reason Florida was so important is it decided the election in favor of Bush. What does this have to do with Mr. Hodierne's rant in his article? Florida does not allow convicted felons to vote and some claim had they been allowed to vote Bush would have lost the election. Mr. Hodierne is going to try and say the same may happen again.

In America, it used to be if you were convicted of a serious crime - a felony - you lost your right to vote for the rest of your life.

Not many places still have that law. But Florida does.


That is outright false and a man of Mr. Hodierne's so called stature should no better. The BBC should have at least checked out the facts.

While many states have made changes and are continuing to address the issue the following are the facts: (Sentencing Project)

48 states and the District of Columbia prohibit inmates from voting while incarcerated for a felony offense.

Only two states - Maine and Vermont - permit inmates to vote.

• 35 states prohibit felons from voting while they are on parole and 31 of these states exclude felony probationers as well


How desperate are Mr. Hodierne and the Democrats?

Democrats have been busy in court trying to get that law changed. Apparently they see a lot of votes in the felon class.

I'm still laughing at that one!

Look at this next statement from a man who is suppose to have such great journalist credentials.

If, as many assume, most of the military vote Republican, then their votes in Florida the last time around might have tipped the balance for Bush.

"As many assume", real scientific Mr. Hodierne. And what is this "might have tipped the balance"? He did win, Mr. Hodierne and you and the Democrats have to get over it. The more you sing the song "the election was stolen from Gore" the more we are going to ask "why then is Gore not a shoo in this time", "why is Gore not your candidate this time"? You can't have it both ways, Mr. Hodierne.

I could go on and take his article apart piece by piece but I'm not going to waste anymore time on it. Mr. Hodierne goes much further on with the most outrageous trash and the BBC give him all the webspace he wants to do it.

Shameful and another stab in America's back from the BBC.

UPDATE: One of my readers points out an aspect of the military vote in Florida that is very important. One that Mr. Hodierne is very aware of and conviently left out of his article. It concerns Al Gore's attempts to invalidate US military absentee ballots in Florida. That's right, brave men and women serving in combat situations, defending the nation and the Constitution and the man who wants to be President of that nation, tries to deny them their constitutional right to vote.

Vet Votes Voided by Greedy Gore Gang
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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Afghan's Capture Mullah Omar's Brother-in-Law

From The Washington Post

The noose tightens.

The man, Mullah Amanullah, was arrested during a pre-dawn raid in the central province of Uruzgan, Omar's home province, said presidential spokesman Jawed Ludin.[...]

Amanullah was found with money that authorities believe he was preparing to distribute to Taliban fighters, who have stepped up attacks in the run-up to a presidential election on Oct. 9.

He also had a satellite telephone, a pistol and an automatic rifle, Ludin said.

Earlier this month security forces in southern Afghanistan arrested a man they described as Omar's former bodyguard.

The man contacted Omar by telephone in the presence of security forces who said the call was the first indication in months that Omar was still alive. When officers tried to call the telephone number again there was no reply.

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Philippines' Iraq hostage freed

The BBC are reporting that "Philippine truck driver Angelo de la Cruz has been freed from captivity in Iraq."

Remember, Spain set the precedent and has put many others at even more risk. But there is another element to the Philippine story.

Militants took Mr De la Cruz captive on 7 July and threatened to behead him unless his country pulled its peacekeeping troops out of Iraq.

Manila decided to bow to their demands, prompting sharp criticism from the US.


It is great news for Mr Cruz and his family but there is another part of the story that the BBC is not telling us.

Malaysia, Palace, DFA silent on $6-M ransom

The Malaysian government, MalacaƱang and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday refused to confirm or deny reports that $6 million in ransom was paid out to the Iraqi kidnappers for the release of Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz in time for President Arroyo's State of the Nation Address (Sona) scheduled for July 26.

Officials from both governments declined to give any statement and evaded media queries on the Tribune report which stated, quoting intelligence sources, that $5 million was shelled out by Malaysia while the Philippines coughed off $1 million from the Landbank of the Philippines for the release of De la Cruz.


Why would the BBC not tell us about the Ransom?

It's not like it would violate their new "core values":

The BBC will continue to use single source stories but they must be "of significant public interest and the correct procedures followed". They will undergo greater editorial scrutiny.

And the BBC cannot claim they are not aware of the ransom story from the Daily Tribune since they quote the Tribune editor.

By not mentioning the ransom, the BBC give the impression that Arroyo simply had a decision to make; stay in Iraq and risk Mr Cruz's death or leave Iraq and risk the wrath of the US and others.

To the Left and the BBC it's a no brainer. I mean after all we are only talking about 50 Philippine troops. By simply leaving Iraq, the Pilippines can say, "hey we were a small contingent who were going to leave soon anyway. So what's the big deal? It is not like we "gave" the terrorists anything."

Even some on the right might be tempted to say it sucks and it is bad for the "coalition of the willing" theme but we'll get over it.

But when you find out they paid a ransom of some $6 million dollars that puts it in a whole new light and makes things far more dangerous for others in Iraq.

Not only will this embolden other fringe terror groups to try their hand at kidnapping, but Arroyo has just given 6 million dollars to fund terrorists to continue their terror.
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Brain Bliss