Day by Day

Monday, February 28, 2005

Bin Laden Urges Zarqawi to Hit U.S.

Fox News reports "WASHINGTON — Recent communications between Usama bin Laden (search) and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) indicate that bin Laden has "encouraged Zarqawi and his group to focus on attacks inside the United States," multiple U.S. officials told FOX News on Monday. "

If true that would indicate the caveman feels they've lost in Iraq.
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UN - It Gets Worse

When will Annan resign?

U.N. Fears Peacekeepers Commit Sex Abuse Worldwide

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.N. officials fear the sex-abuse scandal among peacekeepers in Africa is far more widespread and appears to be a problem in each of the global body's 16 missions around the world.
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Lebanon - Let freedom reign. Wait till the Syrian people see these photos from the BBC. Posted by Hello

Lebanon - Let Freedom Reign

The BBC has a slide show of the demonstrations in Lebanon.

And just Google Lebanon for all the latest on the fall of the pro Syrian government.
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BBC - Who's Your Daddy?

Biased BBC notes the BBC is now thinking for us. Just keep scrolling for tid bits like these.

Vanessa Redgrave introduced as "the social conscience of us all" and the BBC's Nisha Pillai "America's far right didn't just put George Bush back in the White House, they've also..."

Who's your daddy?
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Middle East Make Over

The Washington Post has a good article on the rapidly changing Middle East. But don't worry they don't give Bush any credit.

Virtually no one in Washington expected such a snowballing of events following Iraq's elections. Not many yet believe that they will lead to real democracy in Egypt, Lebanon or Syria anytime soon. But it is a fact of history that the collapse of a rotted political order usually happens quickly, and takes most of the experts by surprise. In early 1989 I surveyed a panoply of West German analysts about the chances that the then-incipient and barely noticed unrest in Eastern Europe could lead to the collapse of the Berlin Wall. None thought it possible; most laughed at me for asking the question. [Make that virtually no one in the anti Bush Washington media. And look at the "anytime soon" goal post moving]

If a Middle East transformation begins to gather momentum, it probably will be more messy, and the results more ambiguous, than those European revolutions. It also won't be entirely Bush's creation: The tinder for ignition has been gathering around the stagnant and corrupt autocracies of the Middle East for years. Still, less than two years after Saddam Hussein was deposed, the fact is that Arabs are marching for freedom and shouting slogans against tyrants in the streets of Beirut and Cairo -- and regimes that have endured for decades are visibly tottering. Those who claimed that U.S. intervention could never produce such events have reason to reconsider.


Got that? It was going to happen anyway.

And WaPo, put yourself in that "reason to reconsider" group.
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Iraq - Legacy Media Wake Up

Slowly.

Legacy media are finally admitting what we have know for a long time, the coverage in Iraq has been one sided against America from the beginning.

Chrenkoff has been doing legacy media's job for them. His good news Iraq series is up to part 22. They and we owe him big time.

Yesterday I posted that some in the media were starting to speak out. It's nice to see they single the BBC out in particular for their biased reporting; something I've been doing for almost a year now. Here is what Bartle Bull had to say about the BBC in that post.

But the daily BBC message I watched with my various Iraqi hosts never budged. The refrain was Iraq's "atmosphere of intimidation and violence," and the message was that the elections could never work.

And

When I went to the BBC's Baghdad bunker for some interviews after the election, the reporters I had been watching on television asked me, "So what's it like out there in the real world?" They meant the Iraqi street.

Today The Scotsman finally wakes up to what the blogsphere has been saying since before the war began. The Scotsman also points out the failure of the BBC.

You would never guess that from some British media reports, which are about as cheerful as coverage of a funeral. There is no difficulty telling the difference between the BBC’s Caroline Hawley and a ray of sunshine. You get the impression that most commentators are disappointed that the elections happened at all and, when they did, were secretly hoping for an outrage so dreadful it would turn 30 January into a day of wailing rather than cheering.

There was a brief flicker of hope for the press pack when a British Hercules aircraft crashed, killing nine RAF personnel and one soldier.

At once the British media made it the main story of the day, which, despite the tragedy for the families, it was not, particularly as there was no proof that the crash, though claimed by two separate terrorist groups, was caused by terrorists.

But never mind that. The crash gave commentators what they wanted: an excuse to downplay the success of the first democratic elections in which many Iraqis had ever taken part, and imply that they were a failure.

The truth is that hatred for George Bush and all he stands for is so entrenched in the eyes of bien pensant western commentators, that using the word "success" about Iraq would choke them. If word ever slips out, in relation, for example, to the highly influential Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani’s rejection of an Iranian-style theocracy, or that both Sunni and Shia openly state that they must get on together and not destroy the country through civil war, it comes hedged with such portentous and lugubrious caveats that it sounds more like a distasteful disease. [...]

This longing for the failure of Bush’s Iraq policy is understandable but rather childish. It is also behind the times. US policy has certainly not been perfect. There are blackspots and boiling points, particularly in Baghdad. Yet somehow "on-the-spot" journalists fail to remind us that Iraq is more than Baghdad and that, in vast swathes of the country, not only is normal life resuming, but it is resuming with hope for a democratic future that was impossible under Saddam.

And if you do not believe me, listen to Walid Jumblatt, the patriarch of the Druze Muslim community in Lebanon. He has stated publicly that, although he is cynical of the US invasion of Iraq, the election has turned out to be, "the start of a new Arab world". He went on: "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it." If this is heresy, I’m happy to own it. There may be trouble ahead, but Iraqis are now making sure that Iraq is on its way.


More and more people are waking up to the fact that the BBC is nothing more than a propaganda machine targeting America and George Bush in particular. The BBC owe the American, British and Iraqi public an apology. They also owe the brave fighting men and women of those countries an apology. The BBC's propaganda gave comfort and aid to the enemy during time of war and helped demoralize our troops. For this they should truly be ashamed of themselves.
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Islam - Jihad in Europe

Mark Steyn says old Europe is dying under the weight of Muslim immigrants.

For what it's worth, I incline to the latter position. Europe's problems -- its unaffordable social programs, its deathbed demographics, its dependence on immigration numbers that no stable nation (not even America in the Ellis Island era) has ever successfully absorbed -- are all of Europe's making. By some projections, the EU's population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025. Already, more people each week attend Friday prayers at British mosques than Sunday service at Christian churches -- and in a country where Anglican bishops have permanent seats in the national legislature.

Germany's Die Welt newspaper has similar thoughts.

Is Europe giving way to blackmail? The question was raised in Germany last month by an article in Die Welt, the country's most heavyweight paper, by Mathias Dúpfner, head of the big Axel Springer publishing group. He titled it Europe — Thy Name Is Cowardice. He said that a crusade is under way "by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open western societies" that is set upon the "utter destruction" of western civilisation. This enemy, he said, was spurred on by "tolerance" and "accommodation", which were taken as signs of weakness. Europe's supine response, he said, was on a par with the appeasement of Hitler.

Indeed, Germany is in the middle of an immigration scandal whose policies are already having deadly consequences.

As for appeasement, Britain is adopting Sharia Law in an attempt to placate British Muslims.

But just as with Hitler, appeasement will never work.

Some radical Muslims in Britain are openly declaring war on their host country. Britain's response? Release suspected terrorists.

They are alleged to be the most dangerous men in Britain. Some among them have been found to "provide active support to a network of extreme Islamists planning attacks in the UK and Western Europe, including the use of toxic poisons". Others have actively raised funds for terrorist operations, trained so that they can take part in them, and have exhorted and encouraged others to do so.

So what is the ultimate goal of these radical Muslims?

Melanie Phillips says "the driving force behind these Islamists was the desire to retake Andalucia as an important part of the medieval Islamic caliphate."

How bad are things getting? The Dutch are pulling up stakes and leaving in droves.

Many who settle abroad may not appear in migration statistics, like the growing contingent of retirees who flock to warmer places. But official statistics show a trend. In 1999, nearly 30,000 native Dutch moved elsewhere, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. For 2004, the provisional figure is close to 40,000. "It's definitely been picking up in the past five years," said Cor Kooijmans, a demographer at the bureau.

But is anywhere safe? Internet Haganah reports that increasingly radical Muslims are using the internet to hunt down Christians.

On a free website at a datacenter in New York, on a server operated by a company in Quebec, we have found evidence that Islamists continue to gather information in an effort to hunt down Christians who participate in online chatrooms (presumably at PalTalk).

Obviously appeasement and flight are not options.

There are some small signs that people may be waking up to the problem.

The Dutch are deporting imams due to national security concerns.

In France, where the US is loudly condemned for Guantanamo, recently released French citizens from Guantanamo have been locked up without charge for up to four years.

There they have remained without charge or public protest – and may stay so for up to four years – in a legal limbo not much different from that which they experienced in Camp Delta. Mr Chirac, it turns out, just preferred them to be in French rather than American custody.

Small potatoes in a region where up to 30 major terrorist attacks have been prevented since 9/11.

As more people become aware of the danger, watch for immigration to be a political hot potato in upcomming elections.

UPDATE

Norway and Denmark are already on it.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported over the weekend that Norwegian politicians are considering requiring a deposit of NOK 50,000 (about USD 8,500) from would-be tourists who come from countries where visa are still required. That includes Russia, India, China and African nations, among many others.
The proposal calls for companies or persons who invite visitors from non-visa-exempt countries to Norway to put up a financial guarantee, basically that they'll go home again. If the visitor seeks asylum, the deposit would go straight into the state treasury.

The idea stems from Denmark, which has instituted several measures in recent years to crack down on immigration. Even though both of the women who married into Denmark's royal family came from foreign countries, it's not easy for others to obtain permanent residence in the country.


Sweden is starting to notice.

In Sweden, the immigrant cohort is comparable to the record-high proportion of immigrants in the United States before World War I -- when many already had been assimilated during decades of performing industrial work suited to anyone with a strong back. Such employment is not readily available in a post-industrial workers paradise.

Malmo, if demographic predictions are to be believed, will be "not Swedish" by mid-century, which would be fine if the people are working and law-abiding. But as Sweden is drowning in welfare costs, how will capital formation leading to jobs occur?

Sweden's troubles are not unique in Europe or to parts of the United States. But they are instructive.

When one sets the table for a "free lunch," there will be takers. But what happens if you can't, or won't, offer it every day?


Will Britain wake up?
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Test

Blogger acting up again.

Lite blogging

Sorry for the lite blogging but I had to put the car in the shop, fix a clogged sink and my 15 year old came home from school sick.

What a Monday.
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Lebanon's government is to resign

The BBC reports "Lebanon's Prime Minister Omar Karimi has announced he and his government are resigning, two weeks after the murder of his predecessor Rafik Hariri. "

The move comes as demonstrators protest in Beirut, calling for Syrian troops to leave the country.

How long before the Syrians rise up? And Iran?
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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Guantanamo - emergency anti-terror laws

Many around the world criticize the US for Guantanamo but these same people struggle with what to do with terrorist suspects at home.

The Telegraph reports on the different approaches taken by France and Britain.

The jubilation of supporters of the four, however, was short-lived. Officials from the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire, France's counter-terrorist service, collected Mourad Benchellali, Imad Kanouni, Nizar Sassi and Brahim Yadel from the tarmac and led them on to a bus, which was driven to an unknown high-security prison. Four days later, they appeared before two investigating magistrates and were ordered to be jailed on suspicion of having "criminal association with a terrorist enterprise". There they have remained without charge or public protest – and may stay so for up to four years – in a legal limbo not much different from that which they experienced in Camp Delta. Mr Chirac, it turns out, just preferred them to be in French rather than American custody. [As Michael Caine would say, "And not alot of people know that"]

By contrast, the Britons released from Guantanamo have been allowed to return to their communities. Moazzam Begg, of Pakistani origin, has been banned from travelling abroad, but has otherwise been feted as the victim of a miscarriage of justice on a par with the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six. Last week, he was interviewed extensively on television for an undisclosed payment. A book is understood to be in the offing.


The Telegraph points to some basic differences in approaches.

Britain had a "completely different system and a different concept of the law", he said, arguing that a reactive "policing approach" was applied instead of a preventive strategy – a naive approach based on Britain's good fortune thus far not to have been attacked by Islamic terrorists. "We in France have," he said, in a reference to attacks by Algerian groups.

How does the rest of Europe feel about this?

Denis MacShane, the Minister for Europe, told The Telegraph yesterday: "On the eve of the first anniversary of the Madrid bombings, the rest of Europe will be surprised by Conservative and Liberal Democrat resistance to measures to tackle terrorism that are accepted by most other European and Commonwealth countries."

Yet they still condemn Guantanamo.

What happens when these poster children for the anti-war movement, er terror suspects, are released from Guantanamo and they are not locked up by their home countries? This.

At least 10 detainees released from the Guantanamo Bay prison after U.S. officials concluded they posed little threat have been recaptured or killed fighting U.S. or coalition forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to Pentagon officials.

One of the repatriated prisoners is still at large after taking leadership of a militant faction in Pakistan and aligning himself with al Qaeda, Pakistani officials said. In telephone calls to Pakistani reporters, he has bragged that he tricked his U.S. interrogators into believing he was someone else.


All of which leads Mark Steyn to comment:

For what it's worth, I incline to the latter position. Europe's problems -- its unaffordable social programs, its deathbed demographics, its dependence on immigration numbers that no stable nation (not even America in the Ellis Island era) has ever successfully absorbed -- are all of Europe's making. By some projections, the EU's population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025. Already, more people each week attend Friday prayers at British mosques than Sunday service at Christian churches -- and in a country where Anglican bishops have permanent seats in the national legislature.

Some of us think an Islamic Europe will be easier for America to deal with than the present Europe of cynical, wily, duplicitous pseudo-allies. But getting there is certain to be messy, and violent.

Until the shape of the new Europe begins to emerge, there's no point picking fights with the terminally ill. The old Europe is dying, and Mr. Bush did the diplomatic equivalent of the Oscar night lifetime-achievement tribute at which the current stars salute a once glamorous old-timer whose fading aura is no threat to them. The 21st century is being built elsewhere.

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Iraq - Legacy Media Lose

Earlier today I posted about the shamefully biased reporting of John Kerry's military records versus President Bush's.

The same applies to Iraq.

Normbog reports:

In the March issue of Prospect magazine Bartle Bull, who has reported on Iraq for the New York Times, wonders whether the big media were hoping for the failure of the election in Iraq. He writes (subscription required):


There is a fine defiance here. In one incident I did not see but that has been widely reported, a Baghdad policeman spotted a suicide bomber outside a polling station and dragged him away from the crowd before the bomber detonated his belt, killing them both. The queues rose tenfold as the story of the policeman's martyrdom spread.

Iraq is not about America any more. This has been increasingly true every day since last June, and the failure - or refusal - to recognise this has underpinned much of the misleading coverage of Iraq. In the evenings leading up to the election, I sat on carpets on the floors of a variety of shabby houses in the Baghdad slums. But the daily BBC message I watched with my various Iraqi hosts never budged. The refrain was Iraq's "atmosphere of intimidation and violence," and the message was that the elections could never work. What about the "atmosphere of resolve and anticipation" that I felt around me? Or the "atmosphere of patience and restraint" among those whom the terrorists were trying to provoke?

I try to avoid the hotels and the green zone and the Fort Apache press compounds when I am here. Sometimes it seems as though I am on a different planet from my colleagues in big media, and at those moments I worry briefly that I am getting the story wrong. The people at NBC news are not even allowed to go to the restaurant in their hotel. They report from the roof. When I went to the BBC's Baghdad bunker for some interviews after the election, the reporters I had been watching on television asked me, "So what's it like out there in the real world?" They meant the Iraqi street.

Jack Kelly has more.

Unbalanced reporting has given Americans a false impression of how the war is going, said Austin Bay, a retired colonel in the Army Reserve who was called to active duty in Iraq last year. [Not just Americans but people around the world.]

"Collect relatively isolated events in a chronological list and presto: the impression of uninterrupted, widespread violence destroying Iraq," said Bay, who is also a syndicated columnist. "But that was a false impression. Every day coalition forces were moving thousands of 18-wheelers from Kuwait and Turkey into Iraq, and if the insurgents were lucky, they blew up one. However, flash the flames of that one diesel rig on CNN and 'Oh my God, America can't stop these guys' is the impression left in Boston, Boise and Beijing."


And he has proof to back up his claims.

"When politicians like [Clinton] start flocking to Iraq to bask in the light of its success, then you know that the corner has been turned," a reader of his blog wrote to Bay.

More substantive signs abound. The performance of Iraqi security forces is improving, as are their numbers. Nearly 10,000 men showed up at a southern Iraqi military base Feb. 14 to volunteer for 5,000 openings. Only 6,000 had been expected.


He concludes with this.

Journalists demand accountability from political leaders for "quagmires" which exist chiefly in the imagination of journalists. But when will journalists be held to account for getting every major development in the war on terror wrong?

When indeed?
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Test

Blogger seems to be having problems today.

John Kerry - Tainted media

Legacy media is one of the last bastions of the left wing anti-war movement that we have to fix.

Bunny points us to an article by Thomas Sowell wherein he takes a look at the biased way the media handled Bush's and Kerry's military records during the last election. The media were all over Bush's records but said not a word on Kerry's.

One document whose authenticity is not likely to be questioned by the mainstream media is the honorable discharge on Senator John Kerry's web site. Yet who in the major media has investigated why that honorable discharge is dated during the Carter administration, when Kerry's military service ended years earlier?

This is the same media that spent months investigating George W. Bush's military record and, even after key allegations were revealed to be based on forgeries, continued publicizing rumors and innuendoes. They didn't stop even after the President signed Form 180, opening all his military records to the public.

But who in the major media has asked why John Kerry would need to be issued an honorable discharge during the Carter administration, years after leaving the navy, unless his original discharge was less than honorable?


Only one media person seemed interested in Kerry's records - Tim Russert.

One of the few people in the media who has shown any interest at all in Kerry's military records has been Tim Russert of "Meet the Press." He asked Senator Kerry on April 18, 2004 if he would "make all your records public." Kerry indicated that his records were already public, that people "can come and see them" at his headquarters.

But recently, on January 30, 2005, when Tim Russert again raised that question and asked "Would you sign Form 180?" — the form that Bush had signed to open all his military records — Kerry started off on a tangent before Russert interrupted him to repeat that same question. This time Kerry said, "Yes, I will."

He will? He had already done so last year, if you believe what he said then. But will the media call him on it if he doesn't follow through now? Don't bet on it.

This is not about the past or ultimately even about Kerry or Bush. It is about the future of this country. A gullible public learning only what is filtered to them by a biased media is not a hopeful sign for the future of a democracy.

Some of the public have begun to wake up but more need to do so. Many in the media also need to wake up to what they are doing, or failing to do, when their politics taints their work.


I said the same thing earlier today.

"Minds are changing" all over the world as if they have awoken from some trance put upon them by the left and anti-war movement. The fog has lifted and people the world over can now see the true enemy - the left.

Thankfully the blogs are helping to awaken the public and expose the lying left.
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Palestinians Angry Over Tel Aviv Attack

Now there's a switch!

JENIN, West Bank - Palestinians expressed anger Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes.

Official condemnations and denials were followed by public anger toward the perpetrators as Israeli blamed Syria and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the attack. The Palestinians pointed fingers at the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah. Syria denied the allegations.


And

Israel blamed Syria and Islamic Jihad. Palestinian security officials said Hezbollah was to blame. Both Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah receive backing from Damascus.

In contrast to the dozens of previous suicide bombings, no celebrations were held in the West Bank on Saturday and militant groups didn't hang the customary posters of congratulations at the bomber's home.


Amazing what a little freedom can do, eh?

How long before the world, er America, deals with Syria?
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Observer Blog

Norm alerts us to The Observer's Blog. They have comments enabled; this should be fun.
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Middle East - Democracy Spreads

Barone has some thoughts.

Evidence abounds. Consider what is happening in Lebanon, long under Syrian control, in response to the assassination, almost certainly by Syrian agents, of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Protesters have taken to the streets day after day, demanding Syrian withdrawal. The Washington Post 's David Ignatius, who covered Lebanon in the 1980s and has kept in touch since, has been skeptical that the Bush administration's policy would change things for the better. But reporting from Beirut last week, he wrote movingly of "the movement for political change that has suddenly coalesced in Lebanon and is slowly gathering force elsewhere in the Arab world." Ignatius interviewed Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader long a critic of the United States. Jumblatt's words are striking: "It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it." As Middle East expert Daniel Pipes writes, "For the first time in three decades, Lebanon now seems within reach of regaining its independence."

Minds are changing in Europe, too. In the left-wing Guardian, Martin Kettle reassures his readers that the Iraq war was "a reckless, provocative, dangerous, lawless piece of unilateral arrogance" --the usual stuff. "But," he concedes, "it has nevertheless brought forth a desirable outcome which would not have been achieved at all, or so quickly, by the means that the critics advocated, right though they were in most respects." Or read Claus Christian Malzahn in Der Spiegel . "Maybe the people of Syria, Iraq, or Jordan will get the idea in their heads to free themselves from their oppressive regimes just as the East Germans did," he writes. "Just a thought for Old Europe to chew on: Bush might be right, just like Reagan was."


"Minds are changing" all over the world as if they have awoken from some trance put upon them by the left and anti-war movement. The fog has lifted and people the world over can now see the true enemy - the left.

Captain Ed has more on Egypt's democratic changes.
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Egypt - Democracy Spreading

I've posted several times lately about the "Iraq Effect", that is the effect the US intervention in Iraq has had on spreading democracy throughout the Middle East.

The opposition in Lebanon went so far as to attribute democratic changes in the Middle East directly to the invasion of Iraq.

Now comes confirmation of the "Iraq Effect".

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."


Jumblatt said that just four days ago. Today The BBC reports

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak has asked parliament to change the constitution to allow multiple candidates in presidential polls.

The surprise announcement followed US and domestic pressure for reform in the Arab world's most populous nation.


And

An official in the opposition Al-Wafd party, Mohamed Ulwan, said it was a historic step.

"For the first time since the days of the pharaohs, the Egyptian people will choose their ruler," Reuters news agency quoted him as saying.


It's early days yet and there is a lot more to be done but it's a start.

The UN has certified the elections in Afghanistan and Iraq were free and fair. Likewise, the Palestinian elections were said to be free and fair. Let's hope Egypt is next.

None of this would have been possible if the left and anti-war types had had their way. If the left had their way millions would still live in oppression or be buried in mass graves. Not only has George Bush lit the fire of freedom around the world, he has exposed the left for what they are, anti-democratic and supporters of terror. And that too may bring about more changes.

Witness this op-ed in the left wing New York Times.

Thanks to eight million Iraqis defying "you vote, you die" terrorist threats, Iraq has been reframed from a story about Iraqi "insurgents" trying to liberate their country from American occupiers and their Iraqi "stooges" to a story of the overwhelming Iraqi majority trying to build a democracy, with U.S. help, against the wishes of Iraqi Baathist-fascists and jihadists.

Almost exactly two years ago, 26 Feb 2003, and prior to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush prophetically proclaimed:

The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. Arab intellectuals have called on Arab governments to address the "freedom gap" so their peoples can fully share in the progress of our times. Leaders in the region speak of a new Arab charter that champions internal reform, greater politics participation, economic openness, and free trade. And from Morocco to Bahrain and beyond, nations are taking genuine steps toward politics reform. A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region. (Applause.)

And

Much is asked of America in this year 2003. The work ahead is demanding. It will be difficult to help freedom take hold in a country that has known three decades of dictatorship, secret police, internal divisions, and war. It will be difficult to cultivate liberty and peace in the Middle East, after so many generations of strife. Yet, the security of our nation and the hope of millions depend on us, and Americans do not turn away from duties because they are hard. We have met great tests in other times, and we will meet the tests of our time. (Applause.)

We go forward with confidence, because we trust in the power of human freedom to change lives and nations. By the resolve and purpose of America, and of our friends and allies, we will make this an age of progress and liberty. Free people will set the course of history, and free people will keep the peace of the world.


How much faster could these changes be brought about if the rest of the world would join in and help?
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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Intermittent Blogging

Sorry about the intermittent blogging. The wife has started a new job and we're having to juggle schedules. Hopefully things will settle down soon.
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Iran - Whose Side is Europe On?

I think we already know he answer to that one. If not, read this.

KISH, Iran - As President Bush pressures European allies to get tougher with Iran, NBC News got a rare glimpse inside the country — at an Iranian air show attended by some of the world's leading military contractors eager to do business with America's adversary.

On the island of Kish, mullahs mixed with Ukrainian generals amid photos of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Iran's contempt for the United States was clear — emblazoned underneath a helicopter, in Farsi: "Death to America."

It's generally illegal for American companies to do business with Iran. But NBC News found more than a dozen European defense and aviation firms eager to fill the void. Some do business with the Pentagon, yet they were actively selling their wares to Iran.

"We sell to Iran [sic] Air Force," said Francois Leloup from Aerazur, a French company that markets fighter pilot vests, anti-gravity suits and other protective gear for military pilots.

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Germany - Freedom Gets the Death Sentence

More from the so called religion of peace.

On a cold afternoon this week, Hatin Sürücü gazed gravely from a large poster behind a bus stop lined with flowers, cards and candles.

To the people who came to this bleak part of Berlin's Tempelhof district for Tuesday's solemn vigil -- called not by the city's Muslim community but a gay and lesbian organization -- the image of the young woman in a headscarf, a baby in her arms, was familiar from newspapers and television. A few notes at the memorial read, "Hope you get a better deal in your next life," and "Live a life on your own terms."

"It's a scandal," said Ali K, 33. "All Muslims in Berlin should take to the streets to protest." Yasemin, 22, said, "It's horrific. All Hatin was doing was leading her life the way she wanted."

But it was a choice she paid for with her life. On Feb. 7, 23-year-old Hatin Sürücü was gunned down at the aforementioned bus stop. She died on the spot. Shortly afterwards, three of her brothers -- who reportedly had long been threatening her -- were arrested. Investigators suspect it was a so-called "honor killing," given the fact that Sürücü's ultra-conservative Turkish-Kurdish family strongly disapproved of her modern and "un-Islamic" life.

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Germany - Immigration Scandal

Seems Britain is not the only country where immigration will be an election issue. Immigration is a political hot potato in Germany.

It seems Germany's visa-granting policies for Eastern Europeans -- despite the intended good neighbor policy of further opening its doors to the former Eastern Bloc -- were too permissive, especially in Ukraine. The result, say Fischer's critics, was a gigantic loophole through which organized crime, human traffickers and prostitution rings could gain access to Germany and the European Union. Fischer, as the minister in charge of Germany's embassies and consulates, is in hot water. Indeed, the conservative opposition -- for years loathe to take on Fischer -- has felt so emboldened by the scandal that a prominent member of Bavaria's Christian Social Union recently got away with calling Fischer a "pimp."

Not to mention terrorists.
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Could Bush Be Right? -- Take Two

Thursday Der Spiegel asked this question the first time. And concluded, yes, Bush is right.

Friday, Der Spiegel asks the question again. And again the answer is yes.

Diplomacy, Bush seemed to be saying, can -- and perhaps should -- work like a friendship. Tell your friend when you think he or she is straying. But at the same time, show your commitment to the foundation of the relationship.

Chancellor Schroeder should take the lesson to heart.


Nice to see their paying attention.
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Friday, February 25, 2005

Iraq - Another Top Zarqawi Aide Captured

Reuters reports "Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman al-Dulaymi, also known as Abu Qutaybah, was captured on Feb. 20 in Anah, a town northwest of Baghdad, about 35 miles from the Syrian border."

They're having a lot of success rounding these guys up. Let's hope they get Zarqawi soon.

U.S. and Iraqi forces are currently engaged in a security sweep along Anbar's Euphrates river valley leading toward Syria in an effort to hunt down insurgents holed up there. Anah, where Abu Qutaybah was caught, is one of those valley towns.

"Abu Qutaybah was a known associate of other detained Zarqawi lieutenants including Abu Abdul Rahman, Abu Ahmed and Abu Ali, who were captured by coalition forces," the Iraqi government said.

Another militant, Ahmad Khalid Marad Isma'il al-Rawi, also known as Abu Uthman, was captured during the same raid. Abu Uthman arranged meetings for Zarqawi and occasionally acted as his driver, the government's statement said.

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Belgium - Pro Bush Rally

Yesterday I posted anti Bush protest in Belgium.

Nice to see there are pro Bush people in Belgium as well.

My father was a policeman during World War II, and for his activities in the resistance he received several medals. His brother survived a concentration camp but suffered severe physical problems for the rest of his life. Look at the huge number of graves of American soldiers, sometimes of age 17 or less, who gave their lives for our freedom. I am really ashamed to be a Belgian after this humiliation and insult to a friendly nation that has helped us. It was not their war, but still they gave their lives to protect our democracy.
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Freedom

It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

- Father Dennis Edward O'Brian, USMC
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Thursday, February 24, 2005

France - Holocaust Funny?

Apparently one French comdeian thinks so.

A flare-up of racial tension has been sparked off in France after a black stand-up comic, Dieudonné, was reported to have said that the 60th anniversary commemorations of the Holocaust were "remembrance pornography".

Amid wide reporting of the comment by the half-French, half-Cameroonian performer, vandals attacked prominent Muslim and Jewish sites. Swastikas were daubed both on the walls of the Grande Mosquée in Paris and a Second World War railway carriage that stands as a Jewish memorial at a deportation assembly point in the suburb of Drancy.


Nice, huh?
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Germany - Could Bush be Right?

Yesterday I posted about "Democracy For Me But Not Thee".

I started out by quoting an AP poll that said Europe did not think the US should be spreading democracy around the world. The poll contained this quote:

"Europeans in general especially the European elites tend to be more cynical about the possibilities of exporting democracy," said Mandelbaum, author of the book "Ideas That Conquered the World: Peace, Democracy and Free Markets." "There is a general feeling that democracy just doesn't fit some cultures."

One of the countries polled was Germany. This is what DER SPIEGEL had to say about Bush's visit.

Even German conservatives find the idea that Arabic countries could transform themselves into enlightened democracies somewhat absurd.

Nice, huh? Nobody seems to want to use the R word. But this all sounds like racism to me.

Later in my post I quoted Gerard Baker thusly:

Gerard Baker.

These differences are not just awkward, inconvenient blots on an otherwise pleasant landscape of Atlantic unity. They are great, ugly cleavages in basic perceptions, strategy, and policy. The Bush administration remains committed to revolutionary change throughout the world and, just as the Reagan administration did, believes America's security is inextricably tied up with the advance of liberty well beyond its borders. Europeans, meanwhile, are ever more staunch in their defense of the status quo, however unfree that may leave people. Stability, not liberty, is their aim.


Der Spiegel echoes those thoughts.

This, in fact, is likely the largest point of disagreement between Europe and the United States -- and one that a President John Kerry likely would not have made smaller: Europeans today -- just like the Europeans of 1987 -- cannot imagine that the world might change. Maybe we don't want the world to change, because change can, of course, be dangerous. But in a country of immigrants like the United States, one actually pushes for change. In Mainz today, the stagnant Europeans came face to face with the dynamic Americans. We Europeans always want to have the world from yesterday, whereas the Americans strive for the world of tomorrow.

How do the words to that Fleetwood Mac song go? "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow, yesterdays gone, yesterdays gone". Something like that.

Perhaps AP should do another poll, leave America out of it and ask the question of the same countries, "Do you want the world to stay the same or do you favor spreading democracy, by force if necessary, to people living in tyranny?" I'd bet the answer would be leave the status quo. I've got my freedom - screw the rest - would be the sentiment.

Janet Daley writing in The Telegraph nails it.

This entirely unresearched, academically unsound theory of mine came back to me as I listened to George W Bush telling Europeans that his campaign for liberty and democracy arose directly from ideals that had originated with them. You could almost hear the injured bewilderment in his voice: this was all your idea in the first place. Whatever happened to your commitment to the values enshrined in Magna Carta and the French Revolution - the doctrine of the rights of man and of government by consent? And if you are still committed to those principles, why can you not see the need to extend them to parts of the world that are still deprived of them?

The Der Spiegel article ends with this observation about Reagan, the Berlin wall and Bush's vision.

Yet three years later, East Germany had disappeared from the map. Gorbachev had a lot to do with it, but it was the East Germans who played the larger role. When analysts are confronted by real people, amazing things can happen. And maybe history can repeat itself. Maybe the people of Syria, Iran or Jordan will get the idea in their heads to free themselves from their oppressive regimes just as the East Germans did. When the voter turnout in Iraq recently exceeded that of many Western nations, the chorus of critique from Iraq alarmists was, at least for a couple of days, quieted. Just as quiet as the chorus of Germany experts on the night of Nov. 9, 1989 when the Wall fell.

Just a thought for Old Europe to chew on: Bush might be right, just like Reagan was then.


Bush has demonstrably proved he is right and Europe wrong. When given the opportunity to choose between democracy and tyranny, people the world over choose democracy; Afghanistan and Iraq are proof of that.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ted Rall - Buffoon

For those readers who don't know what todays Day by Day cartoon is about, go here.
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Lebanon - Mubarak Tells Syria to Leave

That's the way it sounds to me.

Trying to lessen the heat on his Syrian allies, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (news - web sites) sent his intelligence chief and most trusted troubleshooter, Omar Suleiman, to Damascus.

"Something has to happen because the situation is difficult now and (Syria) won't be able to stand against the pressures of the international community," Mubarak told reporters in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

"But we must find solutions."


Yep, sounds like it to me.
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Syrian activists urge Lebanon pullout

Now even Syrians are calling for Syria to pull out of Lebanon.

More than 200 Syrian activists publish open letter calling on Assad’s regime to withdraw from Lebanon.

By Roueida Mabardi - DAMASCUS

In a gesture of defiance, more than 200 Syrian writers, artists and rights activists issued an open letter to President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday calling on his regime to withdraw from Lebanon.

"Outside pressures are building in all sorts of ways. The Syrian people don't know what is awaiting them as the old political methods are no longer able to resolve crises," the letter said, a copy of which was received by AFP.

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Lebanon - Who killed Rafik Hariri?

In this great who dunnit caper where not much is for sure, one thing is, Patrick Seale writing in the Guardian doesn't have a clue who killed Hariri.

The fact that Seale is writing in the Guardian is your first clue that this expose of whodunnit is going to point the finger at the US and Israel and away from Syria. But there is more evidence of Seale's bias which I'll get to in a minute.

Seale starts out by absolving Syria of all blame in the Hariri murder.

If Syria killed Rafik Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister and mastermind of its revival after the civil war, it must be judged an act of political suicide. Syria is already under great international pressure from the US, France and Israel. To kill Hariri at this critical moment would be to destroy Syria's reputation once and for all and hand its enemies a weapon with which to deliver the blow that could finally destabilise the Damascus regime, and even possibly bring it down.

So attributing responsibility for the murder to Syria is implausible.[...]


Well that's it then. Syria is innocent. Not so fast Mr. Seale.

Why is that Hariri's murder "must be judged an act of political suicide" and not a "grave mistake" by Syria? You accuse Syria of making grave mistakes in the same paragraph.

This is not to deny that Syria has made grave mistakes in Lebanon. Its military intelligence apparatus has interfered far too much in Lebanese affairs. A big mistake was to insist on changing the Lebanese constitution to extend the mandate of President Emile Lahoud - known for his absolute allegiance to Syria - for a further three years.

Sorry, Seale, but if Assad is that dumb he is dumb enough to have murdered Hariri. There are those that believe he is that dumb.

His father's methods, yes, but not his skills. The elder Assad was a tactical genius, even if his rule ultimately failed (he never regained the Golan Heights, never came close to destroying Israel, and rode Syria's economy and culture into the ground). The younger Assad combines strategic blindness with tactical ineptitude.

Within months of Bashar's accession, questions arouse about his ability to retain control over Lebanon; not long after, his ability to hold on to power in Syria itself came under doubt. The Syrian government's rush to the side of Saddam Hussein just as he was ousted made eyebrows rise with wonder.

Bashar's pattern of promising one thing to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, then instantly breaking his word caused general bafflement.


Seale goes on to give us more "evidence" of why Syria couldn't have done it.

Hariri was not a diehard enemy of Syria.

Maybe not a "diehard" but when Assad altered the Lebanese constitution and extended Lahoud's term in office, that was the last straw.

Political sources say Hariri first contemplated quitting power minutes after he was told by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in August that Damascus wanted to extend the term in office of his rival Lahoud.

Having fallen in and out of favor with Damascus over the years, he had recently joined calls by the opposition for Syrian troops to leave Lebanon in the run-up to a general election in May.


Seale goes on to try and muddy the water as to who the real culprit is with a host of villains, finally settling on the US and Israel.

The US and Israel have been trying to rally international support against Iran, Syria and Hizbullah. The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, has condemned Iran as a prime sponsor of international terror. Syria has been condemned as a "destabilising" force in the region, and is in the dock because of Hariri's assassination.

Seale's logic is flawed. He starts from the premise that Syria didn't do it therefore someone else had to. But why rule out Syria? Because Seale has some serious bias issues.

You might want to read his guest CV at Islam Online which contains these nuggets.

He runs a consultancy on Middle East affairs for a number of international clients and writes regularly for Al-Hayat (London) and Al-Ittihad (Abu Dhabi), as well as The Daily Star (Beirut), The Saudi Gazette (Jiddah) and Gulf News (Dubai).

And his family connections to Syria might raise an eyebrow.

He is married to Rana Qabbani, a Syrian woman...

You also might be interested to read Seale's defense of the older Assad in his book, "Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East "

No friend of Bush, Seale wrote this in June 2004.

The unpalatable truth is that the Bush administration has failed in almost everything it has touched. The war in Iraq, based on lies and incompetence, has been a catastrophe, its always doubtful legitimacy fatally undermined by the torture of Iraqi detainees. The "war on terror" has greatly increased, rather than diminished, the threat from radical political Islam, both to the US itself and to its friends, as countries like Saudi Arabia are learning to their cost.

Meanwhile, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at the very heart of the region's discontents, has been allowed to sink to new depths of barbarism, largely owing to Bush's irresponsible support for Israel's bull-dozing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.


Boy he must have been pissed off watching the Afghanistanis, Palestinians and Iraqis vote.

Just a little biased, aren't we Mr. Seale?

I think we can rule out Mr. Seale's defense of his Syrian friends, don't you?
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Democracy for Me But Not Thee

AP reports on a poll asking if it should be the roll of the US to spread democracy.

A majority of people in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain said they thought it should not be the U.S. role to spread democracy, according to AP-Ipsos polls. A majority of those living in Canada, Mexico and South Korea (news - web sites) also disagreed with that role.

Strange, their forefathers felt differently when they were about to lose theirs.

Ok, so if not the US who then? Maybe no one?

"Europeans in general — especially the European elites — tend to be more cynical about the possibilities of exporting democracy," said Mandelbaum, author of the book "Ideas That Conquered the World: Peace, Democracy and Free Markets." "There is a general feeling that democracy just doesn't fit some cultures."

Which ones? Afghanistan and Iraq would disagree with that. So would the Ukraine. You have to pay to see the poll particulars but I imagine that these three countries were not polled. Now I wonder why that could be?

I would also like to know if Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iran were polled.

I see a picture emerging here. The countries that already have freedom don't want to pay the price their forefathers paid to bring it to others - Freedom for me but not thee.

Gerard Baker summed it up well.

Gerard Baker.

These differences are not just awkward, inconvenient blots on an otherwise pleasant landscape of Atlantic unity. They are great, ugly cleavages in basic perceptions, strategy, and policy. The Bush administration remains committed to revolutionary change throughout the world and, just as the Reagan administration did, believes America's security is inextricably tied up with the advance of liberty well beyond its borders. Europeans, meanwhile, are ever more staunch in their defense of the status quo, however unfree that may leave people. Stability, not liberty, is their aim.


Ah, but that stability is just an illusion.

What these countries are blind to is the radical Islamic fundamentalist breeding ground the tyrants are providing. Remember, Bin Laden attacked the US embassies and the Twin Towers before Afghanistan and Iraq were liberated. Not the other way round. These terrorists are not leaving their breeding grounds in any great number and taking up residence in America. They're moving to Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain; the countries that say they are against the US spreading democracy. Now there's a coincidence.

Don't believe me? Check out Tightening al-Qaeda's European grip.

How bad can it get? Well for a start the Dutch are locking up their MPs to keep them safe from Islamic terrorists. And Dutchman Van Goh was murdered for making a film critical of the way Muslims treat their women.

Europe, as they say, watch out what you wish for, you may just get it.

UPDATE

Janet Daley writing in The Telegraph nails it.

This entirely unresearched, academically unsound theory of mine came back to me as I listened to George W Bush telling Europeans that his campaign for liberty and democracy arose directly from ideals that had originated with them. You could almost hear the injured bewilderment in his voice: this was all your idea in the first place. Whatever happened to your commitment to the values enshrined in Magna Carta and the French Revolution - the doctrine of the rights of man and of government by consent? And if you are still committed to those principles, why can you not see the need to extend them to parts of the world that are still deprived of them?

And

Europeans have found something better, and more readily controlled, as a substitute for personal liberty. They have found wealth: mass prosperity and the kind of government-subsidised economic security that their countries, traumatised by generations of war and unrest, have never known. Since the Cold War ended, they have been able to consolidate the post-war economic miracle with a "peace dividend": all that money that used to be spent on arms could go into more and more generous welfare and pension arrangements. So now they are not even fit to defend themselves, or to sort out a mess in their own Balkan backyard. Why should they join in any crazy scheme to bring peace to the rest of the world?

Bingo!

The tsunami disaster illustrated that in spades.

Europe is in a war with an enemy that it doesn't understand and is not equipped to fight - Islamic terrorism.

So, Europe tries the appeasement route - again. Look where that got them last time.
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Belgian offensive

Powerline has "a message that badly needs to be delivered to our former Belgian friends."

Here is a snippet, be sure to read the whole thing.

Several readers have pointed out to us the Daily Standard column on the Belgian anti-Bush urinal: "Piss off." Let us recall that in December 1944 Belgium was the object of Hitler's last major offensive. Thousands of American heroes served and died to repel the offensive and to liberate Belgium. Click here for an excellent site devoted to the battle. Hitler's last gasp came shortly afterward in the lesser-known Operation Nordwind.

My teenage son asked me the other day why he needed to study history in school. Here's one answer son.
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Iraq - unsubstantiated rape allegations against US troops

Recently I posted about Amnesty International's report on US forces raping Iraqi women. The report said this:

Amnesty said several women detained by U.S. troops had spoken in interviews with them of beatings, threats of rape, humiliating treatment and long periods of solitary confinement.

We are not told how many several means and we are not given any evidence other than these unsubstantiated claims.

Now we know how many several is. Two.

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is investigating an allegation that a US soldier raped an Iraqi female prisoner while she was in US military custody, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

The allegation has not yet been substantiated, he said on Tuesday. He gave no details.

Another rape allegation against a US soldier by an Iraqi woman was dismissed for lack of evidence, Whitman said.

They are the only two rape allegations that have been made against US troops by Iraqi women, the spokesman said.


The allegations were part of a larger report wherein AI calimed that Iraqi women were worse off now than under Saddam.

I'll say again what I said then - morons.
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Lebanon - Confirmation of the "Iraq Effect"

Recently I've posted about the "Iraq effect", that is the effect the Iraqi elections are having on the entire Middle East.

And yesterday I posted this:

Syrians and Iranians had to watch, first hand, in envy as expat Iraqis voted for the first time. The huge grins on those expats as they exited the polling booths after voting must have lit a phosphorus fire in the hearts of people all over the Middle East. A fire that will not be extinguished. A fire that burns continuous and begs the question - when? When will we get our freedom to vote? When?

Now comes confirmation of the "Iraq Effect".

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

So can the Iranians.
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Germany - Pro Bush Rally

A Pro Bush rally is to take place in Germany today. I hope they post some pictures.
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Iran - Sliencing Free Speech

Africa's Mbeki criticized the US for placing "Zimbabwe alongside Cuba, Belarus, Burma, Iran and North Korea in a list of tyrannical states..." Even though Zimbabwe is kicking journalist out of the country and closing newspapers.

Strange, Mr. Mbeki, Iran is doing the same thing.

Iran Jails Editor for 14 Years for Insulting Leaders

TEHRAN (Reuters) - An Iranian journalist was jailed for 14 years on charges ranging from espionage to insulting the country's leaders in an unusually heavy sentence in Iran, where tens of journalists have been tried in recent years.

Rights activists said on Tuesday that Arash Sigarchi, 28, was convicted by the Revolutionary Court in the Caspian province of Gilan in northern Iran.

Sigarchi, a newspaper editor in Gilan who also wrote an Internet journal or "weblog," was arrested last month after responding to a summons from the Intelligence Ministry.

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Africa - Mbeki criticises US over Zimbabwe

The BBC reports "South African President Thabo Mbeki has said the US was wrong to describe Zimbabwe as an "outpost of tyranny".

The US decision to place Zimbabwe alongside Cuba, Belarus, Burma, Iran and North Korea in a list of tyrannical states was "an exaggeration", he said.

The US and EU accuse Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe of election rigging and human rights abuses.


Well Mr. Mbeki what do you have to say about this.

Media forced to flee Zimbabwe

The raids and subsequent threats of arrest were seen as an attempt ahead of the March 31 parliamentary elections to silence the foreign media, one of the last independent voices remaining in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe forced the country's only independent daily newspaper, the Daily News, to close last year despite court orders that it be allowed to reopen.

All other broadcast news and daily newspapers in the country are controlled by the state.


Sounds like an "outpost of tyranny" to me.

Notice which story the BBC run?
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Interpol sounds bio-terror alarm

The BBC is reporting:

The world is ill prepared for the looming threat of a biological terror attack, the head of Interpol has said.

Ronald Noble told the BBC the danger of an al-Qaeda attack has not diminished since the 9/11 strikes on the US.


Well what happened to your program that claimed there is no such thing as a world wide terrorists organization? You liked your program so much you replayed it. Something change your mind Auntie?

The head of the global police body also denied governments had played up the risks for political gain.

"I don't think it is the sounding of false alarms," Mr Noble said, citing recent evidence. "I think the alarm is real and it is continuing to ring."


What do you have to say for yourself Auntie? That was one of your major claims, wasn't it - governments sounding false alarms for political gain?

What are the odds the BBC run that program (sorry forgot the name) just before the UK elections - for political gain?
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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

London Mayor - National Disgrace

Red Ken is still refusing to apologize for calling a Jewish reporter a concentration camp guard. Bunny takes a look at Komedy Ken. I like this bit.

He said that if the reporter had been offended by his remarks he was "in the wrong job".

This is after Ken has tried to excuse himself by saying:

Pursuing me along the pavement thrusting your tape recorder at me whilst repeatedly barking the same question when I had clearly indicated I did not wish to be interviewed by you is not acceptable behaviour by you or any other journalist.

While I have some sympathy for Ken here, the obvious retort arises that if he's offended by this sort of thing, then he's in the wrong job.


Indeed he is.

Bunny had an earlier post that ended with this:

Sue Carroll from The Mirror says:

Imagine this. Robert Kilroy-Silk emerges from a meeting of his political party Veritas (held in a phone box, probably) and is harassed by an Arab reporter.Kilroy loses his rag and tells the journalist he's no better than a Hamas suicide bomber.

Do you think there would be the same non-reaction from Labour and the race relations industry as the deafening silence following Mayor Ken Livingstone's outburst directed at a Jewish reporter from London's Evening Standard, who Livingstone likened to a "German war criminal" and accused of behaving like "a concentration camp guard"?

No, I don't.
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Hizballah: "Death to America"

As I've said before, one of Islam's war tactics states "Democrats and Leftist will support us". They're right and Top House Democrat Charlie Rangel is proof of that.

Top House Democrat Charlie Rangel said Tuesday that it was an act of discrimination to label groups like Hezbollah "Islamic terrorists."

Rangel must have missed Hizbullah Leader Hassan Nasrallah's latest speeches.

We consider it to be an enemy because it wants to humiliate our governments, our regimes, and our peoples. Because it is the greatest plunderer our treasures, our oil, and our resources, while millions in our nation suffer unemployment, poverty, hunger, unmarriagability, ignorance, darkness, and so on. America… This American administration is an enemy. Our motto, which we are not afraid to repeat year after year, is: "Death to America."

Crowd: Death to America

Death to America

Death to America

Death to America

Death to America

Death to America


via LGF
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Europe vs America

Mark Steyn and Gerard Baker have some thoughts.

First, Mark Steyn

America and Europe both face security threats. But the difference is America's are external, and require hard choices in tough neighbourhoods around the world, while the EU's are internal and, as they see it, unlikely to be lessened by the sight of European soldiers joining the Great Satan in liberating, say, Syria. That's not exactly going to help keep the lid on the noisier Continental mosques.

Now, Gerard Baker.

These differences are not just awkward, inconvenient blots on an otherwise pleasant landscape of Atlantic unity. They are great, ugly cleavages in basic perceptions, strategy, and policy. The Bush administration remains committed to revolutionary change throughout the world and, just as the Reagan administration did, believes America's security is inextricably tied up with the advance of liberty well beyond its borders. Europeans, meanwhile, are ever more staunch in their defense of the status quo, however unfree that may leave people. Stability, not liberty, is their aim.

Now contrast that with this from The BBC.

US President George Bush is in Europe on a trip to try to heal some of the rifts that marked his first term.

No he's not, nor should he be. Bush is in Europe to show there are no hard feelings and you can still join us if you want. That won't happen except for a token gesture such as NATO training Iraqi troops - outside Iraq.

What happens, say in a few years time, with Afghanistan and Iraq liberated, Lebanon, Syria and Iran are free and the Israel/Palestinian conflict is resolved?

What happens when, during that same time Europe has swollen with fanatical Islamic fundamentalists, war breaks out in Europe? What happens then?

Think it can't happen? The Dutch are already involved in a war with Islamic fundamentalist and have some members of the government locked up for safety. That's right, the terrorists are free and the government is locked up. The Dutch are trying the Madrid maneuver and are pulling out of Iraq. Appeasement never works.

But there you have it. Train wrecks are ugly but you just can't help watching, can you?

UPDATE

And check out Tightening al-Qaeda's European grip
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JESSE JACKSON - Plagiarist?

Has the man no shame??

Whizbang catches Jackson plagiarizing Barone!

Here is Barone yesterday.

Sometimes a decision made in the heat of partisan battle has reverberations for years to come.

One such decision was the one of Al Gore's campaign to selectively challenge the results of the 2000 election in Florida by demanding hand counts of votes cast in three counties -- Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach....


Here's Jackson today.

Sometimes a decision made in the heat of partisan battle has reverberations for years to come.

One such decision was the one of Al Gore's campaign to selectively challenge the results of the 2000 election in Florida by demanding hand counts of votes cast in three counties -- Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach....


This will be a fun one to explain. Meanwhile, the article is worth reading; Barone's that is.
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Iraq - Canada Sending Troops to Train

in Jordon. Close enough for government work, eh?

OTTAWA (CP) - Canada will contribute up to 30 soldiers to a NATO-led force that will help train the new Iraqi army, senior federal officials confirmed Friday.

The formal announcement will be made when Prime Minister Paul Martin gathers with other leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting Tuesday in Brussels.

Ottawa also plans to contribute $1 million towards a NATO-managed trust fund that will help pay the expenses of Iraqi officers who take part in the program.

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Togo - US Surprises

Oxblog is surprised by Bush's multilateral approach.
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Al Qaeda - Tightening al-Qaeda's European grip

Asia Times reports on Al Qaeda in Europe.

Beghal's arrest subsequently led to the dismantlement of the so-called "Beghal network" in Corbeil-Essonnes, France, where he had lived until 1997, before leaving for the United Kingdom - where he met the influential Salafist preacher Abu Qatada - and later Germany and Pakistan. The kamikaze in the alleged planned attack would have been Tunisian Nizar Trabelsi, a former soccer player. Trabelsi was arrested in Belgium in September 2001, two days after the September 11 attacks, and sentenced to 10 years in jail two years later. He admitted he was preparing a terrorist attack, but said his target was a military base in Belgium.

Beghal's main co-defendant Kamel Daoudi, a computer scientist suspected of taking care of the logistics, was arrested in England and extradited to France. Last June, four members of the network were sentenced in the Netherlands, including French convert Jerome Courtailler.

Like Zakarias Moussaoui and shoe bomber Richard Reid, among others, Beghal attended the now famous Finsbury Park mosque led by Abu Hamza al-Masri. Several well-known Islamic radicals - among whom many have been involved in terrorism plots - found sanctuary in Great Britain, a country labelled "soft" on religious extremism.


Ain't that the truth.
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Iraq - Zarqawi Vows to Fight On

Some people have to learn the hard way.

While the Taliban are laying down their arms in Afghanistan, Reuters reports "Al Qaeda's wing in Iraq dismissed on Monday a report of secret talks between insurgents and U.S. officials and said its attacks would continue, according to an Internet statement."

Perhaps Zarqawi doesn't speak for all the terrorists.
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Taliban Fighters to Accept Amnesty

The Telegraph reports "One of the Taliban's most senior and charismatic commanders has become a key negotiator as more and more members of the Islamic militia in Afghanistan give up the fight against the Americans."

Now he is a supporter of President Hamid Karzai and is tempting diehard Taliban fighters to accept an amnesty offer and reconcile themselves to Afghanistan's first directly elected leader.

"The Taliban has lost its morale," he said, speaking by satellite phone from the heartlands of Zabul province, a Taliban redoubt. [...]

"They are in Kabul seeking peace and to boost the reconciliation process," he said, adding that he was hopeful that the Taliban surrender would take place before the parliamentary elections, expected in the summer.

Afghan officials claimed in recent days that four unnamed senior figures from the former Taliban government have accepted the US-backed offer of amnesty extended to them by Mr Karzai's government and will form a new party for the elections.

"This step is a great encouragement to other Taliban to end their struggle," said Mullah Rockety. "I have said to the Taliban that now is the time for unity, the time for Afghan brother to stop killing Afghan brother."

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Australia boosts Iraq deployment

The BBC reports on a country with some backbone.

How many lives could be saved and how much quicker Iraq could be rebuilt if more countries would get off their backsides and help out.

Iraq stands as a testament to the ineffectiveness of the UN.
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Middle East - Democracy Spreading

Shortly after 9/11 America invaded Afghanistan, routed Al Qaeda and defeated the Taliban. Recently Afghanistan held their first free and fair elections.

Next, America invaded Iraq, defeated the much vaunted Special Republican guard and captured the dictator Saddam. Recently Iraq held their first free and fair elections.

Inspired by all of this the Ukrainians overturned a stolen election and held new, free and fair elections.

The despot Arafat died and now the Palestinians have held free and fair elections.

Even Saudi Arabia is experimenting with elections. They have a long way to go and this maybe more for show but you can't put this genie back in the bottle.

All this happened during Bush's first four years in office. The next four promise to be even more eventful.

In this technologically advanced 21st century, news spreads like wildfire via radio, TV, email and the Internet; complete with photographs and video. More and more the people of the Middle East learn that their leaders have been lying to them - America is not the evil empire they were told it was.

All over the Middle East people watched as first the Afghanistanis voted, then the Iraqis and next the Palestinians.

Syrians and Iranians had to watch, first hand, in envy as expat Iraqis voted for the first time. The huge grins on those expats as they exited the polling booths after voting must have lit a phosphorus fire in the hearts of people all over the Middle East. A fire that will not be extinguished. A fire that burns continuous and begs the question - when? When will we get our freedom to vote? When?

You can see that fire growing, burning brighter every day. In Lebanon 10s of thousands took to the streets in protest of the Syrian occupation. In Iran "Tehran, Feb. 21 – Heavy clashes between Iranian Kurds and security agents erupted on Friday in three towns in western Iran, leaving dozens injured and hundreds arrested." The Iranian citizens came out in support of the protesters and chased away the security forces.

Now the fire is spreading to Egypt.

Hundreds of protesters have staged a demonstration against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

It was the largest such rally in a series of anti-government protests which began in December.


Much remains to be done but the profound changes brought about by George Bush in just four short years are astounding. Re-elected with a huge majority and unable to run for a third term, Bush will use these successes as a springboard to even greater success.

The next four years are going to be truly amazing. What a great time to be alive.

Michael Ledeen has similar thoughts.

We should be funding more (mostly private) radio and television broadcasting to Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran. The people in those countries know that they are being lied to by their governments, but they don't know the truth, especially about their own country. If you read some of the blogs from Iran, for example (and there are lots of them!), you find a reflexive rejection of anything that the government says: mullahs say Bush bad, people believe Bush good, for example. They need information. People in Tehran need to know what's going on in Isfahan, people in Damascus need to know what's happening in Aleppo or Beirut, people in Riyadh need to know the latest from the Eastern provinces.
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Iran - Global blogger action day called

Nice to see The BBC reporting on this.

The global web blog community is being called into action to lend support to two imprisoned Iranian bloggers.

The month-old Committee to Protect Bloggers' is asking those with blogs to dedicate their sites on Tuesday to the "Free Mojtaba and Arash Day".

Arash Sigarchi and Mojtaba Saminejad are both in prison in Iran.

Blogs are free sites through which people publish thoughts and opinions. Iranian authorities have been clamping down on prominent sites for some time.


The Committee to Protect Bloggers has some links, email addresses and other ways you can help.
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Iran - FREE MOJTABA AND ARASH DAY

From The Committee to Protect Bloggers

Today is Free Mojtaba and Arash Day in honor of the two Iranian bloggers currently incarcerated by the Iranian government.

Read about Arash and Mojtaba.

Here is what you can do.

With additional contact information.

Banners are available at various locations on this blog.We have already had a tremendous response, including encouragement and thanks from bloggers in Iran. Let's make a difference today. Freedom of speech is not a partisan issue, not an issue of culture or ethnicity, it is a bloggers' issue and a human issue.

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Monday, February 21, 2005

UN - Annan Covered Up for Old Friend

Fox News reports on Annan's cover up of the sex scandal at the UN.

The sexual harassment allegations were made against Lubbers in April 2004. In May of that year, an investigation into those claims was launched by the United Nations and the investigators backed the woman's claims.

But in July, Annan ruled that no further action be taken. He also kept the report secret.

The report was then leaked to FOX News last Friday, the same day Annan was holding a long-scheduled meeting with Lubbers. U.N. diplomats told The Associated Press that the secretary-general offered Lubbers two choices -- resign or face suspension and charges of breaking U.N. rules.

Two days later, Lubbers resigned.[...]

Further evidence of Annan's determination to keep the report secret appears to come in a series of letter exchanged between the United Nations and the alleged victim in this case, which has been obtained by FOX News.

The letters show that the alleged victim, an American woman who was a 24-year veteran of the United Nations, repeatedly appealed to Annan to allow her to see the report into the allegations she made. Her request was consistently turned down, as shown by the letter.


Annan should resign as well.
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Iraq - Women no better off post-Saddam

Well, they're alive. That's gotta be good.

Al Reuters reports on Al Amnesty Internationale's report on women in Iraq. Just another hit piece on America.

LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Nearly two years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, women there are no better off than under the rule of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, the human rights group Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

Gee AI, did women in Iraq get to vote freely when Saddam was in power? Did women get elected to serve in a national assembly?

In a report entitled "Iraq -- Decades of Suffering," it said that while the systematic repression under Saddam had ended, it had been replaced by increased murders, and sexual abuse -- including by U.S. forces.

What does Al Reuters offer as proof?

Amnesty said several women detained by U.S. troops had spoken in interviews with them of beatings, threats of rape, humiliating treatment and long periods of solitary confinement.

AI conveniently fail to tell us why they were detained. It might have a bearing on the truth of their charges.

"Within their own communities, many women and girls remain at risk of death from male relatives if they are accused of behaviour held to have brought dishonour on the family," Amnesty said, noting some attempts by religious zealots to make the laws even more repressive against women.

That happens in most if not all Muslim countries; hardly the US fault.

But on the positive side, the report said several women's rights groups had been formed -- including ones that focused on the protection of women from violence.

Alright AI, let me get this straight. Women can now vote freely, be elected to a national assembly, form women's rights groups and are not in a mass grave but they are worse off now than when Saddam was putting them and their kin in mass graves?

Morons.
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Iran - The "Iraq Effect"

Earlier today I posted about "Lebanon - Beirut protesters denounce Syria".

I called this the "Iraq effect" because the Lebanese, like the Syrians and Iranians, had to watch as expat Iraqis voted in their first free and fair elections.

Looks like the "Iraq effect" is being felt in Iran.

Tehran, Feb. 21 – Heavy clashes between Iranian Kurds and security agents erupted on Friday in three towns in western Iran, leaving dozens injured and hundreds arrested.

Clashes broke out after State Security Forces agents used force to disperse demonstrations taking place simultaneously in the towns of Sardasht, Saqqez, and Baneh in protest against severe fuel shortages in the area, eye-witnesses reported.


Riiiight.

The demonstators fought back against the SSF.

The demonstrations quickly turned violent as protestors fought back and shouted slogans against Iran's ruling clerics.

In Sardasht, residents came to the aid of protestors during clashes as the SSF attempted to arrest anyone in the vicinity of the demonstration. At least 200 people, mostly youths, were arrested.

In Saqqez, residents reportedly forced SSF agents to flee the scene after serious scuffles.


Suddenly everyone wants democracy. Now I wonder why that could be?

Come on Iran, you can do it.

via The Adventuress
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Brain Bliss