Friday, September 30, 2005

If it's freedom and success 'they' hate, why aren't 'they' attacking Norway?


This is an Interesting read By Luciana Bohne from online journal.

Most Americans like to believe they live in the best country in the world. They don't. According to the United Nations Human Development Report for 2005, Norway is number one. Why? It's a welfare state.

There is a pleasant economic equality enjoyed by the Norwegian polity. No one is too poor; no one is too rich. In fact, great wealth is regarded as some sort of social disease. Third oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and Russia, Norway is tucking away a national fund of over $180 billion for when the oil runs out, guaranteeing each family the quaint sum of $22,000 per year—in addition to guaranteed health care, education, pensions, and paid maternity leaves and vacations to die for! True, a glass of beer will cost you $8, but the waiter makes a good salary.

Americans like to think that terrorists attack them because they are rich, free, and number one. Not true. They don't attack Norway—another benefit for keeping your neck out of the woods, minding your own business, taking care of your own people, and planning for tomorrow—not to mention preventing your government from being drowned in the bathtub by snake-oil salesmen posing as public servants, so it can't help when an iceberg hits a fjord, or equivalent natural disaster. Norwegians seem proud of having government on their backs! Not too heavy when they can request and obtain any government record they please for their review! They are also disgustingly healthy. Must be the lack of stress. Thirty million Americans are on anti-depressants. You wonder why.

Lots of Americans like to think they have the most generous government in the world. Again, not true. The US is the stingiest donor of foreign aid among rich nations. Current foreign development aid is up from $52.3 billion to $57 billion per year but quite short of the $100 billion needed to meet the goals of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for 2015, which pledged to reduce poverty and inequality in a Declaration of Millennium Goals signed by 175 UN member nations in 2000. Rich nations contribute 0.25 percent of their GDP (gross domestic product); the US contributes 0.1 percent. Among Ambassador John Bolton's 700 amendments to "reform" the UN, his wish list includes gutting the MDG.

Americans like to think they are spreading freedom and democracy around the world. You guessed it. Not true. The war in Iraq has cost $200 billion so far, but the Iraqi justice minister can't prosecute foreign fighters on Iraqi soil who detain and manhandle Iraqi citizens without judicial procedure. As many as 10,000 Iraqis are in detention in grossly abusive locations, of which Abu Ghraib is only the most notorious. Foreign fighters, of course, are the multinational forces, made up of an effective coalition of two—Britain and the US. Iraqi women have come under Sharia law, after 50 years of sharing legal equality with men. Think about that, as a test of spreading democracy! Iraqi farmers are required to buy seeds from corporations after five millennia of giving the world the genius of their wisdom and experimentation. Now, by virtue of Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority "intellectual property" law, included in the current Iraqi constitution, Iraqi farmers have no right to plant seeds not licensed by the state.

Click here to read more

Rumsfeld to address reporters' safety in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - A senior Republican lawmaker won a commitment on Thursday from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to address concerns about the increased detentions and accidental shootings by U.S. forces of reporters trying to cover the Iraq conflict. Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner, chairman of the Senate armed services committee, raised the issue at a hearing with Rumsfeld and top U.S. generals after receiving letters from Reuters and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and a telephone call from Paul Steiger, CPJ chairman and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.

"I raised the question of the safety of the press in Iraq and their ability to carry out the very important function of reporting to the American people," Warner told reporters after the hearing. "I've discussed it with the secretary. He's going to take it under immediate consideration," he said.

In a letter to Warner earlier this week, Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger referred to "a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by U.S. forces in Iraq."

He urged Warner to demand that Rumsfeld address and resolve these issues "in a way that best balances the legitimate security interests of the U.S. forces in Iraq and the equally legitimate rights of journalists in conflict zones under international law."

At least 66 journalists and media workers, most of them Iraqis, have been killed covering Iraq since March 2003.

At least seven Iraqi journalists were detained this year, with at least three documented detentions lasting more than 100 days while others spanned many weeksAt least four detainees remain in U.S. custody, including three Reuters employees and one from CBS News.

Additionally, the arrests sent the message to Iraq that the U.S. commitment to democracy and human rights was not sincere.

US generals: Iraqi security capability has shrunk

WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - The number of Iraqi security battalions able to fight without help from American forces has shrunk, senior U.S. generals said on Thursday, arguing that this was not a backward step.

At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. George Casey, top U.S. commander in Iraq, also said bringing home a substantial number of troops from Iraq next year will depend on political events there in the next 2-1/2 months.

The United States currently has 149,000 troops in Iraq. The Pentagon has said training Iraqi security forces -- who number about 192,000 -- so they are able to defend their own country is a prerequisite to an eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces.

But just one of the 120 U.S.-trained Iraqi army and police battalions was able to operate without U.S. forces,

Casey and Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, told senators.

The Pentagon said in July the number was three.

Calling this discouraging, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said, "That contributes to a loss of public confidence in how the war is going and whether this strategy is the appropriate one and it's being executed properly, (and) whether or not we're making progress."

Todays last throws in Iraq for september 29th

Sept 29 (Reuters) - The following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Thursday, Sept. 29, as of 1200 GMT.

BAGHDAD - Two people were killed and seven wounded when gunmen opened fire on a minibus in the eastern New Baghdad district of the capital, police said.

BAGHDAD - Two people were killed and one wounded when gunmen opened fire on a bakery in the southern Doura district of the capital, police said.

RAMADI - A U.S soldier was killed on Tuesday by small arms fire in Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement.

*KHALIS - The head of the city council was assassinated in this town, 70 km (45 miles) north of Baghdad, by gunmen. Police said two people with him were also wounded in the incident.

* KHALIS - A policeman and his brother were killed by gunmen in Khalis, police said.

* KIRKUK - A police colonel escaped death when a roadside bomb exploded near his convoy in Kirkuk, 250 km (150 miles) north of Baghdad, police said one of his guards was wounded.

Note , this is a general overview of events upto 1200 hrs , for more details of the events today after 1200 hrs , please check my previous posts

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Triple Iraq bombs kill at least 62

At least 62 people have been killed in three co-ordinated car bombs in a city near Baghdad, Iraqi police say.

The near-simultaneous blasts in Balad, 50 miles (80km) north of the capital, injured at least another 68. The suicide bombs went off in a busy vegetable market, by a bank and by a police station in the mainly Shia city, Iraqi police said. The attack came as the commander of US forces in Iraq said the next 75 days were crucial to Iraq's future.

Read more Here

Abu Ghraib images 'must be shown'

A judge in New York has ruled that pictures of Iraqi inmates abused by US troops should be released. The judge made the order after a request by the American Civil Liberties Union for access to 87 unseen images. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein countered government arguments that this could fuel anti-US feelings.Pictures of Iraqi inmates being abused at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad last year have caused an outcry around the world. Several US soldiers have been jailed.

Five US troops killed in W Iraq

Five US soldiers have been killed by a roadside bomb in the western town of Ramadi, the US military said.
The bomb exploded as they conducted combat operations on Wednesday, a statement by the Marines said.
The Sunni town of Ramadi is a stronghold of Iraq's anti-US insurgents, who launch regular attacks against Iraqi and American troops.
Reports say 13 US service personnel have been killed in violence in Iraq in the past five days.
Reports are also coming in of three near simultaneous suicide car bombings in the city of Balad north of Baghdad.
Hospital officials quoted by Associated Press say scores of people have been killed and wounded

Full Details Here

UK: 82 year old man thrown out of conference and arrested

An 82 year old member of the british labour party was thrown out of the annual conference for shouting the word "Nonsense" as Jack Straw was making a speech about the governments policy in Iraq.

This alone would be enough but the Gentleman was then arrested under anti terrorism laws !

The gentleman has been a loyal member of the Labour party longer then Mr Blair has been alive and this is how they repay that loyalty !

Is there no boundry when it comes to shutting up dissent ?

watch the video Here

Tehran students attack UK embassy

Students in Tehran have thrown stones and petrol bombs at the British embassy in protest at international pressure over Iran's nuclear programme.

The protest - organised by the hardline Islamist Student Basij Organisation - started off peacefully. Protesters chanted slogans calling for a repeat of 1979 when revolutionary students stormed the US embassy and took hostages. Suddenly tomatoes, rocks and firecrackers were thrown at the embassy gate, followed by Molotov cocktails. Chants of "Nuclear energy is our legitimate right" turned more violent, with protestors shouting "marg bar ingelis" - "death to England." One protester whose forehead was cut by a police baton left bloody hand-prints on a brass plate on the embassy wall.

Earlier in the day UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the BBC he believed military action against Iran was inconceivable, despite US statements that every option remained open.

Read the full article Here

Woman suicide bomber strikes Iraq

At least eight people have been killed in the first attack by a female suicide bomber during Iraq's insurgency.

Witnesses and army officers said the attacker pushed her way into a crowd at an army recruitment centre in Talafar, northern Iraq. An internet message purporting to be from the Islamist group al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed a "blessed sister" mounted the attack on its behalf. The bomber blew up a device hidden beneath her Islamic dress as she stood among job applicants, reports said. Up to 30 people were injured. One of those, Jumaa Mohammed, said from his hospital bed: "It was a young woman. She pushed her way through the crowd and then there was an explosion." A statement apparently from al-Qaeda in Iraq said: "A blessed sister... carried out a heroic attack defending her faith... May God accept our sister among the martyrs." It did not identify the bomber. The last time women are known to have been used as suicide bombers in Iraq was during the war, in April 2003, when two women, one of them pregnant, blew up their car at a coalition checkpoint, killing three soldiers.

Source : BBC

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How US fuelled myth of Zarqawi the mastermind

This is a old article that seems just as accurate today from the daily Telegraph (UK)

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist leader believed to be responsible for the abduction of Kenneth Bigley, is 'more myth than man', according to American military intelligence agents in Iraq.

Several sources said the importance of Zarqawi, blamed for many of the most spectacular acts of violence in Iraq, has been exaggerated by flawed intelligence and the Bush administration's desire to find "a villain" for the post-invasion mayhem.

US military intelligence agents in Iraq have revealed a series of botched and often tawdry dealings with unreliable sources who, in the words of one source, "told us what we wanted to hear".

"We were basically paying up to $10,000 a time to opportunists, criminals and chancers who passed off fiction and supposition about Zarqawi as cast-iron fact, making him out as the linchpin of just about every attack in Iraq," the agent said

"Back home this stuff was gratefully received and formed the basis of policy decisions. We needed a villain, someone identifiable for the public to latch on to, and we got one."

The sprawling US intelligence community is in a state of open political warfare amid conflicting pressures from election-year politics, military combat and intelligence analysis. The Bush administration has seized on Zarqawi as the principal leader of the insurgency, mastermind of the country's worst suicide bombings and the man behind the abduction of foreign hostages. He is held up as the most tangible link to Osama bin Laden and proof of the claim that the former Iraqi regime had links to al-Qa'eda.

However, fresh intelligence emerging from around Fallujah, the rebel-held city that is at the heart of the insurgency, suggests that, despite a high degree of fragmentation, the insurgency is led and dominated not by Arab foreigners but by members of Iraq's Sunni minority.

Pentagon estimates have put the number of foreign fighters in the region of 5,000. However, one agent said: "The overwhelming sense from the information we are now getting is that the number of foreign fighters does not exceed several hundred and is perhaps as low as 200. From the information we have gathered we have to conclude that Zarqawi is more myth than man. He isn't in the calibre of what many politicians want to believe he is.

"At some stage, and perhaps even now, he was almost certainly behind some of the kidnappings. But if there is a main leader of the insurgency he would be an Iraqi. The insurgency, though, is not nearly so centralised to talk of a structured leadership."

Military intelligence officials complain that their reports to Washington, are largely being ignored. They accuse the Pentagon of over-reliance on electronic surveillance and aerial and satellite reconnaissance carried out for the CIA.

Read the full article Here

Todays last throws in Iraq : September 28th

Sept 28 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Wednesday, Sept. 28, as of 1130 GMT.

TAL AFAR - At least seven people were killed and 37 wounded when a female suicide bomber attacked a large crowd of people outside an army recruiting centre in the town of Tal Afar west of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

TAJI - Seven bodies of people who had been shot dead were found in Taji, 20 km north of Baghdad. Police said they were bound and blindfolded.

BAGHDAD - Gunmen attacked two vehicles belonging to the Jordanian embassy on the Abu Ghraib highway, west of Baghdad, as they headed to the Jordanian hospital in Falluja. There were no casualties reported, police said.

BAGHDAD - One policeman was killed by gunmen in northeastern Baghdad while heading to work, police said.

- Men wearing commando uniforms detained six people on Tuesday in the northwestern Huriya district of the capital. They were found shot dead in Baghdad's morgue, police said.

BAGHDAD - Two policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol on the Doura highway in southern Baghdad, police said.

Cartoon of the week

This is great stuff

Click the link , then follow the instructions


The unravelling of India's Persian puzzle

Interesting read from the Indian national press


By voting against Iran in the IAEA, India has put its alliance with the United States above any concern of national interest, energy security or international law.

FOR ALL its pretensions to a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, India on Saturday flunked its first real test as a rising world power. Where no less than 11 countries smaller and less powerful than us — Venezuela, Algeria, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Vietnam, and Yemen — had the courage and good sense to join Russia and China in refusing to endorse the U.S.-backed agenda of confrontation with Iran, India threw in its lot with Washington and the European troika.

Read more Here

US soldiers allegedly trading pictures of dead Iraqis & Afghanis for porn

America blog has looked into the claims of US soldiers trading pictures of dead Iraqis on the internet

Warning the images are very Graphic .....

To see their research click Here

Al-Qaida denies aide to Zarqawi killed in Iraq

DUBAI, Sept. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- An internet statement denied on Tuesday reports that the right-hand man of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted militant in Iraq, has been killed by US forces.

the US military said Tuesday that Azzam, a financier and religious aide to Zarqawi, was killed in a joint US-Iraqi raid on his hideout in an apartment building on Monday, .

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

Al-Qaida in Iraq, which is linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network, is one of the most feared militant groups in the country and claims responsibility for many of the deadliest attacks in Iraq.

Well it was quicker then expected but no suprise that his name has been added to the living dead ,

See why this was not a suprise in the related post Here

Iraq : Last throws for 27th september

Sept 27 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Tuesday, Sept. 27, as of 1200 GMT.

U.S. and Iraqi forces are battling a Sunni Arab insurgency against the Shi'ite and Kurdish-led government in Baghdad.

BAGHDAD - The second-in-command of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Azzam, was shot and killed by U.S.-led forces in Baghdad on Sunday, the U.S. military said on Tuesday. Abu Azzam, a financier and religious aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed while hiding out in a high-rise apartment building in the capital, the military said.
BAQUBA - At least 10 Iraqis were killed and 28 injured when a suicide bomber attacked a large crowd of people outside a police recruiting centre in the town of Baquba 65km (40 miles) north-east of Baghdad, police said.
LATIFIYA - Iraqi police found the bodies of three Iraqis, bound and blindfolded, with gunshot wounds near the volatile town of Latifiya, just south of Baghdad, police said. The identity of the victims was not immediately clear.
KIRKUK - A roadside bomb on a police patrol killed an Iraqi civilian and injured two policemen in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, police Captain Salam Zengena said.
KIRKUK - Insurgents assassinated police Major Fakhir Jalal Amin in central Kirkuk. Amin worked for the city's counter- insurgency centre, police Colonel Sarhat Qadir said.
BAGHDAD - A car bomb wounded five civilians near a restaurant in central Baghdad's Nidhal street as a convoy of foreign security contractors passed, police said

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Return of the living dead ?

Al-Qaeda's second-in-command in Iraq has been shot dead, officials say.

Abu Azzam - described as an aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - was killed in a joint operation in the capital Baghdad, Iraqi and US officials said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari called the killing very important, and said those who informed on insurgents were helping to save hundreds of lives.

Of course this is good news , as long as he remains dead , alas these people have a habit of coming back from the dead at the most convenient of times.

Take Al-Qaeda's number one in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi , now he declared war on the Shi'ite on the 14th of September 2005 Reuters which is an amazing achievement as he was killed on the 6th of july 2005 Aljazeera , maybe he forgot and popped back to finish a few things. Number one on his zombie list seems to be the plan to move to the horn of Africa to carry on the fight after Iraq BBC .Which will be an astonishing trip , considering that he has expired What really happened

It used to be a real life stopper being dead , but these days you can carry on and further your career and terrorist goals without a care , even today it seems our dear Zarqawi has taken over five (yes five) towns in iraq SF Chronicle .Now how on earth has he managed that , what with being deceased. MSNBC/AP

Does anybody else feel that something does not smell right ?

Next thing they will be telling us that the Shi'ite led Iran is supporting the Sunni led insurgancy to help them kill their own Shi'ite brothers in the south.

Oh , sorry , they do say that !


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Todays last throws in Iraq

Sept 25 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Saturday, Sept. 25, as of 0815 GMT.

U.S. and Iraqi forces are battling a Sunni Arab insurgency against the Shi'ite and Kurdish-led government in Baghdad.

BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomber killed 13 Iraqi police commandos and wounded 10 when he detonated his vehicle near a convoy of police special forces in eastern Baghdad, police said.

HILLA - A suicide bomber on a bicycle killed four civilians, including a woman and a child, and injured 35 when he blew himself up in a crowded market in the southern Shi'ite city of Hilla, police said.

BAGHDAD - U.S. troops clashed with militia fighters loyal to rebel Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in eastern Baghdad on Sunday, killing eight militiamen and wounding five, Iraqi police said.

BAGHDAD - The bodies of four Iraqis were found blindfolded and bound in the impoverished Baghdad district of Shula. Police said the victims were each shot with one bullet to the head.

THULUIYA - The U.S military said one of the militants it killed in the town of Thuluiya on Friday was Jabbar Ateyia, a member of the city council.

BAGHDAD - A dairy shop owner was killed by gunmen on his way to a mosque in western Baghdad, police said. It was not clear why the man had been targeted

Britain to pull troops from Iraq

British troops will start a major withdrawal from Iraq next May under detailed plans on military disengagement to be published next month, The Observer can reveal.
The document being drawn up by the British government and the US will be presented to the Iraqi parliament in October and will spark fresh controversy over how long British troops will stay in the country. Tony Blair hopes that, despite continuing and widespread violence in Iraq, the move will show that there is progress following the conflict of 2003.
Britain has already privately informed Japan - which also has troops in Iraq - of its plans to begin withdrawing from southern Iraq in May, a move that officials in Tokyo say would make it impossible for their own 550 soldiers to remain. Article here

India claims 'no Iran vote pressure'

India denies coming under US pressure to back a resolution paving the way for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council over its nuclear plans.
An Indian foreign ministry statement said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution was consistent with Delhi's stated position on Iran.
The statement said India's vote was in no way linked to a recent landmark India-US nuclear accord.
Officials hoped a $7bn gas pipeline deal with Iran would be unaffected.

Gaza 'what cease fire ?'

Friday: Israeli troops shoot dead three Islamic Jihad militants in Tulkarm, West Bank, in raids on those suspected of involvement in suicide attacks earlier this year
Friday: Islamic Jihad responds with a rocket attack on Israel from Gaza
Friday: An explosion at a Hamas rally in Gaza kills 15 people. Hamas blames Israel. Israel denies any involvement. The Palestinian Authority accuses Hamas of mishandling weapons at the rally
Friday/ Saturday: militants fire up to 40 rockets from Gaza at the Israeli town of Sderot, injuring at least five people. Hamas calls them revenge for the rally blast
Saturday: Israel launches a series of air raids in response, including one that kills two Hamas militants in a car in Gaza
Saturday: Israeli troops and artillery gather on the border with northern Gaza. The borders with Gaza and the West Bank are sealed
Saturday/ Sunday: Israel launches more overnight air strikes and arrests more than 200 Palestinians in West Bank

Quote from Palastinian press

"What the Israeli authorities have been carrying out, and the raids they have been launching since the day before yesterday, can only be described heinous attacks... After announcing the period of calm on 9 February, the Israeli Government has proved that it is far from committed to this calm. "

Quote from Israeli press

"Now that the withdrawal is complete and the border crossings have become de facto international ones, Israel must treat attacks launched from the PA like attacks from any other country - which becomes an enemy state the moment such an action happens. Assertive security dialogue with the PA is the main weapon Israel should use, without compromise or concessions. "

US / Shia clash erupts in Baghdad

Four militiamen loyal to Iraq's radical Shia cleric, Moqtada Sadr, have been killed in clashes with US forces in Baghdad overnight, Iraqi officials say. It is the first such fighting since a rebellion by supporters of the cleric ended more than a year ago. The US military confirmed it had fought "anti-Iraqi forces" in eastern Baghdad. Meanwhile, at least nine people have been killed in a bomb attack on police in Baghdad, while two died in a market bomb in Hilla, officials said.
In another attack, at least six people were killed by a bomb at a Shia mosque in Musayyib, some 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, on Sunday.

Watchdog agrees Iran resolution

VIENNA, Austria (Reuters) -- The U.N. nuclear watchdog has passed a resolution requiring Iran to be reported to the Security Council over a failure to convince the agency its nuclear program was entirely peaceful.The EU resolution requires Tehran to be reported to the Security Council, but at an unspecified date -- watering down an earlier demand from the Europeans for an immediate referral.The resolution, which diplomats said was prepared in close consultation with Washington, says there was an "absence of confidence" that Iran's atomic program was exclusively peaceful

Huge rally against Iraq war

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Crowds opposed to the war in Iraq surged past the White House on Saturday, shouting "Peace now" in the largest anti-war protest in the nation's capital since the U.S. invasion.The rally stretched through the day and into the night, a marathon of music, speechmaking and dissent on the National Mall.Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, noting that organizers had hoped to draw 100,000 people, said, "I think they probably hit that."

But of course i should be fair and say ...

A much smaller demonstration Saturday by military families supported administration policy in Iraq. About 150 to 200 demonstrators gathered on a corner of Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and the White House.

Gaza rally blast kills 15 Palestinians

JEBALIYA, Gaza Strip -- A truck filled with masked militants and homemade weapons exploded at a Hamas rally yesterday, killing at least 15 Palestinians and wounding 80 -- including children -- bringing a grisly and terrifying end to one of the last gatherings by armed groups celebrating Israel's Gaza pullout.Witnesses said many children were among the casualties.Hamas said six militants were killed, including Jihad Shaleal, head of the group's military wing in Jebaliya. Hamas blamed Israel, but the Israeli military denied any connection. Palestinian security officials said the blast was an accident.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Basra warrant issued for two UK soldiers

Basra judge has issued an arrest warrant for two British soldiers after an Iraqi civilian was reportedly killed and a police officer injured. The two servicemen - believed to be undercover SAS officers - were detained after a confrontation on Monday. UK troops later freed the soldiers from Iraqi custody after storming a police station in the southern Iraqi city.
A UK forces spokesman said the warrant had no legal basis but that they would co-operate with the Iraqi inquiry. The MoD said it was aware of reports about the arrest warrant for the soldiers but that British authorities had not received any such warrant.
British forces spokesman Major Steve Melbourne said the two men had immunity from prosecution under an arrangement between the Iraqi government and coalition forces.
"They have no legal basis for the issue of these warrants," he told BBC News

Top Democrats won't attend anti-war rally in Washington

WASHINGTON - (KRT) As the anti-war movement arrives in Washington this weekend, many top Democrats are leaving.

Nationally known Democratic war critics, including Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Russell Feingold of Wisconsin and John Kerry of Massachusetts, won't attend what sponsors say will be a big anti-war rally Saturday in Washington.

The only Democratic officeholders who plan to address the rally are Reps. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and John Conyers of Michigan.

Today's leading Democrats head a party divided over the war, and many leaders are wary of standing with anti-war activists, who represent much of the party's base. The divide between anti-war activists and Democratic leaders underscores a challenge the party faces in the 2006 congressional elections and beyond. Some activists say that Democrats such as Clinton and Kerry who criticize the war but refuse to demand a timetable for withdrawal are effectively supporting the status quo - and may not merit future support.

Spokesmen for the Democrats who are skipping the anti-war event all said they had schedule conflicts. But some leading anti-war activists aren't buying it.

"There are a lot of people here who are wondering, where are the Democrats?" said Tom Andrews, a former Democratic House member from Maine who's now the national director of Win Without War, one of several groups that are organizing three days of protests against the war in Washington starting Saturday.

"The Democratic Party has an identity crisis on this issue. We need voices. We need leadership," Andrews said. "But fear is driving them."

Can You Marginalize a Majority?

In a move to preempt the antiwar protesters converging on Washington this weekend, President Bush yesterday put forth the following equation: Withdrawing from Iraq equals letting the terrorists win equals more 9/11s.

The White House's goal is to cast anybody who supports a pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq as sadly delusional, reckless and not to be taken seriously

But Bush may be in trouble here, because he's trying to marginalize a majority.

A recent Gallup Poll , for instance, found that 63 percent of Americans -- almost two out of three -- support the immediate partial or complete withdrawal of U.S. troops. Fewer than one in three Americans support Bush's handling of the war.

Full text of the Presidents remarks can be found Here

Iran says sanctions could push oil to 100 usd/barrel

TEHRAN (AFX) - The head of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards warned that the imposition of sanctions on the Islamic republic over its nuclear programme could push the price of oil to 100 usd a barrel.

'Any sanction against Iran can make the oil price reach 100 dollars a barrel,' General Yahya Rahim Safavi said in a speech to worshippers attending Friday prayers in Tehran.

Iran is OPEC's second producer.

'Any economic and political pressure on Iran from any power ... will result in a harsh reaction from Iran,' he added.

The Islamic republic 'has a solid and unbeatable defence potential (and) can retaliate and attack the interests of the enemies in remote places,' the general asserted.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.

Report attacks 'myth' of foreign fighters

The US and the Iraqi government have overstated the number of foreign fighters in Iraq, "feeding the myth" that they are the backbone of the insurgency, an American thinktank says in a new report.

Foreign militants - mainly from Algeria, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia - account for less than 10% of the estimated 30,000 insurgents, according to the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

The CSIS disputes reports that Saudis account for most of the foreign insurgents and says best estimates suggest Algerians are the largest group (20%), followed by Syrians (18%), Yemenis (17%), Sudanese (15%), Egyptians (13%), Saudis (12%) and those from other states (5%). British intelligence estimate the number of British jihadists at about 100.

The CSIS report says: "The vast majority of Saudi militants who have entered Iraq were not terrorist sympathisers before the war; and were radicalised almost exclusively by the coalition invasion."

. "Most of the Saudi militants were motivated by revulsion at the idea of an Arab land being occupied by a non-Arab country. These feelings are intensified by the images of the occupation they see on television and the internet ... the catalyst most often cited [in interrogations] is Abu Ghraib, though images from Guantánamo bay also feed into the pathology."


UK : This is an act of censorship worthy of Joseph Goebbels

At last history hits pay dirt. For years it was pap for television. The nation's rulers needed scientists for guns, linguists for trade and economists for mistakes. History was for nuts and numismatists. Now up pops Charles Clarke jingling bags of gold. The home secretary has promised the prime minister that he will lock away for five years anyone who "glorifies, exalts or celebrates" a terrorist act committed in the past 20 years. He does not care if glorification was not meant. If someone, somewhere takes anything that I say or write as encouraging to terror, even if they do not act on it, I have committed a criminal act.

Read the full article Here

Another day of "last throws" in Iraq

Sept 23 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Friday, Sept. 23, as of 1200 GMT.
U.S. and Iraqi forces are battling a Sunni Arab insurgency against the Shi'ite and Kurdish-led government in Baghdad.
Asterisk denotes new or updated item.
BAGHDAD - Five people were killed and eight wounded when a suicide bomber in a vehicle blew himself up at a bus station in central Baghdad, police said.
*BAGHDAD - An official in the Ministry of Interior was killed along with his brother by gunmen in the western Doura district of the capital and a third brother was wounded, police said.
*BAGHDAD - Gunmen killed an official in Ministry of Interior in the capital's Mansur district.
*LATIFIYA - One official in the railway directorate was killed and six were wounded by a bomb planted beside the railway in the town of Latifiya, 40 km (25 miles) southwest of Baghdad, police said.
RAMADI - One U.S soldier was killed by small arms fire on Thursday in Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.
KHALIS -Iraqi security forces conducted a raid and arrested 10 people in Khalis, 15 km north of Baquba.
MOSUL - Three officials in the Turkmen Front were killed and one wounded on Thursday by gunmen in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad. An official in the group said they were attacked while leaving their office.
MOSUL - One policeman was killed on Thursday by gunmen in Mosul, a police source said.
MOSUL - Six bodies of people who were shot dead were found on Thursday and Friday in different areas of Mosul, a medical source said.
BALAD - One U.S soldier was killed and another wounded on Thursday when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol near Balad, 110 km (70 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Neocon Quiz

Spotted this one on the site of "Oroboros" who posted here yesterday

As He/She says "very interesting (if not very scientific)"

Do we have any hidden Neocons in the camp ?

Check it out Here

Hugo Chávez Speaks

In his first interview in the United States, the Venezuelan president talks about President Bush, Pat Robertson and giving cheap oil to America's poor

Scores of world leaders have come to the United States for the United Nations summit. Among them, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. In a speech before the world body, Chávez accused the U.S. of trying to hijack the U.N. Summit, and described the United States as a terrorist nation because it's harboring televangelist Pat Robertson who recently called for Chávez's assassination.
President Chávez also accused the United States of being behind the reported coup against him in 2002. Chávez condemned the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and threatened to cut off oil sales to the United States.

Read the interview Here

See the last week from the view of the Middle East

An interesting quicktime video of the most recent events in the middle east , picking the more interesting views from many different countries


You may need to register to view the video

This attack on free speech will fuel Muslim hostility

If Britain's proposed laws on inciting terrorism were applied fairly, those who incite wars of aggression would also be in the dock


In any event, the world has not yet agreed what constitutes "terrorism". the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, tried to simplify matters by asserting that the killing of civilians was a terrorist act, but that was rightly rejected by the general assembly. The word "innocent", contained in the original draft, was left out. What about the US security firm Blackwater's security guards? What about armed Israeli civilians who create settlements on occupied Palestinian land? The kind of language proposed in the British legislation could easily characterise a call to resist allied occupation soldiers in Iraq as incitement. Is force now to be the preserve of the powerful?

Read the full article Here

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Pentagon blocking September 11 inquiry: senator

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican chairman of the Senate judiciary committee accused the Pentagon on Wednesday of stonewalling an inquiry into claims that the U.S. military identified four September 11 hijackers more than a year before the 2001 attacks.
The Defense Department barred several witnesses from testifying at a judiciary committee hearing and instead sent a top-level official who could provide little information on al Qaeda-related intelligence uncovered by a secret military team code-named Able Danger.

"That looks to me like it may be obstruction of the committee's activities, something we will have to determine," said the panel's chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
Specter also complained that the Pentagon delivered hundreds of pages of documents related to Able Danger late on the eve of the hearing, giving his committee staff no time to review the material.
"The American people are entitled to some answers," Specter said. "It is not a matter of attaching blame. It is a matter of correcting errors so that we don't have a repetition of 9/11."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the Pentagon considered Able Danger to be a classified matter and declined to participate when the judiciary committee chose to hold an open hearing.
"We have to obey the laws with respect to security classifications," Rumsfeld told reporters.

Witnesses barred from testifying included military intelligence officers and analysts involved in Able Danger, a now defunct operation that used powerful computers to sift through public data in search of intelligence clues.

People involved with the operation have said that Able Danger identified September 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and three other hijackers as being members of an al Qaeda cell in the early months of 2000.

Interview with the British soldiers who escaped burning tanks

Interesting interview from the BBC


U.S. policy in Iraq is effectively handing the country to Iran

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- U.S. policy in Iraq is widening sectarian divisions to the point of effectively handing the country to Iran, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said on Tuesday.
"(Iraq's) people have been separated from each other," Faisal told the Council of Foreign Relations in New York.
"You talk now about Sunnis as if they were separate entity from the Shiite."
He urged the United States, which is battling a Sunni Arab insurgency against occupying U.S. forces and backs the Kurdish- and Shiite-led Iraqi government, to work "to bring these people together."
Saudi Arabia has voiced fears that an Iraqi constitution, due to be put to a referendum in four weeks, could split the country apart and disenfranchise a Sunni minority that lost power when a U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003.
"If you allow civil war, Iraq is finished forever," Faisal said.

Read the rest Here

Iran gains reprieve in nuclear standoff

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Iran gained a reprieve in the standoff over its nuclear program Wednesday, with diplomats saying the European Union had decided to postpone its push to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council.
The decision to delay a vote until a later board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency instead of demanding one this week appeared driven by concerns about strong opposition.
More than a dozen of the 35 IAEA board member nations meeting in Vienna -- including Security Council members Russia and China -- are against the idea.
Although a new EU draft motion does not mention Security Council sanctions, it still calls for reporting Iran to the council if it continues defying board demands that include freezing activities related to uranium enrichment, said senior diplomats accredited to the IAEA

Read the rest of the article Here

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

How many bullets does it take to defeat an insurgency

The "cakewalk war" is now two and one-half years old. US casualties (dead and wounded) number 20,000. As 20,000 is the number of Iraqi insurgents according to US military commanders, each insurgent is responsible for one US casualty.

US troops in Iraq number about 150,000. Obviously, US troops have not inflicted 150,000 casualties on the Iraqi insurgents. US troops have perhaps inflicted 150,000 casualties on the Iraqi civilian population, primarily women and children who are the "collateral damage" of the "righteous" and "virtuous" US invasion that is spreading civilian deaths all over Mesopotamia in the name of democracy.What could the US have possibly done to give America a worse name than to invade Iraq and murder its citizens .

According to the September 1 Manufacturing & Technology News, the Government Accounting Office has reported that over the course of the cakewalk war, the US military’s use of small caliber ammunition has risen to 1.8 billion rounds. Think about that number. If there are 20,000 insurgents, it means US troops have fired 90,000 rounds at each insurgent.

Very few have been hit. We don’t know how many. To avoid the analogy with Vietnam, until last week the US military studiously avoided body counts. If 2,000 insurgents have been killed, each death required 900,000 rounds of ammunition.The combination of US government owned ammo plants and those of US commercial producers together cannot make bullets as fast as US troops are firing them.

The Bush administration has had to turn to foreign producers such as Israel Military Industries. Think about that. Hollowed out US industry cannot produce enough ammunition to defeat a 20,000 man insurgency.

Al Qaeda "content to take credit for any terrorist attack"

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. counterterrorism official says the newly released tape of Osama bin Laden's chief deputy does not in itself demonstrate that al Qaeda planned or directed the terrorist attacks in London last July.
In the tape broadcast Monday on Al-Jazeera, Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed responsibility for the July bombings on mass transit in downtown London. The first attack on July 7 killed 56 people, including the four bombers. Two weeks later, four bombs failed to detonate.
The U.S. official said this is not the first time al Qaeda has hinted at responsibility for the attacks. Al-Zawahiri appeared on a previous tape in which he blamed the policies of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush for the bombings.
But the counterterrorism official said al Qaeda seemed "content to take credit for any terrorist attacks."

This is a view that i am in tune with , it seems every single time there is a terrorist attack somewhere , two months later (if nobody else claims it) some Al-qaeda spokesman will claim credit .

It is becoming almost a running joke to me , It is obvious to all concerned that "Al Qaeda" had nothing at all to do with the London bomings , but it suits the US and the "terrorists" just fine if they jump in and take the credit

Russia & China will block any efforts to take Iran to the UN security council

Russia and China have openly opposed Western efforts to take Iran to the UN Security Council over Tehran's controversial nuclear activities.
The US and EU have been pressing for Iran to be referred to the Security Council, which can impose sanctions.
But Moscow and Beijing may block the plan, with Russia saying the current situation was "not irreversible".
Iran has threatened to bar snap inspections of its nuclear sites if it is referred to the Security Council.
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani also said Tehran would also consider pulling out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and resume uranium enrichment if the "language of force" continues.

Iraqi Police 'have been recruiting insurgents'

Iraq's National Security Adviser Muwafaq al-Rubaie has admitted the country's security forces have been infiltrated by insurgents.
Speaking on the BBC's Newsnight programme, he said he had no idea how far they have already been undermined.
It comes after the British Army said it was forced to take action to free two UK soldiers after learning Iraqi police had handed them to a militia group.
The Pentagon warned in July that Iraq's police force was recruiting insurgents.
He admitted he did not know to what extent the security forces were already infiltrated by insurgents.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

British SAS rescued from Shia militia

Following the confusing events in Basra yesterday the BBC has managed to put some of the pieces together ....

Both men were members of the SAS elite special forces, sources told the BBC's Richard Galpin in Baghdad.

The soldiers were arrested by police and then handed over to a militia group, the British Army says.

Iraq's interior ministry ordered the police force in Basra to release the soldiers but that order was ignored.

Instead they ended up in the hands of Shia militia, prompting the flattening of a wall at the police station and the later dramatic rescue, the Ministry of Defence said.

Basra governor Mohammed al-Waili said the men - possibly working undercover - were arrested for allegedly shooting dead a policeman and wounding another.

Update: the Two SAS men have now been confirmed as being rescued from a nearby Militia house and not the Police station ,

A timeline of events can be read Here

Bulgaria Begins Iraq Withdrawal Mid October

Bulgaria's troops will begin their withdrawal from Iraq in the middle of October, the Chief of General Staff of the Bulgarian Army General Nikola Kolev announced.

Kolev also said that the withdrawal operation should be completed by December 31. Still, he underlined that Bulgaria's political leaders are still mulling the form of the country's future participation in the Coalition.

General Kolev explained that the plan for the withdrawal is ready and is now being coordinated with the Coalition partners and the US central commandment.

Bulgaria's parliament, which has the final say over Bulgarian troop deployments, approved in May a government plan to withdraw the country's 450 troops in Iraq by the end of the year. It was also decided that the troops in Iraq are reduced to 370.

Bulgaria's new Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev has said the country will withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of the year, stepping back from the socialists' vow to pull out the soldiers sooner.

Saudi intelligence: 'Iraq invasion radicalized Saudi fighters'

RIYADH (Reuters) - Hundreds of Saudi fighters who joined the insurgency in Iraq showed few signs of militancy before the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein, according to a detailed study based on Saudi intelligence reports.
The study by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), obtained by Reuters on Sunday, also said Saudis made up just 350 of the 3,000-strong foreign insurgents in Iraq — fewer than many officials have assumed.
"Analysts and government officials in the U.S. and Iraq have overstated the size of the foreign element in the Iraqi insurgency, especially that of the Saudi contingent," it said.
Non-Iraqi militants made up less than 10 percent of the insurgents' ranks — perhaps even half that — the study said.
Most were motivated by "revulsion at the idea of an Arab land being occupied by a non-Arab country."
The study by Middle East analyst Anthony Cordesman and Saudi security adviser Nawaf Obaid may offer further fuel to critics who say that instead of weakening al Qaeda, the 2003 invasion of Iraq brought fresh recruits to Osama bin Laden's network.
It said Saudi Arabia had interrogated dozens of Saudi militants who either returned from Iraq or were caught at the border. "One important point was the number who insisted that they were not militants before the Iraq war," it said.
"The vast majority of Saudi militants who entered Iraq were not terrorist sympathizers before the war, and were radicalized almost exclusively by the coalition invasion," the study said.
Backing up their claim, 85 percent of those interrogated were not on any watch list of known militants, the study said. Most came from the west, south or center of Saudi Arabia, often from middle class families of prominent conservative tribes.
Many were well-educated and had jobs and all of them were Sunni Muslims, the study said. Majority Sunnis in Saudi Arabia are troubled by the emergency of Iraq's Shi'ite majority.

Source Here

Did UK soldiers 'storm' Basra prison

British forces have rescued two UK servicemen who were arrested by Iraqi police in the southern city of Basra. Official Iraqi sources say British tanks stormed the city's jail, but the Ministry of Defence says the men's release was negotiated. Basra governor Mohammed al-Waili said it was a "barbaric act of aggression". The arrests sparked clashes in which UK tanks came under attack. Two civilians were reportedly killed and three UK soldiers were injured.
MoD officials insist they have been talking to the Iraqi authorities to secure the release of the men - who were reported to be working undercover.

Full story Here

Sunday, September 18, 2005

At least 250 dead from surge in violence in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Four days after al-Qaida in Iraq declared all-out war on the country’s Shiite majority, more than 250 people have been killed, 30 of them yesterday in a massive car bombing outside a produce market in a poor Shiite suburb east of Baghdad.
In all, at least 52 people were killed or found dead yesterday throughout the country, victims of mounting sectarian killings promised by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of the terrorist organization and a moving force behind the Sunni-dominated insurgency.
After a suicide car bomber exploded his vehicle Wednesday in the midst of assembled day laborers in a largely Shiite neighborhood in north Baghdad, an audio tape posted on the Internet and claiming to be from al-Zarqawi announced an "all-out war against Shiites everywhere. Beware, there will be no mercy."
The death toll from at least 14 bombings Wednesday was 167, marking the worst day of violence in the capital since U.S. troops invaded and overthrew Saddam Hussein 2½ years ago

Watch the Iranian president's UN speech

Watch the Iranian presidents speech Here from the BBC

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Has gone and managed to get himself the flu .

so this site will not be updating for at least 24 hours

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sharon calls for compromise with Palestinians

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has called for reconciliation and compromise with Palestinians to "end the bloody conflict".
In a speech at the UN in New York, Mr Sharon said the two sides must "embark on the path which leads to peace".
He said Israel proved its readiness for "painful concessions" by pulling its army out of the Gaza Strip on Monday.
A Palestinian official responded that the only solution was Israel's complete pullout from the occupied territories.
"The way to peace and stability is through an end to occupation," Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat was quoted as saying in Gaza by Reuters news agency

Another day of bombs for Baghdad

Iraq's capital Baghdad has been hit by a series of blasts for a second day running, killing at least 29 people.
In the first attack, at least 16 police commandos were killed when their patrol was struck in southern Doura district.
Hours later, 10 more policemen died in the same area following two more bomb attacks and ensuing gun battles between police and insurgents.

In other incidents:
The bodies of at least six men shot dead are found by police in various parts of Baghdad
A Shia cleric is killed and three other people are wounded in a bomb attack near a mosque in the northern city of Mosul
A policeman is killed in an attack by unidentified gunmen in the town of Baquba, north of Baghdad
Three Shia pilgrims are killed in a drive-by shooting on their way to the holy city of Karbala
Two police officers are killed and two wounded in the northern city of Kirkuk
Three civilians are killed in an attack on a ministry of industry bus in east Baghdad

Abu Ghraib : The Man Beneath The Hood Speaks Out

09/14/05 "ICH" -- -- “They tortured me, they humiliated me, they have destroyed me inside. I want that what has happened to me never happens again, that everyone knows what those months in Abu Ghraib were like. This is my new life: to denounce that which is happening in the Iraqi prisons, to defend the rights of those who are inside of them”. Former prisoner number 151716 of the prison of shame speaks. The man who has been recognised in one of the photo-symbols of the violence of Abu Ghraib: the hooded prisoner, standing balanced on a cardboard box, his shoulders to the wall, with his arms opened and the fingers of his hands connected to electrical wires.

Ali Shalal el Kaissi, 42 years old, was arrested in October of 2003 in a car park near the mosque of El Amariyah and was imprisoned with the accusation of being part of the guerrilla movement. In the disgusting jargon of his torturers, he was “Clawman”, due to a noticeable burn mark on his hand.He was released January of 2004 and, several months later, founded together with another 12 persons, “The association of the victims of American occupation prisons".Invited to speak at the Conference on Iraq organised by the Anti-Imperialist Camp this October, Hajj Ali (“Hajj is a title that is given to those who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca) knows of the American pressures on the visas which have been denied to the other Iraqis.

He is still awaiting a response: “I don’t know if I will be allowed to attend,” he says. In these days he is in Amman, in Jordan, where he has frequented a formation course for humanitarian operators.

When did you see the photo of the hooded man for the first time and did you recognise yourself?

“The volunteers of an Iraqi association that deals with human rights showed me the photos taken at Abu Ghraib. It was a shock, a personal destruction. I suffered that which you see in the images: they covered my head, tortured me and made me undergo such strong pressure. They photographed me many times. But others established that that prisoner was me: human rights organisations and even journalistic investigations, one from the American broadcaster PBS, and another from a magazine, “Vanity Fair”.

When were those pictures taken?

”As soon as I arrived at Abu Ghraib, they took me to the building where the cells were. The second month of imprisonment was when the torturing began and in the same period they also started to take pictures. I wouldn’t know how to say with precision the day because I had lost all cognition of time”.

What was the hardest moment during your months of imprisonment?

“When they put me on a cardboard box, with electrical wires attached to my hands. And when they left me naked for fifteen days. And, in the background on a loudspeaker they made me hear a song in continuation, By the Rivers of Babylon (by Bony M. ed note). I thought I was losing my mind.”

What did they ask you during the interrogations?

“They wanted to know if I was fighting against the occupation. But also if I knew people in the area in which I lived: I had the impression that they were searching for someone who would become a collaborator, they wanted information. They wanted me to become “their eyes” in the region. But I didn’t know anything, and I did not respond to the questions. In that way, they began the torture. They always asked me the same things, they repeated them dozens of times, I think it was a strategy to make me talk. The interrogations were conducted by persons who said to have worked in Gaza and in the West Bank.”

After your release did you denounce that which had happened to you?

“They released me prior to the scandal of the photos, telling me that my arrest was a mistake. I denounced that which they did to me to the Iraqi authorities, but they sent me away accusing me of having invented it all.”

What effect does it have on you to be a symbol of the torture of Abu Ghraib?

“That photo itself for me is a torture, and I would prefer to be remembered for other things. But, I want that which has happened to me to never happen to anyone else. That is why I founded an association, that has nothing to do with political parties. I work to defend the rights of those in prison, to give former prisoners material and psychological help, to be a witness to that which is happening in Iraq.”

Do you believe that in the last year, after the violence of Abu Ghraib was exposed, the conditions of the prisoners has improved?

“No. I believe that when the telecameras enter into the prisons the situation seems better, but I am always receiving emails from family members of prisoners who denounce abuse and violence, and not only in the prisons run by the Americans. In the zone of Al Garma there are also women and children imprisoned, fifteen in all. The worst part of all of this is that in 99% of the cases the prisoners are innocent and they are then released. But in the meantime, in prison they have lost their dignity.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Zarqawi declares war on Shi'tes in Iraq

DUBAI (Reuters) - The leader of Iraq's al Qaeda wing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on Wednesday declared a war on Shi'ite Muslims in Iraq, according to an Internet audio tape.
"Al Qaeda Organization in Iraq ... has declared war against Shi'ites in all of Iraq," said the voice which could not be immediately verified but sounded like previous recordings attributed to Zarqawi.

Chemical weapons used today by Al-Qaeda in Iraq

DUBAI (AFX) - An Al-Qaeda linked Sunni group in Iraq said it used chemical weapons to attack targets in Baghdad today, according to their statement released on an Islamist website. Jaish al-Taefa al-Mansura (Army of the Victorious Community) said its fighters fired shells filled with chemical agents at the interior ministry, foreign ministry, the 'green zone' and Baghdad's security academy. In Baghdad, the interior ministry said five rounds of mortar fire exploded, including two in the heavily fortified green zone which houses the Iraqi government as well as the US and British embassies. Two struck the heavily protected 'green zone' which is home to the government and to the US and British embassies, but it was not immediately known if there were casualties. Two hit a vacant lot near traffic department offices and one a street, causing no casualties. But the Jaish group, in the statement whose authenticity could not be confirmed, said ambulances were used to evacuate dead and wounded from the interior ministry. The same group warned Sunday that it would use chemical weapons against 'occupation' and Iraqi forces unless they halted their offensive against rebels in the northern town of Tal Afar.


Connected post Here

150 Dead in day of carnage in Iraq

More than 150 people have been killed and hundreds injured in a series of bomb attacks and shootings across Iraq.
In the worst incident, at least 114 people were killed and 160 injured when a car bomb exploded in Baghdad's mainly Shia district of Kadhimiya.
During the night, gunmen killed 17 people in the nearby town of Taji after dragging them from their homes.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed it had begun a nationwide bombing campaign to avenge a recent major offensive on rebels.
In a statement on a website, the group said it acted after US and Iraqi forces attacked insurgents in the northern town of Talafar.

More details soon ..

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Militants put price on Iraqi PM

DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iraqi militant group has offered up to $100,000 for killing the prime minister and top officials who launched an offensive on rebels in a northern town, according to an Internet statement posted on Monday.
The Islamic Army in Iraq, among several insurgent groups fighting U.S. troops and Iraqi forces, said Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari and the defense and interior ministers should die for the fighting in Tal Afar.
"The leadership of the army has issued orders to all the mujahideen to intensify their attacks... to avenge the mass extermination occuring in Tal Afar," said the statement which was not dated but bore the group's logo.
The statement could not be immediately verified. It put a $100,000 price on Jaafari, $50,000 for Interior Minister Bayan Jabor and $30,000 for Defense Minister Saadoun Dulaimi.

Bush Takes Responsibility for Blunders (erm finally)

President Bush said Tuesday that "I take responsibility" for failures in dealing with Hurricane Katrina and said the disaster raised broader questions about the government's ability to respond to natural disasters as well as terror attacks.

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush said at joint White House news conference with the president of Iraq.

"To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said.

The president was asked whether people should be worried about the government's ability to handle another terrorist attack given failures in responding to Katrina.

"Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack? That's a very important question and it's in the national interest that we find out what went on so we can better respond," Bush replied.
He said he wanted to know both what went wrong and what went right.
As for blunders in the federal response, "I'm not going to defend the process going in," Bush said. "I am going to defend the people saving lives."

About time Mr Bush.....

full article Here

Diary of a British man on hunger strike in Guantanamo

More than 200 detainees are starving themselves to protest against conditions at the camp in Cuba where they are being held without trial. Here the Independent on Sunday publishes a shocking extract from the journal of Omar Deghayes, a British resident, who has been imprisoned there since September 2002.
Read the full article Here


Wednesday 20
1.43 pm. Atabi collapsed while he was walking with guards to the shower. 4.35 pm. I tidied my blanket and realised the dirt bad state it is in. Several months, if not a year, since I had a change. No facilities to wash it. Nor the sun - after the hunger strike I started to realise how bad the water smells and tastes. I am very thirsty all the time.

Thursday 28

About 4 am I received early morning food before dawn for fast. It was very good. They changed it. It may cost the same price as before. But was cooked for humans this time. Yesterday [****] came back from meeting his attorney. He said three bombs hit London city. I am thinking who will put such bombs in London in this time!! I do not see how such bombings in London can enhance any Islamic cause. Britain is the best country in the world in treating its Muslim minorities and provides refuge to many others. I am sure the majority of British public are against any war ... Because of this I would conclude no [true] Islamic group would want to bomb London.

Monday, September 12, 2005

UN to investigate UK, and American CIA

The Guardian is reporting Here

The United Nations is investigating the CIA's use of British airports when abducting terrorism suspects and flying them to prisons around the world where they are alleged to have been tortured.

The United Nations is investigating the CIA's use of British airports when abducting terrorism suspects and flying them to prisons around the world where they are alleged to have been tortured.The inquiry, led by Martin Scheinin, a special rapporteur from the UN Commission on Human Rights, comes as an investigation by the Guardian reveals the full extent of the British logistical support. Aircraft used in the secret operations have flown into the UK at least 210 times since the September 11 terror attacks.

Foreign Office officials have denied all knowledge of the secret flights, telling MPs on the foreign affairs select committee that the ministry has "not granted any permissions for the use of UK territory or air space", and suggesting to the Guardian that it was "just a conspiracy theory".
Privately, Ministry of Defence officials admit that they are aware of the flights, and that they have decided to turn a blind eye. "It is not a matter for the MoD," said one. "The aircraft use our airfields. We don't ask any questions. They just happen to be behind the wire."

Al-Qaida 'offshoot' group will use 'chemical and unconventional weapons' in Iraq

A group claiming to be an offshoot of al-Qaida said it would retaliate against the government and security forces in the capital

"The Taifa al-Mansoura Army has decided to ... strike at strategic and other targets of importance for the occupation and the infidels in Baghdad by using chemical and unconventional weapons developed by the mujahedeen, unless the military operations in Tal Afar stop within 24 hours,"

It was not immediately possible to determine the authenticity of the statement, which was posted on a Web site known for its militant contents

I can not verify the accuracy of this claim, only that this statement has appeared on a islamic web site that has in the past been taken seriously by intelligence agencies .

Insurgents escape using Viet-Kong style tunnels

TAL AFAR, Iraq (AP) -- Fighting eased Sunday, the second day of a U.S. and Iraqi sweep through the militant stronghold of Tal Afar near the Syrian border, as insurgents melted into the countryside, many escaping through a tunnel network dug under an ancient northern city.

"The terrorists had seen it coming (and prepared) tunnel complexes to be used as escape routes," Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said in Baghdad.

Lynch said operations in Tal Afar were part of a much larger, nationwide plan to destroy insurgent and al-Qaida bases, which included ongoing operations in Mosul, Qaim and the western town of Rutba.

The 8,500-strong Iraqi-U.S. force continued house-to-house searches, and military leaders said the assault would push all along the Syrian frontier and in the Euphrates River valley.
Cities and towns along the fabled river are bastions of the insurgency, a collection of foreign fighters and disaffected Sunni Muslims, many of them Saddam Hussein loyalists

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Iran warns World over possible UN sanctions

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran warned Sunday there will be "certain consequences" if it is referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions over its nuclear activities.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also said at a news conference that Iran plans to seek bids for building two more nuclear power plants in the Islamic republic. Russia now is finishing a plant in Bushehr that Iran expects to begin producing electricity early next year.
Mottaki reiterated Iran's position that it will not stop uranium reprocessing, rejecting a U.S.-backed European threat that Tehran has about a week to freeze the activities or face referral to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

"There is no legal or legitimate reason, given Iran's transparent activities and its open cooperation with the IAEA ... that Iran be referred to the U.N. Security Council," Mottaki told reporters.

"If a political decision is made to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, it will be entering a lose-lose game. It will have its own certain consequences and will affect Iran's decisions. We prefer that such a game is not played."

He did not specify what those consequences would be, but Iran is a major oil exporter.

US 'approved' oil smuggling

The largest oil consignment smuggled out of Iraq took place with US approval just weeks before the April 2003 invasion, according to a United Nations report.

The Independent Inquiry Committee has spent the past year examining the now defunct UN oil-for-food program. The report blamed UN officials and the Security Council but it also faulted the United States and other Security Council members for ignoring violations of UN sanctions.

While US Navy ships were patrolling the Gulf in February 2003, making a show of boarding and searching leaky dhows and small ships, they turned a blind eye to tankers carrying $54 million of Iraqi oil under the scheme on Jordan's behalf, the report said.

A total of 7.7 million barrels of oil was smuggled through the Khor al-Amaya oil terminal in at least seven shipments in February and March 2003, it said.

The sales were arranged by a businessman in Jordan named "Mr Shaheen" who told an Iraqi official he had "the Pentagon in one pocket and the CIA in the other." The oil was bought at a heavily discounted price of around $7 a barrel, the report said. If it had been sold at fair market value within the oil-for-food program, it could have earned $200 million to buy humanitarian goods. "

The illegal sales of oil from Khor al-Amaya came at a staggering cost to the program in terms of potential revenue foregone," the report said.

The 1,000-page report showed shipping records from a tanker included instructions for the ship's captain saying the US Navy was "already aware about your passage and itinerary."
The investigation said the smuggling in early 2003 was "the single largest episode of oil smuggling" under the oil-for-food program and occurred with the approval of the United States government."

"The governments of Jordan and the United States have declined the Committee's requests for interviews and information concerning the smuggling of oil from Khor al-Amaya," the report said.

Earlier this year the chief of staff for the US mission to the United Nations admitted Iraqi oil sales with Turkey and Jordan at the time violated UN sanctions.

Yet more examples of US double standards , they make huge waves at the UN staff who 'abused' the oil for food program , when it is themselves that have commited the greatest crime

so the question I have is this .

Which of the following is most likely to hapen now

(a) The US government will accept that (as they say about the UN) they themselves are urgently in need of reform or risk becoming irrelevant to the world today

(b) The US government will stop applying double standards incase their own people realise the judgement stick they apply on the UN should be applied to themselves as well .

(c) The US government will carry on as if this report does not even mention the crimes of the US and continue to place all blame on the UN itself .They will decide not to mention any of this in any press briefings and in turn the US media will fail to inform the American people of any US crime .

The US people will then hear about this again in about one months time when they again will be told about the awfull criminal activity of the United nations and if anyone points out the discrepancy then they will question the independent report that they supported fully up to this point.

My money is on (c)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Major battle for Iraq 'rebel town'

Iraq says a major operation is under way to try to retake the northern town of Talafar from insurgents.
US and Iraqi troops swept through the town, smashing walls with armoured vehicles and engaging in gun battles.
The Americans believe the town is being used as a staging post by foreign fighters crossing into Iraq from Syria.
Iraq's defence minister said 144 rebels had been killed in Talafar in the past two days. He said his forces were ready to strike rebels in four other towns.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said action had to be taken in Talafar because insurgents were trying to isolate it from the rest of Iraq and the political process.
"At 0200 [local time] today, acting on my orders, Iraqi forces commenced an operation to remove all remaining terrorist elements from the city of Talafar," Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said in a statement.

The US military drove the insurgents out of Talafar a year ago, only for them to return once the troops had withdrawn.

Watch video of the latest fighting including the 'claimed' shooting down of a US helicopter here BBC

This is the biggest military operation in Iraq for almost a year

So round and round we go , whats to bet that a week from now the soldiers will pull out and a month after that the insurgents will return . Each time more innocent civilians will die ,

UK : Deputy PM takes Kyoto swipe at US

British deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has criticised the US's record on combating global warming in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans.

In a speech in Berlin, Mr Prescott took a swipe at the US government, which has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Mr Prescott drew a parallel between New Orleans and "at risk" island states. Mr Prescott stressed his "compassion" for the US, but said President Bush's administration had been "wrong" not to join Britain and other leading industrial nations in supporting the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

"I want to take this opportunity to express our solidarity and compassion after the havoc of Hurricane Katrina. As a European negotiator at the Kyoto climate change convention, I was fully aware that climate change is changing weather patterns and raising sea levels," he said.

The horrific flood of New Orleans brings home to us the concern of leaders of countries like the Maldives .But the US government has been reluctant to accept that human activity is to blame.

In his speech, Mr Prescott also hailed the US city mayors who had ignored their federal government's position and had taken action locally to limit carbon emissions. He said: "On a recent visit to the United States, I was delighted to see that city mayors are taking their own environmental initiative on Kyoto.

"This year, 178 mayors, representing over 36 million Americans have signed up to the goals of Kyoto - along with 60 mayors from cities like London, Shanghai, Moscow and Rio who have agreed to take 21 practical actions on energy waste, urban design, health water and transport."
He continued: "The horrific flood of New Orleans brings home to us the concern of leaders of countries like the Maldives, whose nations are at risk of disappearing completely.

"I'm proud that Britain has already achieved its Kyoto target on greenhouse gas emissions - six years ahead of time, with a growing economy."

source BBC:

Congress to Investigate 9/11 Loan Abuses

WASHINGTON - Congress will investigate the "flagrant abuse" of a federal loan program designed to help businesses recover from the Sept. 11 attacks and make sure such problems don't occur with Hurricane Katrina relief, a key Senate Republican announced Friday

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, chairwoman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, announced the investigation in response to an Associated Press story Thursday that showed the federal program was so loosely managed that it gave low-interest loans to companies that didn't need terrorism relief or even know they were getting it.
"The apparent widespread abuse of loans provided through the Supplemental Terrorist Activity Relief Act is nothing short of an outrage," Snowe said.

Read the full article Here

US court upholds detention without trial for US citizen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that U.S. President George W. Bush has the power to detain Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen who has been held for more than three years as a suspected enemy combatant without any charges being brought against him.
"The exceedingly important question before us is whether the president of the United States possesses the authority to detain militarily a citizen of this country who is closely associated with al Qaeda," appeals court Judge J. Michael Luttig wrote for the three-judge panel.
"We conclude that the president does possess such authority," said Luttig, a conservative who has been under consideration by the Bush administration for a possible Supreme Court nomination.
Padilla, a former Chicago gang member and convert to Islam, initially was suspected by U.S. officials of plotting with al Qaeda to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States.
On May 8, 2002, Padilla was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after returning from Pakistan. Bush then declared him an enemy combatant, and Padilla has been held in solitary confinement at a Navy brig in South Carolina.
The appeals court reversed a decision by a federal judge in South Carolina who ruled in February that Bush has no authority to have Padilla held as an enemy combatant. The judge said Padilla must be released if he is not charged with a crime.

Friday, September 09, 2005

GITMO : Hunger strike hits 5th fifth week

More than 200 detainees in Guantánamo Bay are in their fifth week of a hunger strike,
Statements from prisoners in the camp which were declassified by the US government on Wednesday reveal that the men are starving themselves in protest at the conditions in the camp and at their alleged maltreatment - including desecration of the Qur'an - by American guards.
The statements, written on August 11, have just been given to the British human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. They show that prisoners are determined to starve them selves to death. In one, Binyam Mohammed, a former London schoolboy, said:

"I do not plan to stop until I either die or we are respected.People will definitely die. Bobby Sands petitioned the British government to stop the illegitimate internment of Irishmen without trial. He had the courage of his convictions and he starved himself to death. Nobody should believe for one moment that my brothers here have less courage."

Yesterday, Mr Stafford Smith, who represents 40 detainees at Guantánamo Bay, eight of whom are British residents, said many men had been starving themselves for more than four weeks and the situation was becoming desperate.

He said: "I am worried about the lives of my guys because they are a pretty obstinate lot and they are going to go through with this and I think they are going to end up killing themselves. The American military doesn't want anyone to know about this."

He pointed to an American army claim that only 76 prisoners at the base were refusing food, saying that they were attempting to play down what could be a political scandal if a prisoner were to die.

In his statement, Mr Mohammed described how during the first strike men were placed on intravenous drips after refusing food for 20 days.

It is now August 11. They have betrayed our trust (again). Hisham from Tunisia was savagely beaten in his interrogation and they publicly desecrated the Qur'an (again). Saad from Kuwait was ERF'd [visited by the Extreme Reaction Force] for refusing to go (again) to interrogation because the female interrogator had sexually humiliated him (again) for 5 hours _ Therefore, the strike must begin again."

In another declassified statement, Omar Deghayes, from Brighton, said: "In July, some people took no water for many days. I was part of the strike and I am again this time. Some people were taken to hospital, and put on drip feeds, but they pulled the needles out, as they preferred to die.

Two things that come to my mind , One is that if we are now treating these people in line with the Geneva convention i am sure that they realise that "forced feeding" is itself against the convention

The second thing that comes to mind is , That people forget many of the inmates are children

if anyone has forgot this little snippet from 2003

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has defended the detention of the boys - aged between 13 and 15 - at Camp Delta, saying they are "enemy combatants", captured while fighting for the Taleban or al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
General Richard Myers, chairman of the US military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the boys were being held "for a very good reason - for our safety".

US and UK pilots are "murderers"

Ex-Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has accused the UK and US of "state-initiated terror" in a speech.
His remarks on the Iraq war prompted the British high commissioner and several other diplomats to walk out.
Dr Mahathir said US and UK pilots in Iraq were "murderers" and compared the war to rocket attacks on Palestinians.

"The British and American bomber pilots came, unopposed, safe and cosy in their state of the art aircraft, pressing buttons to drop bombs, to kill and maim. And these murderers, for that is what they are, would go back to celebrate 'mission accomplished'. Who are the terrorists? The people below who were bombed or the bombers? Whose rights have been snatched away?"

The last time i remember hearing from Dr Mahathir was inMarh 2003 when he made this statement

"If innocent people who died in the attack on Afghanistan and those who have been dying from lack of food and medical care in Iraq are considered collaterals, are the 3,000 who died in New York and the 200 in Bali also just collaterals whose deaths are necessary for operations to succeed?"

The rights and wrongs of the Ex-Malaysian PM's opinions are being debated with balance Here

Powell feels pain at misinforming UN

Former US secretary of state Colin Powell says his United Nations speech making the case for the US-led war on Iraq was "a blot" on his record.
Mr Powell has also said that he had "never seen evidence to suggest" a connection between the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States and the Saddam regime.
In the February 2003 presentation to the UN Security Council, Mr Powell forcefully made the case for war on the regime of Saddam Hussein, offering "proof" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
The presentation included satellite photos of trucks that Mr Powell identified as mobile bioweapons laboratories.
After the invasion, US weapons inspectors reported finding no Iraqi nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
In an interview with American ABC TV news to be broadcast on Friday (US time), Mr Powell said "it's a blot" on his record.
"I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and (it) will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now," he said.
Mr Powell spent five days at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters ahead of the speech studying intelligence reports, many of which turned out to be false.
He said he felt "terrible" at being misinformed.

Lawyer: Saddam did not confess to mass killings

AMMAN - Saddam Hussein's chief attorney denied on Thursday that the ousted president had confessed to ordering executions and waging a campaign against Kurds in which thousands of people are said to have been killed.

"There was no confession by the president and all the investigations in this case do not implicate him at all," Khalil Dulaimi said in a statement sent to Reuters.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told state television on Tuesday that an investigator who questioned Saddam told him he had extracted important confessions from him and that the ousted leader had signed them.

Talabani did not say whether Saddam had actually admitted to committing any crimes, or had merely acknowledged that he was head of state and commander in chief of the army at the time of various military operations.

"Saddam deserves a death sentence 20 times a day because he tried to assassinate me 20 times," Talabani said, recalling his days as a Kurdish rebel leader fighting the Baghdad authorities.

Talabani's comments appeared to be part of an orchestrated move by the government to prepare Iraqis for Saddam's execution, expected to be carried out by hanging.

Dulaimi said the investigator who was leaking information about the course of the interrogation should resign because he was prejudicing the outcome of the trial

The smoking gun in the Gulf Coast wreckage

A must read article . Read the snippet and click on the link for the full piece.
"The Times" -- -- IF THERE is a smoking gun in the Gulf Coast wreckage, it is the hurricane warning issued by the New Orleans office of the US National Weather Service soon after 10am on August 28, the eve of Katrina’s arrival.
“Devastating damage expected,” the warning stated. “Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks . . . All gabled roofs will fail . . . All wood-framed low rising apartment buildings will be destroyed . . . Power outages will last for weeks . . . Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards . . . Trees will be snapped or uprooted. Only the heartiest will remain standing.” Another forecast, issued six hours later by the National Hurricane Centre in Florida, said that the levees in New Orleans could be “overtopped”, and predicted the precise depth of flooding that would result. A day later the city drowned. Hundreds, if not thousands, have died in the chaos. Some casualties were inevitable but many were not, and this much is clear about those in authority who might have minimised the losses: they had been warned. Of all the warnings issued on Katrina, the National Weather Service bulletin of the August 28 was uniquely detailed and strongly worded. Why?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

FEMA: How not to organise relief efforts

Source ICH

FEMA Blocking Relief Efforts - An Amazing List

FEMA won't accept Amtrak's help in evacuations

FEMA turns away experienced firefighters

FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks

FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel

FEMA won't let Red Cross deliver food

FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans

FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid

FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital on board

FEMA to Chicago: Send just one truck

FEMA turns away generators

FEMA: "First Responders Urged Not To Respond"

That last one is straight from FEMA's website.

Turkmenistan: America finds a new friend

It looks like Turkmenistan will be the new US friend of the moment Here . I am so pleased that the American army puts bases in these types of countries , for if they did not it would be so hard to tell the difference between the evil people we are fighting and the good (but just as evil) people that are our friends

So for those that dont know , lets take a tour of our new friend

There are quite a few mad leaders in the world but Tutkmenistan's president Saparmurat Niyazov is up there with the best of them. He started his lovely reign by renaming the capital and the main port of the country after himself . Infact he renamed everything , including the only brand of aftershave used in the country to his own name .

Saparmurat did not stop there , he qucikly moved on to re naming other household items such as bread , this time after his mother .

So what next for the president , well ... the nominal legislature passed a new law to change the days of the week and the months to different parts of his name and words associated with his name , except for April .. which he (wait for it) named after his mother

So of course the worst thing to say in turkmenistan is that the dictators mother is very wet for this time of year . such a thing could quickly land you in jail where you could expect to be tortured and from time to time be thrown a bit of the dictators mother

Of course all this is fun and true , but lets look at some more serious claims about the country

Do they have a democracy ? , well Niyazov has ruled the country with and iron rod since 1985 , his current position includes president, prime minister , commander in chief and head of the only party in the country

Now guess what , He was offered the presidency for life in December 1999 for his outsanding record , the only problem is that it was himself that offered himself that position (hmmm)

But in a rare stroke of modesty he has said that he "might" stand down in 2010 and hold elections , however he "might" not

what about human rights ? well , it is well known during the cotton season for the army to board inter city buses and abduct the pasengers for a few weeks of unpaid work picking in the field , of course you could refuse , but death would quickly follow

All foreign newspapers and media are banned ,and primary education has been replaced with a new funky religous history , that was written by .... the president

Meanwhile he has banned gold teeth (and ordered them to be replaced with white ones) ,he has created a national holiday for a melon ! , banned long hair and car radios ,

What a crazy guy

Of course i have highlighted the more amusing aspects of this man , but there is a lot that we should not be smiling at for example .....

What does the UN say about the country .... well read for yourself Here

what has the US government said about the country

"U.S. government agencies voiced criticism of Turkmenistan's human rights record. The State Department's annual report on human rights practices, released in March, accused the government of committing serious human rights abuses and severely restricting political and civil rights, including freedom of speech and religion. Recognizing Turkmenistan's particularly harsh restrictions on freedom of conscience and belief, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) reported in March that the conditions of religious freedom in Turkmenistan were "extremely poor" and plagued by "ongoing, egregious and systematic violations"

Dodgy guy . so we need to change that . the decision was made and ....

In 2004 the US government gave Turkmenistan a $16.4 million starter gift , and this seems to have done the trick , the US has a new friend

so in a few months we should be seing bombers taking off from this stable , humane country on a regular basis . Until we find a reason to realise that our friends are as sick as our enemys