Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Quick note to readers

Sorry this site has not been updated today , (sob) I have been so busy , I will post again tomorrow and try to not to miss any stories from today that have passed by

Monday, August 29, 2005

MORE JOURNALISTS KILLED IN IRAQ THAN VIETNAM

PARIS, Aug 28 (Reuters) - More journalists have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003 than during the 20 years of conflict in Vietnam, media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Sunday.
Since U.S. forces and its allies launched their campaign in Iraq on March 20, 2003, 66 journalists and their assistants have been killed, RSF said.
The latest casualty was a Reuters Television soundman who was shot dead in Baghdad on Sunday while a cameraman with him was wounded and then detained by U.S. soldiers.
The death toll in Iraq compares with a total of 63 journalists in Vietnam, but which was over a period of 20 years from 1955 to 1975, the Paris-based organisation that campaigns to protect journalists said on its Web site.
During the fighting in the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995, 49 journalists were killed doing their job, while 57 journalists and 20 media assistants were killed during a civil war in Algeria from 1993 to 1996.
RSF listed Iraq as the world's most dangerous place for journalists. In addition to those killed, 22 have been kidnapped. All but one was released. Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni was executed by his captors.
The media was targeted from the first days of the fighting, when cameraman Paul Moran, of the Australian TV network ABC, was killed by a car bomb on March 22, 2003, it added.
Two other journalists have been missing since March 2003 and August 2004.

Egypt To Continue Nuclear testing until Israel gives up the bomb

AP) Egypt's foreign minister on Saturday turned down a request from the world's nuclear watchdog to sign a treaty banning the testing of nuclear weapons, saying Israel should first join a separate agreement calling for a halt to the spread of atomic bombs. The refusal by Israel, which is believed to possess hundreds of nuclear warheads, to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has also made the Middle East more insecure, Ahmed Aboul Gheit said, according to Egypt's semiofficial Middle East News Agency. Aboul Gheit's comments came in a letter to Tibor Toth, the new executive secretary of the commission that oversees the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. "Egypt's ratification of the (test ban) treaty is linked to the extent of developments that may occur in regional and international circumstances, including the possibility that Israel may join the NPT," MENA quoted the minister as saying. All Middle Eastern counties except Israel are signatories to the NPT. Israel is believed to have commenced its nuclear program in the 1950s, but has never denied nor confirmed the widely held view that it possesses atomic bombs. Arab states have demanded the international community do more to force Israel to relinquish its nuclear arms.

well,well it is not just Iran , the double standards are finally coming home , if you allow one country to do as it pleases then others will follow .

and you dont have a moral leg to stand on unless you judge ALL with the same rules.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

UK government received warning of 'Iraq extremism link'

The British government was warned over a year ago by its most senior Foreign Office official that the Iraq war was fuelling UK Muslim extremism, it has emerged

Foreign Office Permanent Secretary Michael Jay issued the warning in a May 2004 letter, leaked to the Observer.

The letter to Cabinet Secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull said British foreign policy was a "key driver" behind recruitment by extremist Muslim groups.

The Foreign Office said it did not comment on leaked documents.

The letter said a "recurring theme" among the underlying causes of extremism in the Muslim community was "the issue of British foreign policy, especially in the context of the middle east peace process and Iraq".

It added: "British foreign policy and the perception of its negative effect on Muslims globally plays a significant role in creating a feeling of anger and impotence among

Shadow foreign secretary Liam Fox told BBC News the government's handling of the problem had been "inept from start to finish".
"What I find suprising is that the government denies there is any link when most people, with common sense, would say there is some link that makes it easier to recruit extremists from the Muslim community," he said

Everything you need to know about US foreign policy in two paragraphs

Before the invasion of Iraq , George W bush argued that you could not have a situation where the "world's worst leaders were in charge of the world's most powerfull weapons" .

Since the end of the second world war , The Americans have spent US$19 trillion on what they call defense . That means that if you were to spend US$26 million every day since the birth of Christ ,you'd still have spent less then the americans have spent on defense since the end of the second world war . Put another way , if you had funded a small military invasion (helicopters , small arms , infantry support) each and every day for the last 2000 years (thats 750,000 wars) you still would not have matched what the US has spent on defense in the last fifty !

Saturday, August 27, 2005

To all people of religion

I just found this whilst surfing around , I have decided to post it as i found the tone and style of the piece very very funny , not being a person of religion i of course found no offence and if you are a person of faith and easily offended i suggest you do not read this .

Please note , I post this as a very strongly held opinion , the opinion is NOT mine , I do not endorse or condem the piece , i just post it , the only thing i do note is the author has a wonderfull ability to find new and exciting ways of creating insults that i found very amusing.

anyway , you have been warned , so at your own choice click away Here

Israel, Vatican put dispute behind them

ROME -- A dispute between Israel and the Vatican over Pope Benedict XVI's comments on terrorism appears to have been resolved, after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sent a letter calling the pontiff ''a true friend of Israel," Israel's ambassador said yesterday.
Israel's top diplomat at the Holy See, Oded Ben Hur, brought the letter Tuesday to the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, in what the envoy called an ''amicable and intimate" meeting that signaled that ''we definitely see this thing behind us and are looking forward to improving our relationship."

The dispute erupted in July, when Israel complained that Benedict had deliberately failed to include a July 12 suicide bombing in Israeli in a list of countries recently hit by terrorist attacks.

The sides traded pronouncements that culminated with a harshly worded Vatican statement saying the pope couldn't condemn every Palestinian suicide bombing because Israel would so often retaliate with illegal actions that would also have to be condemned.

Good for the Pope standing up for himself , a bit of balance for once
will it last , I doubt it

Uzbekistan parliament backs move to evict US

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- Uzbekistan's upper house of parliament yesterday backed the government's decision to evict US troops from their base in the Central Asian nation, dealing a blow to US interests in the region.
The unanimous vote by 93 Senate members present at the session reflects the souring of relations with the United States since Washington criticized a bloody government crackdown on unrest in eastern Uzbekistan.

President Islam Karimov's government said July 29 that the United States had six months to vacate the Karshi-Khanabad Air Base in the country's south, one of two set up in the former Soviet Central Asia to support operations in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Uzbekistan has denied ordering the US withdrawal because the United States criticized the May crackdown on unarmed demonstrators in the eastern city of Andijan. The United States joined international demands for an independent investigation into the violence, which Karimov's government has rejected.

Uzbekistan is a perfect example of how the hawks control the Agenda

just take look at this report from the US state department Here on the terrible record of the Uzbek government , this report as you may imagine holds back on many of the accusations made by other governments and human rights groups on the country

but still if they are willing to let you put troops there then , guess what , we call them a friend

now , dont hold your breath , but how long will it be before the US administration recovers from amnesia and suddenly remembers that this is a sick sick country that should be condemmed not befriended , not long i say , not now the US has nothing to gain from them anymore

Livingstone launches bid to protect civil liberties

A new campaign is being launched by a coalition of different groups in a bid to ensure anti-terror measures do not unfairly criminalise or exclude.
Ken Livingstone, Muslim and Sikh groups, Liberty, trade unionists and MPs are just some of the signatories to a joint statement on fighting terror.

They call for a "broad consensus" in tackling the threat of extremism.

Labour MP Sadiq Khan warned there was "widespread concern" about some of the measures planned by ministers.

"There is a real danger that hastily drafted legislation could end up stifling the ability of Britons to stand up for those living under oppression abroad. Who decides if someone is a terrorist or a freedom fighter?" he said.

Spy craft takes to gull flight

Aviation researchers at the University of Florida have copied the wing action of seagulls to develop spy drones that can morph shape mid-flight.
The toy-sized drones are being developed for tricky urban missions so that they can zip around tight places.

They could fly into urban environments to detect biological agents.

Funded by Nasa and the US Air Force, the unmanned, sensor-packed craft in development could be on missions in two to three years, say researchers.

By watching how seagulls alter their wing shape, and using morphing techniques, the agile craft can squeeze through confined spaces, such as alleyways, and change direction rapidly.

The micro air vehicles (MAVs) could automatically find their way to monitor locations, such as apartment blocks, where suspicious activity is detected


Am i the only one concerned by this , it seems very BIG BROTHER to me , i know the benefits from catching terrorists and major criminals yes , but how long before this technology is used to watch people for political reasons such as

Cindy sheehan
the Democrats
some guy who just goes to get a book on al-qaeda from the library
and many more examples i am sure

where do we draw the line between civil liberties and fighting terrorism , there is no doubt that america at the moment has done it wrong , but there does have to be a line somewhere

Iraq constitution latest

The speaker of the Iraqi parliament has announced that an amended text on Iraq's new constitution will be presented to MPs on Sunday.
Hajim-al-Hassani said Shia and Kurd factions had reached agreement in principle on proposals put to them by Sunni Arab representatives.

"The Iraqi people have to give their word now and reject the constitution because this constitution is the beginning of the division of the country and the beginning of creating disturbance in the country," a sunni spokesman said.

The outstanding issues from the Shia-Kurdish draft submitted last Monday included:

federalism, and the way to form semi-autonomous regions

the terminology used in eradicating the influence of the former Baath regime - whether to use the term Baath party or Saddam's Baath

structuring of authority between the presidency, parliament and the government.
Sunnis have expressed concerns that allowing for federalism may lead to the creation of an autonomous Shia area in southern Iraq - like the Kurdish north but under Iran's influence.


The Sunnis fear greater autonomy for the Kurdish north and Shia south could compromise their share of revenues from those oil-rich regions.

A Different Take on Disengagement

If Ariel Sharon had been willing to negotiate a genuine peace agreement with the Palestinians in which Israel withdrew to the 1967 border (with slight border modifications along the lines suggested by Yossi Beilin in the Geneva Accord of 2003), one part of that agreement could have allowed all settlers to stay in their homes in Gaza and the West Bank as long as they agreed to be law-abiding citizens of the Palestinian state that would be governing that area.

If they were not willing to give up their Israeli citizenship and live in peace with their neighbors, they could voluntarily leave their homes and return to Israel. That is the same choice that Arabs faced once Israel was established in a land that they once governed. It should have been the choice offered to Israeli settlers as well.

There never had to be the horrible scene of people being dragged from their homes.
So why did it happen? Because Ariel Sharon's entire plan -- as explained to the Israeli public by his assistant, Dov Weisglass -- was to sacrifice the settlers of Gaza precisely in order to have the painful images that dominated the media, so that Sharon could argue "Of course no one can ask us to do this kind of thing to the 300,000 settlers in the West Bank, given the pain everyone has seen us go through in Gaza."
As Sharon's aides tried to tell the settlers, the Disengagement was intended to preserve the Occupation, not undermine it. And so, Sharon is moving ahead to finish construction of the Separation Wall and cut off from the West Bank the 150,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem (not to mention many other Palestinians living in proximity to the Wall), expropriate more and more Palestinian land, and "create facts" on the ground that will be hard to change.

There are some who celebrate this Gaza withdrawal as the first step in the process of dismantling settlements. Rabbi Lerner asks them the following: "At what point, how many years from now, while the Occupation continues of much of the West Bank, will you acknowledge that this was simply another part of the scheme that Sharon has--to hold on to close to 50 percent of the West Bank while offering Palestinians a state that will be neither economically nor politically viable, a state that, when they refuse it, or when they accept it and then ask for more, will be used as 'proof' that nothing will ever satisfy them?" So, Rabbi Lerner argues, we should understand that all the pain was part of an elaborate ruse--and though the immediate victims are the Gaza settlers, the real victims are all the peoples of Israel and Palestine who will have to endure the ongoing suffering that the continuation of the Occupation guarantees.

This was not a move toward reconciliation and open-heartedness between two peoples, but a unilateral move by a pro-occupation government, aided by an international media that systematically tells the story from the standpoint of the Israeli government. When was the last time the media gave this kind of attention to the systematic uprooting from their homes of Palestinians by the Israeli occupation, though the number of those who have been uprooted far exceeds those of Israelis uprooted? When was the last time the media raised the issue of how many Israelis today are living in homes that belonged to Palestinians before 1948?

We raise these issues not to challenge the right of Israel to exist or to flourish, but precisely for the opposite reason--because we believe that only when Israel opens its heart to the fate of the Palestinians and seeks a reconciliation based on justice and kindness and a spirit of generosity (not a unilateral decision by Ariel Sharon imposed on the Palestinian people) can Israel be truly secure.
This is the key lesson of a spiritual politics: that security comes not through power and domination, but through love and generosity. The forced withdrawal of settlers from their homes this past week did not generate a higher level of love or generosity of spirit from any of the different groups in the Middle East. Even the Palestinians in Gaza, relieved that they no longer will have to go through IDF checkpoints, couldn't feel that the withdrawal was a part of a new spirit of generosity by Israel.


Why have it imposed rather than negotiated as part of a peace agreement?, they asked. And how generous was it when Israel decided to destroy the houses of settlers lest Palestinians occupying those houses be seen by right-wing Israelis as a "provocation" that might lead to new acts of violence?

And how generous was it when Israel still insisted that it would control the borders of Gaza, including from the sea and by air, thus making Gaza an enclave without freedom of access to others in the world except through continued Israeli consent.

Is this what you'd call freedom? And if in this circumstance, Hamas would be able to say that it was not Israeli generosity but Israeli desire to avoid more conflict that had forced them to leave, and thus Hamas -- rather than Palestinian non-violence under Prime Mininster Abbas -- that deserved the credit for the withdrawal, would this really surprise Sharon, or rather be exactly what he wants -- a further 'proof' that abandoning territory to Palestinians would only lead to the extremists taking over, so certainly no one could ask for that in the West Bank?

article from alternet

Bush Calls Shia's to Urge Compromise

CRAWFORD, Texas Aug 26, 2005 — The White House withheld judgment on Friday on the latest proposal to break an impasse on an Iraq constitution despite an attempt by President Bush to move the process forward with a phone call to a top Iraqi Shiite leader.

Bush called Abdul-Aiz al-Hakim on Wednesday Thursday in Iraq Prodded by that call, Shiite negotiators Friday offered what they called their final compromise proposal to Sunnis Arabs to try to break the impasse. In his call to al-Hakim, Bush urged consensus over a draft that has thus far been opposed by minority Sunnis, a Shiite official, Abbas al-Bayati, told The Associated Press in Baghdad.
Al-Bayati said the new offer included concessions on the pivotal issues of federalism and efforts to remove former members of Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated Baath Party from public life. The Shiites were awaiting a response from the Sunnis, al-Bayati said.
Duffy would not elaborate on what the two leaders discussed, or whether Bush planned more such personal diplomacy as negotiations continue. The president made the call on Wednesday in Idaho, where he had given a speech to military families, before he returned to his Texas ranch

now I have just banged my head agaisnt the wall a few times to check that i am awake and not drunk , but if bush is trying to push the Shia to work harder to make the Sunni happy then for once , on this very narrow issue , i actually agree with the little alcoholic , dont worry regular readers , it wont last i am sure

Friday, August 26, 2005

Not the best way for a journalist to see Iraq's infamous prison

Reuters news agency called on the U.S. military on Wednesday to explain the detention of an Iraqi journalist working for the agency, who has been held incommunicado for two weeks, or release him immediately.

U.S. military spokesmen have refused to say why they are holding Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani, a 36-year-old freelance cameraman and photographer who has worked for the international news organization for a year in Ramadi, capital of Anbar region.
Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill, spokesman for U.S. detainee operations in Iraq, said the journalist was now in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison: "He will not be able to have visitors for the next 60 days," he added.

Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger said: "We are very concerned and dismayed by this unexplained and prolonged detention of a journalist working for us and urge the U.S. military either to release him or provide a full account of the accusations against him

Iraq: Constitution , the latest at a glance

Some questions and answers about the effort: for those that wish to understand what exactly is going on.....

Q: What is the status of the constitution? Wasn't there a deadline Thursday?

A: Shiite and Kurdish parties presented a draft constitution to parliament this week but decided to postpone a vote on it for three days, until midnight Thursday, to make another pitch for support from Sunni Arabs. But parliament didn't meet before the deadline, underlining the deep differences that remain. Parliament speaker Hajim al-Hassani said talks would continue Friday in an attempt to find a compromise.

Q: Why don't the Sunnis support the draft constitution?

A: The main issue is federalism. Under the draft, Shiites in the south and Kurds in the north would each be able to organize themselves into oil-rich regions that would have considerable power over the central government. The Sunni Arab minority, concentrated in central and western Iraq, fears that means they will be squeezed out of oil revenues. While the Sunnis accept a Kurdish autonomous region, they fear a Shiite region will lead to the breakup of the country, domination from overwhelmingly Shiite Iran and a weakened central government.

Q: So what happens next?

A: The Iraqis say reaching agreement is more important than meeting deadlines, and talks could go past Friday. But Shiite leaders appear to be losing patience. Senior Shiite negotiator Ali Dabbagh said the Shiite alliance in parliament will resist any changes to the draft. The Shiites want to skip a vote in parliament and instead put the draft, as is, directly to an Oct. 15 referendum required by law.

Q: What's the significance of not holding a vote in parliament first?

A: Parliament is dominated by Shiites and Kurds so the draft would pass — but the vote would make embarrassingly clear the differences with the Sunnis. Sunni leaders, however, say a vote is required and feel that skipping it is just another sign of Shiites and Kurds running roughshod over Sunnis. Thursday night, Sunni leaders already were calling for voters to reject the draft in the referendum. The parliament speaker said a vote is not required by law.

Q: Is the draft likely to pass the Oct. 15 referendum?

A: It depends how vehement Sunni Arab opposition is. A simple majority of voters can ratify the constitution — and Shiites easily make up a majority, especially if backed by Kurds. But there's a hitch: If two-thirds of voters in any three provinces reject the draft, then it fails no matter what the overall vote. So if Sunnis can rally enough "no" votes in the provinces they dominate, then they can defeat it. They may have help from radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who has called on his followers to vote against the draft. Though Shiite, al-Sadr opposes the draft, feeling it will lead to the splintering of Iraq. Changes still could be made in the draft before the referendum in an attempt to ease opposition.

Q: What happens if voters reject the constitution?

A: Under the interim constitution, parliament will be dissolved and elections held by Dec. 15 to form a new one. The new parliament then starts drafting a new constitution "within a period not to exceed one year." That would significantly delay Iraq's political process at a time when Washington and many Iraqis feel political progress is vital to reducing support for the deadly insurgency. It would delay national elections that are supposed to be held in December under a permanent constitution for a new government.

A rejection also would be a setback for U.S. policy. Washington has been pushing hard for the Iraqis to meet the deadlines for writing the constitutions, only to see them repeatedly missed. Many have hoped that passing a constitution would make Sunnis — who form the backbone of the insurgency — feel included in the political process. But the bruising debate over the draft may have only increased Sunni alienation

36 executed bodies found in Iraq

Bodies found dumped south of Baghdad, gunmen kill two bodyguards of Iraqi president north of Iraqi capital.
BAGHDAD - Iraqi police on Thursday found the bodies of 36 men executed with a bullet to the head and dumped in a stream south of Baghdad, an interior ministry source said.

"Thirty-six bodies of men aged 25 to 35 ... all shot in the head, were found dumped in a stream in Oraida, 25 kilometers (15 miles) east of Kut," 175 kilometres (110 miles) south of Baghdad, said the source.

The decomposing bodies, all wearing civilian clothes, were thought to have been dead around five days and had their hands bound or handcuffed, he added.

Yet Another delay in Iraqi Constitution

Talks aimed at persuading Sunni Arabs to back the text of a new Iraqi constitution are to continue on Friday, the country's parliament speaker says.

Hajim Hassani made the announcement as a third deadline passed with no deal.

Earlier, the prime minister's spokesman said some changes had been made. But Sunnis remain opposed to federalism and a negotiator saw no prospect of a deal.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

To Hell With Muslim Terrorism

An interesting piece , for once actually written by a muslim on an issue i have already seen aproached hundreds of times by non-muslims , i would advise anyone who wishes to comment to read the whole piece first and not just my snippet....


Pope Benedict’s lecturing Muslims today to hold their “fanatics” for a peaceful world is in a way paving the way for brining back to the Muslim world the scenes, which Mark Twain described in these words: “In many countries we have chained the savage and starved him to death... in many countries we have burned the savage at the stake... we have hunted the savage and his little children and their mother with dogs and guns... in many countries we have taken the savage’s land from him, and made him our slave, and lashed him every day, and broken his pride and made death his only friend, and overworked him till he dropped in his tracks.” In fact, worse than this sort of inhuman treatment is meted out to Muslims today. A proof of which lies in the fact that the US government is not releasing new pictures from Abu Ghraib because before them Mark Twain’s description of man’s inhumanity to man would pale by comparison.

It is too sad that those who are lecturing Muslims do not see what Director of Research of the California-based Institute for Economic Democracy, Dr. J. W. Smith, has observed. According to Dr. Smith, through the devastating historical process, Western civilization has been “responsible for violently killing 12 to 15 million people since WW II and causing the death of 100s of millions more as their economies were destroyed or those countries were denied the right to restructure to care for their people. Unknown as it is, and recognizing that this has been standard practice throughout colonialism, that is the record of the Western imperial centers of capital from 1945 to 1990.” He adds that, “One hundred and fifty thousand to 300,000 of these were tortured and killed by death squads set up by Western intelligence agencies, primarily the CIA.”[10]

Those who are lecturing 1.2 billion Muslims would do better to dig the root causes of present turmoil and realize the Muslims are not responsible for the present unjust global order.

full article Here

My quote for the day

In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.


~ Pastor Martin Niemoller

Iraqi doctors cry 'foul'

08/23/05 "Iraq Dispatches" -- -- Doctors for Iraqi is calling for an independent investigation into the serious breaches of the Geneva Convention, the alleged killing of civilians and obstructing medical personal from carrying out there work. Continue.

Haditha, Rawa and Parwana have been under attack for the past three weeks with US/ Iraqi military activities intensifying over the past few days. The main hospitals in the area are reporting shortages of medicine oxygen, sugerical kits, anti-biotics and other basic medicines.

Civilians have fled to neighbouring towns and villages such as Ana and are in need of basic foods, water and shelter. Shop keepers are unable to open their premises because of the US/ Iraqi operation, and trucks with urgent food supplies are facing serious difficulties entering the seiged areas.

Eyewitnesses and medical personal have told Doctors For Iraq that snipers are operating inside some of the seiged cities. Haditha hospital estimates that at least eleven civilians were killed during the attack and 15 injured. The US military prevented ambulances from entering the areas and medics from working freely. The area remains under siege.

Local people say that US marines invaded the town of Rawa and carried out air strikes bombing many buildings and homes. It unclear how many civilians have been killed or injured in the areas where the military is carrying out operations A school building in Parwana was bombed with people inside the school. It is unclear how many people were inside the school and who they were.

Doctors for Iraq has organised for medical aid to reach some of the hospitals and a medical team has been sent to the affected areas.

The military operations in the West of Iraq have left the healthcare system paralysed. Hospitals in the area are unable to provide sufficient medical services for the population. The new military attacks are further compounding the suffering of people in the area.

Doctors for Iraq is calling for the immediate end of US/ Iraqi military attacks in the area.

Doctors for Iraqi is calling for an independent investigation into the serious breaches of the Geneva Convention, the alleged killing of civilians and obstructing medical personal from carrying out there work.

We need urgent medical supplies to be delivered to the hospitals in the area.

For more information or to find out how you can send medical aid to the areas contact:

Dr. Salam Ismael - Salam.obaidi@doctorsforiraq.org Or
Aisha Ismael Press.officer@doctorsforiraq.org

Shouts for the return of Saddam Hussein from angry Sunni's

BAGHDAD -- A new draft constitution that would transform Iraq into a loose federal union sparked celebrations yesterday in the streets of the Shi'ite south and an angry rally in the Sunni Arab heartland, where some chanted for the return of Saddam Hussein

Many Sunni Arabs want Iraq to remain under a strong central government. Sunnis dominated Iraq until the overthrow of Hussein in 2003, and extremists among them make up most of Iraq's insurgency. Sunnis overwhelmingly boycotted national elections in January, leaving them with little clout as Iraq writes its new constitution. Many fear federalism will complete their marginalization, stranding them in a weak, resource-poor region between the Kurdish north and Shi'ite southwest.

Although the draft constitution has yet to be approved, its presentation Monday kept Iraq roughly on a US-backed timeline that requires that the document be put to a popular vote by Oct. 15. Voter approval of the constitution would mean elections for a new, full-term assembly in December. Rejection would mean dissolving the current transitional government and parliament and electing new transitional bodies that would make another try at a constitution.

full article Here

First US soldier convicted of abuse in Afganistan

A soldier from a US military intelligence unit has been sentenced to two months in prison for abusing an Afghan detainee who later died.
It is the first custodial sentence given to any US soldier convicted of abuse in Afghanistan since 2001


US-based human rights group has condemned the sentence as too lenient.
The US has been under intense pressure for several months following allegations of abuse by its forces in US-run detention centres.
Specialist Glendale Wells pleaded guilty at a military court of pushing a detainee known as Dilawar against a wall.
He also admitted doing nothing to prevent other soldiers at the US base at Bagram from abusing him.

In December 2002, Dilawar died at the base - after suffering what an internal US investigation revealed were repeated beatings by American troops while chained to the ceiling by his wrists.

The punishment did not match the gravity of the crimes, said John Sifton, Human Rights Watch's lead researcher on Afghanistan.

He said it was another sign of what he called the US military's consistent failure to take abuse allegations seriously.

"These accused soldiers and their superiors were involved in numerous abuses and two detainee deaths," he said. "Yet all the officers so far have escaped punishment."

In May the deaths of Dilawar and another inmate, along with other allegations of abuse, were detailed by the New York Times, citing a 2,000-page document leaked from a US army investigation.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he was shocked and demanded action from the US.

Pakistan gives 'first details' of how Korea got Centrifuges

Disgraced Pakistani scientist AQ Khan supplied North Korea with centrifuges and their designs, President Pervez Musharraf has confirmed.
Centrifuges enrich uranium which can be used for making nuclear bombs.

It is the first time Pakistan has given details about the type of technology Dr Khan transferred to Pyongyang.

But President Musharraf told Japanese news agency Kyodo that Dr Khan had not provided North Korea with the expertise for constructing a nuclear bomb.

Full story Here

Gun battle in Baghdad

At least 17 people have been killed and dozens injured as gun battles erupted in the Iraqi capital following a suicide car bomb attack on police.
After the bomber struck, up to 40 masked gunman opened fire with assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades

full story Here

A Soldier Speaks: Kelly Dougherty

What were your feelings about the reasons for going to war with Iraq? Did they change once you were there?

Before I even found out I was going to Iraq, I was completely against the idea of going to war with Iraq and I couldn't believe the reasons that were being given -- the weapons of mass destruction and the league of terrorists and all of that. When I first got to Iraq, one of the things that I was really struck by was the poverty there -- and how poor the population was and how little they had, and how much had been destroyed by this war and previous wars.

And when I left, things hadn't much changed for them -- things actually got worse. Lots of people still didn't have any water. ... We weren't helping them at all. And to add, the continual degradation of the area -- not only by the insurgents -- but you don't hear every day how the Iraqi people are suffering at the hands of the U.S. military, and how so many people are arrested or detained, shot and killed, or whatever -- that are completely innocent, or that are trying to go about their daily business. So I think all that really solidified my views that the war was wrong, and first-hand how violence just creates more violence. We're really not accomplishing anything positive there

read the full article Here

leading U.S. Muslim group request to Bush

PLAINFIELD, Ind. Aug 24, 2005 — A leading U.S. Muslim group called on President Bush Wednesday to show his support for mainstream Islam in this country and worldwide by meeting with the group next week in Chicago.

Bush could make a powerful statement to the world's 1.2 billion Muslims by appearing at the annual meeting of the Islamic Society of North America, just as he showed his support for adherents of the religion when he visited a Washington mosque a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said Sayyid Syeed, the group's secretary general.

ISNA, an umbrella organization of largely immigrant Muslim organizations and mosques in the United States and Canada, will attract tens of thousands of Muslims to Chicago for its annual meeting over Labor Day weekend.

"His coming to Chicago would send a powerful message to the Muslim world and the world at large that America's fight is not against Islam, it is not against Muslims, it is against extremism and terrorism," Syeed said.

I will wait and see but i would advise them not to hold their breath !

full article Here

UK government reveals 'unacceptable behaviour' list

The Government's ongoing work to tackle terrorism and extremism took another step forward today as the Home Secretary published a list of certain types of 'unacceptable' behaviour.

Charles Clarke said this would form the basis for excluding and deporting individuals from the UK.

The list, finalised following a two-week consultation, makes clear that the Home Secretary will use his powers to deport and exclude from the UK those who engage in these types of behaviour.

It makes clear that those who 'would attempt to foment terrorism or provoke others to commit terrorist acts' are not welcome in the UK.

The list of unacceptable behaviours is indicative rather than exhaustive, said Mr Clarke.

It covers any non-UK citizen whether in the UK or abroad who uses any medium - including distributing material, preaching or running a website - to express views which:

foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs;
seek to provoke others to terrorist acts;
foment other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts; or
foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK


i find that last one quiet interesting myself , as it will be double edged , it will do the main job of helping to stop these 'terrorist web sites' which i support , and it will also put a stop to the far right in the UK using terrorism as a means to attack islam , hopefully once this goes through , a lot more care and thought (at least in the UK) will go into what people write and how it can be viewed


so good news all round i feel

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

No Accountability

No Accountability

By Charley Reese

08/22/05 -- -- What Americans should demand from their governments at all levels is accountability. Accountability is far more important than transparency, which can be easily faked.

Accountability is not complicated. It simply means people must take responsibility for their actions. If the actions are successful, take responsibility; if they are a failure, take responsibility. This principle applies daily to Americans in their private lives. It is the heart of the tort system. If we wrongly injure someone, we are held accountable.

Of all the sins one might list of the Bush administration, failure to be accountable is the worst. As a justification to go to war, the Bush administration insisted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It did not. The Bush people insisted Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaida. There were none. They insisted Iraq was a threat to its neighbors. It was not, as all of its neighbors publicly said.

So, obviously, it was a case of lies or blunders — take your pick. In either event, people should have been held accountable for misinforming the American public and going to war on false pretenses. Not one single person, not a clerk or messenger or janitor even, has been held accountable. In fact, the people who made the blunders or told the lies have all been rewarded with promotions or medals.

This stone-cold refusal to admit mistakes and to be held accountable is what gives the Bush administration the eerie atmosphere of being totally disconnected from reality. Whatever President Bush says or does is always correct and successful, no matter how copious is the evidence to the contrary. Members of the administration just don't talk about the weapons or the ties to al-Qaida anymore. You must be mistaken, they say. We went to war because we love the Iraqi people so much, we wanted them to have a democratic government.

Excuse me. You want me to believe that you love a people — who for 13 years we bombed and impoverished with sanctions — so much that you will gladly spend 2,000 American lives to relieve them of a dictator the U.S. once supported? This is insane. The very gas attack against the Kurds that Bush so often trotted out in the buildup to war was defended and in fact blamed on the Iranians by an official U.S. investigation at the time it happened.

I can live with crooks. I can live with differences of opinion and of politics. After all, those are parts of a democratic society. But the Bush administration scares me because it seems on its face irrational. That's a fancy word for crazy. The world is too dangerous for us to have a president who seems unable to connect to reality and who surrounds himself with people whose chief qualification is that they agree with whatever he says.

I think there might be an arrogance gene in the Bush family. His father might well have been re-elected if he had gone to the American people, apologized for breaking his promise that he would veto any new taxes and explained why he thought it was necessary to do so. But, no. It was "read my hips" as he stalked away from reporters. Apparently, in the Bush family's eyes, it is impossible for anybody named Bush to make a mistake, tell a lie or do anything wrong.

Of course, in fairness, most American politicians refuse to be accountable. Members of Congress in particular will pass bad laws and then act as if they had been sneaked onto the books by Martians in the dead of night. I've been an observer and a participant in politics for a number of decades, and I honestly cannot recall a single politician ever saying: "You remember when I said such and such? Well, I was wrong, and I'm sorry."

But politicians don't take responsibility because the American people and the media don't demand it of them. If the American voters continue to act like ignorant sheep and the media continue to concentrate on trivia, you can't blame the politicians for taking advantage of them. As an outlaw said in an old cowboy movie: "It may even be sacrilegious (not to rob the villagers). If God did not want them sheared, why did he make them sheep?"

Indeed, why?

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802
My first reaction to George W. Bush’s all-too-obvious politicizing of the memories of September 11, 2001, in his latest lame attempt to justify his illegal and immoral war in Iraq, was anger.

Than anger gave way to sadness.

Sadness over a morality-challenged politician’s use of the deaths of 3,000 plus Americans for his own political gain.

And even more sadness because there are still people out there stupid enough to fall for this kind of crap.

Bush has pulled this stunt before. He keeps 9/11 in his bag of tricks as a last-ditch effort to save his corrupt political hide when things go bad. And, according to polls, things are bad. An increasing majority of Americans no longer buy his lies about Iraq and oppose the war along with growing numbers who finally realize the President of the United States is a liar who cannot be trusted.

Reality, however, will not stop the dwindling numbers of Bushites from defending their failed leader to the end – and it is that maniacal devotion to Bush that may signal the end to America as we know it.

Sometimes it is difficult to decide who to fear the most – the ethically-bankrupt President whose madness drives what was once the greatest country on earth closer and closer to ruin or the blind, brain-dead lemmings who continue to follow him into the abyss.

In more normal times we might be able to dismiss Bush’s followers as just another gaggle of misguided political miscreants who bet on the wrong horse and now try to justify that mistake.

But these are not normal times and the wild-eyed fanatics who continue to buy this charlatan’s snake oil are, in too many ways, as dangerous as Bush himself.

Bush and his klavern of crooks, con-men and thieves have turned this nation into a monster that threatens world peace, an arrogant bomb-throwing bully who poses a far-greater danger than any Islam-spouting lunatic with a turban.

When you get past the hyperbole and sound bite rants of the rabid right, you are left with one sad fact – the United States of America, a nation that once prided itself in never, ever, being the aggressor in a conflict, invaded another nation on false pretenses, a nation that posed no immediate threat to us or our way of life.

It is no longer Osama bin Laden and his fanatical followers who pose the greatest threat to the future of this country. It is George W. Bush and his equally-fanatical, zoned-out legions who buy into his destructive, anti-American actions.

Osama’s still at large and still planning ways to attack this country but he remains at large because Bush ordered the military to all-but-abandon the search for the Al Qaeda leader and divert resources to an ill-conceived, ill-planned and ill-executed illegal invasion of Iraq.

Now the Army admits it is planning for “at least” four more years in Iraq as the death toll of young American men and women races headlong towards 2,000.

So a desperate George W. Bush goes to the well once more, invoking the memories of September 11, 2001 to try and save his political skin.

We can hope, of course, that this blatant political opportunism won’t work. We can hope that Americans will finally see through the sham that is Bush and the fanatics who follow him.

We can hope that Americans recognize that more than one terrorist seeks to destroy America and that the most dangerous terrorist of all lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

By Doug Thompson

08/22/05

Iraqis again fail to reach accord

BAGHDAD -- Shi'ite and Kurdish politicians beat a midnight deadline yesterday and submitted a draft constitution to Iraq's National Assembly, but lawmakers postponed voting on the document for three days in a final bid to gain the support of skeptical Sunni Arab leaders.

After months of negotiations and a one-week extension, lawmakers had been expected to either approve a draft constitution by yesterday, officially endorse another delay, or scrap the whole process and start over with new elections. Instead, visibly tired politicians muddled through to a half-resolution, presenting a document that left several key issues unsettled.

People who have viewed the document said it includes vague language weakening Iraq's strong central government, enshrining a federalist system, and addressing how oil revenue is to be split between Baghdad and the provinces.

Sunni Arab members of the drafting committee quickly rejected the Shi'ite-Kurd text, loudly denounced the process, and threatened to work against the document if the assembly endorses the current version and submits it to the public in an October referendum.

''This constitution is full of mines that are going to explode," Salah Mutlak, one of 15 Sunnis on the charter panel, said. ''The articles stipulated in this constitution will have grave consequences if they are submitted to a referendum. This constitution will lead to a weak Iraq that is unable to defend itself."

Full open enquiry into police shooting on London underground

Brazilian officials have said they do not believe there was a Scotland Yard cover-up over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.
But ambassador Manoel Gomes Pereira said he had been "perplexed" by leaks from the inquiry that contradicted early police and eyewitness reports.

He "completely" trusted the Independent Police Complaints Commission, he added.

The IPCC has said it will end its probe into the shooting this year. Mr Menezes died after being mistaken for a bomber.

The 27-year-old electrician was killed at Stockwell Tube station, south London, a day after the failed 21 July bombings.


What i think is most amazing about this story is a point that was picked up by the London evening standard today .

The enquiry has yet to begin but already in a similar way to how the right behave in america , the british right have already come forward warning that people should 'not be swayed by leftist influence into the enquiry' that 'people will try to use the enquiry for political gain' and other silly little attacks

The Enquiry has not started ! and the only political side i seen trying to gain from this is the right by making such comments

UN expert criticises UK terror plans

The BBC is reporting

UK plans to deport terrorism suspects to countries that may have committed human rights abuses in the past have been criticised by a UN expert.
The measure was one of those announced by Tony Blair in the wake of the July bombings of London's transport network.
Agreements will be sought to make sure returnees would not be tortured.

But Manfred Nowak, UN special rapporteur on torture, said such assurances were "not an appropriate tool to eradicate this risk".

In the past Mr Nowak has said the war on terror is undermining human rights.


read the rest of the article Here

Gaza , a rare story from the other side

In the breezy, far northwestern corner of the Gaza Strip, where the Mediterranean collides with golden sands and an in-sea barrier marking the border with Israel, there is a small Palestinian village.

Al-Siyafa, according to the residents of this area, was once a paradise with lush strawberry patches as far as the eye could see, guava and avocado trees that were the envy of every farmer, and citrus orchards that masked the salty coast humidity.

Now, it is a scorched, barren landscape that accommodates little more than the occasional wildflower.

For days, we have been bombarded with images of weeping settlers on our television stations. How hard it must be, we are told, for these settlers to give up the only homes many of them have ever known. How cruel and inhumane that they are being "forcefully evicted," children clutching dolls and mothers sobbing by their side.

But we do not hear of the village of al-Siyafa, sandwiched between the settlements of Dugit and Eli Sinai, their red-roofed, sea-front villas visible in the distance, safely set apart from their neighboring Palestinian village with barbed wire and acres of cleared earth.

It is for their sake, for their safety and pleasure, that this once flourishing land was cleared of its trees, and the Palestinians of their livelihoods.

In their name, millions of Palestinians' lives have been crippled, roads torn apart and sealed off, homes destroyed and Palestinians made homeless, hundreds of innocent lives lost, and acres of fertile farmland razed and annexed.

We do not hear of Um Ahmed al-Ghul, who lost her only son to the sniper tower that once overlooked this village, as he was picking mint leaves from their small garden.

Al-Siyafa has been turned into an open-air prison in recent years, sealed off from the rest of Gaza with barbed-wire fences, an Israeli sniper tower, tanks, and a complicated and arbitary permit-entry system for residents, all in the name of security for the settlements.

Residents have no access to health care inside their fenced-in village, no electricity, and no schools. In order to reach these facilities, they must pass through an Israel-imposed checkpoint, which opens at particular hours of the day, and often not at all.

But soon, the settlers will be gone. The red-roofs, the sniper towers, and the fences will gradually disappear. Gaza, we are told, will finally have the opportunity to thrive and prosper as an independent and free territory.

Or will it?

Just because the visible markers of occupation will be gone, it does not mean the occupation itself will end. Instead of controlling our lives from within, Israel will control our lives from without in a convenient, secure manner.

That is, after all, what disengagement was about: tactical maneuvering; isolating the Gaza Strip that Rabin hoped to wake up one morning and find swallowed by the sea; rendering a contiguous Palestinian state impossible and stopping a negotiated peace dead in its tracks.

In a few weeks, the Israeli army will simply be redeploying to outside of the Gaza border, taking control of Gaza's Palestinians like a prison warden in charge of his inmates.

Israel will also maintain its troop presence along the Philedelphi corridor in Rafah, where some 20,000 Palestinian lost their homes in a systemic policy of demolition to make way for this border buffer zone.

Where young children, like Iman al-Hims and Noran Deeb, lost their lives to an indiscriminate Israeli sniper.

Even the latest round of talks on the status of the Rafah crossing -- Gaza's only route to the outside world -- have been inconclusive.

Likewise, Palestinians will be unable to move freely to and from the West Bank. And without such a territorial link, a viable Palestinian economy, or state, is impossible.
Gazans' freedom of movement will continue, then, to be ultimately and arbitrarily controlled by the Israeli government.

But the story does not end there.

Two years ago, I wrote a long piece about al-Siyafa. In it were stern warnings from human rights experts that the neglected village was a model for what was to come in the West Bank. Al-Siyafa, and the Gaza Strip in it entirety for that matter, was a testing ground for Israel -- rather than getting your hands dirty, isolate Palestinian villages in the name of "security."

Now, weeks away from the end of disengagement, and two months away from the completion of the wall in the West Bank, we are closer to that reality than ever before.

The Wall, whose route was ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice last July, is annexing some 52% of Palestinian land, much of it slated for settlement expansion for the 420, 000-some Israeli settlers who continue to reside there illegally.

Once completed, experts warn that unemployment and poverty will surge in the West Bank, just as it did in Gaza.

The barrier will also complete the isolation of East Jerusalem, the Palestinian capital, from 3.8 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, like those in al-Siyafa, will be forced to endure the uncertainty of checkpoints on a daily basis to attend school or work or receive medical care.
Last week, I was interviewed by several radio stations on my thoughts on the withdrawal. Over and over I was asked, as a Palestinian mother and journalist, was I hopeful about what was to come?

The optimist -- and mother in me -- prompted me to say, "One must always be hopeful even in the face of fences and walls."
But I fear the reality may be otherwise.

My parents grew up with Israeli foot soldiers patrolling their streets and neighborhoods, barging into their homes, detaining and beating young boys arbitrarily in the middle of the night;

but they could travel freely to the West Bank, Jerusalem, and even Israel.

I grew up with soldiers cocooned in tanks and Apache helicopters that wreaked havoc upon refugee camps and residential neighborhoods; in armored bulldozers that turned my grandfather's farm into a wasteland; in sniper towers bellowing orders through loudspeakers, controlling my every move in and out of Gaza.

I do not want my son growing up in another phase of this occupation; I do not want him to have to describe how his life and his childhood was hijacked by an occupier he could not see.
Rather, I want him to grow up with the freedom to move; with freedom from fear; and ultimately, with the freedom to live.

Laila El-Haddad is a Palestinian mother and journalist based in the occupied Gaza Strip. She reports for AlJazeera's English website and Pacifica Radio in the United States

please note : by placing this article here i am NOT by definition endorsing all the views contained within , i post this article as a means to balance the purely one sided views we get from the media and allowing the other side of the debate to express its voice , as they should be equally allowed to do

Bush Compares War on Terror to World Wars

President Bush compared the fight against terrorism to both world wars and other great conflicts of the 20th century !

With the anti-war movement finding new momentum behind grieving mother Cindy Sheehan, Bush acknowledged the fighting in Iraq is difficult and dangerous. But he told the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention the fight is necessary to keep terrorists out of the United States.

As he did in last year's election campaign and more recently as war opposition has risen, Bush reminded his listeners of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 reciting the date five times in a 30-minute speech.

do people really believe this crap ?

how exactly is this war on iraq keeping terrorists out of America or London or Spain or Bali etc etc etc ?

Monday, August 22, 2005

This site ... again

This site will begin posting again soon , for those interested , I was going for a job that would have prevented me from running this site

I have decided to pull out of the job , so i am free again to post ,

it is good to be back

Sunday, August 14, 2005

This site

Due to other commitments , this site will not be updated for a while

If you would like to be a poster on this site then please email me from my profile

Update:

This site will not be updated for at least two weeks , maybe longer

pro-democracy teacher finally up for Gitmo release

An Egyptian-born teacher imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the past 3 1/2 years recently convinced the U.S. military that he is not an enemy combatant, but rather what he said he was: a pro-democracy English teacher swept up when the military seized fighters and suspected terrorists from the battlefields of Afghanistan.
In newly declassified records of statements to his attorney, Sami Al-Laithi said that as a result of his detention at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, he is now confined to a wheelchair with two broken vertebrae. He said military personnel and interrogators stomped on his back, dropped him on the floor and repeatedly forced his neck forward soon after his arrival at the prison.
He said he has been denied an operation that could save him from permanent paralysis and is being held at Camp V, a maximum-security wing of isolation cells reserved for the most uncooperative and high-value inmates, while he awaits transfer


This is barbarism," Al-Laithi said of his treatment in the statement. "Why, even if I was guilty, would they do this?"
"I am in constant pain," he continued. "I would prefer to be buried alive than continue to receive the treatment I receive. At least I would suffer less and die."
Al-Laithi said he was teaching English and Arabic at Kabul University when American troops began bombing Afghanistan in the fall of 2001, and was picked up by the U.S. military in Pakistan while trying to flee the assault. Soon after he was transferred to the prison in Cuba.
It is not disputed that Al-Laithi walked into Guantanamo and now must use a wheelchair. What is in question is the reason. Al-Laithi traces his disability to a day soon after his arrival at the prison when he was beaten by U.S. military personnel while at the prison hospital.
"Once they stomped my back," Al-Laithi wrote. "An MP threw me on the floor, and they lifted me up and slammed me back down. A doctor said I have two broken vertebrae and I risk being paralyzed if the spinal cord is injured more."
Laithi said his neck is also permanently damaged because Emergency Response Force teams at the prison repeatedly forced his neck toward his knees. He said the military also forced a large object into his anus on what his lawyer called the "pretext" of doing a medical exam.

"I know most prisoners had Americans put their fingers up their anuses, but with me it was far worse -- they shoved some object up my rectum," he wrote. "It was very painful."

Anti-war and pro-war protesters go to war

Dozens of anti-war demonstrators have squared off with counter-protesters near President Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch.
As protesters seeking the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq rallied Saturday, flag-waving Bush supporters, carrying signs in favor of the war, gathered across the street.

Authorities turned out in force to keep the two groups separated.
The protests come as the mother of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq remains encamped along a road near Mr. Bush's ranch, calling for a meeting with the president.

Cindy Sheehan says she is asking the president to tell her what her son died for since no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

Mr. Bush has said it would be a mistake to bring the troops home now. He reiterated that message Saturday in his weekly radio address.

Coalition Deaths so far

As of Saturday, Aug. 13, 2005, at least 1,847 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,431 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers. The figures include five military civilians.
The AP count is one higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated at 10 a.m. EDT Friday.
The British military has reported 93 deaths; Italy, 26; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 17; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Slovakia, three; El Salvador, Estonia, Thailand and the Netherlands, two each; and Denmark, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Latvia one death each.

Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 1,708 U.S. military members have died, according to AP's count. That includes at least 1,322 deaths resulting from hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

US Raids Suspected Chem Facility

I assume this is one that they didnt actually build .

(AP) -- U.S. troops raided a suspected insurgent chemical weapons factory in northern Iraq, finding about 1,500 gallons of dangerous substances, the U.S. military said Saturday.

Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a military spokesman, said 11 chemicals were found in the hideout in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, "which are dangerous by themselves, and mixed together they would become even more dangerous."

"Our feeling at this point is that had this stuff been mixed and used, it could have been very easily used against Iraqi and coalition forces," Boylan said.

The military cautioned in a statement, however, that ongoing testing at the facility was "insufficient to determine what the insurgents had been producing" and that further tests were required.
The U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003 to destroy Saddam's purported unconventional weapons of mass destruction. None were ever found.

U.S. arms investigators have said there was evidence that Iraqi resistance groups had tried to manufacture chemical weapons. The information was disclosed in the final report of Charles A. Duelfer's Iraq Survey Group, the account of its fruitless 18-month hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq

No conection in London bombings

The suicide cell that killed 52 people on 7 July is not linked to those alleged to be behind the second London attacks on 21 July, according to the initial findings of the biggest anti-terrorist investigation held in Britain.

An investigation into the four suicide bombers from the first attacks and the people alleged to be behind the July 21 plot has found no evidence of any al-Qa'ida "mastermind" or senior organiser. The inquiry involved MI5, MI6, the listening centre at GCHQ, and the police

The disclosure that the July 7 team were working in isolation - and were radicalised by Mohammad Sidique Khan, the oldest man - has caused concern among anti-terrorist officers.

Police and MI5 fear it increases the chance that more "self-sufficient" units similar to the July 7 suicide cell are hiding in Britain. Anti-terrorist officers are worried by the evidence that previously unknown "clean skin" terror cells are forming in Britain with little or no help from abroad.

The alleged plotters behind the July 21 bomb incidents in London are thought to have been "copycats", targeting Tube trains and a bus.

Read the rest Here

and i bet some people will still say "al-qaeda" did it

15 Dead after Military shooting in Iraq

Reuters) - An attack on a U.S. military patrol followed by U.S. gunfire left 15 Iraqis dead and 17 wounded in a town west of Baghdad, residents said on Saturday, but the U.S. military said it was not responsible.Residents of Nasaf, a town just outside the city of Ramadi, said a roadside bomb exploded next to a U.S. armoured patrol as it passed near the Ibn al-Jawzi mosque shortly after prayers on Friday.They said U.S. troops opened fire immediately after the explosion, shooting towards people emerging from the mosque.Munem Aftan, the director of Ramadi General Hospital, said 15 people were killed, including eight children, and 17 wounded.Pools of blood lay on the steps outside the mosque, and bullet holes marked its walls.

Iraqi civilians frequently complain that U.S. troops open fire wildly after they are attacked. The U.S. military says it does everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and is careful to respond to attacks in a measured fashion.Human rights groups have documented scores of cases in which civilians have been shot and killed after approaching U.S. military roadblocks too quickly, or not following instructions to keep away from U.S. military convoys as they pass

US attempts to block more abuse pictures

The US government is trying to stop fresh images of prisoner abuse in Iraq being made public, claiming they will aid the insurgency, court papers show.



US civil liberties groups have launched a lawsuit to force the release of 87 pictures and four videos showing abuse at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.

Earlier images sparked worldwide condemnation and resulted in charges against a number of soldiers.

The US argues the rest should stay hidden to avoid helping the insurgents.

It is "probable that al-Qaeda and other groups will seize upon these images and videos as grist for their propaganda mill," the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen Richard Myers, argues in court papers.

The civil liberties groups have submitted counter-arguments by a retired US army colonel, Michael Pheneger, who insists the public good would be served by publication of the images.

"The first step to abandoning practices that are repugnant to our laws and national ideals is to bring them into the sunshine and assign accountability," he wrote.

He also argued that the Iraqi insurgency would continue regardless of whether or not the pictures were published.

A district judge, Alvin Hellerstein, will decide whether the images should be released.

source BBC

Germany slams US over Iran

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has warned the US to back away from the possibility of military action against Iran over its nuclear programme.

His comments come a day after President Bush reiterated that force remained an option but only as a last resort.

Iran has resumed what it says is a civilian nuclear research programme but which the West fears could be used to develop nuclear arms.

Germany, France and the UK have led efforts to end the crisis peacefully.

Mr Schroeder directly challenged Mr Bush's comment that "all options are on the table" over the Iran crisis.
"Let's take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn't work," Mr Schroeder told Social Democrats at the rally in Hanover, to rapturous applause from the crowd.

Mr Schroeder said it remained important that Iran did not gain atomic weapons, and a strong negotiating position was important.

"The Europeans and the Americans are united in this goal," he said. "Up to now we were also united in the way to pursue this."

"This is why I can with certainty exclude any participation by the German government under my direction," Mr Schroeder tells the paper.

source BBC

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Todays 9/11 ' audio tapes' in full

Here are all the links to todays audio tape releases from the week of 9/11

"The histories, recorded in the weeks after the September 11th attack, offer some of the most detailed and intimate descriptions of the day's horror as seen through the eyes of the firefighters who made the iconic rush into the twin towers, and lost three hundred and forty-three of their brethren."

All links from CBS

All links require windows media player

CD1 CD2 CD3 CD4 CD5 CD6 CD7 CD8 CD10 CD11 CD12 CD13 CD14
CD15 CD16 CD17 CD18 CD19 CD20 CD22

CD 21 is not related

Friday, August 12, 2005

Israel could give up more W.Bank settlements

(Reuters) - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon raised the prospect on Friday that Israel could eventually uproot more settlements on occupied land after it evacuates its enclaves in Gaza and a pocket of the West Bank in coming weeks.

Sharon, in an interview with the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, reiterated that his "disengagement plan" was meant to strengthen Israel's hold on West Bank settlement blocs, which it intends to keep under any future peace deal with Palestinians.

However, asked about the fate of some of the more isolated West Bank settlements, Sharon said: "Not everything will remain. That issue will be raised during the final stage of negotiations with the Palestinians."

With five days to go before the start of Israel's eviction of Gaza settlers, Sharon's comments hinted at a softening of his stance against further withdrawals.
In the face of fierce rightist opposition to his pullout plan, Sharon has recently insisted he has no intention of giving up any more settlements beyond the 21 in Gaza and four of 120 in the West Bank scheduled for evacuation.

But a Sharon confidant said: "He has never ruled out that Israel would eventually have to give up some things -- but in the distant future when there is full peace and security."

Sunnis 'shocked' by Shiite call for autonomy

Iraq's ousted Sunni Arab elite expressed alarm Friday after the country's Shiite majority made a surprise move towards Kurdish-style autonomy, just days before a crucial deadline for agreement on a new constitution.

Thursday's call from leading Shiite politician Abdul Aziz al-Hakim for autonomy in Shiite areas of south and central Iraq angered Sunni Arab leaders who said it could derail the entire political process.

"We are shocked and scared by the demand for autonomy as expressed by my Shiite brothers," said Salah al-Motlag, a key Sunni member of the constitutional drafting committee.
"The timing of the demand is wrong with just three days left to go for the deadline. Such demands can delay the constitution and Iraq could be without a constitution for another year."

CIA finds Iranian president likely not hostage-taker

CNN

CIA report has determined with "relative certainty" that Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was not involved in the taking of U.S. hostages 26 years ago, three government officials told CNN on Friday.

The officials insisted on anonymity, saying they did not want to speak for the CIA about its report.

Another U.S. official said the tone of the report is that there is no evidence to date that the new Iranian president was among those who held U.S. diplomats hostage.

Pakistan tests cruise missile

Reuters

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan successfully tested its first nuclear-capable, ground-launched cruise missile yesterday without informing India in advance, a Pakistani military spokesman said.

Nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India reached an agreement last week to inform each other about missile tests but the spokesman, Major General Shaukut Sultan, said India was not told about the test because the new Babur missile is not a ballistic missile.

''We don't have to inform neighboring countries in this case. It is not a ballistic missile and it doesn't fall under the agreement," he said.

The Babur, which has a range of 310 miles, is a terrain-hugging missile that can avoid radar detection and strike with pinpoint accuracy, the military said.

''By conducting the successful test, Pakistan has joined a select group of countries which have the capability to design and develop cruise missiles," the military said in a statement.

Pakistan and India tested nuclear weapons in 1998

villagers say 'bomb killed civilians'

Associated Press

QALAT, Afghanistan -- Afghan villagers said yesterday that US warplanes had bombed houses, killing several civilians and wounding others, including an infant. US forces suffered their sixth fatality in a week amid rising violence.

Zabul Governor Ali Khail said that US-led coalition forces made ''a mistake" during operations against militants in the southern province and that civilians had died.

But the US military denied that civilians were at the scene of the fighting in Day Chopan district on Monday, and the district's police chief said Taliban insurgents had been hiding in the area. American officials said earlier that 18 suspected Taliban guerrillas and a US service member had been killed in the clash.

Another US service member died yesterday when militants ambushed a group of American military engineers near a road construction project in Paktika Province. Another service member was wounded.

The death was the sixth US fatality since Aug. 4 when three US forces were killed in military operations in eastern Afghanistan. On Tuesday, an American service member died in a roadside bomb.

The US Defense Department's website says at least 176 American troops have died in and around the country since Operation Enduring Freedom began in late 2001 to topple the Taliban regime. The Web posting was last updated Wednesday.
Two villagers at a hospital in Qalat, the capital of Zabul, said their home village of Rauf had been pounded by American bombs on Monday night and early Tuesday.

''The children were crying, and they were very afraid," said a weeping Sadia Bibi, 50. ''These planes killed my relatives. We are poor and innocent people. Why are they killing us?"

New York opens up 9/11 files

The city of New York has released thousands of fire department files from the attacks on the World Trade Center.
They include transmissions recorded on 11 September 2001 and testimonies from firefighters which were gathered later.

The city was forced to release the documents following a lawsuit filed by the New York Times, and supported by relatives of firefighters who died.

Records already published by the paper have raised questions whether some of the deaths might have been avoided.

More than 340 firefighters lost their lives on 11 September 2001. Many died after radio messages telling them to evacuate the north tower went unheard.

Last year a congressional inquiry into the attacks said there was a breakdown in communications between the emergency services.


for the full story goto the BBC

ACLU 'have 60,000 documents of US torture and abuse'

NEW YORK -- In legal papers unsealed today, the American Civil Liberties Union urged a federal court to order the release of photographs and videos that depict the abuse and torture of prisoners in U.S. custody at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The ACLU also asked the court to reject the government's attempt to file some of its legal arguments in secret.

"The ACLU shares everyone's deep concern about the dangers facing American soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "The actions depicted in these photos and videos demonstrate the failure of American leaders who placed our young men and women in compromising situations and are now seeking to blame them for it. The real shame here is that our leaders left our troops out on a limb and now they are hiding behind a veil of rank and government office to avoid accountability."

Romero noted that until the first photos of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib were made public in April 2004, the government had consistently denied that any wrongdoing had taken place despite news reports to the contrary. Since then, the ACLU has obtained through a court order more than 60,000 pages of government documents regarding torture and abuse of detainees.
Despite this evidence, the government continues to minimize the extent of the torture and to describe it as the action of a few rogue soldiers.

In response, the ACLU has called for an independent counsel with subpoena power to investigate the torture scandal, including the role of senior policymakers, and has filed a separate lawsuit to hold Secretary Rumsfeld and high-ranking military officers accountable

Thursday, August 11, 2005

todays 'last throws' 11th August

Source: ReutersBAGHDAD, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Thursday, Aug. 11, as of 1115 GMT.
U.S. and Iraqi forces are battling a Sunni Arab insurgency against the Shi'ite and Kurdish-led government in Baghdad.
THULUIYA - U.S forces killed two insurgents as they repelled a small-arms fire attack in the town of Thuluiya, 70km north of Baghdad, the U.S. army said.
Five people were arrested following the attack. There were no U.S casualties, the army said.
BAGHDAD - An Iraqi police officer was assassinated in western Baghdad's Mansour district as he was driving to work, a hospital official said.
BASRA - Iraqi army Lieutenant-Colonel Ibrahim Khalil al-Rawi was assassinated by gunmen in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, hospital officials said.
KIRKUK - The body of an Iraqi translator working for U.S forces was found in central Kirkuk after he was kidnapped by masked gunmen in the northern oil city of Kirkuk, police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Yadgar Mohammed said.

Not in my name


with all the recent opinion about muslims going around .. so often people miss what is being done by muslims and what is being said

so it is about time that sites like this were mentioned more often

Bush makes comment on Sheehan

CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush said Thursday he understands and respects the views of anti-war advocates like a California mother camped outside his Texas ranch to mourn her soldier son fallen in Iraq, but said it would be a mistake to bring U.S. troops home now.

"I understand the anguish that some feel about the death that takes place," Bush said.

"I also have heard the voices of those saying: 'Pull out now!' " he said. "And I've thought about their cry and their sincere desire to reduce the loss of life by pulling our troops out. I just strongly disagree."

Immediate withdrawal "would send a terrible signal to the enemy," the president said.

Cindy Sheehan has been camped along a road near Bush's ranch since Saturday, asking to talk to Bush about her son Casey and vowing to remain until his Texas vacation ends later this month. Casey was killed five days after he arrived in Iraq last year. He was 24.

"I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan," Bush said. "She feels strongly about her position, and she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America. She has a right to her position, and I thought long and hard about her position. I've heard her position from others, which is: Get out of Iraq now. And it would be a mistake for the security of this country and the ability to lay the foundations for peace in the long run if we were to do so."

9/11 Pentagon responds to claims of prior knowledge of Atta

The US Defense Department has provided an independent commission with information about an intelligence operation that a lawmaker said identified a hijacker a year before the attacks of September 11, 2001, a spokesman said.

But the spokesman said the Pentagon remains uncertain what level of detail was provided to the official commission that investigated the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon.

"We are looking into what information - and in what detail - was provided to the commission, but as I understand it, at least some of this information was provided," said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman.

"We are looking to better understand what information was developed and then what information was also provided to (the commission)," he said.

Asked whether there was knowledge of Mohammed Atta, the reputed leader of the September 11 hijackers, before the attacks, Whitman said: "We're looking further into it."

Multiculturalism is backed by 62% of Britains

This is a small survey but it seems we are not as racist as the terrorists and the far right would want us to be...

Another small step for common sense


Multiculturalism is backed by 62% of the population, who say it makes Britain a better place to live, according to new figures.

The Mori poll for the BBC found fewer Muslims than other groups think Britain is becoming less racially tolerant.

A total of 31% said they believed this was the case, compared with 39% of people generally.

According to another 31% of Muslims, we are becoming more tolerant, 32% have seen no change and 6% declined to answer or did not know.

In addition, the number of Britons who regard themselves as racially prejudiced has fallen from 30% in 2003 to 25% now.

The Mori poll on August 8 and 9 involved 1,004 adults as well as 204 booster interviews among Muslims.

But the poll also records mixed responses to questions about the integration of immigrant communities.

Nationally, 82% think immigrants who become British citizens should be made to learn English while 90% of Muslims think citizenship should require a knowledge of English.

IRAQI: IRAN SMUGGLING REPORTS EXAGGERATED

BAGHDAD, Iraq -

Iraq's interior minister said Wednesday that reports of deadly roadside bombs being smuggled into this country from Iran are exaggerated

On Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said some insurgent weapons are entering Iraq from Iran although it's unclear whether they were coming from elements of the Iranian government or from other parties.

Interior Minister Bayan Jabr told reporters that Iraqi security forces recently opened fire on a group of men carrying boxes near the Iranian border. The men dropped the boxes and fled back into Iranian territory. Inside the boxes were dynamite sticks with some wires.

"This is all that happened at the border and was very much exaggerated," Jabr said.

Appearing before parliament, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari dodged questions about the use of Iranian weapons by the insurgents. Al-Jaafari, who spent years in exile in Iran, referred questions to the interior and defense ministries.

Al-Jaafari was responding to a question by a Shiite Muslim legislator, Hussein al-Sadr, about U.S. allegations that weapons were coming in from Iran.

"Concerning me, I don't comment on reports especially if they are coming from abroad," al-Jaafari said. "It should not be that someone says something and we sit here and open a conversation about it. We have our own sources."

source (ap)

U.S. officials in Gitmo transfer talks

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States and at least 10 other nations are involved in negotiations that could drop the detainee population at Guantanamo Bay by 80 percent -- or 410 people -- within the coming months, State Department officials said.

Saudi Arabia and Yemen are among the countries in "various stages of discussion" with the Bush administration about the return of their citizens in the next two months, said the two U.S. officials who hold senior posts.

Last week the United States and Afghanistan announced an agreement on a similar transfer.

The United States has 510 detainees from 34 countries in custody at Guantanamo.

Citizens from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Yemen account for the majority of those detainees with 129, 110 and 107 respectively, the two U.S. officials said.

Detainees whom the United States considers "really bad guys" will remain in Guantanamo, the officials said, but in coming months the facility population could drop to about 100.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sheehan tells Hadley 'get that maniac out here !'

“That lying bastard, George Bush, is taking a five-week vacation in time of war,” Cindy Sheehan told 200 cheering members of Veterans For Peace at their annual convention in Dallas last Friday evening. She then announced she would go to Bush’s vacation home in nearby Crawford, Texas and camp out until he “tells me why my son died in Iraq. I’ve got the whole month of August off, and so does he.”

Sheehan left the VFP meeting on Saturday morning and is now in Crawford with a couple dozen veterans and local peace activists, waiting for Bush to talk with her. She said in Dallas that if he sends anyone else to see her, as happened when national security adviser Steve Hadley and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin did later that day, she would demand that “You get that maniac out here to talk with me in person.”

She told the audience of veterans from World War Two to today’s war in Iraq, that the two main things she plans to tell the man she holds responsible for son Casey’s death are “Quit saying that U.S. troops died for a noble cause in Iraq, unless you say, ‘well, except for Casey Sheehan.’ Don’t you dare spill any more blood in Casey’s name. You do not have permission to use my son’s name.”

“And the other thing I want him to tell me is ‘just what was the noble cause Casey died for?’ Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. We’re not freer here, thanks to your PATRIOT Act. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism,” she exclaimed.

“There, I used the ‘I’ word – imperialism,” the 48 year-old mother quipped. “And now I’m going to use another ‘I’ word – impeachment – because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail.”

Todays 'Last throws' from Iraq

BAIJI - Four U.S. soldiers were killed and six wounded late on Tuesday in an attack on a patrol near the oil town of Baiji, 180 km (115 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement on Wednesday. Police said two Humvee patrol vehicles and a larger armoured vehicle were wrecked.

MOSUL - Fifteen people were killed in separate incidents over the past 24 hours in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad. A police source said there were two policemen among the dead. They were gunned down while heading to work.

BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber killed six people and wounded 14 when he drove a car at a police patrol in the Ghazaliya district of western Baghdad, police and Interior Ministry sources said. Two of the dead and two of the wounded were policemen.

BAGHDAD - A mortar bomb exploded at an intersection in the capital's northern district of Aadhamiya, killing a traffic policeman and wounding six civilians, a police source said.

ISKANDARIYA - Two civilians were killed and another three were wounded when gunmen shot at their car near Iskandariya, 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, a police source said.

BAGHDAD - Police brigadier Khudhur Abbas al-Salih was kidnapped when he left his house in the capital's northern district of Raghiba Khatoun. A police source said the kidnappers had called his wife, asked for ransom and threatened to behead him if she did not pay.

RAMADI - Nine car bombs and 28 improvised bombs were discovered and 32 suspects were detained in operation Quick Strike in Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, a U.S. military statement said on Tuesday. The operation has ended.

HABBANIYA - A U.S. soldier was killed by small arms fire on Tuesday in the town of Habbaniya, west of Baghdad near Ramadi, a U.S. military statement said. * BAIJI - Gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by Iraqi army and police near Baiji, killing four soldiers and wounding four, including a civilian, police said.

Childish Theory

What we routinely misname a democracy (our form of government is a republic, not a democracy) evolved through the centuries from our mother country, the United Kingdom. It has taken hold nowhere else on the globe except in the English-speaking countries, not even on Continental Europe.
It is uniquely English, based on English common law.

One would have to be a moron or entirely ignorant of the Muslim world to expect that you could impose that system on Iraq at the point of a gun. There is such a striking absence of common sense in Washington that I sometimes think we ought to outsource the State Department to the Teamsters Union, and intelligence work to the Mafia. It would help if we moved the national capital to Fargo, N.D., where subzero temperatures might encourage Congress to do its work on time

to read the full article click Here

Are we losing ?

The U.S. military continues to try to shut down the Iraqi insurgents with "sweeps" of different towns or hotspots. Typically this is a reactive move following deaths of U.S. servicemen.

It takes time for the U.S. military to respond to any provocation, because the only way Americans will engage the enemy is from heavily armored vehicles with massive firepower. This calls for logistics, planning, and usually eliminates any possible use of stealth or rapid response to achieve tactical advantage. So, we see the U.S. running their sweeps into towns and villages or utilizing air strikes and bombings or artillery attacks -- after the fact, usually well after the fact of any insurgent activity.

This means that long after the militants are out of the building, the bomb strikes and killing non-combatants such as local families. Long after the insurgent tactical squads have evacuated a town or village, the tanks roll in and blast the smithereens out of any building from which fire was suspected two days earlier. Oops! More dead civilians. This farce of warfare is good for only one thing -- increasing recruitment for the insurgency. "Kill my cousin and now I kill you" is the understandable reaction of thousands of Iraqis now.

Talk about motivation!

The American way of warfare was designed to win huge land wars, such on the European theater against masses of Russians with huge tank armies. America needed massive firepower because of being outgunned in that potential theater of war.

In Iraq, America has the advantage in numbers of men AND firepower, but little room for maneuver and little initiative. Americans are on their heels and when they do try to take the initiative they fire into buildings long after the battle is over.

This war cannot be won by America.

Those 'pathetic' Iraqis just will not stand and fight toe to toe. For some strange reason, the Iraqis are fighting to win, not to meet American wishes and expectations. Every day that Americans are in Iraq fighting the insurgency is another day that George Bush is losing ground. Every death of an American soldier is a nail in the coffin of the American Empire.

And George Bush thought it would be easy! Mission Accomplished, George! George has lost some of that strut he used to use when walking across the aircraft carrier deck. His senior military officers are probably having a hard time looking him in the eye. Rumsfeld is a little less cocky these days, and Cheney is buried in his bunker thinking about nuking Iraq and Iran, because he has no other solution. American strategy is proving to be weak, and it all started when the Iraqis refused to sit still and be blown to smithereens.

Osama bin Laden in Iraq

Hey .. thats what it said .. anyway after the huge post on the MI6 agent i thought it better to lighten the mood .. so we go from the sensible to the stupid . I just picked up this story

U.S. troops in Iraq have seized documents suggesting al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is planning to enter Iraq during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to an Iranian news agency report.

Bin Laden's visit to Iraq during Ramadan, which this year begins in early October, would be part of an al-Qaida attempt to further destabilize the war-ravaged country and to lead a coup attempt against the government in Baghdad, the Mehr news agency said.

Citing a spokesman from the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah of Iraq, the report said that Americans soldiers found documents, apparently meant for internal use by an Iraqi al-Qaida affiliate, the Mujahadeen of the Land of Rafedin, mentioning bin Laden's planned visit.
The documents were reportedly seized in a house in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.


and if you believe that then you probably voted for George

Interview with former MI6 agent

Alastair Crooke is a former official with Britain's MI6 intelligence agency and I have picked up this recent interview with al-jazeera that makes fascinating reading .Considering his previous position it is probably fair to presume that his view mirrors that of MI6 and therefore makes the interview more interesting still. The fact that his views are not as extreme as those i so often come across is something of a comfort . Alastair spent many years in the Arab and Muslim world and engaged in dialogue with Hamas and Hizb Allah, as well as facing paramilitary forces and drug cartels in Latin America and militias in Africa. During this time, Crooke helped end the Israeli siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002 and worked to mediate the summer 2003 ceasefire between Palestinian armed groups and Israeli forces. So he knows his stuff , If only more people could see the bigger picture

How do you explain the apparent increase in bombings taking place around the world, most recently seen in London and Egypt? What is happening?

What I think we see is a division in views that is taking place. I think we have on the one hand groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hizb Allah who are trying to build a Muslim society, and to get a stake in society and in power, by working through the electoral process, by trying to work or to try to contrive the reforms that will allow them, if you like, from the bottom up, popular Islamism.
You see that very clearly taking place in Egypt, where there is a process of drawing on a popular desire to see elections, changes and reforms - and trying to mobilise that popular support in order to get a stake in power, whereby they can bring about the changes that conform with what their constituencies are looking to.
On the other hand, I think there is a different trend which sees the project of decolonisation after the last European war having been incomplete and having failed, and amongst some of this trend, you get the sense that you have to break the system in order to make the system. You've actually got to bring down the structures in order to start again.

That accommodation ultimately will fail because the West won't allow groups like Hamas, Hizb Allah and others to participate fully in the electoral process. So they are looking to another way of doing that, in which they are challenging, if you like, completing the process of decolonisation. They believe you have to pull the structure down and start again.

I think this dichotomy was elegantly described by Muqtada al-Sadr [a Shia Muslim cleric in Iraq] in a recent interview, in which he said, 'Look, there are some of my brothers who believe that by working with the provisional government, they can work to bring about an end to the occupation of Iraq. Well, I wish them luck with that, but I believe ultimately they will fail because the United States will not allow it. That is why I believe that first by resistance we must bring about the end of occupation, and only then will it be possible to create a state, a Muslim state, in Iraq'.

And I think that is something of the dilemma we are facing, that I think what we saw in Egypt is [both trends] taking place at the same time. On the one hand, you have the Muslim Brotherhood and the other groups working politically, challenging for power through the electoral process, and we see the bombs that took place in Sharm al-Shaikh - we don't yet know the full motivation - which may represent the other trend, which says, you've got to collapse the system before you can really rebuild a fair and just society.

You make a distinction between the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hizb Allah, and al-Qaida or al-Qaida related-groups, that are more global in their actions?

I think there is a big difference between the two, in that what you have is Hamas, Hizb Allah, Jammat Islamiya, Muslim Brotherhood and these groups.
They may be seen on the one hand through the optic of using resistance or violence, in support of their objectives, but these groups all favour elections, they look for reform, they're looking for constitutional change in their society, and that is an important difference between these groups and some of the other Salafi, Takfiri, extreme radical groups who are looking for polarisation.

So what does al-Qaida want?

Well, I'm afraid I'm one of those people in the West that thinks this title, al-Qaida, has become so overused and used so widely, that I mean that's it's impossible any longer to say.
I don't think there is that organisational structure that is so often presented in the West, but I think it is quite clear the main objective is the removal of Western armies from Muslim lands and an ability to create a just society in Muslim lands. But their methodology is very different.


This is to oversimplify it, but it has some objectives which were evident in 1998 [the year Osama bin Laden declared a fatwa calling on his followers to kill American nationals and allies of the US, and the year of the East Africa embassy bombings] which was about polarisation and radicalisation and a short circuiting of the route to an Islamic society by an act of "shock and awe" that would radicalise the ummah [global Muslim community] and bring about an instant change.

But for many Muslims and many groups - including the Islamists - they would say it has alienated much of the ummah by the type and nature of the violence that has been used to radicalise the situation. And also some would say that it has made the conditions for Muslims worse off because of "the war on terror".

And certainly, some groups might point to the situation of the Palestinians as an example and say it has greatly deteriorated. So what have these acts achieved?

Do you think America is waging the ''war on terror'' in an effective manner?

You have to go back and say, what is a war? "Terror" -whatever that means - I don't use that word because I don't think it's necessarily helpful to understanding what we're dealing with.
And certainly, if we are, it's why I prefer to use such words as political insurgency - an incipient political insurgency - because an insurgency is basically about psychology and politics and that's what we have been trying to understand, and that's what we have to deal with.
But I think there are two things that are very important to understand. One is that in dealing with the situation we have now, the first thing is the West often muddles together things that are so completely different. They group Hamas and Hizb Allah and put them in the same box and say all of this is "Islamist terrorism".
They couldn't be more poles apart. Just [recently] for example, I heard that there is an assassination list put out by some of these radical groups which contain Hizb Allah names on it, proposing that they should be assassinated. There is a world of difference between bunching them together - the struggle and the difference between [these] groups.

The other thing that is important to understand is we often talk about anger and hostility, but there is also a feeling in the West that it is just anger and hostility to the West and that, if only things settle down in Iraq and if Muslims are more educated and get a little bit more money, it will all go away and vanish and things will become stable again. I think that is to miss the point.

There is anger, and there is this hostility, but there is also beneath that a substantive critique of Western policies, of Western economic structures of our financial system, of our trade policy, of our development policy, of our foreign policies and also an alternative view of how a society should be. In other words, the challenge that they are not necessarily universal values. So I think we should just not regard this as a froth of anger that will be dissipated, if only a little more money and investment is poured into the [affected places].

I think the anger may diminish, but there beneath this, a substantive and real critique needs to be addressed by the West and not denied by them.

US President George Bush says that extremist groups like al-Qaida hate the democracy and values the West represents. Is this a correct view and understanding of what motivates such groups?

This is completely wrong. Muslims everywhere - and the polls underline this very clearly - reflect the same values: They do not hate our values, but they do hate our policies.

Polls show very clearly that Muslims support elections, they want popular participation in government. They want effective and good governance and they want reform. And these are the same values as European and American societies. Muslim values expressed in the polls represent no threat to our societies.

Perhaps they will look for a society that is underpinned with ethical values not only in a personal sphere but in an institutional sphere, and in a sphere of governance in order to avoid what they see as some of the weaknesses of a secular liberal democracy, but that is not a challenge, or an existential threat to our societies.

Why do you believe it is important to talk to groups that use such tactics as suicide bombings?

I don't want to imply that that is a condoning of these tactics, but what we are looking at is we are talking to those groups that have sometimes used political violence, but these are groups that should also be seen, on the other hand, [as groups] who do support elections, who do support positive reform and change, and who reflect significant Muslim constituencies. They have a real legitimacy. They clearly have many people who support their activities and vote for them and express their support. So they do have a real legitimacy, which the West must not sweep under the carpet and pretend it's not there.

With the other groups [such as al-Qaida], there is no indication of whether they have a clear legitimacy. Maybe some arguments that they make have some resonance, perhaps or not within the whole of Muslim societies, but some sectors of it. There's no formal way of judging the degree to which there is legitimacy for their views, as opposed to some ephemeral resonance that some arguments have within Muslim society, so there is a big difference, I believe. The other difference is, if they're looking for polarisation and radicalisation, then I'll doubt if they want to talk to anyone.

Should governments not take the principled stand that they should not negotiate with those who use such indiscriminate carnage?

We need to find the most effective way to break a cycle of violence and we need to address it in a number of ways. One of the clear things I'm saying is that once you look and understand that this is also about politics, it means we have to have a political approach, as well as a need to protect our societies too. Every society has to protect its citizens, that is the duty of a government.

But it is also important to look at it more widely and to understand possibly that by labelling and lumping together groups like Hamas and Hizb Allah and others that clearly are wanting to participate ... to try to deny them political space, to isolate and demonize them and disempower their discourse is the wrong way to go about it.

You have moderates and young people - even people here in the camps in Lebanon - who would say to their political leaders, "Look, see where your moderation has got you? See what you've succeeded in? Your still labelled a terrorist, you are still hunted down and killed and it has achieved for you nothing." If that continues, it would be not surprising if people - young people - will say there's no point [in positive participation].