Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Scott Ritter 'the United States will drop a nuclear bomb on Iran'

The former U.N. weapons inspector who said Iraq disarmed long before the U.S. invasion in 2003 is warning Americans to prepare for a war with Iran.

"We just don't know when, but it's going to happen," Scott Ritter said to a crowd of about 150 at the James A. Little Theater last Sunday night.

Ritter described how the U.S. government might justify war with Iran in a scenario similar to the buildup to the Iraq invasion. He also argued that Iran wants a nuclear energy program, and not nuclear weapons. But the Bush administration, he said, refuses to believe Iran is telling the truth.

He predicted the matter will wind up before the U.N. Security Council, which will determine there is no evidence of a weapons program. Then, he said, John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, "will deliver a speech that has already been written. It says America cannot allow Iran to threaten the United States and we must unilaterally defend ourselves."

"How do I know this? I've talked to Bolton's speechwriter," Ritter said.

Ritter also predicted the military strategy for war with Iran. First, American forces will bomb Iran. If Iranians don't overthrow the current government, as Bush hopes they will, Iran will probably attack Israel. Then, Ritter said, the United States will drop a nuclear bomb on Iran.

The only way to prevent a war with Iran is to elect a Democratically controlled Congress in November, said Ritter, a lifelong Republican. He later said he wasn't worried his advice would be seen as partisan because, "It's a partisan issue." He said the problem is oneparty government and if Democrats controlled the presidency and Congress, he would advise people to elect Republicans.

Read more at the source.

Now we could say this is accurate. We could also attack it by saying Mr Ritter is just trying to push forward his new book.We could suppose that both those things are true or even that both are false. But the subject matter is mass genocide and that is far to serious to just ignore. Mr Ritter is claiming that the US will attack another sovereign nation without international law or the international community on their side again and he is mentioning a scenario where the US will launch a nuclear attack upon a country that has not used such barbaric weapons against anyone.

Nobody should gloss over such a claim (whether it be true or false) especially when the consequences of such an attack on Iran would be a swift and immediate response from Russia and China. Attacking Iran in this way would not be the end of a sentence but the beginning of a paragraph that would not just kill millions in the Middle East but would very likely end up wiping out the very people who were so keen to start such an unprovoked attack in the first place.

Please read our comment rules if you wish to give us your opinion on this article.

Spot o' fun episode 217

Here's a funny video on the light arms trade.

No Bravery

A very moving anti-war presentation set to the music of James Blunt. Warning some of the images in this 4 min movie are distressing and show the reality of war. If you are not used to seeing such Images or you are sensitive to Images of what war is really like then I would advice you NOT to watch this clip.

For those that are still with us you can watch the clip here

31 Days in Iraq

New York Times : In January more than 800 people — soldiers, security officers and civilians — were killed as a result of the insurgency in Iraq.

While the daily toll is noted in the newspapers and on TV, it is hard for many Americans to see these isolated reports in a broader context.

The map, based on data from the American, British and Iraqi governments and news reports, shows the dates, locations and circumstances of deaths for the first month of the yearGiven the fog of war, the information may be incomplete. Nonetheless, it is our effort to visually depict the continuing human cost of the Iraq war.

My source : ICH

Russian foreign minister : Do Not Threaten Tehran

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday warned world powers against threatening Iran and said the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program must be resolved through negotiations.

"I think that at the current stage, it is important not to make guesses about what will happen and even more important not to make threats," Lavrov said at the start of a two-day visit to Athens. Lavrov was responding to a request for his reaction to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's comments to a German newspaper that a military option for dealing with Tehran should be kept open.

"What we must underline is that these are the decisions of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN Security Council has been informed and will not take any action in the immediate future," Lavrov said after talks with Greek counterpart Petros Molyviatis.

Source: Moscow Times

Monday, February 06, 2006

Saddam trial: Evidence may not be enough to get conviction

After four months and 26 witnesses, prosecutors in the Saddam Hussein trial have offered little credible testimony directly linking the former leader to the killings and torture for which he's charged.

But legal experts familiar with the case say the best may be yet to come documents allegedly tying Saddam to the crackdown that followed an assassination attempt against him 23 years ago in Dujail, a mainly Shiite town north of Baghdad.

Without compelling evidence, a guilty verdict against Saddam may not provide closure for victims of Saddam's atrocities. But the experts caution that the documents which include hand written notes, interrogation orders and death sentences handed down by the Revolutionary Court may not alone be enough to win a conviction.

What is needed, they said, is to establish a clear chain of command that would show Saddam would have known what happened to the more than 140 Shiites killed and the others tortured after the 1982 attempt on the former ruler's life in Dujail, north of Baghdad.

The evidence to date mostly testimony from people who were arrested and allegedly tortured has pointed to a brutal crackdown but has not showed that Saddam played a direct role. Saddam and the seven co-defendants, charged in the Dujail killings, could face death by hanging if convicted.

"The testimonies we have heard so far are moving but they are not enough and that's causing us concern," said Nehal Bhuta, a Human Rights Watch lawyer following the Saddam trial. "What is needed is evidence linking each of the eight defendants to what happened or evidence that Saddam could not have not known," he said by telephone from New York.

But the chief prosecutor maintains that he has the evidence to win a conviction that will be accepted not only by those Iraqis who are eager to see Saddam hang but also international legal institutions that have been skeptical of an Iraqi trial from the start.

Source and further reading here. (3 pages)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Rumsfeld Likens Chavez's Rise to Hitler

US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld likened Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Adolf Hitler, reflecting continuing tension in relations between the United States and the Latin American government.

Rumsfeld, asked during a National Press Club appearance Thursday about indications of a deteriorating general relationship between Washington and parts of Latin America, said he believes such a characterization "misses the mark."

"We saw dictatorships there. And then we saw most of those countries, with the exception of Cuba, for the most part move towards democracies," he said. "We also saw corruption in that part of the world. And corruption is something that is corrosive of democracy."

The secretary acknowledged that "we've seen some populist leadership appealing to masses of people in those countries. And elections like Evo Morales in Bolivia take place that clearly are worrisome."

"I mean, we've got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money," Rumsfeld added. "He's a person who was elected legally _ just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally _ and then consolidated power and now is, of course, working closely with Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales and others."

Source : Here

Well Mr Chavez it seems you have joined a long queue of people that Mr Rumsfeld compares to Hitler including 'Mr 'living dead' Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the one legged claimed leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

I wonder if Mr Rumsfeld merely wanted his Venezuelan friend to join him in the 'we have been compared to Hitler and we didn't even get a lousy T-Shirt' club for North Korea have already compared Donald Rumsfeld to Hitler and so have many others.

Maybe it works on a points system and the world is fighting it out to see whom can be compared to Adolf Hitler the most. Republicans do it, Democrats do it, even an Arch Bishop has been known to compare someone to Hitler. But one thing is for sure, nobody on this planet has been compared to Hitler more frequently then George W Bush.

So it looks like your going to have to work much harder Mr Chavez. Your clearly not annoying enough people if you have any desires on the title.

FBI : No Al Qaeda agents arrested in US since Sept 11th

WASHINGTON - The National Security Agency's secret domestic spying hasn't nabbed any Al Qaeda agents in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress yesterday.

Mueller told the Senate Intelligence Committee that his agents get "a number of leads from the NSA," but he made it clear Osama Bin Laden's henchmen weren't at the end of the trail.

"I can say leads from that program have been valuable in identifying would-be terrorists in the United States, individuals who were providing material support to terrorists," Mueller testified.

His assessment of the controversial NSA snooping appeared to undercut a key claim by President Bush. As recently as Wednesday, Bush defended bypassing courts in domestic spying by insisting that "one of the people making the call has to be Al Qaeda, suspected Al Qaeda and/or affiliate."

The committee's chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), let slip that one disrupted plot involved Iyman Faris' scheme to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge. "I think as to the number of lives that have been saved, it might have been how many were on the Brooklyn Bridge if it had blown up," Roberts said.

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official later told the Daily News that the NSA program was used after Faris agreed to cooperate in the investigation but "that was not what initiated it."

Source : Here

Venezuela expels US naval 'spy'

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he is expelling a US official accused of spying with Venezuelan officers. The naval attache at the US embassy, John Correa, would be forced to "leave immediately", Mr Chavez said in a speech to mark seven years in power.

US officials said the charges were baseless and Captain Correa had left for medical treatment and a holiday.

Source : Here

This story is a few days old but this is the first chance I have had to post it. Is it true ? Well we will see if Mr Correa returns to Venezuela after his 'holiday' somehow I doubt he will.

IAEA Board Passed Resolution on Iran.

The IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution requesting the IAEA Director General to report to the UN Security Council all IAEA reports and resolutions, as adopted, relating to the implementation of safeguards in Iran.

The resolution does not in any way claim that Iran is actually building a bomb as many people would think. Just that the world wishes for more translucency from the Iranians on the matter. (read the full resolution for yourself here pdf file.)

In fact the exact wording of the resolution describes a "lack of confidence" in Iran's intentions. It does seem a rather strange charge to put before the UN security council for it is hard to see how a "lack of confidence" can be classified as a crime.

George Bush has reacted with pleasure to the announcement by the IAEA but he echoed the sentiments of his recent State of the Union address to Congress, saying the IAEA vote would not affect Iran's right to civilian nuclear power. "Iran's true interests lie in working with the international community to enjoy the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy," he said.

The Iranians have reacted strongly as expected by saying it will no longer allow snap inspections of its nuclear sites. However, an Iranian diplomat said that the president could only make such an order after a letter expressing Iran's intention had been received by the International Atomic Energy Agency at its headquarters in Vienna. Such a letter was due to be delivered late last night.

Javad Vaidi, head of the Iranian delegation to the IAEA, said the "resolution is politically motivated since it is not based on any legal or technical grounds" and announced Teheran's defiant response.

It appears from wording of the IAEA resolution that Iran has not in fact broken any rules of NPT and there is still absolutely no evidence that Iran is engaging in any desire to create a nuclear weapon. The Iranians have now reacted by refusing to continue to implement the voluntary additional protocol which as stated is voluntary.

The resolution was backed by 27 countries on the 35-member board, including Russia and China. Five abstained and the only dissenting voices were Syria, Cuba and Venezuela.

Military options against Iran by the UN security council seem to be almost non existent and sanctions would hurt the west as much as Iran by possibly pushing the price of oil above 100 dollars a barrel not to mention the potential damage to any chance of a peaceful conclusion to the charade in Iraq. So it seems the effort is more symbolic than productive. Sanctions will not be implemented as China will not support any move towards sanctions and the Chinese having a veto over any resolution will make the whole event nothing more than a television spectacle that has the potential to create more problems for the West and push the Iranians further into isolation than they already are.

Some basic questions and answers about the IAEA ruling and the current stand off between Iran and the West can be found here

Judge Orders Padilla's Shackles Removed

U.S. officials who want terror suspect Jose Padilla to wear handcuffs and ankle chains during open court appearances must first show he poses a direct safety threat, a federal judge said Friday.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke made the statement after Padilla appeared in the shackles for his first appearance before her since his transfer in January from military custody as an alleged al-Qaida "enemy combatant" to a criminal defendant. "At some point in time, people have to be able to write, take notes," Cooke said. "No handcuffs in court, please."

Padilla and four others are charged with conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists for allegedly operating a North American cell providing finances, recruits and supplies.

The handcuff exchange underscored the difference for Padilla between his 3 1/2 years in U.S. military custody and the due process protections afforded by the justice system. The case is scheduled to go to trial in early September and could take about six months.

Only Padilla and co-defendant Adham Amin Hassoun were in court for Friday's status hearing, and both wore handcuffs attached to a waist chain as well as ankle chains, something Hassoun had not done in previous hearings.

Cooke asked prosecutors for an explanation, saying the defendants have "always been respectful, polite and courteous." The prosecutors cited Marshals Service policy. Hassoun's lawyer, Kenneth Swartz, said he was told the shackles were ordered because of Padilla's high profile.

President Bush designated Padilla as an "enemy combatant" in June 2002, a month after he was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on allegations that he was on an al-Qaida terrorist mission. The government dropped that designation in November, leading to a grand jury indictment on criminal charges.

The Supreme Court is considering whether to take up Padilla's case arising from that long military detention, which would test whether a U.S. president may order unlimited detention without trial during wartime for U.S. citizens.

Source : Here

How I stalked my girlfriend

For the past week I've been tracking my girlfriend through her mobile phone. I can see exactly where she is, at any time of day or night, within 150 yards, as long as her phone is on. It has been very interesting to find out about her day.

Now I'm going to tell you how I did it.First, though, I ought to point out, that my girlfriend is a journalist, that I had her permission ("in principle ...") and that this was all in the name of science, bagging a Pulitzer and paying the school fees. You have nothing to worry about, or at least not from me.

Continue reading this rather worrying article at the Source.

I was actually looking at the website that offers this feature to people in the UK yesterday and I am pleased to see the dangers and potential abuse of such a web site are being noticed in the wider press.

What Would Jesus Do?

A rather interesting article from Information Clearing House on the perspective Remi Kanazi has on the Mohamed cartoon issue that everyone in the Blogosphere seems to have already debated to the point of saturation.

Picture this: A cartoon of Jesus, with his pants down, smiling, raping a little boy. The caption above it reads “Got Catholicism?” Or how about a picture of a Rabbi with blood dripping from his mouth after bludgeoning a small Palestinian boy with a knife shaped like the Star of David—the caption reads “The Devil’s Chosen Ones.”

I wonder if people around the world would just consider this free speech? Of course, some would condone or agree with one, two or all three, while others would say “it’s free speech,” although they “find it offensive and in poor taste.” But do you honestly think media outlets such as the BBC, Le Monde, or any media outlet in Copenhagen would pick up these cartoons? The outrage would begin instantly and advertisers would pullout. Yet, those in Denmark and their supporters around Europe call it freedom of speech to have a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed—who is not supposed be depicted to prevent idolatry according to clerical interpretation of the Koran—with a turban shaped like a bomb on his head.

The double standard the West has set for the rest of the world is disgusting. We live in a foolish bubble where we think we are free to say or do whatever we want without consequence. I remember watching Saturday Night Live when Sinead O’Connor ripped up a picture of the Pope. The furor was enormous, which led to NBC receiving a 2.5 million dollar fine by the Federal Communications Commission. Imagine if it was a picture of Jesus—the US Congress would have made the Teri Schiavo intervention look like a joke.

Where are the pictures of the dead soldiers, the dead women and children in the Western media? Some governments won’t allow it and other media outlets just fear the backlash. When I need journalistic honesty, I have to turn to Al Jazeera, why is that? One cannot even deny the Holocaust in Europe, question 9/11 in America (unless you want the Ward Churchill treatment), but the West claims they’re all about free speech.

It is no coincidence the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is grossly pro-Israeli. It is no coincidence that you never heard the full quotes of Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s comments on Israel and the Holocaust—no matter the basis. And it is no coincidence that Arab analysts who are against the war in Iraq, the occupation of Palestine, and America’s “war on terror” are insufficiently represented in the European press.

So what are Muslims to do? Violence is out of the question—that would be “an overreaction.” So why not boycott? That would be a mistake as well, according to the European Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini who stated, “Calls for boycotts or for restraints on the freedom of the press are completely unacceptable.” What Frattini meant to say is that Muslims should choose capitalism over faith. Maybe the European Union will clarify through a cartoon—Mohammed selling the Koran for ten bucks in a Danish pawn shop. But boycotting is a friend of the West. However, they more conveniently title it “sanctions.” I’m sure we all remember the 500,000 Iraqi women and children that died because of the UN boycotts on Iraq after the first Gulf War.

Is Europe is willing to continue this new trend against boycotts? Will the European community call on Israel to show Paradise Now in non-independent theatres? It’s the only way to stop the boycott of Palestinian freedom of speech. Will the European Union resume aide to the Hamas-led Palestinian government tomorrow? Since Hamas’ call for the destruction of Israel is protected under the clause of freedom of speech and the group stopped suicide attacks 18 months ago, it only seems logical.

If Denmark, Norway, France, Germany and the rest of Europe believe in the freedom of speech, it should include all instances and all religions. These nations are carelessly defending their hypocrisy and reinforcing the double standard that alienates Muslims and desecrates the Muslim faith, under the guise of free speech. I guess only one question remains for small Norwegian Christian newspapers like Magazinet that reprinted the cartoons: What would Jesus do?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Plot to drag Iraq into War

From the Independent via Common Dreams:

George Bush considered provoking a war with Saddam Hussein's regime by flying a United States spyplane over Iraq bearing UN colours, enticing the Iraqis to take a shot at it, according to a leaked memo of a meeting between the US President and Tony Blair.

The two leaders were worried by the lack of hard evidence that Saddam Hussein had broken UN resolutions, though privately they were convinced that he had. According to the memorandum, Mr Bush said: "The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach."

He added: "It was also possible that a defector could be brought out who would give a public presentation about Saddam's WMD, and there was also a small possibility that Saddam would be assassinated." The memo damningly suggests the decision to invade Iraq had already been made when Mr Blair and the US President met in Washington on 31 January 2003 ­ when the British Government was still working on obtaining a second UN resolution to legitimise the conflict.

The leaders discussed the prospects for a second resolution, but Mr Bush said: "The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway." He added that he had a date, 10 March, pencilled in for the start of military action. The war actually began on 20 March.

Mr Blair replied that he was "solidly with the President and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam." But he also insisted that " a second Security Council resolution would provide an insurance policy against the unexpected, and international cover, including with the Arabs" .

Egyptian ferry sinks with 1300 on board

An Egyptian ferry carrying more than 1,300 people has sunk in the Red Sea, Egyptian maritime officials say. Lifeboats and bodies have been seen, the officials said.

The al-Salam Boccaccio 98 disappeared shortly after leaving the port of Duba in Saudi Arabia on Thursday evening, bound for Safaga in southern Egypt. The ship was last recorded to be 100km (62 miles) from Duba. Rescue vessels and helicopters are searching the area, but the weather is said to be poor.

Most of the passengers are said to be Egyptians working in Saudi Arabia but some are thought to be pilgrims returning from Mecca. The 6,650-tonne al-Salam Boccaccio 98 is owned by the Egyptian company, el-Salam Maritime Transport.

The head of administration at el-Salam Maritime Transport, Adel Shukri, said he was not aware of any SOS from the crew.

Source : BBC

There are no suspected links to Terrorism at the time of posting.

Flamey McGassy

Your guide to global warming by Flamey McGassy. Another great animation from Mark Fiore

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sadr’s militia and US forces clash in heavy gun battle

Four Iraqis were killed in a heavy gunfight that broke out before dawn Thursday reportedly between the Mehdi Army militia of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr and US forces in Baghdad's Sadr City.

A US military spokesman said fighting began around 1:00 am (2200 GMT Wednesday) when the coalition forces came under attack during a raid in the poor, predominantly Shiite Baghdad district."The coalition forces conducted a raid in Sadr City to search for a known terrorist from Ansar al-Sunnah group," the spokesman said.

"Ater conducting the raid one of the helicopters of the coalition forces came under fire from some men on a nearby rooftop following which another helicopter of the coalition forces returned fire to eliminate the threat in which four individuals were killed."

He did not say whether the four were members of the Mehdi Army, though an interior ministry official said the fight was between US forces and the Mehdi Army.

The official added that a woman was killed in the fighting.

Sadr's militia and the US military have often clashed in the past, most dramatically in August 2004 when the fiery cleric waged a bloody rebellion in the Shiite holy city of Najaf in which hundreds of his men were killed.

Source : Here

What does Hamas want? : Open letter from leading Hamas politician

This is an open letter written by Muhammad Abu Tir, a Hamas politician and former militant. I neither endorse or refute this letter I am just printing it as found. What does Hamas want? Abu claims they are eager to engage with the West, if not Israel.

My message to the West—to America, to Europe, to everybody—is this:

Hamas wants peace. We hate bloodshed and killing. We don't want to fight. There is a verse in the Qur'an that says whoever kills one soul kills all souls. And whoever brings life to people brings life to a nation.

Our problem is with the Israeli occupation. Israelis are killing our children. The West has been oppressive, too. You are biased toward Israel. You support Israel. You are capable of telling Israel, "Enough." You are capable of telling Israel to withdraw. Why is the West concerned about the security of Israel and not concerned about our security?

Stop your support for Israel. Stop calling us terrorists. This policy creates a feeling of oppression. The feeling of oppression can lead to disaster. I don't want to reach that stage. If the United States were occupied, would the people put up with such a situation? In World War II, when the Japanese planes hit Pearl Harbor, America was not quiet. It reciprocated by hitting Japan with a nuclear bomb. Just be fair with us.

The European Union and America should cooperate with us. We have ways of creating understanding among our people. We are facilitators, helpers, aides. The presence of Hamas is a guarantee of safety and stability in the region. Any money that is given to us will be channeled to the correct path. It's better than giving your money to greedy people. The poor have never seen that money whatsoever; it goes only to the swollen bellies. We are honest people. Whatever money we receive, it will go to that purpose. We would use it for education, for social work, for establishing infrastructure, for health institutions, for poor people, for orphans. It would go to the lower levels of society.

Don't be afraid that we'll use the money to buy arms. We can always find arms on the black market. It is obvious that we have built our military infrastructure in that way. Our weapons are the only guarantee of our existence. If a proper Palestinian state were established, then all the militias would melt inside the Palestinian Army.

We are open to the world. But the PLO has negotiated with Israel for 30 years. And what did Israel do? It did not reciprocate. Shimon Peres has said that if Hamas gives up its arms, we will negotiate. They have said the same thing to the PLO before. Does Shimon Peres want another 30 years for us to negotiate with them? We would be happy to work under the Irish model. But is Israel prepared to respect our political wing? Is Israel ready for such a formula?

The West has nothing to fear from Hamas. We're not going to force people to do anything. We will not impose Sharia. Hamas is contained. Hamas deals only with the Israeli occupation. We are not Al Qaeda.

Source : Here

Please read our Comment Rules if you wish to give us your view on this article.

Translating the Emperor’s Speech

Although not quite as slickly eloquent as Willy before him, Dubya, like his predecessor, is proficient and experienced in the art of speaking one thing and meaning another.

Just as often, he makes statements more flowery than they have to be, possibly intentionally so as to make what he’s saying sound less aggressive than if you were to cut away the extraneous poetry to reveal the plain meaning of his words. Below are highlights from his State of the Union speech, translated into clear and candid English.

Read the translation here

A spot o' fun

onegoodmove has a video from The Colbert Report that is so funny, you'll think your watching a real conservative "journalist." It's worth a look.

Defendants boycott Saddam trial

The trial of Saddam Hussein and seven others has resumed without any of the defendants in court. Proceedings had been delayed for two hours on Thursday morning as the eight defendants issued a boycott threat.

Only three sat in court on Wednesday. The defence says the new Kurdish chief judge is biased and is determined to deliver a guilty verdict. Defence lawyers have refused to appear as well, with the court appointing counsel to take their place.

After hearing that the judge was allegedly tortured by Saddam's security agents I really thought this trial could not get any more ridiculous. I was wrong. Today the circus went one better. No defendants or defence lawyers at all !

I suppose they could go one better and just send everyone home, they might as well.

Canuck hunting season opens in Iraq

Guess I better head down to Crappy Tire and pick me up a camo toque to deke out these hosers, eh. [Sorry, I still carry Canadian passport, so I couldn't resist.]

From AFP via Common Dreams:

The US military shot at the Canadian ambassador's car in Baghdad but no-one was hurt in the "unfortunate incident," a US State department official said.

"There was an incident involving the (US) military and the Canadian ambassador's car today," a State Department official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. "They shot on it."


Four passengers were riding in the vehicle, including Stewart Henderson, Canada's charge d'affaires in Iraq, when US soldiers fired on it "after it reportedly wouldn't stop," Canada's CTV News reported.

The vehicle was apparently travelling alone in the heavily fortified Green Zone when it came across an American military convoy and tried to pass it, the report said.

Members of the US Army's 4th Infantry Divisions gave the driver hand signals to stop. When the car did not, they shot over it, then at it.

"Finally they plugged the car with three rounds. Two went through the hood into the engine block. One shot went through the lower part of the windshield," CTV said.

Pakistan : Amnesty anger at innocent civilians killed by CIA drone

Amnesty International today wrote to US President George Bush to express its concern that between 13 and 18 people were killed on 13 January 2006, when missiles were fired into three houses in Damadola in Bajaur Agency, a federally administered tribal area. Reports indicate that “Hellfire” missiles were fired from an unmanned Predator drone probably operated by the CIA.

Their intended target appears to have been Ayman al-Zawahiri, a high ranking al- Qa’ida operative, who was not reportedly amongst the dead. In the letter Amnesty International said it was concerned that a pattern of killings carried out with these weapons appeared to reflect a US government policy condoning extrajudicial executions. Amnesty International reiterated to the US President that extrajudicial executions are strictly prohibited under international human rights law. Anyone accused of an offence, however serious, has the right to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty and to have their guilt or innocence established in a regular court of law in a fair trial.

The fact that Pakistan and the USA closely cooperate on security issues and that the USA believed they knew the location of suspects, suggests that it may have been possible to attempt to arrest the suspects in order to bring them to trial. The failure to attempt such arrest points to a policy of elimination of suspects and a deliberate disregard of the duty to prosecute in a fair process. In addition, the fact that air surveillance, witnessed by local people, took place for several days before the attack indicates that those ordering the attack on the basis of this information were very likely to have been aware of the presence of women and children and others unconnected with political violence in the area of the attack.

Reports about the identity of the victims remain confused. While the Government of Pakistan has regretted the deaths of “18 innocent local people”, the head of the Bajaur administration said that up to five foreign militants had been killed and their bodies had been removed by associates. Security officials were subsequently quoted in Pakistani media as saying that the dead included Abdur Rehman al-Maghribi, the Moroccan son-in-law of al-Zawahiri, Midhat Mursi al-Sayid 'Umar, an Egyptian explosives expert, and Abu Obaidah al-Masri, al-Qa'ida's chief of operations in Afghanistan's Kunar province.

As no bodies were produced other than those of non-militant victims, it is unclear on what basis this identification was made. Pakistani journalists who interviewed local people said that the victims were all civilians, including five women, five children and eight men and that reports of militants killed in the attack were intended to justify an attack based on faulty intelligence. Member of the National Assembly for Bajaur Haroon ur-Rashid, who was in the area at the time of the attack, said he had known all the victims personally and categorically denied reports of bodies of militants being taken away. On 22 January Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said that there was “no tangible physical evidence” of militants having been killed in the attack.

Continue reading the report at Amnesty International

AT&T sued over NSA spy program

AT&T has been named a defendant in a class action lawsuit that claims the telecommunications company illegally cooperated with the National Security Agency's secret eavesdropping program.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in San Francisco's federal district court, charges that AT&T has opened its telecommunications facilities up to the NSA and continues to "to assist the government in its secret surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the suit, says AT&T's alleged cooperation violates free speech and privacy rights found in the U.S. Constitution and also contravenes federal wiretapping law, which prohibits electronic surveillance "except as authorized by statute." Kevin Bankston, an EFF staff attorney, said he anticipates that the Bush administration will intervene in the case on behalf of AT&T. "We are definitely going to have a fight with the government and AT&T," he said.

AT&T said Tuesday that it needed to review the complaint before it could respond. But AT&T spokesman Dave Pacholczyk told CNET News.com last week in response to a query about NSA cooperation: "We don't comment on matters of national security."

A Los Angeles Times article dated Dec. 26 quoted an unnamed source as saying the NSA has a "direct hookup" into an AT&T database that stores information about all domestic phone calls, including how long they lasted.

If the Bush administration does intervene, EFF could have a formidable hurdle to overcome: the so-called "state secrets" doctrine. The state secrets privilege, outlined by the Supreme Court in a 1953 case, permits the government to derail a lawsuit that might otherwise lead to the disclosure of military secrets.

Source: here

The New Geopolitics

The war in Iraq has reconfigured the global geopolitical landscape in many ways, some of which may not be apparent for years or even decades to come. It has certainly altered the U.S. relationship with Europe and the Middle East. But its impact goes well beyond this. More than anything else, the war reveals that the new central pivot of world competition is the south-central area of Eurasia.

Continue reading here

An in depth and interesting article.

Iran's president lashes out at Bush

Iran's president lashed out Wednesday at the United States and vowed to resist the pressure of "bully countries" as European nations circulated a draft resolution urging that Tehran be brought before the U.N. Security Council for its nuclear activities.

In a speech to thousands of supporters hours after President Bush's State of the Union address, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad derided the United States as a "hollow superpower" that is "tainted with the blood of nations" and said Tehran would continue its nuclear program.

"Nuclear energy is our right, and we will resist until this right is fully realized," Ahmadinejad told the crowd in the southern Iran city of Bushehr, the site of Iran's only nuclear power plant. "Our nation can't give in to the coercion of some bully countries who imagine they are the whole world and see themselves equal to the entire globe," he added. The crowd responded with chants of "Nuclear energy is our right!"

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said at a news conference that the Islamic republic would halt intrusive U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities and resume large-scale enrichment of uranium if it is taken before the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

Larijani also said Iran remains committed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, despite calls from hard-line newspapers to withdraw from the agreement if the International Atomic Energy Agency reports Iran to the Security Council on Thursday, as expected.

Iran's main enrichment plant at Natanz "is ready for work," he said. "We only need to notify the IAEA that we are resuming enrichment. When we do that is our call," Larijani said. If Iran is reported to the Security Council, we will do it quickly," he added.

Referring to the IAEA meeting, he added: "In case the issue is reported or referred to the Security Council, we will have to stop implementation of the Additional Protocol" — a procedure that allows IAEA inspectors to carry out intrusive searches of a country's nuclear facilities without warning. "The result would be Iran's cooperating with the IAEA at a low level, which is against our wishes. All our suspensions on nuclear activities would be lifted," he said, meaning that Iran would feel free to enrich uranium without hindrance.

Read more at the Source

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Saddam Lawyers Want 'biased' Chief Judge Removed

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Saddam Hussein's defense lawyers are demanding that the new chief judge be removed before they will end their boycott of the trial, which resumes Wednesday after a stormy session where the former president was tossed out.

Khalil al-Dulaimi and Khamis al-Obeidi said they have written to the Iraqi High Tribunal to demand that Raouf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman, who was named chief judge last week, be removed from the current trial and any other legal proceedings against Saddam.

The two Iraqi lawyers told The Associated Press that they believed Abdel-Rahman, a Kurd, was biased because his hometown of Halabja was subjected to a 1988 poison gas attack allegedly ordered by the former president.

Some 5,000 Kurds were killed in that attack, including several of Abdel-Rahman's relatives.

"We will demand that this judge be removed from the trial and any other trials involving my client," al-Dulaimi said by telephone from Amman, Jordan. Al-Dulaimi, who heads Saddam's defense team, described Abdel-Rahman as a "legal adversary of my client."

Arab media reports claimed Abdel-Rahman had been detained and tortured in the 1980s by Saddam's security agents. Efforts to contact Abdel-Rahman were unsuccessful. However, another judge who is not part of the Dujail trial said Abdel-Rahman suffered permanent injuries to his back and one of his legs due to torture. The judge spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the Saddam case.

Source : Here

As much as I want to see Saddam tried for his crimes, you can't allow the victims of crime to become the judge and jury, that's just scandalous if you desire a fair trial. Of course many people say that Saddam does not deserve a fair trial as he was far from fair and just when he was the President. Well the reply to that is simple. We are not Saddam. We claim to be better than people like Saddam as we claim to have freedom, democracy and justice. This is about the creation of the kind of society which those in favour of removing Saddam by force said we would deliver. (As is often used in attempted justification for the invasion of Iraq.) By refusing Saddam a fair and just trial we would become no better than the barbarians we claim such people are. There should be a clear line between the side of right and the side of wrong.

The side of right believes in a fair trial, believes in the concept of 'beyond reasonable doubt' and believes that every person has the right to defend themselves in court. How can anybody claim that justice has been served when the judge is an alleged victim of the defendants crimes. Such a ridiculous scenario would never be allowed to happen in Western democratic societies. If I had the chance to be judge over the fool who stole my bike last year I would sentence him to the minimum of life in prison with hard labour and I certainly wouldn't care if nobody had any evidence.

Would that be right ?

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

UK: 100th soldier dies in Iraq

A British soldier has died in a blast in southern Iraq - the 100th UK forces fatality since the 2003 invasion. The soldier, from the 7th Armoured Brigade, died as result of injuries sustained after a blast in Umm Qasr in Basra province, the UK government said.

Three other troops were injured, one seriously. They are receiving treatment at the Shaibah medical facility.

It's only Logical

If you enjoy what we do here on Terrorism News then take a look at the exceptional work being done on the site A Logical Voice. The site has an incredible ability to keep up with numerous issues a day and it is almost scary to think about the amount of work that must go into keeping it all going. Excellent commentary, logical conclusions and a very enjoyable read. One thing to keep in mind before you decide to give your opinion to the guys over there, they have a very sensible and clear posting policy on the site so make sure you give that a read before leaving any comments.

What do real Iranians think ?

Iranian bloggers are commenting extensively on the nuclear row between Iran and the West. A significant number of bloggers seem to blame President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in particular for the crisis and suggest that he has taken Iran to the brink of war.

The sports lovers are worried that the Iranian team may be expelled from the World Cup because of the nuclear issue and Mr Ahmadinejad's comments on Israel and the Holocaust. There are expressions of confidence about support for Iran in the Islamic world and suggestions that Iranian politicians are playing a sophisticated game.

Below are some entries from a selection of Iranian blogs:

'It smells of war'

I wish God would take this sense of national honour away from us; no, I wish He wouldn't but I wish we'd use it at appropriate times...

Why is it that our planes crash, our buildings collapse at the slightest tremor, our cars burst into flames, we don't have even a half-standard football stadium in the entire country, but when it comes to nuclear energy, it's a national issue?!... Anyway, it smells of war. God help us. Our people have suffered a lot over these past 100 years.

'Deflecting public opinion'

Mr Ahmadinejad didn't mention in any of his campaign slogans that, if he became president, he intended to remove Israel from the map...

I also don't recall him promising that he'd take the nuclear file to the point of having international sanctions imposed on the country, having the file referred to the Security Council, sacrificing the country's economic interests and war...

What has brought the government to this point today is that it's realised that it's not capable of fulfilling even 55% of its campaign slogans... so it wants to deflect domestic public opinion by creating constant international crises in order to pretend that it's foreigners who are preventing the government from fulfilling its promises.

Listening to VOA

As I was going about my work in the evening, I was listening to the "Roundtable with You" programme on the Voice of America and I think that it was an interesting and enlightening programme about the current tensions and the consequences of the sanctions that the Security Council may adopt towards Iran. Make sure you listen to it. I've recorded it for friends who may not be able to access VOA's site because it's being blocked.

Opposition to sanctions

Well, the uranium enrichment crisis seems to have reached its acute stages and it's becoming more severe every day. What's the world to do in the face of this problem? Like most Iranians, I'm opposed to any kind of solution that inflicts suffering on the people.

Support in the Islamic world

Since I know a lot of Arabs and Muslims, I have to say that they're very, very happy for Iran to even have nuclear weapons. And their argument is always based on the problem of Israel. I've talked to a lot of Britons and Europeans too. They too say that it's Iran's right, because Israel has this technology too.

'Who says Iran is different from Iraq?'

I think that it might be possible to do something before we're taken to the Security Council, but I doubt it'll be possible afterwards, because, after referral, Iran will cease its voluntary cooperation measures and inspectors will probably not be allowed into Iran. Who says Iran is different from Iraq?

'Count yourself lucky'

Today, my American professor told me: You Iranians should count yourselves lucky that we attacked Iraq, because if we hadn't attacked them, we'd have attacked you by now!

'Congratulations Mr President!'

Greetings Mr President! I wanted to congratulate you. God willing, you're on a roll, taking our dear country towards ruin... I won't allow the flames of war, ruin, famine and wretchedness to be lit in my country. I don't want to be shamed any further before the world. I don't want war! I don't want nuclear energy. This oil is more than enough for me.

'God help us!'

God help us. And it's only been five months [since Ahmadinejad became president]. We still have three years and six months to go - if it isn't extended.


Come on you guys. It's really bad to be so indifferent to the country's current affairs and to be totally immersed in personal concerns. I was talking to a friend today about recent political-social issues, the possibility of an embargo and so on, and I realized that they couldn't care less and were only concerned about their own banal affairs.

We all have something called social responsibility. Look how the Europeans are involved in all kinds of movements now for the sake of future generations. But all we think about is our research and finishing our theses and we couldn't care less what's happening in the world.
All these blogs were read by the BBC Monitoring team and the full article and links to the actual sites can be found here.

What a wonderfully diverse range of views. The very people that could likely be killed if those that wish for an immediate attack on Iran got their way. In my opinion those that are willing to bomb Iran without a second thought should spend a moment or two actually getting to know what sort of people they are willing to sacrifice simply based on their view of a President that isn't actually that popular at home ...

Hmmm now where else could that apply ?

Monday, January 30, 2006

SATIRE : President Bush: In an Emergency State Of The Union Speech To Congress

This a piece of satire and that is all it is meant to be. Please do not take this seriously for I certainly did not when posting it. Most sensible people will either find it amusing or pointless. The designer is well aware that a very small number of people may be offended by it and has offered his email to directly correspond with anyone who wishes to take issue with his work tom@canwetalk.com. So if you find it funny, grotesque, true, false, anti American, mature, childish or a sure sign that democracy lives in the United states be sure to let Tom know.

Anyway saying all that here is the satirical State of Union address. (real player required)

Zawahiri taunts U.S. in new video

Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri has appeared on a video tape taunting the US about an air strike in Pakistan which failed to kill him. On the tape, aired by Al Jazeera TV, he called the US president a "butcher" and asked: "Do you want to know where I am? I am among the Muslim masses."

Monday's video was his first appearance since a US air strike that targeted him on 13 January in Pakistan.Al-Zawahiri said he had survived the raid which he said killed "innocents".

"US airplanes ... launched a raid on a village in near Peshawar after Eid al-Adha in which 18 Muslim men, women and children were killed in what they call the war against terror," al-Zawahiri said."They said this was intended to kill myself and four brothers but now the whole world has discovered their lies ..."."The whole world has discovered the magnitude of the United States' lies and failure and how barbaric it is in its fight against Islam and Muslims," he said.

"My second message is to the American people, who are drowning in illusions. I tell you that Bush and his gang are shedding your blood and wasting your money in frustrated adventures," he said, speaking in a forceful and angry voice

He said that neither President George Bush nor "all the powers on earth" could bring his death "one second closer".

U.S. Officials and Iraqi Insurgents in direct talks

American officials in Iraq are in face-to-face talks with high-level Iraqi Sunni insurgents, NEWSWEEK has learned.

Americans are sitting down with "senior members of the leadership" of the Iraqi insurgency, according to Americans and Iraqis with knowledge of the talks (who did not want to be identified when discussing a sensitive and ongoing matter).

The talks are taking place at U.S. military bases in Anbar province, as well as in Jordan and Syria. "Now we have won over the Sunni political leadership," says U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. "The next step is to win over the insurgents." The groups include Baathist cells and religious Islamic factions, as well as former Special Republican Guards and intelligence agents, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the talks. Iraq's insurgent groups are reaching back. "We want things from the U.S. side, stopping misconduct by U.S. forces, preventing Iranian intervention," said one prominent insurgent leader from a group called the Army of the Mujahedin, who refused to be named because of the delicacy of the discussions. "We can't achieve that without actual meetings."

U.S. intelligence officials have had back-door channels to insurgent groups for many months. The Dec. 15 elections brought many Sunnis to the polls and widened the split between Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi's foreign jihadists and indigenous Sunni insurgents. This marks the first time either Americans or insurgents have admitted that "senior leaders" have met at the negotiating table for planning purposes. "Those who are coming to work with [the U.S.] or come to an understanding with [the U.S.], even if they worked with Al Qaeda in a tactical sense in the past—and I don't know that—they are willing to fight Al Qaeda now," says a Western diplomat in Baghdad who has close knowledge of the discussions. An assortment of some of Iraq's most prominent insurgent groups also recently formed a "council" whose purpose, in addition to publishing religious edicts and coordinating military actions, is to serve as a point of contact for the United States in the future. "The reason they want to unite is to have a public contact with the U.S. if they disagree," says the senior insurgent figure. "If negotiations between armed groups and Americans are not done, then no solutions will be found," says Issa al-Addai al-Mehamdi, a sheik from the prominent Duleimi tribe in Fallujah. "All I can say is that we support the idea of Americans talking with resistance groups."

They have much to discuss. For one, Americans and Iraqi insurgent groups share a common fear of undue Iranian influence in Iraq. "There is more concern about the domination by Iran of Iraq," says a senior Western diplomat, "and that combination of us being open to them and the dynamics of struggle for domination of violence has come together to get them to want to reach an understanding with us." Contacts between U.S. officials and insurgents have been criticized by Iraq's ruling Shiite leaders, many of whom have longstanding ties to Iran and are deeply resented by Sunnis. "We haven't given the green light to [talks] between the U.S. and insurgents," says Vice President Adel Abdel Mehdi, of the Shiite party, called the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Negotiations are risky for everyone—not least because tensions between Al Qaeda and Iraq's so-called patriotic resistance is higher than ever. Two weeks ago, assassins killed Sheik Nassir Qarim al-Fahdawi, a prominent Anbar sheik described by other Sunnis as a chief negotiator for the insurgency. "He was killed for talking to the Americans," says Zedan al-Awad, another leading Anbar sheik. Al Qaeda, meanwhile, continues to gain territory in the Sunni heartland, according to al-Awad: "Let me tell you: Zarqawi is in total control of Anbar. The Americans control nothing." Many, on both sides, are hoping that talks could change that.

Source : Newsweek

Saddam walks out in trial uproar

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein walked out of court amid uproar within minutes of the resumption of his murder trial under a new presiding judge. He left in protest after his defence team walked out, and was followed by two more of his co-defendants.

The walkouts came after the new chief judge, Raouf Abdul Rahman, had Saddam's half brother and co-defendant Barzan al-Tikriti removed from the courtroom. Saddam and seven others are on trial for the 1982 killing of 148 villagers.

They could face the death penalty if convicted of the killings, which followed an assassination attempt on Saddam Hussein in the village of Dujail. The trial continued for some time with half of the defendants missing until the judge adjourned it until Wednesday.

The court proceedings started with the new chief judge saying that he would not tolerate any defendants making political speeches or disobeying his authority. His predecessor, Judge Rizgar Amin, had resigned earlier this month after criticism that he had been too lenient towards the defendants.

Mr Tikriti, a former Iraqi intelligence chief who is suffering from cancer, launched into a lengthy complaint about his medical condition and treatment. Judge Rahman ordered the forcible removal of Mr Tikriti, who shouted that the court was "the daughter of a whore" as he was dragged away.

The judge then rounded on the defence lawyers, saying that they had contributed to the atmosphere that allowed defendants to think they could make lengthy speeches and disrespect the authority of the court. Next, a defence lawyer was ejected from the court, and as a result the rest of Saddam's defence team stormed out, despite the judge warning "any lawyer who walks out will not be allowed back into this courtroom".

The former Iraqi leader then launched into a vigorous exchange with the judge, telling him that he wanted to leave and be tried in absentia.

"I want to leave the court," Saddam Hussein demanded of the judge, who in turn ordered the former leader out. "I led you for 35 years and you order me out of the court?" the former Iraqi president responded angrily.

"I am the judge, you are the defendant. You have to obey me," the judge hit back. He accused Judge Rahman of abusing his rights as a defendant who was "innocent until proven guilty".

As the argument became more heated Saddam Hussein banged his hands on the dock and hurled insults at the judge. Eventually, the judge said that the defendant should also be removed and he was led from the court too, shouting "Down with the traitors!" as he went.

Judge Rahman then appointed four new defence lawyers, but two more of the defendants, Taha Yassin Ramadan and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, said they did not approve of their appointment and they also left the court.The trial then resumed with an anonymous female witness giving evidence about events in Dujail from behind a curtain until it was adjourned until Wednesday.

Saad Djebbar, an international lawyer and commentator on Middle East politics, told the BBC that the chaotic scenes meant that the whole trial was being undermined:

"I think it was a big mistake that this trial was held in Iraq because the judge, you cannot find a person, one individual today in Iraq - judge, lawyer, prosecutor who is impartial vis-a-vis Saddam Hussein. Either they are with him or against him."

Source : BBC More Sources : Star-Telegram , Wapakoneta Daily News , WRAL ,Grand Junction Daily Sentinel , USA Today

Bag Baby (you have to see this video)

Absolutely no connection to terrorism at all but I have never seen anything like this video before. Of course I have heard stories of such things happening but to see something so moving and at the same time shocking that ultimately turns out not to have some tragic ending is quite something.

Watch this video from the BBC (windows media player required) picked up from Brazilian television.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Human rights watch annual review

When Human Rights Watch, a respected organization that has been monitoring the world's behavior since 1978, focuses its annual review on America's use of torture and inhumane treatment, every American should feel a sense of shame. And everyone who has believed in the United States as the staunchest protector of human rights in history should be worried.

Many nations - Belarus, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Cuba, Sudan and China to name only some of the worst - routinely trample on human rights in a way that neither the United States nor any of its allies would ever countenance. But the United States wrote the book on human rights; it defined the alternative to tyranny and injustice. So when the vice president of the United States actually lobbies against a bill that bans "cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment," Human Rights Watch is justified in delivering harsh criticism.

The report does not let anyone else off the hook. The massacre of hundreds of demonstrators in Uzbekistan, the ethnic cleansing in Darfur, the restrictions on civil society in Saudi Arabia, the atrocities in Chechnya and all the other familiar episodes of human-rights abuse are reported and condemned.

But in the introduction by the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, the United States is singled out not only because it has raised the heinous practice of torture to a "serious policy option," but also because in so doing it is sacrificing its ability to champion human rights in other countries. America is not the worst violator, Roth writes, but it is the most influential. Now, when Americans accuse Iraqi Shiites of torturing Sunni prisoners, the messenger's reputation taints the message.

The report says that 2005 made clear that abuse of detainees has become a "deliberate, central part of the Bush administration's strategy for interrogating terrorist suspects," and it accuses Britain of complicity in the practice. We have no illusion that the administration will pay any more heed to Human Rights Watch than they have to anyone else on this issue. But the report is also an indictment of the rest of the United States for failing to stop the destruction of its most cherished values.

Source : Here

When your used up where do you go (video)

The music video When your used up, where do you go. Soldier is a thought provoking piece that's worth viewing and is performed by The Robert Cray Band . The band also asks you to sign this letter to the American Congress.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

BYU professor's group accuses U.S. officials of lying about 9/11

A few months ago Brigham Young University physics professor Steven E. Jones made headlines when he charged that the World Trade Center collapsed because of "pre-positioned explosives." Now, along with a group that calls itself "Scholars for 9/11 Truth," he's upping the ante.

"We believe that senior government officials have covered up crucial facts about what really happened on 9/11," the group says in a statement released Friday announcing its formation. "We believe these events may have been orchestrated by the administration in order to manipulate the American people into supporting policies at home and abroad."

Headed by Jones and Jim Fetzer, University of Minnesota Duluth distinguished McKnight professor of philosophy, the group is made up of 50 academicians and others.They include Robert M. Bowman, former director of the U.S. "Star Wars" space defense program, and Morgan Reynolds, former chief economist for the Department of Labor in President George W. Bush's first term. Most of the members are less well-known.

The group's charges include:

Members of the Bush administration knew in advance that the 9/11 attacks would happen

No Air Force or Air National Guard jets were sent to "scramble" the hijacked planes, which were clearly deviating from their flight plans, although jet fighters had been deployed for scramblings 67 times in the year prior to 9/11.

The video of Osama bin Laden found by American troops in Afghanistan in December 2001, in which bin Laden says he orchestrated the attacks, is not bin Laden.

The Scholars group hopes that media outlets around the world will ask experts in their areas to examine the group's findings and assertions. If this were done, they argue,

"one of the great hoaxes of history would stand naked before the eyes of the world."

Source : Here

The 'Academicians' have developed their own web site which can be found here. The site includes a must read (Microsoft word) document here. Also as astutely noticed by Logical Voice you should note the surprise discovery that Bin Laden does not appear to be wanted by the FBI for the 9/11 atrocity at all.

Very intriguing reading.

Documents Show US Army Seized Wives As Tactic

The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of "leveraging" their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show.

In one case, a secretive task force locked up the young mother of a nursing baby, a U.S. intelligence officer reported. In the case of a second detainee, one American colonel suggested to another that they catch her husband by tacking a note to the family's door telling him "to come get his wife."

Iraq's deputy justice minister, Busho Ibrahim Ali, dismissed such claims, saying hostage-holding was a tactic used under the ousted Saddam Hussein dictatorship, and "we are not Saddam." A U.S. command spokesman in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, said only Iraqis who pose an "imperative threat" are held in long-term U.S.-run detention facilities.

But documents describing two 2004 episodes tell a different story as far as short-term detentions by local U.S. units. The documents are among hundreds the Pentagon has released periodically under U.S. court order to meet an American Civil Liberties Union request for information on detention practices.

In one memo, a civilian Pentagon intelligence officer described what happened when he took part in a raid on an Iraqi suspects house in Tarmiya, northwest of Baghdad, on May 9, 2004. The raid involved Task Force (TF) 6-26, a secretive military unit formed to handle high-profile targets.

"During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target's surrender," wrote the 14-year veteran officer. He said he objected, but when they raided the house the team leader, a senior sergeant, seized her anyway.

"The 28-year-old woman had three young children at the house, one being as young as six months and still nursing," the intelligence officer wrote. She was held for two days and was released after he complained, he said.

The second episode, in June 2004, is found in sketchy detail in e-mail exchanges among six U.S. Army colonels, discussing an undisclosed number of female detainees held in northern Iraq by the Stryker Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division.

The first message, from a military police colonel, advised staff officers of the U.S. northern command that the Iraqi police would not take control of the jailed women without charges being brought against them.

In a second e-mail, a command staff officer asked an officer of the unit holding the women, "What are you guys doing to try to get the husband — have you tacked a note on the door and challenged him to come get his wife?"

Source and full article here

First document: here (pdf)
E-mail exchange: here (pdf)

Isn't holding someone against their will as leverage called 'kidnap' , can you imagine seeing this headline next time the Insurgents kidnap someone. 'Insurgents seize Westerner as leverage tactic to facilitate removal of US forces.'

Its amazing how differently we word things when its our side doing the kidnapping. They even have the ransom note being pinned to the door. Maybe the western police forces should try the same tactics , kidnap the families of the criminals they wish to catch here at home. Cant see it catching on. Can you ?

Middle Eastern TV reports on Hamas victory (video)

From Democracy Now a compilation of over 30 news stations from around the Middle east showing how the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections was presented to their audiences.

You can watch it Here (Real player required) Length 49 Min's 56 seconds includes introduction by Democracy now.

EU panel probing alleged prisons may call on Cheney, Rumsfeld

An EU committee investigating alleged CIA secret prisons could call Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to testify, a senior member of the panel said.

British Liberal Democrat Sarah Ludford, a member of the EU parliament and vice president of the investigative committee, said "very senior people" would be asked to answer questions about the alleged prisons. "I don't see why we should not invite Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney," Ludford said.

She acknowledged, however the EU parliament would have no legal power to subpoena them. "Our only pressure, if you like, on these people to come and talk to us and cooperate is political embarrassment," she said.

Source : here

Of course they wont turn up and I doubt very much they will feel any embarrassment either. But refusing to turn up for such a serious charges as the abuse of the sovereignty of nations , kidnap , secret prisons and the use of torture will be a major embarrassment even if those accused fail to feel any.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Rumsfeld's Roadmap to Propaganda

A secret Pentagon "roadmap" on war propaganda, personally approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in October 2003, calls for "boundaries" between information operations abroad and the news media at home, but provides for no such limits and claims that as long as the American public is not "targeted," any leakage of PSYOP to the American public does not matter.

Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive at George Washington University and posted on the Web today, the 74-page "Information Operations Roadmap" admits that "information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa," but argues that "the distinction between foreign and domestic audiences becomes more a question of USG [U.S. government] intent rather than information dissemination practices."

The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, amended in 1972 and 1998, prohibits the U.S. government from propagandizing the American public with information and psychological operations directed at foreign audiences; and several presidential directives, including Reagan's NSD-77 in 1983, Clinton's PDD-68 in 1999, and Bush's NSPD-16 in July 2002 (the latter two still classified), have set up specific structures to carry out public diplomacy and information operations. These and other documents relating to U.S. PSYOP programs were posted today as part of a new Archive Electronic Breifing Book.

Several press accounts have referred to the 2003 Pentagon document but today's posting is the first time the text has been publicly available. Sections of the document relating to computer network attack (CNA) and "offensive cyber operations" remain classified under black highlighting.

Article source and further reading National Security Archive

UK : Afghan troop levels to hit 5,700

The number of UK troops in Afghanistan will peak at 5,700, Defence Secretary John Reid has told MPs. The majority will be sent to the south, to the volatile Helmand area, which Mr Reid admitted was "more demanding" than other regions in Afghanistan.

He said they would be a "potent force" against the Taleban and drugs barons.

An extra 3,300 troops will go to the country to add to 1,100 already there and 1,950 announced earlier, but the total at any time will not top 5,700.

The deployment will cost £1bn over three years.

Tehran claims Britain behind bombings in Ahvaz

Iran directly accused Britain of of equipping and directing those behind a twin bomb attack in the oil city of Ahvaz that killed eight people and wounded dozens more.

Britain immediately dismissed the allegations which come amid a wider deterioration of relations between Tehran and London over Iran's nuclear programme as "completely without foundation".

"The trace of Iraq's occupiers in the Ahvaz crimes are clear, and they must take responsibility," hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Iranian media on Wednesday.

Eight people died and 46 others wounded in Tuesday's attacks in the restive southwestern Iranian city situated close to the border with British-controlled southern Iraq. A visit to Ahvaz that day by Ahmadinejad had been cancelled at the last moment because of bad weather.

"We have information showing that British soldiers in Iraq equip these elements and draw up their missions," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA. "It is not necessary to point out that the members of this group are based in London," he added, apparently referring to the Britain-based Popular Democratic Front of Ahvazi Arabs.

In London, the Foreign Office denied the charges.

"We reject these allegations from Mottaki," a spokesman told AFP. "Any linkage between HMG (Her Majesty's Government) and these terrorist attacks is completely without foundation."

Ahvaz has been hit by a wave of insecurity over the past year. These include ethnic riots in April and a string of car bombings prior to the June presidential election in which Ahmadinejad scored a shock victory.

In October another double bombing in Ahvaz killed six people and wounded more than 100. Several pipelines have also been hit by blasts in recent months, with sabotage reportedly suspected in at least one of those incidents.

After the October blasts, Mottaki also said the clerical regime had proof of British meddling. Several officials in Tehran have also alleged that Britain and the United States were seeking to destabilise the Islamic republic by supporting ethnic minority separatists.

Arabs are said to represent three percent of Iran's population of 69 million, who are mainly Farsi speaking, but they are believed to make up close to 50 percent of oil-rich Khuzestan's population.

"Britain must respond to the doubts of Iranians concerning the events in Ahvaz and the terrorist attacks in Khuzestan," Mottaki was also quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.

On Tuesday, government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham blamed "international terrorists" and said Ahmadinejad had ordered the intelligence and foreign ministries "to probe the role of foreign hands in this incident."

Source : here

Thursday, January 26, 2006

China and Iran warm to Russian nuclear proposal

China and Iran expressed support on Thursday for a Russian proposal to resolve Tehran's standoff with Western governments which suspect it of secretly planning to build a nuclear bomb.

Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, on a one-day trip to Beijing to seek China's support, said the Russian proposal that Iran's uranium fuel be enriched on Russian soil rather than in Iran needed further discussion.

Tehran has previously shown little interest in the idea, intended to ensure it does not covertly divert enriched fuel toward a weapons program. It has repeatedly insisted it has no plans to build bombs but has the right to enrich uranium fuel on its territory for nuclear power generation.

"The Russian suggestion is a useful one, but needs to be discussed further," Larijani told a Beijing news conference. He later told Reuters Iran was willing to show flexibility but rejected the "language of force", an apparent reference to the threat of U.N. sanctions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a news conference earlier that China wanted other countries to consider Moscow's proposal. "We think the Russian proposal is a good attempt to break this stalemate," he said.

Earlier this month Iran removed U.N. seals on enrichment equipment and announced it would resume nuclear fuel research. The United States and its European Union allies say the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should turn Iran over to the United Nations Security Council.

But China said U.N. sanctions would only complicate matters. "We oppose impulsively using sanctions or threats of sanctions to solve problems," Kong said.

Source and further reading (3 pages) here

How seldom we weigh our neighbors in the same balance as ourselves

Sometimes the only thing you can do is laugh.....

US ambassador to Peru James Curtis Struble has complained that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez "is meddling a lot in other countries' affairs."

There is no hypocrisy in that is there ?

Source here

Palestinian PM resigns as Hamas heads to shock victory

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei has announced his resignation, saying Hamas must form the next government following the parliamentary elections.

It comes as the militant Islamic group appeared to be heading for a shock win. With counting still under way, officials from the ruling Fatah party said Hamas had won a majority. Official results are due at 1900 local time.

Israel, the US and the EU consider Hamas a terrorist group and have said they do not want to deal with it.

"I am going to present my resignation to President Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and Hamas should form the [new] government," Mr Qurei told journalists, according to AFP news agency.

Hours before official results were due to be released, Fatah officials conceded that Hamas had won the elections. Hamas claimed it had won at least 70 seats in the 132-member parliament.

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Jerusalem says a victory for Hamas would present a huge challenge for Israel and the international community and for Hamas itself. He says many believe the militant movement would be more comfortable as the major opposition party rather than having power thrust on it at the first attempt.

With victory looming, senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said the group wanted to work with Fatah in a "political partnership". But he said Hamas would not hold peace talks with Israel.

"Negotiations with Israel is not on our agenda," he said.

"Recognising Israel is not on the agenda either now."

Source : BBC Previous post : Here

Here we go ... Hamas are democratically elected it seems and they are the choice of the Palestinian people. Israel has every right to security and Hamas has every right to represent the people that have voted for them in such huge numbers.

So what now ?

Just like Iran it seems you get extreme governments out of extreme situations. If there is to be any sign of peace some serious banging of heads is going to need to happen. Hamas must recognise Israel at least enough to talk to them and Israel must recognize that Hamas have been democratically elected and have every right to speak for the Palestinian people.

Hard though it will be for both sides they will have to find some way forward if they ever desire peace for their children and their children's children.

Saddam to sue Bush and Blair

Defence lawyers for Saddam Hussein Wednesday distributed copies of a lawsuit against President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair for destroying Iraq.

The suit accuses Bush and Blair of committing war crimes by using weapons of mass destruction and internationally-banned weapons including enriched uranium and phosphoric and cluster bombs against unarmed Iraqi civilians, notably in Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi, al-Kaem and Anbar.

The Amman-based legal team had said Sunday that the ousted president intended to start legal action against the two leaders of the Iraq war in the International Criminal Court in the Hague, but the text of the suit was made available Wednesday.

The suit also accuses the U.S. president and British prime minister of torturing Iraqi prisoners, destroying Iraq's cultural heritage with the aim of eliminating an ancient civilization, and inciting internal strife.

Bush and Blair were also accused of polluting Iraq's air, waters and environment.

The lawsuit demanded that Bush and Blair appear before court to answer the charges filed against them and requested the harshest punishment in line with Dutch legislation and the rules of international and humanitarian laws.

It also requested compensation for all material and moral damage inflicted on the Iraqi people.

Source : here

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hamas gains share of power in Palestine

In the first Palestinian parliamentary elections in a decade, the ruling Fatah Party fell short of a majority in the 132-seat parliament, with the militant group Hamas thrusting itself onto the political scene, exit polls showed late Wednesday

Exit polls suggest that the ruling Fatah party has won a narrow victory in the first Palestinian parliamentary elections for a decade.

The first official poll gave Fatah more than 46%, compared to 39.5% for Islamic militant group Hamas. Both Fatah and Hamas have said they will consider a coalition if there is no clear winner. Voting has been brisk, with turnout at 73%, the election commission said. In the West Bank, 70.6% voted, while in Gaza the figure was 76.8%.

Observers say the elections were peaceful, and one EU official said the vote was an example to the Arab world.

Sources and Opinion from around the globe BBC , CNN , Reuters , Washington post , MSNBC , Al Jazeera , Jerusalem Post , Xinhua (China) , Peoples Daily (china) , Kerala (India) , Daily Times (pakistan) , Dar Al Hayat (Saudi Arabia) , Moscow Times (Russia) , Islam Online .