Thursday, May 31, 2007
Al-Qaida Plans Nuclear
Attacks on 7 U.S. Cities
The newly released book "The Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World," (Prometheus Books) paints a frightening picture of al-Qaida's nuclear ambitions — one every American must read.
Seasoned investigative reporter and former FBI consultant Paul Williams reveals the alarming potential for nuclear terrorism on U.S. soil and the sinister connections among organized crime, illegal immigrants, and al-Qaida.
Recently, FBI Director Robert Mueller, in an interview with NewsMax, confirmed Williams' main claim. Mueller said al-Qaida's paramount goal is clear: to detonate a nuclear device that would kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Mueller told NewsMax that at times, the threat feels so real he lies awake at night thinking about the prospect.
Williams maintains that al-Qaida is not content on blowing up one nuclear device or even simply a "dirty" nuke — but wants to explode real nuclear devices in seven U.S. cities simultaneously.
Williams says these cities are New York, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Miami, Boston, Houston, and Los Angeles.
Mueller seems to confirm this claim of multiple attacks, saying both New York and Washington would be likely targets. Already Williams says the U.S. government has Washington webbed by "choke" points to detect nuclear material.
For many Americans the threat of al-Qaida's nuclear ambitions begins in the time after the horrific 9/11 attacks.
But as Williams shows so clearly, al-Qaida has been devising its nuclear plan since the early 1990s — and the U.S. government and other intelligence services have been well aware of al-Qaida's plan.
For example, Williams quotes Michael Scheuer, a senior CIA official who headed the agency's bin Laden unit.
Scheuer admitted the CIA "found that [bin Laden] and al-Qaida were involved in an extraordinarily sophisticated and professional effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction — in this case, nuclear weapons; so, by the end of 1996, it was clear that this was an organization unlike any other one we had ever seen."
Remember, Scheuer is describing the period before 9/11, proving again that bin Laden had been investing enormous time, resources, and money into getting nuclear weapons for more than 10 years.
Bin Laden and his adherents believe this nuclear cataclysm will usher in "The Day of Islam," the dream of radical Muslims to see all of humankind fall in submission before the throne of Allah as the "Great Satan," America, is brought to her knees.
Williams is not surprised at all that bin Laden has planned to launch such nuclear attacks, suggesting his delay is consistent with his past pattern of activities. For sure, it is a plan that has been long in its hatching.
Based on the "forgotten testimony" of the FBI's "Confidential Source One," as well as other sources, Williams first presents evidence of bin Laden's purchase of highly enriched uranium in Sudan and nuclear devices from the Chechens and the Russian Mafia.
He then offers further information on the workings of Pakistani scientists and technicians from the A.Q. Khan Research Facility to maintain and upgrade al-Qaida's "bespoke nukes" (with explosive yields in excess of 10 kilotons) for the "American Hiroshima."
Williams explosive revelations are even more worrisome because they are not simply backed up by speculation and anonymous sources, they are sourced with government reports and comments made "on the record" by top officials.
Among the explosive revelations in "The Day of Islam":
---In 1996, al-Qaida's "paymaster" and a top lieutenant for bin Laden walked into a U.S. embassy in Africa and spilled the beans on the terror group's activities — including that al-Qaida had purchased nuclear material in the Sudan.
---The incredible story of a Brooklyn, N.Y., mosque that was receiving "stipends" from Uncle Sam for more than $2 million a year up until 1993 — when it was discovered the mosque was the nerve center for the first attack on the World Trade Center.
---The fact that despite the hoopla about the war on terror, only one member of bin Laden's shura — or high command — has been killed.
---The case of a Chicago charity that raised millions for bin Laden and even paid for one of his operatives whose sole job was to acquire nuclear weapons
---Evidence the Saudi intelligence service claims bin Laden has an arsenal of between 40 and 70 tactical nuclear weapons.
---Russian sources that claim bin Laden bought 12 to 15 fully assembled nuclear weapons.
---Ties between al-Qaida and the Chechen rebels who allegedly acquired nuclear suitcase devices.
---Bin Laden's claim to a Pakistani journalist two months before 9/11 that acquiring nuclear was "not difficult" — claiming they were available from Russia for between $10 million and $20 million.
---Author Tom Clancy's revelations he was "first bemused, then stunned" to find how easy it is for a wealthy person to develop a nuclear device equal to that dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
---How atomic blueprints are available from Amazon.com!
---Evidence bin Laden spent between $60 and $100 million to build nuclear devices with the help of scientists from Pakistan, Russia, and China.
---The damage even a low yield "junk" nuclear device would do to New York — with an estimated 250,000 dead in several days.
---The remarkable story of two British secret agents who penetrated al-Qaida's camps in Afghanistan — and reported to Britain that the terror group was finishing work on radiological weapons.
---The stunning admission of the head of Britain's MI5 who confirmed that "renegade" scientists had provided al-Qaida with the knowledge they needed to build a nuclear device.
---New Jersey: the strange case of a Pakistani who died of radiological poisoning soon after 9/11, a man who had apparently served as a "mule" to transport the deadly material into the U.S.
---Axis of Evil: the secret alliance between al-Qaida and Iran that brings together two religious groups with one common goal: destroying the U.S.
War on Global Jihadism
Hatched by Dafydd
It's a truism -- pounded into our noggins morning, noon, and night -- that we continually underestimate our Islamist enemies. We think that we'll defeat them in a few months, we think they'll give up, we think they'll just go away. And of course, we're continually frustrated by their utter refusal to conform to our foolish stereotypes.
But you know what? The jihadis relentlessly misunderestimate us, the West... and they underestimate us far more egregiously and foolishly than we do them.
Never thought about it?
They thought that by taking a few hostages or bombing an embassy, they could force us to release prisones; but they underestimated our judicial system.
They thought that by attacking us on 9/11, we would crumble and beg for mercy; but they underestimated our determination.
They imagined that those two buildings would topple like dominoes, killing at least 100,000 souls; but they underestimated American architecture.
They thought that everyone inside would die, but they underestimated our rescue workers and other first responders.
They envisioned that hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, would die from an Anthrax epidemic; but they underestimated the American medical system.
They planned that they could just melt into the mountains of Afghanistan, and we would be swallowed up like the Soviets and the Brits before them; but they underestimated the American military.
They expected the Brits to panic and pull out of Iraq after they blew up some trains, but they underestimated the tenacity of the victors in the Battle of Britain.
They thought that Canadians could just be bowled over by threats, but Canada responded by giving Paul Martin the heave-ho and electing the Conservatives under Stephen Harper.
Ditto Australia, which reelected John Howard by a much larger than expected margin.
They were certain that the Germans would bellycrawl; but Gerhard Schröder was given his walking papers, swapped for Angela Merkel.
They managed to get José María Aznar López out of Spain in 2004 and Silvio Berlusconi out of Italy in 2006, both elections very narrow; but the leftists who succeeded both leaders -- José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in Spain and Romano Prodi in Italy -- have not bowed to Islamist demands; in fact, Italy leads the coalition patrolling Lebanon (putting them in direct conflict with Hezbollah); and while Zapatero is the more ardent leftist and has succored and chummed around with the likes of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, and while he did withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq, he actually increased Spain's committment to Afghanistan.
The jihadis thought they could drive us from Iraq and Afghanistan, but they underestimated our military resolve.
They tried to launch other terror attacks against us -- such as Jose Padilla and failed shoe-bomber Richard Reid -- but they underestimated the abilities of American police forces and even ordinary airline passengers, who subdued Reid when he tried to light the bombs in his shoes.
And now it even looks as though, when Crock Jacques Chirac steps down next year (and is promptly indicted), he will probably be replaced, not by Dominique de Villepin, but instead by hardliner Nicholas Sarkozy, de Villepin's bitter rival for head of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (Union for a Popular Movement).
The Islamists have misunderestimated and discounted us again and again, and always for the same reason: they are utterly convinced that our freedom and love of life are our weaknesses, while their own totalitarianism and love of death are their strengths. Per the National Review:
Another chapter from early Islamic history — serving as a lesson for today's Muslims at war against the West — is the concept of the love of death. This originated at the Battle of Qadisiyya in the year 636, when the commander of the Muslim forces, Khalid ibn Al-Walid, sent an emissary with a message from Caliph Abu Bakr to the Persian commander, Khosru. The message stated: "You [Khosru and his people] should convert to Islam, and then you will be safe, for if you don't, you should know that I have come to you with an army of men that love death, as you love life." This account is recited in today's Muslim sermons, newspapers, and textbooks.
This perverse belief is not confined to the Islam of antiquity:
Hezbollah's Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah revealed in an interview after the recent prisoner swap between Israel and his group: "We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win, because they love life and we love death."
But of course, the Islamists have it exactly backwards: it is their very love of death that is their undoing every time; for men will stand and fight to the death because they love life; but they will not stand and fight at all if all they love is death... for what solace is there in deathwish to give a man courage? A love of death is the mark of despair, not hope.
Because we love life, we revere sacrifice -- but not suicide. Life seeks life, and all those who also love life flock to our shores, desperate to become Americans de jure, as they are already Americans de facto.
And freedom, free-thinking, and individualism have given the world all the great advances in science and technology, in philosophy, in politics, and especially in the art of war. As the aphorism goes, there are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous people.
Islamists are fools with no comprehension of the history of the West: we've butchered far more people than the jihadi's wildest wet dreams. And we did it with style... using industrialization and the market. (Even Hitler and Stalin had to bow to the market in practice, whatever platitudes oozed from their mouths.)
The model of the market shows how millions of individuals making billions of individual decisions will always outthink, outreact, and vastly outperform a command economy driven by totalitarian ideology -- and will outfight them, too. Every innovation in warfare over the past three or four centuries was originated in the West, not the Orient. The very guns they use are European (Kalashnikovs); their tanks and planes are knockoffs of ours; even their damned IEDs are less sophisticated than the Semtex bombs of the verminous IRA.
The jihadis desperately want the final war of Islam vs. the West. And now, as Max Boot so cogently writes in the Los Angeles Times, they're on the road to getting it, good and hard:
Ever since 9/11, a dark view of Islam has been gaining currency on what might be called the Western street. This view holds that, contrary to the protestations of our political leaders -- who claim that acts of terrorism are being carried out by a minority of extremists -- the real problem lies with Islam itself. In this interpretation, Islam is not a religion of peace but of war, and its 1.2 billion adherents will never rest until all of humanity is either converted, subjugated or simply annihilated....
The real enemy we face is not Islam per se but a violent offshoot known as Islamism, which is rooted, to be sure, in the Koran but which also finds inspiration in such modern Western ideologies as fascism, Nazism and communism. Its most successful exponents — from Hassan Banna and Sayyid Qutb to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Osama bin Laden — are hardly orthodox interpreters of Islam. They are power-mad intellectuals in the mold of a Lenin or a Hitler. The problem is that the rest of the Muslim world, by not doing more to curb the radicals — whether out of fear or sympathy — lends credence to the most objectionable caricatures of their faith.
In an animalistic display of bestiality, the jihadis club together and circle-jerk themselves into a lather. In a pathetic imitation of teenaged gangs, they egg each other into wilder and more absurdly narcissistic "head-cutting" contests (the metaphoric term takes on a more sinister literal meaning here).
They win miniscule skirmishes, then caper like the demented adolescents in Lord of the Flies, parading their "heroism" for slitting the throats of sleeping children or blowing up a school.
But unless and until more "Moslem Methodists" emerge from the shadows of fear and nakedly confront their gibbering coreligionists, they drive the West closer and closer to an all-out response in which jihadism is outlawed; radical Imams are rounded up by the bushel and either deported or "detained;" Moslem countries around the world are heavily bombed; an American military newly expanded by a reinstated draft runs steel-shod across the face of the ummah; and objections are brushed aside to drilling for oil in American territory and building scores of nuclear power plants across the continent, leading to a complete collapse of the Arabic oil economy.
While some may see this as a "wonderful thing" in the abstract, bear in mind that it's accompanied in real life by the deaths of millions upon millions of people abroad -- most of them complete innocents whose only "crime" was being too afraid of the jihadis to speak out -- and a death-rate among American servicemen and women (mostly conscripts) not seen since the darkest days of World War II.
We would win; the Moslems wouldn't stand a tinker's chance against an aroused and united West.
But at what cost, both to them and us? Nobody reading this is likely old enough to remember how much everday life was regulated by the wartime federal government in the 1940s, via rationing, civil-defense drills, neighborhood organizations, internment of Americans in domestic concentration camps, confiscation by the government of anything useful to the military effort, and in general, a society that today's Americans could only describe as a military dictatorship... but which at the time seemed only natural and necessary.
I would not love life in such a country. Most Moslems do not love death enough to embrace it meaninglessly. So it's about time they stop misunderestimating us, realize that their entire world teeters on the edge of a bottomless pit, and grow a spine. For the love of God.
Show some backbone and beat down the marauding jackals who have hijacked your religion. Hang a few handfuls, and dispossess the rest. Drive them out into the desert and let them eat sand.
Because if you don't, pretty soon we'll be coming for you: and you won't misunderestimate anybody ever again.
RUSH: CBS, on the Early Show today Harry Smith was talking to former vice president Algore. Gore says, "The element of television that I think has been troubling for democracy, now that it's become the most dominant media by far even with the rising importance of the Internet is that it's one way." Harry Smith says, "Radio is one way. If you look back, some of the greatest presidents of our democracy or the republic happened during the age of radio. That was one way."
GORE: Simulates two-way communication by having -- having call-ins, but you're quite right, that radio preceded television as the first broadcast medium.
GORE: And the first concerns among defenders of democracy arose with radio, and that's why the equal time provision and the Fairness Doctrine and the Public Interest Standard were put in place here. Those protections were almost completely removed during President Reagan's term.
RUSH: I've had this in the stack for a while here, and it's time to get to this. Gore makes this false claim that, "radio is two-way now, simulates two-way communication by having call-ins, and but quite right, radio preceded television, and the first concerns among defenders of democracy arose with radio. That's why the equal-time provisions and the Fairness Doctrine," and all that were put in. Robert Tracinski, Real Clear Politics, back on May 23rd had a piece called, "Al Gore's Insolent Assault on Reason." It's about his book, which, by the way, has been outsold the first week by Ronald Reagan's diaries. Reagan's diaries, the latest book scan, outsold Algore's book by five copies, which means that the Algore people will no doubt be demanding a recount on this.
"Early coverage of Al Gore's new book, The Assault on Reason, has focused on the fact that the book is largely an assault on the Bush administration. But they have glossed over the most significant and alarming theme that Al Gore has taken up: his alleged defense of 'reason' includes a justification for government controls over political speech. Judging from the excerpts of Gore's book published in TIME, his not-so-subtle theme is that reason is being 'assaulted' by a free and unfettered debate in the media--and particularly by the fact that Gore has to contend with opposition from the right-leaning media." Now, this piece goes on and on and on. I'll tell you, it makes the point that I've tried to make over and over and over again about liberals. To them there is no debate; there is no alternative point of view. Anybody who expresses one is simply a gnat or a fly that has to be swatted away, not engaged. You don't debate your opposition because there isn't any. They are just a bunch of kooks. And they, the opposition, me, we are the ones getting in the way of reason.
"Developing a dangerous theme that the left has been toying with for years, Gore says that reason is being suffocated by 'media Machiavellis' -- that's a veiled reference to Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and Bush political advisor Karl Rove, the twin hobgoblins of the left. According to Gore, these puppet-masters take advantage of 'the clever use of electronic mass media' to 'manipulate the outcome of elections.'" It's sort of like Time magazine back in 1994 did a cover story with me, of course, on the cover, "Is there too much Democracy in America?" Can there be too much democracy? Meaning, all of a sudden the libs have lost their monopoly, and here come these alternative points of view. "No, that's not what we're thinking. That's just getting in the way here. Too much democracy."
"Now here's the really ominous part. This 'manipulation' is rendering our representative government 'illegitimate' because it only has the public's 'consent' -- he repeatedly puts 'consent' in scare quotes, just to emphasize the point that this consent is not, in Al Gore's superior judgment, genuine or legitimate. As he puts it, 'the "consent of the governed" [has become] a commodity to be purchased by the highest bidder.'" He simply doesn't like the arena of ideas. He doesn't like people in the arena of ideas competing and trying to win the day on ideas. His ideas are what should dominant and anything that threatens them must be swatted down with government control. That's why he is for the Fairness Doctrine.
"His new argument doesn't do anything to reverse that impression. His basic theme seems to be: if the left isn't winning in the marketplace of ideas, there can't possibly be anything wrong with their ideas. It must be the marketplace itself that is 'broken,' and the left needs to use the power of government to fix it--in both senses of the word 'fix.' This is by no means a new theme on the left; Noam Chomsky has been peddling this stuff for years. We only think that we are free to write and to speak and to make our minds up for ourselves, the left tells us. But behind the scenes we're being manipulated by the big corporate media, so the votes we cast and the consent we give to those who govern us is artificially 'manufactured.' We need to be liberated -- by having the left take control of the media and manage it in our best interests."
So that's the way to translate this sound bite from Algore. What's really bugging him here is that there is an alternative point of view that's gaining traction, and it's persuading a lot of people that his global warming hoax, which is his latest religion, is having trouble getting traction with the majority of the American people. So his idea is not to go out there and continue to try to persuade people he's right, his idea is to shut down the people who are standing in the way of reason. He, of course, is reason, nobody else is, and by the way, he's not alone. This is pretty much the attitude of most liberal Democrats today, be they elected or not. This is Dave in Lynnwood -- what is that, Michigan? Is that right? Welcome, Dave. Nice to have you on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Rush, it's an honor.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, if Algore wants to cite Ronald Reagan to sell the case for the Fairness Doctrine, I think we ought to bring our former president on posthumously, and I think he could clean his clock.
RUSH: Oh, there's no question, if you ran Reagan as a corpse, you mean?
CALLER: Well, you know, let's have powerful media types start it out. You know, let's run some spots with Reagan citing government as being the problem and, you know, whatever --
RUSH: At first I was saying, what is this? We're not going to run corpses here, but you have raised an interesting point. The point is, the antidote to all these Democrat candidates is Reaganism, which is conservatism. All these guys, Obama and Hillary and whoever else, are going to raise taxes, want to grow the government, not to mention what they're trying to do with this immigration bill. They want to increase the redistribution of wealth. They want people to be poorer. They want to take wealth and opportunity for income away from people, and the antidote to this is exactly the kind of things Reagan said. It's mystifying to me that so many Republicans today remain unwilling or maybe even embarrassed -- well, it's not totally mystifying, whether embarrassed to invoke Reaganism, it's simply the Drive-By just kills them in Washington. In fact, we have some JFK quotes that precede Reagan. JFK I guess in '62 made a speech in the fall of the Economic Club of New York making the case for his big tax cuts. I swear if you listen to these, you're convinced you're listening to Ronald Reagan. We've played those sound bites over the course of this program's many, many stellar years of broadcast service to mankind, and when we do, liberal Democrats call here and are outraged, and they tell me that I don't have the right to play JFK's words. "Who are you? You're a Republican. You can't take his words and appropriate them for yourself." I'm an American, he was the president, and he was right. They just don't want to hear Democrats talk that way. It's funny.
RUSH: Stockton, California, this is Robert. You're next on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Good program, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: You know, do you find it kind of interesting that Algore's comments come, as well as the Fairness Doctrine, all this is coming just as Hugo Chavez is shutting down media in Venezuela?
RUSH: Oh. Oh, let me tell you something about this. You will not be able to believe this story. The Drive-By Media is making excuses for what Chavez is doing because this TV station has ripped him and supported a coup against him. Here it is. It's Bart Jones, who spent eight years in Venezuela, mainly as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press. And he says this. "Would a network that aided and abetted a coup against the government be allowed to operate in the United States?" Well, yes, it happens every day. What do you think the Drive-By Media has been trying to do for five years, if not sponsor some kind of a Democratic coup against George W. Bush? But this guy goes on to praise Hugo Chavez for standing up to this TV station because they tried to oust him, they tried to run a coup against him. Well, what do you expect? So he has a lot of support, and the Democrat Party in this country has a lot of support. Because he hates Bush. And they hate Bush. So any friend of theirs, anybody hates Bush, whether they're an enemy of the country or not, is a friend of the Democrats and a friend of liberals. But you're right. What Hugo Chavez is doing nationalizing TV stations and shutting them down is the Venezuelan version of Algore's Fairness Doctrine.
The other part of the story is the underlying strength of our civilization, especially as reflected in the enormous productive abilities of those who drive our technological-industrial economy. Today, we got a reminder of this fact as the S&P 500, a key measure of the value of American stocks, hit a new record.
"S&P 500 Index Closes at Record High," Joe Bel Bruno, AP via Forbes, May 30 Wall Street advanced sharply Wednesday, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 index to its first record close in more than seven years, as investors grew more confident the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates in the second half of the year. The Dow Jones industrials also reached a new high close.
The S&P 500, considered by traders as the best barometer of US stocks, surpassed the record of 1,527.46, set March 24, 2000, at the peak of the dot-com boom, closing at 1,530.23, up 12.12, or 0.80 percent, according to preliminary calculations….
The Dow, the first of the major market indexes to recover from Wall Street's prolonged slump in the early part of the decade, closed at 13,633.08, up 111.74, or 0.83 percent, and also reached a new trading high of 13,636.09.
In the article linked to below, the Times gives a carefully "balanced" report on the scientific controversy over whether global warming causes an increase in hurricane activity. That's a key claim of Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth, which went so far as to feature a hurricane emerging from a smokestack in posters for the film. But the truth is inconvenient for Gore: far from being "settled science," the claim about hurricanes is probably dead wrong.
"Will Warming Lead to a Rise in Hurricanes?" Cornelia Dean, New York Times, May 29 It seems similarly logical that as the world warms, hurricanes will be more frequent or more powerful or both. After all, they draw their strength from warm ocean waters. But while many scientists hold this view, there is far less consensus, in part because of new findings on other factors that may work against stronger, more frequent storms….
In a consensus statement issued last year, the World Meteorological Organization said it was likely that there would be some increase in hurricane wind speeds in a warmer world. But the organization, which is the United Nations weather agency, noted that decades-long periods of high and low hurricane activity, unconnected to any climate change, had been recorded before. (Climate experts say a period of high activity began in 1995.)
For example, researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Miami have been studying how vertical wind shear—the differences in wind direction or speed at different altitudes—can inhibit hurricane formation.
In work reported last month in Geophysical Research Letters, the researchers said that in a warming world, wind shear in the Atlantic would increase, possibly enough to cancel out the hurricane-forcing effects of warmer water….
[W]hen Christopher W. Landsea analyzed historical records of hurricane activity, he concluded that satellite observations and other new techniques had increased scientists’ ability to detect major storms, skewing the frequency data. Dr. Landsea, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center, reported this conclusion this month in EOS, an electronic publication of the American Geophysical Union….
In a statement issued at this time last year, Dr. Anthes, Dr. Emanuel, Dr. Landsea and other researchers said the main hurricane problem facing the United States was “the ever-growing concentration of population and wealth in vulnerable coastal areas,” much of it subsidized by federal insurance and other programs.
Now Hugo Chavez is giving us an example of how the left really wants to use broadcast licensing and all of the other apparatus of state control over speech. On a trumped-up technicality, he has revoked the broadcast license of Venezuela's most popular television station—a station clearly targeted because it was critical of Hugo Chavez. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have (once again) poured out into the streets in protest.
The article linked to below gives the basic facts. Investor's Business Daily also has a good overview with more details, and Bridget Johnson speculates that Chavez may finally have overreached, even while she quotes a Venezuelan who states the grim situation accurately: "We are on the path to totalitarianism."
"Chavez Channel Prompts Protests," AP via Washington Times, May 29 National guard troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets yesterday into a crowd of protesters angry over a decision by President Hugo Chavez that forced a critical television station off the air.
University students blocked one lane of a major highway hours after Radio Caracas Television ceased broadcasting at midnight and was replaced with a new state-funded channel. Mr. Chavez had refused to renew RCTV's broadcast license, accusing it of "subversive" activities and of backing a 2002 coup against him….
Crowds of students demonstrated across Caracas, saying they fear for the future of free speech. "I plan to keep protesting because we're Venezuelans and it's our right," said Valentina Ramos, 17, a Metropolitan University student who was hit in the head with a tear gas canister and received stitches.
Inside the studios of RCTV—the sole opposition-aligned TV station with nationwide reach—disheartened actors and comedians wept and embraced in the final minutes on the air. They bowed their heads in prayer, and presenter Nelson Bustamante declared: "Long live Venezuela! We will return soon."…
Founded in 1953, RCTV regularly topped viewer ratings with its talk shows, sports, soap operas and comedy programs. But Mr. Chavez accused the network of helping to incite a failed coup in 2002, violating broadcast laws and "poisoning" Venezuelans with programming that promoted capitalism.
Now we're seeing the result of that incident: Iran's proxies in Iraq—Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army—have staged a raid to kidnap five British civilians, whom they now intend to trade for the release of hundreds of their own men held as prisoners of war by the British. Iran has already tested Britain's resolve, so the Mahdi Army believes they can get away with it.
"Britons' Captors Could Demand Swap," Damien McElroy and Nick Britten, Daily Telegraph, May 31 The five Britons captured in Iraq could be used as bargaining tools to secure the release of hundreds of Shia prisoners of war being held in Basra, it was disclosed last night.
"We are holding the British until they release our brothers from Camp Bucca in Basra," the cell commander said. "There are hundreds there under British security, some of them for years. When they are released the British will be allowed to go."…
Immediately after the Britons were snatched from a finance ministry building in Baghdad on Tuesday, they were driven to a "hostage holding" centre near Sadr City's Mudafra Square, from where they were expected to be moved frequently to avoid detection.
The Mahdi army official…said the group was seeking to emulate what it saw as the successful outcome of the recent seizure of the 15 British sailors by its allies in the Iranian government.
So as a backup, substitute plan, we're pushing a UN-sponsored criminal trial for Hariri's assassination. That's about a year and a half too late—the time was ripe for such a trial in late 2005, when Syria's regime was reeling from its loss of legitimacy and was cowed into cooperating with the UN investigation. Now, especially after being reassured by Nancy Pelosi's recent pilgrimage to Damascus, Syria is offering a different response to the prospect of a trial.
Terrorists who used to be shuttled through Syria to Iraq are now being diverted to Lebanon. Rather than face justice for its crimes, the Syrian regime will plunge Lebanon into chaos.
"UN Creates Tribunal for Lebanese Assassinations," Betsy Pisik, Washington Times, May 30 The UN Security Council today approved the creation of an international tribunal to try suspects in a series of Lebanese political assassinations, setting up a confrontation with Syria, which has said it will not cooperate with the new court.
Approved in a 10-0 vote with five abstentions, the panel will conduct trials for those accused in the February 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and a half-dozen other opponents of Syria's influence of Lebanon.
The court, which could take more than a year to become operational, will include Lebanese and international judges and prosecutors and will function under Lebanese law. It is not clear how much the court will cost or where it will be seated.
Prosecutors will work with evidence amassed by a two-year-old investigation into the wave of assassinations, which has included the deaths of prominent Lebanese writers and politicians. An early report implicated senior Syrian intelligence and military officials, including a brother-in-law of President Bashar Assad.
Damascus has repeatedly said it will not cooperate with the international tribunal or allow Syrian citizens to be tried there. Approval of the tribunal had been held up for months by parliamentary maneuvers in the Lebanese parliament, where it was supported by the prime minister but opposed by the president and the parliamentary speaker—both allies of Syria.
Despite the recent electoral triumph of the defeatist Democrats, there are still a few stalwarts making the case for the use of military force to stop Iran from getting the bomb. Below is a link to a long article in the Wall Street Journal (reprinted from Commentary magazine) by Norman Podhoretz, one of the venerated founding fathers of "neoconservatism."
The article is a bit ponderous and goes over a lot of territory that will be more than familiar to readers of TIA Daily, but it is generally a good overview of the case for war against Iran.
"The Case for Bombing Iran," Norman Podhoretz, Wall Street Journal, May 30 The same thing is true of Iran. As the currently main center of the Islamofascist ideology against which we have been fighting since 9/11, and as (according to the State Department's latest annual report on the subject) the main sponsor of the terrorism that is Islamofascism's weapon of choice, Iran too is a front in World War IV. Moreover, its effort to build a nuclear arsenal makes it the potentially most dangerous one of all.
Since hope springs eternal, some now believe that the answer lies in more punishing sanctions. This time, however, their purpose would be not to force Iran into compliance, but to provoke an internal uprising against Ahmadinejad and the regime as a whole….
Once upon a time, under the influence of Bernard Lewis and others I respect, I too subscribed to this school of thought. But after three years and more of waiting for the insurrection they assured us back then was on the verge of erupting, I have lost confidence in their prediction….
I readily admit that it would be foolish to discount any or all of these scenarios [about bad effects from bombing Iran]. Each of them is, alas, only too plausible. Nevertheless, there is a good response to them, and it is the one given by John McCain. The only thing worse than bombing Iran, McCain has declared, is allowing Iran to get the bomb.
In his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush made a promise:
"We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."
In that speech, the president was referring to Iraq, but he has made it clear on a number of subsequent occasions that the same principle applies to Iran. Indeed, he has gone so far as to say that if we permit Iran to build a nuclear arsenal, people 50 years from now will look back and wonder how we of this generation could have allowed such a thing to happen, and they will rightly judge us as harshly as we today judge the British and the French for what they did and what they failed to do at Munich in 1938. I find it hard to understand why George W. Bush would have put himself so squarely in the dock of history on this issue if he were resigned to leaving office with Iran in possession of nuclear weapons, or with the ability to build them….
It now remains to be seen whether this president, battered more mercilessly and with less justification than any other in living memory, and weakened politically by the enemies of his policy in the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular, will find it possible to take the only action that can stop Iran from following through on its evil intentions both toward us and toward Israel. As an American and as a Jew, I pray with all my heart that he will.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
But this will be no ordinary moth.
Inside it will be a computer chip that was implanted when the creature was still a pupa, in the cocoon, meaning that the moth's entire nervous system can be controlled remotely.
The moth will thus be capable of landing in the camp without arousing suspicion, all the while beaming video and other information back to its masters via what its developers refer to as a "reliable tissue-machine interface."
The creation of insects whose flesh grows around computer parts — known from science fiction as cyborgs — has been described as one of the most ambitious robotics projects ever conceived by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research and development arm of the U.S. Department of Defense.
THE LAST SMILE BEFORE DYING: ARTICLE AND PICTURES
WARNING! GRAPHIC DEATH PICTURES AT END OF ARTICLE! WARNING!
Photos of dying Diana create furore
By Mimi Turner
LONDON (Hollywood Reporter) - Channel 4 on Monday said it will go ahead with the broadcast of a film showing previously unseen photographs of Princess Diana in the car crash that killed her in 1997, despite anger from her friends and criticism from politicians.
The broadcaster, which earlier this year stoked controversy with the fictionalized assassination of President George Bush in "Death of a President," has denied the program is sensationalizing Diana's death and has described the film as "responsible."
It will broadcast "Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel" next week, to mark the 10th anniversary of her death. Newspapers have reported that the program features previously unpublished photographs of the princess receiving medical attention from a doctor as she lay dying in the back of the black Mercedes S-class vehicle in which her lover, Dodi Fayed, and the driver, Henri Paul, also were killed.
Very few of the photos taken by paparazzi and passers by on the night of the crash in August 1997 have surfaced in the media, and many were confiscated as evidence by the French legal authorities in the aftermath of the crash in the Pont d'Alma in Paris.
The broadcaster said the images shown in the program, which was made by its history department, have been "carefully and sensitively selected" and that the identities of those in the car had been blacked out.
"These photographs are an important and accurate eyewitness record of how events unfolded after the crash," a Channel 4 statement said.
"We acknowledge there is great public sensitivity surrounding pictures of the victims and these have not been included," Channel 4 said, adding that it believed the events were the subject of "genuine public interest" to know how the events leading to Diana's death had unfolded.
The broadcaster's comment have not mollified critics.
In an interview for BBC radio, long-time Diana family friend Rosa Monckton accused Channel 4 of using the footage to lure viewers and said it would damage her sons.
"They must have released the fact that they were using this image as part of their publicity campaign," Monckton told the "PM" program on BBC Radio 4. "Why else would people want to tune in? It's rather like how people stop on the motorway to look at car crashes, but they are summoning people, they are saying 'Roll up, roll up, come and look at this.'"
"She can't be hurt by this anymore but her sons can," she added.
Hugo Swire, the member of parliament who speaks for culture and media affairs for the opposition Conservative party, said the film would violate Diana's privacy and cause further grief to her sons.
"This kind of coverage must be deeply distressing to Princes William and Harry," Swire said. "It is difficult to see who will be served from broadcasting such sensational and private material," he said.
The Complete Article
The Princess Diana Death Pictures:
Are These Pictures Fakes?
It was an incredibly violent crash. No one was wearing a seatbelt. Paul and Fayed were dead. Dr. Frederic Maillez, an off duty emergency doctor, stopped his car 30 seconds later.
"I remember almost nobody around me walking toward the wreckage," he said. "And my first intention was to see if there were any victims."
An off-duty fireman was already tending to the bodyguard in the front seat. Without knowing who she was, and with little equipment, Maillez focused on Diana.
"She was laying on the floor of the car, she was unconscious," he said. "The first thing I had to do was to lift up her head, apply the respiratory bag so she could breathe a little bit better. What I could see is that she did not have any injury on her face. Her face was intact. Just a few drops of blood and that's it. She was still very beautiful, very sophisticated lady."
As Maillez worked, others began to arrive including the photographers who had been left behind.
"Little by little, there was more and more flash more and more photographs taken - there was like 'tsh tsh tsh,' " Maillez said.
So it would appear these pictures do match up to an eyewitness account of how Diana appeared after the accident.SOURCE
Outrage at screening of dying Princess Diana photo: Cannes documentary to show graphic picture for first time
Unlawful Killing, which will be shown at Cannes this week, is backed by the actor Keith Allen and Mohammed Fayed, whose son Dodi died with Diana.
The 90-minute film will include a graphic black and white close-up of Diana taken moments after the Mercedes carrying the couple crashed in a Paris underpass.
Crash: A photographer is first to reach Diana's smashed up Mercedes in 1997. The public have never seen close-up images of her dying
The distressing image, Diana’s blonde hair and features clearly visible, has never been publicly seen in this country.
It will be shown around the world but not in the UK, prompting Allen to say: ‘Pity, because at a time when the sugar rush of the Royal Wedding has been sending republicans into a diabetic coma, it could act as a welcome antidote.’
Similar pictures shown to the Diana inquest jury had her face heavily pixellated.
News that Allen, father of pop star Lily, is using the full photograph outraged close friends of the late Princess of Wales.
Icon: Diana's fame has meant that her death has been the subject of intense scrutiny. An inquest - held a decade later - found she was unlawfully killed
Rosa Monckton, who went on holiday with Diana a few weeks before she died, said: ‘If this is true this is absolutely disgusting.
‘The fact people are trying to make money – which is all that they are doing now – out of her death is quite frankly ... words fail me.’
A spokesman for St James’s Palace declined to comment but royal sources said Diana's sons would be sickened by the news.
One said: ‘They rather hope people would treat this with the contempt it deserves.’
He suggested that William and Harry would not be drawn into commenting for fear of giving Allen the oxygen of publicity.
Sources told the Daily Mail that the princes will never publicly comment about their mother because they view the issue as ‘the most intensely personal and private aspect of their very public lives’.
Allen’s film is due to be screened amid a blaze of publicity at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday and Mr Fayed is reported to be travelling to the south of France to help with the launch.
In 2008, after a six-month inquest which heard evidence from 250 witnesses and cost taxpayers an estimated £12million, a jury concluded that Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed were unlawfully killed as a direct result of grossly negligent driving by drunk chauffeur Henri Paul, who also died in the crash.
The actions of photographers following the car were also cited.
Mr Fayed has accused Prince Philip of masterminding the 1997 crash in which Diana and Dodi died and even suggested that Prince Charles was involved.
He alleged the death plot took place to stop Diana marrying his Muslim son.
During the 2008 Diana inquest, the former Harrods owner described the royals as ‘that Dracula family’.
The photograph of Diana forms part of the trailer to Allen’s documentary on the film’s official website available in the UK.
Backers: The film, Unlawful Killing, is being supported by Mohammed Fayed, whose son Dodi died with Diana, and left-wing activist and actor Keith Allen, right
Getting ready: A screen is prepared on the beach for the 64th Cannes Film Festival in France, which is where the Diana documentary will be shown
The website proclaims: ‘Unlawful Killing is the story of the deaths of Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed and their driver Henri Paul.
‘It reveals a cover-up by the British Establishment culminating in a six-month inquest. Keith Allen’s ground-breaking documentary recreates key moments from the inquest and demonstrates how vital evidence of foul play was hidden from public scrutiny, how the royal family were exempted from giving evidence and how journalists, particularly those working for the BBC, systematically misreported the events and in particular, the verdict itself.
‘This is the story of how the world was deceived.’
Allen, in a piece for the Guardian newspaper last weekend, said: ‘My “inquest of the inquest” film contains footage of Diana recalling how the royals wanted her consigned to a mental institution, and the coroner repeatedly questioning the sanity of anyone who wondered if the crash was more than an accident.’
He said he asked every major UK broadcaster to commission a TV documentary about the inquest but they all refused.
Mourned: The gates of Kensington Palace adorned with tributes in 1997
He said Unlawful Killing was ‘not about a conspiracy before the crash, but a conspiracy after the crash. A conspiracy organised not by a single arch-fiend, but collectively by the British establishment’.
He said the film was being premiered in Cannes ‘because British lawyers insisted on 87 cuts before any UK release.
'So rather than butcher the film, we’re showing in France, then the U.S., and everywhere except the UK.’
A spokesman for the filmmakers said: ‘The picture has been published in full before, in many parts of the world. We acquired the image from an Italian magazine, which had already published it in full. It is also widely available on the web.
‘We are therefore not publishing anything that the rest of the world has not already seen elsewhere.’
A spokesman for Mr Fayed said: ‘He was not aware that any photograph taken of any occupant of the car was going to be in this film.
‘He is appalled by that and will be taking all necessary steps to make sure it is not in the film.’
I have also seen evidence that September 11 energized American secularists to argue more stridently against religion by citing its destructive consequences throughout history and in the world today. The article below gives an overview of this literary counter-attack by atheists against the recent resurgence of religious fanaticism.
Many of these counter-attacks have serious problems—not least being that most of the atheist authors (Christopher Hitchens excepted)—want to fight against religion only at home, while opposing any effort to fight Islamic theocracy overseas. But this is an important trend, and one I intend to cover in more depth in the future.
"Atheist Authors Grapple with Believers," Rachel Zoll, Los Angeles Times, May 26 The time for polite debate is over. Militant, atheist writers are making an all-out assault on religious faith and reaching the top of the bestseller list, a sign of widespread resentment over the influence of religion in the world among nonbelievers.
Christopher Hitchens' book "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" has sold briskly since it was published last month, and his debates with clergy are drawing crowds at every stop.
Sam Harris was a little-known graduate student until he wrote the phenomenally successful "The End of Faith" and its follow-up, "Letter to a Christian Nation." Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" and Daniel Dennett's "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon" struck similar themes—and sold….
Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, a prominent evangelical school in Pasadena, said the books' success reflects a new vehemence in the atheist critique. "I don't believe in conspiracy theories," Mouw said, "but it's almost like they all had a meeting and said, 'Let's counterattack.'"…
Given the popularity of the anti-religion books so far, publishers are expected to roll out even more in the future. Lynn Garrett, senior religion editor for Publishers Weekly, says religion has been one of the fastest-growing categories in publishing in the last 15 years, and the rise of books by atheists is "the flip-side of that."
"It was just the time," she said, "for the atheists to take the gloves off."
The controversy over the firing of a handful of US attorneys is no exception. Justice Department aide Monica Goodling created a stir when she admitted that she might have considered the political views of US attorneys in dealing with their hiring and firing.
But even the Washington Post—which is trying its best to turn this story into a new Watergate—was forced to admit that "So far, no evidence has emerged to support the allegations that some of the prosecutors…were fired for pursuing public corruption cases against Republicans."
In response to all of this, a few old Washington hands point out that US attorney are political appointees. There is no shock that political appointees are appointed with their political views and priorities in mind. That is, after all, why it is important who gets elected president and who is appointed as Attorney General.
What really seems to have the Democrats worked up is that they aren't being allowed to appoint people who reflect their political priorities. And that finally gets us to the only real issue here, from which the allegations of a scandal are distracting us.
As the article below points out, Monica Goodling represents a new success by graduates of Evangelical Christian colleges in getting appointed to powerful jobs that were previously the preserve of graduates from left-leaning Ivy League universities. The Evangelicals have now become part of the government "establishment."
I think there is plenty of reason to be concerned about the number of Evangelicals in government jobs, given their views on the separation of church and state, which many of them believe is a "myth"—though the article below cites no examples of Evangelicals doing damage to church-state separation. Too bad a trumped-up scandal is distracting the press from a more in-depth examination of that issue.
"The New Establishment," Hannah Rosin, Washington Post, May 25 To the Bush haters of America, the young Monica Goodling is a footnote of this wretched era, one of the many Washington types that they'll be happy to get rid of come January 2009: Venal Vice President, Ex-Lobbyists Turned Regulators and, in Goodling's case, Young Evangelicals in High Places….
Goodling graduated from Messiah College…and the law school at Regent University, founded by Pat Robertson….
It used to be that being 33 and in charge of 93 U.S. attorneys would mean you'd been top of your class at Harvard or Yale or clerked at the Supreme Court. Now, Christian schools are joining that mix. Regent has had 150 of its graduates working in the White House….
They are part of the Washington establishment now and…they will be around long after Bush is gone….
While testifying this week, Goodling admitted that she had asked inappropriately partisan questions of applicants for civil service jobs. But she never asked about religion, she said. Unlike their elders, the new generation of evangelicals does not turn the cubicle into a pulpit. If they are intent on implementing God's will, they do it with professional discretion.
That conflict has very clearly broken open here in America, with one faction hell-bent on forcing an American defeat in Iraq. But the conflicts in Pakistan, in Lebanon, in Turkey, and across the entire Middle East are reminders that each of the nations of the Muslim world is gripped by a conflict between a more pro-Western, liberal outlook—and the bloody primitivism of the radical Muslims.
Here is an update on a key front of the Global Civil War: the battle over secularism in Turkey. One observer notes that Turkey's secularists have been emboldened by their strength in recent protests against the leading, crypto-Islamist political party.
Meanwhile, a commentator in the Turkish Daily News has taken to criticizing the American media for being too friendly to the Islamists (in articles such as this one).
Finally, the Middle East Media Research Institute has gotten the goods on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, digging up an old speech in which he openly declares his allegiance to Islamist principles, declaring that "sovereignty belongs unconditionally and always to Allah."
"Turkish PM Erdogan in Speech During Term As Istanbul Mayor Attacks Turkey’s Constitution, Describing it As 'A Huge Lie': 'Sovereignty Belongs Unconditionally and Always To Allah'; 'One Cannot Be a Muslim, and Secular',
As for [the motto of Turkish democracy] 'Sovereignty belongs unconditionally to the people.' Now, look here. This is a lie! And it's a huge lie!...
You must think well. When [does the sovereignty belong to the people]? It is only when they go to the polls [every five years] that sovereignty belongs to the people. But both materially, and in essence, sovereignty unconditionally and always belongs to Allah!
The following are excerpts from a compilation of some of the statements made by PM Erdogan during his terms as Istanbul’s Mayor and as Turkey’s Prime Minister….
Elhamdulillah [by Allah’s grace] we are sharia-ists. (Milliyet, Nov. 21, 1994)
Our reference [guide] is Islam. Our only goal is an Islamic state. They can never intimidate us. If the skies and the earth open up, if storms blow on us, if the lava of volcanoes flow on us, we will never change our way. My guide is Islam. If I cannot live according to Islam, why live at all? [Turk], Kurd, Arab, Caucasian cannot be differentiated; because these peoples are united under the roof of Islam. [from his Dec. 6, 1997 speech], [Hurriyet, Sep. 24, 1998]
The bad news: control of a large, strategically crucial, majority-Muslim country that possesses nuclear weapons is now up for grabs. Pakistani liberals have been leading the protests against Musharraf's rule—but they will have to contend with a large and vicious movement of Pakistani Islamists.
The analysis below is poorly written, but in a way that does capture the actual essence of events. It's one of those fence-sitting analyses which informs us that Musharraf could crack down on opposition—or he could step aside; events could move slowly—or they could move quickly. Yes, that's a high-school-level example of bad writing, but it captures the uncertainty of Pakistan's future.
"Musharraf's Grip Falters in Pakistan," Laura King, Los Angeles Times, May 29 When President Perez Musharraf survived back-to-back assassination attempts in 2003, he might have thought the worst was behind him. But now, after easily quelling any threat to his power during eight years of military rule, the general appears trapped in a labyrinth of his own making.
His attempt 2 1/2 months ago to sideline Pakistan's independent-minded chief justice touched off nationwide protests that have coalesced into a full-blown pro-democracy movement. Islamic militants have established a firm foothold in the tribal borderlands, and vigilante-style followers of a radical cleric here in the capital have been kidnapping police officers and menacing those they consider to be promoting a licentious lifestyle….
Longtime political allies are beginning to distance themselves from the 63-year-old Pakistani leader. And although top generals appear to be standing by him, even government ministers are silent in the face of withering criticism of his rule, or offering only tepid support.
"His position has become untenable, unsustainable," said author and analyst Ahmed Rashid.
"I don't see how he can hang on," said journalist Zahid Hussain.
Musharraf faces stark choices, analysts say. He could hunker down and try to ride out the crisis, or move to declare martial law. He could seek to strike a deal with opposition figures, who are likely to spurn him. Or he could step aside.
"It's a scenario that could play out over some time, or could play out quite quickly," said Teresita C. Schaffer, director for South Asia affairs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington….
The conventional wisdom has always held that Musharraf is a bulwark against Islamic fundamentalists, and that without him, the country could slide into a chaos that extremist groups would exploit.
But opposition parties insist that free and fair elections could instead empower a moderate, Western-leaning regime. Islamist parties won only about 12% of the vote in the last elections, in 2002, and many believe they would draw less support now.
"Messing Up the Mullahs," Peter Brookes, New York Post, May 29 According to a news account supposedly based on a leak from inside the government, President Bush recently signed off on a classified intelligence "finding," authorizing the CIA to undertake a non-lethal covert-action program to destabilize Iran's nearly out-of-control government. If true, it's about time….
The leak claims the covert-action program would include propaganda, disinformation and economic attacks—efforts to weaken Iran's currency and manipulate financial transactions.
It's not hard to envision at least some tactics:
Iran's economy is certainly vulnerable. It just started rationing gasoline—and relies on imports for 40 percent of its needs. We might look at getting key suppliers, like the United Arab Emirates and India, to cut back.
Another option is to target the government's economic mismanagement: buy up and flood the international market with Iranian rials, devaluing the currency and sending already high inflation and unemployment further skyward….
Hard-hitting, clandestine "surrogate" broadcasts could be beamed into Iran 24/7, highlighting human-rights abuses, corruption, civil strife, and the unnecessary political and economic hardships of the Iranian people.
Iran is only slightly more than half Persian. Could ethnic minorities like the Azeris (24 percent) and Kurds (7 percent), already unhappy with their second-class status, be empowered to do something about it?...
A covert program is unlikely to bring the Iranian regime to its knees. But it could throw Tehran off balance just enough to distract it from nukes and foreign adventurism—making such an operation well worth the good ole Company—er, college—try.
The surreal flavor of the meeting is best captured in Eli Lake's report, below, for the New York Sun. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, for example, declared that Iraq is neutral in the conflict between the US and Iran—even while his country is being torn apart by a proxy war between the two nations.
But the oddest performance goes to US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, who presented evidence of Iranian support for Iraqi insurgents. The weird part is that he was presenting this evidence to the Iranians. I suppose it's nice to let them know that we know what they are up to—but that won't matter unless we can convincingly tell them that we're prepared to retaliate for their acts of war.
"Iraq Brings to Table Two Countries Inching Closer to a War Footing," Eli Lake, New York Sun, May 29 Mr. Maliki, who himself is being pressured by Mr. Crocker and American military commanders to purge sectarian government officials and target both Shiite and Sunni terrorists in the Baghdad security plan, yesterday said his country did not want to see Iraq become a battleground for neighboring states.
"Iraq will not be a springboard for threats against any of the neighboring countries," he said. "In return we look for a similar stance from the other states, especially our neighbors."
Yesterday's talks between America and Iran mark the first long-form discussions on security and Iraq between two countries that are inching closer to a war footing. In the last week, American diplomats began making the case at the United Nations for a new Security Council resolution against Iran's nuclear program in light of a damning report from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Meanwhile, the Iranians arrested what they claimed were spy rings supported by America and the United Kingdom. Mr. Crocker said he presented evidence to Mr. Qomi of Iran's role in supporting both Sunni and Shiia militants inside Iraq.
"I laid out the fact we have solid evidence linking Iran to support of armed militant groups attacking our soldiers and coalition forces," Mr. Crocker told reporters in a conference call following his meeting.
"We made clear that we are aware Iran is supplying such groups with arms, ammunitions and explosives, and EFPs. We know the revolutionary guards Quds force is the lead instrument in pursuing this policy and they need to stop this behavior that is killing our soldiers and innocent Iraqis," Mr. Crocker said, using an acronym to refer to armor-piercing munitions known as explosively formed projectiles.
Mr. Crocker was careful to say the evidence he presented was not of "judicial quality." Instead, he said, he "was making it clear we know what they are doing. This was a way to make it clear we know what they are up to."…
Mr. Qomi said in an interview with Iranian television after the meeting that the primary cause of instability in Iraq is the presence of American troops.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Indeed, we have no privacy rights anymore.
My Name And Social Security Number Posted Without Permission
Mon May 28, 2007
I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called "Face" of the American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such "liberal blogs" as the Democratic Underground. Being called an "attention whore" and being told "good riddance" are some of the more milder rebukes.
CindySheehan's diary :: ::
I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.
The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our "two-party" system?
However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of "right or left", but "right and wrong."
I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike. It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don’t find alternatives to this corrupt "two" party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don’t see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person’s heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?
I have also reached the conclusion that if I am doing what I am doing because I am an "attention whore" then I really need to be committed. I have invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with justice to a country that wants neither. If an individual wants both, then normally he/she is not willing to do more than walk in a protest march or sit behind his/her computer criticizing others. I have spent every available cent I got from the money a "grateful" country gave me when they killed my son and every penny that I have received in speaking or book fees since then. I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for extended periods of time away from Casey’s brother and sisters and my health has suffered and my hospital bills from last summer (when I almost died) are in collection because I have used all my energy trying to stop this country from slaughtering innocent human beings. I have been called every despicable name that small minds can think of and have had my life threatened many times.
The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.
I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won’t work with that group; he won’t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.
Our brave young men and women in Iraq have been abandoned there indefinitely by their cowardly leaders who move them around like pawns on a chessboard of destruction and the people of Iraq have been doomed to death and fates worse than death by people worried more about elections than people. However, in five, ten, or fifteen years, our troops will come limping home in another abject defeat and ten or twenty years from then, our children’s children will be seeing their loved ones die for no reason, because their grandparents also bought into this corrupt system. George Bush will never be impeached because if the Democrats dig too deeply, they may unearth a few skeletons in their own graves and the system will perpetuate itself in perpetuity.
I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost. I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble.
Camp Casey has served its purpose. It’s for sale. Anyone want to buy five beautiful acres in Crawford , Texas ? I will consider any reasonable offer. I hear George Bush will be moving out soon, too...which makes the property even more valuable.
This is my resignation letter as the "face" of the American anti-war movement. This is not my "Checkers" moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.
Good-bye America ...you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.
It’s up to you now.
by Robert W. Tracinski
May 24, 2002
Memorial Day is always a solemn occasion, but especially so this year, because we have so recently experienced this day's meaning first-hand. We have seen it in two different ways: we have seen the courage of our troops on the battlefields of Afghanistan—and we have realized, in the days following September 11, how much depends on that courage.
For most of my friends and acquaintances, normal life and normal work came to a sudden halt on September 11—and stayed on hold for a solid month. Projects we had begun beforehand, long-term goals that were still relevant and important, were dropped. Everyone I know had the same reaction: what we were doing before September 11 seemed trivial, unimportant, meaningless. How can you go about your normal business, when thousands of other Americans just like you, going about their normal business, have just been murdered without reason or warning?
Then there came a day, in early to mid-October, when I noticed a change almost equally abrupt. I was greeted one morning by a small flood of phone calls and e-mails from authors and business associates following up on the projects that had been forgotten a month before. I noticed, with some surprise, that this was the same day I had already planned to call them. We didn't talk about it at the time, but it was clear we all felt the same way. It was as if a weight had been lifted, we now knew it was safe to live again, and we were ready to get back to work.
I was struck by the fact that so many of my friends and colleagues seemed to feel the same way at exactly the same time. But then I realized what caused it: a few days earlier, President Bush had announced the first air strikes against Afghanistan.
This underscored for me, unforgettably, how much we owe to our soldiers, sailors, and airmen. We cannot do our work unless we know they are doing theirs. We do not have the freedom to live our lives, unless they are there risking their lives to protect that freedom.
In the sloppy terminology so typical of today, it is common to attribute the courage of our soldiers to "self-sacrifice." But this misses the enormous difference between our soldiers and the malevolent fanatics on the other side, who declare that they want to die because they "love death." American soldiers do not go into battle because they love death. They go into battle because they love freedom. They love the liberties we enjoy and the prosperous and benevolent society that these liberties make possible. And they realize that someone has to fight to defend all of this.
Our soldiers do not want to die, and they do not expect to die; they know they are far better trained and better armed than their adversaries. But they know that some of them will die, and they believe that freedom is worth that risk. Here is how the family of Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts, the first American soldier to die in Operation Anaconda, expressed it: "He made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that everyone who calls himself or herself an American truly has all the privileges of living in the greatest country in the world."
The more personal motives of American soldiers can be seen in the kinship they feel with the firefighters and policeman who died at the World Trade Center—as seen in the helicopter pilots who pasted the insignia of the New York police and fire departments onto the sides of their ships. I have observed that soldiers, police, and firemen all share a fierce kind of pride in the knowledge that when disaster strikes, they do not have to hope that someone else will come to the rescue—because they are the ones who have the skills, the training, and the courage to deal with any threat. Shortly before his death, anticipating the risks he was about to face, Neil Roberts wrote to his wife: "I loved being a SEAL. If I died doing something for the Teams, then I died doing what made me happy. Very few people have the luxury of that."
And very few nations have the privilege of having soldiers like this to defend them. Let's take the time this Memorial Day to express our gratitude to the soldiers who have died—and to those who are still fighting to protect our freedom.