News Headlines & Trends
08.13.05 Fearing backlash, Pentagon moves to block new Abu Ghraib photos
WASHINGTON (AFP) August 13 The Pentagon has moved forcefully to block the release of new video evidence of prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, arguing it would help recruit new Islamist insurgents and endanger American lives. The request is contained in a motion filed in federal court by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers in response to a plea by several human rights groups to make public 87 photographs and four videotapes made at Abu Ghraib by Specialist Joseph Darby that thus far have been kept under wraps...The suit comes at a particularly sensitive time for the administration of President George W. Bush, which is trying to stem the erosion of public support for its policies in Iraq following a new spike in US casualties in that country. As many as 61 percent of Americans expressed their disapproval of how the president is handling Iraq in the most recent Newsweek magazine survey...Meanwhile, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero insists the real reason the Pentagon is fighting the release of the new evidence is because it demonstrates "the failure of American leaders who placed our young men and women in compromising situations and are now seeking to blame them for it." [Full story>>turkishpress.com]
08.13.05 Pakistan to send foreign madrasa students home
KARACHI (Reuters) August 13 Pakistani authorities are preparing to send home 648 foreign students studying in Islamic religious schools in the southern Sindh province, a senior government official said on Saturday. "There are some 648 foreign students studying in madrasas in the province, of which 591 are in Karachi," Ghulam Mohtaram, Home Secretary of Sindh, told reporters in Karachi. President Pervez Musharraf banned foreign students coming to Pakistan for religious education after the July 7 London bombings and because of reports some Islamic religious schools, or madrasas, were militant recruiting grounds. He said all the foreign students in Pakistani madrasas would be asked to leave the country. [More>>expressindia.com; See also expressindia.com 8.10.05 article, "UK Muslims send $800 million to Pakistan madrasas" : Madrasas in Pakistan receive more than 800 million pounds a year equivalent of the country's income tax revenue through charitable donations mainly from wealthy British-based Muslim businessmen. An investigation conducted by Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) has found damning evidence of how some prominent Muslim businessmen in Britain are using bogus charities to funnel millions of pounds to seminaries that are alleged to produce as many gunmen as they do clergy. According to the study a large number of the seminaries are now controlled by pro-Taliban Islamic militant organizations fighting in Kashmir. A section of radical clergy also enjoy immense personal wealth, the report said...]
08.13.05 Bush: US, Israel united in making sure Iran doesn't get nuclear weapons
August 13 US President George W. Bush said on Israeli television he could consider using force as a last resort to press Iran to give up its nuclear program. "All options are on the table," Bush, speaking at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, said in the interview with Channel 1 TV broadcast on Friday. In the interview, Bush said the United States and Israel "are united in our objective to make sure that Iran does not have a weapon." Asked if that included the use of force, Bush replied: "As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country."
Iran angered the European Union and the United States by resuming uranium conversion at the Isfahan plant last Monday after rejecting an EU offer of political and economic incentives in return for giving up its nuclear program. Tehran says it aims only to produce electricity and denies Western accusations it is seeking a nuclear bomb. Bush made clear he still hoped for a diplomatic solution, noting that EU powers Britain, Germany and France had taken the lead in dealing with Iran. [More>>haaretzdaily.com; See also thestar.com.my]
Editorial note: "Using Force the George W. Bush way."
When George Bush refers to the use of force to get his way, we can see, as it relates to Iraq, that "the use of force" in Iraq is not force at all in the conventional sense of the term. Bush's use of force to date has been without planning or purpose with regard to exercising sovereignty over another nation. After all, when one nation invades another nation, one must have support in order to implement "changes" promised through the invasion. Whilst all members of the United Nations are recognized as sovereign nations it is apparent that the Bush administration's respect for the sovereignty of nations or even the United Nations itself is lacking. At most Bush is like a school ground bully whose success is dependent upon the use of American forces as his own private army in an expanding war which he called World War III, as described in the June 29, 2005 issue of washingtonpost.com:
President Bush last night offered no new evidence to dissuade the growing majorities of Americans who believe that the United States is bogged down in Iraq, that the war was a mistake in the first place, and that he has no clear plan to bring troops home.
His prime-time speech did, however, contain a bold rhetorical shift. The president who took his country to war in Iraq on account of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, then recast the invasion as a pro-democracy move, is now arguing that Iraq is ground zero for World War III, the battle against terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001. And having failed to capture or kill the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, the president who has been notoriously averse to even mentioning his name out loud last night actually quoted Osama bin Laden in support of the speech's central argument.
"Hear the words of Osama bin Laden," Bush said: " 'This Third World War is raging' in Iraq."
Aside from Bush's repeated invocation of Sept. 11, there was no looking back in his speech, and certainly no admission of error. No acknowledgement that his fixation on Iraq may have let bin Laden get away, or that his own acts created the conditions in Iraq in which terrorists and their supporters are flourishing. There was also no talk of the unfound weapons of mass destruction, or of the growing credibility gap fueled in part by the Downing Street memos, which suggest that Bush misled the public about Iraq in the run-up to a war that he craved. And in spite of all the clamoring, there was no exit strategy. Although press secretary Scott McClellan had promised that Bush would "talk in a very specific way about the way forward," the only forward-looking talk was incredibly vague. [More>>>washingtonpost.com]
The issue of World War III relates to Bush's use of the term, "crusade," when he launched the war on Iraq. In a letter I wrote to Senator Feinstein on June 29, 2005, I express my concerns about Bush's concept of his World War III. For Her response to the letter, Click here, "Administration investigating Iran's President Ahmadinejad on US embassy siege.
There are many articles on the internet that picked up on Bush's use of the word, "crusade," but the scariest is Sydney H. Schanberg's article of October 15-21, 2003, Villagevoice.com, "The widening crusade
Bush's war plan is scarier than he's saying" : If some wishful Americans are still hoping President Bush will acknowledge that his imperial foreign policy has stumbled in Iraq and needs fixing or reining in, they should put aside those reveries. He's going all the wayand taking us with him.
The Israeli bombing raid on Syria October 5 was an expansion of the Bush policy, carried out by the Sharon government but with the implicit approval of Washington. The government in Iran, said to be seeking to develop a nuclear weapon, reportedly expects to be the next target. No one who believes in democracy need feel any empathy toward the governments of Syria and Iran, for they assist the terrorist movement, yet if the Bush White House is going to use its preeminent military force to subdue and neutralize all "evildoers" and adversaries everywhere in the world, the American public should be told now. Such an undertaking would be virtually endless and would require the sacrifice of enormous blood and treasure.
With no guarantee of success. And no precedent in history for such a crusade having lasting effect.
...Another escalation proposed for the military by the PNAC is to "perform the 'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions."
As for homeland security, the PNAC report says: "Develop and deploy global missile defenses to defend the American homeland and American allies, and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world. Control the new 'international commons' of space and 'cyberspace,' and pave the way for the creation of a new military serviceU.S. Space Forceswith the mission of space control." Perhaps the eeriest sentence in the report is found on page 51: "The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing eventlike a new Pearl Harbor." Apparently for the neoconservative civilians who are running the Iraq campaign, 9-11 was that catalyzing eventfor they are now operating at full speed toward multiple, simultaneous wars. The PNAC documents can be found online at newamericancentury.org.
In the end, the answers lie with this presidentand later maybe with Congress and the American voters. Is he so committed to this imperial policy that he is unable to consider rethinking it? In short, is his mind closed? And if so, how many wars will he take us into? These are not questions in a college debate, where the answers have no consequences. When a president's closest advisers and military planners are patrons of a policy that speaks matter-of-factly of fighting multiple, simultaneous, large-scale wars across the globe, people have a right to be told about it.
In his new book, Winning Modern Wars, retired general Wesley Clark, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, offered a window into the Bush serial-war planning. He writes that serious planning for the Iraq war had already begun only two months after the 9-11 attack, and adds: "As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan. . . . I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned."
A five-year military campaign. Seven countries. How far has the White House taken this plan? And how long can the president keep the nation in the dark, emerging from his White House cocoon only to speak to us in slogans and the sterile language of pep rallies? [Full story>>villagevoice.com]
Letter to Senator Feinstein from Mel Copeland, Maravot News:
June 29, 2005,
Dear Senator Feinstein:
I was shocked to read in the London Sunday Times that the new President of Iran is a [alleged] terrorist.
If the report were true, as well as the related stories I gathered at Maravot News, it would appear that our entire view of Iran has to be reexamined. For instance, Bush's hostile attitude towards Iran and other Islamic nations may have helped push the Iranians into electing this man. Iran was becoming more moderate and now we may have an entire reversal of fortune ahead.
Many nations (EU, India, China, Russia, Pakistan, Turkey, etc.) were hopeful in an Iran that is more moderate and one with whom they could develop (with regard to oil resources). Bush played against those hopes in his many Faustian moves against Iran. Rice's warning to India and Pakistan, against the oil pipeline from Iran, is one of those concerns.
Now that the world can see a real terrorist at the head of Iran a terrorist who espouses the "Baathist" ideology of "spreading Islam throughout the world" the world may have greater concern for its security.
I was nonplussed when George W. Bush described in his speech last night his war against terrorism as "The Third-World War." While he may view his personal war in these terms, I think it may not be a term to which others would eagerly sign up. For the precept involves the "Last Days" doomsday conclusion of many far right Christian zealots. No doubt George W. Bush believes that the Last Days are right now, that the world is going to end according to prophecy. What is disturbing on this Fourth of July is that he now is facing the fruits of his ill-conceived crusade.
I am afraid that Iran has given Mr. Bush a very strong reason to expand the war from Iraq and Afghanistan into Iran and Syria (you can't invade the one without invading the other). Doing so would allow him to control all of the oil which is what all this has been about.
I think quite frankly that Bush has gotten us into a greater quagmire than anyone myself included could have conceived. That he thinks of it, as "The Third-World War" is more disturbing.
What can Congress do to reign in this madman?...
In yesterday's report government investigators have concluded that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran was not part of the group who took hostage 52 Americans when they invaded the American embassy in Tehran. The latest government report may be a smoke-screen by the Bush administration to avoid giving the American people a fair hearing on the matter. Shouldn't Ahmadinejad be arrested and questioned in an American court with regard to his alleged seizure of 52 Americans in 1979, when he steps on American soil?
08.12.05 Iraqi leaders settle three of 18 constitution issues
BAGHDAD (Reuters) August 12 Iraq¹s political leaders, racing against time to reach consensus on the draft constitution before Monday¹s deadline, have settled three out of 18 outstanding issues, said a source close to the process. ³Three points have been settled: the name of Iraq, the question of the peshmerga (or Kurdish militia) and Kirkuk,² the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Iraq will be officially called ³Federal Republic of Iraq², and the peshmerga will be considered a security force for the Kurdish-controlled zone of northern Iraq which wants the defacto autonomy established in 1991 enshrined in the new constitution, the source said. As for the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk, whose demography was altered by Saddam Hussein by expelling Kurds and replacing them with Arabs, the situation should be ³normalised² by December 15 at the latest, the source said. Normalisation could revolve around helping thousands of expelled Kurds to return to their lands which were handed to Arabs, mainly Shia from the south, by Saddam. The source did not provide other details. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
08.12.05 Iraq violence claims many
(AFP) August 12 Seven Iraqis have been killed and several others wounded in attacks on Friday. Three civilians and a soldier were killed in a shoot out between armed men and a joint US-Iraqi military patrol in the central city of Samarra, which was recaptured from fighters in a US-backed offensive late last year, police said. A civilian was killed and two others wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their car just north of Samarra, an Iraqi army officer said. A Kurdish interpreter working for the US military was shot dead when armed men fired at his car in the northern oil centre of Kirkuk, police said. Another person in the vehicle was seriously wounded, they added. And a driver working for the US-financed television station al-Hurra was shot and killed in front of his home in a south Baghdad neighborhood, a Defence Ministry source reported. The armed men fled on foot. [aljazeera.net]
08.12.05 City begins releasng thousands of oral histories of 9/11
August 12 A rich vein of city records from Sept. 11, including more than 12,000 pages of oral histories rendered in the voices of 503 firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians, were made public this morning. The city began releasing the histories a mosaic of vision and memory recalling the human struggle against surging fire, confusion, and horror this morning. They were compiled by the New York City Fire Department beginning in October 2001, but to this date no one from the department has read them all or used them for any official purpose.
The city also began releasing a written log of calls to the 911 system, many from trapped office workers, as well as tapes of fire dispatchers. Other records, including tapes of 911 operators, are being assembled and are not yet ready for release, city officials said. The New York Times sought the records under the freedom of information law in February 2002, but the Bloomberg administration refused to make them public and the newspaper sued the city. Earlier this year, the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court, ordered the city to release most, but not all, of the records. [More>>nytimes.com]
08.12.05 Egyptian police arrest two suspects in Sharm bombings
(AP) August 12 Egyptian security forces on Friday arrested two people, a man and a woman, on suspicion of involvement in the bloody bomb attacks last month in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. The two were captured separately after a gunbattle in which two police officers were wounded when authorities raided the Sinai hideout of the bombing suspects about 25 kilometers east of the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya, the interior ministry said in a statement. It said the woman was captured with an automatic weapon after others in the group escaped the police ambush and fled into the rugged Sinai mountains. Hours later the man was caught trying to dodge a checkpoint near a tunnel under the Suez Canal. [More>>haaretzdaily.com]
08.12.05 Update, 08.11.05 Radical cleric Omar Bakri detained in Lebanon
BEIRUT, August 11 Radical cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, who faces possible treason charges in Britain, was detained by Lebanese police on Thursday, security sources said. Bakri, who holds a Lebanese passport, was detained as he entered a television studio in Beirut where he was due to be interviewed, they said. The cleric arrived in Lebanon on Saturday after sparking outrage in Britain for saying he would not hand over to police Muslims planning to plant bombs.
Bakri left Britain barely 24 hours after Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged a crackdown on hard line Islamists in the wake of the July 7 suicide bombings in the London and the failed copycat attempt two weeks later. Since then, speculation has mounted that Bakri and other extremist preachers could face a range of criminal charges from treason to incitement to kill.
It was not immediately clear why Bakri was detained in Lebanon, but the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday denied reports he was in the emirate of Sharjah by saying that he was blacklisted and could not enter the country.
Bakri, founder and spiritual leader of the now defunct Al-Muhajiroun organization, is one of Britain¹s best known many would say notorious radical Muslim clerics. He sparked outrage last week when he said he would not inform police if he knew Muslims were planning a bomb attack on a train in Britain. He also supported Muslims who attack British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. [More>>khaleejtimes.com via jang.com.pk]; See foxnews.com 8.12.05 article, Britain bars return of radical cleric : Britain on Friday barred radical Muslim cleric Omar Bakri (search) from returning to the country that was his home for the past 20 years, saying his presence was no longer "conducive to the public good." The decision came as the country's top legal official defended plans to deport another radical Muslim cleric and nine other foreigners suspected of posing a threat to national security. Lebanese authorities, who had detained Bakri Thursday, released him Friday after determining he had committed no crime, the prosecutor general said.].
08.12.05 Senator Dianne Feinstein : Administration investigating Iran's President Ahmadinejad on US embassy siege
SAN FRANCISCO (Maravot News, Mel Copeland) August 12 The following letter was received from Senator Feinstein with regard to questions concerning the visit of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran next month to the United Nations in New York City. If Ahmadinejad had participated in the 1979-1981 seizure of the US embassy in Tehran, it presents an unusual twist to the war on terrorism and perhaps a new look at the laws on diplomatic immunity.
August 11, 2005
Thank you for writing me about allegations that Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, Iran's president-elect, was involved in the 1979
siege on the U.S. embassy in Tehran, which resulted in 52 hostages
being held captive for over one year. I appreciate the time you took
Like you, I am extremely concerned about these
allegations. Currently, the Administration is investigating the
charges made by six former U.S. hostages. Please know that I will
continue to closely monitor this investigation and keep your views
in mind as I do so.
Again, thank you for writing...
United States Senator
Editorial note: Robin Wright, Washington Post Staff Writer, reported the following August 12, 2005, "US likely to let Iran's President visit UN" : President Bush said yesterday that the United States is likely to grant a visa to Iran's new president for the United Nations' opening session next month, even though the administration continues to probe whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was connected to the 1979-1981 seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran.
The tentative decision comes as a secret US intelligence report circulated within the administration yesterday said that there is so far no evidence Ahmadinejad was involved and that he may have opposed the takeover because of fears about the neighboring Soviet Union according to U.S. officials familiar with the report. "There is relative certainty that he was not one of the actual captors," said a US official familiar with the allegations, first made by at least four former hostages based on the similarity between pictures of Ahmadinejad and a bearded young captor."
All week, the State Department has been interviewing some of the 52 people held in Iran for 444 days to see whether they can provide specifics that would alter their initial assessment, State Department officials said.
The US intelligence community now believes it was a case of mistaken identity. The original embassy captors also denied that Ahmadinejad played a leadership role or that they knew him at the time, even though he was a student activist during that period. The secret report also says US intelligence has found no evidence to back up assertions from Iranian dissidents that Ahmadinejad was involved in planning the assassinations of Iranian Kurdish politician Abdul-Rahman Ghassemlou and two colleagues on July 13, 1989, in Vienna. The report says there is ambiguity about the president's possible knowledge of the death of another dissident in Tehran's Evin prison, US officials say.
...For now, the administration appears willing to let the Iranian president make his first trip to New York which would also be his first trip to the West. "We have an agreement with the United Nations to allow people to come to meet, and I suspect he will be there to meet at the United Nations," Bush told reporters at his Texas ranch...[Full story>>washingtonpost.com; See earlier reports: Maravot News June 30, 2005, "Photo claimed to show Iran president with hostage."
08.12.05 Syrian President Assad to make first UN visit
UNITED NATIONS, August 12 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad plans to attend a U.N. world summit in September, the first time a Syrian head of state has attended an event of the world body in New York, his government said on Friday. The Syrian president has been in office since 2000 when his father, Hafez al-Assad, died. The trip was part of Damascus's "new approach in dealing with international affairs and contacting world leaders," Syria's U.N. ambassador, Fayssal Mekdad, told media.
More than 170 world leaders are expected to attend the U.N. summit to approve new approaches to development, security, human rights and U.N. management in the 21st century.
Asked whether Assad had any plans to meet US officials, Mekdad said Syria was always ready for talks. "From our side, we have always requested a dialogue between the two countries as the only way to solve a problem," he said.
Syria as well as Iran is under increasing criticism from the Bush administration, for allegedly not doing more to stem the flow of insurgents, arms and funding into neighboring Iraq. [More>>jang.com.pk]
08.12.05 Washington stresses no rift with South Korea
August 12 Amid the spider web of negotiations on the North Korean nuclear standoff, the United States reasserted no rift exists with South Korea in pushing for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula but remained ambiguous on allowing the North to develop nuclear energy for peaceful use. "There's no rift between the United States and South Korea. We are close allies. We are close partners in a broad bilateral relationship and particularly in our common approach to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula," said Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman of Washington State Department said Thursday.
Earlier the same day, South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, who also heads the National Security Council, told the Internet's Daum Media that South Korea viewed it as North Korea's general right to develop nuclear power for peaceful use, adding that South Korea and the United States saw the situation differently. The United States has not commented directly on whether North Korea should be allowed civilian use of nuclear power. [More>>koreaherald.co.kr]
08.12.05 Nineteen Bali bombing convicts may get a sentence remission
DENPASAR, Bali, August 12 Nineteen out of 24 prisoners serving sentences for the deadly Bali bombing, have been proposed to get remission in connection with the commemoration of Independence Day on Aug. 17, an official said on Friday. AAG Mayun Mataram of the Bali office of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights said it was not known yet how many months remission would be given.
... "Convicts with a record of good behavior can get up to 10 months' remission," Mayun said. He explained, however, that five other convicts of the Bali bombing, which killed over 200 people on Oct. 12, 2002, would not get remission as three of them were sentenced to death, and the remaining two to life imprisonment. [Full story>>thejakartapost.com]
08.12.05 Suspected Taliban leader is killed
(AP) August 12 A suspected Taliban rebel leader died in recent heavy fighting in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Friday, and an American soldier was reported killed in a training accident. A bomb exploded at a market in the southern city of Kandahar, wounding a child and three adults and damaging several shops. The blast comes amid a spate of combat and terror attacks that has killed more than 900 people since March with a surge in activity by suspected Taliban rebels, whose government was ousted by U.S.-led forces at the end of 2001. Qari Amadullah, believed to have led up to 50 Taliban militants armed with rockets and rocket-propelled grenades, died in a fire fight Tuesday with Afghan and U.S. forces near the city of Wazikwa in Paktika province, the U.S. military said in a statement. [More>>chinadaily.com.cn]
08.12.05 NASA probe blasts off for Mars
CAPE CANAVERAL (Reuters) August 12 An Atlas 5 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Friday to dispatch a sophisticated NASA science probe on a journey to look for water on Mars. After two days of delays due to minor technical concerns, the 188-foot (57-meter) Atlas 5 booster, built by Lockheed Martin, blasted off its seaside launch pad on time at 7:43 a.m. (1143 GMT) and soared into clear skies over the Atlantic Ocean. "What a difference a day makes," said NASA launch manager Chuck Dovale. "It couldn't have been any smoother."
Nestled in a protective cargo hold perched on the rocket's nose was the 4,796-pound (2,180 kg) Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, also built by Lockheed Martin.
The spacecraft's primary goal is to continue the search for evidence showing how long Mars had water, which scientists believe is key to learning if life ever existed on Mars. When the satellite arrives in Mars seven months from now, it will join two other U.S. orbiters, Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey, Europe's Mars Express spacecraft and the twin robot rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. [More.>reuters.com]
08.12.05 Italian archaeologists on trail of ancient warships
ROME (Reuters) August 12 Italian archaeologists believe they are on the verge of finding the ancient ships downed in the battle of the Aegates Islands more than 2,000 years ago thanks to modern technology and a police tip-off. "This project has an enormous historical value, but perhaps more important is the relevance for archaeology," Sebastiano Tusa, Sicily's chief of marine culture, told Reuters on Friday. "What we find will help us understand how wars were waged at that time and how battleships were built."
After two years of underwater searches around the islands, which lie west of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, experts last year found a bronze helmet and some amphorae from about 241 BC, the date of the decisive Roman victory over the Carthage fleet.
...The Battle of the Aegates Islands was the final naval battle between the fleets of Carthage and the Roman Republic during the First Punic War and marked a turning point for the two powers. Carthage went into decline after its defeat. Pinpointing the location of the battle and the some sunken 60 ships has been difficult since fighting lasted for up to four hours while the vessels moved in a southerly direction. The Carthaginian force included 250-300 newly built warships as well as about 400 cargo ships bearing food and agricultural and war equipment...[Full story>>thestar.com.my]
08.12.05 Toyota created 386,000 jobs in US in 2003
WASHINGTON (Kyodo News) August 12 Toyota Motor Corp created about 386,000 jobs in the United States in 2003, according to a survey released Thursday by a U.S. private research institution. Toyota, which commissioned the survey, apparently hopes the figure will demonstrate its contributions to the U.S. economy to U.S. legislators and others in a bid to prevent auto trade friction between Japan and the United States. [japantodaycom]
08.11.05 'Al Qaeda cleric' among ten detained for deporatation
August 11 Britain's promised crackdown on the "preachers of hate" began this morning as ten foreign nationals were detained, including Abu Qatada, described as al-Qaeda¹s spiritual ambassador in Europe. Abu Qatada, 44, who is also known as Sheikh Omar Abu Omar, and the other nine foreign nationals were picked up in raids carried out by four police forces, working with the Immigration Service, sources have told Times Online. They are in a prison service facility while the Home Office prepares to deport them.
The Home Office has not formally confirmed that Abu Qatada is among the detained but Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, said the foreign nationals were being held and would be removed for "reasons of national security."
"In accordance with my powers to deport individuals whose presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good for reasons of national security, the immigration service has today detained ten foreign nationals who I believe pose a threat to national security," said Mr. Clarke...In June, Mr. Clarke said that 11 men, including Abu Qatada and Mahmoud Suliman Ahmed Abu Rideh, another Jordanian, were living under control orders. The remaining nine are from Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. [Full story>>timesonline.co.uk]
08.11.05 Turkey: Al-Qaida suspect confesses
ISTANBUL (AP) August 11 A Turkish court on Thursday charged a Syrian suspected of plotting to slam a speedboat packed with a ton of explosives into cruise ships carrying Israeli tourists, lawyers and officials said. Defense lawyer Ilhami Sayan told reporters the suspect was charged with membership in an illegal organization but refused to give any details, citing court regulations. The suspect was identified in the Turkish media as Lu'ai Sakra. After he was led into the courthouse, the suspect shouted: "I have no regrets. I was going to attack Israeli ships. If they come, my friends will attack them." Sakra was clean-shaven with very short hair and wore a striped T-shirt. "I had prepared a ton of explosives," he said in a barely audible voice.
...A police official said Sakra was planning to attack Israeli cruise ships with Zodiac speedboats packed with explosives. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because only top-level officials are allowed to speak on the record without prior authorization. As Sakra left the courthouse, he shouted: "I was planning an attack in open seas. Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar."
A Turkish police official said security forces were looking for other suspects linked to Sakra. Private NTV television said police were searching for two teams of possible suicide bombers.
Five cruise ships carrying some 5,000 Israeli tourists have been diverted from Turkish ports to Cyprus in recent days following intelligence reports that a terror attack was imminent....Another official in Turkey, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Sakra was a student in Syria and was caught after police searched a home in Antalya and seized more than US$100,000...Another Syrian, identified by the semiofficial Anatolia news agency as Hamed Obysi, whom Turkish reports said was an al-Qaida courier, was charged Wednesday with membership in a terrorist organization. [Full story>>Jerusalem Post]
08.11.05 Iraq Shia leaders call for federal state
August 11 Iraqi Shia leaders have called for a federal state of their own in the south. "Regarding federalism, we think that it is necessary to form one entire region in the south," said Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of one of the Shia Muslim parties in the Iraqi government. Al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), openly called for an autonomous Arab Shia region in central and southern Iraq where the Shia presence is strongest. He was speaking in the Shia city of Najaf, 130km south of Baghdad. It is the first time that al-Hakim, who headed the Shia list of parliamentarians that won a sweeping majority in the 30 January legislative elections, has stated the need for an autonomous region so clearly. [More>>aljazeera.net]
08.11.05 Doctors needed in Niger crisis
August 12 The Swiss branch of the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres made an urgent appeal overnight for doctors and nurses to volunteer for aid work in Niger as malnutrition there worsens. MSF (Doctors Without Borders) Switzerland said its doctors in the vast north-west African country were overburdened, with more than 1000 severely malnourished children found in the past three weeks around the country's second largest town, Zinder. "According to the teams, the situation they are facing is only the tip of the iceberg," MSF Switzerland said in a statement.
Outlying villages had not been visited and the number of malnourished children arriving in treatment centres was constantly growing, it added. "The situation is worse than we thought and significant human resources will need to be deployed urgently to respond efficiently to needs," MSF said in the appeal. It called for experienced pediatric doctors and nurses to come forward if they were available over the next three months for a four-week mission in Niger. [More>>theaustralian.news.com.au]
08.11.05 Pakistan test-fires cruise missile
(AP) August 11 Pakistan today test-fired its first cruise missile, capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads, and did not give advance warning to India, officials said. The missile, named Babur, has a range of 310 miles, and was fired early this morning. The launch site was not disclosed. "By the grace of Allah, all design parameters for the flight were validated," a military statement said. The Foreign Ministry said Pakistan did not inform India, as an agreement formalized between the two countries over the weekend in New Delhi on pre-notification of missile tests does not cover cruise missiles. [More>>independent.co.uk and timesonline.co.uk]
08.11.05 Yahoo buys $1 billion stake in Alibaba
August 11 Yahoo Inc. signed a deal to buy 40 percent of Alibaba.com for one billion dollars cash while handing over the running of its China operations to the Chinese online retailer, AFP reported. The investment is the biggest by a foreign company to gain access to China's 100 million net users and creates an e-commerce giant, with the combined entity valued at four billion dollars. It gives Yahoo 35 percent voting rights in Alibaba.com, making it the largest strategic investor in its Chinese partner. In return Alibaba wins the exclusive right to use and grow the Yahoo brand in China.
The new company will be managed by Alibaba, whose chief executive Jack Ma will be chairman of the four-person board. Yahoo will retain one seat. "We don't look at this as Yahoo not being able to succeed on its own. Quite the opposite," said Yahoo chief operating officer Daniel Rosensweig. "We look at this as an opportunity to get much bigger, much faster, working with a great management team."
Alibaba, founded in 1999 and based in the eastern China city of Hangzhou, is among a clutch of fast-growing Chinese Internet startups. It has a joint-venture partnership with Softbank in a popular Chinese online auction business, called Taobao, and owns online payment system AliPay as well as its flagship trading site Alibaba.com. [More>>chinadaily.com.cn]
08.11.05 (Update) Anti-Iraq war protest at Bush ranch in Texas
CRAWFORD, Texas, August 11 Since August 6 anti-war activists, led by Cindy Sheehan, of Gold Star Families for Peace, have been chanting "Bush, liar" and "How do you ask a soldier to be the last person to die for a lie?" outside the gates of the sprawling Prairie Chapel ranch near Crawford where the president is spending a month's vacation. The highly restricted space the group occupies is called Camp Casey.
The protestors are forced by police to stand in a ditch and stay off the otherwise deserted road. August 8 television reports quoted Sheehan as saying that the group was initially intimidated by the President's security force and their tents were in a ditch and they had no toilet facilities; but Sheehan would stay until the President talks with her or 'till the end of August. The ditch may not be the best place for locating tents during the inclement weather they have been experiencing.
David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org reports, August 10, 11:30pm: According to rumors the Sheriff's men will come to arrest everyone after midnight. "There are 70 80 people on the site at Camp Casey at the moment," Ann Wilson, one of the spokespersons at Camp Casey, told Swanson. "If they are asked to leave or be arrested, many if not all of them will likely opt for arrest."
It's raining for the third night. There are 70-80 people on site and another 80 out in hotels or houses. Another 50 or 60 stopped by during the day to spend some hours. The rain let up around noon and they had a very pleasant afternoon.
"There's been an incredible outpouring of donations," Ann said. "People are driving for hours and staying a while and driving home, and they're bringing cases of water and other supplies. We've got people here from Georgia, Montana, California, Alabama, New York, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Pennsylvania...The enthusiasm is amazing. People have driven 12 hours to be here."
Ann said they will be putting up 500 crosses tomorrow "to symbolize the unnecessary deaths of Americans and the unnecessary deaths of Iraqis." They will have to put them in the two slivers of roadside ditch permitted them, each about 12 by 300 feet according to Ann, and the two making up sides of a triangle. The center of the triangle would be better for a demonstration, but the local owner had the police kick everyone off.
"Now," said Ann, "the cops are always coming through to clear out cars with an inch of tread on the road or people with chairs with one leg on the road. It's not the best place if we had planned but this wasn't planned, and that is why it's so successful." See AfterDowningStreet.org for past articles on the event.
Editorial note: Sheehan is waiting for Bush to explain "the noble cause" that led to the invasion of Iraq, in light of Bush's original claim of invasion to rid Iraq of "weapons of mass destruction."
Associated with the "weapons of mass destruction" was the finding that Saddam Hussein was not attempting to buy material from Africa for manufacture of nuclear bombs. This finding by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson led to an alleged release of Classified information, connected to the president's office via White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. The issue opined via several media and cnn.com 7.12.05, article, "White House clams up on CIA leak" : .... Newsweek reported this week that a July 2003 e-mail from Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper states Rove told him about an agent who was the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had just leveled accusations that the Bush administration had overstated a key piece of intelligence in its arguments for war with Iraq.
Cooper's e-mail does not say that Rove explicitly named Plame. But it states that Rove told him Wilson was not authorized by the CIA to investigate whether Iraq had sought uranium from the African country of Niger, as Wilson had stated in a July 2003 piece in The New York Times.
The CIA "leak" is under continuing investigation.]
08.09.05 Understanding terrorists' use of the Koran what constitutes extremist activity
August 9 (Maravot News, Mel Copeland) A trend in combatting terrorism has to do with what constitute's extremist activity, including teachings by immams, publication of books and retail book stores, etc. Statements like (8.09.05) Bakri Mohammed's, "...it would be 'against Islam' for him to inform the police of any terrorist attacks that he knew were being planned in Britain..." are better understood through an examination of modern scholastic trends in reinterpreting the Koran. See:
08.07.05 Inside the sect that loves terror with Editorial note: An interesting site by an Islamic scholar defines what "kuffar" (disbelievers) means. His site, renaissance.com.pk Arguments and Rational details the Koran's verses and traditional and modern applications of the verses dealing with disbelievers: identifying them, punishing them, preaching to them and "'displaced directives." His argument refers heavily to Old Testament verses that set the foundation for verses of the Koran involving the punishment of disbelievers...
08.07.05 UK to deport 500 Muslim extremists and article, "Diary of British jihadi unearthed in Pakistan," ...the diary wonders how Muslims can live in London, the "vital organ of the minions of the devil," now that the "kufr," or unbelievers, have transformed the world into "a battlefield for the Muslims."
05.21.05 British lawmaker: Iraq war was for oil
LISBON, May 21 Adam Porter reports: Labour politician and former UK environment minister Michael Meacher has slammed Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush for starting a war, he says, to secure oil interests.
Speaking on Friday on the sidelines of the fourth International Workshop on Oil and Gas Depletion in Lisbon, Portugal, Meacher, a member of the British parliament, said: "The reason they attacked Iraq is nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, it was nothing to do with democracy in Iraq, it was nothing to do with the human rights abuses of Saddam Hussein."
..."It was principally, totally and comprehensively to do with oil," Meacher continued. "This was about assuming control over the Middle East and over Iraq, the second largest producer and also over Saudi Arabia next door.
"It was about securing as much as possible of the remaining supplies of oil and also over the Caspian basin, which of course is Afghanistan." [More>>aljazeera.net; See also gregpalast.com, article March 17, 2005, "Secret US plans for Iraq's oil."
Editorial note: For articles relating to Bush's lying to Congress and the American people with regard to his war on Iraq and other complaints that relate to his abuse of power see:
6.17-05 Federal Debt not a concern of the press
SAN FRANCISCO, June 17 Update. While the Federal Reserve continues to increase interest rates, the Exponentially rising Federal Debt is not being reported. What is not being reported is the fact that interest rates are tied to the US National Debt. This year the deficit is expected to exceed $420 billion, and interest on the debt which exceeds $8.2 trillion, is about $1 billion per day. Because the annual deficits are financed via the bond market, and because the amount of the bonds being sold exceeds demand, it is necessary to raise interest rates to attract investors in the US bonds financing the US debt. This routine of increasing debt on an exponential scale was experienced under the administration of George H. W. Bush. I predicted increasing interest rates "to sell bonds" in my conversation with Wm. F. Buckley Jr. at that time, in 1993, and I have repeated the prediction with regard to the current Bush administration's excesses and need to sell more bonds to finance the extraordinary deficits. The rate increases will continue in order to sell the overabundant US bonds. In a few words, George Bush's debt is causing your mortgage rates to increase, and they will continue to increase until the US assumes fiscal responsibility. Click here for details on this trend.
Postscript: If the EU adopts the practice of allowing large budget deficits, the consequence places a strain on the world bond market, since that market is already flooded with US bonds to the tune of some $9 trillion. Those who are allowing budget deficits also own some of the US debt. It's not a good situation, heralding a world economic collapse. That Greenspan has not reigned in the Bush administration on the US debt is a travesty.
Rising interest rates began with a Federal Reserve declaration of the "fear of inflation": WASHINGTON, March 22 The Federal Reserve raised new worries about inflation on Tuesday, setting off alarms in the stock and bond markets that the central bank might drive up interest rates faster than investors had been expecting. The Fed nudged up short-term interest rates for the seventh time in the last year, raising the federal funds rate on overnight loans between banks to 2.75 percent from 2.5 percent. It restated its intention to keep raising them at a "measured" pace in the months ahead.
But in a departure from previous declarations, the central bank said there were rising inflationary pressures beyond those tied directly to the recent jumps in oil prices. [More>>nytimes.com]
(2) The name, Allah, in Arabic is an expression of surprise. It is not unusual for the God of the Bible to be known by many names. Jewish Midrash quotes passages in the Old Testament (Torah) that cite as many as seventy names of God (and more). But they can all be reduced down to one name.
(5) The Law of the Locrians: "In the legislation of the Locrians, the proposer of a new law, with a halter round his neck, to be instantly tightened if the public assembly did not, on hearing his reasons, then and there adopt his proposition." [Mill, On Liberty, 2.475].
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