11.16.04 Margaret Hassan, Irish-Iraqi CARE agency worker believed to be dead
Several media reports suggest that Margaret Hassan may be dead. Her family received news that she has been killed [See also debka.com/]
11.16.04 Holocaust survivors cut off by Eagleburger's ICHEIC fund to pay for more monuments
The International Commission of Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) may stop funding $1.15 million to the Israeli Generali Fund, making it nearly impossible for the fund to continue to pay insurance money to Holocaust survivors or the heirs of those who perished. Both funds help to track down pre-World War II insurance funds, mainly Italian, to compensate Holocaust survivors. The funds are used to pay the salaries of personnel who process from 50-70 claims per month from all over the world. ICHEIC's chairman, former US secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger, has apparently decided to spend the fund on Holocaust monuments rather than people. The dispute between ICHEIC and the Generali Fund involved Eagleburger's denial of a $961,993 payment to a 71-year-old law professor and Holocaust survivor whose father owned a Generali insurance policy. A meeting is scheduled in Washington, and if the allocation of funds is not resolved Generali may have to close down.
ICHEIC was established in 1998 by European insurance companies, Jewish organizations, and the Israeli Knesset to help process insurance claims by Holocaust survivors and their heirs. It was established one year after the Generali Fund was established. [More>>article by Mati Wagner, Jerusalem Post]
11.16.04 Two rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel
Earlier this month the United Nations expressed concerns about the possibility of rising tensions along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Monday, evening two rockets were launched from inside Lebanon, one landing in the sea and the other apparently near a northern Israeli town. They may have been fired from the Lebanese border town of Naqura. Previous conflicts with the Israeli army have been with the Hizb Allah guerrillas, but Hizb Allah spokesmen denied knowledge of the source of the rockets. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
The Martyr Ghaleb Awali Group, on Tuesday claimed responsibility for Monday night's Katyusha rocket attack on western Galilee. [More>>Jerusalem Post]
11.16.04 Ebay buys out competitor Marktplaats.ni in Netherlands
Although it had made a good effort to compete against Marktplaats.ni in the Netherlands, Ebay took the easy way out and acquired the popular Dutch meeting place for buyers and sellers of goods and merchandise. The sell price was 225 million euros. [More>>nisnews.nl]
11.16.04 Marine suspended after shooting an unarmed insurgent in Fallujah
The shooting that took place in a Fallujah mosque Saturday was captured by an embedded American journalist. Mosques had been used extensively by insurgents, and, in this case, the men inside the mosque had been left in their wounded state by a former US military unit. The man who was shot had been pretending to be dead.
11.16.04 Kurdistan leaning heavily towards independence from Iraq
About 1.7 million people signed a petition in April demanding a popular referendum on secession from Iraq, and the independence movement has scheduled another conference for this week. Wary allies of the US, the Kurds suspect the US will barter Kurdish autonomy for the support of Iraq's Arab majority. Brigadier Rahim Mohammed Shakur, leader of the Kurdish peshmerga fighters 'under Baghdad's command,' said, "If we are ever attacked, I will stop being a regular Iraqi soldier and become a peshmerga again." [More>> kurdistanobserver.com]
11.16.04 US Forces launch offensive against Mosul
1,200 US soldiers launched an attack on Mosul to recapture about 12 police stations that had been abandoned by Iraqi officers after an uprising, following the US-led attack on Fallujah. Militants on the run blew up three police stations behind them. [More>>guardian.uk]
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has begun operations to close down routes from Mosul to Irbil, where the Korean Zaytun Division is based. The Kurdish town Irbil, near Mosul, may be the object of the next offensive of the insurgents. "If Mosul were to receive a fresh U.S. assault, it could threaten Irbil, which is only 45 minutes by car from Mosul," an official with the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday. [More>>kurdistanobserver.com]
11.16.04 Bush announces Condoleezza Rice as Colin Powell's successor
In a short news conference 9:40am ET, President Bush announced the appointment of Condoleezza Rice as the new Secretary of State. Rice was gracious in her acknowledgment of Powell's past four years service as Secretary of State.
11.16.04 Mosul police helping insurgents
Radio Free Europe (RFE), Kathleen Ridolfo General Muhammad Khayri al-Birhawi, the director-general of Mosul police, was arrested by US-Iraqi forces, accusing him of cooperating with terrorists in the city. Earlier, Deputy Governor Khisro Goran accused police of colluding with insurgents: "We are convinced, because we have evidence...that many policemen in Mosul are loyal to the former regime and sympathetic to the terrorists. Their loyalty is not for the new Iraqi regime," Kurdistan Satellite Television reported on 13 November.
Since the invasion of Fallujah and exodus of insurgents to other cities, the most prominent "take-over" of Iraqi cities so far reported in the media has been Mosul. Reports of Kurds, particularly those in traditional dress, being repeatedly attacked in the city and other northern towns since November 12. National Assembly member Yonadam Kanna said , with regard to the attacks in Mosul on 15 November, that the city historically has not faced ethnic or religious divisions, despite the fact that it is inhabited by Sunnis, Kurds, and Turkomans. "It is not logical that a very secure town like Mosul of more than 2 million people can be victimized by gangs of not more than 1,000 people," he said. [More>>Radio Free Europe]
11.15.04 US wants to redefine security treaty with Japan
US Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith remarked that a review of the bilateral security treaty between Japan and the United States may become necessary. This is in light of Japan's growing role in contributing to international security. Plans would include the US plan to transfer the US Army First Corps headquarters from the state of Washington to Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo. [More>>xinhuanet]
11.15.04 Unidentified submarine penetrates Israel's waters
The Israeli IDF detected a submarine within Israel's coastal waters. It is a relatively rare event, occurring every few years, and is suspected of being American, French, Russian or Italian, who are regular visitors in the Mediterranean sea. [More>>Jerusalem Post]
11.15.04 US troops round up prominent imams of the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS)
One of the scholars, Ahmad Abd al-Ghafur al-Samarrai, of the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), reported his house and village of al-Dhari was surrounded by US forces. He said that other imams of the assoication have already been arrested. The AMS had recently urged Iraqis to resist the US forces. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
11.15.04 Colin Powell and three others resign from Bush Administration
Today Secretary of State Colin Powell announced his resignation of his post last Friday, November 12. Three other cabinet officials including Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, Education Secretary Rod Paige and Agriculture Secretary Ann Venemanhave also resigned. Powell said he will stay on until Bush finds a replacement, possibly for 30 days. [More>>Washington Post or CNN]
11.15.04 Chasing heroin producers in Afghanistan
The Bush administration is reportedly intensifying a campaign against heroin producers in Afghanistan. The US will provide Afghan law enforcement operations with transportation and intelligence and help tighten the security on Afghanistan's many borders. [More>>Washington Post]
11.15.04 Possible ruins found at bottom of sea
A US researcher discovered ruins of a hilltop town about 1.5 km beneath the sea level between the island of Cyprus and Syria. Deep water scanning had indicated man-made structures on a submerged hill, including a 3-kilometre-long wall, and deep trenches. The report claims the site is Plato's fabled Atlantis. [Reuters article at Yahoo via america.blog]
11.14.04 US September Bond sales a flop
LA Times staff writer David Streitfeld posted Sunday that the September 9 outlay of Bonds by the US government was a flop. Foreigners own half the US debt and are the regular customers of the US Bond offerings, but the September 9, 2004 offering had few buyers. "For the first time since anyone could remember they stayed home," says Streitfeld. The foreigners came back to buy the next treasury auction, however. [Streitfeld's article is highly recommended and is at latimes.com]
The decline in Bond sales is symptomatic of many economic problems in the US, including the collapse of the dollar. Another part of the problem affecting the sale of US Bonds is the fact that the government has to oversupply the market with Bonds, and to assure the sale of bonds they have to raise interest rates (to attract buyers). That has essentially been the scenario in both the Reagan-Bush estate and the current Bush II estate. It's a supply and demand situation, Economics 101. The National Debt is exponential (every US Bond sold adds exponentially (in a "J" curve) to the National Debt of ~$7.46 Trillion http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/), where the Bush administration has been paying its debts using a "credit card" (US Bonds). As in any credit situation, one can reach a point where the creditors find the amount of debt exceeds the ability to meet debt obligations. To see a scary "J" curve and some history of our debt what the Reagan-Bush debt looked like before Clinton click here, the old "J" Curve. Keep in mind that the article was written in July 1996.
As in all debts, the creditors must be paid first, and the way Bush has been paying off his creditors is through the sale of US Bonds. When the creditors don't answer, there's a severe problem. The next point to watch is when the creditors begin to call the debt (cashing in the Bonds early) in order to get their money before it is too late. When a run on the bank as it were happens, a nation goes into default. An example of nations defaulting on their debt is Brazil, who had to be refinanced several times by the World Bank. The US debt is far too large for any entity to refinance. Using 7% interest as a long-term interest rate for financing a debt and our debt is long-term the interest payment would be more than $1Billion per day. When you see the government speaking about cost outlays you might compare their outlays to the $1Billion per day in interest Bush is spending. See below, "Bush running the government on a credit card," for more on this disturbing situation. I know I am repeating myself, but....
11.14.04 China hogging the oil not fair to America
(Guest editorial) Thank's Maravot's News, for tracking the oil interests in Central Asia. Sunday's article in the LA Times by Don Lee, Times Staff Writer, "China Barrels Ahead in Oil Market," surprises me. Apparently Americans are not aware that China is wheeling and dealing to secure its interest in keeping its economy fueled. Perhaps the doggerel about exporting jobs overseas to China and India has clouded our awareness of the natural consequences of helping developing countries. It would be disconcerting, to say the least, if somehow China from an American point of view were found in 2005 to be "hogging the sacrifices," as it were (an expression from the Roman satirist, Juvenal. Juvenal was a high priest of the god Vespasian and looked with a critical eye at the behavior of the priests of other gods). I'm not critical of China hogging the oil so much as its hogging the resources (nations and environments) sacrificing their all to supply a thirsty customer. That's simply not fair to America.
11.14.04 Niigata Prefecture, Japan, earthquake aftermath
Landslides continue to create problems where the Niigata prefecture Chuetsu earthquake occurred. A landslide increased the size of a dam it had formed to 26 hectares (~64 acres). Evacuees from the quake are returning home but still there were 9,963 people in shelters as of Saturday. [More>>http://www.yomiuri.co.jp]
For an unusual October 24, 2004 satellite view of the landslide click here, earthobservatory.nasa.gov.
11.14.04 Iran agrees to suspend uranium enrichment
VIENNA: Iran has agreed to a full suspension of uranium enrichment in line with an agreement worked out with the European Union, ending a deadlock over answering US charges that Tehran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, diplomats close to the talks told media Sunday. [Full story at www.jang.com]
11.14.04 US has no intention of invading Iran, says Powell
LONDON, Nov 14 (IranMania) - The United States has no intention to change Iran's regime and it has no plans to invade the nation neighboring Iraq, where 140, 000 US troops are stationed, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview to be broadcast Sunday.
"We are not getting ready to invade Iran," Powell told CNBC television's "The Wall Street Journal Report" when asked if having 140,000 troops in Iraq makes it easier to deal with Iran. [More>>IranMania]
Also at IranMania: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in an Eid sermon Sunday, the United States and Israel are engaged in an "undeclared war against Islam" which has overshadowed the month of Ramadan. "The pillars of world oppression have launched an undeclared war against Islam.."
11.14.04 Gunmen break into Arafat mourning tent in Gaza City
Sunday evening gunmen broke into Arafat's mourning tent in Gaza City where the new Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qurela were paying their respects. Both men were unhurt but two security guards were injured or killed. [11.14.04 6:34pm post of Debka file]
11.14.04 Terrorist leader Abdullah Mehsud released from Guantanamo; continues terrorist activity
Pakistani troops have been looking for Mehsud, 28, who was freed in March after about two years' detention at the US prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Saturday Pakistani troops demolished several "terrorist hideouts" and killed up to 40 militants in a major operation that is believed to be part of Mehsud's operations. Mehsud had formerly been involved in the kidnapping of Chinese workers where a dam was being built. This assault against the terrorists failed to capture the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner accused of targeting security forces. The assault took place in Pakistan's South Waziristan area, where officials say hundreds of Central Asian, Afghan and Arab militants are in hiding and a possible hiding place of Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri. [11.13.04 post; more>>Jerusalem Post]
11.13.04 Secretary of State Colin Powell will meet the Palestinian prime ministers in Egypt
Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Saturday that he will be traveling to Egypt for a November 22-23 conference and may meet with former Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie and current Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestine Authority. If he does not meet with them in Egypt, he will visit them in the Palestinian territories. "We know these gentlemen well, and I hope to be able to see them in the very near future to discuss what their plans are and how to move forward," Powell said in an interview with NBC. Topics at issue include assurance of a free election to be held by January 9, including the temporary pull-back of Israeli security forces from Palestinian areas. Also "with US support Israel has in recent days released nearly $40 million in frozen tax funds to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority." [Reuters Sat November 13, 2004 08:06 PM ET]
11.13.04 Arafat's personal physician denied information on Arafat's condition
When Arafat left for Paris his medical complaint, as we all witnessed through the press, was a deficiency of the blood, like anemia. Dr. Al-Kurdi, who was Arafat's personal physician for the past 25 years, was involved in the decision to send him to France to investigate his health problem. Yet, he did not see Arafat in France and now complains that he was kept in the dark as to what the French medical team discovered. And as far as he knows there is no autopsy that was done on Arafat and al-Kurdi would like to have an autopsy performed. [More >>Al-Jezeera]
11.13.04 38 people arrested in Kurdish PKK movement (now called "Kadek") training camp
[Liempde, Netherlands] The arrests in Liempde, Netherlands on Saturday of 38 people (most of them were youths, male and female, between the ages of 15 to 23) were part of a continuing campaign of raids of PKK activity in Holland. [More on the Liempde raid http://www.nisnews.nl/]
About the Kurds: An estimated 100,000 Kurds live in the Netherlands, many of whom are refugees from Turkey. The Kurds a people that speak a Western Iranian language related to Persian and Pashto straddle the borders of three countries, Turkey, Iraq and Iran, generally referred to as Kurdistan. They are thought to number from 20 million to 25 million, including communities in Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Syria, and Europe. "The traditional Kurdish way of life was nomadic, revolving around sheep and goat herding throughout the Mesopotamian plains and the highlands of Turkey and Iran. Most Kurds practiced only marginal agriculture. The enforcement of national boundaries beginning after World War I (191418) impeded the seasonal migrations of the flocks, forcing most of the Kurds to abandon their traditional ways for village life and settled farming; others entered nontraditional employment" [Encyclopaedia Britannica]. The Kurds have come into focus in the media since the invasion of Iraq, since in their territory of northern Iraq, around the city of Kirkuk (Karkuk), is one of Iraq's most productive oil fields.
In the aftermath of World War I nationalistic movements by the Kurds sprang up. In response to those movements in both Turkey and in Iraq (under Saddam Hussein their villages were gassed), they have been repressed. In 1986 I happened to have been sitting next to a Kurdish young man flying from Israel to France who brought the plight of the Kurds first to my attention. He told me that he is a man without a passport and explained that he was travelling under a German visa and showed me his passport. He had no citizenship just a visa he belonged to no country.
The situation in Iraq is affected by the direction the wind blows in Kirkuk. The US-backed Allawi government needs the Kurds. The Kurds as in the case of the Jews in 1948 need a country.
The Kurds follow the Islamic faith. As regards the PKK (now, Kadek), in 1974 a university student, Abdullah Öcalan, formed the Kurdistan Workers Party (known by its Kurdish acronym, PKK), a Marxist organization dedicated to an independent Kurdistan. Operating mainly from eastern Anatolia, PKK fighters engaged in guerrilla operations against government installations and conducted frequent acts of terrorism. PKK attacks and government reprisals led to a state of virtual war in eastern Turkey during the 1980s and '90s. Between 1983 and 1998, the violence claimed at least 37,000 lives, including over 5,000 civilians.
11.13.04 Religous violence continues in the Netherlands and Thailand
Following attacks against Islamic schools in the Netherlands, as a result of the slaying of Theo van Gogh, a small mosque was burnt down Saturday in the south of the Netherlands. Saturday, in Thailand's Muslim dominated south, Buddhists were struck by an early morning bomb. One person was killed and 17 injured. [More >>Al-Jezeera]
11.13.04 Landmark decision against US-based fund raisers for terrorist organization Hamas
A decision handed down Wednesday in Chicago set a precedent on the "theory of liability" with regard to holding those who fund terrorist organizations liable for their activities. The suit was brought by the parents of David Boim, a student in Israel, who was fatally gunned down at Beit El bus stop by the terrorist organization, Hamas. The suit was brought under a 1990 anti-terrorism law allowing American citizens to sue for damages sustained in terror attacks abroad. Held liable for what may be $15 million in damages is the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), based in Chicago, and a Hamas fund raiser, Mohammed Salah, also named in the suit. The 107 page opinion of US Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys said that the defendants clearly knew that the charitable funds they sent to Palestinian groups in the West Bank were headed to Hamas and that the organization was involved in terrorism.
No doubt attorneys will have a field day chasing down organizations and charities funding Islamic operations. I can just see the adds in newspapers: "If you or any of your family are American and have been injured in an attack by terrorists, call xyz lawyers, etc." [Based on articles in the Chicago Sun Times and Jerusalem Post]
11.13.04 Arafat's hidden horde
Arafat may have controlled a fortune larger than anyone ever conceived all financed through generous donations from charities, the EU, Saudis, other oil-rich countries, and, prior to the invasion of Iraq, from Saddam Hussein, who reportedly gave him $150 million. Estimates of his personal worth all of the Palestinian Authority (PA) funds were controlled directly by him since 1994, when the PA was formed range from $200 million ( Forbes) to estimates of $6 billion (US and Israel intelligence). Over $5.5 billion in financial aid was given to the PA since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1994. Jawid al-Ghussein, a former PLO finance minister who lives in London, said Arafat's financial empire was worth up to $5b. ($6.6b. at present rates) when Ghussein resigned in 1996. Only two people seem to have any idea where all of the PA money is stashed: Muhammad Rashid, Arafat's financial advisor, and his wife, Suha Arafat, whose monthly stipend of $100,000 was just cut in half. But they aren't talking. The world will no doubt be shocked when it learns more detail on all of the stocks and secret bank accounts controlled by Arafat since 1979, when the money began flowing to him at a rate of $200 million per year. [More on this story in an article by Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post]
11.13.04 Scott Peterson verdict: guilty of 1st degree murder
Just now the jury announced that Scott Peterson is guilty of 1st degree murder of his wife, Lacie Peterson and 2nd degree murder of their unborn child, Conner Peterson. To get a full account of the details click on any of the news media in the side bar.
1:11pm San Francisco
11.12.04 Tony Blair and George W. Bush Press Conference; new plan for peace in Middle East & the Scribbled Doodle Wall
[8:30am]Tony Blair of the UK and George W. Bush held a press conference today to reaffirm their pledge to spread freedom throughout the Middle East. They addressed the issue of Israel and Palestine and their vision of two separate nations, Palestine and Israel, living in peace side-by-side. Click on the map in the sidebar for details on where the border is being placed, as defined by the Israeli "Security Fence," which is a wall (shown in yellow) that meanders around the West Bank following what appears to be a hastily drawn, "scribbled doodle wall" from someone's note pad. The Security Fence border is no doubt the most creative border in the history of the world.
11.12.04 Arafat laid to rest in Ramallah compound
Yasser Arafat was laid to rest today. Plans were to have a ceremony before his interment in a marble and stone grave, but chaos from crowds at the compound caused him to be buried ahead of time. Four people were wounded by gunfire shots in the air from the crowd. [More>>Jerusalem Post] and Al-Jezeera]
11.12.04 China increasing its nuclear-powered submarine presence
China's new Han-class nuclear-powered attack submarines are being seen in the East China Sea. Tracking them is a problem since the East China Sea is shallow, 20 to 200 meters deep. The Chinese have drawn a line in the China Sea representing their area of interest which includes the sea areas between Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, termed, "the first line of islands."
11.12.04 Al-Qaeda terrorist cell eliminated in Kazakhstan
Thursday the Kazakhstan's Committee of National Security announced that a cell linked to Al-Qaeda was eliminated in Kazakhstan. It was part of the so-called Zhamaat of Muhajadeens of Central Asia founded by militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. 13 Kazakhstanis and 4 citizens of Uzbekistan were detained, including 4 female suicide bombers. The terrorists were conducting operations in Uzbekistan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, operated by experienced combatant Zhakshybek Biymurzayev. A member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, he participated in the Batken assault in Kyrgyzstan. During two years of operation they recruited about 50 Uzbekistan citizens and 20 Kazakhstanis. They sent new recruits for training in Al-Qaeda and Taliban camps, where they were made into bombers, document counterfeiting specialists, or recruiters. [More>>www.khabar.kz]
11.12.04 Religious-extremist activitsts sentenced in Tajikistan
20 people detained in Hurjan were sent to prison for 3 to 8 years for distribution of propagandistic literature and leaflets seeking to overthrow the government of Tajikistan. They are members of the group, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, and since the beginning of the year 80 members have been detained in the south of Tajikistan. [More>>www.khabar.kz]
11.12.04 Qatar increasing its order of Boeing 7E7 jets
Qatar is planning to increase its order of Boeing 7E7 jets from 40 to 60 [Seatle Times via www.topix.net]
11.11.04 Palestinian militant group Al Aksa now Arafat Martyrs Brigades
China and Japan are experiencing some discontent over China's increasing need for fuel. China is the largest coal producer and the sixth-largest oil producer in the world, yet it cannot meet its own needs. It is second in global oil consumption behind the US. It has been exploring for natural gas in the East China Sea, conflicting with Japan's interest in the region. The report filed by Kazumasa Higashi / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent includes data on China's oil consumption. [More>>http://www.yomiuri.co]
11.11.04 Palestinian militant group Al Aksa now Arafat Martyrs Brigades
The armed wing of the Fatah on Thursday changed its name from Al Aksa to Arafat Martyrs Brigade. They denounced Mahmoud Abbas as the replacement of Arafat as chairman of the PLO executive committee and Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei. Querei heads the National Security council overseeing the Palestinian security forces. They complained that the men represent the Old Guard and are supported by the US and Israel. The group distributed a leaflet in Ramallah Thursday night vowing to step up attacks on Israel. [Full story>>Jerusalem Post]
11.11.04 Three UN workers held as hostage moved from mountain quarters
Sabir Momin, spokesman for Jaish-e-Muslimeen, the group that is holding three UN hostages, claims that the hostages have been moved from a mountain location to warmer quarters. The hostages are Filipino Angelito Nayan, Shqipe Hebibi from Kosovo and Annetta Flanigan of Northern Ireland. Sabir Momin claims they are negotiating with the Afghan and US governments a swap of 26 Afghan prisoners for the UN hostages. The Afghan government and US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, during his visit in Kabul last Monday, said that there would not be any swap. [Full story>>jang.com.pk]
11.11.04 About 22,000 Afghan militia men and 20 Afghan commanders turn to regular jobs
50,000 former Afghan fighters are in the sights of the UN-backed Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme. It has been using its $2.5 million fund (primarily from Japan) to cajole fighters into disbanding their militias and turning over a new leaf. Commanders are given rewards (up to $500 per month over two years) or a lump sum incentive to start new businesses in return for demobilization of their units. About half, or 30,000 fighters, remain to be permanently disarmed under the program. [More>>irinnews.org]
11.11.04 Iranian drug trafficking arrests up
According to a report in (London) iranmania.com drug trafficking arrests involving mainly hashish and opium are up. Since the start of their current year, March 20, 2004, police have arrested 23 bandits and 10,871 traffickers and seized 4 ,386 kilograms (9, 669 pounds) of drugs. Wednesday Police seized 630 kilograms (1,424 pounds) in a car that was left behind in a shoot out. [More >>iranmania.com]
Intercepts on the Afghan-Tajik border and in southwestern Iran are no doubt hurting bin Laden's activities, since a large part of the terrorist activities have been funded through drug trafficking.
Today the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released drug trafficking information specifically relating to the other corridor for Afghan drug trafficking: Turkmenistan. Assessing drug traffic through Turkmenistan is not easy, since President Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan hasn't been releasing any data. Estimates are that drug use in the energy-rich former Soviet republic could be 1% of the population of 6.4 million. Drug use at weddings has replaced the traditional shot of vodka, said the IRIN report.
The 700 km border Turkmenistan shares with Afghanistan is poorly policed, in contrast with the other borders. Tajikistan has a far higher rate of seizures than any of the others. IRIN concludes, "some observers speculate that Tajikistan's success in counter-narcotics efforts and higher rates of seizures of drugs coming from Afghanistan, coupled with a short border with Uzbekistan, also pretty tightly controlled, could lead drug traffickers to turn to the Turkmen-Afghan border, the Afghan side of which is not controlled at all. Should that happen, the Turkmen border could be very vulnerable." [More>>]
11.11.04 Bush II adopts Hama Rules
One thing leads to another. An interesting article by Charles Glass [11.09.04 article in belfasttelegraph.co.uk ; also carried by kurdistanobserver.com/] compares the US assault on Fallujah to the Syrian assault on a rebel stronghold of Hama, Syria in the spring of 1982. The US condemned Syria for destroying the city and its people. Says Glass, "The fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood seized Hama as the first step towards its goal of a national uprising against the secular Baathist regime. The Syrian President demanded their surrender. His army shelled the city, and special forces went in to kill or capture the militants. The Syrians employed the same strategy that the US is using now. Its tanks and artillery waited outside the city; they fired on militants and civilians alike. Its elite units, like the American Marines surrounding Falljuah today, braced themselves for a bloody battle.
"The US condemned Syria for the assault that is believed to have cost 10,000 civilian lives. The Syrian army destroyed the historic centre of Hama, and it rounded up Muslim rebels for imprisonment or execution. Syria's actions against Hama came to form part of the American case that Syria was a terrorist state. Partly because of Hama, Syria is on a list of countries in the Middle East whose regimes the US wants to change." [Glass, Belfast Telegraph article] The Glass article refers to a previous article in the New York Times by Thomas L. Freidman, "Hama Rules,": "President Hafez al-Assad faced a mortal threat from Islamic extremists, who sought to topple the Assad regime..How did he respond?..he literally leveled it.."
It is clear that Bush II plays by his own rules most of which are made up as he goes along. His vision of a free world is a world that caters to him, after he has pounded his opposition into submission. That is to say, he wants to play Caesar and so far has been getting away with it.
It has been said that "the winners write history" and this may be what the Bush family have counted upon all along, since they can achieve their ends through force and win their mandate justifying another old adage, "might makes right." Greek and Roman historians, however, have shown that tyrants are held accountable in the end and might doesn't make right when all is said and done. See Tacitus, Polybius, etc. on this.
Speaking from a historical perspective there are power mongers who creep into our confidence from time to time and smash our naive perceptions that they are here to do good an American President should do good.
If we call Hama Rules as "not good" then we need to take stock in ourselves as to what we have put into our highest office the most powerful instrument in the world allowing us to believe that leveling Fallujah is good. Today there are new outbursts in Mosel, and we will be watching a campaign, I suppose, leveling one city after another, as in Vietnam, to drive out rebels. Bush II has shown me that historical judgment is mere fantasy. He lives for the moment regardless of legacy.
It may be that the "War on Terrorism" is confusing our vocabulary. Before Bush II invaded Iraq there were no terrorists in that land, only a brutal dictatorship. The terrorist Osama bin Laden did not operate from Iraq but from Afghanistan. He's still in the area and I still have problems trying to understand how leveling Iraq's cities and historical places will lead to the arrest of bin Laden and his thugs.
11.11.04 Hostage freed in Fallujah sweep
A taxi driver who had been kidnapped and held for ten days shackled to a wall, without food and water, was freed Wednesday afternoon. [Washington Post].
A military officer said that it would take "at least ten days to clear the city." Insurgents claim they still control the town: "Abu Shams al-Fallujy, a member of the National Islamic Resistance in Falluja, told Aljazeera that US forces had entered the city's centre rapidly because they were surrounded in the Julan neighbourhood and were being targeted by snipers." [More at Al-Jazeera]
While several slaughter houses of hostages have been found, besides the live taxi driver, one wonders whether the US / Iraqi forces will find more live hostages held by the insurgents. Did insurgents leave Fallujah with their hostages before the sweep?
11.10.04 Militants from Afghanistan stopped at border
Several armed men crossing the Tajik-Afghan border shot and killed a Russian border guard near Dushanbe. The group of trespassers, who offered fierce armed resistance, tried to pass through the mountainous region in Tajikistan which is guarded by the Moscow Border Guard Force. Russian spokesmen suggested that the armed men may have been involved in drug trafficking. Tajikistan is a nation that holds a strategic location in the war on terrorism, sharing the intersecting borders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and China. [ See rian.ru]
11.10.04 Dalai Lama XIV will be visiting the Russian Republic of Kalmykia
The Russian Republic of Kalmykia, bordering the northeastern corner of the Caspian Sea, will be visited by the Dalai Lama November 13 - 18, 2004. "Kalmykia, along with two other mainly Buddhist regions of Russia, Buryatia and Tyva, have been asking for the Dalai Lama to be allowed to visit for a long time, but the Russian authorities have refused, reluctant to spoil the relationship with China," says the World Tibet Network News . The Buddhist leader had attempted to visit the Buddhist Republic of Kalmykia in 2002 but was denied. The Dalai Lama a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize has lived in exile in India since 1959, after Chinese troops crushed a revolt in Tibet's capital Lhasa. The President of Kalmykia, Mr. Nikolayevich llyumzhinov, in August 2003, had met with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration of the Dalai Lama. The people of Kalmykia have been waiting 12 years for the Dalai Lama's visit.
Dharamsala, described as the Little Lhasa, is in the state of Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayas. Lord Elgin, the British Viceroy of India, was buried there in 1863.
News to keep your eyes on
11.06.04 Where to bury Arafat? He wanted to be buried at the Temple Mount More>>
Golden Gate with the Dome of the Rock behind and the Muslim cemetery in the foreground
11.04.04 An interesting summation of the Bush-Cheney record More>>
11.01.04 (Trend Story) Central Asian Common Market and the critical role of Afghanistan
Aloke Shekhar interviewed Mr. Saddik Safaev, Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, on this eve of Safaev's visit to India. Points discussed in the interview reflect issues that are critical to American interests in fighting the war in Afghanistan. More>>
11.03.04 Border problems on the bottom of the Caspian Sea
11.01.04 Washington has opened a Pandora's box, intensifying ethnic and religious conflicts
11.01.04 US soldiers pull out of the demilitarized zone (DMZ)
US pulling out 1/3 of its 37,500 troops......
11.01.04 China's reliance on imported oil grows
10.30.04 Central Asia and Caucasus conference held October 12-13, 2004 US "me-only" approach; New Great Game
11.02.04 Nigerian workers plan strike beginning 16 November to disrupt oil exports
[AFP] Nigerian labor unions have been in court against Shell Oil ahead of its nationwide strike. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and a coalition of civil society organizations called for an indeffinite stoppage beginning 16 November in protest against rising fuel prices and President Olusegun Obasanjo's economic reforms. Leaders have warned the strike will disrupt oil exports. [Full story at
10.31.04 Iran signs $70 Billion energy contract with China
China's oil giant Sinopec Group signed the biggest energy agreement ever with Opec producer, Iran.
The memorandum of understanding was signed Thursday, and it will include development of the huge Yadavaran field, reported Chinese news agency, Xinhuanet. The overall contract term is 30 years.
10.30.04 Office of International murderer Osama bin Laden sends another dispatch that can't be understood
The full text of the message was posted on Aljazeera 10.30.04. See note (7) for a copy of the full text.
This comment was made based upon ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. news comments on the speech as being "favorable to George Bush"; those sources don't match up to the actual text. Thus the text is posted for you to read and judge for yourself. More>>
In the beginning....
Running a government using a credit card
This year's deficit caused by Bush will be a record deficit since Richard Nixon showed a surplus (in 1969). Bush calls Democrats "tax and spend liberals" when he and his father spent other people's money to run their governments! Who is it that has to pay for the deficit run up each year by a fiscally irresponsible President ? You do. You pay in several ways, since borrowed money is a worse tax on you and the economy than a legitimate tax. The National Debt is $7.4 Trillion as of 10.27.04. That debt is financed by the bond market. While the interest rates on bonds go up and down, generally the rates are affected through the Federal Reserve and supply and demand. Most of the debt during George Bush's administration (1989-1993) was carried by the G-7 Central Banks and a few others who could take large positions in the Bond Market like George Soros. Since supply and demand affect prices of bonds, the greater the supply of bonds, as in a period of excessive government borrowing, would ordinarily depress the price of bonds. To attract buyers, the Federal Reserve must raise interest rates. So when your mortgage loan goes up, owing to an increase in interest rates, its because of the Bush Borrowing: running a government on a credit card.
Since the government runs on borrowed money, the amount of the original loan (new in 2001) grows exponentially, in a curve called a "J" curve. During George Bush's years the deficit was essentially equal to the interest accumulated each year on the debt. That interest debt is added to the original loan amount causing the debt to grow [unpaid] until an effort is made to reduce the debt, paying down both principal and interest. Fearing a crash Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich announced in May 1995 that there would no longer be any borrowing on the debt. We would "pay as we go," a concept George W. Bush recently derided with reference to Kerry's attempt to restore the years of responsible government under President Clinton. Although Clinton was initially following the Bush Borrowing program of running the government using a credit card he converted to the Republican plan and paying down the debt became the great cause of his administration. The response from the economy was plain: it grew, became healthy, wealthy and wise. When you have savings you feel secure. When you have no savings and have trouble finding people to loan you money you feel insecure. Clinton stopped the insecurity of the Bush administration.
In 1993 I prepared a mortgage amortization table for the then $5 Trillion debt inherited from George Bush. At 7% interest a 40 year loan of that amount would result in the payment after 20 years of $6.4 Trillion in interest and $90 million in principal. After 40 years the debt would be paid off and total interest paid would be $10 Trillion.
Who makes money from Bush Borrowing are the wealthy. Most of the US Bond Market is owned by foreign governments and major institutional investors like Warren Buffet and Mutual Funds. While it is not likely that the US government will default on its now $7 Trillion debt, it is a debt that is now in an exponential phase where the amount accumulating in interest each year is the major component of outlays each year in the National Budget. Keep in mind the case of Brazil and other nations that defaulted on their debts and required an International Monetary Fund bail-out. If the US government were unable to sell enough bonds to pay off the 2005 interest, for instance, the amount the US would require to bail it out would exceed the financial reserve of the International Monetary Fund. As in the George Bush years, our economy has been staggering under the weight of the National Debt and its rapidly accumulating annual interest. Growth simply slows down under such uncertainties.
The stock market becomes softer when it anticipates a shift from stocks to bonds (when the government is selling a large lot of bonds). In simple terms, when the government has to sell bonds to pay off its creditors, the stock market can expect its investors to shift their positions from stocks to bonds. This causes the stock market to have a small panic attack. From time to time, if the movement from stocks is large enough, the stock market has a stroke.
Foreign markets react to American economic troubles; thus, the growing US National Debt creates insecurity among the international financial markets. This insecurity can be observed in the value of the dollar against other currencies. Not long ago the Euro was worth a little bit more than a dollar. Yesterday, 10.26.04, the Euro was worth $1.38.
When the US is in a recessionary trend the effects are soon seen in Europe. Jobs are lost (Germany now has a 10% unemployment rate; I remember when Germany took pride in having almost no unemployment before the Reagan-Bush years); and there is a slow-down in the purchase of goods from the United States. The US is now experiencing record deficits in the export market, and part of the cause of the record deficits in exports is owing to the recessionary trend among our European trading partners. If our government were to be set on a firm financial plan away from the Bush Borrowing credit card madness the foreign markets would feel more secure in their investments in America and purchase more from us. You would think that if the Euro has increased in purchasing power over the dollar by 25% one would see an equivalent growth in American exports. But exports are down. Something is seriously wrong, n'est pas?
Gingrich should be arguing for fiscal responsibility along with Kerry as he did in 1997. The Newt Gingrich concept of paying off the debt reported in US News & World Report in 1997:
"When he sat down to talk policy with House Speaker Newt Gingrich in April, Rep. Mark Neumann didn't mention his plan to pay off the entire $5.38 trillion national debt. But as Gingrich thumbed through Neumann's numbers-laden analysis of the federal budget, he stopped at the last section, titled "Retiring the Debt." Gingrich started asking questions and got visibly more excited with each answer.
Now Gingrich and other Republican leaders have embraced Neumann's proposal that rather than stopping with a balanced budget, America should go on to pay off its debt as a defining idea of modern conservatism. If revenue and spending trends point to a balanced budget, the argument goes, the government should stay on that course and use the eventual surpluses to retire the national debt.Gingrich is meeting with conservative activists to rally support for the idea.
See also a detailed article on the Neuman-Gingrich plan by By James K. Glassman, Tuesday, July 15 1997, The Washington Post. The plan evolved out of a continuing crisis over the budget, when the government was threatened with being shut down over the debt (see full report, CNN US News November 13, 1995).
Mr. Gingrich, why aren't you strongly behind Kerry's position of reinstituting the Clinton era of Fiscal Responsibility? Your loyalty to Bush should have some limits. Isn't your position now against Kerry's debt reduction somewhat two-faced?
President Bush launches illegal war
9.16.04 Secretary General Kofi Annan declares to the BBC that Bush conducted an illegal war in Iraq: Iraq war illegal, says Annan. The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter. more >>
Why the Crusade & Jihad?
Without rehashing the history of Western Civilization in one paragraph, we can ascribe Christian and Jewish sentiments to defend Israel and to view America as the anointed of God (Allah, (2) in the Koran) to perceptions of pastors who spend more time feeding on the flock than feeding them. If the flock were fed properly it would not believe that it is just to kill on behalf of God. The Christian and Jewish scriptures all agree that vengeance belongs to God (i.e., as in Psalm 94.1), that the Warrior of God is a man of peace, just and charitable. I have always believed (and I know Jesus adhered to this old teaching) that if God wants to kill someone let him kill them himself. You don't need to be his agent, in my opinion. But you can assist in bringing peace to the world.
There is no doubt that during the Axis Age (600 B.C.) the great sages, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Buddha and Jeremiah later followed by Socrates agreed that doing good and avoiding evil towards your fellow man was the answer. They all believed in the Golden Rule: Don't do to others that which you would not want done to you. Upon this one teaching all the teachings of the Bible rest.
Good news! The Koran says that everything in the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) and Gospel (New Testament) are true! As I pointed out many years ago in a conversation with Wm. F. Buckley Jr. in a series of books, including Philistia triumph thou because of me, there are points in the Koran upon which the Jews, Christians and Moslems can reconcile their disagreements, such as:
Koran, The Cow: And now that a Book confirming their own book has come to them from Allah, they deny it, although they know it to be the truth and have long prayed for help against the unbelievers...when it is said to them, 'Believe in what Allah has revealed,' they reply, 'We believe in what was revealed to us.' But they deny what has since been revealed, although it is the truth, corroborating their own scriptures.
Koran, The creator 36.24: Your only duty is to give warning...What we have revealed to you in the Book is the truth confirming previous scriptures.
Koran, Kneeling 45.16 We gave the Scriptures to the Israelites and bestowed on them wisdom and prophethood.
Koran, AL-AHQAF 46.12 Yet, before it the Book of Moses (Torah) was revealed, a guide and a blessing to all men. This Book confirms it.
Koran, Women 4.47 You, to whom the Scriptures were given! Believe in that which we have revealed, confirming your own scriptures...
Koran, The Cow 2:116 The Jews say the Christians are misguuided, and the Christians say it is the Jews who are misguided. Yet they both read the Scriptures. And the pagans say the same of both. Allah (5) will judge their disputes on the Day of Resurrection.
We can see, therefore, that Moslems are taught via the Koran to honor the scriptures and teachings Christians and Jews honor. Also, with respect to the Koran's teachings on Moslem behavior, it is clear that a Moslem cannot wage war against another Moslem, as is currently going on in Iraq and has been so throughout history:
Koran, Women 4.92 It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer except by accident.
To dispel any confusion on the Koran's view of people who do not believe in the Koran (notwithstanding the verses cited above) Mohammed went a bit too far, in my opinion, when he listed the following which confute the Bible (I know on the Day of Resurrection noted above my reading will be upheld).
Koran Repentance 9.20 Those that have embraced the faith and fled their homeland and fought for Allah's cause with their wealth and their persons are held in higher regard by Allah. It is they who shall triumph. Their Lord has promised them joy and mercy, and gardens of eternal bliss where they shall dwell forever. Allah's reward is great indeed.
9.116 ...Allah has purchased of the faithful their lives and worldly goods and in return has promised them the Garden. They will figtht for His cause, slay, and be slain. Such is the true pledge which he has made them in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Koran. And who is more true to his promise than Allah? Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is the supreme triumph.
Koran, Women 4.91 Others you will find who seek security from you as well as from their own people. Whenever they are called back to idol-worship they plunge into it headlong. If these do not keep their distance from you, if they neither offer you peace nor cease their hostilities against you, lay hold of them and kill them wherever you find them. Over such men We give you absolute authority.
4.92 It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer except by accident.
4.98 He that flies his homeland for the cause of Allah shall find numerous places of refuge in the land and great abundance. He that leaves his dwelling to fight for Allah and His apostle and is then overtaken by death, shall be rewarded by Allah.
4.104 Seek out your enemies relentlessly.
There are several verses that endorse Jesus some calling him a prophet of God (as they would have to once they accept the Gospels as truth). But this one is the gem of the lot, since it acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah. The Messiah means "anointed one" and the term was created and applied only in the Bible. Christians know the term as Christ, which is the Greek translation of the word. The fact is, based upon what we have seen in the Koran above, all Moslems must honor the teachings of Jesus the Messiah. If there is any confusion on those teachings it can be simply resolved by opening the Gospels and reading them. They all reduce down to the Golden Rule. And it is not important that you be a Christian, Jew or Moslem to practice the Golden Rule. If you practice the Golden Rule you satisfy the teachings. For if you know those teachings you know God and if you do them you are one with God. The scripture asks, can two walk together except they agree?
The gem in the Koran of Jesus the Messiah, beyond the other verses endorsing the teachings of Jesus, which is a good foundation for some kind of reconciliation:
The Imrans, 3.45, 47 The angels said to Mary: 'Allah bids you rejoice in a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary. He shall be noble in this world and in the next, and shall be favoured by Allah. He shall preach to men in his cradle and in the prime of manhood, and shall lead a righteous life."
The term Messiah first appeared in the Bible. It means Anointed One and in Greek the term is Christ. Knowing this, then, we should endeavor to find a place of agreement and learn to walk together. A good part of the Old Testament has to do with the Messiah and what is expected of him.
One cannot walk blindly through scriptures and take them for granted however. Applying them for good becomes an art. It takes practice. One cannot apply scripture, for instance, through a rush to judgment. After all is said and done, when understanding has ruled over boiling sentiments, we can point to our results: charity, justice and mercy. Unfortunately, we are a long way from achieving those things in this current age. It may be, in order to achieve a higher level, to at least remove ourselves from a state of chaos, that we need to take account of our leaders. Then we must ask ourselves how it is that we let them lead us into this chaos. This is called, confronting your own failures. Until both sides come to grips with the goodness that is in them, and do some good in order to gain in goodness, the Jihad will probably continue.
Now President George W. Bush would lead us to believe that we can kill off the Jihadists. I don't subscribe to his program and know that an invitation to reasoning together should bear more fruit. Who in the world would ever refuse this offer:
Isa. 1:18 ³Come now, let us reason together,² says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
(1)The story "The Pet Goat," is written in lower case for our Commander in Chief and teaches how one should be alert and watch for robbers. A girl and her pet goat didn't see what was coming. Since then George W. Bush has been looking for a scapegoat.
Illustration from the pet goat reader
a girl got a pet goat. she liked to go running with her pet goat. she played with her goat in her house. she played with the goat in her yard.
but the goat did some things that made the girl's dad mad. the goat ate things. he ate cans and he ate canes. he ate pans and he ate panes. he even ate capes and caps.
one day her dad said, "that goat must go, he eats too many things."
her dad said, "we will try it."
so the goat stayed and the girl made him stop eating cans and canes and caps and capes.
but one day a car robber came to the girl's house. he saw a big red car near the house and said, "I will streal that car."
he ran to the car and started to open the door.
the girl and the goat were playing in the back yard. they did not see the car robber.
more to come
(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.
(3) I use Edward Tripp's, The Meridian handbook of Classical Mythology (formerly titled Crowell's handbook of Classical Mythology), 1970.
INFORMATION ON SOME LINKS
Up-to-date information on the Presidential Race 2004: http://www.race2004.net/
Halliburton's major stock holders:
The Bush family and Cheney's financial holdings in Halliburton via Vanguard and other corporations: http://marc.perkel.com/archives/000067.html
Sinclair Broadcast Group advertisers. Help stop Bush and his brown-shirts by boycotting the advertisers that support Sinclair! http://www.boycottsbg.com/advertisers/default.aspx
Duty & Profit.html, a portion of the correspondence with Wm. F. Buckley Jr. from 1992-1995 on the national debt
Bushwatch: http://www.bushwatch.net/binladens.htm, Link on the Bush bin Laden wheeling and dealings
Launched: 10.25.04 / 11.02.04
Updated: 11.03.04; 11.04.04; 11.05.04; 11.06.04; 11.07.04; 11.08.04; 11.09.04; 11.10.04; 11.11.04; 11.12.04; 11.13.04; 11.14.04; 11.15.04; 11.16.04; 11.18.04
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