Maravot's News of the World
12:00pm San Francisco
Saturday 11.20.04
(last post)

About Maravot's News

Faces of the Fallen – Iraq
(photos and names of the fallen)

Blogs, news & stuff
Worth frequent visits

Intrnational Agencies – News

IRIN News, Africa & Asia

Maps of interest

Click on maps for larger image
Iraq and neighbors
Afghanistan & neighbors
Kazakhstan & neighbors

Historical map of Israel. Figure 2 shows the area allocated to
Israel by the UN in 1948. Compare to Israel' s interactive map below of its controversial security wall

The Scribble Doodle Wall: Israel's Security Fence. Click on image for larger view. Click here, Jerusalem Post map for interactive map.

Middle East Watch

Russia Watch


East Asia Watch

Relevant Works by Mel

The Romance of Anais, an Arthurian-style tale written in 1996 describing how Bush got us into the mess in Iraq with a short commentary on the
Chang-an cheat

Duty & Profit, Nov. 1994
Immoral Coercion, Dec. 1994
Philistia Triumph thou
because of me
, Dec. 1993

I am not responsible for the
content of any links
from this site.

America's Wars

Wars & Costs:
(15% of our life has been at war)

Armed Participants: 41.8 million
American Deaths: 1.09 million

Total cost of wars in 1990 dollars:

Wars 1775-1972: $2,951.8 Billion
Gulf .......1990-1991: $61.1 Billion
Iraq....... 2004-20__:
$147.3 Billion
Budgeted Iraq, 2005: $70.0 Billion
Total Iraq. to date....
$217.3 Billion
(Re.W.W. I cost...... $196.5 Billion)

Dates of the wars:

Revolutionary: 1775-1783
War of 1812: 1812-1813
Mexican War: 1846-1848
Civil War: 1861-1865
Spanish American: 1898
World War I: 1917-1918
World War II: 1941-1945
Korea: 1950-1953
Vietnam: 1964-1972
Gulf War: 1990-1991

1775 - 2005: 230 years
Total years at peace: ~195
Total years at war: ~35

Sources / Links:

11.19.04 Bush leaves for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference (APEC) in Chile

President Bush left today to attend APEC in Santiago, Chile, where he is expected to present his arguments for a standoff with North Korea. North Korea had announced that it had nuclear weapons capable of reaching the west coast of the US. Issues of security are expected to dominate the discussions, rather than economic.

Whether the topic of North Korean long-range missiles comes up remains to be seen. North Korean missiles capable of reaching the western United States were important to the media before George W. Bush's attack on Iraq.

An AP report February 13, 2003 cited a briefing of the Senate Armed Services Committee by CIA Director George Tenet and Vice-Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defence Intelligence Agency, who testified that the North Koreans have the capability to reach the western United States with a long-range missile. Previous intelligence reports said that such missiles have the capability to carry nuclear weapon-sized payloads. At the time White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who was unfamiliar with the testimony, said that President Bush – concerned about North Korea's missile development programs – supports building an anti-missile shield. There was a question then of President George W. Bush's priorities – whether North Korea or Iraq poses a greater threat to the United States. Baghdad does not possess weapons that can strike America, officials said. Replying to the questions, Fleischer said, "They are both important priorities. The question is, what are the means best used to deal with each priority." [Details on this February 13, 2003 report at]

A report August 4, 2004 based on Jane's Defense Weekly said that North Korea had two new missile systems with a range of 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) or more. They are based upon the Soviet submarine-launched SSN6. There were submarine-launched and ship-mounted versions of the missiles that Jane's reported were most threatening. [Full story of August 4, 2004 at CNN]

The invasion of Baghdad occurred in early April 2003 and Weapons of Mass Destruction were not found in Iraq.

11.19.04 Sudanese government makes peace with rebels before the UN

The Sudanese government and rebel leaders signed an agreement today promising to end the Sudan's 21 year conflict. The agreement signed before the UN security council special session in Nairobi, says that the two sides will end their conflict by the end of the year. [More>>].

Some 1.6 million people have been driven from their homes and ~70,000 killed since the conflict began in early 2003, involving accusations of genocide.
[More>>November 8, 2004 report BBC]

11.19.04 Major Sunni mosque stormed and members of Association of Muslim Scholars arrested

US-Iraqi troops stormed the Abu Hanifa mosque, killing 15 insurgents and capturing 13. About 40 people were arrested, including several members of the Sunni clerical Association of Muslim Scholars, which spoke out against the U.S.-led offensive against Fallujah.

Thursday the Allawi government warned that Islamic clerics who incite violence will be considered as "participating in terrorism."
[More>>AP (Freep)]

11.19.04 "US must cut record budget deficit or face painful consequences," said Greenspan to Bankers

Speaking ahead of weekend meetings in Berlin of the Group of 20 wealthy and developing economies, US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned that the US must cut its record budget deficit or face painful consequences. [More>>]

11.19.04 Allies, lawmakers want full disclosure – What does Powell know about Iran's missiles?

Members of Congress want more details with regard to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's statement that Iran is studying how to equip missiles with a nuclear bomb. He made remarks Wednesday which appear to have been based on classified information. Thursday, while he was attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference, Powell clarified that his comments involved information that was not new and he thinks that "the Iranians still have a lot to do to convince the international community that they are not moving into the direction of a nuclear weapon." Representative Gary L. Ackerman of New York expressed the concern that American credibility – already in question after America lied about Iraq – was not served by Powell's comment. [More>>LA Times]

11.18.04 The risks reporters take in modern war and peace

With the high journalist mortality rates (36 reporters have died in Iraq, she claims) Hannah Allam, Knight Ridder, "a Deadly Dateline," describes what it is like to be among the media covering the war in Iraq. Her tale of wiping her shoes to remove human flesh after witnessing a bomb blast is disturbing.

War is desensitizing, but wars must be covered by the media.

Reporters without Borders gives their own account of what is happening in covering dangerous places from their perspective. 47 journalists have been killed worldwide this year, 127 have been imprisoned. They rank nations from a "satisfactory situation" to those that have a "very serious situation" in their map of the world. The US has a satisfactory situation. According to their map a good "Freedom of Press" situation is found in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Canada, Australia and what appears to be Mongolia.

11.18.04 al-Zarqawi headquarters may have been found

Soldiers discovered a house in southern Fallujah that may have been the headquarters of terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi. Correspondence found in the structure written by Zarqawi to his lieutenants suggests the link. [Full story by Jackie Spinner, Washington Post]

11.18.04 Fabulous Bactrian gold collection inventoried

A Bactrian gold collection stashed away by Afghan conservators has been fully inventoried and the missing pieces identified. With the completed inventory, international authorites may be able to recover many of the lost items from dealers and collectors. 22,000 priceless objects including the Bactrian gold were hidden away when the Russian invasion of Afghanistan began. The Taliban government found one of the hiding places but could not break into it. The entire inventory now awaits the safe day when it may be restored to the Kabul museum. Oxford University archeologist Fredrik T. Hiebert led the team that catalogued the amazing collection. [More>>Thomas H. Maugh II article, LA Times]

The Bactrians were an Indo-European people that separated from the groups that became the Iranians / Persians and in India the Aryans. They may have been a branch of Scythians. The following site gives some history on the 5,000 year old culture:

Those who possess articles that belonged to the Kabul museum collection should voluntarily turn them over to their proper owners.

Because of the instability of these times we perhaps need new international oversight on the trade of antiquities. The looting of the Baghdad museum and the illustration involving the fate of the Kabul museum's collection only serve to emphasize the importance of keeping museum pieces out of the hands of auction houses, traders and collectors, who make a living selling stolen antiquities and war booty resulting from the Bush administration's campaigns. Collections in all museums are vulnerable to the vicissitudes of war and, if nothing else, should be fully catalogued. Addressing the issue of the looting of the Baghdad museum in July 2003, Dr. George, the Baghdad museum's director of studies, said "But don't just talk about numbers. A bronze relief from 4000BC is worth 100 Mona Lisas, and it's a loss to all humanity." The museum had no inventory of its collection, not even on a handwritten card index, let alone on computer.

Dr George said that some of the looting of the museum was by professionals: "They had plans, glasscutters, and knowledge. We found keys brought by the looters. They opened the museum director's safe where they found other keys."
[Full story, July 4, 2003, by Jonathan Steele in Baghdad]

11.18.04 Secretary of State Powell believes Iran seeks nuclear missiles

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday that he believed Iran has been studying ways to adapt nuclear weapons for use on missiles. He could not verify the accuracy of the data upon which he commented, however. Powell made the comment to reporters en route to a meeting in Chile. [More LA Times]

11.18.04 Second case of mad cow disease may have been found in the US

Officials of the US Department of Agriculture announced that a second case of mad cow disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, may have turned up. It would be four to seven days before the case could be confirmed. The disease attacks the animal's nervous system. An interesting FAQ page on the disease is at

11.18.04 Battle for Fallujah and Mosul continues

The battle for Fallujah and Mosul continues today. Mosul is a city that has a Kurdish sector, and the US-Iraqi-Kurdish forces are taking back police stations taken over by the insurgents. The attacks in the Kurdish sector of Mosul included the Kurdish party offices. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) representative in Mosul, Sadi Ahmed Pire, believes "the Baath Party is behind the attacks, with Islamists following them." [More>>kurdistanobserver]

11.18.04 Jewish man shot in the head in Antwerp, Belgium

A young Jewish man walking near the Muslim and Jewish quarter in Antwerp was shot from close range in the head Wednesday evening and died Thursday afternoon. Moshe Yitzhak Na'eh, 24, was a father of three. It has not been determined whether it is a hate crime. Since no money was taken from his person, theft has been ruled out. [More>>Jerusalem Post]

11.18.04 Major route for drug traffickers / terrorists may be left unguarded

Drug Trafficking on the Aghanistan Tajikistan border may increase. At the present time Russia guards the border, but it may be withdrawing. Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) Yevgeni Kozhokhin stated there were serious fears that after the complete withdrawal of Russian frontier guards from the Afghan-Tajik border, the situation there would deteriorate significantly. He believes "the United States bears the major responsibility for the increase of narcotics production under Karzai's regime. At the same time, Mr. Kozhokhin points out that Russia and other countries are willing to cooperate with the United States in the struggle against drug-trafficking. However, Washington has to take concrete steps toward such cooperation..." [More>>]

It is well known that drug trafficking is a major source of revenue for al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and Afghanistan is one of the major growers of poppies, used to produce heroin. Afghanistan shares a border with several countries that is inherently difficult to guard. Where there may be comparatively speaking a trickle of smuggling across Afghanistan's borders will likely turn into a flood once the spigot is left open. news reported November 17 that the Russian guards are now leaving the border area.

Mel Copeland

11.18.04 High petroleum prices help Russia reduce its foreign debt

Moscow, November 18 (RIA Vovosti) – Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, sees the increase in petroleum prices an opportunity for Russia to reduce its foreign debt and further economic progress. "I had an opportunity to tell the Russian President that we [the International Monetary Fund] are clearly discerning prospects for Russia's economic growth. High petroleum prices beneficially tell on it," he said to the media after conference with President Vladimir Putin. [More>>]

11.18.04 Russia stepping up its military

Russian President Putin's announcement of new nuclear weapons development includes an overall military renewal. The Russian Armed Forces will obtain four strategic missiles, nine space vehicles and five carrier-rockets in 2005, said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. Other systems to be added include two Iskander-M rocket launchers, 17 T-90 tanks and 92 BTR-80 armored vehicles for the Russian army and 2 new vessels for the Russian Navy. Two strategic TU-160 bombers, seven Su27CM pursuit planes will be upgraded and high-precision air-to-surface missiles will be added. The Russian media presumed that the Putin comment on nuclear systems addressed the capability to defeat American ABM defense systems. [More>>]

11.18.04 US unilateralist position may leave it out in the cold

Two high-profile task forces, one consisting of Us policymakers and scholars and the other of Asian experts, urged the Bush administration to adopt a less unilateralist posture towards Asia. The Bush administration should be more flexible in its dealings with North Korea and more engaged in transnational issues other than terrorism and nuclear proliferation. Both groups warned that US influence in Asia could diminish sharply. [More>>Jim Lobe article,]

There is a trend in Asia where the US, under the Bush administration, has been losing opportunities in major developments, and as Asian countries develop new investment opportunities the EU, China, South Korea, India et al. seem to be making the big deals. They are shrewd to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Bush administration's distraction in waging wars. There is a trend where the US has been visiting Asian countries to pander military objectives when other nations are engaged in more redeeming business activities. See article, "US Me-only approach - New Game."

Mel Copeland

11.18.04 The US Senate raised the US debt ceiling to $8.2 trillion

The US Senate voted to raise the debt ceiling to $8.2 trillion. The $1 trillion increase (was $7.2 trillion) prevents the US from defaulting on current debt obligations but increases its debt exposure to the foreign central banks that own the debt (US bonds) and places a greater burden on the stock and bond markets. To sell the extra bonds authorized through the $1trillion increase, the government will no doubt have to increase interest rates. The bond market has already been oversaturated with US offerings and in the September 9, 2004 increment bond buyers did not respond to the offering. More bond offering flops and a possible US default loom on the horizon, since the debt (supply) is at levels exceeding market demand. Annual interest on the debt varies, according to the prime rate, and generally exceeds $1 billion per day. While US Bonds are guaranteed and backed up by the ability of the US to borrow more money, the US may have just passed the threshold of credibility.

Mel Copeland

11.18.04 "No child left behind" program of Bush administration results in school closings

Experiencing continuing budget problems and a possible scandal, the Oakland, CA Unified School District announced that 13 schools would be closed. It has already closed 5 schools, and one of the reasons for the closing of the schools, besides California budget deficits, was that the schools do not measure up to the "No child left behind" requirements.

11.18.04 China makes trade agreement with Argentina

During his two-day visit in Argentina – part of a tour of South America – China's President Hu Jintao announced a new trade deal between China and Argentina involving China's $19 billion investment in Argentina in energy production and infrastructure. The agreement will improve Argentina's railway system and provide for oil exploration. []

11.17.04 China concerned the US is sending wrong signals to Taiwan separatists

China urged the United States not to send any wrong signals to Taiwan separatist forces, Tuesday. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue made the comment in response to a US State Department press conference. "The US should honor the commitments repeatedly reaffirmed by the US government and leaders to adhere to the one-China policy, observe the three Sino-US joint communiques and oppose the 'Taiwan independence,'" she said. [More>>]

11.17.04 Forty-seven Iraqi groups protest forthcoming January election in Iraq

Forty-seven political and religious parties in Iraq plan to boycott the Iraqi January elections. At least eight Shiite groups and one Christian party were among the ranks in the protest. Their statement signed by the parties and groups, mainly Sunni factions led by the Muslim Clerics Association, was made on Wednesday. The reason for the protest is "the (US-Iraqi) assaults in cities like Najaf, Karbala, Samarra, Sadr City, Adhmiya, and especially the genocide crimes in Fallujah." [More>>]

11.17.04 Kazakhstan is invoking new controls to thwart terrorists

Kazakhstanıs National Security Committee(CNS) is standing for a toughening of legislation on religious associations, charity funds, and the mass-media. The government is amending the laws governing religious organizations, since those who conduct bomb attacks and mass killings often receive funding through them. It was also suggested to develop new rules for the mass-media. The CNS believes that the mass-media provoke fear among the population by showing terrorist acts and their consequences and in this way they help terrorists. Terrorists using the media become known and consider themselves to be heroes. This is why they choose to die and at the same time find their followers. [More>>]

11.17.04 Chirac said in Britain US-led invasion of Iraq has made the world less safe

French President Jacques Chirac said in London that the US-led invasion of Iraq and ousting of President Saddam Hussein has, if anything, made the world more dangerous. In his interview with the BBC he said, "I'm not at all sure that one can say the world is safer. There is no doubt there has been an increase in terrorism. To a certain extent Saddam Hussein's departure was a positive thing but it also provoked reaction such as the mobilization of terrorists in a number of countries which made the world more dangerous."

Al-Jezeera's take on the interview was the same except they interpreted the last sentence as follows: "...reaction such as the mobilisation in a number of countries of men and women of Islam which has made the world more dangerous."

The full interview will be aired Wednesday evening.

11.17.04 Russia tightening its air borders

Russia announced that it is tightening control of its air borders. Should any foreign spy plane, American or otherwise, cross into Russian airspace, Moscow will respond in line with its domestic laws, Colonel General Boris Cheltsov, Air force Chief-of-Staff, said at a press conference Wednesday. This statement was made after Russia detected a US Orion spy jet near the Russian border in the Caucasus. The general commented that it was the first time the Orion spy jet had come near the border and it was probably familiarizing itself with a new route. While this is the first spy plane seen in the area, the general noted that NATO appears to be interested in exploring the area. He stressed that the plane had flown over the neutral zone of the Black Sea without crossing into Russian airspace.

At the same news conference the Russian military pointed out that its territorial waters are well patrolled and foreign spy vessels in the past ten years have not penetrated them. The recent incident of the presumed Chinese submarine into Japanese territorial waters would hardly ever occur in Russia, they said, since the Russian Navy has all necessary equipment to identify the class and the nationality of foreign vessels and to control their movements. As soon as foreign vessels notice Russian patrol ships tracking them, the vessels turn back.

11.17.04 Russia to acquire cutting edge nuclear weapon systems

Moscow: News agencies reported Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin said Russia will acquire new nuclear weapon systems which other nuclear powers do not yet have. The new weapon systems are beyond the drawing boards of other nations and are unlikely to be developed by others in the near future. The new weapons would be deadlier than any contemplated on earth.

11.16.04 NASA SCRAM jet breaks world speed record

NASA launched a SCRAM jet (Supersonic Combustion Ramjet) that broke its previous world speed record and exceeded 7,000 miles per hour, ten times the speed of sound. The X-43A hypersonic aircraft, is an unpiloted 3.7 meter-long vehicle that burns hydrogen and compresses oxygen from the air at a very high speed. The scram engine, unlike conventional jet engines, has no moving parts and uses hydrogen as it's fuel source to power itself. Present rockets use liquid fuel and liquid oxygen which is much heavier, limiting the speed it can achieve. The SCRAM engine uses the oxygen in the atmosphere to mix with the hydrogen, creating thrust that can propel the vehicle much faster than conventional planes of today. The SCRAM engine is believed to be capable of propelling a vehicle at 25,000 MPH, which is the speed needed to escape the Earth's atmosphere.

11.16.04 Bin Laden's mountain fortress (Editor of Asian Age) has an interesting illustration on the mountain fortress that Osama bin Laden may be occupying.

11.16.04 Wanted militant Mehsud meets with Pakistani commander

Ismail Khan, a reporter for, spoke to wanted militant Abdullah Mehsud who informed him of a meeting held last week between himself and one of Pakistan's top military commanders, Peshawar, Lt-Gen Safdar Hussain. While the Pakistani military had him and his mujahideen pinned down in his village of Nano, Mehsud managed to escape their pincers. The one-legged militant had been held in Guantanamo for two years and masterminded the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in early October. Mehsud's brother-in-law, Col (retired) Mohammad Yaqub Mehsud, arranged the meeting at Jandola Fort in South Waziristan, Pakistan on November 8. Mehsud expressed that he was not fighting against the Pakistani people but the US. [More>>Dawn]

11.16.04 Powell to visit Pakistan and India early December

Colin Powell will be visiting Pakistan and India about December 6, 7. He is expected to attend the inaugural ceremony for President Karzai in Kabul on December 7. Powell and President General Pervez Musharraf became close friends during Powell's four-year term as the US Secretary of State. The outgoing Secretary of State plans to visit several countries around the globe. [More>>Dawn]

11.16.04 International conference on energy cooperation held in Baku 11.16.04

Tuesday, a conference initiated by the European Union was held in Baku, Azerbaijan. It's purpose was to explore energy cooperation among the Caspian basin countries. Delegates to the event were from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Iran, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine Uzbekistan and Armenia. The Armenian representative's presence was intended to be low-key, because of past relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Nevertheless, the Armenian representative's arrival in Baku sparked protests from the local public and political organizations. Armenia attended the conference at the Azerbaijani government's invitation. Its proximity to the Caspian oil fields seems to position Armenia as a viable resource in the transportation of fuel. [More>>ArC news]

11.16.04 India planning to invest $3 billion in developing oil and gas fields in Russia

To get a partnership in the energy sector India is talking to Russia about investing $1.5 billion in the Sakhalin-3 gas field and another $1.5 billion in the joint Russian-Kazakh Kurmangazy oil field in the Caspian Sea. The potential is up to one billion metric tons of oil. [11.14.04 AP article in the Hindustan Times]

11.16.04 Margaret Hassan, Irish-Iraqi CARE International 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]

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]

About half of the funds recovered for holocaust survivors goes to administration costs.

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 in Netherlands

Although it had made a good effort to compete against 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>>]

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>>]

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>>]

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>>]

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]

News to keep your eyes on

11.15.04 US wants to redefine security treaty with Japan

11.15.04 US troops round up prominent imams of the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS)

11.14.04 US September Bond sales a flop

11.14.04 Editorial by Priscilla Penwright, China hogging the oil not fair to America

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...

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...

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.

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.

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>>]

11.11.04 Bush II adopts Hama Rules

One thing leads to another. An interesting article by Charles Glass [11.09.04 article in ; also carried by] compares the US assault on Fallujah to the Syrian assault on a rebel stronghold of Hama, Syria in the spring of 1982.

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
11.01.04 (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 Aljazeera]

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.


In the beginning....

Bush taking too long to read "My Pet Goat" reader on 9/11.
Read full text.

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.

Mel Copeland


(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.


Up-to-date information on the Presidential Race 2004:
Halliburton's major stock holders:
The Bush family and Cheney's financial holdings in Halliburton via Vanguard and other corporations:
Sinclair Broadcast Group advertisers. Help stop Bush and his brown-shirts by boycotting the advertisers that support Sinclair!
Duty & Profit.html, a portion of the correspondence with Wm. F. Buckley Jr. from 1992-1995 on the national debt
Bushwatch:, Link on the Bush bin Laden wheeling and dealings
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