September 30, 2003

Sept. 30 - Paul of

Sept. 30 - Paul of All AgitProp, all the Time... is back from Vermont.

Go over and ask him about the Syrup Conspiracy he might deny any knowledge of.

There's another appearance by Murray, the underrated member of the Acopalypse quartet.

I'll be gone awhile, I have to see to the things I happily ignored these last couple of days. And we're out of coffee! That's asking for big trouble in this house.

Posted by Debbye at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 30 - An interview

Sept. 30 - An interview with former PA security chief Mohammed Dahlan in the Washington Post states the obvious: Palestinians Worse Off After 3-Year Uprising.

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which spurred President Bush to declare an international war on terrorism, were a turning point for the Palestinians, Dahlan told the AP. "We did not understand 9/11 in a correct and fundamental way that would have allowed us to help the national interest of our people, to bring back the international legitimacy of our [Palestinian] Authority," he said.
Nonsense. They understood it correctly and fundamentally. It was an act of war.

What they didn't understand correctly was the strength of the American people, and how we would respond.

I suspect they still don't.

(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 30 - This is

Sept. 30 - This is probably the only time I will ever link to The Dixie Chicks Official Artist Club but there were rumours about an open letter from Natalie that has been confirmed by their official website.

The letter tries to be funny, but fails so spectacularly that it ends up being funny. Or stupid. That's the nicest way I can put it.

(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 30 - Ahmed Melhalba,

Sept. 30 - Ahmed Melhalba, a physician working as a Civilian Guantanamo translator, was arrested today on charges of espionage for having classified materials in his possession. He is being held by officials of a civilian law agency.

Melhalba was arrested after arriving at Logan from Egypt.

The Fox account says he was pulled aside at Logan by agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency who found the documents, some of which were on his computer. The FBI was called and they interviewed Melhalba.

The FBI has applied for a warrant to search his computer, the significance of which will probably escape those who scream the USA has become a militarist Nazi-like police state.

Posted by Debbye at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

Conspiracy Theory about the Blackout

Sept. 30 - It was inevitable that conspiracy theories would arise given the unusual number of blackouts since August in the US, Canada, the UK, Denmark and Italy. I can't deny that I noticed that the countries affected (except Canada) were members of the Coalition of the Willing, and I'm sure terrorism crossed everyone's mind followed quickly by more mundane, earth-bound explanations.

Al Qaeda had issued a statement in which they claimed responsibility for the Northeastern blackout last July, but as it didn't spread panic and, in fact, strengthened some ties to our neighbours, they must have been disappointed. Civilians even got to direct traffic.

The wonderful Sun (UK) compiles the whispers in Dark forces are at work. Excerpts:

One of the most popular is that the Western nations have secretly organised the blackouts as dummy runs against terror attacks.

One US web user said on a chat site: "There's a good chance this was orchestrated to test public response and as a reminder to be prepared."

Others believe a top secret US military experiment is to blame, suggesting it had affected the Earth's magnetic field which caused the cuts.

Behold the unlimited power of the US military. It can control the Earth's magnetic field.
Others attributed the blackouts to aliens taking over the world.

One conspirator said: "The aliens transmit large amounts of electricity into power relay stations and blow out their circuit breakers. It's all part of their invasion plan and every industrial country will be affected."

Perhaps the most bizarre explanation came from a conspirator simply known as Acoloss, who said: "Maybe electricity is a form of life and it's become aware."

Nobody is blaming Klaatu. How times have changed.

Posted by Debbye at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 30 - An interesting

Sept. 30 - An interesting feature on a book that has been released, Hug Them Close by Peter Riddell, chief political commentator with the Times, in an article in the Australian press humorously titled Bill and Tony's excruciating adventure.

I remember a leak during the trial of a man said to be from the IRA (who had gone to Columbia to train guerrillas) which stated that the UK government had decided not to inform then-Pres. Clinton of the investigation because they didn't trust his discretion.

Posted by Debbye at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

Canadian Ambassador returns to Iran

Sept. 30 - The Canadian ambassador to Iran, Phillip MacKinnon, will return to Iran with instructions to keep an eye on Iran's ongoing nuclear program, the investigation into the beating death of Zahra Kazemi and push for a public trial of the person accused of causing her death, and to press for a return of her body to Canada.

So now he's an expert on the development of nuclear programs. That's a lame attempt to sell his return due to an urgent reason.

Just last week the Canadian government was threatening to suspend foreign aid.

Doesn't it really mean that the Foreign Affairs Ministry is still hoping this issue just "goes away?" "Soft power" indeed. Canada is trying for a Guinness World Record spot as the Most Indifferent when her citizens are arrested and tortured.

Kazemi's death last July gained international attention in great part due to the efforts of her son, Montrealer Stephan Hachemi. There are two petitions at the Project Free Iran website addressed to world leaders which calls them to join in calls demanding that the current regime step down and that the UN oversee a referendum in Iran and free elections.

There is also a lot of news updates and analysis about Iran on that page. Good one to bookmark.

Among other things is the claim that over 120,000 political prisoners and freedom loving Iranians have been executed in Iran over the past 2 decades. Inasmuch as the number of those who were tortured and executed in Iraq under the former regime turned out to be much higher than we suspected, this isn't a claim that can be easily dismissed however much we might wish it weren't true.

Posted by Debbye at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2003

Sept. 29 - From Dustbury,

Sept. 29 - From Dustbury, Ken Burns is doing another documentary for PBS:

:In the Age of Teddy Roosevelt, though, a sense of adventure was still something in good supply, and in 1903, a Vermont physician, Dr Horatio Nelson Jackson, having bet $50 (a tidy sum in those days) that he could cross the country in a car in 90 days or less, put his motor where his mouth was, and set off from San Francisco with the hope of getting to New York in one piece.

Posted by Debbye at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 29 At The Lord

Sept. 29 At The Lord of the Rings official website. Available in Quicktime for download or insta-view.

Ith pointed the way.

Posted by Debbye at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 29 - Drew Carey

Sept. 29 - Drew Carey was a Marine! Alpha Patriot has some information about a USO show which featured Drew Carey and Brian Dennehey For the Troops in Iraq.

Posted by Debbye at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 29 - A naturalized

Sept. 29 - A naturalized US citizen, Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, was arrested when he arrived at Dulles Int'l Airport after an unauthorized trip to Libya and is being investigated in a Terror Financing Probe. The article lists a number of irregularities, but this is notable:

Al-Amoudi also is co-founder of the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council, which helps the U.S. military select Muslim chaplains for the armed forces, a system that has recently drawn criticism from Congress following the arrests of a Muslim chaplain on suspicion of spying.
The article makes clear that al-Amoudi has been under suspicion for some time.

Posted by Debbye at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 29 - Sorry. I

Sept. 29 - Sorry. I took a capsule for my cold, and lay down for a minute. That was several hours ago.

Some more news items that tell a different story than at being fed by those mainsteam journalists reclining by a pool in Baghdad, including this column in the NY Post, here which reminds us that the failure to have a scripted plan is because this is unprecedented and having a scripted plan would lead to failure as it would allow for no improvisation when inevitably required, here which looks at how internet fact checking is successfully challenging the media depiction, and this which considers that Tom Brokaw's coverage may be better because he chronicled WWII (and has "historical perspective"!)

(All links via InstaAlly.)

Posted by Debbye at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 29 - The Lebanese

Sept. 29 - The Lebanese trial in absentia of Australian Bilal Khazal (whose name has also come up in connection with the trial of Abu Dahdah in Spain) was told that the Australian 'sent cash' to the terror suspect who has been charged with attacks at KFCs and McDonald's outlets in Beirut but a link between the cash and the attacks has not been made.

Posted by Debbye at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 29 - Another nifty

Sept. 29 - Another nifty new tape has surfaced and been aired by the footsoldiers of al Qaeda (no, not CNN.) The voice is believed to be that of al Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and his message is that the US targets Islam and complains about a Jewish Crusade but doesn't warn about any imminent attacks on the West.

The tape, aired in excerpts on Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, appeared to be recent, as the speaker referred to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to India earlier this month and the September 6 resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

"The crusade camp that is led by America and its allies from the infidels and hypocrites is targeting Islam and Muslims, even if it claims that it is fighting terrorism. ... This campaign is seeking to abolish Islam as a doctrine and a law," the voice said.

He said that what the West called terrorism was the Muslim's jihad.

The voice identified as al-Zawahri urged Muslims to "resist this Jewish crusade".

He also claims that the portion of the Sept. 11 hearing report that was blacked out contained a recommendation calling on the Saudi government to be barred from printing and distributing the Koran, and attacks Pakistan Pres. Musharref.

Bin Laden was neither seen or heard.

Posted by Debbye at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 29 - Al Qaeda

Sept. 29 - Al Qaeda coordinator and suspected planner of the Bali blasts last year, Hambali, links JI to al-Qaeda cash. According to Media Indonesia, the US handed over Thai and US police interrogation records to the Indonesia govenment.

Hambali reportedly said that money sent by al Qaeda to assist the families of those arrested after the Bali bombings was used to fund the Marriott Hotel bombings in Jakarta last August.

Posted by Debbye at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 29 - CNEWS World

Sept. 29 - CNEWS World - Suspected Taliban rebels burn down girls school in northern Afghanistan. "Nuff said.

Meanwhile, Peter Worthington points out that the quality of mercy under Sharia is quite strained indeed.

Posted by Debbye at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 29 - "It couldn't

Sept. 29 - "It couldn't happen here," sayeth Carlos Andrea Bollino, head of Italy's GRTN electrical network, shortly after the Great Blackout of 2003 which cut power to the American North East and Ontario.

Doesn't this guy know better than to tempt the fates? A countrywide blackout affected 50 million Italians in the dark. The power stayed down for as long as 18 hours in some place.

Posted by Debbye at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2003

Sept. 28 - My latest

Sept. 28 - My latest assignment from the Alliance is to come up with music for whacking terrorists.

That's easy: the 1812 Overture. I like efficiency, and nothing says efficiency like cannons taking out the enemy and his shelter and his weapons and his transport and . . . well, you get the general idea.

It celebrates victory.
It celebrates (another French) defeat.
It has church bells.
I saw it peformed live with Arthur Fielder and the Boston Pops on the 4th of July (Stop that arithmetic)

My kids think something rave would be better. Hmm

Okay, you want something way more cool? Then I'd go for any live AC/DC recording of Thunderstruck.

As it's full of a cannony staccatoes, I can still visusalize taking out the (thunder) enemy, and his (thunder) shelter, and his (thunder) weapons and his . . . .

Posted by Debbye at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 28 - I'm coming

Sept. 28 - I'm coming down with a cold, and think the fever has affected my cognitive skills (although it could be the brandy in my coffee) but I'm going to highslight a point of major signficance while I'm still conscious:

There has already been a violation. of the truce in the Blogger War, so we must regretfully resume hostilities. Needless to say, it's all Glenn Reynolds's fault.

Posted by Debbye at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2003

Sept. 27 - Chief Wiggles

Sept. 27 - Chief Wiggles reports on the attack on the Rasheed Hotel and the USO show with Drew Carey in Iraq.

TOYS. Toothbrushes, pens, pencils, stuffed animals. Flip flops. Maple Leaf tee-shirts. Show Iraqi kids the depth of the Canadian heart.

Posted by Debbye at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 27 - Man binds

Sept. 27 - Man binds bear bites with duct tape Like that's news? Not in Canada, but then, we have Red Green, eh?

(Via Ceasefire Violator.)

Posted by Debbye at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 27 - An opinion

Sept. 27 - An opinion piece in the NY Post by First Lt. Eric Knapp, currently stationed with the 1st Marine Division In Najaf: A Success Story.

September 26, 2003 -- MY friends and family back in the states are frustrated because every time Najaf - the city in southern Iraq where my unit has been stationed - is in the news, the reports are of conflict between the U.S. forces and armed militias. To hear the media tell it, America has done nothing to improve the infrastructure or security, and the Iraqi public is volatile and seeking revenge.

This is not the Najaf I know. Here's the story lived by those who have worked hand-in-hand with the locals since the end of combat operations: the U.S. Marines.
Read it. It seems the public demand for better information is getting some results. Good on, well, us!

The blogger community is being mobilized in an effort to get Front Line Voices up and running (still in the planning stages, but bookmark the site.)

Note that I'm not talking about cheerleaders, I'm talking about information about the successes, the failures, and the could-have-done-betters. I'm also talking about letting our troops know that folks back home are actually interested beyond the "yeah, sure, I support the troops" kind of dismissal.

Morale. Matters.

Posted by Debbye at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 27 - Let's play

Sept. 27 - Let's play hard ball with the media and demand answers to 20 Questions the Media Will Not Ask Concerning Iraq:

1. Where is all the money from the UN’s Oil for Food Program?

2. How many people have now lived at least six months longer than they would have under Saddam?

3. How many civilians were really killed in the major combat portion of the war?

4. How many civilians have been killed since the end of major combat?

5. How unreliable is the Iraqi electric distribution system in comparison to, say, the Washington, D.C., area system?

I share the sentiment expressed in the closing comment:
NOTE: Some answers might validate my opinions on Iraq; some might blow them to pieces. Either way, I need to know, and so do Americans in general. Why won’t the media ask these questions?
Read the rest. Good questions all for our intrepid investigative reporters currently reclining by the Palestine Hotel swmming pool and those assigned to the UN.

(Link via Treacherous Truce Breaker.)

Posted by Debbye at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 27 - Another humourous

Sept. 27 - Another humourous column from the Toronto Star by Tim Harper, who thinks that Martin may visit Washington before Chretien steps down as Prime Minister.

Jeez, on what basis would Martin visit? He won't be a head of state. Maybe he'll visit the Lincoln Memorial and Smithsonian, and check out the night life.

Insiders in Ottawa, however, say Martin will have difficulty changing the substantive relationship between the two governments because of the hard-line Bush administration view on everything from social issues to trade policy to the obvious difference between the two countries on multilateralism and the Iraqi war.
The USA does not want to become a social democracy. Live with it.
"As long as they are in the White House, how much room is Paul going to have to make a real difference?" one Ottawa source said.
A difference in what? Canada gets along perfectly well with Zimbabwe, France, and Cuba, but can't get along with the USA?

Maybe Canada should proceed with caution, as they do with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria. Just a thought. Oh, wait, we'd have to arrest and torture someone, although we'd get their attention faster if we questioned a photographer to death.

Another thought: maybe it would be wise to boost the Canadian army as there's a hostile nation to the south, you know, like, if you're really worried. That would be the normal response when you distrust a neighbouring country's intentions.

"There is a disconnect between the so-called elites in Canada and Canadians," he [well-known Trudeauist Lloyd Axworthy] said.

"Without serious debate, Paul could be setting himself up for serious problems in the next election campaign.

"He cannot ignore the fact a lot of Canadians are saying they don't like Bush and they don't like his policies. What do you do when you have an administration there that is right-wing and anti-internationalist? How do you conduct a constructive relationship with that?"

See comments about Zimbabwe, France and Cuba.

They could try minding their own freaking business, I guess. I find it lucidrous that Axworthy thinks Americans should elect someone on the basis that he meets with the approval of the Canadian Elite.

Maybe Axworthy is calling for is a discussion on the relationship between the USA and Canada. The natural place would be the House of Commons, but "a lot of Canadians" usually means a Royal Commission. Dump NAFTA!

Or maybe it's just the usual, empty rhetoric from a former Minister of Foreign Affairs.

I say Bring. It. On. Instead of hiding behind insults and rhetoric, let Canada decide once and for all if they are actual allies, the stuff of which French friendship is made of, or simply declare neutrality.

Or maybe Axworthy means that Canadians and the Canadian Elite should discuss things. Good plan: I'm sure a lot of Canadians would like to know the names of the Axworthy-defined Elite.

But the best (and perhaps most illuminating) is this:

Ottawa fears it would have to deal with Paul Wolfowitz, now deputy defence secretary, or Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, if Powell departs.
Is that honesty or bad editing? I'm sticking with the words; Ottawa is afraid of both Wolfowitz and Rice. Cool.

Just another valiant attempt by the Toronto Star and Liberal Party to seek solutions in healing some canyon-sized rifts between the USA and Canada.

[I love it when my friends back home send me links to these kinds of articles. There is an unwritten disapproval in such communications which makes me feel as though I was supposed to do something about it. Like . . . what?

So I responded for those Who Shall Remain Nameless, but I wish they'd appreciate that whereas there will soon be an election in the USA to determine future policies, there won't be one here.]

Posted by Debbye at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 27 - Some meetings

Sept. 27 - Some meetings are more interesting than others, and the current meeting between Pres. Bush and Pres. Putin at Camp David this weekend is definitely in the more interesting category.

Although a member of the Axis of Weasels, the Russian president did not hurl the kind of invective toward the United States as did France and Germany, but there were some disturbing actions, such as a Russian embassy convoy that belatedly high-tailed it for the Syrian border, and of course Russian was a happy participant in the Oil-for-Palaces/Weapons program, and rumours that Russian military personnel were advising Saddam on the defense of Baghdad.

There is the nuclear reactor in Iran, of course, and the ongoing talks with North Korea (Russia is one of the 6 nations in the talks.)

One topic of discussion will be financial aid to Iraq. I think that, since Russia (among others) stole from the Iraqi people by violating the provisions of the Food-for-Oil program, they make substantial restitution to Iraq.

But then I'm not a diplomat, so I get to say things that aren't tactful.

Posted by Debbye at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 27 - The Canadian

Sept. 27 - The Canadian contingent in Kabul will take command of the NATO peacekeeping force in Kabul for 2004.

A Canadian, Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, is deputy commander and Canadian Brig.-Gen. Peter Devlin is the operational head of ISAF's peace-support force, the Kabul Multi-National Brigade.

The Canadian battle group is based in southwest Kabul, patrolling a sector that includes about 800,000 people and extends beyond the city into mountains and rural areas.

The NATO-led force operates separately from the 11,500-member U.S.-led coalition that fights Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents in the south and east.

Posted by Debbye at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 27 - During testimony

Sept. 27 - During testimony before Congress, civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer stated there are 19 Al Qaeda Suspects among the 248 non-Iraqi fighters being detained by US forces. This was established not only through interrogations but by documents seized when the fighters were apprehended.

Some of the al Qaeda members have been linked to Ansar al-Islam whose base was wiped out early in the war.

The fighters come from a number of countries, with Syria contributing the largest number (132) followed by Iran and Yemen. Most of them entered Iraq through "ratlines" from that country.

Ratlines. Good phrase. Pithy, pointed and has connotations, like Pied Piper of Hamelin and fits nicely into the flypaper theory (unavoidable mixed metaphor; it works better than The Brave Little Tailor, okay?)

United Nations Security Council member Syria denied assisting or aiding the foreign fighters and claims it is not interfering with US efforts in Iraq.

Posted by Debbye at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 27 - Pres. Bush's

Sept. 27 - Pres. Bush's recent address to the UN called for nations to crack down on rings that prey upon children and a Crackdown on child predators nets 1,000 arrests:

A three-month federal crackdown on child pornographers and predators has netted more than 1,000 arrests, according to the Bureau Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the investigative arm of the new Department of Homeland Security.

ICE officials launched "Operation Predator" in July, saying government reorganization had brought together resources helpful in identifying and tracking down child predators.

While the operation was wide-ranging in scope, the biggest group of those arrested resulted from comparing ICE databases of people with immigration violations with people on various Megan's Lists -- lists of convicted sexual predators.

The tactic allows ICE to identify child sex offenders who are illegally in the country, and deport them on the belief that they continue to be a threat to U.S. children. Officials in the countries they are returned to are notified about their criminal histories, ICE officials said.

At the same time, ICE officials say they are cracking down on U.S. citizens who go on child-sex tours overseas. This week, ICE officials arrested a man in Seattle who allegedly was returning from a sex tour in Cambodia where he was said to have molested two boys. The man is the first in the nation to be charged under the child sex tourism provisions of the Protect Act, enacted in April.

Do you suppose they'll accuse us of "going it alone?"

Posted by Debbye at 02:04 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 26 - Angry Virginians

Sept. 26 - Angry Virginians Blow Up Power Substation:

The note said the Virginians would continue to hit major power grid sites until electricity is restored and "the infidel power company forces have retreated from our streets."
Actually, they might have a fight on their hands if Meryl hears of it, because she's blogging away now that her power is back on. You might stop by, she's making up for lost time and has a nice story about hawks (I like it because it reminds me of a similar story in an Andre Norton Witch World book.)

And about the French, (never forget/forgive the French,) UN Hails Chirac's Moral Vision. My favourite proposal:

-- A stronger U.N. Security Council which could set bounds to the use of force. Each member nation would be surrounded by a 1000-yard Gun Free Zone, with substantial fines for anyone found possessing a firearm within it. The Council would also triple the average length of the text of resolutions which almost threaten use of force.
Actually, that's going too far. Those resolutions are already Too. Danged. Long.

Posted by Debbye at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2003

Sept. 26 - I'm waiting

Sept. 26 - I'm waiting for the youngest to come home, and found a new adventure story at Anger Management, Discount Super-Hero.

Anyway, all this is just to set up my story. I should tell you up front that I can't afford a cool Batman suit like the one Michael Keaton wore, so I'm stuck with the Adam West tights. Nevertheless, last night I was driving through Old Town, Alexandria in search for crime to fight when I saw him -- standing outside a pub near the waterfront, all decked out in his Evil Genius garb, it was...the Joker.
Read the whole thing.

There are such incredibly witty people out there. (Via Bad Money, and do scroll around, he's got some links to other funny stuff, and a pretty great sense of humour himself.)

Posted by Debbye at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 26 - Musharraf Calls

Sept. 26 - Musharraf Calls for Tolerance between Muslims and Christians in a speech in Canada.

Musharraf has always struck me as a leader who cares passionately about his country, his people and their future. He has problems even within the army, but I've been inclined to trust him.

His decision to become a US ally must have been a long, soul-searching process.

Posted by Debbye at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 26 - I am

Sept. 26 - I am voting for Animal Cruelty - Update for the new blog showcase.

He talks about an issue close to my heart: personal responsibility, and behaving responsibly with those dependent on you -- animals and, by extension, children.

Posted by Debbye at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 26 - I don't

Sept. 26 - I don't like to monger rumours (unless they happen to conform to my own suspicions, of course,) but I'm inclined to believe the report that the Probe Into Gitmo Spy Suspect Began in Nov. 2002.

Despite the calls to unabashedly rely more on racial profiling, I think there are better reasons not to: one of them is Richard Reid, and the other includes them, many of whom betrayed their country for the money. Ethnic profiling would let them operate more freely.

Nevertheless, it a sad day when the military has to probe their hiring of clerics. At present, clerics are endorsed by American Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council and the Islamic Society of North America.

The Islamic Society of North America has already been under scrutiny for potential terrorist links, and I'm too pissed off to quote the cries of "we're being victimized and demhumanized and . . ." you know, the usual, but they are in the linked articles.

I'd welcome a change, guys. How about saying something like "This is a matter of concern to us all. Even the suggestion that Muslim clerics are involved in spying has to be seriously examined. It hurts our efforts in the war on terror, and we hope the government gets to the bottom of it."

Posted by Debbye at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 26 - Bruce Willis

Sept. 26 - Bruce Willis is not only entertaining the troops in Iraq, he is offering $1m bounty for Saddam (and asking only to be given 4 seconds with him.)

During an interview Willis said: "Peculiar thing back home is that the liberal media was trying to portray it as a bad war.

"But being over here just a couple of days, seeing how well our troops and the allied troops are being received here, (I) think the Iraqi people are happy we're here," the Hollywood star said.

"Children are being taken care of, starting being inoculated, starting being looked after. Wherever these guys go they get thumbs up. They no longer have to contend with the terrorist leader," Willis said

Willis will be going to Tikrit and then to Kuwait. (BBC link via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 26 - Three more

Sept. 26 - Three more detainees in the case of a group of Toronto-based men who were arrested on charges they belonged to an al Qaeda sleeper cell and for falsely claiming to attend a long-defunct school have been freed from jail on bond. Ottawa dropped the claim that the three were a threat to national security.

Posted by Debbye at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 26 - It's no

Sept. 26 - It's no surprise that the Toronto Sun supports Canadian troops in Afghanistan, nor is it a surprise that the troops are, among other projects, building schools:

In Qal'ay-eh-Moslem, just south of the Canadian military base, there is an old Soviet army headquarters that Canadian troops will soon transform into a school.


"It's sort of ironic to see how a military building surrounded by graveyards will be a centre for enlightenment," [Canadian Sgt. Mariangeles] Najlis, 32, said yesterday, after visiting the site with her Afghan contractors. "It's like a metamorphosis. It's actually quite symbolic."

Yes. And I'm also sticking with the theory that some Afghan kids have learned to play hockey.

Posted by Debbye at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 26 - Maher Arar

Sept. 26 - Maher Arar is to be tried in a Syrian military-style court and there are no assurances that there will be Canadian representation at the proceedings.

This case has raised a lot of questions, such as how Arar came to be on a list of suspected terrorists (was the RCMP involved?) but to me the biggest question is "Why did the Syrians want him so badly?" If it was because he is suspected of ties to al Qaeda, why didn't the FBI send him to Guantanamo? Sure, there would have been protests by the Canadian government and human rights groups (like that's new) but at least we wouldn't have turned him over to a country known for torture and which has been named as a terrorist state.

The only conclusion that makes sense is that there was some kind of trade-off, but I don't see a clear connection yet (maybe because Syria has raised so many red flags of late.)

Posted by Debbye at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 26 - The President

Sept. 26 - The President and First Lady will be guests at Buckingham Palace during a visit to the UK in November.

Even though I can't explain the bond between the British Monarchy and Americans, the mutual affection is undeniable. Go figure.

God save the Queen!

Posted by Debbye at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)

Child porn is everyone's problem

Sept. 26 - Child porn and child sexual abuse is everyone's problem:

The cops

The courts


Be a pack

Can't hide

That's entertainment?

Posted by Debbye at 08:03 AM | Comments (1)

Sept. 26 - THE top

Sept. 26 - THE top story: Toronto Blue Jay Carlos Delgado, who became the 15th man in baseball history to hit 4 consecutive home runs in a game. He is only the 5th player in the AL to do so.

The Jays won 10-8.

Posted by Debbye at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2003

Sept. 25 - Go here

Sept. 25 - Go here for a link to the myth that the CIA funded al Qaeda. Real dollars and cents facts for a change. One quote only from the item, which is in response to why this myth (like the one that claims the US armed Saddam) persists:

It gives solace to those who want to think the worst of us.

Posted by Debbye at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 25 - I'm finding

Sept. 25 - I'm finding it difficult to find words to explain how horrifying, or maybe revulsive, the information here actually is, but it is something that needs to be known. Just go. And thanks, Paul, for bringing this to light.

Posted by Debbye at 08:51 PM | Comments (1)

Sept. 25 - From Tech

Sept. 25 - From Tech Central Station, The Iraq -- Al Qaeda Connections. It takes the bits and pieces you may have heard before and puts them together in a compelling fashion.

(Link via Israpundit.)

Posted by Debbye at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 25 - Defense Secy.

Sept. 25 - Defense Secy. Donald Rumsfeld outlines the plan for Iraq with broad strokes in Beyond 'Nation-Building'. He looks at the economic and social situations in East Timor and Kosovo, and then states what I think is an affirmation of our historical confidence and belief in human beings (despite a derailment during the Cold War):

Our objective is not to create dependency but to encourage Iraqi independence, by giving Iraqis increasing responsibility, over time, for the security and governance of their country. Because long-term stability comes not from the presence of foreign forces but from the development of functioning local institutions. The sooner Iraqis can take responsibility for their own affairs the sooner U.S. forces can come home.


But to help Iraqis succeed, we must proceed with some humility. American forces can do many remarkable things, but they cannot provide permanent stability or create an Iraqi democracy. That will be up to the Iraqi people.

And, to my mind, this precisely why liberals oppose the strategy: it confirms that the Iraqi people will be able to achieve these things by their own efforts and participation. They may need a little help, but are not to be patronized.

The US is not a nation builder, the people who live Iraq and similar countries are their own nation builders.

UPDATE: Defend America has another link for Secy. Rumsfeld's op-ed piece which I'm including in case the WaPo one dies.

(WaPo link from On the Third Hand.)

Posted by Debbye at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 25 - Here's word

Sept. 25 - Here's word of a bake sale with a twist. And also a link to flooble the emails from the poor, disenfranchised civil servants of Zimbabwe, Liberia and Nigeria.

Posted by Debbye at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 25 - I hadn't

Sept. 25 - I hadn't actually read IMAO straight through ever since the Random IMAO Quote Generator was installed.

I just keep clicking refresh over and over for more quotes, giggling, and so on (I know it's childish, so what?).

Wait a minute, gotta refresh. There.

Anyway, John Hawkins of Right Wing News has kindly put together Best Quotes from IMAO. Enjoy.

Posted by Debbye at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 25 - I'm pretty

Sept. 25 - I'm pretty sure this could never really happen, right?

Posted by Debbye at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

Viking Kitties

Sept. 25 - Thanks, Susie, for this.

Too, too funny.

Posted by Debbye at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

Ivory Coast

Sept. 25 - New problems in the Ivory Coast. Following unilateral military intervention, the French had imposed a coalition government last April (Ivory Coast is a former French colony) on both the rebels and the ruling elite, but the rebels have withdrawn from that government, and the President, Laurent Gbagbo is responding by ridiculing rebels.

Good ole BBC. They say the French brokered an agreement, without mentioning that it was French troops that did the brokering and that when the coaliton government was imposed, the rebels warned it was unlikely that Gbagbo would honour the agreement.

Posted by Debbye at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 25 - Stop the

Sept. 25 - Stop the presses! Sen. Hillary Clinton has just discovered that the Chinese practice censorship!

Posted by Debbye at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 25 - I don't

Sept. 25 - I don't think this is exactly a surprise, although it's always good when a group like Hamas openly states it position instead of hiding behind definitions like activists or militant (oh wait, that's the media's characterization): No truce with 'enemy': Hamas:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Hamas will not disarm or accept a truce with Israel, the leader of the militant group said yesterday in his first public appearance since Israeli forces tried to kill him with an air strike. Sheik Ahmed Yassin's announcement undercuts efforts by incoming Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia to negotiate a ceasefire with Israel without confronting the militants.

Yassin, who spoke at a mosque near his Gaza City home, also lashed out at the U.S., saying President George W. Bush "declared war on Islam" and America will be defeated by Muslims.

As the EU is one of the backers of the Road Map, I suppose they will take this as non-compliance and ensure that Hamas funds are frozen.

What is unclear is if they just declared war on the US. We should respond . . .

Posted by Debbye at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 25 - Peter Worthingon

Sept. 25 - Peter Worthingon writes about Canadian PM Chretien's speech at the UN yesterday (with less sarcasm than I think Chretien deserves):

If interpretations are correct, that was an astonishing speech Jean Chretien made at his final appearance at the UN as prime minister. And about time.

Pity he wasn't so forceful in the past when he might have had more effect.

Noting that the UN had failed miserably to act when human rights abuses were rampant in Rwanda and the Balkans, Chretien asked rhetorically if the UN today was any more ready to act than it was then. His answer: "No."

"The most fundamental duty of state is to protect its people," he said in his address. When states fail to do this and commit horrendous abuses and unspeakable atrocities, the UN has a duty to act against these regimes.

Sorry, but actions speak louder than words, and Chretien's past actions and recent words indicate that the UN (and Canada) should intervene only when France approves.

Further, as Chretien has seen to it that the strength Canada's military has been severely reduced, it is extremely presumptuous that he should tell other countries (e.g., the USA or UK) where they should send their military.

As indicated by this warning from Canadian Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Ray Henault: "If we don't transform we become irrelevant" and unless a great deal of money is infused into the military, only way he can pay for the essential overhaul is to take it from other military programs. Henault likened the Canadian military to a "bludgeon" when it needs to be a "scalpel."

I've belonged to organizations that had members who believed there should be a Work Committee and a Think Committee. Chretien and Chirac clearly believe they should be on the Think Committee.

Posted by Debbye at 09:23 AM | Comments (1)

Sept. 25 - One of

Sept. 25 - One of the four men wanted for questioning by the FBI last September, Sultan Jubran Sultan al-Qahtani, who was better known as Zubayr al-Rimi, has been killed in Saudi Arabia by security forces there. He had also been a possible suspect in the Riyadh bombing last May.

Al-Rimi had been among those named by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was captured last March and believed to be a rising star in al Qaeda ranks.

The gunfight ended yesterday when the security forces stormed the building. At least one Saudi security forces member was killed, and two of the gunmen were captured.

Al Arabiya quoted a security official who said that among the captured was one of the 4 men named by the FBI.

Posted by Debbye at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 25 - A busy

Sept. 25 - A busy night.

Aquila al-Hashimi, one of 3 women on Iraq's Governing Council, has died five days after she was shot. She had served under the Ba'athists in various positions in their Foreign Ministry which included running the Oil-For-Food program in that Ministry, and it was believed that she was to be named as Iraq Ambassador to the UN by the Governing Council.

A bomb at a Baghdad hotel which was the headquarters of NBC, killing the night manager and wounding a soundman, Canadian David Moodie. The blast was evidently caused by a small bomb placed outside the hotel next to the hut that housed the generator, and although there were no signs indicating NBC was headquartered there, it is probable that they were the target.

Another member of the military is being questions about security violations at Guantanamo. This report from Fox again mentions that a member of the Navy is being questioned, but I don't know if that is the same person referred to in the article.

This article does bring up more questions about Syria [some of us don't have questions, we have definite suspicions about UNSC member Syria, but that's an ongoing story] because among the charges filed against airman Al-Halabi include attempts to pass information to Syria.

UPDATE: This confirms that the 3rd serviceman being questioned is from the Navy. This WT article has some very interesting things about the Syrians including their possible interest in acquiring missiles and WMD as well as possible problems with pro-Syria CIA analysts.

Nigerian Amina Lawal has been freed. The Shariah Court of Appeals ruled that the conviction was invalid because she was already pregnant when Islamic Shariah law was implemented in province. The Lawal case has been the focus of international attention and appeals since her conviction.

Posted by Debbye at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2003

Sept. 24 - You probably

Sept. 24 - You probably saw the headline Sailors complain about booze limits and didn't think there was hard news in there, maybe?

But the article is about much more, and given the problems the Foreign Affairs Office is having, makes some points that should be considered.

First: the limit on drinking. They are restricted to two drinks when they go ashore in Dubai. How often do you restrict yourself to two drinks? (unless you're driving, of course.) Also, they mingle with British and American soldiers who have no such restrictions.

"This was the single most talked about morale issue during our deployment," says a report from Capt. Paul Maddison, commander of HMCS Iroquois, which returned from a six-month mission in the Gulf on July 29.

Maddison's report recommends relaxing the two-drink limit to allow sailors to drink more as long as it's done responsibly - a proposal National Defence officials have rejected.

Ah, you might think, but there are customs that forbid drinking in those countries.

First mistake: lumping all countries in the Persian Gulf as one.

Iroquois' 265 crewmembers often headed to the Seafarers Mission bar in Jebel Ali, a free-trade zone near Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

"The country itself, while Muslim, has a relatively relaxed attitude towards alcohol," says Maddison's report, obtained under the Access to Information Act.

"It is very common to see the locals in the bars enjoying several glasses of beer."

How about the briefings that the military gives to personnel before deploying them abroad?
The report also says Iroquois' sailors chafed at National Defence rules - also designed to respect Muslim traditions - against certain kinds of casual clothing.

A briefing before the ship sailed from Halifax, for instance, forbade that shorts be worn in the hot climate because "these were considered major insults" in Islam countries.

But Maddison said Dubai and Jebel Ali were accepting of casual dress, contrary to the cultural briefing.

"As a result of this inaccurate brief, our sailors did not bring suitable clothing for the climate," says the report. The briefing was "a waste of valuable time."

Maj. Tony White, a spokesman for National Defence, said the dress code is not being relaxed because the military wants to be extra cautious in the Persian Gulf region.

Cautious. Right.

I kept quiet once William Sampson was released because it became a Canadian internal matter and I walk a fine line up here, but it's not a secret that the Foreign Affairs Office has bungled nearly everything they've done in the Mid-East including the Sampson and Kazemi cases, and it wasn't due to any lack of caution. Much as I despise terrorists, I also deplore Canada's inaction in seeing to Maher Arar's well-being in the Syrian prison.

The disturbing part is that I think this report implies that the Foreign Office and/or the Defense Ministry have a one-size-fits-all approach to Muslim countries, and that is alarming and certainly no way to treat other countries with respect.

Posted by Debbye at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - Glenn Reynods

Sept. 24 - Glenn Reynods and Frank J. held a pretend press conference to announce a suspension in hostilties in The Blog War. It's a very funny read, and completely untrue except the part that announces the cessation of hostilities.

The following is true: anyone who reads Instapundit won't be surprised that Glenn R. does support the project to support the troops by making their words, good and bad, available in a central location to offset the unbalanced reporting by Big Media.

Let's be honest: it's worse up here. Although there is a sizeable detachment of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, they have to come under fire to get any acknowlegement from the media. Yet they are still living in conditions that, well, only the army can live in, and they are doing a difficult job far from home.

I'll bet they are repairing schools and hospitals, and maybe even teaching some kids how to play hockey. Don't you think they deserve our attention?

If you know anyone over there, or have some contacts who can help get their words out, please go to Front Line Voices Meeting Place and sign up.

Posted by Debbye at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - Donald Sensing

Sept. 24 - Donald Sensing over at One Hand Clapping is not only intelligent but sensible as well. He has an excellent post that reminds us to remember that while every country has its pseudo-intellectuals, they also have intellectuals who actually stop, think and reflect, including the French.

Who knows, maybe those French and other Europeans who feel their ideas are shadowed by those who control the presses will start their own anti-media bias campaigns.

The potential power of the internet is explored in another post which links to Emergent Democracy, which, although a long read, takes a scholarly look at how the internet improves the ability of each individual to participate in debates and put forth views politically as well as socially.

As the issues facing government become larger and more complex, new tools are enabling citizens to self-organize more easily. It is possible that such tools will enable democracies to scale and become more adaptable.

A democracy is ideally governed by the majority and protects the rights of the minority. For a democracy to perform this properly it must support a competition of ideas, which requires critical debate, freedom of speech and the ability to criticize power without fear of retribution. In a true representative democracy the power must be distributed into multiple points of authority to enable checks and balances.

Posted by Debbye at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - I'm posting

Sept. 24 - I'm posting the link to Chief Wiggles because there's a lot of updates on the drive to collect toys as well as other necessities for kids in Iraq.

Some don'ts:
No guns of any kind
No violent action hereos
No violent toys
No barbie dolls or dolls skantily dressed
No toys that shoot something, no projectiles
No water guns
Lets just keep it simple, simple toys, just the basics, these kids have

Use your judgement, and if you have any doubts, check with a local Muslim group.

All boxes and toys will be completely inspected before being handed out to the children. Iraq is a dangerous place still and we don't want to be responsible for any problems.

Posted by Debbye at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - Rita takes

Sept. 24 - Rita takes a good look and has some excellent advice about the recent court decision which struck down the "DoNotCall" list aimed at unwanted telemarketing calls due to come into effect shortly. There's also a link to a .pdf copy of the decision.

Seems there's a question of jurisdiction as to whether the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) or FTC (Federal Trade Commission) should be in charge of administering the list.

I pay for my phone, so I think that I alone should be in charge of how it should be used, but maybe that's just me.

Telemarketers not only cross state lines but national borders (in and out of Canada) but do I get to have access to a "DoNotCall" list? Nooo.

I'm trying not to think that there have been some incomprehensible court rulings lately. Honest.

Posted by Debbye at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - Ralph Peters

Sept. 24 - Ralph Peters has a lovely way of putting things, as in this analysis of the President's speech to the UN yesterday (emphasis added):

PRESIDENT Bush's speech at the United Nations yesterday morning is under attack by the Democratic Party's presidential aspirants. Thank God.

The worst thing Bush could have done would have been to soften America's combative stance, to fail to underscore our resolve, or to pander to those, from Paris to Palestine, who hate our freedom, our values and our success.

The Democrats will whine for weeks about the president's failure to get down on his knees and kiss the derrieres of morally bankrupt leaders such as Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroeder and Yasser Arafat, wringing their soft, little hands over our lack of respect for our enemies.

His charactertization of the role the French are playing:
There is no clearer example in the world of the struggle between the inhumanity of the past and America's vision of a free, ennobling future than the rift between Washington and Paris. As we attempt to bring desperately needed solutions to the dilemmas of the 21st century, France clings not merely to the 20th century, but to the 19th century model of European great-power politics.

France believes that a handful of "statesmen" should decide the fate of the world behind closed doors, just as it was done in Europe between the Congress of Vienna and the fateful Comedy of Versailles. And France should have veto power over any deal it doesn't like, of course.

If that doesn't define both the UN and the EU, I don't know what does. Those organizations are run by nameless bureaucrats who are not chosen by consensual vote and who's policies are not confirmed by free citizens excercising the franchise.

France had every right to disagree with us, but working actively to undercut our efforts to eliminate a bloodstained dictator and liberate the people of Iraq crossed the red line. France should be made to suffer, strategically and financially. The French stabbed us in the back. In response, we should skin them alive.

If today's America is the new Rome, France is a garbage-dump Carthage. And Carthage needs to be broken. We should fight to replace France on the U.N. Security Council with India and Brazil, far more deserving states.

Would you like some salt with that?

Posted by Debbye at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - I posted

Sept. 24 - I posted earlier about a call to the blogosphere to tell the other side of the story in Iraq and Afghanistan, this being from the troops themselves. It has already gathered momentum, so the next task is obvious:

Let's Get Started

I'm not sure that this issue is something that can be argued, cajoled or taught. My eyes were certainly opened when Vietnam vets began to speak openly about their experiences, and those accounts were in sharp contrast to what the press had been telling us.

Maybe you have to actually have served, or maybe someone you love has to actually be serving and in harm's way to understand how very, very crucial and ALL FIRING IMPORTANT morale is to the troops.

Or maybe you have to be humble enough to care.

Follow the link, read the posts (and comments) and think about what we owe those who serve to defend and protect us (who are often heedless if not downright ungrateful.) If you smugly believe you are much too sophisticated to be caught up in what you are sure is just an exercise in propaganda then you will also have to live with yourself when the troops come home, or, God forbid, when their coffins are brought down the ramp.

Posted by Debbye at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - Day by

Sept. 24 - Day by Day has uncovered the main qualification for Gen. Clark's aspiration to the presidency.

Posted by Debbye at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - AlphaPatriot links

Sept. 24 - AlphaPatriot links to an article about General Shelton's views on Wesley Clark, among other things. Although I followed the link for the Clark comments, I found the article itself is a good read and touches on faith, soldering, and the men who lead them.

I think the big chink of Clark's armour is that the military doesn't support him (but then, Gen. McClelland thought he was loved by the men in uniform too but they overwhelmingly voted for President Lincoln.)

Posted by Debbye at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - Paul has

Sept. 24 - Paul has a news item and photo of Spanish troops who've recently relieved US Marines and taken responsibility for the Iraq town of Najaf.

Thanks, Paul, for reminding us that this has been a multi-lateral initiative from the start.

Posted by Debbye at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - The last

Sept. 24 - The last two days have been hum-dingers here in Jays Land, because you can forget about all that nonsense about passive, polite Canadians: folks up here react just as furiously to terrible umpires as anywhere. Tossing "Doc" Halladay the previous night already had people talking angrily; when the game becomes all about bad umping on two consecutive nights, you better believe Bad blood boils over.

In Delgado's opinion, and he wasn't alone, Major League Baseball's decision to issue a warning to both teams before a pitch had even been thrown in the series came back and bit the league in the butt.

"By trying to control something that hasn't happened, games are getting out of hand and that's their fault," Delgado said.

Damned straight. There's a lesson in there . . .

Posted by Debbye at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - Hockey mother

Sept. 24 - Hockey mother sues after getting hit with a hockey puck:

The woman claims the glass at the Starbuck Sports Centre in the rural municipality of MacDonald is unusually low and does not include warnings about the dangers of flying pucks.
Hello, you were at a freaking hockey game. You're (presumably) a Canadian. What don't you understand about the game?
She also charges that she suffers humiliation because doctors inserted a titanium plate and screws in her face, which set off security alarms at shopping centres.
I'm a mean and nasty person because that just cracks me up. Imagine explaining to the security folks that you were injured because you didn't know hockey pucks tend to fly up into the crowd. They just might mistake you for . . . an American, and make jokes behind your back about you needing that obscene glowy blue puck Fox-TV tried to promote a few years back.

She'll probably win mega-bucks in our Happy Litiguous Society. There might even be a Royal Commission.

Good. grief.

(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - Candy is

Sept. 24 - Candy is dandy, but liquor is . . . not helpful.

(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 24 - A lot

Sept. 24 - A lot of us have been very concerned about the tendency of reporters based in Iraq (Baghdad, actually) and Afghanistan to focus their reports on the criminal acts but ignore what is going on in the rest of those countries.

We rarely read about the successes of the troops who are working with the Iraqis and Afghans to reopen businesses, schools, hospitals, playgrounds and universities as well as the astonishing number of newly created newspapers that would have been impossible only 7 months ago in Big Media.

This is unfair: unfair to us, the people; to the familes of the troops who quite naturally worry about their loved ones; and most of all to the troops who deserve to have their efforts and actions be known and treated with more respect.

It's Time for Bloggers to Fight a Front in the Real War and support the troops in the true sense by getting the word out that their efforts to assist these war torn countries go beyond ducking bullets:

Here's what I propose. I bet most of know some troops who have been are in Iraq and the almost forgotten Afghanistan. Let's record their stories of how things really are and have a blog devoted to just posting that with no commentary. The main page would be choice excerpts (and yes, bias would play into that, but, so what, we're biased) with links to the entire troops' statements. We put up both the good and the bad, with nothing to hide, but we get the real story out there. Separately, we continue to highlight the atrocities that were in Iraq and Afghanistan in contrast to how things are now.
This is something I think many Canadians would also welcome as there are Canadian troops in Afghanistan and the Navy patrols the Gulf.

There can be no worse crime than to heedlessly ignore those men and women who are serving their countries "over there." Follow the link, let Frank outline his plan, and sign up.

They stand on guard for thee (or are those just words?)

Posted by Debbye at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2003

This post about the Dixie

This post about the Dixie Chicks would be funny if it wasn't so . . funny. What is it about these anti-war types that go straight to whine mode whenver people don't automatically agree with them? Could it be Sour Grapes?.

Posted by Debbye at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 23 - This item

Sept. 23 - This item from UPI gives more explanation as to why al Jazeera and el Arabiya have (or maybe haven't) been suspended in Iraq:

INC officials said the council had voted to suspend the two organizations until it could develop regulations for the conduct of media and sanctions for the organizations that fail to meet them. The INC official indicated the bureaus of the two companies would be closed, their credentials and access to the CPA and coalition forces would be revoked, and that they would be prohibited from broadcasting from the country.

However, the official did not absolutely confirm these sanctions, but rather described them as "possibilities under discussion." Iraq has little, if any, border security, and it seems unlikely the CPA or council would have a definite list of employees from either company to actually remove them from Iraq.

"We hope this step sends a clear message to the media that they need to practice moral journalism and not to send messages condoning or supporting terrorism," the INC official said.


The move follows a week in which Chalabi and other supporters of the U.S. occupation of Iraq criticized the Arabic-language news organizations with the allegations of condoning or inciting violence.

Chalabi virtually blamed the networks for a recent assassination attempt on Akila al-Hashimi, one of three women on the Governing Council. She was shot Saturday near her home by yet unknown gunmen and was critically wounded.

Reporters visiting al-Jazeera's Baghdad bureau Tuesday did not see any indication the company was being forced out in the immediate future.

Subhy Haddad - the former head of the Iraqi News Agency as well as a long time contributor to Reuters and the BBC - said he had mixed feelings about the decision to stifle the two networks.

"I do not like Chalabi or the American occupation," he said. "But on this move they might be right. Al Jazeera has been irresponsible in its coverage. And it is dangerous in a place like Iraq."

Many prominent pro-U.S. Iraqi officials - particularly Shiite clerics - have also criticized the media in general for negative coverage of the occupation. Religious leaders in Baghdad -- both Sunni and Shiite -- have condemned the use by some Arab news organizations of the phrase "martyrs" to describe Baathists killed in fights with coalition forces, arguing the secular nature of Saddam's regime, not to mention attacks on non-military targets, put them far outside the definition of someone who dies in pursuit of a religious cause.

The move to essentially censor news organizations for their content typifies allegations by critics of the occupation that the council and the U.S. occupation forces stifle negative coverage including, in limited cases, the arrest of anti-coalition journalists.

Over the first three months of the U.S. occupation, several newspapers - more than 160 have been started since the fall of Saddam - have been closed and their staffs temporarily detained by U.S. troops. At present, American forces have one Iraqi journalist in custody. A photographer for al-Saah, a newspaper published by a prominent Sunni cleric and strong opponent of the U.S. presence in Iraq, was arrested after taking pictures of an American patrol in early August and is being held without charges.

Abdullah Alami, the head of the Iraqi Journalists Union, told UPI in an interview conducted before Tuesday's announcement that about eight Iraqi journalists were detained for anti-coalition writing immediately after the war ended, but that most were released almost immediately.

Alami and about a dozen editors of Baghdad newspaper contacted by UPI, agreed, however, the CPA has been unwilling to shut down critics of the occupation who conducted themselves in a professional manner and did not directly call for violence.

And this is another view from a musician traveling in the Mid-East and what he reports about the Arab street is a far cry than what he describes as that being reinforced by a bunch of journalists sitting around the Al-Rashid and Palestine Hotel bars, while they wait for their drivers to pick them up in air-conditioned SUVs for a day trip out to Fallujah or Ramadi..

(Both links via Instapundit.)

Posted by Debbye at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 23 - Air Force

Sept. 23 - Air Force airman charged with espionage:

A U.S. Air Force enlisted man has been charged with espionage after being taken into custody as part of an investigation at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, officials said.

The senior airman was detained a month ago because he allegedly had classified information about suspected al Qaeda detainees and facilities at the Guantanamo Bay base on his laptop computer, officials said.

He was taken into custody about two weeks before Army Islamic chaplain Capt. James Yee was detained for similar reasons, but officials said there currently was no proof that the two cases are linked.

Except for the information on detainees and the facilities at Guantanamo.

UPDATE: The detainee has been identified as Senior Airman Ahmad al Halabi, and been charged with 11 counts of failing to obey a lawful general order or regulation, three counts of aiding the enemy, four counts of espionage, nine counts of making a false statement and five counts that include violations of the Federal Espionage Act and a single count of bank fraud.

He had served 9 months as a translator at Guantanamo Bay.

Posted by Debbye at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 23 - I think

Sept. 23 - I think Frank J. just made the most complete pronouncement on Ret. Gen. Clark yet:

Wesley Clark reportedly said he would have been a Republican if Karl Rove had only returned his phone call. That's pretty whiny sounding, which makes him a Democrat. Rove should call Clark now and say, "Here's your callback, bitch," and then hang up.

Posted by Debbye at 03:19 PM | Comments (1)

Sept. 23 - More questions

Sept. 23 - More questions are being raised about the inadequacy of the press reporting from Iraq, this time from Congressmen, who assert that the Press slants Iraq news:

Journalists are giving a slanted and unduly negative account of events in Iraq, a bipartisan congressional group that has just returned from a three-day House Armed Services Committee visit to assess stabilization efforts and the condition of U.S. troops said.

Lawmakers charged that reporters rarely stray from Baghdad and have a "police-blotter" mindset that results in terror attacks, deaths and injuries displacing accounts of progress in other areas.

But there is air-conditioning in Baghdad! and swimming pools, and they can mingle with other reporters instead of working the streets and getting the real scoop.
Comparisons with Vietnam were farfetched, members said.

Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), the committee's ranking member, said, "The media stresses the wounds, the injuries, and the deaths, as they should, but for instance in Northern Iraq, Gen. [Dave] Petraeus has 3,100 projects -- from soccer fields to schools to refineries -- all good stuff and that isn't being reported."


Another member of the delegation, Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), agreed that the stabilization effort is making headway. "In fairness, the war is neither going as well as the administration says it's going or as badly as the media says it is going," Taylor said.

Republicans were left out of the press conference, but they stressed that they shared their Democratic counterparts' assessments about the bravery of the troops and the innovative programs, especially in the northern part of the country.


[Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)] .., once a print reporter, strongly criticized the balance of his former profession's story selection. "Sure, show the bloody side, but get away from this police-blotter mindset. There's much more going on, " he said.

"Just on Friday, I heard a CBS radio report on the three deaths and then they had this analysis that just bordered on the hysterical," Wilson said.

Adding, "CBS got it exactly wrong, the media portrayed it as an act of sophistication and a regrouping of Saddam's forces, when in fact, it's an indication of disorganization and desperation."

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), noting that the reconstruction effort includes over 6,000 projects, said, "The positive nature of that is just not being reported back here.

"We came away with the realization that a lot of the debate back here is really irrelevant."

(Via Darth Puppy Blender.)

And here is an opinion piece by Jim Miller (D-GA) in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Iraq war has predictably evolved into a guerrilla conflict similar to Vietnam. Our currently stated objectives are to establish reasonable security and foster the creation of a secular, representative government with a stable market economy that provides broad opportunity throughout Iraqi society. Attaining these objectives in Iraq would inevitably transform the Arab world and immeasurably increase our future national security.

These are goals worthy of a fight, of sacrifice, of more lives lost now to save thousands, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands in the future. In Mosul last Monday, a colonel in the 101st Airborne put it to me quite simply: "Sir, this is worth doing." No one I spoke with said anything different. And I spoke with all ranks.

But there will be more Blumbergs killed in action, many more. So it is worth doing only if we have a reasonable chance of success. And we do, but I'm afraid the news media are hurting our chances. They are dwelling upon the mistakes, the ambushes, the soldiers killed, the wounded, the Blumbergs. Fair enough. But it is not balancing this bad news with "the rest of the story," the progress made daily, the good news. The falsely bleak picture weakens our national resolve, discourages Iraqi cooperation and emboldens our enemy.

Again I ask, "Why are they doing this?"

Posted by Debbye at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)

Sept.. 23 - There is

Sept.. 23 - There is a drive underway to collect and send Toys to Iraqi Children, courtesy of the US Army. They are also collecting candy, toothbrushes, crayons, and other sundries for the kids.

I think it only fair that Chief Wiggles explain the how-tos himself, and also go to Dean's World for some historical background about Chief Wiggle Wings who became famous during the Berlin Airlifts (which was the only source of food and supplies for West Berlin during the Soviet blockade) because he always delivered special treats for children.

No matter which side of the debate on the Iraqi war people were on, there was always deep concern from all quarters for the safety and well-being of the innocents, and most particularly for the children.

Both the UN and US are seeing to it that Iraqi hospitals are being stocked and children are receiving immunization against disease, but what about those things that make a kid's eyes light up and that returns magic to their lives?

Give. Words are nice, crayons and candy are better.

Posted by Debbye at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

Sep. 23 - I'm trying

Sep. 23 - I'm trying not to gush, but I was one proud American as I watched President Bush address the United Nations this morning. It seemed to me that he was not asking for help, but rather extending an invitation to other countries to join in the great enterprise of bring freedom to Iraq, ensuring stability, and allowing a people long repressed by a vicious tyrant breathe free. I am admittedly partial, but my heart stirred as the President, in ending his address, called upon the UN to act with "moral clarity" in dealing with the sexual abuse of children, slavery, AIDS and hunger throughout the world, because, truly, there is 'No neutral ground'.

Here is the transcript.

He didn't back down on the hope that establishing a free Iraq would inspire other countries in the Mid-East, including the Palestinians, to do the same. Significantly, he didn't back down on the contention that Saddam was developing weapons of mass destruction:

Iraq as a dictatorship had great power to destabilize the Middle East; Iraq as a democracy will have great power to inspire the Middle East. The advance of democratic institutions in Iraq is setting an example that others, including the Palestinian people, would be wise to follow. The Palestinian cause is betrayed by leaders who cling to power by feeding old hatreds and destroying the good work of others. The Palestinian people deserve their own state, and they will gain that state by embracing new leaders committed to reform, to fighting terror, and to building peace. All parties in the Middle East must meet their responsibilities and carry out the commitments they made at Aqaba. Israel must work to create the conditions that will allow a peaceful Palestinian state to emerge. And Arab nations must cut off funding and other support for terrorist organizations. America will work with every nation in the region that acts boldly for the sake of peace.

A second challenge we must confront together is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Outlaw regimes that possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons -- and the means to deliver them -- would be able to use blackmail and create chaos in entire regions. These weapons could be used by terrorists to bring sudden disaster and suffering on a scale we can scarcely imagine. The deadly combination of outlaw regimes and terror networks and weapons of mass murder is a peril that cannot be ignored or wished away. If such a danger is allowed to fully materialize, all words, all protests, will come too late. Nations of the world must have the wisdom and the will to stop grave threats before they arrive.

On the proliferation of lethal materials:
Because proliferators will use any route or channel that is open to them, we need the broadest possible cooperation to stop them. Today, I ask the U.N. Security Council to adopt a new anti-proliferation resolution. This resolution should call on all members of the U.N. to criminalize the proliferation of weapons -- weapons of mass destruction, to enact strict export controls consistent with international standards, and to secure any and all sensitive materials within their own borders. The United States stands ready to help any nation draft these new laws, and to assist in their enforcement.
Heh. He didn't ask for help, he challenged them! Of course, given that Syria is a member of the UNSC . . .

I'm leaving Kofi Annan alone because Paul has done a nice job already. Welcome back, Paul!

Posted by Debbye at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 23 - Actually I

Sept. 23 - Actually I wanted to title this "The French Surrender (Again) but that would have been mean-spirited (but accurate). The Daily Telegraph (UK), shows no such constraint: Chirac ducks second UN battle with Bush over Iraq resolution:

Jacques Chirac caved in to American power yesterday when he promised not to veto a US-sponsored United Nations resolution on rebuilding Iraq, even if he disagreed with its contents.

The French president, who was instrumental in preventing America and Britain from securing UN authorisation for war, said the US should quickly cede power in Iraq.

But he made clear that he was not ready for another bruising fight with President George W Bush.

"We don't have the intention to oppose," he told The New York Times in an interview published yesterday. "If we oppose it, that would mean voting no, that is to say, using the veto. I am not in that mindset at all."

M Chirac's comments came ahead of his meeting with Mr Bush at the UN in New York today, where the two leaders will deliver speeches. His move was almost inevitable after his erstwhile anti-war allies - Russia and Germany - signalled a desire for an accommodation with the US.

A little respect, please? At least one of Chirac's erstwhile allies stood firm, that being Canadian PM Chretien.

Posted by Debbye at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 23 - The Governing

Sept. 23 - The Governing Council in Iraq has banned Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya from covering official activities for two weeks:

It said the ban was a warning to the stations and other broadcasters for inciting anti-United States violence.

"Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya will temporarily be excluded from any coverage of Governing Council activities or official press conferences, and correspondents of the two channels will not be allowed to enter ministries or government offices for two weeks," the statement said.

The statement made no mention of coverage of US military activities or the workings of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

A military spokesman, Major William Thurmond, said, "That decision has not been made."

US officials have accused the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera and the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya of giving too much prominence to anti-US attacks, and of providing a forum for backers of ousted president Saddam Hussein.

The decision to bar them from official functions for two weeks fell short of a vow by Entefadh Qanbar, a spokesman for the body's current president, Ahmad Chalabi, to shut down their Baghdad offices temporarily.

It came after a meeting of council officials and an aide to US civilian administrator Paul Bremer on the legalities of action against the broadcasters.

Al-Jazeera spokesman Jihad Ballut said: "We regret this decision, but we will continue our work as usual until we are officially notified."

Al-Arabiya officials had yet to react.

Both channels, which are competitors for the Arab world audience, strenuously deny charges of bias.

Among the documents uncovered by the Daily Telegraph (UK) after the fall of Baghdad were some which alleged a prominent anti-war British MP received bribes from Saddam's regime and this in turn led to other revelations about Saddam's extensive Bribery Netork:
As the Galloway affair makes clear, these practices continued throughout the 1990s, despite the increased scrutiny of Iraq's financial dealings by the United Nations. Before the recent conflict, says Tareq al-Mezrem from the Kuwaiti Information Office, the Iraqi regime gave journalists luxury "villas in Jordan, Tunisia, and even Lebanon."

Some of the transactions were straightforward cash payments, often in U.S. dollars, handed out from Iraqi embassies in Arab capitals--luxury cars delivered to top editors, Toyotas for less influential journalists. "This was not secret," says Salama Nimat, a Jordanian journalist who was jailed briefly in 1995 in that nation for highlighting the corruption. "Most of it was done out in the open."

There were further blows to al Jazeera's credibility when its general director was fired last May after allegations that he worked with Saddam's intelligence services:
... Mohammed Jassem Al-Ali visited Iraq before the US-led war, meeting Saddam during an hour-long interview.

Both Al-Jazeera and Ali were afterward accused by the Western media of collaborating with the former regime in Baghdad.

Ali had held the top job at the Doha-based station since it launched the Arabic-language channel in 1996.

Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the American-backed Iraqi National Congress, has accused several Al-Jazeera journalists of working for Iraqi agencies based on documents found in state archives in Baghdad.

No, I'm not looking for anti-media reports today. They just keeping popping up.

Posted by Debbye at 12:09 PM | Comments (6)

Sept. 23 - A nice

Sept. 23 - A nice bit of quotes from a column in the NY Post by Amir Taheri with additional snarkiness here.

One can never heap too much snarkiness on the French.

Posted by Debbye at 10:45 AM | Comments (1)

Sept. 23 - Frank J.

Sept. 23 - Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., warns again of the possibility of a Fifth Column:

The column [written by Gaffney 6 months ago after the fragging incident in Kuwait] went on to note that, "As of June 2002, nine of the armed forces' 14 Muslim chaplains received their religious training from [a] Saudi-supported entity, the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences (GSISS) in Leesburg, Va. In March of that year, the multiagency Operation Greenquest raided the offices of GSISS, along with 23 other Muslim organizations. Agents also raided the homes of Iqbal Unus, the dean of students at GSISS, and Taha Al-Alwani, the school's president.

According to search warrants issued at the time, these groups were raided for "potential money laundering and tax evasion activities and their ties to terrorist groups such as ... al Qaeda as well as individual terrorists ... (including) Osama bin Laden.

These troubling facts have, regrettably, just been called to mind once again. This week, the Army arrested one of its Muslim chaplains, Capt. James Yee, charging him with five offenses: sedition, aiding the enemy, spying, espionage and failure to obey a general order. According to The Washington Times, it "may also charge him later with the more serious charge of treason, which under the Uniform Code of Military Justice could be punished by a maximum sentence of life" in prison.
I might also add that this posted Sunday connected some dots among which cited a Washington Post article that stated Lee had converted to Islam about the time he served in Saudi Arabia.

I blogrolled On the Third Hand for good reason. Listen to Kathy. Kathy is always right.

Posted by Debbye at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 23 - I'm waiting

Sept. 23 - I'm waiting for the President' address to the UN, and guess who CNN's correspondent is?

The Un-Muzzled Bitch, Christiane Amanspour. What do I have to do to get FOX-TV up here? I don't even care if it's legal . . .

Posted by Debbye at 10:11 AM | Comments (1)

Sept. 23 - This is

Sept. 23 - This is hardly a surprise: Iran to curtail support to U.N. nuclear agency:

TEHRAN — Iran will scale back cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog in response to the agency's Oct. 31 deadline for Tehran to prove that its atomic programs are peaceful, Iran's representative to the agency said yesterday.

Ali Akbar Salehi said on state television that Iran had been allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) more oversight than required under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) "to show our good will and transparency. On the strict orders of President Mohammed Khatami, we allowed IAEA inspectors to take environmental samples and visit non-nuclear sites.

"This has been beyond our obligations, but from now on we will act according to the current regulations," Mr. Salehi said.
So North Korea and Iran are asserting their right to acquire nuclear weapons. Gee, whatever will the UN do?

They could always cite international law, I suppose, pass resolutions, talk a lot, you know, the usual.

Then the delegates will go to lunch, double-park and leave without paying. You know, business as usual.

Posted by Debbye at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 23 - Canadian PM

Sept. 23 - Canadian PM Chretien has joined French President Chirac in calling for a swift turnover of power in Iraq:

Prime Minister Jean Chretien is again siding with French President Jacques Chirac against President George W. Bush, this time on the urgent need to return power to the Iraqi people. "The transfer of power to the local authorities has to be done as quickly as possible," Chretien said at the UN yesterday.

"I'm not in a position to give a deadline on that, I think there's a lot of discussion about what can be done to be effective."

Given the political situation looming as Chretien is about to be replaced as leader of the Liberal Party but determined to remain as PM until February (something unprecedented in Canadian history and despite the growing surge of those urging him to resign shortly after the party convention in November) this would be funny if it wasn't for the fact that he is a double-faced, hypocritical monster who hasn't yet met a dictator he wants to defend.

According to this, Chirac has been deserted by both Putin and Shroeder, and I am again reminded of the phrase "the cheese stands alone" (Colby Cosh was referring to Chretien, but it works for Chirac too):

President Jacques Chirac was in international isolation yesterday as he flew to New York for another diplomatic clash over Iraq with President George W Bush.

M Chirac has not backed down from his demand that America should hand power to an Iraqi government within months.

The failure of this weekend's Berlin summit between M Chirac, Tony Blair and Chancellor Gerhard Schroder to resolve the dispute on the future of the country could re-open the wounds at the United Nations as leaders and ministers gather for the annual General Assembly.

France, Russia and Germany frustrated an attempt by America and Britain to secure UN authorisation for war before the invasion of Iraq. But this time M Chirac appears more isolated as America seeks international approval for a new resolution on reconstruction and the creation of a new government for Iraq.


The French president, who will meet Mr Bush tomorrow, will try to appeal over the president's head to the American public by laying a wreath at the site of the World Trade Centre, which was destroyed on September 11.

He will meet Jewish leaders to try to assuage their fears of rising anti-Semitism in France.

But unless he relents on Iraq, such gestures will do little to soothe the fury of many in America. Even critics of Mr Bush resent M Chirac's apparent delight in undermining American policy.

Thomas Friedman, a leading columnist for the New York Times, caused a sensation among UN diplomats by writing a column on Thursday declaring: "It's time we Americans came to terms with something: France is not just our annoying ally.

"It is not just our jealous rival. France is becoming our enemy."

In his view, France wants America to fail in Iraq.

"France wants America to sink in a quagmire there in the crazy hope that a weakened United States will pave the way for France to assume its 'rightful' place as America's equal, if not superior, in shaping world affairs."


But they say America is now unlikely to present a formal text for negotiation until later in the week, after Mr Bush and M Chirac deliver their speeches and gauge their support.

Washington hopes that France will yield if it finds that it is isolated in the Security Council.

I don't agree with that last assessment. I think that isolating France has been the strategy all along, first voiced when Condaleeza Rice said "Punish France, forgive Russia, ignore Germany."

It's not as thought I'm keeping track or anything, but Chretien publicly criticized Pres. Bush right before the G8 meeting in France, and now he's publicly criticizing Bush right before the president appears before the UN.

Maybe Chretien's much sought-after legacy is to outdo Trudeau in damaging Canadian relations with both the US and the UK. Somehow I don't think congratulations are in order.

Posted by Debbye at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

Intelligence agent charges in Kazemi death

Sept. 23 - An Intelligence Ministry agent has been charged in the death of Zahra Kazemi in Iran last July.

In a statement from the Tehran prosecutor's office Monday, veteran judge Javad Esmaeili charged the agent with the "semi-premeditated murder" of Zahra Kazemi.

The agent was one of two Intelligence Ministry officials charged in connection with Kaezmi's death last month. The prosecutor's office had rejected those charges Sept. 1.

At the time, Tehran's deputy prosecutor general, Jafar Reshadati said the original probe into the crime was incomplete and needed to be opened for reinvestigation.

The second agent linked to the case was acquitted, the prosecutor's office said in its statement Monday.

According to the statement, Esmaeili concluded that there was no government conspiracy behind the crime.

"The crime is attributed to one of the (Intelligence Ministry) interrogators and the reasons have been presented in the lawsuit against the accused."

Kazemi died in an Iranian hospital in early July, after reportedly suffering head injuries while in custody. The Montreal-based photojournalist had been arrested for photographing student-led protests outside a Tehran-area prison.

Initially, the hardline Tehran prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, was quoted as saying Kazemi had died of a stroke. But a presidential-appointed committee discredited his account, finding instead that she had died on July 10 -- from head injuries sustained while in custody.

Iran's investigation of the case has since exposed deep internal divisions within Iran -- between reformists, who loosely control the Intelligence Ministry, and hardliners who control Iran's police force, judiciary and security agencies.

I don't think I'm out of line if I ridicule CTV for contending that Kazemi's death exposed the internal divisions in Iran. The internal struggle in Iran between moderates and hardliners has been considered newsworthy for a couple of years now, and Iranian President Katami has publicly expressed frustration many times when even mild reforms have been approved by the Parliament but vetoed by the mullahs.

CTV, of course, is hardly the only Western news media that consistently underestimates the yearning for freedom in Iran (and other countries, I might add.) Most of us had already clued into the fact that Iranians were not totally supportive of the mullahs when they staged an imprompteau rally in sympathy with the Sept. 11 attacks, and Australian Tim Blair's post Compare and Contrast hits the nail pretty squarely on the head when he quotes Canadian Duncan Beatty(now living in California) who recently traveled to Iran:

Many of the people in the cabs in Tehran had the similar thoughts. "Tell George Bush to come and get rid of the mullahs for us." I was shocked by the openness of that statement. With one fellow I tried to discuss it with him in more detail to see if he really meant it or was just talking. I told him that if George Bush came and got rid of the Mullahs, it would not be to help the people of Iran; he would be coming for the oil. The fellow replied, "He can have the oil, its not doing us any good anyway and at least then we would be free."
The sweet air of liberty. Why does the media fear it so?

Posted by Debbye at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2003

From James Lileks

Sept. 22 - From the wonderful Bleat by Lileks:

Makes me wonder when my first lovely interaction with the public school system will be, and what form it will take. I should get it out of the way on day one: What's your position on cap guns?

1. "We regard them as a violation of our zero tolerance policy, and will expel for the remainder of the year any student who has one."

2. "Once a year we pass them out and the class reenacts the Charge of the First Minnesota at Gettysburg."

Thought of this story again while reading about the soldiers who were offered the chance to leave their post because of Isabel. They were guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington; this would have been the first time the tomb was unguarded. They said, in essence, sir no thank you sir.

You can break down the entire country into two camps, two reactions to the story:

1. Bemusement.

2. Gratitude.

Posted by Debbye at 07:48 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 22 - 101-280 (I'm

Sept. 22 - 101-280 (I'm not sure what that means, although it sounds like the highway system in California) has some very interesting details of the recent story which claimed that a married gay couple was refused entry into the US (they weren't, but were asked to file separate customs forms rather than a family form) and he makes the critical point that they were refused entrance by Customs, not Immigration officials.

There's definitely more here than meets the eye.

Posted by Debbye at 03:57 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 22 - In his

Sept. 22 - In his Washington Times column, Oliver North brings up a troubling example of stupidity (and perhaps criminal negligence) from the past that, to my mind, has never been resolved.

I'm referring to Waco. I think we never really looked properly at Waco because Timothy McVeigh took it upon himself to avenge those deaths, and the book on the whole thing was hastily closed when McVeigh went to meet his maker last year. (That's my opinion only.)

We don't talk about Waco much anymore, probably because both it and the Oklahoma City bombing still hurt.

But Col. North makes the most valid point I've seen in awhile (after a detour about Bruce Springsteen) about the difference between the previous administration and the current one:

Mr. Clinton's initiation to the evils of terrorism came early in his tenure. About a month after his inauguration -- on Feb. 26, 1993 -- terrorists rented a van, packed it with more than 2,000 pounds of explosives, and parked it in the garage of the World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000. Their goal was to bring down the building and murder tens of thousands of Americans. And Bill Clinton's response was to "discourage the American people from overreacting."

We know Mr. Clinton did not overreact. He went back to the bungling and fumbling of his administration -- trying repeatedly to nominate an attorney general sans a "nanny problem." We wound up with "Fireball" Janet Reno. Miss Reno immediately went to work to teach the terrorists a lesson -- a lesson in death and destruction, that is. And she used the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, as her tutorial.

In the immediate aftermath of a major terrorist attack on American soil, Bill Clinton's attorney general directed the attention of the FBI, Justice Department and media on a barn in Waco where 80 people, including 25 children, would be killed in a conflagration.

When the second plane hit the WTC, I knew it was terrorism, but wondered if it was domestic or foreign. The attack on the Pentagon answered that question.

That so many of us had that initial question -- home or away? -- shows that Waco still remains an unacknowledged stain on our souls.

Posted by Debbye at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 22 - A car

Sept. 22 - A car bomb was detonated "near" UN headquarters in Iraq killing an Iraqi policeman and injuring others.

The bombing occurred when a gray 1995 Opel with Baghdad license plates approached the parking lot, said Master Sgt. Hassan al-Saadi, among the first on the scene.

"A guard went to search the car, opened the trunk and the car exploded, killing him and the driver. When I arrived, there was fire and smoke, even the guard's body was ablaze," he said.

Capt. Sean Kirley of the U.S. 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment said the Iraqi police had a warning of the attack shortly before it happened. He would not elaborate.

Kirley said the attack showed security around the compound was working, since the bomber did not enter the complex. He said he didn't know whether any U.S. troops were nearby at the time, but none was wounded.

Authorities identified the slain policeman as 23-year-old Salam Mohammed. Nineteen people were injured and six people were unaccounted for, said another U.N. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

United Nations staff have continued to work in undamaged offices at the hotel complex since the Aug. 19 bombing.

My sincere respects to Mr. Mohammad, a hero and true human shield.

Kofi Annan uttered the usual "shocked and distressed" sentiments.

Posted by Debbye at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 22 - This kind

Sept. 22 - This kind of situation is the stuff of nightmares: Muslim chaplain's arrest prompts U.S. probe. The article confirms the information obtained yesterday with additional information that "others" are being probed for links to "radical Muslim groups."

The joys of euphemisms.

The fact that he had the names of the interrogators, which contains an implicit threat to their families, turns my blood cold. It also makes me very, very angry.

But I also feel pride because I know that those chaplains who administer to the prisoners in camp Gitmo will be allowed to do their duties. That's who we are.

Do stories like this worry me? Of course they do, but I will not surrender that which is the best part of my country.

I will not give into a nameless fear that would make me suspicious and distrustful of all Muslims. The enemy wants that, wants to divide us and thus conquer us.

No, we won't allow you bastards to destroy us by taking away our openness and hospitality to people who come from other countries, other continents, other religions. You see, we've been down this road before, and we learn from our errors and triumphs.

We offer the peoples of the world hope, and you will not extinguish that hope.

Will we make mistakes? Yes.

Will we arrest the wrong people? Perhaps, maybe even inevitably.

Will our right and need to defend ourselves make us crazy, pathological, and hateful?

NO. When we make mistakes we will admit it, try to make restitution, and try to do better.

When we are right, we will remain humane in our treatment of those who are without shame and without honour.

We won't target YOUR families any more than we targeted, but in fact protected, Bin Laden's family.

You can't destroy us because we are an idea, and we exist in the forests, the mountains, the streams and the very air of our country. We exist from sea to shining sea, and that is why we will win.

We see, feel and breathe LIBERTY and you can't touch that, only fear it.

We are of the light and you are of the shadows. And on that glorious day, when we walk out of this conflict victorious and your shadow is banished back to the Hell that spawned you, you will look back on Sept. 11 as the cursed day that marked your end.

Posted by Debbye at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 22 - Sorry I'm

Sept. 22 - Sorry I'm getting a late start today. I'm going to start it off by wishing Frodo and Bilbo Baggins very, very happy birthdays.

Since I first became acquainted with Hobbits in the 60's, they have added much wonder and joy to my life.

Somehow, even when the world didn't make sense, Hobbits always did.

Although the films have given some Big People misconceptions about the remarkable Hobbits of Middle Earth, many have been inspired by these films to read Prof. Tolkien's translation of the Red Book and even delve into the Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, Lost Tales and theHistory of Middle Earth.

Until next year, Respectfully yours, Camellia Bramble of Willowbottom.

What is your hobbit name?

Posted by Debbye at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2003

Sept. 21 - This totally

Sept. 21 - This totally untrue story must be told.

I stalked the Nefarious Puppy Blender day and night with no luck, but a chance encounter with a FexEx deliveryman gave me the opportunity I had been craving.

A small bribe, and the package was mine! Eagerly I unwrapped it only to behold more evidence of his heartlessness and (gasp!) conceit, for it contained Slim Smoothies: Over 130 Healthy and Energizing Recipes Without All the Calories.

Faced with impending pudginess, he could have ceased his puppy blending ways, but instead has chosen to continue his puppycide in a more healthful, calorie-conscious manner.

Sadly, I fear that even revealing this lie will do nothing to stop him, yet the lie must be told.

Posted by Debbye at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 21 - I am

Sept. 21 - I am voting for Ilyka Damen's post A Happy Epiphany because, although there were some excellent entries, this said it all for me:

Right. I see. So you're telling me, this is how the world works, Americans; get used to it. Accept reality.

Yeah, that's it.


What you people simply do not get is that we do not like your reality, we do not accept your reality, we do not even recognize it as reality in the literal sense of the word. We think your entire jaded philosophy is for shit, and right after September 11, if we all could have voted to move America to the fucking moon and leave the rest of the world right here to sigh and shrug and dither and debate root causes, we would have voted for that action so fast, the rockets would have been lit and the countdown begun before Strom Thurmond had finished being wheeled off the floor.

Posted by Debbye at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 21 - Why is

Sept. 21 - Why is there a perceived dicotomy between sexuality and spirituality, when did it begin, and what role did it play in the minimalization of women?

What role did early Christianity play in the acceptance that spirituality and sexuality were incompatible, and was it a result of the conflict between Christianity and paganism? Classical Values has Part 1 of an essay (with loads of reference links) that explores these questions (which I probably over-simplified) in Before the Fall which is a good, leisurely way to finish Sunday web log reading.

Posted by Debbye at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 21 - Defeat is

Sept. 21 - Defeat is a powerful post by The Canukistanian. He and has put his finger on the source of a growing anger and frustration expressed by her, him, her, him, him, and, well, you get the idea.

If you've been following Jay Currie's accounts of the Hutton Inquiry into the death of Dr. David Kelly (but focusing on the row between the BBC and the Blair government) you've probably been as jaw-droppingly struck as I by the arrogant stance of the BBC: that it was acceptable for them to lie because their motives were noble. They assigned words which they purported to have come from Dr. Kelly which he never uttered, but its the government's fault he died because they should have allowed an unconscionable lie to stand.

That. Is. Preposterous.

But the BBC is hardly alone in this mindset. The NY Times, CNN, and even the Washington Post (who at least had the decency to retract their erroneous Jessica Lynch stories and apologize) have been caught out as fabricators at the best and liars at the worse, but if even that wasn't enough for their editorial boards to take a step back and recongize they are not what they pretend to be, it's left up to us to wonder what the hell are they?

The sharp-tongued Ann Coulter is even angrier than ususal in her fury when she writes:

Interestingly, we started to lose this war only after the embedded reporters pulled out. Back when we got the news directly from Iraq, there was victory and optimism. Now that the news is filtered through the mainstream media here in America, all we hear is death and destruction and quagmire – along with obsessive references to the date on which Bush declared an end to major combat operations.
What do we get from the media?
Damn! The negativity never ends!
I am actually being serious when I suggest that we think of the children: what does any book on child rearing teach about incessant, unrelenting negativity? As the answer is so well-documented, why are they doing this to us?

Read Defeat. Ask. Wonder. Speculate. I'm beginning to think that it isn't Christiane Amanpour who is self-muzzled, it's us. And we have to fight back.

Posted by Debbye at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 21 - From Victor

Sept. 21 - From Victor Davis Hanson and These Are Historic Times:

Neither country [France or Germany] has real power or moral authority, but both find influence on the world stage largely through calculated criticism of the United States. Indeed, in their own fashion the Franco-Germans are parasitic on America — emulating its culture, counting on its military protection, while explaining to anti-Americanists of the world why Europeans understand best what is so pathological with the United States.

Yet sophistication is not morality. Neither is nihilism. More people, remember, fried in France this August while its social utopians snoozed at the beach than all those lost in Kabul and Baghdad together. I think an American pilot who flew over the peaks of Afghanistan or a Marine colonel now patrolling in Iraq was far more likely to ensure that his aged mother back home lives under humane conditions than was a Frenchman this summer on his month-long vacation on the Mediterranean coast. So remember, this August Americans lost 100 brave soldiers fighting selflessly for the liberty of others while thousands of Frenchmen perished through their children's neglect and self-absorption.


Our real challenge is not the conduct of the war, not the money, not even the occasionally depressing news from Iraq. After all, if the problem is manpower, there are tens of thousands of idle Iraqis. If the problem is money, Iraq will shortly be a very wealthy oil-exporting country. If the problem is know-how, no one better than the United States understands how to establish a free market, democratic society.

No, it is more a psychosocial malaise, a crisis of confidence that is beginning to creep back into the national mood a mere two years after September 11, fueled by election politics. Too many of us have forgotten that we are in a global war, and that victory demands tenacity, sacrifice, and adherence to unpopular beliefs and values.

Ponder instead that in a summer long ago a similarly beleaguered Abraham Lincoln did not remove Grant. Nor did he lecture Sherman about the niceties of taking Atlanta or later veto his bold ideas about cutting loose through Georgia. He did not broker a deal with Mr. Frémont on his right nor did he listen to gabby George McClellan — or consider the Copperheads anything other than defeatists whose enticing policy of appeasement would only postpone but not end the killing. And he most certainly did not ask Canada or England to broker an honest peace, or to send peacekeepers along the Mason-Dixon line.

Actually, France offered to broker a peace between North and South, but the victory at Gettysburg ended the South's hope of being recognized by both France and England. Canada didn't exist until 1967 (I'd be roasted if I didn't put that in, right?) but the rest, as they say, is history.

Posted by Debbye at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 21 - Mark also

Sept. 21 - Mark also has a column in today's Chicago Sun-Times about the Democrats' quagmire: petty politics.

With the president spending August back at the ranch, the Dems and their media chums have had the run of the playpen. And, with assistance from the British press and just about every European government, their big routine for the entire month was: Iraq's a quagmire! The war on terror's a failure! We need to surrender now before things get any worse!

And the net result of this media onslaught? According to a poll in the Washington Post, 69 percent of Americans think Saddam was involved in 9/11.

According to all the experts, that's the one thing that absolutely isn't true: Oh, no, they've assured us, there's absolutely no connection between Saddam and terrorism; why, he's ''secular,'' they're ''fundamentalist,'' and ne'er the twain shall meet, etc.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans beg to differ. You may say that just shows what a bunch of morons they are, which is fine and dandy if you're a Fleet Street hack or a European foreign minister. But it's not a viable position for a Democratic Party candidate. Unfortunately, the Dems need a good third of that moron vote if they're not to be humiliated at the polls next November.

Besides, who are the real morons here? According to another poll in the last week, 70 percent of Iraqis are optimistic about the future. Egged on by their media pals, the Democrats have somehow managed to wind up on the wrong side of 70 percent of both the U.S. and Iraqi electorates, cut off in the corner reserved for wimps, defeatists, Eurosophists and Halliburton-planned-9/11 conspirazoids.

The big question, at least to me, is how on earth did the Democrats manage to move so far away from the mainstream?

Posted by Debbye at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 21 - A new

Sept. 21 - A new economic plan for Iraq that would encourage international investment has been drafted by Iraq's Minister of Finance, Kamil Mubdir al-Gailani, who met with US Secy. of the Treasury John Snow shortly before an international banking conference in Dubai. Excerpts:

[al-Gailani said that] Baghdad would "allow up to 100 per cent foreign ownership in all sectors except natural resources". That could mean the sell-off of state-owned enterprises, assuming buyers could be found.

Iraq's vast oil reserves - the world's second largest after Saudi Arabia's - would remain in government hands.

"They're going to run government finances based on oil revenues," Snow said.

Six foreign banks will be permitted to take over local Iraqi banks completely in the next five years, al-Gailani said. Other foreign banks will be allowed to purchase 50-per-cent stakes in local banks.

Individuals and corporations will have to start paying a 15 per cent maximum tax rate starting January 1, and a 5 per cent "reconstruction surcharge" will be levied on all imports except humanitarian goods.

Foreigners will not be allowed to own land, but they will be permitted to lease it for up to 40 years.

Keeping oil revenues in Iraqi hands is of course the key to Iraq's future and economic stability, but as was noted last March, having centralized government control over the oil is far more likely to result in widespread corruption than become a means of redistributing that wealth to the Iraqi people.

Posted by Debbye at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 21 - An Lebanese

Sept. 21 - An Lebanese man, Mohammed Yehia Kaaki, said to be the mastermind behind the terrorist bombing of a MacDonald's in Beirut last April, is being questioned at the Australian embassy in Beirut about his relationship with two western Sydney brothers, Bilal and Maher Khazal. They are members of the Islamic Youth Movement and deny any terrorist links.

They have been charged over the bombing, along with 31 others, and are to be tried in absentia by Beirut's Military Court in Lebanon.

Kaaki heads one of Lebanon's most ambitious terrorist groups, whose members have tried to bomb the US and Russian embassies among other plots.

According to documents filed in the Military Court, Kaaki telephoned Bilal Khazal asking for money for his leadership struggle with the Cell of Tripoli group.

Kaaki had struck up a relationship with Mr Khazal and Mr Khazal told him that his brother, Maher, was visiting Lebanon. A meeting was arranged and Maher Khazal was told by a member of the group that it needed money for a military training camp. Kaaki, however, claimed the money would be used for operations such as assassinations. "You provide the money, we do the work," he is alleged to have told Maher Khazal.

A few months later Bilal Khazal gave the group $US600 ($890) and then $2500, which, the documents say, was used to buy a mobile phone. Kaaki later went to a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, Ain el-Hilweh, to meet members of Asbat al-Ansar, a group linked to al-Qaeda.

Kaaki emailed Bilal Khazal and told him his group was now under the patronage of Asbat al-Ansar. Mr Khazal has denied any relationship to the group or Kaaki. The Islamic Youth Movement has said lies are being spread to incite hatred of Muslims.

Posted by Debbye at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 21 - The British

Sept. 21 - The British education system was given a boost by altering the grading structure, so It's official: you can no longer fail your exams:

School exam chiefs are to remove all risk of failure from key national tests by replacing the current F for "fail" grade with an N for "nearly".

The changes, which have been condemned as "politically correct twaddle", include instructions that markers are to grade maths exam answers as either "creditworthy" or "not creditworthy" instead of correct or incorrect.

Guidelines explaining the changes were sent by the Government's Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to the markers of this summer's national curriculum exams.

The instructions cover English, maths and science exams at key stages one, two and three, which are taken by seven, 11 and 14-year-olds in all state schools and some private schools. The booklet for the stage two tests says: "The following method is used to note the marks awarded: 1 means that a creditworthy response has scored one mark; 0 means that a response is not creditworthy."

I'm sure to think of a suitably snarky response after I stop laughing.

Posted by Debbye at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 21 - Here's everyone's

Sept. 21 - Here's everyone's favourite pundit, Mark Steyn, and his thoughts about the newest member of the Democrat Party: Here comes General Clark, his policies will follow shortly.

Other than noting the excellent tag "General Jello," I'm not going to excerpt any of it because I suspect you've already linked over, right?

Posted by Debbye at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 21 - A man

Sept. 21 - A man has been charged with endangering an aircraft after he reportedly tried to open jet door at 30,000 ft:

An Arab who allegedly tried to open the door of an Airbus A321 carrying 105 passengers and crew as it flew at 30,000ft over the North Sea has been charged with endangering an aircraft.

Brahim Sbaoui, 33, was held by cabin crew after the pilot alerted them to alleged tampering with a rear door.

Sbaoui was a passenger on the Airbus on a flight from Heathrow to Norway. Fearing for the safety of his passengers the Scandinavian Airlines captain immediately diverted back to Heathrow for an emergency landing.


He told the court that he was an innocent man and applied for bail.

The presiding magistrate Enid Payne, who was told that Sbaoui had declined to be legally represented, said: "After very careful consideration this court is not prepared to release you on bail."

Sbaoui, who had been visiting Britain to collect a visa from Saudi Arabia's embassy in London, was remanded in custody until Monday.

Where does one draw the lines between a good memory, frustration and paranoia? I started a google search to reference the al Qaeda message that specified Norway as a future target and stopped. Does it matter? It doesn't seem to have affected Norwegians, and that worries me.

I'm horrified that the pilot, probably alerted by an alarm on the flight panel, first became aware of an attempt to tamper with the rear door and in turn informed the cabin crew. According to my mindset, it should have been the other way around. That it should happen so soon after bystanders failed to intervene in the public murder of Swedish MP Lindh makes me shake my head in wonder.

Horrible events like assassinations are supposed to shake our complacency and force us to re-evaluate who and what we are, aren't they?

Even should I accept that every. single. witness to Swedish MP Lindh's assassination was somehow frozen with shock, what am I to make of the fact that seemingly none of the passengers and crew aboard that aircraft were alert? Such casualness is diametrically opposed to conscious decisions I think most of us have made about our responsibilities when travelling by air, so I am in my own state of shock that a passenger, any passenger, can fiddle with that door and not be rushed en masse by both crew and passengers.

Sept. 11 raised the bar. It's no longer about the safety and lives of those aboard the airplane, but about the fact that we all just became weapons, and must chose if we are weapons to kill innocent people on the ground even as we die, or weapons who can stop would-be hijackers and terrorists. Some people just don't get it.

Ghost of a Flea put it thusly in his post Lord Jim:

... I am not a betting man but if I was I would wager a month's salary many of you reading this will know the exact feeling in what I am about to say. Every time I have boarded an airplane since that day... God help me... I have almost wished there were some hijackers on board so I would have the chance to help take some of those bastards down with me. That would be worth it all. What a day that would be.
(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2003

Sept. 20 - This is

Sept. 20 - This is terrible. According to this report, an Islamic chaplain has been charged as a spy by the US military.

An Army Islamic chaplain, who counseled al Qaeda prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval base, has been charged with espionage, aiding the enemy and spying, The Washington Times has learned.

Capt. James J. Yee, a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., was arrested earlier this month by the FBI in Jacksonville, Fla., as he arrived on a military charter flight from Guantanamo, according to a law-enforcement source.

Agents confiscated several classified documents in his possession and interrogated him. He was held for two days in Jacksonville and transferred to a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., where two Army lawyers have been assigned to his defense.

The Army has charged Capt. Yee with five offenses: sedition, aiding the enemy, spying, espionage and failure to obey a general order. The Army may also charge him later with the more serious charge of treason, which under the Uniform Code of Military Justice could be punished by a maximum sentence of life.

It could not be immediately learned what country or organization is suspected of receiving information from Capt. Yee. He had counseled suspected al Qaeda terrorists at Guantanamo for a lengthy period.
The article goes on to give a brief biography of Capt. Yee.

I'm incoherent right now; I just keeping thinking "Damn!" because these allegations are extremely serious and the repercussions are going to be, well, unhelpful.

Posted by Debbye at 04:28 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 20 - Well what

Sept. 20 - Well what do you know: the google advert bar above my site actually has some use (I really have to pay more attention to that stuff.)

Here is something I can happily endorse:, which is a site to thank Prime Minister Tony Blair for his support of the American actions in Iraq.

If it only wasn't for the dratted euro and EU constitution . . .

Posted by Debbye at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 20 - Sometimes it

Sept. 20 - Sometimes it really pays to take advice. I followed the suggested link to today's column in the Globe and Mail by Margaret Wente, The Muslim refusenik, which is about the young Muslim woman, Irshad Manji, who is

... a blazingly articulate young Canadian Muslim. Her subject, of course, is not Christianity but Islam, and her new book, The Trouble with Islam, is a loud, clear call for honesty and reform. It is wry, blunt and irreverent, but never bitter. As a thought experiment, I summarized her main criticisms of Islam and then substituted Christianity, a faith with which I'm more familiar. It was unnerving. If Ms. Manji is right in her critique (and I believe she is), then Islam badly needs a reformation.


Ms. Manji wants to have it all -- just the way most Christians do, I guess. She aspires to be both a faithful Muslim and a faithful Westerner, living in a world that cherishes pluralism, dissent, critical thinking, equality and, yes, tolerance, and where these values do not clash with her religion. She also argues that Muslims must shed their anti-Semitism, which is astonishingly widespread.

Read the article, and note that the online version has the link to Ms. Manji's website which I am also including here: The Trouble With Islam.

I was amazed at some of the virulence in some of the messages she's received (and I'm not referring to those from Muslims.) According to the Wente article, she calls herself neither left- nor right-wing, but post-wing, and maybe that is instructive for us all: sometimes you need to take the politics out of a situation to see that there are other possibilities.

The personal is political was a nice thought, but when it became the end of thought it also became a dead end. Anyone who is even slightly familiar with Darwin knows what happens to dead ends.

People like Ms. Manji give me so much hope for our species. When the current difficulties between the West and Islamists are called "a clash of civilizations," I am reminded that sometimes a clash also results in good things: understanding, reconciliation, and mutual respect can come about to replace hatred, fear and bloodshed.

(IDIC for fellow Trekkers.) It isn't easy; mutual tolerance has never been so, but the rewards are indeed infinite.

Posted by Debbye at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 20 - From correspondents

Sept. 20 - From correspondents in Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

AN audit of the Palestinian Authority revealed that President Yasser Arafat had diverted $US900 million ($A1.35 billion) in public funds to a special bank account he controlled and most of the money was later invested in Palestinian assets, an International Monetary Fund official said today.

Karim Nashashibi, IMF resident representative in the West Bank and Gaza, credited openness and transparency in the Palestinian Authority's accounting under Finance Minister Salam Fayad for disclosing the transfers between 1995 and 2000.

The large majority of the money was invested in Palestinian assets at home and abroad, Nashashibi said. A Palestinian Investment Fund was established to manage those assets and privatise them, he added.

But the IMF official did not rule out the possibility of the remaining funds being misused, saying he believes an audit of the remaining funds will be conducted later.

"In any system you can always have a possibility of misuse of funds," Nashashibi said. "But what we're trying to do is have a level of disclosure and transparency so that future or present misuse does not happen ... At least there is a follow up, there is disclosure."

There have been charges of corruption and mismanagement in the Palestinian Authority. In a special annual issue of Forbes Magazine, Arafat was reported to control $US300 million ($A451.33 million), making him among one of the richest in its category of "Kings, Queens and Despots".

Nashashibi said the revenues were diverted from the budget to a special account controlled by Arafat and his chief economic adviser.

"We estimated that amount to be around US$900 million over a period of five years," the IMF official said.

He said that the Palestinian Authority was involved in 69 commercial activities, both at home and abroad, worth an estimated $US700 million ($A1.05 billion) in today's market prices, "which probably in '99 were US$900 million".

Nashashibi said Fayad, the Palestinian finance minister who was the resident representative of the IMF in the Palestinian territories in 2000, told Arafat that the account must be disclosed.

The disclosure came as Fayad won a promise of additional financial assistance at a meeting today with the Group of Seven major industrialised nations in Dubai.

The Palestinian economy has contracted by 30 per cent because of the Palestinian-Israeli violence over the last three years and IMF officials said it needs an injection of about $US1.2 billion ($A1.81 billion) in assistance.

Arafat, regarded by Palestinians and Arabs as the symbol of the Palestinian struggle for a homeland, has been the most famous Palestinian leader since waging a guerrilla war against Israel in the 1960s.

Israel on September 11 announced that it will "remove" Arafat at an unspecified time, calling him an obstacle to peace.

Israeli officials have suggested he may be exiled, killed or simply isolated at his shattered compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah. The United States, while isolating Arafat politically, has criticised the Israeli decision, which sent Arafat's popularity soaring among his people and among many Arabs.

Agence France-Presse

Posted by Debbye at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 20 - The Smug

Sept. 20 - The Smug Canadian has uncovered one of the biggest intelligence secrets in North America, and Finally, the world makes sense.

Posted by Debbye at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 20 - Akila al-Hashimi,

Sept. 20 - Akila al-Hashimi, one of 3 female members of Iraq's Governing Council, was shot early Saturday morning and is in critical condition.

I'm just going to link the initial report for now because the details are sketchy.

Posted by Debbye at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

The nexus of terrorism

Sept. 20 - The 1998 inditement of Osama Bin Laden and Mohammed Atef for the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and for conspiracy to kill Americans outside the US contains some now-familiar names and includes an assertion that al Qaeda and Saddam did establish a working relationship. Excerpts:

Bin Laden's "al Qaeda" organization functioned both on its own and through other terrorist organizations, including the Al Jihad group based in Egypt, the Islamic Group also known as el Gamaa Islamia led at one time by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and a number of other jihad groups in countries such as Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia. (Emphasis aded)
El Gemaa Islamia, today more commonly spelled Jemaah Islamiyah, is the group which gained international notoriety for the 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali and the recent Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta. Previous to the 2002 bombings, the Indonesian government denied it existed.
According to the indictment, bin Laden and al Qaeda forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in Sudan and with representatives of the Government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah with the goal of working together against their common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.

"In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the Government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq," the indictment said.

No surprise about the link between Hezbollah and Iran; however, if the information about al Qaeda's working relationship with Iraq sounds familiar, it's because it formed part of State Secy. Colin Powell's February, 2003, presentation to the UN.

History Pedantry Alert: Reactions to the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda is reminiscent of the disbelief of many to the Hitler-Stalin Pact (judged to be impossible because fascism and communism were supposed to be uncompromisingly antagonistic and thus incapable of forging an alliance).

(Inditement link via BushBlog.)

Posted by Debbye at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 20 - I finally

Sept. 20 - I finally took the plunge and tried to tidy up the side bar. The web log links have been alphabetized and, since I'm finally getting the hang of the html used by blogger, I may try later to actually separate the pundits from the blogs but for now I'm too wary of (ahem) hubris than to try and fiddle any more.

I'll be doing more updating as I tackle the requirements of being an Alliance member.

Posted by Debbye at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 20 - There are

Sept. 20 - There are things that should not be forgiven: Kosovo Teenager Hunts Family Massacre Suspect:

Saranda Bogojevci, 18 years old,

... has traveled to Canada in hopes of stopping an asylum request by one of the men accused in the massacre of her mother, two brothers and 11 other family members.


In 2002 two men, Sasa Cvjetan, 28 and Dejan Demirovic, 29, were indicted in the southern Serb town of Prokuplje and charged with murdering Saranda Bogojevci's family. Their trial was to be the first war crimes trial to address atrocities of Serbian forces in Kosovo.

Dejan Demirovic, evaded arrest, and entered Canada illegally. He is seeking asylum in Canada.

Demirovic was arrested in Windsor, Ontario, in January, charged with illegal entry, and released on bail five months later. In September in Toronto, his Refugee Board hearing was postponed to January 2004, dealing another blow to Bogojevci.

She had come to Toronto to confront him and urge the Canadian government to deny him asylum. She never had the chance.

There are also things that should not be forgotten as Clinton unveils momument to commemorate Srebrenica dead.
Clinton was invited to attend by survivors of the massacre for the "personal contribution" they consider he made to end Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.

Clinton was president when an estimated 8,000 Bosnian Muslim boys and men were massacred in the so-called U.N.-protected enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995 after Serbs forces overran the area.

(Yahoo link via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 20 - Brendon Fearon,

Sept. 20 - Brendon Fearon, who sued farmer Tony Martin after he was shot tried to burglarize Martin's farm, has dropped the lawsuit he filed against Martin:

... after we [The Sun (UK)] filmed Fearon going busily about his activities his solicitors announced his High Court damages action was being “discontinued”.

He had pretended he was unable to work — even though he has scarcely ever held down a job — that his sex life had been affected and even that he was now afraid of fireworks.

Father-of-three Fearon — who has 34 convictions spanning a 20-year life of crime — had bragged he was “certain” to win the legal battle.

But we nailed his lies last month by photographing him riding his mountain BIKE and filming him running for a BUS and taking his DOG for a walk with no “limp”.

Yesterday Fearon, of Newark, Notts, admitted defeat and his solicitors, Nottingham-based Bhatia Best, called off the action which has already run up thousands in legal bills.

Fearon made the decision to cave in from prison, where he is back serving out a sentence for supplying cocaine after breaking a tagging curfew.

Martin had been sentence to jail for 5 years for shooting the burglars with a shotgun and killing one of them.

Posted by Debbye at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 20 Now I understand

Sept. 20 Now I understand why Batman never took out the Joker (it actually always bothered me.)

(Via Jay Solo, who also feels a trifle let down by the much vaunted Isabel. Storm of the century my a--.)

Posted by Debbye at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 20 - Another blogger

Sept. 20 - Another blogger I want to enter in my blogroll is Baldilocks, who is insightful and speaks her mind. She also has a terrific sense of humour, as indicated by her take on the California Recall:

The turns of events in this out-of-control train, called a recall, has all the makings of an oft-rejected Hollywood script, appropriately enough. Consider its main cast of characters. These folks and their antics are enough to make the rest of the nation secede from the Golden State.
She also highlights some downright weird comments by Gray Davis here which you may have read elsewhere but she ties in a totally rational explaination as why California is broke.

Posted by Debbye at 12:43 AM | Comments (1)

September 19, 2003

Americans wake up

Sept. 19 - Americans are beginning to wake up. Far too many of us have accepted the judgement that, unlike other nations, the USA alone pursues policies that are advantageous to her and her people.

Americans are beginning to realize that, although we and our governments are far from perfect, we are certainly not alone in the pursuit of self-interest but may be unique in that we are not only aware of our shortcomings but even discuss them publicly.

We've gone from accepting the scolding of imaginary "international community" and have begun to see the UN for what it is: a bureaucratic organization where the majority of the members don't even pretend to respect human rights yet think they have moral authority to lecture and dictate to us.

This is an organization in which Libya can chair -- without intentional irony -- the UN Human Rights Committee and that committee can strip Reporters Without Borders of observer status because they held a peaceful demonstration which protested the naming of Libya as chair of that committee.

Further, the UN found itself unable to rise to the challenge Saddam posed as expressed in Pres. Bush's speech to the UN in September, 2002, that it assert its mandate and finally confront Saddam:

Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced or cast aside without consequence?

Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding or will it be irrelevant?

The French have probably done the most to erode American idealism about the UN. Their threats of exercising their veto not only over pre- and post-war Iraq but also to removing the sanctions on Libya over the Lockerbie bombing unless they received additional money from Libya above their previous settlement for a different bombing raised even more questions about the actual purpose as well as integrity of the UN.

Thanks to The Canukistanian for sending me this WSJ Opinion Journal link Do You Feel Lucky, Paris? by Daniel Henninger.

A recent Gallup poll confirms some of the changes that many of us hoped for: Sept. 11 finally got a lot of Americans to wake up and look a bit closer at the true state of the world, and they have drawn their conclusions. (Follow the link for the statistics; the UN's approval rating has dropped significantly.)

A few excerpts from the Opinion Journal article:

Shortly after the [Iraq] war was over, a high official from France's Parliament visited our offices hoping to let bygones be bygones. He said we were all joined in the war on terror and that our countries' long-term interests coincided. He was visiting American editorial boards and going to Washington to see key members of Congress in the belief that if he could convince these influential people--the U.S. networking equivalent of les grandes ecoles--Franco-American relations would revive.

Whereupon he was told: "Sir, there is really not much that we or the members of Congress can do for you. France's problems now are not with America's policy makers but with America's comedians." [Their emphasis]

Nope, no gag order for Jay Leno. And one has to wonder what on earth the French thought their strategy would accomplish except to provide more material for the comedians.

One result of the list the French circulated purporting to prove that they were being slandered was for journalists to point out those articles (usually by themselves) which had been left off and to write even more in hopes of being included on that list. This was a fairly predictable reaction, but I have to wonder: do the French really understand so little about us?

And then there's this:

Well before Iraq, one of the elite criticisms of the U.S., heard mostly in Europe and in the American academy, has been that the U.S. is compulsively trying to "impose its values" on the rest of the world. . . But from Germany and Japan after World War II and on up to Kosovo, Afghanistan and now Iraq, I am aware of only one "value" America has tried to impose and it's not Mickey Mouse. It is democracy, or at a minimum, liberty.
The one place the US maintained troops against the wishes of the people is South Korea, or at least they objected until we actually began to withdraw. Go figure.

But one thing is clear: Americans are seeing the UN and its institutions as if for the first time, and they are shaking off an undeserved legacy of shame and humiliation. We have chosen the option to continue to work to improve ourselves and our country and yes, even the world, but it will be about the things we care about and in the ways we think will work. That is not going to include enriching the coffers of the renowned tyrants and butchers. Those days are over.

We are also seeing Europe differently and now realize that, contrary to their belief, Belguim and France do not speak for all of Europe. There's some new kids in town, and they are not only newer but stronger in their support of democratic institutions and human rights because they had been deprived of them for so long.

(I'm not going to explain the Dirty Harry reference in the title; read the entire article.)

I think the knock-out punch to the UN could come if a free Iraq were to demand an accounting from those who ran the UN Oil-For-Food program and and an explanation not only for the palace trappings but for the weapons and military equipment that the Russians, French, Chinese and, to a lesser degree, Germany imported as food and medicine. And, less we forget, Kofi Annan signed off on all the invoices in the program.

The UN Security Council lost more credibility when Def. Secy. Rumsfeld confirmed that US military forces had turned off the pipeline that was shipping Iraqi oil illegally to UNSC member Syria. By the way, does Syria occupy Lebanon with UN approval? Of course not. Does the UN care? Riiiight.

Information about the workings of the UN, which had never exactly been concealed, is beginning to achieve a prominence that should make wiser UN members a bit nervous. It may take awhile, but the US electorate does have the power to turn off the money taps to the UN which would pretty much spell the end of that institution because the other members are unwilling to support it financially. Even the prospect of moving it to Toronto was dropped when Toronto Mayor Lastman pointed out that it should be done only if the Canadian government was willing to underwrite all expenses.

TotalFinaElf, the Oil-For-Food program with UN oversight (and a 2.2% commission for the UN for that oversight), pre-war sweetheart contracts with Saddam on untapped oil fields by France, Russia and China, and failure to take action that would have forced Saddam to comply with UN resolutions seem to point to some pretty damning complicity, but the Bush administration has not exploited that information yet (although the information has appeared in both the NY Times (linked above) and Canada's Financial Post in a column by Diane Francis (FP link is dead.)

Canada's credibility has been damaged by its connection to the oil company TotalFinaElf. A sizeable oil exploration contract with Iraq was obtained when Saddam was in power by TotalFinaElf, and the majority shareholder in that company is Montreal's Paul Desmarais, whose youngest son, Andre, is married to Chretien's daughter, France. Desmarais has connections to Paul Martin, former Mulroney cabinet ministers and even former Ontario premier and NDP leader Bob Rae. And Chretien's nephew Raymond is Canada's ambassador to France. (Canadians might be very surprised if they read the linked article about Mr. Desmarais and his associates.)

You see, it wasn't the war in Iraq that was "all about oil", it was the opposition to the war that was about oil. Coming to terms with that is going to further lessen the influence of the UN on the United States.

Posted by Debbye at 07:19 PM | Comments (2)

Sept. 19 - The Society

Sept. 19 - The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) have sent a letter to dentists telling them they may have to pay a licensing fee for the canned music they play over the telephone when they stick callers on hold and while patients are trapped in the Dentist Chair of Torture, ostensibly to "relax" them.

Apparently, if the music is for staff, there's no fee; if it's for patients, there is. (Aren't there laws against cruel and unusual workplace conditions?)

"We do have music on, whether the patients wants it. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't and we tailor that to them," he said. "It is also there for the staff, so the staff use it and it's a grey area on who is probably enjoying it the most."
Hands up everyone who enjoys canned music. I thought as much.

The part that cramps my brain is that anyone actually thinks that this non-music (or de-music, your pick) is worth paying real money for. I'd have guessed that they'd try to sneak extra-billing in if you declined the service . . . I'd also think that any group that purports to represent composers and artists would want to ban canned music altogether, but nooo. So much for artistic integrity.

I wonder if malls, government telephones, airports and elevators are facing the same difficult decision as dentists. It would be nice to think that blessed silence might return to our lives.

(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 19 - Australian country

Sept. 19 - Australian country singing legend Slim Dusty has passed away:

Dusty was born David Gordon Kirkpatrick on June 13, 1927, wrote his first song as a 10-year-old in 1937, and performed on radio for the first time in 1942. He had his first big hit in 1957 with A Pub With No Beer and his last in 1980 with I Love to Have a Beer With Duncan, although he never stopped touring or recording. He released his 104th studio album last year.

Dusty, 76, died at his Sydney home after a long battle with cancer.

This report puts it as "bookending a week that began with the loss of American country icon Johnny Cash". Both icons will be missed.

Posted by Debbye at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 19 - The case

Sept. 19 - The case of Nigerian Amina Lawal may be ruled on as early as next week. Ms. Lawal has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery and has sparked an international movement for clemency.

South African president Thabo Mbeki has urged Nigerian president Olesegun Obasanjo to intervene to spare Lawal.

The father of the child has not been condemned to die:

In response to a question on the responsibility of the father of Lawal's child, Mbeki replied: "In defence of Amina Lawal we might have forgotten that it takes two to make a baby," reported Reuters news agency.

Posted by Debbye at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

Sept. 19 - M'kay, this

Sept. 19 - M'kay, this is kind of a piratey story because it starts with "yo", so I'll finish it with ho ho and a bottle of rum, and point you to this pretty funny account of reporters who don't have enough sense to come in out of the rain: Yo, TV reporters, go get an anchor

They struggled to stand in powerful winds and rain, leaving some viewers wondering why they were there in the first place.
.Whoa, the wind just picked up here and is tossing stuff around outside. That's what I get for poking fun at weather systems.

Until now it was just a pretty gentle rain, but since my Incredibly Dumb Number 2 Son has decided today would be a Really Good Day to travel down from Ottawa for the weekend, I'm assuming the storm will hit with full force while the Clueless One is on the bus.

If I get madder at him I just might tell his Pirate Story after all; like, what is he going to do about it? Not come over, tie up the phone and internet, complain because the peanut butter is crunchy instead of smooth, and do a Search and Destroy for Nachos, salsa, ice cream? Right.

P.S.: You didn't forget it was Talk Like a Pirate Day, right?

(Link via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:39 AM | Comments (2)

September 18, 2003

Even hurricanes can't stop bloggers

Sept. 18 - Some of our favourite bloggers are coping with the hurricane, and sending out reports (mostly via battery back-up).

Maybe you'd like to go pay your respects to Meryl Yourish, Wind Rider, Bill, and Kevin as well as any other webloggers you've come to know and love.

The Canadian Weather types are calling it "a significant weather event" with 55 mm of rain and winds of up to 80 km/hour (that computes to about 2 inches of rain and wind of 50 mph in American. It's almost embarrassing.)

But they are still taking the Big Cautious Route, urging everyone to have at least 3 days of supplies on hand.

Sheesh, if we were talking winter and snow they'd use words like "only" and smile too much, right?

( link via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

Hurricane Isabel Declares Candidacy for Democrats

Sept. 18 - News item from ScrappleFace: Isabel Declares Candidacy for Democrat Nomination.

(2003-09-15) -- Hurricane Isabel this morning declared her candidacy for the Democrat nomination for President of the United States. According to a CNN poll, Isabel's name recognition exceeds that of all nine existing candidates combined, plus Wesley Clark.

Posted by Debbye at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 18 - From the

Sept. 18 - From the Mudville Gazette and me, a warm Happy Birthday, US Air Force!.

Some items about the new and improved USAF:

. . . That's why the USAF will soon adopt:

2) New Fitness Standards. This will make the other branches stop laughing at the Air Force for using stationary bike riding to determine individual fitness. There was a great e-mail thing going around a while back that listed things to do during cycle ergometry. "Wear a helmet" "bring rolled up newspapers and deliver them", "stand up and claim you're climbing a hill" etc. Hah! Those days are gone! Nobody will ridicule the manly mile-and-a-half run! With push ups and sit ups!
It was sort of a shock when I learned that the stories my Dad told me were ABSOLUTELY TRUE!

Nothing can stop the US Air Force!

Posted by Debbye at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 18 - Eject! Eject!

Sept. 18 - Eject! Eject! Eject! has a new post up. I'll permalink it later, but just go! Read! Enjoy!

Posted by Debbye at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 18 - Steven Den

Sept. 18 - Steven Den Beste at the USS Clueless explains the familial relationships of soccer, football, rugby and . . . just read Footie freaks:

It's true that I'm not totally familiar with "footie", but I believe it's closely related to a sport known in the US as Rugby. About 25 years ago I knew a guy who played Rugby, and he told me that American football, the sport we call soccer which everyone else in the world calls football, and rugby were all originally related. As he described it, originally someone tried to pick up the ball and run with it, and others told him he couldn't do that.

And those who said that was wrong ended up playing soccer, while those who thought it was OK went on. Then one day someone tried to throw the ball forward, and others told him he couldn't. So those who thought forward passes were OK ended up playing football, and the rest ended up playing rugby.

There. Now isn't this intellectual discourse much better than calling all those games "Kill The Guy With The Ball?"

Actually, the post is more about physical characteristics that are usual to most sports except baseball, but only he can explain that.

Posted by Debbye at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 18 - Jay Currie

Sept. 18 - Jay Currie expressed his hope that I never get mad at him after he read my rant on CNN's Christiane Amanpour. No, Jay, I would never get angry at you because I never get angry with articulate people who lead me to think and consider.

But I'll happily take a back seat when The Dissident Frogman is ranting. He rips spectacularly into Chrissy Doll and the smug coverage of her statements by the French media (as we knew would happen):

If the Bush Administration muzzled the American press, I guess we would have heard that there was not a single casualty on the Coalition's side, not a single terror attack and that Saddam was found entertaining himself, wearing a spiked leather penial ring, with a well known muzzled CNN correspondent in latex garter belt on a pile of unconcealed chemical warheads in a Baghdad Café.

Or something along that line.

Yet we didn't, so all I can see here, is the member of one of the big name of "information" for whom the outcome of the Iraqi battle, with all the dirt and skeletons in the closet it exposed, has been particularly embarrassing (the other being the BBC. The French press doesn't count, as she can relate anything without anybody questionning her integrity, and therefore won't restrain), trying very awkwardly to regain an appearance of respectability by projecting upon her political opponents her very own malfeasances - such a specialty on the Left.

I have no doubt that the American public, all 'brainwashed' it may be by a 'muzzled press in the hands of the Hawks', will not concede the Muzzled Chrissie and the Censored CNN more credit than they deserve.


But considering that LCI - and as far as I know, the French press as a whole - also consistently forgot to report that CNN's President, Eason Jordan confessed CNN knew about the atrocities of Saddam's regime since the mid-1990s but choose to... Self-muzzle in order to keep the Baghdad office open, there's nothing really surprising here.

Meanwhile, the French public is comforted in the idea that the media obey the U.S. Administration, willingly in the case of Fox or under the pressure for the 'courageous dissidents' such as Christiane Amanpour.

>From LCI's point of view, as well as for the rest of the kennel, this is the usual business based on a mental process they share with Chrissie Doll: by spreading Chrissie's ludicrous assertions - no matter the absence of ascertainable facts and the flagrant contradiction with their loud covering of the world events - they're making sure their own audience will not notice how submissive, obedient and mean the French press is.

Indeed, how could they face the fact that, apart from a handful of columnists who weren't exactly journalists themselves (two politicians, three philosophers and a movie director), there were absolutely no dissenting voice or press organism, either printed or broadcasted within the French mainstream media?

Those shiny happy people boarded the ChIraqi train as soon as possible and complacently replaced facts with fiction and reality with its denial.

Read it; these few excerpts scarcely do it justice.

Posted by Debbye at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 18 - This probably

Sept. 18 - This probably ought to go under wacky news, but it's a slow news day up here (at least as long as the sun is shining) so hey! why not?

Poor Wesley Clark, who's recent claims to fame include being unable to recognize a ground assault even when he follows one on a map, and who said that Bush tried to gag him to stop him from criticizing the strategy during Gulf War II although he had no proof, and was contacted by a Mysterious Caller who Clark claimed pressured him to make connections between Saddam and Sept. 11 (although, again, he offered no proof for the phone call.)

So, as near as I could tell, having proven he's a lousy general, his one remaining claim to being good Presidential material is that he was the victim of pressure. Ho hum. Another victim, America. Is this the start of yet another special interest group? Retired Pressured Generals? (No, wait, RPG is already taken, i.e., Role Playing Games.)

But the man who may have been the Mysterious Caller has come forward although the devil is really in the details. According to this from the Toronto Star (non-Canadian alert: think NY Times-Lite):

WASHINGTON -- A Montreal man has emerged as the key figure in a controversy that has dogged Democratic presidential aspirant Wesley Clark during the summer months.

Questions have swirled since June when the former NATO commander alleged on national television that he was pressured to link the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in a mystery phone call he received.

Questions have swirled? Controversy has dogged? Damn, and I already wrote my lie for the Blogger Alliance. Why didn't I see the swirling and dogging from other bloggers? You guys owe me big.
Clark first implied the call, not long after the attacks, might have come from White House, then later said it came from a Middle Eastern think tank in Canada. He has never identified the caller. (Emphasis added)
One would think the first requirement for President would be to know the geographical difference between DC and Canada, but maybe it's just me. But then Clark only implied that he was geographically challenged.
As Clark kicked off his campaign yesterday in Little Rock, Ark., Thomas Hecht, founder of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, told the Star he placed the call to Clark and drew his attention to a potential link between Saddam and the Al Qaeda suicide hijackers.
Which makes Hecht one of millions who thought there was a potential link in the early days. Even Clark must have considered the possibility, although he was probably rooting for a Russian connection.
But Hecht said he did not pressure the former army general, who became a CNN commentator after retiring from the military, to make the link and said the matter was raised in a phone call inviting Clark to come to Montreal for a speech.

Clark's original claim and its subsequent variations had drawn much press and Internet attention in the United States as it became increasingly clear he was set to become the 10th candidate for the Democratic nomination.

Clark told the widely watched NBC show Meet the Press June 15 that the pressure to make the link "came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over.

"I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, `You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.'"

Clark, in the interview, said he asked for evidence of the link and received none and still hasn't seen any evidence.

As he prepared for his presidential bid, Clark backed away from his comment, denying he was drawing a link to the White House, telling Fox News in July: "I personally got a call from a fellow in Canada who is part of a Middle Eastern think tank who gets inside intelligence information. He called me on 9/11."

Sooo, he got a call at home while he was at the CNN studios which came from the White House which is in Canada. Or he got a call which was from all over. But no, later he said he didn't. Whatever. Blame the roaming billing system for cell phones. At least he sticks by the claim that he got a phone call.
Later in July, in another television interview, he said: The call came from "a man from a Middle East think tank in Canada, the man who's the brother of a very close friend of mine in Belgium. He's very well connected to Israeli intelligence and he follows Middle Eastern events very closely."
Aha, Israeli intelligence. That should stifle any questions from the Idiotarians, because regardless of the internal inconsistencies in his story, they will be able to leapfrog over all that and blame Israel.
Hecht said his sister, who lives in Brussels, knows Clark socially.

One columnist, George Will of the Washington Post, took Clark to task because, he said, there was no Middle East think tank in Canada.

The Begin-Sadat Centre has its headquarters in Israel and its only office elsewhere is the one Hecht established in Montreal. Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is on its board, but strictly in a ceremonial role, Hecht said.

Hecht said he called Clark either Sept. 12 or Sept. 13 -- not the morning of the attacks, as the former general said -- but he merely passed on information he had received from Israel which drew a purported link.

Hecht said Clark called him in Montreal Sept. 7 this year to clarify the conversation the two men had, perhaps in anticipation of the question being raised again as part of his campaign.

So two years later, Clark decides to get to the bottom of this. What foresight. What hindsight. How intrepid. This guy was a general?
"I told him the Begin-Sadat Centre is a center for strategic studies in Israel and has made various studies on the Iraqi threat to the state of Israel and therefore we have carried out analyses of what connection there could be between Saddam Hussein and other militant Islamic groups," Hecht said.

"I don't know why I would be confused with the White House. I don't even have white paint on my house," he added. "I saw those comments he made and I just chuckled."

The Clark campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

I am really not good at Fisking. My common sense keeps kicking in and urging me to say IDIOCY and find something worthwhile to read.

I will be voting Republican whatever candidate the Democrats eventually put forward, but much as I desire a Republican victory in '04 I am not at all happy to see the Dems reduced to so pathetic a pool of candidates. It isn't good for the country any more than Liberal Party dominance is good for Canada because democracy demands a minimum of two parties if only to keep the one in power honest.

Posted by Debbye at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

The Axis of Isabel

Sept. 18 - Meryl has kindly let me into the Axis of Isabel, and, given that much of today's news is devoted to Hurricane Isabel, I may as well try to bring some CanCon (Canadian Content) in.

Most Etobians have three major hurricane-related concerns:

Trees falling
The Humber River
The Mimico Creek
The Etobicoke Creek

Our street, which runs along the Mimico Creek, was submerged up to the 2nd floor of most houses during Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

The water level in the creek rose dangerously high for days after Hurricane Andrew passed, so we kept a near jail-warden eye on our kids to ensure they didn't heedlessly run across the little footbridge to play in the park.

Losing power? Been there, done that, partied heartily. But the Canadian Red Cross is urging people to replenish those supplies which were used during the black-out (which of course assumes that people didn't scramble frantically to get supplies after the power went out) so I totally expect big line ups at the beer and liquor Stores.

Dollars to donuts this is about as exciting as Hurricane Watch Canada is going to get, so I'll simply express my best wishes and hope for their safety to those coastal people in the hurricane's path safety.

Posted by Debbye at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2003

Sept. 17 - Go here

Sept. 17 - Go here to see yet another tradition which is being cast aside for modernism (and hygiene.)

And while you're there, say "Welcome back" to Martin who's back to blogging after recovering from his injury.

Posted by Debbye at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 17 - A blogger

Sept. 17 - A blogger I recently discovered, Alpha Patriot, has a full round-up of War News from Iraq (featuring the 101st), Afghanistan, weird and weirder news from Sweden (Hans Blix and Oprah), and good words for the Spainish and their determination to deal with terrorists who use that country as a base of operations.

He's another one I'll be adding to my blogroll once I get my courage up to venture back into Template.

Posted by Debbye at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 17 - Instapundit has

Sept. 17 - Instapundit has lots of links to both serious and funny responses to the recent lamentations of foot-sore Christiane Amanpour. The comments in the Daniel Drezner link has an especially funny spoof of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail song "Brave Sir Robin" (can a spoof be spoofed? or do you give it another name when its re-spoofed? what.ever).

Posted by Debbye at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

How to tell if you're in a hurricane

Sept. 17 - Courtesy of Meryl Yourish, The Axis of Isabel:

Are you a blogger in the path of the hurricane? Are you tired of wondering when, if, and how hard it will land?

Or are you just plain tired of the hype?

Yes, yes and yes. This axis has promise.

There's also The Axis of Isabel Guide: How to tell you're in a hurricane with some practical, common-sense ideas:

Try turning on a light switch. When the light doesn't go on, turn the switch off. Then turn it on again. Then off. Then on. It's a well-known fact that if the light doesn't go on the first time, it's not because you have no power. It's because you obviously didn't flick the switch correctly to the "on" position. Repeat this in various rooms throughout the house to make sure that your power is out everywhere, and not just in one or two rooms.
(Whoa, does she know my kids?) Good, funny read.

Posted by Debbye at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 17 - The Canukistanian

Sept. 17 - The Canukistanian has some information about Arafat's lastest maneuvering on a post titled, appropriately, New Truce? Arafat Lies Through Jibrils Teeth, and a link to the Wall Street Journal that affirms support to the Israelis to do what they think best, because "... Israel has to live (or die) with Arafat."

Posted by Debbye at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 17 - This coming

Sept. 17 - This coming Friday is Talk Like A Pirate Day. This is of special interest to my family here (especially Son No. 2) and down south for reasons that I dare not name.

There's even a Pirate Ring for those who appreciate those free marketeers of the sea.

(Via The Camplog.)

Posted by Debbye at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 17 - It is

Sept. 17 - It is time to chose, to stiffen the faint heart and look at the terrible toll that would happen should The Alliance fall.

Both Frank J. and The Puppy Blender represent the things we are fighting to defend but Frank J. has this edge: his stories make me laugh.

Why should that matter so much? Because I like to laugh. I must laugh. It is my only defense against life!

So clearly, the Blog War must be waged with every weapon at our disposal or we will never again be allowed to wallow in marvelous, wicked humour. Life as we know it will be unfunny and therefore not worth living.

The rules for admission are stringent, though, and it's been really hard for me to come up with a totally unbelievable lie.

However, I came up with a response to the homework which required figuring out what Puppy Blender's favourite song was and that in turn led me to My Great Lie.

So here is my lie.

Obviously Puppy Blender's favourite song is Mandy. He is so evil that he plays it loudly so his neighbours have to listen to it. How could one be more evil than that?

There is also the fact that it's about a puppy. But then, I remembered that it's also Angel's favourite song, and that, pre-soul, he once nailed a puppy to a door as a Valentine's Day gift.

When I read a totally untrue story that there's been a rash of puppies being nailed to doors, fences and "Do Not Enter" signs in Tennessee, I knew with sinking heart that it had to be the Puppy Blender himself doing this dastardly deed.

Is there no end to his perfidy? Arise ye bloggers and smite the Puppy Abuser! How can we cry havoc and unleash the dogs of war if we don't protect their young 'uns?

And That Is My Lie. (And I feel totally like Henry Gibson.)


Posted by Debbye at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 17 - Paul has

Sept. 17 - Paul has news of another victory for the war in terror in India.

And let me be the second to contratulate the Indian police.

Posted by Debbye at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 17 - Is it

Sept. 17 - Is it possible that the rhetoric and posturing for the media is over, and Germany and France are actually willing to work to reach a UN resolution on Iraq? PM Tony Blair has been invited to meet with Fance and Germany in Berlin:

Tony Blair has been invited to emergency talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and President Jacques Chirac in Berlin on Saturday amid signs that a compromise United Nations resolution on Iraq is being prepared.

The German chancellor set up the first meeting between the three leaders since the Iraq war amid intensified diplomatic efforts to complete a UN resolution to encourage other countries to contribute more troops and money.

The decision to hold talks in Berlin suggests that Mr Schröder and M Chirac, strident opponents of the war, may be willing to move closer to the US and British over how to move Iraq towards self-government.

News of the meeting came amid growing indications that a UN resolution is in the offing.

The French foreign ministry appeared to soften its position yesterday, floating what appeared to be a compromise proposal seeking a recognition that the Iraqi authorities were sovereign.

A spokesman said: "What's needed is a very strong political step recognising its sovereignty." He gave no time frame for the handover of power. Dominique de Villepin, the foreign minister, said last week that France sought the recognition of Iraqi sovereignty "in a very short time frame - for example a month" and the holding of elections by next spring.

Jean-David Levitte, the French ambassador to the United States, said in a television interview that a resolution allowing a "symbolic" transfer of power to Iraqi representatives could form part of a broad compromise aimed at restoring Iraq's sovereignty.

M Levitte conceded that it was "not yet" time to hand over power to the Iraqi Governing Council, in line with the American view. British officials said last night that it was not yet clear how far France had moved.

UPDATE: I got this BBC link over at the BushBlog about Ret. Gen. Clark's antics with the British and Russians during the Kosovo campaign, and at least one Canadian blogger, Paul, hasn't forgotten about it either.

My sort-of point? I suddenly wonder how much the Russians may still resent that misadventure. I wouldn't exactly want Russian troops in Iraq (their handling of the mess in Chechnya doesn't exactly inspire confidence) but their political support at the UN would be welcome.

Anyway, file that as of those "Hmm" things rather than an "Aha!" thing.

Posted by Debbye at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 17 - South Africa

Sept. 17 - South Africa is not happy with Australia, and SA President Mbecki is expressing his Anger over Mugabe ban:

SOUTH Africa has lashed out at Australia's lead role in banning Zimbabwe's dictatorial President Robert Mugabe from the next meeting of Commonwealth leaders, accusing John Howard of using "megaphone diplomacy".

As relations sour between the countries, an unapologetic Prime Minister told parliament it would be a "travesty" if Mr Mugabe were allowed to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, to be held in Nigeria in December.

Zimbabwe has been suspended from the Commonwealth since March 2002, following general elections in the African country that Mr Howard said yesterday had been "rorted".

But South African President Thabo Mbeki is urging other Commonwealth leaders to adopt a more tolerant position towards the strife-torn country. "We don't think that using megaphone diplomacy will work and we hope the Australian Government in particular will understand this position," a spokesman for Mr Mbeki told ABC radio yesterday.

The ABC mentioned in the report is the Australian Broadcasting Company, which is state-supported and uncomfortably similar to the BBC and CBC.

UPDATE: This from the Daily Telegraph (UK) is even more, um, critical:

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki appeared determined to split the Commonwealth over Zimbabwe yesterday by insisting that Robert Mugabe should be invited to its December summit.
Heavily armed police descended on the offices of Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper yesterday and began seizing computers and other equipment.More than 50 officers threatened the managers of the Daily News with arrest if they obstructed the seizure.
Read the article. As usual, the online version has links to earlier stories on this subject.

Posted by Debbye at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 17 - Australians are

Sept. 17 - Australians are preparing to hold memorial services on the anniversary of the Kuta bombing in Bali with traditional island rituals and ending with a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.

Mr Howard's office said at least 1000 relatives of the dead had taken up Government offers of assistance to fly in for the occasion.

The families of Balinese victims, and those from other nations, and volunteers who helped the survivors also will be invited to attend the open-air ceremony.

The Prime Minister will use his brief visit to the Indonesian island to dedicate a new burns unit for a local hospital and lay the foundation stone for a memorial eye centre, funded by Australian donations.

Mr Howard said a memorial to the victims in the grounds of Parliament House would be unveiled just before the service in Canberra.

The following day a special honours list to recognise the bravery and outstanding service of people who helped the victims would be announced.

There will also be services in Australia for those who do not wish to revisit the island.

The dead and injured came from many countries, including Canada, the UK, and the US.

The bombing in Bali is a kind of anniversary for me as well. I became a regular reader of the Australian press when news of the bombing was edged off the front pages in both Canada and the US in favour of speculation about the DC snipers.

The power of the internet: use it.

Posted by Debbye at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 17 - Australian MPs

Sept. 17 - Australian MPs to visit Solomons:

DEFENCE Minister Robert Hill and Justice Minister Chris Ellison will visit the Solomon Islands on Friday to assess the work of the regional assistance mission.

Australia has more than 1400 defence personnel and almost 200 police and security staff in the Solomons, where they are helping to restore law and order.

The ministers will visit Australian and Pacific police, and will hold briefings with Solomons and Australian officials in the capital, Honiara.

Good neighbours help each other. 'Nuff said.

Posted by Debbye at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 17 - A Car

Sept. 17 - A Car bomb exploded in front of a Cophenhagen hospital killing at least one:

A CAR has exploded outside a suburban Copenhagen hospital, killing at least one person, police have said.

The blast occurred at 9:17 a.m. (0717 GMT) in a parking lot at the County Hospital in the western suburb of Glostrup and was likely caused by an explosive device, a police officer said on condition of anonymity.

The officer declined to provide more details.


The sole Middle East-related attack in Denmark occurred in July 1985 when a bomb was detonated outside the offices of North West Orient airlines, a U.S. carrier.

One person was killed and 16 were injured. Three Palestinians living in Sweden were convicted of planting the bombs and sentenced to life in prison in December 1989.

Denmark is a member of the coalition that liberated Iraq, and there are Danish troops stationed in that country.

Posted by Debbye at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

September 16, 2003

Sept. 16 -- I guess

Sept. 16 -- I guess I did need to be reminded why the US should continue to be active in the UN: to veto resolutions directed against Israel.

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The United States vetoed a U.N. resolution Tuesday that would have demanded Israel halt threats to expel Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

Eleven Security Council members voted for the resolution and three members abstained. The U.S. veto killed the resolution.

In the Middle East, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said: "This is a sad day for the United Nations. I hope the U.S. veto will not be interpreted by Israel as a license to kill Yasser Arafat."

Jay Currie thinks the Arab nations will actually be relieved to see Arafat gone and won't retaliate . I think it is ultimately a decision only the Israelis can make, and won't condemn them whatever they chose to do.

Posted by Debbye at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 16 - I included

Sept. 16 - I included this link on an Update on a previous post but it really does deserve it's own citation. I still feel betrayed by CNN and others who reported out of Iraq but concealed the truth during the Saddam years, so have read John Burns: 'There Is Corruption in Our Business' more than a few times.

His account of how he functioned in Iraq both before, during and after the war poses questions about how others functioned, questions that they haven't answered. He says this about the subservient (even pathetic) attempts by some to please the Saddamite Masters:

Yeah, it was an absolutely disgraceful performance. CNN's Eason Jordan's op-ed piece in The New York Times missed that point completely. The point is not whether we protect the people who work for us by not disclosing the terrible things they tell us. Of course we do. But the people who work for us are only one thousandth of one percent of the people of Iraq. So why not tell the story of the other people of Iraq? It doesn't preclude you from telling about terror. Of murder on a mass scale just because you won't talk about how your driver's brother was murdered.


We now know that this place was a lot more terrible than even people like me had thought. There is such a thing as absolute evil. I think people just simply didn't recognize it. They rationalized it away. I cannot tell you with what fury I listened to people tell me throughout the autumn that I must be on a kamikaze mission. They said it with a great deal of glee, over the years, that this was not a place like the others.

I did a piece on Uday Hussein and his use of the National Olympic Committee headquarters as a torture site. It's not just journalists who turned a blind eye. Juan Antonio Samaranch of the International Olympic Committee could not have been unaware that Western human rights reports for years had been reporting the National Olympic Committee building had been used as a torture center. I went through its file cabinets and got letter after letter from Juan Antonio Samaranch to Uday Saddam Hussein: "The universal spirit of sport," "My esteemed colleague." The world chose in the main to ignore this.


There is corruption in our business. We need to get back to basics. This war should be studied and talked about. In the run up to this war, to my mind, there was a gross abdication of responsibility. You have to be ready to listen to whispers.

The media protects us from the horrible realities of thudding bodies at the World Trade Centre, they do a quickie on the mass graves, and they do not understand how angry we are they have failed us.

My excerpts do not do this piece justice. It deserves to be read and bookmarked.

Posted by Debbye at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

Yassir Arafat's murderous beginnings

Sept. 16 - Robert Fulford's column in the National Post, Yasir Arafat and the politics of denial, spells out some harsh home truths about Arafat's murderous beginnings and how we were determined to make that "sacred monster" look respectable and peace-seeking:

Yasir Arafat ended his speech to the UN General Assembly on Nov. 13, 1974 with the words, "I come bearing an olive branch and a freedom-fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand."

It was an obnoxious child's insolent threat. Arafat was saying that the adults (the West, the UN, etc.) were responsible for his actions, however murderous they might turn out to be. He himself could go either way.

Certainly he was innocent. All Palestinians were victims of imperialist aggression, which meant they couldn't be called terrorists and were not responsible for what they did. He also said his people would create a catastrophe if they were not appeased.

Like a devious child, he appealed to the uneasy guilt of his listeners, who knew he was working a scam but nevertheless ended up taking him seriously.


No one will ever deny that he's been a force in the history of the Middle East for 35 years, but the Rubins' book convinced me that he also holds a significant place in the history of thought. The way we think and talk about Arafat demonstrates the nature of the political philosophy we live by (as opposed to the philosophy we study in books). The treatment of this sacred monster demonstrates our chronic inability to see the meaning of even the most obvious contemporary events.

Our smug belief that we can buy off our enemies, our perverse desire to flatter those who say they hate us, our need to persuade ourselves that killers are really moderates in disguise, our willingness to accept any absurdity so long as it helps us avoid facing reality -- all these tendencies play themselves out in our attitudes to Arafat. Above all, we refuse to believe threats we don't want to hear, such as Arafat's consistent threat to destroy Israel. Even in Israel itself, it's hard to see him clearly. As recently as 1997, I discovered in Jerusalem a widespread belief that a politician who remained suspicious of Arafat was probably bigoted and belligerent. By then Israel was an Arafat sponsor, having helped set up the Palestinian Authority to make him a "peace partner." (The half-demolished building in which he sits this morning is a former Israeli Defence Force headquarters.)

Perhaps the future will look on our treatment of Arafat as we now regard those who believed successfully that they could make deals with Mussolini, Stalin, and Hitler -- or those who insisted that Mao was a good-hearted agrarian reformer. Perhaps our descendants will understand the comedy in our pious invocation of that dangerous phantom we call "world opinion."

With luck, they will be wiser.

Good read, and definitely not the kind of message you're likely to see on CBC anytime soon.

(Via Paul who also has a good post on a recent book by a Canadian Muslim who believes that reform can come from Muslims in the West but has had to take extraordinary security precautions up here.

Posted by Debbye at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 16 - There is

Sept. 16 - There is a story in today's Globe and Mail which seems to indicate that the detention of Ahmad Kutty last week may not have been due to ethnic profiling or flying on the wrong day (Sept. 11) after all, but may, as initial reports implied, have been due to communications between Canadian and American security intelligence agencies.

According to this, Mr. Kutty's name may have been flagged because of some comments he made on a website:

A Canadian imam who was detained in the United States last week once wrote that Muslims in Iraq should rise up to "force the occupiers to leave their lands" and called U.S. President George W. Bush's administration a "cabal of Zionists and new conservatives."

Ahmad Kutty said in an interview yesterday that he does not believe such statements represent the bulk of his teachings and do not explain why U.S. authorities detained him on suspicion of terrorism when he arrived in Florida from Toronto on Sept. 11.

"I don't think so," said Mr. Kutty, 59, an India-born Canadian who now lives in Toronto.


Mr. Kutty's son Faisal, a lawyer long involved in Muslim civil-liberties cases, said it's unlikely that U.S. agents used any information from CSIS or from the Internet as grounds to detain his father and a fellow Islamic scholar, Abdool Hamid, on their way to religious events in Orlando.

"Neither were being asked those kinds of questions, like what are your views on Iraq," Faisal Kutty said. ". . . It was primarily about what are they doing, do they know organizations or individuals."

Maybe because, unlike in a police state, Mr. Kutty's beliefs are irrelevant? People are not being arrested for what they believe, however much the media up here likes to imply otherwise. But then, we're talking about people who actually believe the Neoconservative-Zionist-Nazis control the USA.
Asked about the Bush government's treatment of Muslims, he wrote that the community should "use all available constitutional and legal means and formulate a long-term strategy" that would "defeat this cabal of Zionists and new conservatives who have embarked on a destructive campaign."

Last night, Mr. Kutty explained that he wrote the last statement while being influenced by media programs. "That's not typical of me; I don't deal with political issues. . . . I do counselling; I do advice, all aspects of spirituality and religious life."

Those darned media programs again. They make people do the craziest things.

(Link via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 16 - There's a

Sept. 16 - There's a fair amount of information about happenings in Iraq, including the news that U.S. explosives experts have detonated an improvised explosive device that Iraqi police found near the Jordanian and Tunisian embassies in Baghdad, according to police sources.

An Iraqi police officer discovered the device along a highway in Baghdad, saying it looked like a big brick with wires sticking out of it. The bomb contained up to four kilograms (nine pounds) of TNT, according to Iraqi police.

U.S. bomb disposal experts detonated the device around 7:15 a.m. local time.


The Iraqi Governing Council has agreed to create a security committee and a 450-strong police force for shrines in the Muslim Shiite holy city of Najaf, according to the office of council member Mohammed Barhul Uloom.

Uloom, a moderate cleric, had suspended his membership in the council in protest of a massive car bombing last month at the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf. The blast killed at least 83 people -- including the spiritual leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq -- and wounded hundreds.

Uloom's office said he has resumed his council membership.

Posted by Debbye at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 16 - Remember UK

Sept. 16 - Remember UK MP George Galloway, who urged British soldiers to disobey orders in Iraq, openly supported Saddam Hussein against the coalition, and was implicated by documents retrieved in Iraq as being on Saddam's payroll?

The books of one of his charities is being investigated and he has been suspended from the Labour Party, but he does have one friend: union boss Tom Woodley, the new Transport and General Workers' Union leader.

The union rank and file is not amused.

Posted by Debbye at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 16 - This may

Sept. 16 - This may be a hopeful sign as Nigeria delivers summit ultimatum to Mugabe.

Nigeria has bluntly told President Robert Mugabe that he will be excluded from the next Commonwealth summit unless he agrees to share power with the Zimbabwean opposition, a senior Commonwealth official said yesterday.

Tony Blair and several other leaders have made clear they will boycott the meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, in December if Mr Mugabe attends.

President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, the summit host, has decided to sacrifice solidarity among African countries to avoid a deep white-black split within the Commonwealth. A well-placed diplomatic source said he sent an envoy to Harare during the summer to "explain the decision".

Mr Mugabe was told that he could attend only if he made "substantial progress" towards forming a government of national unity with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

However, there is little sign that repeated South African attempts to mediate such a political deal will yield results any time soon. Rather than easing the political repression of the opposition, Zimbabwean police have effectively shut down the country's only independent daily newspaper, the Daily News.

The article is a good round-up of what the Commonwealth is and is not doing about Mugabe, and comments on the strong stand that has been taken by Australian PM John Howard.

Posted by Debbye at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 16 - An Albanian

Sept. 16 - An Albanian coalition soldier has been killed and 11 Iraqis hurt in a grenade attack in Mosul.

"On September 15 a group of Albanian soldiers were attacked at 4pm (10pm AEST) in front of the city hall in Mosul when a grenade was thrown at them," said a spokeswoman.

The Albanian later died of his injuries, added Lieutenant Colonel George Krivo. Iraqi security forces later deactivated a crude bomb they found at the site, the army said.

Albania, which has less than 100 troops in Iraq, is one of more than 30 countries that have sent troops to Iraq to help stabilise the country.

Our thanks and condolences to Lt. Col. Krivo's family.

Posted by Debbye at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 16 - I remember

Sept. 16 - I remember the first time I voted. I went into a booth, picked up a stamp with the letter "X" on it, pressed it into a stamp pad, and put the "X" next to my chosen candidates.

Voting shouldn't be rocket science, but evidently the courts think it is because California is told to postpone recall because the voting machines are not uniform across the state.

However did we manage to elect George Washington?

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus agrees!

Posted by Debbye at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 16 - I am

Sept. 16 - I am still angry with CNN for their deliberate failure to report the news honestly from Baghdad when Saddam's Minister of Information (remember him?) was in charge. Now I read this article in which my least favourite CNN reporter, Christiane Amanpour, whines that CNN practiced self-censorship during Gulf War II.

CNN's top war correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war. And, she says CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of fear and self-censorship."

As criticism of the war and its aftermath intensifies, Amanpour joins a chorus of journalists and pundits who charge that the media largely toed the Bush administrationline in covering the war and, by doing so, failed to aggressively question the motives behind the invasion.


Brown then asked Amanpour if there was any story during the war that she couldn't report.

"It's not a question of couldn't do it, it's a question of tone," Amanpour said. "It's a question of being rigorous. It's really a question of really asking the questions. All of the entire body politic in my view, whether it's the administration, the intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass destruction. I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels."

Ah, tone. Colour me suprised that she wanted to report on what things "looked like" rather than things as they were. You were wrong, bitch. The Arab street did not rise up, there was no house-to-house fighting, and no US casualties in six figures in either Afghanistan or Iraq. Admit you misread the future and get over it.

Still, as someone who faithfully watched both DoD and CentCom briefings, I will reflect briefly to wonder just exactly what she might consider "fear and self-censorship": the incessant cries of Quagmire early on in the war, the armchair generals who missed the fact that land forces were charging up the middle without being preceeded by a horrendous pounding of towns and villages by air, or the reporters at the CentCom briefings who even had jokes as to who would ask the Daily WMD question?

How about the incessant cracks that the soldiers were unprepared and had only played war games on computers? Sheesh, even I recognized that, when the troops halted, then were not "bogged down" but building up their hit points. That's pretty basic stuff, CNN.

[Former Pentagon spokeswoman Tory] Clarke called the disinformation charge "categorically untrue" and added, "In my experience, a little over two years at the Pentagon, I never saw them (the media) holding back. I saw them reporting the good, the bad and the in between."
She would know, having been stuck answering their editorials-disguised-as-questions.
Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti said of Amanpour's comments: "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."
Nice shot. I too remember the system under Saddam, you know where CNN smothered stories and paid bribes just so they could have an office in Baghdad which functioned more as a mouthpiece for Saddam than honest reporting.

Obviously Amanpour preferred being fed stories by Baghdad Bob. Life was so much easier then.

(USA Today link via Neale News.)

UPDATE: Instapundit links to a piece by NY Times' John Burns about media corruption in Iraq and calls it journalism's Nuremburg. And Day by Day gets in another good shot.

Posted by Debbye at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2003

Sept. 15 - The Canadian

Sept. 15 - The Canadian has moved to a new server and format, so be sure to change your bookmarks to The Canukistanian.

I like his new format. At first I was worried about how to use the permalinks, but after I got used to it I liked being able to scan the "headlines" and link to the stories.

Yesterday's links included a hypothetical (or should that be hysterical) exchange between PM Chretien and Paul Martin from the Royal Canadian Air Farce (needs Real Player to view).

Posted by Debbye at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 15 - Paul has

Sept. 15 - Paul has some information on some military maneuvers on the North Korean border by an unlikely country.

Posted by Debbye at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 15 - The California

Sept. 15 - The California recall movement can only be helped by Clinton stumping for Davis:

"I don't want you to become a laughingstock, a carnival or the beginning of a circus in America where we just throw people out whenever they make a tough decision," Clinton said.

He said recalling Davis "would spread instability and uncertainty among your people and across the country."

Former Pres. Clinton is evidently unaware that the recall effort was instigated because Gov. Davis failed to make the hard calls.

Some of us think that signing a bill that permits illegal aliens to obtain drivers licenses spreads instability and uncertainty because a drivers license had always been regarded as THE valid piece of ID one offers at borders and government offices as well as stores.

As for California becoming a laughingstock, I'm a native Californian, and it's long been a point of pride that California is the font of the weird and wacky, aka, a laughingstock.

Posted by Debbye at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 15 - Powell's visit

Sept. 15 - Powell's visit to Iraq and both his observations about the progress being made and the current debate in the UN are nicely summed up in this quote:

Referring to this spring's U.N. debate between Washington and Paris over the Iraq war, Mr. Powell said, "We were right. They were wrong. And I am here."
More information about the challenge of rebuilding Iraq highlights the security problems that are on-going, and a piece in the Opinion Journal by Martin Peretz takes aim at NGO's that are abandoning Iraq:
But it is the departure of NGOs, with their relentless pretense to be the conscience of humanity amidst all its depravity, that truly rankles. And they run the gamut: Oxfam, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Save the Children, Swedish Rescue Services, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, Médecins sans Frontières, Merlin. On Aug. 20, Oxfam said it was staying; by Aug. 28, it was gone. According to the Financial Times, the ICRC's venture in Iraq had been one of the world's largest humanitarian operations. Now two-thirds of its foreign staff is gone, and more are on their way. Save the Children claimed on its Web site to have the "largest presence in Iraq." It has just about vanished. According to the Mercury of Australia, "there are dozens of non-governmental aid and support groups working in Iraq . . . and most of them were studying whether to reduce foreign staff, or already had." A spokesman for Caritas said simply, "most of them are reducing their staff as much as possible" and spiriting them out to safety.

Many of these international aid agencies somehow felt uncompromised in Saddam's Iraq, adhering to the enshrined doctrine of humanitarian relief that they are beyond politics or "metapolitical." No one can deny that they were blunting the force of U.N. sanctions against Saddam, and thereby making his rule more tolerable. But starvation is not a policy of the U.S., and Americans freely contributed to the easing of Iraqi distress.

So much for the lofty, humanitarians of the world community.

A break from the usual dismal analysis from Yahoo! News is the caption on this photo:

... In the five months since U.S. forces rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s rule, the country's ethnically and religiously diverse people have, in one giant leap, overturned decades of social and political injustice, replaced a brutal one-party system with a multitude of groups advocating a rich range of ideologies and created a free press.
(Opinion Journal link and Yahoo photo via Instapundit.)

Posted by Debbye at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2003

Sept. 14 - That immediately

Sept. 14 - That immediately handing power over to a country that is devoid of tested leadership due to Saddam's butchering ways would lead to disintegration in Iraq is so self-evident I can't believe it's even a debating point, but then I guess I am still capable of being surprised by the perfidy of the French.

The one element that is vital for freedom in any country is knowing that the opposition can afford to lose an election because there will be another chance during the next election.

Considering how many times in French history alone successive regimes rose and fell and how many times hopes for freedom were dashed in newly liberated French colonies, one might have hoped the French would have, you know, learned something. Well they did, of course: they learned cynicism.

I am beginning to think that Def. Secy. Rumsfeld miscalled it: rather than Old Europe, it's Senile Europe.

The story is from Reuters because I am an equal time agitator. Note the picture of the child with the big eyes (my mind, on the other hand, is still haunted by the prisons and mass graves of children.)

Posted by Debbye at 06:33 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 14 - News Junkie

Sept. 14 - News Junkie Canada has several good items today: a good look at the large numbers of illegal immigrants in the USA and their difficulties in tracking them down (made somewhat easier by the lack of "privacy" concerns), and a link and comments on the case of Mansour Ahani which deserves to be read. I felt some outrage by these revelations, but was more depressed: his self-serving lies and admission that he was coached in those lies by those paid to gain him refugee status here make me want to say "Sir, have you no shame?" Bastards; every one of those liars hurt the genuine refugee cases.

NJ also reveals some highly wasteful expenses by the BBC (something we in Canada are much too familiar with) and more on the future of Arafat. What doesn't the PA understand about the refusal to deal with a proven terrorist and liar?

On Arafat: I am hesitant to comment overly on Arafat because my solution ends with "but make it look like natural causes" but I do share the US government's concern that Arafat roaming freely in Europe is likely to be worse than Arafat amid the ruins of Ramallah, and I strongly fear that killing him could result in some Arab nations unleashing everything they have on Israel (which could well include Saddam's missing WMD).

Were there a true International Criminal Court, or if the UN and EU were actually dedicated to honour and integrity, Arafat could possibly be tried for embezzlement if the documents retrieved last year by the IDF could stand up in court, but I've already seen enough of the moral cowardice of Old Europe to be extremely skeptical.

David Warren gives some reasons why the explusion would be for the good. I guess I shy away from urging a course of action that might put other people in danger. I didn't let the poential risk of WMD or Iraqi terrorists operating in US cities deter my support of the Iraq War, but it's something altogether different to urge a course of action that puts people of another country at risk.

Sobering stuff.

Posted by Debbye at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 14 -- It's always

Sept. 14 -- It's always nice to read someone sees the same trends as I. Tony Blankley, in Political war profiteers, writes:

Our Founding Fathers got it almost completely wrong. They worried about an uninformed and easily excitable public losing its mind and demanding short-sighted government actions that would undercut our long-term interests. They feared mobs running wild in the streets. So they designed a form of government — and particularly the Senate — that would be slow to act or react to the passing public tempests. But it turns out that the public is the cool, mature and stoic element of our society, while the Washington politicians — particularly the senators — and the media that cover them are running wild, shreiking "all is lost" in Iraq and the war on terrorism. [Emphasis added]


While the political class is coming down with a bad case of cowardice in the face of the enemy, the American public, according to the latest polls, remains calm and determined. According to yesterday's ABC poll, the public supports the U.S. military presence in Iraq by 67-30 percent. Sixty-eight percent support the troops and the Bush administration policy on Iraq. Only 29 percent support the troops but oppose Mr. Bush's policy. By 52-45 percent, the public believes that the United States is doing a "good" or "excellent" job restoring order. And, by an impressive 65-31 percent, Americans believe that the Iraq war is part of the war on terrorism.

According to the most recent Gallup Poll, released September 5 and September 8, while the percent of Americans worried about being personally a victim of a terrorist attack has gone up from 30 percent to 41 percent, they nonetheless approve of Mr. Bush's anti-terrorism policy by 66-31 percent. And overall , they give him a high 59 percent job approval rating, expressly because of his performance on Iraq and foreign affairs. These numbers reflect a strong vote of confidence in the president, especially in light of the last few months of terrible media coverage and mixed results in Iraq.

The American public clearly understands we live in hard and dangerous times. They understand that this president, any president, will not always judge future events presciently or execute policy flawlessly. But they trust him overall. If the Democrats hope to defeat him next year, they are going to have to offer something more than their current cynicism, defeatism and fear in the face of the enemy. The polling suggests that the American people will demand a commitment to victory.

The insistence on victory is not because we're arrogant or incapable of accepting failure; it's because we know how high the stakes are.

Whereas the American people have been firm in their resolve, much of the media perversely continues its campaign to change the views of the American people. It has never occurred to the liberal media that the conclusions and assessments of the majority of the American people are correct and that they, the media, are wrong.

Contary to popular (i.e., Canadian) opinion, Americans recognize propaganda when we see it. We recognize propaganda from our government, other governments, special interest groups, our homegrown left and our religious right. That means that the media's attempts at propaganda -- the sneer in the voice, the lifted eyebrow of skepticism -- gets caught out pretty quickly.

We pay attention not only to what is said, but to what isn't said.

Some of the media is so out of touch with the American mind that they have even forgotten that one sure-fire way to piss off Americans is to patronize them. (Probably has something to do with that "all are created equal" belief.)

You see, I think most Americans instinctively understand one aspect as to why the media are trying so hard to deny that actual gains have been made in Afghanistan and Iraq: the media is unwilling to admit it was wrong. After their continual miscalculations during the Iraq war they excused themselves by saying many journalists "lack historical perspective." Since that translates to "journalists are stupid", most Americans nodded because we've long known that most journalists are stupid so we continue to assess, analyze, evaluate and draw our own conclusions.

You know who Americans do trust? People who call themselves reporters. Those folks know their job: it's to report the news, and let us interpret it for ourselves.

Much as it kills me to admit it, former Vice-President Spiro Agnew was right when he called the media "effete snobs."

Posted by Debbye at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

Zahra Kazemi (cont.)

Sept. 13 - A coalition of several journalism and human rights groups, including Kazemi's son, Stephan Hachemi, is pushing the Canadian government to pursue all legal avenues to obtain justice for Zahra Kazemi, the photojournalist killed while under detention in Iran last summer.

Specifically, the groups want Ottawa to:

- Investigate all cases of torture of Canadians abroad in accordance with the Criminal Code.

- Present Kazemi's case to the United Nations and ask it to lead an investigation through its Human Rights Commission.

- And submit an appeal to the International Court of Justice concerning violations of the Vienna Convention that prevented Kazemi, who had dual Iranian-Canadian citizenship, from getting proper consular protection.

Catherine Duhamel of the International Judicial Resources Centre said the coalition does not have wild expectations.

"It's a start," Duhamel told a news conference. "Two laws in Canada concerning Mrs. Kazemi's case are applicable. Why not use them? Start using them and see what happens."

Why not indeed?

Posted by Debbye at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2003

Sept. 13 -- Bernard-Henri Levy

Sept. 13 -- Bernard-Henri Levy expresses some Doubts About an Ally, Pakistan. Interesting.

(Via Andrew Sullivan.)

Posted by Debbye at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 13 - 20 killed

Sept. 13 - 20 killed in Kashmir violence:

SRINAGAR, India (AP) -- Suspected Islamic rebels killed a former lawmaker as gunbattles and other violence escalated across Indian-controlled Kashmir on Saturday, leaving 20 people dead and 37 wounded, police said.

India and Pakistani troops also traded artillery fire along the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between the two nations, but no casualties were reported, a police official said.

The former lawmaker, Kuka Parrey, 48, died when attackers lobbed grenades and fired at him, a police officer said on condition of anonymity. Four others also died and 20 were wounded in that attack.

Until 1994, Parrey was a top leader of the Ikhwan-ul Muslimeen militant group. But he later switched sides and was aiding government forces fighting the separatist rebels here.

Read the rest; there were more deaths from other incidents there, and the terrorist group named involved in the attacks is Lashkar-e-Taiba:
Lashkar-e-Tayyaba is one of a dozen Pakistani-based groups that have been fighting Indian security forces since 1979, seeking independence for Kashmir or its merger with Muslim-dominated Pakistan. The conflict has killed more than 63,000 people, mostly civilians.
Words fail me. How freakin' superficial the apologists for terrorism are.

Posted by Debbye at 05:39 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 13 -- Another serious

Sept. 13 -- Another serious one from Mark Steyn, who asks How can anyone be a bystander while someone is stabbed?

"It's terrible wherever it happens," said Fredrik Sanabria. "But you think you would be safe from this kind of violence in a country like Sweden."

Really? Why would you think that? Sweden's violent crime and murder rates have been going up, up, up over the past quarter-century. But just about every Swede quoted in every news story seems mired in what National Review's Dave Kopel described, after 9/11, as "the culture of passivity". The lone exception was Lanja Rashid, a Kurdish immigrant. "If I had been there at the stabbing, I would have ripped his face off," she said. "How could people just stand back and watch?"

You can blame it on a lack of police, as everyone's doing. But Miss Lindh's killer didn't get away with it because of the people who weren't there, but because of the people who were: the bystanders...

Indeed. Read the whole thing. Find me a closing comment that isn't copyrighted by somebody else.

Posted by Debbye at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 13 -- I really,

Sept. 13 -- I really, really need the nay-sayers to remind me again of the "failure" of the Bush administration to focus on the war on terrorism. They need to reconcile their anguished cries of "failure" with the actual victories of police agencies around the world who have apprehended those who planned and carried out terrorist attacks and, in the biggest success of them all, have prevented planned terrorist attacks.

I cheered when the Indian police brought justice to those who attacked the Indian Parliament in Dec., 2001, and I cheered again after I read yesterday that they had shot and killed the man responsible for last month's deadly bomb attacks in Mumbai.

Do you know anyone with family in Mumbai (Bombay)? I do, and trying to find words to reassure them brought home to me again the horror of waiting and hoping for news from the people you love when hell has been unleashed in their back yard.

But today there is the revelation that Mumbai bomber 'planning 9/11 raid':

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Indian police believe the mastermind behind was planning another attack on September 11, one day before he was shot and killed by police.

Police learned Friday the suspected mastermind -- identified only as Nassir -- was traveling in a car with another man, who police did not identify.

When police tried to stop the car Friday night, the two men inside the car started shooting.

Police shot and killed the two men.

Mumbai Police Commissioner R.S. Sharma said police discovered documents, along with weapons, in the suspected mastermind's car that led them to a house, where the two men are believed to have lived.

There, they found explosives and detonators.

Police believe the men were planning another attack on September 11, but postponed it because of heavy security, Sharma said. (Emphasis added)

Nassir is the head of Gujarat Muslim Revenge Force, a group affiliated with the Kashmiri separatist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, Deputy Commissioner of Police Pradeep Sawant said.

Police say Nassir orchestrated the August 25 twin bomb blasts in Mumbai -- formerly Bombay -- that killed 53 people and wounded more than 150.

The explosives, placed inside the trunks of taxi cabs, struck a gateway to an Indian monument and a crowded marketplace.

Two other men and two women have been charged in connection with the attack.

Sawant said Nassir assembled the explosives and provided them to the people who carried out the attack.

Explain to me why a political sector that uses a word like "empowerment" fails to understand that, by making this an international effort led by the USA, police agencies throughout the world have been "empowered" to close down terrorist cells.

Let those who must focus on the capture of one man, bin Laden, prattle away. I'm content to see his and all webs of terror dismantled because that will truly save lives.

We'll get bin Laden sooner or later (if we haven't already), but it is beyond stupid to focus on one man and ignore the international scope of the war.

Posted by Debbye at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

UK Muslims call for crack-down

Sept. 13 --- British Muslims condemn radicals and call upon the Blair government to crackdown on militants living in the UK:

Mohammed Nasim, chairman of the moderate Central Mosque in Birmingham - previously named the Saddam Hussein Mosque in honor of its sponsor - accused the British authorities of "letting ordinary Muslims down by not taking a stronger stance."

Both men want to see arrests and prosecutions of radical Muslims, especially when they publicly spout hatred and make threats.

The government has to do its part and intervene when people cause racial hatred, Mr. Nasim said.

"This group is giving Islam a bad name and the Home Office is letting all Muslims down by refusing to act when it openly incites violence."

Especially when we consider how much of that violence is directed against Muslims who disagree with the militants. Ask the Muslims in Indonesia, India, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan . . .

(Via On the Third Hand)

UPDATE: Here is an interview with the leader of the Muslim Salafi al-Muhajiroun Movement, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammad, who explains why it would be permissible to assassinate PM Tony Blair should he be in a Muslim country.

Posted by Debbye at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 13 - Paul asks

Sept. 13 - Paul asks an important question which deserves an answer.

Posted by Debbye at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2003

Sept. 12 - From ScrappleFace.

Sept. 12 - From ScrappleFace. who reports that reruns of old OBL episodes will finally be available as Bin Laden, Al Jazeera Ink Syndication Deal.

Posted by Debbye at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

Note: If you are not

Note: If you are not aware of the Blogger War, go here. Also, I had misspelled the name of Liberal Party leader Dalton McGuinty and have corrected it. (No, I'm not a fan.)

Sept. 12 -- Either Frank J. has been shamelessly ripped off by the Tories or there's a Blogger Alliance mole on the Tory campaign staff who, sensing how little leadership is available up here, is cynically using the provinical election campaign to further the goals of the BA. Get this:

TORONTO -- The key issue of public health care finally surfaced on the campaign trail to the Ontario election on Friday, but was quickly eclipsed by a particularly bizarre Tory slur against Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty.

''Dalton McGuinty: He's an evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet,'' said a release from Eves's campaign headquarters, e-mailed to news organizations across the province on Friday morning in the latest, and oddest, Tory attack on the Liberal leader. (Emphasis added)

Ominously, however, there may be some truth to the rumour (note the elevation from Slur to Rumour):
But he [McGuinty] added with a laugh: ''I love kittens, and I like puppies too. I have eaten calf, I'll admit to that.''
He admitted it! He only left out the recipe and that he uses a blender to achieve a smoother taste!

There is a third possibility: could Frank J. actually be Ernie Eves, premier of Ontario?

Think back on all the stuff he's written about Canada -- trying to cover his tracks, maybe? Who other than a Canadian knows that the plural of moose is meese? Huh?

And remember how concerned he was during the SARS outbreak, and the excellent advice he posted on combating it?

I know, now you're wondering if Glenn Reynolds is actually Liberal Party leader Dalton McGuinty. As. If. (Liberals up here are so left of the Democrats as to make Dean blush in blue.)

The quotes are real, and I remain a staunch supporter of the Neutral Until Bribed (Or Drunk) Coalition.

(National Post link via Neale News which means I have to hit the Canadian Blog Trail because surely someone else has seen this.)

UPDATE: The Toronto Sun has more, including this from Dr. Bruce Halliday, 77, a former Tory MP: Halliday said he's disappointed with the way politicians are portrayed in the media because the vast majority are genuine and sincere. I wish I believed that, at least the majority part.

Posted by Debbye at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 12 - I always

Sept. 12 - I always enjoy reading Ghost of a flea because I never know what the subject will be, but I know it will be thought-provoking and exhibit the same kind of humanity which I love in James Lileks.

Today's entry, Flea: Lord Jim, touches on some things that are close to my thoughts today. How do you get from Lord Jim to Indiana Jones to the war on terror to Babylon 5? He does it.

I had damned near quoted the whole thing, but realized the folly and deleted as only a sentence or paragraph just won't do.

Just go there. He makes a wager with his readers that he isn't going to lose.

Posted by Debbye at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 12 - Even as

Sept. 12 - Even as evening began to fall on that Tuesday two years ago, rumours of conversations between telephone operators and passengers aboard that plane led to speculation that Flight 93 went down in a remote Pennsylvania field because the passengers aboard chose to fight back.

As more rumours leaked out, I suddenly knew with absolute clarity that the story as told by one operator was true, because nothing could be more quintessentially American that voting with a show of hands [screw consensus, we commit by voting], reciting the Lord's Prayer and saying "Let's Roll" to initiate an offense against near insurmountable odds.

Democracy, religion, and modern slang came together to result in one of the most courageous acts of US history.

I will never betray them by appeasing their murderers. I will hold faith with them because they sacrificed their lives to give us hope and victory when we were most hurt by reminding us of some of our cherished beliefs: It ain't over 'till it's over. Give me liberty, or give me death. I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.

This is the day after Sept. 11. This is the day that two years ago, we ordinary Americans debated if the terrorists were sent by al Qaeda sheltered in Afghanistan or the Saddam regime in Iraq, how fiercely we would avenge our dead, and what weaspons in our arsenal we would use.

Fuck those in the world who label Pres. Bush a cowboy. They should just be damned grateful that wiser and cooler heads than mine were in charge of crafting a response.

I'm sorry that so many Westerners don't know their own history. I'm sorry that people are actually so ignorant as to try to equate the Bush administration with Nazism. I think it's nice that schoolchildren learn about Kenyan folktales, and I think it's actually possible to teach them both our history and culture as well as the histories and cultures of other lands.

But, sadly, their lack of understanding is irrelevant. We cannot stop the great neccesity of confronting terrorists NOW just because so many are ignorant or find it inconvenient.

History has passed to those who are determined that the mistakes of the past not be repeated, so in 2001 we rectified a mistake we made in 1939 when we didn't join with the free peoples of Europe in fighting against Nazi Germany.

Finally, whenever someone bemoans that Americans, despite the absence of any evidence, connect Sept. 11 with Iraq, they would do well to remember that they too probably had Saddam Hussein on their short list of suspects.

Well, didn't you?

Americans already knew that the regime in Iraq was hostile and willing to strike against the USA.

Americans already knew that the vulnerabilities exposed by that act endangered us even more to our enemies, and that, as enemies have done throughout history, our enemies would seek to join forces to destroy us. Those of us who know world history use it to inform our opinions of policies and decisions.

When I made my daily drop-in at Mark Steyn's webpage, I smiled because he too remembered that Sept. 11 was A Hopeful Ending. Excerpts:

But the clearest way to understand the meaning of the day is to look at those who were called upon to act rather than theorise. We now know that the fourth plane, United Flight 93, the one that shattered across a field in Pennsylvania, was heading for the White House. Had they made it, it would have been the strike of the day.

The most significant development of September 11th is that it marks the day America began to fight back: thanks to the heroes of Flight 93, 9/11 is not just Pearl Harbor but also the Doolittle Raid, all wrapped up in 90 minutes. Those passengers were the only victims who knew what the hijackers had in store for them, and so they acted.

Of course, they didn't have to fight back. They chose to defy their murderers, and a grateful nation remembers and honours them.

Posted by Debbye at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 12 - Preliminary reports

Sept. 12 - Preliminary reports are sketchy, but it looks like gunfire mistakenly exchanged at around 1 a.m. between members of the US military, Iraqi police force and Jordanian military field hospital personnel resulted in At least 10 dead in Iraq.

A gunfight that began between Iraqi police and men who fired on them from a car began a chase that escalated when US forces, believing themselves under attack, returned fire and Jordainian forces guarding a field hospital, believing they were under attack, also fired.

Posted by Debbye at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 12 - The Toronto

Sept. 12 - The Toronto Sun had a nice round-up of Canadian events which included a ceremony at Parliament Hill organized at the last minute by opposition leader Stephen Harper, remembrances at local firehalls, a memorial by the Toronto Police, a service at a Mississauga church and even a moment of silence at the Toronto City policy and finance committee meeting.

There were also flowers, candles and prayers left in front of the American Consulate here in Toronto, and although the Consulate's flag was at half-mast, the Canadian flags that line University Avenue were not.

I think the failure to lower the flags is that Canadians are supposed to forget that September 11 was an act of war.

President Bush didn't forget. After visiting the servicemen and women wounded in Iraq at Walter Reed Hospital and personally awarding the Purple Cross, the president said:

Laura and I are here to thank brave souls who got wounded in the war on terror, people who were willing to sacrifice in order to make sure that attacks such as September the 11th don't happen again.
Never forget.

Posted by Debbye at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 12 - News Junkie

Sept. 12 - News Junkie Canada deals with a column in the National Post by Lawrence Solomon of the Urban Renaissance Institute who contends that urbanites favour gay rights, abortion and the environment and they oppose capital punishment and immigration bashing.

As News Junkie points out, he offers no evidence to support this claim, merely the smug assumption that because they live in the Big City, urbanites are naturally more progressive and going to believe in the same things Mr. Solomon espouses.

The curious thing about this column is that it speaks about the provincial election and seems oblivious to the fact that there is a civic election looming.

What is this mentality that demands that the provincial government ignore rural communities and be responsive only to urban areas when we are supposed to have our own civil structure to deal with urban issues?

It doesn't take a poll to find out that Torontonians are alarmed at the increasing gun fire in our neighbourhoods, the litter on the streets, the homeless in downtown parks and the pan-handlers who dart between cars when they are stopped for a red light.

It doesn't take a poll to find how many hospitality workers have been laid off due to Whatever Reason Of The Day Works For You: Sept. 11, SARS, mad-cow disease, relentless America-bashing in the Toronto Star . . .

Yes indeed, Toronto is in real trouble and it's because the focus has been on too many special interest groups and not enough on the people who foot the bill and are those who actually drive the engine of this city.

But there is still something called the secret ballot in this country, and how people vote cannot be measured by how loudly they talk.

N.B.: I was curious (okay, suspicious) about a group that would call itself "Urban Renaissance" so checked out the url cited at the end of the column; it led to the kind of search engines one often finds at dead links. How appropriate.

Posted by Debbye at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2003

Sept. 11 - A boycott

Sept. 11 - A boycott is being urged on all CDs in protest of the RIAA and their crackdown on file sharers by Van der Leun at American Digest: No CDs for the Holidays: 2003 - Make It Happen

You have to be utterly unconnected to everything not to have noticed that the recording industry, represented by RIAA, has decided to get medieval on its customer base. The latest moronic move by this organization to halt P2P file sharing is a deluge of subpoenas and lawsuits designed to 'really teach music downloaders a lesson.'

Will it work? It will for those unfortunate enough to "win" this Lawsuit Lottery. Nothing like the prospect of large legal bills and crippling fines to make the "bad" consumers of music see the error of their ways.

Is it fair? Not by a long shot. The Register estimates that it will take RIAA over 2,000 years to sue everybody at the current rate.

Read the article.

Posted by Debbye at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 11 - The Canukistanians

Sept. 11 - The Canukistanians had picked up an announcement about the UK's al Muhajiroun announcing their latest fataw; it has been confirmed that one was indeed issued which states that British and American Muslims who have joined the police, army, House of Lords, CIA or FBI are guilty of gross acts of aposty.

Al Muhajiroun made that announcement in its offices after the venues for the four planned conferences cancelled their bookings. They had planned to honour their "Magnificent 19" (the name they have given to honour the 19 murderers that struck in the USA two years ago.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 11 - Thank you

Sept. 11 - Thank you to all the other Torontonians who left flowers, candles, prayers and cards outside the American Consulate today. It was good to see that others pay their respects.

Here's another Tribute and one from Bill Whittle who pays his respects to the spirit of Americans:

There has never been a better people, and don’t you forget it

Posted by Debbye at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 11 - Remember when

Sept. 11 - Remember when we were kids and waved to the men and women on the firetrucks?

>From the New York Post

"When I am called to duty, God, wherever flames may rage, give me the strength to save some life, whatever be its age . . . help me embrace a little child, before it's too late, or save an older person from the horror of that fate . . . and if according to your will, I have to lose my life, please bless with your protecting hand my children and my wife."- A firefighter's prayer, anonymous
This prayer precedes a summary of the life of Peter J. Ganci, chief of the Fire Dept., lost on Sept. 11.

Never forget.

Posted by Debbye at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 11 - Toronto firefighters

Sept. 11 - Toronto firefighters at 19 firehalls will salues their 343 comrades lost at WTC today.

At 10 a.m. sharp, firefighters will pull their trucks onto the platform in front of the hall.

At 10:05 they will observe a moment of silence and lower their flags to remember the time of the South Tower collapse.

One minute later, they will return to their quarters, leaving the trucks on the platform.

At 10:28, firefighters will once again return to their trucks for another moment of silence to recognize the collapse of the North Tower.

They will then raise their flags and sound the sirens for 10 seconds before returning to the hall.

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Mississauga will hold a special service to honour emergency service personnel at 11 a.m, and the Toronto Stock Exchange will have 4 moments of silence.

Posted by Debbye at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2003

Sept. 10 -- I had

Sept. 10 -- I had read this earlier today, but was struck anew as more information about the alleged bin Laden tape made it online. An book review from Front Page Magazine, Shattering Taboos of Radical Islam, of Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Continues to Threaten America and the West by Robert B. Spencer, addressed one of the unresolved questions I had, namely the fragging of officers of the 101st Airborne (Screaming Eagles) by one Sgt. Asan Akbar. (Had an embed not been attached to that unit, we probably would never have known that the soldier who committed this act was also a Muslim.)

It forced me to think about one of those things I don't want to think about: the prospect of a Fifth Column in the USA that extends even into our military.

I resist the possibility because that kind of paranoia has the potential to destroy the best of what and who we are: tolerant. (Please: anyone who doubt that this is a tolerant society has obviously never been in downtown SF or Toronto at 2 a.m., m'kay?)

The reason the alleged bin Laden tape reminded me of this thing that I don't want to think about was the ubiquitous use of the word crusader, and this article explores the nature of jihad.

I remember a news spot during the war in Afghanistan when a man explained that clearing land mines in Afghanistan was jihad. I also regularly donated to the United Crusade back in the day.

Yet I also witnessed a horrifying example of jihad on Sept. 11, and I know that the Crusades were conducted with bloodthirsty indifference to civilians.

The difference, of course, is that the Crusades were 800 years ago, and the jihad is happening now, and the relativists notwithstanding, a lot of things have changed since then.

Thirteen years ago (September, 1990) Bat Ye’or made these prescient observations regarding the struggle against what she termed the “Islamist trend,” by its myriad victims:

“…this effort cannot succeed without a complete recasting of mentalities, the desacralization of the historic jihad and an unbiased examination of Islamic imperialism. Without such a process, the past will continue to poison the present and inhibit the establishment of harmonious relationships. When all is said and done, such self-criticism is hardly exceptional. Every scourge, such as religious fanaticism, the crusades, the inquisition, slavery, apartheid, colonialism, Nazism and, today, communism, are analyzed, examined, and exorcized in the West. Even Judaism- harmless in comparison with the power of the Church and the Christian empires- caught, in its turn, in the great modernization movement, has been forced to break away from some traditions. It is inconceivable that Islam, which began in Mecca and swept through three continents, should alone avoid a critical reflection on the mechanisms of its power and expansion. The task of assessing their history must be undertaken by the Muslims themselves…there is room to hope that the ending of the contentious dhimmi past will open the way to harmonization of the whole human family….”

Sadly, more than a decade later, Robert Spencer demonstrates that dhimmitude is still ignored or obfuscated, and most Muslim (and many Western) intellectuals continue to justify the jihad concept as an inoffensive spiritual engagement with one’s own evil instincts, or purely “defensive” combat for “justice.” Let us hope the author’s elegant, uncompromising analyses prompt intellectual and media elites in general, and the Muslim intelligentsia and media, in particular, to begin the long overdue process of a (self-) critical reflection on the uniquely Islamic institutions of jihad and dhimmitude. Only then can meaningful interfaith dialogue begin to facilitate sincere efforts at reconciliation between Muslim and non-Muslim societies and peoples.

(Link via Right On!.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 10 -- Here's a

Sept. 10 -- Here's a good one from VRWC:

A squad of Marines drove up the highway between Basra and Baghdad.

They came upon an Iraqi soldier badly injured and unconscious. Nearby on the opposite side of the road was an American soldier in a
similar state, but he was alert.

As first aid was given to both soldiers, they asked what had happened.

The Marine responded "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway. Coming south was a heavily armed Iraqi soldier".

"What happened then?" the corpsman asked.

"I told him Saddam Hussein was a miserable piece of crap, and then the Iraqi told me that Tom Daschle, Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton were miserable pieces of crap."

"We were shaking hands when the truck hit us.

Posted by Debbye at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 10 - OMG! Who

Sept. 10 -

OMG! Who is like unto Hitch?!
She is, especially in Hitchens on marking 9/11:
Time for America to cowboy the f*** up.
It's time to put down the hankies and continue the battle.
Islamofascism Delenda Est.=Victory!
What she said.

Posted by Debbye at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 10 -- President Bush

Sept. 10 -- President Bush is speaking at the FBI Academy in Quantico, and he mentioned those who rejoiced when they heard the towers had been hit. I believe this is the first time I've heard him refer to that ugly incident.

UPDATE: The exact words were: "The memories of September 11th will never leave us. We will not forget the burning towers and the last phone calls and the smoke over Arlington," Bush said in speech at an FBI laboratory.

"And we will never forget the servants of evil who plotted the attacks. And we will never forget those who rejoiced at our grief and our mourning."

The September 11 victims will be remembered in both local and ceremonies.

The sites where more than 3,000 people died that day -- Manhattan's ground zero, the Pentagon, and the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, -- will again be center stage for the day.

President Bush will observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane hit the trade center, and will attend a prayer service. Later in the day, he will meet troops wounded in Iraq.

A presidential proclamation designates September 11 as a national day of prayer and remembrance and as Patriot Day. (Emphasis added)

Vice President Dick Cheney will attend a memorial service at ground zero and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

At 10:06 a.m., bells will toll in the rural communities throughout southeast Pennsylvania, where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed. A 2,000-pound bell that was brought to the first anniversary of the attacks will toll 40 times -- once for each of the victims -- at the Living Memorials Project in Somerset County.

We will set aside this day to remember and to rededicate ourselves to this war.

It is so extra nice to see that bin Laden and al-Zawahiri want to be a part of the memorials too, and have purportedly released A Very Special New Tape just for us. CNN keeps talking about how frightening and onimous the tape is, and how it is calling for jihad in Iraq.

I felt so sorry for the CNN commentators that I sent them a quick email including the link to last February's taped message which was also a call for jihad in Iraq in an effort to boost their courage, and advised the muhajadeen on tactics.

Honestly, has there ever been a tape from bin Laden or al-Zawahiri that didn't call for jihad?

Posted by Debbye at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 10 -- From an

Sept. 10 -- From an editorial in the NY Post Small Nations, Big Hearts:

September 9, 2003 -- It's one of the ironies of the debates about liberated Iraq that the same anti- war, anti-Bush types who claim that America needs to "internationalize" the administration of Iraq are the ones speaking contemptuously about the 29 countries that have already contributed troops in varying numbers to the American-led coalition.
These allies include Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Holland, Honduras, Hungary, Italy (which has contributed some 3,000 troops), Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain and Ukraine.

Yes, most of these countries have only sent small detachments.

But most are small countries with tiny armed forces that have never before sent troops to distant parts of the globe.

And there's nothing comic-opera about the commitments made by Italy or Holland, both of which have been administering entire Iraqi provinces since July - or by Poland, which leads the multinational division that took over South Central Iraq last week.

The fact that these countries made the effort to join the U.S.-led War on Terror despite their limited resources is something to be admired.


They're right; some of us have focused too much on who isn't there instead of appreciating those who are there.

I need to remember this list the next time someone makes the claim that the Dutch, Norweigians, Italians or Danish were bought?

Posted by Debbye at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 10 -- Please link

Sept. 10 -- Please link to Silent Running: Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming and, if you're so moved, follow the link to a petition to award Cornishman Rick Rescorla The Medal of Freedom.

We don't forget.

(Via On the Third Hand.)

Posted by Debbye at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 10 -- Some of

Sept. 10 -- Some of the stories hurt more than others. I remember watching a Dan Rather report on CBS about a memorial service held at a D.C. school for a teacher and students who were passengers aboard Flight 77. They were travelling to Southern California to participate in a National Geographic conference. There were many memorial services nationwide, and other students from D.C. area schools, but that particular report stuck in my mind. (I remembered all that before even reading the article in the link.)

As you read the article, note the number of children (real children, like under the age of 12). Note the different schools. Think about the promise these kids showed. Wonder what went through their minds as the plane was hijacked, as they saw the knives, as they were herded into the back of the plane.

These kids must have been so excited to be embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. It still hurts to think of their teachers trying to reassure them. It still hurts that we lost a part of our future when they died.

Did their killers look them in the eyes?

May God grant their parents some measure of comfort in knowing that their deaths did not go unanswered.

Terror. The words terrorist and terrorism have become stale, but remember what the root word is: TERROR.

I was not afraid that day, except for fears that the people I loved were in danger. But even that day I was angry that I had to be afraid.

I'll never lose my anger, but I am content to channel it into eradicating terrorists from the earth.

Because, you see, I have moved forward: from horror, to grief, to implacable anger, to resolve, to action.

(Link via A Small Victory.)

UPDATE: In response to this from Cox and Forkum, I'm replacing the phrase moved on with moved forward.

Posted by Debbye at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

EU Constitution would set aside Queen

Sept. 10 -- According to this article in the Sun (UK), The Queen would no longer be the head of state if PM Blair signs up with the EU and the proposed United States of Europe.

Constitutional expert Martin Howe QC warned: "The EU President will thereafter become everyone's head of state.

"In practice the Queen would become merely a head of a provincial entity."

The first clause of the draft document declares: "The Constitution shall have primacy over the law of the member states."

Critics warn this means the EU will get the ultimate authority to dictate policies and laws.

The EU President would be expected to sign laws in our name instead of the Queen.

Downing Street is certain to deny Mr Howe's claims - and the PM will insist the Queen will remain head of state.

Until now the EU has drawn its powers from a handful of treaties. They work because nations agree to abide by them while maintaining the right to set their own laws if necessary.

But experts say a constitution is far more powerful than a treaty - and effectively creates a European state. This means Brussels will in the eyes of international law have supreme authority over Britain and every other EU nation.

Veteran LibDem spokesman Menzies Campbell last night warned of the historic constitutional implications of signing the blueprint.

Posted by Debbye at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

Gallop Poll on UN, French on Libya

Sept. 10 -- According to a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, U.S. view of U.N. largely negative. Of course, the only thing the UN will be interested in is this:

The dissatisfaction has not led most Americans to want to cut congressional support for the institution: 37% said U.N. funding should be decreased, 50% said it should stay the same and 11% said it should be increased.
But they might want to remember that figure was obtained after the Canal Hotel attack (which would have stimulated sympathy and even hopes that the UN might begin to realize that they too are hated) but before State Secy. Powell sought a new UN resolution and the President's address Sunday evening which restated the challenge to the UN to become more relevant.

There is a solution: the US can refuse to pay for the renovations of the UN building, have NYC condemn the building, and evict the UN.

In other news at the UN front, France is still threatening to veto a proposal to life sanctions on Libya unless they get more money. They are unwilling to accept the consequences of accepting a separate agreement with Libya.

Before the delay was announced, Britain had dared the French to do their worst by promising to put the resolution to a vote. A French veto would scupper a carefully worked out £1.7 billion compensation package for the relatives of 270 people, including 55 Britons, who died when Libyan agents bombed Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988.

The stalemate risked escalating into one of the most damaging disputes to plague UN diplomacy in months.

Angry relatives of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing later denounced France's tactics, complaining after a meeting with Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, the French ambassador, that they were being exploited as "hostages".

"We are being used by the French as a lever to extort more money out of the Libyans," said Bob Monetti, who lost his 20-year-old son, Rick, on the Pan Am flight.

There is probably a lofty, transnationalist principle involved, but the French haven't articulated it yet. Or maybe it's just greed.

(USA Today article via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 10 -- From ScrappleFace:

Sept. 10 -- From ScrappleFace: France, Germany Offer to Pay for Rebuilding Iraq:

In a joint statement, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac said, "We can never pay back the United States and her allies for saving our nations from the clutches of a brutal dictator in World War II. However, we can pay it forward by funding the renovation of Iraq, which has been freed from another evil despot."

Posted by Debbye at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

Islamists in Britain

Sept. 10 -- In the UK, Rallies will highlight 'Magnificent 19' of Sept 11. Excerpts:

The extremist Islamic group al-Muhajiroun is organising four rallies across Britain this week to commemorate what it calls "The Magnificent 19" hijackers who carried out the September 11 atrocities.

Posters and stickers advertising the events have appeared in inner-city areas with large Muslim populations. They carry pictures of the 19 hijackers around a backdrop of the World Trade Centre in flames and a smiling Osama bin Laden. The posters state: "The Magnificent 19 that divided the world on September 11th."

The London rally will be held tomorrow, the second anniversary of the attacks, with the other conferences following over the weekend. Al-Muhajiroun plans 19 speakers, each telling the life story of one of the hijackers.

Abu Omar, the name used by a spokesman for the group, told the BBC this week that the actions of the hijackers were "completely justified" and "quite splendid" and that any Muslim who thought otherwise was an "apostate".

Al-Muhajiroun is viewed with some disdain by many hardline Islamists, but its ability to inflame Muslim youth is a matter for concern for the authorities. Omar Khan Sharif and Asif Hanif, the British suicide bombers who died in Israel in May, both had links with al-Muhajiroun.

The Muslim Council of Britain said it viewed this week's events with "immense dismay" and said they could spark anti-Muslim violence.

"Al-Muhajiroun used to be viewed as harmless clowns but since September 11 they have become much more sinister," said Inayat Bunglawala, an MCB spokesman.

"There have been attacks on our communities, on mosques, on cemeteries. It seems it is almost part of al-Muhajiroun's agenda to promote division and turn people against each other.

"There are 1.6 million Muslims in the UK and more than 1,000 mosques. Al-Muhajiroun is minuscule and has no standing whatsoever in our community."

I don't suppose MCB is planning to hold their own rally denouncing the extremists or some other tangible action that tries to fight those who are "hijacking" their religion? Hard as it may be to do so (and it is hard), moderate Muslims must defend their religion from real attacks from within instead of worrying about possible attacks from without.

Posted by Debbye at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 10 -- Australia will

Sept. 10 -- Australia will commemorate the second anniversary of the terrorist attack on the USA with Trees and candles:

CEREMONIES will be held around Australia tomorrow to commemorate the second anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

A tree planting ceremony will be held in Sydney, while United States embassy staff in Canberra will light 2,998 candles - one for each of those killed in the attacks.

US consulate staff and members of the expatriate community will join Leichhardt City Council and Planet Ark to plant 3,000 native trees at Cohen Park, in inner-city Annandale.

The planting will begin at 8am (AEST), with a minute's silence at 8.45am - about the time of morning in New York when the first of the World Trade Centre towers was hit.

At 10.46pm - the moment, local time, when the first plane hit the World Trade Centre - US embassy staff in Canberra will light 2,998 candles in the embassy grounds.

Posted by Debbye at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 10 -- The man

Sept. 10 -- The man who masterminded the Bali bombings of last year, Imam Samudra, has been sentenced to death for his part in the terrorist attack.

He is the second man sentenced to death for the attacks. Amrozi was sentenced last month.

Samudra had been trained in Afghanistan.

Like Amrozi, he said that he welcomed his martydom through death but will appeal the sentence nevertheless.

Posted by Debbye at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 10 -- A man

Sept. 10 -- A man who stood on guard has passed away: Edward Teller, 'father of the H-bomb,' dies at age 95. Excerpts:

STANFORD, California (AP) -- Edward Teller, who played a key role in U.S. defense and energy policies for more than half a century and was dubbed the "father of the H-bomb" for his enthusiastic pursuit of the powerful weapon, died Tuesday, a spokesman for Lawrence Livermore Laboratory said. He was 95.

Teller's staunch support for defense stemmed in part from two events that shaped his dark, distrustful view of world affairs -- the 1919 communist revolution in his native Hungary and the rise of Nazism while he lived in Germany in the early 1930s.

Even the end of the Cold War did not change Teller's view that the United States needed a strong defense.

"The danger for ballistic missiles in the hands of 18 different nations has increased, and will increase, unless we have a defense," he said. "If we want to have stable, peaceful conditions, defense against sudden attack by rockets is more needed than ever."

Witty and personable, with a passion for playing the piano, Teller nevertheless was a persuasive Cold Warrior who influenced presidents of both parties.

In 1939, he was one of three scientists who encouraged Einstein to alert President Franklin Roosevelt that the power of nuclear fission -- the splitting of an atom's nucleus -- could be tapped to create a devastating new weapon.

Two years later, even before the first atom bomb was completed, fellow scientist Fermi suggested that nuclear fusion -- fusing rather than splitting nuclei -- might be used for an even more destructive explosive, the hydrogen bomb. Teller quickly took to the idea.

Teller's enthusiasm and pursuit of such a bomb -- he called it the "Super" -- won him the title "father of the H-bomb," a term he said he hated. The first megaton H-bomb was exploded in 1952.

Still, he defended the existence of atomic weapons, saying, "The second half of the century has been incomparably more peaceful than the first, simply by putting power into the hands of those people who wanted peace."

In his memoirs, published several years ago, Teller added: "I deeply regret the deaths and injuries that resulted from the atomic bombings, but my best explanation of why I do not regret working on weapons is a question: What if we hadn't?" (Emphasis added.)

In an interview in 2001, Teller showed his old fighting spirit, delivering the two-word endorsement -- "High time!" -- to President George W. Bush's decision to pull out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty with Russia to work on a missile defense shield.

As someone who idealistically pushed for nuclear disarmament back in the 60's, I have to pause and give thanks to the men and women who ignored me.

Posted by Debbye at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 10 -- Commemoration ceremonies

Sept. 10 -- Commemoration ceremonies in Afghanistan yesterday marked the 2001 assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Masood.

Two years ago the assasination was indeed in the news, but who paid much attention?

The fighting in Afghanistan is far from over. This report (excerpted) says that Taliban fighters are regrouping and pouring in from Pakistan in an attempt to retake the country:

Lt. Gen. John Vines said Sunday the hardline Taliban have been trying to regain control of Afghanistan after being removed from power in late 2001 by a U.S.-led coalition.

"They have been attempting to (regroup) for nine months," Vines said.

"Every time, we've disrupted them, we've interdicted them, we've denied them sanctuary, and we've killed them."

In the most intense fighting in over a year, U.S., Afghan and coalition forces have been battling as many as 1,000 Taliban fighters in the troubled province of Zabol, south of the capital Kabul.

They probably watch CNN and throught we couldn't fight on two fronts. CNN brings a whole new meaning to the word clueless as they also fail to comprehend that Afghan troops are defending their country against the Taliban. But most of us realize that CNN writes the reports but doesn't read them.
Hundreds of Afghan troops are now preparing for a new offensive against Taliban guerrillas in the south and east of their country.

About 8,500 Americans are among the 11,500 international troops in Afghanistan. Separately, 5,000 troops under NATO command act as peacekeepers in Kabul.

Nearly 2,000 Canadian troops are among those deployed in Kabul and in surveillance posts outside the city.

We don't forget.

Posted by Debbye at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2003

Sept. 9 -- The news

Sept. 9 -- The news from France has gotten worse: France Heat Wave Death Toll at 15,000. The initial figure of 11,435 was based on deaths only for the first half of August.

The new estimate came after the government on Monday released a report blaming the deaths on hospital understaffing, bureaucratic delays and insufficient care for the elderly.


The French lifestyle has also come under scrutiny, since some of the elderly victims died alone in their homes while families were away on lengthy August vacations. Authorities reportedly had difficulties reaching survivors who were away.

French doctors on Tuesday reacted angrily to the government report.

Gilles Brucker, director of the Health Surveillance Institute, disputed the report's assertion that the institute failed to perform as it was supposed to as temperatures rose dangerously high.

The institute "did all that it was asked," Brucker was quoted as saying in an interview published Tuesday in Le Parisien newspaper. He added that he would not resign because his organization committed "no major faults." (Emphasis added)

It does sound rather like the report is trying to blame everyone and everything except the one critical element that might have made the difference: Leadership.

I remember vividly seeing Dr. Donald Low and Ont. Health Min. Tony Clement every day during the two SARS outbreaks here in Toronto and even though I knew the risk to my family was minimal, it was nevertheless reassuring to know that capable people were handling the situation and that there was a competent leadership team communicating with us and each other.

What if all those people had been out of town when the outbreak occurred?

(Via Instapundit.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 9 -- A report

Sept. 9 -- A report about the state of civics and history being taught in US schools from the Albert Shanker Institute "Education for Democracy" which says schools are unfair to America.

Too many classroom lessons and text books contribute to a sense of historical indifference by focusing on America's darker moments, the report says.

In a push to give a warts-and-all account of the struggles of democracy, schools have turned the nation's sins into the essence of the story instead of just a part of it, the new report says.

"Vietnam, Watergate, impeachment hearings, the rottenness of campaign finance, rising cynicism about politicians in general -- we've gone excessively in our society ... toward cynicism," said Larry Diamond, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

"It's a call for balance; it's not a call for purging from the history books honest criticism of our failings."


The report says: "We do not ask for propaganda, for crash courses in the right attitudes or for knee-jerk patriotic drill. We do not want to capsulize democracy's arguments into slogans, or pious texts, or bright debaters' points."

But it takes aim at a lack of teaching about non-democratic societies, saying that comparison could show the "genius" of America's system. Sanitized accounts of real-life horrors elsewhere lead to the "half-education" of children, the report says.

The report calls for a stronger history and social studies curriculum, starting in elementary school and continuing through all years of schooling. It also suggests a bigger push for morality in education lessons.

"The basic ideas of liberty, equality, and justice, of civil, political and economic rights and obligations, are all assertions of right and wrong, of moral values," the report says. "The authors of the American testament had no trouble distinguishing moral education from religious instruction, and neither should we."

Posted by Debbye at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 9 -- Kate has

Sept. 9 -- Kate has more excerpted from the Gerald Posner book Why America Slept in The Realities Of Wahhabism.

Posted by Debbye at 07:48 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 9 -- The Canadian

Sept. 9 -- The Canadian is temporarily blogging over at The Canukistanians and brought his baseball bat with him.

Today he takes a few whacks at Jeffrey Simpson of the Globe and Mail.

Go on!

Posted by Debbye at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 9 -- A semi-new

Sept. 9 -- A semi-new site BlogsCanada : Canada's Blog Site (not a government site despite the visual similarity) is taking suggestions for top Canadian sites. I learned of this via Jay Currie who thinks Paul is the perfect candidate.

I happen to agree, but got a little stuck when I was asked why. Um, because his wit is savage, totally politically incorrect, and likes cool cars?

Anyway, it's just a suggestion.

Posted by Debbye at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 9 -- A bomb

Sept. 9 -- A bomb has gone off at an outdoor cafe in Jerusalem 3 killed and 32 wounded (4 critically)

This follows a bombing in Tel Aviv which happened earlier today. Total casualties thus far are 9 dead.

UPDATE: Hamas claimed the blame for both blasts. Latest reports say there are 6 dead from the cafe and 7 from the bus stop bombings bringing the grim total to at least 13 .

UPDATE: The death toll is up to 14 (not counting the two bombers) and this report says that Hamas praised the bombings but didn't take the blame. Israeli troops hit back against another Hamas leader but only wounded him. The man Arafat has chosen to be the successor to Abbas, Ahmed Qureia, made the usual "the bombs were not helpful" remarks but gave no indication that he would actually do anything.

I suppose the obvious thing to do would be to wonder how much the resignation of Abbas and the possible appointment of Ahmed Qorei factor into all this (although the Israeli government has affirmed that they are willing to work with anyone who sincerely wants peace and thus is willing to end the terrorism) as well as the failed attempt to get Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Meanwhile, an article in today's National Post seems to think that Arafat is Closer to the Door (and predicted that a single suicide bomber could wipe out all that remains of the peace process.)

(Post article via Paul.)

Posted by Debbye at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 9 -- Michelle of

Sept. 9 -- Michelle of A Small Victory offers Voices: Stories From 9/11 And Beyond as a memorial for Sept. 11.

If you have a story, go tell it. If you can handle it, read the stories that are already up. It will be blogrolled on the left (assuming blogger cooperates) as there will be additions daily.

Also, do visit Shattered, a series of photographs from Time taken from within the building and around the site before the debris was cleared away.

Jeff Jarvis points out rightly that are still at war, that we should be treating ourselves as combatants, not victims, and that terrorist assaults directed against us began much earlier than Sept. 11, 2001.

I don't think we should hold off commemorating our dead after the war ends, though.

Gettysburg was commemorated in the midst of the Civil War because it was the crucial turning point for the North, and I know that when I remember the dead and missing from Sept. 11 that I will also be commemorating the day we finally addressed terrorism as the scourge that it is and stood up to fight it.

Posted by Debbye at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 9 -- I can't

Sept. 9 -- I can't find any words to comment on this latest terrorist act in Israel in which Six are killed in suicide bombing near Tel Aviv and at least 15 seriously wounded.

No group has admitted to this murderous act as of yet.

Posted by Debbye at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 9 -- Indonesian president

Sept. 9 -- Indonesian president Megawati will be too busy meeting with the Algerian president to meet with Australian PM Howard when he visits Bali with 1,500 victims and relatives next month for memorial services.

In an interview with Bulletin magazine, PM Howard said that the war on terror would not be easily resolved and could take years.

[NB: I searched the Bulletin webiste but couldn't find the interview, so it may not be available online yet.]

Posted by Debbye at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 9 -- Howard Dean

Sept. 9 -- Howard Dean (D) has finally come out with a position many suspected he held when he said that "it's not our place to take sides" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has come under some well-deserved criticism for it.

Actually, I'm glad the issue is out in the open. This has been an undercurrent for too long in national politics and needs to be confronted.

(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

September 08, 2003

Sept. 9 -- Sorry about

Sept. 9 -- Sorry about yesterday; I was helping a friend do something minor, and although we took the usual precautions and avoided phrases like "how hard can it be," it still became a Major Thing and took up the entire day.

I'd spent a good portion of yesterday's morning reading commentary about the President's address Sunday night (transcripts available here and here.)

My initial reaction last night was that I was pleased with the speech. I didn't realize how concerned I had been that we would turn over control of Iraq to the UN until I heard myself exhale sharply when the President said "a new Security Council resolution, which would authorize the creation of a multinational force in Iraq, led by America."

The UN, by being irresponsible in its administration of the oil-for-food program, led to the breakdown of the infrastructure in Iraq. That the funds intended for food, medical supplies and maintenance were diverted to Saddamite palaces and toys would, in a civilized country, lead to prosecution at the least and prison sentences at the best, but those French, German and Russian companies that knowlingly violated the sanctions and allowed accusations that the USA was culpable in Iraqi deaths is just another truth that has been ignored. Kofi Annan signed off on all invoices in the oil-for-food program, but he has not been subjected to scrutiny either.

Had US companies been guilty, wouldn't the media be screaming for their blood? Why do French, German and especially the Russians get a free pass?

The President's speech failed to convince me that the involvement of the UN would be a good thing.

What the speech did accomplish was to remind Americans that Iraq was the front in the war on terror, which has been lost this past month with the storm of partisan rhetoric.

What the speech did accomplish was to remind Americans that a stable, democratic Iraq was the key to peace within the countries of the Mid-East and that success would dispprove the racist notion that the peoples of the Mid-East were incapable of living with freedom.

By my count, it's been 8 days since a US fatality in Iraq. The storm that was predicted after the deaths of Udai and Qusai Hussein has abated, and it is to be hoped that "soft targets" will finally recognize their vulnerability and take the necessary precautions.

I fully expect another rash of deadly attacks after Saddam and/or Bin Laden are found.

Jay Currie has posted an extremely thoughtful essay, "Working and Watching" (scroll down) which kept me on his webpage for a long time. It's worth several reads, and is a comprehensive look at events of this past year and ties in the power struggle in the Palestinian Authority, the Road Map, the Hutton Inquiry (over the BBC allegations of "sexing up" the dossier on Iraq,) and whether the West has the will to confront Islamofacism:

The battle is one in which the actual enemy, the Islamofascists, is not as important as the traisson d'clercs (I'll check the spelling later) of the American and European intellectual classes. If, as a matter of intellectual self respect, one has to adopt the position that western religion and culture, western values, the Enlightment and all rest of the history which makes up the West is nothing more than a front for Big Oil and oligopoly then we are doomed. If Western intellectuals and the people who read and support them, are mired in a sense of the complete worthlessness of the Western enterprise than we are already in a quagmire. A quagmire of self-doubt, self-inflicted.

The struggle in Iraq, the war in Israel begin with the premise that the West is worth defending. If that premise is lost to our own inability to see the good in ourselves then those wars are lost. And those wars are critical.

That ties in neatly with the criticism many have with education in North America which focuses on the failures of the West rather than the successes. Any psychologist would counsel an individual suffering from depression to evaluate both the good and the bad in his or her life, but we don't apply that simple rule to our society.

He also talks about truth, especially from those who we trust as watchdogs:

If, as the BBC argued, the truth can be sacrificed to "the public interest" - a purely subjective concept - then there is no way in which the essential trust between a people and its leaders can be maintained. Because if making things up to suit a particular view of the public interest is acceptable it becomes impossible for the people to know who to trust. Telling the truth is no longer enough.

Against Al Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Margaret Drabble, the truth is the only weapon the West has. It must be defended, championed and celebrated in all its inconvienient, lumpy glory. Telling the truth is the intellectual homeland of the free, hard won, to be fought for as stoutly as any corner of Manhatten, London or Vancouver.

The Watergate hearings arose as a result of the media exposing the lies of a President and his aides; the Hutton Inquiry arose as a result of a Prime Minister and his aides exposing the lies of the media, specificially the BBC.

Interesting times.

UPDATE: Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. points out the need for more clarity from the President about rhetoric and policies in the war on terror, and Oliver North shares my contempt those who trust the UN to deliver democracy to Iraq and administer another oil-for-food project.

Posted by Debbye at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2003

Sept. 7 -- I see

Sept. 7 -- I see Steven den Beste is fixing his sights on this latest incarnation of the issue that deserves a Hellfire missile at the least: The 9/11 Conspiracy and the Latest!Conference! that is taking place in Berlin on that well-worn and much refuted attempt to pretend that Bush knew.

I must, of course, state here my obligation to defend the right of morons to spout moronic stuff.

My Personal Irony Contribution: When several people were arrested in Hamburg and it was pinpointed as a recruitment, organizing and financial centre for Mohammed Atta, a lot of people at sites which Canadians need not be aware of wondered at the possibly complicity of the German and other European governments because so many arrests were made over there so quickly, and further that their nefarious plots were quickly scuttled because the US govt. had uncovered that al Qaeda was behind the attacks too quickly for all their plans to be carried out.

Which goes to prove that there are idiotarians and tin foil hat brigades in every political niche.

That kind of of self-abusive speculation was firmly put on the back burner by most rational people because there were more worthy pursuits than sitting on our pompous asses and proving how intently we had followed and believed the imaginary technology of the X-Files.

Note: Exposing the Exposer has moved (via Daimnation!.)

UPDATE: Read this by Jeff Jarvis who has a good name for these people: The new Holocaust deniers of 9/11.

Also, I wrote this before I read French Libertarian today so, no, this isn't a response or ongoing argument with Francois. There are too many people on the internet who are much better at debating with people who think Sept. 11 was an American conspiracy than I, and I yield the field to them.

Posted by Debbye at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 7 -- My funny

Sept. 7 -- My funny bone has been permanently engaged by Kevin Smith, writer and co-star of the Jay and Silent Bob films.

We watched Mallrats last night and it didn't disappoint. It links obliquely to Clerks, and Jason Lee, who I first noticed as Azrael in Dogma, is incredibly funny especially during the Dating Game parody.

After it ended and we were discussing the links, No. 1 Son suddenly said "I can't stand it" and rushed out the door to rent Dogma at Blockbuster. Sure enough, there were references in it to the other movies.

This evening we are going to start with Clerks, finish before the President's address, pop over to Space: TIS for the opening of the syndicated Stargate premiere, and re-watch the movies in order starting tomorrow evening (after, again, the Stargate episode.)

Have I ever mentioned that I am a freaking intense science-fiction fan? It all began when I was in grade school and picked up a copy of Spacecat from the library. I've never looked back.

Okay, maybe all that was TMI (too much information.)

Posted by Debbye at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 7 -- Link to

Sept. 7 -- Link to Paul for the story of a North Korean bioweapons expert who was detained by the Chinese when he tried to seek political asylum at the Australian embassy and here for a post on the EU's terrorist designation of the political wing of Hamas.

My eyes are still popping. Sheesh, I can't even spend a day at the ballpark and an evening with my family at our home Jay and Silent Bob marathan without missing significant, world-shaking events (what else do you call common sense at the EU?)

Posted by Debbye at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 7 -- One of

Sept. 7 -- One of the things that got sideswiped by the problems at Blogger yesterday was my intention to link over to News Junkie Canada for some revealing results on a survey among Canadian educators and (scroll down) for a link to a website where parents can get valuable advice in how to help their kids learn to read because if they're relying on the schools to do it, that child is in trouble.

I agree with NJ totally: the emphasis in both Canada and the US is less on teaching the kids how to read, write, and think critically, and more on, well, I don't really know what they hope to achieve.

The kids certainly aren't learning the history, culture and heritage of their country [they don't even read classics like the Iliad and, please, if you want to teach teenaged boys Shakespeare don't make them read Romeo and Juliet, okay? No. 2 Son got in trouble when he and his buddies cheered when Romeo (portrayed by Leonardo Di Caprio) bit it.

I bow to Kenneth Branagh here, because I got my kids to watch the videos of Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing which they not only enjoyed but which helped them remain open-minded about the infinite potentials of loving Shakespeare.]

NJ also has a teeth-gritting account of some of the "students" at the bogus Ottawa Business College received federal funding. I may not be a Canadian citizen but I pay taxes here: that my money is going to con-artists is bad enough, but that my money may have been supporting terrorists who are avowed enemies of my country and who are dedicated to bring death and destruction to both the USA and Canada makes me wonder if I have legal recourse to refusing to pay taxes until there is a competent and accountable government here.

Posted by Debbye at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 7 -- There's an

Sept. 7 -- There's an interesting commentary on the international war on terrorism The fourth world war by Doug Saunders. It's a worthwhile read.

I always have to smile a bit when I see a reporter or commentator talk about (and implicitly criticize) where the public's attention has been focused because it neatly sidesteps the obvious: who tries to focus public opinion? I was furious last spring when a 7 a.m. CentCom briefing was interrupted to bring us a report on the Laci Petersen case: it was 4 a.m. in California, there was nothing new to report, and CNN had just announced it's own end to Gulf War II. You cut away from Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks to bring us some poor reporter standing in the dark in front of a California courthouse to tell us nothing new on a case that CNN itself has hyped beyond all rationale? (It must have broken their hearts when the judge said "no" to televised proceedings.)


[That last paragraph is my personal opinion as to why blogs are so important, as evidenced by ongoing posting of events in Iraq and the war on terror. The press tries to focus attention one place, much as a magician focuses one's attention on the one hand while he's pulling a trick with the other. The internet has provided a way to keep attention on the hand Big Media wants us to ignore.]

My biggest problem with the article is capsulized in this:

The one in Indonesia flourished after the 1998 departure of strongman Suharto, and a year later, the United States actually helped East Timor gain independence, using its aid muscle to keep the Indonesian army on the sidelines.
Mr. Saunders reveals his obsession with the USA by either ignoring or being totally oblivious to the country that did the most to assist East Timor: Australia. It's an insult to Australians and the troops they sent to East Timor to give the USA the credit for enforcing the country's vote for indepedence from Indonesia and stopping the slaughter in this tiny country by Islamic anti-separatists, overlooks the role of the UN, and also forgets the role of Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was targeted and murdered in the attack on the UN Canal Hotel office in Iraq.

Although Mr. Saunders mentions the immediate response of the USA to the bombing of the Marriott in Jakarta, he again ignored the quicker Australian response and skips right over the fact that Indonesia, which had firmly denied that any terrorists were active in Indonesia (sound familiar?) began to cooperate with both the US and Australia after the Bali bombings in October, 2002.

I guess I have a recessive idiotarian gene, because my spidey-sense goes off whenever I read Canadian articles that focus on the US but overlook the roles of the UK and Australia. I always wonder if the Canadian media wants to redirect attention from the fact that, when Canada has abandoned her traditional allies, that the UK was one of those she abandoned.

For some documents on the Australian-led initiative in East Timor, there are links here, here, and here.

(Via The Canadian.)

Posted by Debbye at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2003

Sept. 6 -- Just got

Sept. 6 -- Just got back to find blogger is back up, but I find the The Canadian has been busy as has French Libertarian, Paul, Tim, oh heck, everyone has been dutifully blogging except me.

I was busy too, serving hot dogs and drinks to the Martingrove Bantam houseleague teams and watching some damned good baseball in Round 2 of the finals.

UPDATE: Sheesh, of course it was soft drinks!

See you all tomorrow!

Posted by Debbye at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2003

Sept. 5 -- An interesting

Sept. 5 -- An interesting arrest in Spain:

Police have arrested a correspondent for Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV at his home in southern Spain accusing him of having links to the al Qaeda terrorist group.

Authorities believe that Tayseer Allouni -- who interviewed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden nearly two years ago -- provided support for two suspected members of the group, a Spanish court official told CNN.


Authorities believe Allouni provided support for Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, alias Abu Dahdah, who was arrested on November 13, 2001, and is thought to have been an al Qaeda ringleader in Spain, the court official said.

Allouni is also suspected of providing aid to Mohamed Bahiah, alias Abu Kalhed, a suspected al Qaeda fugitive thought to be in Afghanistan, the official said.

UPDATE: Paul points out there have been other reporters in the past who didn't restrict their activities to reporting.

There's an Australian connection to this story: Dahdah was a former baggage handler for Quantas in Australia.

Meanwhile, the Australian government is coming under fire for not seeking access to interview Abu Dahdah for more than a year.

Another Australian, Abu Jihad, has been in an Egyptian prison since May for suspected links to al Qaeda.

The Attorney-General's department confirmed Abu Jihad "has been, and remains, the subject of investigation by Australian security authorities", though it was unknown whether intelligence officers were involved in questioning him in Cairo.

Amid mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network may have lieutenants working in Australia, federal authorities revealed last night they had more than 60 counter-terrorism investigations currently running.

Yesterday it was revealed two prominent members of Muslim communities in Sydney and Melbourne had been named in a Spanish court case as having links to an alleged senior al-Qaeda operative.

Sydney man Bilal Khazal and Melbourne cleric Sheikh Mohammed Omran were associated with an al-Qaeda detainee known as Abu Dahdah, a man with suspected links to September 11 hijack leader Mohammed Atta.


Jihad's alleged connections to al-Qaeda were revealed in the interrogation of Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh, captured by American forces in Afghanistan in November 2001.

Posted by Debbye at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 5 -- Mark Steyn

Sept. 5 -- Mark Steyn writes about the latest revelation that Dr. David Kelly was a hawk in For the antis, Kelly is just a cudgel with which to beat Blair:

Tony Blair seems to have fallen victim to a kind of reverse-emperor's-new-clothes effect. No matter how much he takes off, the crowd will always be convinced he's still hiding something. No matter how much he reveals, they still sing, "The King is not being altogether straight with us." Even if he were to show us his front-bottom, it would be assumed to be an artfully placed aspidistra, and demonstrators would still be demanding he come clean.

Posted by Debbye at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 5 -- Porphyrogenitus has

Sept. 5 -- Porphyrogenitus has two posts about the latest UN resolutions here and here. This blogger is incredible - articulate, intelligent, does his research and provides links.

Posted by Debbye at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 5 -- The UK

Sept. 5 -- The UK will be sending An extra 3,000 British troops to Iraq with some arriving as early as tomorrow.

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, told Tony Blair on Wednesday that the number of British troops had to be increased to demonstrate the allies' commitment to Iraq.

He sees it as the only way to persuade the US to add to its own numbers in the face of a terrorist campaign by Saddam Hussein loyalists that has killed 67 American and 11 British soldiers.

A British civilian mine-clearance expert, Ian Rimell, 53, from Kidderminster, Worcs, became the latest person to die when he was ambushed near Mosul on Thursday.

(Link added which notes that an associate, Salem Ahmed Mohammed, a local employee of the demining team, was badly wounded.) Our sympathies and gratitude to their families.

What can I say about the British? The Star Spangled Banner was played at Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty's request on Sept. 11 in what was the most poignant expression of solidarity I remember of that day.

We overcame our inherent isolationism and internal opposition to be allies in two world wars and maybe grew up enough to be less afraid of English designs (laughable now, but very worrisome to the Founding Fathers) to be friends and partners with the country that gave us birth.

I wonder if Chirac understood what he unleashed when he gave this latest coalition the name Anglosphere because far from feeling mocked, many of us said "Hey, that's right! Cool!" and have been damned proud of it ever since.

Connecting some dots: this troop deployment comes as the new UN resolution is being discussed and German's Shoeder has backed down from his initial dismissal (maybe he finally read it?) but I doubt the Weasels will agree to anything less than a chance to reestablish Iraq as a thugocracy, something that will please the neighbours but not lead to democracy or true stability.

Posted by Debbye at 09:49 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 5 -- Petrified Truth:

Sept. 5 -- Petrified Truth: The trophy is a must read as per Instapundit (and he's right.)

Posted by Debbye at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 5 -- No. 2

Sept. 5 -- No. 2 Son is heading off to Ottawa tomorrow to resume his studies (fond mom speaking here) and will be living off campus.

Today he will get my special crash courses in how to cook nutritious meals that cook themselves (rice, oatmeal, soup) as well as sparing the dishes by eating over the sink, peanut butter is a basic food group, a napkin is as good as a plate, just send me an email with a subject and no body to let me know you're okay, dammit, and of course I trust you it's everyone else I don't trust.

If my own mother is reading this she'll be doubled over with laughter but hey! it's a time-honoured rite of passage.

Posted by Debbye at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2003

Sept. 4 -- This is

Sept. 4 -- This is of note primarily because of the Canadian connection and also because of the recent Toronto arrests: Advisory: Al Qaeda planning new U.S. attacks. Excerpts:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Department of Homeland Security advisory issued Thursday warns that al Qaeda is working on plans to hijack airliners flying between international points that pass near or over the continental United States.

A Department of Homeland Security official said most of the flights fitting this description originate in Canada, and that U.S. officials have been working with Canada over the past month to ensure it is improving screening and other security measures.

One government official noted, however, the United States has no authority to require security measures of non-U.S. carriers whose flights originate outside the United States.

The advisory was issued because of concerns about the coming second anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a recent uptick in intelligence information, and threats to aviation that continued through the summer.


The advisory says that arrests of key al Qaeda members over the past several months "may have delayed or even disrupted some plans," but a Homeland Security official would not provide any details. The official did say that interrogations of those detainees produced some of the information contained in the advisory. Intercepted communications and materials seized in raids of al Qaeda safe houses were other sources of the intelligence, the official said.

I report, you, um, figure it out. So far it's just dots and pretty spread out ones too, but it makes me wonder about the arrests here and what interrogations and searches might have turned up.

Posted by Debbye at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- If you

Sept. 4 -- If you haven't read Part III of the Great Blog War yet, it's here at Anger Management (links available there for Parts I and II if you haven't yet read this wonderfully satiric account of the war between Darth Puppy Blender and Monkey Boy.)


Posted by Debbye at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- Buffy the

Sept. 4 -- Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon Rules and his latest TV series, Firefly, which was cruelly snuffed in its infancy, will be made into a movie.

Also, repeats of the series will be aired on Space: The Imagination Station at 9 p.m. starting Monday, Sept. 8. (Moses Znaimer also rules.)

(Via Absinthe & Cookies.)

Posted by Debbye at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- I've chosen

Sept. 4 -- I've chosen a Jeff Jarvis post as my first entry in remembering Sept. 11 because he speaks to the heart of the issue: Don't call us victims.

But we forget that being a victim also means that you're weak, you lose. Victim is a past-tense word. This war is still present tense and future tense. We are still fighting. We still have a war to win here. We cannot afford to be victims.

So do not speak in hushed tones about September 11th. Speak still with loud anger and proud memory.

We are not victims.

Damned straight.

Posted by Debbye at 07:07 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- New essay

Sept. 4 -- New essay from David Warren Mindsets at Work. Excerpts:

By Western standards, the Muslim "holy warrior" is a coward, looking only for the sucker punch, and refusing to offer battle when his enemy is even slightly prepared. By his own, of course, he is not.

The terrorists will attack civilians, religious, and other innocents and bystanders, for the very reason they are unprotected. But the idea is not mere tactical surprise. He wins through fear, not force of arms.

He is not afraid of death, as we would more likely be. He is instead, by our standards, almost morbidly afraid of failure...

[Terrorists] ... work from an acute sense of irresolution in their enemy, and are held back as much invisibly by the public resolution of President Bush, as visibly by specific security measures.

The enemy does not think like us. But that doesn't mean he couldn't defeat us -- by understanding our cowardice better than we understand his.

Posted by Debbye at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- French and

Sept. 4 -- French and German reactions to the latest UN proposed resolutions on Iraq were so predictable it's almost embarassing to post this: France, Germany skeptical of U.S. resolution excerpts:

(CNN) -- A U.S.-backed proposal to enlist U.N. help for the occupation of Iraq appears "rather far from the main objective" of restoring self-rule there, France and Germany said Thursday, and they called for the United Nations to take over responsibility for the country's political reconstruction.

French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder discussed the U.S. proposal at a meeting in the German city of Dresden. Schroeder said his government has not yet seen all the details of the United States' plan, but said that from what he knows at this point, it "doesn't go far enough" to involve the United Nations in the reconstruction.

I'm sure after he reads it he'll be even more certain . . . never mind, it's just too easy to Fisk a statement like this one.
Chirac said that he and Schroeder -- both of whom opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March -- would study the U.S. proposal "from a very positive point of view." But he said France may recommend changes to a proposed U.N. resolution.
See previous comment.

The transcript of the draft resolution is here and here in case Mr. Shroeder finds time to read it.

Posted by Debbye at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- From the

Sept. 4 -- From the Opinion Journal:

As a matter of strategy, President Bush's decision to seek another U.N. resolution for rebuilding Iraq may well make sense. But the commander in chief should also note how his adversaries are portraying this move as a sign that both he and the U.S. are on the run.
Read the rest of it here.

(Via On the Third Hand.)

Posted by Debbye at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- This is

Sept. 4 -- This is one fine joke.

(Via Electric Venom.)

Posted by Debbye at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 5 AU -- 16

Sept. 5 AU -- 16 killed in Kashmir including the killers of a woman who also wounded her 3 children.

SIXTEEN people were killed in continuing separatist-related violence in Indian-administered Kashmir, where European Union ambassadors today said the EU had no intention to mediate between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan.


The fresh bloodletting brings to at least 61 the number of people killed in a wave of attacks by militants in restive Kashmir since Saturday when Indian troops gunned down a notorious rebel commander, Gazi Baba.

Since then, the state has erupted into a blistering of "revenge attacks" by the militants.

Anyone who missed this post from Rachel Lucas might as well read it now because I'm thinking I'll just enter damn the media some more whenever the media focuses on really, really important items like Kobe-freakin'-Bryant, and who and how Brittany kisses, and we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this bulletin that we know absolutely nothing more about the bomb collar pizza man's death and this is the same damned media that chastizes the American people because they don't have any awareness of what's going on in the rest of the world and, oh yes, Fox's Bill O'Reilly has time to insult bloggers who actually do try to ferret out relevant news from around the world.

Rant over except damn the media some more.

Posted by Debbye at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 5 (AU) -- New

Sept. 5 (AU) -- New revelations in the trial of Abu Dahdah, the suspected leader of al Qaeda in Spain, connect him with Australia's terror web as a former baggage handler for Quantas Airline, Bilal Khazal, who had denied ever knowing or communicating with the terror chief, was implicated.

As more details of a network of alleged terror supporters in Australia emerged yesterday, it has been claimed a second Australian named in the Spanish court documents, Melbourne cleric Sheikh Mohammed Omran, was at one time familiar with the identical twins who ran Jemaah Islamiah in Australia.

And one of two Australian suspects imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Mamdouh Habib is claimed to have helped a Dutch man since charged with terrorism, Murat Ofkeli, while he was in Australia raising funds for an unnamed foreign charity.

The allegations cast new light on Australia's emerging strategic importance in the loose global terror alliance.

Mr Dahdah is accused of having close links to Mohammed Atta, the chief hijacker in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The rest of the article is here, and CNN has an article here.

UPDATE: Tim Blair comments and has additional links.

Posted by Debbye at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- The UN

Sept. 4 -- The UN is confronting one of it's most difficult and divisive controversies in recent memory: UN envoys fume over New York smoking ban:

A diplomatic confrontation between American authorities and much of the rest of the world intensified yesterday as senior officials at the United Nations insisted on their right to smoke in the organisation's headquarters.

Casting aside petty differences and forging new allegiances, UN ambassadors said they would ignore New York's smoking ban, imposed five months ago and extended to the UN this week.

A directive signed by Kofi Annan, the secretary-general, demanded that "no smoking shall be permitted in any of the UN premises at headquarters", in line with the anti-smoking fixation of Michael Bloomberg, New York's mayor. But at the UN building, Mr Annan and Mr Bloomberg faced rebellion. Despite warnings from UN officials that anyone caught puffing in the building would face "disciplinary action", smokers lit up and inhaled deeply.

The Russian ambassador, Sergey Lavrov, seen marching to the delegates' lounge for a smoke, said Mr Annan "doesn't own this building".

Posted by Debbye at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- Interesting that

Sept. 4 -- Interesting that on a day when many countries are weighing in on the proposed resolution to the UN calling for more involvement in Iraq that one world leader speaks out on the nature of the United Nations itself: UN should fight for rights, says Berlusconi. Excerpts:

The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, believes the United Nations should intervene militarily wherever dictatorships abuse human rights.

He delivers a passionate defence of America's intervention in Iraq in an interview in today's Spectator magazine in which he suggests it should mark the start of an era in which a "community of democracies" intervenes in the internal affairs of countries ruled by despots.

Mr Berlusconi said he told President George W Bush during an informal chat in the margins of last June's G8 summit in Evian that the concept of "liberty" that emerged enhanced from the ashes of the September 11 attack should become a guiding light for the world's democracies.

"I said, given the enormous and paradoxical success of fundamentalism, why don't we reform the UN? Let us say to Mr X or Y in this or that dictatorship, you must recognise human rights in your country and we give you six to 12 months to do so, or else we intervene.

(For the rest of the article go here.)

This is the kind of dialogue that many of us have hoped would come out of the decision to effect regime change in Iraq. The UN is a institution created by humans, so it can be changed or even disbanded.

UPDATE: Tim Blair has more on this and a link to the interview with the Spectator.

Posted by Debbye at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- Schröder says

Sept. 4 -- Schröder says call for troops made him feel sick. Excerpts:

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has said a call from his Green Party coalition allies for German troops to join any United Nations force in Iraq made him "want to puke".

Mr Schröder, who was re-elected on the strength of his opposition to the Iraq war, has consistently ruled out such a move.

The comments were widely reported in Germany yesterday, only days after Mr Schröder and his Green vice-chancellor, Joschka Fischer, said they would fight the 2006 general election as a team.

Both parties attempted to play down the remarks. Bela Anda, the government spokesman, refused to confirm or deny what Mr Schröder had said.

But the SPD's parliamentary party head, Franz Muntefering, said there were "voices which were a bit strange" among the Greens and that the chancellor had only been reflecting wider SPD opinion.

Schoroder's not the only one who feels sick. Can we say political opportunism? Of course we can.

(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- Some interesting

Sept. 4 -- Some interesting information about how Canada deals with other countries that have cases of BSE (mad-cow disease) by Lucia Corbella of The Calgary Sun (quick-death link.) Excerpts:

If Canada were forced to live by the rules it imposes on others, our beef wouldn't be finding its way across the U.S. and Mexican borders right now.

As for the Americans, here's a fact that's going to floor all of you anti-Americans who constantly blame the now loosening U.S. beef ban on protectionism.

According to Ian Thomson, director of Western Hemispheric Trade Policy with Agriculture Canada, when it comes to mad cow and how we're being treated, by the U.S. and Mexico, we've hit the lotto jackpot.

"The U.S. and Mexico are the first countries ever to accept beef from a BSE infected country," said Thomson yesterday, who was in Calgary from Ottawa attending the Beef Value Chain Roundtable at the Radisson Hotel.

Kind of deflates the sails of all of those blustering about U.S. protectionism and unfair trading practices, doesn't it?

The rest of the column can be read here in the blog reserved for my long, long stuff.

Posted by Debbye at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- Russia considers

Sept. 4 -- Russia considers Iraq deployment but

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov cautioned that such a deployment would be possible if a Security Council resolution on the issue is passed unanimously and is properly worded.

"The Iraqi situation, which is taking a dangerous turn, worries Russia. Terror attacks continue unabated and all kinds of terrorists are converging there. This cannot but worry us," he is quoted as saying.


U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, on his way to the Persian Gulf, said there was no need to send more American troops to Iraq.

He said the key to a stable Iraq is beefing up Iraqi forces. (Emphasis added)

And, of course, the quicker the Iraq people can take charge of their own country, including their own security, the quicker we'll be done there and on our way home.

Posted by Debbye at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- The political

Sept. 4 -- The political struggle between Palestinian PM Abbas and Pres. Arafat continues as Abbas goes before the Legislative Council asking for more political power.

Arafat still controls the security forces and terrorist groups like al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Islamic Jihad.

It is unclear who controls Hamas right now:

The targeted killings [by Israeli forces] have killed 12 Hamas figures and left another one brain dead and on life support, . . .

Posted by Debbye at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 4 -- Public car

Sept. 4 -- Public car insurance means more accidents because it enables bad drivers to stay on the road. This summary of a report from the Fraser Institute compares the vehicle collision rates between provinces with public insurance and those without private insurance.

The study shows that provinces with public insurance systems (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) have higher vehicle collision rates than the other provinces:

18 percent more deaths per person.
35 percent more deaths per kilometer traveled.
46 percent more hospital admissions.
59 percent more young male hospital admissions.

The study examines 26 possible factors that could explain these differences and concludes that social risk pricing – where good drivers subsidize the premiums of bad drivers – is the key reason for more collisions.

The study also estimates the impact of moving Ontario from a private to a public insurance system. The imposition of social risk pricing causes property damage collisions to rise by one-fifth. Ontario could be faced with 50 more young driver deaths and 3,900 more personal injury collisions involving young drivers.

Yes, but if it saves even one life . . . hey, wait . . .

(Via the Toronto Sun.)

Posted by Debbye at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2003

Sept. 3 -- We've had

Sept. 3 -- We've had a sort of Jay and Silent Bob festival going on. We had to scramble to watch the movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back when we realized that No. 2 Son would be taking his DVD with him he he returns to uni at the end of the week, and somehow ended up watching Chasing Amy afterwards. We laughed so hard that No. 1 Son decided to rent Clerks which is one of the funniest and literate movies I've seen in a long time (and yes, that includes the Lord of the The Ring movies which are visually spectacular but makes a Tolkien purist like me crazy) and now he's threatening to rent Mallrats.

Of course we were pretty dumb; we had no idea until we saw Chasing Amy that there was actually continuity between the movies. Now we'll have to watch all of them again in the proper order.

Posted by Debbye at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

Inside al Qaeda

Sept. 3 -- This book review of Inside al Qaeda The man who got inside al-Qa'eda hammers home a point that is too often overlooked by the liberal intellegentsia and media: the largest numbers of those who suffer terrorist attacks are not Westerners but Muslims. Who, after all, is hurt when bombs go off in Algerian or Phillipine marketplaces? Muslims comprised the greatest number of fatalities in the recent Jakarta and Najaf bombings.

Algerian journalist Mohamed Sifaoui, who has had friends and family who died in terrorist attacks, posed as a terrorist sympathizer to gain insight and information as a way to write this book and protest against the too-often indulgent and romanticized view of terrorists.

Sifaoui's book has sold 60,000 copies in France. It is to be hoped that its readers include President Chirac and his Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, and that the book will have had an educative effect on French thinking, though I wouldn't bet on it. The French book L'Effoyable Imposture (The Dreadful Fraud), which claimed that the 11 September attack was the work of the Jews and the CIA, sold over 100,000.

Sifaoui reminds us that the terrorist attack on the Paris Metro in 1995 was seen by many in France as a plot by the Algerian military government to discredit Islamic exiles. (The "brothers" - the terrorists - resented this attempt to exculpate them, since it detracted from their glory in the operation.) Given the French neurosis about America, one can well imagine where the finger would point should fundamentalists succeed in a new outrage in France. Unless the French authorities take a tougher line with the aiders and abetters of terrorism than they appear to do in this book, sadly - as in Britain - such an atrocity seems only a matter of time.

The author, however, states that Britain is the biggest safe haven for the hard-core fundamentalists. Good review -- and there's a link to Amazon if you want to buy the book.

Posted by Debbye at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 3 -- There's a

Sept. 3 -- There's a lot of speculation but few details on the new U.N.S.C. draft resolution:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration said Wednesday it would introduce a draft United Nations Security Council resolution that would authorize a multinational force and encourage Iraqis to set a timetable for holding elections and establishing self-rule.

Under the plan, the United States would keep a "dominant role" in the occupation and be in command of any multinational peacekeeping mission, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said.

But the resolution would give the United Nations a greater role in political and economic reconstruction of the country and establish a Powell termed a "political horizon" for the restoration of self-rule in Iraq.

"There are many roles to be played, and we believe that every peace-loving nation in the world -- every nation that would like to see a more stable Middle East, that would like to see a democracy arise in that part of the world -- would like to play a role," Powell said.
About 150,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Iraq, along with about 20,000 troops from Britain and other allies. A Polish-led multinational division of about 9,000 took over responsibility for security in most of south-central Iraq Wednesday.

Among the countries in the Polish-led force are Hungary, Nicaragua, Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovakia, Fiji, Lithuania, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Romania, Ukraine, Honduras, Mongolia, Thailand, Spain, Slovenia, Tonga and Kazakhstan.

There is more background here about the reactions of members of the UNSC from last Thursday, and also a report that 1,700 Spanish troops have taken charge of an area in central Iraq.

Posted by Debbye at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 3 -- Events around

Sept. 3 -- Events around the whole collar bomb story is just too creepy, but this is an excellent analysis of possible scenarios with a nice Holmesian approach.

(Via Paul.)

Posted by Debbye at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 3 -- Cleric jailed

Sept. 3 -- Cleric jailed but verdict disappoints West: A 5-judge Indonesian court found there was insufficient evidence to convict Abu Bakar Bashir of treason, conspiracy to kill then Vice-President Sukarnoputri, and involvement in the 2000 Christmastime church bombings. He was convicted of subversion and sentenced to 4 years in jail including time served while he was awaiting trial.

There are additional links on the Daily Telegraph (UK) page which provide more background and analysis. Bashir's trial was a huge challenge for Indonesia. There was little hard evidence to back up suspicions that he was the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiya and only one prosecution witness who is also on trial for terrorist related activities.

I'm going to take a cautiously optimistic approach. Indonesia has faced immense challenges as they've tried to throw off the Suharto legacy and become a democratic nation. There are radicals, like Bashir, who wish to impose sharia as the law of the land and Indonesia was shocked into reality by the Bali bombing of last year which forced the government to recognize that terrorists were operating in that country.

Nevertheless, as there was simply not enough evidence to convict Bashir of the other charges, this trial was a triumph for the justice system in this fledgling democracy inasmuch as it was up to the prosecution to prove guilt rather than the accused to prove innocence.

I'm not going to deny that I'm a bit disappointed in the verdict, but a guilty verdict and a harsh sentence for political reasons is simply not going to win the war on terror in Indonesia.

Posted by Debbye at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 3 -- China has

Sept. 3 -- China has said that reports of new SARS cases are only rumours:

CHINA issued a statement today denying SARS had resurfaced to clarify what it called "hearsay" after the World Health Organisation dispatched a letter demanding to know what was going on.

The health ministry said there had been no confirmed or suspected cases in mainland China since the last two SARS patients were discharged from a Beijing hospital on August 16, Xinhua news agency reported.
Rumours swirling around the capital suggested suspected SARS cases had been detected at as many as six Beijing hospitals.

The WHO has warned China to remain on high alert should the virus return later this year, with many experts fearing it could be seasonal.

Posted by Debbye at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 3 -- Another arrest

Sept. 3 -- Another arrest brings the number in the investigation of holders of student visas for attendence at the defunct Ottawa Business College to 21. The name of the latest detainee has not been released. Two of those detained have been released on bail.

Meanwhile, immigration officials have issued a border alert to guards to watch for foreign students entering Canada to attend the college.

Posted by Debbye at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 3 -- The North

Sept. 3 -- The North Korean parliament has approved a decision to increase nuclear capabilities to signal that the 6-way talks have not met their expectations.

SEOUL (AP) - North Korea's parliament on Wednesday approved the communist government's decision to increase "nuclear deterrent force" in angry reaction to what it calls a hostile U.S. policy.

The North's Supreme People's Assembly also "considered as just" the North Korean Foreign Ministry announcement last week that North Korea no longer had "interest or expectations" for future talks on its nuclear program, said the North's official news agency KCNA. KCNA also that the parliament "decided to take relevant measures." The news agency did not elaborate.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been high since October, when U.S. officials said North Korea admitted running a nuclear program in violation of international agreements.

Chinese officials, meanwhile, have said that future meetings are planned for October.

According to this, the N. Korean parliament also re-elected Kim Jong Il as the country's top leader at that meeting and cars mounted with loudspeakers went about the country announcing the re-election. A new premier, Pak Pong Ju, was appointed, but no major changes were made on the National Defense Commission or parliament leadership. Paek Nam Sun was retained as Foreign Minister.

US State Dept. Spokesman Richard Boucher said Secy. Powell is not surprised at either the belligerence expressed by N. Korea or the mixed messages they are sending and remains optimistic.

S. Korean foreign minister Yoon Young-Kwan will be meeting with Secy. Powell and other representatives in Washington this week.

Jack Kelly for the Washington Times writes that

North Korea's belligerence suggests that the efforts of Kim Jong Il's government to play some of the conferees off against the others — to divide and rule — weren't working. China and Russia, North Korea's historic defenders, are discovering that it serves their interests more to work with the United States than to try to thwart U.S. policy.
A deal can only work if China, North Korea's historic patron, acts as an explicit guarantor. North Korea has proven it can stumble along, barely, without aid from the United States, South Korea and Japan. But if China — which provides North Korea with most of its food and up to 90 percent of its fuel — were to cut off aid, the regime would be no more than months away from total collapse.
The thrust of the Bush administration's diplomatic strategy is to convince China and the other regional powers that North Korea is more their problem than ours, and that if a peaceful solution is to be found, they'll have to take the lead in finding it. North Korea's bad behavior is helping out.
Read the column; he suggests that China is alarmed because not only might S. Korea and Japan seek nuclear weapons but Taiwan as well.

This somewhat confirms my own view that N. Korean bluster is aimed more at their own population than any shock value on the other participants in the talks, although I think they may also be banking on American activists such as ANSWER who are openly in support of capitulation to N. Korea's demands as the only means of resolving the tensions.

ScrappleFace reports N. Korean Leader to Hold Six-way Talks with Self.

Posted by Debbye at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2003

Sept. 2 -- A list

Sept. 2 -- A list of 10 truths from Did you bring the pre-whacked snakes?.

(Via Daimnation!.)

Posted by Debbye at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 2 -- I wonder

Sept. 2 -- I wonder if French Libertarian in Quebec is a singular exception, or if a great many Canadians really don't get what has happened between our two countries.

I also wonder if FL has any idea how he sounds to people who've actually put themselves on the line for their country.

Francois, early in the war I was going into the subway station and passed a woman who wore an Australian flag lapel pin. We looked at each other, our eyes filled with tears, and we hugged quickly and then hurried on our way. I never saw her again or learned her name, but that connection is something I'll never be able to share with a Canadian.

I don't trust myself to remain civil because I am furious and words that spring to my mind are harsh and I know I'll regret using them. So I will bluntly lay it on the line: the rumour about the Special Forces doesn't take you off the hook because the reality is that your navy was ordered not to interfere with any Ba'athist official, including Saddam, in flight away from Iraq. If the rumour about the JTF2 was sufficient for you to believe you retained honour, then you have no concept of honour.

The difference between me and you is that you can list my country's sins with an air of triumph, and I can't list Canada's or Quebec's because I think it would be an unprincipled way to argue.


You can't use "we" because you haven't earned it. If, however, you want to be able to use that word with honour and with pride, go here and earn the privilege. Otherwise, your usage of that term is just a tawdry example of another camp follower who stays in the rear with the gear because they lack the balls to stand up to the bullies of the world.

You are still operating under an illusion. It isn't the USA that is on trial with the rest of the world; it is the rest of the world that is on trial with us. You see our faults and overlook your own. You are not a friend of America. You are not really a friend of Canada, for that matter, because you are either too lazy or too cowardly to fix the problems here again because it is easier to focus on the USA.

This isn't a blog war because I don't intend to respond to any more of your baiting.

Carry on, you all.

Posted by Debbye at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 2 -- I'm trying

Sept. 2 -- I'm trying to catch up with my blogger buddies and I find this incredible, wonderful post by The Canadian
from Aug. 31. He titles it "Done for Today" which is a bit misleading because he is leaves the rest of us with plenty to think about.

One of the greatest truths: that not so deep down, we are all the same and have the same aspirations. Jack issues a heartfelt plea to the people of Iraq who love freedom. Go; don't just listen to me yammering about it . . .

Posted by Debbye at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 2 -- Some old

Sept. 2 -- Some old names and some new information appear in a book about to be released that tells what we already knew Clinton 'missed chance to get rid of bin Laden' and a bit more that we suspected but for which we had no verification:

Bill Clinton refused to order a strike on Osama bin Laden after the bombing of the American destroyer Cole even though the al-Qa'eda leader's whereabouts were known, according to a book to be published this week.

In early leaks from Losing bin Laden, Richard Miniter, an investigative journalist, claims that Mr Clinton allowed the September 11 attacks to happen by squandering more than a dozen opportunities to capture or kill bin Laden. In two cases the terrorist leader's exact location was known, the book says.

Though Clinton supporters would doubtless reject the implication of responsibility for September 11, senior members of the Clinton White House did confirm, in interviews for the book, that they shied away from an attack immediately after the Cole bombing for reasons of diplomacy and military caution.

Robert Novak, a conservative columnist given early access to the book, reported yesterday that on Oct 12, 2000, the day the warship was bombed off Aden, killing 17 sailors, Mr Clinton's counter-terrorism chief, Richard Clarke, urged an immediate strike on al-Qa'eda camps and Taliban buildings in Kabul and Kandahar.

Such a strike would destroy terrorist infrastructure and with luck might kill bin Laden, Mr Clarke told senior colleagues. But he was overruled - first by the CIA and FBI, which wanted more investigation of the attack, and then by the Clinton cabinet.

Janet Reno, then the attorney general, said an attack would break international law. Madeleine Albright, the secretary of state, is quoted as saying that "bombing Muslims wouldn't be helpful at this time".

Most controversially, the book quotes William Cohen, then the defence secretary, as saying the Cole attack "was not sufficiently provocative" and retaliation might cause trouble in Pakistan.

Mr Cohen was quoted by Robert Novak in yesterday's Washington Post as saying he did not recall the cabinet meeting in question, but "certainly regarded the Cole as a major provocation".

Canadian readers may remember that former Secy. of State Albright helped craft the disarmament treaty with North Korea (which they broke within a few months of ratification,) Atty. Gen. Janet Reno still hasn't been entirely forthcoming about the events that lead to the explosions at Waco, and former Def. Secy. Cohen is a regular on CNN. Michael Sheehan was in the PBS Frontline documentary The Man Who Knew, about John O'Neill, counter-terrorist expert at the FBI who led the investigation in Yemen on the Cole attack

Need I remind anyone that the attack on the USS Cole had been preceded by the 1993 WTC bombing and the bombings of 2 US embassies in Africa?

Is it any wonder that Canadian and Europeans governments hope for another Democrat in the White House? Another appeaser so they don't feel quite so cowardly, mayhap?

(Link to Chicago Sun-Times Novak article here.)

Posted by Debbye at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 2 -- The headline

Sept. 2 -- The headline says it all: Iraq: Four weeks, four bombs, 110 dead.

A car bomb was set off outside a police academy killing at least one and injuring 18 others even as mourners gather in Najaf.

Gee, guess somebody out there doesn't like the idea of developing institutions in Iraq that are part of a transitional government.

Posted by Debbye at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)

Ottawa requests UNHRC to take up Kazemi case

Sept. 2 -- The investigation into the death of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi is to be reopened as Charges have been dropped in Kazemi file against the two interogators because the inditements were incomplete.

Meanwhile, Ottawa has asked the UN Human Rights Commission to take up the Kazemi case.
It's nice to know that that the UNHRC, chaired by LIBYA, and which voted to deny consultative status to Reporters Without Borders, will be on the case.

Posted by Debbye at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 2 -- Whoops, looks

Sept. 2 -- Whoops, looks as though I forgot to publish before I took off yesterday.

Anyway, hearing and catching glimpse of a B-52 on two occasions and a B-2 once during the airshow has made my weekend. Major kudos to the pilots of the Spitfires and other planes (that I can't identify) and as always, the fabulous Snowbirds.

I've been laughing at the TV news most of the morning; what is this "crying when your kids head back to school" stuff? I was so damned proud of my kids and their "venturing forth to embrace the adventure of learning" and so relieved when the last one graduated from high school and out of the clutches of the various unions that made their school years a living hell of uncertainty. (Link here for my pedantic musings on why I have so much contempt for the teachers unions and education system in general. This is not suitable for feeble-minded readers.)

I've given up smoking AGAIN (I do that depressingly often; if it lasts longer than 48 hours I'm real, real pleased with myself) so everything is going to be erratic.

Posted by Debbye at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2003

Bruce Balfour released

Sept. 1 -- A Lebanese court has found Bruce Balfour not guilty of colllaborating with Israel and he may be free as early as Tuesday.

Another Canadian citizen, Grant Livingstone, who stood trial in absentia on the same charge was also found innocent.

Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Denis Coderre met earlier Monday with Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and said Canada respected Lebanon's judicial system.

Coderre said he also met with Balfour at the suburban Roumieh prison, east of Beirut, who appeared to be in good health.

There is nothing in this article to indicate why Min. Coderre handled this instead of Foreign Affairs Min. Bill Graham. You, of course, are free to speculate.

Posted by Debbye at 05:39 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 1 -- Fatalities from

Sept. 1 -- Fatalities from the bombing outside the Imam Ali mosque are now estimated at 83, and there were apparently two car bombs set off in front of the mosque.

There is a new tape purported to be from Saddam which denies any role in Najaf blast and claiming it to be "an accident".

Also, Najaf police have said that there are only 5 people in custody, all of them Iraqi.

Posted by Debbye at 09:23 AM | Comments (0)

Sept. 1 -- Just a

Sept. 1 -- Just a couple of information points:

I've opened another blogger blog so that the long posts (what! me? lengthy?) can be continued over there. That way you don't have to keep scrolling after I've bored you to death . . .

I had already made a decision to wait until September to begin posting on Sept. 11 which is why I've left the the recently released transcripts off. If Sept. 11 is to be a day that is observed primarily on the internet, then so be it. Experience tells me that bloggers can do a better job of it anyway, and I'll be going through my bookmarks to see if some of the outstanding sites I visited in the aftermath of the attacks are still up.

And Happy Labour Day to you all!

Posted by Debbye at 07:16 AM | Comments (0)