The Grim Milestone of Blogs "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational" - Prince Charles "Nuts" - Gen McAuliffe America: Saving idiots from themselves since WWI

Monday, October 31, 2005




French troops approach another grim milestone. This is the fifth day, a work week, half of ten, yet the militant activist youths of Clichy-sous-Bois tenacously hang onto the holy city under wood. Using makeshift weapons like 'fire bad' and rocks they burned somewhere between 20 and 40 French armored vehicles.
Sources close to Chirac who could not be named said they warned him what might happen if French troops strayed too closely into France.

Critics of the administration point out that armor which protects from 'fire bad' has been available for years. Sources close to Chirac note his 'Water Good' company could profit from the internal strife which has marred the French occupation of France for decades.

One family story
Azzam Mohammed Jihad Shahid Mohammed (17)
"He's the quietest, most bookish student I've ever taught," Osama Zarqawi Ballout Jihad said of Azzam, his pupil for 10 years. "Nobody knows the Koran better," asserted Osama. "There is no way he could participate in unjustified violence," Mr. Jihad concluded.

"My brother strikes out at the police cars which drive up and down the streets," Shahada Kazzam Mohammed (13) says. "They are Zionist Gallic French imperialists." He paused briefly to watch a behading video on his cell phone, but continued, "how can police cars not be burned when they try to force their secular law on us?"

"Fire bad" said Azzam, hosing incendary machine gun fire at French police cars.

Fire bad, indeed. "Allah is greatest" said Azzam, noting the "police should surrender" Clichy-sous-Bois, or risk violence...

Hitch: Plame, Wilson, Fitzkerfuffle..

Christopher Hitchens: What Goes Around, Comes Around
The Plame kerfuffle has made hypocrites of just about everyone.

If--and one has to say "if"--the transmission of any classified information is a crime, then as Mr. Fitzgerald also confirmed, one would be in the deep waters of the Espionage Act, which is "a very difficult statute to interpret." Actually, it is a very easy act to interpret. It declares that even something very well-known is secret if the state defines it as secret: the same principle as the dreaded British Official Secrets Act. As to the critical question of whether Ms. Plame had any cover to blow, Mr. Fitzgerald was equally insouciant: "I am not speaking to whether or not Valerie Wilson was covert."

In the absence of any such assertion or allegation, one must be forgiven for wondering what any of this gigantic fuss can possibly be about. I know some apparently sensible people who are prepared to believe, still, that a Machiavellian cabal in the White House wanted to punish Joseph Wilson by exposing his wife to embarrassment and even to danger. So strong is this belief that it envisages Karl Rove (say) deciding to accomplish the foul deed by tipping off Robert Novak, one of the most anti-Iraq-war and pro-CIA journalists in the capital, as if he were precisely the pliant tool one would select for the dastardly work. And then, presumably to thicken the plot, Mr. Novak calls the CIA to confirm, as it readily did, that Ms. Plame was in the agency's employ.

France a quagmire?

Insurgency shows signs of adapting, spreading, growing
The French African, Asian, Ute Alliance (FAAUA) continues its bloody house-to-house defense of Clichy-Sous-Bois. After four days of intense combat in the holy city under wood, government forces are no closer to a violent resolution of the conflict.

"We are to die, all uv uzz!" said Armand St. Guerrue, the Mayor of Clichy-Sous-Bois, as he packed his Mercedes full of German pornography and headed for the border.

A FAAUA representative said simply, "no cutting off the current, no peace."

This reporter has covered dozens of conflicts all over the world. I don't think it would be biased of me to say these damn French occupiers need to get off of the land which was lawfully seized by Islamic jihadis, converting parts of France from the Dar-al-Harb to Dar-al-Islam.

Social class and racism has driven these African, Asian, and French Utes to acts of violence. The root causes must be addressed to solve the underlying social problems.

[just kidding]

Nominee Best Acting by Man in Commercial Dressed as Fruit: "You can't over love" your underwear...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Steyn: Dripping with expectations

Dripping with expectations


This is getting ridiculous, isn't it?

Most Americans have never heard of any of these people. What's that? You've heard of Scooter? No, you're mistaken, you're thinking of Skeeter -- Skeeter Davis, the late country & western singer, who had a Top Three hit in 1963 with "Don't the-ey know it's The End Of The World/It ended when you said goodbye," which is apparently what George W. Bush will be singing as Karl Rove's led out of the Oval Office in handcuffs.
Just for the record, Scooter Libby is the highest-ranking Scooter in the Bush administration, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. All last week, lefty gloaters were eagerly anticipating "Fitzmas," their designation for that happy day when federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald hands down indictments against Mr. Libby, and Mr. Rove, and maybe Mr. Cheney, and -- boy oh boy, who knows? -- maybe Chimpy Bushitlerburton himself. Pat Fitzgerald has been making his list, checking it twice, found out who's naughty or nice, and he's ready to go on a Slay Ride, leaving Mr. Bush the Little Drummed-Out Boy and the Dems having a blue blue blue blue blue-state Christmas in November 2006, if not before. [Mr. Libby was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements in the CIA leak investigation.]


Guardian has a fitzgasm
I tried repeatedly to talk the US out of invading Iraq, says Berlusconi

· Italian PM tries to distance himself from White House
· Gadafy enlisted to help halt move towards war

John Hooper in Rome
Monday October 31, 2005
The Guardian

Silvio Berlusconi, one of George Bush's closest allies, says he repeatedly tried to talk the US president out of invading Iraq, in comments to be broadcast today.
In the television interview, which goes out on the day the Italian prime minister flies to Washington to meet Mr Bush, Mr Berlusconi says he even enlisted the help of the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gadafy, in behind-the-scenes efforts to stop America going to war.

"I have never been convinced war was the best way to succeed in making a country democratic and extract it from an albeit bloody dictatorship," he says. "I tried on several occasions to convince the American president not to wage war."

His version of events, recounted in an interview with the La7 private TV station, with excerpts reported by the Apcom and Ansa news agencies at the weekend, was backed by his deputy, Gianfranco Fini, leader of the former neo-fascist party, who said: "We tried right up to the end to persuade Bush and Blair not to launch a military attack."

Mr Berlusconi said one of the "other ways and other solutions" he had tried was a "joint action" with Colonel Gadafy, whose country is a former Italian colony.

Coming after Lewis Libby's indictment capped a crisis week for the Bush administration, Mr Berlusconi's remarks will be seen by many in Washington as treacherous. Italy's prime minister is standing for re-election in just over five months and polls indicate that his support for Mr Bush is a major handicap. He became closely identified with Mr Bush soon after coming to office in 2001 and avoided criticism of US policy in the run-up to the war. In March 2003 he told parliament the use of force against Iraq was legitimate and Italy could not abandon the Americans "in their fight against terrorism".

No alcohol on public transportation? (UK)

Should be complimentary.
Blair in retreat over ban on drinking

The Government was in full retreat last night over a proposal to ban drinking on all forms of public transport as part of new campaign against anti-social behaviour.

Tories and Lib Dems said the proposed ban was ridiculous
After senior ministers distanced themselves from the idea, train operators said it was unworkable and Opposition politicians said the Government was "obsessed" with banning things, Downing Street made clear that there were no plans for a "blanket ban" on alcohol on trains and buses.

NYT: Islamic Jihad's Vow to Cease Rocket Fire Ends Hours Later

Islamic Jihad's Vow to Cease Rocket Fire Ends Hours Later

"Vow" = Hudna?
Published: October 31, 2005
JERUSALEM, Oct. 30 - The Palestinian faction Islamic Jihad said Sunday that it would stop firing rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, but several hours later it appeared to retract the pledge amid renewed violence.

The initial statement had raised the possibility that a week of violence could be winding down.

Forum: The Middle East
But several hours later, Israeli forces surrounded a house in the northern West Bank village of Qabatiyeh and fatally shot two Islamic Jihad militants, Palestinian witnesses and security officials said. One of those killed, Jihad Zakarne, was believed to have been involved in planning a suicide bombing in Israel last week, The Associated Press reported.

Islamic Jihad had said that its pledge depended on a halt in Israeli military operations. After the Israeli raid, the organization released a statement saying that "after this crime, we reiterate that there will be no security for the residents of Sederot and Ashkelon," two Israeli towns just outside Gaza.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Prince Charles

“I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational...”

-- Prince Charles

Dhimmi Boy?

His Lord Majesty, the Prince of Wales, has some problem with the exercise of our freedom of speech, apparently. I cite His Dhimmified Highness the Declaration of Independence. [edited for clarity, or something]

Ahmadinejad continues putting his foot in it...

You know, Iran's 'President' 'Ahmadinejad.'
Iranian leader defends denunciation of Israel
From combined dispatches
October 29, 2005

TEHRAN -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, cheered by tens of thousands of supporters, yesterday stood by his call for Israel to be "wiped off the map," while Iran's foreign ministry sought to defuse a diplomatic storm.
Marching alongside protesters chanting "death to America" and "death to Israel," the 47-year-old former mayor of Tehran and one-time Republican Guard said: "They become upset when they hear any voice of truth-seeking. They think they are the absolute rulers of the world."
Mr. Ahmadinejad made his declaration during the al-Quds -- or Jerusalem -- Day protest, which was among the largest ones since first held in 1979 after Shi'ite Muslim clerics took power in Iran.
Some protesters burned or trampled Israeli and U.S. flags.
It is not uncommon for an Iranian president to join marches in the capital. Mr. Ahmadinejad was accompanied by five bodyguards, but otherwise security was not out of the ordinary for such an event.
In New York, the U.N. Security Council yesterday added its voice to a chorus of condemnation for Mr. Ahmadinejad's extremist remarks, a move immediately welcomed by the Israeli ambassador, Dan Gillerman.
"The Security Council condemns the remarks about Israel attributed to Mr. Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran," said a statement read by the president of the council for the month, Romanian Ambassador Mihnea Motoc.
Despite Mr. Ahmadinejad's continued attacks on the West, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani yesterday tried to tone down the rhetoric, suggesting that Israelis and Palestinians hold a referendum to decide the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations.
"If Muslims and Palestinians agree [to a referendum], it will be a retreat but let's still hold a referendum," Mr. Rafsanjani said in his Friday prayers sermon.
The Iranian Embassy in Moscow said Mr. Ahmadinejad "did not have any intention to speak in sharp terms and engage in a conflict."
But that was not the message carried by the at least 200,000 Iranians who massed in Tehran to virulent condemn Israel, the United States and the West in general, accusing them of oppressing Palestinians and Iran.
Some demonstrators chanted "Israel is approaching its death" and wore white shrouds in a symbolic gesture expressing readiness to die for their cause.

France at war?

French, African, or Asian youths sure can be a problem.

The two utes, your honor?

What utes?

jrdroll has the sordid Internet history of this story Information like wildfire, I tell you.

Youths riot for second night in Paris suburb
By Laure Bretton
Sat Oct 29, 9:42 AM ET
PARIS (Reuters)

PARIS (Reuters) - Hundreds of French youths fought with police and set cars ablaze in a Paris suburb on Saturday in a second night of rioting which media said was triggered when two teenagers were electrocuted while fleeing police.

The teenagers were killed and a third seriously injured on Thursday night when they were electrocuted in an electricity sub station as they ran away from police investigating a break-in, media reported.

Firefighters intervened around 40 times on Friday night in the northeastern suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois where many of the 28,000 residents are immigrants, mainly from Africa, police and fire officers said.

Unidentified youths fired a shot at police but no one was hurt, police said.

"It's not normal that these two die like that," one teenage boy wearing a hooded sweatshirt told French television, referring to the two dead boys, which media identified as 15-year-old Banou and 17-year-old Ziad.

Television pictures showed youths lobbing stones at police officers while cars burned on the streets of the suburb. Police in riot gear chased some youths down an alleyway.

Around 19 people were detained and 15 police officers and one journalist injured, police said. They were unable to give figures for the number of protesters hurt.

An officer from police trade union Action Police CFTC called for help from the army to support police officers.

"There's a civil war under way in Clichy-Sous-Bois at the moment," Michel Thooris from Action Police CFTC, said. "My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical nor theoretical training for street fighting."

However, Joaquin Masanet from the UNSA-Police union, which represents the majority of riot police, did not agree.

"We're not at war," he said. "The police are capable of restoring order if we are given the material and human means."

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday the youths who fled the scene of the suspected break-in and climbed into an electricity sub station were not being pursued by police when they were electrocuted.

It was unclear whether the three youths at the electricity sub station were suspected of taking part in the break-in or where just nearby when it happened.


On Thursday night, youths set cars and garbage cans ablaze and attacked shops and a fire station. Officials said 23 vehicles, including some post office delivery trucks, were set ablaze and destroyed in the protests.

Several hundred people took part in a silent march to honor the two dead teenagers in Clichy-Sous-Bois on Saturday.

"Thanks to you, France will now respect us more than this morning, before this silent march," said Claude Dilain, mayor of Clichy-Sous-Bois, a suburb of high-rise social housing.

"We are showing our real face, that of united citizens, whatever our origin or religion or faith. Together, we have showed our pain and even anger, in calm, dignity and respect."

Sarkozy, whose law and order policies have been criticized by human rights groups, launched a new offensive against crime this month, ordering specially trained police to tackle 25 tough neighborhoods in cities across France.

Sarkozy, who has clearly stated his ambition to run for president in 2007, said police mobile units would patrol districts instead of having police waiting around in coaches while trouble erupted elsewhere.

The tough talking Sarkozy made his name by cutting headline crime figures during his first stint as interior minister from 2002 to 2004.

(Additional reporting by Kerstin Gehmlich)

Alexis De Tocqueville in box on pg. 25 -- Battle of Badr pp. 7-10

Robert Spencer quotes one of the great insightful thinkers of his day on Islam (pg. 25).

Spencer's PIG on Islam and the Crusades places some information in graphical asides, aka boxes.

The Battle of Badr section (pp. 7-10) is an important read for any student in military history.

All the early conquests described in Spencer's PIG to Islam should be studied carefully.

Robert Spencer's book arrived! I'll live-blog the fun parts as I go along.

Eleven weeks on the bestseller list for Robert Spencer
Spencer book on New York Times Bestseller List for eleventh week

My book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) has for the week of November 6 once again made the New York Times Bestseller List (paperback nonfiction). It is at number 23 in its eleventh week on the list.

The book has had a remarkable run -- far beyond anything I expected for it. And it is all the more surprising given the fact that while I appeared on well over a hundred talk radio programs, the mainstream media ignored the book, and it was reviewed only in Human Events, the American Thinker, and Front Page [links in original -- Chip].

I suspect that other publications (both liberal and conservative) didn't review it because they couldn't show that I was incorrect. Since they couldn't run a list of the book's errors and inaccuracies, they opted to pretend it didn't exist. To them I issue a standing invitation: go ahead. Prove me wrong. If you're right and I have made a false statement in the book, I'll acknowledge it publicly right here. But you can't do that, can you?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Iran 'on collision course' (Telegraph, UK)

Ahmadinijad [you can't misspell it in English, relax]

Iran was on a collision course with the West yesterday as its president defied a diplomatic onslaught led by Washington and London to withdraw his calls for Israel to be "wiped off the map".

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, supported by more than a million of his countrymen attending annual anti-Israel protest rallies in all major cities across Iran, said he stood by his remarks.

An Iranian cleric walks past an anti-Israel poster
The president marched alongside a mob of noisy students in Teheran waving placards carrying the exact words he used at an anti-Zionism rally earlier this week, and mocked Israel's strongest supporter, the United States.

"They become upset when they hear any voice of truth-seeking, " he said. "They think they are the absolute rulers of the world."

By returning so bluntly to the old anti-Israel rhetoric common during Iran's Islamic Revolution of 1979, the president has radically changed Iran's relations with the West.

After a decade when most observers believed that the Islamic Republic had become more modern, Mr Ahmadinejad has taken a more hardline position.

With Iran continuing work on its nuclear programme, it is a change of policy with potentially enormous implications.

NYT - Russia defends OFF allegations

NYT: Russia claims forgery in OFF

Evidence Cited in Oil Report Was Forged, Russia Says

By ANDREW KRAMER -- [New York Times]
Published: October 29, 2005

MOSCOW, Oct. 28 - Documents cited as evidence that Russian companies and politicians paid hefty kickbacks to Saddam Hussein in the United Nations oil-for-food program for Iraq are forgeries, Russian officials said Friday.

"Documents that were shown to us were forged on a number of occasions," said Sergey V. Lavrov, the minister of foreign affairs, according to the Interfax news agency. Mr. Lavrov, who said he had not read the report, did not indicate which documents he meant, and a ministry spokesman declined to elaborate.

Mikhail Margelov, a legislator in the upper chamber of Russia's Parliament, said the "fabrications" had "cast a shadow" on the lengthy investigation of corruption in the program. They were responding to a report released Thursday by an independent panel, led by Paul A. Volcker, former chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, that detailed graft by thousands of companies and individuals worldwide. Russia had more companies involved in the program than any other country.

The $64 billion program was established to help ease the effects of United Nations sanctions on Iraqis by supplying food and medicines in exchange for letting the Hussein government export oil. Russia and France, which opposed the sanctions, won preferential treatment under the program, the report said, with Russian companies getting a third of all the oil exported from Iraq.

The report included a detailed chapter on Russian oil companies. A spokesman for Lukoil, Russia's largest private oil company, which is accused of paying kickbacks, said the report's evidence was "unconvincing," and oil industry analysts here noted that it probably would not lead to prosecutions in a country with enough money-laundering and kickback scandals of its own.

Yet so much oil company cash was passing through the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow in the late 1990's that Iraqi officials developed a system to send it to Baghdad in red canvas diplomatic bags, sealed with wax, on chartered flights, the report said. Each bag held $1.5 million in $100 bills. The embassy issued receipts to Russian companies and sent copies to Baghdad, the report said.

Vladimir V. Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, who was accused in the report of paying an oil surcharge by transferring the title to a Moscow building owned by his son to the government of Iraq, also called the report's supporting documents forged. "These are all fabrications," Interfax quoted him as saying.

In Sweden on Friday, Volvo A.B., whose construction division, based in Brussels, was accused of paying kickbacks, acknowledged making payments through an agent to Iraqi authorities but said it did not consider that bribery, according to The Associated Press, quoting a report by the Swedish news agency TT. The A.P. also reported that Siemens A.G. of Germany said it had found no evidence of kickbacks paid by its French, Turkish and Middle Eastern subsidiaries, as alleged in the report.

Guardian: Scooter over UN Oil-for-Food



Apart from vomitoriums and orgies, what did the Romans do for us?

Ancient Rome provides a handy non-offensive stereotype for us to define ourselves against

Mary Beard
Saturday October 29, 2005

^^^^^Human Interest, good read^^^^^

UN Oil-for-Food?

Can't find it.

Jihad and jingoism on Iran's streets

Robert Tait in Tehran
Saturday October 29, 2005

Carrying a large Palestinian flag and decked out in a chequered kaffiyeh and black Arabian chador, Monir Kohandani looked every inch the committed freedom fighter and willing martyr deified by Iran's Islamic regime.
But as she participated along with thousands of others in yesterday's annual al-Quds (Jerusalem) day march - organised by Iran's ruling mullahs in a show of religious strength against Zionism - it was unclear whether she appreciated the stakes involved in the cause for which she was marching.

Asked for her views on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remark that Israel "must be wiped off the map", Ms Kohandani, a 21-year-old law student, was unreflecting. "Whatever he says is right, his words are Islam's words," she said. "Israel is of no importance to Iran. We don't believe in it as a country. The word 'Israel' doesn't exist on our maps. We write Palestine instead."
Ms Kohandani's response represents the unyielding view of regime loyalists on Israel, to whose destruction Iran has been committed - at least rhetorically - since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Yesterday that commitment was under scrutiny as never before from a world outraged at the spectacle of a head of state apparently calling for another country's annihilation.

In the face of the regime's uncompromising stance, many Iranians are uninformed about the nuances of the conflict. Talk of Israeli "massacres" of Palestinians is commonplace.

Pro-regime artwork plays a role in this interpretation. Huge murals depicting perceived Israeli atrocities are plastered on walls across Tehran. One of the most striking portrays the death of 12-year-old Mohammed al-Durra, killed in the crossfire between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in Gaza five years ago.

Otherwise, the Iranian public is reliant on a diet of propaganda fed by the state-controlled media. Yesterday, that diet was served up in giant platefuls. Throughout the day, state television ran a harrowing series of images of Palestinian suffering. There was no mention of the international condemnation triggered by Mr Ahmadinejad's remarks.

Instead, the focus was on Tehran University, where tens of thousands congregated in an apparently monolithic endorsement of their president's position. They had been ferried in by dozens of buses provided by the government.

Many demonstrators, including young children, carried banners repeating Mr Ahmadinejad's words. Another banner read: "The only way to combat the Zionist enemy is resistance and Jihad." Organisers handed out carrier bags emblazoned with a burning Star of David and stating: "Yesterday Lebanon, today Gaza, tomorrow Palestine."

For the regime, the turnout may have been the perfect riposte to the outcry. Yet among some present there was an awareness that the president's comments needed clarification. "He didn't mean wiping the Jewish people off the map. We don't have a problem with them," said Muhammad Ali Chitsaz, 36, a dentist. "We can have peaceful coexistence with them. What we are against is their treatment of the Palestinians. They should allow the Palestinians to return to their homeland and then decide the government on the basis of who is the majority."

Some Iranians, indifferent to a conflict they see as the business of Jews and Arabs, think Mr Ahmadinejad has his priorities wrong. "Rather than paying attention to Israel, we should be asking how economically corrupt people have managed to penetrate our system," said Pezman Noghreyi, 27.

Others fear a backlash from the US and Israel. "We need to maintain our relations with the outside world," said Hamid, 25, a designer. "If the UN can convince the Israelis to treat the Palestinians better, so that there weren't any more massacres, that would be better than wiping them off the map."

Muhammad Motamedi, 55, a consultant at a research institute, said Mr Ahmadinejad had been misinterpreted. "What he meant was that today's government of Israel should be wiped off the map, not the nation of Israel," he said. "But it is possible that his comments are going to play into the hands of Bush and Sharon."

Hamed Babayi, 27, an agricultural engineering student, said he was "proud" of the president. "I am proud of him because he is speaking strongly against superpowers like Israel and America. I have promised myself that I would go to war against Israel, America or any other country that attacks Iran. We should wipe not only the government of Israel, but also those of America and Britain off the map. But we don't mean their people."

Galloway is the only UN OFF angle the Guardian pursued.

Iranian Ahmadinijad stays with hard-line [genocidal] policy towards Israel

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer - Iran Leader Reiterates Anti-Israel Stance
1 hour, 24 minutes ago

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's ultraconservative president — spurning international outrage over his remarks about Israel — joined more than a million demonstrators who flooded the streets of the capital and other major cities Friday to back his call for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood fast behind his assertion that Israel should be wiped off the map and repeated the call during the nationwide protests Friday, the Muslim day of prayer.

But in an apparent attempt to blunt international outrage over Ahmadinejad's comments, the Iranian Embassy in Moscow issued a statement saying the Iranian leader did not want to "engage in a conflict."

Marching alongside the protesters, the 47-year-old former mayor of Tehran and one-time Republican Guard commander renewed his criticism of the West.

"They become upset when they hear any voice of truth-seeking. They think they are the absolute rulers of the world," he said during the al-Quds — or Jerusalem — Day protest, which was among the largest since they were first held in 1979 after Shiite Muslim clerics took power in Iran.

His fellow marchers carried placards reading "Death to Israel, death to America." It is not uncommon for an Iranian president to join marches in the capital. Ahmadinejad was accompanied by five bodyguards, but otherwise security was not out of the ordinary for such an event.

Despite Ahmadinejad's continued harsh attacks on the West, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani tried to dial back the rhetoric, suggesting that Israelis and Palestinians hold a referendum to decide the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations.

"If Muslims and Palestinians agree (to a referendum), it will be a retreat but let's still hold a referendum," Rafsanjani said in his Friday prayer sermon.

The Iranian Embassy statement in Moscow said Ahmadinejad "did not have any intention to speak in sharp terms and engage in a conflict."

But that was not the message carried by the at least 200,000 Iranians who massed in Tehran to unleashed virulent condemnation against Israel, the United States and the West in general, accusing them of oppressing Palestinians and Iran.

Some demonstrators chanted "Israel is approaching its death" and wore white shrouds in a symbolic gesture expressing readiness to die for their cause.

A resolution was read at the end of the rallies backing "the position declared by the president that the Zionist regime must be wiped out."

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki defended his president's comments, saying they represented Iran's long-held policy of not recognizing Israel.

"Unfortunately the Western countries have remained silent on the increasing inhuman activities of Israel," Mottaki said at the Tehran march.

Protests attracted at least 100,000 in each of Iran's eight largest cities, according to AP reporters. State television said millions of people assembled throughout the country. Major rallies also were held in other Middle Eastern countries.

In Beirut, the militant Hezbollah group marked the day by staging a parade that saw more than 6,000 guerrillas march in uniform through the streets of the Lebanese capital.

The Shiite group, which supports it Iranian mentors, has sought to strengthen its position in Lebanon after the withdrawal of Syrian troops.

At least 30,000 Bahrainis marched in their capital, Manama, burning Israeli and American flags and demanding their government rescind its recent decision to end its economic embargo of the Jewish state.

The United States said the Iranian leader's remarks have only underscored Washington's concern over Iran's nuclear program. Israel said Iran should be suspended from the United Nations. U.N. chief Kofi Annan expressed "dismay" at the comments in a rare rebuke of a U.N. member state.

The Vatican condemned as "unacceptable" statements denying the right of Israel to exist, although it did not mention Iran by name. The U.N. Security Council also condemned the remarks, while Russia summoned the Iranian ambassador seeking an explanation for the president's words.

Iran's seven state-run TV stations devoted coverage Friday to programs condemning the Jewish state and praising the Palestinian resistance since the 1948 creation of Israel.

Three stations also showed live coverage of crowds of people gathering Friday in streets throughout Tehran.

In Washington, the State Department said it was skeptical the demonstrators had gone into the streets voluntarily.

"I think you have over the past decade seen examples of the Iranian regime organizing protests in support of some of their more outrageous policies," spokesman Sean McCormack said.

After Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini toppled the pro-Western Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979, he declared the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as an international day of struggle against Israel and for the liberation of Jerusalem. The founder of the Islamic regime had also called for Israel's destruction.

Important historical events are moving by at such a rapid pace, I've become a slave to the MSM, the classic parasitic-recorder-of-MSM-work- blog if you will.

Therefore, I've tried to make it real - glaringly - obvious who wrote this stuff.

UPDATE: MEMRI: text: Iranian President at Tehran Conference: "Very Soon, This Stain of Disgrace [i.e. Israel] Will Vanish from the Center of the Islamic World - and This is Attainable"

The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), published the full text of Ahmadinejad's speech. The following is a translation of excerpts from ISNA's report and from the speech. [1]

"Prior to his statement, Ahmadinejad said that if you plan to chant the slogan 'Death to Israel,' say it in the right and complete way.

"The president warned the leaders of the Islamic world that they should be wary of Fitna [civil strife]: 'If someone is under the pressure of hegemonic power [i.e. the West] and understands that something is wrong, or he is naïve, or he is an egotist and his hedonism leads him to recognize the Zionist regime – he should know that he will burn in the fire of the Islamic Ummah [nation]…'

"Ahmadinejad articulated the real meaning of Zionism: '...We must see what the real story of Palestine is... The establishment of the regime that is occupying Jerusalem was a very grave move by the hegemonic and arrogant system [i.e. the West] against the Islamic world. We are in the process of an historical war between the World of Arrogance [i.e. the West] and the Islamic world, and this war has been going on for hundreds of years.

"'In this historical war, the situation at the fronts has changed many times. During some periods, the Muslims were the victors and were very active, and looked forward, and the World of Arrogance was in retreat.

"'Unfortunately, in the past 300 years, the Islamic world has been in retreat vis-à-vis the World of Arrogance… During the period of the last 100 years, the [walls of the] world of Islam were destroyed and the World of Arrogance turned the regime occupying Jerusalem into a bridge for its dominance over the Islamic world...

"'This occupying country [i.e. Israel ] is in fact a front of the World of Arrogance in the heart of the Islamic world. They have in fact built a bastion [ Israel ] from which they can expand their rule to the entire Islamic world... This means that the current war in Palestine is the front line of the Islamic world against the World of Arrogance, and will determine the fate of Palestine for centuries to come.

"'Today the Palestinian nation stands against the hegemonic system as the representative of the Islamic Ummah [nation]. Thanks to God, since the Palestinian people adopted the Islamic war and the Islamic goals, and since their struggle has become Islamic in its attitude and orientation, we have been witnessing the progress and success of the Palestinian people.'

"Ahmadinejad said: 'The issue of this [World without Zionism] conference is very valuable. In this very grave war, many people are trying to scatter grains of desperation and hopelessness regarding the struggle between the Islamic world and the front of the infidels, and in their hearts they want to empty the Islamic world.

"'... They [ask]: 'Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?' But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved…

"'When the dear Imam [Khomeini] said that [the Shah's] regime must go, and that we demand a world without dependent governments, many people who claimed to have political and other knowledge [asked], 'Is it possible [that the Shah's regime can be toppled]?'

"'That day, when Imam [Khomeini] began his movement, all the powers supported [the Shah's] corrupt regime… and said it was not possible. However, our nation stood firm, and by now we have, for 27 years, been living without a government dependent on America. Imam [Khomeni] said: 'The rule of the East [U.S.S.R.] and of the West [ U.S. ] should be ended.' But the weak people who saw only the tiny world near them did not believe it.

"'Nobody believed that we would one day witness the collapse of the Eastern Imperialism [i.e. the U.S.S.R], and said it was an iron regime. But in our short lifetime we have witnessed how this regime collapsed in such a way that we must look for it in libraries, and we can find no literature about it.

"'Imam [Khomeini] said that Saddam [Hussein] must go, and that he would be humiliated in a way that was unprecedented. And what do you see today? A man who, 10 years ago, spoke as proudly as if he would live for eternity is today chained by the feet, and is now being tried in his own country...

"'Imam [Khomeini] said: 'This regime that is occupying Qods [ Jerusalem ] must be eliminated from the pages of history.' This sentence is very wise. The issue of Palestine is not an issue on which we can compromise.

"'Is it possible that an [Islamic] front allows another front [i.e. country] to arise in its [own] heart? This means defeat, and he who accepts the existence of this regime [i.e. Israel ] in fact signs the defeat of the Islamic world.

"'In his battle against the World of Arrogance, our dear Imam [Khomeini] set the regime occupying Qods [ Jerusalem ] as the target of his fight.

"'I do not doubt that the new wave which has begun in our dear Palestine and which today we are also witnessing in the Islamic world is a wave of morality which has spread all over the Islamic world. Very soon, this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel ] will vanish from the center of the Islamic world – and this is attainable.

"'But we must be wary of Fitna. For more than 50 years, the World of Arrogance has tried to give recognition to the existence of this falsified regime [ Israel ]. With its first steps, and then with further steps, it has tried hard in this direction to stabilize it.

"'Regrettably, 27 or 28 years ago... one of the countries of the first line [i.e. Egypt ] made this failure [of recognizing Israel ] – and we still hope that they will correct it.

"'Lately we have new Fitna underway… With the forced evacuation [of Gaza ] that was imposed by the Palestinian people, they [the Israelis] evacuated only a corner. [ Israel ] declared this as the final victory and, on the pretext of evacuating Gaza and establishing a Palestinian government, tried to put an end to the hopes of the Palestinians.

"'Today, [ Israel ] seeks, satanically and deceitfully, to gain control of the front of war. It is trying to influence the Palestinian groups in Palestine so as to preoccupy them with political issues and jobs – so that they relinquish the Palestinian cause that determines their destiny, and come into conflict with each other.

"'On the pretext of goodwill, they [ Israel ] intended, by evacuating the Gaza strip, to gain recognition of its corrupt regime by some Islamic states. I very much hope, and ask God, that the Palestinian people and the dear Palestinian groups will be wary of this Fitna.

"'The issue of Palestine is by no means over, and will end only when all of Palestine will have a government belonging to the Palestinian people. The refugees must return to their homes, and there must be a government that has come to power by the will of the [Palestinian] people. And, of course those [i.e. the Jews] who came to this country from far away to plunder it have no right to decide anything for the [Palestinian] people.

"'I hope that the Palestinians will maintain their wariness and intelligence, much as they have pursued their battles in the past 10 years. This will be a short period, and if we pass through it successfully, the process of the elimination of the Zionist regime will be smooth and simple.

"'I warn all the leaders of the Islamic world to be wary of Fitna: If someone is under the pressure of hegemonic power [i.e. the West] and understands that something is wrong, or he is naïve, or he is an egotist and his hedonism leads him to recognize the Zionist regime – he should know that he will burn in the fire of the Islamic Ummah [nation]…

"'The people who sit in closed rooms cannot decide on this matter. The Islamic people cannot allow this historical enemy to exist in the heart of the Islamic world.

"'Oh dear people, look at this global arena. By whom are we confronted? We must understand the depth of the disgrace imposed on us by the enemy, until our holy hatred expands continuously and strikes like a wave.'"


[1] Iranian Students News Agency (Iran), October 26, 2005, Link

Army has control of Iranian "nukes"

UN Oil for Food: world reaction to 'harsh' report

By JIM HEINTZ, Associated Press Writer
8 minutes ago

MOSCOW - A scathing report on corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program for Saddam Hussein's Iraq drew widespread denials, terse dismissals and protestations of innocence Friday. But there were also pledges to investigate from some of the 2,200 companies cited and countries with citizens named.

Russian officials angrily alleged that documents accusing companies and officials in that country were fake, and the head of the nation's electricity monopoly called for the report's writers to be punished. But in a rare partial admission, Sweden's Volvo AB acknowledged making payments through an agent to Iraqi authorities but said it did not consider that bribery.

The U.N. report issued Thursday rattled reputations around the world with charges of kickbacks in lucrative contracts in the 1996-2003 program, under which Iraq was allowed to sell oil provided the proceeds went to buying humanitarian goods to help offset U.N. sanctions.

Saddam, who could choose the buyers of Iraqi oil and the sellers of humanitarian goods, corrupted the program by awarding contracts to — and getting kickbacks from — favored buyers, according to the report by the Independent Inquiry Committee led by former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.

Countries like Russia that opposed sanctions got preferential treatment from Saddam's regime, the report said.

Among those implicated was former Kremlin chief of staff Alexander Voloshin, now board chairman of the state electricity grid UES. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in remarks reported by domestic news agencies, claimed some of the documents cited by the commission used forged signatures. And UES chief executive Anatoly Chubais said the commission knew Voloshin's signature was faked on oil contracts, adding: "I hope that those responsible for the mistake will be punished."

Volcker's team was extremely cautious on the claim against Voloshin. It noted that Iraqi Oil Ministry records reported about 4.3 million barrels were allocated in his name through a Russian company called Impexoil.

Yet it also acknowledged Russian claims that his signature was forged and said samples of his signatures were "not substantially similar" to the signature that appeared on a letter purportedly written by him. It said it could not find evidence linking Voloshin with Impexoil.

In Sweden, vehicle-maker Volvo AB, whose Brussels-based construction division was among the companies named in the report, acknowledged the company made payments through an agent to Iraqi authorities.

"We did business with an authority in Iraq. The same authority tells our agent that you have to pay a fee to do any business at all," chief executive Leif Johansson was quoted as telling the Swedish news agency TT.

"When authorities said that, we drew the conclusion that this was the way to do business in Iraq," he said. "No one linked that to bribes."

Volvo AB no longer owns carmaker Volvo, which was sold in 1999 to the Ford Motor Company.

Switzerland said it has launched a criminal investigation focusing on four people connected to the oil-for-food program. Swiss authorities already have fined a Geneva-based oil-trading company $40,000 for paying kickbacks under the program, but have not identified the company.

France will study the report and "wants full light to be shed on the embezzlement that took place in the framework of the oil-for-food program," Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said. French judges are investigating 10 French officials and business leaders on suspicion they received oil allocations as kickbacks.

Among them is former U.N. ambassador Jean-Bernard Merimee, who held the post from 1991-95, and according to the report received more than $165,000 in commissions from oil allocations awarded to him by the Iraqi regime.

The report also said former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, now a senator, was awarded 11 million barrels of oil, an allegation he denied Friday in an interview with The Associated Press.

"I never received anything," Pasqua said, adding that he believed somebody used his name without his knowledge. "It is obvious to me that the Americans want to implicate France."

In Australia, Prime Minister John Howard said he doubted the Australian Wheat Board, which was the single largest supplier of humanitarian goods under the program, would have knowingly made improper payments. The report said the board, which sold $2.3 billion of wheat to Iraq, made "side payments" for transportation of the grain to a Jordanian company that was owned in part by Saddam's government.

Andrew Lindberg, managing director of the wheat board's successor AWB, said "we didn't know that the money, that we believed we were paying for transport, was being diverted to the regime."

An Italian politician named in the scandal, Roberto Formigoni, said he received "neither a drop of oil, nor a single cent." Fiery British lawmaker George Galloway, who founded a charity aimed at fighting the U.N. sanctions against Iraq, told the AP "there is a witchhunt going on" and accused U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (news, bio, voting record), a Minnesota Republican, of falsifying evidence against him.

Germany's Siemens AG said it found no evidence of kickbacks allegedly paid by its French, Turkish and Middle East subsidiaries. A DaimlerChrysler statement said the company was aware of the report, but declined to comment further. Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca also denied alleged wrongdoing.

Texas oilman Oscar S. Wyatt Jr., the former chairman of Coastal Corp. who was described in the report as a favorite customer of Iraq, pleaded not guilty Thursday in New York to charges that he conspired to pay several million dollars in illegal kickbacks to Saddam's regime to win oil-for-food contracts. Volcker said Wyatt, 81, was the lone exception to an Iraqi ban on selling oil to American companies.

The report also implicated Lukoil Asia Pacific, a company the report called a subsidiary of Russia's No. 1 producer, Lukoil.

Lukoil's spokesman, Dmitry Dolgov, said he had never heard of the company, adding that investigators had worked with Iraqi documents, which could have been forged.

Dolgov noted that investigator Robert Parton resigned from Volcker's committee in April, reportedly because he believed it ignored evidence critical of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "This creates the impression that this report is aimed at distracting attention from the oversights of U.N. officials and laying the blame with certain companies," Dolgov said.

UPDATE: Volcker Panel Cites French, Russian Firms
Volcker panel cites French, Russian firms
By Betsy Pisik

October 28, 2005

NEW YORK -- Russian and French firms dominated the list of companies that made nearly $2 billion in illicit payments to Saddam Hussein's regime in order to win contracts under the Iraq oil-for-food program, according to a massive new report released yesterday in a U.N.-approved inquiry.
More than half the companies that participated in the U.N. oil-for-food program helped Saddam undermine international sanctions by paying kickbacks and fees to the regime, according to investigators, who found that 2,250 firms from 66 nations made illegal payments to Iraq.
"The reports show that Saddam Hussein aggressively manipulated a well-intentioned program so that he could divert to his personal use billions of dollars that belonged to the Iraqi people," said John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
"But he was only able to accomplish this misdeed with the willing cooperation of U.N. officials, the acquiescence of some member states, and, as today's report indicates, the willingness of private companies and individuals to pay huge sums in bribes and kickbacks to the Hussein regime."
Firms from countries that Iraq deemed sympathetic -- including U.N. Security Council powers France, Russia and China -- were often given preferential treatment, according to the 623-page report compiled by a team of investigators headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker.
Those same governments worked to loosen the sanctions, and also opposed the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Among the firms that are suspected of paying kickbacks or bribes are DaimlerChrysler AG, Siemens AG, Volvo's construction vehicle unit and a variety of international firms.
Also singled out for criticism is BNP Paribas, the French bank that managed all the oil-for-food escrow accounts and letters of credit. The bank did not adequately scrutinize the accounts, nor cooperate fully with investigators, according to the report.
The final report, also implicates a surprising swath of political figures around the globe ranging from Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky to British lawmaker George Galloway. A Vatican priest who campaigned against the sanctions received a $140,000 contribution from a French oil importer.
The report also implicates a financial company owned by fugitive American financier Marc Rich, who received a pardon from President Clinton, saying his firm underwrote letters of credit for a French oil firm while trying to keep its role a secret.
Only a handful of U.S. firms were found to be in violation of the oil-for-food program, in part because Washington was emphatically in favor of stern sanctions. Among the U.S. firms named was Reston-based Midway Trading, which paid a $220,000 fine earlier this week to settle grand larceny charges.
The report makes clear that Iraq's hunger for extra revenue began shortly after the program was put into place in 1996, and that many of the secret payments were an open secret, widely known among oil traders and those given humanitarian contracts with Iraq.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

UN Oil for Food Coverage

NY Post

By NILES LATHEM Post Correspondent

October 27, 2005 -- WASHINGTON — An explosive report by a U.N.-appointed independent inquiry commission is expected to trigger criminal prosecutions of international businessmen and political figures who helped Saddam Hussein scam the U.N. oil-for-food program.

The report, by former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker, is due to be released today. It's expected to name the hundreds of individuals and companies who participated in sleazy bribery and kickback schemes that allowed Saddam to rip off $11 billion from the humanitarian program.

Justice Richard Goldstone, a member of the Volcker panel, said recently the probe has found some evidence of wrongdoing on the part of 2,500 of the 4,000 companies that did business with the aid program.

Hitchens in Slate

al-Jazeera (AP)

UN Oil for Food Coverage

Galloway's Wife - 4,500 Possible Defendants
Days after a US Senate committee tracked a $150,000 (£84,000) payment to the MP’s now estranged Palestinian wife, the UN inquiry reported that Amina Naji Abu Zayyad had earlier received a series of transfers totalling $120,000.

The revelation increases the pressure on the vocal anti-war politician, whom the report says was nicknamed “Abu Mariam” by the Iraqis, a reference to his anti-sanctions campaign, the Mariam Appeal.

The Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow already faces a parliamentary ethics inquiry and possible criminal charges for making “false or misleading” statements during his celebrated confrontation with US Senators in May.

The new details of Mr Galloway’s alleged involvement in the oil-for-food scandal were contained in a 620-page report issued at the end of an 18-month UN inquiry by a panel led by Paul Volcker, a former chairman of the US Federal Reserve.

The report also contained details of an unexplained payment of 20,000 Swiss francs (£8,800) to the son of Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary- General. And Jean-Bernard Merimée, France’s former UN Ambassador, admitted receiving $165,725 in commissions on an Iraqi oil sale in January 2002 while serving as a special adviser to Mr Annan.

M Merrimée told investigators that Tariq Aziz, Iraq’s former Deputy Prime Minister, had offered him the commissions because he was a “fair negotiator” as Paris’s UN envoy in setting up the oil-for-food system in the mid-1990s.

The report found that Marc Rich & Co financed oil purchases from Iraq and the associated kickbacks for the son of a French MP shortly after the company’s founder received a controversial pardon from President Clinton.

In all, about half the 4,500 companies that bought oil or supplied humanitarian goods under the UN scheme are suspected of having paid illegal kickbacks to the Saddam Hussein government. But only one oil company and 26 humanitarian suppliers actually admitted doing so.

BBC: More than 2,000 companies
More than 2,000 firms linked to the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq were involved in making illicit payments to the Iraqi government, a report says.
It found Saddam Hussein received $1.8bn (£1bn) from firms including Daimler Chrysler and Volvo, and it also named individuals said to have benefited.

Some of those issued denials or declined to comment at this stage.

The UN report said the firms would not necessarily have known about the bribes and surcharges.

Paul Volcker, who led the inquiry, said corruption would not have been so pervasive had there been better discipline by UN management and he emphasised the need for wide-ranging UN reforms.

Claudia Rosett
Business as Usual
Corruption and conflicts of interest at the U.N.

Thursday, October 27, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

Few outside U.N. circles have heard of IHC Services, a private company that for years was one of hundreds of firms selling goods and services to the U.N. As a rule, the U.N. keeps secret most details of these deals. But scandals involving IHC have begun lifting the lid on how the U.N. handles taxpayers' money.

The IHC story suggests that the U.N.'s failures of governance are not confined to such special projects as the Oil for Food program. If anything, Oil for Food looks more and more like a large outcropping of U.N. business as usual. And as with Oil for Food, which ran from December 1996 until the fall of Saddam in 2003, the timeline of IHC business with the U.N. starts in December 1996. That was the month before Kofi Annan took over as secretary-general, and it is on his watch that the IHC-U.N. tale has unfolded.

Headquartered on the sixth floor of a modest midtown Manhattan high-rise, with additional offices in Milan, IHC was, until this June, one of many companies approved by the U.N. as a registered vendor to its procurement division--which handles U.N. contracting for everything from office supplies to rations for peacekeeping troops. IHC signed some deals directly with the U.N., and on others served as a go-between for third-party contractors--despite the U.N.'s officially stated preference for avoiding middlemen.

Since the U.N. handles its contracts with secrecy, the full extent of IHC's involvement in U.N. business is hard to know. But from documents seen by this writer, the amounts around 1999 involved millions of dollars; a few years later they involved scores of millions; and in the past year or two--counting IHC business partnerships--the totals reached hundreds of millions.
IHC's CEO Ezio Testa, has denied any wrong-doing. But IHC's history includes hiring the son of a U.N. official who later (and unrelated to the hiring) pled guilty to corruption in federal court. In addition, a star U.N. diplomat served as chairman of the IHC board of directors while also holding a post as personal representative of the U.N. secretary-general. On top of that, IHC appears to have had access to valuable inside information on U.N. contract bids, which in at least one documented case it shared with a company involved in the bid.

Last year, information was bubbling around in unofficial quarters that something was amiss in the U.N. procurement department. Together with Fox News executive editor George Russell, I began looking into it. A name that came to our attention was Alexander Yakovlev, a Russian staffer in the procurement department. Imagine our surprise when Mr. Yakovlev was depicted in a Feb. 3 interim report from Paul Volcker's Oil for Food probe as a defender of integrity in the U.N. procurement department, where he'd handled Oil for Food inspection contracts.


Final UN Oil For Food Report

U.N.: 2,200 Cos. Gave Iraq Illicit Funds.
By NICK WADHAMS and EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writers

UNITED NATIONS - In a scathing final report documenting massive corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program, investigators Thursday accused more than 2,200 companies, and prominent politicians, of colluding with Saddam Hussein's regime to bilk the humanitarian operation of $1.8 billion.

The 623-page document exposed the global scope of a scam that allegedly involved such name-brand companies as DaimlerChrysler and Siemens AG, as well as a former French U.N. ambassador, a firebrand British politician and the president of Italy's Lombardi region.

It meticulously detailed how the $64 billion program became a cash cow for Saddam and more than half the companies participating in oil-for-food — at the expense of Iraqis suffering under U.N. sanctions. It blamed shoddy U.N. management and the world's most powerful nations for allowing the corruption to go on for years.

"What I do want to emphasize is that the corruption of the program by Saddam ... could not have been nearly so pervasive had there been more disciplined management by the U.N. and its agencies," said Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman who led the investigation.

Volcker and many nations said the report underscored the urgent need to reform the United Nations. Earlier reports in his investigation have already led to criminal inquiries and indictments in the United States, France, and Switzerland. Volcker said his team would cooperate with legal authorities following up on the report.

LA Times:
Massive Fraud in Iraq Oil Program
By Maggie Farley, [Los Angeles] Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — The United Nations' oil-for-food program was so badly managed and supervised that more than half of the 4,500 companies doing business with Iraq paid illegal surcharges and kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, an independent investigation into the program will announce today.

The inquiry, led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, will detail how the U.N. and its member governments failed to stop the former dictator's exploitation of the $64-billion program, and will expose the participation of prominent international companies, as well as fly-by-night operations, a spokesman for Volcker's committee said Wednesday.

"There are a few marquee names that everyone will recognize," Mike Holtzman said. "Some worked with a wink and a nod with their governments. But the corruption was so widespread that literally thousands of companies were caught up in it. To play, you needed to pay."

The independent panel led by Volcker was established by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan last year to investigate allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the program, which had been set up to help Iraqis weather international sanctions imposed after Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Under terms of the program, Iraq could sell oil only through the U.N., and the proceeds could be used only to purchase humanitarian goods. But in a major loophole, Iraq was allowed to choose its customers.

Russian companies were by far the most heavily implicated, followed by French firms. U.S. companies made up a very small percentage, the report said, though some did business through intermediaries or foreign branches and may not be listed as U.S. firms.

The report also apparently alleges that flamboyant British Parliament member George Galloway received payoffs, despite his denials before the U.S. Congress this year.

But Holtzman said Volcker's emphasis would not be on who was involved as much as what the inquiry showed about the failure of the U.N.'s management and oversight of the massive humanitarian program that ran from 1996 to 2003.

"The moral of the story is that the U.N. was broken, and the program mismanaged to the point where it could be exploited from the outside and the inside. In order to run major humanitarian programs in the future, the U.N. needs to be fixed — urgently," he said.

The report is the final of several by the committee, which has spent 18 months and $30 million investigating how the oil-for-food program went so wrong, bolstering Hussein's grip on power when sanctions aimed to weaken him.

Revelations of the program's failures have also severely undermined the credibility of the U.N., despite what Volcker describes as the success of the program in feeding Iraqi people under harsh international sanctions.

The last report, issued in September, focused on malfeasance and maladministration by U.N. staffers, including what Volcker deemed as the failure of Annan to rein in the abuses of the program. It also charged Security Council members with knowingly allowing smuggling to continue for years.

September's report harshly criticized the secretary-general's lax oversight, but didn't find evidence of wrongdoing by Annan. It did find that his son Kojo traded on his father's name for financial advantage.

Earlier reports also concluded that the U.N.'s procurement process was politicized and in some instances corrupt, and that the chief of the program, Benon V. Sevan, received payoffs. Sevan has denied wrongdoing but resigned from the U.N.

Today's report is a "how-to manual" of corruption, Holtzman said. The majority of the companies involved supplied humanitarian goods to Iraq, and the surcharges they paid amounted to about $1.5 billion. Oil companies paid an additional $300 million in kickbacks.

The committee notified all of the companies named in the report of the findings against them, but only a few responded to challenge the conclusions, Holtzman said. Of those, a large percentage said they were unaware that they had done anything illegal.

The investigators had access to records from the Iraqi government as well as voluminous U.N. documents, and the 500-plus-page report has an additional 950 pages of tables. Each transaction with each company was meticulously recorded, Holtzman said.

"The last entry in the ledger was 'surcharge paid.' It is that stark," he said.

Charges have been filed against two Texas oilmen, David B. Chalmers and Oscar S. Wyatt Jr. A former French ambassador to the U.N., Jean-Bernard Merimee, was arrested in Paris this month.

In a report issued last month, Volcker's committee blamed Annan, the U.N. Security Council and some member states for allowing corruption and mismanagement of the program.

The September report did say that the program had helped deprive Hussein of weapons of mass destruction and allowed Iraqis to maintain minimal standards of nutrition and health. But it also said such accomplishments had been obscured by the program's waste, inefficiency and corruption.

Today's report will reinforce recommendations made in September for an overhaul of the U.N., including the creation of a chief operating officer post to oversee the organization's sprawling aid programs, along with an independent auditing board.

"We are hopeful that the legacy of this investigation is reform," Holtzman said.

The Volcker committee will turn over the documents it has gathered to national law enforcement agencies to use for prosecutions, but expects to end its own investigations and close down in November.

It has been funded by the money the U.N. received from Iraq's oil sales to administer the program, and the current Iraqi government has demanded that it be repaid.

Kofi Annan:

UN Report:
Table of Contents

VDH - Bruce Thornton: Americans need to muster the necessary grit to win

Bruce Thornton: Americans need to muster the necessary grit to win
October 26, 2005
The Folly of Apology
Americans need to muster the necessary grit to win.
by Bruce Thornton
Private Papers

The stories about the video of US troops burning the bodies of dead Taliban are disgusting––but not because of anything our troops may have done to the corpses of fanatical murderers. What’s disturbing is the groveling reaction of our government and military officials, who are falling all over themselves to apologize to people who cheer every time an American is killed.

Remember what type of people the Taliban are? Like the jihadists we are fighting in Iraq, they are murderers whose religious beliefs warrant any kind of brutality and atrocity against the “infidel.” These are the people who, when they ran Afghanistan, tortured and murdered their own citizens in a soccer stadium built with Western money. These are the people who behead and murder, the people who kill women and children. And these are the people whose corpses we are supposed to worry about mistreating, whose religious beliefs, the ones that justify murder, we are supposed to be respecting.

I know all the rationales for the apologies and investigations and anxious assertions of how much we respect Islam. We need to win the “hearts and minds” of all those alleged “moderate” Muslims who hate us only because they don’t understand us, don’t realize how much we admire their wonderful religion, don’t quite get everything we’re doing for them, and who are abetted in their misunderstanding by the bad behavior of some of our troops. So the State Department has issued “talking points” to U.S. embassies “to explain to foreign journalists and officials that the alleged misconduct was an aberration that did not reflect American values,” as the New York Times reported.

The idea that all those millions cheering for the terrorists in Iraq, cheering for bin Laden, cheering for the Taliban are all just misinformed is a monumental delusion, and the most dangerous mistake we are making the war against jihad. The millions of Muslims who support jihadist murder do so not because they’re ignorant of our beneficent intentions and enlightened tolerance, but because of spiritual beliefs that validate jihad, beliefs ratified by 14 centuries of Islamic jurisprudence and theology. We need to get over the peculiar arrogant belief that everything the enemy does is a mere reaction to what we do, as though these people don’t have their own motivations for their actions. They know that we rescued the Muslims of Kuwait, the Muslims of Bosnia, and the Muslims of Iraq. They know that we are sacrificing our own citizens to create an ordered society that will allow Muslims to worship in peace and prosper in freedom. They know that Muslims are killing Muslims all over the world, that the greatest threats to the safety and well-being of Muslims are other Muslims, as we currently see in Sudan. They know all these things, but they don’t care, because what’s important is the jihad against the infidel, the divinely sanctioned struggle to compel the people of the world to accept Islam, live as second-class citizens, or die.


Americans need to muster the necessary grit to win.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Guardian lets math slip away

You can't make up stupidity like this.
This conflict has been 30 years in the making

Riots in 1985 first exposed the ethnic tensions in Birmingham's poorest areas. Since then, things have if anything got worse

Gus John
Wednesday October 26, 2005

Loud, proud, and wrong on the basic facts: the Guardian in a nutshell.

Whatever may have been the origin of the rumour that led to the disturbances in Lozells last weekend, one thing cannot be denied. "Gang rape" is a barbaric form of sexual predation on women, irrespective of the ethnicity of perpetrators and victims. It causes alarm and revulsion in African-Caribbean communities when rapists and victims are from that same background, as is increasingly the case, but it doesn't trigger riots. The key issue in Lozells, therefore, is the conditions that have led to the racialisation of rape.

The answer lies in the strained relationship between the African and Asian communities in Handsworth-Lozells over the past three decades and the way Birmingham city council and government funding regimes have fuelled this hostility. When I worked in Birmingham for the Runnymede Trust in the early 70s and wrote a report titled Race in the Inner City, Handsworth was a very different place. The majority ethnic group was white English and the second-largest African-Caribbean. When the Birmingham Evening Mail wrote about "the angry suburbs", it was describing the reaction of young African-Caribbeans and their parents to the treatment they were receiving from state institutions, particularly the police, and from a hostile population that blamed them for pre-existing social ills. Business in the community was conducted mainly by white English and African-Caribbeans, and there was a large measure of social cohesion.

"Asian" means Muslim in Guardianspeak. The Guardian wishes their brothers in revolution would stick to the script, but the Muslim script is found in the Koran, Hadith, and Sira - not the discredited works of Karl Marx.

Marxists have been blind-sided, flummoxed, and gob-smacked by the resurgence of religious warfare. Their only option is to recast the conflict in their terminology. Pitiful really, spending one's entire life worshipping at the altar of "class warfare" and "racism" and the leader of the revolution turns out to be a Saudi who's richer than Midas and believes in Arab supremacy right down to his very core.

Rape is part of Islam, found in the hadith and approved by the Koran. Women and children of the kuffar are booty to be distributed among the jihad 'warriors.'

Kinder, gentler terrorist bombings

Westerners become primary targets again
BAGHDAD -- Terrorists detonated three huge suicide bombs outside hotels frequented by journalists and foreign contractors yesterday, killing more than a dozen people in what appeared to be a coordinated attack on Westerners.
Initial reports said all of the dead were security forces and Iraqi passers-by, with only minor injuries to patrons in the Palestine and two other hotels facing Firdous Square. Dazed guests at the Palestine, many of them television journalists, photographed one another huddled in the hallways amid clouds of dust after the blasts.
U.S. forces rushed to the scene amid wailing police and ambulance sirens and quickly sealed off the area around the square -- the site where Iraqis tore down an enormous statue of Saddam Hussein in the final hours of the 2003 war.
U.S. and Iraqi authorities gave conflicting casualty tolls, with death counts ranging from 15 to 20 and twice that many reported as injured. The attacks emphatically ended a period of relative quiet since the constitutional referendum on Oct. 15.
The largest explosion tore away parts of the Palestine Hotel, which together with the Sheraton Hotel sits some 40 yards from the road. It is protected by large concrete barriers.

The strategy suggested in the letter from Zawahiri to Zarqawi, whatever the latest rumor about its authenticity, is being employed.

Iraqis will still suffer the majority of casualties, but the spin will change.

Islamists wanting to establish a new caliphate as their primary goal will always remain unchanged.

Monday, October 24, 2005

UN: Raping by UN peacekeepers continues, but burning dead terrorists must be stopped

"Totally Unacceptable"
KABUL, Afghanistan - Any abuses by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan are "totally unacceptable," the United Nations said Monday after allegations emerged that American troops had burned the remains of Taliban fighters, then used the scene for propaganda purposes.

Asked at a press conference about the alleged desecration, U.N. spokesman Adrian Edwards read a statement issued by the world body in May amid claims at the time that U.S. troops had abused Afghans in detention.

"Such abuses are totally unacceptable," he said. "They are an affront to the work of the international community in Afghanistan."

He said that at a later stage he would comment in more detail about television footage purportedly showing American troops burning the bodies of two suspected Taliban fighters earlier this month.

His comments came after Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the alleged burning of the bodies and ordered an immediate inquiry. The U.S. military has also ordered its own investigation and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has called for the probe to be expedited.

News of the alleged desecration has sparked warnings of a possible anti-American backlash in Afghanistan, but there have been no demonstrations so far. The video of the burning of the bodies hasn't been showed here yet.

I'm sure that will change.

The UN's response to U.S. civilian contractors being burned alive in Iraq?


Sunday, October 23, 2005

UN can't stop raping world's women and children

This is the group the Left feels lends "legitimacy" to action.


October 24, 2005 -- UNITED Nations peace keepers have a rape problem, and the U.N. last week basically admitted that it's not doing anything about it. Perhaps worse, the reasons why the world body hasn't managed to do anything here go to its effectiveness at doing anything.

It's not just rape, of course: Sexual exploitation and harassment, and various other improper sexual relationships, pop up at many of the 17 U.N. peacekeeping missions now underway around the world

The United Nations admitted the problem in March. Prince Zeid Raad al Hussein, Jordan's U.N. ambassador, produced an explosive report cataloguing a host of abuses committed by U.N. peacekeepers in civil-war-torn Congo.

The men in blue helmets were found to have raped Congolese women and young girls in their care, sometimes in exchange for food or small sums of money. Zeid was full of moral indignation: "The U.N. has scant credibility on telling member states how to treat its own populations if it doesn't come to terms with this," he declared.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan declared a "zero tolerance" policy — but half a year later, nothing much has changed.

At a hearing last week, the U.N. heard from Sarah Martin of the human-rights group Refugees International. Following Zeid's report and Annan's declaration, she looked in on the U.N. peacekeepers in Liberia and Haiti.

"Time and time again, whenever I interviewed people, I heard, 'Well, what do you expect to have happen when you have thousands of men taken away from their homes for long periods of time?' " Martin told the hearing.

She also explained that her interviews suggested that lots of sexual abuse cases are never reported. "They'd say, 'Why should we ruin someone's otherwise illustrious career over an act with a prostitute'," Martin declared.

Her report, "Must Boys be Boys? Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in U.N. Peacekeeping Missions," can be found at

Meanwhile, back at Turtle Bay, Zeid couldn't get anyone to care. He complained to the media that his attempts at reform were received with deafening silence. "The entire responsibility for this mess is with the member states," he declared. Apparently, no one showed up to the meetings he scheduled.

Even after identifying a disgusting and prevalent practice among its blue helmets, the United Nations can't manage to put a stop to it. A peacekeeper accused of rape might be sent home — to be dealt with by his home justice system. Few get formally charged, let alone punished.

And U.N. peacekeepers come from the nations that are willing to lend troops. Right now, the main ones are Pakistan, Morocco and Bangladesh. Not exactly the roster of top societies for respecting the equal rights of women.

But then, the world body can't fix anything, explains Kenneth Cain, himself a former U.N. aid worker and co-author of the expose "Emergency Sex: and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story from Hell on Earth."

The way to get ahead at the United Nations, Cain told me, is to prevent anything from happening. "They are incapable of executing or implementing. What they can do is demonstrate their righteousness," he said. "They are perfectly happy to release documents that promise or imply efforts to reform — and time after time it dies before the ink is dry."

Zaid's complaint has part of the key: The only way to screw up as a U.N. staffer is to get into trouble with the member nations — there's no accountability for anything else, and if doing the right thing requires upsetting a member nation, it doesn't get done.

Then, too, the vast majority of U.N. employees come from the elite back home — where they can likely avoid trouble or buy their way out of it. When they get to the United Nations, few want things to work any differently.

This is, after all, the organization that didn't have the will to prevent the slaughter of 1 million Rwandans; that established a "safe haven" at Srebrenica, then let the people there be murdered; that winked at massive corruptions in the Oil-for-Food program. Confronting sexual exploitation is really low on the priority list.

As Cain put it, "The United Nations promulgates human-rights standards to the whole world. But when you try to hold them to the very same standards, it's impossible."

Can you imagine the mainstream media outrage if United States troops were constantly raping Iraqi and Afghan women? It's just standard operating procedure for UN troops on a typical 'peackeeping' mission. Most major newspapers and networks could not care less.

UPDATE: LA Times reports on the continuing policy of rape - ignore at the UN. (Seen at Discarded Lies)

Despite a raft of new policies instituted since widespread abuses by peacekeepers in Congo made headlines last year, rape and sexual exploitation continue in U.N. outposts around the world, according to a report released Tuesday by the Washington-based advocacy organization Refugees International.

A "hyper-masculine" culture and a tradition of silence among peacekeepers are making it more difficult than U.N. officials expected to halt soldiers' sexual exploitation of the people they are charged with protecting, the report said.

Instead, the soldiers are protecting one another, providing alibis for their fellow troops and making death threats against investigators, the report said.

Extensive training and a strict code of conduct have made few inroads into the "boys will be boys" culture among U.N. soldiers, said the report, based on interviews with U.N. troops and staff members, plus local residents, in six countries.

Will Japan ever confront its brutal actions during the 20th Century?

Not this week

By Robert Marquand, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

TOKYO - Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's fifth visit to the Yasukuni shrine this week on a drizzly morning set off angry protests in Asia. China canceled a visit by the Japanese foreign minister, no small thing. Yasukuni holds the remains of 14 Class A war criminals hanged after World War II, and is regarded as symbol of Japan's perceived failure to atone for its killing sprees in and brutal occupation of Asia 60 years ago.

The Shinto shrine, a solemn wooded acre in downtown Tokyo, private, and filled with purple and yellow chrysanthemums, seems an unlikely focus for either Asian anger or rising Japanese nationalism. Mr. Koizumi says the shrine visits are an internal affair and no one else's business. Some of his advisers feel that if Koizumi keeps visiting, the world will get bored and forget.

Yet a prime reason why that wish may not come true is found on the grounds of the shrine, a few paces from where Koizumi dropped a coin and prayed. It is a boxy refurbished museum called the Yushukan, whose self-professed aim is to "shed a new light on modern Japanese history."

In fact, the museum appears to be regularizing an extremist narrative about Japan's 20th-century military behavior and role in Asia. No mention is made of Japanese soldiers subjugating Asia and its populations. Rather, the new history portrays Japan as both the martyr and savior of Asia, the one country willing to drive "the foreign barbarians," as one panel describes them, from the Orient.

The unapologetic nationalism, emperor worship, and military glorification offer graphic clues about why Asians remain concerned about "the lessons learned" by Japan after the war, to borrow the phrase used often in post-Nazi Germany.

This week, after Koizumi visited the shrine, thousands of Japanese paid $10 to visit Yushukan, with its 20 rooms, high-tech displays, and two theaters. They saw and heard that Japan occupied China and Korea in order to liberate and protect Asia from Russian Bolshevism and European colonialism. They were told the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was "forced" by "a plot" by President Roosevelt. Japanese-led massacres, Korean comfort women, Chinese sex slaves, or tortured POWs are not mentioned. There are only Japanese martyr heroes dying in defense of Japan.

"Ten years ago that museum contained some expressions of regret and remorse for the loss of life, both Japanese and foreign," says Richard Bitzinger of the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu. "Back then there wasn't an effort to tell a story about the war. Now, it is revisionist. A whitewash. Major battles where many thousands lost their lives on both sides are simply called Japanese 'operations' or 'incidents.' "

In one, the "Nanjing incident," thought to have been a slaughter of as many as 100,000 civilians in 1937, the museum text suggests that only those outside the city who refused to obey were harmed. Once the Japanese Army cleared up the problem, "residents were once again able to live their lives in peace."

"Nanjing is treated as something very minor, like just a few instances, sort of a spring-break party for the soldiers that got a little out of hand," Mr. Bitzinger notes.

In one set of panels about the European war, Adolf Hitler was merely "trying to reclaim the territory lost in World War 1." No mention is made of other contexts, such as the murder of 6 million Jews.

The new history is being implicitly fed to a public that in Japan never got a very honest account anyway, scholars point out. Textbooks and public schools rarely describe the causes of war or Japanese behavior. Moreover, the Japan-is-innocent school is given legitimacy by the country's wildly popular prime minister when he visits the Yasukuni shrine. "It is an extreme version of history being viewed daily by the public," says a foreign diplomat. "When Koizumi goes to the shrine, it sure looks like it could be an endorsement."

At the museum book shop, students and elders walk past merchandise with titles like "The Alleged Nanjing Massacre," and $90 embossed volumes that glorify kamikazi pilots. A glassed-in lobby sports a rebuilt Japanese Zero and a replica train engine used in Burma operations that is strikingly similar to the one that fell in the river in "The Bridge On the River Kwai." There are bulletpocked 15-mm howitzers used in "the defensive war of Okinawa."

To be sure, modern Japan is so cosmopolitan and diverse, and the general tenor of its political culture so mild that few experts see anything like a full-blown resurgent nationalist Japan on the horizon. But the rise of China has worried many Japanese. "Left alone in a domestic context, Japanese don't buy this kind of ideology," notes Professor Yoshihide Soeya of Keio University. "But it comes up due to the concern about China. Sadly, many Chinese believe the Yasukuni shrine thinking represents the majority of Japanese. It does not."

Still, Japan is at a transitional moment, when the old regime forged in the 1950s is dead but no new clear direction has emerged in a defining way.

The museum, which dates to the mid-19th century, was set up to promote what became a powerful notion in the Meiji era (1868-1912) - that the emperor and the Japanese people were one. "One hundred million [Japanese] hearts beat as one," the saying went. That concept was seen as crucial to the intensity and the blind obedience of the military. After the war, emperor worship was forbidden by US occupiers. A recognition of the collective psychosis it engendered has been regarded as a lesson of the war. Yet extremism has persisted: the remains of the 14 Class A war criminals at Yasukuni were put there only in the 1970s, and only secretly.

But on the Yasukuni property, the concept of the emperor as the spiritual leader is quite strong. One poem on display reads: "We shall die in the sea/We shall die in the mountain/In whatever way/We shall die beside the emperor/ Never turning back...."

The thesis of a martyred and misunderstood Japan dates to the end of the war. In 1964 it was articulated by Hayashi Fusao in his "In Affirmation of the Great East Asian War." By the early 1990s, when some texts began showing up with this theory, it was still considered slightly nutty. Now it is appearing in a polished format in the same venue as the prime minister's visits, described as "private."

"In this version of history, Japan has done nothing wrong," says the foreign diplomat. "That is quite a burden to bear."

How Japan was 'forced' into war
In a small theater near an exhibit marked "Spirit of the Samurai," a grainy black-and-white film purports to show how the US went to war with Japan. In it, the US "forced" Japan to attack Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The film shows familiar shots of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and newsreels of Secretary of State Cordell Hull visiting the White House in a top hat, and meeting with Japanese ambassadors.

What is not familiar is the story line. In a version that most historians would refute, Mr. Roosevelt drew Japan into a conflict hoping, in part, this would end the Great Depression: "The only option open to Roosevelt ... was to use embargoes to force resource-poor Japan into war.... The US economy made a complete recovery once the Americans entered."

When Secretary Hull asked Japan to remove its troops from China in the spring of 1941 and to stop the planned invasion of Southeast Asia, this "showed the US was hostile to Japan." As old diplomatic images scroll, a voiceover says: "We had huge interests in China and many fellow countrymen.... We could absolutely not abandon these interests."

US requests during that summer to negotiate were "a pretext for the Americans to initiate hostilities toward Japan."

The timeline speeds up: On July 25, Japanese "advances" into French Indochina give the US "the excuse it needs to adopt hard-line policies against Japan." On Aug. 1, "The US resolves to go to war against Japan." The Aug. 10-14 mid-Atlantic meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill results in a secret agreement to carry out the attack on Japan. On Nov. 7, "The US plan to force Japan in to war is set in motion." Nov. 20: Japanese ambassadors in Washington attempt a final compromise. But by Nov. 25, Roosevelt is "exploring ways of getting Japan to attack."

'Hate speech' bill to be rushed through UK parliament

This is political dhimmitude of the worst kind. The Koran has already received a special exception to the law because of the many violent passages and anti-Semitism which pervades the entire text.
Telegraph (UK)
Democracy depends on freedom of expression. As the former attorney general of India has said, "We need not more repressive laws but more free speech to combat bigotry and to promote tolerance."

Sometimes religion needs to be criticised. This is where religious leaders have been less than frank in this debate; we have to admit that religion holds sway over people. Religious power is as corrosive as its political version: it must not be allowed to escape the scrutiny of public comment and criticism.

By trying to close a putative "small gap in the law", the Government will be opening a chasm into which the vulnerable, not least women and children, will fall and languish, because people will be hesitant to criticise either the specifics or the generalities of a faith for fear of being prosecuted under this new Bill. Is this what the Government really wants?

I put this point about the vulnerability of women and children to a government minister in a private discussion. The thoughtful silence showed the deep-down doubt about the wisdom of this legislation. Why is the Government so publicly impervious to persuasion?

Some think that it was a deal done at the last election to recover the Muslim vote wiped out by mythical weapons of mass destruction. It would be good to prove the cynics wrong by making a U-turn on this Bill.

The British have an unhealthy obsession with the Iraq War. The jihad is a cyclical phenomenon, dependent only on how seriously and literally Muslims read the Koran.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Simon Tisdall of the Guardian speaks up for the Volk

Poor Nazis railroaded... Whisky Tango Foxtrot?!
But whether that opportunity would be successfully grasped was open to serious doubt, the HRW report said. Particular concern focused on fears that the tribunal's procedures would prove to be neither impartial nor independent, defence lawyers were at a crippling disadvantage, and the outcome had already been grossly prejudiced by Iraqi and US politicians.

Public statements by, among others, Jalal Talabani, Saddam's successor as Iraq's president, had rendered the notion of a fair trial all but absurd, the report suggested. "Saddam Hussein is a war criminal and he deserves to be executed 20 times a day for his crimes against humanity," Mr Talabani told Iraqi television last month.

Pressure on the court and its officials, some of whom have been replaced for apparently partisan reasons, does not emanate solely from Iraqis. Although the US had sought to avoid the appearance of Nuremberg-style "victor's justice", Sonya Sceats, a legal expert at Chatham House in London, said: "The politics surrounding the establishment of the court have raised particular concerns about the level of American influence."

The US Congress provided $128m (£73m) for investigations and prosecutions of Ba'athist officials. The US-established regime crimes liaison office has played a leading role in interviewing "high-value detainees" and preparing evidence. Britain has provided £1.3m, but other EU countries have held back, partly because of their opposition to the tribunal's likely resort to the death penalty.

"Irrespective of its veracity, the perception of the court as a disguised vehicle for US retribution is likely to colour Saddam's defence," Ms Sceats said. "He has already insisted that [it] will be a political show trial. 'I do not want to make you feel uneasy,' he told the judge during proceedings in July 2004, 'but you know this is all theatre by Bush.'"

Coalition officials point out that the postwar Iraqi justice system was incapable of mounting trials of this magnitude without outside assistance.

But critics maintain that is one of many reasons why an international tribunal on neutral ground would have been a better option. Saddam's alleged crimes against humanity were essentially international in nature, they argue, including attacks on Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Israel, as well as native Kurds and Shias.

Yes, you read that correctly. The poor Nazis were railroaded by "victor's justice." Socialists protect their own.