Showing posts from March, 2005
The Mexicali connection--Iraqis with false passports trying to get into US caught AP via FindLaw: Four Iraqis were detained at an airport in the border city of Mexicali for allegedly carrying false passports, and two more were caught at a highway checkpoint, authorities said Tuesday. The four Iraqis arrived Friday at the airport in Mexicali, across from Calexico, California, on a flight from Mexico City and were detained after immigration officials discovered the Dutch passports they were carrying were false, said Abraham Sarabia, an attorney general spokesman in Baja California state, where Mexicali is located. ... Sarabia said immigration officials noticed the men became nervous during routine questioning and once in custody of federal authorities they confessed their true identities. The men were carrying Dutch passports under the names of Richard Richters, who Mexican officials say is Yacer Yoser Hana; Mikel Leewen, who turned out to be Basam Kiryakous; J
Berger agrees to guilty plea on removing secret documents AP via MSNBC: Former national security adviser Sandy Berger will plead guilty to taking classified documents from the National Archives, the Justice Department said Thursday. Berger will enter the plea Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, Justice spokesman Bryan Sierra said. ... Berger and his lawyer, Lanny Breuer, have said Berger knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket and pants and inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio. He returned most of the documents, but still missing are some drafts of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration’s handling of al-Qaida terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration. Since Berger has agreed to cooperate witht he government, perhaps we will learn why he took the documents and what he did with those that are still missing. He might also reveal what his concerns were with th
Annan's suicidal plan on the use of force David Rivkin and Lee Casey: ... The most fundamental problem with the recommendations is that they continue to call for the U.N. Security Council to be the exclusive venue through which legitimate decisions about the use of military force should be reached when a threat is gathering but not yet "imminent." Whether the U.N. Charter supports this notion is highly arguable. The charter originally forbade force only when it was used for specific disfavored purposes, such as conquest or colonization; other than that, it preserved the inherent right of states to defend themselves. No doubt some of the charter's drafters would have liked to limit that right to cases of imminent attack — but they lost that argument. Today, as Annan candidly admits, there is no consensus among U.N. member states, and especially among the permanent members of the Security Council, on when the use of military force is legally justified. In fact, t
China's Tiawan battle plan Strategy Page: China is apparently planning an “out-of-the-blue” (OOTB) attack on Taiwan, that will initially consist mainly of missiles and warplanes. What this means is that, during what appears to be peacetime maneuvers, the troops involved will suddenly move against a nearby nation and invade. This tactic was developed by Russia during the Cold War, but never used. They prepared for it by holding large scale training exercises twice a year, near the border with West Germany. The Russian troops were all ready to practice, or go to war. An OOTB attack could be ordered by having the troops to cross the border and attack NATO forces, who would have insufficient warning to deal with the sudden offensive. NATO finally caught on to this plan, and put the troops on alert during the Russian field exercises. The OOTB was most noticeably used, and successfully at that, when the Russian trained Egyptian army surprised the Israelis and recaptured the Suez canal in
An unlikely terror suspect Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball: A widening federal probe into a radical Islamic support network that allegedly assisted "dirty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla has netted its most surprising catch: the former top building manager for the Washington D.C. public schools. Kifah Wael Jayyousi, who served as "chief of facilities" for the Washington D.C. school system between 1999 and April 2001, was arrested by U.S. Customs agents at Detroit airport last Sunday while returning to the country from Qatar where he has been working for the past two years. In a criminal complaint unsealed this week and in a court hearing today, Jayyousi, 43, was described as a key player in a U.S.-based network of extremist Muslims who raised funds and recruited soldiers to wage "violent jihad" in Chechnya, Bosnia and Afghanistan. He is charged with providing material support to terrorists. Jayyousi and two associates were "primary participa
Choosing sides on Terri's life Ann Coulter: On the bright side, after two weeks of TV coverage of the Terri Schiavo case, I think we have almost all liberals in America on record saying we can pull the plug on them. Of course, if my only means of entertainment were Air America radio, Barbra Streisand albums and reruns of "The West Wing," I too would be asking: "What kind of quality of life is this?" There are a few glaring exceptions. On the anti-killing side, to one extent or another, are: former Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis, former Gore lawyer David Boies, former O.J. lawyer Alan Dershowitz, Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, McGovern and Carter strategist Pat Caddell, liberal blogger Mickey Kaus, Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader and Rainbow Coalition leader Jesse Jackson, as well as several of my friends who are pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage but not Pro-Adulterous Husbands Who, After Taking Up With Another Woman, Suddenly Recall Their Wives'
Syria's clandestine warfare in Lebanon Ralph Peters: SYRIA'S troops are going home. Before Lebanon's spring elections. Damascus made the promise in writing. To the United Nations. The question now is: How much damage does Syria intend to do on the way out? While a commitment from Damascus to the U.N. has a whiff of a pimp's promise to a hooker, international pressure will force the Syrians to honor their word. The problem lies in what the agreement omits. Getting the 12,000 or so remaining Syrian troops out of Lebanon certainly matters. But ridding the country of Bashar Assad's 5,000-plus intelligence operatives is what really counts. And Damascus has been coy about their removal. Syria's troops are bums with guns — largely undertrained draftees with unreliable equipment. They can't act without being seen by all. They'd be hard to use effectively. The intel and security boys are another matter. Some function overtly, an acknowledged p
Iran is the biggest threat as a state sponsor of terrorism--the President Carter legacy continues NY Times: A Department of Homeland Security internal report that assesses terrorist organizations, their anticipated targets and preferred weapons concludes that the threat to the United States presented by North Korea and several other countries long described as "state sponsors of terrorism" is declining. "In the post-9/11 environment, countries do not appear to be facilitating or supporting terrorist groups intent on striking the U.S. homeland," says the draft report, which is intended to help the Homeland Security agency define its spending priorities through 2011. Of the six nations identified by the State Department as terrorist sponsors, five of them - North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Cuba - are described by Homeland Security as a "diminishing concern." Iran, the final country on the list, alone is described as a potential threat over the next
The Lybia--Nork nuke connection NY Times: In the 15 months since Libya turned over to the United States nearly two tons of illicit uranium it had planned to use in atomic weapons, the radioactive material has become a pivotal, if mysterious, piece of evidence for investigators unraveling the nuclear black market. The Bush administration, joined by United Nations inspectors, now say the uranium most likely came from North Korea and helps to build a case that the North has exported dangerous nuclear material to Libya, and perhaps beyond. The officials drew on scientific tests, secret documents and interviews with key players in the black market, which taken together are potentially highly incriminating. But the evidence is also circumstantial. In interviews this week, administration officials and foreign diplomats disclosed that Libyan officials had also surrendered financial ledgers to the United States that provide a guide to the front companies involved in the nuclear network set
Syria cheats on retreat Washington Post: Syria is working covertly through a network of Lebanese operatives to ensure Damascus can still dominate its smaller neighbor even after it withdraws the last of 15,000 troops, in defiance of a U.N. resolution demanding an end to Syria's 29-year control over Lebanon, according to U.S., European and U.N. officials, and Lebanon's opposition. Although Syria shut down its notorious intelligence headquarters in downtown Beirut, Damascus is establishing a new hidden presence in the capital's southern suburbs, bringing in officials who will not be recognized, say Lebanese opposition and Western sources. The move would contradict a pledge by President Bashar Assad to withdraw Syria's large intelligence operation from the Lebanese capital as of today. U.S., European and U.N. officials also charge that Syria is using allies in Lebanon's government and agents in Lebanon's security services to stall Lebano
New Orleans DA found racially biased in firing of whites AP via NY Times: A federal jury ruled on Wednesday that New Orleans's first black district attorney discriminated against 43 whites when he fired them all at once upon taking office in 2003 and replaced them with blacks. The fired employees were awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay and damages. The jury of eight whites and two blacks returned the unanimous verdict in the third day of deliberations in the racial discrimination case against the district attorney, Eddie Jordan. Eight days after taking office, Mr. Jordan fired 53 of 77 white nonlawyers in his office - investigators, clerks, child-support enforcement workers and the like - and replaced them with blacks. ... Mr. Jordan has acknowledged that he wanted to make the office more reflective of the city's racial makeup, but he denied that he had fired whites just because of their race. In fact, he said, he had not known the race
Here is the poop AP: The hunt is on for a turd burglar. Police in San Diego are searching for a gunman who swiped a bag of poop from a woman out walking her dog.The woman told police that she was out walking her dog, Misty, on Monday night when a man in his 20s ran up behind her and grabbed the bag she was holding. When the gunman discovered what was in it, he threw it down in disgust, pointed his gun at the 32-year-old woman and demanded money, San Diego police detective Gary Hassen said. His gun misfired when aimed at the dog. It just was not his day.
Getting along with nature Hugo Rifkind: ... In a way, I suppose, one could see the whole journey of human history as a battle between mankind and nature; the caveman’s eternal struggle to get out of his cave, drive away the beasts, burn down the forest and turn it into a multistorey car park. On a purely partisan level, then, when I read yesterday that humankind had used up or otherwise destroyed almost two thirds of the Earth’s resources, I must confess that I felt a little thrill. Hmm, I thought. We’re winning. Don’t get me wrong. On a theoretical level, at least, I am as ardent an environmentalist as anyone. I have written frequently, and not always flippantly, about the evils of climate change and the brazen ineffectiveness of Kyoto. I am a nature-lover. But nature has never loved me. It has bitten me, scratched me, defecated on my car. It has turned short strolls into long walks, by means of unnecessary Highland mountains. When I slept in a hammock in the mangroves of the Andam
The IRA fund raising model Washington Times: A commission investigating Northern Ireland's paramilitary groups has concluded that an "elite robbery team" from the Irish Republican Army was behind not only a $50 million bank job in Belfast in December but three other major robberies last year. "We have carefully scrutinized all the material of different kinds that has become available to us since the [December] robbery, which leads us to conclude firmly that it was planned and undertaken by the IRA," said the four-member Independent Monitoring Commission in a report to the governments of Great Britain and Ireland. ... Those incidents, which authorities think were carried out by the IRA's "elite robbery team," included a raid in May at a cash-and-carry store in Dunmurry, where four staff members were held at gunpoint, tied up and gagged, while the robbers made off with more than $2 million in cigarettes, alcohol and electrical items. T
Mugabe getting strong support from the cemetary constuency The Australian: SEVENTY-EIGHT per cent of people who have died in Zimbabwe since 1980 are registered to vote and are expected to give phantom votes to Robert Mugabe in tomorrow's national poll. Supporters of the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change say up to a million phantom voters may appear on the register and that "ghost voters" will be used by the ruling Zanu PF party to inflate the votes that it receives in this week's parliamentary elections. For instance, Tichaona Chiminya, a driver for an opposition leader, was burnt alive in a truck. David Stevens, a white farmer, was shot in the back of the head. They were among the first to die as President Mugabe's reign of terror unrolled five years ago, but their names are still on the voters' roll. Added to a campaign to deny food to opponents of President Mugabe and door-to-door intimidation of rural voters, the opposition fears that it may l
What to do with angry Jewish settlers? VOA: Angry Jewish settlers who will soon be evicted from their homes in the Gaza Strip say they will take their fight to the streets, warning of massive protests and possible violence. The settlers lost their political battle on Monday, when Israel's parliament voted down a proposal to hold a national referendum on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's pullout plan. Some settler leaders say they will try to refrain from violence, but that the situation could spin out of control. They also have promised to mobilize tens of thousands of protesters to disrupt the withdrawal. The Israeli government should not remove the settlers when Isreal withdraws from Gaza. It should make clear that anyone who decides to stay will have to depend on the Palestinian Authority for their security. This would avoid an ugly confrontation with the IDF and put the Palestinians to the test of showing that they are not antisematic.
More UN failures unrelated to oil for food Judith Miller, NY Times: An internal review of the United Nations office responsible for promoting and monitoring free elections throughout the world has found a string of management abuses at the agency, including humiliation of its staff, the misuse of agency funds and a willingness by the agency's leaders to tolerate sexual harassment. The scathing review, conducted by a Swiss-based management consulting company and detailed in a 22-page report, describes the agency, the Electoral Assistance Division, as an "unhealthy family." The division, part of the United Nations' Department of Political Affairs, is charged with the supervision of elections in Iraq and elsewhere. The report, which was disclosed Monday, concludes that a full management review of the agency is "urgently required" and recommends that the abuses it describes be investigated further and immediately by "competent authorities."
The scary story business Strategy Page: The war on terror grinds on, with no agreement on who is winning. Actually, the terrorists are losing, but that’s not news. The reason there’s no agreement on this has a lot to do with how the media business operates, and how politicians react to uncertain threats. To succeed in the news business, you have to get out there with exciting news. If you cover terrorism, that means lots of stories about impending, or potential, terrorist, attacks. Terrorism makes for great news. By definition, terrorism is scary. If you have some active terrorist groups out there, all you need is a few real, or suspected threats from them to provide an ample supply of scary stories. ... So how do you keep score? There are two ways. First, by the number of terrorist attacks being inflicted on your people. Second, by keeping track of how well the terrorists are doing in achieving their stated objectives. ... Meanwhile, the Islamic radicals have seen themselves beate
Iraqi Army raid nets 3 tons TNT and 120 insurgents DefenseLINK News: A 3-ton cache of TNT and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition are off the streets of Iraq following an Iraqi army raid near Jurf al-Sakher on March 25, Iraqi military officials reported. A press statement from Iraq’s Defense Ministry said 121 suspects were detained in the raid, conducted by the Iraqi army’s 8th Division, based in Karbala. Besides the TNT, Iraqi soldiers seized 624 rifles, 250,000 light ammunition rounds, 22,000 medium rounds, 193 rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, 300 RPG rockets, 27 82 mm mortar tubes, and 155 82 mm mortar rounds. Today, Task Force Liberty soldiers found about 200 60 mm mortar rounds and two tank rounds north of Baqubah. The soldiers, from the task force’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, transported the munitions to a coalition base for destruction. One of the reasons Saddam had a hard time accounting for his WMD AP: An Iraqi scientist has told U.S. interrogators that
US sees momentum shift in Iraq Rowan Scarborough: In the privacy of their E-ring offices, senior Pentagon officials have begun to entertain thoughts that were unimaginable a year ago: Iraq is turning the corner. Military officials and analysts say the clearing out of enemy-infested Fallujah in November, the Jan. 30 elections and the increasing willingness of Iraqis to fight and die for a democratic country are contributing to the momentum. "This is still a tough fight. We don't want anyone to think that it is not," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a military analyst who strongly supports Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. "But the momentum is in our direction." A military officer said big problems remain. Sunnis remain reluctant to join the Iraqi security forces. The Marines need more armored vehicles to fight in the Al Anbar province, one of the deadliest sectors. And the Baghdad command inside the green zone has been spotty on p
A new wave of immigrants--the Dutch dairy farmers Chicago Tribune: Jose Van Wezel grew up on a dairy farm in the Netherlands that was started by her grandfather. Her husband, Jeroen, was raised on a dairy farm nearby. Shortly after they married, they moved into a quaint farmhouse and took over Jose's family's farm, a 74-acre plot beside a forest with 50 cows. But instead of following the well-trod path of their ancestors, the Van Wezels sold everything in 2000 and immigrated with their two children to the barren, flat prairies of northwest Ohio. "We came to a point where if we wanted to go further in the dairy business, we needed to expand," said Jose Van Wezel, 36, who now owns 675 cows and plans to increase the herd to 1,540. "If you look at the Netherlands, there are 16 million people, and they're all in the area three times as small as Ohio. You can imagine that there is more pressure on ground prices than here." ... At
Civil war in Venezeula? Strategy Page: Venezuela is having problems with the loyalty of its armed forces. The current government is run by a former army officer Hugo Chavez. Normally, that would not be a problem. But Chavez sees himself as another Fidel Castro. That is, the rebel Castro before he proclaimed himself a hard core communist. Chavez wants social revolution in Venezuela, but many, perhaps a majority, of Venezuelans don’t want to be another Cuba. While Venezuela's oil wealth has not been distributed equally, it has created a large middle class. This includes the military. Many of the troops are nervous about Chavez, and his social programs. Even some of Chavez’s military decisions have caused unease among officers and troops. For example, Chavez is now buying military equipment from Russia. This includes helicopters (nine Mi-17s and one Mi-26) for the navy. The navy considers these helicopters unsuitable for naval use. The sailors are correct, but the price is cheap, and
The Dem's false flag of Social Security solvency Washington Times Editorial: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi could not have been more clear in explaining the Democratic plan to solve Social Security's long-term solvency problem. Earlier this month she told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday: "The [Democratic] plan for solvency is to stop robbing Social Security of its [surplus] money for other purposes. The plan is to return the money back to the trust fund." In offering the minority party's budget blueprint two weeks ago, House Democrats got their opportunity to present their plan. And they failed miserably to act on Mrs. Pelosi's words. In fact, over 10 years, the Democrats' budget falls short of Mrs. Pelosi's "plan for solvency" by a whopping $3.6 trillion. ... Indeed, over the entire 2006-15 period covered by the Democratic budget blueprint, the Democrats fail to meet Mrs. Pelosi's standard each and every year. And they fail b
Iraq's unaccounted for weapons AP via CBS: Dozens of ballistic missiles are missing in Iraq. Vials of dangerous microbes are unaccounted for. Sensitive sites, once under U.N. seal, stand gutted today, their arms-making gear hauled off by looters, or by arms-makers. ... Similarly, the main body of the U.S. report discusses Iraq's Samoud 2s, but doesn't note that many of these ballistic missiles haven't been found. Only via an annex table does the report disclose that as many as 36 Samouds may be unaccounted for in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion. ... The Iraq Survey Group, which ended its arms hunt in December, says a complete accounting of the Samouds "may not be possible due to various factors." Besides the Samouds, up to 34 Fatah missiles — a similar but solid-fueled weapon — are also unaccounted for. And more than 600 missile engines may be missing; the U.S. document simply doesn't report their status. ... Samouds and Fatahs are only
A nice revolution Ian MacWilliams , BBC: The pictures on the television seems to say it all - statues of Lenin, police with helmets and riot shields, angry protesters storming the president's offices after a disputed election tainted by alleged government vote-rigging. The confrontation had all the elements of a people's power uprising in an authoritarian post-communist state. But Kyrgyzstan is not quite what one expects. A police spokesman told me politely that the protesters had every right to express their views. I could not help feeling that he was on their side really, along with most of the helmeted police men too. Late last week, when the protest suddenly grew to a crowd of thousands who then decided to occupy the government's office, the policemen simply stood aside and let them in. Elsewhere, road-b
Tiawan rally shows opposition to mainland bluster AP: In one of the largest demonstrations in Taiwan's history, about a million people marched through the capital on Saturday to protest a new Chinese law that authorizes an attack on the island if it moves toward formal independence. "Taiwan is only a small island, so we must speak out really loud to make the world hear that we are a democracy facing an evil giant," said Vivian Wang, a 38-year-old restaurant worker who traveled by bus from the southern city of Kaohsiung - about 190 miles away. Hundreds of thousands assembled at 10 different areas in Taipei, with each route representing one of the articles of the anti-secession law. The marchers converged on the wide boulevard in front of the Presidential Office building. Beijing is worried that self-ruled Taiwan is drifting toward independence, and China's legislature recently passed a law codifying the use of military force against Taiwan if it seeks a per
Clues in the hunt for bin Laden Christian Science Monitor: ... To find the world's most wanted man, Pakistani forces are trying to spot signs of his elaborate security entourage. Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, Pakistan's top commander in the tribal region near the Afghan border, says Mr. bin Laden is guarded by some 50 men, divided into concentric circles of security. ... Captured militants and intelligence gathered through members of breakaway factions indicate that several layers of security surround bin Laden at all times. "There is a ring of very close guards, there is an outer guard, and then there is an inner guard, and also various circles. Everybody has a code to enter from the outer circle to the inner circle, then another to move from the inner circle to meeting him," says Hussain. At night, the rings of security are indicated by flashlight signals. When bin Laden's group moves, says Hussain, they go in caravans and dress in women's clothing t
A global war on insurgency Roxanna Tiron: The anti-insurgency tactics the U.S. military is learning in Iraq could be applied globally, which would turn the war on terrorism into a “war on insurgency,” said Lt. Gen. William Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and war fighting support. “My position is that this is a global insurgency,” said Boykin during a forum on special operations and low intensity conflict. In Iraq and other trouble spots, the United States has to come to grips with the nature of the enemy, he explained. “It is a web of networks that come together in a coalition of convenience. There are links to drug trafficking, money laundering and the like,” he said. An insurgency is a political-military activity, in which the political aspects are much more
Details emerge on ambush near Salmon Pak Blackfive: AFTER ACTION REPORT: Raven 42 action in Salman Pak ... On Sunday afternoon, in a very bad section of scrub-land called Salman Pak, on the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad, 40 to 50 heavily-armed Iraqi insurgents attacked a convoy of 30 civilian tractor trailer trucks that were moving supplies for the coalition forces, along an Alternate Supply Route. These tractor trailers, driven by third country nationals (primarily Turkish), were escorted by 3 armored Hummers from the COSCOM*. When the insurgents attacked, one of the Hummers was in their kill zone and the three soldiers aboard were immediately wounded, and the platform taken under heavy machinegun and RPG** fire. Along with them, three of the truck drivers were killed, 6 were wounded in the tractor trailer trucks. The enemy attacked from a farmer's barren field next to the road, with a tree line perpendicular to the ASR***, two dry irrigation ditches forming a rough L-shape
Insurgent's exit strategy Austin Bay: The Internet is suddenly rife with reports that Iraq’s pro-Saddam holdouts seek an “exit strategy” – a deal to put down their arms, enter the political system, and not go to jail. (Link is to the Financial Times article: “Iraq’s insurgents ‘seek exit strategy’ “.) From July 2004 forward part of Iyad Allawi’s plan was to “add not subtract” Iraqis. The Interim Iraqi Government wanted to bring Sunni Triangle holdouts into the political process. The door to was open to discussion with all but the most senior members of the Baath leadership. The IIG insisted, however, that murderers wouldn’t go unpunished—which admittedly adds an uncomfortable rub. The holdouts have always had two hole cards. The first is agreeing to quit fighting. This meant submitting to the democratic judicial process, but turning in your arms and asking for amnesty would lay the groundwork for a “deal with the prosecutor.” The second card is turning in Abu
How realpolitik is getting people killed in North Korea Abraham Cooper: ... Since 2002, defectors among the flood of refugees from North Korea have detailed firsthand accounts of systematic starvation, torture and murder. Enemies of the state are used in experiments to develop new generations of chemical and biological weapons that threaten the world. A microcosm of these horrors is Camp 22, one of 12 concentration camps housing an estimated 200,000 political prisoners facing torture or execution for such "crimes" as being a Christian or a relative of someone suspected of deviation from "official ideology of the state." Another eyewitness, Kwon Hyuk, formerly chief manager at Camp 22, repeated to me what he asserted to the BBC: "I witnessed a whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in the gas chamber. . . . The parents were vomiting and dying, but until the very last moment they tried to save kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing.&q
Iran on weapons buying spree AP via Washington Times: Iran is quietly building a stockpile of thousands of high-tech small arms and other military equipment -- from snipers' rifles that take armor-piercing bullets to night-vision goggles -- through legal weapons deals and a U.N. anti-drug program, according to an internal United Nations document, arms dealers and Western diplomats. The buying spree is raising fears in the Bush administration that the arms could end up with militants in Iraq. Tehran also is seeking approval for a U.N.-funded satellite network that Iran says it needs to fight drug smugglers, stoking U.S. worries it could be used to spy on Americans in Iraq or Afghanistan -- or any U.S. reconnaissance in Iran itself. ... Much of the military hardware has been hard to hide -- sales of tanks and anti-ship missiles by Belarus and China, or helicopters and artillery pieces from Russia have been well documented by U.S. authorities and international nongover
The ABC's of the mystery memo Fred Barnes: SENATE MAJORITY LEADER BILL FRIST never saw it. Neither did the Senate Republican whip, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The number three Republican in the Senate, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, didn't get a copy. Nor did the senator with the closest relationship with President Bush, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. And the senator with the familiar Republican last name, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, didn't see it or read it. The same is true of Senator Mel Martinez, the rookie Republican from Florida. Yet the infamous memo that argued Republicans stood to gain politically by saving the life of Terri Schiavo was characterized by ABC News as consisting of "GOP Talking Points." True, a few paragraphs were of Republican origin. They had been lifted, word for word, from a Martinez press release outlining the provisions of his legislative proposal, "The Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act." This was the inoff
Human rights wackos trampling on rights of others in UK Telegraph: People's increasing insistence on "standing up for their rights" seems to be undermining public support for the very idea of rights, a YouGov survey for The Daily Telegraph suggests. Michael Howard appears to have struck a chord when he maintained that the rights of gipsies should not be allowed to override the legitimate interests of landowners and householders. The poll's findings reveal widespread support for repealing the Human Rights Act and even wider support for tackling illegal traveller encampments. ... A substantial majority, 65 per cent, backs the idea that camping on other people's land without permission should be a criminal offence. Support comes from across the political spectrum. (This poll demonstrates a general decline in ability to be secure in ones own property in the UK. This is now a country where a person defending his property against an intruder will be jailed and may have
In war of ideas Islamist are out of ammo Amir Taheri: Where do we go from here? This is the question that Islamist groups are posing these days in the murky space they inhabit on the margins of reality. It is asked in mosques controlled by radicals, touched upon in articles published by fellow-travelers, and debated in the chat-rooms of websites operated by militant groups. Leaving aside the usual suggestions to hijack a few more passenger jets or to poison the drinking water of big cities in the West or to blow up this or that monument in Western capitals, the movement appears to have run out of ideas. It may even be passing through its deepest crisis of imagination since the 9/11 attacks against the United States. ... For the past year or so Al-Zawahiri has been urging militants from all over the world, including North America and Europe, to converge on the Middle East for a regional “jihad” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Bin Laden, however, has been preaching a to
UN sending peace keepers to Sudan NY Times: The Security Council passed a resolution on Thursday establishing a 10,000-member peacekeeping force for Sudan to reinforce a peace agreement in the south of the country and to lend assistance in the conflicted Darfur region in the west. The measure, introduced by the United States, drew the support of all 15 Council members. Passage occurred after France postponed consideration of a resolution that would refer war crime cases from Sudan to the International Criminal Court, a move seen as a challenge to the United States and likely to provoke an American veto. That vote was rescheduled for March 30. The vote on Thursday followed two months of delay in which the Council and member countries were subject to rising complaints that world powers had failed to respond to what the United Nations has called the world's worst human crisis. The cost of multilateralism was more months of genocide.
Dem dishonesty on Social Security Washington Post Editorial: ONE CAN DEBATE the merits of creating personal accounts in Social Security but not the case for fixing the program's solvency problems. Over the next 75 years, as the Social Security trustees reported on Wednesday, the program has a projected deficit of $4 trillion; the longer the nation waits to address this problem, the nastier the tax hikes or benefit reductions that will result. But that's not the impression conveyed by some Democratic leaders. The trustees' report, according to Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), "confirms that the so-called Social Security crisis exists in only one place: the minds of Republicans." The senator's desire to score political points is understandable. His willingness to do so by implying that Social Security is healthy is not. Democrats defend this opportunism by saying the president is worse. President Bush, they complain, is t
Evolving standards of decency William Kristol: ... Anyway. Thank God for our robed masters. If it weren't for them, Christopher Simmons might soon be executed. In September 1993, seven months shy of his 18th birthday, Simmons decided it would be interesting to kill someone. He told his buddies they could get away with it because they were still minors. He broke into the house of Shirley Crook in Jefferson County, Missouri, bound her hands and feet, drove her to a bridge, covered her face with tape, and threw her into the Meramec River, where she drowned. He confessed to the crime, and was sentenced to death according to the laws of Missouri. Last month the Supreme Court saved Simmons's life. The citizens, legislators, and governor of Missouri (and those of 19 other states) had, it turned out, fallen grievously and unconstitutionally behind "the evolving standards of decency that mark a maturing society." Five justices decided that the Constitution prevented an