Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pakistan: No Bin Laden here, try next door

Pakistan is suggesting that Osama Bin Laden is not in the country and might possibly be hiding in Afghanistan.

Authorities on Tuesday dismissed speculation that Osama bin Laden might be hiding in Pakistan's mountainous north a region more known for its spectacular scenery than Islamic militancy.
On Monday, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said bin Laden was more likely to be in Afghanistan.
Full story HERE.

To suggest this ignores several facts, including why an air strike in January missed Al-Qaida number two Ayman al-Zawahiri, but killed four other high ranking Al-Qaida members and the fact that Zawahiri has called for the overthrow of Pervez Musharraf.

The big problem is that while Pakistan is trying to rid itself of Al-Qaida, they are much more sympathetic to the Taliban, and those two schools of thought are not compatible.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf says his country's battle against al-Qaida in the lawless tribal region has almost been won. He says he is more worried about the rise of Taliban-like extremism in the tribal area of Waziristan. But those watching the current conflict in Waziristan say it is unrealistic to separate the two entities.
They argue that al-Qaida and the Taliban are in fact locked in a symbiotic relationship in which a crackdown on the former automatically galvanises the latter.

Full story HERE.

Al-Qaida and the Taliban are intertwined now, and have rooted themselves in Waziristan. There is no reason to believe that Osama bin Laden would be across the border where a large number of troops are looking for him, when he could be staying in an area that Pakistan doesn't have control over and U.S. troops are not welcome.

Unless Pakistan changes their thinking, their entire country will fall to Al-Qaida, giving them access to nuclear weapons and missiles.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Oops, Howard Dean does it again

Just like Britney Spears has a history of making bad personal judgment calls, Howard Dean is doing the same thing politically.

Bad political judgment calls:

First, he doesn't know his own party's platform. Either that, or he is lying for votes. And doing it in a Pat Robertson interview has got to be the worst idea ever. There is no way he's going to get any voters out of that group of people, and he is going to anger a group of democratic supporters.

Second, he's got the hypocrite thing going on. After saying "The religious community has to decide whether they want to be tax-exempt or involved in politics," he goes out and courts the religious right on similarities.

There's plenty more, but to me he'll always be Dean the scream.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Iran: Carrots or Sticks

It looks like appeasement is going to be the issue regarding Iran, as far as the United Nations is concerned.

MARGARET BECKETT, the new Foreign Secretary, agreed yesterday to prepare a package of incentives for Iran to curb its nuclear programme. Facing continued opposition from Russia and China to Britain’s call for a UN resolution depriving Iran of the legal right to enrich uranium, Mrs Beckett has ordered the incentive package to be ready by Monday.
John Sawers, the Foreign Office political director, will work with his French and German counterparts to prepare a list of ideas, including access to civil nuclear technology, trade and perhaps even security guarantees. These will be discussed on the margins of the next EU general affairs council.

Full story HERE.

In 1935, Adolf Hitler rebuilt the German military and violated the Treaty of Versailles. Appeasement didn't work there.

Now, in 2006, Iran is revealed to have a program that was discovered in 2003 to violate the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and the international community is ready to try appeasement again?

As far as the stick goes, the United States just had to postpone a strong message to Iran.

LAS VEGAS - A non-nuclear explosion expected to generate a mushroom cloud over the Nevada desert will be postponed at least three weeks, while a federal court reviews plans for the blast, test officials said Tuesday.
"The planned Divine Strake experiment will not be conducted earlier than June 23," said Cheri Abdelnour, spokeswoman for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency at Fort Belvoir, Va. The blast was originally scheduled for June 2.
It claims the planned 700-ton ammonium nitrate and fuel oil bomb will kick up radioactive fallout left from nuclear weapons tests conducted from 1951 to 1992 at the Nevada Test Site and irreparably desecrate land that members of the Western Shoshone tribe have never acknowledged turning over to the U.S.
The blast, some 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is expected to generate a 10,000-foot mushroom cloud and a shock wave that officials say will probably be felt in Indian Springs, about 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Full story HERE.

Ahmadinejad has shown that he has no respect for diplomacy, and history looks like it is about to repeat itself. One wonders how many lives could have been saved if somebody had stood up to Hitler.

Is a Knight Rider Movie a sign of the apocalypse?

They're making one starting next year.

Series creator Glen A. Larson will write and executive produce the Weinstein Co. project, which he anticipates will begin production next year. The project had previously been in development at Sony-based Revolution Studios.
Larson has bandied about the project for years. "A number of people wanted to do a pure comedic send-up of it, but I always felt that would throw away the franchise," he said. "There was always some humor on the show, but this film will probably have more gallows, foxhole humor.

Full story HERE.

One can always hope they don't ruin the artistic integrity of the original series with a cheesy premise.

No word yet on whether Hasselhoff will be contributing to the soundtrack.

Cuba sets the tone for new Human Rights Council

And its apparently the same as the old council. Shortly before being elected to the council, Cuban dissident Martha Beatriz Roque was beaten in an incident criticized by U.S. Senators.

U.S. senators Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Bill Nelson of Florida led the charge to introduce a resolution Monday blasting the attack on Roque and demanding that Cuba allow its citizens to exercise their rights. Also listed as co-sponsors are potential presidential candidates Democrat Joseph Biden and Republican John McCain.
''The Senate condemns the brutality of the regime of Fidel Castro toward Martha Beatriz Roque, a 61-year-old woman in frail health,'' the resolution reads. It also says the Senate ``calls on the regime of Cuba to release the hundreds of political prisoners still held today and to stop the intimidation of dissidents and their families.''

Full story HERE.

The previous Human Rights council had a number of countries with bad rights records on it. And it looks like the new one will, as well.

The creation of the Human Rights Council is seen as a key component of overall reform of the United Nations.

Kofi Annan says the UN's credibility is at stake. However, the United States was against the council's creation, arguing that it did not go far enough to prevent countries with bad rights records from winning seats.

Full story HERE.

Good luck with that credibility thing.

Monday, May 8, 2006

The First of Moussaoui's many whimpers

Zacarias Moussaoui wants to withdraw his guilty plea. Its not going to do him any good.

A federal court jury spared the 37-year-old Frenchman the death penalty last Wednesday. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema gave him six life sentences, to run as two consecutive life terms, in the federal supermax prison at Florence, Colo.
At sentencing, she told Moussaoui: "You do not have a right to appeal your convictions, as was explained to you when you plead guilty" in April 2005. "You waived that right."
She said he could appeal his sentence but added, "I believe it would be an act of futility."

Full story HERE.

Related Stories

Moussaoui trial proves why Al-Qaeda doesn't get it

Iran's Ahmadinejad sends Bush a letter.

TEHRAN, Iran -
Iran's leader has written to President Bush proposing "new solutions" to their differences in the first letter from an Iranian head of state to an American president in 27 years, a government spokesman said Monday.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki delivered the letter to the Swiss ambassador on Monday, ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told The Associated Press. The Swiss Embassy in Tehran houses a U.S. interests section.
In the letter, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposes "new solutions for getting out of international problems and the current fragile situation of the world," spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham told a news conference.

Full story HERE.

I hope its nothing like some of the letters we've gotten in the past. Remember these?

Seriously, I can't imagine any good news coming in a letter from this guy. More than likely it is just another attempt to slow down negotiations until Iran reaches its goal. Another concept worth looking at is "al-Taqiyya."

The word "al-Taqiyya" literally means: "Concealing or disguising one's beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of eminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury." A one-word translation would be"Dissimulation."

Full article HERE.