10 April 2004

FLASHBACK: May 27, 2002
Graham: We Had Same Info as Bush
by David Freddoso
Posted Apr 9, 2004

[Editor's note: This article orginally appeared on the cover of the May 27, 2002, issue of HUMAN EVENTS.]

Sen. Bob Graham (D.-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told HUMAN EVENTS May 21 [2002] that his committee had received all the same terrorism intelligence prior to September 11 as the Bush administration.

"Yes, we had seen all the information," said Graham. "But we didn't see it on a single piece of paper, the way the President did."

As early as May 16 [2002], it had already emerged that most of the information in Bush's August 6 [2001] Presidential Daily Briefing--an official intelligence document--had in fact been given to the congressional committees in the form of the Senior Executive Intelligence Digest (SEID), a more widely published classified document.

(I have to ask, is it most or is it all? Classic example of how you can never get a straight story out of the media. In Graham's direct quote, it is all, so perhaps the most is just journalistic frou-frou. I will speculate that there was enough overlap between the PDB and SEID that any senator who had actually read the SEID would have come to the same conclusion as the executive office. Otherwise there would be no basis for a story.)

As Democrats appeared to back away from the attacks on Bush over the weekend [in 2002], Republicans went on the offensive to capitalize on an expected backlash. The Republican Study Committee, a group of about 75 conservative Republicans, released a memo detailing House Democrats' overwhelming opposition to intelligence funding since 1996. According to the memo, 154 House Democrats voted to cut the U.S. intelligence budget in 1996, while 158 Democrats did the same in 1997. Although fewer Democrats voted to cut the intelligence budget in 1999 (only 61), almost all opposition to intelligence spending came from Democrats.

:: John Kerry is letting contributors create their own web pages on his official site ::: "Some people have speculated that John F'ing Kerry would be weak on national defense. Why on Earth wouldn't you trust the nuclear launch codes to a man brilliant and nuanced enough to provide his name and bandwidth to his political opponents? Communist dictators, socialist Europeans, murderous clerics, right-wing Islamic theocrats and terrorist leaders didn't get where they are without some political smarts. These foreign leaders all want John Kerry to win. Shouldn't you?"
"The media is constantly filled with allegations that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability in the same manner as its neighbor to the west, Iraq, had."
"The Gulf War uncovered Iraq's considerable progress toward the production of nuclear weapons. Iraq's progress fueled the fires of America's long-standing concerns that Iran also is building the bomb, despite its legal standing as a non-nuclear weapons state under the terms of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Furthermore, Iran is known to have chemical weapons, which it used during its war with Iraq, and has been building a considerable conventional military since the end of the war in 1988. The United States government has correctly determined that like Iraq, Iran must be prevented from developing a nuclear weapons capability."
Germany and France Disagree with U.S. Policy
"Fearing that Iran could develop nuclear weapons based on equipment and knowledge used in nuclear power-generating programs, the United States' principal goal has been to prevent Iran from acquiring any and all nuclear equipment, technologies, and know-how, including those necessary for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. ... Although this embargo is currently unilateral, the United States is attempting to transform it into a multilateral arrangement. To date, European countries have refused to join the United States in placing embargoes on Iran and many of the states, including Germany and France, have stated that the U.S. policy is wrong."
Negative repercussions with allies
"The new Republican Congress may pass a bill proposed by Senator Alfonse D'Amato that will close U.S. markets to any foreign company dealing with Iran. A similar bill has also been proposed in the House of Representatives ... which would have negative repercussions on relations with U.S. allies."
France refuses to go along with America's 'hatred of the moment'
"Reports of a secret protocol that was part of the Eurodif settlement between Iran and France surfaced. These reports indicated that France agreed to supply Iran with enriched uranium for its nuclear "projects," which most likely means its research reactors and nuclear power reactors, once they are completed and operational. In November 1991, the United States asked France to cooperate in a high- technology embargo on Iran. French officials negatively stated, "This is not a question of export control policy. This is politics, full stop. America does not like the current Iranian regime, and they want us to buy on to their hatred of the moment. No way." "
Foggy Bottom flip-flops
"In 1992, a State Department official stated, "I don't think the Iranians are going about it in such a brutish fashion as Saddam Hussein. Their program is much more subtle and long-term." Three years later, the State Department describes Iran's nuclear weapons program in the media as being similar to Hussein's, an all-out crash program to obtain the bomb."
Inspectors given the run-around
'""We visited without any restriction everything we had asked to see. All nuclear activities in Iran are solely for peaceful purposes." Regarding accusations that the IAEA had been led to a phoney location and not to the real Moallem Kalayeh facility, David Kyd, a spokesman for the IAEA, stated, "None of our member states ever suggested that we were taken to a wrong location."
Unlike the first invited inspection, the second inspection in November 1993 was a "political mission" based on information provided by the United States.
"After visiting facilities in Tehran, Esfahan, and Karaj, David Kyd announced that IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards Bruno Pellaud "found no evidence which was inconsistent with Iran's declaration that all its nuclear activities are peaceful."
The United States almost seems to be grasping for straws concerning Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program."
U.S. policy increases hatred and mistrust; is based on the Mere fact that Iran is a terrorist state
"At the very least, the U.S. policy will harm relations with Iran further, thereby increasing the hatred and mistrust that exists between the two countries."
" Unless the United States has classified evidence or proof that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, it would appear that its policy is not based on nonproliferation but on ideology: the fact that Iran is a terrorist state; it is an opponent of the Middle East peace process; it is an enemy of Israel; it exports fundamentalist beliefs in the region; it is an obstacle to U.S. goals in the region; and that it took U.S. citizens hostage in 1979. If the United States has classified proof that Iran is cheating, it should submit the evidence to the IAEA and the international community so that international measures can be taken against Iran."
By Mark D. Skootsky
June 1, 1995
The song remains the same...

09 April 2004

HoustonChronicle.com - Iraqi amputees arrive in Houston for treatment:
"Amputees arrive for treatment
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle Medical Writer

Memories of losing his right hand in an Iraqi prison, Qasim Kadim says, are sharpest on very cold nights. The remaining stump feels like a block of ice.

Kadim, a victim of Saddam Hussein's bloody regime, may never have to experience the painful, chilling feeling again. Now in Houston with six other amputees, Kadim will soon receive a $50,000 bionic arm courtesy of several journalists, doctors and hospitals.

The seven Iraqis' right hands were surgically removed, and a crosslike tattoo carved between their eyes, because Saddam blamed businessmen dealing with foreign interests for the country's failing economy.

When together, Kadim and his fellow amputees act much like brothers, having shared a horrible experience. While here, they say, they want to experience everything, from NASA to Houston's museums.

Among his requests, Kadim asked to meet a real cowboy or cowgirl.

On Thursday, he broadly smiled when introduced to Ashley Guest, a 15-year-old high school rodeo champion from Crosby. After shaking her hand, inquiring about the nature of barrel racing, Kadim offered an unexpected comment.

"That," he said, "sounds very dangerous.""

04 April 2004

Barbara Amiel has a piece in the Telegraph on the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain.
To begin with, it's not very easy to know what any "community" thinks. By default, one goes to those organisations that are designated "community leaders". The two groups that head the list are the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB). They are quite different. The MCB is an umbrella for about 400 affiliated Muslim groups, including the MAB. Sheltering under that umbrella are the good, the bad and the ugly, which means that the MCB is pulled in many directions.

The MAB is quite a separate matter. It pulls firmly in one direction. Though its leaders are routinely used as spokesmen by media and politicians, this group has associations with the Muslim Brotherhood, the mother of all Islamist groups, founded in Egypt in 1928. The Brotherhood's ideal scenario is to reinstate the Islamic caliphate and have Muslims live in Islamic states under sharia. In pursuit of this goal, its members have been implicated in various assassinations in the Arab world, including that of Anwar Sadat. They have spawned terrorist groups in Pakistan and the Middle East, the best-known being Hamas.

The MAB also extols the virtues of Sayyid Qutb and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Qutb, one-time leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, a prolific writer and ideologist, was executed by the Egyptians for his attempted assassination of Nasser. ... Among Qutb's thoughts: "The real struggle is between Islam on the one hand and Russia and America on the other."...

Sheikh al-Qaradawi, another MAB favourite, heads the European Council on Fatwa and Research, the ruling ideological body of Islamic life. ... Al-Qaradawi has condemned "suicide" but gives the green light to "martyrdom" - suicide on behalf of Shahadah (faith).

Last week, the other Muslim organisation - the MCB - wrote a letter distributed to the thousand mosques in Britain. The letter quotes a passage from the Koran that forbids killing "unless it be a person guilty of manslaughter or of spreading chaos in the land" (a rather elastic definition in my view) and calls on Muslims to give "the fullest co-operation" to the police in the fight against criminal activity, including terrorism.

The quick endorsement of these views by the MAB is an illustration of the letter's limitations. As a means of tackling Islamist terrorism or taking a stand, it is all but worthless. A meaningful letter needs to speak in the vocabulary of Islam. Among other things, the condemnation of "terrorism" and "criminal activity" would be replaced by an open condemnation of all acts of martyrdom as Shahadah.

Amiel points out that the letter's wording was vague enough to allow extremist Muslims to support it in principle without changing their behavior, and the empty gesture was welcomed because modern Western societies seek to avoid confrontation and want to believe that people of good will can work things out.

However, what should have happened is a condemnation of the non-specificity of the letter and a demand for the MCB to do better.
China begins Dhimmification Project: "Bloomberg
BEIJING - Saudi Arabia obtained China's backing for the Middle Eastern kingdom's effort to join the World Trade Organization, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said.

Saudi Arabian Deputy Trade Minister Fawaz al-Alamy and Chinese Deputy Trade Minister Yi Xiaozhun also agreed on prices for commodities traded between the two nations, the report said, citing the two officials. It didn't give details.

The two sides said the accord would help boost trade between their countries, Xinhua said. In 2003, trade between China and Saudi Arabia totaled $7.34 billion, and China imported 15.2 million tonnes of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, the report said.

Saudi Arabia is planning to invest in China's petrochemical, aluminum and fertilizer industries, the country's oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, said in an interview in Vienna last week. (Xinhua 04-04)"

Some recently opined that China would never let "those uppity Muslims" gain ground. (it was in a comment and it was days ago and I'm not going to bother to find it) Guess again.

Of course China already has an Islam problem in Xinjiang
Commentary: Islamist 5th-column Trojan horses - (United Press International): "The general commanding four loyalist columns moving on Madrid during Spain's civil war (1936-1939) referred to his militant supporters within the capital as his 'fifth column.' Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union maintained fifth columns in the United States. These were groups of secret sympathizers, sleeper cells, or supporters of an enemy who engage in espionage or sabotage, or simply disinform about the attacker's intentions. But as soon anyone suggests the presence of an Islamist equivalent in Western democracies, watch out."