Wednesday, January 05, 2005

War Blog

Interesting reading. - Sailor

War Blog
By FrontPage Magazine January 5, 2005

Yesterday we noted a report in the Jerusalem Post that Abdul Qadeer Khan’s nuclear black market had given “a major boost” to the nuclear weapons program of an unnamed Arab state; today comes news that evidence of secret nuclear experiments has been discovered in Egypt.
VIENNA, Austria - The U.N. atomic watchdog agency has found evidence of secret nuclear experiments in Egypt that could be used in weapons programs, diplomats said Tuesday.
The diplomats told The Associated Press that most of the work was carried out in the 1980s and 1990s but said the International Atomic Energy Agency also was looking at evidence suggesting some work was performed as recently as a year ago.
Egypt’s government rejected claims it is or has been pursuing a weapons program, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
“A few months ago we denied these kinds of claims and we do so again,” Egyptian government spokesman Magdy Rady said. “Nothing about our nuclear program is secret and there is nothing that is not known to the IAEA.”
But one of the diplomats said the Egyptians “tried to produce various components of uranium” without declaring it to the IAEA, as they were bound to under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The products included several pounds of uranium metal and uranium tetrafluoride — a precursor to uranium hexafluoride gas, the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
Uranium metal can be processed into plutonium, while uranium hexafluoride can be enriched into weapons-grade uranium — both for use in the core of nuclear warheads.
A virulent Bush-hating speech from Norman Mailer got him a standing ovation—at a conference for journalists and students sponsored by Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism: Journalists shouldn’t be cheerleaders.
It’s hardly a shocker that Norman Mailer could show up at a place like Cambridge, Mass., and win big applause with a speech attacking President Bush. After all, employees of Harvard University gave more money to John Kerry’s presidential campaign than people who work anywhere else (except the University of California). What made the standing ovation for the novelist so disappointing, though, was that it came from a great big pack of journalists.
Claims of media bias were a major theme during this past election year - from Dan Rather’s doctored documents questioning Bush’s military service to a convention of minority journalists loudly cheering Kerry when he addressed them in August. But conservatives who want proof of their longstanding claims that the mainstream media harbor a liberal bias could do worse than ordering the audio recordings of the Cambridge conference that are on sale from its sponsor, Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism.
They would hear laughter and applause from reporters after Mailer said he wished he “was young enough to thrash” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and scattered applause when he claimed that it was not Jesus but “the devil who speaks to George Bush every night.”
Admittedly, some of the attendees were academics, publicists and students, so it’s hard to say who was laughing at which remark. But the thousand-member audience was dominated by freelance writers and editors and reporters from nearly every major paper in the country. None of the dozen people who stood up to question Mailer challenged any of his political assertions. And only a few failed to stand and applaud at the end of a speech that had characterized Bush as “lord of the quagmire” in Iraq.
“I’m a newspaperman - these people don’t seem to understand what their role in society is,” said Jack Hart, managing editor of the Portland Oregonian, which cosponsored the conference along with the Boston Globe and the Poynter Institute (which owns the St. Petersburg Times and Governing magazine, where I work). “It makes me very uncomfortable.”
A poll commissioned by the Telegraph shows that Britons think Israel is one of the world’s “least democratic” countries, and the country least deserving of “international respect:” The countries that we love and hate.
The violence and Israel’s continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza appear to have done immense damage to its standing. Israel comes top of the list of countries where people would least like to live and would least like to take a holiday.
It is also the country thought least deserving of international respect. Despite being the only fully democratic state in the Middle East, it is also thought to be among the world’s “least democratic countries”.
Of the 12 criteria set out in YouGov’s check-list, Israel comes out bottom in four cases and among the bottom five in a total of eight. Only Russia has a worse overall score. Tuesday, January 4, 2005
The uncertainty surrounding the gubernatorial election in Washington continues to grow, as even the Seattle Post-Intelligencer now reports wide discrepancies between ballot counts and voter rolls:
Thousands of "mystery voters" in the counties of King, Pierce, Snohomish, Clark and Kitsap appear to be Republican Dino Rossi's best prospect for challenging the legitimacy of the closest and most contentious gubernatorial election in the state's history.
The state Republican Party yesterday called on county election officials to explain what the GOP says is a nearly 8,500-vote discrepancy between county vote tallies and the number of people credited with actually voting in the election.
Democrats claim that the GOP used preliminary lists and that the discrepancies will narrow once counties update their voter rolls. However, no one now disputes that the election will have little credibility if the margin does not significantly decrease. The difference gives the appearance that several thousand more ballots got counted than were cast -- and in an election that wound up with a difference of 130 votes, that may be enough to successfully contest the results. The Secretary of State, who just certified Christine Gregoire the winner over Dino Rossi, stated that this issue could undo Gregoire's win.
Former governor Dan Evans wrote that the only solution, given all the problems with the conduct of the election, is a new run-off between the two candidates. It seems likely that Gregoire will not sit easy in the mansion either way. Tuesday, January 4, 2005

By Michelle Malkin Washington state?
Meanwhile, reports of disenfranchised military voters keep coming in, prompting a creative Washingtonian to re-fashion those "We support our troops" ribbons accordingly.
ReVote Washington is seeking help here.
Late-breaking updates: Stefan Sharkansky finds more "Enron Math" in King County and calls on readers to help investigate. Monday, January 3, 2005
In a move that calls into question Hillary Clinton's expected run for the presidency in 2008, Harold Ickes has pulled out of the race for chair of the Democratic National Committee:
Former Clinton aide Harold Ickes and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk let top Democrats know Tuesday that they won't be running for chairman of the Democratic National Committee. ...
Ickes, a longtime Democratic activist, also let party members know he would not be running.
"I just decided I probably did not have enough of the attributes (a chairman needs) to do the party justice," Ickes said in an interview.
Ickes has strong ties to the Clintons. He served for years as Bill Clinton's deputy chief of staff and has been a big money man for both Bill and Hillary. While the DNC chair may have been more high-profile than usual for Ickes' comfort zone, having him ensconced at the heart of DNC strategizing would have been a tacit endorsement of Hillary for 2008.
Obviously, Ickes could not generate the necessary support for the DNC chair. The two front-runners appear to be Howard Dean and Tim Roemer, neither of which have much connection to the Clinton entourage. The Democrats appear to be shying away from the Clintons, making Hillary's presidential aspirations more remote than ever. With Dean, one can expect Democratic money to back a candidate that will energize the Deaniacs -- not exactlt the best match for Hillary's newly-found centrism. Roemer likely will want to find a candidate that attracts moderates on abortion and Midwesterners, again an unlikely draw for Hillary.
For better or worse, it appears that the Democrats have finally begun to shrug off the Clinton influence. Hillary sat out the 2004 presidential race in the assumption that Bush could not be beaten and that her time had not yet arrived. Instead, she may have missed her best chance. Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Claude Salhani at the Washington Times presents an analysis of Osama bin Laden's reaction to the two outbreaks of democracy in Southwest Asia this month, and talks about how desperate the terror chief is to stop them:
Osama bin Laden, the man who since 9/11 brought fear into the hearts of millions, is now running scared. The master terrorist is afraid; he is very afraid.
What frightens bin Laden today are not American B-2 super-stealth bombers capable of dropping tons of high explosives on him from unseen heights, nor the tens of thousands of troops and legions of intelligence officers looking for him since September 2001. He knows how to cope with them. What frightens bin Laden today is the ballot box.
The leader of al-Qaida appears particularly concerned over the prospects of pending elections in two Arab countries -- the Palestinian Authority and Iraq -- both scheduled for later this month.
Salhani discusses how Osama wants to form a new, pan-Islamic caliphate throughout Southwest Asia, with its capitol no doubt being Jerusalem, if not Mecca itself. His Wahhabist outlook stands in diametrical opposition to self-rule through democracy. The Caliphate, after all, hearkens back to strongman rule through the appointment of Allah, not the petty concerns of Muslims and dhimmis in general.
Unfortunately for Osama, a caliphate sounds pretty good to those trapped in oppressive lands ruled by petty, tribal tyrants -- but it begins to lose its appeal once the people have a taste of running their own government. While he can rile the Sunnis in Iraq by claiming that the elections there are an American sham (a point of view that our mainstream media helps to feed), the Palestinian elections are harder to write off. With Arafat gone, Palestinians have their first opportunity ever to take their destiny into their own hands by demanding a fair and transparent electoral process that puts real power into the Palestinian legislature. Once achieved, Osama's vision of single-caliph rule will pale by comparison.
Again, the wisdom of combating terror by freeing the people of the Middle East becomes plain. As long as Arabs see themselves as unfit for democracy, either through religious dogma or tribal history, Osama's call for a caliph to put all things right remains a seductive fantasy even with its failed history in the Ottoman Empire. For that matter, as long as the West considers Arabs unfit for democracy, that fantasy thrives in opposition. With the examples of Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Palestinian Authority to demonstrate the power of self-rule, Osama's fantasy becomes a fairy tale, a la Brothers Grimm, of the destructive power of unrealistic wishes.
That's Osama's nightmare, and that is how he loses the war on terror. He knows it and will pull out all stops to keep elections from fruition. That is why no delay should be considered in conducting the elections, and why we need to stick with the strategy of liberation and forward engagement.
Drudge links to a Broadcasting & Cable item that reports on a meeting between beleaguered CBS News president Andrew Heyward and the White House. Heyward, rumored to be on the chopping block when the long-awaited internal investigation of the Rathergate fiasco is released, may need a truce with the White House to save his job:
Let the fence-mending begin. According to a Broadcasting & Cable source in Washington, D.C., CBS News president Andrew Heyward, along with Washington bureau chief Janet Leissner, recently met with White House communications director Dan Bartlett, in part to repair chilly relations with the Bush administration. ...
Heyward was “working overtime to convince Bartlett that neither CBS News nor Rather had a vendetta against the White House,” our source says, “and from here on out would do everything it could to be fair and balanced.” CBS declined to comment.

On its face, Heyward's mission appears doomed. No one at the White House will buy CBS' protestations of neutrality for a moment. Even if Heyward and CBS were sincere, the broadcaster has a long history of skewed reporting against Republicans in general, and the Bush family in particular. None of the decisionmakers involved in the forged-memos scandal have left CBS yet, either voluntarily or otherwise. Mary Mapes, the producer who green-lighted the memos, spent five years on her crusade to find something with which to smear George Bush. The White House now should believe that Mapes will play straight down the middle, or Rather in his new duties at 60 Minutes Wednesday?

But even worse, the sight of a broadcaster going to the White House to plead its case of neutrality just plain smells bad. CBS should have worked at being objective for fifty years, and had they done so, Heyward wouldn't need to go, hat in hand, to Dan Bartlett to beg forgiveness. In fact, all they need to do is start being objective in their news coverage (or at least balanced) and their work would speak for itself. Heyward's supplications look like butt-covering than any real change of direction for his news division.

What's more, CBS shouldn't go pleading to the White House for a break. It makes them beholden to Bush in a manner that does more to damage their credibility than to repair it. Conservatives may revel in the humbling of the Tiffany Network, but the result will be to undermine anything positive reported by CBS on the Bush Administration. They will become suspect through their debt.

If nothing else, Heyward's diplomatic mission shows that the Thornburg report likely has harsh criticism of the CBS News division. If not, Heyward would have stayed home and rode this one out. Monday, January 3, 2005
It comes from Iranian government sources, so skepticism is in order: U.S. spy planes spotted over nuke sites. (Thanks to all who emailed about this.)
Iran has reported flights by U.S. military aircraft over nuclear facilities near the borders with Afghanistan and Iraq.

Iran’s state-controlled media said the overflights by U.S. aircraft were spotted near a range of nuclear facilities, including the Bushehr nuclear reactor constructed by Russia.

In late December, Teheran ordered the Iranian Air Force to shoot down unidentified aircraft flying anywhere in the country. Iranian officials have accused Israel and the United States of seeking to conduct reconnaissance flights over Iran.

Iran has deployed anti-aircraft missiles around major nuclear sites, including Bushehr. So far, there have been no reports of Iranian missile fire toward U.S. or Israeli warplanes.

The U.S. reconnaissance flights were conducted as Iran was said to be accelerating its nuclear weapons programs in facilities unaccessible to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The U.S. aircraft said to have entered Iranian air space included F-16 multi-role fighters and F/A-18 attack jets, the reports said. The Iranian media said the aircraft appeared to have been sent on reconnaissance missions over Iran’s nuclear sites, particularly in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.

On Monday, the Iranian newspaper Aftab reported the entry of a U.S. fighter-jet on Jan. 1. The unidentified fighter was said to have flown at low altitude over the northeastern province of Khorrasan which borders Afghanistan. Tuesday, January 4, 2005
The upcoming elections in the Palestinian territories make for some interesting theater. The United States and Europe are desperate for a moderate Palestinian leader that can negotiate a settlement to the "Middle East Crisis", and place their hopes in a vessel named "Mahmoud Abbas" (AKA Abu Mazen). The Palestinians long for continued international support, aid and legitimacy, and conduct elections to assuage their benefactors. The Israelis, used to political machinations from Palestinian moderates, look on skeptically as they search for a negotiating partner.

The latest plan for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians was laid out in the now defunct Middle East Road Map. This highly optimistic plan broke down on the initial calls for the Palestinians to prevent terror attacks against Israel and destroy the terrorist infrastructure.

At the outset of Phase I:
Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.

• Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere. • Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.

Under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinians have never been able to get beyond the first sentences of the requirements of the Road Map. Terror has not been renounced, halted, nor uprooted, as the roots of terrorism are spread wide and deep in the Palestinian soil.

Mahmoud Abbas, the current Prime Minister and favored candidate in the Palestinian elections, is a mixed bag, and perhaps is as close to an electable moderate as you get in the territories. On one hand, Abbas has condemned mortar attacks on Israeli settlements, states the armed Intifada should end as it has failed and Palestinians should seek a political solution. On the other hand, Abbas is a holocaust denier and advocates for the "Right of Return" for Palestinians into Israel proper. He campaigns with Zakaria Zubeidi, a wanted terrorists and local leader of the newly minted Yasser Arafat Martyrs Brigades (of former Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades fame), refers to Israel as a “Zionist entity”, and states that Palestinian terrorists are "freedom fighters" who should be protected and will not be hunted down by Palestinian security forces.

“When we demand security, we demand it for all our citizens, including our wanted brothers who also deserve a life of security and safety … They are freedom fighters … and should live a dignified and safe life…Palestinians taking up arms against each other will not happen."

Mahmoud Abbas is a member of good standing in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the umbrella group under which al-Fatah serves. Abbas is Chairman and Secretary General of the PLO. The PLO's Foreign Minister, Farouq Qaddoumi, recently welcomed the influx of aid and support of Iranian and Syrian backed Hezbollah. He sees no political solution or an end to terrorism against Israel, only politically necessitated pauses designed to improve their position (the correct term for this is hudna).

"There is no political settlement. There is the Road Map which is devoid of any meaning…It is wrong to use the term militarization of the intifadah. Intifadah means armed resistance against the occupation...The popular war is the war of the masses, the war of convictions, the war of morale. It is not a war of confrontation. We fight for one hour and incite the masses for 23 hours. We fight when we find fighting to be useful and stop fighting when it is not useful. We might stop for a month and then resume the resistance…armed struggle is a basic requirement if there is no political settlement."

Mahmoud Abbas has not denounced these statements. Nor will he. Palestinian politicians are forced to "play to their base", and in this case it is terrorist groups that wield the power. Abbas' rhetoric is not subtle; he does not split hairs on trivial items such as health care and social security. The hatred of the Jews and the Zionist state of Israel is front and center in Palestinian politics, and Abbas' statements are merely a reflection of this. He could not get elected without expressing his approval for terrorist groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Yasser Arafat Martyrs, the PLO and others. He would not even survive the campaign trail.

It is little wonder Mahmoud Abbas is considered a moderate in Palestinian politics. In a environment where convicted killer Marwan Barghouti was the people’s favorite (see summary of indictment), prisoners are encouraged to vote, children are encouraged to become killers and the funeral of beloved leader Yasser Arafat turns into a shooting match, a man of Abbas’ relatively dovish positions are cherished by the West.
Mahmoud Abbas will easily win the Palestinian Election; he is far outdistancing his closest rival in the polls. The question will be what can he do after his victory? Will he have the courage to adhere to the principles of the Road Map and dismantle the terrorist organizations so prevalent in Palestinian society? Will he be able to gain control of Palestinian security services? Is his campaign rhetoric on the Right of Return, “freedom fighters” and the return to the 1967 borders empty promises, or will he hold fast to these demands?

Maintaining the delicate balance of satisfying the demands of the myriad of Palestinian terrorists and the demands of Israel, Europe and America for a political solution to the conflict will be a difficult task. Abbas is considered an "apostate" by Osama bin Laden, and Palestinian terrorists will not accept any meaningful concessions to Israel, as their ultimate goal is the destruction of the Israeli state. It wouldn’t take much for the real power brokers, Palestinian terrorists, to turn on him. The Israelis have grown tired of the double games played by Palestinian politicians, and have showing the political will to ignore the demands of peace at any cost from the international community. The construction of the security fence and continued targeting of terrorist leaders inside the territories and beyond demonstrates this.

Mahmoud Abbas will get elected to the most thankless political position in the world. Expected to please two diametrically opposed electorates - Palestinian nationalists and terrorists, and the Israeli state - he will please neither, and make enemies of both. Tuesday, January 4, 2005
No Western sources are picking it up. It's only being reported by Itar-Tass out of Russia. So I pass it on to you for what it's worth, which probably isn't much. "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi reportedly arrested in Iraq," from Itar-Tass:

DUBAI, January 4 (Itar-Tass) - Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, whom the US occupation authorities declared to be the "target number one" in Iraq, has been arrested in the city of Baakuba, the Emirate newspaper al-Bayane reported on Tuesday referring to Kurdish sources. Al-Zarqawi, leader of the terrorist group Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad, was recently appointed the director of the Al-Qaeda organisation in Iraq.

The newspaper's correspondent in Baghdad points out that a report on the seizure of the terrorist, on whom the US put a bounty of 10 million dollars, was also reported by Iraqi Kurdistan radio, which at one time had been the first to announce the arrest of Saddam Hussein.

From the Jerusalem Post, with thanks to Jeffrey Imm:

Days after former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy expressed fears that Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia might have acquired some kind of nuclear capability via an illicit weapons trafficking network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the chief architect of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, Israeli military sources have told The Jerusalem Post that, thanks to Khan, one of those three Arab states now has the potential to achieve a "significant nuclear leap."
The sources said that Israel is aware of Khan's contacts with all three countries, but that he had provided to one of them expertise and material to manufacture nuclear bombs. They would not specify which country.
The sources also spoke of an assessment in the IDF that Arab terrorist organizations are stepping up their efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear bombs.

They noted that there is now evidence of increased debate as to whether Islamic law could allow for the deaths of Muslims as part of the price when tens of millions of heathens are killed – a debate whose very nature, the sources said, implies that thought is being given to the notion of using weapons of mass destruction.


This story underscores a fact that I have pointed out many times: radical Muslims — that is, those who are willing to commit radical and violent acts for their faith — are not a discredited fringe group that is sharply distinct from the Muslim community as a whole. They consider themselves simply to be Muslims, not "radicals," not "Islamists," or whatever other nomenclature you may favor. They mingle freely among Muslims worldwide, and make recruits from among "moderates" by appealing to Islamic theology and tradition — the Qur'an and Sunnah — in order to show that what they are doing is simply following the dictates of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad.

"Suspects in foiled US Embassy bombing go on trial," from AP, with thanks to Nicolei:

The trial of six men accused of plotting to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Paris opened with testimony from the suspected ringleader.

Voluble French-Algerian Djamel Beghal, 39, told the Paris court on Monday that he had been kept in solitary confinement awaiting trial since his arrest in 2001. Terrorism suspects are sometimes detained alone for security reasons.

"I've not spoken for three years, so now I'm going to catch up," he said.
He explained how he moved to France in his 20s, married, did odd jobs and found his Islamic faith, which became "one of my reasons for living."

Asked if he considers himself a radical, he replied: "I am a Muslim and Muslim to the hilt."


Yes, a citizen of our friend and ally Saudi Arabia. Also, note that he was a medical student, not some desperately poor fellow driven to this by his lack of opportunities in life. From AP, with thanks to all who sent this in:
CAIRO, Egypt - The suicide bomber who killed 22 people when he blew himself up in a U.S. mess hall in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was a Saudi medical student, an Arab newspaper reported Monday.

The Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat identified him as 20-year-old Ahmed Said Ahmed al-Ghamdi, citing unnamed friends of the man’s father. The friends said members of an Iraqi resistance group contacted al-Ghamdi’s father to tell him his son was the suicide bomber who carried out the Dec. 21 attack, the deadliest on an American installation in Iraq.

The father refused to discuss the suicide bombing, but told the newspaper his son had gone to Iraq to fight the Americans and had died there. The family held a mourning ceremony the paper said. It did not say when the ceremony was held or where in Saudi Arabia the family lived. Tuesday, January 4, 2005

From Middle East Online, with thanks to Twostellas:

DUBAI - The Islamic Army in Iraq, one of the main armed groups fighting US forces in the war-torn country, has threatened to carry out attacks inside the United States, according to a statement posted on a website Monday.

This year "will bring woes on America. The mujahedeen (holy warriors) have prepared big surprises for your sons outside America and a big surprise for you inside America," said the statement whose authenticity could not be confirmed....

The mujahedeen "will take the battle from inside our country (Iraq) to yours," the statement said.
"We address you after you finished celebrating the new year, hoping that you are no longer drunk ... We will give American civilians a taste of what civilians in our country go through," said the statement, presented as a "message to the American people."

The message, which described the American people as "uncivilized" and "ignorant," claimed that "the whole world" hates America.

"Are you aware that the number of those who support striking America on its own turf has greatly increased?" it said.

"Last year was a picnic for your soldiers (in Iraq). The year 2005 will witness a quantitative and qualitative change in the operations against your army, which will go down in history," the statement said. Monday, January 3, 2005
Contributions to the U.N. World Food Programme in 2004 as at 13 December 2004
1 USA 826,469,172
2 European Commission 187,102,068
3 Japan 126,906,097
4 UK 109,247,050
5 Netherlands 77,738,387
6 Canada 74,484,892
7 Germany 65,125,716
8 Norway 51,487,625
9 Sweden 43,755,872
10 Australia 40,201,527
11 Italy 39,993,947
12 Denmark 38,007,366
13 Switzerland 28,312,437
14 France 26,134,188
15 Spain 19,388,450
16 Finland 14,995,276
17 Private 14,779,602
18 Ireland 12,115,368
19 Belgium 10,750,411
20 Kenya 10,044,441
21 India 6,073,497
22 South Africa 5,186,300
23 China 4,852,641
24 Angola 4,013,590
25 Saudi Arabia 3,345,325
26 Luxembourg 3,025,268
27 Honduras 2,987,880
28 Colombia 2,223,956
29 New Zealand 2,094,762
30 Madagascar 2,000,000
31 Malawi 1,454,716
32 Nicaragua 1,347,768
33 Syria 1,000,681
34 Cuba 615,000
35 Cameroon 600,000
36 Austria 596,833
37 UN 529,507
38 African Dev. Bank 500,000
39 Poland 355,861
40 Egypt 353,518
41 Uganda 338,771
42 Portugal 324,874
43 El Salvador 160,000
44 Nepal 144,191
45 Jordan 99,980
46 Czech Rep 98,474
47 Ecuador 88,649
48 Andorra 79,336
49 Iceland 75,265
50 Hungary 65,000
51 Guatemala 52,949
52 United Arab Emirates 50,000
53 Iran 40,000
54 Pakistan 38,073
55 Monaco 30,000
56 Slovak. Rep 24,760
57 Singapore 20,000
58 Greece 15,555
59 Sri Lanka 12,565
60 Ghana 10,000
61 Holy See 10,000
62 Bulgaria 5,000
63 Cyprus 4,629
64 Zimbabwe 4,426
65 Panama 1,000
66 Korea Rep of 1,000
67 Russian Fed. 0
68 OPEC Fund 0
69 Algeria 0
70 NGO 0
71 Kuwait 0
72 Viet Nam 0
73 Thailand 0
74 Qatar 0
75 Morocco 0
76 Eritrea 0
77 Dominican Republic 0
78 Faroe Island 0
79 Indonesia 0
80 Israel 0
81 Marshall Islands 0
82 Malta 0
Grand Total 1,861,991,492
Reader Drennan Lindsay referred us to an absolutely superb article--a speech, actually, delivered at a conference on Jan. 1--by Melanie Phillips. Ms. Phillips is a British writer whose name I've heard, but whom I have not followed closely. From now on I will.

Phillips' article is titled: "The Reporting of Iraq and Israel: An Abuse of Media Power." Her focus is Great Britain, but what she says is also applicable to the American press. She begins:
A friend went into Blackwells university bookshop in Oxford and asked the counter clerk: 'Do you have a copy of Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel?' 'There is no case for Israel', the counter clerk replied.
She states her thesis early on, and proceeds to document it with chapter and verse, in a dense, brilliant, eloquent argument:
Britain is gripped by an unprecedented degree of irrationality, prejudice and hysteria over the issues of Iraq, the terrorist jihad and Israel. All three are intimately linked; all three, however, are thought by public opinion to be linked in precisely the wrong way. This is because all three have been systematically misreported, distorted and misrepresented through a lethal combination of profound ignorance, political malice and ancient prejudices.
This systematic abuse by the media is having a devastating impact in weakening the ability of the west to defend itself against the unprecedented mortal threat that it faces from the Islamic jihad. People cannot and will not fight if they don’t understand the nature or gravity of the threat that they face, so much so that they vilify their own leaders while sanitising those who would harm them.
The speech is relatively long; it weighs in at 17 pages in PDF. But it is worth studying closely. Ms. Phillips concludes:
The outcome is a society which no longer understands how to distinguish truth from lies, no longer understands or accepts the desirability of objectivity and no longer is capable of rational debate based on facts and logic. Instead, all evidence is filtered through prism of prior political prejudice and emotion to which it is wrenched to fit. It replaces evidence by propaganda, rationality by gullibility.
And it is perhaps the single greatest incitement to terror. Terrorism is designed to achieve maximum publicity and to manipulate public revulsion so that pressure is put on the leaders of the democracies to surrender. It cannot be said too often that what drives al Qaeda is not the exercise of disproportionate force by the west but the perception of its weakness and incapacity or unwillingness to fight in its own defence. But even al Qaeda must surely have been taken aback by the craven willingness of the British media to fall into line by abusing and persecuting their own leaders at a time of war. These terrorists know that the more barbaric their acts, the more hysteria and pressure the British media will direct at Blair and Bush. So al Qaeda has every incentive to ratchet up the atrocities. That’s why the hostage Kenneth Bigley was videoed sobbing for his life in a cage; and the media duly do what the terrorists want and put it on their front pages and news bulletins, and the pressure on Blair to split from America becomes more and more intolerable.
The appalling result of all this is that, if a terrorist outrage in London were to claim the lives of hundreds or thousands of people, the reaction of many Britons might not be a revival of the spirit of the Blitz and an iron determination to defeat fascism and tyranny. It might be instead to turn on Tony Blair and blame him directly for bringing about the slaughter. And that, of course, is precisely what makes such a terrible outcome more likely. There can be little doubt that al Qaeda, such a shrewd judge of western decadence and the differences in moral fibre between the countries of the west, will have noted the fact that in Britain, the worse the terrorist outrage that is committed, the more the public will turn on Tony Blair. Every single defeatist, distorted or dishonest article about Iraq, Israel and the war on terror makes another barbaric atrocity more likely.
It is this weakness and moral confusion that comprise the great goal of terrorist strategy; it is this that has characterised the west’s response to Islamic terror for many decades; it is this that has brought us to where we are today. In the war that has been declared upon the free world, the western media’s abuse of power is perhaps the most lethal weapon of all.
This is one of the most important pieces of work we've seen in a long time. Read it all. Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Earlier today, Rocket Man linked to a piece from FrontPage Magazine in which Naseer Flayih Hasan expressed his disillusionment with the European leftists he has met in Iraq. According to Hasan, the prevailing view among many of the leftists he has encountered in Iraq (typically journalists or aid workers) is that the Americans are criminals, the Iraqis who support the American efforts are traitors, and the Iraqi insurgents are resistance fighters. The view is not confined to European leftists, of course -- it is the position of the Michael Moore left in this country. And aspects of this view have found their way into the mainstream. Just today, Washington Post columnist William Raspberry wrote:
We can argue all day that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant whose defeat and humiliation should evoke no sympathy from us. But he did have a functioning country. There was a government in place. People went to work and to the market and to school in relative safety. Can anyone really believe that the U.S.-spawned anarchy has left the Iraqi people better off?
I wonder whether Raspberry would have made the same argument with respect to the American South in 1868. Prior to the Civil War, there was a government in place and people went about their business (or their master's) in relative safety. Could anyone believe, in 1868, that the anarchy spawned by th Civil War had left southerners better off?
A friend of mine takes the moral analogy between the aftermath of the Civil War and the current situation in Iraq one step further:
In both instances, supposedly "sovereign" regimes announced themselves (Saddam when he seized power in Iraq, and Southerners when they formed the Confederacy). They kept themselves in power in part by popular will (the Sunnis in Iraq and the whites in the Confederacy), but there was also a large and violently oppressed population (the Shia and Kurds in Iraq and blacks in the Confederacy).
A "foreign" sovereign (the United States in both instances). . . went to war with the rogue state. There were, of course, many civilian casualties, not to mention all the other gruesome outcroppings of war. The foreign government won, but the victory was not clear-cut. Indeed, a violent and armed resistance representing the old order continued for years, targeting those who wanted a better day (those persons consisting of the democratic forces in Iraq and the blacks and sympathetic whites in the defeated Confederacy). The KKK continued its insurgency, consisting principally of terror and murder, for years. The Saddam dead-enders will try to do the same in Iraq.
Thus, those leftists who, by ignoring or downplaying the illegitimacy and criminality of Saddam's regime, are able pronounce the pro-Saddam insurgents "freedom fighters" defying a brutal foreign occupying force are in essentially the same moral position as those who supported the Ku Klux Klan. Monday, January 3, 2005


A reader Jeff Raleigh reports on the holidays in Afghanistan:
"It's Christmas Eve 2004 and I, along with about 70 other State Department employees and some 24,000 US and Coalition forces are getting ready to celebrate the Birth of Christ in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan! When we read news reports from the States about the growing controversy over the very name of this Holiday, we all have to laugh. Here, in an Islamic State, Americans are allowed to put up Christmas decorations, sing Christmas carols and celebrate Christmas without fear that the Afghan version of the ACLU will demand that we call them 'Holiday decorations' or force us to deny the existence of Santa Claus. My Afghan friends, who universally wish me 'Merry Christmas', just shake their heads when they read stories about a Virginia 7th grader who was asked to leave a school dance for wearing a Santa Claus outfit! So those of us here in an Islamic state will just keep talking about Christmas while you in the States choose you words carefully to make certain the no hint of 'Christmas' escape your lips in a public place."Islamic states, of course, are not quite used to the idea of the separation of church and state, certainly nowhere near to the American extent. But it's good to know that the people of Afghanistan, unlike, say, their Saudi coreligionists, are pretty relaxed about Christianity, too. Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Steven Plaut: I often get crank mail in response to things I post or publish. Usually the worst comes from the nutjobs and fruitcakes who are foillowers of UFO-conspiracy "researcher" Barry Chamish, but after publishing my piece on the politicization of the Reformies I got an unusually large dose. I will not bore you with most of them but the one I paste below is of particular note, I think.Notice how the writer describes himself as a "religious, practicing Reform Jew", a term upon which I shall not comment:"As a religious, practicing Reform Jew (sic), I find your vitriolic hatred alarming. Pious espousal's (sic) of biblical passages to support denigration of homosexuals is but a pathetic attempt to impose your own loathing upon a religious framework -- thank God many truly religious Jews do not share your abominable views (and I use the word "abominable" advisedly).Similarly do I condemn your simplistic characterization of the illegal and immoral wall knifing through Palestinian communities as a "security" measure. Surely if Jews have learned anything, we've learned that teaching children hatred (in this case Palestinian children) is the best way in the world to ensure that Israel -- and Jews worldwide -- face increased hostility and attacks in the future.One last thing: I claim and own my 5,000 year heritage as strongly as you do. How dare you imply that I am somehow less Jewish because I embrace and espouse pluralistic and progressive principles of loving kindness.PS. I live in Seattle, Washington, and I had the great honor to work with Congressman Dennis Kucinich during his presidential campaign. He is not Jewish -- but he is a great and spiritual man, and he is motivated by love instead of hate. You would do well to emulate him.Matt Harris
[Dennis Kucinich is of course the closest thing to an open practicing communist in American politics. -- SP]

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