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    World News
12/22/03 - 12/28/04


Sunday  12/28/03

4,000 Detained, Weapons Seized  12/28/03 Arab News: "Saudi Arabia has arrested over 4,000 infiltrators and seized vast quantities of weapons and drugs in the south of the country, it was announced yesterday. But the Saudi Press Agency, which carried the announcement, did not say over what period the arrests and seizures, near the porous border with Yemen, were made."

Iran: Human tragedy forces US to rethink hard line  12/28/03 Independent: "If there is some small consolation to be had in the horrific loss of life from the Iranian earthquake, it is that the disaster is likely to strengthen the growing ties between Iran and the outside world and further rein in the US neo-conservative hawks itching to deal with the Tehran mullahs the way they dealt with Saddam Hussein… Quiet diplomacy by Mr Powell over the past few months risked being undermined by new contacts developed between the Pentagon and the Iranian exile Manucher Ghorbanifar, best known as the middleman in the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages fiasco in the 1980s. Mr Ghorbanifar gave his Pentagon contacts information - deemed shaky at best - about Saddam smuggling enriched uranium into Iran."

U.S. split grows over Chávez links to rebels  12/28/03 Miami Herald 

Report on Brutal Vietnam Campaign Stirs Memories  12/28/03 NYT: "The fighting was intense and the results, the former soldiers say, were especially brutal. Villages were bombed, burned and destroyed. As the ground troops swept through, in many cases they gunned down men, women and children, sometimes mutilating bodies — cutting off ears to wear on necklaces. They threw hand grenades into dugout shelters, often killing entire families."

A sober look at the Kennedy assassination  12/28/03 Plain Dealer, Cleveland: another researcher not clued in to the Zapruder forgery? - "Wrone concludes that two or more assassins shot Kennedy, and that Oswald was not among them. Wrone has no idea who the assassins were and doubts if anybody will solve the murder. He comes to this conclusion through a painstaking analysis of the 26-second movie shot by amateur cameraman Abraham Zapruder as the Kennedy motorcade passed by his vantage point."

Attacks Force Retreat From Wide-Ranging Plans for Iraq  12/28/03 Washington Post: no privatization, Iraqui style - "In late July, the debate took a grim turn. After refusing to rehire dozens of workers who had been dismissed before the war, Aziz, the director of the vegetable oil company, was gunned down on his way to work. His killing sent a wave of panic through the Ministry of Industry. All of a sudden, no one wanted to talk about privatization. Faced with growing reluctance among officials at the ministry and on the Governing Council, Bremer and his advisers stopped advocating a fast sell-off of state firms. "It's just disappeared from the agenda," an official with the occupation authority said. "It was just too risky." "


Saturday  12/27/03

topSaddam Threatens to Expose US  12/27/03 Arab News 

Troops dead in Iraq city blasts  12/27/03 BBC: "It was a co-ordinated, massive attack planned for a big scale and intended to do much harm," Major General Tyszkiewicz said on Polish TV."

Saudi Arrests 4,000, Seizes Arms Near Yemen Border  12/27/03 Reuters: "The agency said border police had netted dynamite and ammunition as well as hashish and wine with the 4,047 infiltrators. Saudi authorities have in the past reported on arrests and arms hauls in Najran."

Bible Belt missionaries set out on a 'war for souls' in Iraq  12/27/03 Telegraph: "American Christian missionaries have declared a "war for souls" in Iraq, telling supporters that the formal end of the US-led occupation next June will close an historic "window of opportunity". Organising in secrecy, and emphasising their humanitarian aid work, Christian groups are pouring into the country, which is 97 per cent Muslim, bearing Arabic Bibles, videos and religious tracts designed to "save" Muslims from their "false" religion."


Friday  12/26/03

topAfghanistan: UN workers escape injury in Kabul bomb blast  12/26/03 UN 


Wednesday  12/24/03

topPentagon to stop recruiting aboriginal Canadians U.S. mistaken about treaty permission, ordered to refrain from entering Canada  12/24/03 Ottowa Citizen: "Canadian military recruiters reported their U.S. counterparts appeared last January on reserves in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, in the Sault Ste. Marie area in Ontario and at a number of native communities in the West. According to a report prepared for Defence Minister John McCallum, the Americans were operating on the belief that under a treaty signed in 1794 between the U.S. and Britain, they were allowed to recruit Canadian native Indians for their military. American recruiters were also under the impression many aboriginals held dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship… With combat missions continuing in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has found itself in need of more troops. One method to increase the ranks has been to recruit so-called "green-card soldiers," individuals who are legal permanent residents of the U.S. but do not yet have their citizenship. Last year, President George W. Bush signed an order significantly reducing the time that such military members have to wait before becoming American citizens. Those efforts, however, have sparked concern in the Hispanic community in the U.S., prompting complaints that overzealous recruiters have been specifically targeting Latinos holding green cards. About 37,000 non-American citizens now are serving in the U.S. forces."

Leiva v. Ranch Rescue  12/24/03 Southern Poverty Law Center: "Ranch Rescue is a group of vigilantes dedicated to patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border region in an effort to deter and repel border crossers and trespassers. They conduct paramilitary operations and equip themselves with high-powered assault rifles, handguns, night-vision devices, two-way radios, observation posts, flares, machetes, all-terrain vehicles, and trained attack dogs."


Tuesday  12/23/03

topFirst Suspected U.S. Mad Cow Case Found  12/23/03 AP 

Second End to Major Hostilities, Winslow Wheeler (15KB .pdf) -- What it will really take to see the light at the end of the tunnel  12/23/03 Defense and the National Interest: "Saddam’s capture has not sucked the air out of the violence in Iraq. The reason for the chaos remains at liberty, stimulating new attacks against Americans and others in a target rich environment. What sustains them is not Saddam Hussein; it is the occupation itself and the forces in Iraqi society it has unleashed… The occupation has been converting what were once welcoming, neutral, or merely taciturn Iraqis – for now mostly Sunnis -- into willing irregular fighters protected by a population that is either hostile and bitterly anxious for the Americans to be gone or simply offended and, for now, seeing no alternative to waiting for the Americans to be gone. We have also been virtually standing by – happy for them to kill someone besides our troops -- while Sunnis, Shi’ites, Kurds, and others take revenge against each other and among themselves… Worse, these actions do not ignite just the Sunni minority; behavior no American would tolerate here, even from our own, let alone from an occupier, inflames across all the fissures in Iraqi society. It is just a matter of time before Iraq’s patience for us to leave is at an end. Iraq is not Vietnam, but we need to heed old lessons. After the American defeat in that war, a U.S. Army officer remarked to a North Vietnamese that his forces never defeated the American Army in a major tactical engagement. The North Vietnamese responded, “That may be true, but it is also irrelevant.” Guerrilla wars are won and lost at the moral and strategic levels. The tactical fighting is an extension of the higher conflict; in fact, how tactical engagements are fought is at least as important as whether they are won."

Taliban Release Footage Of Attack On Kunar Headquarters  12/23/03 Jihad Unspun: "A Taliban sympathizer who delivered the tape said it was filmed recently in Kunar. It shows a night-time attack by about a dozen Taliban fighters on the Wattapur district headquarters building. The Taliban take nine Afghan soldiers prisoners after capturing the rundown building and seize some light arms. They release the prisoners unharmed after the Taliban commander tells them their fight is with US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan. The commander also lectures them on the "jihad" being waged by the Taliban to liberate Afghanistan from "infidel" forces and enforce Shariah. An attack on a military convoy from a mountain peak overlooking a valley has also been filmed."

Transcript From Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri Latest Tape  12/23/03 Jihad Unspun: "They unleashed a continuous blaze of fire over a surface not exceeding 300 square km. The pounding of Tora Bora began by a nocturnal aerial heavy bombardment on the first day of the crusader campaign against the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan. However, the main battle started on the 17th Day of Ramadhan, the anniversary of the Great Battle Of Badr, by a fierce and constant bombardment by the crusaders and by a siege laid by the hypocrites and the mercenaries. Despite this, the Mujahideen succeeded with the help and support of Allah in resisting twelve days of continuous pounding, siege and biting cold. They succeeded with the grace of Allah in repelling all the attacks of the hypocrites and in inflicting heavy casualties upon them.” Then they managed to break free from the siege and all that America could achieve is to capture half of them through betrayal and treason when they arrived in Pakistan after they had experienced an arduous journey through the white high mountains.” "

Transcript From Osama Bin Laden’s Latest Tape  12/23/03 Jihad Unspun: “O Muslims! O people of Rabia’a and Mudhar, o son of Bani Al-Akrad! Raise your banner so that Allah may elevate you. Do not be intimidated by the weapons of those infidels, for Allah has weakened their malice and broken their resolve. Do not be afraid of their multitude, for their hearts are hollow and their affairs have started to weaken and falter militarily and financially as well, especially after the blessed day of New York, with the grace of Allah. Their losses have reached in the wake of the strike and its impacts, more than a trillion dollars; they have also recorded a deficit in their budget for the third year running. This year, the deficit has reached a record high; it has been estimated at more than 450,000 million dollars. So praise and gratitude be to Allah.”

Mexican Troops Fire on U.S. Border Watchers  12/23/03 NewsMax: more tales from NewsMax…

USDA refused to release mad cow records  12/23/03 UPI: "Although the United States Department of Agriculture insisted the U.S. beef supply is safe Tuesday after announcing the first documented case of mad cow disease in the United States, the agency for six months repeatedly refused to release its tests for mad cow to United Press International. The USDA claims to have tested approximately 20,000 cows for the disease in 2002 and 2003, but has been unable to provide any documentation in support of this to UPI, which first requested the information in July."


Monday  12/22/03

topChina to Consider Changing Property Law  12/22/03 AP: "Millions of Chinese who have plunged into capitalism by starting businesses and investing in stocks and bonds will be guaranteed their right to private property for the first time since the 1949 revolution under a constitutional amendment proposed Monday by communist leaders. The change would give an official status to the entrepreneurs who once were considered the enemy of communism but now drive China's economy, creating millions of jobs and dotting the skylines of Beijing and other cities with office towers and apartment blocks."

In Caracas, Getting to the Heart of a Nation's Bitter Divide  12/22/03 Pacific News: anti-Chavez and pro-Chavez - "Dr. Condado, 51, is white. President of the Venezuelan Society of Cardiology, he lives in the clean, tree-lined Sebucan district. Its intersections have stop signs though there is little traffic. Houses have gated driveways. Mr. Dominguez, 25, is black. Abandoned by his father, he lives in a crime-ridden, drug-infested neighborhood in central Caracas. The streets are filthy, the congestion insufferable. The informal economy thrives on the sidewalks, which, as a result, have little space for pedestrians."

Gerald Patrick Hemming  12/22/03 Rose Hulman 

Showtime Near Deal for Posner Book  12/22/03 Television Week: now why is Posner involved in this?

US military metes out collective punishment to Iraqi city  12/22/03 World Socialist: US troops act to insure their defeat - "Just days after Hussein’s detention, some 2,500 US soldiers sealed off Samarra, a city of 200,000 people, in the early hours of December 17 and set about smashing their way into homes and factories in search of “insurgents”. It was a classic reprisal raid, not unlike those carried out by Israeli troops against the Palestinian population, or for that matter by the Nazis against villages and towns accused of harbouring resistance fighters in occupied Europe. The Pentagon identified Samarra as a “hotspot” after two separate US convoys were ambushed simultaneously on November 30. American troops responded and claimed to have scored “a significant victory” by killing 54 of the attackers. However, journalists who later questioned hospital staff and local residents, found an entirely different story: that US soldiers had fired indiscriminately, killing nine civilians including a child and an elderly Iranian pilgrim, and wounding others."

"There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to Democracies as against despots: suspicion." -- Demosthenes

Maps & Weather

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/

A number of maps here
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/afghanistan.html

http://www.weatherhub.com/

Estimates of the total number of Muslims range from 0.7 to 1.2 billion worldwide and 3 to 6 million in the U.S. About 20% of all people on earth follow Islam. The religion is in a period of rapid growth.

Christianity is currently the largest religion in the world. It is followed by about 33% of all people -- a percentage that has remaind stable for decades. It is expected that, if current trends continue, Islam will become the most popular religion sometime in the mid-21st century.

-- http://www.religioustolerance.org/islam.htm

Death from Americatop

Iraq news: Soaring death rates among Iraqi children, 1999 BBC, UNICEF 500,000 child deaths

Ramsey Clark: Report to UN Security Council re: Iraq, 1/26/2000
1.5 million deaths

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