Sunday, June 26, 2005
Mental Note on Iraq and al-Qaida
Of course the fact that this was an al-Qaida plot, masterminded by Al-Zarfqawi in Iraq should be a concern for most. But it isn't.
Why is it so significant?
From PowerLine :
A televised confession by the terrorist allegedly responsible for carrying out the operation included information that closely tracks the testimony about Zarqawi and his operations in Iraq that Secretary of State Colin Powell presented to the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003.
In Herat, [Afghanistan]," Jayousi told Jordanian TV, "I began training under Abu Musab [al Zarqawi] which involved high-level instruction in explosives and poisons. Then I promised my loyalty to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. I agreed to work for him -- no questions asked. When Afghanistan fell, I again met up with al-Zarqawi in Iraq."
"There in Iraq," said Jayousi, "I was told by Abu Musab to travel to Jordan with Muwaffaq Udwan. We were to get ready for a military action in Jordan."
"When I arrived in Jordan, I met with another person with ties to Abu Musab by the name of Haytham Omar Ibrahim -- a Syrian -- who secured our safe houses," said Jayousi.
"Next Muwaffiq and I began reconnaissance on the targets," said Jayousi. "Then we began to gather chemicals needed to make explosives. . . . amassing almost 20 tons, which was sufficient for all our plans in Jordan. Then I began manufacturing."
John at Powerline conclude by saying:
So, after the fall of Afghanistan at the end of 2001, Zarqawi and other al Qaeda veterans made their way to Iraq, where, secure under the wing of Saddam Hussein, they plotted chemical weapons attacks on countries friendly to the U.S., as well as the murder (successfully carried out) of an American diplomat. And yet, to this day it remains an article of faith on the left that Saddam's Iraq was a kite-flyer's paradise with no connection to international terrorism, no relations with al Qaeda, and, of course, no chemical weapons. Maybe the current trial will reveal where the chemicals assembled for the attack on Jordan came from; maybe it won't. But we don't need any new information to understand that Saddam's regime protected and supported the deadliest of al Qaeda's terrorists.
Often we are reminded that al-Qaida and Iraq had no ties. Well that statement was false. All that has 'really' been said by U.S. sources is that there is "no formal established relationship" between Iraq and al-Qaida.
In fact though, there is a connection. As established by Deroy Murdock of the National Review here.
According to the Clinton Justice Department's spring 1998 indictment of bin Laden, "Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq."
Again, just a mental note.
Doug Ross had two excellent and related blog entries here.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Today is Fathers Day
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Wanna lose weight?...ask Ronald how?
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Watching Train Wrecks
"not very friendly to different kinds of people, they are a pretty monolithic party ... it's pretty much a white, Christian party."
"This is a diversion from the issues that really matter: Social Security, and adequate job opportunity, strong public schools, a strong defense,"
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Of Gulags and Gitmo's
It had been my thinking all along that AI was being intellectually dishonest about the whole matter. That is, that unfortunately a great deal of people are far from well informed about what the Soviet Gulags were run or how the detainees are actually treated at Gitmo now.
Well today it is being reported that AI head, William Schulz admits his group did not pick the best analogy. NO KIDDING
At the time I presented my argument in another forum like this:
AI is being intellectually dishonest here. Truth be told I find tha a great many people on either side of the 'issue' are far from well informed. AI, acting as an agency would, traditionally sensationalizes its reports, especially when dealing with the U.S. to have more broad appeal.
With regards to this recent report comparing Guantanamo bay as "the gulag of our times" is downright silly and absolutely prey's upon their average supporters lack of understanding about how the Soviet Gulags really worked. NOTE: I UNDERSTAND THAT MANY OF YOU HERE ON THE IB MAY BE BETTER INFORMED. I am just critiquing the manner in which AI submitted this report.
There were as many as some 25 million prisoners in the Gulags at its peak utilization made up of some 476 camps. These were made up of those 'enemies of the state' with a political purpose to suppress internal dissent inside a totalitarian state. Prisoners were seized from their homes, places of work, meeting halls and street corners and made to serves as slave laborers.
The 600 (approximately) Gitmo prisoners were taken from the battlefield in the midst of war, and were nationless memebers of terrorist groupin which many of their nations of origin would either not want them back or would have killed them if they had been returned there. Further they could not simply just be released (as some suggest) or they would have been able to commit further terrorist attacks (which has happened). The only political purpose is the suppression of an international terrorist group with absolutely zero financial purpose (it is actually a financial drain).
Now are there cases of prisoner abuse (both in physical and mental forme)? Yes, and I would rely on a group like AI to be a watchdog for this. Yet surely they know the tremendous horrors that took place daily (and for several decades) in the Soviety Gulags, and that a few relatively small incidents at Gitmo, not only pale in comparison, but are very much the exception rather then the rule.
What I also fail to understand is AI's rationalization of the prisoners at Gitmos as somehow suppose to follow the terms of the Geneva convention. No one (rationally) argues that a majority of those imprisoned at Gitmo were in fact memebers of alQaeda. Again, because they are a stateless organization. I am not sure any such precedent has been set before. (I could be wrong though)
I could take AI more seriously if it just presented the facts as they were, but again there own viability and survival as an organization is priority #1, so they have the ulterior motivations as well. A Human Rights watchdog is fine. An organization that is quickly becoming a parody of itself is not helpful to anyone.
ALL prisoners of Gitmo eat culturally sensitive meals and follow arrows painted on dorm floors to face Mecca and receive copies of the Koran from their captors. Prayer calls are broadcast over loudspeakers five times a day. While thse deemed 'troublemakers' wear prison style orange jumpsuits and are confined to more limited accommodations and lifestyles, those who follow the camp rules wear white outfits and exercise seven to nine hours daily. They also are allowed to play chess, checkers, playing card games, etc.
Now what happens when you let some of them go. Well, in total about 167 detainees have been freed from Guantanomo, all of whom are forced to take oaths that they will no longer participate in terrorist activity. From my understanding about 10-12 confirmed former prisoners have resumed terrorist operations. This past October, two chineese engineers were kidnapped in Pakistan. Former detainee Abdulah Muahsude ordered the kidnapping. Several others have been killed in combat.
All in all, those in Gitmo live rather comfortable lives for prisoners of war. How AI could refer to Guantanamo as the "Gulags of our times" is intellectually dishonest if not downright deceiving.