Friday, July 29, 2005

London attacks

The fourth man has been caught; the others must have talked.

A fourth bombing suspect has been arrested in Rome, said the Italian interior minister Guiseppe Pisanu.

Zimbabwe: a terrorists' haven?

As if the egregious accomplishments of Professor Mugabe were not enough, he is now trying his hand (or someone else in Zimbabwe is, since he can barely stay awake) at terrorism:

The passage of Haroon Rashid Aswat through Zimbabwe should be of particular concern. The regime of Robert Mugabe is the successor to the regime of Charles Taylor in Liberia, and is rapidly becoming a functioning criminal enterprise that gives support and shelter to a range of international criminal organizations. If there is one state that is ideal for harboring al Qaeda, like Liberia before it, it is Zimbabwe, for all the same reasons: the ability of the regime to control entry and exist points, access to government perks such as diplomatic passports, protection by the security forces, and the other reasons failed states with authoritarian regimes attract these groups.

London attacks

Sky News reports that another two suspects in the London bombings have been arrested:

A total of three of the suspects are now in custody.
One of them is thought to be the man who tried to detonate a bomb at Oval station and the other is thought to be the man responsible for attempting to blow up the number 26 bus.
Anti-terror police have also arrested one other person.
None of this information has been officially confirmed by Scotland Yard.
Police are still hunting at least one other suspect, including the man suspected of planting a bomb at Shepherd's Bush.

Make them talk. Now.

Nice neighborhood

A top State Department official informed Congress on Thursday that Iranian training personnel are helping Hizbullah fighters in Lebanon.

Welch also testified there was "a continuing covert Syrian presence there" despite the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

And, Welch said, there are armed Palestinian groups in Lebanon, as well.

If I may borrow Michael Ledeen "signature":

Faster, please.

Blair and terrorism

After both bomb attacks in London, I carefully watched Tony Blair's appearances, speeches and press conferences. I was very impressed by the calm, clear and straightforward message that he managed to convey.

He did not pull any punches and bravely expressed his opinions on politically sensitive issues, while graciously destroying some of the most obnoxious journalists with impeccable logic.

David Horovitz does a better job than I could ever do in analyzing Blair's statements in this editorial. Some excerpts:

Other people got a rude awakening, too, that day, Blair went on, adding bitterly: "Do you know what I think the problem is? That a lot of the world woke up for a short time [talking about 9/11] and then turned over and went back to sleep again."

He ridiculed the terrorists' purported concern, and that of the terrorists' sympathizers, for the well-being of the Iraqi people: "If it is concern for Iraq, why are they driving a car bomb into the middle of a group of children and killing them? he asked simply. "Why are they every day in Iraq trying to kill people whose only desire is for their country to become a democracy?

"Why are they trying to kill people in Afghanistan? Why are they trying, every time Israel and Palestine look as if they could come together in some sort of settlement, ... [to] wreck it? Why are they killing people in Turkey? What is their excuse there, or in Egypt, or in Saudi Arabia? They will always have a reason and I... say we shouldn't compromise with it... We shouldn't even allow them the vestige of an excuse for what they do."

"Now we all may have our criticisms of the State of Israel, on the policy of the Government of Israel from time to time," Blair allowed, "but the fact of the matter is we have got an international engagement that can allow us to have two states – Israel confident in its security, an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state. Now the only way that we can get this done is to push that political process forward, and terrorism tries to stop us doing that."

Must read.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fighting Terrorism

This is a long but indispensable article from MEMRI that summarizes some arab reformists' recommendations to fight terrorism.

… in February 2005, a group of reformists submitted to the U.N. a request that it establish an international court to judge Muslim clerics who incite to violence and bloodshed. The request was examined by the U.N. legal counsel and distributed to the U.N. Security Council.

    • Europe Must Change its Lenient Treatment of Muslim Extremists
    • Incitement on the Internet Must Be Stopped
    • Arab Intellectuals Must Stop Speaking in Two Voices
    • The Terrorists Must Be Separated from Their Sympathizers
    • Muslims Must Denounce the Terrorists; The West Must Stop Being Naïve
    • Muslims Must Ban Suicide Bombings for Moral Reasons
    • The Religious Institutions Must Take Practical Measures Against the Terrorists
    • The Muslims Must Form a New Religious Culture
    • The Silent Majority Must Speak Out Against the Terrorists
    • The War on Terrorism Requires Extensive Intellectual, Political and Educational Activity

    Read it all.

    Beyond Kyoto

    The new pact will allow signed-up countries - currently the United States, Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan - to set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions individually, with no enforcement mechanism.

    Not to be outdone…

    The European Union says it will push for legally-binding global restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. A spokeswoman's comments came after the announcement of a voluntary pact, based on new technology, between the US and five Asia-Pacific states.

    Any agreement on the environment involving China and India, who under Kyoto escape emissions limits, should be welcomed, especially in view of the fact that:

    "If we look at the countries that ... represent not only half the population and economy, but also represent half of the energy consumption in the world, you've seen technologies adopted in those countries, particularly in the area of energy production and steel production, that will exceed the Kyoto reductions by 50 per cent and that is the reality of where we are now," Mr Macfarlane said.

    This is a positive move that puts on the table some realistic options after the last G-8 statement on global warming:

    The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997, requires signatory countries to lower carbon emissions by 2012, but Canada, most European Union countries and several other signatory nations are already announcing that it is unlikely they will meet their targets. Other countries, most notably India and China, where emissions are increasing rapidly, are exempt from energy cuts under the treaty.

    Jordan next?

    Debka (pinch of salt) informs that Jordan is on maximum alert for a possible Al Qaeda attack:

    Jordan’s army, police, security and emergency services are on standby, and heavy troop reinforcements have been rushed to the capital, Amman, to Petra, the popular tourist site in the south, and to the northern town of Jerash where a summer festival is taking place.

    Correction: Annan NOT going to Zimbabwe

    Contrary to earlier press reports, Kofi Annan is not going to accept Mugabe invitation, after all:

    At a press briefing in New York yesterday, Annan's spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said while the UN secretary general had agreed in principle to visit Zimbabwe, a number of factors needed to be in place before the visit.
    "Regardless of the date of an eventual visit by the Secretary-General, it's clear that a number of things need to happen," Dujarric said.
    "One of them is that the evictions must cease and that humanitarian access, humanitarian aid must be provided to the people in need.
    "There would need to be a start of a political process, such as a political dialogue between the government and other stakeholders in Zimbabwe," he said.

    Yeah, right.

    London bombs

    These are photographs of the tube trains after the explosions and of some of the bombs recovered by the London police. Take a good look, wherever you are, and keep your eyes open.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    Selling Zimbabwe

    The great Claudia Rosett (she has been onto the Oil for Food scam since the beginning) is onto Mugabe now (I am proud to say that her article echoes a lot of the opinions expressed by yours truly in a previous post):

    In describing this scene, the U.N. report provides a wealth of horrifying detail, but takes a detour around the basic cause, which is not, as the report concludes, such stuff as "improper advice" acted upon by "over-zealous officials." The real cause is the long and ruinous rule of Mugabe and his cronies.

    In the meantime, Mugabe is busy preparing to receive Kofi Annan:

    Harare - Zimbabwe has resumed destroying homes and has flattened the country's biggest slum, witnesses said on Tuesday, a day after United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said he plans to visit the country to discuss the controversial demolition campaign.

    Of course, Zimbabwe's problems are not his fault:

    Zimbabwe's rapid economic decline over the past six years is likely unprecedented for a country not at war, says the World Bank's director for the country.
    Once the mainstay of the economy, agriculture contributed 40% to Zimbabwe's national exports, made up 18% of the gross domestic product, employed 30% of the formal labour force and 70% of the population. - Reuters

    To correct the situation (in his sick mind caused by Blair or whatever) he is selling the country to his new colonial masters:

    The details have not been made public but China was expected to seek mineral and other trade concessions in exchange for economic help.

    At least someone in South Africa is worried about Zimbabwe; this should catch Mbeki's attention:

    The official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has today launched a "Stop the Mugabe Loan Campaign" in Cape Town. This campaign, according to the Democratic Alliance, is an attempt to stop the governmentfrom giving Zimbabwe government the loan which is estimated at R6.5 million.

    As the pressure on Mugabe is at last slowly increasing, small rats are abandoning ship:

    Meanwhile, in a move showing a crack in the solidarity of the developing world, which up to now has been silent on the situation in Zimbabwe, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has voiced concern about Mugabe’s clean-up campaign.

    Let's keep the pressure on this tottering fool.

    UN high moral ground

    Italy's ambassador to the United Nations said Brazil, Germany, India and Japan were trying to ``blackmail'' UN member governments to support their bid for permanent seats on the Security Council in a scandal he said was worse than corruption of the Iraq oil-for-food program.

    And this is being carried out by democratic member states; can you imagine what happens when the stakes are higher and the pressure groups are powerful dictatorships?

    "What we are fighting for is to free a member state from fear of losing financial assistance and foreign development aid just because it would refuse to comply to requests of political allegiance by someone that is more powerful,"

    For some reason it reminds me of France and Turkey before the liberation of Iraq…

    Liberal masochism

    The excellent Mark Steyn via No Pasaran:

    …our tolerance of our own tolerance is making us intolerant of other people's intolerance, which is intolerable.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    Wishful thinking

    If the political opposition in Italy cared about people and democracy, it would respond to the latest terrorist threats like this:

    "You know we have always been against the liberation of Iraq and against our government alliance with the Coalition; however, your warnings leave us no choice but to side with the government and not give in to your threats. No country, wishing to remain a sovereign state, will ever give in to the threats of sadistic thugs bent on the destruction of what we believe is the way of a civilized society. Those countries who do, abjectly surrender their dignity and have nothing more to contribute to the world. All that is left to them is shame. Naturally, extremists among us, too long tolerated, welcome you and would gladly accept your demands for the chaos they would generate. They hope this would give them a last chance to seize power; but we have been through this before and know how to deal with it. Beware."

    Not only one enemy

    Al Quaeda's warning to Europe mentions specifically Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands, demanding an immediate withdrawal of their troops from Iraq. This is highly suspicious: Holland's troops have left Iraq last March. Are the terrorists so uninformed? Or are we seeing something at play here exploiting the fear of the latest bombings? Are we sure that our only enemy is a bearded man living in the mountains of South Asia?

    Terrorists must know by now, if they haven't limited their readings to Mein Kampf and the Protocols of Zion, that they don't have a chance in hell of succeeding. Their only chance resides with allying themselves with the Galloways, the Coles, the Ritters, the Chomskys we suffer and tolerate - and this is democracy too - hoping that we will listen to them. This will not happen: not every country is Spain, not every man is a traitor. It might well be, in fact, that Bin Laden in a few decades will be saluted as the one who brought about (or at least caused) the modernization of Islam and its embrace of the civilized world. So much for the caliphate.

    Monday, July 25, 2005

    Anti-terror protests in Egypt

    Do we have to watch Al Jazeera to know?

    Egyptian workers vowed that they would not be terrorized today as over 1,000 demonstrators protested in Shaem el-Sheikh:
    "There is no God but God and terrorism is the enemy of God," chanted the Egyptian protesters, including hotel chefs, technicians and road sweepers, as they marched along the main road of Sharm el-Sheikh, hit by three bombs on Saturday.

    The BBC, CNN, and FOX News chose not to carry this news. But, Al Jazeera puts the Egyptian protest against terror as their lead story.

    And the Arab world watches.

    Sunday, July 24, 2005

    A breath of fresh air

    An excellent editorial from Arab News which puts to shame some of our western rags, always ready to justify terrorism by blaming the victims (to push their own agenda):

    Most of those killed yesterday were Egyptians. It is impossible to fathom the terrorists’ warped thinking, but they clearly think that ordinary Egyptians, like ordinary Londoners, are disposable.
    Theirs is not just a war against the Egyptian economy and government, it is a war against the entire Egyptian people, as it is against all the people of Britain, of Spain, of Lebanon, of Iraq, of Indonesia, of the US — of everywhere. The terrorist is at war with the entire world.
    It is not enough to hunt down and destroy these men of evil. The thinking that drives them must also be destroyed. That puts a special responsibility on decent human beings everywhere. These fanatics claim to act in the name of Islam. That has to be shown to be a lie.
    Their vision of the faith is so warped, so twisted, that it has nothing to do with Islam. They pollute it, they make it feared, even hated elsewhere in the world, they bring shame and humiliation to the faithful. They have departed from Islam. Muslims here and elsewhere must tell the world, not just once but again and again, every time the fanatics attack, that they have nothing to do with Islam, that they have been cast out.

    London attacks

    I have read a number of analyses and intelligent articles on the last London bomb attacks; in my opinion though, they were put together in a hurry by people who realized that their first attack had failed miserably its objective. London's calm, organized and efficient response must have been a grave humiliation for the terrorists. Now, of course, they failed again, both by underestimating Londoners' reaction and by overestimating their own capacity to inflict fear and create chaos.

    Naturally, some buffoon like Palestinian National Council member Mamoun Al-Tamimi, will continue to fantasize and invent for the benefit of his ignorant and gullible audience (clearly his opinion):

    "…this operation will bring down the government. Blair will fall just like Aznar did. When Spain was attacked, Aznar immediately tried to pin it on ETA and the Basques. Then it turned out that Al-Qaeda was behind the attack, and he immediately lost the elections. Blair will follow Aznar. This is certain. Therefore they want to cover up...
    First of all, they prevented the media from filming the attacks. The attacks were enormous, a thousand times greater than what was reported."

    If another proof of their failure was needed, there it is.

    Consistently wrong

    I would not be surprised to see the following headline on some newspapers (just to be consistent):

    "Following Saturday's Sharm al Sheikh bomb attacks, Egypt has announced it will withdraw its troops from Iraq"

    Saturday, July 23, 2005

    London attacks

    Politicians are trying to instill calm, snipers are searching the city for their targets, police officers and secret service agents work overtime to unravel the miasmas of London terrorist groups, common people are trying to cope with the renewed anxiety of the latest attacks.

    Could we please get rid of the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone or at least stop his stupid drivel? It's the last thing Londoners need now.

    UN report (not) on Mugabe

    A U.N. report on Friday called Zimbabwe's bulldozing of urban slums a disastrous venture and blamed the government for the demolition campaign but avoided putting responsibility on President Robert Mugabe.

    Tibaijuka's report said some 700,000 people had lost either their homes or livelihoods or both in demolitions that affected another 2.4 million people in one way or another.

    She and Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his own statement, called on the government to stop evictions immediately and to ensure those who orchestrated the policy be held accountable.

    I must admit that I did not expect such a strong statement from Ms Tibaijuka or the UN, especially in view of the fact that her President (she is from Tanzania) has defended Mugabe's atrocities together with the presidents of Zambia and Namibia. However, the report avoids to point the finger on Mugabe, pretending that the operation was the result of "improper advice" by a few people. This, of course, invalidates the whole report. There is no point in letting Mugabe off the hook and allow him to save face: he has condemned the report ("definitely false") and insisted that his infamous Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out the Rubbish) "will bring joy".

    The UN, where no one is ever accountable, continues to show its bias (love and respect?) in favor of dictators. The result, once again, will be that Mugabe will use the excuse to get rid of a few unwelcome collaborators (who might or might not have had anything to do with the demolition campaign) and continue to do as he pleases. At least the US and UK will use the report to put pressure on the UN Security Council and on Thabo "jellyfish" Mbeki.

    To really "Drive Out the Rubbish" in Zimbabwe, Mugabe and his cronies should be chauffeured to the border.

    London attacks: 11th update

    A second man has been arrested in connection with Thursday's attempted bombings in London, police said.

    Police have been given secret new shoot-to-kill guidelines in recent weeks, it emerged on Friday after officers shot a man dead on an Underground train at Stockwell, south London.

    Friday, July 22, 2005

    London attacks: 10th update

    BBC TV: Police snipers reported on Harrow Road.

    London attacks: 9th update

    BBC reports: Mosque surrounded by police in East London.

    London attacks: 8th update

    Suspect suicide bomber shot dead by police in London, Stockwell. He was about to blow himself up.

    Blame the victims

    If you are tired of stupid questions about terrorism and Iraq, if you feel nauseous when "analysts" declare that terrorism was created by our policies in the middle east, if you want to reassure people confused by MSM propaganda, if you have realized - long ago - that MSM support for "insurgents" is killing more innocent people than any war, if you know from experience that political extremists favor appeasement not because they oppose war but because they thrive on chaos, then read Australia's Prime Minister Howard response to a stupid journalist; read this also and look at the photos.

    All the same to them

    As noted by Christian Rocca on Il Foglio, Al Queda announcement regarding the 7/7 bombings in London has thrown the appeasers and peace-loving lefties in a quandary. The UK has been hit - and Italy and Denmark will be, it warns - because of their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The problem is that the liberation of Afghanistan was blessed by the UN and used by the left as an example of how to make war without falling into the trap of unilateralism. Oops!

    To the terrorists it is all the same, and until we realize this simple truth, we will be at a tremendous disadvantage in fighting this war.

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    Proud to blog

    Via Winds of Change, an excerpt from Eric S. Raymond's Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto:

    WE DEFINE IDIOTARIANISM as the species of delusion within the moral community of mankind that gives aid and comfort to terrorists and tyrants operating outside it.

    WE REJECT the idiotarianism of the Left - the moral blindness that refuses to recognize that free markets, individual liberty, and experimental science have made the West a fundamentally better place than any culture in which jihad, ‘honor killings’, and female genital mutilation are daily practices approved by a stultifying religion.

    WE REJECT the idiotarianism of the Right - whether it manifests as head-in-the-sand isolationism or as a a Christian-chauvinist political agenda that echoes the religious absolutism of our enemies.

    WE ARE MEMBERS OF A CIVILIZATION, and we hold that civilization to be worth defending. We have not sought war, but we will fight it to the end. We will fight for our civilization in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds."

    Sudan shame

    WESTERN DARFUR, Sudan (CNN) -- Sudan's foreign minister has apologized to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after authorities roughed up journalists and staff members traveling with her.

    Do we have to take this crap from this failure of a state?

    Also rarely mentioned in media coverage is the fact that the two-decades old "civil war" in Sudan is an effort by the Muslim north (often referred to as "the government") to slaughter the Christian and Animists (often referred to as "rebels") who populate the southern areas of the country. The situation is further complicated by the more recent battles (more accurately: ethnic cleansing) raging between Arab Muslims (often referred to as "the government") and African Muslims (often referred to as "rebels") - mostly in the Darfur region of western Sudan. None of this should be confused with the even more recent conflict in eastern Sudan.

    IMHO there is no way that Sudan will or should retain its territorial integrity: it is made up of two different worlds that will never coexist peacefully.

    London tube stations evacuated: 7th update

    Fortunately the incident at University Hospital is now over, police say.

    No news yet on the man arrested at Whitehall.

    Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of Police, has hinted that evidence from today's blasts could offer a breakthrough in the investigation of 7/7's bombings. Let's hope so.

    London tube stations evacuated: 6th update

    Tony Blair appeared on television with Howard and said:

    "We must respond calmly to events"; business as usual, then, which of course is the best way to respond to those who aim to scare us.

    I am still curious about the incident at University Hospital. I hope it will be clarified soon. The Commissioner of Police reiterates his message:"Stay where you are".

    London tube stations evacuated: 5th update

    A man has been arrested at Whitehall, opposite the Ministry of Defense, 20 yards from Downing St., by armed police with weapons drawn.

    London tube stations evacuated: 4th update

    Metropolitan Police says: very serious incident; stay where you are.

    University Hospital cordoned off after armed police entered it.

    London tube stations evacuated: 3rd update

    BBC: Officers in protection suits at tube stations.

    Reuters: Armed police enter University Hospital; an incident reported there.

    BBC: Blair to attend emergency meeting.

    Four tube lines now reported shut down.

    London tube stations evacuated: 2nd update

    The explosion in Warren St. Station has caused one injury; no details available yet. The explosion on a bus in Hackney has blown out the windows, no injuries reported. If you can tune in, ITV is on the spot, interviewing eyewitnesses. Reuters servers appear overloaded. Developing.

    London tube stations evacuated: update

    There are reports that an explosion in Warren Station could have been a nailbomb or a detonator. Another incident has been reported on a bus in Hackney but no details yet. Only the three affected lines have been shut down, not the whole network as reported earlier by CNN. Developing.

    London tube stations evacuated

    Breaking news: BBC and CNN report that three london tube stations,
    Warren Street, Oval and Shepherd's Bush, have been evacuated; no further details seem to be available yet. However, CNN Nick Robertson also reports that last night security in London was tighter than usual. Developing.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Iran's civil war?

    This is strange and, if true, very important:

    Iran's opposition is targeting senior officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The sources reported the killing of several officers of the IRGC and the Basij militia. Col. Morteza Moinfar, commander of the Quds Force, was killed by several unidentified assailants. The Quds Force has been regarded as the foreign intelligence service of the IRGC. The unit has been responsible for aiding Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah as well as other insurgency groups in the Middle East, Asia and South America.

    Tony Blair, Islamic Scholar

    From the indispensable Winds of Change, an interesting piece on the memetic war against terror and what Blair is trying to do; this is the conclusion:

    Perversely, therefore, this memetic strategy seems to require a strong minority undercurrent of Muslims to swallow it - and at least a strong minority of non-Muslims who will refuse to swallow it. By pointing out the manifest contradictions, they keep the social pressure high and prevent the memetic blade from amputating the hand of its wielder instead.
    Welcome to World War Weird, folks. The day it stops being weird is the day to fear.

    Read it all.

    UN and Zimbabwe

    Yesterday I mentioned that Kofi Annan is concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe; today, the always excellent "good news from Iraq" Chrenkoff reveals the UN alert system and how the UN will likely increase the alert from code yellow to higher threat levels:

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Take five

    From the unpredictable Forgetfoo:

    Prime Minister Chirac has officially raised the French terror alert from "Run" to "Hide". There are only two higher alert levels in France, which are "Surrender" and "Collaborate". The rise was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's white flag factory - effectively crippling their military.

    Mugabe under pressure

    A consensus seems to be gathering regarding Mugabe's follies. The international community appears to have woken up to the threat Mugabe represents to Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole.

    Bill Clinton arrived in South Africa on Monday on a six-nation African tour:

    "If you want to build a modern and credible continent you have to speak out against the sort of thing Mugabe is doing," he added.

    "If you want credibility you have to fight for basic freedoms. You can't have credibility if no-one speaks out against ploughing up neighbourhoods,"

    Even Kofi Annan is concerned (and this makes one hope that his special envoy Anna Tibaijuka's report will condemn the recent destruction of people's homes and livelihoods):

    "The secretary-general is increasingly concerned by the human rights and humanitarian impact of the recent demolitions of what the government of Zimbabwe has called illegal settlements," Okabe said.

    The EU, in a rare show of decisiveness, said:

    "We demand an immediate end to Mugabe regime's forced evictions and insist that unrestricted access be granted to relief and humanitarian agencies assisting those internally displaced.

    "We deplore the weak stance of the African Union, in particular South Africa and a number of Zimbabwe's other neighbours, in turning a blind eye to the daily oppression of the people of Zimbabwe and the destruction of the country's economy," the statement said.

    The EU Parliament urged the G8 nations to insist upon a clear demonstration on the part of African regional organisations and nations of their commitment to good governance, tackling corruption, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as economic progress. They regard Zimbabwe as a test case.

    On the other hand:

    SA IS set to grant cash-strapped Zimbabwe a substantial line of credit, following the visit to SA of a high-level Zimbabwean delegation last week, and amid growing signs that Harare faces expulsion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    They should set up an escrow account and not let Mugabe touch the money. However, I doubt he will obtain as much as he wants from Mbeki, so he will go begging to China, which, on its part, is already juggling other balls in Africa:

    But in return for its extensive economic aid, Beijing has insisted on large mining and other concessions. China could be Mugabe's last ally to forestall his country being taken to the security council now that Russia has condemned him as a "dictator". In the face of accusations that it is preventing more forceful international action in the Darfur province of the Sudan, Beijing could pay a heavy price if it were to protect Zimbabwe on the security council.

    Celebrity leftism

    A brilliant (as usual) piece by Roger Simon on the puerile opinions of celebrities:

    By making the pronouncements they do, they are trying to convince the audience of their own seriousness and their own goodness (their own value). But most of all they are trying to convince themselves. Fragile egos, not inflated ones, are at work here.

    This brought to my mind an interview on BBC (Hardtalk, I think) with Jane Fonda I watched a few weeks ago. I took some notes at the time:

    This woman has done her best to avoid growing up; no amount of men, money, experience has touched her. She talks of her adventure in North Vietnam as "enlightening" without for a second realizing that she was being used and manipulated. When pressed about her childish stance, she falls back on conspiracy theories: - The Administration (this one) controls the Media and everything else -. She is delusional, desperate to appear, deeply insecure.

    What a waste.

    Sunday, July 17, 2005

    Back from London

    I am back from London. It was close, too close to blog.

    The day after the bombings we took the tube and, with few exceptions, everything was running smoothly. The police and emergency services were exceptional and the dignity and calm of the people, incredible.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    London beats Paris

    I am glad London has won and Paris has lost (because of their arrogance as usual).

    The 2012 Olympic Games will be held in London, the International Olympic Committee has announced.

    Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    Slow week

    Slow blogging this week; I am going abroad on private business.

    Hang in there!

    Monday, July 04, 2005

    Is Mugabe in total control?

    This is a good sign; even members of his party have sniffed the air and are getting ready, at a considerable personal risk, for a quick exit before the end:

    'Govt clean-up callous and inhumane' ZANU PF central committee member Pearson Mbalekwa resigned from the beleaguered ruling party on Friday in protest against the government's ongoing "clean-up" operation, which has left millions of people homeless and without any means of livelihood.
    Mbalekwa, a former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative, said he "dropped" his resignation letter in Zanu PF national chairman, John Nkomo's office on Friday morning.

    Kyoto protocol

    This is not a surprise, Kyoto was an absurdity from the beginning. Most countries promoted it in bad faith, knowing very well that, once the enthusiasm of the crowds had passed, nobody would really check how they were doing. In the meantime they could boast their political correctness and condemn the US.

    Europe is the citadel of hypocrisy. Considering Europeans' contempt for the United States and George Bush for not embracing the Kyoto Protocol, you'd expect that they would have made major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions -- the purpose of Kyoto. Well, not exactly. From 1990 (Kyoto's base year for measuring changes) to 2002, global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, increased 16.4 percent, reports the International Energy Agency. The U.S. increase was 16.7 percent, and most of Europe hasn't done much better.

    Syria's tricks

    In the meantime, Syria is up to the usual tricks, probably orchestrated by Assad's secret service, to pretend that they are doing all they can to help Iraq:

    DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syrian forces captured two "terrorists" and a security officer was killed in a dawn clash with extremists who included former bodyguards of Saddam Hussein. The Smadi brothers are wanted in Jordan for a series of petty crimes including armed robbery. Last year, they were taken from prison to court but once there managed to escape.

    The previous attack was attributed by Syria to al-Qaeda. It makes one wonder why, if they think so, they do not ask their friends in Teheran about it.

    A top Syrian official said Tuesday's attack in Damascus was carried out by men who may have links with al-Qaeda.

    I doubt these "operations" will convince anyone of Assad's good faith. In fact:

    For Syrian regime pushing Iraq into chaos is a matter of survival for that regime. Free, democratic and prosperous Iraq represents a real threat on that regime more than any other regime in the region.

    Putin and Iraq

    Debka (pinch of salt here) has an interesting hypothesis regarding Putin change of heart vis a vis Iraq:

    He [Putin] is influenced by the solid progress made in the Amman conciliation talks with Sunni guerrilla leaders brokered by former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi, first revealed by DEBKAfile. The Russian leader is throwing his support behind the US because he sees a real chance of a breakthrough. The kidnap of the Egyptian envoy in Baghdad July 3 is further indication of progress. Egypt is a lead player in the inter-Arab umbrella granted the peace effort. The abductors aim for sabotage by holding the diplomat to political ransom. He will be harmed unless Cairo desists from its support for the Amman initiative.

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    Zimbabwe week-end

    James Morris said the WFP would help distribute food, but only if it did not have interference from the government.
    "More than four million people are at risk in Zimbabwe

    That will be difficult as the genocidal maniac is bent on exterminating the opposition and return to a rural hand-to-mouth economy (Pol Pot anyone?).

    Britain's ambassador to the UN, Emyr Jones-Parry, said the government was to blame for many of the problems facing Zimbabwe. "It's important to realise that this particular crisis has been caused by the Zimbabwean government," he said. "It is man-made and not a natural phenomenon. The economic collapse in Zimbabwe is the result of bad policies and bad governance."

    No doubt about it, but not enough people to say it.

    Harare - A special United Nations envoy sent to investigate Zimbabwe's controversial campaign of shack demolitions praised President Robert Mugabe's government for its "vision", the state-run Herald newspaper claimed Friday.

    A rag if there ever was one. Ms Tibaijuka, the special United Nations envoy, was quoted by The Herald saying what Mugabe's ministers told her!

    "Her listening to the statements made by the ministers should in no way be seen as her endorsing the government's policy," Dujarric said. "UN Habitat, the agency that she heads ..., has clearly stated that forced eviction is one of the main barriers to the significant improvement of slum dwellers."

    Last and least, the inevitable clown, speaking out of context:

    But Tanzania's deputy U.N. ambassador, Tuvako Nathaniel Manogi, said too many people were shedding "crocodile years" as he had watched repeated pleas for food assistance go unheeded in his country, which is flooded with refugees.

    Saturday, July 02, 2005

    Serious Aid and Live8

    MSM is going for broke; Live8 is on every page and every screen today, and rightly so. However, as they consider their readers and spectators a bunch of idiots, they are simplifying the real message behind Live8 reducing it to a mere charity ball, and taking the opportunity to attack Bush, Blair and whomever does not share their simplistic and fake vision of the world.

    Make no mistake, this is what Bob Geldof is saying:

    Let it be equally clear that, at the same time, African governments must be free from corruption and thuggery and put in place recognised practices of good governance, accountability and transparency towards their own people and to the world. Twenty years ago at Live Aid we asked for charity. Today at Live8 we want justice for the poor.

    In these twenty years, the damages, even ravages, of unfettered aid have devastated Africa, propped up inhuman regimes and set back the clock a good many years. At long last, even "celebrities" are grasping the fact that the real world is not a song.

    As I said in a previous post:

    Very little of what has been given in the form of aid has been used by the beneficiaries for its intended use; therefore this plan [debt relief], which is meant to give them the chance of starting from scratch, without a heavy backload of debt, must be implemented, but - this time - not to appease our consciences or to make more or less shady business deals, but to see real progress on the ground while demanding good governance.

    This time, Geldof and I agree. Make dictatorship history.

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    UN envoy to Zimbabwe meets with reality

    CALEDONIA FARM (Reuters) - A U.N. envoy met some of the 300,000 Zimbabweans left homeless by the government's demolition of their shanty homes, but had little to offer them on Friday other than bread and fruit juice.

    A group of women sat away from where breakfast was on offer, saying they wanted a place to stay rather than food handouts. "A lot of people here are sick, some with HIV/AIDS. What is going to happen to them once they are thrown in the rural areas where they can't access help from aid groups?"

    I hope this will find its way in her report.

    The United States and European nations raised Zimbabwe's housing demolitions in the U.N. Security Council for the first time on Thursday, using a debate on extreme hunger in southern Africa to get the issue on the agenda.

    About time.

    The Guardian defends Mugabe, poor thing

    I stumbled upon this article (via Rantburg). As you can imagine I don't usually read the Guardian, but this piece, written by a John Vidal (he is the Guardian's environment editor!), really made me wonder. Only once before I read such an apology of Mr Mugabe; some racist idiot writing for a Barbados rag who clearly had never set foot in Africa.

    I suggest you write to Mr Vidal and tell him what you think of his "analysis".

    the driving force behind the slums of Africa and Asia is not bad governance or tyrants, but laissez-faire globalisation, the tearing down of trade barriers, the privatisation of national economies, structural adjustment programmes imposed on indebted countries by the IMF, and the lowering of tariffs promoted by the World Trade Organisation.

    Ah, now we understand, comrade.

    Ahmadinejad, a biography

    Read it all, but keep the lights on, it's scary.

    Something lighter (but true):

    Overheard in a taxi: A foreign journalist comes to Tehran to cover the elections. He goes to a mosque with his guide and sees people queuing up for food.

    “If this is where people eat, where do they pray?” he asked.
    “In Tehran University, if you mean Friday prayers,” the guide answered.
    “If they pray in universities, where do students and professors go?” asked the puzzled journalist.
    “They are in prison.”
    “Then where are the criminals?”
    “Who do you think is running the country?” the guide said.