Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Syrian political senility

I would rather call it puerile!

Syria on Monday unmasked the 'Masked Witness' Hussam T Hussam and put him on state owned television, to claim that he has tricked the Mehlis commission. He disclosed that he was a member of Syria's intelligence and that 40% of the conclusions in the Mehlis report were based on his testimonies that he gave under duress. Syria wanted to use his TV appearance to discredit the Mehlis report which led to UN resolution 1636.

"This political senility and this deception by the Syrian security apparatus is a laughable farce and at the same time it seems they will use all means, even security, to shake up security (in Lebanon) to try to confuse the inquiry," Jumblatt told Reuters

It is obvious that Syria has been desperate for a long time to prove its innocence in the murder of Hariri, but was obviously having very hard time, since all events pointed to its involvement in a big way. This strange act by the regime was seen as Syria's, last attempt to prove its innocence by discrediting the Mehlis report, but again the Syrian regime failed badly.

This confirms that Assad is as stupid as he looks and really doesn't have a clue about what is going on around him. And that is dangerous.

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Venezuela elections and more

Three Venezuelan opposition parties on Tuesday pulled out of congressional elections planned for Sunday, saying the conditions were tilted toward President Hugo Chavez's government.

Excellent move. Don't fall into the Mugabe trap as the MDC did. Participating in elections which are sure to be rigged in favor of your local dictator only legitimizes and reinforces the regime. Better to draw international attention by highlighting the frauds than to participate in a farce only to have Jimmy Carter certify it "free and fair". Chavez will obtain complete control of congress one way or another, but at least he will not be able to claim that he did it through "popular vote".

In fact, Chavez is preparing to crush any kind of internal opposition:

Venezuela has sworn in commanders of a new military reserve which President Hugo Chavez says is meant to deter aggression against his country. Twenty-thousand reservists paraded before Mr Chavez at the main military barracks in Caracas. The new formation, which the president wants to become a two million-strong force in the near future, will be directly under his command.

There is more:

Spain agreed Monday to sell 12 military planes and eight patrol boats to Venezuela in a $2 billion deal that the United States has threatened to block.

And he continues relentlessly to exploit high oil prices to spread his venom:

The Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, has launched a regional oil initiative to provide fuel at cheaper prices to 15 Caribbean nations. Cuban President Fidel Castro - who is also attending the summit - hailed the initiative as an important step toward greater regional solidarity.

Covering all the angles:

Telesur is a new pan-Latin American TV channel based in Venezuela. It aims to rival CNN and the other Spanish-language news channels coming out of Miami and Atlanta. Some have already dubbed it Al-Bolivar - a combination of the Arabic news channel, Al-Jazeera, and President Hugo Chavez's favourite independence hero.

This is fishy, too:

For the first time since the fiery Hugo Chavez was elected as Venezuela's president, a multilateral institution, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), has approved a major loan deal for the country. Furthermore, Venezuela took pains preparing the ground diplomatically to win support from its neighbours.

Take what occurred in July, when Venezuela withdrew its candidate to be president of the IADB just before elections for the bank's new president were held. As a result, several Central American and Caribbean countries - which would have voted for the Venezuelan candidate because they receive oil from Venezuela at concessionary rates - were free to vote for the Colombian candidate, Luis Alberto Moreno, who duly won. After this, an overwhelming majority of Latin American countries voted in favour of granting Venezuela the IADB loans, despite opposition from the US (the IADB's biggest shareholder), which now opposes all loans from multilateral banks for Venezuela automatically, as a matter of policy.

With Morales in Bolivia poised to win next elections (18 December), the outlook for Latin America looks bleak indeed.

The consequences of this election, if Morales wins, will rattle all of South America. Bolivia is the world's third-largest producer of coca, with almost 75,000 acres devoted to that accursed crop. The top producers are Colombia and Peru. With coca friendly Morales leading, Bolivia will soon head the list. That must worry Brazil, because it is the first destination of that Bolivian drug. However, as dangerous as the drug is a potential war against Chile. With allies such as Cuba and Venezuela, two brawler states, it is likely that Bolivia will try to recover, manu militari, the territory it lost to Chile during the War of the Pacific, 1879-1883.

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Galloway gets it (or soon will)

MEMRI has a deeply satisfying article: "George Galloway Will Yet be Tried," by Iraqi author Fadhil Rashad. Conclusion:

I want to say in this article: George Galloway, leader of the Respect party - you defend your friend and benefactor Saddam and you will yet be tried just like your friend and benefactor Saddam. I assure you that the Iraqi people will never turn a blind eye to those who robbed them. You robbed from all of the Iraqis what amounts to approximately 20 million barrels of oil [that you received] in exchange for misleading public opinion concerning the crimes perpetrated by Saddam against his people.

"In this article, I call on the Iraqi government to open the file on the Oil-for-Food scandal and file criminal indictments with international courts against those who benefited [from the oil vouchers] and those who stretched out their hands and took those vouchers from Saddam.

"May the first [to be indicted] be George Galloway…"

Start running, George...Iraqis have long memories.

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Italy names Islamic advisory body

Italy's interior minister Giuseppe Pisanu has announced the 16 members of a newly-established Islamic body which will have a consultative role on issues regarding the integration of Muslims into Italian society. The initiative will increase dialogue "with moderate Muslims, who are our natural allies in combatting extremism" he said. One of the surprises in the line-up was the head of the Italian Union of Islamic Communities (UCOII), Mohammed Nour Dachan, considered a more radical voice among Muslims in Italy.

I am not sure that this is the right way to go, especially involving "more radical voices", as Tony Blair has done. Apparently though, someone thinks it might be the right strategy:

Blair may or may not understand Islam. Here's what he does understand:

  1. The winners write history;
  2. History writes religion (religion shapes but also inevitably conforms to the people over time, not vice-versa);
  3. Social pressure works.

What Blair is doing here is threefold:

  • Setting up social expectations re: British Muslims that will pressure them to live up to them.
  • Offering a psychological "out" that some British Muslims will accept and embrace as part of what their identity should be about (and for many outside the madrassas, it's not a big stretch).
  • Creating a counter-narrative that, in concert with political and military pressure on the Arab/Islamic world, seeks to extend this "redefinition" of Islam more broadly. Some will do this from fear, other because they're tired of having some "bearded monster" (to use a term from Chan'ad Bahraini) dictate to them, and revolt against Islam's internal oppressors.

Anyway, I hope Italy will keep this in mind:

"Why are liberties granted to fascists who threaten those who disagree with them with hell and death? Pursuing the extremists would serve, first and foremost, the Muslim community, and would protect its members more than anybody else..."

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Iraq's kidnappings

A peace group blamed the United States and Britain for the abduction of four activists shown in an insurgent video, saying the kidnapping was the direct result of the occupation of Iraq. “We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. government due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people,” the group said. Christian Peacemaker Teams, a group that has had activists in Iraq since October 2002, said it was saddened by the video of their workers. The workers, the group said, were working against the occupation of Iraq.

In practice, these people are helping a few hundred terrorists against twenty seven million Iraqis.

The group listed the names of those abducted as Tom Fox, 54, of Clearbrook, Va.; Norman Kember, 74, of London; James Loney, 41, of Toronto, Canada; and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, of Canada.

This sounds very much like the fake kidnappings of Japanese and Italian nationals that were staged for obvious purposes by the same kind of pacifascists groups. I hope so.

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Another Mahdi, that's all we need...

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad says that when he delivered his speech at the UN General Assembly in September, he felt there was a light around him and that the attention of the world leaders in the audience was unblinkingly focused upon him. Is the Iranian president claiming to be divinely inspired?

Here we go...playing to the ignorant masses to acquire holy status. He has been preparing the ground for a while, but I doubt this will go down well with Khamenei and Rafsanjani:

Ahmadinejad, however, has restored the concept of the Hidden Imam as the central truth of Iran’s political, cultural, economic and social life. He has written and signed a pact with the Hidden Imam and has asked all officials to do so, a move that, taken to its logical conclusion, dispenses with the need for any mullahs including the“ Supreme Guide”. Thus the government of the Islamic Republic becomes answerable to the Hidden Imam and not to the “ Supreme Guide” or the Iranian electorate.

This reinterpretation of Twelver Shi’ism excludes not only any form of rule by the mullahs but also any form of electoral democracy. In this way Ahmadinejad hopes to outflank the two principal political forces that have been fighting for power in Iran since the middle of the 19 th century. His message is: neither mullahrchy, nor democracy.

Pass the word for Gordon Pasha.

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The WP on Rumsfeld: when irony fails

Another clumsy and humorless attempt of the Washington Post to belittle and ridicule Rumsfeld. The only problem (for mr. Milbank) is that it fails miserably. The Secretary of Defense's quotes are perfectly logical and honest. If you want to know what was really said during the news briefing with Rumsfeld and General Pace, you can read it here.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tony, listen up!

"The British government has been heeding [the advice of] prominent British Muslim figures whom it chose as advisors on issues pertaining to the Muslim community [in Britain]. This would be a positive step if it did not reflect a one-sided tendency. These advisors gave two justifications for the bombings carried out by British Muslims in London: British foreign policy and unemployment.

"The justifications by the advisors to the [Interior] Ministry have given the terrorists [precisely] what they do not deserve – a moral justification for their ugly crimes. What amazes me is that these advisors were against the government plan to go after the strongholds of extremism – the libraries, websites, and inciters – claiming that this is a restriction of liberties...

"Why are liberties granted to fascists who threaten those who disagree with them with hell and death? Pursuing the extremists would serve, first and foremost, the Muslim community, and would protect its members more than anybody else..."

A million dollars if you guess who said it! Ok, I'll tell you: Al-Arabiyya TV Director-General Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed.

Read it all.


A striking resemblance

I was reading a very good article on Mengistu (ht: Stefania), part of a series titled "Left-wing Monsters" and was struck by the similarities between the Ethiopian butcher and Mugabe:

Mengistu's war against real and imaginary rivals was executed with ferocity and decisive action. In 1976, he turned against his colleague Major Jamor Sisay Habte, ordering his execution for supposed "right-wing tendencies." In 1977, the increasingly deranged Mengistu personally executed five of his political opponents in his office.

Remember Tongogara, Chitepo, Sithole?

The agricultural situation in Ethiopia was surprisingly positive in the first years of Mengistu's reign, mostly due to the fact that Ethiopian agriculture had been a booming industry in the later years of the Selassie government. The new socialist approach reversed these gains. This decline would only accelerate in 1981, when Mengistu began to install a Stalinist type of collectivization and command agriculture industry. With further government interference, farm outlays declined precipitously.

Ring a bell?

The slaughter began in earnest immediately following Megistu's call to arms. With the aid of East German Stasi agents, Mengistu's secret police soon fanned out throughout the country, jailing and killing thousands who were arbitrarily identified as enemies of the state. Soon, many were being shot in mass executions, their bodies dumped in the streets.

Change East Germany to North Korea and you have the Fifth Brigade '80s massacres in Matabeleland.

All throughout his calamitous reign of power in Ethiopia, Mengistu made frequent use a classic communist tactic: the facilitation of class warfare. Whenever given the chance, Mengistu made mention of his love and appreciation for the "peasant class," blaming all their problems on the wealthy oppressors he had heroically overthrown. Similar to most communist despots, Mengistu's embrace of the lower-class was merely an attempt to build a reliable social base. It is doubtful that he ever genuinely believed in the strictures of Marx or Lenin, or that he ever actually understood their political philosophies.

The same, word by word.

In reality, Mengistu was dismissive of the concerns of the peasant class, never addressing their poverty or suffering. In marked contrast to his piteous citizens, Mengistu held court in a massive palace in Addis Ababa, where he was served by an army of servants and liveried butlers.

This is what we are seeing in Zimbabwe today:

The tragic famine of 1984-86 – largely induced by the nonsensical policies of Mengistu – laid bare the inadequacies of his rule. Prior to the disaster, his failings had been unassailable due to tight control of national press and a brutal secret police system. However, with much of the country descending into disorder and economic devastation, Mengistu's hold on power slackened rapidly.

Unfortunately, Zimbabweans have not yet managed to organize a full-fledged rebellion as their Ethiopian counterparts did.

It is only fitting then that the two monsters should develop a close friendship:

Following his abandonment of the country in 1991, Mengistu fled to one of the more comfortable locales for any mass-murdering despot: Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Mugabe, evidently grateful for the aid Mengistu had rendered him during his various uprisings and civil wars, gave the disgraced Ethiopian leader a palatial home in the outskirts of the capital along with a police bodyguard. Even as the mass graves were discovered and his crimes became more graphically evident, Mugabe consistently refused to hand over his friend Mengistu to the new Ethiopian government or the International Criminal Court.

Hopefully, Mugabe's retirement will be less comfortable.

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Who are the real terrorists in Italy?

A decision by a Milan appeals court to uphold the acquittal of three North Africans on terrorism charges has drawn sharp criticism from Italy's best known anti-terrorism magistrate, Stefano Dambruoso who has led efforts to expose Milan as the main clearing house for Islamist militants operating in Europe. The men were accused of sending militants to Iraq and planning attacks in Europe, but in a highly controversial ruling in January, a judge said they were guerrillas not terrorists. In her ruling in January, judge Clementina Forleo said efforts by Daki and his co-defendants to help Iraqi insurgents amounted to guerrilla activity, which was not illegal in Italy. The appeals court did not immediately explain the reasoning behind its verdict.

Because there is no reasoning but only political bias.

"The sentence of acquittal in Milan emphasises yet again the strong contradiction between the scrupulous and serious work carried out by those in law enforcement, which has resulted in the arrest of 200 terrorism suspects... and the rulings of a way too tolerant judiciary which has acquitted them." Fabrizio Cicchito a senior member of Berlusconi's Forza Italia party said commenting Monday's sentence.

"We hope that this contradiction will not help provoke a tragedy," he added.

Given the state of our judiciary system (most Italian judges belong to the extreme left), the law enforcement people should be praised. If I were one of them I would have given up long ago as most arrests end up with political acquittals. Chaos, of course, is the purpose of these judges, as it would pave the way for more state control and a totalitarian regime.

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Madam Chirac: it runs in the family

Remember Chirac? No? Hint: France, economic disaster, civil war, in hiding…never mind. It seems that he has even more problems now:

A French lawyer has accused President Jacques Chirac of impeding criminal investigations into the alleged illegal use of private jets by his wife, Bernadette. Maitre Jean-Paul Baduel formally proposed a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the activities of the Euralair charter and air taxi company, which collapsed two years ago with more than £30 million of debts. Documents seized by investigators suggest that Mme Chirac took six private flights with the company in 1998-99 but was never asked to pay the bills, which totalled £41,000. Euralair's founder and president, Alexandre Couvelaire, is a friend of the Chirac family.

But she did it in the national interest:

She took the private flights from Paris to Correze, mostly on council business, including an appearance at the making of the "biggest mushroom omelette in the world" in Brive in July 1998.

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Oriana Fallaci

I have posted before about Oriana Fallaci, a brave writer and journalist who I admire very much. Pamela has an excellent post about Oriana's latest public appearance.

Don't miss it!

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Saddam's trial

Only one thing is more squalid than Saddam holding a Quran at his trial and that is Ramsey Clark (who died recently but wasn't told out of compassion) sitting as an observer on the defense team of the monster.

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Shameful compromise on terrorism at EUROMED

European Union leaders and their mostly Muslim southern neighbours have reached last-minute agreement over a code of conduct on fighting terrorism at the end of summit which most Arab leaders did not attend. The compromise came when the EU dropped its insistence that the right to self-determination did not justifiy terrorism, and references to Israel's 1967 borders and the right to resist foreign occupation were omitted from the final document. However, the summit, which has been described by observers as lackluster, failed to agree on a common definition of terrorism.

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Bush early start

Simon Jenkins, a columnist for London's Sunday Times, comments on reports that President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair toyed with the idea of bombing al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV network:

That Blair and Bush should have discussed bombing the Al-Jazeera building in Qatar is hardly surprising. They agreed to bomb the headquarters of Serbian television during the Kosovo war.

Well, color us impressed. Who knew President Bush was already conducting foreign policy back in 1999, when he was still governor of Texas?

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Canada gets rid of Martin

I as going to comment on slimy Martin but this is too good to pass:

Interestingly, C-SPAN radio carried Martin’s resignation speech / campaign opener. Aside from the first impression, which was that Mr. Martin is a smug, petulant little bastard, I was most struck by his collossal arrogance. He declared repeatedly that Canada was the conscience of the world.

The arrogance. The hubris. No nation or person with a legitimate claim of this nature, a claim to be a global moral authority of some sort, would ever voice such a claim. Mother Theresa, conscience of the world? Maybe. Bob Geldoff? No way, but nice try. Pope John Paul? Yeah, possibly. The nation of Canada? Please. Moreover, the former would be wayyyy too modest to stand up and claim moral authority over the world. The conscience of the world? More like the conscience of my ass.

The next time you see an article about Canadian media or political criticism of the “arrogant cowboy” in the White House, please, don’t bother forwarding it to me. Canada, at least its liberals, wouldn’t know arrogant if arrogant bit them in the ass then danced around them in circles wearing a sandwich board saying “Hey Everybody! I’m a Thoroughly Arrogant Fuckstick!” As far as I’m concerned, anybody other than God who claims to be the world’s moral authority is utterly full of shit, and if “Canada = World’s Moral Authority” is the official government line, than Canada can no longer be taken seriously, it’s as delusional as a late stages Alzheimer’s patient.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Galloway pledges solidarity to Chavez

At its national conference in November, the anti-war Respect coalition passed the following resolution pledging solidarity with Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution.

1. This conference extends its solidarity to the people of Venezuela and applauds its government for its challenge to neoliberalism and US domination.

2. We pledge our support for a broad based campaign of solidarity with the Bolivarian revolution.

3) We encourage those Respect members who can to attend the World Social Forum in Caracas being held 25-29 January.

4) We resolve to affiliate to the Hands off Venezuela campaign.

An anonymous source, highly placed in the Caracas government, informed me that immediately after the resolution was passed, Chavez phoned George and said: "Took your bloody time, didn't you, guv'nor? What does Assad have that I don't?" (This blog could not independently confirm the information).

As Fausta says: "Galloway is the gift that keeps on giving" ;-).

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Bolton for President!

John Bolton, the US Ambassador to the UN continues to amaze me:

Following intense US pressure, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday issued an unprecedented condemnation of Monday's Hezbollah attacks on northern Israel. This condemnation - slamming Hezbollah by name for acts of hatred - marked the first time the Security Council has ever reprimanded Hezbollah for cross-border attacks on Israel. The condemnation followed by two days a failed attempt to get a condemnation issued on Monday, the day of the attack, when Algeria came out against any mention of Hezbollah in the statement.

When asked what changed from Monday to Wednesday, one diplomatic official replied: John Bolton, a reference to the US ambassador to the UN.

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Trolling for Syria

Syria Comment Plus has a poignant comment on Mehlis arrangement with Syria regarding the interrogation of the suspects:

With Mehlis set to interview five unnamed Syrian intelligence officers in Vienna, every Ba’athist on this planet is celebrating this victory of sort because the venue was changed to Austria and because guarantees for no arrest were given by Mehlis against the five suspects.

In fact, there is nothing to celebrate about and here is why.

If the five people were found to be involved in the assassination of Hariri and arrested in Vienna, then the international community looses the chance for regime change in Syria. The culprits have been arrested and will be judged under international law. Syria is off the hook. Assad is given a golden opportunity to save his regime.

But if the five return home to Syria and Mehlis finds in his report due to be delivered to the UN on December 15 that any of the ones he investigated are guilty, then international warrants will be issued and more than likely Assad will get into this tug-of-war of not delivering them thus placing Syria back into the pressure cooker.

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Mugabe keeps on killing

One of Zimbabwe's few remaining dairy farmers has been strangled and then burnt to death. Don Stewart, 68, was attacked in his well-guarded homestead near Norton, 30km west of Harare on Sunday. A group of men, unable to get into Stewart's house through the doors or windows, entered through the roof and strangled him in his bed. They then covered his body with a mattress and set it alight with fuel stolen from a farm vehicle.

The rule of law in Zimbabwe has always been the primary target of Mugabe. It appears that he has been successful. Senate farce apart, the "man" is a terrorist and should be treated as such.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Iran and Russia

In September, I wrote:

There are two certainties in this impasse between Iran and the EU and US: one, that Iran wants a nuclear weapon, the civilian use is a ruse and the military are heavily involved in the project; two, that Iran will be referred to the Security Council when the time is right, and the time will be when Russia will be convinced that a nuclear Iran is not in its geopolitical interests. This could happen sooner rather than later, perhaps with a little help from the CIA: it might be embarrassing for Putin to explain to the Russian people why he likes Iran so much if details of Iran involvement with al Qaeda in Chechnya or its covert cooperation with Pyongyang were to become public.

I always thought it was self evident that Iran was playing with fire and I wonder if Putin was just looking the other way to pursue his geopolitical aims in Asia. He won't be able to ignore Iran's involvement with terrorism on his turf now:

Iran is secretly training Chechen rebels in sophisticated terror techniques to enable them to carry out more effective attacks against Russian forces, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal. Teams of Chechen fighters are being trained at the Revolutionary Guards' Imam Ali training camp, located close to Tajrish Square in Teheran, according to Western intelligence reports. In addition to receiving training in the latest terror techniques, the Chechen volunteers undergo ideological and political instruction by hardline Iranian mullahs at Qom. The disclosure that Iran is training Chechen rebels will not go down well in Moscow, which regards itself as a close ally of the Iranian regime.

And since this won't help much, we might see a Russian policy shift vis-a-vis a nuclear Iran.

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Somalia's pirates

I have been searching for details about the hiring of a private firm by Somalia, to put an end to piracy off its coast:

The growing piracy problem off the Somali coast has been solved by the hiring of private contractors to operate as a coast guard. The American firm, Top Cat Marine Security (, has previously provided counter-terrorism and coastal security services for the Department of Homeland Defense, and other government agencies. The firm also designs and builds high speed patrol boats.

This could get interesting, for the Somali warlords who operate along the coast are not going to take kindly to some foreigners trying to interfere. The first priority of the new coast guard is to put the pirate gangs, and especially the two larger "mother ships", that are supporting attacks far out at sea, out of action.

Interesting approach...I wonder if it will become a template for future anti-terrorism operations.

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MDC suspends Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe's main opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has suspended its leader Morgan Tsvangirai on misconduct charges, it emerged on Sunday, as splits in the party deepened over this weekend's controversial senate elections.

But Tsvangirai told state radio that he could only be suspended by the party's national council. He said Sibanda and other senior party officials who met last week in the second city of Bulawayo did not have the power to suspend him.

Playing into Mugabe's hands.

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Iran's portents

Ahmadinejad, superstitious as he is, will no doubt interpret this as a divine sign. It remains to be seen how he interprets it.

Two villages have been destroyed by a strong earthquake in the southern Iranian province of Hormuzgan, an official from the governor's office told Reuters on Sunday.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Their calendar is right

If you have a strong stomach go and visit Kathy (At the Zoo) and read all Friday's posts on blood, symbols and how some religions are still at the "human sacrifice" level (literally).

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Zimbabwe Senate elections

Voting in today's senate election kicked off to a slow start in the capital Harare with most polling stations registering very few voters an hour after polling began at 7am. A ZimOnline crew which visited polling stations in central Harare saw very few voters casting their votes in the controversial poll which has been boycotted by a faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party. Some polling stations were virtually deserted while polling officials could be seen dosing off, some in the shade outside polling stations. There were no voters at the Harare Polytechnic College, in Harare Central constituency while at Prince Edward school, also in Harare Central, only three people were seen casting their votes.

Another day, another farce in Zimbabwe.

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Intergalactic war

That's all we needed ...

In September 25, 2005, in a startling speech at the University of Toronto that caught the attention of mainstream newspapers and magazines, Paul Hellyer, Canada’s Defence Minister from 1963-67 under Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prime Minister Lester Pearson, publicly stated: "UFOs, are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head." Mr. Hellyer went on to say, "I'm so concerned about what the consequences might be of starting an intergalactic war, that I just think I had to say something."

Gee, thanks!

Hellyer revealed, "The secrecy involved in all matters pertaining to the Roswell incident was unparalled. The classification was, from the outset, above top secret, so the vast majority of U.S. officials and politicians, let alone a mere allied minister of defence, were never in-the-loop."

But now I have acquired a copy; you too can have one for a mere $........

Hellyer warned, "The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning. He stated, "The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."

Bush again...I knew it!

“Time is on the side of open disclosure that there are ethical Extraterrestrial civilizations visiting Earth,” The spokesperson stated. “Our Canadian government needs to openly address these important issues of the possible deployment of weapons in outer war plans against ethical ET societies.”

And make medication for retired politicians mandatory.

(If you are interested in Exopolitics, you can find the video and other links here)

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Gaza border crossing, Europe and Italy

Palestinians formally opened a border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Friday that will allow Gazans to travel abroad freely for the first time since Israel occupied the coastal territory in 1967.

The Rafah deployment marks the EU's first monitoring role in the Palestinian territories.

The border crossing deal was seen as a sign of improved Israel-EU relations. But an Israeli official indicated that ties might cool if the European Union went ahead and endorsed a draft report critical of Israeli policy in Arab East Jerusalem.

This is a chance for Palestinians to show their good faith and clean up their act: they should have learned by now that terrorism is a cul-de-sac. It is also an excellent opportunity for Europe to reassert some kind of relevance in the middle east without recurring to its decades old anti-Semitism.

A sign that the wind is changing comes from an improbable source: the Italian left - long accused by its critics of at best, lacking objectivity by espousing the Palestinian cause against Israel, or, at worst, being blatantly anti-Semitic - is in the throes of revaluating its stance on the Jewish state.

On Thursday, Fassino participated in a debate "the Left and Israel" held at Adnkronos International's (AKI) headquarters, the Palazzo dell' Informazione, in Rome. The debate was chaired by Antonio Polito, editor of the centre-left daily Il Riformista.
Fassino suggested that in the past the left, not just in Italy, but also elsewhere in Europe, may have been guilty of "cultural relativism" when approaching the conflict in the Middle East - an attitude that led to the condemnation of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory, but tolerance of some of the autocractic practices of its Arab neighbours.
"The lack of democracy in an Islamic nation, was 'justified' on the basis that that nation was Islamic," Fassino said, adding that the "It is time that certain universal rights are accepted as being absolute."

Believe me when I say that this is a long overdue whiff of fresh air after the fetid fumes left parties have breathed into Italian foreign policy.

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Elections in Latin America

This is what Chavez is trying to buy:

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Iraq progress

The Iraqi authorities say that they have arrested the leaders of three terror networks operating around Baghdad, two of which were headed by an interior ministry official. General Bassem al-Gharawy told the German newsagency DPA that the third network was headed by the manager of a private investment company. The networks were based in the al-Ghazaliya and al-Jihad to the west of Baghdad. ''The arrests were carried out in a legal manner, the detainees confessed to have carried out robberies, murders and have set off bombs" al-Gharawy said. "The task of the interior ministry official was to provide weapons, equipment and official documents to facilitate their operations," he added.

This could bring in a lot of intelligence and, if Al Zarqawi has taken refuge on the "Sunni side of the street" in or around Baghdad, as many think, even to his capture.

More good news:

Several insurgents groups have contacted President Jalal Talabani's office in the past few days, with some saying they are ready to lay down their arms and join the political process, the presidential security adviser said on Thursday.

"Many groups have called and some of them clearly expressed the readiness to join the political process," al-Samaraei said. This shows that "the initiative was welcomed by Iraqis".

They are getting the message, and Al Zarqawi's useless massacres might have helped.

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Angela Merkel's European tour

This is a good article by the BBC (incredibile dictu) on Merkel's fresh approach to European and trans-Atlantic relations.

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Iran's quandary

Despite a tactical delay in referring Teheran to the Security Council offered by the IAEA, Iran is cautiously backtracking. It could be the usual stalling technique, but could also mean that, for all their bragging, the threat of sanctions is working, especially in view of Russia's and China's positions moving closer to that of the US. It may also signals that Ahmadinejad is getting weaker and Rafsanjani is using his considerable power to soften Iran's stance.

An interesting piece on Iranians, their hopes and fears:

For the second thing you find if you go there is that many Iranians, especially among the two-thirds of the population who are under 30, hate their regime much more than we do. Given time, and the right kind of support from the world's democracies, they will eventually change it from within. But most of them think their country has as much right to civilian nuclear power as anyone else, and many feel it has a right to nuclear arms. These young Persians are pro-democracy and rather pro-American, but also fiercely patriotic.

An important message the west should broadcast loud and clear to the Iranian people, is that the world is not denying Iran the right to civilian nuclear power, is denying it to Iran's present regime.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Lula's nice friends

The president of Brazil Lula seems to go from one scandal to another:

In a sensational article, Heitor de Paola, one of the most prolificous editors from Media Without Mask website in Brazil, has revealed a true atomic bomb: Antonio Palocci, Lula's 2002 campaign chief and now the almighty minister of economy is in fact the extra-official representative of FARC (major drug-dealing-terrorist group in Colombia) interests in Brazil. He created a pro-Farc committee in 2002 when he was the mayor of the city of Ribeirao Preto.

So Lula and Chavez have not only the same ideas but also the same friends.

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Time running out for Assad II

The delaying tactics of Assad are pathetic:

As Syria asked UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Wednesday to intervene and help broker a “cooperation protocol” between Damascus and the probe team into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, Paris signaled “time was running out” for President Bashar al Assad. A high-ranking French official told Asharq al Awsat UN investigator Detlev Mehlis “might not wait until 15 December” to present his findings to the Security Council and inform it the Syrian authorities have not cooperated with the probe and that he would be taking the necessary steps in that regard.

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Annual hunger report

Hunger and malnutrition are killing nearly six million children each year – a figure that roughly equals the entire pre-school population of a large country such as Japan, FAO said in a new edition of its annual hunger report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World, published today.

No doubt about it; and if the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations continues to invite and fete Mugabe, Castro, Chavez &c (in so doing encouraging and validating their corrupt and repressive policies), that figure will continue to increase.

Pass the word for John Bolton!

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Zimbabwe sanctions, secession

United States President George W Bush has frozen the American assets of 128 people and 33 entities deemed to be "hindering democratic reform in Zimbabwe", the White House announced on Wednesday.

At a time when Mugabe is intensifying illegal land grabs and intimidation, Bush has extended sanctions against Zimbabwe's corrupt elite and party-owned companies. A good and timely move as many in ZANU PF are beginning to feel on their own skin that Mugabe is not a dispenser of favors anymore but a political liability.

ZAPU-Federal Party leader Paul Siwela has called on President Robert Mugabe not to brush aside calls for a separate state from Matabeleland because people from the region genuinely feel that his government is not serving them. Siwela, whose party advocates a federal system of government which would make each region autonomous, said the voting patterns in the country have clearly indicated that the people of Matabeleland have never voted for President Mugabe, so he should listen to their concerns instead of brushing them off.

I wonder why it took so long.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Business as usual

Claudia Rosett dissects another absurd United Nations' initiative: "The Alliance of Civilizations":

The program has been widely touted by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan as a bridge across cultural and religious divides, but it involves a daisy-chain of dubious associations that casts serious doubt both on the project itself and on the U.N.’s ability to cut loose from the scandals of the past decade.

According to a statement issued by Annan in July, the Alliance is supposed to “overcome prejudice, misconceptions, misperceptions, and polarization” and assemble by late next year an action plan meant “to promote effective responses to emerging threats to world peace.”

Beyond its hazy mandate and vague chain of command — both similar to some of the flaws in U.N. methods criticized by Paul Volcker’s investigation of the Oil-for-Food scandal — the most striking things about the Alliance are the close aides Annan has used to organize and supervise the venture.

Two names in particular stand out: Iqbal Riza, Annan’s former chief of staff from 1997 to 2004, and Giandomenico Picco, a longtime U.N. senior staffer who returned to the organization as a part-time personal envoy of the secretary-general and then as a special adviser, under a contract that does not expire until January 1. Riza was badly tarred in the Oil-for-Food scandal and its subsequent investigation; Picco has been involved in an equally high-profile conflict of interest arising from the multimillion-dollar scandal in the U.N. procurement department that is still under investigation.

Business as usual. Thank goodness for Bolton, then:

John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, warned Tuesday that the United States might bypass the United Nations to solve some of the world's pressing problems if the organization is unable to make management changes that will make it more effective and prevent a recurrence of corruption.

Bolton's remarks come as the Bush administration is encountering stiff resistance from poor countries to United States-backed initiatives aimed at streamlining the United Nations' management practices. The influential Group of 77 developing nations recently issued a letter sharply criticizing plans by Secretary General Kofi Annan to establish an ethics office and to review General Assembly-created programs that are more than five years old to determine whether they should be shut down (ht: Captain's Quarters).

Developing countries just love business as usual.

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Nepal's Maoists go political

This could be a breakthrough for Nepal and transform the present shaky cease-fire into a political process:

The underground Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) is willing to be part of the parliamentary process on the condition that it be under a new constitutional order and without an ‘absolute monarchy’. An understanding to this effect has been reached between the Maoists and Nepal’s seven pro-democracy parties, said press releases on Tuesday, issued separately by Maoist supremo Prachanda and by the parties, based on a 12-point memorandum of understanding.

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Cheap oil, dear Kennedy

Thousands of low-income Massachusetts residents will receive discounted home heating oil this winter under an agreement signed Tuesday with Venezuela, whose government is a political adversary of the Bush administration.

The American poor, who, by the way, have higher per-capita income than the Venezuelan middle class, should be very grateful to Joe Kennedy (or vice versa?):

So what is Citizen’s and Joe Kennedy’s role in all this? What about Bill Delahunt? I do not know for sure. To me, they are allowing themselves to be used by an uncouth tormentor of Human Rights, who is hell-bent not only on making life difficult for the U.S. Administration, but is also on record (on multiple occasions) rejecting everything the U.S. stands for. While trying to earn some political capital by “doing good” in their home turf cannot be considered a felony, doing so by becoming accessories to a self declared enemy of the U.S. falls well short of conscientious citizenship.

...over the last few years it has been maddening to observe Representative Delahunt acting as Hugo Chávez main cheerleader/apologist in the U.S. Congress. No matter how evident Mr. Chávez’s anti-U.S. designs and rhetoric have become, Delahunt was there ready to explain, to dump dirt on the Venezuelan opposition and to take pot shots at the Bush Administration. Just last week, after a hearing on Democracy in Venezuela in the House of Representatives a number of congressional staffers wondered aloud as to Delahunt’s REAL motivation. Now we all have the answer, and it is clearly partisan, self serving and therefore debased.

And finally, in a recent conversation I had with Joe Kennedy on this same subject he screamed at me that his only interest was to “help the poor folks in Boston”. I googled all these good intentions and found a story in the Boston Herald that stated that “entities related to his Citizens Energy Corp. paid him [Joe Kennedy] more than $400,000 in 2003, the last year for which records are available.” Not bad for a non-profit executive willing to lend his name to a $9 million foreign disinformation campaign.

Moral and financial corruption notwithstanding, reality always beats rhetoric; Venezuela and US "carnal" link is seems to be a strong as ever:

Una contradicción más se suma a la Cumbre de las Américas. Mientras el presidente Hugo Chávez pide la muerte del ALCA y condena a los Estados Unidos por el fracaso económico de su país y el de los pueblos de América Latina, las cifras oficiales del Instituto Nacional de Estadísitica (INE) de Venezuela señalan a los Estados Unidos como el principal socio comercial de la República Boliviariana.

¿Cómo se explica entonces esta contradictoria realidad de relaciones comerciales calificables como “carnales” entre Venezuela y los Estados Unidos y un discurso que incita a la región a “matar” al Acuerdo de Libre Comercio de las Américas. Una interpretación posible, la más evidente, es el uso del discurso anti-yankee como medio para cohesionar su base de poder interna y su influencia regional. Otra, un tanto más sutil, es que evitar que otros países de la región compartan el “noviazgo comercial ” existente entre la Venezuela de Chávez y los Estados Unidos.

Or both.

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More Iran's oddities

Iran's religious authorities in the holy Shiite city of Qom have officially invited Cuba's revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, to convert to Islam, according to Hojatolislam Mohammad Reza Hakimi, quoted by Iran's Farda news agency. "I met Castro together with the Iranian foreign minister, Saiid Salili, and gave him some sacred Islamic texts translated into Spanish," said Hakimi, who recently returned from a government visit to Cuba.

They were a bit late. Had they invited Castro to convert before his pal Chavez appeared on the scene, he would have proclaimed Islam the official religion of Cuba and it wouldn't have been the first time he'd be selling his country.

Perhaps Ahmadinejad should invite Castro as Iran's Oil Minister after his third nominee was rejected by parliament.

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Legal opium in Afghanistan

This seems an interesting proposition:

Afghanistan should terminate its expensive and largely unsuccessful opium eradication program. Instead it should license and control the production of opium for medicinal use. This is the recommendation of the Senlis Council, an international drug-policy advisory forum, that presented its analysis at a seminar in London on 21 November. The study said the switch would earn Afghanistan badly needed foreign currency and permit farmers to earn their livelihood legally.

And they would probably earn more than they now get from traffickers.

"The World Health Organization and the International Narcotic Control Board underline that there is a big shortage of morphine and codeine in the world," Reinert said. "Actually, 80 percent of the world's population is only having access to 6 percent of it. That really tells you a lot about the potential need for morphine and codeine made in Afghanistan."

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A busy Tuesday

...that feels almost like a Friday. So I'll give you some good stuff to read over the week-end (impeccable logic).

Democracy Project has an important article on why we should not allow American soldiers to be "Kerryed":

Senator Kerry, supposedly defending Rep. John Murtha, said, "I won't stand for the Swift-Boating of Jack Murtha!" As one of the 254 members of Mr. Kerry's unit in Vietnam who belonged to Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, I found Mr. Kerry's comments most ironic.

Vcrisis has a copy of the American (Spanish?) "plan to invade Venezuela" that vaudeville artist Hugo Chavez has been peddling around to get some sympathy from extremists. Not totally unrelated, a big fish drug dealer (head of the infamous Juarez cartel) has been arrested in Mexico City; this could be a blow to Chavez' plans to bring Latin America to its knees so that his stupid ideology, already old and failed twenty years ago, can take hold.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair is struggling to convince people that deporting terrorists back to their countries, even if these have a bad human rights record, is ok (Europe cannot deport anyone who risks torture or the death penalty in his country of origin. What a joke! I am sorry, but if you abuse my hospitality, I don’t give a damn about what happens to you back home; in fact, I might even gloat about it in private).

The president of Iran, Ahmadinejad, has nominated a new head of Teheran's Stock Exchange to the consternation of investors. Since his "election" in August, shares have dropped sixty per cent. That is probably the main reason behind this attempt at impeachment for political incompetence by a minority faction in parliament.

Mugabe's filthy rag of a newspaper is saying - disingenuously, I might add - that Ambassador Dell, by stating the obvious ("the Government's own gross mismanagement of the economy and its corrupt rule brought on the crisis"), was only trying to provoke the Zimbabwe government so he would have something to report to Washington.

From No Pasaran an excellent round up of all the bull we have had to hear from pre-war intelligence critics, and what they - the lying, short-memory, poll-watchers - were saying then.

And don't miss Bill Roggio's "The hunt for Zarqawi".

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Monday, November 21, 2005

North Korea to fight terrorism

Belgian movie hardman Jean Claude Van Damme is being head-hunted to solve the world's terrorism problems, by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's son and potential successor. Jong Il's 24-year-old heir Kim Jong Chol has reportedly been dismissed by his father as "too girlish" to rule the country, but is a leading contender as his elder brother is currently in self-imposed exile in Europe. And North Koreans will be interested in Kim Jong Chol's defence and foreign policies - which he proposes should be lead by the 'Muscles From Brussels'. Inspired by Van Damme's terrorist-busting performance in 1995 film Sudden Death, he says, "I'd not allow weapons or atom bombs any more. I'd destroy all terrorists with the Hollywood star Jean-Claude Van Damme."

It runs in the family, then (ht: Forgetfoo).

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Kyoto's fraud

Australia has refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol. Colin Brown, organiser of the Catholic Earthcare conference in Canberra this weekend, also said the figures revealed a decade of lost opportunity. "The Federal Government has been missing in action in what is without doubt the largest crisis humans will face in the coming decades. Its failure to ratify the Kyoto protocol is deplorable," he said in a statement.

Really? Not really.

The UN report reveals Australia is far from the worst offender with a number of nations which have ratified the Kyoto protocol recording greater increases in greenhouse emissions. Spain topped the list with a 41.7 per cent increase, followed by Monaco (37.8), Portugal (36.7) and Greece (25.9). The United States, which also has not ratified Kyoto, reported increased emissions of 13.3 per cent, while New Zealand, a Kyoto signatory, performed only slightly better than Australia with a 22.5 per cent increase. (Via Le Guerre Civili)

The increasing politicization of science is one of the scourges of the century. It has become almost impossible to form an opinion on the status of the environment, climate change, avian flu, without some idiot coming up with altered or invented data to promote his own political agenda.

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Look who's talking

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Zimbabwe goes nuclear

Zimbabwe has recently discovered uranium deposits and plans to process the mineral in order to resolve its chronic power shortages, state radio quoted President Robert Mugabe as saying yesterday. "The discovery of uranium will go a long way in further enhancing the government's rural electrification programme," he was quoted as saying, according to Associated Press. It has been known for many years that uranium deposits lie in the Zambezi river valley in northern Zimbabwe. But mining experts in Harare say these were not thought to be large enough to support a viable mine.

Not the first time he has played with this:

President Robert Mugabe said Zimbabwe will turn to nuclear power by processing recently discovered uranium deposits to resolve its chronic electricity shortage, state radio said yesterday. Mr. Mugabe, who has close ties with two countries with controversial nuclear programs -- Iran and North Korea -- spoke of his intention Saturday, the radio station reported. It was not clear how Mugabe intended to use any uranium deposits since the country does not have a nuclear power plant. The president announced plans in the 1990s to acquire a reactor from Argentina, but nothing else was ever heard about the proposal.

This could be an attempt by Mugabe to be considered a strategic international player and - knowing the treachery of the man - a shady proposal to two of his remaining friends: Iran and North Korea.

But consider also this:

IT IS said that the uranium used to build the atomic bombs which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki was dug from mines in the Congo. Half a century on, as the war in central Africa's "heart of darkness" sucks in more nations, Congo still possesses an awesome potential to cause widespread destruction.

International observers have watched in disbelief recently as African nations plunge into the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The willingness of Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia and Chad to send their men in to die, propping up Laurent Kabila's year-old regime, and of Uganda and Rwanda (and now, possibly, Burundi) to support the Tutsi-led rebels against Mr Kabila, has surprised many. But this is not an ordinary war. All surround themselves with a family clique. Accusations of corruption and nepotism have been levelled at all these regimes, with the gold, diamond and mineral mines of Congo - worth an estimated $ 58bn (pounds 35bn) - and war-related business deals invariably mentioned in the same breath.

Zimbabwe is the staunchest ally. Mr Mugabe has promised to take the war to the rebels in the east of Congo and last week sent more troops and tanks into the country. Sources say the number of Zimbabwean troops has been doubled to around 6,000. (The Independent 31/10/1998)

And again:

Africa accounts for 20 per cent of global production of uranium. Namibia, Niger, South Africa and Gabon are the main producers. How ever, Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been destabilised by a four-year civil war, is a more likely source of smuggled uranium. Congo's largest uranium mine is Shinkolobwe in the southern province of Katanga, an area under the control of Zimbabwean forces. But the mine is flooded and in a state of disrepair, according to mining sources. (Financial Times 25/09/2002)

Libya's efforts to seek international rehabilitation appeared to be on track as it negotiated a settlement with relatives of the 270 people killed by the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. But the British prime minister wanted to raise two other aspects of Libyan policy that continued to concern him: Tripoli's economic backing for President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and its continuing programmes to acquire weapons of mass destruction. (Financial Times 27/01/2004)

Draw your own conclusions.

Mugabe is getting so desperate that he could do anything, anything at all. This is becoming dangerous for the whole region and the world and cannot be allowed to continue: Mbeki should intervene immediately; he should remember his own words:

Only six months ago United States President Bill Clinton toured Africa and spoke of an "African renaissance". A few weeks ago South Africa's Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, spoke of his fears for the future of that renaissance and called for a revolt against the "petty gangsters" who aspire to rule in Africa. "It is out of this pungent mixture of greed, dehumanising poverty, obscene wealth and endemic public and private corrupt practice that many of Africa's coups d'etats and civil wars are born," he said. (The Independent 31/10/1998)

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