BBC (UK) ^ | 30JUN06 | BBC
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has visited the home of his musical hero, Elvis Presley, as a guest of US President George W Bush.
The Japanese PM showed off his Elvis impression
Friday, June 30, 2006
Oregonian ^ | 6-29-06 | David Reinhard, Associate Editor
Dear Bill Keller:
Remember me? We met in the elevator here at The Oregonian recently. Your decision to expose a secret program to track terrorist funding got me to thinking I had better write and apologize. I don't think I was sufficiently deferential on our brief ride together. I treated you like the executive editor of The New York Times who used to work for The Oregonian. I had no idea I was riding with the man who decides what classified programs will be made public during a war on terror. I had no idea the American people had elected you president and commander in chief.
Yes, I'm being sarcastic. What's that they say -- sarcasm is anger's ugly cousin? I'm angry, Bill.
I get angry when a few unauthorized individuals take it upon themselves to undermine an anti-terror program that even your own paper deems legal and successful. I get angry when the same people decide to blow the lid on a secret program designed to keep Islamic terrorists from killing Americans en masse.
"The disclosure of this program," President Bush said Monday, "is disgraceful."
Strong words, but not strong enough, Bill.
Your decision was contemptible, but your Sunday letter explaining the Times' decision only undermined your case for disclosure.
"It's an unusual and powerful thing, this freedom that our founders gave to the press . . .," you wrote. "[T]he people who invented this country saw an aggressive, independent press as a protective measure against the abuse of power in a democracy. . . . They rejected the idea that it is wise, or patriotic, to always take the President at his word, or to surrender to the government important decisions about what to publish."
Too true, but the issue here is your judgment. It would be one thing if you ran this story because the program was illegal, abusive or feckless. Yet your paper established nothing of the kind. In the end, your patronizing and lame letter offered only press-convention bromides ("a matter of public interest").
"Forgive me, I know this is pretty elementary stuff -- but it's the kind of elementary context that sometimes gets lost in the heat of strong disagreements," you write, after providing a tutorial on how the government only wants the press to publish the official line and the press believes "citizens can be entrusted with unpleasant and complicated news."
But this is a false and self-serving choice. The issue is your decision to publish classified information that can only aid our enemies. The founders didn't give the media or unnamed sources a license to expose secret national security operations in wartime. They set up a Congress to pass laws against disclosing state secrets and an executive branch to conduct secret operations so the new nation could actually defend itself from enemies, foreign and domestic.
Forgive me, I know this is pretty elementary stuff -- but it's the kind of elementary stuff that can get lost in the heat of strong disagreements. And get more people killed in the United States or Iraq.
Not to worry, you tell us, terrorists already know we track their funding, and disclosure won't undercut the program. (Contradictory claims, but what the heck.) You at the Times know better. You know better than government officials who said disclosing the program's methods and means would jeopardize a successful enterprise. You know better than the 9/11 Commission chairmen who urged you not to run the story. Better than Republican and Democratic lawmakers who were briefed on the program. Better than the Supreme Court, which has held since 1976 that bank records are not constitutionally protected. Better than Congress, which established the administrative subpoenas used in this program.
Maybe you do. But whether you do or not, there's no accountability. If you're wrong and we fail to stop a terror plot and people die because of your story, who's going to know, much less hold you accountable? No, the government will be blamed -- oh, happy day, maybe Bush's White House! -- for not connecting dots or crippling terror networks. The Times might even run the kind of editorial it ran on Sept. 24, 2001. Remember? The one that said "much more is needed" to track terror loot, including "greater cooperation with foreign banking authorities"?Keep up the good work -- for al-Qaida.
From the Hollywood Reporter:
By Tatiana Siegel
Nevermind Superman's sexual orientation. Here's another identity-related question that is likely to spark controversy as the Man of Steel soars into theaters nationwide this Fourth of July weekend in Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Superman Returns': Is Superman still American?
Ever since artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel created the granddaddy of all comic book icons in 1932, Superman has fought valiantly to preserve 'truth, justice and the American way.' Whether kicking Nazi ass on the radio in the '40s or wrapping himself in the Stars and Stripes on TV during the Cold War or even rescuing the White House's flag as his final feat in 'Superman II,' the Krypton-born, Smallville-raised Ubermensch always has been steeped in unmistakable U.S. symbolism.
But in the latest film incarnation, scribes Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris sought to downplay Superman's long-standing patriot act. With one brief line uttered by actor Frank Langella, the caped superhero's mission transformed from 'truth, justice and the American way' to 'truth, justice and all that stuff.'
'The world has changed. The world is a different place,' Pennsylvania native Harris says. 'The truth is he's an alien. He was sent from another planet. He has landed on the planet Earth, and he is here for everybody. He's an international superhero.'
My tip? Spend your made-in-the-USA dollars elsewhere this weekend.
This one's great. The folks at the NYCrimes aren't just traitors, they're liars, too.
Mr. Bill Keller, Managing Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
Dear Mr. Keller:
The New York Times' decision to disclose the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, a robust and classified effort to map terrorist networks through the use of financial data, was irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide. In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails.
Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were "half-hearted" is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times - from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.
Indeed, I invited you to my office for the explicit purpose of talking you out of publishing this story. And there was nothing "half-hearted" about that effort. I told you about the true value of the program in defeating terrorism and sought to impress upon you the harm that would occur from its disclosure. I stressed that the program is grounded on solid legal footing, had many built-in safeguards, and has been extremely valuable in the war against terror. Additionally, Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey met with the reporters and your senior editors to answer countless questions, laying out the legal framework and diligently outlining the multiple safeguards and protections that are in place.
Click the link to read it all in all its glory.
Lt. Tom Cotton writes this morning from Baghdad with a word for the New York Times:
Dear Messrs. Keller, Lichtblau & Risen:
Congratulations on disclosing our government's highly classified anti-terrorist-financing program (June 23). I apologize for not writing sooner. But I am a lieutenant in the United States Army and I spent the last four days patrolling one of the more dangerous areas in Iraq. (Alas, operational security and common sense prevent me from even revealing this unclassified location in a private medium like email.)
Unfortunately, as I supervised my soldiers late one night, I heard a booming explosion several miles away. I learned a few hours later that a powerful roadside bomb killed one soldier and severely injured another from my 130-man company. I deeply hope that we can find and kill or capture the terrorists responsible for that bomb. But, of course, these terrorists do not spring from the soil like Plato's guardians. No, they require financing to obtain mortars and artillery shells, priming explosives, wiring and circuitry, not to mention for training and payments to locals willing to emplace bombs in exchange for a few months' salary. As your story states, the program was legal, briefed to Congress, supported in the government and financial industry, and very successful.
Not anymore. You may think you have done a public service, but you have gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraqis here. Next time I hear that familiar explosion -- or next time I feel it -- I will wonder whether we could have stopped that bomb had you not instructed terrorists how to evade our financial surveillance.
And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others -- laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.
More at link above.
Have a great one!
12 down: Top secret war plans, 36 across: Treason [Ann Coulter]
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Apparently the folks at Variety are smart enough to realize that Fahrenheit 9/11 was not a documentary.
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" has seen its ticket sales plummet after a promising start.
After Gore's global warming documentary garnered the highest average per play ever for a film documentary during its limited Memorial Day weekend opening, recent theater takes for the film have been less than stellar, Daily Variety reports.
The film dropped from its record $70,333 per play to $12,334 during its third week and its numbers have continued to fall as the film opens in smaller cities and suburbs across the country.
Yet despite its failing numbers, the film has brought in $9.6 million to date, making it one of the most successful documentaries to date.In comparison, the 2004 documentary "Super Size Me" brought in $11.5 million, while the title for most successful documentary remains with director Michael Moore's 2002 film, "Bowling for Columbine," which brought in $21.6 million, Variety said.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Saturday, June 24, 2006
A community memorial service will be held next Saturday for Private First Class Thomas Tucker of Madras, the soldier who disappeared during an insurgent attack in Iraq and was killed.Good grief! Could the (cr)AP have sanitized this any more?!!
Thursday, June 22, 2006
From Belgium. Whole thing's a must-read, and a reminder why not signing silly UN treaties is a GOOD THING.
Hamas: Islam will conquer US and Britain
By Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
A Hamas video just released on their web site focuses on the broader
Palestinian Islamic ideology, promising the eventual conquering and
subjugation of Christian countries under Islam. The way Israel "ran" from
Gaza after terror is presented as the prototype for future Israeli and
Western behavior in the face of Islamic force.
The video is a collection of statements by Hamas terrorist leader, Yasser
Ghalban, killed last week by Palestinians, in the ongoing internal fighting.
To view this video, anticipating Islam's conquering of US and Britain, click
The following is the transcript of selections from the Hamas video:
"We will rule the nations, by Allah's will, the USA will be conquered,
Israel will be conquered, Rome and Britain will be conquered.
The Jihad for Allah... is the way of Truth and the way for Salvation and the
way which will lead us to crush the Jews and expel them from our country
Palestine. Just as the Jews ran from Gaza, the Americans will run from Iraq
and Afghanistan and the Russians will run from Chechnya, and the Indian will
run from Kashmir, and our children will be released from Guantanamo. The
prisoners will be released by Allah's will, not by peaceful means and not by
agreements, but they will be released by the sword, they will be released by
The video identifies itself as from the "Al-Qassam Brigades Media Office."
"Al-Qassam Brigades" is the name the Hamas calls its military wing.
(www.palestine-info.net) June 22 2006:
The ideology is similar to the Al-Qaeda ideology, and this can be seen by
viewing an Al-Qaeda video seen now on many sites on the Internet, likewise
anticipating battles with other religions throughout the world. "They Are
Coming" is 12 minute collection of scenes of Al-Qaeda's training around the
world: Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, Eritrea, Indonesia, Kashmir, Somalia,
Philippines, UK, Algeria and Pakistan. This propaganda video addresses the
American public with captions in English, images of dead and injured
American soldiers, and threats such as: "They Are Coming", "Start digging
your graves", and ends with a burning US flag.
Click here to see Al-Qaeda video.
Taking credit for the video is: "Al-Qaeda's 'Jihad Media Battalion'
Please feel free to forward this bulletin, crediting Palestinian Media Watch
Gator Lunges at Man Delivering Newspapers ( Pennsylvania )
An interesting article.
It doesn't get much better than this... the best two-fer a mouse-click can buy.
The whole thing, obviously, is delectable, but here's my fave paragraph:
But it wasn't until Ann Coulter pointed it out that you realize how heavily the Democratic party is invested in irreproachable biography. For example, John Kerry's pretzel-twist of a war straddle in the 2004 campaign relied mainly on former senator Max Cleland, a triple amputee from a Vietnam grenade accident whom the campaign dispatched to stake out Bush's Crawford ranch that summer. Maybe he's still down there. It's gotten kinda crowded on the perimeter since then, what with Cindy Sheehan et al. But the idea is that you can't attack what Max Cleland says about war because, after all, you've got most of your arms and legs and he hasn't. This would normally be regarded as the unworthy tactic of snake-oil-peddling shyster evangelists and, indeed, the Dems eventually scored their perfect Elmer Gantry moment. In 2004, in the gym of Newton High School in Iowa, Senator John Edwards skipped the dreary Kerry-as-foreign-policy-genius pitch and cut straight to the Second Coming. "We will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases . . . When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to get up out of that wheelchair and walk again." Mr. Reeve had died the previous weekend, but he wouldn't have had Kerry and Edwards been in the White House. Read his lips: no new crutches. The healing balm of the Massachusetts Messiah will bring the crippled and stricken to their feet, which is more than Kerry's speeches ever do for the able-bodied. As the author remarks, "If one wanted to cure the lame, one could reasonably start with John Edwards."
A note, BTW... I've been a little absent here, and posting, instead, more often at FR. Click the "am I posting" link above when things here look slow.
The best part of this article is this:
Once inside the meeting, however, Mr Bush took the initiative, and spoke of his desire to close Guantanamo Bay, diplomats said. Mr Bush said the US was keen to send all but the most dangerous detainees back to their home countries.
But he pointedly reminded his European hosts that the majority of the detainees still in the camp were from countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Afghanistan.The Bush administration has previously faced sharp criticism and opposition from Europe for proposing to send terrorist suspects to such nations, where they may face torture or the death penalty.
Uh... I thought we were torturing them!! The loons of the left can't keep any of their hogwash straight, can they?
Gee, I wonder why the oh-so-tolerant Dutch would come to that conclusion?
Maybe reality has finally hit them... the reality that tolerance, like peace, is a two-way street.
"Hey, mom, how come everything's made in China?"
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Great pictures, links, and all of Bush's speech to the troops on his (2nd) surprise trip to Iraq.
"I believed that 'profit' was a necessary evil at best and certainly not a desirable goal for society as a whole," he writes. "However, becoming an entrepreneur completely changed my life. Everything I believed about business was proven to be wrong."
Rather than seeing a milieu of "exploitation" and coercion in his store, Mackey saw a system of freedom and "voluntary cooperation" at work and a new realism: "No one is forced to trade with a business; customers have competitive alternatives in the marketplace; employees have competitive alternatives for their labor; investors have different alternatives and places to invest their capital. Investors, labor, management, suppliers — they all need to cooperate to create value for their customers."
In short, an entrepreneur like Harvard dropout and Microsoft founder Bill Gates (or John Mackey) got his money first and foremost by creating a new pie, by launching an innovative enterprise with new products that created new wealth and income that spread to investors, labor, management, suppliers — and spread to the public at large by way of increased tax revenues.
"In other words, business is not a zero-sum game with a winner and a loser," says Mackey. "It is a win, win, win, win game."
That's not the way Mackey's customers and employees saw it. Despite losing half his initial investment in the first year of business, Mackey was nevertheless accused of greed and exploitation. "Our customers thought our prices were too high, our employees thought they were underpaid, the vendors would not give us large discounts, the community was forever clamoring for donations, and the government was slapping us with endless fees, licenses, fines and taxes."
Mackey has voted straight Libertarian since those early days in 1980. Still, he says he's had little success in converting people to the concept of economic freedom or to an understanding of how the world really works, to the concept of how freedom, prosperity, human progress, spontaneous order and overall well-being are inherently channeled through a system of voluntary cooperation, private property, business competition and individual incentives.
"The freedom movement remains a small, relatively unimportant movement in the United States today," he writes. "As a businessman who knows something about marketing and branding, I can tell you the freedom movement is branding itself very poorly."
By incorrect branding, Mackey means that too much emphasis about individual freedom has been focused on side issues, such as the legalization of drugs, and not enough on the big picture. Instead, he maintains, if it's to have any chance of having a mass appeal, the freedom movement will have to consciously create a broad and inspiring vision, an idealism that addresses the direct correlation between economic freedom and societal progress.
The freedom movement, libertarians, and free market economists, he writes, have done a poor job of defending the social legitimacy of business, economic freedom, capitalism, individualism and free markets. The message should be that business, working through free markets, has arguably been the world's greatest force for human progress and our collective well-being, delivering increased prosperity, less poverty, extended longevity and democratic freedoms.
Monday, June 12, 2006
THE scientist who led the team that cracked the human genome is to publish a book explaining why he now believes in the existence of God and is convinced that miracles are real.
Francis Collins, the director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, claims there is a rational basis for a creator and that scientific discoveries bring man “closer to God”.
His book, The Language of God, to be published in September, will reopen the age-old debate about the relationship between science and faith. “One of the great tragedies of our time is this impression that has been created that science and religion have to be at war,” said Collins, 56.
“I don’t see that as necessary at all and I think it is deeply disappointing that the shrill voices that occupy the extremes of this spectrum have dominated the stage for the past 20 years.”
For Collins, unravelling the human genome did not create a conflict in his mind. Instead, it allowed him to “glimpse at the workings of God”.
“When you make a breakthrough it is a moment of scientific exhilaration because you have been on this search and seem to have found it,” he said. “But it is also a moment where I at least feel closeness to the creator in the sense of having now perceived something that no human knew before but God knew all along.
“When you have for the first time in front of you this 3.1 billion-letter instruction book that conveys all kinds of information and all kinds of mystery about humankind, you can’t survey that going through page after page without a sense of awe. I can’t help but look at those pages and have a vague sense that this is giving me a glimpse of God’s mind.”
Collins joins a line of scientists whose research deepened their belief in God. Isaac Newton, whose discovery of the laws of gravity reshaped our understanding of the universe, said: “This most beautiful system could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.”
It threatens all of us. Plus, it's just dumb.
Terrorism arrests should prompt complete rethink of immigration policy
By Licia Corbella
June 11, 2006
Do multiculturalism and political correctness threaten Canada?
Dr. Mahfooz Kanwar has no doubt they do.
"Multiculturalism takes away our complete undivided loyalties to this country," explains Kanwar, a criminologist, and professor of sociology at Mount Royal College in Calgary.
"Multiculturalism has been bad for unity in Canada. It ghettoizes people, makes them believe, wrongly, that isolating themselves and not adapting to their new society is OK. It is not," says Kanwar, a devout Muslim.
"And political correctness threatens us because we can't fight something we refuse to label and understand."
Kanwar, 65, says the amount of political correctness stemming from last weekend's arrests of 17 radicalized Muslims in the Toronto area is "sickening" and "dangerous."
"Everybody was tripping over themselves not to state the obvious, that these men mostly attended the same mosque," said Kanwar, referring to the Al-Rahman Islamic Centre -- a small store-front mosque in Mississauga, a suburb just west of Toronto, that twists true Islam.
Toronto police Chief Bill Blair actually boasted that "there was not one single reference made by law enforcement to Muslim or the Muslim community" at the post-arrest news conference a week ago.
"That is an absurdity. Political correctness has gone too far. Political correctness threatens our society," said the Pakistani-born Kanwar. "It is the responsibility of the minorities to adjust to the majority, not the other way around," added Kanwar.
David Harris, a Canadian security analyst and senior fellow with the Canadian Coalition for Democracies in Toronto, agrees political correctness threatens our safety.
"Political correctness is analytically and intellectually dishonest. We have to understand the doctrine and the dogma of our enemy and we can't do that if we dare not even speak the m-word or the i-word," said Harris, a former CSIS agent who is now a counter-terrorism expert with Insignis in Ottawa.
Harris, who was reached in Washington, D.C. on Friday afternoon, appeared before a U.S. government judiciary subcommittee on Thursday and Friday where he said Canada should consider imposing a moratorium on new immigrants until it figures out what needs to be done.
That seems a little on the extreme side, after all, this is a country of immigrants and immigration is essential to the well-being of this country with its low birth rate, aging population and vast geography.
But surely a complete rethink of the policies behind Canada's immigration system is needed. Immigrants should be screened more thoroughly, not just for criminal records, but for incompatible ideologies as well.
"We're bringing people in as convention refugees who nowhere else in the world would qualify as convention refugees," pointed out Harris.
"In the average western nation, the acceptance rate of refugee claimants is 12 to 15%, in Canada it's close to 50%."
The numbers of refugees, said Harris, has skyrocketed from 500 people in 1977 to tens of thousands a year in Canada.
Next, Harris said Canada must stop Saudi Arabian money from coming into the country to fund extremist Wahabi Islamic ideology in Canadian mosques.
Kanwar, however, hits closer to home when affixing blame for the development of homegrown terrorists in Canada.
"I think the parents of these young people bear a lot of the responsibility," said Kanwar.
Kanwar points out that Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, the eldest of the men charged in the alleged terrorist plots that included blowing up numerous Toronto and Ottawa landmarks and beheading the prime minister, "is just an uneducated, unemployed bum."
"Why didn't these parents go with their children to this mosque to see who is influencing them?" asked Kanwar.
Kanwar also rejected the idea put forward on Thursday by members of Ontario's Muslim community who said Muslim youth are becoming radicalized because they are "marginalized" in Canadian society.
"They marginalize themselves," he said. "I came to Canada in 1966. I did not speak a word of English. I worked hard, furthered my education. No Canadian marginalized me ever. I don't see any country in the world better than Canada."
Kanwar points out that on Tuesday, when 15 of the 17 men -- five of them young offenders -- were brought into a Brampton, Ont. court, James Silver, a lawyer representing Fahim Ahmad, 21, complained to the court his client was held in "isolation 24 hours a day" in Maplehurst Correctional Centre by staff who wear full body armour and "face masks."
For accused terrorists this should be expected, pointed out Kanwar.
But what of Canadian society on the whole, which is expected to tolerate the wives, mothers and daughters of these accused terrorists wearing complete face masks all the time in public since they wear burqas that reveal only their eyes? Kanwar said covering one's face in Canada should be illegal.
"I'm sick and tired of political correctness," said Kanwar from his Calgary home.
"When I talk to other immigrants who complain about Canada I say, 'if you hate this country, why don't you go back to hell where you came from?' I tell them, 'nobody begged you to come here and no one will stop you if you want to go. So, go to hell and get the hell out of here.'"
Last I checked there's no barbed wire at the border.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Thursday, June 08, 2006
I love John Bolton. And this, from the London Times, is a very thorough, excellent article.
AMERICA’S bitter dispute with the United Nations escalated last night when John Bolton, the US envoy to the UN, threatened to withhold funding to the organisation unless it apologised for the remarks of a senior British official. Speaking at the Centre for Policy Studies in London, Mr Bolton assailed Mark Malloch Brown, the British Deputy UN Secretary-General, for the disparaging remarks he made about the American public this week. “Mark Malloch Brown has a sentence in his speech where he says the role of the UN is a mystery in Middle America,” he said.
“Maybe it is fashionable in some circles to look down on Middle America, to say they don’t get the complexities of the world and they don’t have the benefit of continental education and they are deficient in so many ways,” Mr Bolton added. “It is illegitimate for an international civil servant to criticise what he thinks are the inadequacies of citizens of a member government.”
The tough-talking US envoy reiterated that the dispute could harm important reforms to the international body. He also hinted that the US Congress, which controls American government spending, might reconsider US funding to the UN, which accounts for 22 per cent of the organisation’s annual budget. “Congress has the power of the purse and they feel quite strongly on a bi-partisan basis that America has a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent, even people from Middle America,” he said, with a note of sarcasm. “I don’t think we have seen the end of it.” Before Mr Bolton arrived in London, Kofi Annan, the UN chief, tried to play down the controversy. “I think the message that was intended is that the US needs the UN, and the UN needs the US, and we need to support each other,” Mr Annan said. “I think the speech by my deputy should be read in the right spirit and let’s put it behind us and move on.”
The public spat between Mr Malloch Brown and Mr Bolton represents more than just a clash of outsized personalities. It reflects the long-running battle of ideas over the role of international institutions. Mr Bolton, a Republican right-winger, has been a leading conservative critic of the UN since serving as the assistant secretary of state for international organisations in the Administration of the first President Bush.
Mr Malloch Brown, a former journalist who founded The Economist Development Report and went on to work at a political consultancy before joining the UN system, is a member of a powerful network of internationalists. Their clash threatens to undermine congressional support for the world body as it confronts a looming budget crisis, caused by Washington’s insistence that management reforms be put in place.
The row was sparked by a speech by Mr Malloch Brown on Tuesday. Addressing prominent Democrats in New York, Mr Malloch Brown criticised Washington for allowing “too much unchecked UN-bashing and stereotyping”. He singled out the conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News cable channel, owned by News Corp, the parent company of The Times.
“The prevailing practice of seeking to use the UN almost by stealth as a diplomatic tool while failing to stand up for it against its domestic critics is simply not sustainable,” Mr Malloch Brown said. “You will lose the UN one way or another,” he added.
America has a long tradition of isolationism, dating back to even before the US refused to join the League of Nations. The UN has been portrayed by far-right groups as a godless, Communist and corrupt “nest of spies” ready to invade America.
Relations began to improve during the presidency of the elder George Bush, a former American Ambassador to the UN. The current crisis stems from the split over the War in Iraq, when the 15-nation UN Security Council refused to give explicit approval for the military action, and Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, dubbed the invasion “illegal”. The invasion yielded evidence that UN officials or their families had benefited from the Oil-for-Food programme, which was designed to feed Iraqis during UN sanctions.
Under fire from Republicans, Mr Annan began a UN reform drive and sought advice from his American friends, predominantly Democrats. After a secret meeting at the home of the Clinton Administration’s UN Ambassador, Richard Holbrooke, Mr Annan named Mr Malloch Brown as his chief of staff in January last year.
The appointment raised eyebrows when it was reported that Mr Malloch Brown was renting a house on George Soros’s estate for $2,500 a month less than the previous occupant. Even before Mr Bolton was named US Ambassador, he seemed destined to clash with Mr Malloch Brown. Mr Malloch Brown’s landlord and old friend, Mr Soros, helped to fund the “Stop Bolton” campaign, aimed at stopping him from getting the post.
Mr Malloch Brown has been criticised by dissident UN staff for aligning the world body too closely with Democrats in US domestic politics. They accuse him of allowing a UN staffer, Justin Leites, to play a leading role in the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry, violating staff rules. It is a charge that he denies. “I don’t consider myself aligned with any American political establishment,” he said. “I am British. I have worked in the UN and in international jobs all of my life.”Ed Luck, a Columbia University professor and author of Mixed Messages: American Politics and International Organization: 1919-1999, said it was rare for a top UN official to criticise the US so explicitly, but not unprecedented.
BAGHDAD, June 8 (KUNA) -- Iraqi citizens took to the streets celebrating Abu Musaab Zarqawi's death on Thursday.
Joy filled Baghdad's hot streets, as gun shots sounded through the air, and cars packed with overjoyed Iraqi's roamed the streets. Iraqis were sharing sweets with people outside their homes.
Civil organizations paraded as they condemned violence chanting "death to Zarqawi and Saddamites." Thursday's celebrations could be compared to the jubilation in Baghdad's streets the day Saddam Hussein was captured.
Iraqis hope Zarqawi's death would bring an end to the series of terrorist operations on Iraqi streets.
Iraqi MP, Mahmoud Othman, said Zarqawi instigated sectarianism in Iraq and bloodied its streets.
He said he expected that the number of terrorist attacks will decrease dramatically and the new government will be able to stabilize Iraq. As a result, MNF troops will be able to leave Iraq sooner.
Zarqawi was killed in an area close to Baqouba in an air raid Thursday.
``Al-Zarqawi was eliminated.'' - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
``Whenever there is a new al-Zarqawi, we will kill him.'' - al-Maliki.
``Now Zarqawi has met his end, and this violent man will never murder again. Iraqis can be justly proud of their new government and its early steps to improve their security. And Americans can be enormously proud of the men and women of our armed forces, who worked tirelessly with their Iraqi counterparts to track down this brutal terrorist and put him out of business.'' - President Bush.
'Tard of the day:
``George Bush is more of a terrorist than Zarqawi is. Zarqawi is attributed to the deaths of a couple hundred people, including my son. George Bush is responsible for 150,000 deaths and another one every 12 minutes.'' - Michael Berg, whose son Nicholas of Pennsylvania was believed to have been beheaded by al-Zarqawi.Surprisingly great quote from sKerry:
``Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a brutal terrorist and his death strikes a blow to al-Qaida in Iraq. This ruthless thug who abused the true meaning of Islam was an intruder on Iraqi soil and it's good news that he's dead. Our troops did an incredible job hunting him down and destroying him, and all of America is proud of their skill and commitment.'' - Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
Guess who's coming to dinner? [CRIKEY, DON'T ANSWER THE DOOR!]
For the Lorettas, it was a big "what" that came a knockin' at their Sun City Hilton Head home Friday night.
A 6-foot-long alligator pounded on the front door of their Penny Creek Drive home at around 7:45 p.m. and started scaling the wall at the entryway -- its front left claw inches from the doorbell.
"It looked like he was going to ring the doorbell," said Roslyn Loretta, describing the scene from her viewpoint behind the door. "This alligator was aggressive. It really left me a little shaken afterward."
Loretta blames teriyaki chicken for the unexpected visit.
She and her husband, Robert, were barbecuing on the screened-in porch behind their home when they first noticed the reptile. It was facing them on the banks of a lagoon, its eyes focused on them and its mouth wide open.
"It was smelling the food, I guess," Roslyn Loretta said.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Although the reasoning behind this is simple, it still sure has taken them long enough to start getting it.
New public opinion surveys conducted among "opinion elites" in Europe show that support for the Palestinians has fallen precipitously, according to a leading international pollster, Stan Greenberg, who has been briefing Israeli leaders on his findings in the past few days. There has not necessarily been "a rush to Israel" but there has been a "crash" in backing for the Palestinians, he noted.
Greenberg, a key pollster for president Clinton who also worked with former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, conducted the surveys for the Israel Project, a US-based non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel.
Greenberg told The Jerusalem Post that the shifts in attitudes reflected in the surveys were so dramatic that he "redid" some of the polls to ensure there had been no error.
He singled out France as the country where attitudes had changed most dramatically. Three years ago, 60 percent of French respondents said they took a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of that 60%, four out of five backed the Palestinians. Today, by contrast, 60% of French respondents did not take a side in the conflict, and support for the Palestinians had dropped by half among those who did express a preference.
Greenberg said the figures were still being finalized, and so did not go into further details. But shifts such as these, he said, represented "an incredible pace of change," with significant consequences.
Until recently, he said, "It was hard for Israel to communicate its interests in its own name" in Europe. "It was hard for Israel to be heard. Nowadays, it is heard on its own interests, such as Iran and Hamas." Much of the "old sense of hostility," had dissipated, he said.
At the root of the change, said Greenberg, was a fundamental remaking in Europe of the "framework" through which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is viewed.
Three years ago, he said, the conflict was perceived "in a post-colonial framework."
There was a sense "that Europe could cancel out its own colonial history by taking the 'right' side" - the Palestinian side. Yasser Arafat was viewed as "an anti-colonial, liberation leader." The US was seen as a global imperial power, added Greenberg, and the fact that it was backing Israel only added to the "instinctive" sense of the Palestinians as victims.
France, with the largest Muslim population - moreover an entirely Arab Muslim population - with the direct experience of Algeria and the most anti-US positions, was most prey to this mindset.
Today, by contrast, the Europeans "are focused on fundamentalist Islam and its impact on them," he said. The Europeans were now asking themselves "who is the moderate in this conflict, and who is the extremist? And suddenly it is the Palestinians who may be the extremists, or who are allied with extremists who threaten Europe's own society."
An increasing proportion of Europeans are concluding that "maybe the Palestinians are not the colonialist victims" after all.
Furthermore, the pollster said, the question of which side held "absolute," uncompromising positions had also shifted - to Israel's benefit. The sea-change in attitudes, he said, had been accelerated by the fact that former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who had been widely regarded as an ideological "absolutist," had surprised Europe with his disengagement initiative. And at about the same time, the Palestinians had chosen the "absolutists" of Hamas as their leadership.[snip]