Night of the Short Knives .
Mar 31st, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Night of the Short Knives. Ter­ry Egan pass­es this along to me; luna­cy from the Euro­pean Union: The Adam Smith Insti­tute has denounced the lat­est… [Sur­vival Arts]

It seems the EU has decreed “that the max­i­mum length of knife blades per­mit­ted with­in the EU after 1 Jan­u­ary 2004 will be 10cm (approx 4 inch­es).”

I won­der if this is some bizarre round­about scheme by veg­e­tar­i­ans to reduce meat con­sump­tion, by forc­ing butch­ers to make do with total­ly inad­e­quate tools?

Raid Finds Al-Qaida Tie to Iraq Militants [ AP World News ] The title is a bit misleading.
Mar 31st, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Raid Finds Al-Qaida Tie to Iraq Militants [AP World News]

The title is a bit misleading. The "Iraq militants" mentioned are Ansar al-Islam, the terrorist group located in the Kurdish territory. The article mentions that no link to Saddam had been found, but they were apparently receiving aid from Iran. No doubt the Crusaders will use that as part of their propaganda effort to promote was with Iran.

Newsday .  The internally conflicted US policy on Iraq continues to do damage.  On the one hand we need local support
Mar 31st, 2003 by Ken Hagler

News­day.  The inter­nal­ly con­flict­ed US pol­i­cy on Iraq con­tin­ues to do dam­age.  On the one hand we need local sup­port (par­tic­u­lar­ly from the Shi­ites in the south and cen­tral Iraqi cities), yet we aren’t will­ing to talk, nego­ti­ate, or work with the per­son that that could make this hap­pen (and the per­son who will like­ly be a major polit­i­cal play­er in a post-Saddam Iraq):  Aya­tol­lah Muham­mad Bakr al-Hakim.  Our inabil­i­ty to work with this spir­i­tu­al and polit­i­cal leader of Iraqi Shi­ites has result­ed in the fol­low­ing:

… al-Hakim has sent instruc­tions to his sup­port­ers and secret cells in Bas­ra, Najaf, Kar­bala and oth­er south­ern Iraqi cities not to start an upris­ing or sup­port the American-led coali­tion in any way, accord­ing to two of his top advis­ers. Al-Hakim also issued a “mes­sage to the Iraqi peo­ple” last week urg­ing them not to side either with the Unit­ed States or the Iraqi régime.

This has not stopped the Kurds from work­ing with al-Hakim’s forces, the Iranian-housed Iraqi Shi­ite Badr Brigade:

A senior Kur­dish offi­cial said the Badr forces were invit­ed by the Patri­ot­ic Union of Kur­dis­tan, which con­trols the east­ern part of the Kur­dish self-rule area. The group invit­ed al-Hakim’s forces in prepa­ra­tion for send­ing Iraqi oppo­si­tion mili­tias into the strate­gic north­ern city of Kirkuk, which is home to some of Iraq’s rich­est oil fields. The Kurds want to send some Arab fight­ers into the city so that it would not appear that they are try­ing to take it over for them­selves, the offi­cial said.

It’s dis­heart­en­ing to think that the US mil­i­tary and polit­i­cal lead­er­ship assumed that there would be pop­u­lar sup­port for US mil­i­tary action in Iraq with­out work­ing hand in glove with extreme­ly pop­u­lar oppo­si­tion lead­ers.  Grant­ed, these meet­ings are start­ing to occur, but they are in many ways too lit­tle, too late.  In my view, a face-to-face meet­ing between Bush, Barzani, Tal­a­bani, Cha­l­abi, and al-Hakim should have been a pre­req­ui­site for any mil­i­tary action in Iraq. 
[John Robb’s Radio Weblog]

I think it’s good for the Iraqi peo­ple that the Shi­ites and Kurds are work­ing togeth­er like that. Togeth­er the two groups rep­re­sent about 80% of Iraq’s pop­u­la­tion, and it’s nice to see signs that they don’t intend to start killing each oth­er the first chance they get.

On the oth­er hand, this is bad news for the US gov­ern­ment. If the main Iraqi oppo­si­tion groups are already work­ing togeth­er, it doesn’t bode well for the Proconsul’s rule once the con­quest is com­plete.

Peter Arnett Can’t Win .
Mar 31st, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Peter Arnett Can't Win. First he gets fired for doing a story that was false. Now he's been fired for saying what everybody knows is true. The brickbats keep coming. In this Howard Kurtz story, decorated former Marine Rich Lowry, who has spent decades traveling the Middle East and mastering the region's political and cultural nuances, gives the canned Kiwi what-for. [Hit & Run]

Hopefully this will discourage journalists from their annoying habit of interviewing each other and pretending it's news.

Politician Urges Bush War Crimes Trial [ AP World News ] The United Nations must try President Bush (news — we
Mar 31st, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Politician Urges Bush War Crimes Trial [AP World News]

bq. The United Nations must try President Bush (news - web sites) and his allies as war criminals, a top Indonesian politician demanded Monday as protesters elsewhere denounced the war in Iraq as illegal and voiced concern for its victims.

The UN and their "war crimes" nonsense can get lost, but the President, his cabinet, and all of Congress (except Rep. Ron Paul) should be impeached for violating their oaths of office.

I lay in bed most of yesterday and read the entire 409 pages of Jeff Head’s Dragon’s Fury — High Tide .
Mar 31st, 2003 by Ken Hagler

I lay in bed most of yes­ter­day and read the entire 409 pages of Jeff

Dragon’s Fury — High Tide
. It cov­ers the crest­ing and
turn­ing back in 2008 by Amer­i­can allies of the high tide of the
Chi­nese and Islam­ic forces by cruise mis­siles fir­ing hun­dreds of
thou­sands of .17 cal­iber hyper-velocity deplet­ed ura­ni­um
pro­jec­tiles. It includes fic­tion­al sci­en­tif­ic proof that life begins
at con­cep­tion and the rever­sal of Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court.
All-in-all an enter­tain­ing read. [End the War on Free­dom]

That sounds about like what I’d expect. I read the first two books, and found them to be ridicu­lous­ly improb­a­ble.

Big Brother Is Watching You Shop .
Mar 31st, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Big Broth­er Is Watch­ing You Shop. Com­mer­cial data­bas­es, such as cred­it card records, gro­cery pur­chas­es and hotel bills, are the lat­est pool of infor­ma­tion the gov­ern­ment says it has a right to col­lect. Mer­chants and lenders have been doing it for years. [Wired News]

A good rea­son to pay cash when­ev­er pos­si­ble, and avoid using those gro­cery store “dis­count” cards.

Powell Gives Warning to Iran and Syria [ AP World News ] Combined with Rumsfeld’s earlier threats, it seems that the gover
Mar 30th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Powell Gives Warning to Iran and Syria [AP World News]

Combined with Rumsfeld's earlier threats, it seems that the government is starting the push toward war with Syria and Iran. The real question is, which will they attack first?

Push to stamp out gun crime .
Mar 30th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Push to stamp out gun crime. The own­ers of ille­gal firearms are urged to hand them in with­out fear of pros­e­cu­tion as part of a nation­wide amnesty. [BBC News | Front Page | UK Edi­tion]

Oth­er­wise known as “Nation­al Evi­dence Dis­pos­al Day.” If the British gov­ern­ment actu­al­ly cared about reduc­ing crime, they would try to get more peo­ple to car­ry guns, not few­er.

British Soldiers Refuse to Fight .
Mar 30th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

British Sol­diers Refuse to Fight. Two British ser­vice­men have been sent home from the Mid­dle East after refus­ing to fight in the war against Iraq, The Sun­day Times report­ed. They said they would refuse to fight because of the civil­ian casu­al­ties being caused by the US-British attack. They face pos­si­ble court mar­tial and up to two years in jail for dis­obey­ing orders. [Al Jazeer­ah]

Some­how I doubt that the Cru­saders who recite mean­ing­less slo­gans about “sup­port our troops” will actu­al­ly be will­ing to sup­port these troops. I won­der if they will need any mon­ey for their legal defense?

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