Monday, October 4, 2010

Osama The Compassionate, Iran The Pissed, US Demands Access To European Databases

Paul Krugman
Peter Beinart
David Ignatius

"A note to Tea Party activists: This is not the movie you think it is. You probably imagine that you’re starring in “The Birth of a Nation,” but you’re actually just extras in a remake of “Citizen Kane.” - Paul Krugman
"The midterms are boring—when voters are determined to punish anyone associated with political power, hailing from the political, and even social, fringe, isn’t a liability; it’s an asset." - Peter Beinart
"F**k you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room." -- Sen. John McCain

Over the weekend an audio tape was issued by Osama bin Laden, asking for more humanitarian aid for the Pakistani flood victims. This is the first time he has asked for anything other than the destruction of his enemies, and people are wondering if he is having a change of his jihadist heart. It also indicates the area of Pakistan that he has been living in, which would be in exactly the opposite area that our military intelligence estimates. Then, our military seems to be acting old old orders from George W Bush, who acknowledged that bin Laden was far down on his list of priorities: "I hardly give him any thought at all"

Ironic for bin Laden asking other countries for help. He has not asked for all al-Qaeda members to come and give aid, and many of the Middle Eastern countries always seem reluctant to give charity to other Muslim countries, except for Saudi Arabia, which is usually asked to pay for everything. Even more ironic is that just about the only other foreigners that Osama might encounter scrambling around and frantically trying to save Pakistani lives are Americans. Who knows, maybe the practice of saving lives may change the whole face and meaning of the top leaders of al-Qaeda... But I doubt it, since our role in Pakistan is pretty schizophrenic, helping to save lives in one part of the country, and sending in drones to kill them in another part. What bothers me is that the military machine cannot stop itself once it starts moving forward into new territory and killing civilians, since its estimated that there are less than 100 al-Qaeda members left in Afghanistan. Which direction will this rough beast turn next?

Iran is pissed over the Stuxnet virus, and wants to kick some military ass. Many of the Russians living in Tehran and who are involved with the Iranian nuclear program are packing up and going home until this blows over. Unfortunately, Iran is arresting as many foreigners as they can find They suspect the Russians, the Americans, and the Israelis, but they would do better to investigate the Germans, who have better access to all things Siemans... Hezbollah is going crazy, too, over the UN investigation into the assassination of the old President of Lebanon, Harriri, and they are trying every strong-arm tactic that they can think of. With the Syrian president visiting Tehran this weekend, Hezbollah wants to attack and take over Beirut right after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit next weekend. They seem pretty desperate in not having any fingers pointing their way in the killing of a Muslim leader, guess that might mean less donations from the wealthier sympathizers, and the tarnishing of Hassan Nasrallah's reputation for speaking truthfully...

We have a long way to go bringing international cooperation together on global security, but it's not for lack of trying. In fact, the US is seen as being quite pushy, creating a recent backlash in the European Parliament: "US officials are demanding access to additional European police databases in their hunt for potential terrorists traveling to the US. The demands include DNA samples, fingerprints, access to criminal registers and other information. Under massive pressure from the United States government, European Union member states are moving to provide American security officials with access to data in European police databases... Washington is also demanding that its anti-terror officials be allowed to analyze cross-border payment transactions and all available date on individuals traveling to the US." It doesn't seem like all that much, now, does it? US officials don't want another embarrassment like what almost happened last Christmas, when it failed to detect a student flying one-way from Nigeria, who had a bomb stuck in his underpants. Or, you could say that the US is forcing European officials to join in on creating a one-world government and intelligence service where we all are watched over by machines of loving grace... Besides, you can't issue vague travel warnings without having some solid information...

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