Wednesday, April 30, 2003

First Sign of Civilization Returns To Iraq: Prostitutes No Longer Worry About Having Their Heads Chopped Off

You know how Canadians love their prostitutes ... I imagine if they had known about this under Saddam's regime they would have fallen over themselves to pick up guns and fight the guy.

Prostitution flourished in Iraq in the 1990s as U.N. sanctions, imposed after Saddam's troops invaded Kuwait in 1990, brought economic hardship, forcing many women to offer their bodies for cash. You remember the sanctions , right? Those things the French said we should end a few months ago because Hussein had no WMD and now say should not end because there's no proof he didn't have WMD? Yeah, those. Well, one year Saddam cracked down on them after some of them were seen wrapping themselves in the Iraqi flag and dancing on his picture, so he had his boys chop a bunch of their heads off. Prostitution went underground at that point. Even the government guys who liked them had trouble finding them. Now, since Saddam is gone, they are starting to feel like they might keep their heads, so they're back on the street.

There is more evidence sexual repression left the city with Saddam's fall -- business is brisk at the Atlas cinema that no longer shows censored films with even the kissing edited out. Look for "Baghdad Girls Gone Wild" in a video store near you soon.

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Monday, April 28, 2003

Axis of Evil Pressure Works Again: Iran frees last Jewish 'spies'

Okay, it may be that Bush is Forrest Gumping his way through his Presidency ... but so far he is three for three. Korea revealed it has nukes, Saddam is gone and the Iraqi people free and Iran has gotten a lot more liberal since being lumped in with that group.

Iran has released a final group of Jews jailed for spying for Israel, its foreign minister says.

The five had been serving sentences of up to 13 years.

They were found guilty in July 2000 - in a closed Islamic court along with five other Jews and two Muslims - of charges that they had operated a spy ring for Israel.

The trial and convictions led to widespread condemnation from human rights groups and Western governments.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said the men had been freed from prison in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz where they were arrested.

"Those among our Jewish compatriots who were in prison in Shiraz are now free," he said at a press conference.

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Palestinians Agree on Cabinet

In a sign that increasingly senile terrorist Yassir Arafat has finally given way to someone acceptable to the US, if not necessarily Israel, who would prefer no Palestinian leadership exist, he and Mahmoud Abbas, have ended a dispute over who will take key security roles in a new Palestinian cabinet.

"If Yasser Arafat does not allow Mr Abu Mazen to form the cabinet... an opportunity of enormous importance will be lost and Arafat will have done it again," US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Tuesday.

"The ones who will suffer the most [are] the Palestinian people as well as the innocent lives that might be lost as this crisis continues," he said.

The appointment last month of Mr Abbas as prime minister was seen as a breakthrough in reforms aimed at curbing Mr Arafat's decades-long grip on the Palestinian leadership.

The formation of a new Palestinian Government is a US pre- condition for publishing details of the new peace plan backed by the international community which aims to end two and a half years of fighting between Israel and the Palestinians.

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Surprise: France Now Seen As Unreliable Ally

Even Brits, much closer to European thought than American, have seen what Chirac never thought they would see. The French can't be relied upon.

55 per cent of Britons regard France as the UK's least reliable ally, while 73 per cent view the US as the country's most reliable.

Is this news? Only to younger Brits. It would be interesting to see what eastern Europe thinks of the French these days. I imagine the numbers weren't great there before France's failed Iraq gambit.

Tony Blair had this to add regarding Chirac's vision of an EU to oppose the US. Spelling out the damage that would be inflicted by Mr Chirac's vision of a "multipolar" world, he said: "I am not really interested in talk about punishing countries, but I think there is an issue that we have to resolve here between America and Europe and within Europe about Europe's attitude towards the transatlantic alliance.

"I don't want Europe setting itself up in opposition to America . . . I think it will be dangerous and destabilising."
Article Here

Monday, April 14, 2003

Iraqi Stories European Liberals Never Bothered To Read

If it was a mid-east apologist professor from CAIR, they read him ... but not actual Iraqis who have lived there.

Pictures of dead Iraqis, with their necks slashed, their eyes gouged out and their genitals blackened, fill a bookshelf. Jail cells, with dried blood on the floor and rusted shackles bolted to the walls, line the corridors. And the screams of what could be imprisoned men in an underground detention center echo through air shafts and sewer pipes.

''This is the place where Saddam made people disappear,'' said an Iraqi soldier named Iyad Hussein, 37, describing Iraq's Military Intelligence Directorate in the northwestern suburb of Kadimiya. ''It is a chamber of death.''

The secrets of Saddam Hussein's reign of terror are beginning to emerge. Iraqi civilians who had long feared speaking out about the atrocities for fear of government retribution are revealing in detail what the Iraqi dictator and his regime inflicted on some of the country's 26 million people.

They paint a picture of arrests, killings and torture that have led human rights groups to condemn the Iraqi leader in the strongest terms. The groups have charged that tens of thousands of Iraqis, from Kurds in the north to Shiites in the south, were tortured and killed after Saddam seized power in 1979.

Thousands were arrested on charges ranging from criticizing the Iraqi leader to cooperating with the United States.

Only a few walked out of the jails alive.

Some Iraqis are already coming forward with tales of atrocities. Many allegedly were carried out here at the Military Intelligence Directorate.

''I was beaten, refrigerated naked and put underground for one year because I was a Shiite and Saddam is a Sunni,'' said Ali Kaddam Kardom, 37. He said he was arrested in the central city of Karbala on March 10, 2000. He returned to the facility in Baghdad this weekend, he said, to help rescue any Iraqis who still might be imprisoned there.

The Bush administration has said it would seek out evidence of the Saddam regime's covert programs -- from its efforts to enrich top officials as its citizens starved, to the development of banned weapons. Last week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said rewards would be offered to individuals who provide information on biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs.

Rumsfeld also said that though Saddam appeared to be gone, ''we still must capture, account for or otherwise deal'' with him and senior Iraqi leaders.

Initially, U.S. forces will have to rely on testimony from survivors of Saddam's brutality because some of the key documentary evidence has disappeared, U.S. officials said. When U.S. forces entered the headquarters of the once- feared Iraqi Intelligence Service, across town from the Military Intelligence Directorate, they found the place had been cleaned out even before the Baghdad looters arrived, a U.S. intelligence official said Sunday. Looters have destroyed evidence at other government agencies.

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Liberal Arab Journalist Says Arab 'Big Lies' fell with Saddam

London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashid, who is known for his liberal views, wrote "The images of the joy of the people in Baghdad celebrating the fall of the Iraqi regime made a mockery of the Arab political, cultural, and media order - the order which for 50 years purportedly fought in the name of the people. Yesterday, until the very last hour, the Arab media circulated stories about the Iraqis, Arabs in general, and even Arab media people being targeted [by the coalition forces]. After a television crew member was killed at the Palestine Hotel, the correspondent of one of the stations shouted that the American forces were targeting Arab journalists to silence them. Although this [death] is a sad event, the [correspondent's] version for the Arab viewers missed something. He did not tell them that one Arab journalist was killed in this war, while 10 foreign correspondents - some with the coalition forces - were killed."

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