30 March 2007

International lawlessness begins at home with you

We do hear ever so much from some folks about 'International Law' on this or that topic, but when you ask them to point to what 'International Law' *is*, you get the famous Dumb Looks. Yes, indeedy, the UN is brought up... but that is a voluntary arrangement amongst the States involved to have a common forum and try to get a few things done together. And as every despot, tyrant, dictator, and authoritarian regime and some number of terrorist organizations is given a hearing there, it tends to be dominated by those with the biggest lungs, the loudest voices and the least amount of rights for their people... if they can even gather a Nation together which terrorists can't seem to do.

No one elected them.

They are not held accountable to the People of Planet Earth.

The UN is proportionately weighted to those with the despotic tendencies, as they also tend to have the most number of Nations around, so any attempt at 'democracy' gives such tyrannies full and open court to demean everyone else and not find one iota of wrong-doing in their own realms. The place reflects that.

Plus their resolutions are only as binding as the Nations want them to be, which is pretty damned little. Without backing nor legitimacy nor enforcement mechanism nor anyway to ensure equality of full rights for mankind, what you get is a slanted and distorted organization that is pro-tyranny and anti-democratic. So looking to the UN to *stop* aggressors is only as good as anyone wanting to step in and do the job, which usually falls to many Nations with inadequate and corrupt militaries and regimes, that then seek to exploit their 'peace keeping' positions to do all sorts of skulduggery, such as pedophilia, prostitution, and slavery. Such friendly 'peace keepers'. Still they should be trying to protect people, but usually end up bailing out on those folks at the first sign of trouble, like Rwanda and Srebrenica.

That really does strike the UN off as anything close to legitimate in this idea of 'International Law'. The only real improvement over the old League of Nations is that voluntary forces can be brought to bear if everyone and their grand-uncle can agree on it, and only then if some large, cohesive Nation backs it. Sort of like the old Roman Law where you could get a ruling in your favor, but it was up to YOU to enforce it. And since the rich could enforce the law by renting or buying enforcers, that was that. What a great paradigm for the UN, no?

Here is a bit from the old USS Clueless site, in which den Beste is replying to an individual on the question of International Law prior to the invasion of Iraq (highlighting mine):

It's a common tactic to try to get people to use a certain term for something as a way of framing the conversation. One has a different attitude about "wetlands" than one does about "mosquito-infested swamps". Draining a swamp sounds like a good idea, but everyone knows we're supposed to preserve wetlands.

Those who are trying to frame this as a discussion of "international law" are doing so because they're trying to imply certain things about international relations by extrapolation from our experience with national law. Within our nation we agree to be bound by the law, even if it tells us we cannot do certain things we desire to do, and when we have disagreements with each other, we take them to court and plead them in front of a disinterested jury which makes a decision, after which both sides are bound by that decision.

By extrapolation, the rhetoric about "international law" is being used to imply that the US may not unilaterally attack Iraq unless it gains permission through some formal process of "international law", that to do so it must prove that Iraq was directly involved in either the September attack or in other direct attacks against us, using convincing evidence publicly presented, before the UN. Based on that presentation, the UN (probably the Security Council) will then serve the function of jury and decide if the US has made an adequate case, after which it will decide whether the US would be given the right to attack.

The idea of jury trial in our normal affairs is intended as a way of restraining people from creating their own justice, and by the same token the users of this rhetoric see the process of approval by the UN as a way of restraining rogue nations (of which there is only one, needless to say, and I'm living in it). If we are sufficiently convinced of our reasons for attacking Iraq, we should have no compunction of proving it before what amounts to an international jury of our peers.

That's radically different than the reality of international relations, characterized by Geoff Hill as little more than a series of non-binding contracts.
Yes, the contracts themselves are only as binding as the States involved want them to be. This is worked out via this thing known as 'diplomacy', in which States make agreements with each other to the extent that they want, and then adhere to them, or not, as the case may be. In the US a Treaty gains the level of the Constitution for clarification, but has no other impact upon the full Constitution as the only way to amend the Constitution is set out within that document and Treaties are not that method. As for the binding status of such Treaties, Geoff Hill notes the following:
I quote the following from Malcolm N. Shaw in his 'International Law, Fourth Edition' book: "International law is primarily formulated by international agreements" and "states do observe international law and will usually only violate it on an issue regarded as vital to their interests". None of these statements has anything to do with imposition to authority or practice. All international laws are complied with by the signatories -as they see fit-, and can/have been broken if said signatories view the following of the laws as contrary to their vital interests.

Since there is no overriding sovereign authority who can impose any international laws on any signatories [The UN is toothless in this regard], since any signatories can [and have in cases] flouted certain international laws [witness Norway and whaling laws], and since the laws -only- apply to the signatories and not the world in general, they can't very well be considered laws. They would be more properly designated as non-binding contracts upon the parties involved.
Diplomatic agreements are Nation State to Nation State affairs, and are the guiding principle of how Nations interact with each other. 'International Law', then, only has force if those who have signed up to the agreements involved respect those agreements or are punished by the other signer(s) to uphold such agreements.

Further on Mr. den Beste looks at this and the way that 'International Law' is being used to hamper the normal methods of State to State interaction:
Take, for example, the attempt to use the UN Security Council as a mechanism in international affairs analogous to a jury in a civil suit. The jurors in the civil suit are intended to be uninvolved in the issue to be decided, and each juror is questioned by the attorneys in the case before being seated on the jury, and they are dismissed if they do know either party in the case or otherwise have some involvement with it. If jurors lie about their involvement in the case, and try to fix the result based on their own self-interest and get caught, then they are in major trouble. (It's a felony.) As a result, the jurors ideally have no interest in anything except trying to be fair.

But that is not the case in the Security Council, nor in any other international forum available. The members of the Security Council tend to vote on the basis of their own self interest. They would not be disinterested, and would not vote on the basis of the merits of the case. A given member of the council would approve our attack if it was to their benefit and vote against if the attack would be to their disadvantage irrespective of the merits of the issue.

So the actual effect of a requirement for UNSC approval for an attack would be that the US would not be permitted to fight a war any place which was inconvenient for any veto power, or for any 8 of the 12 non-veto nations currently on the Council (who, by the rules, collectively have a veto). The merits of the American case, and any evidence presented, would have no effect on the result. For all practical purposes, the Security Council can't pass anything even remotely controversial, including this. It isn't a jury and can't be treated as if it was one.

But if the decision process is flawed, the concept of the rules themselves is even more flawed. Proponents of this idea also try to present the idea that only certain "international crimes" can justify attack on another nation, and they particularly frame this case so that a suspicion that another nation plans harm against yours isn't enough; you have to prove that they actually already have committed direct acts against you. (They have to have done so, and you have to be able to prove it. They're also trying to invoke "presumption of innocence".)

They're deliberately setting the bar at that height because they strongly suspect that it can't be leaped. What they're saying is that wars may only be in retaliation; you can't ever preemptively attack someone in order to prevent a future attack against yourself.

But it's not clear just where that "law" came from. I've seen no reference, no source, no justification at all beyond the fact that those opposing the attack want to set the bar that high so as to prevent the US from mounting an attack.

Another implication is that we as a nation obey the law even when we enforce it against lawbreakers, such as criminals. By analogy, the US is not freed from the strictures of "international law" just because Iraq is in flagrant violation of that same law. (Which it is, among other reasons because it is currently directly violating the cease fire agreement it signed with us in 1991.)

And, of course, the finally ingredient is the presumption that obedience to the law is mandatory even if you don't like the law. Thus even if the US really, really wants to fight in Iraq it doesn't get to do so unless it satisfies this process described above because, well, it's the law and you always obey the law.
Unless you are a Leftist and into Civil Disobedience, vandalizing structures, threatening people and then complaining about the pepper spray in the face. But Nations just aren't supposed to act like that because the Left says so! And they will cite the non-existent 'International Law' all day long and not point to *which* law enforcement body you are supposed to go to. Because there isn't one.

Now, if you really don't believe that anyone would try to slant things in this direction, we can take a look at what Mr. Dan Froomkin the #2 editor at the Washingtonpost.com has to say about what is expected behavior by reporters when going after the Bush Administration:
Provocation Alone Does Not Justify War

  • War is so serious that even proving the existence of a casus belli isn’t enough.

  • Make officials prove to the public that going to war will make things better.

  • Demand to know what happens if the war (or tactical strike) doesn’t go as planned?

  • Demand to know what happens if it does? What happens after “victory”?

  • Ask them: Isn’t it possible this will make things worse, rather than better?
  • Remember, this is how reporters are supposed to slant the issues when covering the elected President's Administration in the Nation State known as the United States of America. These are not mere talking points, but philosophy and outlook that are antithetical to the running of a Nation State. By using the implication that things are going smoothly and swimmingly *now* and that if we all 'just got along together wouldn't things be better?' concept, this puts at peril the very ability of Nation States to hold each other accountable for their actions. Once accountability is removed, ANY action, including invasion of another Nation, genocide and moving to put at peril neighboring Nations is acceptable in this paradigm. Any Nation that dares take action to do anything to assert its rights as a Sovereign Nation is told to just 'suck it up and take it'.

    Or just the United States and its Allies as the press seems fine and dandy with dictatorships and tyrannies expanding and intimidating folks to get their way. Thus the stance itself is anti-democratic and anti-Nationalist. This is not the Nationalist of pro/con of one Nation, but a pure stance against the entire system of Nation States. By putting this forward as a set of ideas to weaken the United States, these same actors are destroying the very 'International Law' that they purport to uphold. Diminish the capability of Nations to have outlook and enforce Treaties, and you are at the start of removing Nations as Sovereign Units.

    What are these things that the Left keeps on pointing to as 'International Law'? This part from den Beste sums it up:
    That agrees with the Jacksonian view of things: "international law" is an illusion. What you have are cases where nations cooperate for the benefit of both, in trade or in military cooperation or in any of several other ways, and as soon as the relationship ceases to be valued by both, it generally ends. The fact that most of those relationships follow a pretty standard pattern and last a long time doesn't mean there's any law involved; it just means that the nations involved are honorable and consistent.
    Long standing Friends and Allies with which Nations have enduring cooperation have just that - long standing and enduring cooperations between Nations that represent their Peoples. They find it agreeable to work together on common causes and that can often bring Nations closer together over time and lead to more and deeper agreements between those Nations. As Sovereign States they can sever those ties from either side, however, if they find that the agreements are no longer being abided by or that National outlook has changed. Such is the way of Nations.

    Even worse, however, is when Treaties and agreements that have standing for long periods of time are no longer enforced. While the Left points to the Geneva Conventions to deride the United States, they have remained stoutly silent about it with the case of Iran taking UK Seamen hostage. By trying to enforce the agreement in the case of terrorists in the United States, the Left is trying to ignore that the US has not signed on to the 1977 GC that specifically *covers* terrorism: the President and Senate have both refused to sign on since 1980, with all opportunities for intervening Presidents and Senates to push to try and get this going.

    No President nor Senate will do that as it contravenes the basic outlook of what is allowable in the way of the use of the irregular Armed Forces of a Nation. The US Constitution particularly gives power to the Congress to utilize war powers covering the non-Federal but National capability of Citizens and their companies in the form of Privateers via the Letters of Marque and Reprisal language. The 1977 GC cannot be signed as it contravenes the Constitution and steps in on a power only the People of the United States can work on. Terrorists, by not being in the employ of a Nation are going against the outlook of what is warfare by the United States. Terrorists, to the US, are waging illegitimate war outside the framework of Nation States and thus have no backing and no standing.

    In the case of Iran, however, which *is* a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, the Left has pulled out the feeble "but they aren't at war!". The GC covers *more* than just active warfare and also accounts for Belligerent status, which is what happens when one Nation kidnaps another Nation's Uniformed Soldiers, in contravention to Treaty and even common civil understanding of warning a ship to *leave* territorial waters. This is particularly covered in the following:
    Convention III
    Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949

    Art. 5. The present Convention shall apply to the persons referred to in Article 4 from the time they fall into the power of the enemy and until their final release and repatriation.

    Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.
    Article 4 is the one that eveyone remembers for Armed Conflict, but Article 5 covers just this situation where Iran is asserting a belligerent act and doubt as to the status of these soldiers in uniform as being *spies*. Mind you being in uniform when captured like this is the exact opposite of what a spy IS in the Geneva Conventions. Uniformed Soldiers of a Nation State get protections under the Geneva Conventions as they are the fully lawful representatives of that Nation and represent that Nation. Nations that sign on to the Geneva Conventions agree to respect that for *all* other Nations or unrecognized Nations in the case of Civil War. You put on a Uniform of your Nation and you get these protections from the signatories of the Geneva Conventions. This is *especially* the case between two Nations that have signed the GC as both the UK and Iran have. This Treaty is fully in-force for both and ALL Nations that have signed the GC should look to ensure that all OTHER signatories are upholding it. To not do so is to remove the legitimacy of the GC as something that is enforced by its signers and to remove it from play in conflicts.

    If Iran did not consider this act to be one of belligerence or to be an infringement of their Sovereignty by the Armed Forces of the UK it would not have taken these Seamen captive. As they have and these individuals had on Uniforms they are to be accorded full status as POWs due to a belligerent act. In so doing there is a long list of things that Iran must do, including the following:
    Art. 13. Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest.

    Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.

    Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.

    Art. 14. Prisoners of war are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honour.

    Women shall be treated with all the regard due to their sex and shall in all cases benefit by treatment as favourable as that granted to men.

    Prisoners of war shall retain the full civil capacity which they enjoyed at the time of their capture. The Detaining Power may not restrict the exercise, either within or without its own territory, of the rights such capacity confers except in so far as the captivity requires.
    This means, no parading POWs in front of the press or media, or through public areas for display. They are to get respected and private treatment, under the watchful eye of neutral third parties like the ICRC. Their messages to their Government and families may be censored and examined, but may not be published. This is the civilized treatment of individuals who have consciously put on the Uniform of their Nation and is respected by ALL signatories to the GC. Breaches of the GC are considered to be War Crimes when committed by a signatory Nation and may be, depending upon action, a casus belli to any and all other signatory Nations.

    By not enforcing this concept and the Sovereign Right of Nations to hold each other Accountable to such Treaties and Agreements, this international system of diplomacy and agreements is being degraded and eroded.

    Without diplomacy having any backing via the Rights of Nation States to enforce their Sovereignty and the backing of well understood agreements upon other Nations that have signed such agreements and blatantly disregard them, the entirety of the Nation State system is put at peril. The ability of Nation States to have reciprocity in their agreements and to be held to them is essential in this conceptions of Nation States as Sovereign containers. Within this system is the scope and capability to have all sorts of internal governments, and the interaction between these governments is done via diplomacy and held accountable by military action.

    If you do not support that as a concept then you are putting the entire Nation State system at peril of disintegration.

    And as a container type system it is also the ONLY thing that can actually hold a system that makes freedom and liberty possible within that container known as the Nation State. It is no guarantee of that, but it has that possibility within the internalized concept of Nation State. By not holding the accountability between Nations to be held to their agreements, the Nation State and your personal liberties are put at supreme risk over the long haul.

    If you enjoy your liberties and freedom, then you should support this idea of Accountability amongst Nations to be held to their Agreements. Nothing better has been offered to date, and nothing replaces this Reciprocity of Agreements amongst Nations. If you don't support the Reciprocity and Accountability, then you do not support the idea that ANY NATION has value. You may not discriminate on this, from the weakest to the most powerful from the most free to the most repressive to their own people: If these Nations cannot be held accountable, then the structure of this system is put at risk and YOUR personal freedoms and liberties are put at risk right along with it.

    And if you fall under the compact of We the People, then this is highly destructive to YOU if you do not support the ability of Nations to hold other Nations accountable to their signed agreements.

    If other Nations do not want to be held accountable there is one and only one thing they should be doing: Not signing them or repudiating them.

    They have that within their right as a Sovereign Nation State. That is fully acceptable.

    And it tells us much when a Nation *does so*.

    This should be beyond Left and Right, beyond *politics*.

    To not support Treaties and the reciprocity inherent in them is suicide to you.

    Slow, long water torture of which the only end is Barbarism.

    That is what you are asking for if you do not support these agreements in all cases and fully for what Nations have signed up to both singly and collectively. Otherwise the agreements become fully meaningless, the system of Nation States unsupportable and your rights and freedoms worthless when the Nation State system is destroyed by these actions.

    That is where this leads when Reciprocity to be held to Agreements becomes worthless as a concept.

    And that does scale *perfectly* from the National to the Individual.

    If you do not support Nations to stand by this, then you are saying that you do NOT stand by your agreements as an Individual.

    So one's position on the concept of Reciprocity to be held to one's agreements on the Nation State end of things is also seen as a reflection of the Individual involved.

    29 March 2007

    Let me know when you have some *real* global warming data

    The following is being posted so that I do *not* have to continually regenerate it... I have been saying this for months, now, and really do need to have one, pithy post to refer to and this will be it! Naturally it is a *comment*, in this case at Roger L. Simon's place on a thread on global warming.

    Spelling and such are kept intact to show the inabilities of the author:

    jdwill - My thanks! Those are the merely cyclic things that will happen in North America that I consider to be the top 5 problems that we haven't even started to address... and one #1 has global fallout both figuratively and literally.

    I did look at
    global warming previously, and as a geologist, find much higher correlation with plate tectonics and continental configuration than with carbon dioxide for global temperature. About 70 million years ago the continents started to move faster, due to unknown factors in the core of the planet and heat transmission. That had the effect of speeding up crustal movement, which allows the less dense continents to ride higher than the oceanic crustal material. That rise in the continents drained the large, shallow seas over much of them into their deeper basins, thus changing the stored energy system of Rock 3 from the star Sol.

    This single change also started to move Antractica into a polar position, which is very rare in Earth's history and gave it a heat sink which drastically altered the heat retention system of the planet: It got a permenent cold place to let heat escape into space. Global temperatures started to fall due to these things.

    Other effects are also seen, like increased volcanic activity due to subduction of oceanic plates. Apparently more 'hot spots' started to appear and give the planet more volcanos that way, including some of the megacaldera makers that started to show up around that era.

    At Continental plate boundaries that were colliding, seas got squeezed out and when the continental crusts hit, they got squeezed together. The Himalayas are *still* growing upwards due to the Indian sub-continent pushing into Eurasia. The Rocky Mountains were also effected by this, as seen by the embedded river systems of the Green and Colorado rivers.

    A final kicker was a nice sized boloid about 10km across hitting the planet. It was not a good time to be an organism over 15 kg in size as you would not make it through that event, at 65 million years ago. Since then, having lost those lovely, warm heat retaining, shallow seas, having the thermostat pushed down by the boloid and having a nice, new heat sink, Rock 3 has experienced glacial periods with intermittent warming times, that have high variability within a cool temperature range. That is typical of interglacial periods: rapid swings in temperature, globally, but within a confined range that is generally warmer than the glaciation period, but much, much colder than the previous Cretaceous period.

    Can we get back to those balmy days of 70 million years ago with only changing carbon dioxide? And methane? And water vapor? Probably not... those all reached maximums in the Carboniferous when carbond dioxide was around 7,000 ppm and calcium carbonate rock deposited via chemistry and animal activity, like with foraminfera. You see a *lot* of coal beds and calcium carbonate beds from this timeframe, both indicative of taking carbon *out* of the atmosphere. Our current 300 ppm +/- 15% is a long way from those hazy, lazy days of high methane, carbon dioxide and water vapor... all of which saw a relatively stable global temperature 14 degrees higher than it is now. Actually, once the continents aren't moving fast and we have vast, shallow seas and low volcanic activity, that seems to be the regular temperature of the planet.

    That higher energy from the core is released through these mechanisms, but it doesn't much impact climate which is guided by these factors which are a way of releasing heat. Such pretty volcanos, though! But not worth it for the hot gasses that cool extremely quickly, hot extruded material which cools quickly and the hot particulates that cool very quickly.

    Want to raise the temps? Stop the plates from moving after re-uniting Gondwanaland and getting Antarctica out of the deep freeze. And then flooding most of the continental lowlands as they slowly settle down and behave themselves. Like NOLA, but with 1 km more water added. Then you get nice, shallow seas retaining energy from the sun and higher global temps. Of course the Rockies turn into 'coastal areas' but well worth it for stable temps and removing glacial periods.

    Bad planet!

    As for us that live on the crust, the long term forecast is: sudden temperature swings, with a relatively narrow temperature band for some short duration and then sudden, long-lasting cold spells with 1.5 km high continental glaciers and the temperate zone shifting to the equator during those times. Check the 5 million year forecast to find out when this will end and the good old days return...
    Yes, I am getting tired of restating the basics. If you can't figure out plate tectonics, volcanism, mountain building, oceanic heat retention, placing a heat sink in the southern polar region, and taking into account at least 800 million years of Earth's history... then do *not* bother me with carbon dioxide and methane amounts in the atmosphere until the oxygen percentage drops below that sustainable for terrestrial life, ok?

    27 March 2007

    Short memory span on Portland by Bill O'Reilly

    Yes, I was watching Mr. O'Reilly again with is Radicalism on Display Talking Points Memo last night as I find that I can switch between his dull segments and more interesting fare with things like Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs re-runs on the Discovery Channel, or any of the Modern Marvels re-runs at the History Channel. Having to wade through the latest in Anna Nichole or whatever comely young woman has gone missing is a bit much, at times, so the snoozy limited attention span does help! But this did catch my attention before I nodded off on the sofa, from Mr. O'Reilly's memo du jour:

    A few days ago in Portland, Oregon, a so-called peace rally featured masked American haters, who chanted things like "No Gods, No Country, No Masters". They also burned the American flag and effigies of American soldiers, if you can believe it, all the while chanting "fascist wars are nothing new, it's not just Bush the soldiers too:"


    CROWD: It's not just Bush it's soldiers too! Fascist war is nothing new! It's not just Bush it's soldiers too! Fascist war is nothing new!


    Now this disgusting display was given a happy face by the committed left
    Oregonian newspaper, which mentioned the radicalism but said overall the protest was "family friendly." Yes, if you're "The Sopranos."

    Now this kind of exposition could not have happened four years ago in America, even in ultra- liberal Portland. Mass hoodlums running around disrespecting USA would have been confronted by the media and perhaps by people on the street.

    But Iraq has changed everything in this country. According to a new Wall Street Journal poll, only 43 percent of Americans believe the USA should take military action against Iran if it develops a nuclear weapon. An astounding 47 percent of us say let Iran have the nukes! It's not worth a fight.

    Again, four years ago — inconceivable. The chaos in Iraq has had so many unintended consequences, I can't even list them. But there is no question, the USA has turned to the left and the radical left is now emboldened.
    Well! I do fear that Mr. O'Reilly has been asleep on the set if he actually *believes* that. No flag burnings and hoodlums doing things? Really? Then how does he account for this bit from an account on a 05 JAN 2002 protest in Portland:

    12:43 pm Rumour has it that people have been asked to stay in their houses, and more riot cops are lining up along MLK...Unconfirmed reports of arrests. Crowd has swelled to nearly 1000.[Ed note: it was reported ;ater that in actuality the rally at park swelled from 300 to 500 by noon and there were around 500 people marching to the YO center]
    12:45 pm At least one, possibly 3 people have been arrested.
    12:48 pm Confirmed that one arrest has been made--{Ed note: evening news reported that 2 arrests were made at the first location and 1 at the second, all charged with interfering with the police] a woman that walked gone around the block, via Cook, 1 block south and the East of MLK, and was arrested at Fargo and MLK. Crowd is on east side of MLK, in southbound lane, and is surrounded on lane side, and the south side by riot police, and the opposite lane is lined with riot police, armed with at least 2 tear gas guns, and one beanbag gun
    12:55 pm Infernal Noise Brigade has arrived!!
    1:04 pm Infernal Noise Brigade is playing at the front of the crowd, entertaining the riot cops.
    1:16 pm A flag is being burned!
    1:20 pm An interview with a local resident: the resident got a phone call at 9:30 am saying that if residents left their houses today, there would be no guarantee when they would be able return to their homes.
    1:34 pm PPRC {Ed note: it is not clear whether the person with the megaphone was actually speaking on behalf of PPRC] report over the megaphone is that the speaking engagement at YO has been CANCELLED!! The marchers are in vacant lots right now, mobilizing and organizing rides to get to the next meeting place near to Parkrose High School.
    1:49 pm Looks like the "reliable source" was misinformed; Corporate media tried to tell megaphone people that the speaking engagement had not been cancelled, but by then most people had left. 30-50 people were remaining near the YO center when the Presidential motorcade pulled into the YO center. Someone walking away with a little girl is yelling "f**king hippies".
    Yes, President Bush was there to talk about forest management and logging! Flag burning, blocking streets and riot police get called out over forestry management. And that is in 2002.

    A bit later that year on 22 AUG 2002 another demonstration was held when the President was in town to support a State Senator. Here is an excerpt of an account from that demonstration:

    The riot squad was all over the place. You can't tell these people are human you know - you can't see their faces what with all the body armor and protective masks, and they act like robots. Maybe that's the point of it all - scare the bejesus out of your every day American citizen so that they won't ask embarrassing questions out loud about the idiocy of attacking Iraq just to win November's election. I thought I'd died and reincarnated in a newly formed Nazi Germany - complete with goosestepping and flag waving. . .

    Well here, in Portland, we weren't taking it lying down. No, we were out there, screaming at the man to get another job and leave running the country to those more proficient. . . well, at least more intelligent and experienced. Do you notice how they keep Colin Powell locked up over in the State Department? God help Bush if that guy ever got out.

    Don't know if you all saw the protesting on the telly, what with America's media now totally controlled by right wing extremists. But the protesting WAS there - and, much of it got so bad Portland's own brand of Gestapo were called in to quell the disturbance, and disperse the crowd. Which they did... using nightsticks and gas of course. One has to know the wonderfulness of this city to realize just how out of place such scenes are.

    No wonder Portland's TV stations showed the clogging of the streets and the mass of protesting humanity. Hell, they even showed people being pepper sprayed, and little women confronting nameless brazen ogres in blue who looked like the maximum security prison's football team linebackers. . . but only of course, AFTER they put the usual FOX network right wing spin on things.

    Still, it was a sight that made true patriots weep. So much for our jackass leader - with his 91 IQ and homicidal tendencies.

    Don't get me wrong - it wasn't Kent State all over again. Dead students didn't line the streets. It wasn't the WTO and Seattle going berserk Hey, this is Portland, Oregon. We have more parks in this city that any other city in America. And people really DO ride bikes to work in this town, and no, they DON'T understand why other people in other towns don't do the same.

    I mean it's just so healthy and all. But we gave a little back to the nation yesterday - in our own way.

    The tide is shifting for this president. His desire to place 250,000 American young women and men soldiers in harms way in Iraq - out of a personal vendetta or worse, to win November's election... even against the wishes of his own generals - may have just been the straw that broke the camel's back. . Maybe the good lord IS looking down on America, finally.

    So wonderful to have a British ex-pat joining in with gusto to exercise his or her rights here, isn't it? And so many misconceptions about what a 'civil demonstration' is for one's views and the fact that the lovely population of Portland, OR has one of the most continually nice climates on the planet that they can *afford* to ride bikes everyplace just doesn't enter the equation. And remember this is BEFORE going into Iraq.

    A bit more on that protest from a copy of an AP story at the Portland Indymedia site:

    Protestors Skirmish with Police

    Late Thursday afternoon, demonstrators at one point began to disperse, but many returned.

    Supporters of Bush in formal attire were jostled and taunted by protesters as they arrived for a fund-raiser for the re-election campaign of Sen. Smith. After elbowing their way through the crowd of demonstrators, the VIPs were checked by Secret Service agents before they were allowed inside the hotel.

    Protestors face down riot police. (kgw.com Photo)

    A melee erupted after police ordered about 500 protesters to move from a barricaded area.

    Brian Schmautz, spokesman for Portland Police Bureau, said protesters threw things at the police.

    "We've have had a number of items thrown at our officers over the past few hours," he said.

    Riot police wearing helmets then walked into the area, pushing activists with their batons. Some activists fell. Police then fired aerosol canisters of pepper spray at the protesters.

    Other Protests in Oregon

    The Portland demonstrations came on the heels of protests in Central Point, Squires Peak and Medford, where Bush spoke earlier in the day about plans to increase forest logging in the hopes of reducing wildfire threats.

    In Central Point, the picketers gathered with signs outside the Jackson County Fairgrounds, the site of a Bush speech on forest policy. The signs attacked Bush on the environment and international policies.

    A dozen or more demonstrators dotted Bush's motorcade route up Squires Mountain. Some of the hand-lettered signs they waved at him: "No attack of Iraq. You can't fix Daddy's mistake" and "More forests, less Bush."

    They were far outnumbered by local families waiting at the ends of their driveways holding "We love you" and "We support you" signs. There were also scattered demonstrators when Bush arrived and departed from the airport in Medford.
    Yes, such peaceful demonstrators that throw things at police, just makes you wonder if *none* of them have ever been taught civilized manners in their lives. When you are asked and then told to clear the public walkways or streets so that regular Citizens may pass, you do have that obligation. You have the right to Free Speech, but you must also respect the rights of other Citizens to do as they wish and not hinder them. That is called 'civic responsibility'.

    Another eyewitness report of that demonstration on 22 AUG 2002 and a comment from the comment thread:

    According to one IMC reporter on the street, the crowd had broken up into several huge groups that have started getting back into one large group and heading towards the South Park blocks.

    He notes that there has been news that someone did get maced but couldn't confirm it. I didn't get his location or have heard from the other reporters on the field. But according to a radio reporter the cops have started macing the crowds. Cops have just maced a cameraman and it sounded like the reporter was getting shoved and maced. I know that throat clencher.

    And this JUST IN:

    Police have just declared a State of Emergency at 5th and Taylor. Anyone down there will be arrested. They have shoved the crowd several times and everyone's been peppersprayed. A line is forming and people are coming back. No news on what prompted this.

    [From an eyewitness account on 22 AUG 2002 in the comment thread ]

    The incident that triggered the biggest surge of riot cops that I saw at this location was a group of maybe 15 protestors that swarmed a police car trying to turn from 4th Ave. onto Taylor. Protestors halted the car, plastic bottles started flying everywhere, and when the riot cops realized the police car couldn't get through, then a bigger amount of gas and some rubber/contact bullets were let loose. I witnessed a wound from the rubber bullet guns, or whatever they were, and plenty of people were gassed, at least 40 were quite teared. The crowd ran quickly away, but immediately the riot cops retreated to their previous line as the crowd came back chanting "peace-ful pro-test, peace-ful pro-test." This was around 4:30 pm, at 4th & Taylor, and I have it all on tape.

    Also, every car I saw that needed to leave a parking garage was allowed through with minimal fuss. In fact, I'm surprised how little these drivers suffered, especially the SUVs. There should be no complaints from these people, not one.
    Stopping a police vehicle and assaulting it is a good reason to show that you are hostile, intend to use force and will not respect the civil authorities. In fact this was a deliberate provocation on the part of demonstrators to get a police response. This demonstration actually made the National News on CNN on 23 AUG 2002:

    PORTLAND, Oregon (CNN) -- As President Bush travels to a series of campaign stops in California on Friday, he leaves behind the aftermath of protest that turned violent on Thursday in Portland, Oregon.

    Black-helmeted police in full riot gear fired pepper spray, bean-bag rounds and rubber bullets at hundreds of protesters who filled the streets of Portland on Thursday outside the hotel where Bush attended Republican Sen. Gordon Smith's re-election campaign fund-raiser.

    While Bush was inside the Hilton Hotel, the protesters blasted the president on his international policies and the "Healthy Forests Initiative" he announced earlier in the day.


    Chanting "Drop Bush, Not Bombs" and carrying signs with messages that included "It's the Economy, Stupid," the crowd of mostly young people occasionally blocked streets and tied up traffic during the afternoon as they made their way from a downtown park to the hotel.

    At first policed by officers on horseback and on foot, the protest turned violent with the arrival of police in riot gear.

    They arrived when protesters refused to back off a barricade near the hotel. The protesters pounded on police cars and shouted, and police responded with batons, pepper spray and "non-lethal" ammunition.

    Portland media reports indicated that a handful of arrests were made during the day, and one police officer reportedly had minor injuries.

    The Portland Police Bureau declined to speak directly to CNN regarding the incident.

    Former Republican Sen. Mark Hatfield, blocked for a short time from entering the hotel for the Smith fund-raiser, said the protesters have a right to express their viewpoint.

    "At the same time, I have a right to freedom of assembly, too," he said.
    This would be pretty hard to be missed: assaulting a police vehicle, throwing objects at police, acting in a hostile manner, not clearing public streets and walkways when informed that the Public has the right of way to use them... all things that one really would think Mr. O'Reilly would take notice of.

    In point of fact the O'Reilly Report DID take notice of it on 23 AUG 2002:

    O'Reilly Factor features brief/interview on A22 protest

    Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor this evening ran footage of yesterday's protest in Portland, followed by an interview with protester Ivan Maluski of the American Land Allience.

    In essence, the host(not Bill O'Reilly; didn't get a name) played down the event in question, turning the interview into an argument over "thinning out" the forests. Major media drops the ball yet again.
    Yes, indeed, Mr. O'Reilly's very own staff could have pulled out transcripts and realized that their show had, indeed, noticed violent goings-on in Portland, OR previously. They (the MSM) 'dropped the ball' because the more radical elements were NOT PLAYED UP. It is hard to be a good and committed Transnational Progressivist staging demonstrations in a miserable minority and find that all that lovely radicalism isn't even reported upon.

    And just the following year, yes FOUR years ago, yet *another* protest in Portland, OR took place. This report on 20 MAR 2003:

    Portland sends anti-war message to commuters

    This afternoon in Portland, Oregon (aka Little Beirut) several thousand anti-war protesters joined forces and made their case against war while temporarily "paralyzing" the downtown area. Although I was unable to attend this evenings rallies, I was listening to local radio station KBOO and regularily checking for the latest news on Portland Indymedia ( http://portland.indymedia.org ). I would like to take a moment to thank each and everyone of you whom took the time out of your busy schedule to take part in such a moving display of empathy, angst and solidarity. Your actions were seen around the country...in Canada, Live on television in the midst of this horrible act against humanity that the Bush Administration has coined, "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

    Some might conclude that many of you are doing this soley to get your "face on tv"...when many of you cover your faces to not be known. Some call you idiots for blocking traffic, while some applaud a waging attrocity on the other side of the planet as if it were Super Bowl Sunday. Given the history and attention span of the general American Public, their interests will turn towards their daily lives and the Bush Regime will continue to wage war on every thing that stands in their steps to "freedom." Well, Cheney and Co., we have indured enough of your freedom fighting tactics to know better. They are more than just several thousand pissed off anarchists who "just want to break windows" or "piss the police off." They are the "freedom fighters" that you dare call yourselves. If we continue to stand aside and allow our civil liberties, our constitutional rights and our basic human rights to live...we will only become anoter victim of homeland terrorism.

    The people have spoken. They have liberated the city streets tonight. They have shown that a small handful of people can effectively shut your system down in tiny increments. We are people, just as yourselves....just as the casualties of war are no different except their skin colour and religious beliefs. Bring our military strength back home and feed those who starve to death each year at home and abroad. We DEMAND a non-violent end to this problem. We DEMAND a peaceful outcome. We will hold the Bush Administration accountable for every innocent life that is lost during this escapade.

    I can only hope that the days actions in Portland, San Francisco, Toronto, London and every place on this planet where people have spoken their mind doesn't go unnoticed. The tactics used today were very effective and I hope that with every action, the people continue to find new methods in which to tackle the infrastructure and make their case in the streets. To date, rallies/protests have been the ONLY peaceful method of getting their opinion out to the public in solidarity...and effectively. To those who criticize the methods used today...if the people caused your ride home to be extended...be thankful you don't find your innocent childs' life shortened because a country on the other side of the planet finds your leader to be "harmful" to their freedoms.

    When will the United States be held accountable for their war crimes?

    The people will not rest until this attrocity and all past and future attrocities have been stopped and justice served to those who have done wrong.

    We're going to tear it all down... brick by brick...wall by wall.

    Robby Russell
    And then this from another report from that day:
    Portland taken over by determined Anti-War Movement

    Thousands of anti-war citizens taking to the streets put Portland traffic in great distress for the past six hours, closing I-5, I-84, and I-405 and closing major bridges and disrupting city bus services and after-work traffic. This huge city-wide protest resulted in many arrests of protestors who conducted a civil disobedience action by venturing out into highly dangerous Interstate traffic to stop the flow of fast-moving cars. Critical Mass bicyclers also backed up traffic when hundreds took over the downtown streets with their bikes, while a few groups of protestors clashed with police in various areas of Portland. On the Steele Bridge in Portland this afternoon, riot police were called in after a clash between police and protestors that resulted in excessive pepper-spraying of a small group of citizens, and also hitting them with batons. A police motorcycle was knocked over, which caused an injury of one police officer who was treated by emergency medical technicians on the scene.

    Though 600 police officers were deployed today to handle the city-wide chaos of traffic, this evening, app. 200 Portland police are now being joined by Beaverton police in riot gear, to prepare for the ever growing rally of protestors now all peacefully convened together at 3rd and Burnside. Even though the rally now is very peaceful, there are tensions flying still because earlier in the day, anti-war protestors on Broadway spray -painted windows at a MacDonalds Restaurant and threw a hammer through one of its windows. A Ford car dealership in the same area reported its American flag was destroyed and its flag pole was bent and ripped out of the ground. A Shell gas station also reported receiving minor vandalism.

    Riot police also formed a wall down the middle of one street near Waterfront Park to form a barrier to block tensions between a small group of pro-war and anti-war groups who were exchanging angry views: one group wanting to support the troops by supporting the war effort, and the anti-war groups supporting the troops in their own way, by stating NO WAR and thus urging to end the war immediately and to bring the troops home.
    Yes, the ONLY way to communicate is via the mass demonstration, and such things as 'civic outreach', working in communities, talking to friends and neighbors, debating in civic fora and possibly even writing up works to be distributed are just not effective anymore. What is missed, however, is that the old concept of a 'mass rally' being the final culmination of months or years of work in cities, towns, and doing social outreach, as was the MLK march in Washington, has been replaced by the often abused 'mass rally' for the 'million being *this*' or 'protest for *that*' or 'demonstration for/against *the other*' so much that it is now 'Street Theater' in which the protesters are only demonstrating for themselves and have no greater depth in the Nation than their own, vehement attitudes.

    And also notice that these nameless, faceless vandals and intimidaters have decided to take up "freedom fighting" that starts to verge on terrorism. They have decided to not only forgo civil outreach and discussion, but now turn to faceless violence for which they cannot be held accountable. That is what you do when you are not a *mass movement* but only represent yourselves: you take to the streets to intimidate Citizens by screaming, vandalism and acting violent. By being a pain in the ass, these individuals and their groups are seeking to enforce their views upon a populace that does not speak through them. They are not "The People", these are the ones who refuse to accept representative democracy in the form of a Republic. They wish to tear that down and put their own views in place of that of the common Citizenry.

    That is not civil disobedience, but authoritarianism.

    And that is no surprise coming from how much more radicalized the Left is becoming in Portland, OR. This was brought to light by the Seattle Weekly article that talked about a Portland 'organizer' coming to Seattle a story on 09 APR 2003 Violence and Protest which looks at one man's work to radicalize an already radical area:
    Violence and Protest
    A Portland activist brings his call for destruction to Seattle.
    By Philip Dawdy

    Does political violence have a legitimate place in the peace movement? Definitely, says Craig Rosebraugh, a Portlander who has emerged as one of Americas leading voices of radicalized dissent. The threat to the life of the planet is so severe that political violence must be understood as a viable option, Rosebraugh said during a Seattle lecture two weeks ago. Its a line of thought the longtime activist has trumpeted throughout the Northwest and across the Internet in recent months.

    And when Rosebraugh talks, people listen and actat least they do in Portland. By most measures, Oregons largest city is now the center of protest in the Pacific Northwest, a stark contrast to the anemic scene in Seattle. At times, peace protests in Portland have turned into violent clashes with police, much to the shock of many activists there who prefer the old-school, nonviolent Ghandian approach.

    Rosebraugh says its time for a new school.

    On March 28, Rosebraugh delivered a three-hour-long address to about 40 people at downtown Seattles Independent Media Center. In it, he said that, by itself, nonviolent protest in America has never worked to change government policy, not during the civil rights movement and not during the Vietnam War. Then he sketched a condensed history of political violence as was used during the Algerian revolution of 19541962[sic]. Political violence works, he said, and its a tactic that should be adopted by the left.
    The movement from peaceful demonstration to terrorist demonstration is not coincidental, and the outlook of Mr. Rosebraugh to bring terrorism to the radical Left in America is one that seeks to increase violence and repression in the name of 'social justice'. And as he loves Algeria post-colonialist times for its violence in the name of social justice. The FLN did, indeed, fight the French, get a cease-fire and then seize power in Algeria and outlaw the political opposition, which was mostly Communist at the time. By taking over all of the State mechanisms for the Party, the FLN used their power in a way that is reminiscent of the 1930's in Wiemar Germany. After a few years that turned purely Fascistic in outlook by 1965, which makes the end-date of 1962 a bit of a problem as the troubles didn't *stop* then. Arguing for minoritarian control in a State is not a good idea at all and usually turns repressive and authoritarian quickly, rather than slowly.

    Over the next two decades unrest would slowly grow within Algeria and coalesce around Islamic terrorist groups seeking to supplant civil Fascism with the Islamic variety. The Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) would be the main organization at this and would gain its own Islamic opposition, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) which would align itself with Iran and al Qaeda. al Qaeda would then create its *own* group from a breakaway part of the GIA known as the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), which would then act for furtherance of al Qaeda's goals, sometimes with GIA and other times not. It seems strange that a Leftist would leave out the subsequent history of Algeria and try to give it a definite 'stop date'.

    But, when you are trying to gain revolution through violence, it is best not to point to the extremely bloody track record of such happenings throughout history. Because none of them have offered peace and democracy and increased civil rights, but, instead, a mixture of death, repression and destruction of society. Until they, in turn, are overthrown.

    Perhaps Mr. O'Reilly can update his outlook a bit.

    And report on things with just a bit more depth on the history involved of those wishing to take over the Nation.

    25 March 2007

    To the House of the 110th Congress of the United States

    Now, seeing as how the 110th Congress has put forth that things are not going well in Iraq and that the Nation can't continue on for 18 more months, I have recognized that the current Emergency Spending bill is highly defective.

    So, as a more direct alternative I present you with what it *should* look like:

    This, the 110th Congress of the United States, realizes that the long struggle in the war on terrorism has exhausted this Nation while fighting in Iraq. Collectively this war has so sapped our manpower that we must get illegal labor into this Nation to do the jobs which Americans can't do, which is all of them, save fighting for us as the NAFTA treaty only allows for the one-way movement of illegal labor and that is into the US, so we can't ship them anywhere.

    This Congress has also recognized that the actual will to fight any conflict in the modern era beyond two terms of Congress is foreordained to failure, as we have now recognized with the poor state of everything in the Nation. The United States has so exhausted itself in this fight in Iraq that our economy is in shambles and We, the Congress of the United States, can no longer even find it to get ongoing spending to fight a war all together. We have asked the Treasury Department to get us two pennies to rub together, but they have run out of copper.

    This Congress additionally sees that the ability of the United States to actually educate its population is impossible. In areas of math it has gotten to the point where this Congress no longer has the math skills to even figure out what a balanced budget looks like. Above and beyond that, the entire infrastructure from sewage lines to geostationary satellites is in such poor state that we are now using up the last of the sneakers in warehouses to walk around on and depending upon the mercies of tourists, who marvel at the ruins they behold in our once proud Nation, for handouts on a daily basis. As we have burned all the books, no one knows how to communicate by semaphore, nor can it be learned.

    This Congress continues to see that the only thing that works is dissent and we now are forced to dissent from the dissenting dissenters who are dissenting on the war and to bow to their superior wisdom in their multitude, which contain some of the best hikers and campers on the planet, to realize that war is a prime cause of carbon dioxide and raises the global temperature because of the amount of dissent that is being generated by them on a global basis. Luckily, only children under the age of 17 are left, save for the Congress and President, as all the rest have been devoured by the awesome maw of fighting known as Iraq, so the actual National production of carbon dioxide by the United States falls well within Kyoto limits. We did have to burn the treaty papers a few weeks back to keep things warm, or else we would sign it.

    This Congress regrets that 'The Mother of All Battles' was actually a wake-up call by Saddam Hussein to a real Deity that has, within Her Power, the ability to undo the entirety of the technological civilization that has been created since the dawn of mankind. And then She gets past the scolding stage and things get a bit rougher. As We did not know that, and that She has a waking up period of over a decade, we duly apologize for that inconvenience of having the corpses of Americans piled up 300 high around the entire perimeter of Iraq. "Making the Sea Red With Blood" was always assumed to be a metaphor and not a real noteworthy event that She can produce.

    This Congress realizes that the exhausted Nation of the United States now has a voting population of exactly 536 people, in which the Electoral votes now outnumber the voting age population. As such we can only put forth that this Congress is unable to fight nor tend to its duties for the millions of children starving that need to be tended to and that all of this is fully beyond us at this point in time. In a year we might be able to actually change that situation, but as the current Authorization of the Use of Force in Iraq demands that any Citizens of fighting age be shipped over immediately, we also have come to recognize that we have run out of building materials for rafts to send them into combat with bow and arrow. We have, noticeably, run out of trees as the Nation has denuded itself of all trees and wildlife completely in this battle. It is very difficult to carve boats out of rock, as we have found out.

    This Congress now tenders its Unconditional Surrender of the United States of America to the Republic of Iraq and ask that you send over anyone that might be able to fix things up a bit. We have entire States in need of population and the soil once was good for something, but now looks more like Iraq than anything else, so you should feel right at home here. We do ask for your kind mercy in accepting this surrender and calling off She Who is Red Soaked Beyond Compare.

    If you know how.


    Unanimously signed by this, the 110th Congress of the United States.

    P.S. - Could you bring some milk and cookies?
    Please note all defects in the current bill and amend it accordingly.

    Congress loses the will for anything

    In the great and grand wisdom of Congress to issue its Joint Reslolution for the Authorization of the Use of Force Against Iraq in 2002, the Congress set this Nation on a path to fighting a war to do many things. This was a very broad use of the War Powers for the Armed Forces of the United States, but did lack in many of the concepts of actually committing the Nation to a real war. In WWII, as an example, Congress stopped Civilian production of things like automobiles and stoves and such, to change the Nation to a war-time production capability for things like tanks, military aircraft, guns, bullets, and all sorts of things necessary to provide clothing and food to the draft military. Land was taken to create new Arsenals and other buildings to produce wartime needs, and even huge construction projects were begun, like the Pentagon. Further the entire National treasury was raided for all of its silver to be used, not as cash, but to create huge electromagnets to separate isotopes of uranium.

    That is what Congress can do when it declares war, which is exactly what a Congressional Authorization for the Use of Force *is*.

    The broad scope and sweep of this Congressional Authorization was to do *more* than unseat a tyrant and *more* than stop all WMD programs in Iraq. With ties between Iraq and a multitude of terrorist organizations known by Iraqi training and supplies to such organizations, the reach of Iraq into the terror realm was huge by the web of personal contacts seen. Captured Foreign Ministry archives from Iraq, plus documents captured in Afghanistan, show a far reaching ability of Iraq into far corners of the planet, to ensure that money, weapons, training and supplies could be afforded by Iraq against those that were seeking to limit its power. Just how far did this stretch? Well some points to ponder:

    Center for Defense Information looking at FARC-IRA connectivity finds this in the report of 5 JUN 2002:

    Long before Osama bin Laden’s Islamic organization achieved notoriety through its attacks in America on Sept. 11, 2001, other terrorist groups established operational bonds with their counterparts and sponsors across the world. Such collaboration flourished in the 1990s, and members of the international terrorism community are believed to have trained in many countries, often — but not always — with local government approval. The list of countries in which such training has occurred includes: Afghanistan; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Chile; Colombia; Iran; Iraq; Lebanon; Libya; Mexico; North Korea; Pakistan; Peru; Russia; South Africa; Sudan; Syria; and Turkey.
    And then a bit later in:

    According to Gen. Fernando Tapias, chairman of the Columbian Joint Chiefs of Staff, nationals from Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua, Ecuador, El Salvador, Venezuela, Israel and Germany have been identified by FARC informants and deserters as carrying out recent training for the Columbian terrorist group.
    Transnational terrorism is a diverse and multi-level support inter-network, which has multiple points of training of which Iraq was seen as involved in that during the 1990's and later. This can be seen in this report in the Independent story (H/t: Cheatseeking Missiles) Revealed: IRA bombs killed eight British soldiers in Iraq on 16 OCT 2005 showing IRA bomb technology working its way into Iraq today through various channels:

    Eight British soldiers killed during ambushes in Iraq were the victims of a highly sophisticated bomb first used by the IRA, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

    The soldiers, who were targeted by insurgents as they travelled through the country, died after being attacked with bombs triggered by infra-red beams. The bombs were developed by the IRA using technology passed on by the security services in a botched "sting" operation more than a decade ago.

    This contradicts the British government's claims that Iran's Revolutionary Guard is helping Shia insurgents to make the devices.

    The Independent on Sunday can also reveal that the bombs and the firing devices used to kill the soldiers, as well as two private security guards, were initially created by the UK security services as part of a counter-terrorism strategy at the height of the troubles in the early 1990s.

    According to security sources, the technology for the bombs used in the attacks, which were developed using technology from photographic flash units, was employed by the IRA some 15 years ago after Irish terrorists were given advice by British agents.

    "We are seeing technology in Iraq today that it took the IRA 20 years to develop," said a military intelligence officer with experience in Northern Ireland.


    But a former agent who infiltrated the IRA told The Independent on Sunday that the technology reached the Middle East through the IRA's co-operation with Palestinian groups. In turn, some of these groups used to be sponsored by Saddam Hussein and his Baath party.

    The former agent added: "The photographic flashgun unit was replaced with infra-red and then coded infra-red, but basically they were variations of the same device. The technology came from the security forces, but the IRA always shared its equipment and expertise with Farc guerrillas in Colombia, the Basque separatists, ETA and Palestinian groups. There is no doubt in my mind that the technology used to kill our troops in Basra is the same British technology from a decade ago."

    Even more alarming is the claim that the devices were supplied by the security services to an agent inside the Provisionals as part of a dangerous game of double bluff.
    Notice the path for the technology is *from* a botched UK operation and went to the IRA and then to Palestinian organization and then to Iraq during the 1990's. The IRA shared that technology outwards to other organizations, too. No one said that learning terrorism was a one-way street, and once the technology is known it can be passed on via training to other organizations. Mind you the IRA worked on and *perfected* the technology, but those are mere variants of the original that weave a tangled web.

    Saddam had been funding Palestinian terrorists for years, with money to the families of suicide bombers, slowly increasing his payouts from $10,000 to $30,000 just before the overthrow of the regime there. More than just Hamas or the PLO, were members of Islamic Jihad that also got this blood money. Thus the cooperative back-link can be used as means to get new information TO Iraq, be it INTEL or new weapons technology.

    Within Iraq, itself, to go around the 'no fly/no drive zone' put in place to protect the Kurds, Saddam helped al Qaeda set up an affiliate there, from the MIPT Terror Knowledge Base:

    Ansar al Islam

    Ansar al-Islam is an Islamic fundamentalist organization headquartered in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq. Ansar was created in December 2001 from the merger of Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam) and an unnamed group led by Mullah Krekar. Jund al-Islam was itself a conglomerate, formed from smaller groups that had broken off from the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan in the mid-nineties, such as Hamas (not the Palestinian group), the Second Soran Unit, and the Tawhid Islamic Front. Evidence suggests that al-Qaeda played a role in the formation of Ansar and that it continues to provide some funding and training. Ansar al-Islam's founding philosophy called for the establishment of a Kurdish theocracy under sharia, or strict Islamic law. Its radically religious stance put Ansar at odds with Kurdistan"s secular parties, such as the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). In February 2003, members of Ansar al Islam assassinated Shawkat Hajji Mushir, Kurdish parliamentarian and PUK founder, as he left a meeting. The gunmen also killed two officials accompanying Mushir, and then proceeded to open fire on the village of Oamesh Tapa where the meeting had taken place. The group has also been accused of involvement in a failed 2002 assassination attempt against Kurdish leader Barham Saleh.

    The foundations of Ansar al-Islam are part Kurd, part Saddam, mostly al Qaeda and truly horrific. We ignore these connections at our peril, as they show a larger web of which Iraq was a *part* not the *whole*. We have some idea of the scope of what was being looked at when an Iranian born smuggler switched sides after the fall of the Taliban and told of his contacts with Saddam's regime in this 03 APR 2002 CSMonitor report by Scott Peterson:

    Mr. Shahab spoke last weekend in an intelligence complex run by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of two rival armed Kurdish factions that control northern Iraq. He did not appear coerced to speak, and bore no physical signs that he had been mistreated since his arrest on May 16, 2000.

    Still, shaking nervously and swallowing repeatedly, he at first refused to answer questions, saying that he was concerned about his family's safety in Iran. Two days later – after learning that part of his smuggling history and role in several killings had already been made public in the New Yorker magazine – he agreed to describe information that he had previously withheld, about Iraq's plan to target US warships.

    "If this information is true, it would be in the interest of the US, and of all the world, for the US to be here to find out," says a senior Kurdish security officer involved in the case. Kurdish investigators were initially skeptical of some parts of Shahab's story. But the investigators say they later independently confirmed precise descriptions of the senior Iraqi officials Shahab says he met, by cross-examining a veteran Iraqi intelligence officer in their custody, and checking other sources.

    Wearing a pale-green military jacket, dark-blue sweat pants and worn plastic sandals, Shahab softly recounts how he smuggled arms and explosives for Al Qaeda and the Iraqis. He at times flashes a boyish smile – the same disarming grin he uses in images on a roll of film he was carrying when arrested. Shahab also claims to be an assassin. The photos – shown to the Monitor – show Shahab killing an unidentified man with a knife. He grins at the camera as he holds up the victim's severed ear.

    During a two-and-a-half-hour interview, Shahab describes the origin of the plot to blow up US warships, while his hands work nervously. He received an urgent phone call early in 2000, from a longtime Afghan contact named Othman, who told him to go to a meeting in Iraq. In February 2000, Shahab says he was taken to the village of Ouija, the birthplace of Saddam Hussein near Hussein's clan base at Tikrit, in north central Iraq.

    At the meeting, he says, were two influential Iraqis, fellow clansmen of Saddam Hussein: Ali Hassan al-Majid – Mr. Hussein's powerful cousin and former defense minister – and Luai Khairallah, a cousin and friend of Hussein's notoriously brutal son Uday. Mr. al-Majid is known among Iraqi Kurds as "Chemical Ali," for his key role in the genocidal gassing and destruction of villages in northern Iraq that killed more than 100,000 Kurds in 1987 and 1988.

    The Iraqis said they considered Shahab to be Arab, and not Persian, and could trust him because he was from Ahvaz, a river city in southwest Iran rich with smugglers and close to the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Kuwait. It is known as "Arabistan" because of the number of Arabs living there.

    Nine missions

    Al-Majid and Mr. Khairallah spoke of the nine operations: "We've allocated $16 million already for you," Shahab remembers them telling him. "We start with the first one: We need you to buy boats, pack them with 500 kilograms of explosives each, and explode US ships in Kuwait and the Gulf."

    The plan was "long term," Shahab says, and meant to be carried out a year or so later, in early 2001, after he had carried out another mission to take refrigerator motors to the Taliban. Each motor had a container attached holding an apparently important liquid unknown to Shahab. He says he doesn't know if all nine operations mentioned were similar to the boat plan, or completely different. Some were to take place in Kuwait.

    The attack against a US vessel, Shahab recounts al-Majid and Khairallah explaining, was to be "a kind of revenge because [the Americans] were killing Iraqis, and women and children were dying" because of stringent UN sanctions, which the US backed most strongly. "They said: 'This is the Arab Gulf, not the American Gulf,' " Shahab recalls, referring to the large US naval presence in the area.
    Not in and of itself confirmatory, but it is not the only reports that have come out of the area. As the story notes this plot sounds very similar to the failed USS The Sullivans plot and the later USS Cole plot. Also note that mission #2 to the Taliban was to smuggle in some sort of liquids encased inside refrigerator motors, items unlikely to be closely inspected for much of anything. So on to Johnathan Schanzer at The Weekly Standard in this 01 MAR 2004 article on Saddam's Ambassador to al Qaeda:

    Before recounting details from my January 29 interview, some caution is necessary. Al-Shamari's account was compelling and filled with specific information that would either make him a skilled and detailed liar or a man with information that the U.S. public needs to hear. My Iraqi escort informed me that al-Shamari has been in prison since March 2002, that U.S. officials have visited him several times, and that his story has remained consistent. There was little language barrier; my Arabic skills allowed me to understand much of what al-Shamari said, even before translation. Finally, subsequent conversations with U.S. government officials in Washington and Baghdad, as well as several articles written well before this one, indicate that al-Shamari's claims have been echoed by other sources throughout Iraq.

    When I walked into the tiny interrogation room, it was midmorning. I had just finished interviews with two other prisoners--both members of Ansar al Islam, the al Qaeda affiliate responsible for attacks against Kurdish and Western targets in northern Iraq. The group had been active in a small enclave near Halabja in the Kurdistan region from about September 2001 until the U.S. assault on Iraq last spring, when its Arab and Kurdish fighters fled over the Iranian border, only to return after the war. U.S. officials now suspect Ansar in some of the bloodier attacks against U.S. interests throughout Iraq.

    My first question to al-Shamari was whether he was involved in the operations of Ansar al Islam. My translator asked him the question in Arabic, and al-Shamari nodded: "Yes." Al-Shamari, who appears to be in his late twenties, said that his division of the Mukhabarat provided weapons to Ansar, "mostly mortar rounds." This statement echoed an independent Kurdish report from July 2002 alleging that ordnance seized from Ansar al Islam was produced by Saddam's military and a Guardian article several weeks later alleging that truckloads of arms were shipped to Ansar from areas controlled by Saddam.

    In addition to weapons, al-Shamari said, the Mukhabarat also helped finance Ansar al Islam. "On one occasion we gave them ten million Swiss dinars [$700,000]," al-Shamari said, referring to the pre-1990 Iraqi currency. On other occasions, the Mukhabarat provided more than that. The assistance, he added, was furnished "every month or two months."

    I then picked up a picture of a man known as Abu Wael that I had acquired from Kurdish intelligence. In the course of my research, several sources had claimed that Abu Wael was on Saddam's payroll and was also an al Qaeda operative, but few had any facts to back up their claim. For example, one Arabic daily, al-Sharq al-Awsat, stated flatly before the Iraq war, "all information indicates [that Abu Wael] was the link between al Qaeda and the Iraqi regime" but neglected to provide any such information. Agence France-Presse after the war cited a Kurdish security chief's description of Abu Wael as a "key link to Saddam's former Baath regime" and an "intelligence agent for the ousted president originally from Baghdad." Again, nothing was provided to substantiate this claim.

    In my own analysis of this group, I could do little but weakly assert that Wael was "reportedly an al Qaeda operative on Saddam's payroll." The best reporting on Wael came from a March 2002 New Yorker article by Jeffrey Goldberg, who had visited a Kurdish prison in northern Iraq and interviewed Ansar prisoners. He spoke with one Iraqi intelligence officer named Qassem Hussein Muhammed, whom Kurdish intelligence captured while he was on his way to the Ansar enclave. Muhammed told Goldberg that Abu Wael was "the actual decision-maker" for Ansar al Islam and "an employee of the Mukhabarat."

    "Do you know this man?" I asked al-Shamari. His eyes widened and he smiled. He told me that he knew the man in the picture, but that his graying beard was now completely white. He said that the man was Abu Wael, whose full name is Colonel Saadan Mahmoud Abdul Latif al-Aani. The prisoner told me that he had worked for Abu Wael, who was the leader of a special intelligence directorate in the Mukhabarat. That directorate provided assistance to Ansar al Islam at the behest of Saddam Hussein, whom Abu Wael had met "four or five times." Al-Shamari added that "Abu Wael's wife is Izzat al-Douri's cousin," making him a part of Saddam's inner circle. Al-Douri, of course, was the deputy chairman of Saddam's Revolutionary Command Council, a high-ranking official in Iraq's armed forces, and Saddam's righthand man. Originally number six on the most wanted list, he is still believed to be at large in Iraq, and is suspected of coordinating aspects of insurgency against American troops, primarily in the Sunni triangle.

    Why, I asked, would Saddam task one of his intelligence agents to work with the Kurds, an ethnic group that was an avowed enemy of the Baath regime, and had clashed with Iraqi forces on several occasions? Al-Shamari said that Saddam wanted to create chaos in the pro-American Kurdish region. In other words, he used Ansar al Islam as a tool against the Kurds. As an intelligence official for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (one of the two major parties in northern Iraq) explained to me, "Most of the Kurdish fighters in Ansar al Islam didn't know the link to Saddam." They believed they were fighting a local jihad. Only the high-level lieutenants were aware that Abu Wael was involved.

    Al-Shamari also told me that the links between Saddam's regime and the al Qaeda network went beyond Ansar al Islam. He explained in considerable detail that Saddam actually ordered Abu Wael to organize foreign fighters from outside Iraq to join Ansar. Al-Shamari estimated that some 150 foreign fighters were imported from al Qaeda clusters in Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, and Lebanon to fight with Ansar al Islam's Kurdish fighters.

    I asked him who came from Lebanon. "I don't know the name of the group," he replied. "But the man we worked with was named Abu Aisha." Al-Shamari was likely referring to Bassam Kanj, alias Abu Aisha, who was a little-known militant of the Dinniyeh group, a faction of the Lebanese al Qaeda affiliate Asbat al Ansar. Kanj was killed in a January 2000 battle with Lebanese forces.

    Al-Shamari said that there was also contact with the Egyptian "Gamaat al-Jihad," which is now seen as the core of al Qaeda's leadership, as well as with the Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which bin Laden helped create in 1998 as an alternative to Algeria's Armed Islamic Group (GIA). Al-Shamari talked of Abu Wael's links with Turkey's "Jamaa al-Khilafa"--likely the group also known as the "Union of Islamic Communities" (UIC) or the "Organization of Caliphate State." This terror group, established in 1983 by Cemalettin Kaplan, reportedly met with bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1997, and later sent cadres there to train. Three years before 9/11, UIC plotted to crash a plane into Ankara's Ataturk Mausoleum on a day when hundreds of Turkish officials were present.

    Al-Shamari stated that Abu Wael sometimes traveled to meet with these groups. All of them, he added, visited Wael in Iraq and were provided Iraqi visas. This corroborates an interview I had with a senior PUK official in April 2003, who stated that many of the Arab fighters captured or killed during the war held passports with Iraqi visas.

    Al-Shamari said that importing foreign fighters to train in Iraq was part of his job in the Mukhabarat. The fighters trained in Salman Pak, a facility located some 20 miles southeast of Baghdad. He said that he had personal knowledge of 500 fighters that came through Salman Pak dating back to the late 1990s; they trained in "urban combat, explosives, and car bombs." This account agrees with a White House Background Paper on Iraq dated September 12, 2002, which cited the "highly secret terrorist training facility in Iraq known as Salman Pak, where both Iraqis and non-Iraqi Arabs receive training on hijacking planes and trains, planting explosives in cities, sabotage, and assassinations."

    Abu Wael also sent money to the aforementioned al Qaeda affiliates, and to other groups that "worked against the United States." Abu Wael dispensed most of the funds himself, al-Shamari said, but there was also some cooperation with Abu Musab al Zarqawi.

    Zarqawi, as the prisoner explained, was al Qaeda's link to Iraq in the same way that Abu Wael was the Iraqi link to al Qaeda. Indeed, Zarqawi (who received medical attention in Baghdad in 2002 for wounds that he suffered from U.S. forces in Afghanistan) and Abu Wael helped Ansar al Islam prepare for the U.S. assault on its small enclave last year. According to al-Shamari, Ansar was given the plan from the top Iraqi leadership: "If the U.S. was to hit [the Ansar base], the fighters were directed to go to Ramadi, Tikrit, Mosul . . . Faluja and other places." This statement agreed with a prior prisoner interview I had with the attempted murderer of Barham Salih, prime minister of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. This second prisoner told me that "Ansar had plans to go south if the U.S. would attack."

    Al-Shamari said the new group was to be named Jund ash-Sham, and would deal mainly in explosives. He believed that Zarqawi and Abu Wael were responsible for some of the attacks against U.S. soldiers in central Iraq. "Their directives were to hit America and American interests," he said.

    Al-Shamari claimed to have had prior information about al Qaeda attacks in the past. "I knew about the attack on the American in Jordan," he said, referring to the November 2002 assassination of USAID official Lawrence Foley. "Zarqawi," he said, "ordered that man to be killed."
    Now here is a man high up in Saddam's regime retelling of his contacts with multiple terrorist organizations and naming names, dates, places and typifying the work done. It is unlikely, in the extreme, that any individual would have knowledge of the workings of multiple terrorist organizations nor be able to point out the role of individuals both within the ruling circle of Saddam and the external contacts unless that individual was inside that ruling circle.

    In a 15 JAN 2003 article by Jonathan Schanzer of the Washington Institute on Ansar al-Islam and its ties to Saddam and al Qaeda looks at the overview of what is known about the organization. The depth of this goes beyond the mere few hundred thousand dollars, arms and ammunition being supplied by Saddam, and looks at the advanced chemical weapons training that was available to Ansar al-Islam from the Saddam regime.

    This Voice of America article by Nick Simeone on 20 AUG 2002 highlights one of the captures of chemical weapons:

    Administration officials tell reporters the Pentagon recently considered a secret military attack against the small Islamic Kurdish group known as Ansar al-Islam, operating in Iraq's northern no-fly zone and outside territory controlled by President Saddam.

    It was there that U-S officials say they believed the group appeared to be experimenting with deadly chemical or biological agents tests similar to those recorded on video by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network in Afghanistan and obtained by C-N-N.

    On those tapes, a dog appears to be suffering an agonizing death shortly after a poisonous substance is released.

    It's unclear what motive the Iraqi group might have had for experimenting with poison gas but a U-S official tells the Associated Press some of its members trained in camps in Afghanistan and were in contact with al-Qaida.

    Early in the war in Afghanistan, coalition troops found manuals for making chemical agents in abandoned al-Qaida strongholds in Kabul.

    At the Pentagon Tuesday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld repeated his belief that al-Qaida militants are in Iraq with Baghdad's knowledge -- but would not comment on any administration discussion concerning a strike on the suspected test site. But Administration officials who ask not to be identified say a decision was made not to target the facility after it was determined to be too rudimentary to pose a serious threat, one sufficient -- at this time -- to warrant the risks of a military operation to take it out.
    From this the linkages for chemical weapons and supplies can be inferred to be a knowledge sharing arrangement with al Qaeda spreading knowledge to its affiliates, with the most likely source State being that of Saddam's regime. This is followed on 20 JAN 2003 at the Globalsecurity.org Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty archives with two reports:


    The new leader of Ansar Al-Islam, Mullah Muhammad Hasan, has said, "If America invades Iraq, we will attack its troops," London's "The Sunday Telegraph" reported on 12 January. Hasan's comments were made to Turkish journalist Namik Durukan in the town of Biyare (northern Iraq). Ansar apparently has stores of chemical agents, including cyanide gas, ricin, and aflatoxin. A former Iraqi Mukhabarat agent named Abu Wa'il is reportedly responsible for smuggling the chemical agents into northern Iraq. "Ansar has taken chemical weapons left over from the Iran-Iraq war," according to Kurdish official Muhammad Aziz. "We feel the pressure of waiting in fear that [Ansar] will throw chemicals on us again and hell will return," Aziz added.

    Other Kurdish officials have reported that the group is carrying out chemical-weapons testing on animals and humans, and has dispatched suicide bombers targeting Kurdish leaders on at least one occasion, according to the newspaper report. The 2,000-strong group claims to have killed 1,000 Kurdish peshmerga since last year. Durukan reported that he observed hundreds of foreign fighters in the region, many of them believed to be Taliban, walking the streets with their families in tow. In addition, Western intelligence officials observed members of the Iraqi Republican Guard in two Ansar-run villages last year, "The Sunday Telegraph" reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo)


    A memorandum found in an Al-Qaeda guesthouse in Kabul highlighted the struggle for Kurdistan by Islamic militants. The memorandum, dated 11 August 2001 and from a group called the Iraqi Kurdistan Islamic Brigade, points out that the "Islamic Brigade [ketibe] has already succeeded around Halabja and will try to establish an Islamic order [Shariah]" according to a translation of the document appearing in "The New York Times" on 13 January.

    The "Islamic Brigade", known as the Jund al-Islam but later changed its name to the Ansar al-Islam, has been fighting for control of an area around Halabja along the Iranian border with Iraq for two years (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 13 September 2001) against PUK forces. The memorandum asks the Islamic Unity Movement of Kurdistan to cut its links to the PUK and apply the Shari'a in areas which it controls.

    Also, "Yekgirtu" of Irbil on 10 January carried an interview with Umar Abd-al-Aziz, a member of the Kurdistan Islamic Union Political Bureau, with regard to the anticipated changes in Iraq. While conceding the necessity of changing the regime, he stated: "We are not for foreign interference and the imposition of a military governor. We believe that such procedures will further complicate the political conditions in Iraq."

    A recent article in "The New York Times" on 12 January highlights the fighting around Shinirwe Mountain which overlooks Halabja. The basic issue is not that the Ansar al-Islam has so many troops (the article assumes some 600), but that they would endanger U.S. troops if there is, in fact, an armed confrontation with Saddam Hussein. A U.S. official has confirmed that Ansar al-Islam is linked with Al-Qaeda. (David Nissman)
    These things are not just spurious reports, they point to linkages of ongoing work from more than al Qaeda, which is on the run at this point in time, and sourcing chemicals and equipment is not something a band of rag-tag terrorists in the hinterland of Kurdish Iraq should be able to easily accomplish. In point of fact anyone wishing to say that this was not happening, that there are no connections and that a high level al Qaeda operative could get into Iraq and a hospital run by one of Saddam's sons and then *leave* and raise no suspicions in a police state, is then trying to back up Saddam's own spokesman, which does not leave one in good company.

    Another individual cited for the connection of Ansar al-Islam and Saddam's regime is Qassem Hussein Mohamed, who claims to have worked Mukhabarat for the secret police in Iraq. This article from the Institute for Counter-Terrorism by Yael Shahar, looks into this with a report on 23 MAY 2003:

    According to a report in the Christian Science Monitor, new details on Ansar al-Islam’s connections with al-Qaida were provided by the interrogation of Rafid Ibrahim Fatah, an Iraqi Arab currently held by the PUK. Fatah was interviewed by the magazine’s reporter at a PUK security complex in Sulaymaniyah. He said that the group had received money once from Abu Qatada, a London cleric linked to bin Ladin’s European network. He also reported that an Ansar delegation had met with Mohammed Atef, alias Abu Hafas al-Masri, bin Ladin’s military chief, but that bin Ladin rarely met personally with such groups.

    The PUK claims that Ansar al-Islam also has ties to agents of Saddam Hussein operating in northern Iraq. The CSMonitor quoted a long-time veteran of Iraqi intelligence as saying that the Iraqi government secretly provided cash and training to Ansar, in a bid to destabilize the “safe haven” and weaken armed Kurdish opponents:
    Qassem Hussein Mohamed, who says he worked for Baghdad’s Mukhabarat intelligence for two decades, says that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has clandestinely supported Ansar al-Islam for several years. “[Ansar] and Al Qaeda groups were trained by graduates of the Mukhabarat’s School 999 — military intelligence,” says Mr. Mohamed, in the Sulaymaniyah interrogation room. Kurdish investigators say they are convinced — based on other, confirmable parts of his story — that he is a Mukhabarat agent. “My information is that the Iraqi government was directly supporting [Al Qaeda] with weapons and explosives,” he says. “[Ansar] was part of Al Qaeda, and given support with training and money.”
    Qassem Mohamed compared Baghdad’s role to the overt help Iraq gives the anti-Iran Mujahideen e-Khalq forces, which are known to be completely controlled by Iraqi intelligence within Iraq’s borders. Several of the group’s leaders, he says, were on the Iraqi intelligence payroll, and served as liaisons between Baghdad and al-Qaida.

    Observers point out that Saddam Hussein has a history of supporting proxy groups as a way to undermine his enemies. Supporting Ansar may provide him with a way to deal with his Kurdish enemies at very little cost to his own forces. “The government does not like this ‘safe haven,’ and wants to destroy and destabilize everyone, everywhere,” Mohamed says. “They are using [Ansar] as a base to destabilize northern Iraq, and assassinate and kill people. Baghdad will never give up supporting them.”

    Thus, Ansar al-Islam is able to burn the candle at both ends, taking money and resources from the secular dictator Saddam in exchange for help against the Kurds of northern Iraq, while at the same time giving safe-haven to al-Qaida fighter in furtherance of the global Islamic Jihad.

    Non-conventional weapons

    Ansar al-Islam became front-page news last August, when reports surfaced that the group was experimenting with poison gas and toxins. According a report by ABC News, the experiments were ordered and financed by a “senior al-Qaida official, who was providing money and guidance from elsewhere in the region.”

    Most of the experiments reportedly dealt with ricin, a deadly toxin derived from the castor bean. According to the report, members of Ansar al-Islam tested ricin water, as a powder, and as an aerosol. “They used it to kill donkeys, chickens and at one point allegedly exposed a man in an Iraqi market. They then followed him home and watched him die several days later, sources said.”

    Yet another citation of training and support given by Saddam, purely secular, to al Qaeda, IslamoFascistic, to go against a common enemy. This is not surprising in the least, and it is those that propose otherwise that need to begin demonstrating how multiple individuals give separate and independent accounts of this from multiple directions that all cross-confirm each other.

    Just after the Colin Powell speech at the UN Eric Felton interviewed Matt Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Mark Mazzetti of U.S. News and World Report; and Magnus Ranstorp of St. Andrew's University about a nexus of connections showing up between Iraq and al Qaeda on 15 FEB 2003:

    Host: How solid is the evidence presented by the U-S that Zarqawi is heading up a cell of terrorists?

    Ranstorp: Well, it's very clear that he has sought refuge in Iraq. In fact, he was previously in Iran. It became a hot political issue behind the scenes. During the time when Bush was declaring his "Axis of Evil" speech, Zarqawi was actually in Iran. It is, of course, very troublesome. I think that the strongest linkage is really with the assassination of Lawrence Foley in Jordan. Zarqawi is Jordanian. He has a great interest in trying to not only create problems for the Jordanians, but also his network stands out from influences in there. In terms of the case Powell has made, I think that it is a serious cause of concern. Zarqawi is a serious operative. I'm not so sure how strong the linkages are with the European cells, particularly because some of those arrests have been very fresh and it would be extraordinarily surprising to me if they'd been able to backtrack that back to the person of Zarqawi.

    Host: What do we know about the London case involving ricin? Is there much information available at this point about that?

    Ranstorp: Well, the ricin case is very troublesome. I think through the unraveling of the European network, beginning particularly with the French, there have been troublesome linkages between all these European countries and it will take a lot of time before we can establish a formal link between all these different groups. And I think that therefore we have to be very cognizant of this fact. I think the real question is: what degree of control does the Iraq regime exercise over Zarqawi? It is very clear that they have allowed him to operate, to use the infrastructure necessary to be able to cause some serious problems. But there is no real evidence of the fact that the Iraqi regime is controlling Zarqawi.

    Levitt: Powell said specifically that that's not what they're claiming. But that of course the definition of state sponsorship does not necessarily include that you are operating the cell. Tolerating [and] providing refuge [to terrorists] is sufficient. And I think one of the reasons that we know so much about this network including its links to Europe is because of the arrest of one key Zarqawi lieutenant in particular, who in a really interesting demonstration of lack of being careful, right after the assassination of Foley couldn't help himself and called one of the assassins on a satellite phone from his car as he was leaving Iraq towards the Turkish and Syrian borders to congratulate the assassins and said: "I'm in my car and I'm driving out of Iraq." And he was subsequently captured. So the interrogations of this particular lieutenant who is senior player are providing a great deal of information. And as I understand it, is one of the key issues that led Powell and the U-S government to decide to include the Zarqawi material to convince them of the veracity of the link.

    Host: Mark Mazzetti?

    Mazzetti: Yeah, I mean, I think it is important to point out this purported link between al-Qaida and Iraq -- at least according to U-S officials, really has been gathering evidence, strong evidence, only during the last few weeks or couple of months. I mean, back in November and October when we were asking about this link, you talked to people and they said, well, we don't have a whole lot of this evidence. This guy Zarqawi, we think was in Iraq. It's really within the last, you know, few weeks where, as Matt was saying, they've gotten more and more interrogations and they think this link is stronger and stronger, as we saw, because Powell would actually say it publicly. So, at least according to them, the case gets stronger by the day.

    Levitt: There is another detainee that Powell mentioned specifically in his remarks to the United Nations, again, where he said a member of the Zarqawi's network admitted to dispatching terrorists to Europe to conduct chemical attacks.


    Host: Magnus Ranstorp, you mentioned Iran before and as Matt Levitt expanded on that to talk about how groups that traditionally were thought not to have shared interests -- certainly Iran and Iraq, no love is lost between the two -- and the idea that bin Laden would be opposed to Saddam Hussein because of Saddam Hussein being very secular. Are those traditional barriers between cooperation falling down?

    Ranstorp: Well, I think Matt was making the point earlier that the traditional boundaries between ideological grounds are not a very valuable tool today to look at whether groups would cooperate or not. We're talking about individuals who are working together. And I think a very worrisome signal came around May and the summer when you had a conference of these forces, including Zarqawi's associates, making an alliance with Hezbollah, making alliances and going through Syria and Lebanon and trying to make actually, a mega, catastrophic terrorist event inside of Israel. We should not forget that prior to this, one of the al-Qaida targets was an Israeli tourist resort as well as trying to shoot down an airliner. And I think that there has been an effort to try to include Israel in this equation. I think that will influence very much the ferocity of an al-Qaida campaign and like-minded associates that will possibly continue to try to inflict their pain and suffering against the United States. Let me just make one other comment. Previously [we talked] about the weapons of mass destruction. It's not only Iraq. I mean, Iraq had this conference of forces between Saddam and W-M-D and Zarqawi, but a major concern that even comes outside of this war with Iraq, and that is the expectation from security forces, particularly in Europe, that if you're talking about radiological weapons, they will not come from Iraq, but a lot of them from the former Soviet Union.

    Host: And is there evidence that al-Qaida has been trying to get its hands on such weapons?

    Ranstorp: Well, we know Chechnya is becoming a new Afghanistan. I think our attention, even after Iraq, will be upon it. It's going to focus our attention toward that area. There's a lot of radiological material there. There's the expertise. Even certain terrorist groups have been casing nuclear warhead facilities in the former Soviet Union. So there's a great concern that they may come through that direction as well. And of course, Zarqawi has links to that region in this network and we should be equally concerned about that area as well.

    Host: Matt Levitt, Magnus Ranstorp mentions this meeting that was held with Zarqawi and Hezbollah. What connections are there among Zarqawi, Hezbollah, Iraq, and Hamas?

    Levitt: Well, I don't think you can map out a clear organizational chart and give titles and everything and say exactly what the relationship is. Again, it's a network, and like Magnus said, it's relationships. And they have built relationships that they will call on. People in the administration talk about ad hoc tactical, specifically on training and logistical support, relationships between members of al-Qaida and Hezbollah. Hamas is somewhat of a different story operationally, but even between groups like al-Qaida and Hamas that don't have operational links, there are very significant financial and logistical links. And if you look at many of the banks and the front organizations and the preferred methods of raising, transferring and laundering funds, many of those systems are the same, like the al-Taqwa banking system, which was originally shut down after September 11th for its links to al-Qaida, but has subsequently been linked very strongly to Hamas and many others. The director of the C-I-A, George Tenet, said in response to a question about the fact that Sheik Yassin, the head of Hamas, has come out and said in an open letter on February 7th, in the event of a war with Iraq, all good Muslims should conduct attacks against the West and specifically the United States. The director said, indeed, the time when we used to make [distinctions] between terrorist organizations is over. And I think that's very, very significant. These are different groups. They're not all necessarily doing the exact same thing the exact same way. There are links between them. There are relationships between their members and they are significant.


    Host: Magnus Ranstorp, with regard to Ansar al-Islam operating in the north of Iraq, we recently had the assassination of a Kurdish parliament leader there. Is there any evidence linking Ansar al-Islam to Iraqi operatives?

    Ranstorp: Well, this is alleged by Powell. I'm not so sure. You know, I spoke to several individuals as well, long before Ansar al-Islam came on the radar screen. In fact, very few Ansar al-Islam operatives have been actually to Afghanistan to train there. There were efforts by al-Qaida before, about a year, a year and a half ago to try to connect to Ansar al-Islam. So it's a very difficult area. Powell is claiming that the Iraqi intelligence have operatives in there. It's entirely feasible. But certainly they will become one of the first casualties once the war will commence.
    Ansar al-Islam had been morphing prior to that, of course, but the stature it suddenly gains in a short period of time and continued support leading up to the war is something very difficult to pin directly on al Qaeda as it was being pushed out of Afghanistan. At some point al Qaeda did decide to leave the Afghanistan situation up to the Talibe, so it would be natural to expect a shifting of resources. Also brought up is that Abu Musab al Zarqawi was running his own independent affiliates but took up with Ansar al-Islam under directions of al Qaeda. By 25 MAR 2003 RFE/RL reports on what was happening in the North of Iraq, also looking at some of the others then known to be in the area:


    Coalition forces hit an Ansar Al-Islam stronghold close to the Iranian border in northeastern Iraq overnight on 21-22 March, AP reported. The group controls about 18 villages close to the Kurdish village of Halabjah. According to AP, five coalition missiles hit an Ansar base; "The Christian Science Monitor" reported on 24 March, however, that Ansar villages, as well as villages held by the Kurdistan Islamist Group (KIG) -- a.k.a. Komala Islamiyya -- were struck in two waves of attacks. The move appeared to precede a ground offensive launched by Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) opposition forces. "We have begun attacking their positions with rockets," one PUK official said on 22 March, adding, "There is no way that we can move south during the liberation with them in place; we have to be able to protect our backs," Reuters reported. Retaliation appeared to come quickly -- a car bomb was detonated at a Kurdish checkpoint outside Halabjah on 22 March, killing three Kurds, an Australian cameraman, and the bomber, and injuring another two dozen people, "The Christian Science Monitor" reported on 24 March. The United States has linked Ansar Al-Islam (Supporters of Islam) to the Al-Qaeda terrorist network of Osama bin Laden. The KIG, headed by Shaykh Bapir Ali, is less radical than Ansar, and has been operating under an agreement with the PUK, receiving a monthly stipend of $250,000 from the PUK, according to "The Christian Science Monitor."

    Meanwhile, London-based "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" reported on 20 March that as many as 2,500 "Lebanese fundamentalists" and approximately 700 "Algerian volunteers" have been residing in camps inside Iraq for the past six months. The fighters reportedly entered Iraq with the permission of the Iraqi regime. The Lebanese and Algerians, along with Al-Qaeda-related groups, are reported to have an agreement with the Iraqi government, which allows them to undertake suicide operations, against U.S. troops in northern Iraq, according to "Al-Sharq al-Awsat." The fighters would operate "not under the Ba'ath Party banner" though, as they "refuse to fight under the banner of a secular party."

    Speaking on the presence of "volunteers," Iraqi Information Minister al-Sahhaf told reporters on 24 March: " The volunteers are numerous. They are from our glorious Arab nation, the friends, Muslims, and the world. They are too many. We welcome all of them. God willing, they will serve to demonstrate a sign of solidarity between the Arabs and all free men in the world," Al-Jazeera reported. Iraqi officials have made several statements in recent weeks regarding offers from Arab and Muslim volunteers to fight on the behalf of Iraq. However, it should be noted that the Iraqi government, and specifically President Hussein, has been criticized by Muslim religious leaders for decades for its secular, anti-Islamist stance. Only in recent years has the Iraqi leader attempted to make use of religious rhetoric to appeal to the Iraqi people and Muslims worldwide for support for Iraq. (Kathleen Ridolfo)
    The question is not *if* Saddam was providing safe haven, training and support to multiple terrorist organizations. The question is how extensive were the contacts, what was passed along them and what are the subsequent movements of knowledge outwards into the larger transnational terror internetwork?

    This slowly brings us right back around to Congress. As so many are fond of stating, this is a 'Long War'... and everyone loves to think of the Cold War paradigm. There is no equivalent of the USSR in the world of Transnational Terrorism: no such thing exists. Standing up to this is more than just manning military bases, buying weapons and accumulating vast numbers of nuclear devices on a State-to-State showdown. Without an opposition State there is no defined military organization to go against. What can be seen, however, is that States that have abundant natural resources that are able to utilize such for commerce can become not only State supporters for terrorists or, especially in 'failed' or weak States, harbor terrorists and be unable to do anything about them. When State based sponsorship takes place, the full panoply of an organized government utilizing its power to arm, direct and even operate terrorist groups allows for the long term lethality of those groups to increase. Iran has been doing that for decades and now has affiliates in Lebanon, Bosnia, Algeria, Chechnya, Argentina, Venezuela and elsewhere. The Iranian threat with WMDs is not as a Nation, but in using that distributed affiliate operation to gain such weapons and increase their lethality by two or three orders of magnitude *per incident* if not higher. Iraq not coming *clean* on WMDs, continuing operations of programs to support WMD production and working directly with a broad gamut of terrorists was utilizing that network to achieve their State-based ends. Organizations like al Qaeda that wish to end Nation States, will utilize any means it can get to continue its goals and target Nations and Peoples so as to remove such Nations and support for *having* Nations.

    When an organization like FARC can run and continue to expand a military operation based on narco-terrorism, plus some other sidelines like kidnapping for ransom and extortion, the threat seen from Nations able to supply multiple times the amount of ready cash leads to far worse situations that are endemic in nature. Strong Nation States that can ensure their borders and enforce the rule of law internally, while working with other Nations to marginalize and hunt down and *kill* these organizations and remove other Nations from supporting this must happen. The system of Nation States was formed to allow internal religious decisions but to not enforce religion upon individuals. When Nations move *from* that, as is the case of Saudi Arabia, they may get a 'purity of religion' but they also get a Totalitarian State. The Western conception of the Westphalian State requires that minimal freedom for individuals, even if few other liberties apply. When the Congress moves to say that fighting for this is not worth the cost in blood or money, they are saying that they are willing to cash out the Nation State system. If the United States cannot promote liberty and take down those that would seek to end the Nation State system as a whole, than no matter how mighty the military force the US has, can this Nation stand. When the rest of the world starts to sink into Imperial mud, the ties that the US has will drag this Nation down with them.

    While the US may stand apart as a Nation, we stand *with* the entire community of Nations.

    Removing dictators and tyrants requires the US to help those who had been under such rule to stand up for themselves so they can protect themselves thereafter. That is a good and honorable way to deal with the world, and once those we have helped to stand up on their own can do so, then we will accept their judgment on the worthiness of our work.

    Congress and much of those that support it have decided that such work cannot be done by the Nation.

    When the United States declares war, we turn from such fights at our peril.

    But I will say this: if the President accepts the terms and conditions given then there is one, and only one option in a war we will not fight.

    We should surrender to Iraq.

    I think they would understand that by this point in time.

    Because Congress no longer has the will to allow for victory, and so the only other option is defeat.

    And I think they are better *losers* than the current crop of Americans are *winners*.

    When you go to war those are your choices, as the Spartans remind us.

    There are long term consequences to defeat and the US has been dying a slow death since that last defeat.

    This Congress wishes to kill the Nation with another such defeat.

    And civilization along with it.