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September 24, 2003
Bits of News

I'm in a better mood today, which will disappoint some of you. Heh. Heh.

I think the attempted assassination of one of the appointed council members in Iraq is newsworthy, but I haven't found the story in the USofA press yet. (I did hear about it on NPR yesterday, though.) I guess just one more gun battle in Iraq isn't that noteworthy these days.

The thing I notice about the stories about the airman arrested for spying in Guantanamo is that there don't seem to be any, you know, treasonous activities described.

When he was arrested, al-Halabi was carrying two handwritten notes from detainees that al-Halabi intended to turn over to someone traveling to Syria, the charging documents say. He also was carrying his personal laptop computer containing classified information about detainees and 180 messages from detainees he intended to send to Syria or Qatar, it was alleged.

Okay, knowing this Administration as we do, "classified information about detainees" could be something as simple as a head count. I mean, that's so secret that not even the government knows the number.

Any no one says, or even hints at what the referenced messages are. All things considered, I'd suspect that easily 95% of the messages, if not all of them, are to the prisoners' families.

In one charge, they're claiming he gave prisoners baklava. Admittedly, that could be hugely damaging, but to the prisoners' cholesterol, not to the USofA. If they're really going to base an "aid and comfort" charge against him on that, well, they're going to look like idiots in a courtroom. Even a military one.

Yeah, apparently he took pictures, too although anyone flying over in a plane could do the same. (It does occur to me that we might shoot down anyone flying over in a plane, of course.) And he visited the Syrian embassy without telling his bosses, but there's still a weird lack of any substantive information about any actual spying for any kind of, you know, enemy.

Checking the international press, I find, not surprisingly, more information.

Mr. al-Halabi is charged with eight counts related to espionage, three counts of aiding the enemy, 11 counts of disobeying a lawful order, nine counts of making a false official statement and one count of bank fraud.

Ahhh...and then Reuters comes through with some details, via Yahoo.

Air Force officials said al Halabi, a native of Syria who moved to the United States as a teenager, was charged with attempting to deliver sensitive information to Syria including more than 180 notes from prisoners, a map of the Guantanamo jail, the movement of military aircraft to and from the base and the names and cellblock numbers of captives at the prison.

Notes don't worry me so much, but maps and details of security are a different matter.

I'm waiting to see what else we learn.

If you're on the national, "do not call" list, you might be disappointed to learn that a district court has blocked the law, saying the agency didn't have the authority to set it up.

And a new suspect has been arrested for Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh's murder. It seems they've released the previous suspect after determining his innocence. They're moving very quickly.

There's good news from Iraq today with the story that the priceless Sumerian sculpture, the " Lady of Warka" has been found.

Authorities estimate more than 10,000 artifacts are still missing from the museum, but about 3,500 have been recovered. Some have been found in Britain, the United States, Italy and Jordan.

You want to know who I think we should prosecute? War profiteers and organized crime. The people who move in on a chaotic situation and exploit it for personal gain.

What Iraq doesn't have, as we all know by now, is any Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Just in passing, I'd like to point out that Chirac is mistaken if he thinks he can convince any rational, informed person that the U.N.'s problems all stem around the USofA's admittedly illegal invasion of Iraq.

Here at home, it looks like thae battle is almost over. The one in Texas I mean. Can't find any updated links to the battle here in Colorado, but that's because it's currently being waged with lawsuits in courtrooms, which isn't sexy enough to grab headlines. On the other hand, the case in Pennsylvania is getting a little press, probably because it's the East Coast. I bring this up, among other reasons, to remind us all that the Republican Party is gerrymandering all over the country, not just in Texas. They're attempting to win by tricks a voting majority they don't think they can achieve otherwise. (And my disapproval also goes out to the Democrats who have done a bit of juggling with districts themselves in the past, although on a less organized, less nation-wide scale.)

We might want to mark September 22, 2003, in our calendars. According to Central Command, it's a day on which no soldiers actually died in Iraq.

And I want to say that the Compassionately Conservative Administration was undoubtedly quite right to put a stop to some humanitarian missions to Cuba. Because history in Iraq and elsewhere has certainly proven that starving the general population and denying them healthcare is going to make the despotic, wealthy rulers of those countries cave in to whatever demands we might be making.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:11 AM


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