September 15th, 2006

The nukes of Iran

From the Washington Post. Emphasis and shortening by me

U.N. inspectors investigating Iran’s nuclear program angrily complained to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent House committee report on Iran’s capabilities, calling parts of the document “outrageous and dishonest” and offering evidence to refute its central claims.

(…) Among the committee’s assertions is that Iran is producing weapons-grade uranium at its facility in the town of Natanz. The IAEA called that “incorrect,” noting that weapons-grade uranium is enriched to a level of 90 percent or more. Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5 percent under IAEA monitoring.

When the congressional report was released last month, Hoekstra said his intent was “to help increase the American public’s understanding of Iran as a threat.” Spokesman Jamal Ware said yesterday that Hoekstra will respond to the IAEA letter.

Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), a committee member, said the report was “clearly not prepared in a manner that we can rely on.” He agreed to send it to the full committee for review, but the Republicans decided to make it public before then, he said in an interview.

(…) Privately, several intelligence officials said the committee report included at least a dozen claims that were either demonstrably wrong or impossible to substantiate.

“This is like prewar Iraq all over again,” said David Albright, a former nuclear inspector who is president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security. “You have an Iranian nuclear threat that is spun up, using bad information that’s cherry-picked and a report that trashes the inspectors.”

Read the article linked to pls, it goes on and on and on. I hope it will help you, the reader, “increase [your] understanding of Iran as a threat”. BTW, It’s my personal opinion that nuke stuff in the hands of Iran is quite a bad idea.

September 15th, 2006

The m$oney that buys

I know a big issue is where politicians and the parties get the money from. And it should be. Now read this (we’re talking the Netherlands, a small 16m people kingdom in Europe).

A consorsium of 5 large companies have offered to support all political parties with multi-media campaigning. The companies will take the tab on this, through a neutral foundation. It’s the first time in Dutch history private funding is offered on this scale: the administration has EUR 7m ($8.5m) available for the parties to campaign. The offer would compromise EUR 3.5m ($4.2m).

The consortium consists of KPN (former telecom monopolist), Endemol (media producer, read “Big brother” – no kidding, they made that show up), TNT (mail), Ordina (ICT company) and Microsoft.
VVD (liberal-right, “as long as it’s politically neutral”) and CDA (christian-right, “we believe this is society-responsable entrepreneurship”) were positive; PvdA (left, “no, we would need to provide privacy related information and anyway, our party rules forbid taking gifts exceeding EUR 30k), Groenlinks (more left) and SP (still more left) were opposing.

wtf???? WHAT THE F**K????? Microsoft, a foreign, monopoly hungry, greedy company is starting to interfere in our countries politics with a smokescreened “open to all”? WTF is going on here????

September 15th, 2006

The lawyer that interviewed the shoe bomber ran an interview with a UK human rights laywer, who visited Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, in 2002. It’s kinda interesting as the interview mainly revolves how a relatively non-extremist Joe changes into somebody who wants to kill 200 people including himself for a cause. But really the most to the point analysis is in the last praragraph IMHO (emphasis by me).

Q. When Peter Clarke, head of the anti-terror branch of the Metropolitan Police here in the UK, just a week or so ago says that he was concerned that there were thousands of potential recruits for this jihad. Does that surprise you now after the conversation you had with Richard Reid?

A. I think it’s a surprise that it wasn’t said earlier. I think the police themselves, the security services, it must have dawned on them because they had in the 1990s several plots by UK citizens that were directed against Israel, or possible unknown targets where the motivation seemed to be the link with injustices in Bosnia, North Africa and particularly with Palestine, and the West Bank and Gaza. For the most part, the British government said it has nothing to do with our foreign policy; it’s all about overturning the western way of life and democracy. A concept which I just find ridiculous and clearly Richard Reid, when he was talking, said in clear and quite animated terms, that you cannot have injustice compounded by the detention of people in Guantanamo Bay without charge, and expect people all over the world to sit by and applaud the United States for making the world a safer place.

Wise words. In the long run, nobody can impose rules on others and not apply them to oneselves.